March 27, 1995             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 6

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 fifteen Grade V students from Norman's Cove Elementary School in the electoral district of Bellevue, accompanied by their principal, Mr. David Osbourne and their teacher, Mr. Bill Smith.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have some questions for the Minister of Finance, on the Budget document the minister tabled on Thursday. It shows a payment in the amount of $77,200 into a sinking fund for the purchase of leased facilities and there were similar amounts, I notice, in 1993 and 1994, for sinking fund for payments of leased, or purchase of leased facilities.

Can the minister confirm that this is being set aside to purchase the three medical centres at St. Lawrence, Port Saunders and Burgeo after the 30-year lease expires and, can the minister also tell us if that is true, is government required to make these sinking fund payments every year for the duration of the leases as a result of the financing arrangements with Trans City or its financial backers, Confederation Life? Would he explain this to us?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I was having trouble hearing the question and I would appreciate it if the House would come to order so I could hear the hon. the Minister of Finance respond.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will check into that specific amount, if he will give me the information as to which page it is on and so on. It could very well be that, and if it is, yes, Mr. Speaker, there is an arrangement whereby sinking fund payments will be made.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I assure the minister he will find that that is indeed what the amount is, $77,200, and that is what it is there for; I am quite sure that's what he will find.

Would he tell us, Mr. Speaker, that being the case, does the agreement call for any escalation of payments to this sinking fund? Will this amount of $77,200 per year continue for the thirty years, will it increase indeed, as time goes on? Would the minister like to tell us that, Mr. Speaker, and if so, would he please table a copy of the complete schedule of the annual payments for that 30-year period?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, could the minister also tell us: Is the government required, in accordance with the agreement with Trans City and Confederation Life, to deposit those annual payments with Confederation Life? Are we indeed paying up front for the purchase thirty years down the road? Are we not only putting away this money, are we depositing it with Confederation Life and who really benefits from it? Would the minister tell us what interest rate are we earning on that money that is deposited with whomever, whether it be Confederation Life or someone else?

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

MR. BAKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answers are almost as short as his Budget's Speech.

Mr. Speaker, would the minister also confirm that when the government called tenders for these three medical centres, the intent of the tender call and stated in that call was that government had the right to purchase the facility at the end of the thirty-year least for one dollar? Will he confirm that as a result of the financing arrangement now, government will, in fact, pay out over $16 million at the end of that thirty-year period for a facility that government asked and tendered to have a right to purchase for one dollar? Will he table all agreements with Trans City and Confederation Life so that we will find out the real truth to this scandalous deal?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, a change was made from that original direction, as the member realizes, because the method of financing that was eventually worked out, was at a tremendous saving to the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

My question is for the Environment minister: Does the government have a written agreement with the new owners of the Come By Chance refinery binding the company to clean up the site and reduce pollution from the plant? Do they have a written agreement?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We have a compliance agreement with the owners of Come By Chance to, over a time period, make improvements to the environmental problems that are there. That agreement was initialled in August of '94 and we are working through the process with the company. So the agreement, I believe - I don't know if we tabled it in the House but we informed the House before Christmas that we had the compliance agreement. Thank you.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: The company plans to close down the plant for several months this year because of market conditions. Will the market conditions that may force a shut-down also affect the company's plans to clean up the plant and reduce environmental pollutants?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, let me say this, that the new owners have given a major commitment, have spent a lot of money, are doing a very good job in cleaning up the problems that have occurred. Market conditions have dictated they shut down the plant for a short period of time but there is no lack of a commitment or no indication from the company that they will slow down or not meet the commitments that they have already agreed to with our department and with our government, to ensure that the environmental problems are corrected there over the long term.

I emphasize that the company has been doing a good job. They have been working with the local community in a very pro-active fashion and right now we don't see any problems with that, and if we do we will certainly let people know.

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

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

Mr. Minister, does the government have any plans of its own to reduce emissions from the refinery if the new owners are unable to live up to their commitments?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to get into being too negative and so on. I think we are into a pro-active exercise with the new owners of Come By Chance. They have given us a compliance agreement which is one of the best in the industry, and we are delighted with it so far. We hope that we won't have to go into telling them what we want them to do, because they have already agreed to do it; so, unless we see otherwise, the department and the government is prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that we see conditions improve. Right now we are on a steady stream to see that happen and we look forward to seeing what the results will be over the next few months.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I was about to yield to the Member for St. John's Centre, but on second thought I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries. Last year, revenues for the Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador loan fund for the last fiscal year was $8.6 million. This year it is projected to increase to $16.3 million, an increase of $7.75 million. Now, the Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador loan fund will now include loan revenues that would have been collected by the Fisheries Loan Board. I am wondering if the Minister could inform the House how much of the $7.75 million increase will come from loan payments by fishermen? Can he inform the House of that?

I don't think the minister understood the question, did he?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I did understand the question, but I don't have right now the exact figure you are asking for. I will take it under advisement and bring it into the House at another time.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary for the minister when he gets his information. Last year, a total of $6 million was collected by the Fisheries Loan Board and the Farm Development Loan Board. This year the amount that is projected to be collected has increased by $1.5 million. I am wondering, that $1.5 million projected additional revenues to now Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Loan Board, will that amount come from fishermen's payments that would have been to the loan board that will now go to ENL? Is that $1.5 million coming from the backs of fishermen? Could the minister answer that?

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

DR. HULAN: No, I can assure you it will not come off the backs of fishermen.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I wonder if the minister could inform the House, Mr. Speaker, what if any extra measures Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador now will put in place to collect the money from fishermen. Will they be hiring additional collections officers? Could the minister inform the House what decision government has made regarding the licence buy out program? There has been a bit of controversy about that over the last while. Could the minister inform the House whether or not the monies that will be paid to fishermen for licence buy out, will that be intercepted now by ENL to pay for loans that fishermen owe?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Number one, on the first part of the question, with the transfer of the Fisheries Loan Board and the Farm Development Loan Board to ENL, the same individuals who have been dealing with fishermen and farmers up to this point will continue to be dealing with the fishermen and farmers. That is number one. There will be no change there.

As far as the monies being collected, whether they will be intercepted to cover off debts, whether money paid would be intercepted to cover off debts, in most cases that will not be the case. In most cases.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Final supplementary?

MR. SPEAKER: I will give the Opposition House Leader a further supplementary.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I noticed with interest the minister's answer. Why in most cases? What circumstances would prevail that would prompt the government to intercept monies that a fisherman should receive for selling out his licence to the federal government? What is the difference? Why would most not be intercepted and some intercepted? Could the minister explain that for us, please?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our stance has been that those individuals who have made a concerted effort to pay their loans off over the years, every effort will be made to assure those individuals that the money paid for a licence will not be intercepted. For those individuals who have not made that concerted effort, a different line of thinking will be made.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. Just a little over two years ago the town of Fleur de Lys was devastated when they found that their crab processing licence would be moved out of Fleur de Lys. We have a delegation here today again from Fleur de Lys, who for the fourth time have made the eight hour trip in order to ask questions that still have not been answered as to why that crab processing license ever did come out of Fleur de Lys.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the minister that I feel the same way about it. As a matter of fact just two years ago I sat in at a meeting with the delegation from Fleur de Lys and the then minister, the Member for Twillingate, and the Premier stood and said we would have a full investigation into those matters and it would be reported upon. I would like to ask the minister if he could tell us the findings of that investigation that the Premier promised us?

