June 3, 1994               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLII  No. 55

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the President of Treasury Board. Yesterday the teachers rejected the collective agreement their union had negotiated with government.

MS. COWAN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: I have a statement. There was a bit of confusion here in the House and I didn't hear you. I did stand, as well, but I think it was rather awkward for you.

MR. SPEAKER: I'm sorry, I didn't see the hon. minister. Have we permission to revert?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

Statements by Ministers

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to announce this morning that June 5 to 11, next week, has been set aside as Canadian Environment Week. The theme for Environment Week this year is, `Go Green. This Week. Every Week.' This theme reminds us that environmental protection and preservation is important throughout the year, no matter where you are. Environmental stewardship can be achieved by thinking green. Indeed, environmental awareness is the first step to improving the environment.

Mr. Speaker, we need to be aware of the positive and negative impacts of our behaviour and how it can affect the environment. We must learn to live in harmony with our surroundings and recognize that every environmental action, no matter how insignificant, helps improve the overall picture.

Each year Environment Week is celebrated nationally during the first full week of June. It celebrates our most precious resource, the environment. We live in a fragile ecosystem, wherein we rely on the environment to sustain us. Therefore, we must take steps to help sustain the environment so we can all benefit fully from this resource.

Mr. Speaker, my staff have undertaken activities aimed at increasing public awareness of the importance of a clean environment. In this regard, my department has teamed up with Environment Canada and the City of St. John's to organize mall displays during the week.

Oceans Day, June 8, recognizes the importance of our oceans in supporting life. First declared on June 8, 1992, during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janiero, Oceans Day inspires us to become caretakers of our oceans environment. In that regard, St. John's staff have organized a beach clean-up in the St. John's area for Wednesday, June 8. Staff in Grand Falls office will undertake a clean-up of one kilometre of the Trans-Canada Highway in the Grand Falls - Windsor area.

The quality of the air we breath is critical to our survival. Automobiles are often a contributing factor to poor air quality. My department, in conjunction with Environment Canada, will be holding vehicle emissions clinics in Happy Valley - Goose Bay on June 6 and 7 and in Labrador City June 9 and 10. The purpose of these free clinics is to advise motorists about the emission levels of their vehicle. If a vehicle is found to have a higher than normal emission level or is missing a pollution control component the motorist is simply advised of that deficiency.

On Sunday, June 12, my department, along with the Women's Institutes, will host the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Awards ceremony. There, we will recognize those who have contributed in a meaningful way to the preservation, protection and restoration of our environment.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to proclaim next week, the week of June 5 - 11, as Canadian Environment Week, and I might add, Mr. Speaker, if I could before I sit down: It's Yours, Keep it Clean.

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

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

I would first like to thank the minister for delivering a copy of her statement this morning and proclaiming June 5 - 11, Environment Week. The theme this year, Mr. Speaker, "Go Green. This Week, Every Week," I think is a good theme and certainly would help to get people thinking about our environment.

Mr. Speaker, any actions taken to heighten public awareness on our environment is always a positive step. This year, in the statement, the minister refers to the land, air and water of our environment which is a total package, of course, but a lot of people sometimes think of only keeping the land clean. On television now we have ads in which we see people throwing garbage out the window, which I think is a very effective ad, but this year, reference to the land, air and water, I think is a very good idea, Mr. Speaker.

We all must do our part to keep our environment clean for our children and for future generations. And, Mr. Speaker, the idea of giving rewards for the protection and preservation and the clean-up and restoration of our environment I would think, is always a good idea when it helps to get people involved and keep those people involved. Just before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, I was half expecting to have this statement proclaiming June 5 - 11 week announced by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Thank you.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

SPEAKER: No leave.

Oral Questions

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

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the President of Treasury Board.

Yesterday, the teachers rejected the collective agreement the union had negotiated with government. We are entering the fourth week of the teachers strike and rapidly approaching the end of the school year. Have you been in contact with the NLTA since the announcement of the strike vote yesterday, and will talks get underway quickly to try to resolve this dispute and get the students back in the classroom?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the NLTA is going through a process at a meeting with their executive last night, and all of this morning they are meeting with their branch presidents.

I have had my discussion with Cabinet and with caucus, and I am assuming that later on today there will be an opportunity to have discussions, but this process had to be gone through before Mr. Sutherland and I could get together.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Menihek.

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

It is obvious, from the reactions to the Memorandum of Understanding, that the government has managed to antagonize everybody - teachers, school boards, school superintendents, denominational authorities, parents, and even the students.

Now, since three of these are management groups represented at the bargaining table, on the same side as government, can the minister explain how he got us into this mess?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: And, more importantly, how are you going to get everybody out of this mess?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a very serious question, and I will treat it seriously.

First of all, the tentative agreement that was reached is not government's position. There are things in that tentative agreement that government did not like. There was give and take. It was not the teachers' union position. There were things in that that the teachers' union did not like, and it was not their position. There were things in there as well that the school boards, the third party to the agreement, did not like.

That tentative agreement was an amalgam of positions from all parties, that was an attempt to end the strike, to get the schools open, to get the students back into the classroom. That tentative agreement was not government's position, it was not NTA's position, it was not the school board's position; it was the result of a process, a collective bargaining process, and that is what it should have been -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: - the end result of a collective bargaining process where nobody won, except, if it had been accepted the students would have won.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the minister puts on a good act at being serious, yet the laughter that this government exercised when I asked the question is really how the government treated the teachers during negotiations. That's what they displayed during negotiations. That's what happened to negotiations.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I couldn't hear if the hon. member asked a question or not.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Could I have silence in the House so we can hear the hon. member's question?

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

Now, this is not the time for more confrontation. The minister knows that there are items in that agreement that do nothing but irritate and offend the teachers. In the end there are no -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I asked the hon. member for a question, not to continue making remarks.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

My question to the minister is: In the interest of getting an agreement, getting the schools opened and the students back to school, are you prepared to remove some of these things unconditionally from the table?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we're not dictators.


MR. BAKER: This was not our position, therefore we cannot simply remove things. We're into a collective bargaining process, Mr. Speaker. We are not going to unilaterally remove things from an agreement that was agreed to.

I'd like to remind the hon. gentleman opposite that that tentative agreement was reached between the negotiating units. That tentative agreement was taken to the provincial executive of the teachers union who said that it was okay. It was taken to fifty-two branch presidents in a meeting, who again approved that tentative agreement. So, Mr. Speaker, this is not something that was forced down anybody's throat, this is something that was agreed upon through the collective bargaining process.

Now, Mr. Speaker, unfortunately it didn't work out when it went out for the vote. There is an obvious problem there and we have to solve that problem. I've indicated that I had a process to go through after the vote was rejected, so does the NTA executive have a process to go through, and as soon as they have finished their process then we have to get together to try to find a solution. I don't know how we can be any more reasonable than that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education.

Given the failure of the teachers, the school boards and the government to reach a collective agreement, what is the minister's strategy to complete the student evaluation processes in a manner acceptable to parents and to students?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, we will be devoting the weekend to dealing with that problem. As the hon. member will know, we did talk about putting on the public exams anyway but it is becoming more and more difficult to do that. There is some question as to whether or not we can get them marked. We can physically put them on and have students write them but getting them marked will be a difficulty. Some students now are complaining that they have not covered the year's work and it would be unfair to have them write the exams, so we have to deal with that.

The scholarship exam, Mr. Speaker, is quite a different thing from the other exams. So if we were to cancel the other exams, for example, and I am not saying we will, we would have to do something with the scholarship exam.

The problem we are having is an evaluation of the year's work to date. If we could only find some way to have the full year's work evaluated then it would not be absolutely essential to send the students back to school at all this year. One thing we do not want to do, in the interest of the children, is we do not want to have to legislate, unless we absolutely must, Mr. Speaker. That is the last thing government wants to do, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, several days ago the minister committed himself, in response to a petition from some students from the Harbour Main district, to ask the president of MUN to reduce the minimum average for admission to first year studies from 70 per cent to 65 per cent to accommodate those graduating students who may not have performed well in their mid-term evaluations and who were relying on the end of the year examinations in order to bring up their averages. Has the minister consulted with Dr. May? While we recognize that he cannot instruct the university to do what the students asked in their petition, has there been dialogue and what has been the result of that dialogue?

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

MR. DECKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have discussed the whole issue with Dr. May. The university has no intention of dropping their requirement back. However, in discussions with Dr. May, I am satisfied that we can reach an accommodation whereby no student who normally would have been accepted into university in September will be in any way harmed as a result of this strike.

Now, I don't want to go into the details. The meeting was in confidence and I don't want to do anything which would even have a bearing on negotiations, but I did have discussion with Dr. May and I am also aware of discussions with some of the universities in the Atlantic region. I am sure, though, the hon. member will understand that if I were to get up here today and say, `No problem, students, you are in university,' then that might impact on negotiations or whatever.

I want to say, however, that personally I am quite confident no student will be refused admission to a university who normally would have been accepted if this strike had not taken place.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary is to the President of Treasury Board. It is regarding the hold-back pay which had been accumulated by teachers from September until May 16.

Many teachers are asking questions about the processing of that hold-back pay during the months of July and August. I want to ask the minister: Is it his government's intention to refuse to process the hold-back pay in July and August until the evaluations have been submitted that were effective from September until the date the schools closed?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, we will pay our public employees on the basis of the service provided and, depending on how this is calculated, the teachers who are now on strike will receive full pay for the days that they have worked during the school year.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union - and I ask this of the Minister of Health - released the results of a survey of nurses in this Province. Eighty-three per cent of nurses said understaffing of hospitals has resulted in unsafe conditions for patients. Ninety-one per cent said understaffing has created an unsafe workplace for nurses.

I ask the minister: How does the minister answer to this shocking indictment of the government's health care policies?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon, this report was delivered, I think, to the President of Treasury Board. When I got back to my office yesterday, after House, it was there on my desk, and I haven't had an opportunity to fully digest the results of this survey. When I do, and when I study it, and the origins and all of the rest of it, then I will be prepared to answer questions on it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It only takes thirty minutes to read it. I asked you the question about 91 per cent of nurses saying their safety is in jeopardy. I said that 83 per cent stated that patients - you don't have to read it to answer that question. I will move on to the next question.

Nurses charge that your so-called health care reforms amount to nothing more than health care cutbacks. These are the front-line workers in the health care system that the minister talks about. Now, how does the minister explain why nurses on the front lines don't see improvements in the delivery of health care service, but only see more work, risk and frustration for them, and more pain and suffering for their patients?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the nurses are presently in negotiation with Treasury Board, and I might say that the nurses' union deals with Treasury Board. The Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland deals with professional matters. So I am going to read this survey very carefully and consult with both groups of nurses just to see what their concerns really are.

This thirty-second reaction from the member opposite is very typical of the way he handles health care matters.


MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is a very (inaudible) response for a minister. First, he doesn't believe me, he doesn't believe doctors in this Province, and now he doesn't believe nurses in the Province. He doesn't believe patients. Well who, I ask the minister, is telling the truth about health care?

Now, nurses support a shift to see claims in emphasis to community and preventive health care. Nurses support that; they said so in this release yesterday. Now, they are your natural allies, but they say you are doing nothing to bring that about.

I ask the minister: How do you answer the charge that the system is falling apart, that you are simply wrecking hospital-based health care, with no alternatives, that you are doing nothing to develop community and preventive health care?

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

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite is like the bone - he stands alone.

He levied a charge at one of the St. John's hospitals the day before yesterday, and they had to refute it.

MR. SULLIVAN: That's not true.

DR. KITCHEN: The Executive Director of the Newfoundland Hospital and Nursing Home Association was on the air this morning basically refuting what the member has to say. I mean, he seems to want to take the whole health establishment on. We do get, from time to time, complaints, and we look into them.

I've given up looking into the oral complaints of the member opposite because there is never anything to them. But when there is a legitimate complaint, whether it be from the nurses' association or nurses' union or anything else, we will look into it. I can guarantee the member and members of the House of that. We take our responsibilities in health very seriously in this government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A question to the Minister of Social Services. I would like to ask the minister: How many cases of fraud have the social services investigators brought forward since their inception in October of last year?

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

MR. LUSH: I can't give the hon. member the exact numbers for fraud but I can tell him, they would be very low. Because the main job of the investigators is to ensure that people are receiving monies administered by the government appropriately. And rather than bringing people to the courts, it is a matter of trying to instruct people in a diplomatic manner. That is the approach, rather than bringing people to the courts. The people actually engaged - the number for fraud would be very low and I will undertake to get the numbers for the member.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm of the opinion, or I understand, that there have been approximately seventeen cases or seventeen suspected cases of fraud, and that works out to a little better than one case for each investigator. Isn't it a fact that all the investigators are uncovering are mistakes made by overworked, over-stressed social workers who are paid $2,500 a year less than those investigators themselves?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. LUSH: Not so, Mr. Speaker. I don't know where the hon. member gets his information. Number one, the salary scale that he quotes is not correct. As a matter of fact, it is just the reverse, that social workers get $2,500 more than the investigators. The hon. member will have to - it is a different - the social workers are on a scale approximately $2,500 more than investigators. I can tell the hon. member that the investigators have saved the taxpayers of this Province at the end of this fiscal year - and remember, they didn't start work until October - they have, in six months, saved the people of this Province $2.5 million.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: If the hon. member thinks that is not a saving that is worthwhile to the taxpayers of this Province, well, then, he had better go out and explain that one to the taxpayers of this Province, that they will accept people receiving social assistance when they are not entitled to receive it.

