March 16, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 1

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Admit Their Lordships, The Justices of the Supreme Court.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor.

Mr. Speaker, leaves the Chair.

His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor takes the Chair.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Ladies and gentlemen, it is the wish of His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor that all present be seated.

Thank you.


Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

I take great pleasure in welcoming you to this Third Session of the Forty-Second General Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland.

In 1989 the people of the Province gave My Government a mandate to change the present order, to place Government on a sound financial footing, and to lay the basis for long term economic growth. We have accomplished a great deal since 1989 and during this Session My Government will continue to implement the progressive changes necessary to bring about prosperity and security for the Province.

In 1992 My Government released the Strategic Economic Plan. This Plan provided the basic principles and actions which continue to motivate My Ministers in carrying out the economic rejuvenation of the Province. The Strategic Economic Plan was based on a consensus for change displayed in widespread regional consultations and public debate. The Plan is girded by the following strong directions: recognizing the private sector as the engine of growth; focusing on strategic industries; improving the level and quality of education, training and retraining; diversifying the economic base of the Province; lifting the burden of regulation; building a co-operative labour relations climate; giving government policies a developmental focus; and ensuring sustainable development.

My Government has steadfastly delivered on these strategic directions, and will continue to bring forward new measures in the coming Session. I am pleased to observe that this strategic direction is already producing results.

The Newfoundland and Labrador economy has emerged from the recession with strong indications of growth. Despite the dampening effect of the closure of the groundfish fishery, the non-fishing economy recorded a 2.9 percent growth in employment in 1994, resulting in 4,000 additional jobs.

There is still a long arduous road ahead, made more challenging by the deep hole in the economy created by the closure of the groundfish fishery.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Dealing with the problems in the fishing industry continues to be a major priority for the Government because it remains the economic underpinning of hundreds of rural communities. Our society, heritage and culture are a consequence of the fishery. Our attachment to the sea is the touchstone of our existence.

Honourable Members are all too aware of the magnitude of the groundfish crisis. The human face of this tragedy is reflected in the more than 30,000 people who have lost their jobs, and the thousands of family members and other citizens who have suffered a reduced standard of living. Groundfish landings in 1994 were a mere 29 thousand tonnes instead of the more than 450,000 tonnes a better managed fishery could have produced. This gap is equivalent to an annual economic loss to the Province of at least 700 or 800 million dollars. That loss represents a large void in employment and economic activity which we must strive to restore or replace.

The Government of Canada, with the co-operation of and some financial participation by My Government, is responding to the income assistance and adjustment needs of fishermen and plantworkers. The greatest challenge, however, is to renew the economy of the Province so as to ensure the development of employment opportunities for the thousands of our people who have lost employment due to the closure of the groundfish fishery. This problem is daunting, given that the economic impact is spread over 600 communities along 10,000 miles of coastline. The federal Task Force on Incomes and Adjustment in the Atlantic Fishery suggested a massive response by the Government of Canada, akin to a `Marshall Plan' for Newfoundland and Labrador.

My Government looks forward to a commitment from the federal government to join with the provincial government in taking daring and innovative action to deal effectively with the economic problems caused by the closure of the groundfish fishery. We need an extraordinary response to an extraordinary problem. Of greatest value to the Province would be economic development measures which improve the investment climate, complementing the measures My Government has already implemented. It is recognized that the federal Government faces serious fiscal problems at the present time. This does not, however, relieve it of the responsibility to deal with the economic consequences of its closure of the groundfish fishery.

My Government, for its part, is pursuing solutions using all the political and financial power it can muster. A Provincial appointee has been added to the Board which is overseeing capacity adjustment in the fishery. Of particular importance to My Government is that this Board will make recommendations on how to implement capacity reduction in the fish processing sector as well as how to sustain a viable and competitive fish processing industry into the future. My Government has placed a greater strategic emphasis on value-added food production by combining the Government's marketing and technical expertise in the area of fisheries and agriculture into the new Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. We are urgently developing new growth opportunities in the seal industry, the aquaculture industry, and through an increased emphasis on underutilized species. My Ministers will also be insisting that the Government of Canada protect for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the full economic benefit of resources adjacent to our Province.

We applaud federal actions since 1992 to put tough conservation measures in place. My Government also strongly supports the forceful Canadian measures to bring a permanent end to foreign overfishing on the Grand Banks. In particular, saving the turbot stock is essential. It sends a signal to the world that marauding foreign fleets will not be permitted to thwart Canada's effort at conservation by their irresponsible overfishing.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Over the last six years My Government has built the framework for a growth strategy, and is now moving at full speed in its implementation. One of the pillars in this strategy is improving the financial performance of the Government.

Early in this Session My Government will table the Provincial Budget for the coming fiscal year which will continue the progress we have made in strengthening provincial finances. The pursuit of this objective over the past five or six years has been burdened by both the severe economic recession and the closure of the groundfish industry. The impact of these economic difficulties upon the Province's finances, combined with the heavy debt load that has accumulated through decades of deficit financing, make necessary the difficult decisions to restore our financial strength. This reality is being faced by all governments in Canada. As My Government's forthcoming budget will show, this Province has made excellent progress. At the end of the present fiscal year the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be the only government in Canada to have reduced its deficit in four successive years.

For the 1994-95 fiscal year, My Government will show improvements over our Budget Estimates for both our current account, where we will likely witness a modest surplus, and our total budgetary requirements. For the 1995-96 fiscal year, the Budget will present a plan of action which will see us continue with our course of responsible financial management.

Honourable Members are aware that, even though the budgetary deficit is being reduced successfully, another important element of fiscal responsibility lies ahead. I am referring to the unfunded liability of public sector pension plans which has now reached critical proportions.

These difficulties have been caused by insufficient amounts being placed in the pension fund throughout the years. Prior to 1980, Government not only did not contribute to a pension fund but contributions from the various plan members were used as part of the general revenues of the Province. In addition, even though a fund was established in 1980, the contributions of plan members and their employers were not sufficient to meet the cost of pensions as they were being earned. Both of these factors resulted in the creation of large unfunded pension liabilities which now amount to $2.5 billion. This matter must be addressed and Government, plan members and their employers must be prepared to accept their fair share of the burden. Over the next several months My Government will be consulting with the various employee representatives to develop a financial program to resolve the situation, thereby ensuring that the benefits under these plans will be secured for the future and the financial stability of the Province will not be undermined. You will be asked to address these matters in this session.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

My Government's commitment to re-engineering government and creating an environment to attract business investment is further reflected in the regulatory reform initiative. Government regulations, growing on an ad hoc basis over many years, have created a web of administrative headaches and economic inefficiency which must be corrected. My Government has appointed a Regulatory Reform Commissioner to review every regulation in Government. The Commissioner has been directed to recommend the retention of only those regulations which: maintain or enhance public health, safety and order; protect the environment; contribute to innovation or competitiveness; and are necessary for the effective administration of the Government of the Province. During this Session, My Government will ask the House of Assembly to approve a Bill which will repeal every regulation not consistent with these important public purposes. This measure will ensure that businesses can respond to market demands rather than inefficient regulatory controls when making business decisions. It will also lift much of the unnecessary administrative burden from business which has accumulated over many years.

Governmental reform is proceeding on other fronts as well. Last year My Government undertook a Departmental restructuring to give greater focus to business promotion and investment, the rational management of our natural resources, and the development of food products from our fisheries and agriculture industries. This House will be asked to give legislative approval of these changes.

My Government has embarked on an ambitious "service quality" initiative, led by the Public Service Commission. Service quality is not just a management fad or passing fancy. It is a commitment to placing the citizen first by delivering public services in the most effective and efficient way possible. My Ministers are acutely aware that public services exist for the benefit and convenience of the public, not the organizations which deliver the services. Six test projects are now in operation within Government, primarily in support of economic development agencies and implementation of the economic zones approach to community development. The results of these test projects will allow us to expand service quality throughout the Provincial Government.

An example of My Government's determination to ensure higher levels of service to the public and the business community is the consolidation of many functions related to land use, building, permitting and inspection services into a single agency. This new service delivery agency will be officially established on April 1, 1995 and will be more cost-effective and more accessible to both the general public and the business community. The Government Service agency will open its first regional Government Service Centre in Gander this spring, and the other four regional Government Service Centres will be opened on a staggered basis shortly afterwards. This one-stop shopping approach to many of government's services to the public will prove to be a user-friendly resource for citizens throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. These services will be continually expanded through an ongoing consultation process with the agency's clients.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Improving industrial relations has also been a priority of My Ministers. Last September a public consultation document, "Exploring Options", was released to obtain the views of labour, business and the general public as part of a broad review of labour legislation. This review derives directly from the Strategic Economic Plan in which My Government stated that:

The Province will work to develop a stable, positive labour relations climate to maintain and attract investment to the Province and to ensure a vigorous and competitive environment for economic development.