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

DR. HULAN: I cannot give you that information today but I will provide it to you separately.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte -White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, this is two years later and the same delegation is in here today after eight hours again and I am sure they are going to come again next week, and maybe the week after, until they do get some answers, I say to the minister. We were never notified of any findings of that report, no written report, not even a phone call to me or anybody in the delegation. We never did find out about an investigation. It is clear and obvious, Mr. Speaker, that there was an injustice done in the community of Fleur de Lys when that license came out of there. It should have never happened. It was the hub of the peninsula for two summers prior to that, and for two years since that we have seen people sit on the wharf in Fleur de Lys and watch truck loads of crab go up the Baie Verte highway to some other plant.

Mr. Speaker, I think now is the appropriate time for the minister to consider reinstating another license into Fleur de Lys. Has that been considered?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That has been discussed, along with other scenarios, and at this point in time I cannot give you a definitive answer as to how it will go, but that is one of the things that has been discussed.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I could say I am glad there are discussions going on, but there are people living in Fleur de Lys, and also a lot of other communities in that area who made a living off that plant, and of course now that the crab processing industry right now looks very bright it could make the difference in that community and a lot more on that peninsula.

Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact that the policy seems to have changed on the transfer of licenses I do not think that the minister could stand here today and tell us he would reinstate a new license in Fleur de Lys, but I think the minister now, in his new portfolio, and the government has a chance because it never did so in the investigation it promised, can now, with the possibility of a proposal for the transfer of an already established license to be transferred into Fleur de Lys. I think that opportunity is there and I would like to hear the minister make a commitment to these people here today that it will be highly considered, that a transfer of license will go back into Fleur de Lys.

Would the minister respond to that?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will give no commitment or no assurance here today as to whether that license will be reinstated in Fleur de Lys at all.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is addressed to the Minister of Justice, or whoever is taking orders.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: It concerns the question of refunds for damage deposits from slum landlords or other problems that tenants have with landlords. It has to do with the procedure.

Tenants who move, often have great difficulty getting back their damage deposits from their landlords, even where there has been no damage. Tenants on social assistance who move must pay damage deposits to the new landlord, often before getting their damage deposit back from their previous landlord, and have to use the pittance they get for food in order to do so. Many never get their damage deposit back, even though they should, because the procedures are just too complicated. To get their damage deposit back from a reluctant landlord, a person must go to the Residential Tenancies Board. To do this he or she must first send a registered letter of intent to the landlord, or deliver it in person, register the details of the complaint with the Supreme Court, which costs $50, and then serve the landlord with a copy of the registered complaint in person, which, if delivered by a bailiff, will cost another $50 or $55. For many tenants who are recipients of social assistance this is a formidable, fearsome and costly undertaking.

My question: Will the minister take immediately whatever steps are necessary to introduce a simpler, cheaper and less intimidating procedure so that poor people bullied by slum landlords can have easier recourse to the Residential Tenancies Board for return of damage deposits and for addressing other problems?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member makes a good point and points out a problem that some people have, not only in this city but around the Province, and have had for quite some time. I will certainly see that the problem is investigated and will get back to the hon. member as quickly as possible. I agree that perhaps we should have a closer look at this, the thing he points out, with a view to making it easier and less intimidating for people to get their damage deposits back.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Social Services. The news of the cutbacks in the Department of Social Services, needless to say, have not been very well received. Many people are worried about their future and their ability to survive in a society with their dignity intact. I would like to ask the minister: What exactly has been the increase in caseloads from the 1994-1995 Budget time up until this year, and what is expected to be the caseload in the coming year?

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

MS. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sorry, I don't have the exact figures for you today, but I can have them for you tomorrow.

With regard to the number of people that we are expecting to come over to Social Services, probably from TAGS, it was estimated at 1,000 to the end of March. So far these numbers have not shown up at our department. I would like to point out that we do not have the accurate figures for the end of March. I certainly will look into that myself to determine just where the increase has come from.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: I would like to ask the minister if she has planned for an increase in the caseload in her budget, keeping in mind that last year she was unable to make a correct determination because she overspent her budget by approximately $6 million, and also taking into consideration, Mr. Speaker, that there has been a shrinkage of another $10 million taken out with this new Budget.

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

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I don't think the member has the facts entirely straight. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge is more dangerous than having no knowledge. The amount of money that has been taken out of my budget, I would like to point out for the hon. member, is not being taken out of basic rates.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I talked about her budget, not where it was coming from. Ten million dollars has been taken out of the Budget and Mr. Baker's Budget Estimates here confirm that. I would like to know if the minister really believes that by making people ride on the bus or use second-hand furniture - is she actually alluding to her belief that the people who are on social services, her clients, are second-hand citizens? Is this what she is trying to tell us, Mr. Speaker? Is she going to ask these people to ride at the back of the bus because she believes they do not deserve the same rights and freedoms, since they are underprivileged and because they are caseloads in her department?

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

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that I am not sure whether the question was: Do we consider social service clients second-hand citizens or not?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. YOUNG: I would like to point out that they are definitely not second-class citizens. I am aware that in my department we need to look at a whole lot of things, and some of the concerns that we have are: Are we spending our transportation dollars wisely - and I don't consider anybody who rides a bus a second-hand citizens, and I am sure that a lot of the citizens of this Province would be highly offended at the member's statement.

As well, using second-hand furniture, that is not what we discussed - however, if there is a need to reduce our budget to ensure that everybody can avail of furniture, when somebody is allocated money, if they feel it is a wise decision to buy something that is in good shape and it is second-hand, I have no qualms with that, and I am sure the taxpayers of this Province - and I am sure our clients will have no problem with that as well. It is better to be able to provide something than it is to take cuts right across the board, and we are certainly not in favour of that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like to ask the minister, regarding the dividends that Newfoundland Hydro is scheduled to pay the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to help pay the current account deficit, does the minister know exactly where Newfoundland Hydro is going to get the money that it is going to pay?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the dividend that Hydro is paying is a dividend out of profit, the debt equity ratio will remain in the area of about 80/20, and what they are paying us is just over and above that.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland Hydro, as we all know, is a Crown corporation. It is not subservient to the government to pay any dividends. We understand that some dollar amount, a surplus that had been banked for this year, is a result of restraint and cutback programs where workers have been laid off and services have been compromised. This money, however, was planned to be used to pay on the debt to equity ratio in an attempt to make the company's position more equitable.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is: Did Newfoundland Hydro know ahead of time that they would be asked to pay this dividend?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't hear the latter part of his comment for the noise around me. Could he repeat it, please, because I couldn't hear it.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I asked him: Did Newfoundland Hydro know in advance of the Budget that they were going to be asked to pay those dividends?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I had some discussions in general with Newfoundland Hydro, but until the Budget came down they didn't know what was going to be in the Budget.

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

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, what we have here is confirmation that the minister is dictating to the managers of Newfoundland Hydro how to run the company.

Mr. Speaker, since these dividends are planned for -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, since these dividends are planned for 1995-'96, and Hydro just happen to have this money, thankfully there will be no increase, as the minister says, for this fiscal year.

I would like to ask the minister if the dividends are going to continue to be paid by Newfoundland Hydro to the government each year, and if the minister can tell us that there will be no further increases as a result of this to the ratepayers of the Province.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have made a decision for this year. We are asking Hydro to pay us a dividend out of its profits this year. We also asked Hydro to pass over to us some of the dividend it was receiving from Churchill Falls Corporation, again, out of its profits. We have not made a decision at this time in terms of long-term dividend policy for the future. Obviously, it is a thing that we can consider and will obviously consider.

MR. SPEAKER: I will give the hon. member one more and then I will go to the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, a final question to the minister. Would the minister confirm, as a result of all this and what is taking place now regarding Hydro, the millions of dollars that government has spent to privatize it, that the way to go now is to nationalize the other power companies?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have no intention of nationalizing other companies.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Environment.