Mr. Speaker, to suggest that social workers should be engaged in that kind of activity is not the way this government thinks. We believe that the social worker's job is too important to be looking into these matters.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, for a minister who didn't know the answers when he stood up, he wasn't long learning. I don't know who provided them for him.

I ask the minister: Why would his department pay over $12,000 for a weekend conference in Gander for the thirteen special investigators who had just spent several weeks training at government's expense last October? And why was it necessary to have sixteen central office administrators attend the conference, which is more than one administrator for each investigator? Perhaps we ought to have special investigators ferreting out the expenses of his department instead of dealing with the people who can least afford it.

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

MR. LUSH: The hon. member can't have it both ways. When we announced that we were going to give two weeks training to these investigators, the hon. member derisively mocked and denigrated two weeks training.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: Now, Mr. Speaker, we realize that two weeks training wasn't the total of the program that we were going to give them - we were going to do the ideal thing, put them out in the field for six months and then bring them back on the basis of the problems that they have run into.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I tell the hon. member again, he can't have it both ways. The Petite Report condemns us for a lack of training and we're following the recommendations of the Petite Report. The Child Welfare League of America, can tell the hon. member that we believe in training, that training is an integral part of it!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: Maybe members on the other side ought to take some training and they wouldn't be asking the innocuous questions they're asking!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I should say the hon. minister has given a fine speech but I'm not sure he's answering the question.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if it's safe to participate in free-for-all Friday, Mr. Speaker. I'm not sure - I almost feel like staying down in my chair. But I want to ask the Premier a question.

Last week, government started round two of the publicity campaign to convince Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is a good thing. Could the Premier inform the House how long this new publicity program, advertising campaign will go on? Has government made up its mind how long they will advertise on this issue?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there's no set time or set plan. It's government's responsibility to make sure that the people of the Province are fully informed as to the issues. We're concerned that, because of the emotional arguments that were stirred up about the issue, that there's been a great deal of misinformation out there and it's incumbent upon government to take steps to correct it; but there isn't any designed plan to carry it on for a certain amount of time, to spend a certain amount of money or anything of that nature. Our obligation is to make sure the people of the Province are fully informed.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. No matter how much the Premier advertises, he's not going to change the minds of 68 per cent of Newfoundlanders. I want to ask him: If he doesn't know how long he's going to advertise, he doesn't know how much it's going to cost. Where is the money coming from for the advertising campaign to pay for this situation, these ads? Where is it coming from?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Primarily from the hundreds of thousands of dollars we save by cutting out the kind of advertising the hon. members did.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I'd say it's too bad the Premier wasn't here, I believe it was last Friday, Mr. Speaker, when we were debating the estimates of the Executive Council and so on, when it was shown that the budget for Newfoundland Information Services and the public relations team has gone up from $168,000 to well over $400,000, I say to the Premier. So if he considers that savings, then is it any wonder, the deficit we have?

I ask the Premier: Can he confirm that this week, government and its advertising campaign on privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro - like the full page ad in The Evening Telegram, the Robinson Blackmore papers, The Western Star and the radio advertising to all the networks - can he confirm for the House that that advertising campaign this week has cost the taxpayers of this Province $50,000?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the total of it will - I don't think it's just confined to this week, but I've asked them to work up the total that will have been spent during the month of May.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: How do they know how much will be spent?

PREMIER WELLS: The total? Well, they know how much they committed. All the bills aren't in.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Premier is answering a question. It would be easier if he answered the question. If other members have questions, let them pose them.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The total in April was $17,631.22.


PREMIER WELLS: April. That is the total. The total in May was $49,725.51.

Now let me give the hon. members opposite some totals. The total spent by the President of the Executive Council in the last year that the Leader of the Opposition was there, in advertising, putting his pictures in the paper, was $53,100. The total for one year -


MR. TOBIN: You just said you spent that in one week (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Just let me finish. That was one minister -


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

PREMIER WELLS: I am not finished the answer. The total spent in the year before by the same minister was $130,527.11.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now that, Mr. Speaker, was one minister; there were twenty-three of those.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Premier, please. Mr. Premier -


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

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Premier, would you please give this House an update on the Province's progress with the federal government on trade economic zones, particularly as it applies to the Port of Argentia?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, for the first time in five years, we appear to be making some progress.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: It is obvious that the hon. member has some awareness of a degree of progress from other sources, quite obvious, and I understand the basis for his question. I caution members, we are not there yet, we have to make progress.

Now it is a sensitive thing from this point of view. The traditional response anywhere in Canada, with anything that the federal government does in respect of a particular province, is the minute one province gets it, every other province wants it. Now, that's one of the things that deters the federal government from agreeing to set up a trade enhancement zone, but we have asked them to look at it in a particular context.

The former government in Ottawa wouldn't do it. The initial reaction of the present government was that they - I guess the same civil servants drafted the same letters for the minister and it came back the same way. So we went back to the minister and said: This is what you are getting, this is a sort of a civil service standard position. Now reconsider these facts and consider them on their merits.

Now I have had an encouraging letter back, and I will say no more than that it was encouraging, but the commitment is not there yet. I want to caution members that it is possible that it might not happen, but I ask the members just to give us a bit more time to try and work out an arrangement. It is a bit of a sensitive thing for the federal government, so I would ask members to understand that and let us try and work out a satisfactory basis, that the federal government is satisfied that they are justified in doing it in the case of Newfoundland.

We are asking specifically in respect of Argentia for obvious reasons, and for more than obvious reasons, not alone because the base is closing but because it is an ideal physical situation to establish such a trade enhancement zone. So we are making progress, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Premier.

I have informants in different places as well. But not to belabour it - and I appreciate the cautionary approach because, living in the shadow of Argentia, loose lips sink ships.

At the present time the only ones, as you can imagine - and the Minister of Industrial, Trade and Technology - the only ones winning in Argentia at this moment are the Americans, because of the negotiations, employer/employee, and their attitudes toward pensions and severance. I do wish your government all the best of luck because we have others behind us.

The arguments that the Americans are using on our people in Argentia can suffice to make Ottawa move to take care of some of its people. Do you use some of those counter arguments the Yanks are using on us, to try to get it over the top?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am trying to discern the question from all that. I gather the general intent of what the member intends to ask is the state of the discussions.

There are two key aspects in terms of the negotiations with the American government and the American officials on this. One is cleaning up the environment. Now, a great deal of progress has been made recently, and here I must give credit to the Prime Minister who intervened and told the Americans what a level of priority the Government of Canada placed on that issue. There has been a noticeable difference in the American response as a result of the comments of the Prime Minister, and I give the Prime Minister full credit for it.

On the second point - and this is a little bit more difficult. The second point is, what is fair treatment for the employees in Argentia? The position we took, on the basis of the representation we had received from the employees groups in Argentia suggesting that the Americans were not being fair, and in meetings I had many months ago with the United States Ambassador on the issue - and I have written to the US government and spoken to people in Washington about the issue since that - is: Look, you have an obligation to at least provide for compensation comparable to what the Canadian government would provide for civilian employees on bases they were closing, or what you would provide for your own civilian employees in the United States in the case of bases you are closing.

We can understand their choosing the least burdensome standard. We couldn't very well say: We expect you to pay more than our own government would pay. That is a hard argument to make out. Equally, it would be difficult for us to say to them: Look, you are obligated to pay more to Canadian civilians here than you pay to your own civilians in the US. That is an equally difficult argument to make out. So we said to them: You ought to chose one or the other.

Now, it appears, on the latest information we have, that the lower standard is the standard paid by the United States government to its own civilian employees.

AN HON. MEMBER: They added 100 non-appropriated employees that they didn't have to.

PREMIER WELLS: The minister reminds me of another key factor. By negotiations and discussions over a period of time, there were 100 more employees added that they didn't, by their standards, have to add, and we have to acknowledge their understanding in that respect.

So, it is not all black and white. It is a difficult thing to try and achieve a fair settlement under the circumstances. I hope that sort of gives the member the answers to the questions I think he was trying to ask.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

I would like to welcome to the House, on behalf of hon. members, thirty-one Grade VI students of the Inter Island Pentecostal Academy from Twillingate, accompanied by their principal, Bruce Bowers, and six teachers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

MR. J. BYRNE: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern, on a point of order.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Minister of Finance made a commitment to this House to table information with respect to the Kelland relocation. I would like to know why he is refusing to do so.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. There is no obligation to answer questions as such.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we deal first with Motion 4, which is a first reading, and then I believe the House is going to go on to discuss Bill No. 25, which is Order 17. I think we anticipate that will be quite a brief debate. That is the Internal Economy Commission act. Then we will go on into the Budget speech as we earlier agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. First, Motion 4.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Education to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Literacy Development Council Of Newfoundland And Labrador," carried. (Bill No. 28)

On motion, Bill No. 28 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 17, Bill No. 25.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act". (Bill No. 25)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Members are aware that the Internal Economy Commission Act sets up the body that runs the internal affairs of the Legislature. The Commission is chaired by the Speaker and both the government side and the Opposition side are represented on it, and the Deputy Speaker of the House sits as well, as a matter of right.

This bill seeks to introduce a minor amendment to the act. There is a requirement in the act now that a return of the expenses incurred by - I'm sorry, not the return of expenses incurred by ministers - including a return of the expenses incurred by members as well as the record of the decisions of the Commission shall be tabled in the House. They are all a matter of public record and they properly should be made public by tabling them here in the House.

A year or two ago - I think it was a year and a half ago - the Commission decided that we should move from the calendar year in recording expenses incurred by members - these are expenses for our travel to our constituencies and our district allowances, and all these matters dealt with in the Morgan commission. The commission decided we should move from the calendar year to the fiscal year. That necessitates a consequential change in the act because the act now requires the Clerk of the House, or the responsible official, Mr. Speaker, to table the return within so many days of the end of the calendar year. That is impossible because the calendar year ends three months before the end of the fiscal year. We are either going to be nine months behind or up to date, and to make us up to date we have to introduce and accept this amendment.

With that coherent, articulate, forceful, eloquent and comprehensive explanation, I commend the bill to the House and ask that it be read a second time.

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

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

After all that self-praise, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if we are really going to support this legislation now. It is a little bit hard to take after a long week.

MR. ROBERTS: On a Friday morning too.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Friday morning, yes. My God! Could have waited till after the weekend. Of course we are not surprised, Mr. Speaker, when we look at the source, are we? The Government House Leader.

Mr. Speaker, we don't have any difficulty with this Bill No. 25, this piece of legislation. It makes all the sense in the world. We have to bring the tabling of the expenditures of members into line with the end of the fiscal year to give some six weeks, I guess, after the fiscal year ends to enable the documents and the expenditures to be tabled. So we have no difficulty with it.

There are two of us from this side who serve on the Internal Economy Commission, the Member for Burin - Placentia West and myself, and we totally concur with what we are doing here.

MR. SPEAKER: If the Government House Leader now speaks, he will close debate on the matter.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we have obviously underwhelmed the members of the House. I move the bill be read a second time.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Internal Economy Commission Act", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow." (Bill No. 25)

MR. ROBERTS: Motion 1, the Budget Debate.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1.

The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased today to have the opportunity to stand and speak on the Budget Debate, and to have the opportunity to look back over the past year and make some comments and bring forward some concerns as to the Budget and the effect of the Budget on the people of St. Mary's - The Capes.

The first thing I would like to do is to say a few words on my first year in politics, and my first year representing the great district of St. Mary's - The Capes. It has had its ups and downs, but overall I think we have performed together fairly well. It hasn't been easy learning the ropes as a new member, but I have jumped into everything I could head first, and I have tried to learn as much as I could, and I believe that we are moving forward.

I would like to bring forward a few of the concerns as it relates to my district. There are none more important this morning, I would say, than the present teachers strike that we have, and the effect that it is having on not only my district but indeed the entire Province.

Last night I spent a considerable amount of time on the telephone to different parts of my district, talking to teachers and parents and students alike, and everybody that I talked to would like to see an end to the discussion so that the students and teachers could be back in school to finish off their school year. There are some major concerns that have been brought forward by the people I have talked to.

Where I represent a rural community, I guess one of the most important points is the 2 per cent clause. That, I think, was one of the main reasons why a fair amount of my district voted against the agreement that was proposed, because of the effect that the 2 per cent clause would have. If the 2 per cent clause were to come into effect, Mr. Speaker, my district would see around sixteen to twenty teachers lost this year, and it is a concern. The overall concern of the teachers that I talked to is not so much the 2 per cent clause and what it would do to rural Newfoundland, but the fact that the structure of education in rural Newfoundland has to change over the next couple of years. The teachers I talked to, even teachers I talked to last night, were concerned that there should be some kind of system in place that would make sure that the people of rural Newfoundland have the opportunity to receive an equal amount of education as those in urban parts of the Province.

It's not so much the 2 per cent, Mr. Speaker, it's the whole structure of education. Right now, in most cases in my district, if the 2 per cent clause is taken out of the agreement, the teachers who would lose their jobs will be in the higher grades, mostly in Level I, II and III, and this could have some major effect on that level of education.

A few years ago, there were talks about a foundation program being put in place. Instead of awarding teachers to a school on a pro-capita basis, as is done now in regards to teacher/student ratio, the schools will look at what should be offered in a school in rural Newfoundland, what could be offered in the schools in rural Newfoundland, I should say, and how many teachers they would need to teach these classes. I guess that's one of the big concerns. From what I can understand, Mr. Speaker, the 2 per cent clause was brought in to protect the quality of education in rural Newfoundland and to more or less make sure that we did have a certain amount of teachers, but what it has evolved into is kind of a protection for teachers in some cases, Mr. Speaker, more or less a job protection. Really, I don't think that was the purpose of the 2 per cent clause at the time it was brought in, I think back in 1982. I don't think that was the purpose of the 2 per cent clause, but that's what it has evolved into.

