March 20, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 2

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, since the House last sat, I guess, there has not been much of an opportunity to really press the government with respect to an issue that I spent a lot of time on in the last session; specifically, I am talking about Trans City Holdings. During the last session of the House, in particular, I had on many occasions asked the Premier a lot of questions about that issue, which he frequently deferred to the Minister of Finance, but there were occasions when the Premier said that if, in fact, there were any finding that would indicate there was anything wrongly done, if there were any findings by the court, then he would, in fact, order a full public inquiry. At least, that is the interpretation I put on it and I think most people in the public did.

We now know that the Supreme Court in fact has now spoken and it has said that the government did break the law with respect to the awarding of contracts for these health care centres to Trans City Holdings in 1991. In addition to that he also said there were many unanswered questions, so today, to begin, I would like to ask the Premier specifically, does he condone what the government did in breaking the law?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the government has concluded that it does not share the opinion and judgement expressed by the trial judge totally, and for that reason, has filed an appeal. The matter will therefore go before the Court of Appeal and the government's argument on the findings of the trial judge will be heard at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal will render its decision on that.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, nonetheless, the Supreme Court has already ruled that government broke the law - I think that is my point, and the government has argued in the House, as well as it did in the courts, I say to the Premier, that it had the right to reject the preferred bidder under Clause 8 (1) of the Public Tendering Act. I think that was one of the big arguments that government made both here in the House and in the court, but the Supreme Court states on page 92 of its decision, that Cabinet's decision to reject the preferred bidder does not come close to approaching a not expedient determination contemplated in Clause 8 (1) of the act; so isn't the Premier therefore concerned as a result of this ruling in the courts and these words by the judge, isn't he concerned now about the perception, the public perception in particular, that this whole sorry mess was really a trumped-up scheme to give these lucrative contracts to his Liberal friends?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have said that the government does not share the findings of the trial judge in the matter.

MR. SIMMS: None of it.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, we didn't share the findings of the trial judge with respect to the Holiday Inn, either, and the Court of Appeal said the government was right. So this matter will now go to the Court of Appeal; the government has a right to do that. A Notice of Appeal has been filed and we will let the Court of Appeal decide the issue.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can see where this is going now. This will be their defence and their way of stalling this whole thing, I guess, by simply saying, it is being appealed.

In the last session, Mr. Speaker, we asked lots of questions about

it and they answered it; he didn't, but he had his Minister of Finance answer them, and the case was before the courts, so I say to the Premier, don't try to use that crutch as an excuse for not answering questions directly. And the Premier might not be concerned about all of this but the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador clearly was concerned about it.

Now, on pages 91-92 of his decision - and I know the Premier has read it - Justice Orsborn warned that the use of Clause 8 (1) in this circumstance would introduce a significant potential for unfairness, favouritism and fraud, and would destroy the integrity of the public tender process. Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what happened and what we have been alleging for several months now, so I want to ask the Premier directly: Isn't it a fact that the government did favour its friends in awarding those contracts, and isn't it a fact that the government acted unfairly and deliberately, to do it?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, and I say again: the government does not share the findings of the trial judge. It is not an unusual event for a party to an action, not to agree with the findings of a trial judge, that's why we have a Court of Appeal. The matter has gone before the Court of Appeal. I am not about to discuss it now, in detail, with the hon. member here; I will not do it.

Now, I know what he says, while the matter was on trial, they kept asking questions of me or the Minister of Finance on the issue, and there was such a battery and such a constant array of it that we had to do something to try to give some kind of response to the answers, but the matter ought to have been left until the courts are finished with it. When the courts are finished with it the matter can be discussed publicly. We do not propose to discuss any of these issues until the matter is dealt with by the courts.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I don't think this is surprising to anybody observing what has been transpiring for three years now with respect to Trans City Holdings. I don't buy the Premier's explanation, not for a second. I think everybody in the Province can see what he is up to and what the government is up to.

On page 146 of the Supreme Court's decision, Justice Orsborn said, `viewed as a whole, the evidence before me is sufficient to raise suspicions that the award of the contract to Trans City was influenced by factors unrelated to the substantive contents of the bids.' Now, Mr. Speaker, I think that gets right to the heart of the matter and it goes back to what the Premier and I debated, or discussed, if you want, in Question Periods last Fall. The suspicion is clearly that there was deliberate and unlawful political interference to get these contracts for Trans City. We have alleged it and the Supreme Court has now raised it in its decision. In view of the fact that the Premier said, if there was any evidence at all, `the slightest bit of evidence at all,' I think were the words he used, that he would not hesitate to hold a public inquiry. So I want to ask him here today, formally - despite the fact the matter is under appeal, that is the other issue, but a judicial public inquiry to expose the truth about the political interference and manipulation in this scandal, that is what the people of the Province want, that is what all of the editorial writers around the Province have been asking for. Is he afraid of what the inquiry might expose about his own personal knowledge and his own personal involvement in this thing? Is that why he is hesitating? Is he afraid to expose the truth?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Desperation finally hits when he has to resort to that. Desperation is finally disclosed. No, Mr. Speaker, the matter is before the Court of Appeal, by way of an appeal, and I say again, the government does not share the findings of Mr. Justice Orsborn in the matter, but that is not unusual, that is not intended to be a criticism of Mr. Justice Orsborn. In previous cases, the government has not shared the findings of a trial judge and gone on to a Court of Appeal, and Courts of Appeal have said the government was right or the government was wrong. The Court of Appeal will come to a similar conclusion in this case. Either the government's position is right or it is wrong, and we will wait and we will see.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker. The Supreme Court said that the government was wrong. I want to try and bring it back once more and ask the Premier this question. I try to listen to him closely when he says: We disagree with the findings of Judge Orsborn. Now that is one thing.

The second thing is this. There was throughout that decision an enormous amount of evidence put forward, a lot of conclusions that were drawn, a lot of comments that were made by the judge and by others, which to my way of thinking, in reading it, even though I may be biased in the matter - because I think the best way to expose the truth in this case is an enquiry - it seems to me there is enough evidence to indicate to the Premier and to the government that there has been something wrongly done here. Not just with respect to breaking the public tendering act, but the political interference. That is what I've been harping at.

So why doesn't the Premier stand up in the House today, put this matter to rest, appoint a public enquiry, a judicial enquiry, to look at all of these allegations and to expose the truth? Why wouldn't he do that? Is he afraid of the truth?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker. We've asked the Court of Appeal to review the entire matter and we are prepared to wait for the opinion of the Court of Appeal. I say to the hon. member, if he spends every Question Period from now until when the Court of Appeal renders its judgement asking exactly the same question, the answer will be precisely the same.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education and Training. The academic results for the autumn semester at Memorial University led to a very high drop-out rate, particularly for first-year students, but not exclusively and not particularly to first-year students only. Has the minister asked the University for an analysis of the drop-out rate at Memorial over the past five years, and is he prepared to make that information public?

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

MR. DECKER: I thank the hon. member for the question, Mr. Speaker. I thought they had chickened out on asking questions on education. No, I haven't asked the president of the University to give me an analysis of the last five years. We did discuss the drop-out in Christmas, and of course it was not entirely unexpected, as hon. members will know. Because of the teachers' strike last spring a lot of students were admitted to Memorial who, in the normal course of events, would not have been admitted. As the hon. member knows, the university did not stand by its normal standard of admitting people who only had 65 per cent, and it is quite possible a lot of people did get in who would normally not get in. I am not aware that there is any extreme difference with the other years, but I certainly will take that part of the question under advisement and discuss it with the president. They haven't volunteered the information to me.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister attempts, of course, to camouflage his answer by focusing on the teachers' strike. We all admit that was a factor in first year results. It was a predictable result; however, the concern is being expressed by many people that Memorial's drop-out rate is a concern to parents and to the public in the Province, and I am asking the minister if he would compare the data for Memorial, as far as drop-outs are concerned, with other similar institutions in Atlantic Canada, and if he would compare the drop-out rate at Memorial with other post-secondary institutions in this Province.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to commit to spending a million dollars on some kind of an enquiry, but I certainly will bring this to the attention of the University to see if there is anything we should do from there.

Now I have to admit that I have had extensive meetings with the University, as well as with various student organizations around the Province, and that is the first time that issue has been brought to my attention, except as I already said, about the first year drop-out at Christmas, but I was not aware there was anything different. The hon. member will know that when he attended university, and when I attended, it was quite normal to have people - we even called them Christmas graduates. That has been in the vernacular of the universities, I suppose, since Plato taught Aristotle, but I will certainly check it out and see if there is any basis there, or if this is not some more fearmongering, some more scare tactics, which the hon. member tends to use so often.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, it's not good enough that we would have stay in school initiatives in senior high school if the government is prepared to abandon this campaign at the post-secondary level. My point is that we have extensive allocations of money from the federal government and the provincial government towards stay in school initiatives to keep people in high school. I am asking the minister if he would consider a program towards targeting students at the post-secondary level so that we can encourage these students to stay in school, because we all know that the need for post-secondary education is paramount if we are to prosper and continue to grow as a Province.

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

MR. DECKER: Probably the hon. member has not been following what is happening in post-secondary education in this Province, Mr. Speaker. We are second to none in the country in the strides we have taken over the past three or four years in post-secondary education. We have a council of higher education which has worked out credits which can transfer from college to college, from college to university, from university to college. We have been making better strides in this Province than have ever been made before in the history of this Province. Maybe if the hon. member would like to have a briefing sometime he could come over to my office and sit down with some people rather than be picking up little bits of information here and there. He would be pleasantly surprised to see just what is happening in this Province, and I would be delighted to teach the hon. member as to just what is happening around him. I would suggest that maybe we might get some research available to them over there, too, because it won't hurt us to have education examined a little more closely.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. On January 6, 1995 the minister reluctantly - and I would like to emphasize the word `reluctant', because I think, other than there having been pressure coming from this side, there would have been no money brought forward - he reluctantly announced a provincially funded employment creation program, a program that was supposed to help relieve the appalling unemployment situation existing here in this Province. I ask the minister, how much of the $5 million that was brought forward was actually spent on that creation project?

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

MR. MURPHY: I want to thank the hon. member and his colleagues for motivating this minister to get the money for the job creation program. I am sure everybody believes him. I am happy to report, Mr. Speaker, that, even though the final numbers are not totally concluded yet, as of March 14 we had 432 projects approved for 15,445 weeks. I have to apologize to the Minister of Finance because in looking at the possibility of slippage we committed $5,053,000 to a $5 million program because, as the minister would know, there is always a little slippage.

Now, I don't want to apologize. If we base this program on six weeks we would have provided to Newfoundlanders in our response 2,722 jobs for a period of that time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: Now, we know that all people did not utilize the full six weeks, so I am sorry to say to the hon. member that it is probably not 2,722 people involved, it is probably more like 3,500 Newfoundlanders involved.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if he would table that information, number one, and, number two, I would like to ask him again, not how much money he had allotted, but how much money was actually spent? I know that I called the member one day and he gave me another $35,000 just like that, knowing full well that it would be returned.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to ask the minister: Who were the members of Cabinet who helped him create the criteria, to put the criteria forward, in order to be eligible for those projects? It is a question I have asked many time but nobody wants to say who the members of Cabinet were. I would like to ask the minister: Who were they, that infamous group of people who created the criteria for this project?

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the hon. member that I was happy to provide the extra $35,000 to his district because when we announced this program we announced it as being non-political, and as the final figures will show, it was non-political. I also say to the member that those involved in the Cabinet committee were just as concerned as this hon. member that the program start (inaudible) go.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: I ask the minister again if he would table the information he has brought forward on the money that was spent and the number of jobs that were created, if he would, please?

Mr. Speaker, this job creation program was a blatant example of government's lack of compassion and caring for the downtrodden and unemployed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, it is a situation where the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations was more concerned about the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board balancing his Budget than caring for the people out there trying to put bread and butter on their tables.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Let me say to the hon. member first of all, it was a total Cabinet decision to put this $5 million forward. This government -


MR. MURPHY: - a total Cabinet decision. Secondly, as the member fully knows, this program is not completed yet. It will not complete till the end of the fiscal year, which is March 31 1995. When the program is completed, when all the numbers are in, I will be more than happy to disclose the total program. The member may find that his district is probably in the top five. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Last September, I believe it was, HMDC announced it was going to be moving work from the Marystown Shipyard to the Saint John, New Brunswick shipyard, because the Marystown Shipyard, they were afraid, couldn't have the project delivered by September 1995. I would like to ask the minister, Mr. Speaker, if he can tell me what progress has been made to date on the work at Saint John, New Brunswick.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm not aware of the details of it, but it is my understanding that everything is on schedule and there are no problems.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if that is the minister's answer, it is obvious he is not very aware of what is taking place. Let me ask the minister this: Can he tell me how many welders in Saint John, New Brunswick are now pre-qualified to work on that project, have up to the standard -

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

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, and I'm not interested in knowing how many welders from New Brunswick are qualified.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer just confirms what everyone said, that is, there was some sort of a scam when this was moved to Saint John, New Brunswick. Now, the minister is not concerned about it. Let me tell him that there is not a handful yet pre-qualified to do the welding work. I can also tell the minister that they are flying people from Marystown up there on weekends, employees from the Shipyard, to try to get some work done on it. There is absolutely nothing being done with it.

