March 21, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 3

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly thirty-two democratic students from Little Heart's Ease Integrated School in Bellevue district. They are accompanied by their teachers Mr. Cyril Rogers and Mr. David Peach.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that Cabinet has given approval in principle for the establishment - on a provincial-wide basis - of an enhanced 911 emergency telephone system.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: The approval in principle follows an extensive review which determined that the technical capability does exist in Newfoundland and Labrador and that it is feasible to implement such an enhanced emergency service for the whole Province.

The enhanced or E-911 service is much more superior than the basic 911 which relies on a caller being able to speak and give directions as to the type and location of the emergency.

The Province-wide E-911 service would substantially improve the level of emergency response for police, fire, medical, ambulance and other agencies including poison control.

The E-911 service automatically uses the telephone number of the calling party and creates a visual image on the receiving computer so that certain information is immediately available to the responding party. This replaces the need to rely entirely on local knowledge and provides accurate information substantially reducing the time factor in dispatching the appropriate emergency agency.

Currently there are two 911 systems operating in the Province - one on the Northeast Avalon coordinated by the Fire Department; and, the other one in Corner Brook and some twenty-three surrounding communities are now in place.

A Cabinet Committee will now consider a number of options and make recommendations back to Cabinet with respect to (a) the public or private operation of the system; (b) the location of the system centre; and (c) funding levels. The Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice.

Newfoundland Telephone has indicated that it is prepared to participate in the development of a Provincial-wide E-911 system. This company would absorb the technical costs for capital equipment and to recover these costs, users would be charged a monthly toll on their telephone accounts to cover the cost of the service which we estimate to be around somewhere between sixty and eighty cents a month.

This arrangement would require the Province or some other agency to incur other costs associated with developing the E-911 system and to cover the operating and maintenance costs.

The Province or some other agency would be responsible for the cost of establishing a public service answering position which would have to be established to receive incoming calls from the E-911 system.

In all likelihood, the Emergency Measures Division of Municipal and Provincial Affairs would assume responsibility for the overall coordination of this program.

There are many benefits, Mr. Speaker, associated with a Province-wide-911 system. Some of the more significant ones include: It would provide a high quality standard of emergency response and dispatch on a uniform basis to all portions of the Province to the extent that the individual services are available. It would provide a foundation which would allow enhancements in the future such as development of an electronic dispatch system. This system would electronically guide responders to any location in the Province and could be used by any of the participating agencies that may desire that level of service.

For smaller municipalities, Mr. Speaker, of which I am acutely aware, implementation of the E-911 system allows them to have an emergency response system that they cannot afford at the present time.

For larger municipalities, which presently have a basic 911 service or which may not have any, it answers their demand to provide an enhanced service that they have wanted to implement individually for some time but could not afford.

For response agencies, key emergency information would be provided automatically by E-911 to the public safety answering point immediately as a call is received.

The ability to independently capture the location of the caller would virtually, Mr. Speaker, eliminate any false alarms or where they are not eliminated, help identify and detect the perpetrator of them. This would save thousands of dollars especially on the Avalon Peninsula.

Mr. Speaker, a rapid response time is vital to all emergencies in this Province, but especially critical in life and death situations. An E-911 system significantly reduces time delays in getting information on the emergency and in dispatching the proper response.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the minister for providing me with a copy of his statement previous to coming to the House.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the minister and the government in bringing in such a policy; well, I suppose I should caution from the outset I guess, that this is a recommendation and an approval in principle to be further reviewed and further looked at by a Committee of Cabinet.

Anything could happen I suppose, from here on in but I would suspect that this will be something that will be instituted within the next few months, possibly twelve months, a year or so, and it will be a good thing for the Province as a whole. I notice it is for the Province as a whole, right across; much needed, Mr. Speaker, especially in the rural areas of this Province, but I have a few concerns and I would caution the minister today on one of them and that is: I notice here, that Newfoundland Telephone has indicated that it is prepared to participate in the development of a province-wide E-911 system.

As I said earlier, they say here that the technical expertise is in place. They have the capability of doing it, no question, but what will be the charge? If, for instance, it is 50 cents or $1 a month it might not sound much, but to subscribers all across this Province, especially as it pertains to a 911 number and the times that it will be used, if it is not monitored and not watched very closely, Newfoundland Telephone could make a lovely tax grab off something like this.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well, that is good to hear. That is one of the concerns I had, and if that concern is addressed by Cabinet, or will be addressed by Cabinet as they move along in setting up a number such as this, well then sobeit because the same thing applies to cable companies across the Province. Although they have a licence they can darn well come out after with certain channels and pick up a couple of dollars extra a month, and I would caution the minister on making sure that something like that does not take place because this, like I said, would be a good thing for the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I want to return to a topic I raised yesterday in Question Period, the Trans City scandal, and I want to direct my question to the Premier.

The Supreme Court heard evidence from the architect for Trans City, a Mr. John Hearn, and the evidence was that the company's owners knew from the beginning that the interest rates would be the key factor in awarding the hospital contracts. Now, no other bidder knew that. In fact, the tender call asked for annual rental costs only; there was no mention of interest rates.

I would like to ask the Premier, who is now the Justice Minister: Has he made any attempt to find out how Mr. Hearn, and Mr. Case and his colleagues and associates, got that kind of information - as Justice Minister?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As far as I know -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: As far as I am aware, Mr. Speaker, the conclusion is not exactly as the hon. member states.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: Well, the hon. member should read a little bit more.

MR. SIMMS: No, you should read a little bit more. (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: My understanding is that was an issue that was raised, and that there were, in fact, I believe, three companies that dealt with the interest rate issue, that it was not something that was simply the proprietorship of one company. It was probably available to everybody else.

I would like to remind the hon. gentleman that it is the interest rates that determine the rental rates. If in fact the rental rates are low it is a result of low interest rates, or low interest rates can cause a lowering of the rental rates.

Mr. Speaker, the firms that bid on the basis of the Province's level of borrowing, the companies that bid on that basis, had to, in fact, indicate that the interest rate would affect their ultimate rental. That is why I believe three of the companies actually used that criteria. So it was simply a mechanism to point out what the rental rate would be at some time in the future. It could not be specified simply because the interest rates were changing every day.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board can ramble on all he wants. I'm not asking him any questions about that. I'm asking the Premier as the Minister of Justice: Has he made any attempt to find out how Mr. Hearn, Mr. Case and his associates got the information that they had that gave them the edge in this process? I ask him as Minister of Justice.

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, they did not have the information and it was not indicated that they actually had the information.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, on a supplementary.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I'm assuming that the Minister of Justice, the Premier, has read the decision. If he has he would know that what the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board just said is not accurate at all. Because on pages 112 and 113 of the decision it indicates clearly that Trans City knew it had that vital piece of information on interest rates. In fact, the architect, Mr. Hearn said during the process that the company's owners had boasted to him privately, at a private meeting, that they had an edge. It is clear now that they knew from the beginning that the tender call issued on June 20 which referred only to the annual rental cost was false. So while everyone else in the process was misled by the tender call, Trans City alone was told the truth. Now, that is certainly an edge.

I'm asking the Premier, as Minister of Justice, is he at all concerned about the strong suspicion of conspiracy and fraud about this whole affair? Doesn't he think that the people of the Province have a right to know what went wrong, and if anyone in government engaged in criminal conduct?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Stop this charade now, Mr. Speaker. Nobody - nobody - in government engaged in any criminal conduct. The member's comments in that direction are irresponsible and unworthy of him, as Leader of the Opposition, to be making these kinds of allegations.

Now, Mr. Speaker, as to the fact that some witness said the company had an edge - I don't know of any bidder yet who didn't say to somebody: I think we have an edge. We have an edge. We say to somebody else: I think we have an edge to get this done in Newfoundland. All kinds of people think they have an edge and say it, and to interpret those kind of things from that statement is irresponsible.

Mr. Speaker, I say again, I accept the statement of the Minister of Finance that there was no favoured position or favoured information given to anybody. I must confess, having read the judgement, that our people did a very poor job of presenting the proposal. They used the word `tender', they used the word `proposal', they caused the creation of confusion when it ought not to have been there. Now, government must take responsibility for that. We must take responsibility for that, but that is a far cry, Mr. Speaker, from anybody doing anything deliberately to create a preferential position for somebody else. That it was not presented in a clear manner, is beyond question. It is obvious. All anybody has to do is look at the invitation for proposals and the word `tender' is used, the word `proposal' is used, and it allowed an argument, which argument the judge accepted, and which argument the government disagrees with, and as a result, has appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal.

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

MR. SIMMS: There is only one person who is irresponsible and incompetent in this matter and that is the Premier and the Minister of Justice. That is where the irresponsibility lies. How do you know the answers to all of these questions? What are you, judge and jury? You don't know the answers. That is precisely the reason why an inquiry is needed, Mr. Speaker.

Let me ask the Premier this, as Minister of Justice. Does he not think that the police should be investigating the allegations then of wrongdoing contained in the evidence taken by the Supreme Court? Does he not think that should occur?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition on a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary to the Premier as Minister of Justice. Does the Premier know if the police had in fact already begun an investigation on their own, or that one was about to get underway, or that in fact indication had been given that one was about to start? Does he know that as Minister of Justice?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: To the best of my knowledge, everything the hon. member just said is complete fabrication on his part.

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

MR. SIMMS: He can accuse me of all he wants. I didn't fabricate anything. I asked him a question. Is he too sensitive to answer the question? I want to get it clear: Is the Premier saying he is not aware that there was an investigation about to get under way, or one had started, or that there had been an indication? Can I ask him to make that clear: he is not aware of it, or that there wasn't?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that anybody even thought of it, let alone one under way. I have no knowledge anybody was even thinking of it, or that there is any basis for it, except in the warped minds that put this proposal forward.

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

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Premier, it is not a proposal yet. I am asking him a question. Did the Premier, or the former Minister of Justice, directly, or indirectly through his officials, or their officials, ask the police to put on hold any investigation into the Trans City affair until after the government's appeal?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, we have now sunk to a new low. I never imagined that a member sitting in this House would sink to such a low. I might ask him if he has requested the police not to investigate his mistreatment of his wife, and that would be equally valid. I know it has no validity, but it would be as valid as his statement. It is grossly irresponsible and offensive, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary to the Premier.

Again, I say to him, he is not the judge yet. I asked him a question. I asked him a clear question. Did he, or did his former Minister of Justice - you didn't answer the question - directly, or indirectly through officials, ask the police to put on hold any investigation into Trans City until after the government's appeal? It is a straightforward question. It is not an allegation. I am asking the question, and I am entitled to ask the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, it carries with it the implication that it was done. Of course not, no member sitting on this side of the House would ever think of stooping to such a despicable level of behaviour. That is left to the members opposite who ask the questions in this way.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the hon. the Minister of Social Services. I would like to know if the hon. minister is concerned about the situation that has been arising in the news lately about deaths occurring in boarding houses? Several people have been killed in boarding houses over the past two years, and in some cases clients of the Department of Social Services have been involved.

Recently, the government has allocated funds to upgrade rooming houses, so that they have the necessities, for people to live in. I would like to know if this measure is simply a Band-Aid to cover a problem that needs major surgery, or does the minister think that by upgrading the houses, the problem will disappear?

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

MS. YOUNG: I don't think problems would disappear overnight in any situation. I think they have to be dealt with reasonably, and it is a very complex issue. It is not something that housing can straighten out. It is not something that this department can straighten out overnight.

We have a number of people who are living all over this Province, and we cannot be responsible for every home in which these people choose to live, every building. I certainly have concerns about the matter, and our department is always concerned about matters such as this.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some of the deaths have involved ex-psychiatric patients, I say to the minister, who have been released into boarding houses as a result of programs being implemented by the Waterford Hospital, as a direct result of cutbacks at that hospital. Many of these ex-patients become part of the social services system, but are not getting the proper support that they need. I would like to know what exactly the Department of Social Services is doing to make sure that there is proper support for these people so that they are not harming themselves or others.

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

MS. YOUNG: I guess you are referring to The Right Future Program. That is a program funded by the Federal Government, and we implement the program, and certainly these people are not at risk. These people are placed out into communities, they are placed into homes, and there are people with these people almost constantly, depending upon the need for assistance. We monitor these situations, and I don't think that these are the people to which you should be referring.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think that the Department of Social Services, along with municipalities and the Department of Justice, should investigate this situation with the boarding houses. I think that this issue is a symptom of a much larger problem within social services, itself. Will the minister agree today to investigate these boarding house facilities and provide the support needed to prevent future life-threatening occurrences?

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

MS. YOUNG: Well, he's got one thing straight, Mr. Speaker, he says that it is an issue that should be dealt with through housing and certainly we can look into the concerns. We are aware of them, we are dealing with them and I would like to assure the member that that is not the first time that we became aware of all of these issues.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

This past winter has probably been the worst I have ever seen, in terms of snow-clearing, on the Burin Peninsula Highway. The only thing more scarce than cod fish in this Province has been the snow-clearing equipment on that highway, I say to the minister. For several days prior to this recent storm the Burin Peninsula Highway remained, in a lot of situations, one-way traffic. There was no effort made, or at least the snow was not moved back to provide for two-way traffic. As a result, a tunnel was created, and in this recent storm, people became stuck, snowbound and stranded on the Burin Peninsula Highway for many hours. I would like to ask the minister - I mentioned to him yesterday the situation down there and what was happening - I would like to ask him if he has made any effort, since I spoke to him yesterday, to have additional equipment go on that highway to make the road wider?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, it is a lot of exaggeration by the hon. member, saying there has not been any equipment out there on the Burin Peninsula this year. What he is saying is unfounded, there has been a lot of effort made. I make effort every single day. We have had a tremendously difficult winter. We have had a lot of snow and even though it didn't snow last week, the winds blew very hard. I have a certain amount of power in the department but I don't have the power to control nature, the wind blowing and the snow falling.