I think the bigger concern facing rural Newfoundland schools, and the bigger concern that is coming forward to me from my district, is the concern with regard to what types of courses can be offered in rural Newfoundland and how many courses? Right now, if the 2 per cent clause is taken out of the schools in Newfoundland, there's a possibility that students in my district wouldn't be able to partake in an honours program in the high school, because right now you have to have two sciences, language, french, english, math and others in order to receive an honours diploma. If the 2 per cent clause is taken away the possibility of these students being able to partake in an honours program in the high school may not be legitimate, and therefore they may not have the opportunity of furthering their education, whether it be university or some other form of education, because of where they come from in rural Newfoundland.

I think the government, through the restructuring I guess, Mr. Speaker, should address these issues and concerns that are coming from rural Newfoundland. The main purpose, if anything, is to have a good foundation in education for our young people, and therefore things will have to change. It's not only the dollar savings that have to be considered. I'm sure that is a major issue with the government and I understand that, but there are concerns about the quality of education in rural Newfoundland in the years ahead. Are we looking at multi-grade classrooms? Are we going back instead of ahead? These are concerns that are coming forward.

Mr. Speaker, there should be a committee formed that includes teachers, different members of the school boards, parents if need be and everybody who has a concern in putting together a type of education system that would best suit rural Newfoundland. We have to understand, Mr. Speaker, that the same type of programs for rural Newfoundland may not be the types of programs that would best suit urban areas in our Province, therefore I think that should be the consideration of government, and that they look at restructuring the rural education system so that it best suits the people of the Province who live outside the major metropolitan areas.

Mr. Speaker, as a follow-up on that, there are the changes to denominational education, which has died down somewhat now because of the present problems with the negotiations, but it was and still is a big concern in my district. I represent a district that is 99 per cent Catholic, and changes to denominational education are a big concern. There is, I must say, a fair amount of discussion, more or less that people certainly want to see changes, but they want to see them where they affect the students, in that the best possible education would be offered to those students, and I guess this is where some changes then - and we won't get into the rhetoric with regard to the changes to denominational education that have been espoused here on several occasions, but we will, if I could for a moment, just touch on -

I think that parents, teachers, students and government, along with different religions in the Province, have to come together and discuss these issues and arrive at more conciliatory-type discussions instead of, you know: we do it this way and that's the only way. People must have an opportunity to discuss these changes, especially the changes that affect not only their lives, Mr. Speaker, but in a lot of cases, entire communities and I think these are some major concerns that they have.

Some other issues in my district that have been brought up to me over the past while, touch on health care issues. There are concerns - part of my district deals with the Placentia Health Care Board, and part, on the Trepassey end, deals with the Southern Shore. There are some concerns about the health care cuts. They have been touched on here and questions have been asked. Since we are away from the main hospitals, in a lot of cases, two to two-and-a-half hours in most cases, Mr. Speaker, that sometimes we have to look at things a bit differently, and I understand that government cannot be in every nook and corner of the Province with regard to health care, but there are some cuts that have been made and some decisions that have been made as it relates to parts of my district, that do not sit well with the people, especially the elderly people in the district, who have to travel long distances, in some cases, for as much as a needle and in others for a prescription. And the cost to elderly people, especially those on fixed incomes, Mr. Speaker, is the big concern that has been brought forward. I have talked to the minister on a couple of occasions about some concerns that have been brought to me from people in my district and I have to say that we have worked on some of them and with others, it seems it is going to be a hard-fought battle.

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago when the ISP program was being discussed, it was a big concern in my district and a lot of people were coming forward, calling me or writing letters or whatever the case may be, more or less, that they see this as a major change to rural Newfoundland and they were very concerned about that. And the ISP program - I'm not sure at what stage it is now, because it hasn't been talked about for several months. But there are changes coming to the U.I. system and there are some concerns that the changes now, are in relation to the ISP program. And really, I understand it is only a proposal put forward to the Federal Government, but again, there seems to be a lack of consultation with the people who are affected most by it and I again ask the government that before they proceed with the ISP program, that they would talk more to people in the Province.

One of the biggest concerns in my district, Mr. Speaker, is in relation to the fishery. My district, one would say, is almost 100 per cent dependent on the fishing industry for their livelihood, and right now many people in my district are suffering. And it isn't only the people who are directly involved in the fishery, Mr. Speaker. A fair number of people in my district have been compensated under the NCARP or TFAA or FCTA or TAGS, or whatever the case may be, but then, there are a lot of other people who have been affected by the closure of the fishery - you know, the baby sitters, the storekeepers, and the small business people in the district.

All those people who were affected by the close-down of the fishery are now wondering what the future holds for them. I guess, when you look at it, you can't take the main industry out of any town, whether it is up in Labrador, with regard to the mines, whether is it out in Hope Brook, with regards to gold, whatever the case may be, and expect the community to carry on the same way it did before.

Communities in my district are hurting because of the close-down in the fishery as, I am sure, right across this Province, the people are hurting. There are many concerns. It is not only the economic concerns, it is also the social concerns because of the pressure that is on people, the financial pressure. During the 1980s, people got accustomed to a lifestyle of making a fair dollar and living pretty well a half decent life in most cases. Then, to come into the 1990s, with the cod moratorium, and having to be forced, in a lot of cases, to change their whole lifestyle and the lifestyle of their children, Mr. Speaker, is a big concern.

Now, in a lot of cases in my district, people are fortunate enough to own their own homes. Many people built their own homes down through the years and are fortunate to own them. Many other concerns have been expressed to me, and because of this financial stress of the cod moratorium, life in general, and family life conditions have worsened. We are looking at another five, six, or seven years possibly, with the cod moratorium, and we hope the recent program of compensation will assist those people. Hopefully, through discussion and through working together, government and people within the Province can find healthy solutions and that people will not suffer too much.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch on another concern of mine and that is in relation to the tourism aspect in my district. I guess every member can stand up and say that parts of their district hold the tourism capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I guess I am no different. I believe my district of St. Mary's - The Capes, from Portugal Cove South to Barasway is one of the most picturesque parts of this Province. It holds one of the main attractions of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Cape St. Mary's ecological reserve, which I will touch on later.

We also have the Salmonier Nature Park, we have Cataract Bridge, and we have the Trepassey caribou herd. Under the infrastructure program announced a couple of days ago, we received $6,000, I believe, to start a fishermen's museum in St. Vincent's, in my district. This is something these people have been working at for quite some time now and I was very pleased to see it. I don't believe that will be enough money to finish, but this group want it put in St. Vincent's to honour the fishermen, the plant workers, and the people in the fishing industry.

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, it is a step in the right direction and hopefully, with this $6,000 they received under the infrastructure program, they will develop their museum into another tourism attraction for my district. I look forward to working with those people on that. They have contacted me on several occasions trying to find out, wherever possible, they could receive funding, and to see that they finally did receive some is very pleasing to me, as the member for the district.

There are many other parts of the district that we could develop or work on with regard to tourism potential, but again, it needs that almighty dollar to make it work. I believe we have the potential for that, and that we will continue to develop the district into a tourism attraction so that people can really enjoy the Province.

Just last year, we finished paving one of the main links between Branch and North Harbour under the Roads for Rail program, and it leaves all the major roads in my area paved. Because of this, therefore, we hope there will be an increase in tourism traffic into the district this year.

I have also had some major concerns brought forward in relation to the Governor's Park Resort and the close-down. It was the potential, or the hope, that was placed in Governor's Park at the time, that it would have helped the whole St. Mary's Bay North area, and recently it has been shut down for financial reasons, and hasn't been activated.

Now, I held some discussions just a couple of weeks ago with the present owners, and they have some ideas, maybe not all tourism-related, but they have some ideas in relation to the future of Governor's Park. I welcome some of the expressions that they have put forward and hope we can work out something that will get Governor's Park up and operating in whatever capacity the new owners see fit. Hopefully, it will create some jobs in that area, because the St. Mary's Bay North area would welcome thirty or forty new jobs now, Mr. Speaker.

I hope the owners can come to an agreement with whatever departments they have to deal with in order to get Governor's Park up-and-running. It is a $7 million facility that really, over its lifetime, since it has been built, hasn't created that much work in the area, and the hope that came with it quickly died when it was closed down.

There are other parts of my district; down in Point Lance we have a mile-long sandy beach that can be developed into a major tourism attraction, and the people of that community have been contacting me over the past year or so, even before I came into politics, with regard to the development of the Point Lance beach. We will continue to work on their behalf and try to come up with some ideas and address some concerns.

One of the big concerns I have is with regard to the Avalon tourism study. Several years ago when I was a co-ordinator with the Cape Shore Area Development Association, six development associations in our area got together to try to do a southern Avalon tourism study, and we had a terms of reference put forward. As a matter of fact, we had some bids on the study from six or seven different people in that field. We had one selected, and then they kind of put us on the back burner in relation to trying to do a study of the whole Avalon.

The concern has been expressed to me, and I certainly have it myself, that a small area of my district, as it relates to the whole Avalon, may be lost in the shuffle as they try to come up with a tourism study. It has lumped the cities of St. John's and Mount Pearl with that study, and I am just a bit concerned that we may be lost in the shuffle.

There have been some meetings held in the district, but again I stress that more public consultation is needed as it relates to any development in the area, and especially as it relates to tourism development.

I think people have come to realize that there has to be a game plan for development of the tourism industry in the Province, and people would look forward to participating in that process as we try to develop our area.

I was very pleased yesterday to hear the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology announce that the tender is in the paper today for the Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve. I am pleased to see that, and I am sure the people of the area are pleased to see it. It has been a concern for a couple of reasons: that some employment will be generated in the construction phase of the building - close to a million dollars will be spent on the construction of the building; and I am very pleased to see that come forward, and people will receive some work there in relation to the construction. There is also the long-term benefit of the building, what it will do for the tourism industry in our area. It will attract more people, and hopefully, provide more jobs.

Mr. Speaker, right now, I think there are three students employed at Cape St. Mary's, and hopefully, with the new interpretation centre, in a few years time we will see maybe a dozen students employed, and maybe with extended hours. I brought up some concerns yesterday as they relate to the schedule of how people work at Cape St. Mary's, and I hope the minister will address those concerns in relation to having the hours spread out so that, more or less, the reserve is open until the sun sets, so that people can have the opportunity, especially with our short tourism season, to visit there.

I am sure, with the new interpretation centre, all these improvements will come in time and they will not only benefit my area, Mr. Speaker, but indeed benefit to the whole Province. I welcome any type of improvement, or any type of funding, I should say, because once again we get back to making sure that we have dollars.

There are other parts of my district that need tourism infrastructure. I understand that hopefully some of these will be identified in the Avalon tourism study and that government will work with the groups involved to make sure. One of the things that a fair amount of my district has been working on, as a matter of fact in a couple of places - one on the Colinet River and one down on the Holyrood Pond - is with regard to salmon enhancement. These are very worthwhile projects for the simple reason that we were trying to maintain the salmon rivers of the district.

I have I think it is six salmon rivers in my district that attract a fair amount of people, not only from outside the Province but a fair number from within the Avalon area and within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador itself. I think these are very worthwhile projects. Hopefully, through the years, because of the concern and the conservation methods that have been brought forward by groups like SAEN and the St. Mary's Bay Centre Development Association and other groups in the area, the enhancement of the salmon rivers will improve and will continue, I should say, and that hopefully it will benefit, again, not only the tourism industry but our local people. Because salmon fishing has been a big concern.

I would like to touch on a couple of things as they relate to some other things that came up during the year and some changes that were made as it relates to ATV regulations. The ATV regulations in my district was a major topic, Mr. Speaker. I had something like over 200 telephone calls in three days when the changes were announced to the ATV regulations. I must say that a fair number of the people in the district who contacted me, welcomed some type of changes. They said they were in agreement with it, that there were some problems with regard to more or less a free-for-all in some cases, and that we all have to be concerned about the environment.

There was again some concern about how they were brought in, and lack of consultation, and we get back to the same old issue again. I think having meetings - the regulations are in force now. People are starting to have some meetings in the district in relation to setting up trails. More or less: We have no choice, let's make the best of it. That is partly what they are going to do. I contacted the minister's office and tried to get a couple of officials to come out to my district to explain the ATV regulations to some people and I think we have a meeting set for somewhere around June 13. Several officials from the Department of Environment and Lands will be out there to more or less explain the regulations and go through any problems or concerns the people may have.

Again, I'm pleased to see that the minister very quickly advised a couple of her people and responded to my request to have some people out in the district, because it is a concern that many people had, since almost every second home has an ATV. People use the country a fair amount for cutting wood and hunting and recreational purposes. They want to make sure that they don't head out and break the law, that they understand the rules and regulations, and that the trails have to be put in place, and I guess that will be coming forward.

Over the year, we received in the district some funding. Along with the infrastructure funding the other day, we received a couple of hundred thousand dollars. We received some money under the department of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation in respect to a bridge at St. Vincent's and some other monies. I touched on the case of the St. Mary's Ecological Reserve. There is always more to be done - more road work, more infrastructure and more tourism development. However, it all comes down, again, to having enough dollars, Mr. Speaker; but I realize that we will continue, and I will continue in my capacity, to look for dollars and look for funding for my district, and do the best I can.