Let me ask the minister this question: Will he today assure the House that the commitment that he accepted from HMDC that the project would be delivered back here in Newfoundland in September 1995 will be still maintained?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I don't even remember the details of the dates. What I do remember is that everything related to Hibernia right now is going along fine. As a matter of fact, some components of Hibernia right now are ahead of schedule and everything is going fine and everything will be fine.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations on one question. The minister, in answer to questions asked by my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South, avoided answering the direct question he put to him about who it was among his colleagues who drafted the criteria for the job creation program. He, himself publicly said there was a committee of three Cabinet ministers. Will he tell the House today: Who were the three Cabinet ministers who developed the criteria?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, it was a Cabinet decision, I answered the hon. member, and it is still a Cabinet decision. The Leader of the Opposition, who was a Cabinet member some time ago - and of course will never be again; however, that is his own decision - but I say it was a Cabinet decision, and that is the answer, complete.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not the question.

MR. MURPHY: It is a Cabinet - I don't care what the question is. If the member doesn't like the answer, I can't help him. It was a Cabinet decision.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I didn't ask the minister whose decision. We all know the Cabinet makes the final decision. What I asked him was, would he tell the people of the Province, the public, who were the three ministers who developed the criteria which were recommended to the Cabinet. He, himself said there was a committee of three ministers to develop the criteria, and he said it publicly.

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

MR. MURPHY: First of all, let me correct, Mr. Speaker, what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said: I never at any time said it was three Cabinet ministers. Now it is not unusual, Mr. Speaker, for a Cabinet committee to be put together. This has been going on for some time. The Cabinet made its decision and that is the end of the question. I mean there is the answer, Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member does not like the answer then I am sorry.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question, I suppose, directly or indirectly related to the decision that the hon. minister just referred to. Some time ago a list of proposed projects under the ministers program came down to my office from the minister's office. Several from community councils in my district, one from the development association in my district and one from the memorial hall committee in Jackson's Cove. Acting under instructions from the minister's office to return these things quickly, I reviewed the applications that came to my office and I sent back $100,000 worth of approvals to the minister's office which was the allocation for a rural district. These approvals were for legitimate town and community councils and for the Green Bay economic development association. Two or three weeks later I get word that the memorial hall committee, chaired by a prominent Liberal, received a project over and above the $100,000 and certainly outside the recommendation that I put up to the minister's office. Would the minister please explain why the memorial hall committee warranted this special consideration?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, what we tried to do, of course the hon. member and members know, was to help rural Newfoundland. We sent out the information, as I said in the correspondence, all fifty-two members received the information pertaining to the program. Now when the minister approved and/or submitted to my department $100,000 worth of work we never asked the member and/or those groups who submitted, what political stripe they were. When we had some extra funding and a request came in from the hon. member's district and we had some money left, we were only too happy - I didn't check personally and not until the hon. member raised it did we get involved in political kinds of connotations and/or innuendo. The hon. member had $112,000 in his district and if he is accusing this government of providing more than $100,000 for people in his district well then I take the apology. We put no political face on this program, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I find it passing strange that one other legitimate duly elected town council in my district and one other legitimate and recognized fire brigade in my district also had applications in, somewhat late but those were not approved yet this mysterious hall committee did receive an approval. So is the minister stating categorically that the chair-person of this committee, an employee of the natural resources department of this particular Liberal Government, did not exert political influence to have the application for the memorial hall committee approved?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member, there was absolutely no political interference.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, one last question and this time to the minister who just spoke up, the Minister responsible for Municipal and Provincial Affairs. A year or so ago I wrote the minister as to the legitimacy of the memorial hall committee and he basically said that there was very little on file with regard to that committee in his department, recognizing the recreation committee and the local service district, two legitimate elected bodies in the area. I note from today's paper that the minister does not wish to get involved in this matter. Why would not the minister responsible for communities in this Province want to straighten out a mess where you have a private dictatorial committee running a community hall in a community that are governed otherwise by ordinary democratically elected bodies?

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

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The reason why is because legally I am not allowed. Under the Municipalities Act the local service district which was legally elected has no right whatsoever to maintain, own or operate a community hall. If they wish to do that as a group of individual citizens without being representative of the local service district, I have no problems with it. I as the minister, have no legal authority to interfere or interject or go in and impose any will that I might have or the hon. member might have. I can't do that; he knows that, I spoke to him personally about it. I have written letters to the council and the media asked me about it last week, absolutely not. If they have a problem within the community about a particular hall in the community, then let the people in the community settle it among themselves. Nobody is going to drag me or this government into an argument such as that.

MR. SPEAKER: There is time for a further question. The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess, Mr. Speaker, I am relaying the frustrations of the citizens who have indeed elected a committee to run this hall, and there appears to be some dispute as to whether of not a self-appointed committee can run a community hall built with public funds, or whether or not a publicly elected committee can do it. They are looking to the government of the Province and/or the Government of Canada, but someone in authority to give them some assurance that democracy reigns and that dictatorships no longer runs small communities.

The power of giving or not giving the stamps to individuals will not run a given town any more, and they are crying out for someone, in a position of authority, be it the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs or the minister of something, with regard to this government, to recognize the birth and the growth of democracy in Jackson's Cove and I call on the minister to so do.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I am sort of surprised that the hon. member would even bring up the subject, because this subject has been - I talked to him personally about this, I have talked to both groups, both sides of the fence on this and really it is not something that I can do as a minister, go down and dictate or decide who owns the building and who doesn't. This particular committee, Mr. Speaker, was formed some twelve years ago; they went in and they built the building, I don't know but it might be fifteen years ago, and they built that building with government's help, maybe from the provincial government, maybe, I don't know if you would know that on the other side. I know they had federal help. This particular committee owned and operated it, this building they are talking about, for ten, twelve years, and all of a sudden, in the spring of 1995, it becomes a concern to the people living in the community and now, all of a sudden, the people in the community want to take it back.

Now, Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned, that is not democracy. That is not democracy. He talks to me about democracy. Taking something that has been operated, looked after and well-looked after for that long a period of time and now all of a sudden somebody comes along and says: now we want to take this over and run it. No, Mr. Speaker, and I will say it again: I have no intentions of getting involved in that dispute. I won't be dragged into it, and I would suggest the member stay out of it as well because he may be causing some of the trouble down there by interfering in this particular situation. Jackson's Cove will work the problem out themselves, Mr. Speaker, and it is not going to be a decision of this government especially not from me as the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Public Accounts of the Province for the year ending March 31, 1994.

MR. SPEAKER: In accordance with Section 13 of the Auditor General Act, I am required to table the Annual Report of the Auditor General for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994, and I now table the report.

In accordance with Section 39 of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act, 1992, I am required to table the Annual Report of the Office of the RNC Public Complaints Commission for the year ended March 31, 1994, and I now do so.

Notices of Motion

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

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

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, ask leave to give the following resolution:

WHEREAS three years ago on March 13, 1992, this hon. House unanimously approved a resolution calling on Canada to extend management jurisdiction to the limits of the Continental Shelf; and

WHEREAS NAFO is still unable to stop international overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and on the Flemish Cap despite clear evidence that many fish stocks are being fished to extinction;

BE IT RESOLVED that this House once again call upon the Government of Canada to extend management jurisdiction over the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like a few moments to discuss further a matter I raised in Question Period today with regard to the situation in Jackson's Cove, more specifically the Memorial Hall in Jackson's Cove.

I have a petition here, two sheets, twenty-one names - twenty-two, I guess, including my own - from people from Jackson's Cove, Silverdale, Nickey's Nose Cove, Langdon's Cove, the general area. The prayer of the petition is as follows:

Petition to the House of Assembly: We, the undersigned, petition the hon. House of Assembly to have government cause the memorial hall in Jackson's Cove, which was built by public funds for public use, to be turned over to a publicly elected community board of directors.

Mr. Speaker, this petition was given to me a couple of weeks ago, I guess, before the House of Assembly opened. The committee of board of directors of the local area has been elected in a public meeting. They are in place now and I guess what they are seeking, to some extent from this provincial government and maybe even the federal government, is some indication of their legitimacy insofar as they are a democratically elected body.

What happened here goes back a number of years. A community hall was built by a committee elected by no one, answerable to no one, mainly with federal public works funds or make-work funds over the years through the good graces of the MP of the day, Bill Rompkey. We have a large, substantial, well-built building in the community run by a private committee that enjoys very little, if any, support from the general public. This committee also, by the way, owns and operates Bill Rompkey Roadside Park in the area.

They didn't live up to their obligations with the Crown Lands department, and that park lease reverted to the Crown, and the local recreation committee, duly elected and recognized by the provincial government, applied to the Minister of Crown Lands at the time to take over the park, to run it as any local recreation committee should. I wrote the minister on the matter. Unfortunately, the minister of the day decided to give the park back to the non-elected committee and thereby snub the duly elected recreation committee.

This is something that has been festering in the background for quite some time. Then, most recently, the Minister of Employment came out with this make-work program this fall, or early in the new year, and the memorial hall committee did apply for a project. I didn't recommend approval, as I indicated in Question Period earlier today, because I knew the memorial hall committee did not enjoy widespread public support, and in terms of Jackson's Cove and area enjoyed no democratic legitimacy with regard to the citizens. Nonetheless, someone obviously whispered in someone's ear because the committee eventually did get a project approved over and above the $100,000 allocated for Green Bay. Mr. Speaker, it is not at all normal, certainly not with regard to the Wells Cabinet, for Green Bay to get one morsel, one shred, one iota of money or anything out of the Wells government that it absolutely isn't entitled to under the rules of the game.

So for the hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to indicate that all of a sudden this government is doing great favours for Green Bay by giving us some money over and above the $100,000 that we would normally be allocated is stretching it a bit thin, to put it mildly.

Now, we have the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs saying he doesn't want in on this. Well, Mr. Speaker, someone in authority in this government has to recognize the birth and growth of democracy in Jackson's Cove. An individual prominent to the Liberal Party, until recently, at least, employed by this government, and employed a number of times by this government since this government has come to power, has run that particular town with an iron hand. What we have now is the local citizens wanting some say in the running of their community institutions. One of them is a community hall, which was built with taxpayers' dollars through mostly federal money, and now we are in a situation where they formed a committee to take over the hall. The private committee, the unelected committee, the unanswerable committee, is threatening the citizens committee with legal action; the police, of course, are refusing to evict citizens from a community hall, because that would be somewhat of a contradiction in terms. Because how can you not have a community occupying its own hall?

That is the ridiculous situation we have in the local area, and we have a provincial government absolutely refusing to wade into the middle of this, I would submit, probably because the person chairing the private unelected committee was and probably still is a very prominent Liberal, and still holds considerable sway with this government, and that is not good enough, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, that hon. member knows the difference. That last comment he made about political interference and so on, he knows the difference of that. There is absolutely no reason why this government should interfere or get involved in a situation, a dispute, among people in a community. There is a legal avenue there. If those people in the community want to go through the court system to determine who owns that building, well, sobeit, let them do it. But with regard to doing something down there, or accusing this minister of doing something politically underhanded, I take exception to that. And he knows the difference of that.

He knows that in the past two years since I've been minister in that government everything that goes on in his district I consult him on it. I write each and every one of those members over there and ask them for personal recommendations from people sitting on councils in their area. I ask them for personal recommendations. Each and every one of you get letters from me. There is absolutely no justification in that member standing in the House and accusing this member of politically interfering with any decisions that are going on in that particular community.

I will suggest, Mr. Speaker, to you, that really up until now there has been nothing wrong in the community as it relates to the hall. Anyone who wishes to use the hall in a community has access to it. If there is a wedding in the community and the building is available, they use it. Certain groups in the community go in and use it on a regular basis. They do charge, I think, $5 a night for a meeting or whatever, which covers their expenses. I don't know.

The reason I decided not to get involved in it was that I went through basically the same thing in the lower part of my district back in 1989 and 1990, where a group of senior citizens had acquired money to build a hall. A number of people in the community came to me and said: Why shouldn't we control the hall? The end result was that there was no legal opinion on such a matter. I went to both the Provincial and Federal Governments. They would not move on it. The bottom line was that if they wanted to secure ownership of a building in a particular community in the Province, or in that particular community, then they would have to go to the courts.

I'm suggesting that if the community feels so strongly about this that rather than have twenty-five or twenty-six names on a petition here today, he would have had 200 or 300, which would be representative of the majority of the people in the area, and if the majority of the people in the area feel that strongly about taking over that building, well, take it through the court system, which is the right one to make the decision. I am surprised at the hon. member, because he knows that I have been treating him half-decently in the last little while, as the minister. And for him to get up and accuse me of being politically partisan, I think, demands - or at least, for the respect that I have given him, he should have the respect for me, and not accuse me of doing such things, because he well knows that I don't do them.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just a few words in support of my colleague's presentation on the petition he presented here today so ably on behalf of his constituents, in the community of Jackson's Cove, I believe it is, in the historic district of Green Bay.

Mr. Speaker, I don't profess, frankly, to understand clearly this dispute; I have heard people comment on it on radio, on CBC Radio in particular, they have frequently, you know, tried to get some commentary on this particular topic. And I have tried to listen quite closely to hear exactly what is going on here and I have to confess that I have not been able to get my finger on it just yet. However, having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think, for the minister to get up and sort of berate the Member for Green Bay for doing his job, was perhaps a little out of line, but for the Member for Green Bay to get up and present his case on behalf of the people he represents in Jackson's Cove is totally in order and he has every right to do it.