Many briefs have already been received on the discussion paper, and direct consultations with affected stakeholders are still ongoing. My Government is pleased that the Labour Employer Advisory Committee has agreed to examine the "Exploring Options" document, and we look forward to receiving its views. My Government will then proceed to develop legislation on an amended Labour Code for the consideration of this House.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

While My Government has made tremendous progress in establishing the general climate for economic development and investment, it is not enough. We must also ensure that economic opportunities are distributed fairly throughout all regions of this Province so that people have access to job opportunities within reasonable commuting distance of their homes. This approach to community economic development was another fundamental aspect of the Strategic Economic Plan. That Plan provided for the creation of economic zones within which a new approach to community economic development would take hold. Recently, My Ministers announced there will be 19 such economic zones and that a greater proportion of available funding will flow directly to development projects rather than administrative activities. Regional Boards will enter into "performance contracts" with the federal and provincial Governments and they will be held accountable for the spending of public funds allocated to their areas. Honourable Members will review these contracts first hand as My Government will table all contracts in this House. These changes will provide the best opportunity to ensure that innovative and effective solutions are found to the economic problems besetting many regions of the Province, by putting people and communities in the forefront of planning for their economic future.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

My Government has worked hard at putting all of the fundamentals in place to facilitate long term economic growth. These measures are designed to ensure that growth will be sustained in a highly competitive global economy. During the last Session of this Assembly, you approved one of the vital measures to accelerate economic recovery. The Act to Promote Economic Diversification and Growth Enterprises allows My Government to aggressively promote this Province as one of the most attractive locations for new investment and business activity in North America.

With fundamental restructuring addressed, and this incentive structure in place, My Government has moved to a new stage of active promotion and marketing of Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the world. A public-private Board, providing independent advice, is reviewing the many applications received to date under the program. The high level of interest in the EDGE incentives has already resulted in two companies receiving EDGE designations. Two additional designations have been approved by the Board, and many other applications are under active consideration.

Throughout Canada, in the United States, in Asia and in Europe, My Ministers are telling investors and business people that Newfoundland and Labrador is the place to be. This type of promotion is essential because investment will not automatically come to Newfoundland and Labrador unless we sell ourselves in the major centres of the world. Our skilled people, our technological infrastructure, our central location between two major markets of the world, our tax and regulatory structure and our way of life combine to make Newfoundland and Labrador a highly competitive place for new business investment. My Government is also promoting our home-grown companies as they compete for business in other countries and create value-added jobs here in this Province. The economy of the future will be based on the enthusiasm and dynamic business talent which we are witnessing in the Province today.

In addition to promoting the Province's assets on the international stage, My Government continues to focus on industry development at home. The Province's privatization initiative has been consolidated within the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology, and will provide further opportunities for private sector investment and growth. My Government will promote "public-private" partnering to create new economic opportunities and improve the efficiency of government. A concerted effort has begun to strengthen the information technology sector. An industry-government task force has been given 180 days to develop an implementation plan to ensure this Province capitalizes on opportunities in the information technology sector. Newfoundland and Labrador already has strengths in rural networking, tele-health and tele-learning, marine and ocean industry technology applications, and cultural content applications. My Government will build on these strengths, with the co-operation and leadership of the private sector, to ensure a solid position for our Province in this highly competitive and swiftly changing global industry.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

The next few years will be active ones for tourism in this Province. As the Province prepares for such international events over the next five years as the Cabot 500 celebrations, the Canada Winter Games, the 50th Anniversary of our Province joining Canada, and the 1000th Anniversary of the Vikings landing in Newfoundland, many improvements are being made to our tourism product. This year development will begin on a state of the art tourism information management system which will provide immediate tourism information to our travellers and possess the capability to make reservations. As well, themed touring routes have been designed for the entire Province. Better interpretation of our existing heritage and cultural resources will be developed and our winter product, particularly with on-going improvements to Marble Mountain, will continue to be enhanced. Recently, My Government acted on the recommendations of the Task Force on Provincial Parks, giving this important product a renewed and focused mandate. You will be asked to consider legislation to give effect to some of the matters addressed by this Task Force.

My Government continues to help prepare for the 500th Anniversary of John Cabot's arrival in Newfoundland which will take place in 1997. Events of international interest will be held throughout the year bringing us many visitors. This will set the stage for the type of tourism product for which My Government wants this Province to be known. These events will demand a wide range of quality services which will bring economic benefits to all regions of the Province.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

In 1993, the House of Assembly approved legislation governing the redrawing of electoral boundaries in the Province. Since that time, extensive public consultations have taken place. My Government is now undertaking the final phase of study before bringing back to the legislature a proposal for electoral boundaries. A Commissioner has been appointed to define and draw the boundaries of electoral Districts by following guidelines developed from the recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Commission.

The Commissioner will make his report to My Government by April 30, 1995, after which My Ministers will bring forth a proposal for consideration and approval by this House.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

My Government remains committed to expediting the settlement of Aboriginal land claims in Labrador. Recent events surrounding the mineral exploration in Voisey Bay, Labrador demonstrate the importance of achieving settlements with the Inuit and Innu of Labrador so that development may proceed to the economic benefit not only of the Innuit and Innu but all residents of the Province.

During the past year, steady progress was made defining the parameters of an Agreement in Principle to settle the claims of the Labrador Innuit. Furthermore, Government has agreed to begin discussions with the Labrador Inuit Association and the Federal Government on Inuit self-government. This will include practical arrangements to replace the Federal/Provincial Agreement for the Native Peoples of Labrador and negotiations to give the Labrador Inuit responsibility for the management of many government programs and services.

My Government has not been as successful in its negotiations with the Innu Nation which has taken a more confrontational approach to achieving its objectives in Labrador. The Innu Nation's opposition to development in Labrador and inflexibility in its demands have made it difficult to achieve the compromises necessary to reach agreements to benefit not only the Innu people but all residents of Labrador. My Government is hopeful the issues of policing and administration of Justice in the Innu communities can be resolved, so that negotiations on achieving a Framework Agreement with the Innu Nation can continue this year.

During the coming year My Government will institute a public information process concerning aboriginal land claims in an effort to ensure that all citizens have a full understanding of what is included in the settlement of these claims.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

In My Address to this Honourable House on February 28, 1994, I reaffirmed the strong commitment of My Government to the development and implementation of a Strategic Social Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador as announced a year earlier. Much work has been accomplished by the team of senior officials who had been examining data, researching social trends locally and nationally, and reviewing the policies and activities of all government departments engaged in the delivery of social programs. A public consultation paper was being prepared, and it was the intention of My Government to have this process completed by the fall of 1994.

Regrettably, the course of events during the past year precluded conducting meaningful public consultation on this important long-term social strategy in the time frame which had been designated. The social reform consultations of the federal government captured public attention and had direct bearing on the Province's social planning process. The direction of the Government of Canada with respect to future social program restructuring and funding had to be known before effective planning could proceed at the provincial level, which made it necessary to await the delivery of the recent federal budget.

Notwithstanding this unfortunate delay, the commitment of My Government to the social planning process has never wavered. Indeed, the social changes under way in Canada and the economic challenges within our Province make it all the more important that an effective strategy be developed. We must maintain essential social services in the face of reduced financial resources, identify and address emerging social needs, protect our values as a society which cares and shares with respect for human dignity and individual rights, and undertake innovative approaches to dealing with many of the ills which threaten this society.

My Government is proceeding with this task without delay, and is determined that the essential full-scale public consultation will be carried out and the final Strategic Social Plan developed over the coming months. Implementation should commence as originally scheduled in the 1995-96 fiscal year.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Education reform is an essential underpinning of economic growth and attaining efficiency in the delivery of public services. In June 1993, My Government established the Royal Commission Implementation Secretariat in the Department of Education with a mandate to carry out the necessary activities leading to a reformed system. As a result, approximately 20 percent of the Commission's recommendations have already been implemented and work on more than 50 percent of the remaining recommendations is well under way.

Public attention has tended to focus on the proposed structural changes but significant progress has been made on such substantive educational issues as revision to the high school graduation requirements, refocusing and strengthening of the curriculum, and the establishment of student performance standards, consistent with Government's policy statements outlined in the Strategic Economic Plan. Government's blueprint for education reform has been outlined in two "Adjusting the Course" documents which, together with the Royal Commission recommendations, form the basis for the twelve major implementation projects and more than 30 activities being conducted by the Implementation Secretariat.

Many of the reforms in the education system require a co-operative approach with the various religious denominations. My Government recognizes the important and long-standing role of the churches and their contribution to education. I believe we all recognize that changes are necessary if our educational system is to contribute in the future, as it has in the past, to the economic and social development of our Province.

My Government is endeavouring to find a way to reform education in a manner that reasonably accommodates the positions to which the churches are committed. My Government is still hopeful that this can be done through continued discussions which the Premier and My Minister of Education and Training are presently pursuing with the churches. We must, however, achieve the essential changes desired by the people of this Province who, by all indications, want to see improvements and expect leadership from those in a position to proceed with reforms. You will be asked to address these matters during this Session.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

One of the social issues that is of great interest to My Government is the general well-being of children. To that end, the House of Assembly appointed a Select Committee to examine and report on the current legislation and policies with respect to services to children, changes which may enhance the well-being of children and any other directly related matters.

The Committee will be researching a wide variety of issues relating to services to children such as the effects of poverty, actions necessary in order to identify children at risk, the consequences of culture and gender on the development of children and co-ordination, to name a few.

The Committee anticipates a public hearing process later this year to ensure the people of the Province have an opportunity to give their views on this important subject.

The Committee has been directed to report to the House of Assembly by December 31, 1995. My Government looks forward to the results of the Committee's efforts and the valuable input that the Report will provide Government in the policy development process.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

Our Province will mark a number of important anniversaries in 1995. May 8, 1995, will be the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II.