It would seem from the minister's announcement before the House opened that the major initiative in ending the mountains of litter, soft drink containers and other containers that end up in landfill sites is to make littering a ticketable offence, Mr. Speaker, along with the Minister of Transportation who is going to ticket people for having .05. When is this government, Mr. Speaker, going to stop its punitive approach to people and start doing something constructive about littering instead of using the stick all the time? Why doesn't it find out some constructive ways of promoting recycling, of perhaps having returnable soft drink bottles and other things that will actually promote recycling instead of just punishing people? because that seems to be this government's attitude.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

MR. AYLWARD: I may need some protection, Mr. Speaker.

I want to say to the member, I understand the member's interest in this subject but I am assuming that he will vote for the change in the amendment in the legislation when we bring it in to prevent littering. But this is only part one of a major plan to deal with waste management in the Province. We are wrestling with this issue, Mr. Speaker, in a major way. There are major recycling efforts going on around this Province which maybe the member doesn't understand or hasn't seen, but I have to tell you, Nova Recycling has set up initiatives all over the Province. We have communities all over this Province buying in - we have cardboard getting banned from a number of municipal landfills, we have a whole range of initiatives. Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that we will be announcing a number of other things over the next few months that will deal with the full waste management stream in this Province. But the thing is, you have to have your eyes open, Mr. Speaker. I only say to the member that it is time he opened his eyes.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We are aware of the struggling recycling efforts that are going on across this Province. I am asking the minister if he is prepared to do something to make these operations a little bit more viable by perhaps having deposits, for starters, on Newfoundland Liquor Corporation bottles that they are already using to - refilling. They can do that, and they can then insist that soft drink bottles have a deposit on them or be returnable as well and that would make these recycling efforts viable, Mr. Speaker. Is the minister prepared to do that?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to do a lot of things and we are going to be wrestling with the problem very shortly. We have been in discussions with the packaging industry for some time and we are going to deal with the problem. You know, there is not another province in Canada that has yet been able to get an agreement with the packaging industry. We have a Cabinet committee that is meeting -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I need some protection here, I am having a hard time.

We are trying to deal with the problem, Mr. Speaker. This government is going to deal with the problem. We have a strategy, we have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. AYLWARD: - a waste management plan which we will be bringing in, Mr. Speaker. But I will say to the member, just hang on, we are going to be dealing with the problem. We have a number of problems in this Province, that is one of them, we are going to be dealing with it and we are bringing forward some initiatives. I say to him, look around because there are a lot of good things going on and they are a result of this government's policy on recycle, re-use and reduce.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Perhaps the reason that this Province is the only one with an agreement with the soft drink industry is because this is the only Province where there is no returnable soft drink bottles of any kind, Mr. Speaker. These are the kinds of agreements that this government has entered into. Is the minister prepared, just as a start, to find a way to direct the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, for example, to start by putting a deposit on liquor bottles, wine bottles, so that at least those bottles can be taken out of the environment, Mr. Speaker, and have a practical solution and provide practical aid to recycling efforts?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I will take that suggestion by the member under advisement, as to what he just brought up, and it is an interesting idea. We are looking at, as I said, a range of initiatives right now that we will be bringing forward. So I will take his idea under advisement, and I say to him, that on this side of the House, we are open to a variety of ideas to deal with the problems of the Province. We will certainly take it under advisement, but I also say to him, that this government is working on a whole waste management strategy for the Province; there are a number of very positive things going on; there are a number of other things that will be announced shortly which will be very positive. We look forward to dealing with the landfill problem that we have, dealing with a whole range of the waste stream problems that we have. And we are reforming our legislation, Mr. Speaker, we are doing a whole range of initiatives, and believe me, before we are finished, people will know that we are very definitely concerned about the waste management stream and where we are headed.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has elapsed.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. CARTER: (Inaudible) have time to have debated on Wednesday the following Private Member's Resolution:

WHEREAS lighthouse keepers have throughout our history played an important role in saving lives and helping to ensure the safety of many seafaring people; and

WHEREAS the decision to move towards unstaffed lighthouses has been made by bureaucrats who know nothing of the important role of lighthouse keepers; and

WHEREAS automated equipment is no replacement for the role that a human lighthouse keeper can play in saving lives;

BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly does not support the destaffing of lighthouses, and calls on the federal government to continue funding for staffed lighthouses.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a few more sheets of a petition presented earlier in the House of Assembly with regard to the situation in Jackson's Cove, a situation that is still ongoing, and no thanks to the government is still unresolved. The sheets I have here contain some thirty-five names and the prayer of the petition is as follows: We the undersigned petition the hon. House of Assembly to have government call Memorial Hall in Jackson's Cove, which was built by public funds for public use, to be turned over to a publicly elected community board of directors.

Mr. Speaker, when I brought this forward in the House some days ago the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs responded. At the time he had a number of comments on the situation, and a number of comments regarding my role personally. I faxed the exchange between myself and the minister out to the locals and they were somewhat surprised and expressed a degree of consternation as to the minister's response. In particular they were upset that the minister had refused to meet with the now publicly elected committee that is trying to run the hall, and the fact that the minister seemed to have, for someone who had not met on the situation, have a number of details with regard to the history of the hall, the shape it was in, the way it had been rented, the rental rates, etc. It would have been very difficult for the minister to have gotten that level of detail, although they dispute the accuracy of the detail, it would be difficult for the minister to have gotten that level of detail without having met, or at least talked to the chair of the unelected committee who want to run the hall, namely Mrs Ruby Batstone.

Mr. Speaker, the locals in Jackson's Cove have their committee, and as far as I know they also have a lawyer on staff now. The chair of the unelected committee has a lawyer, and unfortunately this matter may end up in the courts. What we have is a public building built at public expense, through public works projects for the benefit of the community, being controlled, and I guess the question is, owned, by a committee elected by no one and answerable to no one.

The committee is chaired, as I indicated earlier, by one Ruby Batstone and in March 1979, a short while before the former Member for Green, Brian Peckford, became Premier, Mrs Batstone wrote to the local paper and said: I am very pleased to announce that the community hall at Jackson's Cove has been officially opened. It is not my hall, as Mrs. Batstone pointed out, the hall belongs to the residents of Jacksons's Cove and surrounding areas.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the residents of Jackson's Cove and the surrounding area have been looking to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, or some authority in this particular government to lend some sanction to a democratically elected committee in the area. Right now we still have in contention a committee elected by no one, answerable to no one, which seems to have the inside track, have the ear of the powers-that-be in this particular Administration. They have not yet availed of the powers-that-be to the extent that the police or officials of the Justice department have seen fit to throw the community out of its own hall, although there is considerable pressure on the police in Springdale to so do. They themselves have not seen fit to do so yet.

The citizens are standing by their commitment to keep the hall open under a publicly elected committee. They've asked me again to ask the minister to meet with them. They've asked me to ask the minister has he met with the privately elected committee. Because the things he had to say in the House the other day would seem to indicate that he has at least met with that person or talked with that person.

I've got a number of sheets on this petition. I didn't present them all at once, obviously, because I wanted to raise the matter again in case the government failed to deal with the issue. I will continue to raise the matter as long as I have petition sheets to present. Because ordinary people in a small rural town deserve democratic treatment from a government and nothing less is expected of such a government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the business of the day will be to begin the debate on the Budget. In a moment I will ask Your Honour to call Motion No. 1. Before we do there are three matters of housekeeping - no pun intended, if I may.

The first is, may I take advantage of the occasion to confirm that the private member's motion which will be debated on Wednesday is the one of which notice was given by my friend and colleague, the Member for Twillingate, with respect to lighthouses. That will save me -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry? Let there be light, I say to my hon. friend for Grand Bank. I also say, that while the light holds out to burn, the vilest sinners may return. There is a place for him as well.