Now, I would have hoped that the minister would have gotten up and explained to us what exactly went on here. I know what happened to me when the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations sent me the list of those applications he had, I was asked to prioritize them and send back the ones that I prioritized, in rank; now, I understood everybody did that. Those who didn't get a priority from the member, presumably wouldn't be approved at all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, if we are supposed to listen to ministers, why would you bother to send and ask us for priorities if you are still going to approve those that we would not recommend?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Oh, nonsense! That is absolute nonsense. So, Mr. Speaker, the ministers have no legs to stand on at all in trying to suggest the reasons for this approval for the funding for this particular project, and that is what I would like to get at the bottom of. The question I would like to have answered is, Why did that specific project get approved above and beyond the several that the Member for Green Bay recommended? He recommended several projects, one of which was not funding for this building but, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, jumped in feet first, Mr. Speaker, feet first, he jumped in, and he approved it, on his own; he approved it on his own.

Now, why, all of a sudden? What made that project so special, so important that he would approve it on his own? Not even involved -I understand the owners live in St. John's.

MR. HEWLETT: The chairman works for the government in St. John's.

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I understand the chairman of this project committee lives here and works for the government here in St. John's, so I don't know what would make it so special.

On the other point, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs commented about what a good minister he is and how co-operative he is and how he communicates with everybody. I don't know if I have had a conversation with him at all, by the way, as one member, but maybe that is something personal. But I do know, that the Town Council of Bonavista requested a meeting to come in to talk about some slippage in funding that was available, and the minister - or at least the town was told the minister said: You can come in but if your Member for Bonavista South is sitting at that meeting, then the meeting will be cancelled, it will not be held.

Now, if that is evidence of how open and how courteous the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is, then, either something is wrong - he did not explain accurately how he operates, or else, the information we have heard is inaccurate, one or the other. And I have to mention that, because that is what we have heard. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, either the information is inaccurate - if the minister could settle down for a second I will tell him what I said. I don't think he heard me. If I could get the attention of the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, I said, either the information I received was inaccurate, which I take it he is trying to say, it was, or the minister wasn't totally forthcoming in telling us when he was on his feet a moment ago, how courteous, what a great fellow he is, and how he deals with all the members.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ask the members. Ask your own members.

MR. SIMMS: I have. Not one of them has stood up and said, yes, he is a great minister, or anything like that, not one.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SIMMS: May I say to the minister, in conclusion, I have asked several of your own members, too, and they haven't responded in a very positive way.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, in connection with what the member was just speaking about. The minister shouted across the floor saying, it is not true, but, Mr. Speaker, it is true. When members of the town council from Bonavista came in here to meet with the minister on some slippage money last year they were directed by the minister: Come and meet with me but if you bring your member there will be no meeting, and if he shows up while the meeting is in progress, the meeting will be cancelled. That came from the five people who sat on the council in Bonavista, and I know who I would believe, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. The hon. member used an opportunity to put forward the facts as he understood them.

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Motion 1, please, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, the hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At the outset, I must acknowledge to the House, and to the media who presumably will report this debate, that the initiative for this motion really comes from all sides of the House. I think, as soon as the action was taken and as soon as the Government of Canada moved to do what it did, members on all sides of the House were disposed to have this House express its support. The Leader of the NDP, the hon the Member for St. John's East, wrote me about that a number of days ago and I readily agreed with his proposal and asked the Government House Leader to make arrangements to deal with it, and I saw a letter from the Leader of the Opposition approving of it, too. So, while the motion stands on the Order Paper in my name, I must acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, that effectively, I am presenting the motion on behalf of all sides of the House.

Now, let me deal with the reason why it is important, I believe, for this House to express its approbation of the federal action. The international reaction has been somewhat mixed. The Spanish, as you can imagine, are highly critical of Canada, calling it a piratical action, calling it a totally unjustified and illegal action at international law. The other European nations, other than Spain and Portugal, have also formally taken precisely the same position. The European community, speaking for all the European nations have echoed that position as well.

I want to give the House today some explanation for the basis of this action by Canada. I don't need to remind hon. members of the House of the fishing practices of Spain and Portugal countenanced by the European community over the last six years. They have systematically destroyed cod, plaice, yellowtail, and other groundfish stocks on the Grand Banks. Long after Canada stopped fishing those stocks, had moratoria put on those stocks, the Spanish and Portuguese systematically continued to fish those stocks, in many cases without any quota whatsoever, and where they did have a quota they expressed their dissatisfaction with that quota, used the objection procedure, established their own unilateral quota, and then promptly ignored that unilateral quota and caught two or three, or sometimes four times as much as the quota allowed.

It is hard to find civilized language to adequately describe what the Spanish and Portuguese have done. It is hard to find civilized language strong enough to condemn the wilful blindness of the other member states of the European Community who have indeed wilfully blinded themselves to this food carnage, this environmental crime, that has been perpetrated by Spain and Portugal on the Grand Banks of Canada outside the 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

They have been ignoring the NAFO quotas, ignoring NAFO rules, ignoring their own quotas, and fishing with wanton disregard for the future of those fish stocks, and with total and complete disdain for the fact that thousands of people in this Province have relied on those fish stocks for many years as the means of providing a living for them.

In meetings with ambassadors over these years, their response was very simple: Oh, no, we're not doing anything improper; there's lots of fish. Canada's position is simply wrong, Mr. LeComte used to say to me, we don't agree there is any jeopardy to the Northern Cod stocks. There is lots of codfish out there.

Well, we all know how wrong they have been. They have been wrong about the American plaice; they have been wrong about the yellow tail as well, as they systematically destroyed each of six or seven different stocks on the Grand Banks in the last few years.

If you look at what they have done... I am sorry; I apologize to hon. members. I will table in the House tomorrow copies of these, but as this is a holiday under the government's collective agreements I couldn't get these reproduced in time for today. I just got them over the weekend, but I will table complete copies of the ones I will show the House.

This chart shows the European quota on the left-hand side of the chart of 164,400 tons of groundfish, and their probable catch of well over a million tons - 850,000 tons that they actually reported themselves - with a total quota from NAFO of 164,000 tons. Now it's hard for anybody with any sense of objectivity and fairness to countenance that. How then can the European Community stand before the world and say: This is an acceptable way to behave. We approve of and endorse what Spain and Portugal have done.

Mr. Speaker, Canada has tried everything. It has exhausted all reasonable possibilities over the last five years or so to stop this wanton destruction. I have participated with the federal government, both the former federal government headed by Mr. Mulroney, and the present federal government headed by Mr. Chrétien, in efforts at the United Nations to try and stop this activity. I have gone to capitals in Europe, showed them what was happening, showed them what their fishermen were doing, and they denied it time and time again. In some cases, occasionally you would find an ambassador from perhaps Germany or the UK who recognized what was being done, and their position was: Well, you know we have to stand by Spain and Portugal. They are members of the community. We have to stand by other members of the community.

My response to them was: Okay, if you do that then you take equal responsibility with Spain and Portugal for what they are doing, because you are countenancing it and giving it credit in the eyes of the world. So if you are going to support them, then you are as much to blame as anybody else, and I say that the governments of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and all of the other nations of the European Common Market that have not spoken out against this despicable behaviour of Spain and Portugal are as much to blame as Spain and Portugal.

I am going to table for hon. members excerpts that I have made from a March 16, 1992 report done not by Canada, not my words, but this is a report done by a committee on behalf of the European Community itself, assessing the community's own failure in administering its fishing regulations, and they used words like `fraudulent'. Fraudulent catches consisting mainly of fish smaller than the medium sizes have no difficulty finding purchasers. This demonstrates the extent to which medium sizes are being ignored. There is a very low level of compliance with the legislation on meshes and minimum sizes.

They knew all this. Each of those governments of the European Community knew all this in March of 1992 when they got this report, when I got this report, and they did nothing about it. They probably knew it well before, but they had it clearly confirmed to them when they got this report, what the Spanish and Portuguese were doing and they took no steps whatsoever to deal with this despicable level of fishing that amounts to wanton destruction of a major food stock and food supply for man. I ask the Clerk to table this, Mr. Speaker, and distribute it to hon. members.

The federal government, led by Mr. Mulroney, was sensitive to the concerns and Mr. Crosbie would frequently speak out strongly about what was being done but they took no action. They were not prepared to take the kind of decisive action that would see world opinion galvanized against this despicable behaviour and that is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, because we saw the destruction of fish stocks in the meantime. However, change occurred in November of 1993. Mr. Chrétien came to power with his commitment, given out here in the foyer of this building, to take effective measures to deal with the overfishing. Within six months we had a piece of legislation on the Order Paper and being considered by parliament, dealing effectively with this overfishing.

I want, Mr. Speaker, to mention to hon. members the basis for this legislation. This is not an attempt to extend jurisdiction. Now I know the hon. members opposite have put forward a resolution in that regard and I know the sincerity that moved them to do so but I have to tell them that in my judgement, right at this particular time, this will not help Canada's cause or Newfoundland's cause. So I am going to ask them to reconsider it and I will tell the House why shortly, Mr. Speaker.

Canada passed this act but in doing so it recognized that it had no basic jurisdiction beyond the 200 mile limit. It could not regulate fisheries so it had to establish a basis for action and that appears in Section 5.1. Parliament recognized, in 5.1, that the straddling stocks on the Grand Banks are a major renewable world food resource. Note that, a major renewable world food resource, not Canadian food resource. So we had to acknowledge that our action was being taken for the purpose of protecting the food resources of the world, not just the interest of Canada, that those stocks are threatened with extinction.

They go on to declare that the purpose of Section 5.2, and 5.2 is the real action section of this law, they go on to declare this - and this is crucial to Canada's position - that the purpose of Section 5.2 is to enable Canada to take urgent action necessary - and necessary is the key word - to prevent further destruction of those stocks and to permit their rebuilding while continuing to seek effective international solutions to the situations referred to above. Now that's not take it within our own jurisdiction that seek international solutions and that is the basis on which Canada put forward this law. Then the law enabled Canada to prohibit any person, being aboard a foreign fishing vessel in the prescribed class in a NAFO regulatory area, to fish contrary to the regulations. So Canada is declaring to all of the world that it is acting out of necessity to protect those fish stocks for mankind, not to promote its own economic interests.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to table in the House a copy of a similar justification exercised by President Truman in 1945. Here are his words, `In view of the pressing need for conservation and protection of the fishery resources, the Government of the United States regards it proper to establish conservation zones in those areas of the high seas contiguous to the coast of the United States wherein fishing activities have been or in the future may be developed and maintained on a substantial basis.' Now, Mr. Speaker, here is the President of the United States, in 1949, declaring that for conservation purposes the United States regards it proper to establish conservation zones on the high seas. Now that is precisely what Canada did. So hon. members will note that I have rewritten the Truman proclamation and taken out of it only the words, `Government of the United States' and substituted for that, `Government of Canada' and the word, `United States,' for `Canada.' No other change than that and that is a clear justification, international law with international precedent, set out for the action that Canada has taken, and a clear basis for supporting that action. I'm happy, Mr. Speaker, to table a copy of that, and ask that it be distributed to hon. members so that they will have it. It would help them in their arguments when they meet people who dispute Canada's right to take this action.

It is clear that Canada was acting out of necessity. There was no other alternative to protect the interest of Canada and the world. That interest in this food supply was in peril of total extinction, or at least commercial extinction. They've commercially extinguished a half a dozen stocks, and now the Spaniards and Portuguese, under the auspices of the European Community, were in the course of turning their attention to the turbot stocks. No other course was possible to avoid certain destruction.

All one has to do is look at the record, look at what has happened during the moratorium. I will table this for members as well. This is a chart showing the number of European Community vessels fishing in the NAFO regulatory area. You will see that as a moratorium was imposed on one species after another, the Europeans increased the number of vessels year after year after year. There were more vessels fishing in 1992 than there were in 1991; there were more vessels in 1993 than there were in 1992; there were more vessels fishing in 1994 than there were in 1993; and so far this year, there are more vessels fishing in 1995 than there were in 1994.

How can anybody accept that kind of behaviour? In particular, how can you accept endorsement of it by the so-called civilized nations of Europe? France, Germany. The United Kingdom, the leader of the Commonwealth of which we are part. How can anybody countenance that kind of action as one stock after another is systematically destroyed, 40-odd thousand people in eastern Canada put out of work, more than 30,000 of them in this Province alone? How can anybody possibly countenance that kind of action? The wonder is that anybody would speak to the Europeans for sitting still and seeing this action occur.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: The arguments against what they've done, the case for the action that Canada has taken, Mr. Speaker, I believe is irrefutable. When you look then at what happened with respect to the turbot - and this is what caused this action at this time - the European Community, dissatisfied with NAFO's action - NAFO just took control of the turbot last September and put in place a quota for turbot of 27,000 tons. Over Canada's objection, by the way. Canada objected to that quota being established, but the Europeans wanted to establish it and they did. They assigned to the Europeans only 3,500 tons. The Europeans caught about 60,000 tons of turbot last year.

The Europeans complained bitterly and said: We are the biggest fishers of the turbot, therefore we should have 75 per cent of the turbot quota. Instead they only got 12.5 per cent. So they started their practice all over again: We are going to set aside NAFO's quota and establish our own. Those are precisely the words they used in respect of the northern cod five and six years ago. Those are precisely the words they used in respect of the American plaice and the yellowtail. They've destroyed each of those stocks.