In the six years of conflict, Canada and Newfoundland had enlisted more than 1 million men and women in its armed forces. Of these, more than 46,000 gave their lives in the cause of peace and freedom.

During part of World War II, I served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and when the war ended, I was stationed in Holland. This spring, although on a private visit to Europe, I am privileged to say my wife and I will attend memorial services at Groesbeek Canadian Cemetery near Arnhem in Holland on May 8th, where I will represent the Province. It will be a very moving experience.

I feel that these two anniversaries and the ceremonies in Europe will remind all Canadians, and especially young Canadians, that the freedom we have in Canada today came at a heavy cost in young lives, but I hope that those who died did not do so in vain, and that the same values and strengths that brought about success in war will enable us to deal successfully with the many challenges that face Canada today.

I take pleasure in noting that 1995 also marks the 200th Anniversary of the forming of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and the 80th Anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American Regiment to serve in the Turkish Campaign of World War I. We take just pride in remembering their magnificent contribution to the cause of freedom and peace.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

During this Session My Government plans to place a number of other important legislative proposals before you in addition to the measures to which I have already referred. A full listing of My Government's legislative agenda for this Session of the House of Assembly will be tabled at the earliest opportunity so that all Members can properly prepare for the upcoming proceedings.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Honourable House of Assembly:

I invoke God's blessing upon you as you commence your labours in this third Session of the Forty-second General Assembly. May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we proceed further there is an ancient parliamentary custom, as members know, that we in the House do our own business before we do the Crown's. Pursuant to that, Sir, I would ask leave to give notice of a bill and then if the leave is given to give notice of the bill, to ask leave to have it read a first time. The bill is entitled, "An Act Respecting Advanced Health Care Directives And The Appointment Of Substitute Health Care Decision Makers". I ask that we may have leave, Sir, to have it introduced, then read a first time.

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting Advanced Health Care Directives And The Appointment Of Substitute Health Care Decision Makers", carried. (Bill No. 1)

On motion, Bill No. 1 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour The Lieutenant-Governor has read the Speech from the Throne. I have now received a copy. I would ask that the speech be now distributed.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, are the Pages going to distribute the text of the speech to -

MR. SPEAKER: One hopes so.

MR. ROBERTS: Perhaps, then, we could dispense with having it read a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: Pardon me? I didn't hear the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Perhaps, once it is distributed we could dispense with having it read a second time?


Motion that an address of thanks be presented to His Honour The Lieutenant-Governor.

The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WHELAN: Mr. Speaker, hon. members, honoured guests, it is with great pleasure that I rise on this occasion to propose that a committee of this hon. House be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Gracious Speech delivered by His Honour.

In doing this, I feel it is incumbent upon me to briefly comment on the district I represent, Harbour Main, as well as to comment on some of the items mentioned in the Throne Speech itself.

On behalf of the people of the historic district of Harbour Main, let me extend greetings and sincere best wishes to His Honour. As the member for that district, it is with great pride that I stand in this hon. House to make the motion for an Address in Reply to the Throne Speech.

The area encompassing the district of Harbour Main has and remains to this day, an area which has contributed in a big way to the development and growth of this Province. One of the big areas of contribution is by way of the construction industry. Just as some parts of the Province are known for their involvement in the fishing industry or in the agricultural industry, the area of the Province that I represent has, for the most part, hung its hopes and aspirations, its past and its future, on the construction industry.

Although we are an agrarian and a fishing people, for generations we have gone to all parts of the world in a semi-nomadic way looking for ways to sustain ourselves and our families. Many of the big construction projects in the world today were engineered and built by the people of Conception Bay, and today, as we speak, a large number of them are working, pretty nearly in their own back yard, on one of the largest construction sites in North America, and perhaps one of the largest in the world - of course, I am speaking of the Hibernia site at Bull Arm.

This particular construction site, futuristic in its outlook and using state of the art technology, is being built by the greatest and most highly qualified work force anywhere in the world and I take great pride in the fact that a large contingent of that work force is derived from the district of Harbour Main.

It is in this way that the people I represent make a very significant contribution to the development of this Province. These people are proud to be part of that project; they are proud to be playing a part in the construction of the platform itself, and proud to be contributing in a significant manner to the economy of the Province by way of tax dollars that they are paying into the government each month.

We are not an overly demanding people, however, the expectation is there that we receive at least our fair share. We don't want anything more and certainly we don't want anything less, and I feel it is, in large part, my responsibility to see that they receive that share. You might say that I may be serving notice to ministers of Cabinet that on behalf of my constituents I will be expecting nothing less.

It was mentioned in relation to the fishery that a foreign vessel has been arrested off our coast. It is maybe somewhat ironic that mention is also made of the fact that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II - ironic because fifty years ago the people of this Province were called upon to help save Europe from oppression. Many of our brave young men answered the call, many did not return.

Now, we in this Province are in a crisis situation ourselves. We look to the nations of Europe, who are people we helped liberate back some fifty years ago. We look to them now to help us protect our livelihood and to prevent the destruction of a major source of food for the entire world, and I think it is somewhat ironic that while some 47,000 of our brave young men - and women, too, I guess, at that particular time - died to help save the lands of France and England, the nation that they are defending now took somewhat of a standoffish attitude when it came to helping France and England to save their nations. I find it quite disturbing, really.

I want to express my support for the strong action taken by the Federal Government. Brian Tobin and John Chrétien have shown strong leadership and a true commitment to this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WHELAN: By doing this, what we are saying as a country is that we will no longer accept the destruction of resources off our coast and we are now willing to take whatever action is needed to protect that resource, a resource which is a major food source for the entire world. We, as the adjacent coastal state, have a responsibility to take action to protect these stocks before it is too late; and, ladies and gentlemen, inaction is certainly an irresponsibility.

For quite a while now we, in this House of Assembly, have been advocating that stronger action should be taken to stop the devastation being done to the fish stocks. There are those in Europe who say we should stay on the diplomatic route. We have seen the Federal Government approach NAFO; we have seen them approach the United Nations; we have seen them talk to the nations that were involved themselves - directly to the nations that were involved. All of these things have been a complete failure, as far as stopping the devastation off our coast is concerned. While hoping and praying that no one is injured as these drastic steps are taken, we realize that Canada was left with no alternative.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have a long history as a fishing people. Our forefathers came to this country because of the rich fish stocks off our coast. For generations these stocks have sustained us, and still today it is the reason for the continued existence of many communities around the Province. Our boats are now tied up and our people subjected to income support programs such as NCARP and TAGS. Our way of life is threatened, and our very existence as a distinct culture is being challenged - all this because conservation is necessary, all this in hope of rebuilding the stock off our coast.

It is obvious that while we take these drastic measures, we should expect and accept no less from foreign nations. It would be all for nothing if we were to stop fishing ourselves while allowing nations from Europe to continue to fish and take whatever fish remains off our coasts. Some people would say that action should have been taken five or ten years ago. Maybe things would have been different. Perhaps that is the case. But we can't change the past, we can only learn from the past. We must now deal with the difficult problems of the present and begin, as well, to plan for the future.

With this in mind, I was pleased to hear mention in the Throne Speech of the constructive, active and realistic approach in dealing with the crisis caused because of the problems in the fishing industry. I was particularly delighted to hear that some mention was made of the aquaculture industry. We have a long history of research and development of aquaculture here in this Province, dating back to the middle- or late-1800s. As a matter of fact, back that time I believe we were probably on the leading edge of research and development in the world. Somewhere along the way we started to slow down, and certainly we've been bypassed by a long stretch. As far as countries, aquacultural areas, are concerned, we certainly lag behind many other nations in the world, and even other provinces in Canada. Our potential is great. I think the interest is there. We have the people who can do it. So I'm very optimistic about that particular industry here in Newfoundland.

I am pleased, as well, to hear government's commitment to continuing its policy of proper fiscal management. Although we have encountered some serious problems, we, as a Province, have been able to maintain our financial integrity and work towards reversing the trend of deficit financing and debt accumulation. It is not just a matter of numbers on a balance sheet nor is it just an exercise in accounting. It is about how we as elected representatives spend the dollars that the people of this Province give us through their taxes. It is about making wise decisions with their hard earned money, and it is about managing now to prevent the need for even more drastic measures in the future. It is about ensuring a more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren.

While I am on this topic I want to make a few comments about the way I think we as elected representatives should be dealing with this need for responsible financial management. It may be the nature of our partisan political system that we often find ourselves bickering across the floor about certain issues. It is the role of the Opposition to oppose government policies, but they more often find themselves in a situation where they are encouraging government to spend money perhaps in ways that are not as wise as things we should be looking at.

Without trying to tell the Opposition Leader and aspirants to that particular position how to do their job I would ask them to sometimes put aside their adversarial approach. When the government has to make tough decisions for the future of this Province think of the long-term implications of what you say and do.


MR. WHELAN: I think the people of this Province more and more are expecting this type of approach from all of us that they elect.

Another item mentioned in the Throne Speech which I would like to comment on is government's commitment to re-engineering. Many individuals and organizations have expressed their dismay when it comes to dealing with government, and I believe rightly so. The regulations and the administrative process are all part of the maze that people find themselves running through when dealing with government departments. People are fed up and frustrated and after being elected for almost two years I find myself in the same situation.

