December 6, 1994            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 76

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MS. YOUNG: I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to pay tribute to the fourteen women who lost their lives at the Montreal École Polytechnique engineering school. Today marks the anniversary of that massacre.

In commemoration of this extreme example of violence against women, and in memory of these fourteen women, December 6th has been recognized as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This date serves as a stark reminder of the many women who are beaten, sexually assaulted, or who live with the threat of violence every day of their lives.

We need only to look at the findings of a study on violence against women conducted by Statistics Canada in 1993, where it was found that one in three Newfoundland women reported experiencing violence since the age of sixteen. The study also found that only 14 per cent of Canadian women surveyed reported the violent incident to the police and only 9 per cent sought support from social services agencies.

In Newfoundland and Labrador statistics compiled from complaints to the police also indicate that violence against women is a major issue in our Province. In 1993 the RNC reported that they had responded to 1,038 domestic disputes in the St. John's area, up from 854 in 1992. In 1993, the RCMP received 305 spousal assault cases in the areas of the Province in which they police. According to the Centre for Justice Statistics in Ottawa, in addition to spousal assaults, there were 1,294 sexual assault cases in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993. While these statistics were not broken down by gender, it is generally acknowledged that the majority of sexual assault victims are female and the majority of offenders are male.

Yesterday, a copy of a December 6th commemorative bookmark and button produced by the YWCA was delivered to each of your offices. The bookmark states that "every community and every institution must work to build a culture of safety, equality and justice for women and children". I hope that you will show your support in ending violence by joining me in wearing this button today; and looking around I am quite pleased to see that a number of members from both sides are wearing this commemorative button.

Some of you may also wish to attend the commemorative program which takes place this evening at the Recital Hall of the Memorial School of Music at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature a screening of The Vienna Tribunal: Women's Rights are Human Rights, a service commemorating the fourteen young women slain in Montreal and a discussion of anti-violence activities to be undertaken by organizations and individuals in the coming year.

Last year, in this House, my colleague Ms. Patricia Cowan, who was at that time Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, distributed a bookmark produced by the Women's Policy Office, and this bookmark asks us to examine our own values, the life choices we make and our behaviour to achieve equality for women and to stop violence. To help us do that, it offers tips for both men and women, taken from the National Panel Report on Violence Against Women. I urge you not only to read this bookmark, but to start acting on it today.

I should take this opportunity to update you on the progress of our provincial strategy on violence. As you may know, in March we published a Report of the Consultations on Building a Provincial Strategy to Address Violence. This report covers a series of five consultations which were held across Newfoundland and Labrador last year. The purpose of these consultations was to receive input on Government's Consultation paper and to look at ways government and the community could work together to address the issues of violence. We are now in the final stages of preparing a long-term strategy against violence in our Province which we hope to make public in early 1995.

This is one way government is showing its commitment to eliminating violence against women. I urge each of you to be a part of the solution as well. While we are not responsible for the actions of men who commit violent acts against women, we are responsible for what we say and do every day that hinders equality and encourages violence. As we remember these fourteen women today, let us also remember the many other women who are victims of violence every day of the year. Let us continue to work together towards a society where it is safe for women to walk alone in their own neighbourhoods; where women can feel safe with their male partners, and where violence against women is not tolerated. Let us work together towards a society that is truly equal.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to commend the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women for the statement she just made observing this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. I join with the minister in urging all members to unite to try to reduce the incidence of violence against women. The minister has recited stark and depressing statistics about the prevalence of violence against women in our own midst here in Newfoundland and Labrador and we pride ourselves in regarding our Province as a relatively safe place in which to live.

The minister, I think quite correctly, points to the underlying causes of violence against women as being the disparity in power between women and men, a disparity that is quite obvious when you look around this Chamber. I would like to join with the minister also in encouraging everyone, particularly the male members of the House of Assembly, to attend the memorial service at the Memorial University School of Music Recital Hall at 7:30 this evening. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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


MR. SPEAKER: Leave given.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to join with the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and the Member for Humber East in acknowledging the importance of this memorial day and the fact that this very extreme form of violence against women ought not to be forgotten, but to remember also that it is an extreme form, and the kind of violence that goes on every day in our society is still there.

It wasn't very long ago, Mr. Speaker, that many spousal assaults were regarded by police and by the community at large as domestic matters and not worthy of prosecution. That has changed but a lot has not changed in the attitudes of men towards women and the permission or tolerance of minor forms of assault by a lot of people. I noticed, Mr. Speaker, that in one of the schools recently a program to keep down the level of violence, to teach children not to use fists in the playgrounds is one example of things that can be done to change the culture. I would encourage the Minister of Education and Training and all hon. members to support the development of a culture of safety for women and everyone in society and urge the government to redouble its efforts in that regard. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to apprise all hon. members today that the design work for the proposed museum, archives, art gallery complex at the Fort Townshend location is progressing favourably.

Mr. Speaker, now that the footprint of the proposed complex has been established, I am pleased to note that it will not be necessary to acquire the property on the corner of Bonaventure Avenue and Harvey Road known as "The Observatory". This, of course, is contrary to a statement made by the Chairman of the Newfoundland Historic Trust on November 18, and which has been the source of many unfounded rumours about the property. It is unfortunate that this statement, made just shortly after our announcement of the Fort Townshend site, created such a negative reaction from members of the Newfoundland Heritage community, not to mention the anxiety and inconvenience it must have caused the present owner of the property.

Now that the planning process has positioned a building and the square footage and programming for the Centre have been confirmed, government will submit a formal request to the Government of Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to first thank the minister for forwarding me a copy of the ministerial statement. It is good news to hear that the government has succumbed to the public pressure in relation to the home belonging to Dr. Thompson. I would ask now that they have abandoned that idea that they would abandon the whole idea of constructing the building at the Fort Townshend site. I would like to ask the minister; Has he discussed it with the local archaeologists in the area? Because there is a fair amount of -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. MANNING: - concern over the possibility the site could be a cemetery. The embarrassment of the building will be nothing towards the embarrassment -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. MANNING: - of digging up the cemetery, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has promised many times in the past, as far back as last March, he will recall, on the televised leaders' debate, that he would drop the idea or drop his efforts, I guess, to privatize Newfoundland Hydro if the people opposed it. Lord knows they oppose it. We've since discovered of course that $6.5 million continued to be spent in preparing to sell off Hydro. We heard the other night on the news that David Oake has been sent over to Britain, I guess, the land of the Rothschilds, to get some more training. But prior to the opening -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: - you don't like that one, do you?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That is too bad. There is a lot that the Premier isn't going to like by the time I'm finished. Prior to the opening of the House of Assembly several media reports quoted government ministers as saying that government would not be pursuing Hydro privatization. I want to ask the Premier: Is that an accurate description of government's position now? That it will not be pursuing Hydro privatization?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Nothing that the hon. member has said accurately reflects government's position or the position government has stated in the past. It is a substantial distortion of it. At no time did I say the government was dropping the privatizing of Hydro if the people opposed it. What I did say, and I repeat again, is that the government would not ask the Liberal majority in the House of Assembly to introduce legislation to force, to cause, the privatization of Hydro to take place if the government was of the view that the majority of the people of this Province strongly opposed it. That was the circumstance at the time last spring, and it continued to be the circumstance for some time. It is changing significantly, incidentally.

Let me state again, government still believes that that is in the best interest of the people of this Province, and government still believes that the people of this Province will realize that it is in their best interest, and when that occurs we will proceed with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is changing significantly is the Premier's position and his mind, because he changes it every day, constantly, because already we have a contrary position.

Other ministers - the Government House Leader - said before the House opened, you would not be pursuing Hydro privatization. I just ask the Premier: Is that your position?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I could ask him to wait for Hansard and read it. I thought I made it very clear. The government's position is that we would not ask this House of Assembly to proceed with the privatization of Hydro unless we were satisfied that it no longer was opposed by the majority of people of this Province.

Now, if we reach a point where it isn't opposed and we are satisfied there is an adequate level of public support, the government still feels that it is in the best interest of the people of this Province to proceed with the privatization of Hydro, and that is open to us to consider in the future.

As of this moment, no, Mr. Speaker, we are not proceeding with it because we are not satisfied that it is not against the wishes of the majority of people of this Province.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, a few days ago the Government House Leader withdrew six bills from the Order Paper that will not be proceeded with this fall, so in view of that fact, and in view of the fact that you don't intend to proceed with Hydro privatization this fall - so we are told at least - can the Premier explain why Bill 1 was not taken off the Order Paper along with the other six?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There is nothing wrong. It is not causing the hon. member any headaches. It is not causing him to do anything different. It is there on the Order Paper. Government decides its position on the Order Paper and if, as, and when, we want to remove it, or we think it appropriate to do so, we will. So long as we do not consider it appropriate to do so, we won't.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows that this House can be recalled at any time. He knows that the House can open next spring without having a new session. He knows this legislation, if it remains on the Order Paper, will remain in its final stages, and he knows he can ram it through the House with a couple of days notice using closure if he wants to, and that is why he is leaving it on the Order Paper, without having to begin the debate all over again, otherwise why does he not withdraw it? That is the simple question. Why do you not withdraw it?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, neither the comment nor the question is worth pursuing.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, that may be the view of the Premier but fortunately it is not the view of the people of this Province, I do not believe, and that is why I am asking the questions.

I know ministers opposite would love for me to go on to something else but I am not going on to something else. I am asking the Premier because the people of this Province have clearly indicated they are opposed to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. He knows that, and what we are saying to him is if he wants to put the minds of the people at ease on this issue, why does he not simply withdraw the bill from the Order Paper? It is no big task. He just said himself it is not a big deal. Why do you not simply take it off the Order Paper? If you want to pursue it sometime in the future bring it back then and we will debate it at that time. Will he do that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the bill being on the Order Paper is not hurting anybody and not causing anybody any harm. The people of this Province have the government's commitment that we will not proceed with further consideration of that bill in this House so long as the bill is opposed by the majority of the people of this Province. We will not. It is not hurting anybody. Stop the childishness and do something important.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, it is legalese words and tricks, that is all it is. It is bothering people, Mr. Speaker. It is bothering some people. It is bothering the majority of the people in the Province I would suggest to the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, let me get on to another aspect of this. According to international reports from the Reuters News Agency the Premier has been telling investors abroad that if he cannot privatize Hydro it will be fully commercialized. Now, aside from that issue of commercialization about which we want to have more details and we would like to hear a bit more about, last week CBC's television program Hear and Now also reported that the Province was considering leasing the running of a commercialized Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. SIMMS: That is the report that was on television. I am asking the Premier. That was the report that was on television, the government leasing the running of a fully commercialized Hydro to a private company that would keep the profits even though the government would remain the shareholder. I want to ask the Premier: Can he dismiss that story out of hand and assure the House he is not pursuing that kind of an angle at all?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I recognize it as pure fiction. It was never considered by government at any time and never considered by me. The only time I ever heard the word mentioned was when I heard a young lady being interviewed on CBC television, Susan Dyer being interviewed. It was the only time I ever heard it mentioned. It is pure and utter fiction. I have never considered it and never heard of it before. It is utter fiction.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I cannot hear the hon. member because of the noise which is mostly from his own side at the present time.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, the minister responsible for justice. Yesterday people in this Province were both shocked and angered to hear that a dying woman's last wishes were not met. That wish was that she could see her husband just one last time. This lady's husband was an inmate at Her Majesty's Penitentiary. Could the Premier tell the House today why this woman's request was not met, and worse, why the request was totally ignored?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Minister of Justice informed me this morning of this matter and told me that an investigation was underway to determine what happened, because the facts, as they have been reported, appear to be contravening standard prison administration policy in circumstances like this. It appears to be totally inconsistent with the normal policy and a full investigation is being made.

I just had an interim note delivered to me now and while the member was asking the question I was reading it and I have some preliminary information but it is nothing that I would want to indicate to the House at this stage. There is a recognition that there was a call received, that it went to a certain person, then it went to another person and the matter is being pursued beyond that. It may be that before I leave the House this afternoon I will have more information and if I do, with the leave of the House, I would be quite prepared to make it available but right at this moment I don't have full information on it.

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

MR. WOODFORD: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Could the Premier then explain why there is, as far as I'm concerned, a double standard in our justice system today, one for the elite and one for the commoner? Could the Premier also explain why one person can walk in, strap a monitor around his leg and then walk free and why a woman's cry to see her husband one last time, could not be met?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, I think the hon. member is not being fully frank with the matter. A couple of days ago I also received a memorandum from the Deputy Minister of Justice - yesterday or the day before, I have forgotten which, I guess it must have been yesterday - to tell me that another concern had been raised because an individual who had been sentenced to serve some time in jail had been immediately placed on, or nearly immediately placed on, what is called temporary absence. One of the problems, the Deputy Minister advised me of, that the department has, is that when the court sentences people to serve certain types of sentences on weekends and so on, there is a real problem with accommodations, the jail is overcrowded. I think you have heard the minister explain this on a number of occasions. One of the ways -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: If members would just hold their seats for a moment - one of the ways in which that is dealt with is by considering a list of prisoners who are not a threat to anybody in society and providing for temporary or restrained absences for those prisoners to accommodate that. This is one of the things that they are doing. She sent me the memorandum and I wrote instructions back to her yesterday as to a course that I felt the department ought to follow in pursuing a more standardized policy in relation to this in the future. I assume the deputy minister will be taking that into account and will be moving on it fairly soon.