I would like to touch, in closing, on the municipalities in the district. A fair number of my municipalities didn't even qualify for the infrastructure money because of the situation of coming up with one-third of their funding, or whatever the case may be. But hopefully, the dollars they need for their water and sewer development, or in a lot of cases, whatever - road work, that we will be able to attract some funding from other sources. Only a few, I think it is around half-a-dozen, communities in my district even applied for the infrastructure money because of the rules and regulations involved.

In closing, I would just like to say that the several issues and concerns I brought forward are more or less daily concerns. I deal with a lot of individual concerns throughout the year, and people are concerned about the future of the Province, people are concerned about the future of rural Newfoundland. It is something that I think, in regard to the education changes, in regard to anything, that we have to look at how important it is that rural Newfoundland survives, and that the government understands that education in rural Newfoundland is as important as it is in urban areas, and that hopefully some type of agreement will be reached over the next few of days so that people in the Province can get back to work.

I would like to just finish up with a few moments on the Hydro issue. The people in my district have spoken out several times by way of petitions and so on, in relation to Hydro. I have brought these concerns forward in petitions and in discussions and in the debates. I don't want to belabour the point here now in the few minutes I have left, but it is another concern of the people of the district where they will end up, especially with the changes to the electricity rates, in view of the elimination of the rural subsidy over the next four or five years. But overall, the big concerns are the fishery and the education problems. Right now these are the big concerns in my district, the changes from NCARP now to the new (inaudible) package and what it will do to the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: It won't be long.

MR. FUREY: It won't be long now.

MR. ROBERTS: That's right - a great slogan: It won't be long now.

MR. FUREY: It won't be long now, yes. (Inaudible) he remembers that well.

I just wanted to comment on a couple of points that the hon. member makes. I thank him for his complimentary remarks in the newspaper the other day to the current Minister of Tourism and Culture.

The member raised a very good point in Question Period, yesterday. It was pretty appalling to see that sign on the sanctuary headquarters, `Do not disturb' and that kind of thing. I had a raft of meetings yesterday, but I met the senior executive as well to talk about this kind of thing, and we are going to ensure that those signs aren't up again.

The other thing we are going to look at is the three students who are there, to stagger the hours - to see if we can stagger the hours. You are quite right; many of the tourists who visit that magnificent sanctuary come later in the afternoon, so we are going to try to start the hours a little later, stagger out the three jobs.

You know, one of the young people has to monitor the trail? There are two left there to give out literature and do interpretation. So back at the actual interpretation centre we are going to try to stagger those hours a little bit to take it later into the evening. He raises a good point; we are going to deal with that issue.

The second one - I mentioned yesterday that we put the tenders forward for the interpretation centre. That $1.2 million project is advertised today. We hope to see it proceed very soon, and have it built throughout the year.

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

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to have a few minutes to - pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I will wait until the meeting is over.

I am looking forward, the people in my district are looking forward, to the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, although I hope he tells the former minister about the little personal wager that I placed with him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, I placed with you with regard to your visit to my area. You can relay the message to the former minister. So I look forward to seeing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I think so.

Anyway the people in Western Labrador will be looking forward to meeting the minister when he does visit the area, and the people who will be with him, because they're concerned about some of the proposed changes that may occur with regard to hunting and fishing in the area. They really want to meet the minister, and they feel that they have some constructive changes to propose to the regulations that can be beneficial to the industry and also to the people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well the Caribou Hunters Association and the Outfitters -

MR. ROBERTS: They have some good ideas.

MR. A. SNOW: They do, very good ideas. They're very concerned. The Caribou Hunters Association in Western Labrador, and recently there was one founded over in Central Labrador and one in Churchill Falls, these group of individuals - the name itself is probably a little mystifying in the sense that they are more a conservation group than a hunting group.

I, being a member of the club, can remember spending more money through the caribou club for surveillance of caribou and trying to find where the caribou herds are located than the government spent in a year. Now, that may be difficult for a lot of people around here to understand, that the local club spent more money on aerial surveys then the government did, but that's a fact.

These people do have a very, very serious concern with regard to proposed changes and the effect they are going to have on the industry itself, the tourism industry, and also the effect they are going to have on people who live in the area and hunt and harvest these fish and caribou. They want to insure that, while they have access, there is going to be a resource left, there is going to be a resource remaining for years and years and years to come.

So I think that we should always remember the atrocity that occurred. For years the fishermen in this Province were saying that there was a serious problem with the fishery, and yet the so-called scientists of the industry were saying: No problems, just go ahead and fish. We know what we're doing. Well, when the hunters are telling you about a problem, I think you should listen to them the same way as people should have listened to the fishermen. I think you should listen to the people who are closest to that particular resource, no matter what it is. We should take a lesson from what has occurred in the fishing industry itself and apply it elsewhere.

Now, Mr. Speaker, those are a few concerns that people in tourism have. Another aspect of the tourism industry in Western Labrador is the Trans-Labrador Highway. In recent years -

AN HON. MEMBER: They are calling it the northern gulf route.

MR. A. SNOW: The northern gulf route? I would hope that it would be something like -

AN HON. MEMBER: The northern gulf route.

MR. A. SNOW: Why is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: The northern gulf route of the Trans-Canada Highway.

MR. A. SNOW: Well I'm thinking about the trail concept, the theme trails.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, I'm sorry. Absolutely, yes.

MR. A. SNOW: This is the Trans-Labrador Highway portion of the Trans-Canada.


MR. A. SNOW: With the theme trails that -

MR. FUREY: You're using the expression northern gulf routes from now on for the new highway for Labrador.

MR. A. SNOW: Northern gulf route, yes. As a suggestion to the minister, he should consider the name. The theme on that trail, I believe, should be something like probably the Labrador Voyage or something bilingual, so that we can take advantage of the people coming up the Quebec north shore.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) memorial.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, unless you know something that I don't, it isn't necessary to have a memorial yet. I'm hoping that it's going to be named relatively soon and not fifty years hence. I'm hoping we're not going to have to wait that long, unless the minister knows something that I don't.

Anyway, I think that we should have something bilingual, or unilingual if you will, in the sense that one end of this highway, if you want a connection, is in Baie Comeau in the Province of Quebec, and the other end is in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, today. Hopefully it is going to get all the way down through Red Bay, all the way down through the Coast in later years.

If we could have something like `Labrador Voyage' or `Voyage Labrador', then we will take advantage of the advertising throughout Quebec and Labrador. Studies have shown that the name Labrador evokes more of a sense of mystique and a sense of adventure than the word Newfoundland, on the Eastern Seaboard especially and in Europe. Studies have shown that, so I think it is very important.

MR. SULLIVAN: They are a very mysterious people over there, that is why.

MR. A. SNOW: Mystique, not mysterious. One must not confuse the two. Two are attempting to confuse one, but one must not confuse the two.

Mr. Speaker, when the department is considering these theme trails I would urge that they would consider that because I think it is important to be able to take advantage and use that sense of mystique and adventure that the word Labrador evokes in people, and thus enables us to attract more people to come to Labrador and visit and naturally spend some of their money, and enjoy some of the resources that we have to offer.

Also with the Trans-Labrador Highway, I want to suggest to the government that they are going to have to get off their haunches and enter into an agreement. Whether it is called the northern gulf route, gulf route -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) circle.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, the circle route. Hank Chouse, the former mayor of Happy Valley - Goose Bay, used to call it the great circle route.

Mr. Speaker, the government should enter into an agreement with the federal government to accelerate the construction of this highway because it is going to be a tremendous asset to this Province generally, not just to the people of Labrador or the country. It is going to open up an area of the country that I believe will naturally add a tremendous amount of wealth to this Province. It is going to provide the opportunity for people to entice more tourists to come here. It will also provide the people there with a better method of communications or transportation to get back and forth across Labrador, back from the northern to the central part and to the western part.

Any time we improve communications, whether it be in transportation or in communications, as in links of communicating in voice or whatever, we improve the ability to create more commerce, Mr. Speaker, and that is exactly what this highway would do. It would create the opportunity of doing more commerce, more trade, and doing more business basically. There would be the opportunity for people to come in and spend more money and possibly even open up new ventures in mining or forestry, because of the transportation.

We don't have to explain any more the benefits of what CPR did to western Canada back a hundred years ago. We know that in this Province the industry that was added in Central Newfoundland and Western Newfoundland was done mostly with the construction of a railroad across the Island portion of this Province, back in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Sir Robert Bond, I believe, was the prime minister.

So, this road can be a tremendous economic boom not just to Labrador but to the whole Province and indeed the country. It can open up a tremendous amount of wealth to be properly developed.

AN HON. MEMBER: You just reminded me of a Labrador ad (inaudible) tourism.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, that Labrador ad was one of the spin-offs that was developed because of a study that was done about ten or twelve years ago that I mentioned earlier. Marshall, Macklin, Monaghan conducted a study and they found that the word Labrador evoked that sense of adventure and mystique.

AN HON. MEMBER: Wild and free.

MR. A. SNOW: That is it. After speaking to me, of course, you can understand why.


MR. A. SNOW: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Awaken your spirit.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, awaken the spirit.

AN HON. MEMBER: Come visit Mealy Mountains.

MR. A. SNOW: Come visit Mealy Mountains on the weekend.

The minister has spent some time in Labrador, and I am hoping he is going to spend some more and become more familiar with places such as the Mealy Mountains. He got a fairly good lesson this year about Mealy Mountains, I hope, and Lewis Lake.

Mr. Speaker, it is important that we improve the transportation links within Labrador, especially the highway.

AN HON. MEMBER: Acting minister.

MR. A. SNOW: The acting minister. Very temporary, I think, very temporary. He will explain the wager. The hon. Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island mentioned that he is the acting minister, and he can talk to the minister after and explain the wager that I made with him a little earlier.

Mr. Speaker, this highway is very important, as I said, to the people of the Province and to the whole country, for putting in place a mechanism that will allow for further development in Labrador and a proper development of more commercial enterprises within the region.

Mr. Speaker, I said that the provincial government should enter into an agreement with the federal government to accelerate the construction of this highway. In the meantime, one of the things that they should also be doing is budgeting more money for the maintenance of the highway, especially the portion of the highway from Churchill Falls to Happy Valley - Goose Bay. It is deplorable, it is absolutely ridiculous, the method that is being used today for the maintenance on that highway.

Now it is about 300 kilometres of dirt road. I suppose out here on the Island portion of the Province it could be considered up to the standards of a resource road. We find, Mr. Speaker, that that road, I think, has been shut down for something like six or eight weeks this year, and that is not necessary. We have a similar type of road in the Province of Quebec, but that road may be shut down in the whole year, for a total of maybe a week to ten days maximum, including storms in the winter. So if we spend more money on winter maintenance, I believe it will provide more access - I know it will provide more access - for people to utilize that road, and use it for more freight coming in from the west, because that is where the freight comes from by truck. That will create more opportunity to do more business in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, because it is a tremendous cost to the consumer in Happy Valley - Goose Bay because of the way they have had to inventory stock practically for seven or eight months. Somebody has to pay for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: It will bring down the prices.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes. Studies have shown that it can improve the ability to operate a business in central Labrador. That is what I was saying earlier. Whenever we improve transportation routes, we improve the ability for businesses to develop more, develop better, develop easier, provide the opportunity to create more enterprise opportunities, and thus create more employment.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure, having convinced at least one member of the Cabinet that there have to be more funds spent on the development of the highway - I wasn't able to convince other people in previous Cabinets -

AN HON. MEMBER: The Opposition House Leader.

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, such as the Opposition House Leader - of the importance of putting more money into the Trans-Labrador Highway construction. Hopefully I will be able to convince the present members of Cabinet that they should be spending more money on the Trans-Labrador Highway, because it is money well invested. It is not just being thrown down the drain. It is money being invested to create a transportation link that will create more opportunities to do business, and thus create more opportunities for employment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, apart from the economic aspects of the highway, there are some social aspects of the highway that we know are also very important when we talk about transportation. The highway will facilitate more interaction, with people being able to travel back and forth between Happy Valley - Goose Bay over to Western Labrador or down into Quebec, and Quebec into Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, we have a lot of strong ties with Quebec, because we only live twenty miles away. That brings up another issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's closer than that, only three miles.

MR. A. SNOW: It's only a few yards to some people. It depends on if you are walking or driving, I suppose, how close you want to be. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, when you are close to the border it presents advantages of living close to people of different languages, different cultures. It presents a tremendous amount of advantages, and we've had that advantage for years in Western Labrador.

We live next to the border of Quebec, the neighbouring community of Fermont, Quebec. When I first went to Labrador, I guess our neighbour was Gagnon and Schefferville. We would play sports with teams from those communities. They were neighbouring communities, albeit we weren't connected by highway as we are today.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this has presented some problems too with regard to the tax structures in different provinces. Thus we have the cross-border shopping problem in Labrador. This government has attempted to solve this cross-border shopping problem by spending, throwing away over $1 million I think, $1.2 million that has been allocated this year in the Budget. Some of that is being spent to police, over police and harass shoppers in Fermont.

Newfoundlanders: Ordinary, law-abiding citizens up in Fermont shopping for groceries.

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

MR. BAKER: Just a very brief interjection.

The hon. member is doing a great job here and I don't want to interrupt him and disturb the flow of his speech. However, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. gentleman realizes that because of increased surveillance and policing activities, in the first four months of this year our revenue from tobacco tax has gone up 11 per cent over the same four months last year, so that the policing activities are having a very positive effect in terms of retaining revenue for the Province?

MR. A. SNOW: How many dollars?

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

MR. A. SNOW: But, Mr. Speaker, the minister -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, could we get leave to have the member take it until twelve o'clock so the rest of us can go home early?