It is about time that we in government, and when I say we in government I mean all people who are involved in government and not just members sitting here in the House of Assembly, but bureaucrats as well, realize why we are here. It is to serve people, and any effort to do that as quickly, as simply, and as efficiently as possible is certainly something I want to see happen. It is not government's role to baffle and befuddle. Let us ask the basic question.... why does government exist? We exist to serve the public interest, to make people's lives better and to organize things and prevent chaos. That is to prevent chaos, not create chaos.

I realize that the problems we have today are as a result of years of unplanned growth of regulations. We have regulations on top of regulations. I think it is essential that we take the time to reflect back to the basic purpose of government, to ask ourselves how we can change things to better serve the people of this Province. So I am pleased with the direction being taken in this regard.

Mr. Speaker, I don't want to be overly long today so I will hold my comments on other items contained in the Throne Speech for a later date. In conclusion I would like to, at this point, formally move that the committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the privilege to second the motion of my colleague, the hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

As I listened to His Honour I felt proud to be part of a government that has successfully grappled with so many serious issues and is continuing to put forth outstanding initiatives that embrace all segments of our society.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. COWAN: It is an honour of course for me to represent the people of the Conception Bay South District. These individuals live west of the overpass, to the Foxtrap access road, and form the fastest-growing area in the Province. The district is made up of part of Paradise, and about three-quarters of Conception Bay South. People have flocked to these areas to build homes because of the easy access to St. John's, the many building lots that offer spectacular views of Conception Bay, and for the quieter, more rural atmosphere that is conducive to raising children. I will add, if I may, that even His Honour chooses to maintain a summer home in the town of Conception Bay South.

The population of the district has grown rapidly, as I have said, during the past decade and it continues to do so. As an example, the Holy Spirit, St. Thomas of Villa Nova Schools had seventy unexpected children turn up for the first day of school in September. Mr. Speaker, this rapid residential growth brought with it a crying need for water and sewer to service the many homes that line the byroads of the district.

In 1989, when the Liberal Government came into power, the majority of the people of the district were carrying in their drinking water and trying to keep their children from playing in sewage in the ditches, that was in 1989. As soon as the Liberal Government was elected, the Town of Paradise was, for the first time in many, many years, included in the capital works program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

MS. COWAN: In total, it has received in excess of $5 million in capital works for the past six years. However, that town is still in great need of financial assistance for infrastructure and which I hope that our more stable financial situation will facilitate.

Mr. Speaker, as my government dealt with its financial position in a responsible fair manner, it became possible four years into our first mandate to undertake, through the Department of Health, a full assessment of the situation regarding water and sewer requirements in the Town of Conception Bay South. Among other things, this study would prioritize the areas of greatest need for services. This, of course, is in keeping with one of the hallmarks of our government policy, that of addressing areas of greatest need first.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. COWAN: This study, as it turned out, proved most fortunate and timely, as shortly after its completion the federal-provincial infrastructure program came into being and the Conception Bay South district was well equipped to make its case. As a result, $5 million of that program went into CBS with an equal amount promised for the summer of this year.

As well, the district has flourished in many other ways through direct and indirect government involvement. Some examples are; the four-laning of much of the CBS Highway to the Foxtrap Access Road, the building of two senior single apartment complexes, the healthy beginning of the CBS bypass road, funding for the Paradise Recreation Centre, seed money and program funding for cleanup and development of the beautiful Manuels River, and funding for the facilities for the 1996 Summer Games.

Conception Bay South and Paradise have much to make them attractive as areas for industrial growth. Both possess easy access to major transportation routes, and there is a fine harbour facility in Long Pond.

I am hopeful, Mr. Speaker, that Conception Bay South district will become more capable of self-support due to a strengthened tax base growing from the innovative, economic and development policies of this Liberal government as so eloquently expressed today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. COWAN: Much government funding has gone into the district of Conception Bay South. As MHA for the area, I will be continuing to work to see that we receive our share - our fair share - of government funding.

One of my greatest concerns today - again caused by our rapid growth - is the lack of sidewalks and crossing lights for the children of the district. This is an example of a major concern that affects not only the children in my district, but children throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to turn my remarks to the Select Committee on children's interests. It was most gracious of His Honour to refer to the deliberations of this committee in his speech this afternoon. On behalf of the committee I would like to take this opportunity to update the House on the work of the Committee and to lay out the course of action we plan to follow over the next nine months or so.

Over the years, the United Nations has designated international years - for the child, for the youth, for families - and we often hear `children are our greatest resource'. Yet, as we say this, our attention quickly turns to other issues and little, if any, concrete action is taken to improve the lives of children. Children are much more than a simple resource, and solutions to the challenges that confront them require complicated long-term solutions. The challenge before us is immense, and I think that our committee is prepared to meet the challenge. I am very delighted to have on the committee with me two members who are very, very devoted to children's issues. All of you know that this type of a committee is a committee of the Legislature, and it is very interesting to see that the three of us, I think, are of one mind when it comes to the fact that children should not be a political issue. We hope to have recommendations at the end of this report that will be heartily supported by both sides of the House.

Mr. Speaker, the child is the building block of our society. It is a building block which is supported and nurtured by its parents, its siblings, its extended family, its schools, its neighbourhood and its community. Even in the three short months since this committee was struck by this hon. House, myself and the hon. Members for Waterford - Kenmount and Port au Port have been struck by the fact that solutions to the problems and challenges of our children and youth must of necessity deal with issues of family and community. The collapse of the fishery brings with it not just the collapse of a traditional economy but also the collapse of a way of life. The pressures placed upon families and communities will multiply. There will be an increasing need to support not just the child but to find ways to help families and communities to help themselves.

While short- and medium-term solutions are necessary, more important are the long-term solutions, long-term solutions which will address systemic problems in our society and in the policies of government as they relate to children, families, and communities.

The committee will hold public hearings throughout the Province in September and October of this year. We have chosen this time in order to give individuals and groups the time to prepare their thoughts for presentation to us. It is important that we find mechanisms which will encourage individual Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to participate in the work of the committee, a committee which by virtue of being an instrument of this hon. House, is, in the final analysis, their committee. It is imperative that we hear from citizens from around the Province. We need them to express their concerns and their ideas about how we as a society can better foster the educational, physical and mental development of our children.

In the research the committee has conducted to date, and during a fact-finding trip to British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba in February, the committee has been impressed by some of the innovative approaches under way in other jurisdictions. In places such as New Zealand, England, and certain states within the U.S., as well as here in Canada, governments, in conjunction with their electorate, are developing interesting new approaches which should both protect and foster the growth of children, and facilitate the well-being of family and community. We are going to be monitoring these innovative approaches to assess their applicability to this Province.

Mr. Speaker, hon. members will want to know that innovation does not stop at the Newfoundland and Labrador border. It has been exciting for us to find a number of pilot projects concerning child and family welfare here in this Province. There is a consensus of opinion that to maintain the status quo with respect to the lives of our children is simply not good enough. It is our responsibility as a committee of this hon. House, to harness this consensus and to find public policy options that will help to make positive change for our young people.

In meetings with government and non-government agencies, we have been struck by the need to better integrate child and youth services within government and between government and non-governmental agencies. To put it simply, the committee feels, even at this early point, that government departments and programs should fit into the needs of the child rather than having the child fit into a rigid system of government departmentalization. By building innovative systems of service delivery, the taxpayers money will be spent more efficiently and effectively, thereby better address the needs of children, families and communities.

Mr. Speaker, the support we have received to date from members of the general public, elected members of this hon. House and by officials of this government has been outstanding. The work of this committee is concerned with finding mechanisms and community alliances through which our children and grandchildren may all have the opportunity to reach their full potential. This work cannot be successful without the support of these people.

As I have said, the task before us is immense; but the chance to make a difference in the lives, not only of today's children but in the future of this Province, is deeply satisfying. I ask all hon. members to join together with the members of this Select Committee to ensure that we find the real solutions which will address the problems and the challenges which face our children today and tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, I second the motion of the hon. Member for Harbour Main.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to speak to the motion to address the draft reply to His Honour's address here today. I congratulate first of all the mover and the seconder for expressing their views in their own eloquent way. I am sure the Member for Harbour Main will not be at all surprised if I thank him for his advice but advise him I do not intend to take it. I know he will understand that. To the Member for Conception Bay South who spoke obviously quite passionately about an issue that I think we all have some concerns about, and we are looking forward to the report of the committee. I congratulate both of them on their comments.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome our visitors to the public gallery, those that are still with us, and to those who have left, the judges, and of course to the other distinguished guests on the floor of the House. It always amazes me that they are able to come here and sit through this for a couple of hours and still maintain some semblance of awareness of what is happening, if not understanding. I commend them for that and I welcome them here today.

Mr. Speaker, we have just heard the seventh Speech from the Throne from this Administration. It is the fourth one to which I have responded as the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and as hon. members know it will be my last, but I shall still try to make some pertinent comments in response to the Throne Speech.

The first issue I want to touch on, Mr. Speaker, fairly briefly, is with respect to the high seas overfishing issue. I just want to make two or three pertinent points, I hope, so that there is no misunderstanding of a position we have held in this party for quite some time. I also should indicate that we have an understanding from the government, I believe, that the Premier intends to introduce a motion, and probably will give notice a little later on today, of a motion that we will debate on Monday, I guess, so we will probably take up most of that day.