Mr. Speaker, a note to that end, we will not have in place by Wednesday an amendment to the Standing Orders. The drafting is under way but we've not come to that point. If the House is so minded, perhaps we could adopt a motion now to put in place a procedure for this Wednesday comparable to that which we had last Wednesday, with one exception. I think there is a feeling, at least among members on this side, that the mover would have fifteen minutes, as does every other person. If that is agreeable, I will move a motion that for this Wednesday the rule be that every person who speaks has fifteen minutes, that the mover have the right of response at the end of the day, that the motion be put to the vote not later than the end of the day. If that is in order - we will need consent, obviously - I would so move.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It is moved and seconded as the minister says. Any discussion on the motion?

It is moved and seconded, as I understand it, that the mover of the motion on this coming Wednesday be restricted to fifteen minutes in moving the motion and then finishing debate at the end of the day; that each speaker have a similar amount of time; and that the question be put before the end of session on Wednesday.

Anything further?



MR. ROBERTS: The motion is carried, I take it, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: No, I was going to put the motion. I just wanted to make sure I included everything. Is there anything else in the motion?

Motion carried.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) Hansard notes that my comment was a question, Mr. Speaker, and not a statement.

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

MR. ROBERTS: I wonder if we could now go on and deal with Motion No. 5, which is simply the motion standing on the Order Paper to refer the Estimates to the standing committees so we can begin the process whereby the detailed examination is done. I would ask accordingly, Your Honour, that we deal with Motion No. 5, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 5.

It is moved and seconded:

(a) That the following Heads of Expenditure be referred to the Government Services Committee:


Works, Services and Transportation

Employment and Labour Relations

Municipal and Provincial Affairs

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation

Public Service Commission

(b) That the following Heads of Expenditure be referred to the Social Services Committee:

Social Services

Education and Training



Justice; and

(c) That the following Heads of Expenditure be referred to the Resource Committee:

Fisheries, Food and Agriculture

Natural Resources

Tourism, Culture and Recreation

Industry, Trade and Technology.

Motion carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would remind the Chairs of the Committees that they are required to bring the reports of their committees back, within I believe it is fifteen sitting days, I am just trying to find the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: - yes, it is Standing Order 120, fifteen sitting days back to the House. There is no law saying they must take the fifteen sitting days, it is entirely up to the members of the committee when they deal with these matters.

Finally, Your Honour, the House Leader on the other side and myself have been having conversations which, at this stage have not produced a conclusion, but in order simply to leave a door open, and I emphasize this, I will move that the House not adjourn at five, but let me say on that, we are not attempting to produce a marathon, it is simply, if my friend from Mount Pearl is at the point at five where, fifteen minutes or half-an-hour would enable him to conclude his remarks, fine, if he is not, then we will have to deal with that but there is no suggestion the House sit very late this evening; we simply want to accommodate my friend from Mount Pearl. There are no wagers this year I understand although there has been an offer from his side, but should he be at the point where he wants to conclude his speech rather than have a break because we may be a week or two getting back to this given that we are going to do the Interim Supply next, so I will accordingly simply move that the House not adjourn at five, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that the House not adjourn at five; any discussions?

All in favour of the motion, `aye'.


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

Motion, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Motion 1, Your Honour, please.

On motion, 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: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have just received a note from the media saying that they would like to speak to me outside. I regret they are going to have to wait; unfortunately, I am not going to be available.

MR. BAKER: I will talk to them instead.

MR. WINDSOR: The minister could go out? If the minister is going to tell them the truth, then I would be honoured to have him represent me out there, it would be a nice change.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to respond to this Budget Speech but let me say first of all to the minister, as I said to him earlier before today: surely, he doesn't think he is going to get away with the sleight of hand that is in this Budget document. Surely he knows that he cannot fool the people of the Province, certainly he can't fool the House of Assembly and rest assured, that he certainly hasn't fooled the fiscal agents or their credit rating agencies in New York or in Toronto.

One can see through this Budget document just the same as if it were written on glass. I get a kick out of the headlines: Grits balance the books, Mr. Speaker, Grits balanced the books. Grits had absolutely nothing to do with balancing the books, that is the bottom line here. The fact that the minister has produced a document which appears to be balanced has nothing to do with anything that this government has done or any economic policies that they have put forward. It is simply -

AN HON. MEMBER: A well-thought out plan.

MR. WINDSOR: - a well-thought out plan, Mr. Speaker, yes, simply a chance, Mr. Speaker, good fortune, not unlike winning the lottery by some of our hon. colleagues, not unlike that, not appears to be the way the minister proposes to deal with the long-term, financial problems that this Province faces. Nothing in here to even attack the problem that the pension plans are presenting to this government and to this Province, the unfunded liability. The minister produced a document as part of the Budget documents which we appreciate, it gives us a lot of factual information based, I assume on actuarial studies that have been done so we have some idea of the magnitude of the problem we are faced, but we have no idea any more than the minister does, of how the minister is proposing to deal with that serious problem; nor has the minister given us any indication of how he proposes to deal with a $200 million shortfall he is facing next year, compared to this Budget as a result of lost federal revenues next year, that the minister has predicted based on steps taken by the recent federal Budget and by the loss of one-shot revenues that the minister has in his Budget this year, and that is how he balanced the Budget, Mr. Speaker, not on improved, economic performance, not on any great Strategic Economic Plan.

The only thing the Strategic Economic Plan has done is gather dust, Mr. Speaker, has not produced one job in this Province nor is it likely to, nor is it likely to. There is no great increase in the strength of this economy, Mr. Speaker, since that document was produced a number of years ago or since the great Economic Recovery Commission was put into place. Outside of creating jobs for themselves, they produced very little of benefit to this Province, or to the people of this Province.

So the minister has produced a document this year that shows a balance, approximately, a small surplus, in total, on current and capital account, and if that were true I would be here applauding the minister and his government, saying what a fantastic job they have done; they finally got back to a surplus. We handed them a surplus, by the way, in 1989, which they quickly turned into a $100 million shortfall that first year.

AN HON. MEMBER: That wasn't current and capital.

MR. WINDSOR: Wasn't current and capital, no, but we did hand them a surplus. I say to the minister, he doesn't even have a surplus here on current account this year - doesn't even have it - didn't have it last year. He shows here that at the end of the 1994-'95 fiscal year he has approximately a $25 million surplus - very proud of that, and so he should be, if it were true, but he neglects to tell you that in that is $30 million that was paid by the Government of Canada in order for the Province of Newfoundland to take over the ferry service on the South Coast, for one, and $20 million that he took this year from the sinking fund, so that is $50 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't take it from the sinking fund.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, yes; well, where did it come from?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Twenty million dollars this year from the sinking fund, in 1994-'95.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, yes. I disagree with the minister. The minister had better look again. He did, in fact, take $20 million, yes -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Surpluses, but surpluses from the sinking fund; yes, indeed he did. So that is $50 million gratuitously - `fortuitously' as he says many times in his Budget document, a fine word, `fortuitously' received $50 million, which brought him from the real deficit of $25 million to a pretend surplus of $25 million for the last fiscal year.

The minister effectively came in on budget. He predicted last year in his Budget a $25 million deficit for this year, which he was quite pleased to do, and it was an honourable objective based on the deficits we had been faced with in previous years.

AN HON. MEMBER: You said we would never reach it.

MR. WINDSOR: I said you would never reach it, and you didn't reach it. You didn't reach it because of anything that you did - fortuitously picked up these extra $50 million, which made last year's performance appear better than the reality.

I say to the minister that his predictions for this year are also better than the reality. The only reason that he is able to even show a small surplus - or a big surplus on current account, $125 million - is because of these fortuitous amounts that he is receiving this year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Your projections are conservative? The economic projections are conservative. We will have a look at that in due course to see how conservative these projections are.