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

MR. WOODFORD: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Would the Premier make a commitment to the House today that everything will be done to find out what really happened to this lady's request?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Absolutely, I thought I told the member that that is in progress and I will find out fully. If I have it before I leave the House this afternoon I will make it available with the consent of the House. If I don't, then at the next possible opportunity it will be made available.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Social Services. Madame Minister, your department presently pays day care for single parents on social assistance attending post-secondary institutions but will not pay babysitting costs. I ask the minister if she considers this a fair and equitable policy?

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

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, thank you. With regard to your question I certainly will be looking into all of the matters regarding day care child care.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, day care is not usually an option in most rural Newfoundland communities. I say to the minister that the policy presently existing in her department is blatant discrimination against single parents living in rural Newfoundland. I will ask the minister if she will immediately correct this injustice and begin to treat all Newfoundlanders equally?

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

MS. YOUNG: I thought I made that clear that that is certainly being reviewed within our department.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Environment. Yesterday you as minister unveiled in this House what you claim to be a new government policy on the importation of garbage. I ask the minister, is this just a stand-alone policy, or will there be legislation to enforce it?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I think the government has made a tremendous decision. I think the government has made a decision to develop and bring in a policy that responds to a major issue in the Province. At this point in time we don't believe we need legislation. We think the policy is a strong one. It is one of the strongest in Canada. We think it is going to deal with the concerns. So far the response has been very good, but we are evolving policy issues in our department now, and in government, and we look forward to seeing further development of policy. In this area we think it is a very strong policy and we think it is going to get the support of the people in the Province.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't believe the minister answered the question but I will go on to another. The policy allows the importation of garbage from the other Atlantic provinces for final disposal in this Province. If there is no legislation and enforcement in all the Atlantic provinces to prevent the importation of garbage from outside the region, how can the minister ensure that the only garbage coming to the Province is produced in Atlantic Canada? Without legislation and enforcement, isn't it more likely that the Atlantic provinces will be an open door to dump garbage in this Province from all over North America? What will stop it?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, what will stop them is the policy we have. Very simply, the provinces in Atlantic Canada are taking care of their own garbage. We are right now in this Province developing a waste management strategy. We have done regional consultations this past fall. We will be developing further initiatives to deal with our own waste. Within Atlantic Canada we have already signed an agreement, an Atlantic Environmental Accord, to deal with our Atlantic waste. What we've decided as a government, though, is that waste from outside of the Atlantic jurisdiction, outside of the Canadian jurisdiction, when it comes to importation for final disposal, won't be allowed in this Province. I think it is one of the best policies in Canada. I think it has overwhelming support from the people in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I beg to differ with the minister. The policy allows for reciprocal agreements for waste disposal with other provinces outside the Atlantic provinces. Could the minister give us an example of how that might work? Could little Newfoundland send all its PCBs to Ontario, for example, in exchange for waste from big Ontario's nuclear reactors?

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

MR. AYLWARD: You know, Mr. Speaker, I suppose if Alberta, which has just decided to take PCBs from across Canada - they have an open mind, they have decided, they have a regional facility to deal with PCBs. They have just decided to take PCBs from outside their borders within Canada. They've brought in a policy to deal with hazardous waste within Canada for this particular type of hazardous waste.

We have PCBs in our Province. We have to find a way to deal with them. So if within Canada we are going to have a closed mind to deal with our own waste within Canada, then we might as well throw up our arms. What are we going to do with it? The fact of the matter is, you can invent all kinds of hypotheses that you want to. The fact of the matter is, this is one of the best environmental policies of any provincial government in Canada. If you can come up with one better, please tell us what it is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a question for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board dealing with the Trans City proposal. On July 9 1991 Cabinet issued a directive, MC 1066 of 1991, approving lease financing arrangements generally, and stated: where it is available at an equivalent or lower cost than the Province's capital market cost. Can the minister tell us if that policy of Cabinet applies to the Trans City or to the health centre proposals or was there a separate policy for those proposals?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I could spend some time discussing a lot of other details surrounding that; however, that was the intent of Cabinet, and that, ultimately, was what was done.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that.

A few days ago, he tabled in the House some information dealing with the lease back arrangements of the health care centres, particularly the deal with Trans City Holdings. And he compared a fixed rental rate or a fixed lease rate with a variable lease rate and showed us interest rates of 9.61 per cent for fixed rental and 9.41 per cent for variable rental, even though the variable rental cost in total $11.5 million more in real terms, I think the minister tried to indicate in 1991 dollars. It sounds like an awful difference to me and I would like to have that checked through, but accept what the minister says. Anyway, he is showing us a rate of 9.41 per cent and he says that this is based on present value of the rental, and that 1.52 per cent, the rate had come down since the deal was made, because the government had the option to lock in. They actually didn't lock in until 1993. And the rate, as we saw from the bids, varied, Mr. Speaker, from 11.5 per cent to somewhere around 10.5 per cent or something - 15 per cent, rather, down to 11.5 per cent for the actual bids. Is the minister telling us that this 9.4 per cent over that rate is the best rate that was available?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

As a matter of fact, the 9.61 per cent, we couldn't do as well ourselves. The 9.41 per cent was certainly much better than anything available at that time and it was extremely beneficial to the Province.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister indicates that was the best rate they could get and they couldn't do as well themselves. Would the minister like to explain, therefore, the draft Cabinet paper, that was corrected and a section taken out? And there is a note here on this document that was tabled in the court which says, `Omit this', and it says: `The Department of Finance further advises, the Province currently has the opportunity to borrow funds in the United States money market for 9 per cent for thirty years.'

Would the minister like to also deal with the press release made by his former colleague, the former Minister of Finance on October 15, 1991, which shows that the government borrowed $200 million in the U.S. market for thirty years at 9 per cent? Would the minister like to tell us why they did not comply with the policy he just told us was confirmed and why they did not immediately cancel all of those contracts and do what the committee had recommended doing, which was to call tenders and build it yourself?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: It will take a few minutes to answer, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: The hon. gentleman who asked the question was also a Finance minister and I think he knows the answer, but it is going to take some explaining.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the rate referred to in the proposals had to do with the Bank of Canada long-term, thirty-year rate, thirty-year bonds. You can get a certain rate within Canada; you buy in Canadian dollars and you take no foreign exchange risks. Now quite often, in every single borrowing that we do, we look around the world.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I suppose right now we could borrow money in Japan for what, 3 per cent or 4 per cent, certainly 5 per cent, but to do that, you would have to take the foreign exchange risk over that period of time which is considerable. In the same way, every time you go to the U.S. market, you have to take that foreign exchange risk, and there is always a cushion built in - for instance, we don't go to the U.S. market unless we know that there is a large cushion provided in comparison to the Canadian market, a large cushion.

For instance, we wouldn't go to the U.S. market now to borrow money, if we were in the market for money, unless their rates were so much better than the Canadian rates that it would allow for a fairly large depreciation in the Canadian dollar. So you can't compare the U.S. rates, the Japanese rates or the Swiss rates with the Canadian rates; you simply cannot do that. So, Mr. Speaker, we are talking in terms of the Canadian market, Canadian rates with no foreign exchange risk. We always try to do that, it is the safest way. And if, in fact, those numbers are correct - and I will check to see if they are - if, at that time, we could have borrowed on the U.S. market at 9 per cent or 9.1 per cent, or whatever it happens to be, then that would not have provided enough of a cushion in comparison to the Canadian rate, because that would then burden us with tens of millions of dollars extra in terms of foreign exchange risks. So that, in essence, is the answer. You are comparing apples to oranges, not apples to apples.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl, a further supplementary.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Is the minister trying to tell us that the .4 per cent in real terms difference, plus the 1.52 per cent that it changed from the time you made your decision until you actually locked it in - in other words, you had a 2 per cent cushion, plus you had a 60 per cent buy-back at the end of this contract that you would not have had you built it yourself. How much of a cushion do you want?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: The hon. gentleman asking the question, being a former Finance Minister, also knows the answer to that. Had we gone to the market ourselves and borrowed and borrowed at that time, and done this ourselves, forgetting the rate problem - we couldn't have done as well with the rates on the Canadian market - at the end of the thirty years, had we done it ourselves, we would have still owed 100 per cent, not 60 per cent - 100 per cent of that amount. We would have owed the total principal. The hon. member knows the difference in what he is saying. Had we done it ourselves, we would not have owed a 60 per cent value, we would have owed a 100 per cent value at the end of that time.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Can we get the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to leave again, Mr. Speaker?

I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. A few days ago, the minister tabled a list of companies that have received sea urchin processing licences, one of which was 3 T's Limited of Woody Point. I want to ask the minister: Is the company's facility equipped and up to standard to process sea urchins, and does it have a certificate of registration issued by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is my understanding that they are equipped to do such processing, and that they are so registered.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary for the minister.

Is the company required to process a minimum tonnage of raw material, and could the minister inform the House what the minimum tonnage would be and how many jobs would be created in the processing of this raw material?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: In the past there has been a minimum tonnage of - I don't recall exactly what the tonnage was. As far as the jobs are concerned, with regard to the processing at this particular plant, I will have to bring that information back to the House at some later date.

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

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

Could the minister inform the House, then, what other conditions are attached to 3 T's sea urchin processing licence, and can the minister confirm that the company has been given permission by his department to ship whole, unprocessed sea urchins to Japan? I want to ask the minister: What happened to the normal processing conditions and requirements, and what are we really doing for providing employment for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? If we are sincere about a fishery of the future, what are we really doing to employment in this Province if we are allowing that to happen with a new resource?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure how many questions were there. I gave up counting at the end of three, I think it was, but let me assure this hon. House that we are sincere. We are sincere in bringing this industry back into the position that it was in years ago, in a position to serve the public, to generate jobs in this House.


DR. HULAN: You know, for many years I worked in animal research. I worked with rats, monkeys, turkeys - and every once in a while the sounds coming from the opposite side of this Chamber remind me of the sounds that I heard so many times before.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A quick question from the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is not for the minister responsible for animal husbandry. I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Over the last number of years there has been considerable work on the Trans-Canada Highway under various upgrading programs, including the Roads for Rail agreement. I represent an area of the Province that has been untouched by the Trans-Canada upgrading program; namely, the section of the TCH between Badger and the Baie Verte Junction has had no work done, under the current program, at all - and this causes some concerns on the local scene - in particular, the intersection at South Brook on the Trans-Canada.

I was wondering if the minister could bring me up to speed as to whether or not this project is on the schedule of projects as he indicated in this House well over a year ago, and whether or not there is any hope that this project could be done in the next little while. I've been writing him many times. He has refused to answer my question on paper. I was wondering if he would answer me in the House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to tell the hon. member what work we will be doing next year. That announcement will be made probably in the next several days. When I am prepared to do that, I will make the Ministerial Statement here in this hon. House and then the member will know what is going to be done next year.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Department of Works, Services and Transportation Act (No. 3)."

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during Question Period, the Leader of the Opposition asked a question about whether or not I was present at a Cabinet meeting on October 22, 1991, and I have determined that I was indeed present. The Cabinet meeting took place in the Cabinet room for a portion of it, and at Government House. It happened to have been the last day on which the former Lieutenant-Governor McGrath was in office or around about the time that he was ending his term of office. There was a Cabinet meeting at Government House; it had started in the Cabinet Chamber and resumed at Government House. I was there.


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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition on behalf of forty-seven people in my district. The petition reads:

`To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador ask for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

We, the undersigned, do hereby request the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately provide emergency funding to generate desperately needed employment in our communities. As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.'

Mr. Speaker, another petition is being brought forward to this House on behalf of, not only my constituents, but indeed, on behalf of constituents right across this Province. Several members on this side of the House who have risen over the past couple of weeks to present these petitions, are presenting them because there are people out in our districts who are in desperate need of help. With only a few weeks away from Christmas, and due to the difficult economic situation that this Province finds itself in, in relation to the fishery, there are a number of people, especially in rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, who are finding for the first time that they have to resort to social assistance. I have heard over the past number of weeks several stories from my district, as I am sure members opposite have also heard, in relation to the tough financial situation that families are finding themselves in, Mr. Speaker. I think it is only fair and proper that we rise each and every day to make sure that the government keeps in the back of their minds the importance of providing some type of an employment generation program for the Province this year.

I was very pleased over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Speaker, to learn that the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has made a couple of trips west seeking some work for the people in this Province, seeking some dollars to put a program together and I hope that his efforts bring fruitful results over the next few days. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that he would like to stand up in the House at any day now and announce something, and I am sure that many people in Newfoundland and Labrador are waiting for that announcement.

There are many, many people in our districts who have been very pleased with the fact that they have been able to participate in the TAGS program, and the NCARP program before that, but there were many people who were left out in the cold because of being indirectly involved in the fishing industry in rural Newfoundland, and I speak for many people whose names are signed to this petition when I say that, Mr. Speaker. These were people who worked in the stores, at the restaurants or at the gas stations, who had jobs because of the fishing industry in their community. When the fishery closed, those jobs went by the wayside. I think that in many communities in rural Newfoundland, if we would be honest, we would say that they were 100 per cent reliant on the fishery but not 100 per cent of the people were fortunate enough to be part of the TAGS program.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, over the next few days, that the hon. minister will receive some good news from Ottawa and that the Province will throw some dollars into the pot and employ as many people as they can who are in need of this short-term employment. I would be the first to say that this is not the answer to all the problems that are in Newfoundland and Labrador at the present time. I understand that, as I am sure the minister understands, but we have to help people along the way. It is a major adjustment, from a fairly good economy in relation to the fishing industry in the communities, to come down to only a handful of people having work.