And I might as well give some notice and indication now as well that we will have the first Private Members' Day, I guess, on Wednesday and we will be introducing, my colleague the next Minister of Fisheries, the Member for Grand Bank, who is our fisheries critic, will be introducing a Private Member's Resolution for debate on Wednesday. We will give notice of it formally on Monday, and it deals with something I will touch on now.

Mr. Speaker, point number one is that last week, a week or so ago now, I wrote on behalf of our party and on behalf of the caucus, to Fisheries Minister, Brian Tobin, and sent a copy to the Premier and to my colleague down here on the end, and indicated that we applauded Mr. Tobin's efforts and the Government of Canada's initiative in regard to what they did over the last number of days, and had no hesitation in doing so. Members in this House will recall we made the same calls of our so-called cousins in the previous administration in Ottawa but could never get them to undertake such an initiative. I have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in applauding Mr. Tobin. He did the right thing and seems to be weathering the storm very, very well, if I may say so.

Mr. Speaker, the second point I want to make with respect to this issue, is concerning the rally last Sunday which I had occasion to attend, not as Opposition Leader, I was not there as the Leader of the Opposition, I was there as a Newfoundlander. I was very proud to be there and I was very proud of the way in which the people who were on the waterfront conducted themselves. I was not the least bit weary, I say to the Premier, of how our people might act. I knew that they would act with the best of intentions and I thought they did and handled themselves very well. So I want to commend the organizers of that particular rally. It was, after all, a rally to show support for the Government of Canada and their initiatives. So I wanted to put that on the record.

Mr. Speaker, the one final thing on this issue that I wanted to make note of, and it deals with our Private Members' Motion that we will give on Monday, is to continue a position that we have articulated for several years now and that is to call on this House to endorse the idea of asking the Government of Canada to extend its jurisdiction over the continental shelf so that it includes the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks as well as the Flemish Cap. It is one we have put forward before and which we have gotten support for from this House of Assembly. So that is what our Notice of Motion will be and I want to put that on the record. I indicated that as well in my letter to Mr. Tobin, because if the Government of Canada - and they now have shown that they have no hesitation in using whatever enforcement action is required, police action or otherwise in the name of conservation. If they are prepared to do that, in this instance with respect to the NAFO quotas concerning turbot, then surely there should not be a greater international risk associated with taking that one further step. There may or may not be debate on that particular point but I would urge Mr. Tobin and the Government of Canada to look seriously at this while they are dealing with this particular issue.

Now, Mr. Speaker, having made those few comments with respect to an issue that has been dominating our news over the last week, as we enter the seventh year of the mandates this particular administration has received, I have decided today what I would like to do is maybe take a step back from the Throne Speech delivered here today, which primarily is supposed to focus on the coming year, 1995, I want to try to have a look at where we have come from perhaps in this Province over the last number of years and maybe where we seem to be headed. Lest people in this Province feel from listening to some of the nice words in the debate, thus far from the two previous speakers, that everything in this place - everything is beautiful and everything is hunky-dory - I want to remind people of the real world in which we live here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This administration, Mr. Speaker, received its first mandate from the people of this Province back on April 20, 1989. It came to office, at the time, on a promise - well I guess they probably had a number of promises, I remember the municipal corporation being one, nothing is happening, no patronage, five universities, all kinds of promises.

There was one that I think received considerable attention from the media and the press of the day, and that was the promise of jobs. Bringing home mother's sons and daughters. You remember how that got created -

MS. VERGE: No daughters, just the sons.

MR. SIMMS: Well, we are doing it now to be gender-proper these days, I say to my colleague, the Member for Humber East.

That was one of their big promises. The other was, Mr. Speaker, to put an economic recovery plan in action within thirty days. The sad truth is, going on now seven years later we have yet to see any real action with respect to economic growth, and this particular speech that was delivered here today by His Honour gives people in this Province no special reason to have hope that their situation will be less vulnerable in the years ahead. Nowhere in Canada, nowhere in this country, are people more vulnerable and more concerned about the decisions of their government, than right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. At the same time, nowhere in Canada do we have an area of the country more richly blessed with natural resources and hard-working people than right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fisheries, forests, hydroelectric potential, minerals, petroleum reserves offshore and onshore, wildlife, agriculture - the Member for Harbour Main mentioned it - eco-tourism, historic sites. Newfoundland is a developer's paradise, in reality.

Our workers - the Member for Harbour Main referred to his constituents - the workers in Newfoundland and Labrador over the years have been praised all over the world from the high-rise construction sites in New York, as the member knows, to the oilfields in Alberta, to our own fishing grounds, offshore in particular, and as His Honour mentioned here today, indeed the battlefields of Europe. Our people have been seen as an exceptionally hard-working and courageous people whose tenacity is second to none.

This vulnerability of ours as a people can be traced back through a history of negligence, I would suggest, by successive governments. Successive governments, federal, provincial. We are all guilty of it. Governments have that uncanny knack to somehow spend all of their time addressing the symptoms of a problem instead of the root causes. That has been the history.

The one thing they have forgotten and haven't noticed obviously, and this government is included in this, is that the basic problem in Newfoundland and Labrador today is that there are too few jobs. The jobs that we do have, unfortunately, are seasonal in nature, many of them. Many of them are seasonal in nature. I do know this, from my travels around this Province: Newfoundlanders would sooner be working and they would sooner be working full-time than part-time. They have become dependent on UI and social assistance, there is no question about that. But it has not been by choice, it is out of necessity.

Common sense I think dictates that if the lack of jobs in Newfoundland is forcing many people to rely on these social programs, then the solution is not to slash and cut the social programs. The solution is to try to find more ways to get people working, not to cut the safety net. Now, Mr. Speaker, what could be more sensible than that? And, regrettably, thousands of our people - thousands - especially those whose educational backgrounds qualify them as our leaders of tomorrow, are packing up and leaving this Province in greater numbers than ever they have before.

This year neither government had the will to put in place a job creation program that was sensible enough to help all these people who are facing difficulty. As a consequence of the federal U.I. cuts last year, which are kicking in this year, and the new ones that will come, many people have not even been able to qualify this year for U.I. The situation is going to get worse. The Minister of Finance's own brother, the federal Liberal Member of Parliament for Gander - Grand Falls, said the same thing just a couple of weeks ago and, as a result, this year, for the first time in many, many years, for the first time in their lives, Newfoundlanders are going to be forced on the welfare lines - for the first time ever.

The number of social assistance cases in this Province in the last six years alone has increased by over 50 per cent. Seventy thousand Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are affected, and many of those are children.

Most of our local economic stimulation here in this Province has come from two main sources: one, the Hibernia development - remember that one that was equal to two fish plants or something -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: The Hibernia development and the federal fisheries support program, that is where most of our economic stimulation is coming from at the present time, but what we have to remember is that those two projects are also going to cause problems for us in the next couple of years - within the next two years - because the jobs and the money from the Hibernia project are going to move outside the Province as things wind down at Bull Arm, getting ready for the '97 tow-out, and we all know what has happened to TAGS. Four or five thousand have been booted off the program now, and there are going to be several thousand more over the next couple of years alone. So we should not forget the serious implications of those reductions.

So the one thing today that all of us should stand up for in Newfoundland and Labrador - including the Premier of this Province and his ministers and his government - is to send the message out loud and clear to the Globe and Mail types, and to the Fraser Institute types, that Newfoundlanders will trade in their stamps any day of the year if they can get a job. That is the message.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I also think that the way to make Newfoundlanders less dependent on social programs is to create more jobs here in the Province, but if you cut the social programs and ignore the job crisis - if you do nothing else other than pay lip service to the job crisis - then the only thing that is going to disappear is our people. That is my big fear.

We all know, Mr. Speaker, we have heard the Premier say it; we all know we have a large debt. We all know that our debt gets greater with every passing year. We know that we can't burden future generations. We know that we can't outspend our income and our revenue; practically speaking, it doesn't make any sense. We know all that, so if you have a large debt load, and if you are spending more than you generate, than you bring in, then there are two approaches, two ways to attack that problem. One is to decrease spending - and Lord knows this government has done a lot of that - but the other is to increase your economic output, and this government has done none of that, and that is the reality in this Province today. That is the reality, but in the cutting it is also possible to cut off your nose to spite your face. If you cut too deeply, like they have done, of if you cut too quickly, or if you cut in the wrong places, or at the wrong time, or across the board instead of selecting priorities, which is all the things that this government has done, especially at the same time you are ignoring the job crisis, then I think you are going to place a lot of the lives of the Newfoundland people in jeopardy, and the evidence, Mr. Speaker, is that, we have a government here that has not been putting its priorities in the right places. That is the evidence we have seen over the last six years. They fail to strike the proper balance that is required, that everybody has advised them to do but they have ignored that particular advice, Mr. Speaker. They have attacked the symptoms, they have had misplaced priorities that are coming out of our ears and we can go through all kinds of those. There have been a lot of wasted efforts, Hydro privatization being one, an expensive, wasted effort, Mr. Speaker. They have a history of ignoring problems for far too long and there have been many missed opportunities.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have EDGE, and we applaud the EDGE legislation. We supported it in the end, only because the government took our advice and the advice of others and changed it and made it a better piece of legislation but I hope this government doesn't intend to put all of its eggs and hope, in that one basket, that one, EDGE basket, because we are going to need some pile of new businesses just to replace the thousands of jobs that this government itself has eliminated directly over the last few years. We will need a lot of Iceberg Vodka companies to fill that gap.