MR. A. SNOW: There are times, Mr. Speaker, I would like to be able to take the Opposition House Leader somewhere. He has been taking off long enough.

Mr. Speaker, the problem that has been raised because of the closeness to the border, the cross-border shopping problem - the Minister of Finance suggested that revenues are up. Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know how much the revenues are up. The minister says they are up 11 per cent, but in actual dollars how much is that? I know that they budgeted $1.2 million on extra policing, and sent two extra policemen back into Western Labrador, two RCMP officers, which really, really angered the people, disgusted the people in Western Labrador because a year previous, these people had been transferred out of Western Labrador, two RCMP officers who had been stationed there previously, because of budgetary restraint reasons. That was the reason given. They were there, ostensibly to prevent the importation of hard drugs. That is what they were supposed to be doing when they were there a year previous.

When the federal government announced the changes to the tobacco tax laws, this government, the provincial government refused to go along. After the federal government passed their new tax laws on February 8, Quebec had lower taxes, Ontario agreed, New Brunswick agreed, Nova Scotia agreed, PEI agreed, and I would suspect, maybe even Manitoba might agree. They are starting to soften now and are talking about lowering theirs, but this government is still hard-nosed and says, `No, we won't lower it - we are going to have extra policing.' The people in Western Labrador said, `This is ridiculous, it is ludicrous!' Six months ago the government of the day transferred two RCMP officers who were supposed to be policing against the importation of hard drugs. They transferred them out because of budgetary reasons and then, a year later, six months later, because of a change in tax laws, they send them back in, peeping up over the shopping carts in the supermarkets to see if a housewife is buying two packages of cigarettes and three packages of Tide. It is ridiculous! Now, what was the Minister of Health saying?

DR. KITCHEN: It's poison.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, they should put `poison' on the label. That may be one method of doing it rather than hiring extra policemen to do that type of work, because that is not the work they should be doing. This is a national problem for which your cousin, `John' put forward a solution, and you should agree with him. You should have gone ahead and lowered your tax rate. You agreed with it in principle when you had a rebate tax system in Western Labrador previously, yet you wouldn't continue when it got to be a few more dollars. It doesn't make sense. It is not reasonable and it is not a wise use of the taxpayers' dollars.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this has angered, disappointed, and disgusted a lot of the residents of Western Labrador. They feel that government should look at it again, and I hope they will. I hope they will come to their senses and start spending the taxpayers' dollars a little more wisely, because it is a serious problem. It is a very serious problem up in our area. They have nothing against the government policing smuggling, but they do have something against the government that infringes on their right to purchase more than two packages of cigarettes; that is not smuggling, it is cross-border shopping - that's all it is, cross-border shopping.

MR. ROBERTS: Nobody is stopping people from buying as long as they pay the tax.

MR. A. SNOW: Nobody is in favour of smuggling that occurs, Mr. Speaker, but people still believe we should have the right to go into Fermont and purchase a package of cigarettes at the same time we happen to be up there watching a hockey game, or that type of thing.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the minister will be getting a lot more representations from people in Western Labrador, and government, itself, will, about this particular aspect of it. We do have to do something with regard to that. The government is attempting to negotiate with their counterparts in the Maritime Provinces about procurement agreements to make it more efficient, yet you say an ordinary citizen can't go over to the next province and buy a product.

MR. ROBERTS: That is not true. All they have to do is pay the tax.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, here we are, in 1994, negotiating to have free trade between Mexico City and Ottawa, and between Washington and Vancouver, we can have a free trade agreement like that, but you can't have a free trade agreement between Fermont and Labrador City. It is ludicrous! The people of Western Labrador say it doesn't make sense, and it doesn't make sense.

MR. ROBERTS: In theory, yes. Have a look at the Retail Sales Tax Act.

MR. FUREY: You know all that stuff you buy outside the Province and bring back (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Briefcases - now, where should the tax be paid on a briefcase?

MR. FUREY: The same place the tax would be paid on your suits.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, all the fellows over on this side would suggest that I don't have any suits - that's what they keep telling me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I do, I live on the mainland.

But, Mr. Speaker, people in Western Labrador do have a concern and what really, really angers them is that the government recognized the difference in the tax structures of different provinces when they agreed with the tax rebate system that we had in place in Western Labrador and yet, when the tax structure changed federally, they wouldn't continue with that type of system. That worked before, it could work now and the government should be using it. That's what should have been done and that would have prevented the type of problem we have occurring today. The Minister of Justice knows that would have worked. We must do something with the gasoline tax, there has to be a method of doing that and we shouldn't be afraid of doing differently - we have a system of graduated tax now in this Province in gasoline tax, correct? The acting Minister of Tourism and Culture?

MR. FUREY: I'm sorry?

MR. A. SNOW: We have a system now of a lower tax, in border areas, on gasoline tax, correct?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, it is.

MR. A. SNOW: So we agree and we should do it. It's a sensible method of doing it - use a tax structure in border areas and they can change it in border areas. It's on the books now.

MR. ROBERTS: Should we increase the payroll tax in Western Labrador to the level in Quebec? Should we increase the income tax in Western Labrador to the level in Quebec? You can't have it both ways, now. The payroll tax in Quebec is double what it is in this Province. Do you want us to increase that in Western Labrador then?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Come on now!

MR. SULLIVAN: If you're going to do that, you'll have to go to the (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No but nimble-nuts here is talking about -


MR. A. SNOW: Don't you believe all those stories about me.

Mr. Speaker, the government agrees with the principle of a graduated tax in border areas. The Minister of Tourism and Culture just confirmed it, we have a graduated tax in border areas, and gasoline tax. We agreed with it by using a rebate system in tobacco tax in Western Labrador, we agreed with it in provincial sales tax in hotel rooms in border situations, so why couldn't we continue with the same type of principle with regard to the tobacco tax? It could have worked. It did work before and it could continue to work, that's my argument. With regard to the payroll tax, I don't think that we should increase the payroll tax in Western Labrador to be equal to that -

MR. ROBERTS: Where the Quebec taxes are lower than the Newfoundland and Labrador taxes, we should lower them in Western Labrador and where they are higher we should - come on now.

MR. A. SNOW: No, we're talking about the consumers.

MR. ROBERTS: The payroll tax (inaudible) tax, too.

MR. A. SNOW: No, it's on payroll.

MR. ROBERTS: It drives up the cost of (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: The mine in Fermont will not relocate to Western Labrador, neither will the Iron Ore Company of Canada put their mine over in Quebec, because of the payroll tax differences.

MR. ROBERTS: That's not what they tell us.

MR. A. SNOW: Well they don't. No they won't. You know that IOC won't move their mine, they can't move their mine. It will stay in Newfoundland because that's where it's situated.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, those were just a few words that I wanted to say on the Budget. Thank you very much.

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This morning, I want to speak for just a few minutes, probably less than fifteen, on the Budget Debate. In particular, I want to make a few comments relative to the current labour situation involving the teachers, the government and the school boards. In particular, I would like as well, in the course of my comments, to have a few comments on the infrastructure program as it affects the City of St. John's and the City of Mount Pearl.

Mr. Speaker, the students in this Province, 120,000 of them, as of today, have lost fifteen school days. That means that 8 per cent of the school year has now been lost to the students of Newfoundland and Labrador. I want to say to government and to all members of the House that the students of this Province cannot continue to lose the hours of instruction that is now becoming more unbearable every day. Last evening after the results of the teachers' vote was announced, my constituents, and teachers and parents across the Province - and I talked to a fair number of them throughout the evening - say they want a settlement to this dispute. The teachers yesterday who voted, voted in response to a negotiated package. While we would agree that they were partners to the negotiation process, they certainly had some great difficulties.

Mr. Speaker, what went wrong and why did teachers vote the way they did yesterday? I can say to you that one of the things that was very irritating to all teachers was the extra two days added at the end of the school year without pay. While this was agreed to by their bargaining committee, most teachers looked upon adding those two days as an insult. They looked on it and they said: We know when we go back to school we are going to have to spend eighteen hours a day getting ready. We are going to have to do the best we can to get our students ready for the next year. In the package presented to them they were told that they would have to work two extra days.

Let me tell all hon. members of the House, I do not know a teacher who doesn't spend two extra days at the end of the school year, and much more besides that. Having it written into the language of the proposed collective agreement had the effect of insulting teachers. Regardless of who wrote it in there, whether it was the bargaining committee of the teachers or the bargaining committee of the government, the effect was that teachers felt terribly insulted that somebody would say to them, after fourteen days on strike, that they would now go back to work, but as a penalty or as a detention, or as some kind of a demeaning kind of action, they would have to work two more days.

The other problem was the 2 per cent savings clause. Most teachers I've talked to have said to me that they know there must be changes in the way in which teachers are allocated. They understand that. They fail to understand why the government cannot go and solve its problems of teacher allocation without totally discarding the savings clause in one year. Maybe it should have been 3 per cent next year, and then, 5 per cent, and gradually get into a situation where the numbers of teachers are somewhat proportionate to the numbers of students, and that the layoff of teachers is commensurate with the decline in student enrolment.

What is needed is for the Minister of Education and the government to really spell out what they mean by a comprehensive small schools policy. Tell the teachers on the Burin Peninsula, who yesterday voted 89 per cent to reject the package, tell them in precise language, tell their school board, how many teachers will, in effect, be laid off. Don't say that you are going to scrap the 2 per cent savings clause and then not put anything else out there in concrete terms that teachers can understand.

Teachers yesterday who were faced with the scrapping of the 2 per cent savings clause and not knowing exactly what was going to replace it, whether their jobs were going to be secure, they took the only action they could. The teachers on the Burin Peninsula voted 89 per cent, teachers in Appalachia voted to reject it, because they didn't have in precise terms the guarantees that we would have to protect their teaching positions.

Yesterday, as well - I don't know what we can do about this process - but yesterday, as well, teachers were upset by the school boards. The school boards yesterday, after they had negotiated the collective agreement, assuming the school boards were at the table like the other partners, and then to have the school boards say: `We are going to call a big conference now over in Corner Brook and we are going to rush off to Corner Brook and we may or may not accept this collective agreement.' You have all kinds of statements being made by the executive director and the impression was left that school boards were having great difficulties accepting the agreement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, all of these factors plus many more, had the effect yesterday of producing a very predictable result, and if we look at the faxes which were being exchanged between different branches and between different teachers, and looking at the conversations that are on the computer network, the Stemnet system, then you can certainly see what was happening. Teachers were sharing their problems and the vote was predictable when the proposed collective agreement was first brought forward, I think it was on the weekend, it looked like it might even be possible to get it passed, but when teachers saw these factors, they said no.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this Province today is facing a crisis. The crisis is in education. We have 120,000 students who are out of class today, and the members opposite can say what they want to but I can tell them, the parents of this Province are very concerned today that we find a solution to the concerns they have, and if there is one group of people that is very irritated today, it is the parents of this Province. They want their children back in class, and I say to hon. members opposite, regardless of how you feel about teachers - and obviously, there is no love lost between the government and the teachers today certainly - do not let that influence how you feel about parents and students, because parents want their children back in school now; therefore, I say to the President of Treasury Board, do what you can; do what needs to be done to make sure that we do not continue to sacrifice the education of our children through the balance of this school year, and let's provide the atmosphere to get them ready for next year because we have some difficulties that - well, we have some negotiating problems, and I say to the President of Treasury Board, get back to the table, do what is necessary to get a collective agreement signed. And I also say to the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, that they should also get back to the table, and to the school boards, get back and try to reach an agreement that is acceptable, because when we have the Royal Commission talking about Our Children Our Future, I can tell you that right now, in the next forty-eight hours or the next seventy-two hours, it is not going to be sufficient for us to say we are going to make a tokenism towards getting a collective agreement.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Education isn't there, I know that he is very concerned, and he said so, with the evaluation process at the end of the year. I was happy this morning to hear him on radio talking about the possibility that public examinations might be cancelled. Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether that will be confirmed in the next several days. There are certainly some difficulties.

We have a situation now where we have the students who, if they went back to school, would not be able to meet all their teachers in the cycle that is left before the public examinations. Most schools operate on a six-day cycle; a fair number of high schools are now operating on a fourteen-day cycle, therefore, if the children went back to school, they wouldn't have the opportunity to see their teachers before the cycle is finished, therefore they might not be ready to write their public examinations.

Many parents are concerned with the completion of the curriculum this year. They want to get their children's education back on track and this is not just the concern of senior high school students; they get most of the focus, but there is concern of primary parents and elementary school students and, of course, junior and senior high schools as well. The Minister of Education this morning, indicated that the scholarship exams might have to be rethought. He also indicated that he is talking to the President of the University about changing the minimum average so students can be admitted.

Mr. Speaker, one really had to note, this morning, the buoyant mood of the members opposite. When members came this morning from their caucus meeting they were very excited. They were all buoyed up. It was quite obvious that they had had a very good caucus. They came in to Question Period, this morning, all excited. I can only say to members, I don't know what there was to be excited about, when the schools are still closed. Mr. Speaker, in the time this morning while Question Period was on, I wrote a few words, to describe the kind of atmosphere that prevailed here this morning.

The particular atmosphere this morning was one of excitement. It was like school had been out, I say to members opposite, who this morning were like a bunch of school children. They came in and said: `School is out, school is finished.' They all threw their books away, they thumped their desks - a great deal of excitement. I haven't seen so much since I was principal of a school and made the announcement: `School is closed for the day,' and everybody got excited. I decided I would write a little bit of commentary on it and put it back to when I went to school myself, and put it together.