Let me say to the minister that, as I indicated earlier, some of our colleagues have done well with the lotteries. The minister seems to be waiting for the tooth fairy to come in to deal with his problems. The tooth fairy is coming in to deal with his problems, but it is not the tooth fairy at all; it is the South Coast ferry that has helped him - not the tooth fairy, but the South Coast ferry.

There is a lot of concern about that. I would say that my friend from Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir must be concerned about the funding for the South Coast ferry.

AN HON. MEMBER: What do you suggest?

MR. WINDSOR: What do I suggest? The minister is expecting me now to say that we should take that $50 million or $51 million and put it into a bank account, stash it away for the future, as has been suggested by others, but I agree with the minister that that is not a wise use of government funding. What the government has not done is one of two alternatives: either utilize that funding for government purposes, whatever they may be, to defer other borrowings, because those borrowings would be at a higher rate than would be earned on this money if it were invested, most likely; or probably it is better to pay off some debt that is already costing us quite a bit more. If the minister were doing that, I would see some rationale to it. Or if the minister were saying - and let's go back and use the example of the Roads for Rail Agreement, the agreement, by the way, Mr. Speaker, on which hon. members opposite when they were on this side of the House, lambasted the government of the day for selling out the railway. The minister hides his head in shame, and so he should. They lambasted us day after day for selling out our heritage, our birthright, our railway service that was enshrined in the Constitution as part of the Terms of Union of Confederation in 1949. We sold it out, the minister said. The minister will recall that we did indeed take the payment of $850 million, I think it was, something of that magnitude.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, but it was about an $850 million overall deal, as I recall.

Mr. Speaker, that money has gone into replacing rails in this Province. We have been utilizing those funds to upgrade highways in this Province. The present government, which lambasted us for making this deal, have not hesitated to stick out their chests and crow when they announce new highway projects using the funding that was made available. Very little funding is being made available through provincial sources. If we took away the money that was allocated in that Roads for Rail Agreement you would have pothole after pothole. You wouldn't have any road, you would have a series of potholes in this Province.

Those funds have been put to very good use, and our highway system in this Province has improved substantially. Now, there are sections of it that - driving across the Province yesterday, I can tell you that one would wonder if there was ever a road built there. A couple of sections now are in bad shape. Terra Nova Park still needs a tremendous amount of funds. It is time the Federal Government stopped playing patchwork with it and did a complete reconstruction of the highway through Terra Nova Park. It is time to stop playing games and bring it up to the standards of the rest of the highway in this Province now.

There was a time, I recall, when you got to Terra Nova Park and you sort of breathed easily. You said: Isn't it great now, you have paved shoulders and everything else. How good is it at all! Now we've by-passed the standards of Terra Nova Park to the point where now you get in the Park and there are no passing lanes, and the quality of the pavement, which was put there a long time ago - I suggest it would have been back about.... Terra Nova Park would have been paved around the mid-sixties, about 1965. It was part of the drive to - or earlier than that, in fact, the early 'sixties. Because the road was finished in 1965, to some standard at least. At least there was a road open from Port aux Basques to St. John's. It would have been the early 'sixties that that road was built. That is thirty-five years.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I say, The Evening Telegram had a very interesting article, a little article that says: `Don't dwink and dwive, but it's okay to dwive a weck.' I don't know what that is supposed to mean, but it is an interesting article in The Evening Telegram. I found it so good I can't bear to leave it, I can't bear to put it away.

AN HON. MEMBER: Would you read that to me again.

MR. WINDSOR: I'm trying to figure - it says: `Don't dwink and dwive, but it's okay to dwive a weck.' It sounds like Elmer Fudd, but the caricature is not Elmer Fudd. Elmer Fudd is far more attractive than that. It would be an insult to Elmer Fudd to say that this was Elmer Fudd. But it is an interesting little cartoon.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We will deal with that a little later.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say again to the minister that we have used the funds for highway construction wisely in this Province. Under federal-provincial agreements the Province has indeed benefitted. I'm prepared to say that the decision that was made in that agreement was a wise agreement. Because within a year or two the rail service - well, it had been downgraded to the point, but it would have been downgraded further to the point where nobody was going to use it anyway and we would have lost it by attrition, simply, there would have been no business, nothing to put on a train, and you would have lost it. We would have had nothing for it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I accept what the minister is saying.

So the wisdom of government at the time was take your money and run now. This is a good deal, we can't keep the rail any longer. Modern transportation technology, modern shipping methods, the demand for faster supply of goods and services, transportation, particularly of fresh foods and vegetables and things of that nature, and frozen product, demand, Mr. Speaker, that the pressure be on the highway system.

The rail system, in Newfoundland at least, because of our geography, because of the narrow gauge railway, we cannot compete. The service is neither acceptable, nor is it any longer marketable, therefore the railway is no longer viable. So we made an agreement which is now being seen to be, in my view, Mr. Speaker, an extremely wise agreement. This Province has benefitted greatly from it. But, now, let's compare that with what the minister has done with the South Coast ferry, because the government has now sold or taken over, sold out to the Government of Canada for $51 million. The government is now responsible, in perpetuity, $55 million. Sold out in perpetuity for the sum of $55 million and are now responsible for ferry service on the South Coast of the Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister who is shooting off his face down there has been quoted as saying that that money would be put in the bank, will be put into a trust fund to ensure the ferry service. Now that proves, Mr. Speaker, that he has no more knowledge about high level financing then he does about what the Minister of Finance's intents were. The minister had to, on Friday as quoted in The Evening Telegram say, `That is nonsense, why would we ever do it?' And he still doesn't have sense enough to sit there and be quiet, as embarrassed as he is, or at least he should be; if he had a shred of decency in his body at all, he would be sitting there embarrassed that the Minister of Finance has had to put him back into his place. Mr. Speaker, what the minister has not done - and he asked me what I would do; I would do one of two things. Because that ferry service is the lifeline for all of those communities on the South Coast of this Province. Now, I suspect from what I am hearing that the intent is, that government will change the ferry service on the South Coast of the Province - and it frightens me to know who we have in charge of this whole project. But the government will change the level of service on the South Coast to provide transportation to the nearest road link, six days a week instead of three. There are advantages in that, you will have ferry service six days a week. That is a positive thing.

MR. BAKER: We may be able to provide some movement back and forth.

MR. WINDSOR: You may be able to provide some movement back and forth. Now, there is the real question, because that person in Burgeo who is doing business with somebody in Grey River, if the Grey River ferry is going to Port aux Basques and the Burgeo ferry - well Burgeo to have a road link, or Ramea, say, is going to Burgeo and heading up towards Stephenville, in order to do business between Ramea now and Grey River one has to go to Burgeo and drive to Stephenville and back to Port aux Basques and take another ferry back. The minister understands the concept I am talking about. Make it Gaultois rather than Ramea - leave Gaultois and come back to Bay d'Espoir rather than leaving Gaultois and going west to Grey River. In other words, what are the personal inter-relationships? What are the community relationships? What is the traditional relationship, from social points of view and business points of view, of various communities along the coast? How many people are doing business on the South Coast, people who travel down there to do business? How many of them go down to Bay d'Espoir and travel the coast to Port aux Basques, perhaps come back again or perhaps drive back from Port aux Basques? Whereas now you would have to go to all of these communities, make a little ferry service out, come back again, drive to the next ferry and make another little ferry service out - changes the whole way of life of the South Coast.