I was going to reference, Mr. Speaker, some of the points made in the Throne Speech but, I don't know - the speech sounded so repetitious. I'm not sure, I haven't had a chance to check, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is the same speech we heard last year or the year before. I mean, you can hardly describe it as anything earth-shattering I will say that for it, and it had an eerie familiarity to it, quite a familiar ring to it, Mr. Speaker; Strategic Social Plan - gee whiz, we have been hearing that for three years. The Strategic Economic Plan, ho, ho, hum, Mr. Speaker, how many times have we heard that? Labour laws are going to be reviewed - over and over and over you hear it. Financial issues, oh yes, praise the government for the wonderful job - Regulatory Reform, my gosh, that's a brand, new one! I hadn't heard that before; Regulatory - one stop shopping. Oh, brand, new stuff, Mr. Speaker.

There was one that really brought a smile to my face. I am not quite sure of the quote because I didn't have a copy of the Speech, by the way, I say to the Premier, it must have been an oversight - someone in your office will probably be fired again - it didn't get down. In any event, it doesn't matter because I read last year's and it is pretty similar to that. But the one that brought a smile to my face, I have to say to the Premier, was - I think it was something along these lines: My Minister of Finance expects to bring in his Budget next week and so on, and he hopes to show a modest surplus, I believe those were the words, and the last time I heard that, was when the Member for St. John's Centre, was the Minister of Finance back in 1989 or 1990, he brought in, I believe it was his first Budget: modest, surplus of $5 million and before the year was out, Mr. Speaker, they had a $100 million deficit, I think it was. So I would say to anybody who pays attention to those charming words in the Throne Speech, that they might remember that, Mr. Speaker, and we will have to wait and see what happens before the year is out, I would say to the government.

Anyway, it went on, there are a lot of interesting things there. It talked about their wonderful hard work they put into making the economy grow, leading to economic growth. The only sector that I can think of off the top of my head that may have shown some improvement over the last couple of years would be the travel industry; the travel industry, with all the ministers travelling and the Premier travelling; our own friend, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is still travelling, I understand. We had the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation over in Japan and the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs over looking at sewage systems, of all things, and I know my friend the Minister of Finance was down in Cuba. So that is one sector that may be improving. I am not sure, it may be interesting to get a reaction from the travel sector.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on, there is lots of material that we could use to create some humourous responses to the Throne Speech, but the point I am trying to make is that there is a serious situation in the Province, and everybody recognizes there is a difficult and serious situation. But, Mr. Speaker, no government is elected merely to be a bean counter. I say that to the Premier and to the Minister of Finance in all sincerity, and it refers to the comments made by the Member for Harbour Main. The problem is, for far too long in this Province, this Administration has governed blindly by counting beans. Because what they've been doing is making decisions, Mr. Speaker, in order to achieve a certain fiscal bottom line, and at the same time they have ignored the people's cries for help. That is what has been happening around the Province.

If we were delivering a Throne Speech today, let me just mention some of the things that we would be announcing. We would first of all be announcing an independent judicial inquiry into all matters related to the award of contracts in 1991 for three health care centres.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we would do that because we recognize that until this scandal is cleared up people will have no basis to trust the integrity or the competence of their government.

We would be announcing that Hydro privatization is not on hold or not on the back burner, or on the shelf until the Premier can sneak it through the House sometime under the guise of some other name like commercialization. We would say it is finished, kaput, abandoned! But you still hear the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board on this morning: We haven't made a final decision on it yet, but blah, blah, blah.

We would be announcing a new approach on educational reform, Mr. Speaker, one that bypasses the current acrimony and stalemate which is dividing the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, we would be announcing an adequate emergency job creation program with criteria that would allow those who need work to get work.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: We would announce the creation of a secretariat to do nothing else but develop job creation ideas and training, reporting directly to the Premier, and we would help pay for that by eliminating and closing down the Economic Recovery Commission, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: We would be announcing the beginning of the elimination of the payroll tax which has cost jobs in this Province by the hundreds, and members over there know it because they've told me. They've heard the same stories. We would announce incentives to give a boost to small business in this Province, the ones that were ignored by the EDGE legislation, Mr. Speaker, because they are the ones that create the jobs out in our communities.

We would be announcing the restoration of a full-fledged Department of Fisheries.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, those are some of the things that we would announce, and we would have liked to have seen today in this Throne Speech. Because these are the kinds of issues that people are talking about. These are the kinds of things that people are looking for in the Province. These are the kinds of policies that would restore credibility to politics and politicians, integrity to our government, and that would instill, most importantly, confidence in our people.

While the Premier and his ministers have been ceaselessly travelling to New York, Boston, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Seoul, Norway, Hong Kong, and yes, Shanghai, the people I've been talking to in Marystown, Harbour Grace, Pouch Cove, Badger, Stephenville and Pilley's Island, and Happy Valley and the Goulds and Bonavista, over the last couple of years, have been telling me all the time that today, more than ever before, at a time when our history is changing so rapidly, and the changes we face are perhaps more profound than anything we've ever faced in our history and in our lives, they need a solid and firm foundation to hold on to.

They shudder when they hear a premier saying to Ottawa: Go ahead and cut all you want, cut our transfers, cut our education money, cut our health care funds. Cut more, cut more, cut more! They shudder when they hear that. I heard the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board's brother make the same comment, the federal Liberal Member for Gander - Grand Falls. The people of this Province believe that this government has abandoned them. They believe that their government is out of control, ramming policy through whenever they feel like it, snubbing their noses at legitimate calls for inquiries when they are clearly warranted.

When we say that they are out of touch, when we say that the government and the Premier are out of touch, they accuse us of merely being partisan, simply playing partisan politics. I can hear it now. But not only are we saying it, the people of the Province are saying it, and as everybody now knows, members of the Premier's own caucus have been saying exactly the same thing, that the government is out of touch with the people.

My message to the government is, I hope, fairly clear. I don't expect them to take my message or my advice, but I'm going to offer it anyway whether they like it or not. A government cannot impose their will upon the people of this Province simply because they think they know better, simply because they think they are superior, simply because they think they are somehow more intelligent than the people. That dogmatic approach is not acceptable, it is wrong.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the Premier and to the government, listen to those who urge you to change your approach, change your thinking, give the people of this Province some reason to hold out some hope. Because it is a government's responsibility, this government's responsibility in this case, to shine a little light into that tunnel, so that that light gives people reason to have hope and to be optimistic that the future for them, their families and their communities will indeed be brighter.

Mr. Speaker, a lot of people have stood ahead of me in this position, two I am staring at right across from me right now and, Mr. Speaker, there will be others who will stand here afterwards, many who will stand in this particular position. Indeed, as members know, in a couple of months or a few weeks, a new person will stand here at this microphone and will call this government to account; because that is the solemn duty of the Opposition Leader in our parliamentary system, I say to the Member for Harbour Main. I tell you, it is a duty I intend to fulfil even though I only have a few weeks left until I relinquish that position. Mr. Speaker, since this is my last response officially to a Throne Speech, I want to say this - it is a matter that concerns all of us I suspect, that is, the reputation of politics and politicians. I say to all of us as politicians, we are going to have to work very, very hard to try to prove to the public, Mr. Speaker, that politics is an honourable profession. I think it is, and I am prepared to defend it as much as I can, but we all have to work harder than ever we have before to earn back respect for this particular profession, and we shouldn't have any hesitancy in doing so.

Mr. Speaker, if I may, and to Mr. Speaker himself, I would like to express to members on both sides of the House, both past members over the last couple of decades, with whom I have served, and to the present members, my deep thanks and gratitude for the courtesies that have been afforded me. I say this in all sincerity as well, if I have offended anybody personally, it has not been my intent. I know I have, so I want to make the apology now because, Mr. Speaker, I still have four or five weeks left in the House and I am likely to do it again, but if I do, I want to assure members of the House, particularly any on that side that I may have offended, I certainly apologize for it, I did not intend to do that.

I finally want to convey to all members of the House, Mr. Speaker, my sincere best wishes as all of you continue to faithfully serve as servants of the people and carry out the job you were elected to do, I wish you well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I want to congratulate the mover and the seconder, the Member for Harbour Main and the Member for Conception Bay South. I think they both did a splendid job in addressing matters that are of concern, not only to members of the House but of concern to the people of the Province, and I offer them my sincere congratulations. I join also with the Leader of the Opposition in extending a warm welcome to the visitors who are in the gallery today, but I want to extend a special welcome again this year to the visitors who faithfully come year after year, the distinguished representatives of other countries, former Lieutenants-Governor and representatives of the churches. I acknowledge and express the appreciation of the people of the Province for your presence in the House and I am glad you are here again this year to hear a general commentary on the government's objectives for the forthcoming session of the House and to hear the Opposition's characterization of it, which is the usual to hear on this day.

Mr. Speaker, the Opposition Leader noted that this was his last response to a Throne Speech. I have to tell you, having listened to it, I sincerely regret it. As the Premier and leader of the party, I sincerely regret that it is his last response. It is too bad that he chose to make it a response that I think an examination of the record in the years ahead will demonstrate was one of his most unfounded speeches, had the least possible support for some of the comments that he made. He chose to suggest that the government has done nothing since 1989, that we took office under an objective of restoring the economy of this Province, and that we have failed miserably in this objective. I don't know where he has been for the last few years.