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

MR. TOBIN: The equipment that is badly needed, the most needed on the Burin Peninsula Highway is a few snowblowers. So probably the minister could substitute for one of them.

Mr. Speaker, my concern is that the minister has become totally obsessed with the Department of Fisheries as opposed to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and, as a result, has neglected what needs to be done in terms of snow-clearing on the Burin Peninsula. I have had calls from people who have been stranded on the Burin Peninsula Highway during this period, people who were there from 9:00 one morning until around 3:30 yesterday evening they finally got in to Marystown. I would like to ask the minister: Will he give assurance that the necessary snow clearing equipment - or what I am being told is snowblowers that are needed, because the snow is piled so high it has to be blown back, a grader cannot move it. Will he put the equipment that is needed on the Burin Peninsula Highway so that it is opened again and people won't have to continuously drive through a tunnel?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can assure the hon. member that I have been obsessed with the fishery since the day I was four years old and the first time I stepped aboard a fishing boat. I haven't stopped being obsessed with it since, as every Newfoundlander and Labradorian should be. There is nothing wrong with being obsessed with the importance of the fisheries.

There is no less or no more service being given on the Burin Peninsula, Conception Bay, Central Newfoundland, Western Newfoundland, Northern Newfoundland. When the snow falls, the wind blows and it is necessary to have the equipment out, the equipment is out. Is your area going to get any better treatment than anywhere else? Absolutely not. When the requirement is to have equipment out there, it will be there, and when the snow falls anywhere else or the wind blows anywhere else, the same preference and the same treatment will be given to other areas around this Province. You are not going to expect us to say that your area is getting less snow clearing or less equipment on the Burin Peninsula? We have taken equipment out, when we have had a major snow storm, from Clarenville and other depots and put it up there when it is necessary and then take it back. That was done last week, it was done when it was necessary and the road is now open.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the road was closed this weekend and it was opened yesterday morning. I spoke to someone today who said it three o'clock yesterday evening that they finally got in to Marystown after being on the road from nine o'clock the day before.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me say to the minister that I didn't say he was obsessed with Fisheries; I said: you are obsessed with running to the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, that's the difference.

Mr. Speaker, will the minister now admit that it is because of cutbacks of this government, shortage of staff and the lack of good and adequate equipment that is causing people to be stranded on the Burin Peninsula Highway for days and days this winter?

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

MR. EFFORD: The last part of his question: Absolutely not. There have been no cutbacks in the department. It is strange, Mr. Speaker, that the road was blocked Thursday, Friday, Saturday or whatever according to the representative for the area, but it is only now, today, he is asking about it? Why didn't he call me Friday, Saturday, Sunday? He never made a phone call but waits until Tuesday after the road is open and then makes an issue of it. It is kind of ridiculous I think, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) as a witness.

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

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) but I won't say what you told (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

I had a fisheries question here, Mr. Speaker, but we are preoccupied with moratoriums on snowploughs I think. I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

I wonder if the minister could inform the House as to what the status of the situation on the Grand Banks is today; I understand some Spanish vessels have come back into the area and I wonder if the minister could update the House as I am sure he has been briefed by DFO people as to the situation and could he tell us what it is, what it's like out there now, what is happening, are the Spanish fishing or what is happening?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The information I have to share with the House, Mr. Speaker, is that indeed there are some vessels that have moved in on the Nose of the Bank. The information, just before I came into the House is that there is no information to confirm whether they are fishing or not, at this time.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, a supplementary.

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

I wonder what -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I understand weather is playing a factor, I guess, in the surveillance here.

I am wondering, if the Spanish do go back fishing, I say to the minister, what is he going to recommend to his federal counterpart, what would be the provincial government's recommendation to Brian Tobin and the Prime Minister, if the Spanish put their nets in the water again?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can't share with the House at this point what the recommendation would be simply because a decision of that magnitude would require other input other than myself.

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

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

I am wondering if the minister could inform the House if he has been in touch with the federal minister on the issue and when does he expect to communicate with the federal minister again on the situation?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My officials have been in touch on an hourly basis today with DFO; I will be speaking to the federal minister after the House closes this afternoon.

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

MR. CAREEN: My question is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Some pulp and paper industry officials have expressed grave concern about the federal budget's plan to bring in a user pay system for ice-breaking services. These industry officials say that having to pay for this service themselves would be too costly and could result in a loss of that industry.

Sir, what is the provincial government going to do, to alleviate some of the fears of the pulp and paper industry?

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

MR. EFFORD: That is a pretty difficult question to answer. What is the provincial government going to do to alleviate the fears? Well, we have sat down and we have had meetings with the parties from Abitibi-Price, Kruger, we have listened to their concerns about the impact it would have on their business, their financial operation if, and that is the key word, if, user fee was brought in by Transport Canada on ice-breaker services. We are equally as concerned as a government of the impact on our Treasury, our revenues that it would have because we too, use the ice-breaker services there.

We are talking to Transport Canada; it is only in the talking stage and I don't think anybody has made anything definite if it is going to happen. We are certainly aware of it, we have had meetings with Transport Canada, we have a meeting with industry and we are as much concerned about it as is the private industry, but we have to remember that the future government's proposals of the federal proposal of the future is user-pay service. To what extent we don't know, but we know there is going to be some user-pay service brought in. But to alleviate the fears, no more than talk to them as we have already done.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you. Sir, as we well know, should passenger ferries have to pay for such ice-breaking services than not only will local passengers have to pay higher ferry rates, but rates will go up so high that any potential tourism will be lost. What is the provincial government going to do in this regard so that ferry service rates will not increase exorbitantly? Are you talking to Marine Atlantic?

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

MR. EFFORD: I'm not sure if I understand the question. What would the - if the ice-breaker services were brought in, what impact would it have on ferry rates? If any? Well, first of all, it is only on the northeast coast. There would be no impact on the South Coast where we have very little ice, if any at all, on the South Coast services. But on the northeast coast, depending on what the cost would be - there is a lot of assumption. We estimate the present cost to the federal government at around $20,000 per day. I think last winter, if we had been charged for each day they served us, it would cost somewhere around, in Fogo alone, $1 million in ice-breaker services. That is if at the rate of $20,000 per day.

I'm not going to say what impact it would, if any, because we don't know if it is going to happen, because it is an assumption right now. There has been no announcement made. We are meeting with Transport Canada on all operations of Marine Atlantic, of the Transport Canada services to Newfoundland, and the user-pay system, on the airport policy, and all marine policies. We will be negotiating and talking. When we do, and if there is any final decision made, all of the operation - not just the cost of fares will be impacted upon - but we will be putting a study into the cost of ice-breaker service and all other services that Transport Canada will be talking about in the future on user-pay systems.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Sir. They say every action has a reaction. What the federal Minister of Transport is proposing is going to have an awful effect, and a long-range, an echo throughout this Province. These talks were - user-fees are going to implicate us all. Sir, has the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, together with other affected departments, made a consolidated pitch towards the federal government to protest user-fees for ice-breaking services? Have you and your crowd stood up to fight for the people of this Province?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, if we look at a $45 billion deficit that we the taxpayers of this country have to pay, the multi-billions of dollars worth of debt that this country is carrying, that we all have a responsibility, for the sake of the fishermen, for the sake of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian's future, there is a major deficit that has got to (inaudible), has to be paid, dealt with in the future, before we can realize the benefits of it.

Yes, we are concerned about the user-pay system. To what extent it will have on all the individual users. Will it be greater than the deficit we are carrying? Absolutely not. The deficit is number one. The debt of this country has to be dealt with. We will work with the federal government. Where it needs to oppose the federal government or talk to the federal on strong terms about the impact on Newfoundland, none of us on this side will make any hesitation in making that step.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Training and concerns an apparent directive either sent by him or by the government to child care centres at the University, at the Confederation Building and Cabot College, not to take any children from outside the institution. At least there are rumours about such a directive. Can the minister confirm that such a directive was given, and by whom? Is it for the purpose of supporting private day cares outside of these institutions? What is the purpose of such a directive?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, government as an employer provides day care for children of employees. This is a good program, and I would encourage all employees in the Province to do that. However, we will find that in some of the government-sponsored day care centres children other than those of employees have been taken in. This is not the intent of the day care centres in government owned facilities therefore we have instructed some government centres not to accept children unless the parents are employees, or the parents are guardians.

Now, in the case of Cabot College it is a little different. The day care centre in Cabot College is required in teaching. We also teach the course on how to provide day care in there, so we are looking at that one in a different light. The situation with the University, Mr. Speaker, that is run by the students over there. It is a co-operative day care centre and we have not decided yet whether or not that day care centre actually comes under our rules or intention. I am not sure we have the authority. I do know we did give them a onetime grant to get set up but we are looking at the terms of reference which are part of that day care centre.

The hon member has part of his facts right. We have indeed sent a directive to day care centres that are there for employees, for their children to attend. It does not mean we are going to kick children on the street, Mr. Speaker. We did say that children who are already there in due course will not be kicked on the street but hopefully if they stop using that service they will have to be taken back in, but the intent of day care centres in government owned facilities is there for the employees, and government is providing it not as a government service but as the services of an employer, a progressive Liberal employer, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am surprised that the minister is contemplating issuing directives to Memorial University Day Care when he professes to have an arm's length relationship with the university. I would also like to ask him in connection with the Cabot College one, as the minister has suggested, this is a bit of a laboratory for instructional purposes as well and anything that would detract from its liability would threaten the course, can the minister confirm for the sake of those operating the Cabot College Child Care and Early Childhood Education Program that the minister does not intend, in fact, along with other programs that Cabot is running such as the ABE program, to in fact get those programs out of Cabot College and privatize them and send them off to private institutions? Can the minister confirm that he intends to ensure that the Early Childhood Education Program at Cabot Institute will remain intact?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, it is government's intention that day care would be provided for employees where it is practical and reasonable, and where the employees themselves are involved somewhat, almost like a co-operative thing. As I explained to the hon. member the case of Cabot College Day Care Centre is a little different and we are examining that to make sure it is not doing anything which is contrary to the guidelines set out, but we are very much aware of the fact that the day care centre in Cabot College is part of the course so we certainly will bear that in mind.

Can I assure Cabot College that that day care centre will be there forever, and that we will forever bring other people in? That will depend on the situation as it arises, Mr. Speaker. We want to make sure there are a critical mass of children there and that they can be used for that course, and that will be done. As for the intention to move ABE outside colleges, that is a area which we have not ruled out or which we have not ruled in, Mr. Speaker. There have been presentations made to me over the years suggesting that maybe we should private Level 1 of ABE and maybe we should look at that, however if that were ever to arise before ever we did it we would talk to his cousins in the unions, and deal with that issue very reasonably, as we do with all issues, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased today to table the report of the Social Services Legislation Review Committee respecting a review of Bill 41, "An Act Respecting Advance Health Care Directives And The Appointment Of Substitute Health Care Decision Makers".

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Report received and adopted.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, in accordance with section 35 of the Medical Care Insurance Act, I am pleased to table the 25th Annual Report of the Newfoundland Medical Care Commission. This report is for the year ended March 31, 1994.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means to consider the raising of Supply to be granted to Her Majesty.

Mr. Speaker, I also give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of supply to Her Majesty.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of Interim Supply to Her Majesty.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we shall give over the day to debating the Address in Reply, as I announced yesterday, but before I do I wonder if we can come to an understanding on the procedure to be followed tomorrow with respect to Private Members' Day.

Let me say, my suggestion will be that we embody this in an amendment to Standing Orders, and that has not yet been done. I will have to speak to the Clerk, and we will get a draft which can be circulated around, but let me state what I understand to be the understanding, and then if it is a consensus, which is what I understand to be the case, then perhaps Your Honour could put the appropriate motion for tomorrow only and we will deal with that.

My understanding is the agreement has four points. The first is that the right to determine which motion is to be called will rest ultimately with the Opposition and the Government sides of the House. Tomorrow will be called by the Opposition side.

Secondly, the House Leader for the parliamentary group which has the right to select the motion on any given Wednesday will advise the House on the preceding Monday of the motion, normally by means of a Notice of Motion, but by whatever is an appropriate procedure.

Thirdly, the mover will have twenty minutes to open the debate and twenty minutes to close the debate. The other members will be chosen by the Chair alternately, and no member shall speak for more than twenty minutes.

Fourthly, the motion should be debated for one day only, and at the end of that sitting put to a vote by whatever form.

That is essentially the procedure which we had in place since 1989 until last spring. If that is agreeable to my friend from St. John's East and to the House Leader for the Opposition, then perhaps Your Honour could put it as a motion for tomorrow and I will ask the Clerk to try his hand at drafting an amendment to Standing Orders to embody that procedure.

MR. SPEAKER: I just ask the Government House Leader, that would entail an amendment to the Standing Orders, I believe, would it not?

MR. ROBERTS: I would suggest we would put it, at this stage, as a motion for tomorrow, Wednesday, only, and then we will see if we can have a draft to Standing Orders back in the House before next week. I think the Clerk ought to be able to do it before then. He is very good at drafting.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I listened carefully to what the Government House Leader said, and while I can agree to what he said for tomorrow, it appears that if what he says is put into effect it means that this private member does not have any right to have a Private Members' Resolution heard, except with the consent of the Opposition. It also means that no back-bencher on the government side, no individual, can have their Private Members' Resolution heard without the government deciding whether or not a private member can have his or her Private Members' Resolution heard.