When I hear stories like the ones I have heard over the past few weeks, I say that this short-term employment would help people get through the year. And hopefully the entire Province will turn around over the next couple of years and we won't have to be doing this every year.

The problem is, right now it is needed. I, myself, have received somewhere close to 1,000 names of petitions from my district. While I realize there is not enough money in the coffers of the Provincial or Federal Government to employ all these people, hopefully some of these people will find some work.

These community projects, as some people say - and when we talk about the W5 program, or different programs, the national programs, that come down and condemn those types of programs over the year, I am sure that if we look around we could find some positive things that were done in our communities in relation to these programs.

When I look around my district I can see fire halls, community halls, cleanups, etcetera, that have been good for the community, have been good for the people in the community, and have definitely been good overall for the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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


MR. SPEAKER: Leave is granted.

MR. MANNING: I thank you for the opportunity to present this petition, and I certainly hope the minister will have some good news in the next few days.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have just a few words.

As we know, over the last few days we have heard quite a few petitions, and rightfully so. I think every member has a responsibility to come to this House and represent his district.

I want to compliment the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, because what I heard him say today is probably the most positive approach to this problem that I have heard from members opposite since we started these petitions, so I congratulate him. I think he has a good concept and a good understanding of what needs to be done down the road; however, I, like him, am very hopeful that by Friday at the latest we will have some word back. Again, as I said, nothing would suit me more than to be able to stand in this hon. House next week and announce a program.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

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

I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and speak to this petition so ably presented by my colleague, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, who represents a very rural riding, a riding that has been devastated by the fishing failure in this Province.

He spoke concerning the people who are in dire need of emergency funding to create some employment opportunities in his district. He talked about the people who weren't covered under TAGS program, or the NCARP program, but yet were still gainfully employed by servicing the fishing industry, which is no longer there.

While the fisher people, themselves, have been given money over the past few years - they have been paid money over the last few years as compensation for the failure of the fishing industry - the people in the service industry supporting that fishing industry have not been, and they find themselves in dire need now of employment opportunity so that they can provide the bare essentials of food and a roof over their heads for themselves and their families. Now, that is not a tremendous amount to ask this government to consider.

I find, even in my own district, a district that pays the highest per capita taxes to the government of anywhere in this Province, we have people in our district - I have people in my district - who are in need of emergency employment. I have talked to people involved in a union movement, who just recently told me of cases where people who were laid off three or four years ago had found employment within the community at lower wage rates than what they were accustomed to. They worked there for two or three years, and were recalled to the mining industry last year and worked seven, eight, nine weeks, and now find they cannot draw unemployment. Because of changes that this government's cousins put in the Unemployment Insurance Act, these people cannot draw unemployment now. They said they quit the first job that they worked at for three years to go to work in their former high-paying professional jobs that they had in the mining industry. They only got eight weeks. The mining company said they were recalled to work but they didn't know for how long; after eight weeks they were laid off and now find themselves unable to qualify for unemployment insurance, after working three years and then eight weeks at the mining company, because they quit this so-called "temporary" three-year job. And that is unfair. These are just some of the people affected, that an emergency employment program could benefit.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the minister to convince his colleagues in Cabinet, to convince his friends in Cabinet, to stand with him to support these people who are in such need to be able to provide food, because that is all the unemployment insurance is going to be able to provide, just food and a roof over the heads of themselves and their families.

Mr. Speaker, I also urge the minister to check with his Ottawa cousins and to lobby them to change the UI Act. It is fundamentally unfair and wrong for a person to lose his employment in the mining industry, then be under-employed, if you will, receiving a lot less pay for three years, then having to quit that job to go back to the mining industry and get laid off after eight weeks. Then, because of changes advocated by this government and made by their Liberal cousins in Ottawa, they find themselves unable to draw unemployment insurance. This is fundamentally wrong. It is unfair to these people, people who have spent probably eight or nine years in the mining industry, produced a tremendous amount of revenue to this Province, paid a tremendous amount of taxes to this Province, and find themselves abandoned by the people here in St. John's and abandoned by their colleagues in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the minister would convince his colleagues to fund an emergency employment program and allow the people of this Province to have some dignity.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 148 parents from a section of Bonavista known as Mockbeggar. Even though the petition is not put forward in the proper style that we usually see here, I am sure it will be acceptable to the House. It reads: `We, the residents of Mockbeggar, as indicated by our signatures below, hereby request, through this petition, that the school board provide transportation for students attending elementary school at Matthew Collegiate in Bonavista.'

Mr. Speaker, it is a situation, I suppose, where the school board in Bonavista is abiding by the policy set forth by this government, in that anybody living within 1.6 kilometres of a school is expected to walk to and from that school. Mr. Speaker, this might work very well in areas like St. John's, where you have sidewalks or other areas where people have the opportunity to put their children in the car and take them on their way to work and drop them off.

I think, instead of bringing in blanket policies such as this, we should look at every individual case. I recall, in my own community, we saw people walking to school within one kilometre and a bus half loaded passed them by, not bothering to pick them up, and the same thing on the way home in the afternoon. Now, the residents of this particular area of Mockbeggar have students there who start school at four years old, having not quite reached five, who have to navigate some very narrow streets.

Anybody who knows Bonavista, knows that when the snow starts to fall, the streets get more and more narrow. The children have to pass several intersections without any signals, and cross at least one, if not two, bridges over pretty fast moving water. I know it is a real concern for the parents, getting those four-and five-year-olds bundled up in the morning and sent off to school, to see, sometimes, the school bus passing them by, seeing them being denied access to the school transportation - and higher grades attending Discovery Collegiate, the high school there, being able to hop aboard the bus and be provided with transportation.

I call on the minister to look at this petition and to look favourably upon the concerns of the 148 residents of this particular area. I understand there are twenty-six schoolchildren involved, people in the elementary grades, kindergarten, I, II and III. I ask that he would look at changing the policy and arrange for those children to be picked up by the school bus service that is offered in the area. Thank you.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to the petition presented by my colleague on behalf of the residents of Mockbeggar. As the minister knows, student transportation is one of the major services provided to students in the Province by the Department of Education. With the exception of Fogo, Wabush, Labrador City, Happy Valley - Goose Bay, where any student may be bused between November 15 and April 15 of each year, school boards provide transportation for students who reside more than 1.6 kilometres from the school they attend. The exception is made for Labrador for very good reasons.

The Province provides transportation to about 65 per cent of the total student population in the Province. The one exception is the students of St. John's, or more particularly, certain sections of St. John's. The sections of St. John's that amalgamated with the city of St. John's two years ago - in Kilbride, Virginia Park and these areas - these students still get bus transportation. The students who live in my district, Waterford - Kenmount, particularly Cowan Heights, the students who live in the St. John's East district, represented by my colleague to my right here, students from the Battery, for example, who have to go three kilometres to Gonzaga to get to school, these students do not get bus transportation.

Mr. Speaker, we say to the minister, on behalf of all students of the Province, on behalf of the students in Cowan Heights, in the Battery and parts of St. John's South, that we need to look at the rationalization of the whole system. Whereas we all agree that distance is a factor, what we are saying is that distance thus far has been the exclusive criterion. We need to look at factors other than distance as the sole criterion. The example raised by my colleague today of the part of Bonavista called Mockbeggar might be an example which would need some, shall we say, looking into. Maybe it would qualify if the rules were changed a little bit.

Mr. Speaker, we know there is a feeling that the minister is waiting for all the reforms to go ahead in education before he addresses the issue of bus transportation. We know that many of the decisions of bus transportation are political decisions. They are decisions that can be made without reference to the ongoing negotiations between the government and the churches. For example, there is no reason why the minister cannot negotiate with the City of St. John's to solve the bus transportation of students within the city of St. John's boundaries.

We say to the minister, the time has come for him to establish a policy. It is the Department of Education which approves all bus routes in this Province. While the negotiations with the churches are ongoing, that should not be an impediment to the rationalization of school bus transportation. In fact, we maintain that with the agreement recently communicated to the Province in the Warren-Browne memorandum submitted to the minister, we could be moving in on this particular issue.

It is our opinion that we do not need legislative changes or amendments to the current legislation to enable the minister to give effect to many changes in bus transportation in this Province, and, Mr. Speaker, we ask the minister to consider this and implement strategies to rationalize bus transportation at the earliest possible time.

Thank you very much.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we have come to Orders of the Day. As I said yesterday, and advised the House earlier, we will be asking Your Honour to call the Economic Diversification And Growth Enterprises bill, which stands on today's Order Paper, Sir, as Order 23, it is Bill 51.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Provide For Economic Diversification And Growth Enterprises In The Province", (Bill No. 51).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have to say to the House, it is with a considerable measure of pleasure and pride that I rise today to move second reading of this bill. It really is the culmination of five years of effort on the part of the government, aimed at rebuilding the economy of this Province.

Over the previous decade or so, Mr. Speaker, the economy had largely been devastated as we had come to rely more and more on federal transfers and had become less and less productive, and kept requesting more and more federal money, and more and more federal money came, and we became less and less able to provide for ourselves. It became very obvious to us that we would have to take major steps to restructure the economy if we were to stand any chance of successfully rebuilding that economy, so that we could generate enough economic activity to provide for the employment opportunities that our people needed, as well as provide the revenue the government needed to provide public services.

Mr. Speaker, the approach that we took really had three components to it. The first was to do the re-organization in the structure of government that was necessary to ensure that we put in place a system of government and an economic climate and a structured economy that was conducive to private sector investment that would allow for rebuilding. That took us a considerable time. We started at the top by reducing the bloated Cabinet that had been in place for a decade or so before, down from the twenty-three that it was, ultimately to fourteen first, to start with; then, Mr. Speaker, we started to deal with some of the other fundamental problems of our economy.

We started to restructure the pension structure, started to restructure the Workers' Compensation legislation to bring that into line because that, too, was a burden on the economy. We started, Mr. Speaker, to deal with the finances of government which was the second component that we had to deal with, because, Mr. Speaker, if government doesn't get its own finances in order, and has to continue year after year increasing taxes to generate enough revenue to manage its financial situation, then all it does is, it places a greater burden on the economy.

Every dollar that we take out of the economy by direct orders of legislation of this House, impairs the ability of the economy to regenerate itself, so a fundamental, in terms of restructuring the economy is for government to get its own finances in order. Unfortunately, we started to tackle this problem at a time when it was the most difficult, at a time when all of Canada was facing perhaps the worst recession since the great depression of the 1930s, at a time when the whole of the country was becoming increasingly sensitive to the debt levels and at a time when it was necessary to stop the burgeoning of our debt if we were to have a chance at salvaging our economic future at all.

Mr. Speaker, I know it has been difficult. In this respect I have to give the people of this Province full credit for not only accepting, but in a subsequent election in endorsing the policy of the government to follow this course.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I give the people of the Province the credit that they deserve in this regard because they recognized the necessity of facing this tough situation and were prepared to do it, and endorsed the policies of the government to achieve that objective.

I also, Mr. Speaker, must give the unions involved a measure of credit. They did indeed resist the proposals for a time, but in fairness to union leaderships you have to acknowledge that that is the normal political responsibility that they have in giving leadership. You have to understand that that is normally the course unions will follow. Perhaps they were a little bit more aggressive in following that approach than we would have liked to have seen them, but in the end I must give the unions and give the membership of the unions the credit for, in the end, accepting what it was necessary for government to do, and for, to some degree at least, working with government. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was the individual who had most of those dealings with the unions, and I think he would probably endorse my giving a measure of credit to the unions and the workers of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we brought our burgeoning deficit under control to the point where working persistently with a known objective we were able to bring it to the point where in this fiscal year that we are now in it appears probable that we will now have a very small surplus on current account. That is reaching our objective a little sooner than we had anticipated.

That is not enough. We have to continue with that policy to the point where we provide for absolute balance in our budget. Where we provide for government carrying out the operational and capital responsibilities of the government of this Province without borrowing any money whatsoever. It is essential that we do that if we are to restore the credit worthiness of the Province and to restore the financial integrity of the Province so that we can go forward in rebuilding our economy for the benefit of the children of the future. I give everybody involved in achieving that state of a surplus on current account full credit. In particular I give the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and the members of Treasury Board, as well as the senior public service, full credit for the effort that they made in holding our costs under control and making sure that we provided for continued maintenance of our revenues.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, that was the second major contribution towards building a credible economic climate in which people - investors and business people in particular - could be induced to invest.

The third component of it was to provide specifically for the promotion and enhancement of economic development opportunities. In doing that the key thing was creating the most favourable investment climate in Canada. We set about that in an objective and planned way as well. We started to deal with the basics. We started getting rid of the unnecessary and excessive regulations that act only as a burden, an impediment, a delaying tactic, and in the end, an unjustifiable cost of doing business in this Province. So much so that it makes it more difficult for businesses to be successful, and it even acts as a deterrent for investment in the first place. It was incumbent upon us to put in place a process that would see the elimination of this unacceptable level of regulations.

That is in course now, and the commissioner is in place and doing his work. I have to say - and here again I give the senior public service full credit. Because they identified a lot of unnecessary regulations that have in the meantime been eliminated, and I give them credit for achieving that.

Another key area was bringing our tax levels down to acceptable proportions. As Your Honour knows, over the last couple of years we have managed to do that, reducing our general corporate tax rate from 17 per cent down to 14 per cent as of January 1, three weeks from now, our corporate manufacturing and processing rate down from 17 per cent to 5 percent, which is a major drop and has attracted a great deal of interest.