So that we will deal with in due course, I am sure, but these are some of the concerns that the people of the South Coast, I am sure, are feeling today. They are even more concerned that there is no commitment here of the level of service, the $55 million is taken and is gone - no guarantee. What is the guarantee that the government is prepared to give the people of the South Coast that the ferry service will be at least as good, as safe and as efficient, and at as reasonable a cost as it is today? There is no problem to provide a ferry service, a luxury ferry service, if people are prepared to pay for it. That is not the problem, but is this government prepared to commit to the people of the South Coast that an equivalent ferry service at equivalent cost will be maintained in perpetuity in return for this $55 million windfall that the minister has trotted off to provide a surplus in his Budget?

MR. BAKER: I don't know what the nasty Tourism (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, you may rest assured, Mr. Speaker, that in the not-too-distant future when this party takes back the government of this Province, and when we sit on that side, then indeed we will have a Minister of Transportation with a reasonable amount of intelligence who will make the right recommendations to Cabinet and let Cabinet proceed with an program that is in the best interest of the people of the South Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and that will guarantee them transportation.

Now, there was another option, of course, perhaps not a feasible option, but if the minister were taking that $55 million - he would probably need far more than that, and if he were connecting all those communities so that the need for the South Coast ferries would be eliminated, then that would be a rational way of dealing with the problem, which is what we did with the Roads for Rail Agreement. We have now provided a transportation network in the Province, or we are getting very close to it, that basically eliminated the need for rails. Now, if we could do that on the South Coast, that would make some sense, that would relieve the responsibility from government and the necessity of providing a ferry service, at least a ferry service as we know it today, a passenger ferry service.

It would always be, perhaps, private enterprise providing transportation of goods and services. Private enterprise could well do that if there were a demand, if there were a market to move goods by water on the South Coast of the Province. Private enterprise could move in and fill that gap. I don't think the Province would necessarily have a responsibility unless there were an absolute need that could not be filled economically by private enterprise, but if there were a road link, Mr. Speaker, I think certainly the responsibility would be greatly decreased. Government could be excused then for taking this $55 million, not using it anywhere they want to, but if it were earmarked, if it were dedicated and spent on providing road transportation to these communities, then that would be a reasonable option.

There are two options that the minister has, but so far the government has not given the people of the South Coast any reasonable assurance that a level of service will be maintained in perpetuity at an equivalent cost and equivalent efficiency. They may argue in fact that a lower cost and better efficiency would be desirable, but certainly they can expect, Mr. Speaker, for a government that sells out, such as this one has, a commitment from them of a continued level of service at a reasonable cost on the South Coast of Newfoundland.

So, Mr. Speaker, there is where some of our money comes from, to give us this so-called surplus. Now, where does the bulk of it come from? Well, $70 million comes from the sinking fund. Well, let's examine that. Is that a wise use of this money? Now, the minister can argue that if we didn't take money from the sinking fund and put it into current account, then we might have to borrow that much.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Not if you are saying you have a $125 million surplus. You do not have a $125 million surplus. You are taking $70 million from a sinking fund. Now, Mr. Speaker, what is a sinking fund established for? Obviously, it is there to retire a debt when it becomes due, and this is surplus from those debts that require a sinking fund. Some borrowings do not require them. Most borrowings do not require a sinking fund. Only certain borrowings, because of their nature, require in the terms of agreement that a sinking fund be established, similar to the sinking fund for the building of three hospitals, so that the money is there at the end of the term to pay off that debt. So, for various reasons, because of interest rates or whatever, we have built up a surplus there, and that is to our advantage. So what do we do with that $70 million surplus this year? The minister has chosen to take it and make his current account look good - a one-shot deal. He is fooling himself because he won't have that $70 million next year, so his current account, in comparison, will not look nearly as good next year.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) I pointed out all of that.

MR. WINDSOR: The minister pointed out all of it.

MR. BAKER: I didn't try to hide it.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, but he shouldn't come out and say, in his Budget Speech: We have been able to generate a $1.4 million surplus on current and capital account.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He did not. On paper it is there, but he is just juggling the books, that's all, sliding from one page to the next.

So he has taken $70 million, and we are all concerned about the $5 billion or $5.5 billion deficit, a debt that this Province has now shouldered, that we have to pay back. We are all concerned about that. The minister is concerned, and the government is concerned about that. They have shown in previous statements and in past Budgets some concern about that and say, `We have to turn the economy around. We have to get our financial house in order.' I can hear the Premier, now, saying, `We have to have our financial house in order' regardless of the pain that it might cause in the short term. It is hard to argue that, and we support that with some moderation, with some compassion for those who might suffer most from some of the cuts that we have had over the last five or six years since this government came to power. There has to be a balance of social conscience and fiscal responsibility here.

We may disagree to the level of cut and the level of fiscal responsibility one should have, but overall, I don't think we disagree on the general principle that we have to be fiscally responsible, and that we do have a serious financial problem in this Province. If we are ever, though, to create a strong economy, then we have to deal with the great deficit.

So, Mr. Speaker, instead of taking the $70 million surplus, windfall, and saying: This was put here during hard times, during times when we were putting restraint on the public sector and closing hospital beds and schools and everything else -

AN HON. MEMBER: You're not advocating we spend it now?

MR. WINDSOR: I am not advocating we take it and spend it - that's what the minister is doing, taking it and spending it. He put it into current account, to make his current account look good.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, why doesn't the minister take the $70 million and pay off some of the debt that is coming due this year?

MR. BAKER: And then go off and borrow $70 million again?

MR. WINDSOR: The minister is borrowing $104 million this year to roll over a debt that is retiring this year. He is borrowing $104 million simply to roll over that debt and put it back on the books again, instead of paying it off. Why couldn't we pay off seventy -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: At least you are being honest - unless your borrowing rate is less favourable, but that is effectively what he is doing. It is effectively what you are doing, taking that $70 million instead of borrowing another seventy.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, why doesn't the minister tell the truth? Why don't you say: No, we don't have $125 million surplus; we have $70 million less because I have to borrow that $70 million to pay off debt that is due this year. That is what it amounts to. That is cooking the books in the worst order - clearly cooking the books.

MR. BAKER: You don't want a balanced budget, that's all.

MR. WINDSOR: I want a true balanced Budget. Anybody can balance a Budget if they borrow more and put it in there and say: There, that's borrowing; if they move it around from one to the other and say: There, it's balanced -

AN HON. MEMBER: We'll get that next year.

MR. WINDSOR: We'll get that next year. We will get it next year, alright; we will get it right between the two eyes next year, because the minister has a $200 million problem to deal with next year, and he hasn't a clue how he is going to deal with it - not a clue - let alone the $5.5 billion deficit that this Budget does not address. It doesn't even consider it, no effort, no attempt whatsoever to deal with our long-term debt in this Budget - none whatsoever - and no indication that we will be in a position to deal with it, absolutely none.

Now, Mr. Speaker, another windfall we have - we are not sure it's a windfall per se - is the Offshore Revenue fund, $7 million. We are not quite clear on what that is other than, there is money that has been held in the Petroleum Directorate, I guess, under federal/provincial agreements, some revenues that should have come back to the Province and we finally completed some negotiations and got them back. Well, that is good, we are glad to hear that we have gotten that $7 million, but again, it is a one-shot deal and then the minister is talking about privatizing Holiday Inn and Newfoundland Hardwoods.

Now, Holiday Inns, I am sure we can privatize it if the price is right. Holiday Inn is a valuable asset in this Province, I wonder why, you know; I guess it depends on the prices paid, because Holiday Inn have been making money for this Province for the last number of years. We have actually had a small return on that investment, not a great amount, a couple of million dollars a year, I think?

MR. BAKER: It varies.

MR. WINDSOR: It varies, but it would be of that magnitude, $1 million or $2 million a year, revenue from that investment, not a bad investment, no reason to get rid of it unless you want to get a bunch of money now, which the minister does, you see. We could leave that there and -

MR. BAKER: Why do we run hotels?