It is totally contrary to the notion of Private Members' Day. What we are really talking about here is Opposition day, or some other thing which is not essentially a Private Members' Resolution. If it is a Private Members' Resolution, and if we are going to change a rule to allow for Private Members' Resolutions, then there ought to be a procedure where all private members have access to it.

So as not to disrupt the proceedings of the House for tomorrow, and the understandings that have been reached up to now, I have no difficulty with tomorrow's resolution going under these rules because there is a problem with the way the rule is written to now, but I will object strongly, and I do object strongly, and I invite other private members who are not in on the inside with the Government House Leader or the Opposition House Leader to object as well, whether in your caucuses or publicly. That is all I have to say, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we on this side have worked out our differences. What I present is consensus for this side. Now I realize on the other side, because of the temporary fragmentation of the Opposition groupings, we have a different situation. All I will say to my hon. friend is he ought to give me some modest degree of credit, being as I'm a very modest person, as all members will acknowledge. The reason he gave is precisely the reason why I suggested that we adopt this procedure only for tomorrow. That will give us a few days to try to find a way to accommodate his position. He must remember he is but one of eighteen members opposite, and he has the rights of a private member only on that side.

The position which I'm putting, the position which has been (inaudible) - he is waving his hands and pointing to the private members on this side. The private members on this side have acknowledged the rightness of this procedure, or propriety of it, and my understanding is the private members on the other side are, with the exception of the hon. gentleman, who is legitimately raising a point which we shall try to address in an appropriate way. That is why we are only doing it one week at a time. I would remind him of the Kris Kristofferson song, One Day At A Time. Let's just take it one day at a time, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

In order to deal with the motion I wonder if we might have a copy in writing. It seems to me as well that there may be more things in the motion than necessarily need be there to deal with tomorrow's motion, but of course the hon. Government House Leader is entitled to whatever motion he wishes. I don't have a copy of Hansard, and if you have the motion in writing it might be more helpful to put it to the House.

MR. SIMMS: Question on the motion?

MR. SPEAKER: There were four elements and I counted five different aspects to it. I think number three had two in it. In order to put the motion it is going to be hard for me to recollect.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, I can give you the notes from which -

MR. SPEAKER: If I may finish.

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry.

MR. SPEAKER: I don't know if the Government House Leader's intention was to put the motion tomorrow or today, which was my other question.

MR. ROBERTS: My request, Your Honour, would be that we deal with the matter today for tomorrow -

MR. SPEAKER: Today, okay, fine.

MR. ROBERTS: - and I can pass Your Honour the note from which I read if that would help, or I can -

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - rephrase it as a motion, if you prefer.

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to know exactly what is being proposed because the hon. Member for Humber East has - or rather -

AN HON. MEMBER: Humber East?

MR. ROBERTS: No, no.

MR. SPEAKER: St. John's East has (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The Speaker may have got it right, but the hon. Member for Humber East speaking through her proxy -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I take it - in terms of the resolution for tomorrow, just so members are clear - is that the right to determine which motion is to be called will rest with the Opposition and the Government sides of the House alternately, which I think would mean that tomorrow the Opposition has the right to determine the motion. In this case the Opposition House Leader would have the right to select the motion, will advise the House each Monday of the motion to be debated, which I think our records will show was done. Thirdly, the mover shall have twenty minutes to open and to close the debate, and other speakers will be chosen alternately by the Chair, and no member will speak for more than twenty minutes, and will limit the time to one day rather than two. Those are the elements.

All in favour of the motion, `aye.'


MR. SPEAKER: I'm sorry, I should have asked if there was - before I put the motion, the hon. the Member for Pleasantville.

MR. NOEL: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I wonder if members would, before they finalize this, agree to give consideration to the possibility of reducing the allotted time for speaking to fifteen minutes, rather than twenty minutes in each slot, so that more members would have an opportunity to participate. I think that lots of time we get a lot of repetition on private members' days and....

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member is proposing an amendment that the time for speakers other than the mover be fifteen minutes. Any other speakers on the motion?

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Fine with us. Mr. Speaker, to the amendment, it is fine with me, and I understand with my colleagues here on this side of the House, the more the better.

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

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: I would like to have an opportunity to speak to the Member for St. John's East about this before we make a final decision but, as far as I am concerned, reducing the speaking time, not only for Private Members' Day, but for the Leader of the Opposition, for the Premier, for members of the House in any other debate, thirty minutes. I have been here a fairly long time, like members opposite, and to me, if you can't say what you are going to say in fifteen minutes, at the most, you have a big problem. The problem - and you know the realistic problem, and I can say this now publicly and openly in front of the world, the real problem, quite frequently what you find, is members are groping to try to fill out the thirty-minute speaking time because they feel that somehow they have to speak for thirty minutes, but they don't, and that is hard to get through everybody's head. So maybe the simple way to do it would be to have a look at speaking time for all debates, including the private members' debate that the Member for Pleasantville mentioned, let's deal with that. Sure, fifteen minutes if that is what - we don't have any problem, as far as I know. Nobody here would object too strenuously. The only problem we may have is finding enough speakers on a private member's motion.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) chicken (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: Well, as you said yesterday, you know all about that don't you?

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

MR. HARRIS: I say to the Leader of the Opposition, let's not get carried away here. There may well be times when he would like to speak for more than fifteen minutes, whether for reasons of bringing matters to the attention of government; we need to concern ourselves with closure and items like that. I think the suggestion of the Member for Pleasantville is a good one and a good example of the role of private members in this House. What I am concerned about is that we, by agreeing to a rule - now whether it was the rule in the past or not - by agreeing to a rule now that precludes private members from having a Private Members' Day without the consent of one side or the other of the House, that we are in fact limiting the opportunity of private members to have their individual resolutions heard, as opposed to some party policy strategically put forward by one side or the other. But I would support wholeheartedly the change of the amendment from twenty minutes to fifteen minutes and leave it at that for Private Members' Day. I would like to see Private Members' Day truly made Private Members' Day, as opposed to a government or Opposition day.

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question on the amendment and the resolution?

MR. TOBIN: That is just for tomorrow?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, just tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, this resolution would vary our practice and rules, just for tomorrow. If people are ready for the question we will vote on the amendment of the Member for Pleasantville that the time limit, for the other speakers, other than the mover, be fifteen minutes.

On motion, amendment to resolution, carried.

On motion, resolution as defined and amended, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, that done, perhaps we could call the Address in Reply and I assume some member from the Opposition will seek to catch Your Honour's eye.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 1, Address in Reply.

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like a few moments to reflect for awhile on the Throne Speech delivered by His Honour a few days ago. Mr. Speaker, one of the themes emphasized in the Throne Speech was fiscal responsibility on the part of the government, I guess, leading the way to the Budget which we will see in a couple of days time. The speech, as well, Mr. Speaker, reflected on the year past for the government, and it was a bit thin on plans for the year upcoming, not surprising in light of the fact that this is becoming a relatively tired government and relatively shell-shocked in regard to the number of things that it has been involved with over the last year or so.

In terms of fiscal responsibility, Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to talk it and another thing to walk it, to act on it. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, in Question Period yesterday and today - and previous to the House closing before Christmas - spent considerable time dealing with the issue of the contracts awarded for three hospitals in this Province, contracts that have been under a cloud of suspicion and controversy since the issue first came to the surface a few years ago, contracts which eventually landed the government in court in a civil suit which led to a decision against the government which they are now appealing. But the bottom line on the whole issue was that under the guise of fiscal responsibility, under the guise of providing new health care facilities in an expedient manner, and at a cost efficient way of doing it, the government ended up spending several millions of dollars over and above what they would have spent had they built these facilities through the usual public tender system.

Well, what we have here, Mr. Speaker, is a government which has paid tremendous lip service to the notion of fiscal responsibility but when it comes to lining the pockets of companies and/or individuals who have an inside track with this government, they seem to have a memory lapse as regards their ultimate fiscal targets.

Mr. Speaker, the way this hospital thing was gone about is nothing short of scandalous in terms of the politics and morality of it, and in terms of the money, there are million spent that need not be spent, that were not so much, I suppose, wasted or lost, but in one way or the other, directed into the pockets of people in additional profits with there coming to the Province no additional gain as a result.

So, Mr. Speaker, here we have, as I said, a government that on one hand complains all the time that it is fiscally strapped, has to be very cost efficient in the running of the health care system, yet can spend millions over and above what it needed to in order to build three hospital facilities in the Province, and obviously, the motivation there would appear to be political.

Along the same lines, government spent, if my memory serves me correctly from the media, some $7 million or so in the pursuit of the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, a subject which they said was in the best interest of the Province in terms of the finances of the Province, but there is a school of thought which would indicate that the best interest of the Province would not be best served by the privatization of Hydro. However, government, in spite of the lean fiscal times we are in, spent again several millions dollars in the pursuit of that initiative, only to have dropped the initiative recently and we are seeing this money basically go down the drain.

One has to wonder, as well, what the motivation was ultimately in the privatization of Hydro. The cost associated with privatization, apart from the cost associated with the sale, these costs will be passed on to the consumers of electricity in the Province, both domestic and commercial, so that your ratepayer would pay more and the only discernable group of people that I can see who would actually gain from the sale of Hydro would be individuals, some of them in this Province, but most of them elsewhere in Canada, North America and/or the world who have sufficient personal wealth to invest in shares in a regulated public utility such as Hydro, a very lucrative, very safe, blue chip investment for those who have the money to put into it, but certainly not your average Newfoundlander, and certainly not to the advantage of your average Newfoundlander or your average Newfoundland business in terms of electrical rates.

Yet, in the pursuit of that initiative, an initiative of dubious benefit, to put it mildly, to the Province, the government in these very difficult fiscal times nonetheless expended several million dollars all for nothing. We saw, as well, earlier in the new year, and late in last year, an initiative from the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in which I think, again several millions of dollars were set aside for an emergency works program. This is something that the members of the Opposition, and I am sure certain private members on the government side, were agitating for for quite some time. All during the Fall of 1994, the employment picture in the Province was nothing short of desperate. People needed work, people had a few weeks of insurable earning and they needed extra weeks in order to qualify for unemployment insurance yet government was extremely reluctant to come forward with a program.

Again, in the name of fiscal responsibility, money couldn't be found for ordinary people, ordinary, working people, ordinary, seasonally employed people to get them through another winter. Somehow, as I said, millions could be found for Liberal contractors in the hospital business and millions could be found in the pursuit of a dubious privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, yet it was only with the greatest reluctance that millions were found for a works program - a few millions, far less than were actually needed, and when we got the gory details on the program, Mr. Speaker, it became obvious that the qualifying criteria, as regards individuals wanting to get on these programs, were extremely strict, and we have yet to find out the real truth of just how much money has been spent or will be spent on this emergency works program.

The minister, I think, refers to $5 million or so having been allocated. The information I get from my own district from the councils concerned and the development association is that fully 50 per cent of the job slots provided to my district, a rural district, with an absolutely desperate unemployment problem, fully 50 per cent of these job slots have been left unfilled because individuals cannot be found who will actually fit the program.

So we have, you know, in the case of hospitals and Hydro, many millions of dollars being spent to pursue certain political goals of this particular government and yet, a much more modest amount put forward for an emergency works program to help ordinary people in the Province, a program with such restrictive criteria that even a far more modest amount will eventually probably be drawn down.

The truth of that particular program is yet to come out, Mr. Speaker, and the minister was far from forthcoming under questioning yesterday in Question Period as to the actual amounts of money that will be spent as compared with the amounts of money that have been touted.

Mr. Speaker, speaking of, I guess, the political priorities of this Administration, I was somewhat amused this morning to listen to the regular morning Open Line show and find my counterpart, the person for whom I am a critic, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology calling in to Bill Rowe from Japan. Again, another jaunt - as he was so quick to point out, his trip wasn't - another jaunt to the Orient in order to promote the government's new EDGE legislation.

It would seem that if you look at the news reports of information provided to the press on the travels of various ministers, that the pot appears to be bottomless when it comes to the pursuit of these particular initiatives. When one hears the government speak of its EDGE initiative, one would think that dozens if not hundreds of companies have been started up in the Province and that hundreds if not thousands of people have been employed.

MR. SIMMS: Tens - tens of tens.

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, as the Leader of the Opposition says, we are not into dozens and we are not - well, we are into tens I suppose, tens of people may be employed and we have ones of companies, Mr. Speaker, we have one company and we have one company and we have one more and one more and waiting, so we have tens of companies - not even tens applying, Mr. Speaker, ones, I suppose, have been approved so far.

This is far short, Mr. Speaker, of the Smallwoodian sort of rhetoric we could get into about not one, not ten and so on. We are barely into the teens if we stretch it with regard to the EDGE legislation, but when it comes to the cost of travel of Ministers of the Crown, jaunting around the globe to support this particular initiative, we are into the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in travel expenses.

One also has to wonder, speaking of the political initiatives of this Administration, of course, if Minister Furey, calling in from Tokyo this morning on the Open Line wasn't ensuring that he kept his name in the news, with Minister Grimes and Minister Efford and so on, still playing on the local scene in terms of the politics of the leadership convention - the upcoming leadership convention, I should say, of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. So one has to wonder if Minister Furey was calling in on the Open Line to actually do a report on his EDGE jaunt, or if it was to keep his name in the news with Minister Efford and Minister Grimes being in the news on the local scene, not wishing to lose any steam in the Liberal leadership race which will soon be officially ongoing, which has been really ongoing for quite some time.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the matters that I have pointed out here, the hospital scandal, the Hydro faux pas, the phantom make-work program, the EDGE travel program - these are all very expensive multi-million dollar initiatives on the part of this government in very difficult times. We have a government which has been stating it is broke and has to watch its pennies closely, yet on initiatives that for various reasons, the least of which are the well-being of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, it appears to have a bottomless pit.