I will table tomorrow in the House, but I will show hon. members today, this chart. The upper part of it, the blue part, shows the fishing for tuna between 1977 and 1994. The upper part shows where all of the fishing took place. That is the fishing within Canadian waters, within the 200-mile zone. It wasn't all Canadian fishing. Some of it was Canadian fishing. Much of it was foreign fishing permitted by Canada and regulated by Canada within its zone. There was no quota for the Europeans outside the zone.

It wasn't until 1991 when they had fished the codfish stocks, and the plaice and the other flounder stocks, when they fished those to commercial extinction, they then turned the ravaging fleet loose on the turbot, and this is the basis on which those pirates are claiming a historical right to fish 70 per cent of the quota that has been set by NAFO. What they are saying is: Because we behaved in a piratical manner, reward us for our activity.

Civilized nations of the world cannot stand by and see that happen. Mr. Speaker, that is what moved Canada to act when she did. There was no other alternative but to move. Canada had no choice - out of necessity - because, you see, Canada is the contiguous coastal state that has the greatest level of interest, and has the greatest ability to regulate and manage those stocks, and is the state in whose fishery waters those straddling stocks mostly occur. So clearly, it's Canada that has the responsibility at international law to take action, to lead the action of the world to protect those stocks. If those stocks are in fact destroyed, the world will not criticize Spain and Portugal; they will turn to Canada and ask: Canada, how could you have allowed that to happen on your doorstep? You are the ones who regulated the 200-mile economic zone where most of those fish stocks occur. It is your responsibility to act. So Canada exercised its responsibility, and they are acting.

Their action, they claim, and they are correct in doing so, is temporary until a UN binding convention can be put in place. There is some hope that may occur within the year or two, but the UN decided last August to put a convention - a binding convention -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

PREMIER WELLS: If I can have just a minute or two to summarize.


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

PREMIER WELLS: The UN indicated last year that a binding convention would be put in place, and they are now meeting, starting on the 27th of this month, in New York, to work on the precise wording of that convention. Now, a binding convention is of no value if it is a toothless tiger, so it is crucial what goes into that, and it is very important that Canada play a lead role there in gaining support for a strong convention.

Before I sit down, Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize what this motion is intended to emphasize - the support of all Members of this House of Assembly and of all people in the Province for the courageous action of a Prime Minister who led a government that took this decisive step.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: It is one thing for me, as the Premier of the Province, or the Leader of the Opposition, or the Leader of the NDP, or anybody else, to request Canada to do it, and make great speeches about how necessary it is, but when you have the ultimate responsibility for this kind of action to all of the rest of the people of the nation, to all of the other nations of the world, and you have the political courage to stand up and do it, that is where the real credit lies, and I ask this House to acknowledge it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: At the same time, Mr. Speaker, I ask this House to acknowledge the courage and determination of Brian Tobin, his superb performance during the last couple of weeks -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - the steady, effective leadership of the Government of Canada, and to acknowledge the support of all of the other ministers and indeed the support of the Canadian people.

I ask the House to endorse this resolution unanimously and thank the House for giving me the additional time, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am delighted to be able to stand in my place here today to speak on behalf of our caucus, and join with others in the House - as I understand it, everybody in the House - in expressing what I understand to be unanimous support for the actions of the Government of Canada in protection of the straddling turbot stocks, protecting them from devastation and possible extinction.

I remember, Mr. Speaker, just a few years ago, I guess it was in 1990 - so not that long ago - February, when Dr. Harris released his report on the state of the Northern Cod stocks, and a lot of people at that time were, of course, talking about the possibility of the commercial extinction of that particular resource - a lot of people. That was only five years ago. The reaction of many other people in the Province, of course, was one of disbelief. A lot of people didn't even believe that. How could the great Northern Cod stocks be depleted that badly? How could they have reached that particular stage? I can remember people saying that, but now that Newfoundlanders have lived for several years under the Northern Cod moratorium, we know, particularly the people who earn their living from fishing know, full well, the price that has to be paid when more of a resource is taken than can be sustained.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have no hesitation whatsoever in standing here and commending the Government of Canada, no hesitation whatsoever in commending the federal Fisheries Minister, Brian Tobin, for the action they took a week or so ago.

Mr. Speaker, European vessels and other vessels that continue to flout the NAFO agreement - so-called agreement, and continue to catch what can only be described as baby turbot out on the spawning grounds of the Grand Banks, really are living in a fool's paradise. They are living in a fool's paradise if they think that the environment will tolerate that kind of abuse.

In trying to be fair and reasonable, I said to myself: Well, perhaps the rank-and-file, the average person in the street in Spain and Portugal, and maybe even the politicians that the rank-and-file elect in those two countries, may have reacted with similar disbelief to warnings that the turbot stocks might be in jeopardy - similar to the way many of us reacted only five years ago when we heard about it. Perhaps they, too, felt that the well was bottomless and that there was plenty of fish.

There comes a time when education, diplomacy, all those kinds of approaches, have to be forgotten, must give way to force or strong action. Because when a world food resource, as the Premier and others have described - and we've heard it described, of course, ourselves many times over the last number of years - is threatened with extinction, and when the livelihood of a coastal people with centuries of historic attachment is threatened with destruction, and when years and years of talks have produced no direct results at all, and time is running out, there comes a time when it is more of a crime not to act than it is to take action - more of a crime not to take action. I think that point in time has arrived, and we obviously all agree with that particular position.

I remember the Premier talked about many times he has had occasion to speak with members of the EC, the European Community, ministers. He may not remember, but I remember, a time, I think it was during the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro - he may remember it now that I've mentioned it. He and Mr. Crosbie both held a meeting with some of the European Community ministers or members who were there. The minister actually was there. I was invited. The Premier invited me along and I sat in on that meeting when the Premier made a similar case to the one he has made now, and made quite often, and quite effectively, I might say, publicly, explaining what has transpired. And, I mean, the look on the faces of the European Community members said it all. They just did not, do not, or refuse to, believe any of the evidence that is put forward. It is absolutely amazing.

Even in the face of the report that the Premier referred to - I haven't had a chance to read all of these excerpts yet, but it is pretty clear there - but I say to the Premier that I think the evidence was there before that. Because I'm sure others before John Crosbie, officials' level, the ambassador, what was his name, Gershwin - remember that chap? Yes, he was there for a number of years. I'm sure they must have made all this information available to the EC, but clearly, the EC wasn't interested in listening. I think that is the problem. Because they didn't have a mechanism to enforce, nor did they have an interest, in my view, to enforce.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what shocked me are the reports on the size of the turbot, that I saw on television, that Mr. Tobin made public. When I saw the pictures - I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words, there is no question about it. I think the pictures of the size of those turbot on the television airwaves sent shock waves - it certainly sent shock waves through Newfoundland, and probably through Canada. I'm not sure what happened in the rest of the world.

Then, the reports on the size of the mesh and the use of the liners, Mr. Speaker, the evidence is overwhelming. It indicates quite clearly that not only sound environmental principles but indeed international agreements are being violated. There is absolutely no question about it. We all know that these vessels, particularly the Portuguese and the Spanish vessels, are raking up the sea and they are decimating the nursery that is out there where the smallest and the most vulnerable fish must be left to grow, and they are doing it without any concern or consideration for the future. Now, if you look at the chart, the Premier shows they didn't really start overfishing or fishing the turbot until 1991.

AN HON. MEMBER: So much for (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, certainly they have no historic claim to turbot, that's for certain. But, I mean, you have to say to yourself, well, maybe the people on the streets over there do in fact say to themselves, `Well, we have only started fishing this in 1991. How can the stocks be gone four years later?' Maybe that is what is happening, I don't know, I am trying to give the people of the country a little bit of a benefit of the doubt, if you want, not the government, because the government certainly knew different.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: And that is what they reported.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the other point about this whole issue is, the international management protocols that are in place today for straddling stocks, like those on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap, are really toothless, the arrangements that are in place. They are absolutely toothless and they are held in the highest of contempt by the very countries supposed to be the ones who are bound by them. I remember SONAR putting a proposal forward, that group in the Province that was put together comprising people in the fishing industry and so on, the unions and I think - I am not sure if government members or MHAs, I think there were some members involved in it, if I remember now. In any event, they had a proposal to establish some kind of a new protocol - the Premier talked about it - through the convention that would be binding on all the countries and so on, but as he points out correctly and as I think SONAR pointed out correctly, the danger is that this had the potential to turn into just another hollow convention and that would be of little use whatsoever.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is precisely why, by the way - and the Premier mentioned he was going to make some reference to our proposal for a motion on Wednesday, I think you may have overlooked it, but I will try to explain to him why we are doing it, why we are going to do it. First of all, it has been a long-standing position of our party to seek the extension of the Continental Shelf for all the reasons that we all know - and I won't go into all of those details - and also for the reason that we thought we had the support of the House of Assembly already on the position. He may or may not remember that on March 13, I think it was, of 1992 - because during a similar dispute that was going on with respect to high seas overfishing, during that particular time there was something going on, three years ago, I forget exactly what it was, but it was enough for my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank to demand a unanimous emergency resolution be debated on the morning of March 13. The Speaker allowed the emergency resolution to take place although I believe it may have had the support of the members on the government side at the time. In the end - and it was a resolution that called for the extension of the jurisdiction of the Continental Shelf - in the end, it was passed unanimously by the House of Assembly three years ago. So we felt that it may be an appropriate time to reiterate our position, and that is the purpose for our putting forth that resolution on Wednesday.

PREMIER WELLS: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, I recognize as well, that from a negotiation perspective and so on, there could be some sensitivity there, and we are aware of that. I think what we are tying to say here is that we recognize, as a Legislature, the principle of extending the jurisdiction and we would not expect the Government of Canada to do it at a time not appropriate. So maybe something along those lines could be said to clarify the situation. What we would like to do is give the present Government of Canada, the knowledge of support from Members of this Legislature so that if they do it, at an appropriate time, they would have our support for it. We said it to the previous Federal Government, too. And, by the way, I don't mind saying here publicly either, that this particular issue and the position we have taken in support of this particular motion, is not something that we would have had difficulty supporting if it had been put forward for the previous government, but the previous government didn't do it, they didn't either have the courage or, Mr. Crosbie couldn't get the support of his colleagues, or whatever. I can tell you, we have never wavered at the provincial level, as a provincial party, often to the chagrin of Mr. Crosbie who, occasionally might mention to us, you know, you don't want to attack us up here in Ottawa too often and things like that. But we didn't have any hesitation to do it, because we felt it was the right position to take, and it wasn't strictly for politics, it is the right thing for Newfoundlanders to do, to support this kind of action; that is why I have no hesitation and no more will any of my colleagues who speak in this debate, have any hesitation, because it is an economic issue of importance to the people who live in Spain and Portugal, it's an economic issue to our people here in Newfoundland and Labrador but, more importantly, it is a world environmental issue. I think that's how we can win on this particular issue, and that's why I think the Government of Canada has had so much support, because of the fact that they are protecting a resource that actually will provide a food source to the world. I think that is an important point for all of us to remember and I guess we all have remembered it.

Mr. Speaker, there is one other point I would like make and that is, since Mr. Tobin also has revealed that 85 per cent - I think it was 85 per cent or whatever - 85 per cent of that catch were immature fish - you say it's less?

AN HON. MEMBER: Seventy-nine per cent.

MR. SIMMS: Seventy-nine per cent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes, what they call immature fish.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Fifteen per cent was mature.

MR. SIMMS: Well, he said 15 per cent was mature, therefore, I am assuming 85 per cent was immature.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Okay. In any event, it is not only that those small fish are being caught, Mr. Speaker, with illegal mesh sizes or with liners or whatever, the significance of Minister Tobin's statistic, is that, there obviously is not enough mature turbot in the area to sustain a commercial fishery. I think that is the significance of the statistic. As scary as, you know, the story, itself was, that's the significance, and if that is the case -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. - so if that is the case, Mr. Speaker, then, I don't see how the minister can avoid seeking an immediate moratorium on fishing for turbot from the European Community or NAFO.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Yes. I don't see how he could avoid asking for a moratorium.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The whole Labrador again, let them fish.

MR. SIMMS: Let's not get parochial here; I mean, the reality is, we are talking about the same issue right from day one, and if that is the case, if in fact, there is not enough mature turbot there, Mr. Speaker, to sustain a commercial fishery, then there should be a moratorium, without question, on fishing, by the European Communities and I hope that Minister Tobin pursues that.

The final point I make, relates to the reported news stories of Mr. Tobin being prepared to relinquish part of Canada's turbot quota. I would like to state for the record, what I understand Mr. Tobin to have said and what that might mean.

My understanding is that Mr. Tobin has stated that members of the EC, the European Community, have already overfished their NAFO allocation of turbot and Canada is prepared to give up part of its allocation to compensate for the overfishing -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Not to catch.

MR. SIMMS: That's what I just said.

- to compensate for the overfishing. Now, that's what I understood.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: No. That's what I understood him to say. But, out there, somewhere in the world, or in the media or somewhere, there was another story going around.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Transfer, they were talking about transfer.

MR. SIMMS: Yes. Of course, when I heard that - if anybody else heard it, you would have gotten really upset about it. So, with respect to that particular point, if that is what Mr. Tobin said, which is what I understood him to say, then, the concession that he has proposed could very well be justified in the interest of conservation. It could very well be justified.