We have also brought our small business corporate tax rate down from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. We have greatly improved the mineral exploration and mining tax circumstance, so much so that I think the Minister of Natural Resources can confirm that we have caused a significant level of increase in exploration activity in this Province at a time when exploration has reduced in most other parts of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: We had a great year in ninety-four.

PREMIER WELLS: The minister just said we have had a great exploration year in ninety-four, and I expect we will have an even better one in ninety-five.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: We have taken steps, as I noted, to bring the major problem that had been created in the previous ten years or so with workers' compensation under control, and stop the growth in the unfunded liability and start to bring the fund into balance, and to reduce the demands and to, in fact, reduce the actual level of assessment in many sectors of our economy to stop the growth that had taken place.

We are struggling with improving the labour relations climate generally, and in particular the regulatory aspect of it. Instead of having five or six different pieces of legislation that provide for the regulation of labour relations in the Province, we hope to have a single labour code that we hope will be able to be brought into effect after consultation with employers' groups and employee and union groups throughout the Province over the next number of months.

All of these things have made a significant contribution, and if members want some idea of the level of contribution I will give them some information from a publication that will be released publicly, I think, later this week.

Everybody knows the impact of the closure of the fisheries in this Province, and what it has cost, and how it has impacted the employment opportunity for some 27,000 people. Now, notwithstanding that, we have been able to keep our unemployment rate from increasing in the manner in which you would otherwise expect it to have increased with that kind of impact in the groundfish fishery.

Mr. Speaker, the figures show that when the fishing industry is removed from the total employment, the strength of the rest of the Newfoundland economy is clearly reflected in the fact that this Province recorded the strongest employment growth in the country, at a rate of 4.7 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Recovery in the Newfoundland labour markets continued in the third quarter despite the dampening effects of the reduced activity in the fishery. Removing the fishery from total employment reveals a gain of more than 4.7 per cent in the rest of the economy, the strongest growth since 1989.

Mr. Speaker, the same is true over the previous two quarters. When you take the fisheries out of it as a factor, we had a growth rate overall of 3.4 per cent in those three quarters in employment, higher than the average across the nation, and in the last quarter the highest of any province in Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now what that says to me in no uncertain terms is that what the government has been doing in building and implementing these other policies on a steady and slow basis has been working. If this Province has recorded that kind of economic growth in the remainder of its economy other than the fishery, if we have done that, then that means that our general policies are the right ones.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And for the first time in two decades we are seeing some real and genuine growth in this economy, and seeing some restoration of our economic strength.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot just simply sit back and stop there. I do not think it is enough for us to create the most favourable investment climate in Canada. I think we have to take the kind of steps that will make investment in Newfoundland and Labrador virtually irresistible and, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - that is what this bill is aimed at doing, making investment in the Newfoundland economy irresistible.

Section 3, Mr. Speaker, sets out the qualifications of corporations seeking to invest. Let me at the outset say, Mr. Speaker, so that - and I sincerely hope that this appears as a headline in the paper or as a headline item on the radio and television news. This bill is not aimed at investment from outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. This bill is aimed at investment, period, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And it is our sincerest wish, Mr. Speaker, that enough of it comes from within this Province to provide jobs for all 50,000 people that are looking for jobs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: But I don't know - and in fact, Mr. Speaker, I don't expect that it will come all from within this Province because of our relatively weak level of capital in the Province. So, Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize the point that this is not aimed at all at outside investment but it does not preclude outside capital investment because we have such a weak level of capital in the Province that we do need it.

Mr. Speaker, it sets the level of qualifications at what I think is a reasonable basis. The original White Paper that we put out had a number of suggestions put forward. It was put out as a White Paper so that it would generate discussion of the issue, so that it would invite responses that would make the proposal better. Mr. Speaker, we believe we got responses that would make the proposal better and I think we have implemented all of those responses.

We lowered the level of investment required from the original $500,000 that was proposed to $300,000. We lowered the level of incremental sales from 1 million as had been proposed to $500,000 and we changed the `and' to `or' which provides for either as being a qualifier. Either qualification would entitle the investor to this level of support and, Mr. Speaker, we altered the requirement for jobs. Instead of ten full time jobs - because many businesses in this Province are seasonal in their nature - what we provided for was at least ten permanent jobs, even though some of those jobs could have a seasonal aspect to it.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think we put forward now, in this legislation, a threshold that is indeed acceptable. We also provided, Mr. Speaker, for some brief alteration in the non-competition aspect of it - that appears now, Mr. Speaker, in subsection 3 of Section 3 -what this provides now is that "Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), a corporation shall not be designated as an EDGE Corporation where the investment and business development incentives that the corporation would be eligible for if designated would provide the corporation with a direct competitive advantage over other businesses or undertakings already established in the Province." What we want to do, Mr. Speaker, is provide for the help if it does not adversely affect any existing business in the Province, does not give a competitive advantage. We don't want to do that because that would be unfair to our tax paying businesses now.

Mr. Speaker, we also provided for the creation of a public/private board. A board made up partly of representatives from the public service and partly of representatives from the private sector to be the evaluation board that would evaluate each proposal. We think that this would be the best way to do it rather than the process that we had put forward in the original White Paper. This came about as the result of some recommendations that we received from outside interests, Mr. Speaker, and we put it forward now for consideration by the House.

With respect to the taxation exemption, Mr. Speaker, we have essentially maintained what was proposed, that there would be total exemption from the primary provincial taxes applicable to businesses except those taxes that might be said to be taxes for level of usage, like, for example, gasoline or diesel fuel taxes.

One company might use $100 worth of taxes and another company $100,000 worth of taxes, but that would be because that other company was using the highways in the process and it is not unfair to expect some level of contribution for that, so we structured it in that way, Mr. Speaker, to provide for exemption from the Income Tax Act, from the Health and Post-secondary Education Tax Act and from the Retail Sales Tax Act.

We also provided, Mr. Speaker for exemption for a full ten-year period and then a five further years to phase in tax responsibility, so instead of going from total exemption in year ten to 100 per cent of tax responsibility in year eleven, you would only have 20 per cent in year eleven, 40 per cent in year twelve and so on until you got to full taxation responsibility in the fifteenth year.

Mr. Speaker, we also provided for a similar exemption from certain municipal tax. We had originally, in the original piece of legislation provided that municipalities that wanted to, could choose either to provide total exemption from municipal business and property tax or no exemption at all, but they could not manipulate and vary the levels of taxes. The federation recommended to us that while they appreciated and understood the reason for that, what they felt would be better, is if we provided for a municipality having the right to exempt one or other, business tax or property tax or both, to give a municipality the right to maintain a property tax if it wished to do so, and we thought on balance, Mr. Speaker, that this was alright, any municipality that wished to do so could do that.

We also provide for start-up incentives. Mr. Speaker, this is intended to assist new companies to overcome the difficulties during the start-up period, bring productivity up to an acceptable level and overcome normal difficulties that you would get first starting up a business. We thought this would be appropriate in the circumstance because it is well known that when you start up a business, particularly if it is new investors coming in from outside, they are not familiar with the workforce or work habits or characteristics and so on, they could have extra burdens and we thought it not unreasonable to provide for this level of support, and I should explain to the House, Mr. Speaker, how that figure was arrived at.

The figure of $2,000 that's arrived at, that is provided for in that, was estimated to be the tax return that the provincial government would get from one individual employee during one year, so what we are giving up essentially, is the income tax that one employee would pay during one year on average, and we thought that that was a small price to pay to get that person a job that provided for income for the person and we get income tax from them after that, that is where it came from and that is the idea behind it, Mr. Speaker.

I am sorry, there was one other exemption that I had not mentioned in terms of tax exemptions. This legislation now contains an additional provision that was not in the White Paper that will give the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, the power, when the economic zones are properly structured and in place and we have proper statistics in relation to it, to provide for increasing the basic ten-year exemption period by one, two, three, four or five years depending upon the level of unemployment in a particular zone. We did not spell it all out in detail, we felt it should be provided for in regulation but I will tell the House what the government has in mind, that we would provide something of this nature. This is just by way of example.

An additional one year of basic exemption for every 5 percentage points by which the unemployment rate in a particular economic zone exceeded the provincial average; so if the provincial average was 20 per cent and a particular zone had a 25 per cent unemployment rate, we could go to eleven basic years. If the economic zone in which a company was prepared to start up had an unemployment rate of 55 per cent in the preceding five years, not just a one-shot thing but on a consistent basis over the preceding five years, had an unemployment rate of 55 per cent then we could go to the full additional five years and give a basic exemption of 15 years.

The reason for that is to provide the inducement for companies to invest in those areas of the Province that have the highest level of unemployment and have the greatest need for employment opportunity. Our objective is to make sure that economic activity takes place within the Province. We do not want to say no to somebody because they want to set up in Grand Falls, Mount Pearl, Corner Brook, or Carbonear. We do not want to say no to somebody because of that. If they want to do it that is fine, they are entitled to the basic benefit, but if they are prepared to go to the Burin Peninsula, to the Great Northern Peninsula, or to certain other parts of the Southwest Coast of this Province, or the Port au Port Peninsula, where the unemployment rate is 60 or 70 per cent, then we should be prepared to provide the additional that will act as an inducement.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: That is the reason why that was put there.

Mr. Speaker, I will wind up fairly quickly now. The legislation also provides for a couple of other things, the making available of raw Crown land. Where there is developed land, commercially developed and available, that should be land that is used and businesses should be expected to invest in that, but if there is no suitable developed land available we should provide the raw undeveloped Crown land, in respect of which the government has had no direct cost for development. We should provide that on a fifty year lease at nominal cost and include the right to acquire full title to it when the terms of the contract have been met after the ten or fifteen year period, or twenty year period, whatever was appropriate.

The final benefit is to provide for facilitators. Now, frankly I think this will make a major contribution. The public service, through no fault of their own, and here I am not seeking to blame the public service, at the same time we expect them to do things to promote economic development we impose on them the responsibility to make sure they do not do anything to excess, or give somebody benefits they should not have, and so on, so we are giving them constantly a mixed message and they are under pressure to be very scrupulous and disciplined in what they do, and that very often results in the retardation of proposals going through the public service.

Mr. Speaker, we want to provide for facilitators. We have not come to final conclusions on this yet, but we think we should probably think in terms of having one in Western Newfoundland, one somewhere in Central Newfoundland, and at least a couple or so in St. John's to start with. Now, we do not know if this can best be done by providing for paying a fee for outside private sector people doing it, that may well be, get consultants or contractors to do it. That is one possible way of doing it although I am a bit apprehensive about where the cost of that might go.

It might be best if we simply entered into a contractual arrangement for a period of a year or two, or three, rather than creating new positions in the public service that we may have to let go, so we are giving some thought to that position as to how it might work. It might be that it might work best by private contracting from outside. We are going to try and take a look at the cost that would be involved in that and look at how we can best handle it.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot guarantee to the House of Assembly that this legislation is going to cause a sudden major increase in employment in this Province, but I can say to the House that since we brought this White Paper forward last June we have had a very large number of enquiries from all over the world with respect to the opportunity. The Member for Waterford - Kenmount nods. I expect he has had some of them himself, and everybody has.

Mr. Speaker, we think it is a good, sound idea. We think it is what we need to make investment in this Province irresistible to people. I can say to the House that this morning I was on the phone talking to a person interested in the establishment of a business in this Province. He was not himself involved but he was dealing with establishment by others of a business in this Province that would provide several hundred jobs. What he wanted to know was: Is this legislation through? The people involved were asking him was this legislation through. That is the level of importance it has received.

I think it is important, Mr. Speaker, that we move quickly and expeditiously. I am going to ask the House to move very quickly now to put this legislation in place so that we can start without delay. As soon as we get by the Christmas season we can start promoting on the basis of: This is now the law. This is what is available to you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I ask the House, Mr. Speaker, to move through it expeditiously. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear! Hear, Hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition I gather wishes to respond to the Premier - that is appropriate, given the importance of this bill - and apparently would prefer not to speak today. I gather the communications that I had sent both here and behind the Chair -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have been saying in this House for several days that the EDGE bill would be called on Tuesday.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm not trying to blame anybody.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: But I'm just saying I have said here in the House several times the bill would be called on Tuesday. Even so -

PREMIER WELLS: Other members might want to speak.

MR. ROBERTS: - if there is nobody else who wants to speak on the matter, we can adjourn the debate, we can carry it on for a bit, or we can call the Kruger bill, which is one that the House has begun second reading on.

We want to carry on with it, but the Leader of the Opposition has the right to respond. If somebody wants to move (inaudible) we would carry on with Kruger and deal with the Kruger bill and hopefully clue it up today. Then we will come back on Thursday to the EDGE bill. But we did say quite clearly we would call the EDGE bill on Tuesday. I can get out the Hansards and show it, but we are willing to try to oblige the Opposition. If somebody wants to speak and the Leader of the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Somebody should adjourn the debate unless they want to carry on with it. Somebody on that side has to adjourn the debate for the Leader of the Opposition who is not in his chair.

PREMIER WELLS: Do you want to carry on with the debate or adjourn it?

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I adjourn debate on Bill No. 51.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, if it is helpful to accommodate. Is he ready to speak now?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: Okay, alright. I was going to say, if it was helpful I would be prepared to move the adjournment of the debate.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a few brief words. There was a little bit of confusion on our part, I guess, or whatever. We understood the Kruger bill was going to be introduced.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I understood that.

MR. SIMMS: Or our House Leader. He was away last week for a couple of days and the communication that went to the Deputy House Leader and back and so on and so forth got mixed up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) deputy deputy House Leader who is not here.