One other expensive initiative that the government has embarked on that I would make a comment on is regarding the electoral boundaries issue. The government set up a commission after the last election to review electoral boundaries, giving it a mandate to significantly reduce the number of seats in this Legislature. The committee went around the Province, at considerable expense, and came back with a recommendation for a forty seat Legislature. The Liberal Party didn't like that because, obviously, a number of their members would get caught in the squeeze play in such a scenario, so the commission was told to pack its bags and hit the road again. They came back with a recommendation for a forty-four seat Legislature, again at a cost of many, many thousands of dollars, and again the Liberal Party, having too many members, from its point of view, caught in the squeeze play, told the commission to unpack its bags and go home.

Just before Christmas we were treated to a presentation from an employee of government on a proposal for a forty-eight seat Legislature, which I can only assume may be the basis of an initiative regarding electoral boundaries that was mentioned in the Throne Speech a few days ago.

In my particular situation, the district that would come out of such an initiative is indeed somewhat strange, at least geographically. The north part of Green Bay would be put into Baie Verte district, and Green Bay, having been sort of eaten away on one side by Baie Verte and caught in a squeeze by Exploits district on the other side, would essentially be squeezed inland, would pick up Badger and Buchans, Millertown, Buchans Junction, and a chunk of the Town of Grand Falls - Windsor, a rather strange conglomeration of communities with no real community of interest, and I guess I will find out this summer, if this government pushes through with that initiative, what the people in Central Newfoundland, in the new district of Green Bay - Buchans, will think of this as I go door-to-door and ask for their opinions on this brainchild of this particular Liberal Government - again, a brainchild that essentially has come out of the Cabinet and/or the caucus room after several hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent going through the charade of an electoral boundaries commission touring the Province seeking public input. But the public gave input that did not suit either the Liberal caucus or the Liberal Cabinet, and as a result, their work has been dismissed after many hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent. And we presume that we will get a new set of boundaries that is in keeping with the wishes of the Liberal caucus and Cabinet. As I said, it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome of that will be, but again, with a tremendous amount of public funds being spent, and ultimately, a political decision being taken.

Mr. Speaker, I pointed out just a few items here, but all of them, big expenditure items in tough, financial times, a government which out of one side of its mouth preaches fiscal responsibility, and on the other side of its mouth preaches a degree of political fiscal wantonness, I suppose. But I think the people can see what is going on. Certainly, those of us in Opposition will certainly continue to help the people see what is going on, and I think, ultimately, the people will speak with regard to the performance of this government.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased to be able to say a few words on the Throne Speech on behalf of the people I represent. When I was listening to the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance for Canada, and he was speaking about bankers and Standard and Poor's and Moody's and all these people, it came to my mind: Just who owns Canada, anyway? Who owns Canada?

The other question comes up - and then when we heard the Throne Speech the other day, the same thought was going through my mind. We talked about the Board of Trade, the international business community. The thought came to my mind: Boys, let's not digress too much. For whom are we governing? Whose interest are we representing? I know who I represent. I'm trying my best to represent the people of St. John's Centre. I'm not representing Europe, I'm representing the people of St. John's Centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Some part of the time, a part-time member. We have to think about the things in the past a little bit, we have to be concerned about the future, but mostly, I'm concerned about the present. One of the points that impressed me very much in the Throne Speech were the remarks that I believe were inserted by the Lieutenant-Governor, himself - there are other good points, but I just want to highlight these for a moment - when he said that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, and the war in Europe and the war in Asia, the 200th Anniversary of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, where we take pride, he said, " remembering their... contribution to the cause of freedom and peace."

Thinking back over those years I remember very well - some members don't remember it, but I do - the conclusion of that war, and the remarks of Franklin Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt and others were talking about the four freedoms: the freedom from fear, the freedom from want, the freedom of speech, and I believe the fourth one was freedom of religion.

The one I want to talk about mostly now is freedom from want - because everybody in St. John's Centre is not free from want. I believe that there is a great number of people in this Province who are not free from want. We have not achieved that freedom as yet in this Province and in this country. And I am afraid, listening to what is happening, that things may deteriorate, if we are not careful to remember who we represent and who owns Canada and who owns Newfoundland.

Let's look at food. There is a number of things that people need in order to live. You need a bit of food, you need a bit of clothing, you need a half-decent place to live in, you need it warm sometimes, you need a bit of recreation, and you need to have a good feeling about yourself. Let's take some of these things in turn. Let's take food. I believe it is a darned disgrace in this Province for people to have to go to food banks. There is no need of people having to go to food banks! There should be no need. We should have enough, enough money in the kitty, we should spread the money around a bit, so that people don't have to beg at food banks once every three months. You can go to a food bank once every three months, and if you are short in between, God help you. You have to try to do your best, or do without, or do something, and that is not appropriate. That is not appropriate in this society where thousands of Newfoundlanders and Canadians gave their lives to fight to preserve a freedom from want. That is not appropriate.

Talk about a bit of clothing. How many youngsters have I seen this winter trying to go to school with holes in their sneakers in the snow? Youngsters who have nothing really to put on, wearing a light sweater to school. It is enough to make you cry, and it is happening in this city, it is happening in my district. I'm angry! I'm never so angry! That people can sit and say: We are doing alright. We are not doing alright. Youngsters should be clothed, they must be clothed.

Let's talk about the Department of Social Services. I don't want to be knocking the government, but I will represent my district. The Department of Social Services - three ministers that I know, not in a row. I can't remember what the hon. Member for Port de Grave said, but I do remember his successor, Mr. Gullage, and I remember the hon. Member for Bonavista North when he was minister, and the present minister. Three times they met the press or made an announcement about the people who were cheating on welfare. The impression is out there that the Department of Social Services is - one of the big things they have on their mind is getting rid of the welfare cheats.

That is not the purpose of the Department of Social Services. The Department of Social Services is to look after the people who want, who need things. I agree that the people should not be cheating, but when I see people harassed - like the other day. A seventy-five years old woman phoned me up. She said: I got a bill from Social Services for $174.15 that they said I owed them from 1983. I said: Maybe you do owe it. She said: No, before I got my old age pension I went and I said, Are we square now? Yes, you are square. But they have a bunch of old balances over there on a sheet that nobody knows about and they are sending out those letters hopefully, I suppose, to snare a few old people into sending in a few bucks if they can.

That is just one example. There are many other examples that I can give you on the same issue. That has to stop. I believe that people should pay their debts, but you have to be careful about harassing people about that. That is not the individuals. I don't blame the individuals who work in the Department of Social Services, because most of the people who work in the Department of Social Services, from my point of view, are polite, return calls, and all that stuff, certainly to me, and probably to - but not always - to their constituents, to their people, clients, and I know they are busy. It is the policy, the bullying policy. It is the policy that is wrong, not the individuals who work in the department.

The levels of assistance are too low. We haven't raised the levels of social assistance now for a couple of years. We did put in a heating allowance, and God bless, that was great for the winter. We did a few other things, like helping out the single parents, I remember that one. These are good things that have been done. But it is still inadequate. It is inadequate to sustain a decent life, it really is, even a half-decent life. People who get their cheques lost in the mail - very often that happens - have to wait sometimes, have to wait till the end of the month. How are they going to live in the meantime? Serious questions come up.

The hon. member over there raised today about mental patients, Bonavista South. St. John's is an area where a lot of people come from all over the Province, some from within the city, who have been discharged from the Waterford, or who need to see psychiatrists, and most of the psychiatrists are in the city. Some have serious problems. Some are trying to live outside the Waterford, getting checked with their psychiatrist and taking pills and so on, and trying to maintain a living. It is pretty rough for many of the people that I know. You visit them. They are cut off from their family, because very often their families are not the same. Their children no longer live with them, they are as lonely as the dickens, and they have very few contacts. It is a terrible life, and I believe that there is something that has to be done there too.

Anyway, another thing about it is earned income. People who are on social assistance are allowed to earn a few bucks. You can't earn an awful lot. If you are a single unemployed male you can earn up to 50 per cent of eighty dollars. You can earn forty bucks and still maintain your social assistance. The maximum that can be is $115 for a family that is not affected by unemployment insurance. What I am trying to say is that I believe that the time has pretty well come now for us to - and I am very glad that this government is pursuing with Ottawa the whole question of a guaranteed minimum wage and along the lines that the recovery commission proposed so that people could earn money and gradually withdraw from social services. There is a tremendous move I believe and it is high time for us to get into that mode. We should be in it as quickly as we can so that people can earn their way out of social assistance. Now a person is afraid to take a job, afraid they might get cut off or earn too much and if they are cut off that is very bad.

I ran against a very serious problem the other day. This person was sponsored by the Department of Social Services through university - alright, for a special reason - $20,000 or $30,000 spent on this person by the government. Then the person was ready then to get a job, two things happened; first, he needed some clothing. If you want to get a job as a teacher - you better be dressed somehow. You can't just dress anyhow, not until after you get the job anyway but certainly while you are looking for the job you have to be dressed. Not only that, if you need to have your teeth replaced because you have a gum disease, you should be able to get your teeth out and new teeth put in, but you can't.

So after spending $30,000 on a person, the person is stranded, no clothes. It is kind of foolish but that is the way she goes. These are strange, strange things. I believe that while we are waiting for the job situation to improve in this Province, we should - to get people working on welfare projects and make work projects as much as possible because I tell you, it is really serious when a person has nothing to do except mope around and fight and stay around the house and not have anything to do. Even though it may not be that economically productive, it may be partially economically productive and certainly the feeling that the person has by going to work and on a project, it is a tremendous thing. It is not as good as having a full time job but it is certainly better than sticking around the house and it does something for a persons - and it does not cost us very much. I believe we should move into these projects and I am looking forward to the Budget on Thursday and I am sure there will be money for the Department of Social Services to sponsor many more projects.

I want to say a word about the minimum wage. I was disappointed that the Throne Speech did not contain some increase in the minimum wage. We did increase the minimum wage - I think it was four years ago. It was three or four years ago, it went $4.25 to $4.75 and that was a good thing to do but $4.75 is not very much money. Even if a person works full time at minimum wage it is still not very much money. It is not enough to sustain a person unless you are part of a larger family, if you are one person and someone else is earning, it is not so bad but in this particular city where we live, with all the fast food joints paying the minimum wage or close to it, with security forces paying minimum wage or almost close to it, where retail establishments pay minimum wage, where private health care workers are paid the minimum wage in many cases, where cleaners are paid the minimum wage and not only that but where the tourist industry is largely paying the minimum wage.

It is good to have a tourist industry and to keep moving it but basically we are moving into a minimum wage industry. It is basically a minimum wage industry unlike the paper companies and other unionized entities - so we have to be fairly careful of what we are doing and I believe that the only protection that people have from the exploitation that is going on in this city, the exploitation of human beings, in many cases, is to increase the minimum wage while we are waiting at least for the guaranteed annual wage to come in.

I want to say a few words - we talked about food, clothing - now I want to say a few words about housing. I may have more to say later on in this House about housing. Some good things happen in housing, not very large things but some little things. Livingstone Street, part of it had some renovations done to the doorsteps this year and to the kitchens inside, beautiful jobs, nice cedar steps and beautiful kitchens inside; good, very pleased to have it.

We are glad too, that there is going to be some work on the boarding houses but let's not overemphasize what is happening here. Basically what has happened is that between CMHC and Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, they found $250,000 to spend on upgrading boarding houses and you know, that is a 75\25 split and you say: who is the 75 and who is the 25?. Our share is 25; 25 per cent of $250,000. We put $62,500 into upgrading boarding houses but even so, the person who gets the money to upgrade the boarding house at the rate of $12,000 per bed, is going to have to charge 60 per cent of the median amount that everybody else charges, so it's a very little amount but it is something.

I did read in Throne Speech though or, was it on the radio, where, the Minister of Housing was - if you wanted to get a condominium on Marble Mountain, you had to apply to the hon. Art Reid. I don't know if you have seen that ad, we have all seen it haven't we, so I am looking forward, I don't know - I was going to ask some of my people who are not properly housed in St. John's, whether they could get a condominium in Marble Mountain, because sure as hell they are not going to get a unit in St. John's, because there are not sufficient units in St. John's to accommodate the people who need it.

I would like to see the capital budget having at least $10 million a year for housing renovations in this city. Look at the jobs it would provide: carpenter jobs, labourer jobs, plasterers, painters, electricians, plumbers, tremendous work project; it would certainly provide more work than the Outer Ring Road. The Outer Ring Road is basically using equipment and giving money to the banks. I would like to see that deal with the federal government renegotiated so that the $80 million we are going to spend on that road will stop where it is now, and take the money and put it down in my district over the next seven years, $10 million a year so that people will have work, good work and other districts too, whatever and we will have people who are properly housed in this Province.

You can walk down in many parts of this city and if you are not careful you will put your foot down through the floor and that is true, or you can pick the bugs off the wall in the summer time and the mites or the rats. I don't want to overemphasize this but it is easy to see. We need to replace the housing situation in this city which is deteriorating, particularly in the older parts of the city. There are some decent houses, really good family houses, people have been living in them from generation to generation, they maintain them but it is becoming increasingly difficult.