I want to make it clear for the record, if indeed the European communities have overfished their quotas, the minimum decision out of Brussels in these discussions that are ongoing should be in agreement that there will not be any European fishing vessels in the area of the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks or on the Flemish Cap, for that matter, for the remainder of this year, for 1995. There should absolutely be no question about that, and I say that for the record, but, Mr. Speaker, if the Europeans have overfished their quota, then there should certainly be no more turbot for them to catch. On that, I hope, we all agree, and let us be clear about it for those who are going to speak today in this debate.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I am not going to take my full twenty minutes because a number of our members want to have a few words. I thank the House for listening and I pledge my support to the resolution.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I, without hesitation, support the resolution presently before the House, brought by the Premier. On March 9th, prior to the arrest of the Estai, I wrote to the hon. Brian Tobin, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, to offer the support and encouragement of myself and my party to the Government of Canada in addressing the turbot fishery crisis. I called the threat to the turbot stock a threat to part of the common heritage of mankind, which we believe that, under international law, Canada has the right and even the duty to protect and to prevent its destruction.

At that time, I urged government to take all necessary steps, including seizure of offending vessels, to secure the position taken by Canada, and I urge the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition that we join in a resolution in this House on this non-partisan issue, which I believe all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians would support wholeheartedly. It is, as the Premier says, easy for members of this House to get up and say what Canada should or shouldn't do but, on the other hand, when you are in the position of the Prime Minister of Canada, and his Cabinet ministers, it is a step that must be taken with great foresight, with great conviction, and with a willingness to take the consequences of your actions, those consequences being somewhat uncertain in the international climate in which we operate.

The consequences are uncertain, Mr. Speaker, because the nations of the world have a history of disregarding the interest of the environment and taking their own self-interest first, and a willingness to hang their hats on some very old propositions of international law regarding the high seas, the use of the high seas, and the rights to fish on the high seas to the very last fish they claim. Mr. Speaker, at the same time, these same nations are prepared to mouth the platitudes of sustainable development and renewable resources being available, and take part in international commissions on the environment which promote these notions, but when it comes down to the crunch, Mr. Speaker, the nations of Europe have supported the destructive fishing practices of Spain and are prepared to threaten, at least, the position of Canada in trade and other matters for the sake of enforcing their position behind the fisheries of Spain on the Grand Banks and on the Flemish Cap.

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this motion is to show the solidarity to the Government of Canada of the people of this Province and of the political parties represented in this House for their action. Without hesitation, Mr. Speaker, that is offered.

I want to congratulate other members of this House who helped organize some opposition to the Spanish vessel activity, and shows of support for the Government of Canada position. The Member for Fogo and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation together helped organize an impromptu demonstration on Thursday, March 9, outside DFO headquarters in the White Hills.

There was a most moving demonstration on the waterfront in support of the position taken by the Government of Canada, and support of the action at long last in insisting that international players and actors fully recognize the need for conservation. It was a moving demonstration. The people who were there, the 8,000 to 10,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, were there in a mood of reflection, a sombre mood, a serious mood, recognizing that the action that was being taken was part of the last gasp, as it were, to try to protect the turbot stock, after seeing the destruction, by the same type of overfishing, of the cod stock, which has caused so much suffering and so much economic distress in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, we see that the types of fishing practices long recognized by fishermen, well recognized, as the Premier has pointed out, by the European Commission in official documents as early as 1992, that these practices are continuing internationally, and they are even continuing inside the 200-mile limit today. So when we say unanimously here that we support the actions of the Federal Government to stop destructive fishing practices being carried out by foreign fleets off our coast, which we unanimously endorse, we also should ask the Canadian Government to ensure that similar fishing practices are not being carried out inside the 200-mile limit, in such fisheries as the shrimp fishery, where the information I have is that the shrimp fishery is also engaged in destructive and wasteful practices - destructive not only to the shrimp stock, itself, but also to other species which are caught in the shrimp nets.

I have heard stories of shrimp that had been caught and packaged and stored in the holds of shrimp trawlers, being thrown overboard - small shrimp - to be replaced by larger shrimp which they just brought onboard - frozen shrimp, packaged shrimp, thrown overboard, hundreds of tons of it, to make room for larger shrimp that was more valuable; and the people involved in the shrimp fishery tell me that the shrimp are getting smaller and smaller. Yet these practices go on, and don't seem to be able to be stopped because of the greed of the owners of the vessels, and perhaps the individual crew members who are a part of it. They don't seem to be able to stop this by the use of inspectors. They don't seem to be able to recognize that the greed of one ship or one company means the destruction of a species for all, a way of life for the people of this Province, and the destruction of a food resource for the world.

So while we support wholeheartedly the actions of the Government of Canada, and give full credit to the Government of Canada for taking this particular action at this time, we want to urge them to stay the course in the face of the patronizing reports of the European Community, in the face of the sabre-rattling, in the face of the threats, and in the face of those kinds of actions, to stay the course because we are on this point right. We must continue to ensure that the people of the world understand that this is an issue of supreme importance for international cooperation, for the future of the fish stocks, and for the future of our way of life. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very happy to be able to stand here today and make a delivery in support of this resolution.

Newfoundland's groundfish industry has collapsed and all major ground fisheries, including 2J-3KL cod, 3PS cod, 3NO cod, and all major flounder resources, are presently under moratorium. The result of the groundfish collapse has been the displacement of approximately 30,000 fishermen and plant workers in Newfoundland. To address that problem the federal government introduced the Northern Cod Adjustment and Recovery Program in 1992, and The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy in 1994. In addition, the Province has introduced several programs of assistance for those displaced, including participation in several early retirement programs for fishermen and plant workers, interest forgiveness for fishermen with debts under programs of the Fisheries Loan Board, debt forgiveness for retired fishermen with loans under the Fisheries Loan Board programs, and waiver of marine service centre fees.

Despite these moratoria, recent scientific advice indicates significant stock recovery is unlikely in the short term. In fact, for some species stock recovery may take ten to twenty years, or even longer, if indeed the stocks recover at all. Foreign overfishing, primarily by vessels from Spain and Portugal, has been a major contributor to the current groundfish crisis. In addition, continued foreign overfishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks is a major factor in preventing stock recovery. Between 1986 and 1994 the European Union harvested more than 1.3 million tons of fish in the NAFO regulatory area. That is eight times its legal quota of 164,000 tons. Despite Canadian efforts to conserve the stock through the imposition of moratoria on virtually all groundfish species, and the displacement of 30,000 fishermen and plant works in this Province alone, foreign overfishing and foreign fishing vessel activity on the Grand Banks continue at a high level. In fact, the total number of European Union vessels fishing on the Grand Banks was higher in the winter of 1994-1995 than either of the previous two years, despite the decline in groundfish resources. As of February 27 1995, there was a total of 24 Spanish vessels fishing on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, and an additional fourteen Spanish vessels fishing on the Flemish Cap.

Canada, with the active involvement and support of this government, has dedicated considerable efforts to resolve the foreign overfishing problem. These efforts have focused on three areas. First, the implementation of a new domestic legislation which allows Canada to take direct enforcement action beyond or outside the 200-mile limit; efforts to seek a permanent international solution to the problems through the UN conference on high seas fisheries; and efforts to seek more effective conservation and management decisions by NAFO.

In 1994, Mr. Speaker, Canada enacted new legislation to allow it to undertake unilateral action to enforce conservation and management rules outside the 200-mile limit for the protection of any straddling stock. As an initial step, Mr. Speaker, the federal government established regulations to allow action to be taken against stateless vessels and non-NAFO vessels. The EU, at that time, strongly objected to the new Canadian legislation reflecting the fact that many of these flags of convenience vessels were indeed re-flagged Spanish and Portuguese vessels. So that on April 1, 1994 Canada arrested and seized the Christina Logos. This Panamanian registered vessel carried a Portuguese captain and crew. When caught, the Logos had about 180 tons of fish on board, the majority of which were extremely small cod, red fish and flounder and indeed they had been caught using a net liner.

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned earlier that this government, and previous governments as well, has been actively involved in the fight to end foreign overfishing. The Premier, our Premier and my colleagues, have sought to address this problem at every conceivable opportunity including conferences of the Atlantic Premiers First Ministers Conferences and the annual meeting of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers which was hosted by this Province here last summer. The Premier himself has also been extremely active in promoting awareness of the problem in Europe, in the United States and indeed throughout the world and has attended several sessions of the UN Conference on the high seas fishery.

Since September, 1994, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that I personally have had the opportunity to address the problem of foreign overfishing on university campuses from Vancouver to Nova Scotia. The Province, through its ongoing public relations campaign - and I am sure all members are familiar with some of the material that was used in that campaign. I brought this poster along which is a very striking poster and I am sure most of you have seen it. This material has been used in schools and elsewhere and has been very active in increasing public awareness of this problem. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the work which we have done has been very successful in garnering public support throughout the world to address this problem.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I wish to turn my attention to a discussion of turbot or Greenland halibut. Unregulated fishing of Greenland halibut has been one of the most serious problems in NAFO in the past few years. This stock, Mr. Speaker, is in serious decline and its continued plunder by foreign fleets represents an environmental offense. Prior to 1990, the two plus three turbot fishery took place almost entirely, Mr. Speaker, within Canadian waters with annual catches somewhere around 30,000 metric tons. In 1990 however, the EU began a large scale turbot fishery in the waters just outside the 200-mile limit with annual catches from between 40,000 and 50,000 metric tons in 1991-1994. Excess catches by the EU were a major contributor to the reduced landings by Newfoundland fishermen with Canadian catches falling from around 12,000 metric tons in 1991 to just under 1,600 metric tons, Mr. Speaker, in 1994.

During the September 1994 meeting of NAFO, responsibilities for the regulation of this stock was given to NAFO and NAFO established a total allowable catch of 27,000 metric tons for 1995. As a result, Mr. Speaker, of a special NAFO meeting in February, 1995, Canada was allocated 16,300 tons or 60 per cent of the TAC while the EU was allocated just 3,400 tons or 12 per cent. In comparison then, Mr. Speaker, to the fifty ton catch by the EU in 1994 the 3,400 ton allocation did indeed represent, rightfully so, a major reduction. The EU has issued a formal objection to the NAFO decision and stated that it would continue to fish according to their own unilateral quota. The EU then subsequently established its unilateral quota at 18,630 tons. By March, 1995 it was generally concluded then, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

DR. HULAN: Could I just have about another minute?

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

DR. HULAN: By March, 1995 it was generally concluded that the European Union had exceeded its NAFO allocation of 3,400 tons. Despite the fact, the European Union vessels continued to fish on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. In response then, Canada extended its regulations for the conservation of straddling stocks to include European Union vessels, and advised the EU that vessels continuing to fish in the area would be subjected to arrest and seizure. As a result of the EU refusal to leave the area, Canada arrested the Spanish trawler Estai on March 9. Examination of the Estai's catch revealed that a very high percentage of catch was undersized turbot which could not have been caught using legal size mesh.

In addition, a secret compartment was found aboard the vessel containing twenty-five tons of American plaice. American plaice is currently under NAFO moratorium throughout the regulatory area. Subsequent inspection also revealed the discovery of two log books. One of these was for inspection purposes, showing that the vessel was honouring NAFO regulations. The other, prepared for the vessel's owners, contained very different reports on the vessel's fishing activities.

While Canadian enforcement vessels were attempting to arrest the Estai, the vessel cut its net. The Spanish said that was done in order to allow the vessel a chance to escape. On March 16, however, a Canadian vessel recovered the net which still contained a small number of live turbot and flounder. Examination of the net revealed that the mesh size was considerably smaller than that legally approved by NAFO. Indeed a net liner - a net liner of eighty millimetres, or around three inches - was also used, making escape by fish of any size virtually impossible.

Mr. Speaker, foreign overfishing is not a new problem. In fact, overfishing by foreign vessels resulted in the collapse of all major groundfish stocks in the early 1970's, a collapse which led to the implementation of the 200-mile limit in 1977. Unfortunately, the declaration of a 200-mile limit was not sufficient to protect the straddling stocks from overfishing by foreign vessels.

The collapse of Canada - Spain's bilateral fisheries agreement in 1981 also added to the problem. Moreover, the entry of Spain and Portugal into the European Union in 1986 increased the severity of the problem considerably. Under the terms of the agreement covering the entry of Spain and Portugal into the European Union, these vessels were banned - they were banned - from fishing in European waters for a ten year period. What did this do then, Mr. Speaker? It resulted in a transfer of the problem to the Northwest Atlantic and the Newfoundland shores.

Mr. Speaker, since 1986 the European Union has harvested eight times its legal quota of fish from the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, eighteen years later, after the implementation of extended jurisdiction, fishermen in this Province are legally forbidden from catching fish -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to clue up his remarks, please, quickly.

DR. HULAN: - from catching fish to feed their families, to feed Newfoundland families, while the Spanish and Portuguese continue to fish, and continue to plunder the stocks off our coast.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: This cannot continue, and I call upon all members of this hon. House to support this resolution.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

Needless to say, it is a great pleasure to stand today to speak to the motion put forward by the Premier, which looks like it will get unanimous support of the House, and I guess I might take a page out of Mr. Tobin's book. Maybe I am going to have to transfer some of my minutes to make up for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture going over time, so I will do that in the name of conservation of time, but I do not want to belabour, Mr. Speaker, what has already been said.

As important an issue as it is, I guess that is why we have reached the agreement we have today with regards to speaking time to allow as many members as possible to participate in the debate, and it is so important to the future of Newfoundland and Labrador that I think that the more often we, as elected members in this Province speak about this issue, the better off we will be. Some people have said: well, why are you going to debate that again? How many more times can you say it? We have to say it many more times yet until the deed is done to our satisfaction, until we protect the resources off our shores for the benefit of our people, for the benefit of the people of the world, so I don't think we should get bored about this matter, we shouldn't get too edgy, we should continue to debate it and express strongly the wishes of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and we all know what they are on this particular issue.