He talked about dealing with problems, not symptoms. Now, I ask you, where did the Opposition Leader hear that for the first time? He heard it from me in this House, the necessity to deal with problems, not symptoms, to bring in solutions to address the problems, to eliminate symptoms. That is where he heard it, and that is precisely what we have been doing.

Government in this Province, for the first time in my memory, has produced and put in place a plan to deal with these problems, an effective Strategic Economic Plan that has widespread support throughout this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Not for show, an approach that has substance to it. The Opposition Leader reasons, as proof of what he says, that what we need is full-time jobs, not part-time jobs, and his accusation is that all the government is doing is producing part-time jobs. Mr. Speaker, I just happen to have available here the full statistics since 1979 on part-time and full-time work.

The day the hon. the Leader of the Opposition sat on this side of the House with responsibility for directing the economy, 35.9 per cent of our total jobs in the Province were part-time jobs. Then we took responsibility for government. Now, if the Leader of the Opposition is correct in his proposition, you would think that we would be up to about 50 per cent part-time jobs by now. What was it in 1994? It was reduced to 30.3 per cent. Now, Mr. Speaker, if that represents the validity of the comments of the Leader of the Opposition, then we know what we can do with every other comment he made, and that is gleefully ignore it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: The total jobs (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: The total jobs are up, too. The total jobs have increased significantly in the last year. I will give hon. members some statistics that they will appreciate.

Mr. Speaker, we took responsibility for government with a recognition and acknowledgement that governments that went before us acted out of sincere objective. We acknowledge that no doubt they were dedicated to trying to make the economy of this Province better. We didn't doubt their sincerity. What we doubted was their approach. We looked back at the record and we saw that it was a record of marked failure. As more and more this Province came to rely and had to rely on increased transfers from the Federal Government, we had gotten ourselves to a point by 1988-1989 where about 50 per cent of our total revenue came by way of direct transfers from the Federal Government.

Now, anybody who would stop to think about the financial situation that Canada was getting itself into would realize that that level of support would have to come to an end very soon. The national government simply could not afford to continue that approach for the `have not' provinces of this nation, because they would be leading the nation into bankruptcy, so it had to come to an end. What must we do if that was going to happen? We must put ourselves in a position to be better able to look after ourselves. So we took a look at the ad hoc approach to economic development of the past, the total absence of an economic plan, the total ignoring of the burden that government can be to the economy, and the extent to which government's actions can impede economic development. So, Mr. Speaker, we developed a proposal and we took it around for consideration by all of the people of the Province, and out of it was born the Strategic Economic Plan - not a statement of platitudes and good intentions but a statement of specific action items which we have been implementing in detail ever since June of 1992.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: That involved, Mr. Speaker, three key components. First, restructuring the fundamentals of the economy, recognizing the government's role is to provide for an economic climate and not to be involved in the day to day activities of the economy, to give that responsibility to the private sector and to get government out of as much activity of a private sector nature as we possibly could in order to strengthen the private sector of our economy, to cut down the burden of government on the economy and we started at the top. We cut the Cabinet from twenty-three down to fourteen, down from twenty-three. The day Mr. Peckford left office he had twenty-three.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Peckford had twenty-two ministers plus himself in the Cabinet. I will produce the names.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Rideout brought it down to nineteen. It was a start in the right direction. Mr. Peckford had twenty-three ministers in his Cabinet and we had to eliminate that burden of government, Mr. Speaker, and we did. We had to implement efficiencies to make government more efficient and more cost effective in what it did. We had to recognize the proper roles of government. We had to recognize that no government, whatever its political stripe, if they were going to deal honestly with the people of this Province, could ever represent to them that government can cause an acceptable level of economic activity to be generated in all 800 communities around 10,000 miles of coastline in this Province, so we created the regional economic zones to deal with that problem and to recognize the economic reality. We restructured, we committed the privatization of as much of governmental activity as could reasonably be privatized and carried on more effectively in the private sector. We have done that fundamental restructuring.

Then, Mr. Speaker, we had to recognize that government itself can be an adverse economic force. Every dollar that government takes out of the economy is one dollar less that the economy has to strengthen and regenerate itself. It does not matter if it is only a dollar. It probably does not matter if it is only $1 million or $10 million, but if it is $400 or $500 million it can be devastating to an economy, so we had to change the direction and thrust of government to get government's finances back under control so that the economy would be able to use its financial resources to regenerate itself instead of having to feed an inefficient government and a massive debt growing day by day, so we set about to put government's finances in order.

Over the last three to four years we have done that. We had to recognize that we had to try and do it in a way that would not cause a sudden adverse impact, would not be too disruptive on the economy, would not be beyond what we could reasonably cope with, so we did it in an orderly methodical way. I do not think I am giving away any budgetary secrets, Mr. Speaker, if I were to say that I have every hope that the Minister of Finance will stand in his place and say that during the current fiscal year that will end now, on March 31, it is probable that we will show a small surplus on our current account. It is probable that we will, but I will leave the rest and the detail for the Minister of Finance.

Now, that, Mr. Speaker, is a major achievement in the circumstances of coming out of the recession, in the circumstances of the closure of the ground fish fishery, bearing in mind what has happened to other governments of this nation. That is an achievement for which I give the Minister of Finance the full credit he is due, but it is not enough, Mr. Speaker. We cannot stop there. Our objective must be to eliminate the total government deficit and ultimately to work us to the point where we have a complete surplus on our total operation, where government will not be borrowing at all, where we will stop the growth in our debt. That is essential. If we are to give our economy a chance at all we have to stop this burgeoning growth in debt and we are determined, Mr. Speaker, to do it.

That makes it necessary, as the Speech from the Throne indicated, to deal also with the massive pension problem that is facing us.

Maybe hon. members and the public at large don't realize how serious that problem is. We must face it, and face it effectively and fairly. Otherwise the achievements that we've had to date in terms of economic recovery can be lost if we do not do that. So getting government's finances in order, Mr. Speaker, is crucial. We've gone a long way toward doing that and putting us well on the course for success in the very near future.

The third component of it was to create a business-friendly climate, and to recognize that to the extent that government creates burdens for the business sector, by tax burdens, regulatory burdens, other administrative burdens, and make it difficult, it is a deterring effect and it diminishes economic activity. So we set about deliberately to reduce the business, the corporation income tax, which we did, from 17 per cent to 14 per cent; the manufacturing and processing corporate rate from 17 per cent to 5 per cent; the small business corporate rate from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. All with a view to making it more attractive. The elimination of the excessive regulations that we had. Improvement in labour relations.

Correcting the excesses of the previous government in terms of what it did with the Workers' Compensation system. It created an absolute monster with it. Through some of its collective bargaining, through the legislative changes, through political pressures, it worked the Workers' Compensation system to a point where in certain circumstances an employee could end up with 25 per cent more pay than he would get working if he stayed on Workers' Compensation. No system can survive that, no economy can survive that kind of excessive burden. So we took the difficult decisions to correct it. We are doing that in other ways, in making this a business-friendly climate.

Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to report to you that that effort is already producing significant results. Let me tell the House of some recent statistics. Very encouraging. Our growth in our gross domestic product last year was about 3.7 per cent, is that the figure? About 3.7 per cent. Not half bad in this fiscal year, in the circumstances that we were facing, with the closure of our groundfish fishery and all. The projections are it will be in the same general area for this coming year. That is not half bad performance in all of the circumstances.

Employment growth in the non-fishery sector on a year over year basis was up 6,000. January and February average employment in this year is 6,000 higher than it was January and February of last year. That is a significant increase in the non-fishery sector, and it reflects a significant improvement in our economy generally.

In mines, the value of mineral shipments was up significantly in 1994, up by 16 per cent. The value and tonnage of newsprint was up by 7 per cent. Tourism was up. Construction was up by 20 per cent. Hibernia contributed significantly to it, no doubt, but construction generally was up. Newsprint production was up.

Mr. Speaker, listen to this statistic: our non-resource manufacturing, which excludes fishery, newsprint, et cetera - our non-resource manufacturing - was up by 9 per cent, a significant improvement. That is where some of those jobs came from.

Small and medium business growth - the rate of growth in the small and medium size businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador in the last four or five years was greater in this Province than any other Province of Canada, with the exception of B.C. - with the exception of B.C., the best growth in the country.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report something else, too. When I was going across the country three weeks ago to do some promotion, I met with groups all across the country. One group I met with in Toronto, talking around a table with ten people, and to hear a senior executive officer of one of the major Canadian banks, as we were talking about doing business in Newfoundland, say: We assess our productivity everywhere we do business, not alone in Canada but in every other area we do business. Our best area of productivity is Newfoundland and Labrador. Our employees in Newfoundland and Labrador are our most productive.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: That prompted another man to say: Well, that's our experience, too - a newsprint manufacturer.

The Iron Ore Company of Canada will tell you the same thing. Their employee cost per ton is lower in Labrador City than any other iron producing mine in North America. So we have a good deal to trade on. That is why we are doing the kind of promotion that we do.

Now our next effort, having corrected the fundamentals, having put in place a business friendly climate, having dealt with the government's financial problems, our next major effort must be that of promotion and inducement, and that is where the EDGE legislation comes in, but the second part of that is travel.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology should be travelling near constantly from now on if he is to do his job right. We didn't travel in the last three to four years because we hadn't dealt with the fundamentals. It wasn't the right time to do it. We hadn't completed the changes that were necessary to enable us to go out and say: Newfoundland and Labrador is the best place in North America for you to establish your business.