I wouldn't mind if we cancelled the Caboto Building and took the $40 million if we could renegotiate it from the federal government and put $10 million a year of that in building houses for people. Surely our primary interest is in making sure that our citizens are fed, clothed and properly housed, that's the basis of human life and there are hundreds of people in this city who are not adequately housed, fed and clothed, and I am tired of the slum landlords. I don't know who they are. I see where the other day the City Council of St. John's wrote our government and asked that there be a minimum fine of $100.

If a landlord breaks the city's act with respect to the way things are, the fine is $100. Well, it is better not to do it and pay your $100 fine than to spend a few thousand dollars fixing up electricity or whatever, so the city wrote the department and said: please change the City of St. John's Act and put the maximum fine from $100 up to $5,000 because even the courts were writing the city and saying: don't send us any more people because you are just wasting everyone's time, and of course, the reply came back to the city from our Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs signed by the minister saying: I wish to advise that government has considered the proposal and decided not to approve the amendment at this time with a request that my department consider any such change in the context of an overall review of legislation governing municipalities in the Province.

I was looking forward in the Throne Speech to seeing that review, that promised the changing of that. It is not there, but I am sure it is going to happen. I am sure the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs will introduce a bill here in the House of Assembly this Spring, to change it for all municipalities, so that the fine with respect to substandard housing, people who are charged and brought to court for not looking at the thing, will be charged not $100 but whatever the judge feels is appropriate up to $5,000 or $3,000 or whatever - certainly an amount that is greater than that.

I ask the question: Who are those slum landlords? Who are we protecting? I remember that question was asked in the House here many years ago. Somebody got a smack in the mouth out of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: Well, you never know. I am almost threatening to have a look at who owns those houses. I ask, whenever I go around, "Who owns this House?" I seem to get the same answer all the time - not always - surprising, but what we really need, I believe, is a comprehensive housing policy in the Province.

Now, I know we have the Strategic Social Plan coming, because it is mentioned in the Throne Speech, and I know that work has been ongoing for some time, to develop a comprehensive social plan, but in the interim, I believe we should be spending money on housing.

Now, let's look at the cold, the heat. A person not only needs a place to live in, but also needs to be somewhat warm some of the time. I tell you, I have been in some houses this year, and last year, and the year before, where it is so cold that I keep thinking of Robert Service's poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee, in the Yukon. I don't know if you remember that. I tell you, it's colder in some houses in St. John's than it was in the Yukon when Robert Service wrote that poem, and you have youngsters there who are very cold. I don't want to exaggerate, to go to extremes on this, but what I am saying is true, and it is not right. It is not decent, not Christian; it is not appropriate in the society in which we live. Youngsters shouldn't have to be cold.

While I'm at it, I want to raise a question about a disaster that almost happened to us this year, and that is that serious outage we had. For three or four days some people were out, and there could have been deaths galore during that. I remember back to another time where we had outages. I think it was in the year 1956 or so - I remember where I was teaching, 1956 or something like that - and we had outages, too, but there has been no progress in forty years.

I would like for the Minister of Natural Resources, if he would, to look at this problem, because these companies are profitable. Newfoundland Light and Power is one of the most prosperous utilities in Canada, so much so that Fortis is just about buying out the rest of Canada, and it is all from money that they scraped from the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is also another company. I believe we should look at that to see if our lines are strong enough, to see if they have enough underground, to see if their poles are upright. I believe there should be an investigation by this government, a look at that whole thing, so that people will not freeze, and they can depend on it; take old people, frightened to death. It's all right for some people to say, "Well, we barbecue outside." There's nothing wrong with that, but lots of people don't have their barbecues outside and so on. They can't accommodate; they are dependent on electricity.

The other policy of Newfoundland Light and Power, of chopping people off. A fellow phoned me the other day, got a cutoff and the next day she storms. They are so quick to pull the plug.

MR. NOEL: The Finance Minister had a good idea the other day on what to do with them.

DR. KITCHEN: What was that?

MR. NOEL: Nationalize them.

DR. KITCHEN: Well, you see, Hydro is almost as bad, because some of the outages were due to them, too. I don't mean to put Newfoundland Hydro on a different plane there.

MR. NOEL: Yes, but Hydro doesn't make as much profit.

DR. KITCHEN: That is true, but it doesn't matter, because Hydro is not owned by us either. Who owns Hydro?


DR. KITCHEN: No, we don't own it. It is owned by the bond companies, for gosh sakes! It is owned by the bond companies, the same crowd who own the fishing fleets. It is the bond companies.

Oh, you say, the fishing boats are on loan to the Fisheries Loan Board, but the money for the Fisheries Loan Board is borrowed by the hon. minister here from the international financiers, so who owns the fishing boats? We don't. Who owns Hydro? We don't, for gosh sakes.

MR. NOEL: Well, how could we sell it if we didn't own it?

DR. KITCHEN: Well, we could sell our little interest in it, the little bit that we did own.

The other thing I want to talk about is health. I want to have a few words about health, and the thing I want to focus on is the cost of prescription drugs. In this Province, in this nation, in Canada, if you get sick, you see a doctor, and you don't pay the bill directly. You go to hospital, and you don't pay the bill, but if the doctor happens to prescribe some medicine that you desperately need, then you have to pay up yourself. It is great for us here in the House of Assembly because we are covered under the government health plan, we pay 20 per cent - I think it is 20 per cent. If you are working for a large company, if you are teaching in a school, if you are a senior citizen you pay the prescription costs because the cost of the medicine is paid by the government, providing you are on the GIS. If you are not on the GIS, of course, you pay the whole cost. If you are on social services most of your drugs are covered but not all, but the problem occurs when someone is hit by a horrendous cost of drugs.

I have had constituents who have come to me saying, `Look, my drugs cost $5,000, $4,000,' and I said, `Go to Social Services and get a drug card.' Yes, they can go, but their income has to be reduced right down to the level of social services and the people are gutted. All their savings can be gutted very quickly by something that could happen to any one person. It happens very quickly. Some people are caught in that even when they only pay the 20 per cent they can be devastated. I might say, when I had that portfolio of health, I did ask the public service, pretty well the first day I got there, if they would devise some sort of a plan to deal with those horrendous costs, those extraordinary costs, not the day-to-day costs, but the horrendous cost to people, but I left without having it done.

I throw the touch to the new Minister of Health to see if he will bring in a program. I raised this at a national meeting of Health ministers. The first time I raised this issue of drug costs not being covered under the Canada Health Act, nobody listened. I just made my speech and that was the end of it. I raised it at the next meeting and I had two other provinces supporting it, so if we continue to raise it, I am sure this weakness in the Canada Medicare system can be overcome, particularly for high-cost drugs. I don't know what we can do for everyday costs but certainly, when a person gets stuck with a very high drug bill, they should be looked after.

In the Throne Speech there is a connection between education and competition, education so that we can compete in the world of technology. That is fine, but I want to raise a caution that education is a lot broader than getting a job. I am scared of the tremendous emphasis that is being placed on science and mathematics, which does not always lead to a job, at the expense of other things, like history. Hardly anyone takes history anymore, the collective wisdom about the past. Literature is not stressed as much as it was. The social sciences and humanities are not dealt with in schools as much as they were four or five years ago. That bothers me, because student are not being able to come to grips with some of the problems that other people face and are becoming, I believe, very self-centred in their math, physics, and science. I don't want to downplay math, physics, and science but we have to push the other subjects, as well.

In that case I want to pay special tribute, I think, to the people, Phil Warren, Dennis Browne, and others, Opposition members and the members of caucus, who were able to bring about, I believe, a reconciliation between the two positions of churches and government on this. I look forward very much to the day when we can resolve this situation to the satisfaction of all concerned, because I believe it can be resolved, and I am sure the people of St. John's Centre will be very much appreciative when that day comes.

There is one more point I would like to raise and then I will leave it. It has to do with the Auditor General's Report. I was very concerned to see the fact that Memorial University apparently does not want to allow itself to be audited, and I think they must be. I am hearing some very strange reports about some of the expenditures at Memorial University, and I believe they should.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: I know what academic freedom is. Academic freedom is the right of the professor to profess in the area of his competence. Academic freedom is not the right of the administrators of the University to spend money as they wish. That is the prerogative of the Crown.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

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

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

First of all, I want to commend the Member for St. John's Centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: Great Liberal speech.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It was a good speech, one of the better speeches, I must say, that I've heard since I've been here, which is more years than I care to mention now. It was a good speech. The man was very sincere on what he spoke about - very concerned, sincere about standing up for the people he represents in St. John's Centre.

If you are going to survive in politics today, with the way of the electorate - the volatility of the electorate, the scrutiny of the electorate, the mistrust of the electorate, then more and more of us in this House today, I say, had better take a page from the hon. member's notebook, or you won't be back after the next election. Because people more and more today want members to stand up for their interests, for their concerns. I say to the Member for Eagle River, not to stand up for what the Premier wants you to stand up for - to stand up for the people who sent you here, as the Member for St. John's Centre is doing.

`Sullivan' had a big turn-out in L'anse au Loup last night.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would say, as many as the Member for Eagle River attracted in Placentia. Once we heard that the Member for Eagle River was dispatched to Placentia in the by-election, we cut the spending, sent the poll captains home, and said: It is in the bag. As soon as we heard he was dispatched to Placentia, I say to the Member for Eagle River. So he should settle back now.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where is the defeated candidate now?

MR. EFFORD: Where she should be.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, where she should be, says the patronage Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. But we will deal with him.

I want to commend the member seriously on a very good speech. I'm sorry I missed it, but I had to go outside to the scrum there because the press was interested in knowing who was the real Minister of Fisheries for the Province. They wanted me to let them know who I felt was the real Minister of Fisheries for the Province. `Well,' I said, `it is kind of hard to decide. Between the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the Member for Eagle River, the Member for Twillingate, the Member for Fogo, it is kind of hard to toss the coin - and the person who was sworn into the position a few months ago.'

MR. TOBIN: We know he got the trip and we know who got slapped on the hands over it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We do, we know who got cracked on the knuckles for going up to the White Hills with a bull-horn, but no more. We won't see it again, Sir - not in our lifetime, will we see that minister up with a bull-horn on the White Hills. Never again will the man who aspires to be Minister of Fisheries be up in the White Hills, leading a demonstration. Never again will we see it.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) drive them out of the boardroom.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, had to send them out - after inviting a crowd to the boardroom, having to kick them out, drive them out, because the poor minister of fisheries got so upset.

Anyway, having said that, I say to the Member for St. John's Centre that I reside in his district, and he said: `Sometimes'. Yes, it is sometimes. I do have a place there. I do, by the way, I say to you quite sincerely, have your sticker on my fridge with your phone number on it.

DR. KITCHEN: In case you get in trouble.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: That's right, in case I need some help. But it is there, and I say that very sincerely. It is on my fridge. It tells me that at least the member communicates with his constituents and so on. We do get things from him into the place where we live there. Every now and then we will get something from him, a Christmas card, a little sticker, or something.

AN HON. MEMBER: I get them, too, and I live in St. John's East.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh no, I get them in St. John's Centre.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: But, Mr. Speaker - yes, (inaudible), the Member for Burin - Placentia West would know, because his parents live there, as well, very close to me. I can't go as far now as to say they support the hon. member.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) supported him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Used to support him. Very good.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a few comments on the Address in Reply, which is what we are supposed to be debating today, the Throne Speech. The member went through a whole range of issues that he felt needs addressing, and I must say, where need be, he was critical of the government, which is fair. Where it needed to be applauded, we applauded it. There are a couple of notes I made as I listened to the Throne Speech the other day, given by His Honour, a few notes I scratched on a few things that made some sense and a few things that didn't but in the Throne Speech there was reference to new focus for provincial parks. New focus for provincial parks I say to the Minister of Tourism and Culture, to close down twenty-nine. Shut down twenty-nine parks, new focus, there is no doubt it is a new focus, shut them down but of course, we shouldn't be surprised with the shut-down focus of this government.

They talked about industrial growth and the Leader of the Opposition said he figured the only industry that is growing in the Province outside of the one that the Member for Burin - Placentia West and I tout is the biggest growing industry in the Province, the only other industry I would think that experienced any growth as the Leader of the Opposition said was the travel industry, because of the expenditures of the Premier and some of his ministers who travel within the country and outside of the country. One member alluded today to the voice reports from the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology which I happened to listen to at one o'clock on one of the radio stations, Voicer from Asia, Tokyo, I believe it said -

AN HON. MEMBER: Tokyo Rose.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Down there somewhere.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Charles.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Charles Furey, one Charles Furey, they wondered who he was?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, gave a report from Tokyo about the overwhelming support for Newfoundland and Canada's position on foreign overfishing, in the board room, the corporate community was alive with support over there for the efforts of the Canadian government and the stand of Newfoundlanders, he had to call from Asia to let us know that, of this overwhelming support. I was very, very impressed I must say about that. It was nice of the minister to call us from Tokyo. Nice of him, I will send and let him know -

MR. EFFORD: At least (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, you are probably right. I don't know if he did or not. All I know he called me once, when he was somewhere when the '89 Leadership was called, I say to the minister, that is all I know. The only call I ever had from that minister when he was outside the Province was when the Leadership was announced and he called me to let me know that he was seriously considering running. Now why he did that, I don't know.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) encouraged them to run?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, no. He called me to inform me that he was - I guess he was more or less asking to keep your options open you know. I would say he was about three months too late.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now what are you saying about Mr. Neary's advice to you on the leadership?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: What was that?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) clean up the Leadership's campaign (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I agree with that all the way. For once in my life I have to agree with him. Oh no, I agree with him every time he attacks the Premier and the government.