This is not in iambic pentameter or anything like that. I don't profess to be any kind of a writer. I wrote this for members opposite. It says:

"Good-bye schoolhouses, good-bye books,\Lots of teachers dirty looks;Forget the students, forget their year,\We'll balance the Budget, have no fear.

Hurray, hurray! for our bargaining way,\We tricked the teachers and won their pay;The autumn leaves will fly and twirl\Before a teacher sees boy or girl.

Happiness abounds in Liberal ranks,\As `Winst' deposits teachers' money at the banks."

Mr. Speaker, that is part of my commentary on the atmosphere this morning when the members opposite seemed to be so excited that we have a situation where we have the 120,000 students out, we are into the fifteenth day. Each teacher today has lost 8 per cent of their salary; that is an average of about $4,000 a teacher. The government continues to deposit its money. What concerns me this morning is I don't see a commitment on the part of the government. There is almost like a silence or an atmosphere that says: We are going to say good-bye to our students until September or October. I sense that kind of tone coming across.

MR. GRIMES: Tell us what you would do. You spell out the solution now.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I have already told the hon. member what I would do. I would try to remove some of the irritants - those two days -

MR. GRIMES: Who put them in there? Do you know who asked for that to go in there?

MR. HODDER: - those two days that you gave teachers as a punishment, and I would try to be more precise in the 2 per cent savings clause.

MR. GRIMES: Who asked for them to go in there?

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, because -

MR. GRIMES: You had better check with one of your buddies again to find out what happened here.

MR. HODDER: Because these are the two major elements that are irritating teachers, the 2 per cent savings clause, the two days at the end of the school year without pay -

MR. GRIMES: The 2 per cent savings clause hasn't been an issue since back in January sometime. Go talk to your buddies about trying to (inaudible).

MR. HODDER: - and a lack of definitive direction on the part of the Minister of Education as to what schools will get teachers -

MR. GRIMES: It is a non-issue and you know it. Don't be so foolish!

MR. HODDER: - when the comprehensive schools policy is put in place by the minister.

MR. GRIMES: It has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

MR. HODDER: I'm saying to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that these are the irritants. Now, he would like to say they are not. These are the issues. Obviously, this would have been talked about with the teachers across the Province. It needs to be addressed. I'm not saying that there hasn't been an effort made by the Ministry to overcome the problem. I am saying these are the issues that are irritating teachers today and this is why you don't have a collective agreement.

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) the hands of Mr. Sutherland. All he has to do is go and withdraw what he wanted to put into the contract.

MR. HODDER: I am well aware of the process, and I can only say to hon. members that as the party in opposition to government, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, we need to do everything and leave no stones unturned. I am calling upon both sides, on behalf of the 120,000 students of this Province, to do what needs to be done to get the schools open.

Mr. Speaker, the other comment I wanted to make is just a brief comment to my colleague, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and it deals with the infrastructure money. When the infrastructure program was announced by the federal Liberal Government, during the campaign, they announced it as $2 million from the Provincial Government, $2 million from the Federal Government, and $2 million from the Municipal Government. Mr. Speaker, what has happened is that in Newfoundland and Labrador, the department has taken the money and they have allocated it in a way that has been in some ways prejudicial against St. John's and Mount Pearl.

Mr. Speaker, the impression is left with the municipalities, that because of correspondence from hon. Art Eggleton and the Federal Government, this money was supposed to be allocated on a per capita basis. The correspondence from the Federal Government, particularly what was sent out to municipalities in Ontario, was very precise on that particular arrangement; however, in Newfoundland what has happened is that the smaller municipalities have difficulty finding their 33-1/3 per cent. That is understandable, but what we say to the minister is that, in essence, what has happened is that the ministry has taken the funds which should have been allocated by the Federal Government to the larger centres, and he has reallocated them to the smaller municipalities.

Now, we are not against spending money in small municipalities. It is unacceptable that we would say to a small municipality, you can't have access to this money because you can't put up your 1/3. That is unacceptable, but we say to the minister that the minister should not have used the money from the larger municipalities, particularly St. John's and Mount Pearl, to finance the insufficient funding position of the smaller municipalities in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, that is an issue I have raised privately with the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and I wanted to comment briefly on that. With these few comments, I will yield to another speaker.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few comments basically on some of the comments made by my hon. colleague, the Member for Waterford - Kenmount. He made reference to the fact that he thought Mount Pearl and St. John's were prejudiced, because I, as minister, took money from what he considered should belong to Mount Pearl and St. John's and gave it to places like Aquaforte, Avondale, Badger's Quay, Bonavista, Burin, Marystown, Carmanville, Fogo, and $500,000 to the people of Nain. What a shame! How foolish are we, as a government, to be spending on Fortune and St. Lawrence. We have not given Fortune and St. Lawrence, I suppose, one copper since 1949, none of us - Channel-Port aux Basques, Clarenville, Stephenville, Corner Brook.

I notice my hon. colleague on the other side hasn't got up and said, Thank you, Mr. Reid, for being so generous to my district.

DR. KITCHEN: Come on `Len', get up.

MR. REID: My hon. friend and colleague from Grand Falls, the hon. Mr. Simms, hasn't got up and said: Thank you for the pot of money you've given me for my district.

MR. EFFORD: Are you actually telling me that you gave Tories money?

MR. REID: Well, to be honest about it, Mr. Speaker - and I'm only basically making light of this, and I'm enjoying it, really, because since 1989, Mr. Speaker, every year that capital works or monies - and when I say infrastructure money I don't mean this program, I mean water and sewage and paving - every year since 1989, I have sat in this House, someone - be it Mr. Gullage at the time, Mr. Hogan or someone else - would get up and announce capital works projects and my hon. friends on the other side would be screaming, but I honestly can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that it's an enjoyable time, really, to be Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, because I'm not getting a lot of criticism from my hon. colleagues on the other side. I think, Mr. Speaker, the reason why I'm not getting it is because when we divied up the infrastructure money, I never even looked at whether or not it was a Liberal district, an NDP district or a Tory district. It never came in my mind until somebody mentioned it to me after I made the announcement, coming back from Corner Brook the other day, and I said, I forgot. I must have forgotten.

But, Mr. Speaker, the problem with it is this: every so often we hear and we read about the word `resettlement'. Every now and then it pops up in somebody's vocabulary. And the problem I have with this whole idea of resettlement, and rural Newfoundland, and all that, is that I'm one of those people who believes in rural Newfoundland. I believe in rural Newfoundland. I honestly think that rural Newfoundland will survive this crisis that we're going through. I do believe, though, that rural Newfoundland - a lot of communities in my district and I'm sure a lot of communities - and every rural member here understands and are starting to understand that the day of give, give, give is over. If we're going to survive in places like Arnold's Cove, Avondale or Northern Bay in my district, then we're going to have to pull our own socks up and we're going to have to survive on our own. The day of putting large amounts of money into these smaller communities is over, because we don't have it to put in.

Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate where Mayor John Murphy and Mayor Bettney from Mount Pearl are coming from. I appreciate that, and they're absolutely right in saying that we didn't get enough for our towns and we should have gotten more. They're not right in saying: Well, we should have gotten 40 per cent based on our population. They're not right in saying: Well, if it had been done the way it was supposed to be done, like it was done in Ontario, according to our hon. colleague. They are not right in saying that, because that didn't happen in Ontario, for one thing. In Ontario, for example, I think over 35 per cent of it went into education, not municipal and provincial affairs or municipal works like capital works and this sort of thing. So I don't feel one bit embarrassed about it, Mr. Speaker. I don't feel one bit embarrassed when the local media will pick on one individual community or one individual person who has a problem with his own artesian well and expects this government and the town council to give $500,000 or $600,000 to provide adequate water services to him and people in his area. We just can't do it.

I am disappointed, Mr. Speaker, because, on Wednesday there was $118 million worth of infrastructure announced in this Province which will create thousands and thousands of jobs and when I looked at the news on Wednesday night and CBC, The Evening Telegram and a few others - and I don't mind saying this quite openly - they were more interested in one gentleman's plight in Paradise than they were in giving somebody a bit of credit and saying: Thank god, there's somebody out there trying to do something with the economy of this Province and put a few people to work. That's what's disappointing. I wonder sometimes if there is not some hidden agenda, not by my hon. colleagues opposite - it seems as if the opposition in this Province is more the media now than the actual Opposition, to be quite honest about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: It's us. It's us.

MR. EFFORD: Look how they were kicked in Question Period this morning, kicked around, bang, bang.

MR. REID: My hon. colleague from Waterford - Kenmount gets up and does this because he has to do it. He is representing part of St. John's and part of Mount Pearl and he has to do it, and that's his job and that's an admirable position he is taking. He knows at the back of mind - because very quietly and very secretly, Mr. Speaker, he is not from Mount Pearl or St. John's he is from the Burin Peninsula. He is from the Burin Peninsula, he is a rural person. He knows and I know that he would rather see a few dollars snuck down on the Burin Peninsula, than he would see it given to St. John's.

Mr. Speaker, the best part of it all is, today he is standing in the House because he represents a part of St. John's, and for twenty years, and as a personal friend of mine for twenty years, every chance that he had when he was Mayor of Mount Pearl, he was lambasting St. John's, every chance he had. He put the boots to St. John's more times when he was in the Federation of Municipalities, and now he is up trying to convince us that we, as a government, have done St. John's dirty.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I am going to tell you about a man, one of his colleagues who sits right along side of him over there, who doesn't thing that this government did St. John's dirty, and that's the Member for Kilbride. If you saw the expression on that man's face when we announced the arena for Kilbride on Wednesday morning, it was worth a thousand dollars to me. He practically cried. I don't think he is going to get up and criticize this government. Not only did we give him a stadium, an arena, Mr. Speaker, we gave him $2 million for the water and sewerage because they deserved it. They need it. They need it.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to continue in the way I have been acting in the last twelve months. I haven't gotten a report card yet from my hon. friend from Mount Pearl but I guess he is waiting until the teachers go back to work and he will probably give me a report card on how I have done. Let me tell my hon. colleagues across the way, I don't think any of them can actually stand in this House and say that I haven't been fair, that I haven't had an open door policy. Just about every one of them, at one time or other in the last twelve months, have come to me and asked me questions, and I have helped them where I can help them.

I would say my hon. critic, Mr. Woodford from Humber Valley, is probably one of the most intelligent and most honourable persons sitting in this House. I can't convince him - and I try on a regular basis, and my hon. friend from Burin - Placentia West, knows what I am talking about. I even went over and offered him thousands and thousands of dollars in the last couple of months to get up and ask me some questions, and he won't do it. He doesn't want to get up and embarrass me in the House because he thinks I am doing such a wonderful job. He won't get up and ask me a question because he doesn't want to embarrass me.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that's a true friend, and he puts politics aside. He is not going to get up and be critical of me because he knows that what I am doing is basically what he promoted for years when he was in the federation. He is not going to criticize me and he is not going to criticize the infrastructure program.

Now with that said of course, I want to let my hon. friend from Grand Bank know, I think they should look and see how much he had for his district.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that, (inaudible)?

MR. REID: No, the Member for Humber Valley. He got a few dollars out of it too you know. Mr. Woodford didn't do too badly.

Mr. Speaker, I had all kinds of problems with a place called Placentia, because the Member for Placentia was nervous that I wasn't going to give any money to Placentia. The reason why we had trouble with Placentia was because up until about three or four days before the infrastructure program was announced they never had a financial arrangement in place with the government and I more or less had my hands tied. I wanted to give Placentia some money; I definitely did. Because of the hon. member's intervention, and going out and speaking to the mayor, who he claims to be a Liberal but he still speaks to the mayor, he got to work and he got his agreement in and he walked away with $1.4 million, I believe it was.

So, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate where the hon. Member for Humber Valley is coming from, and I congratulate him because he is doing his job as the member. But when he sits there or stands and he is talking representing the people of St. John's, the west end that he represents, and there is a smile on his face, I wonder sometimes if he is really being as serious as he should be.

I want to finish off by making a very brief comment about the teachers. People ask me -

MR. FLIGHT: Talk about Grand Falls, the Opposition Leader, Grand Falls (inaudible).

MR. REID: I said that, I told them about Grand Falls.

I want to make a comment. People quite often ask me: What is your profession? I will be quite honest with you, I don't say MHA, because there are times when I feel that being an MHA is probably not popular, not necessarily popular, but on a different level, I suppose. I always say I am a teacher, and I'm still a teacher. I'm a teacher right now. I doubt if I will ever go back teaching again. I might, I don't know. Win or lose the next election, I don't know. I doubt very much if I will go back teaching. I had enough time in as a teacher. I'm like Mr. Hodder there, he had a fair time in teaching and he is getting a teacher pension now and he is getting an MHA's salary and all that. He hasn't got to worry about money or anything like that because he is one of the fortunate ones, right?

Let me say something about teachers. I'm a teacher and I will remain a teacher I suppose as long as I'm alive. Let me be honest and say this to you. My opinion of what is happening with the teachers in regards to the strike is basically this. It is not teachers who I'm worried about today. It is my Grade XI daughter in Carbonear. I've got a daughter, seventeen years old, and she happens to turn after her father and she is quite bright.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: And does she have her father's modesty?

MR. REID: She has her father's modesty.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you sure your her father?

MR. REID: I don't think any of us males here can admit to being 100 per cent sure.