I want to go on record as well as the previous speakers in commending the Prime Minister and the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Tobin, for the actions they have taken. It is good to see, they are actions that we have advocated before, as the Leader of the Opposition has said, we urged Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Crosbie to take such actions. A few years ago, we went to Ottawa and met with him and told him then when he talked to us, the Leader and I about diplomacy, and I remember he said specifically, he had a meeting upcoming shortly thereafter with the President of Spain and he had hoped that his meeting would be successful, that he wanted to try diplomacy.

We have all applauded diplomacy to a degree. If diplomacy works then of course that is the path we should follow but we warned him then that we did not share his optimism that he would be successful.

MR. SIMMS: I believe your words were -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I did not say Brian, I called him Prime Minister and we said: you better have more action in your back pocket than diplomacy. We told him -

MR. SIMMS: You didn't say back pocket.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Arse pocket.

MR. SIMMS: That's right.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You better have it tucked away because diplomacy will not work with those people, and as I have said before in this House, I went to Spain and Portugal four or five years ago I guess it was, as part of a delegation led by the then federal government, to talk to the industry people in Spain and Portugal and the Premier alluded to it in his speech and rightfully so.

From the comments and the expressions that he has received from the people in the European Community when he showed them the facts, and he told them what their actions were doing, and they just looked you very boldly in the face as if there is no problem, or say: it's your problem, who created the mess inside of 200? We did not. That has been their attitude; at the same time by the way, the very same time as their industry and their people have been going through the same difficulties as we have.

Fish plants shutting down, less people employed, fishermen earning less money at the very same time as they were experiencing the same difficulties as we have been experiencing, is what I couldn't come to grips with it personally. I said: well, what else do you need to show you how serious the situation is when your own industry is going through a period of collapse, because fish landings are going down, because the fish is not there, because you and us, have over fished? We all have to share the blame, I have said it before. We have not been all above board either with our fishing practices over the years, we all know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tobin said that publicly.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We all say it because we know it is right, but, they just totally ignore the picture. They are still ignoring the picture even though there are fewer people working processing fish in Spain and Portugal. I sometimes wonder how it is even viable for them to send their boats over but we know why it is viable for them, economically how they manage now because if they didn't have the liner in their nets, the revenues from their catch wouldn't pay enough to get them ten miles off shore. They wouldn't pay for the fuel to get them out of sight of the land, so we know now what it is all about, it is by coming over with the liners and catching the juvenile fish and still, it is so difficult to impress upon those people that the situation is so very serious.

I just hope Mr. Tobin and the Prime Minister and the federal government have success in what they do, we wish them well, we support them, but I am still not confident that it will happen. I have to say it on record here. I will have to wait and see what the final solution is to this. I don't know, I really don't know, what is going to come out of the bag in the final analysis on this, what the final result will be.

Until then I'm going to be cautious. I've been cautious from Day 1. I've applauded Brian Tobin for what he did. I didn't go through the same song-and-dance as some people have on the issue because I wanted to wait and see in the final analysis how it would filter out. I say that Brian Tobin didn't have any choice but to give up, not catch, all of our turbot quota in the name of conservation. As difficult as that is to swallow, that our fishermen will have less earnings now from fish landings because the European Community overfished. That is why it is. Our fishermen will have less earnings, our fish plant workers will process less fish, because the European Community overfished. Very difficult pill to swallow. But being good Canadians and so responsible, we will accept it, and we don't have any choice if we really are sincere about conservation.

But, as the Leader of the Opposition has said, they should not be allowed to take one more turbot. I'm optimistic that will be the result, I'm hopeful, but I'm not sure. What else can there be? There certainly can't be anything else that we can accept. I don't know if - the Premier has probably talked to the federal minister, the Prime Minister, on the issue, and I don't want him to share the content of the discussions with us, but certainly that must be the end result. You've overfished, we are going to catch less fish because you overfished, to balance it off so we don't exceed that number that we believe is sustainable, but you don't catch another fish. That is what the bottom line has to be in all this. I just hope that we - and I'm sure the Premier and his ministers will push the Prime Minister and Mr. Tobin and the federal government to the hilt on that because nothing else is acceptable for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and for Atlantic Canadians. Nothing else is acceptable. Anything less than that, by the way, will be a failure. I just hope at the end of the day that is the result.

I want to commend the Premier and the Member for St. John's East, and everyone. I want to commend everyone for (inaudible) this is so important. As I said, it is so important, it is so big an issue for this Province, to the future of this Province, and our rural communities particularly. Of course, as our rural communities go, so do the urban communities. If our rural communities collapse the whole provincial economy will collapse. That is why this issue is so important to all of us here in this Province. We as elected people, as elected members, have to continuously debate and talk about this, and not get tired of it and say: How many more times can you say that, how many more times do I have to listen to Bud Hulan say this, how many more times do we have to listen to the Premier say that, or Len Simms or Jack Harris or John Efford? Whoever. We've got to keep saying it and we've got to keep debating it and talking about it, because if we don't we won't have anyone here to talk about. That is how serious it is for us, and we all realize that.

I just want to go on record as supporting the motion as put forward by the Premier, categorically supporting it. I wish the federal government all the success in the world as they negotiate with the European Community. I wish them all the luck in the world. They are going to need it. They are not dealing with what we consider to be responsible people when it comes to this particular issue. They are not responsible. They have not shown to be responsible to date. We just hope that with what has transpired in the last two weeks will bring them to their senses. I know one thing, it has had a tremendous impact across the world. To our benefit, to our advantage, I feel. As the Leader of the Opposition said, a picture is worth a thousand words, there is no doubt. It tells it all when you see the size of those turbot and you see the liners in the net. It tells it all. I think what Brian Tobin did by bringing that vessel in here will certainly prove great dividends to us down the road. I just want to go on record as totally, categorically supporting the motion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to take a few minutes to express the point of view also on this matter, especially from the environmental point of view. This is what this is all about: Conservation and the principles of sustainable development. This case just further points out that we see another resource off our coast which is being fished to oblivion, to pure devastation, and the European Economic Community, which is part of the civilized world, has been ignoring its own guidelines, its own requirements, and has been intent basically on fishing out the sea. The actions taken by Brian Tobin and the federal government, and the Prime Minister, can only be commended from an environmental point of view, can only be commended from a sustainable development point of view, can only be commended from a saving of the communities of Atlantic Canada point of view, and saving of a fish resource for the worlds point of view. This is a world food resource, the devastation that is off our coast because of a lack of following basic principles of farming fish we now see the devastation that has been wrought on the Province, on Atlantic Canada.

Canada has learned its lessons. We have learned our lessons from not managing the resource properly. We have put moratoriums on. We have people in our Province wondering about their existence in trying to create an alternative employment for existence. We have the national round table on the environment working with the provincial round table of the environment in this Province now doing hearings around the Province in the small fishing communities, talking to them about the sustainability of those communities. I never thought we would see the day, and I do not think a lot of members in this House thought they would see the day where we would have to be looking that hard and looking that long at what we done, what we have been involved with in the past in our fishery, and to watch foreign interests still not paying any attention to the devastation, to the ecological nightmare that has been created because of these practices.

The federal government deserves our full commendation. Thank God for John Chretien. Thank God for Brian Tobin and the intestinal fortitude of that government to deal with the issue now, finally to get at the issue, to deal with the fact that conservation principles have not been followed, have been totally ignored. It is time, Mr. Speaker, for the EU to wake up and smell the coffee. We are living with all the problems of the ignorance they are showing towards this world food resource. It is more of an environmental issue than any issue we have around us today and our communities have been suffering for it.

Let the word go out today that we are not going to have it anymore and that the federal government is going to manage that resource for the world, not just for us but for the world. Canada has been very kind in its administration of the 200 mile limit. We have been very kind with other countries, in allowing them to fish in our waters and to help manage the fishery, but how can we continue to be kind when they ignore basic principles of life. It is heartening to see the attitude now being displayed by the federal government in its short existence in Ottawa. It is heartening to see it, and I think a lot of people in Canada have come on our side from an environmental point of view, and all realize that this cannot continue.

Mr. Speaker, I was reading a release a German federal member of Parliament made and I just want to read a couple of lines of it. His press release came over the wire on March 10. He goes on and he says: it distracts from the actual scandal, the ecological and economic devastation of the waters off the Coast of Newfoundland through overfishing, particularly by EU member countries. He then goes on to explain the process and he talks about fishing piracy of the EU and the way they have ignored their own regulations and that they only do things by voluntary co-operation.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I just want to end off by saying this, his second last paragraph states: it cannot therefore be tolerated that the ocean is fished empty in both an economic and ecologically senseless manner against the decisions of NAFO while Canadian fishermen who are observing the conditions for conservation lose their livelihoods. I think that sums its up, Mr. Speaker. From a conservation point of view the federal government has carried forward the proper action.

Sheila Copps was on the news yesterday advocating from an environmental point of view the same issue and from here on in the EU must understand that this issue is about the conservation of a world resource, and I again endorse the comments and the move by this government today and by all members of the House.

Thank you, very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, would like a few words in support of the resolution to commend the federal government for actions it has taken with regard to the turbot dispute in the European Union.

Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat surprised, and indeed pleasantly surprised, that Canada did finally move to arrest a foreign vessel outside 200, a foreign vessel that was flying its own flag and doing its own thing regardless of what either the rules of NAFO laid down, or what the rules of common sense or conservation with regard to any living stock laid down. It is about time it happened, and I am pleased that the federal government did what it did; however, as things progressed over the last little while I was somewhat concerned when there was talk that a Canadian delegation was going over to talk to the Europeans about this, and that the turbot quota assigned to Canada was somehow negotiable in return for some sort of promise of good behaviour from the Europeans. I don't agree with that, to be quite frank with you.

I do believe that Canada acted within its moral - if not legal - rights, and to some extent international law as regards to the sea is an evolutionary process and things are not always worked out in advance, and one country or another has to take the lead, has to take a bold stand and make itself be heard and make itself count on the world scene. To the extent that Canada has done that, I commend the federal government; however, I do have concerns that once the diplomats get involved they will tend to blunt the effort, tend to blunt the determination of our national government in dealing with the Europeans.

The bottom line is simply that NAFO set quotas. Europe generally and most cavalierly decides not to obey those quotas, and there is no enforcement mechanism outside 200 to require them to obey the quotas at all. Out of this situation has to come either the continued arrest of foreign vessels that continue to fish in violation of the rules, or some sort of real enforcement mechanism - with teeth - that will force European vessels to obey quotas laid down by NAFO, of which they are a member. To date neither has really happened, and I do hope that one or the other does happen.

As I said, it causes me some concern to have made a very tough stand and then send our diplomats to Europe with some of our fish to lay on the table as some sort of token for the Europeans to somehow start behaving themselves. Mr. Speaker, I have severe doubts about the usefulness of trading fish for good behaviour, but certainly if that is the game you are into then any such trade would have to come with guarantees of good behaviour and guarantees of enforcement of NAFO quotas, and to date we haven't seen that. Like the Opposition House Leader earlier, I have some concerns as to the ultimate outcome of this particular thing.

Canada got off on a good footing. I hope it keeps on that good footing, doesn't buckle under, can stay the course over the long term. There are economic interests in central Canada having to do with trade with the European Union in manufactured and high tech goods that can impact negatively on the determination of the federal government to stay the course, and I do hope that Canada will see fit this time to exercise its jurisdiction on the world stage on behalf of the half-million poor souls on this Island, if for no other reason than to show the world that it really is a real country and that we just won't put up a token fight. We will fight for real, and we will fight for long.

Like I say, Mr. Speaker, it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome will be, but I sincerely hope that the actions that the feds have carried out so far, as commendable as they are, will continue into the future, and that we will have a resolution which sees some enforcement with real teeth on the high seas. Otherwise, we will have to fight this war year after year, stock by stock, until there is absolutely nothing left in the ocean.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the few minutes that I have allotted to me to speak I want to put a little different aspect from the previous speakers in representation, using my district, the District of Port de Grave, as an example of all fishing communities around the Island.

Very simply, there has been a lot of frustration in the minds of the fishermen for a number of years in those fishing communities. A lot of dismay in the individual families. When your investment is up to anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million each, that life investment into that fishing industry, and you talk and you tell the fisheries people, DFO, the politicians of the day what is happening on the Grand Banks, nobody really listens.

I think last week was a relief of that frustration that they've been holding for a number of years. Because they've witnessed over the years inside the 200-mile limit the Spanish and the Portuguese fishing trawlers side by side taking fish out of the water, and they kept telling the DFO inspectors that not only were they fishing inside the 200-mile limit and outside the 200-mile limit at the same time, they were using the liners in their nets. That was the result of what the individual fishermen had told the inspectors. As they saw their livelihood being taken away from them over the years, and as they saw fish plant after fish plant close, they told, they put the correct information to the politicians, to the DFO, to all the enforcement agents, but nobody listened.