In the Throne Speech as well, Mr. Speaker, there was reference made that the Strategic Social Plan was delayed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Delayed?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Delayed, slowed down, delayed, didn't move ahead as quickly as possible, Strategic Social Plan. Talked about the great impact though of the Strategic Economic Plan, which we all know was such a success that every where I go now in the district, people are thanking the government for the Strategic Economic Plan. They are all working, small businesses are booming, everyone working thanks to Premier Wells and the government's Strategic Economic Plan. They thank me every weekend. They thank me and they ask me to thank the government, thank you.

MR. DUMARESQUE: They said, when are you going to get out, you are too old.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They don't want me to get out, Danny, I say to you. They don't want me to get out; they sent the Premier's right arm down to run against me last time, they still told me they don't want me to get out. Every time they turn on the cameras now, you see the two of them still, they still wanted me to stay.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, that is not what I am hearing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They still wanted me to stay, I say to the Member for Eagle River.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, that's another story, I say to the Government House Leader. That's a bridge we will cross later on, next month or the week thereafter.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never mind, we will see, we will see. But, Mr. Speaker, delay the Strategic Social Plan. I can understand why the Minister of Finance would leave, but of course, everything this government has tried to implement for the last twelve to eighteen months has been delayed because the Premier has been so preoccupied with trying to keep his own crowd down over there. He hasn't had time to govern. They haven't had time to govern the Province. They've been so preoccupied with their own internal problems, the caucus revolts and squabbles and riots.

As a matter of fact I had a gentleman call me this morning talking about foreign overfishing and about some comments that some person had made on the Open Line show this morning. Mr. Malone. This gentleman had called because I had heard it and he wondered, wanted to talk to me about it, about the comments that Mr. Malone had talked about, had said about deep-sea fishing and all this stuff. At the same time he said: You know, the record of this government in the last two years has been so abysmal. The gentleman, I don't know his politics, and I'm not interested in knowing his politics, but he made that comment which -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) his name?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is a gentleman who you would be impressed with, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. You would be impressed with him and his record, and his involvement in this Province. You would be impressed with him. He did offer that comment, about this government and its record, particularly the last two years. You've done nothing. The Premier and his ministers, he talked about what a failure you've been. I'm not surprised that the Strategic Social Plan has been delayed, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech makes reference to the problems with the pension plans.

MR. TOBIN: Better than Tom Hickman.

AN HON. MEMBER: We will see.

MR. TOBIN: Trans City.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: There is no one going to jail on our side.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I wish, could we have a couple of members put in jail for at least the next fifteen minutes. Or get the muzzle. Could we get a muzzle for a couple of members for the next fifteen minutes?

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You are not able to say anything here. There are too many other people saying things, I say to the Member for Pleasantville. The Member for Eagle River over there is a motor mouth, the Premier's motor mouth, should be quiet. He shouldn't be talking about bagmen, I say to any of them over there, or any other whatever you call those contributors to parties. If I had the record that this government has of patronizing those who contribute to us I wouldn't bring it up. I would be ashamed to mention it. Particularly now with the scandal in front of the people of this Province, day after day, of the hospital contracts, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Scandal in front of the people of this Province. They want answers, by the way. They are not going to be content until they get answers.

With the pension plan problems, Mr. Speaker, I commend the government for the initiatives they are taking with the pension plans. The unfunded liabilities have to be dealt with. Some people are not going to like what is probably going to have to happen, including members on both sides, but it is going to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Gear replacement program.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I'm wondering if we could get some kind of a mouth replacement program to take care of the Member for Eagle River. Not a gear replacement program. I hear, by the way, that he is in bad need of that too, but a mouth replacement program.

The unfunded liability of the pension plans needs to be addressed. Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the situation with turbot on the Grand Banks. There is reference to that as well in the Throne Speech.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I say to the Member for Eagle River. If I only knew half as much as he knows about the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. My only desire in life is to know half as much as the Member for Eagle River knows about the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and about the fishery of this... If only I could live long enough, if only I can be exposed to the fishery enough to know half as much as the Member for Eagle River knows about the fishing industry in this Province, how pleased I would be. I think I would be content to go meet my maker. I might be content to go meet my maker, I would be so proud and satisfied, I say to the Member for Eagle River. I would be so pleased if only I knew half -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, we have a very serious situation outside the 200-mile limit. The Spaniards are out there again today, I say to the Member for Eagle River, who was so proud to be a Canadian yesterday, and so proud to be a Liberal. We will see in a week or two weeks how proud you are going to be to be a Liberal, I say to the Member for Eagle River, once this all comes down the pipe. Do your song and dance in a month's time. Do your song and dance then when you see what is about to unfold.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) a year ago, we wouldn't be doing anything today.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You wait until you find out what is happening, I say to the Member for Eagle River, before you shoot your mouth off too much. You wait until you find out what is really happening before you dance too much in support of your buddy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I support what he has done. I support the strong action. I hope he continues it, because if they are outside there today they should be brought in again, and if we don't bring them in then we have lost the battle, I say to the Member for Eagle River. If we don't get them out of there, we have lost the fight.

Like someone said today, and I said yesterday, by the way, it was a bitter pill to swallow to know that Canadian fishermen were not going to catch the amount of turbot that we were allocated because the foreigners had overfished.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I want to repeat it, Mr. Speaker, it was a very bitter pill to swallow that Canadian fishermen were not going to catch all of our turbot quota because the foreigners had overfished, but we would swallow that bitter pill in the name of conservation because we want to keep the turbot stocks at a sustainable level. We will accept that, as bitter as it is, but it is like one of my colleagues said this morning, if someone is going to take the loaf of bread off my table and give it to someone else, I am not going to be too happy about it. That is what is happening, you know. Either way you want to slice it up, that is what is what we are doing here. We are taking it away from our own people; we are not allowing them to catch it because someone else has violated the NAFO quotas. That is what we are doing.

Like I said, we are willing to accept it in the name of conservation so that stock is maintained at a sustainable level, but if they are out there today, and have their nets in the water again, should we accept that? How interested are they in a negotiated solution to this problem - and we know their boats are out there because they are monitoring that - how sincere are they to finding a negotiated solution and resolution to the problem if they are out there today at that again? Do they think by sending their boats out there that it is going to make the negotiating atmosphere better, it is going to give it a better chance to succeed? I don't think so. That is not the way I would do it. If you were really interested in getting a solution, would you send your vessels out there again to inflame the situation?

I am not so sure what is really going on in Brussels. I am not so sure what is really happening, and I will have more to say about it tomorrow, but don't jump too quickly. There are probably things going on here that most people don't know about and will not want to know about, once it all comes down the pipe, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Once it all comes down, and the dust settles on it all, we will see what gets the settlement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't just support people because of their political stripe, I say to the Member for Eagle River. Brian Tobin has done well to date, and I commend him. I hope he continues to do as well as he has done and we all support him but you know, he doesn't have all full control. He has to deal with his colleagues in Ottawa and he has to deal with the European community and we all know how difficult they are to deal with. So we will see, I hope it works out but knowing those vessels are out there today is not very comforting to me. It does not give me a lot of optimism and hope that it will be settled.

Educational reform; Mr. Speaker, the Member for St. John's Centre will certainly have a keen interest in that, as most of us do but being an educator he does. He commended some people who tried to bring this thing together but there is one thing I noticed that apparently the churches - there was supposed to be a meeting but they asked for a postponement now to, I guess, further look at government's position, I guess it was. Mr. Fallon said yesterday or over the weekend - I heard some kind of news report saying that they had asked for a postponement on the situation. So I don't know what that means. I hope it is not bad news. I hope it doesn't mean that it is coming off the rails again. I hope that they do stay on track and I hope they do negotiate a settlement to that particular issue for the benefit of young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who need the most efficient educational system that we can offer them, the best education possible we can offer them, I hope that succeeds.

The Auditor General's report, Mr. Speaker, yesterday - the poor Minister of Employment and Labour Relations knees are gone. The Member for St. John's Centre talked about Memorial University and their refusal to be audited. Now he was Minister of Finance just a few short years ago. The current Minister of Finance supports the University in denying or refusing the audit. The Premier has continuously defended the University. I remember last year or the year before it got kind of heavy on this situation about Memorial University. It was interesting to hear what the Member for St. John's Centre said, I guess being a former employee of the university - I guess the Minister of Fisheries was as well. I don't know what his thought - sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: Leave of absence.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You're just on a leave of absence. Really? So you can go back?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, I wouldn't go that far now, go back any time you want. I am not so sure about that now, go back whenever you want. That is like I thought, I say to the minister -

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, well that is true. That is probably more reason why they should be audited, I say to the Member for Pleasantville. Maybe they are still paying him, who knows, on retainer or something, just so he will go back, not if he goes back. He will get paid when he goes back but just so he will keep it in his mind that he might want to go back.

MR. NOEL: I said be kind.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, always. I am always kind. I was very kind when I was minister. Yes, very kind. I remember dealing with MUNFA - I don't know if you were on the association then, were you? No, they would not have you near that.

I was going to say that reminded me of something. Remember when I ran in the first election - I sought the nomination in 1982, so the superintendent of the school board came over to see me and he said: I will just chat to you about this situation. You know if you get elected - after the first term if you want to come back teaching there is no problem but if you get re-elected, well then it is sort of good-bye. It is hard to say if I put that in writing or anything like that - I mean he initiated the meeting. He called me into the principal's office and we had a little chat. So about a week or two into the 1985 election I get a call from the same superintendent, after he identified himself, he said: Bill I wanted to call, what did we agree to in the last election with you? I said: well you called me into the office and you told me that if I only had one term and did not get re-elected or quit that I could go back teaching. Why are you asking me?' He said: Well, we have a teacher running against you, Mr. So-and-So; I said: Oh, yes. So he said: he wanted to know what the situation was. So I want to tell him what I told you. I said: I can only repeat - I remember very clearly what you told me but I said I tell you what, don't worry about me, worry about Mr. So-and-So because he is the one who will be teaching school after April 6.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that reminded me of it when he said he could go back when he liked. Of course I thought as well that if I got defeated, which I was never really worried about, or if I quit, that I thought I had a job but I really didn't.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, true, I suppose. That is four elections ago, for God's sake, it is time I got defeated now.

MR. TOBIN: I had to quit to seek the nomination.

AN HON. MEMBER: You won't (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, you are right, I say to the Member for Eagle River.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Member for Humber East will take care of that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't know what this is about, she is not even here, the poor lady, to defend herself.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I hope so. I would say I could be very good at doing the Verge shuffle.

AN HON. MEMBER: I would say you would have a seat down behind (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I would say, depending on the result, that the Member for St. John's East (inaudible) recognized as a party. How many do you need to be recognized as a party, three members?


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Four. Well, there are two or three over there, and two or three of us. Who really knows? It could really change in the next eight weeks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh God, no. You weren't privy to the conversation the Premier and I had yesterday. I was in Ed's seat, and he wasn't there. The Premier said to me: Bill, how do you feel in Ed's seat? I said: I really can't tell you, Premier. He said: We could do with a little change and a little enlightening on this side. Morale is low here amongst the troops, he said, you know. I'm really still thinking about staying on, even though you are predicting I will be gone by the end of the year. But I want to tell you, Bill, I am staying, he said. But, he said, I would even be more inclined to stay if I had people of your calibre in my Administration.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I didn't know really - I said: What is he really saying to me? What is the Premier really saying to me? Is it that I'm that good, or the crowd that he has over there is that bad? I really wasn't sure, you know.

MR. TOBIN: I hope the media picks it up and blazes it on the radio (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Both. Why would my good friend and colleague wish that -

MR. TOBIN: Because your district, your constituents would say: Bill is crossing the floor, and then we will declare you.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I know. That is true. Yes, God, yes. I never thought about that. I really don't want him to stay, do I?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: This Tobin or the other Tobin?

There is one other interesting reference in the Speech from the throne, Mr. Speaker, page 2, where it says: "A Provincial appointee has been added to the Board which is overseeing capacity adjustment in the fishery." It can't be.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) that.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I don't know anything about anything, I say to the Member for Eagle River, and I don't pretend to know too much about anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I want to say to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, I've been anxiously waiting for some indication from the minister, from the government, as to how they are going to deal with capacity reduction in the fish processing sector. When are we going to get some signal from the minister how he is going to deal with it? You've been at it now for, what, three or four years?


MR. W. MATTHEWS: Not you. But when you came here you said that you were going to deal with it very quickly. I remember when I questioned him he said: I won't be procrastinating like my former colleagues.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Danny needs new whatever he can get new, I say to the Government House Leader. Whatever new that member can get, he needs. Outside of clothes. He has lots of good clothes, nice clothes. Gets rides with NTV, picks him up at the door. Should have seen him going off this morning. Sure I thought it was Sylvester Stallone this morning. I just happened to be going out the corridor, right?, and up pulls NTV, out jumps the reporter, gets in the back, and Danny gets up front. I would have liked to have that on camera.

He buys his clothes in Quebec when he rents the cars. When he takes the car back to Quebec, he takes back the car and he goes back every time with a new suit.

AN HON. MEMBER: Sullivan did the same thing.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, he probably did. As long as it wasn't French chicken, I don't care. What is that French franchise? We should stop talking about chicken because the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island gets very sensitive when we talk about chicken. He gets very sensitive.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I know; I know.

I say to the Minister of Fisheries, and I probably should have asked you in Question Period, it is an item that struck my attention when the speech was read out, about reduction in the processing sector of the fishing industry. I am wondering if there has been any progress made, or if it is just going to stay as it is, left to the market forces, as the former minister and the Premier said.