My daughter is seventeen years old, she is a Level II student, and she is supposed to be doing five, what I call, CHE exams. She has done well this year. I'm quite satisfied with it, but her problem is this. There are two subjects in which during the year she hasn't measured up to her expectations. She was waiting for the final exam to bring that mark up. It is not, Mr. Speaker, the question of whether the teachers are going to go back or whether they are going to get a settlement, it is those students out there.

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you, sitting around that Cabinet table upstairs, and sitting around caucus, that every single member on this side of the House are concerned first and foremost for the welfare of the students in this Province. I say that in all sincerity and honesty. I'm hoping and I'm praying that sometime between now and Monday the teachers or the NLTA executive or whoever has to do it, that they today can come to an agreement of some kind. Not recommend it. Don't anyone recommend it. Put another agreement on the table and let the teachers look at it and decide for themselves, without having any interference from government, or even any interference from their NTA. Let them decide themselves if that is an agreement whereby I can get my daughter back in school next Monday or Tuesday. I am certainly sure the people of Newfoundland and Labrador would appreciate that.

Now, that is where I come from, and I can say quite honestly that I have not heard anything contrary in the past three weeks, from anybody on this side of the House, other than the fact, its the students, its the kids.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I want to say that there are still a few dollars left in the infrastructure program. I want to be honest and say this right now, that there are some projects out there that have been identified in the last twenty-four hours that we really need to do. I don't think personally that we should leave that until next year to announce. If there are projects that need to be done in the Province let us get on with it and do it. Let us get it done in the next week, the next month, or even the next two or three months, so that next year, early in the spring, when the frost goes out of the ground around this Province, we will be ready to go in the middle of April, or the first of May, to start the projects around this Province and get people back to work.

I plan to make some recommendations to my Ottawa colleagues, and my own colleagues on this side, and I am certainly sure in the next couple of weeks some of you will be happy to hear that we are going to announce some more. I think maybe that is the best way to do it, do it on an individual basis, and based on our ranking system which we have in our department. Let us get some more projects out. There are still a few more dollars there.

Tell the Mayor of St. John's and the Mayor of Mount Pearl that we understand where they are coming from. It is a question of putting decent water and sewerage services in certain places in rural Newfoundland. In this particular case, we did, we went overboard in rural Newfoundland, there are no two ways about it, but it is just in this particular case.

Mayor Murphy and Mayor Bettney, and the larger communities around the Province, will be given all due consideration again in the next round, whenever that might be. It might be next week or it might be next month. I am not sure.

I do take the hon. member's comments seriously, even though I made fun of some of the things he said. He knows that I take it seriously, and I can assure him that Mount Pearl and St. John's in the end will come out of this with their fair share.

With that, I will make a final comment and say that I am pleased this morning to announce that Newfoundland and Labrador Housing will be spending $1 million on Old Placentia Road as soon as we can get the contracts announced. We will get those awarded as quickly as possible. We will be resurfacing the area on Old Placentia Road. We are spending $1 million in capital works there this summer. So, that will help Mayor Bettney, and I am certain the people of Mount Pearl will be pleased to hear that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In speaking on the Budget I would like to address some important areas and things that are happening in the Province. Firstly, with our health care system. This morning I asked the minister in this House about the report released by nurses yesterday on research they had done. It would only take seven or eight minutes to read each of the headings in that report and you would know completely what is in the report.

I just want to touch on some of the pressing needs in health care in this Province that very seriously need to be addressed. In the research done by nurses in this Province - and in a matter of just six or seven minutes I can give a synopsis of the shortfalls that are happening from a nurses perspective as outlined in this report. They were asked if they think the health care system needs reorganization and 90 per cent of nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador said the health care system needs reorganization.

The question was asked of nurses: If understaffing has reached a point where unsafe conditions exist for patients? Now, 83 per cent of nurses in this Province feel that conditions are unsafe for patients. The question was asked on the current nursing workload: Is it unsafe and is there increased risk of injury to nurses? Of the nurses in this Province 91 per cent feel they are under risk to injury because of the understaffing and overwork conditions that exist in hospitals across this Province.

The question was asked: If more nurses are abused at work than is commonly thought, and 85 per cent of nurses responded and agreed with that statement. I think that is a very disturbing statement here to have in our health care system in this Province when 85 per cent of the nurses feel that way.

We have - and I say to the minister, too, it only takes six or seven minutes to read, and he hasn't read it yet, he informed us. This is very important research that was released yesterday; and yes, nurses are doing heavy lifting, it is becoming part of their jobs, and 73 per cent said: yes, it is. There has been a change in the work duties of nurses. One nurse indicated that they had to care for sixteen people when three and four nurses used to care for sixteen people. The patients in hospitals - and everybody here, I am sure, at some time, has had family members in hospital. You only have to go visit them in hospitals, and I visit the hospital a fair amount, I have had four members of my immediate family in hospital in the last three weeks, and I know what's happening in hospitals; I have spent time there. I have worked in hospitals - I spent thirteen months working in a hospital, emergency links and other parts of the hospital, and I know the problems that existed years ago and what's happening now in hospitals, and we can't turn a blind eye to these problems.

Another aspect of the report: the sixth heading addressed in the report said: Nurses need more time set aside to document nursing care, and 82 per cent of nurses said: yes. What is happening in hospitals today is that nurses are not having the time to write up reports and do documentation, because they are too busy running from patient to patient and handling overworked conditions, and that's an alarmingly high number, too, by nurses to indicate that that's a problem. And a part of the medical process and recovery and monitoring by physicians is reading updated reports and files to see if the patient is making progress and noting any specific medications and treatments that are given to that person. That's an important part of treating, an important part of the recuperation process. We are finding today, nurses are rushed to have to do the written reports and that could be to the detriment of the patient, all because of shortages of nurses.

I made reference in the House yesterday - and the minister stood up and said I was contradicted and he laughed at it. Well, I can tell you, I read from my memo that was sent by that administrator to their staff, who said: budgetary restraints is one of the reasons, I have a copy of the memo in my office. Budgetary restraints, the administrator said to the staff, is one of the reasons for closing of beds in the summertime. Of course, staff holidays are always a factor in shutting hospital beds during the summertime.

The Provincial Government is having an unnecessary negative impact on health care in our Province. Seventy-nine per cent of nurses said: this Provincial Government is having a negative impact on health care in this Province. The next item, item No. 8, the eighth topic addressed in this report has said: Given the authority, nurses have the knowledge to make the system more productive and cost-effective, and 93 per cent of nurses feel that they can make the system more cost-effective and they want to make the system more cost-effective. I mean, the role of health care today is to deliver the best possible service at the most cost-efficient price, and I am a strong believer in moving people out of hospital beds if the community is ready to accept them and the infrastructure is built up there. We have to do it at the cheapest possible cost but the co-operation is not coming; the systems are not in place, and this report addresses what I have been saying in this House day after day after day; it is brought out by doctors in letters, by nurses, in a very extensive research of nurses across Newfoundland and Labrador, and this government is just not listening.

It says here: Nurses could have the time and opportunity to teach ill patients self-care, give them more confidence in their own abilities to care for themselves and recognize problems more effectively. Nurses are not getting the time to be able to do this; to help patients care for themselves a little to ease the burden, to be able to talk prevention and promotion, and that's where the future lies in health care. And I agree with the minister on where it lies. I don't disagree at all that that is where the future is, but how we are going to arrive at that future and how are we going to get there and what we are going to do to get there? I disagree with what's happening in that, and I think that needs to be very seriously addressed if health care in this Province is going to be delivered in a cost-effective manner. It is becoming a concern of every single province in this country and we need a revamping, I know, of social programs and delivery of health care, and people can only afford to pay for so much. So we have to be responsible to see that we're going to do it in as fast as possible a time without incurring exorbitant budgetary expenditures - that's only normal.

It says here in this report: What little pro-active preventative health care our system now engages in, is done primarily by public health nurses but there are very few of them available to do a very big task. The task on those public health nurses out in communities is getting greater with shorter hospital stays, more people in the community but no more front line people out there to do this work, to go from house to house to change a dressing or people to come into clinics to do the necessary work. We don't have the manpower, and it's not being put out there where it's important and where it's needed.

Now, it says: The Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union should support an increased focus on community care education and health promotion education for nurses. Ninety-two per cent agreed there should be more emphasis. We're looking at - it says here: under-staffing has reached a point that unsafe conditions exist. Eighty-three per cent of nurses in this Province, in an extensive review of all the nurses, are saying it's unsafe for patients there. They're so overworked they may forget to give a medication. They may not be able to give attention to people in life-threatening situations. I have had conversations and letters from people noting that there are intensive care units in this Province that do not have one permanent nurse assigned to it and the nurses who are assigned don't have training in intensive care. They're very nervous about caring for these people because they don't think they've been trained properly or can work properly within Intensive Care to do that work. I can respect their feelings but what about that patient? What about the patient's anxiety? What about the family of that patient, who know that the patient has someone not fully trained to be able to care for him? I think that's a very big concern in our system today and something that needs to be addressed.

The statement says: Nurses have satisfactory input in health care reform. Seven per cent of nurses in this Province said they're getting sufficient input in health care. That's where the future is in nursing care, in communities and only 7 per cent feel they have any input into what's happening in health care. We need to bring people together, nurses and front line people in the community and sit down and to address a community health care system and establish it to get the people involved.

I had an opportunity to be involved for two years, with a volunteer board that I chaired on a primary health care project, the first in the world, up in Ferryland district and in Denmark. This was a project that was monitored through the World Health Organization. We had endorsement of Health and Welfare Canada, the Provincial Government contributed the funding of $170,000. It was monitored and evaluated by psychologistsat Memorial, the ongoing report over a three-year period, on delivering primary health care in a more cost efficient manner. We had a tremendous situation there but what happened after three years? After three years, they cut back. Still, I must say, still, in our area, we have a little extra manpower over and above the area because it was sort of a model that's being developed but we need to be doing this across the whole Province. We've had other provinces who have requested a copy of the plan and have been monitoring and (inaudible) in Nova Scotia and other provinces.

I had the opportunity to address the Association of Registered Nurses in Newfoundland at their annual convention on areas dealing with health care, in areas we should be following on what's happening there. They said the government is not listening to people. I mean, you have to listen to front line workers. They have ideas on how a job gets done. When someone works at a job for fifteen, twenty and thirty years, believe me, they know the inefficiencies in the system. They know where people are overworked. They have suggestions on how to improve it but when only 7 per cent say they're getting listened to or they have any input whatsoever, it's very difficult to design a cost efficient system if we don't allow the participants in that system to play an important role in it.

Now, there are the main points, ten of the main points that the minister could read in three minutes. He could read the same points in three minutes. He could read this entire report in about twenty to twenty-five minutes, very easy to read, very precise and to the point. The minister hasn't, at this point in time, even looked at this report that was released yesterday and I think that's irresponsible on the part of the minister not to take responsibility.

Now, I'd like to cite a little story. The Member for Torngat Mountains stood in this House and delivered a petition on behalf of people in the Torngat Mountains area on health care. I'll just relate a story, and it's in a letter here from a person - I won't give the name. I will just state the circumstance to give you an indication of what is happening.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman will have to table the letter if he reads from it.

MR. SULLIVAN: I didn't say I was going to read it, I said I was going to refer to it at certain points.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).


MR. ROBERTS: Otherwise, you can (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: You can tell the story now.

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm going to tell the story. I didn't say I was going to read from the letter. I'm going to refer to the letter. I don't have to table it.

AN HON. MEMBER: You do. (Inaudible) read (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: If I relate it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: No, that is not true.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is definitely not true. Because if I refer to a report by something I don't have to table it. It is not my position to table it. A report - I will refer to it.

A person down in Postville, in Labrador, in November of 1992 was seen by a doctor. The doctor told that person he had a prostate gland problem and he needed to get surgery. That person got on an aircraft and flew in to Goose Bay, was sent on to St. Anthony - and I'm sure the member probably is aware of this case. It took four days in total. He was at Melville Hospital for awhile. He arrived there and sat in Out-patients for several hours. They closed down at supper hour, he still sat there. They came back after supper. When they came back in the evening, they told that person: We have no beds, you are going to have to go home and wait. He got on the air ambulance, went out there. They had to come back and land; the ambulance ran into problems. He spent forty-five minutes sitting out there. He checked into the Vinland Motel, had to spend time there, got back on a commercial flight the next day and four days later, arrived back in Postville, Labrador, and said he has to wait for a bed.

One year later, a doctor from Melville came down to Postville and said: The problem is worsening, something has to be done. One year later. That person couldn't get in. Another doctor came in February, fifteen months later. It had got so severe that that person was having very severe pain, extreme problems going on, for a long period of time. They flew that person in immediately and had to do surgery. He mentions at the airport when he was there he met Dr. Roberts, who said: Don't worry, it is nothing serious - that will be looked after. It was a year later that person got surgery.

Now, they tell me - I have letters, and I can refer to letters of people. Horrendous, the waiting lists, and people trying to get into hospitals. If the minister stands up here and says that we've got the shortest waiting list in this country, we are in for a sad future in health care in this Province. It is truly unbelievable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister knows full well. I talked to specialists who are not putting people on waiting lists because the waiting lists are beyond imagination - two years to get certain services. They stopped putting people on lists.

I received a letter. I will table it if you want it. It is public information. I asked questions on it and I think - I don't know, but I tabled it before. No, I don't have it now, it is in my office. I will refer to it. I think I've tabled it. It is the man I mentioned in the House, from my home community, who in February of this year, collapsed in the woods and was brought into hospital and spent four days in hospital. This man worked for the Provincial Government, in the parks. Maybe the acting Minister of Tourism might be interested. After working in the parks, he retired this year at sixty-two or sixty-three years of age. This was going to be his first year off - healthy all his life, no problems.