MR. SIMMS: Who is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh, the Member for Burin - Placentia West. Now that the minister mentions it. It is the Member for Burin - Placentia West, he is the one who is responsible for this gigantic mix-up.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, it is not that I couldn't make some comments but I would like to have a closer look at it again just to prepare a little bit more than I would be prepared today. I appreciate the agreement and the opportunity to defer my response to the legislation for Thursday, I presume. Is it Thursday? Or you haven't agreed.

MR. ROBERTS: It is my intention to call it on Thursday, yes.

MR. SIMMS: Okay, I appreciate that. In that light I move the adjournment of the debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, I wonder if we might have leave to revert to Motions 3 to 6? Simply to move those bills in so those which are printed can be distributed to members and members can have a look at them. Once that is done I will ask Your Honour to call the Kruger bill which is Order No. 22, Bill No. 42. But the Motions 3 through 6 first, if we could. We will need leave for that.

MR. SPEAKER: Do we have leave?

Leave granted.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Workers' Compensation Act (No.3)," carried. (Bill No. 59).

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Recording Of Evidence Act," carried. (Bill No. 60)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Reductions Of Pension Contributions By Employees In the Public Sector," carried. (Bill No. 58)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Hospital Insurance Agreement Act, The Insurance Companies Act And The Medical Care Insurance Act," carried. (Bill No. 61)

On motion, Bills No. 59, 60, 58 and 61 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, call Order 22, please, the adjourned debate on the Kruger bill. I am not sure whether my friend from Baie Verte - White Bay had finished or not.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I did have a few minutes yesterday. I would just like to make a few concluding remarks, I guess, about this particular bill, and first of all to just reiterate the point that we made yesterday that in principle we do support the bill and it is timely for that. Also, the point why we support it is the security of wood supply, which anybody would support in these times, the security of wood supply not just to Kruger, which this bill pertains to, but also the security of wood supply for Abitibi, and the security of wood supply for anybody in the forestry sector of this Province.

In principle, as I said yesterday, we all support the principle of this particular bill and the security of wood supply. We have no problem with that. The one aside point to that we mentioned yesterday, and I am sure my other two colleagues will go into depth on a few points that we raised yesterday. I have already quoted them to the minister, and I think he made note of them. I will just do it again. It is page 5, section 1(e), page 11, section 8(d), and page 12, section 8(e). I think the minister has made note of them and he will make some points with them and elaborate on them as he goes through.

I also know that my two colleagues have some specific points specifically pertaining to the Pasadena road highway, and the implication that this bill might have for that, and also the implication that it may have as far as municipal boundaries pertaining to the communities of Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Pasadena, so I think those we will get into more specifically with my two other colleagues who are about to speak on this.

Mr. Speaker, I do say that we do support the bill in general. I also make a note, too, that we also realize this was a convenient method for the government to put into the hands of Kruger another $15 million, which I am sure they will be glad to take off the hands of government. It will help them in their ongoing process in the wood sector, but we also have to realize that Abitibi, another large company in this Province, and also the private sawmillers and everybody else in this Province also have vested interest in the security of wood supply for the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: My time is up?

MR. SPEAKER: Your time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to make a few comments on this Bill 42. I would like to say from the outset that when I first looked at this particular piece of legislation, in consultation with the minister, I figured that not only could I support the principle of the bill, but I could support the contents of the bill plus all the exhibits that went with it and so on.

Now the more I studied the exhibits and the correspondence that went along with the bill - because really the purpose of this bill is set out in the long title, and that certainly needs a lot of explanation - one of the concerns I would like to bring up right away, especially since the Premier is here, and the minister responsible for forestry, is an article or a section in the agreement that says that they will not relinquish - I will read the exact section, Mr. Speaker. In the principle agreement, page 4, it says: All is more particularly shown on the map attached as schedule A - I will go into that a little further down - but excepting therefrom such of those lands in urban areas of the City of Corner Brook and the towns of Deer Lake and Pasadena as are described on the maps attached as schedule B.

I've been looking around for schedule B. I don't see a schedule B. I look at maps there with regard to Lots 100 and Lots 56, I look at schedule A, I look at different exhibits. There are exhibits 1, 2-1, 3-1, and so on, 2-3. But there is one very important section on page 4 that I cannot, unless the minister can give me some assurance, something to allay the fears on which I base my judgement on this particular paragraph, that is the exempting therefrom for the urban areas in Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Pasadena.

I don't know if any other members in the House of Assembly have had any experience over the years with people in their districts not being able to acquire title to their properties for residential purposes. I've been dealing with this for years all around my district in White Bay, White Bay South, in the Spillway, Deer Lake, Nicholsville, Howley, Cormack, Reidville areas, and also down through Humber Valley. I understand there are some down in Pasadena, and even references made in this agreement to the old Hammond farm property. That is another question that I have to get to.

I have people who got their land years ago, bought their land from Bowater's, and they never got it registered. When the land transferred to Kruger even some of that land, when bought from Kruger, was not registered. What happens when they go get title and want to go get a mortgage and want to go get renovations to their buildings or whatever? They can't get title to the property. I mentioned this I think to the Premier, if he has a minute, one time at the airport this year. We were talking about it there for a few minutes at the airport one evening going out. Now that he is here, this is why I would like to talk about this particular section, where the urban areas of the City of Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Pasadena are still exempt from this.

I can understand that, like I just said, any lands that were bought through Kruger or Bowater's, they will be looked after under this agreement. Because of the fact that it was sold beforehand those particular agreements will be honoured. I say to the Premier and the minister: What happens after this agreement goes through? It is a real nightmare up my way. The town of Deer lake, for instance. They have sections of the town that are owned by Kruger they can't develop. There is one section there, fifteen acres, another section eight acres, another section ten acres, and as you know Kruger bankers wouldn't let it go because they held it as collateral so you couldn't get title to it.

Under this agreement, the articles that I've gone through - I've gone through this in the back here, all those sections of land that were sold over the years and so on, my understanding is that they will be looked after under this agreement. Even if they are not a part of Reid Lots they will be looked after. That is the understanding the minister gave me. But any lands that are in Corner Brook, Deer Lake or Pasadena that are not registered, or with no bill of sale or anything like that, then they stay with Kruger.

For an example, if the town of Deer Lake tomorrow for instance wanted to put their lagoon system or put an industrial park, or someone came in to build a Tim Horton's or anything else, wanted that particular piece of land, then they can't get it. Unless through the good graces of Kruger and their banks they release it. That is the only way that they will let it go. That is what they are doing now, sometimes they will release it, sometimes they won't. They say the banks have it as collateral and they will not look at a person for residential in any case, although I have looked through all the sales here and I have noticed some sales over the past six or seven years that Kruger did make to some fairly high profile people in the Corner Brook area with no problem, that is what I cannot understand about it.

I have three people in Deer Lake today who got monies from the banks, cannot get title to their property, cannot get title whatsoever, cannot sell because their land, for instance, is on a part of Kruger. It is just six inches, a foot or two feet on a part of Kruger or whatever and they cannot get title to their property. Now that is one of the concerns I have with this section. The rest of it I know will be covered but anything - my understanding is, and I want to get it quite clear, that anything that is not listed here will not be covered under this agreement and, Mr. Speaker, that in my area, means an awful lot.

Now under another schedule there or in the agreement it talks about the $15 million. There was $7 million for the last fiscal year and $7.5 for the next fiscal year that will come out of the consolidated revenue fund and go to Kruger for the purchase of the 300-and-some-odd thousand hectares of land that was in this agreement or 272 thousand hectares of land that was in this agreement but in the indenture - another question I have, well the minister is not here now so the Premier can answer - why in the indenture is the $15 million not mentioned? It is mentioned in the agreement but it is not in the indenture and the indenture is usually the one that gets registered. The $15 million is mentioned in the principle agreement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, well this is it but usually when an individual has a house, a piece of land or anything, you go get it registered. If it is a gift you usually say I gave it to so and so for the price of one dollar. That is usually treated as a gift and then the department puts a fair market value on that and they put a price on it for registration. Now that thought crossed my mind -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, maybe that is the explanation, that government don't charge themselves registration. I don't know but I mean when I looked at the agreement and looked at the indenture for one dollar, that made me question it, that's all. I was used to dealing with land over the years, being on council and so on and with my own properties, and that was always a question that came up and more so today because the price of registration today is gone way up. If there is another reason - I mean it is a legitimate sale - if it is in the agreement for $15 million and the government is not charging themselves registration fees well then maybe that is the explanation but I don't know. There might be something else to it.

Now if the Premier would answer those couple of questions, because I have more here. If he wants to answer those couple of questions, I will yield.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: By leave of the House, Mr. Speaker, I will just answer those questions.

The member was concerned that lands in Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Pasadena would not now be available because they would be under the control of the company.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: They are now and they are going to remain under the control of the company, yes, and he is concerned about that. The other lands that will be coming to us will be Crown lands and like any other Crown land anybody who wants it can apply for it and ultimately it will simply go into the bank of Crown lands and be managed under the Crown Lands Act, except to the extent that there are obligations honoured in respect to the supply of wood, the member understands that.

The request to keep lands in Corner Brook, Deer Lake and Pasadena were for operational reasons of the company. The company does not own any more land in Corner Brook other than lands pretty well in the vicinity of the mill and going up by Corner Brook stream up to Watson's Brook and where their water-pipe line is and the lands around the Glynmill Inn Pond, all the lands in Corner Brook that the company own were gone except such as have already been divested or leased. I think the only block of land that the company would be left with that is under lease, is the Blow-Me-Down Golf Club; I think that was leased and I don't know for how many years but it was leased as far as I know in Bowaters' days to Blow-Me-Down, but there will be no real quantity of land left in Corner Brook. They might own something up by Riverside Drive too, but those are things that they use in connecting with their operational purposes and in the ordinary course, they wouldn't be selling those lands.

The same applies to Deer Lake. Now not all lands in Deer Lake are not being transferred. There are some lands in Deer Lake being transferred, as the hon. member knows. My recollection is that there are some, the only ones that are inside of a certain area that the company considers it could have a conceivable operational need for and, it is important to us to keep that company in good operating circumstances because it is responsible for many hundreds of jobs in this Province, so the government has no wish to do anything to impair the operational ability of that company and the same applies to some land in Pasadena. The company and their woods operations over the years had some lands in Pasadena that they have held, but it is a relatively small amount of land -

MS. VERGE: But where is schedule B (inaudible)?

PREMIER WELLS: Where is what?

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).


PREMIER WELLS: If I can have the agreement, I will look for it but it has all been tabled. In the meantime, while he is getting that, let me go to another couple of points.

The member says you cannot get title from Kruger Inc. Well, that is not exactly correct. The member also identified some where people did get title, he had a list. He had a list of conveyances out, so there were a lot of conveyances out of the lands that were otherwise described as being transferred to the government and that exemption, that list is provided, the member has it, and so he knows.

Now, there is going to be, over a period of the next number of months, there is going to have to be a fair amount of survey work to put all that in order and make sure that the lands that are vested in the Crown are properly described and we know exactly what we are talking about, but what is in that agreement is, agreement in principle, and that list that has been provided I believe is a list of conveyances that the company has made out of these Reid lots, so there are exemptions from the conveyance of the generally described Reid lots; so they have notified the government of the list of all of these conveyances, and the Crown lands people will ultimately get all the meets and bounds and put that on plans and have in place so they know exactly what we are dealing with.

Kruger Inc., like Bowater before it, mortgaged its lands and assets to secure bank financing. I remember when you couldn't get a piece of land in Corner Brook until you sent a deed to England to be endorsed by the White Hall Trust, by the Royal Trust Company and by eight or ten other trust companies who were trustees for various bond holders and so on. The company couldn't sell a single piece of land and many of the old title deeds in Corner Brook will have all of those signatories in order to release them from the terms of the mortgage.

Now, it was complex and it took a lengthy period of time to go and get these kinds of approvals and my guess is, Kruger Inc. were encountering similar difficulties. There are a number of people who have simply squat on company lands and are claiming titles as squatters. Whether they are entitled to it or not remains to be seen, but those people probably couldn't get a deed simply because they didn't negotiate the purchase of the land, they squat on the land. This is not new. This did not happen just in recent years. It happened, too, when Bowaters were there, so there may be problems of that nature that government is going to have to deal with. I think the company alerted the government, if I recall correctly, to a number of people who were in possession of certain blocks of company land without having any titled deeds, so there are a number of people illegally occupying certain blocks of land and government is going to have to deal with that issue as well.

The other question the member asked is why the value was not mentioned in the conveyance? It is totally unnecessary where you are not required to register it and very often you do it just for a dollar. Now, the whole world knows that government is paying $15 million for these lands, so the mere fact that it is done for $1 is not at all unusual. Many conveyances have that in it. Even where the consideration is actual and is between private parties, and there is an actual consideration, they may well express the consideration to be for $1 and then file an affidavit of value for purposes of determining the registration fee.

Mr. Speaker, I say the hon. member does not need to concern himself unduly on that account. There is nothing of any great significance in it one way or the other. Those are the things he mentioned that I jotted down. If there is something else I missed I would be happy to try and answer it for him, but those are the things he mentioned.

Mr. Speaker, let me just say this in speaking to it, if the member will allow me. I think it is a good deal for the Province. A hundred years ago when the government of the day was building the railway and they followed the Canadian Pacific precedent of giving 500 acres of land for every mile of railroad that was built they gave away an awful lot of the land of this Province. In fact the Bowater Company had control over 20 per cent of the surface of the Island part of this Province. When they had all the licenses they had required and all the Crown lands it amounted to the right to manage 20 per cent of the surface lands of this Province. That was unacceptable.