AN HON. MEMBER: There has been progress made.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There has been progress made? Well, I will have to quiz the minister, so I give him notice now so that he can go off over to his deputy minister and officials -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I say to the Member for Eagle River, it's going to be a long time before any progress will be reported this session.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased today to rise and support another edition of the red book, another great Throne Speech that was so well written and obviously so well seconded and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Thirded?

MR. DUMARESQUE: - and thirded by the members over here.

To pick up on what the Opposition House Leader is saying about how we are not progressing, surely he never read this Throne Speech. Surely he never looked at the areas of the Throne Speech that I have just spent considerable time reading, and certainly acknowledging all of the positive aspects of it. I would have to conclude that this is one of the better Throne Speeches that we have seen. It is a very positive document, a very upbeat report card on what this government has been doing, and what it will do.

Certainly, in the area of the fishery, we on this side of the House have absolutely nothing to apologize for when it comes to dealing with the issues in the fishery, and preparing a fishery of the future. I must say, and use this opportunity, to congratulate the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Because I think that the focus that is now on that department is going to produce, in a real significant way, a future fishery of this Province that will be a lot more sustainable, a lot more secure, a lot more beneficial to the people who are in it in the years to come, because I think what we are starting to see emerge is a more scientific approach to the fishery, one where we are not just going back and saying to the fishermen that you haul the fish out of the water, you put all of your eggs in the one basket, that you just concentrate on cod, and that once the cod comes aboard the boat you give it to somebody who then takes it off to market, without retaining the economic benefits from it.

I think what we are seeing now in this department is a new emphasis on all of the species that we have adjacent to our shores, and we are seeing that once that product is landed we are going to get greater value from it.

We see the tremendous efforts that are being made down in Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir in the salmon hatchery. I know, after just getting back from the Boston Seafood Show, how well received that product is, the rainbow trout and the salmon. When I was down there, they were telling me that they have more orders now on their books than they can produce. That product is number one in the marketplace. There is absolutely none better.

Here we have another solid investment of this government into the scallop hatchery business down there, another very significant effort and one that is going to be, I think, recognized as another excellent producer of quality seafood. Shellfish, by the way, is very much a leader now in the marketplace as opposed to years ago when the white fish was pretty well the predominant choice of the consumer. Now, the shellfish, the scallops, the shrimp, the crab, the mussels, those are the areas of the fishery that are certainly gathering much more attention.

We are very proud of the fact that we do now have many of these species that are very healthy and growing. For instance the shrimp fishery, the northern shrimp fishery is very, very healthy. We obviously recognize the fact that the cod is less than it was before and they are not having the kind of impact on the stocks because the cod is not there to feed on them. We know that is in fact improving the health of the shrimp stock, the northern shrimp which is very, very marketable and very much in demand in all the places where we have seen people buy shrimp.

We know that our crab resource is also healthy. We know that the value this year is going to be up in the area of $3.00 a pound to the fishermen, ten times what it was even three and a half years ago. In just three and a half years the price has gone up ten times and obviously we are in a position to be able to capitalize on the fact that we have a fantastic product and we have fishermen out there who are acknowledging quality now more than they ever did before. We have plant workers and plant managers who are producing a product that is clean, that is wholesome, and that is free from any type of bacteria. Obviously, we are getting a number one demand in the marketplace for our crab and that is very much, I think, recognized by the marketplace. There are no chemicals involved at all.

You can imagine how the northern shrimp is being received from the pristine waters of the great Labrador, the Labrador current, and how that is producing the best shrimp in the world. Obviously we are very proud of that because we now have an opportunity to develop that industry. I hope we will be able to develop an inshore northern shrimp fishery, where we will be able to go out into the adjacent waters, thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty miles out into the Cartwright Channel, the Hawk Channel, or the Hopedale Channel, or the St. Anthony Basin, and I hope we will be able to use the sixty-five footers, or less, so that we can harvest that northern shrimp and bring it into a couple of the communities so that we can have a good solid processing line in place, so that we can have good solid processing on land as well as in the factories that are involved in the offshore operation.

I am very confident that given the chance to do it Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will respond and they will be able to catch it, they will be able to produce it, and they will be able to put it into the processing stage that is ready for the market so that we can get that extra value for it. I am very encouraged, especially with the free trade agreement, and NAFTA, I am very encouraged with what is happening out there now for secondary processing.

A few short years ago we could not get the access to the American market. I know the member who is representing the District for Burin - Placentia West is very pleased with what is happening in Burin those days. We have seen the tariffs come down over the last number of years. Now, the current tariffs, for say the frozen crab meat, is now 3 per cent. It is down from 20 per cent just a few short years ago. We see the current tariff for prepared meals in other fish products, for cakes, puddings, and in oils, and meals with shellfish meat, 4 per cent, 2.6 per cent, 0.3 per cent, and 4 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, that is very attractive those days. Before we could not get our secondary processing in line with the market demand because before we were allowed to get to the consumer we had to pay an extra 20 per cent in order to be able to get the buyer or the marketer in that particular country, especially the United States, to be able to take that product and then give it to his consumer. That was adding a lot of value and now that it is off the table, so it is now time again for us to look, especially at a time when we have reduced resources available, we must make every attempt to get every bit of value out of them that we can. I am sure that in many cases it will be better for the consumer whether that consumer be in Japan or China or in the United States; it will be better for them because they can come here, they can inspect what we are doing, they can have the joint partnerships that we hope to, and they will be able to say: Yes, this is how it should be prepared, because this is how our consumers want it.' And we will be able to take it from here and put it over. Obviously, it will reduce some of their costs and will give the security of a better quality product, certainly without the transportation and other things that can affect whether that product will be in the kind of quality condition they want it to be. So we are very encouraged about that.

Mr. Speaker, one of the other very promising areas of development that we are looking at in this Province in the fishery, and one that cannot be forgotten - and to give the minister his due, I think that this Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture will be remembered as the minister who made the difference in seal meat. He is going to be remembered as the person who brought some scientific information to bear on the sealing industry. He has done tremendous research and development work on the use of seal oil for its capability in countering heart trouble, in reducing cholesterol. He has done significant and very substantial work with the omega-3 and if you combine that with an effort - which I believe is under way, and hopefully it will reach fruition in the not-too-distant future - to get a prime seal meat on the market, I think that the market is out there domestically and internationally, to provide at least for a harvest of 150,000 to 200,000 animals per year.

When I talk about a quality seal meat, I guess what we are asking for and what we would hope for, is that we would be able to go and get that seal, have it bled immediately, have it then processed and once you get it processed, clean it properly, then vacuum-pack it and freeze it, and all that could be done in a matter of a few hours instead of twenty-four or thirty-six or forty-eight hours. Then you would be able to come into the community here in the Province and deliver vacuum-packed flippers, a vacuum-packed, prime, seal cut of meat from the fillet of seal. The fillet of seal will be there in its 2-lb. form.

The other parts of the animal that obviously Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have enjoyed for years will then be packaged so that you can see that this is a top-notch protein product that we have here, an abundant resource. We can do it on a very sustainable basis and obviously, we now have some partners in this that we are very encouraged to see, partners here in Newfoundland, partners in Asia, partners all over, who are looking at this resource as an opportunity to provide the tremendous nutrition that is there in that product, to also provide the necessary elements to counter heart trouble that is so prominent a cause of death all over the world. And I am sure this Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture is one person who is going to be recognized at the end of the day, and I think sooner rather than later, for putting the sealing industry where it belongs in this Province, back at the forefront, producing long-term, meaningful jobs with direct benefit to the consumer, with the delivery of first-class products in the meat, and obviously, Mr. Speaker, into the omega-3 and the oil, and not to ignore the existing market for seal pelts.

We are now seeing seal pelts recognized again, in the international market - the Norwegians want to buy all the pelts that we can deliver. Other parts of the world are recognizing them again. We know that we don't have to return to the white coat hunt. We know that the best meat would be available from the bedlamer seal. Obviously, we know that better than others, because we have enjoyed it and we love eating it. I did, on the Coast of Labrador, and I know many other members of this Legislature have done that.

We know that the bedlamer is the better seal for meat, and obviously, we would be able to do a lot better job with it if it were taken immediately. That is why I am supporting and encouraging the establishment of a mother vessel which would employ the landsmen to go out and get to the seal herd and take them on; the vessel taking the other landsmen on board, and working then to get the processing unit on board that vessel operating. We would then be able to deliver a prime quality seal product, with every part of the animal being utilized, to the domestic market as well as to the international market. Mr. Speaker, we have a lot to be very pleased about when it comes to what we are doing now in the fishing industry.

We are seeing money - and I think we are on the verge of seeing more money put into aquaculture, another area where I know our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa, who, I guess, with all the demands of the day on his shoulder, has still found time in between fighting the tremendous battles in foreign overfishing - in between all of that he is showing his imagination, he is showing his vision, by putting together an aquaculture strategy that I'm hoping he is going to put some money into, along with our government, so that we can go out and put up some of the funding up front; so that we can give the security to the people who are out there who have the brains, the work ethic, the ability and the interest. Because they are there. They are there today moreso than they have been for twenty, twenty-five years. Because the Marine Institute is over there, and has produced many bright people who have been trained now. Yes, we are slower than we probably should be, but I can tell you, we are on our way in developing a professional fisherman and a professional fishery in this Province. We are on our way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: We have many people to thank and we encourage more people to come through joint ventures and other things, to be able to show us exactly what their market needs, exactly what their market wants, so that we will be able to work together to combine our resources. Indeed, we do have the ability today in this Province to see more jobs come from the fishery, I think, than we ever did.

I approach the fishery of the future with optimism. I approach it on the basis that it must be multi-species, I approach it on the basis that there must be more secondary processing, the product must be more consumer-ready when it leaves the Province. I believe that at the end of the day we will see a situation in this Province where adjacent fisheries, adjacent species, are directed towards coastal regions and coastal communities, and if there is a downturn in one species or the other, then the whole house of cards won't fall down. That is the essential element of management that we have to protect.

We are doing that in Labrador. My district, I am proud to say, is I think providing an example for all of this Province. Just five, six, seven years ago, there wasn't one community in my district of the nineteen or twenty communities, that was doing anything outside of cod. That was it. The Northern cod fishery, of course, is in Labrador, the Hamilton Banks, it was the home of the Northern cod. Obviously, for hundreds of years people just took it for granted that every year the Northern cod would come ashore. For many of my communities, obviously, it slowly dissipated, right from Nain up in the north, twenty-five years ago, down to Cartwright, twenty, twenty-two years ago. They started to go and never provided a job in that area.

We recognized, I guess, as fast as we could, that while we have had success with the Northern cod, it could not be looked on as the panacea, forever providing the economic opportunities that we need. So we went out and said: There is an adjacent crab resource. We put in place a management plan for the crab resource off Cartwright, in the Cartwright channel, on the inside of the Hamilton Banks, and we established a quota, and then, an individual transferrable system. We set a total allowable catch, and then built a modern plant in Cartwright, Labrador.

Today, Mr. Speaker, there is greater security in Cartwright, Labrador than there has been for twenty-five years. I think that is a great display of what we are able to do in our fishery. It has now been repeated in Mary's Harbour and in St. Lewis. We are doing the same thing with scallops in the Williams Harbour area. In the Labrador Straits, I'm hoping that we will focus a bit more on the industrial shrimp, and therefore be able to provide an opportunity there. Within three or four years I think that we will have, in our area of Labrador, a situation that no matter what happens in the fishery, if one species collapsed overnight, we would still only have 10 per cent of the problem that we have today.

That is the future of it, and, Mr. Speaker, I'm very proud to work with the minister here and the government generally to arrive at that objective because, obviously, again, that is what we are sent here to do. These are the people we are sent here to represent and I certainly want to do my part for the people of the Eagle River district.

Mr. Speaker, equally along those lines, while we are going out there and seeing things happen that are exciting, we also must be conscious of the needs of our people in terms of income security. At the present time, we are going through a situation where the income support program of TAGS is certainly very, very much appreciated by the people in my district, who are not directly involved in the species in the fisheries that I have talked about. But are also concerned about what is going to happen in a year or so if some of the predictions are right. We are very concerned that a lot of legitimate people, who have long-time historical attachment in the fishery, are not going to be kept under this program because of the formula as it is set up. We are very concerned about that, and I am working along with our caucus committee, headed by the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture to try to make some changes in that program because while we want to do things and while we are doing things, we need basic income support.

I agree with the Member for St. John's Centre, the sooner that we move to a program of general income support where there is a minimum level of income - obviously, I want to see it higher than it was in the original proposal, because I think it should be high enough that it would give people encouragement and incentive and the initiative to go out and earn more - and if by some unfortunate circumstance they couldn't do that because of disability, an illness or something of that nature that they would not be put into perpetual poverty. So we have to maintain a certain level of income. That may have to differ for certain regions of the Province, because there are extra costs here in this city, there are extra costs in the Coast of Labrador, not the same types of costs but there are extra costs because of either the marketplace or the environment in which we live. Down our way we obviously have extra costs when it comes to food, to electricity, to oil, extra costs when it comes to transportation, just simply because of where you live, the climate and so forth. So I would hope that some of these factors can be built into a program at some point, so that we will able to produce the security these people need. And at the same time, obviously, we will be able to provide the initiative that I don't think is presently there in the unemployment insurance program. The encouragement is there but -

I would also like to make a few comments, Mr. Speaker, on the unemployment insurance program. I would say to the members of the hon. House that I am very concerned about what is happening with the unemployment insurance program. I certainly do not think - and I would strongly oppose any adjustment in the unemployment insurance program for seasonal people. I don't think it is the right approach, I think it is the wrong approach. Mr. Speaker, here we have a situation today where the unemployment insurance program - yesterday I happened to listen to the CBC on the way home and I caught the former leader of the New Democratic Party talking about how the UI program should be scrapped and how Preston Manning should be made King of Canada - because that is basically what he was saying. It was unbelievable that a -

AN HON. MEMBER: Peter, was it?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, Mr. Fenwick. It was unbelievable how anybody with any social conscience, especially somebody who claims to be a social democrat, would ever believe in doing some of the things that he talks about. I mean, it was the most Draconian approach to policy that I have ever witnessed, and obviously, a complete turnaround from anything that he has ever espoused and obviously would not be in keeping with anything that I believe, Mr. Speaker.