MR. WINDSOR: We don't run hotels, we have never run a hotel.

MR. BAKER: Why do we own them?

MR. WINDSOR: We own them because nobody was prepared, I say in defense of -

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible), why we did then, why would we own them now?

MR. WINDSOR: There's no need to own them now, there was no need to own them then except that they would not have been there if we hadn't built them. So the government, the Premier of the day, the former Premier Smallwood, I give him full marks; one of the few decisions he made that was a wise decision back in those days, and we wouldn't have the quality of accommodation in these areas of the Province that Holiday Inn has provided for so many years, had government not agreed, and there was a lot of money lost on it; it was all cost plus projects, so the government's buddies of the day built those buildings and made a fine dollar on it. They could have been built more cheaply, nevertheless, the decision to do them I support, the way in which they way were done left a lot to be desired. And why, do we indeed want to maintain those buildings? Well, why do we want to sell them? They are not a cost to us, they are providing us a small return, a small financial return so there is some benefit in keeping them, but if the benefit is not as great as taking our equity out - and it depends on how much the minister expects to get. Can the minister tell us how much he expects to get for the sale of Holiday Inn?

MR. BAKER: I don't want to say.

MR. WINDSOR: Are we in negotiations now, can the minister tell us? Are we negotiating with Atlific or are we inviting proposals?

MR. BAKER: We are going to invite proposals.

MR. WINDSOR: Proposals or tenders now? Let's get our words clear because the court just told us that the government doesn't know the difference between a tender and a proposal, so, are we talking about a tender or a proposal call?

MR. BAKER: We'll get the best price we can.

MR. WINDSOR: We will get the best possible price we can. Are we going to negotiate with some of our buddies as we did for the hospitals?

MR. BAKER: The highest price, (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The highest price.

MR. BAKER: If it is one of your buddies we will take it.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, we will; and how are we going to determine the highest price, is it a public tender call? Is it the same as the disposal of any other government asset, invite tenders for the purchase of this property on the fair, open market? That's the question.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It is. That's what it will be. Well, we will be watching that with interest. Will the minister tell us, where are we, I mean, the minister says we are going to negotiate the best price, who are we negotiating with, and what rights does Atlific have, having operated Holiday Inn since the early 1960s, better than thirty years, Atlific has operated those buildings? Hotel Holdings owned the buildings, Holiday Inn is simply a trade name, Atlific are the operators, they are the company which operate Holiday Inn in Atlantic Canada. Does the minister recognize that Atlific may indeed have some rights in view of the service they have provided for thirty years? It will be interesting to find out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly, and Newfoundland Hardwoods is an interesting one. There is not much left at the Donovan's - I don't think we own anything now at Donovan's, in fact, Donovan's is all gone, isn't it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We still own the buildings?

AN HON. MEMBER: Got some real good bids on that.

MR. WINDSOR: I see. The real bid, of course, is for Clarenville operation. The real bid is for the creosote operation at Clarenville and the sale of creosote. Now, that is going to be interesting. Maybe if the two ministers who are talking now would listen for a moment. Because this involves the Minister of Naturals Resources, as well. I would just like to get their attention for a moment. I know what they are dealing with is probably important, as well, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is going to wake him up here for me.

The sale of Newfoundland Hardwoods in Clarenville is important from a petroleum management point of view, the sale of the asphalt, because they have a monopoly. We could have sold that aspect of Hardwoods many years ago. The problem is, it would give then a monopoly situation to one of the petroleum companies. And who is the biggest buyer of asphalt? The Government of Newfoundland, basically, unless the system has changed. We always bought the liquid asphalt from Newfoundland Hardwoods and provided it to our highway contractors, and I think that is the way it is still done. We buy it at a reasonable price.

So there was a real advantage to government retaining the ownership and distribution of liquid asphalt in this Province. Maybe the minister would give me some detail on that when he speaks again. That will give him some opportunity to research that a bit. I'm quite serious. I would really like to know how the minister is proposing to deal with that monopoly situation. I'm not concerned about the creosoting that is done for hardwood poles for Newfoundland Light and Power and Newfoundland Hydro. That can be done by private sector, and there are possibly other markets. But if we are going to give one supplier or one oil company a monopoly on the supply of liquid asphalt in this Province, we may find that we are going to pay considerably more for liquid asphalt down the road.

The minister might consider that very carefully, as to whether we indeed want to sell that component of Newfoundland Hardwoods, which of itself, on a stand-alone basis, is a profitable operation. Because we are then controlling the price of liquid asphalt to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. So that requires, Mr. Speaker, some very careful thought and consideration.

MR. BAKER: That is being done right now. We called for bids - they are being evaluated right now.

MR. WINDSOR: They are being evaluated. Well, I caution the minister, before that is sold out to a private operator, how does he propose to deal with that then? If he is proposing to sell it to whomever, how do we protect ourselves against price increases in liquid asphalt?

It can be argued, I suppose, how do we protect ourselves now? Newfoundland Hardwoods has to buy liquid asphalt on the open market, but at least they can go to any number of suppliers and they can compete between various petroleum companies and get the best possible price, anywhere in the world market, for that matter. But if, for example, Ultramar were to come in and buy Newfoundland Hardwoods and take control, well then Ultramar would have a monopoly on the supply of liquid asphalt, not only to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, but to other contractors in this Province. Unless something has changed in the last few years, to my knowledge all liquid asphalt comes into this Province through Newfoundland Hardwoods at Clarenville. I don't think that has changed, I'm not aware of it. I haven't been in the construction industry for some time now, unfortunately. I would probably be a lot better off if I were. But it has been twenty years since I was involved in the construction industry. I don't think that has changed.

Mr. Speaker, so there is a $90 million or $95 million surplus or windfall that the government has this year that it rolls into its current account and says: We have a nice surplus. Now, there (inaudible) few new revenues. The minister said: no new taxes, no tax increases.

MR. BAKER: Wonderful.

MR. WINDSOR: Wonderful. It is wonderful, Mr. Speaker. It is wonderful if it were true. If only it were true that there are no tax increases. When you tell Newfoundland Hydro that you are now going to charge them a dividend of $20 million - this is on top of the $10 million guarantee fee, or was that $10 million a year for three years, wasn't it? So it is a $30 million guarantee fee, and now a $20 million dividend - that's $50 million that Newfoundland Hydro now has to fork out every year, over and above -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon? No. Ten million a year, $20 million the second year, and $30 million the third year. Is that not right?

I think it escalated by $10 million a year.


MR. WINDSOR: I don't think that's right. If I am wrong I stand to be corrected and I will check that out again. It is only a matter of going back to the Budget of three years ago and it will tell me what it says. I think it was escalating by $10 million each year, phased in over three years, an additional $10 million each year, and I feel fairly confident that I am right, that it is $30 million a year by now, the guarantee fee. Whether it is $10 or $30 million you add to that another $20 million dividend and you have a substantial cost that Hydro has to bear. Now, what does Hydro do with it? They produce electricity but they can't produce $30 million. They have to sell the electricity to produce the $30 million.

Well, we know can't do much about the electricity that is being sold to Quebec. The former Liberal government sold out our birthright in Labrador and gave it away to Quebec for sixty-five years, the biggest scandal this country has ever seen. So, where can Hydro get that $30 million, or $50 million, as the case may be? I believe it is $50 million, but even if it is $30, it has to come from the ratepayers. It has to be passed along to Newfoundland Light and Power because 85 per cent of the customers in this Province, I think, are serviced through Newfoundland Light and Power, maybe more than that.

MR. TOBIN: `Baker' said this morning on Open Line that the way to go now is to nationalize the other (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I would agree with that.