I'm going to just run down very quickly the example of what it had on my district, the last ten or fifteen years what I've had to witness in my district, the effect of the overfishing on the Grand Banks. Because we say: Why would Port de Grave be affected by the overfishing on the Grand Banks? They've proven over the years that when the fish stocks have been reduced to the extent that they couldn't fish out in the bays they could go out to the Grand Banks in the small fishing boats that they have, some sixty-five feet - or sixty-four, eleven-and-a-half inches - and catch the fish. They've proved that very well over the last couple of years. They've went out 350 miles and retrieved swordfish, shark, tuna and all other species of fish, and done quite well by doing that, so they were very much affected by the overfishing.

In my district in Port de Grave there are fish plants that we had in full operation pretty well on a full yearly basis. Three of them used to only close for the month of January, some repair and maintenance. H.B. Dawe Limited in Cupids; J.W. Hiscock in Brigus; George Dawe & Son, Port de Grave; Moorfish at Port de Grave; Seaside Fisheries, Coley's Point; Coley's Point Fisheries; Bay Roberts Seafoods; and Fishery Products. The only one that I didn't mention is the only one today that is operating, is Argosy Seafoods, as a crab plant. They are now changing more fish plants into a crab plant. All other fish plants are not operating because of the overfishing by not only the foreign fleets, by our own Canadian fleets on the Grand Banks.

That is the type of impact it had, not only on my community, the district which I represent, the community where I live today, the community where I see all those fish plant workers frustrated because their TAGS are ending in some instances, and the talk about it ending fully in another year or two, and no future. Because the stocks are not going to come back that quick. So we needed that relief of frustration, that something positive was happening on the Grand Banks.

That is the reason why I'm proud to be able to stand in this House of Assembly and be a part of sending a message to the Prime Minister of this country, to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans who represents not only this Province but all of Canada, that they have now realized it was beyond the time of not doing anything any more. It was imperative that they must stop this infiltration of our last fish stocks. The turbot is only one instance. There are many other fish stocks that are being depleted and may never return. I will give you one example. The haddock. The haddock fishery was overfished many years ago, and for the last twenty years there has been no haddock, not only in our inland coastal waters, but on the Grand Banks, in all the nets and the technology that has been provided. It was a fish stock that was completely depleted by the overfishing of foreign ships and the Canadian ships in our waters.

So we've learned a hard lesson, Mr. Speaker, we've learned a very hard lesson, and we are going to pay a hard price, a long price, for it in the future. But now we are willing as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be able to wait because now we see some light at the end of the tunnel. We only hope that the continued enforcement of what started a couple of weeks ago does not stop, that it continues on into the future and not only when the Spanish, Portuguese and other countries come back. We have to look at the type of technology that is being used and the fishing gear that is being used because no longer can it sustain the type of gear and technology that it has for the last twenty-or-so years. No matter how the stocks come back in the future it can't sustain, ever again, that type of fishing 365 days a year with those types of nets dragging the bottom - not only destroying the fish but destroying the environment on the bottom of the ocean. The untapped resources that we do not have any idea of the value today but we will at some point in time in the future, as the Minister of Environment just spoke about, the impact it had on the environment in our oceans and the bottom of the ocean.

So I want to say very clearly, Mr. Speaker, that there is no doubt about it, the fishermen, the fisherpeople of this Province are very pleased and know that now there is some confidence placed back in them. They have the confidence that something is being done but the battle is far from over, far, far from over. There is a lot that needs to be done. We have another species in our own waters, the seal population that we are all so well aware of, everybody in this Province is talking about it today. Every time you go out turr hunting, every time you go out in your boat, the harbours are filled with seals.

If we look at that, if we are serious about doing it with the foreigners - it is not just good enough to stop the foreigners, we have to deal with that issue. We have to make sure that there is a fishery in Newfoundland, that the resource does come back. We do know all the dangers to our fish stocks and we do know what needs to be done. As I just said earlier, the federal Prime Minister and the federal Minister of Fisheries have certainly put the confidence back in Newfoundlanders and I've seen that over the last couple of weeks talking to the people of my district.

There is a whole different attitude there now, there is a whole different feeling among the individuals and they don't mind the short term pain for the long term gain. They are willing to comply with the rules and the regulations and a whole new direction of the type of fishery and the gear that they will use in the future. They are already talking about it. They want to be a part of making those decisions and they want to be a part of making the decisions on the type of gear, the type of boats and the methods of fishing in the future because they have learned a lesson. They feel confident now that the federal government too has learned a lesson of not listening to the individuals who have the best expertise and the best knowledge, the fishermen themselves, and they feel confident now that they will be listened to in the future.

So in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, along with all other members of this House of Assembly, send the congratulations and appreciation on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and to ask them not to relinquish on anything that they have already put into place. That they keep going forward and that whatever measures has to be taken to protect the stocks on the Grand Banks, inside and outside the 200-mile limit, that they must do so. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too am very proud to rise in my place today and support the resolution that is brought forward by the Premier of our Province and fully supported by the Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party as well. When I heard the Member for Port de Grave speak there I can only think back on some of the things that I've heard in my district and he is 100 per cent right because up until now the fishermen and fish plant workers, the least that they had out there, Mr. Speaker, was hope. That was the one thing that was missing. There was no hope there, nobody was listening to them. Those people who were the first players, who were the frontline players in this whole scenario were coming forward with suggestions, offering ideas but nobody listened to them, Mr. Speaker. Everybody thought they were wrong, they knew nothing because they were either fish plant workers or they were fisherpersons. That proves, I suppose today, that those were the people who knew most of all. Those were the people who should have been listened to in the beginning. I am sure that they are all not happy going to the post office and collecting a brown envelope to receive a weekly pay cheque, Mr. Speaker, because in that brown envelope is not near the amount of money that those people ordinarily would get and is certainly not the way they would want to be earning a living.

Up until now there has only been lip service paid to foreign overfishing on the Grand Banks. Seal population, the technology that has been used in catching our fish as the minister referred to, if we allow this to happen ever again, and I will go further to say, if we ever allow another dragger to sail out of our ports, then I think we are being less than sincere about the fishery. I think we have to go back and take a second look at the way we catch fish and look at what has brought us to where we are today, Mr. Speaker, and make sure that rural Newfoundland exists for the fishermen, for the fish plant workers, and in a way to sustain most of the numbers that will either be left behind after this program is completely finished, with early retirement and other ways to get people out of the fishery and I think the only way that that could ever happen is to have the inshore fishery take the forefront, and have those people who will be the first entrants back in, not the sunshine boys, Mr. Speaker, those people would happily work year-round if the opportunities were there for them.

Mr. Speaker, some time ago, I remember watching a debate, a panel on television, and one of the participants spoke about the fishery being built up to something that it was not. I think he went on to say that the fishery only contributed something like 10 per cent of our gross domestic product, but what the fellow failed to remember, Mr. Speaker, is that, it was probably 90 per cent of the gross domestic product of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The fishery was our reason for being where we are and I think it will have to be the fishery that will sustain our rural areas in the future.

First, we had the 3-mile limit then we progressed to the 12-mile limit and then we went on to the 200-mile limit, and when the 200-mile limit was being talked about back in 1977, I was involved in the fishery at that time working with H. P. Nickerson and Sons, and at that time this company expanded by about 1,000 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and they built fish plants in - well they upgraded all their existing fish plants and built three or four new plants and here he never knew about fish processing before, and I remember going in to FPI's office about six months ago and one of the top officials, one of the vice-presidents said to me: you know, whoever built that fish plant down in Charleston should have been shot; and I looked at him, Mr. Speaker, and I said: sir, if somebody went to a place so economically depressed as the Charleston area, the Sweet Bay area and could show where they could provide twenty years work for in excess of 400 people, even though Unemployment Insurance played a big part of it, I said: that would be the person who should be shot, not the person who made the decision to put the plant there, and this is the kind of thinking that we have to do away with, Mr. Speaker; we have to stop blaming the people who work in the fishery, who work in the fish plants, stop frowning on them because they work at seasonal occupations.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, we are supposed to shoot the fellow who made the decision. The fellow who told me that the other person should not have made the decision to expand the plant and put an industry there to employ 480 people.

Mr. Speaker, about six months ago, I took a trip out on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks with the surveillance airplane that flies out there pretty well on a daily basis, and that trip is pretty well free for everybody I think; all you have to do is make arrangements and they will let you know probably a day before when the trip is going to take place, they won't give you a week's notice or three days notice because it is something that they want to do and not let the world know when they are coming there or it is all for nought.

Mr. Speaker, I took the trip out there and on that particular day, we spotted forty-two vessels on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. I don't know what flags they were flying and I don't care what flags they were flying but I do know what they were doing out there. They were out there scraping the bottoms, tearing up the habitat, the spawning grounds of our fish stocks, doing the same thing as the Spanish trawler that we brought ashore a week ago here in St. John's, a little over a week ago, was doing when it was apprehended on the Nose of the Grand Banks. Mr. Speaker, forty-two vessels and we went and we arrested one vessel and brought it into the harbour at St. John's, and there were about 10,000 people showed up there that particular day to show their support for the Prime Minister of this country and for the federal Minister of Fisheries, and I was one of the people who showed up there to offer my support because I believed in what he was doing. I believed in the decision that was made, and I think that we all have to stick behind the Prime Minister, we have to stick behind the federal minister, and we have to give them whatever support is needed unanimously in this House if we are ever going to get our fishery back on track again.

Mr. Speaker, thirty-eight vessels out there fishing while our people sit on shore waiting for those stocks to rebuild and return is not good enough. If we ever allow one vessel to stay out there and fish, then we are not being honest and we are not representing our people, so I think we have turned the eyes of the world on Newfoundland and Labrador. I think we have turned the eyes of the world on the problems we are experiencing in our fishery, and I plead with everybody in this House to lend support whenever they can, to speak in favour of this action, and let's hope we can resolve this situation and we can get our people back in the industry that they know most about, get our people back to work, and the only way we can do it is to stop such things as foreign overfishing, do something with the problem we are experiencing in the seal fishery, and be ever cognisant of the way we go and try to catch fish again.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I am certainly proud to have been able to add a few words to this debate here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to say a couple of things today, and that is that I have never been more proud to be a Canadian, and I have never been more proud to be a Liberal. I have never been more proud to be a Canadian because I think what we have witnessed over the past year-and-a-half is an opportunity to see nation building at its best.

We have seen many different watershed statements over the hundred-and-some-odd years that we have been a country. We have seen different laws passed by Prime Ministers of the day to be able to bind this nation together, but the action that the Prime Minister of this country took, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans took, when we exercised this particular option two weeks ago was one that brought this nation to a new level of consciousness. It brought this nation to a level where it told the rest of the country, the rest of the nation, and the rest of the world, that while we have the economic power to join the G-7, we now have the political maturity to join an appropriate body of international nations, and for that we must be very proud of our Prime Minister and our government in Ottawa.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, I just had the opportunity to be in Boston for a few days where there were hundreds of countries represented - many countries represented - and it was the talk of those delegates to that conference how proud they were to see Canada take this type of action, because at the present time there are seven other hot spots in the world where dramatic overfishing is taking place - dramatic overfishing by Spain and Portugal and the EU, but also other countries of the world - and there was a very, very round level of applause from Iceland, from the Norwegians, from the New Zealanders, from the people in Australia, from the people all over this world, and I tell you a very rounding round of applause from the Americans, because the Americans know that this was the right thing to do. The Americans know that we were building on what President Truman did in 1949. The Americans know full-well that this is the way to build a nation, and this is the way to secure a future for all of the people of this world, to take these actions because it is the right thing to do, and obviously I have never been more proud to be a Liberal because it is in the traditions of Liberalism that we approach these challenges on the basis of acknowledging that there are regions of the country that need to be supported. There are people in this community that need to be supported, because at times they cannot have the force to muster the kind of action that would obviously be able to demand the decision that was taken just a few weeks ago.

Mr. Speaker, all of the country will know that it was the Liberal government of this Parliament that took the initiative to bring in - well, even before that. It was on the opening day when they were being sworn in, I remember it distinctly. Watching the opening day when the Governor-General welcomed the Prime Minister to the place to swear in his Cabinet. When he came out through that door he was asked about twenty or thirty different questions. Towards the end of it, one reporter said: Prime Minister, you gave an undertaking to do something about the fishing practices of other countries on the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Banks. Was that political rhetoric? Did you get carried away? Did you say something off the cuff that you cannot back up? That Prime Minister said: No, I gave the people of Newfoundland and Labrador a commitment that we would do something on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

He has carried it through in spades. He has not backed down, not one inch, right from Day 1. That was the commitment he made. In six months' time the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, our Brian, this Brian, our Liberal Brian, stood in the House of Commons and within forty-eight hours got a piece of watershed legislation through the House and through the Senate that was recognized worldwide as a leading piece of legislation. Because it was based on conservation, it was built on the fundamental principle of which we got the 200-mile limit in 1977. Number one principle, conservation of the fishing resources. That was a massive undertaking, but within six months of being sworn in that was delivered and stamped by both houses in our Canadian Parliament, and indeed it was a very important initiative.

Not to be overtaken by the people who would like to break it down, not to be side-lined by those who would like to say: This may not work. I remember distinctly, don't forget that it was in this House that many of us heard other members of the Opposition saying: They are not going to do anything more than just a few flags-of-convenience vessels. How true, I remember, and how true I remember many members on this side speaking to the exact articles in that piece of legislation. Indeed, we have now seen that legislation used when it was necessary to be able to do indeed what is going to be done in the future.