But I think - and the unemployment insurance program is proving to be a red herring or, in some cases, a good straw man that somebody can put up and knock down because, Mr. Speaker, it makes good ammunition. A lot of people out there do believe that the UI program is the cause of our deficit problem. A lot of people out there do believe that fishermen who draw UI are people who have destroyed the unemployment insurance program. Well, I would like to set the record straight. In 1990 this program came out of government. In 1990 it was taken out of government, and since 1990 not one cent of taxpayers' money has gone into that program - not one cent.

Now, Mr. Speaker, on the 31st of December of last year, that program had a $4.2 billion surplus for that year. Now it will also have accumulative surplus, that is, having paid off every cent that was ever put into the program, paid off every obligation that it has ever had; that program, at December 31st of last year, would have somewhere around - no, at the end of this year they are projecting a $1.215 billion surplus in that account, because at the end of this year there is going to be another $4.9 billion surplus.

The Minister of Finance, just a couple of short weeks ago, announced that he would be keeping the UI premiums at the same level as they are now, he would allow the UI account to continue to have a $5 billion to $8 billion surplus, he would continue all of that, but he said he wants to take $700 million away from the program. Now, I don't mind seeing adjustments in the program - I say that in all honesty - but it should not be on the backs of the seasonal workers; it should not be on the backs of the people who are out there getting $200 a week or so from the UI program. So, Mr. Speaker, these are the facts.

Another interesting point that a lot of people in this House may not know, but I think one that is very salient, I went to have a look at the 1994 income tax situation this year to see what I would have to earn and still draw unemployment insurance. Do you know, we have the interesting situation now in the Income Tax Act where you can earn $70,000 a year for six months of the year, and be able to draw $400 a week unemployment insurance for the other twenty-four weeks. So what you can have is the ludicrous situation of using your unemployment insurance program to go out and buy your RRSPs of $10,000. The unemployment insurance program can actually fund your RRSP, if you are making $70,000 and you would not have to pay back one cent of the unemployment insurance that you receive. So you can make $70,000; you can take $10,000 UI and not have to pay back one cent of that UI.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that true?

MR. DUMARESQUE: That is true. As a matter of fact, what is even more damning is that if you made $1 million in six months, the most you would have to pay back is 30 per cent of your UI, even if you made $1 million. So I am saying to Mr. Martin: If you want to get some savings, let's look at that. Let's put a ceiling there and say that after $35,000 or $40,000 - or for some areas it may be less - that if you earn more money, that it is started to be called back from your tax system and certainly, at the end of the day, if you are making $100,000 or if you are making $70,000 you should not be able to have a net gain of one cent of UI. That will get him his $700 million. That will get him his savings, and that won't affect the plant worker down in my area who is getting $196 a week UI. So these are the types of things that I want to see. I want to see those types of changes, and I want to say we are not afraid of change but we want change made for all the right people.

Obviously, in an area like Coastal Labrador where we have no option, most of us have no option of working outside of the fishery, and if you are in the fishery then you can't fish for six months of the year, so income support is vital, and until you get a guaranteed income the unemployment insurance program is critical, and I would be very much against the kinds of changes that have been talked about up to this point in time with seasonal workers, and fishermen in particular, so I think that is very important to point out.

When it comes to some of the other things - just shortly to acknowledge, because I think they are going to have a very beneficial impact on rural Newfoundland and Labrador - those are the two things, the Community Development Task Force which is going to put in place a program where it is going to give power to the local people, they are going to be able to develop their own Strategic Economic Plan so they can acknowledge their performance, they will be able to gauge their performance, they will be able to come to government and say: This is a meaningful plan, it is a business plan, it has been worked out, and we know that this can work, we need this assistance; and by doing so we will be giving them some real impact over their future.

Obviously again, Mr. Speaker, we welcome the EDGE legislation. It is another fantastic piece of legislation that is having significant results. We are going to see companies come to this Province that would otherwise not be here. We are going to see companies that are going to be employing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that would otherwise not be here and obviously we are going to see precious tax dollars being brought back to the government that would otherwise not be forthcoming.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a very optimistic Throne Speech and I would end by saying that I am confident we are going to get another very optimistic speech in forty-eight hours time from our Minister of Finance. I think we are going to see a very up beat, optimistic, responsible Budget, Mr. Speaker, that again this minister and this government has been known for since it got elected in 1989. I am looking forward indeed to seeing the kind of fiscal program, that we have been following since 1989, carried on by the Minister of Finance.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. DUMARESQUE: So, Mr. Speaker, obviously I could go on for another half an hour but there are only a number of significant -

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, first of all let me offer my congratulations to the mover and to the seconder of the Speech from the Throne who certainly had the opportunity to present to this House the situations regarding the conditions within their districts and I must say, did a good job in bringing in the concerns of the districts that they both respectively represent to the floor of the Legislature.

Now as it relates to the Member for Eagle River who just spoke, Mr. Speaker, this is one of the most cowardly acts that I have ever seen. When he came in and tried to camouflage the attack that Lloyd Axworthy is making upon the UI system in this Province by blaming it on the former leader of the NDP in Newfoundland, Mr. Fenwick. Now, Mr. Speaker, whatever Mr. Fenwick says and I have to say that I have great difficulty sometimes in what Mr. Fenwick says and I am sure the Leader of the NDP does. You know you cannot be a socialist one day and a right wing lunatic the next day.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I have no more control over him than you have over Neary.

MR. TOBIN: That is right, Mr. Speaker.

Now the other thing you cannot do, I say to the Member for Eagle River, is come in here and support Lloyd Axworthy gutting the UI system and blame it on a former member of this Legislature. It is time not to be wimpish. It is time for the Member for Eagle River to stop being a wimp. It is time he stood up and told Lloyd Axworthy that he disagrees with the UI system.


MR. TOBIN: The hon. gentleman is referring to the chicken coop. Let me tell the hon. gentleman a little story. Back in 1969, the time they had the big leadership convention, Smallwood, Crosbie, and all the boys, what year was that?


MR. TOBIN: I was in St. John's and they had the election of delegates down in Ferryland. When coming home that evening and I got in Cappahayden country this car was there. It was stopped and there were all those fellows who I knocked around with at the time, in 1969 it was. They had gone down to Ferryland to vote and their reward for going to Ferryland to vote was four dozen beer and a whole bologna. They had a whole bologna, Mr. Speaker. What happened was they went into this place with the chit and what they did was for five dozen beer they got four dozen beer and the bologna. When they were coming out of the house one fellow put a spoon in his pocket and that is all they had. They were having the beer and spooning out the bologna, so I can tell hon. gentlemen that it is not the first time. They have graduated now to chicken from bologna and beer, and as a matter of fact I believe the person passing out the chit, well I am not sure, was the Member for St. John's South. I am not sure but I believe that is the fellow who was passing out the chits at the time for the beer and the bologna.

I would suspect, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Health did it for Brian Peckford back in 1979 when he was organizing.

AN HON. MEMBER: He did not deliver rabbit to them.

MR. TOBIN: I would say he did it. I do not agree with Steve Neary very often but I believe he made a good point today, that it is time to get away from that old type politics of providing chicken, bologna, beer, and everything else, Mr. Speaker. It is time to get away from it and elect people in different ways and slates. The big loser in all of that would be farm products.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if the Member for Grand Bank is about to kiss the Minister of Finance or bite him. I say to the hon. member it looks somewhat intimate.

Mr. Speaker, I was going to tell another story about down in Marystown, when the hon. House Leader and Bill Rowe were involved in it. What year was that, '70 ?

AN HON. MEMBER: '77, I remember it well.

MR. TOBIN: Seventy-seven was it? I thought it was earlier than that.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you about that too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, I was not at the meeting when they elected the delegates but I was observing, and I can tell you that chicken is nothing new to the election of delegates.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: With what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Dart leagues.

MR. TOBIN: Dart leagues? There is a big fuss now because you bring out someone from a high school to vote. Let the Member for Trinity North tell you what happened to him in the two nomination meetings that he didn't win down in Trinity North; there were fourteen-year olds who came there. Mr. Speaker, there is nothing wrong with high school students voting; there is nothing wrong in giving them chicken as long as you win. The sin is when you don't win, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now, your buddy from St. John's East is not going to agree with that.

MR. TOBIN: No, but the system has to change.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, but you know the system has to change. That bit about - in the Throne Speech, I would say - and this will be the last word I will say on it - I say to the Government House Leader, and I believe he would agree with me, is that the system for electing delegates to a leadership convention in this Province has to change.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: That is right, because the slate system is not fit to have. It should never be allowed.

Anyway, I want to have a few words about the Department of Fisheries before I sit down.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The minister talks about secondary processing, and the great emphasis he is going to place on secondary processing. There is one major secondary processing plant in this Province which the minister has visited, namely down in Burin, but that plant is still operating at around 50 per cent capacity.

Now, it is my understanding that in the last little while Fishery Products has removed part of that plant - one of the processing lines - and are now producing that part of the fish down in the States. I don't know if the minister is aware of that or not.

Now I have heard there are a lot of reasons that have been given for it, such as the fish has to come through so many stages, from one port and another port, for quality and all that kind of stuff, but I am hearing that last fall, for whatever reasons, there was a move made that part of the fish that was in Burin is now being processed down in Gloucester.

The other thing I want to say, and I don't know what the situation is - I know the union was briefed on it; I know the union was in town and had meetings about it, and I don't know what the final decision or the final outcome was, and I wonder if the minister does - the other thing that I want to mention is the Member for Eagle River standing in this House and singing the praises of NAFTA, the Free Trade Agreement. It was only a few years ago that he was going around destroying it, against it. John Turner ran the campaign fighting on it.

There is one other point that I want to make before I sit down, and that is for those people here in this House who day in and day out continue to condemn the deep sea fishermen of this Province. They should hang their heads in shame, because it was the deep sea fishermen in this Province who provided livelihoods for people twelve months of the year on the South Coast of this Province. They were the men, Mr. Speaker, who were beating ice in the month of March, they were not home, they were the men who were out there frozen to death, they were the men who gave their lives, the Blue Mist, the Blue Wave and other boats. Yet, Mr. Speaker, people like the Member for Eagle River and others who stand in this House and condemn the fishermen of this Province who have given their lives, who have given their guts to providing a year round service to the employees, who were the fishermen who provided twelve months a year work, no, Mr. Speaker, it is time for those shenanigans to stop. Whatever happens in this Province is blamed on the deep sea fishermen. When there are no fish, they destroyed it. Well I do not have time now to tell you a little story about the haddock situation and what happened to a boat from England. I will tell you about that after, I will tell you the next day.

Mr. Speaker, I will adjourn the debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, now that the debate is adjourned, before I adjourn the House, let's see where we are for the rest of the week. Tomorrow is Private Members' Day and the motion to be debated is the one of which the Member for Grand Bank gave us notice yesterday.

MR. TOBIN: But it is on a fishing day, he won't be here.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, Mr. Speaker, I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Burin - Placentia West, that while the light holds out to burn, the vilest sinners may return.

In any event, now that the Member for Grand Bank and my friend the Minister of Finance have done whatever they've done together, tomorrow I understand we will be dealing with the motion which stands in the name of my friend from Grand Bank and under the new rule we adopted today.

Thursday will be Budget day. The government will suggest the House not meet on Friday and will meet again on Monday at which time we will call the Budget Debate. My understanding is that the Member from Mount Pearl, who will speak for the Opposition on the Budget, will speak on Monday and it is my hope that he will conclude his remarks on the Budget on Monday.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well I live in hope, I say to my friend from Grand Bank.

In any event, the point I want to bring to the House's attention is this, so there is no mystery, the next payroll cheque period for the public service is dated on April 5, that is the day when the pay cheques would normally be released to the people eligible to receive them, including members of the House. That means, I am told by the Treasury Board people, that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I point out to the Government House Leader, it has just turned 5:00 p.m.

MR. ROBERTS: Could we just go for a second or two? Is that agreed?

MR. SPEAKER: We have consent.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That means that the cheques must either be released for distribution, or the advice about direct deposits must be sent to the bank by the morning of March 31, which is Friday. The government does not want to be in a position where it can't pay all of those who are entitled to be paid from the public chest, and it shall need interim supply to do that.

I've had a word with my friend for Grand Bank, who I understand has consulted with his colleagues, my understanding is we will have interim supply by March 31. If that is not correct -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend says he will do his best. I appreciate that. What I must say is that the government in asking the House not to sit on the Friday and calling the Budget debate on Monday does so on the clear understanding that the best on Tuesday and Thursday will produce a situation whereby midday Friday it can release the cheques (inaudible) payment to the bank. Should that not come to pass, we will have to take the appropriate action, whatever that may be, in accordance with parliamentary tradition.

We will leave it at that. I wanted the House to be aware that the deadline under which we must operate for interim supply is midday on March 31. If not, people will not get their cheques.

MR. TOBIN: You should have opened the House in February.

MR. ROBERTS: Should have opened the House in February? Mr. Speaker, given the speech my friend for Burin - Placentia West made today, it didn't matter when we opened the House. We would still be in this same box.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.

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