The former government here in the Province made a wise acquisition when they acquired from the Reid companies title to a major portion of the Reid lands that were not held by the paper companies. From the Reid companies they acquired pretty well all they held, as I recall, correctly. I do not think they got the mineral rights but they got all the surface rights and I think that was a sound thing to have done.

This proposal, Mr. Speaker, is of exactly the same nature. We are now re-acquiring for Crown purposes all of the remaining Reid lands that had been transferred to the original woods company. I think it is a very sound investment for the people of this Province for the future.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the section in there with regards to Kruger. If the minister or the Premier can tell me that the only lands they are going to keep in Deer Lake, for instance, is around the transmission lines, the right of way, the main dam, the canal, and so on, but I have a funny feeling that the other lands in Deer Lake will not be released.

Now, they could be on this Schedule B because it refers to Schedule B and I do not see it. It is not in my package. I cannot find it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: With the hon. member's permission, Schedule B was maps. That is why people did not get copies of them. Schedule B(2), B(3), and B(1) is the area around Corner Brook and it shows the municipal boundaries of Corner Brook.

MS. VERGE: All of Corner Brook?

PREMIER WELLS: It is all of Corner Brook.

MS. VERGE: Is it all of Pasadena?

PREMIER WELLS: No, there is nothing in Pasadena at all. What was formerly known as Pasadena it's in part of South Brook. It is all Pasadena now but it is two original grants in South Brook, the remaining land they own in those two original grants. The pink area is the Pasadena area on the topographical map. It is the lands down by the water side, the remaining lands that they own down there, and in the case of Deer Lake it is the land that is on - I can show the hon. member a copy of it - it is pretty well all around the Deer Lake area. Anything they own within the municipal boundaries of the Town of Deer Lake they are keeping and the line, I believe, is the Trans-Canada Highway. Everything on the community of Deer Lake side of the Trans-Canada Highway they are keeping, and everything within the city limits - that is not quite right - the city limits of Corner Brook are larger than this. It is everything that is within an area - I am not sure what those boundaries really represent, but it is not the full city limits of Corner Brook. It is everything within the urban area of Corner Brook, which is the way it was described.

They don't own a whole lot, except the valley up through where they run the water system and have the water supply system for the mill, and the tank farm on Mount Bernard Avenue and so on.

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

MR. WOODFORD: The question still remains. Now, it is obvious that they weren't in the packages that we got - Schedule B wasn't in there, and that pertained to the three maps for each community - but why would they want to keep all the land in the Town of Deer Lake? I can understand them keeping the limits up to the canal, the Junction Brook section, the transmission line section. I can understand the power house section. Why would they want to keep all the lands that are undeveloped in the Town of Deer Lake and not let them go?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier, by leave.

PREMIER WELLS: It is fairly simple. The proposition that they put to us was this: We don't know what next year, or the next year, or the next year may bring in terms of what our operational requirements will be. We may need some of that land on Riverside Drive in Corner Brook, or Mount Bernard Avenue in Corner Brook, or up the valley. We may need some of that land that is in the Town of Deer Lake in connection with our operation. They have a big operation in Deer Lake, both woods and power operations focused out of Deer Lake. We don't know what tomorrow or next year or the next decade may bring, and we need to have those lands available to us so as not to impair our ability to expand. They have them all now. I don't see any reason why the government should have pressed them to get those lands.

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

MR. WOODFORD: With all due respect, the lands that are undeveloped in Deer Lake and owned by Kruger they will never use if they stay there for the next 200 years. The land around the power house, yes, but the rest out in the Town of Deer Lake, they are even closing places down, the old Bowaters building and Kruger stores in Deer Lake now are closed out and up for sale, so the rationale for not including this in that particular... I can understand, like I said, all around the power house there, no problem, but the rationale for not including the stuff that is far removed from any development in Deer Lake as it pertains to Kruger should have been excluded in this package.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier, by leave.

PREMIER WELLS: I have to tell the member, don't forget, this was a negotiated arrangement. This wasn't us passing a law saying, this must be included. This was negotiated between the two parties, the government on the one side and the company on the other, and it had to be reached by agreement. That was the proposition that the company put, and that was the argument they put to government. Now, their argument may not hold water, they may never have anything, but that was the negotiated position. We think that the end result was a good deal overall for the Province. That was the negotiated result, and that is the position the company wanted to take.

They also wanted to include Gander and one other and we said: That's irrational; you're not going to have any kind of operation in Gander, and we persuaded them of that, and Gander was excluded.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of other things there that I would like to refer to, but this one here is very important, I know, to the people and the council in Deer Lake, and the business people. To try to expand in Deer Lake, you know what happens in any municipality today when you go outside your boundary; you can't expand. To be perfectly honest about it, I cannot support an agreement or a piece of legislation that is still going to tie up and bound and keep the Town of Deer Lake from expanding, I just cannot do it. That is what is going to happen. The Premier might shake his head and so on, but it is going to happen.

The irony in this, though, is: How come, in number 7 on page 9, we looked after the Hammond Farm property? That is all looked after. We put that in the form of a lease to be negotiated again in the year 2008. It is there since Fishers had it. We can go back to the time the Fisher people had it there. Now, it is all out and that is looked after. Everything else is looked after with regard to the Gander proposition, the main dam proposition, the Corner Brook, Pasadena.... This is the only one that is in there that could be detrimental to a community.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, if I can -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: With the hon. member's leave. The Hammond farm wasn't looked after in the manner in which the hon. member says. Let me remind the hon. member what the situation is.

The people who had the lease from Bowater on Hammond Farm exercised their option to purchase. The lease contained a right to acquire the property if the company ever decided to sell it. When it was being sold to the government, they exercised their option to purchase. They have put forward a purchase price that government thinks is unrealistic and we told the company we weren't prepared to accept it. So the Hammond farm goes to government, but an option to purchase has already been exercised. There is no agreement on the right of it - that is what the Hammond farm situation is.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the House. I have to go, due to other (inaudible).

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, then, I say to the minister and members opposite that if it was good enough to negotiate an agreement with the people who own Hammond farm, it should have been good enough to negotiate an agreement for the lands that are owned by Kruger in the town of Deer Lake, and anything else that could be detrimental to any.... Now, I don't know about Corner Brook, I don't know about Pasadena, when it comes to being detrimental to development, but in the town of Deer Lake, it is not only detrimental to development, it is detrimental to some people who have houses there.

I notice in this agreement, in the package also, that in the back of this package all those conveyances, acquisitions and grants that were done over the years from back in 1923 up to and including 1986 - 1987, some - there is also a list in the back, of the land transactions that are partially completed. Now, it is incumbent, I would say, on Kruger, to complete those transactions. If that is part of the agreement, I would say also - and the minister can confirm this - that it is only the ones that are listed that it would be incumbent on them to complete - only those that are listed.

Mr. Speaker, that leads me to this, another worrisome thing: that any partial land transactions that are not listed in that package, and people who have not come forward to Kruger, whether they - I know there are some old senior citizens there who don't know where their papers are and don't have anybody to do anything for them, and never completed the transactions - who is going to look after them? Will they be looked after by Crown lands? When the disposition takes place, will they - would the minister, even a small amendment to this particular legislation would look after those people. They are not big companies, they are the ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have a piece of property. Like the Premier said, some of it through squatter's - if it was Crown land, they would be looked after by Crown land under squatter's rights. Any land in the Province occupied previous to October 23 -

MS. VERGE: A lot of them have deeds but never registered them.


MS. VERGE: They won't be protected.

MR. WOODFORD: Unless they are listed. If they are listed on this, they will be looked after by Crown lands. If they are not listed, then they are not going to be looked after. If they are listed on this then Crown lands will look after them, when the disposition takes place. But my worry, if this goes through, is that those who are not listed are not going to be looked after.

This, to me, Mr. Speaker, is wrong. Kruger should not have the right to dictate to the town of Deer Lake or any other town in this Province. Now, this is not the first time - I will say something this evening that I said in this House before; I have said it on a good many occasions in debate in this House: that as far as I am concerned, every piece of property, every piece of land, every hectare, owned by Abitibi-Price, or Kruger in this Province should be taken back, period. They should not own a hectare of property in this Province.

If I want to cut 10,000 cubic meters of wood, or 5,000 cubic meters of wood, I have to go to the minister and get a permit. Should it be any more -

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

MR. DECKER: If you were to take the land back from them, would you pay them for taking it back?

MR. WOODFORD: Would I what?

MR. DECKER: Would you reimburse them for taking the land back from them?

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

MR. WOODFORD: In this case, Mr. Speaker, they have been paid and paid well over the years, no question, but not to just shrug off the minister's question, yes, I think, it would be fair to pay them. The price here with regard to buying land back is not bad, but when you look at what is in here, nobody working with Kruger is going to fool me by giving me a map and showing me the sections on this map. I can tell him exactly where - and the minister, especially down in the minister's area, he is well aware of what is going on down there.

In this agreement, they are going to give him first call on the pulpwood in the Roddickton area, but they always had it and they never cut it, and they wouldn't give it to the people down there to cut - they couldn't even run their sawmills. You wouldn't give them a permit to cut it, yet Abitibi-Price could go in there and take the wood and truck it right to Stephenville. It didn't make sense, Mr. Speaker.

The irony in this is that Kruger and Abitibi have to come back to the minister and ask him to approve their annual allowable cut. Every year he has to approve an annual allowable cut; whether it is 45,000 cubic meters, 50,000 cubic meters, or 60,000 cubic meters, they have to come to government every year. The minister has the right to say, no, you are not cutting 10,000 cubic meters there, 30,000 over there, and 20,000 there, you are going to cut the 45,000 or 50,000 cubic meters there. The minister has that power and that right to do so.

Now, I have been hearing a lot of comments around here these last few days about the viability and the long-term wood supply for Kruger. Kruger is one of the best off companies today when it comes to wood supply on this Island. They are in good shape, excellent shape when it comes to wood supply, but the company that is not in good shape is Abitibi-Price - that is a little different. Abitibi-Price, in another six or seven years, or probably sooner than that, is going to be in trouble, especially with wood that is in proximity - or that would be viable, I suppose, viable operations that would supply the mill in Corner Brook. Then again, we have to look at Labrador, and that is another matter.

Mr. Speaker, my time, I would say, is just about up and those are two real concerns. The funny thing about it is I mentioned the Hammond farm property, and that is understandable. It is only right that an agreement should be made for the lease, or whatever deal they are going to make on it. That is a prime piece of agricultural land on the banks of the Humber River - a prime piece.

But I notice another part of the agreement that takes out (inaudible) and I think I questioned the minister on that before. He said that was a couple of cabins owned by Kruger. Now, they look after themselves. They took out the couple of cabins owned by Kruger, no problem. They are looking after themselves and taking title to that particular piece of property. The other thing, Mr. Speaker, is when Kruger was given the right of first refusal, on, I think it is Section 20, in the minister's area, down around Roddickton - it is Section 20 or Section 26, I am not sure - but anyway, first refusal down there, I think it says in the agreement they extended that for twenty years. Well, that is a good thing; there is nothing wrong with that, provided that if they don't use it, if someone from Roddickton or someone from that area, Englee, or anyone down there, wants to go in and get a permit for 5,000 cubic metres of wood, and Kruger is not using it, they should be given a permit to cut it. Because there is a lot of over-mature timber in that area that should not be left, it should be cut.

I know people in the minister's area last year who had cut their 2,000 or 2,500 cubic metres and could not get a permit to cut extra - and that is wrong, those people wanted to work. They were small saw-millers and intermediate saw-millers and they wanted to work but they could not get the right to go in and go above 2,500 or 3,000 cubic metres or whatever they had for their annual allowable cut, and that is not right. I got it on the Chouse Brook Road in Hampden, I got it in White River now, Bridgers Pond area, over-mature timber for years - an excellent agreement with the paper companies to go in and take what is good for saw logs and put the rest into pulpwood. More of this has to happen.

I have an entrepreneur now in the Cormack area putting up a mill. It is going to cost over $550,000 to put up a new mill, and he even has orders to export outside the Province - all coming off the limits on the White River Road, Bridgers Pond area. Jobs; there are going to be sixteen or seventeen year-round jobs - not eight weeks or ten weeks, but year-round jobs, and that is the kind of stuff we need, agreements like that to make sure that this timber is utilized.

I say to the minister that if there is anything that can be done in talking to Kruger to try to include the land within the boundaries of Deer Lake that are not conducive to Kruger, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Deer Lake Power or whichever, to looking after their interests, then it should be given back to the Crown so that the Town of Deer Lake or individuals in Deer Lake, Spillway, Nicholsville, Howley, and so on, should be able to apply for a title to their properties. A town like Deer Lake would be able to apply for permission to develop their properties.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement should not be signed until there is some kind of commitment by Kruger to those people and to places like the Town of Deer Lake. Now, there are other places around, let us not forget, there are members opposite sitting in districts where the same thing applies but they may not realize it yet. There are some small pockets around -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, the Reid Lots are coming back and everything in here will be looked after but there are other areas around that have small pockets of land that have been utilized now by Kruger and hopefully that is in the agreement. I don't know, maybe it is in the agreement. But one thing the minister, and I think, the Premier and his Cabinet colleagues, should look at, is including that land, the undeveloped land in Deer Lake that would not be detrimental to Kruger to carry on their operations; anything else, yes, let it go.