That is done, and now the time is right for the promotional activity. It is not going to come solely from investors from Newfoundland and Labrador. We simply do not have the capital resources to finance it. We understand that. We want to promote as much of it as we can from within but we can't confine the activity to that, because if we do we will surely fail in our effort. That effort must now be taken. I can say to the Leader of the Opposition, he will see the minister and perhaps myself as well do a good deal more travelling in the years ahead to promote this.

The major challenge that we face as a government, the absolute, single, major challenge that we face from here as a government, is dealing with, or providing some kind of economic renewal that will produce jobs for the 30,000 people who have been displaced in the fishery. That is the challenge. It is made a greater challenge by reason of the fact that it is not confined to three or four or eight or ten communities. It is spread out amongst 600 communities dispersed along our coastline and that makes it extremely difficult to find the right solution.

It is going to take a major federal-provincial initiative to deal with it. We've made proposals to the federal government. I am hoping that they will recognize their responsibility in this area. They've done so in terms of providing interim income for people, but that is not enough to simply pay income and give people no hope for the future. We've got to provide for addressing the problem in a way that will see people removed from having to rely on governmental-supported income and be able to look after themselves. That is going to take the political courage on the part of the federal government to address a most extraordinary problem, and to do that is going to take a most extraordinary response. We've put such a proposal to them and I'm confident that they will respond favourably.

I want to express at the same time my appreciation to the Prime Minister in particular, to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and to all who sit around the federal Cabinet table, for having the political courage to take the action that they did in dealing with the foreign overfishing problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Ever since I've been in this House, since 1987, I have been proposing that the national government look at a system of custodial management for the stocks beyond the 200 mile limit. I have gone to various capitals in the world; to Washington, to the United Nations and to Ottawa, to press for support for that kind of an approach. We could never get any headway with the former government in Ottawa, this new government had the courage to recognize the need and the courage to introduce the enabling legislation which they did within six months of taking office. They introduced the enabling legislation in May of last year, it was passed within a couple of days and they started to implement it.

This year when it became necessary to deal with a problem that was created by the European community, there would not have been a problem right now except for the fact that the European community said: We are going to disregard NAFO's allocation. We are going to establish our own allocation and we are going to fish that, without regard to the consequences to the fish. Now I remind people that that is precisely what they were saying in 1989, 1990, 1991, as a half-a-dozen groundfish stocks were in the process of being fished to commercial extinction and we have not been able to commercially fish those stocks since. They were saying then: we are going to disregard NAFO's moratorium and impose our own quota. They fished the stocks to the point where they have now reached commercial extinction and now they have turned to the turbot stocks. And because they took that action - and that was the event that made it necessary for Canada to act - because they took that action they have set in train a course of events that would see the turbot stocks fished to commercial extinction as well.

Now it is all very well for me to sit in this Province and claim to speak on behalf of the people of the Province and say: we want you, Canada, to stop that fishing out there. It is easy enough for me to do that. It does not take a great deal of courage, it just takes a little bit of common sense. The real courage, Mr. Speaker, lies in the individual who heads the Government of Canada and who has the responsibility to the whole of the nation, to take account of what the adverse impact on the whole nation, on the world, on Canada's position in the world, on its relation with the nations of the European community would be as a result. That is where the real courage lies, Mr. Speaker, not in me, or the Leader of the Opposition or anybody else in this Province who claims it, and this House would do well to recognize it, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

- while the courage lies with the Prime Minister for giving that kind of leadership and taking the ultimate responsibility. The credit for the dedication and effort has to go to Brian Tobin, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - and, Mr. Speaker, at the same time, we have to recognize that it isn't easy for him either, to perform as the lone voice from Newfoundland in that circumstance, having responsibility for the management of Fisheries and Oceans to take these kinds of decisions and I give him, Mr. Speaker, the full credit he deserves; but I also acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, the willingness of all of the other members of the Government of Canada to say yes, because all of them must have said yes, because they are still in the Cabinet, none have resigned. The Government of Canada has unanimous support on the issue and it has widespread support throughout this country. In every editorial comment I have seen, except for the self-proclaimed national newspaper, they seem to be off on a track of their own again, but that is not an unusual role for them to be playing.

Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition noted, I will, when the time comes, be giving Notice of a Motion, that I know has the support of all members of the House because the first letter I saw, within days of the action being taken, was a letter written by the Leader of the NDP Party, the Member for St. John's East, who suggested such a resolution be presented and the ready response by the Leader of the Opposition, and, Mr. Speaker, I thank both members for their ready response in this regard. It will, I believe, be helpful to the Government of Canada to see the House unanimous in its expression of this support.

Mr. Speaker, mankind and people do not live by economics and fish alone. We have also to address our social needs. The Speech from the Throne indicates clearly the direction that the government is taking. The comments of the Member for Conception Bay South, indicates the concern not alone of the government but of the whole House to address the concern of children and the approach that we are taking. The Strategic Social Plan that is in the process of being developed will address all aspects of social concern. We are trying to address a critical issue to both our economic and social future and that is, education; Primary, Elementary and Secondary education in particular.

We have a peculiar history in this Province in that regard. It has both made a great contribution and been an extra burden, it has been both at the same time. Our objective must now be to find the means of diminishing the extent to which it is an additional burden, saving the extent to which it is a great contribution, and go forward with an education system that will meet the real needs of the children of this Province to have the best possible preparation to meet the competitive world and to cope with the competitive world that they will have to live in.

We have had a difficult period over the last eighteen months with some strong views being expressed on behalf of the churches who have particular positions, and in some respects constitutionally entrenched positions, and the concern that we know is held by the very clear and substantial majority of the people of this Province that there be a special effort to address educational reform.

As a result of exchanges of correspondence and proposals recently, I am happy to say that I have just today written to the church leaders with a revised proposal. I do not propose to say anything about the nature or content of that, either in the House or to the media, until the church leaders have had an opportunity to review it, and until we have had an opportunity to meet, and I expect the church leaders will treat it in exactly the same way, and once we have met then I would expect that both parties will deal with their positions on the issue.

Mr. Speaker, what the Speech from the Throne says is that we are going to get more of the same. We are continuing in the same course of dealing with a sensible, logical, well thought out plan of economic development. We are going to continue with our determination to achieve financial responsibility and sound financial management in this Province, because now that we have the Province on the road to recovery, we are determined to keep it there until full recovery is achieved.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank all hon. members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved and seconded that an Address of Thanks be presented to His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor, in reply to the Gracious Speech with which he has been pleased to open the present session of the House of Assembly. The members of the Select Committee will be the Member for Harbour Main, the Member for Conception Bay South, and the Member for Green Bay.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I take it the motion has been carried.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion, carried.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, while I am giving this notice of motion, as I indicated in my comments a few moments ago, I am really making the motion on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the NDP.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following motion:

WHEREAS extensive efforts by both the Federal and Provincial Government to achieve a diplomatic solution to the problem of foreign overfishing have not stopped the continued devastation of the fish stocks off our coast; and

WHEREAS Canada as the adjacent coastal state has an international obligation to protect this major food source for the entire world; and

WHEREAS thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been prohibited from fishing in the name of conservation; and

WHEREAS some fish stocks are now reaching the point of commercial extinction, and many people in this Province face an uncertain future;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly strongly support the direct actions taken by the Federal Government to stop the destructive fishing practices being carried out by foreign fleets off our coasts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that no other Notices of Motion will be brought forward today. As my friend the Leader of the Opposition said, on Monday the Opposition will give notice of a motion that we will be asked to debate on Wednesday. Let me simply inform the House formally that this reflects a consensus that has been reached between both sides, to which my friend for St. John's East is party. We will on Monday be addressing the question of Private Member's motions and getting back to a more acceptable method of dealing with them than perhaps developed at the end of the last session.

We will also be suggesting on Monday, for the purpose of the debate on Monday, we will be debating the motion just given by the Premier, that we, by unanimous consent, adopt a special procedure to govern that day only, that the Premier will speak for twenty minutes, the Leader of the Opposition, or whoever speaks from that side, will speak for twenty minutes, and then we will go on into speeches of ten minutes each from as many members as wish to speak. It will be our suggestion that we conclude the debate on Monday when all who wish to speak have spoken. Then, when that is done we will adjourn the House, and on Tuesday we will carry on with other orders of business. Of course, Thursday is the day on which my friend, the Minister of Finance will reveal the secrets he has been keeping so closely.

With that said, Your Honour, unless there is some other Notice of Motion, I am prepared to move that the House adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: I should ask the Government House Leader that if you wish to establish the procedure on Monday we will put that in the form of a motion to members on Monday to vary the procedure.

MR. ROBERTS: We could do it now if Your Honour prefers. My understanding is that there is a consensus among members.

MR. SPEAKER: For the record, I would rather put it in the form of a motion, for Monday's debate on the motion of the Premier that the Premier speak for twenty minutes, the Opposition reply for twenty minutes, and each other member speak in turn for ten.

All in favour of the motion, `aye.'


MR. SPEAKER: Contrary-minded, `nay.'

Motion unanimously carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, I will move that the House at its rising adjourn until Monday at 2:00 p.m., and that the House do now adjourn.

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