I say the future is bright on this issue. I'm not one to stay here one minute and think that we are not going to do what everybody in this country wants and what the people in this Province need. I'm saying that the people of this country are going to see the United Nations introduce a binding agreement, in my view, that is not going to be built on quotas for enforcements, which I saw this weekend through The Globe & Mail, and I was very disturbed about. That we would be seeking an agreement based on quotas for enforcement. I don't think that is what will happen. Obviously what we want to see is that Article 63 of the Law of the Sea convention be now scrapped as it presently stands and that a real article 63 be put in there. A real article that will indicate that the contiguous state to the straddling stock - and that includes the stocks that we have here now, the cod, flatfish, redfish, turbot and shrimp - these are species that are contiguous to Canada.

What we are saying is that as the straddling stocks get identified we should give the state next to that stock the right to manage it. Management means that you would give them the right to do the research and the scientific information that is necessary to determine the total allowable catch. Once the total allowable catch is then determined you would give them the authority to issue the quotas, based on the principles of adjacency and economic dependency of coastal communities. Then you would give them the right to issue the licences. Obviously you would then give them the right and the power to enforce the standards which we apply, and the standards that everybody in this world expects so that we do not have the twelve and fourteen inch immature fish making up 80 per cent of the catches of any of those fleets because that will be a quick and dirty end to every fish that is out there if it is allowed to continue.

Mr. Speaker, we don't get a lot of time today, so I would like to conclude by saying that indeed it is a very, very proud day for me as a member of the Legislature and representing a district that is solely dependent upon the fishery, to be able to say that, as Canadians, we have taken the appropriate action and, as a Newfoundlander in the federal Cabinet, Brian Tobin must be recognized as one person who had the political courage, the vision, and obviously the political will to carry through what the people in this Province asked him to do, and indeed, I am sure, what they will continue to support him on, and that is to make our fisheries sustainable and make them beneficial to the coastal community so that we can have communities out there built on the security of a fishery which we came here for 500 years ago.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Like others ahead of me today, I am glad to be able to rise to support this motion. Contrary to what the Member for Eagle River had to say a few moments ago, I have never always been proud of Canada. We all know it is a large country, but largely, I have found myself in the position, as a national Newfoundlander, seeing that Newfoundlanders had to fight an orphan's fight in this country on lots of occasions to get ourselves heard. And I was proud the last ten days that Canada did take a firm stand, that Canada did fire the warning shot that is still echoing through the European Community. If you don't look after your own, who else are you going to look after?

Congratulations have been extended to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Fisheries, and indeed, the Parliament of Canada for unanimously taking action against what has been devastating to this Province. I was down on the waterfront, as well, the Sunday before last and thousands of Newfoundlanders were down there. I saw one sign there that was particularly appropriate, `If the halibut looked as cuddly as the seal, the world would be outraged.' It is indeed a fact with respect to the European nations, that of all of us here, it would be a very strange Newfoundlander who did not have someone buried in one of their graveyards, people we sent over there to fight for them. In the First World War our little country here, Newfoundland, was devastated because of the event of a July morning over there, and they are more cuddly over seals! We are talking about seals and they are acting as `imbe-seals', ravaging and privateering.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was a good line, `Nick', but nobody caught that.

MR. CAREEN: No, but you did, you were thinking.

What we have seen, as the Premier said earlier, is devastation of the Northern cod, American plaice, yellowtail and now turbot. The Member for St. John's East mentioned about shrimp. They are out to catch our last fish, the European privateers. This little country of ours, Newfoundland, was subject to them 200 or 300 years ago and they are still here. We have more privateers than you can shake a stick at. Every country was plundering this little country of ours. Now, while the European countries in the EU are supporting Brussels, I was glad to hear that a number of their fisheries unions have come out, indeed, to support Canada and, indeed, to support Newfoundland, and so they should. But the European nations want to keep Spain and Portugal over here because they are having trouble with them now in their own countries, and if they get them all back on their doorsteps, they will have more trouble with them.

Well, I was glad to see Canada stand up, because we all know our own people have been shackled, kept ashore, landlocked and on a moratorium that the majority of them do not want. To say it is unfair is an understatement.

We see the European nations aiding and abetting the Spaniards and the Portuguese. We see that ship they brought in, the Estai, with two sets of books, hidden lockers, undersized fish, undersized turbot the size of the palm of your hand. Now, what kind of people are they, but then again, what kind of people could eat that? Are they for a particular market, or is that all they can get? After all these numbers of years, these past few years particularly things are coming back to roost and people are starting to listen to the people they should have been listening to in the first place, our fishermen. They knew, they always knew; but I would like to give a little statement here today.

Five people from where I live put their names on the register of the Grand Banks last fall when they were lost, five more Newfoundlanders, and every community in this Province has known people or their gravestones mark it, have signed the register that we own the Grand Banks. We brought it into Confederation with us. Five people on the Patrick and Elizabeth last fall, Captain Pat Coady -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bar Haven.

MR. CAREEN: Yes, originally from Bar Haven. Edward Barry, Jersey Side; Gerald Goldsworthy, Placentia; Mark Travers, Placentia and Wayne Giles from Freshwater; five local men who paid the price but they are on the register, they are on that intangible register of the Grand Banks that we pay for and they have paid for dearly, but it is ours and I am glad that Canada did stand; but the fight is not over as some members have said here today. The fight has started and on March 27, when they start putting these words together, words that mean something; words and deeds that will have teeth. Because off our shores is a breadbasket for the world but because we are the closest, we are the most affected and Canada should have custodial management over what is ours.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The hon. member noticed the words stirred me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: No, he is quite right. Custodial management is maybe the action that we have to take until the world comes to its senses and puts in place an effective system that manages the resources in accordance with international law but also assures the protection of the fish stocks. That is what we must work toward.

I am happy to have a few minutes just to wind this up because there is another thing that needs to be said. As of now, I believe that while people can make an argument that Canada is not strictly speaking in full compliance with international law, the argument can be made - I don't agree with it; I have a different view of it. I think Canada is acting in accord with international law. International law is not some declared position that a Parliament or a Legislature like this one can declare to be effective on all nations of the world. International law comes into being only through two sources, one of which is like the Law of the Sea came into being when enough nations got together and agreed on a convention that it became accepted to be international law, but the more usual course that international law has followed in the past is when some nation, or perhaps two or three nations, see a circumstance that needs to be addressed - of necessity must be addressed - in order to respond to a situation that needs a response, and they have the political courage, the international political courage, to take the lead and apply a legal regime that over a period of time a significant number of nations come to adopt as the approach that they want to take, but it takes the action of some nation first to do it, an action that all the other nations - or many other nations - may say is contrary to international law. That is how international law originates and has been built for centuries and centuries and centuries. That is the source of international law.

The classic example to which I often refer occurred a couple of hundred years ago when nations of the world, for a quick dollar, for economic return for themselves, allowed their commercial people, ship owners, to go down and seize people on the west coast of Africa - seize innocent people going about their business - and sell them as slaves in the Caribbean or in the southern United States. The world was shocked by this kind of behaviour, and ultimately the people in Britain were so shocked by it that they purported to create laws that would apply well beyond their own boundaries. They applied laws to the world. They passed a law in Parliament that enabled the Royal Navy to go down off the west coast of Africa and interfere with this trade, seize the ships that were participating in it, and take the innocent people off those ships and put them back on the soil of Africa from which they came.

Now, that was just as contrary to international law as it existed at that time as any action Canada is taking today. There is no difference in principle. I realize there is a difference between human beings and fish. I do not say it is of precisely the same moral character but it is essentially the same in principle. Spain and Portugal are wantonly destroying a great natural resource that belongs to the human race, a resource that can be a great source of protein. Spain and Portugal are flying in the face of every other nation on earth and saying: we are going to do it because it is in our economic interest and we do not care what the consequences are. That is precisely what the slavers said: we are going to seize these people and sell them because it is in our economic interest and we do not care what the consequences are.

Now, what is the difference between the slavers of 200 years ago and the Spanish and Portuguese fishermen today in principle? The answer is none. Canada had to take the lead as the contiguous coastal state most concerned, the same as Britain took the lead, and it is a crying shame that the British people have to see the spectacle of their government saying: we cannot break ranks with our fellow members in the European community. It is a shame to see that great nation that gave so much to the world in leadership in terms of democratic government and systems of justice, and contributed so much to the world, now standing by and countenancing this kind of action by Spain and Portugal because it is politically difficult for them to take a different position than the other member states of the European union.

AN HON. MEMBER: Becoming collaborators.

PREMIER WELLS: They are as bad as Spain and Portugal if they endorse it in that way. They must accept responsibility for it and when they take that position with me I say, well, okay, then you have to understand that I must criticize you for the action.

Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt about the clear justification by any moral standard of consideration for the leadership that Canada is giving the world and many of the nations of the world are recognizing this is as international leadership on Canada's part. It is a difficult objective to achieve because nations like France and Germany, the UK, Spain and Portugal, and others can say, `Yes, but you've taken an aggressive act. You fired shots at the ships of another nation or in front of the ships of another nation. You've stopped them on the high seas and you've seized their vessels and their cargo, and you've towed them into your port, and you've threatened others with the same action if they fish on those high seas.' All of that is true but Canada, I believe, has gained the respect of the right-thinking nations of this world who look at what is being done and who find the actions abhorrent. They endorse what Canada has done. It is critical, absolutely critical that nobody in Canada, no Province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador in particular, do anything that would in any way undermine the moral high ground that Canada has staked out and achieved on this issue. We must endorse the policy and approach of the national government so as to maintain the highest possible level of international support for the course that we are trying to pursue. Let's be cautious in our words. Let's not hesitate to condemn the actions of Spain and Portugal or the behaviour of the other members of the European Community in endorsing it. Let's not get carried away and claim too much and ask them to go too far, because we will undermine Canadian credibility in the eyes of the world if we do. It is crucial that we not do that. I ask all hon. members to consider that when they make comments on the issue.

The final comment that I wish to make, Mr. Speaker, is to echo in a somewhat less partisan way than my hon. friend, the Member for Eagle River did, to echo my pride as a Canadian today, to be able to stand and share unanimously with all members of this House our pride in the efforts of the national government, but in doing so, don't forget that we ought to extend our appreciation to all of the Canadian people who have stood behind the Government of Canada in supporting this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I am satisfied, from everything that I've seen, that this action has the overwhelming support of the Canadian people. They have expressed it to me when I have spoken in cities across this nation. When they want to ask questions, their first question is: What is happening in the fishery? Are you going to get control of the foreign overfishing? What can we do to express our concern and help support this?

There is overwhelming support by the Canadian people for the daring and courageous action of the Government of Canada, and I want today to convey to the people of Canada that the members of this House unanimously express our appreciation to them for that support.

Mr. Speaker, I want also to express my appreciation to all members who have spoken in the debate for their lucid and cogent comments, and to all members - those who didn't have a chance to speak in the debate - for their support for this approach. I thank you most sincerely, and I am confident that the people of this Province will thank each and every member of this House for their contribution to the debate today.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

All in favour of the motion, `aye'.


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

Motion carried unanimously.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I assume nobody has any desire to be here tonight, so perhaps we could stop the clock for a second or two.

MR. SPEAKER: Do the members agree that the clock should be stopped?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, we are all going out for a chicken supper. Which candidate is buying it tonight?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I can only say, for the benefit of members opposite, that I know exactly what they are doing. Believe me, I know - better than most. In the old days, as I recollect, it was dart leagues.

MR. SPEAKER: Excuse me; I just want to ensure that members of the House are in agreement with stopping the clock at five. Agreed?


MR. SPEAKER: Agreed.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, in a moment I will ask leave to allow my friend from Harbour Main to present the report of the committee that has drafted the Address in Reply simply so that we can get the debate under way tomorrow.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: It shouldn't be lengthy.

MR. ROBERTS: No, the report shouldn't be too lengthy. It may spark a lengthy debate, but that remains to be seen.

Assuming the report is accepted, we will ask tomorrow that the House begin debate on the Address in Reply. One would normally expect a member of the Opposition to speak, and one might even predict there may be a motion of no confidence.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, I say to my friend from Grand Bank, one doesn't expect him to say anything, but that is a different story.

Wednesday, of course, will be the Opposition Private Members' Day. Thursday, my friend from Gander, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board will present the Budget, and whether we sit on Friday or not will depend on consultations behind the Chair, Your Honour, but we will not be debating the Budget on Friday. We will give the House that undertaking. Whether or not we need the day for other government business remains to be determined, and that will take us through the week.

With that said, Your Honour, the other point I will make is that tomorrow we will suggest we deal with the procedure on Private Members' Days, to get that in place before the first Private Members' Motion is dealt with on Wednesday.

With that said, Your Honour, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, I am sorry. May I have leave for my friend from Harbour Main to present the report of his committee?

MR. SPEAKER: All in favour of giving leave to the hon. the Member for Harbour Main to present the report of the committee, `aye'.


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

The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. WHELAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Select Committee appointed to draft a reply to the Speech of His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor, I present the report of the Select Committee as follows:

To His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor, the hon. Frederick W. Russell, C.M., LL.D, may it please Your Honour, we, the Commons of Newfoundland and Labrador, in Legislative Session assembled, beg to thank Your Honour for the Gracious Speech which Your Honour has addressed to this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, report received now, by leave.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Mr. Speaker, see if the second time I get it right.

I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow, Tuesday at two o'clock.

MR. SPEAKER: Before putting the motion to adjourn, I would like to welcome, on behalf of hon. members, Mr. James Mercer and Oscar (inaudible) representing the Appalachia Roman Catholic School Board at Stephenville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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