I say to the minister as well, that there are people out there today who are waiting for this to go through, and the six-month disposition in the agreement should be moved up at least - as soon as this agreement takes place it should be moved up so that people can get title to their properties, especially for people having to do with residence. Anything else, cabin lots - the Crown lands accepting applications for cabin lots or wood lots, okay, I can understand that going down the road four, five or six months, but anybody who has a piece of property today who is waiting for a home to be renovated, or has a mortgage to the bank and the bank is holding a note, their properties - the Crown land should deal with them up front and try to get it done as soon as possible.

So I say to the minister, when this agreement goes through - because it will go through in any case, I will have to fight the battle another day with Kruger with regard to the lands in Deer Lake. It will go through; the government has the majority so it will go through, and Kruger will have their money and everybody will be happy except for the individuals I have to deal with every day of the week. But I say to the minister two things; the boundaries, the land within the town of Deer Lake, should be negotiated with Kruger so that the town can use it for development and the disposition of the lands when this passes over to Crown lands be looked after, especially as it pertains to the people who have a residence on a piece of property.

Those are the two most important requests, as far as I am concerned, that the minister should look after.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that my time is up. I thank you for the time, and I am looking forward to the minister's response.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on the principle of this bill which I regard as extremely important legislation, important because it affects one of the largest and most significant industries in the Province, the pulp and paper mill in Corner Brook, and the related woodlands operations, and important because the bill, in ratifying an agreement, affects a large part of the land mass of the Island of Newfoundland.

This map, which was provided to me and my colleagues yesterday by officials of the Minister of Natural Resources, indicates the extent of the land mass being affected by the agreement. A very large portion of the Island of Newfoundland, either freehold or aspects of the rights to the land, is being affected by the agreement.

Now, I am concerned that this measure is not receiving sufficient attention, either in this House of Assembly or in the Province around us. The people who live in the areas indicated on this map are largely oblivious of what is going on. My colleague from Humber Valley spoke from personal experience about how some of his constituents have been affected adversely by the previous arrangement, and he expressed disappointment that their problems in many cases are not going to be solved because of the exceptions from what is being transferred to the Crown or the government in the urban areas of Deer Lake, Pasadena and Corner Brook.

I appreciated the briefing by the minister's officials for me and a couple of my colleagues yesterday, and I would like to urge the minister to arrange for his officials to have a similar session for the news media and interested members of the public in Western Newfoundland, and I would encourage him to do that quickly, before this bill is passed by the House of Assembly.

I said that the measure is important for the mill in Corner Brook as well as for the Province as a whole. The agreement being ratified by the bill provides for the government paying Corner Brook Pulp and Paper $15 million in two instalments. In return, the government gains more rights than it has now over a large part of the land mass of the Island. The Crown regains rights which were transferred to the paper company, predecessors of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, in the 1920s for the most part, when the mill and the power plant were built.

Mr. Speaker, the $15 million was pledged by the government presumably following negotiations last spring when Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was in a cash crunch, and when the company hierarchy indicated that they were wavering, perhaps on the edge of insolvency, with insufficient cash to meet current requirements, and after the company had sought concessions from its employees. The employees did give concessions by sacrificing income, essentially giving a loan to the company, and the government contributed by pledging the $15 million over two years, so the cash crunch was endured by the company and from all reports the company is now doing quite well.

Some of the threats by the company last spring, really did not make any sense, it is apparent that the newsprint market has improved, newsprint is a cyclical industry, the demand and supply balance wavers from time to time and the price varies. By last spring it seemed that the market had brightened and the decline and the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. currency was a big factor in favour of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's operations. A large percentage of the Corner Brook mill output is sold into the U.S. market and basically, the lower the Canadian dollar versus U.S. currency, the more money Corner Brook Pulp and Paper makes, the same is true for our other natural resource industries exporting to the U.S., so the short to medium-term outlook for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper appears quite rosy.

People may question whether the $15 million payment from the provincial government was really necessary to get the company through last spring's cash crunch; but nevertheless, the government is getting some return for the $15 million payment and in my own opinion, which I voiced at the time, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's operation is so significant to the Province; it is a primary producer, it brings money into the Province, it is one of our mainstay employers and it certainly warrants from time to time, assistance from the government to ensure its viability.

The consideration the government is getting as I mentioned, includes land and some rights to land which had earlier been alienated in the deals made seventy years ago or more, to get the mill started. Mr. Speaker, many people since then have questioned the wisdom of alienating so much of our land to a private paper company, and this government, in giving the rationale for the $15 million bail out, talked about the desirability of regaining some of the land or rights to land.

Now that is completely at odds with the stated government policy on privatizing Hydro and the water rights that go with Hydro's hydroelectric generating facilities. I just want to point out that inconsistency, and we have now as Minister for Natural Resources, in charge of forestry, the same minister who, was at least nominally in charge of the Hydro privatization effort. Most people realize, however, that the Premier has been directing both exercises.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have to ask what is the government doing in - to use the Premier's phrase - discharging its responsibility for forest management? My colleague from Humber Valley expressed confidence about the adequacy of the wood supply for the mill in Corner Brook, but voiced worries about the wood supply for the Abitibi-Price mills in Grand Falls and Stephenville. There is no doubt that over all there is a wood supply shortage coming.

At the briefing session yesterday, the minister's officials said unequivocally that we do have a wood supply shortage, and, Mr. Speaker, the provincial government has sole power over forests. The Province has exclusive jurisdiction over forests and, unlike the fishery which has, since Confederation, been under the control of a remote Federal Government, and which has been subject to raiding by foreigners, the woods are entirely within the control of this Provincial Government. So, if we find ourselves short of wood to supply either one of the three paper mills, we will have only ourselves and our Provincial Government to blame.

Mr. Speaker, when my colleague from Baie Verte voiced fears about the adequacy of the wood supply, and asked the former Minister of Forestry and Agriculture what steps the Province was taking to avert depletion of trees analogous to the depletion of the fish stocks, the former minister said not to worry because there is really no comparison; trees can't swim. Mr. Speaker, if the forests weren't such an important resource, and the worry about depletion of trees not so great, the minister's answer would have been laughable.

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister of Natural Resources to tell us what changes the government will be introducing to try to boost the wood supply. Does the government have a plan to ensure that the wood requirements of the three paper mills will be met, not just in the short term but over the long haul? If there is a plan, what is the plan?

Mr. Speaker, what is the government doing in the way of tree planting, of reforestation, of silviculture, of thinning, to ensure that wood grows to its optimal level? Does the government really know what effect on regrowth the mechanical harvesters are having?

The current Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agri-Foods, I think, is the title, when he was a backbencher, expressed concerns that the harvesters are depleting the soil, the fertile soil, and stripping nutrients that are important for the regrowth of trees. Now that he is in the Cabinet he may retreat in a similar way to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He may no longer express any concern about mechanical harvesters, but when he was in the back bench he said in this House of Assembly very clearly, the minister of food and fish, the Member for St. George's who likes to tell people that he has a Ph.D. in something or other, something to do with agriculture, he talked about the destructive effect of mechanical harvesters. He said very clearly that the harvesters are stripping soil and impeding regrowth of trees.

Does the government really understand the effect of the harvesters? It is attractive in the short term for the companies to have the harvesters because they reduce payroll costs, or they reduce the cost of wood purchased from contractors. Obviously, with the use of mechanical harvesters the logging operation becomes more capital intensive and less reliant on workers or labour, but is the long-term viability of the industry, and therefore the long-term economic feasibility of Newfoundland, being sacrificed for the sake of short-term profits for the companies, for Kruger and Abitibi-Price?

Perhaps the greatest single problem in our Province today is the massive unemployment rate. The true rate must be well over 40 per cent. The official rate, according to the federal government, is over 20 per cent but as members realize the federal statistic does not count people who have been displaced by the collapse of the fish stocks, the people who are receiving federal fisheries compensation. Neither does the unemployment figure take into account the people on social assistance. The social assistance caseload has just about doubled in the last four or five years presumably because many people who formerly worked, who are still able to work and want to work cannot find work. So the true unemployment statistic is probably well over 40 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, why don't we look at putting some able-bodied unemployed people to work in the woods, harvesting wood in a more environmentally acceptable way which will maximize chances for regrowth? If it costs more, as it will, having more people cutting than is the case now with mechanical harvesters, will cost more but would it not be reasonable for the government to pay the extra cost in the interest of securing a long term wood supply?

Mr. Speaker, it is a position that I have been advocating. I think others in the party have voiced similar sentiments. In Opposition we do not have access to nearly as much information as members of the Cabinet. We do not have the whole civil service at our disposal. I don't claim to know all the answers but I do have a fear, which I have heard expressed by many others in the Province, including people who know more than I do about the woods, that (a) we will have, sooner rather than later, insufficient wood to meet the needs of the three paper mills. I heard that said very clearly at the briefing yesterday by the deputy Minister of Natural Resources. So I assume that the Premier and members of the Cabinet are of the view that we have a wood supply problem, notwithstanding the comment of the previous minister that there is no worry about depletion of trees because trees can't swim.

So, number one, I fear that we have a wood supply problem. Number two, I have not been convinced that the government has a plan to deal with the pending wood supply shortage. Number three, I'm afraid that the mechanical harvesters which the companies are using to reduce payroll costs and maximize profits in the short term will jeopardize the medium- to long-term wood supply. I quoted the Member for St. George's who knows more than many of us about agriculture who said that the mechanical harvesters are stripping the soil and will make it much more difficult for regrowth.

I know that we have a massive unemployment problem, so what I'm saying is that the government should invest heavily in employing people who are now out of work but wanting to work in the woods cutting - in a more environmentally acceptable way than is now being done - planting - the government through this transaction will gain freehold title to most of the Bonavista Peninsula, an area that I think has been damaged by fire but would be, I'm told, a prime location for planting, for silviculture - and have people working in the woods thinning or doing whatever is necessary to cultivate trees.

Mr. Speaker, in other parts of the world, in the southern U.S. for example, which has a much better climate and much more favourable growing conditions than we have, trees essentially are farmed. I believe we are going to have to work more in that direction.

MR. BAKER: An example is Scotland. Look at what they do in Scotland. The same climate as ours (inaudible).

MS. VERGE: The Member for Gander, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, is saying that we should look at what is being done in Scotland, which has a climate more like ours than the southern U.S. That sounds like a very good idea. I'm glad to see some interest on the part of the Member for Gander and some other members opposite.

Mr. Speaker, the government is not necessarily going to be a better steward of the timber rights which it is regaining under this transaction than the companies have been. The government owes a responsibility to all the citizens and has a duty to look after the long-term economic interests of our citizens, but governments before have acted in irresponsible ways. The Federal Government mismanaged the fish stocks, so just because the Provincial Government is gaining more control for the $15 million, and will be in a stronger position to manage the woods, doesn't mean that the government will do a good job of it, so we are all going to have to be more vigilant than we have been in the past of the Provincial Government. This transfer will provide a golden opportunity for the Provincial Government to cultivate trees, to nurture trees, and to try to redress the growing lag between the requirements of the mills and the supply.

Mr. Speaker, the paper mills, as important as they are, are not the only users of wood. There are other businesses and other citizens who use, or who would like to use, trees and land. I share the concerns of my colleague for Humber Valley that some of those people have been unduly frustrated by the ownership of the company, which has all its assets mortgaged. I, too, know of individuals who have had major difficulties clearing the title to land in communities. I helped somebody living in Corner Brook try to clear the title to a small piece of land in Howley. Now thankfully Howley, as I understand it, will be turned over to the Crown, so now such individuals will have to deal with the provincial civil service instead of dealing with Mr. Kendrick at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper in Corner Brook.

The problem remains, however, for people within the accepted urban centres of Deer Lake, Pasadena and Corner Brook and, the same as my colleague for Humber Valley, I really don't accept the Premier's explanation.

MR. ROBERTS: Would the hon. member yield for a second?

MS. VERGE: Sure.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, I thank the hon. lady. She has, I am told, some seven minutes left to speak, and I understand there is nobody else who proposes to speak on the other side -


MR. ROBERTS: Oh, sh. Don't say that; it is not parliamentary. Then we won't finish the bill today unless the House wants to sit until, say, 5:30 p.m. if that's agreeable. Remember, we are not sitting tomorrow.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Hold on, now. If there is more than one we are not going to go on late tonight.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I understand the gentleman from St. John's East wants to enlighten us on this. Would the House agree, then, to sit until 5:30 p.m.? The minister needs two minutes to close. We are not sitting tomorrow and we could give the bill second reading. I think it has support everywhere. Is that agreeable? If not, we will adjourn at 5:00 p.m. in the usual way.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I don't mind returning at five if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - but I mean, the hon. lady has seven minutes left and she will -

MS. VERGE: I don't need the seven minutes.

MR. ROBERTS: Okay, and then my friend from St. John's East only has half-an-hour and if he uses that, I mean we could do it at 5:30, if that is agreeable to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well the minister says he could use two minutes to close, that is all he will need.

MS. VERGE: He should take more than two minutes.

AN HON. MEMBER: But he will get it in Committee. In Committee he will deal with the questions.

MR. ROBERTS: We will deal with it in Committee.

AN HON. MEMBER: Committee is the details, it is just the principle anyway.

MR. ROBERTS: Now I am in the hands of the House.

That's agreed then - Okay so the House will not rise at five by consent. Mr. Speaker, we will sit until 5:30 if that is agreeable to all hands or 5:20 and we will deal with it here and in Committee if that is okay? I thank the hon. lady for (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Is the hon. Government House Leader putting that as a motion or is it just a consent?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, by leave. I think I have stated it and there is no dissenting voice, if that is agreeable to the Chair, Sir? I thank the hon. lady.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will wind up very quickly.