He collapsed in the woods in February. They took him to the hospital, he spent four days there. They sent him home and booked him for an MRI and didn't even do any CAT scan on him at all. The family were concerned. I spoke with the family and they were trying to get an earlier date. That person went out to a dance once night, took part in a dance, came home, collapsed, had a cerebral haemorrhage, an aneurysm, I think, occurred. He was taken to the hospital but he never recovered. Within two hours that person was dead. They did a CAT Scan on him when he was unconscious and they detected a problem. He would have had his MRI in May, two months later. A person who collapsed in a hospital before this, collapsed and passed out, couldn't get a CAT Scan and MRI done in an emergency situation.

That family is concerned. That person could be alive today; we don't know. There are different types of aneurysms. Anybody who is familiar with it knows there is the internal intima tissue of aneurysm, the middle tissue and so on, and the outer adventitia. There are different aspects, and different ones are controllable and can be cured with surgery. There are numerous different types. Maybe that man's life couldn't have been saved, but the question that the family are pondering is if he could have been saved.

They wrote a letter to The Evening Telegram. It hasn't appeared yet. That was two or three weeks ago. I had the letter here in the House and I am not sure if I tabled it or not. If anybody wants it tabled, I can always have it sent down and tabled here.

I have letters coming in from people all over the place on waiting lists. What is happening? I think it's a big concern, and I am really concerned about it because when doctors are writing letters and telling us there is a big problem out there, and when nurses and patients and their families are telling us the same thing, and the minister stands up and says there is no problem, I am very, very concerned.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Three minutes? Are you sure that is not thirteen, because I think I got up at eleven-thirty.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, okay. That is okay, I'm going to sit down shortly anyway.

I won't belabour the point; I just want to get a few points in. I think it is very important for the Minister of Health to read this. It only takes twenty minutes or so. It is telling us some very striking things on health care that need to be addressed.

Another area in this Province that is severely lacking - and I could talk for days on any of the problems - but another area I want to touch on is mental health care in this Province which is severely lacking. Right now in this Province there are only four -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He hasn't been listening to anything I have said since I started, so I'm not sure if he is going to start now.

There are four child care psychiatrists in this Province. There is one leaving the Province, not going to be replaced. We don't have psychiatric service in a lot of rural areas. It did come out -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. I'm not sure what is left in that. I hope it is a lot -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I won't comment on that.

At least the Member for Placentia sent me a note this morning in the House that said: Dr. Kitchen is going to book my next medical with Dr. Kevorkian.


MR. SULLIVAN: The Member for Placentia.

There is a severe problem in many aspects of health care in this Province. We've been looking at restructuring boards and throwing tens of thousands of dollars into advertising and promotion when we are not addressing the front line issues that need to be addressed here in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to make a few comments on the Budget Speech, just a short few comments.

I was listening to the member and taking into account everything he was saying. Mr. Speaker, I think this Budget is one that, considering the economic times that we are in, is pretty darn good. We are not in the best of times. I don't say that we ever have been, Mr. Speaker, but considering the times we are not doing too bad. We are going through major changes, major challenges in the Province. It takes a great deal of intestinal fortitude to be able to govern the Province with all of the circumstances that we have. These are not easy issues to be dealing with. Collective bargaining with no money is not easy. Collective bargaining when you have a budget that is going downward and your revenue is not rising is not easy. It is very difficult to negotiate.

Trying to get an economy going with recession even still in the air, and with revenues still flattened out, is still difficult to do. Businesses are having a struggle and they are facing changes in the technology side and so on, so they are struggling and they are going through major changes.

The federal government has to deal with a massive deficit which they are trying to look at now. They are trying to figure out how they are going to deal with it, and that is a big problem. They are just starting to look at that issue and looking at a plan for the future, but that is going to be a difficult problem. So, we are not in just ordinary times at all, we are in some different times that need some different solutions and that need a lot of inventiveness.

We need a lot of partnerships for the future. We need the public sector and the private sector working together to figure out jointly how we can resolve these problems. That's not going to happen with people banging heads and so on. We have to figure out and get a plan in place to allow us to deal with the problems we are facing. In order to do that we've got to have an attitude change, as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Speaker. We have to have an attitude change in the Province and in the country. It's starting to happen but it's still going to take some time. We are going through some painful decision-making. We're going through some times where you're dealing with issues, such as health care - a changing health care debate where health care itself is changing, where the needs are changing, where the population demographics are changing, so we have to change the health care system. And this government is trying to deal with that, but there is also pain in doing it. You're making changes, and people have a struggle when they're trying to deal with those issues, especially when you're working in the institutions. The Province is trying to deal with the issue, trying to do consultation process and trying to work out those solutions. I hope that we can get some solutions covered off this year, in the next year or so, in the health care side and in the education side as we're trying to do with reforming the system. So I hope we will be able to see that happen in the next number of months as we make some decisions on the education issue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) tourism.

MR. AYLWARD: Yes, and in tourism, Mr. Speaker, we've come a long way in this Province. We have come a long way in the last couple of years. The district of Stephenville is doing extremely well. I don't know what to do, to tell you the truth, Mr. Speaker, because there's so much going on out there, I can't keep up with it. I have to go out there and cut ribbons, Mr. Speaker, for new facilities. We have a new swimming pool, a $3.2 million regional aquatic facility, Mr. Speaker, which the Tories wouldn't give us when I was in Opposition, which we got when we were the government - $3.2 million, Mr. Speaker, that's going to be opened this summer and this government had a big hand in making that happen.

We have a youth assessment centre going up out there to help young people, Mr. Speaker. It's going to be put up there this summer. Tenders have been called to build that in the town of Stephenville. We have a whole range of new construction going on and a new $3 million hotel, a Holiday Inn facility, which has put Stephenville on the map, Mr. Speaker. Wal-Mart is in there now. They moved in there and had their executive jet fly down from Toronto, into Stephenville airport, visiting the town and looking around.

MS. VERGE: Are they building a building?

MR. AYLWARD: They've converted the existing facility but on the West Coast, it's the first site. We have a whole range of things going on. Nova Recycling has moved into Stephenville. We're going to have an official opening in the next ten days out there with assistance from this government here, from Enterprise Newfoundland and from the Department of Environment and Lands. The Department of Environment and Lands policy has helped Nova Recycling to create jobs in the area. Because of this government's policy, thirty jobs are going to be created in a building that has been empty for a long time. Abitibi-Price in Stephenville is looking at spending $16 million on a recycling program which is going to help Nova Recycling when it moves in and create some more jobs. We have a brand new library, over a million-dollar library built in the town of Stephenville.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: Eagle River is not getting anything anymore, not for a while anyway. Now they have enough, they have their own separate agreement, the Eagle River Agreement. But you know, sometimes you don't look at what's going on, there are some good things going on.

The Member for Port au Port is quite proud of the fact that we have a road that is going to be completed connecting up the loop for the Port au Port Peninsula. They wanted a road there for twenty years. We are going to create and help keep creating a francophone culture on the Port au Port Peninsula, a 400-year old culture - because that road is now going to be put through this summer, so tourists will be able to come down and drive right throughout the Peninsula.

There is also a project that has already been initiated to build a chalet and a small motel facility down at the end, so there is already economic activity being stimulated by the road that is being put through. So, in Bay St. George, you know, we are coming along, considering sometimes the bad news that you hear.

We have top rate facilities; a brand, new $3 million primary school only officially opened last year, the best primary school in Atlantic Canada, one of the best schools in Canada, the best school that money can buy, we have in Stephenville right now, the best school that kids can go to, a beautiful school with computers and everything else that is top notch, $3 million spent in Stephenville. Even with a recession on and with all of the negatives that you hear, we have more new facilities put up in the town of Stephenville than they had in the last twenty years, in the last three or four.

I think, if you went around the Province, you would see in Gander new facilities. We are going to be dealing with the Arts and Culture Centre in the near future. The Town of Stephenville wants to take over that facility and make it a more vibrant facility. You know, out my way, we are working hard together as a collective.

The Member for Fogo - I mean, there are things going on in Fogo that never went on before, new facilities are going to be built there; you know, there are things that are very positive that are happening and sometimes we have a tendency not to look at those things, and all I would say is that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: Not joy in the streets, but the thing is that there are a lot of things going on. We have to take an attitude where we want to turn things around and make things happen, and the way you do that is - you know, if you could see some of the companies in the Province that are doing so well, that are working hard, creating jobs. They are working hard to do that, in an economy where it is tough to do, and we have to help those companies out.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to have more to say, but I will adjourn -

AN HON. MEMBER: The council is doing a good job.

MR. AYLWARD: Council is doing a good job. The Stephenville Town Council are doing a great job out there, as a matter of fact. My mother is on the town council.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: She is a good councillor; she is a very good councillor.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: She is a very effective councillor.

AN HON. MEMBER: Like her son.

MR. AYLWARD: Well, I don't know what she has to say about her son, but I have the support of the town council, and there is a good reason for it. The working relationship that I have with the town council is very good, and I am looking forward to the future.

I adjourn the debate, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Stephenville has asked me to say, reprints of his speech are available for those who wish them.

I understand that on Monday we will, presumably or possibly, conclude the Budget Speech. I understand that my friend from Placentia wishes to speak. Is there anybody else who...

AN HON. MEMBER: We can conclude it now, can't we?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, if the House wants to sit, by leave, for another -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) let her go.

MR. ROBERTS: Alright. Well, then, Your Honour, if that's so, let's put the appropriate motion, and we will stop the clock for a few moments.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House in agreement that we stop the clock to allow the Budget Debate to close?

Motion carried.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (Crane): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I have to tell you, we all hope we have the script in front of us, because this is the most confusing and arcane procedure. I am now on page 16, I say to the clerks at the Table, of the notes.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Harbour Grace.

MR. CRANE: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means has considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, report received and adopted.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise Your Honour and other hon. members that I have received a message from His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor.

MR. SPEAKER: The message is dated May 16, 1994.

To the hon. the Minister of Finance:

I, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Newfoundland, transmit estimates of sums required for the public service of the Province for the year ending March 31, 1995, in the aggregate of $2,947,265,900, and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, I recommend these estimates to the House of Assembly.


Frederick W. Russell, Lieutenant-Governor.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the message be referred to a Committee of the Whole on Supply.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, let me say to Your Honour, I understand the feeling when the cry goes up of `Bring back John'. The cry frequently goes up here of `Bring back Baker'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I move that the total contained in the estimates, which is $2,947,265,900, be carried, and that a resolution be adopted to give effect to the same.

On motion, estimates carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I now 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 (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply has considered the matters to it referred, and wishes to report tremendous progress, and that the estimates of $2,947,265,900 have been passed by the Committee, and ask leave to sit again.

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

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of the Committee of the Whole on Supply, which we just received, with respect to the estimates for 1994-'95, together with a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, be referred to a Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means and that you, Mr. Speaker, do now leave the Chair.

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

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN(Barrett): Order, please!


"That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the granting to Her Majesty for defraying certain expenses of the public service for the financial year ending March 31, 1995, the sum of $1,947,574,100."

Motion, that the Committee report having passed a resolution and a bill consequent thereto, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: May we rise the Committee, please, Sir?

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

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered the matters to it referred, and has passed a certain resolution, and recommends that a bill be brought in to give effect to same and asks leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted.

On motion, resolution read a first, second and third time.

On motion, a bill, "An Act For Granting To Her Majesty Certain Sums Of Money For Defraying Certain Expenses Of The Public Service For The Financial Year Ending March 31, 1995 And For Other Purposes Relating To The Public Service," read a first, second and third time, ordered passed and its title be as on the Order Paper. (Bill No. 21)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank hon. members for their co-operation. We will all take the weekend now to figure out what happened, and to make sure that we have done it properly.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: As long as you don't spent it all on the weekend.

MR. ROBERTS: No, I say to my friend from Grand Bank, we are spending it as we go, but we will get it all this weekend, but I assure him his salary is in the $900 part. That is why he is so keen to get it there.

Mr. Speaker, next week we will be asking the House to proceed first with the two loan bills which remain on the Order Paper; they are motions 2 and 3. One is the Local Authority Act, as I recollect, which the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will speak to, and my friend, the Minister of Finance, and then the Loan Bill itself is there.

When those are done, we will deal with the two tax bills; they are orders 9 and 10, the Retail Sales Tax Act and the Income Tax Act. I assume that will take us most of Monday, maybe a little longer. That is up to the members opposite, of course.

What I am saying to my friend from Grand Bank is that we will not go beyond those on Monday. In the perhaps unlikely event that we finish them before 5:00 p.m. we will adjourn; if not, we will adjourn at 5:00 p.m. on Monday.

On Tuesday we shall carry on with the tax bills, and then the Workers Compensation Bill. Now there are two Workers Compensations bills on the Order Paper. The first one will not be proceeded with; the second one will incorporate the first one and some further amendments as well, and we will get that into the House and to members just as soon as we can.

With that said, the only other legislation, I think, to be dealt with is the Computer Services Bill and the Literacy Council Bill. My friend, the Minister of Education, is anxious to ask the House to deal with that.

MR. DECKER: I talked to the member about that.

MR. ROBERTS: I believe he has spoken with his friend from Waterford - Kenmount, and there may be an understanding as to the need to deal with that. The NLCS bill is a relatively straightforward piece of legislation.

So that is, as I understand it, the agenda that we propose to deal with in the next few days. We will see what happens over the weekend, and we will carry on from there.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I thank members again and I move with some alacrity that the House do now adjourn.

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