I had really made all the points I intended to make. Before I sit down though, I want to repeat one of my opening comments which is a request to the minister to arrange very quickly, very soon, to have his officials provide for the news media in the Corner Brook area, for the news media in Western Newfoundland, a briefing about this bill.

The bill itself ratifies an agreement which is extremely important for people throughout the Province, but particularly people who live in Western Newfoundland, by affecting Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and by transferring a large part of a land mass of the Island, or rights to a great deal of the land, and I think, because of the distance involved, most people in Western Newfoundland are unaware of what is going on and the only way to get the information across I believe, would be to have the minister's staff with maps meet face to face with news reporters, who in turn can convey the information to citizens in the western part of the Island.

Thank you.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take this opportunity to speak on Bill 42, "An Act To Ratify, Confirm And Adopt An Agreement Entered Into Between The Government Of The Province And Corner Brook Pulp And Paper Limited".

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate what the previous speaker said, the Member for Humber East, that this is in fact a very significant and important piece of legislation. It is one of those pieces of legislation, Mr. Speaker, that is going to affect the people of this Province for - well at least until 2037. I have had occasion in the past to review legislation entered into between the predecessors of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, Bowater and its predecessors and also with Abitibi Price and its predecessors the A & D Company and others.

These pieces of legislation, Mr. Speaker, are very, very far reaching in their affects. I have to make some kind of comment about the process of making public this document. Any previous consultations with the public in entering into this document are now being presented with a fairly complex procedure or a listing of all the various Reid Lots here and there and surface rights in some cases, timber and surface rights in other cases. I assume in all cases the mineral rights are going to stay with Kruger or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. All the mineral rights that are associated with these Reid -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: They are already with the Crown so it is only timber and surface rights involved, okay. I just took the ministers confirmation that the Crown already owns all the mineral rights associated with these Reid lots. So it is certainly a comfort to know that in this reverse privatization bill, the government which has been proposing privatization all over the place is now a reverse privatization bill, the principle of which I support. I note that the Member for Humber Valley also supports this kind of reverse privatization. He said all the timber lands that have been put out to these companies ought to revert to the Crown and I agree with him. As a general principle the lands of the Province and particularly the developmental lands, ought to belong to the Province.

We have seen in other cases across this country - such as the Province of Alberta for example, Alberta still in fact owns all the oil underneath its ground despite its high profile, pro-entrepreneur, pro-business rights, every single drop of oil in Alberta is owned by the Alberta government. Every single drop of oil in the ground is owned by the Alberta government. Every lease agreement and every right that is granted to any oil exploration company or oil development company in the Province of Alberta contains a clause which says that this agreement may be changed at any time by the Government of Alberta. That gives the Crown, in the case of Alberta, the ultimate right, the ultimate say over the resources of the province, of the resources that belongs to the people and it makes it very clear that the resources belong to the people.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in this particular case here these lands have been alienated for various reasons. The Reid lots which were subsequently sold and resold, the rights that are associated with it, all of these have been out of the control of the Province until a couple of things happened. Number one, the previous government actually purchased some of the Reid lots back and number two, a previous government introduced the Timber Management Tax Act, I believe it is called, which requires all timber lands in the Province which are not subject to a management plan that has been approved by the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, in this case the Minister of Natural Resources, to be taxed at a higher rate than the so-called unmanaged lands. That is one way where the Crown can exercise some control over the cutting of timber lands in this Province, that is one way and secondly, by purchasing some of the lands which has been done here. The Crown can in effect buy back these lands.

Now the Premier in response to some questions by the Member for Humber Valley indicated that this was a negotiated deal. Well, Mr. Speaker, if it was a negotiated deal, I presume that the hard bargaining that may or may not have taken place would have resulted in the fair market value of $15 million for the rights acquired. It seems, Mr. Speaker, that if that is the case the Crown and the minister and the government could have been far more controlling, if that is the word, in taking control by the Province over the use of these lands to respond to some of these concerns that were expressed by the Member for Humber Valley, and apparently with the agreement of some members opposite who were nodding their heads about problems in their particular areas of the Province.

Particularly up in the Great Northern Peninsula, where land under use and under ownership of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited hadn't been in fact utilized to the fullest extent, to the detriment of local people who wanted to make use of the land, over-mature timber which was about to become totally useless, yet was unavailable to them because Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was unwilling to grant rights to it that it held itself.

We hear stories over the years about the powers exercised by the big paper companies. The Member for Exploits in his area, in Corner Brook, and all over this Province, they have a considerable amount of power and influence over the course of one person's business versus another person's business, versus the interests of the lumber industry and the production of lumber versus the pulp and paper.

The previous minister, the Member for Windsor - Buchans, used to say in this House that he didn't have the right to tell the paper companies - I hope the Minister of Natural Resources is going to respond to this when he speaks - to ensure that logs and trees that were suitable for lumber actually went to the lumber mills, and only those logs that were not suitable for lumber were turned into pulp and paper. This seems to me to be a very substantial question that goes unanswered by all these negotiations, and the rights continuing to be granted to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper for the next number of years up until the year 2037. I guess that is forty-five years, or whatever it works out exactly to be.

For this period of time we still have the same regime in place where ministers of agriculture and ministers of natural resources can come in this House and say that they have no power and that they say they have no right to tell the paper companies how to use their timber. No right to tell them that they shall make lumber logs available to saw mills to get better utilization and better value for dollar for a particular saw log or a particular stand of timber. That is a fundamental problem in our lumber industry and a fundamental constraint on economic development in rural Newfoundland.

When occasions arise such as this - this is clearly an economic incentive to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. It happened around the same time as the president of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was going on the t.v. programs. He seemed to be the only person from the business community supporting the government's privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. He was the point man for the government in the private sector saying he supports privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. At the same time he was engaged in negotiating a deal with the Premier to de-privatize some of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper's lands for a princely sum of $15 million.


MR. HARRIS: We all know who the president of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper is, Mr. Manuel. He was going around on t.v. shows. I was in a debate with him one night. The Member for Naskaupi, the former Minister of justice, the Member for Humber East and myself, he was on the pro side. The pro side was the Member for Naskaupi and the president of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, and on the con side were the Member for Humber East and myself, arguing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Does the Minister of Health need help?

I was concerned about the Minister of Health's state of health. He seemed to have lost the ability to pay attention. It was something about the head on the desk that made me wonder.

Mr. Speaker, while the President of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper was supporting the privatization of Hydro, he was engaged in an agreement to de-privatize certain particular lands, but what did they keep? They kept the right to use these lands under the existing regime for the next forty-five years, and I wonder what say the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture had in this arrangement? Was it a deal that was worked out by the former Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, and what efforts were made in this agreement to ensure that the Province would have more say in ensuring that the forest resources of this Province were better utilized by the diversity of users who are interested in the forests? What efforts were made by government to ensure that Corner Brook Pulp and Paper were going to make available saw logs for the lumber industry, that are presently being turned into pulp and paper and turned into fibre instead of being used as saw logs?

What efforts were made to ensure that on the lands that are all listed here, that there would be adequate distribution of work amongst the various individuals who have been historically making a living from the forest sector in the Great Northern Peninsula, and in other parts of Newfoundland where these Reid lots are involved? What efforts were made by government to ensure that there was an opportunity for government in this agreement to introduce a new scheme as time went on to make sure the Province's priorities for employment, for use of the resource, for sustaining not only the wood and fibre needs of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, but also making sure that our forest industry in general was sustainable throughout this area of Newfoundland?

Mr. Speaker, these are all significant questions that arise, and I really didn't hear any of them being addressed so far in this debate by the government, and I hope that the minister - he says he is only going to use two minutes, so perhaps he isn't going to address any of these concerns. All we have really is a statement by the minister setting out the outline of this bill, a very hefty set of documents. I haven't had a chance to review each and every aspect of it, and I think there is a legitimate concern expressed by the Member for Humber East that the people of this Province, particularly the people who are going to be most affected by it, and those people living in the areas of these lots, both in Western and Central Newfoundland who are likely to be affected by the changes that could come about here, might like to have a say as to whether or not some aspects of this ought to be renegotiated.

I know the Member for Humber Valley has raised a very serious concern about what the consequences are for unregistered documents that were affected by sales from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper or Kruger or their predecessors that are not now registered, and by the terms of this agreement are still going to be subject to the debentures and other security arrangements made between Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and its lenders. These arrangements need to be addressed, and I suspect that given the Premier's remarks today he doesn't think they need to be addressed. Perhaps if the Premier can't address them the Minister of Natural Resources can seek the advice of some legal representatives from the Department of Justice to deal with the real questions that have been raised by the Member for Humber Valley.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of these kinds of debates where the government has come in with a fait accompli. They come here and they are saying: We are asking you to ratify this agreement. This agreement has been negotiated, it is signed, sealed and delivered. All the House is being asked to do is ratify the agreement. I have no objection to the principle of the government re-acquiring timber rights in this Province. I have no way of assessing the price. I have no way of assessing whether $15 million is an adequate price or not except to say that obviously it was negotiated by the government.

I don't know how hard the bargaining was because I do know at the same time that this bargain was being made that the president of Kruger was out campaigning around the Province on behalf of the government for the privatization of Hydro. I do know that much. I don't know how much that influenced the state of the bargain or the deal that was being made, or whether or not this $15 million payment to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper represents an adequate price.

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Member for St. John's East Extern says that nobody's listening. That is an all-too-common phenomena.

MR. J. BYRNE: I'm listening.

MR. HARRIS: Aside from himself. That is an all-too-common phenomena in this House, Mr. Speaker. I don't wonder that members of the public around this Province have so little regard for what goes on here. Because even the members themselves don't listen. I have no doubt that when the constituents of the hon. members opposite are asked about this deal they will know it in great detail because they can say that they will have listened to every aspect of the debate in the House. But, Mr. Speaker, I know -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations says he is not listening to a word I'm saying. I understand that. They didn't come here to listen, Mr. Speaker. They came here to ratify this agreement that was made by the Premier with the president of Kruger during the period of time that the president of Kruger was going around campaigning for them on their privatization bill. They were told they had to come in here today and support it.

MR. WOODFORD: Don't know but it is fit to eat.

MR. HARRIS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member says it right. They don't know whether or not it is fit to eat. Very limited circulation of this agreement. There were two or three copies being passed around. No maps. Had to ask for maps. No maps available. The Premier had some maps here today that weren't attached to the hon. member's copy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) tabled in the House.

MR. HARRIS: They were tabled in the House but they weren't attached to the documents provided to the member who spoke earlier. I would say, Mr. Speaker, that very few people understand the implications of this bill as it relates to particular parts of the Province, including their own districts. There are very few members of this House who understand the implications of this bill or not only the implications of this bill, but the opportunities lost in terms of ensuring that the forest areas in their particular constituency are in fact available for use by their own constituents, by individuals who want to participate in the forest industry, by individuals who have the means to get involved in the forest industry but are prevented by the fact that this company holds a monopoly on forest use for a long period of time. A monopoly position which I think all sides recognize they have more fibre resources than they need to supply their own needs.

It was never intended that Bowater or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper ought to be in the forest management business, that they ought to use the resources to permit or not permit others to use them. It was only intended that they have sufficient resource available to them to enable them to conduct a pulp and paper business. They haven't shown any particular interest in diversifying in the seventy-five years that they've been operating, aside from the odd bit of land development and the odd bit of selling off subdivision lots to people.

They haven't diversified their operations. They haven't made efforts to ensure that not only did they use the forest resources for pulp and paper, but also develop the lumber industry in the Province. They haven't done that. They, in fact, have stuck to the one trade that they started at, and haven't really seen to the economic development of this Province. That is something that this House has to speak to. It is something that this ministry has to pay attention to, and I think, in looking at this bill, other than reacquiring in forty-five years time the ownership of these Reid lots, this is something that the Minister of Natural Resources and the government has not addressed.

So while I support the principle of reacquisition of alienated lands, I can't say that I support this bill in the form it is in here because I haven't been convinced by anything said on the other side of the House that this is, in fact, a good deal for the price being paid, and that there wasn't an opportunity missed to ensure that in this process new rules and a new regime to ensure the proper utilization of our forest resource was included.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I conclude my remarks.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Natural Resources.

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to speak on the closing of second reading on this particular bill. I have noted the concerns raised by the forestry critic, who unfortunately is absent right now, and also by the hon. the Member for Humber West, who had some questions that she would want me to answer.


DR. GIBBONS: Humber East, rather.

The Member for Humber Valley had his particular concerns relative to Deer Lake, and I will try to deal with them in person with him, and hope to resolve them.

Today, I will do no more than to say that I am pleased to move second reading of this bill, and we can deal with the issues later.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Ratify, Confirm And Adopt An Agreement Entered Into Between The Government Of The Province And Corner Brook Pulp And Paper Limited," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 42)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the House will adjourn, in a moment, until Thursday at 2:00 p.m., and when we get through to the Orders of the Day on Thursday we will call the -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) a good time.

MR. ROBERTS: I will. I hope the hon. gentleman is there. I would say to him: `While the light holds out to burn/the vilest sinners may return', so we welcome him there. There will be a big crowd, a good time for all.

Your Honour, on Thursday, we shall be calling the EDGE bill and carry on with the debate. My friend, the Leader of the Opposition, will speak to that and we will get on with it.


MR. ROBERTS: I can only say, my friend, the Member for Grand Bank goes away and she falls apart over there, Mr. Speaker, but in any event, with that said, I thank members for their co-operation and I move that the House do now adjourn until Thursday at two o'clock, Sir.

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