MR. TOBIN: I heard him.

MR. WINDSOR: I would agree with that. Did the minister actually say that? Would the minister confirm that with a nod of his head? Did the minister say that the way to go now is to nationalize Newfoundland Light and Power?

MR. TOBIN: What did you say?

MR. BAKER: I can't remember.

MR. WINDSOR: The minister has another lapse of memory like he had down in court.

I fear the minister may have early signs of Alzheimers or other than that, selective amnesia, one or the other.

MR. BAKER: With the elimination of (inaudible) to privatize but nationalize.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, that's it exactly, what he has just said, and I agree with him. I agree with an article that Mr. Abery had in The Evening Telegram somewhere in the last few days. I have it here somewhere in the midst of all of this. There it is. Mr. Abery, is very knowledgeable about Hydro matters and the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro. That is precisely what Mr. Abery said, and he is quoted in The Evening telegram. He said: Newfoundland Light and Power pays between $12 million and $15 million a year to the Federal Government in federal corporate income taxes. Nationalize Light and Power and they would not have to pay that.

They are now earning 13.5 per cent a year on equity, the shareholders of Newfoundland Light and Power, and under a nationalized Newfoundland Light and Power funds could be accessed, some debentures at 10 per cent and some on Hydro's borrowing rate of 6 per cent, certainly far more favourable than at 13.5 per cent. Mr. Abery predicts that it is good for $10 million a year. Then he says government is talking about the efficiencies that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro would have gained by being sold to Newfoundland Light and Power worth $5 to $10 million. Well, the same is true in the reverse, I assume. If there were $5 to $10 million in efficiencies of selling Hydro to Newfoundland Light and Power, there is $5 to $10 million worth of efficiencies in selling Newfoundland Light and Power to Hydro. When you add all that up, lo and behold, the Province will gain $25 million a year in efficiencies, simply by nationalizing Newfoundland Light and Power, $25 million that the Province could take out by way of a dividend, if they chose to, or could leave in and allow Hydro rates to go down by $25 million, either way. The same figure, Mr. Speaker, as the Premier was saying - we sell Newfoundland Hydro and the Province will be better off by $25 million a year. That was all-important last year, sell Hydro and we will save $25 million a year in debt servicing and other things. Well, now we can see from Mr. Abery's assessment, and I think the minister agrees, that we can gain $25 million a year by nationalizing Newfoundland Light and Power. We still have our resources, we still have Hydro, and we still have control of development and distribution of hydroelectric energy in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: The best of both worlds and, better still, we don't have 13.5 per cent interest being paid out to outside investors in Newfoundland Light and Power. We had to borrow money, obviously, but there will be opportunities to keep some of that in the Province, far more than there is through Newfoundland Light and Power.

So, Mr. Speaker, if the government wants to save $25 million, there is a way to do it far better than selling out our natural resources, which this government wanted to do. And thank God for the people of Newfoundland and for the Opposition, we put up such a fight that it was finally stopped, and the government has to be saying now: Are we ever lucky that we didn't bull ahead with that, that we didn't proceed with it. We didn't know that the Federal Government was going to cancel the PUITTA clause, $40 million a year that was going to be given to New Hydro to make them viable. Had they gone ahead, we would have a serious problem now, wouldn't we?

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) part of your policy.

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

MR. BAKER: Part of your policy.

MR. WINDSOR: Part of our policy.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) policy.

MR. WINDSOR: No, part of my policy. The party has not taken the position on it yet. I speak only for myself now, but I am getting a response from my colleagues here that I suspect it is a good policy. It makes sense, and our party's policy is to do whatever makes financial sense as long as it is in the best interest of the people of this Province, and the Province itself.

What this government proposed to do with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro was not in the best interest of either one, not in the best interest of the government, and not in the best interest of the people of the Province. So thank God, then, they finally came to their senses because of the tremendous pressure that was mounted by the people of this Province. Well, they haven't come to their senses, but they had the decency, at least, to back down in the face of huge political pressure. It proves that the political system can indeed work, but it takes a lot of work sometimes for this particular government to get them to see straight.

So there is your so-called deficit, Mr. Speaker. We have gone from $125 million surplus basically to breaking even. When you take out the Hydro dividends, and you take out the privatization of Newfoundland Hardwoods and Holiday Inn, and you take off the $7 million from the Offshore Revenue fund, $20 million additional this year from the purchase of the ferry service on the South Coast, and $50 million from the sinking fund, there, you add to that $10 million in cuts of social assistance, $2.5 million from Memorial University, and $5 million worth of lay-offs, approximately, maybe $10 million, and you have your surplus - not a surplus at all. It is a charade; that is all it is. There is indeed no surplus generated in this Province.

The minister says no new taxes or tax increases. What would a cut of $2.5 million to Memorial University represent - Memorial University and the other post-secondary institutions - if it is not a new tax? Where is it going to come from? Are we going to close part of the university? Are we going to admit fewer students? The minister says: No, we are not going to change the access to the university of young people of this Province.

So how is the university going to absorb this cost? There are very few options. One option, obviously, is to increase fees to students, and other charges. How long will it be before we see that? Can the minister assure us there will be no increase in fees to university students? He tries to give us some comfort and say: There will be no increased cost or burden on university students; there will be no restriction of access to education. Words are fine, Mr. Speaker, but how can he back that up?

I have not heard the president of the University make any such statement and we all know that the minister has no control over the president of the University. Nobody has control over the president of the University, thanks to this government. Thanks to the fact that they have now put the president of the University in a position of enjoying a freedom that nobody else in this Province enjoys - answers to no one and cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee. He refused to come before the Public Accounts Committee and in response to that what did the government do? Change the act. Every one of the ministers sitting opposite can be called before the Public Accounts Committee but not the president of the university. The only person in this Province that cannot be called before the Public Accounts Committee is the president of the university.

Now what does that say to the University, that they enjoy such a special privileged position in the society of this Province? What does that tell them? What does it tell the people of the Province, Mr. Speaker? It is - $255 million, I believe it is off the top of my head, in grants that goes to Memorial University. Do they answer to this House of Assembly? They don't even answer to the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Speaker. To whom are they accountable?.... Oh, we are accountable to our Board of Regents and our Board of Governors. They are offended at the suggestion that they should come before this House, as the people's representatives, and account for $255 million that is being spent. The Minister of Education is accountable.

I can see the former Minister of Justice, or whoever he is now, indicating - interesting sidelight, Mr. Speaker, we have a new item in the Budget, it is called; `Salaries and Expenses for the Government House Leader.' It was never in the Budget before. Never in the Budget -

MR. ROBERTS: I would be delighted if it was up there now but it is nice to get a salary (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Nice to get a salary? I wish the minister was earning it, Mr. Speaker. What does he do?

MR. ROBERTS: That is a good question.

MR. WINDSOR: We have an item in here now of $150,000, I think, for the operation of the office of the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: I couldn't find it, I am glad the hon. gentleman did.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, it is there. Yes, it is there in the Budget since the minister was forced to resign as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. ROBERTS: I wasn't forced to resign (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, he says he was not forced to resign. He did it before he could be forced to resign. He was wise enough to get out of there quickly. I don't know how long this thing is going to go on. Perhaps we could ask the member now when we expect we might get some resolution of that whole sordid affair.

MR. ROBERTS: I was hoping sooner rather than later.

MR. WINDSOR: When the courts might deal with it. I realize the minister is not in control of it.

MR. ROBERTS: There were no charges laid (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, no charges laid. A strange set of circumstances. Why would it take so long to lay charges I wonder? Good question, I guess perhaps we should research that a little bit and find out what has happened with that affair with pharmaceutical supplies. How come the police have not yet completed their investigation, if they have not? When will indeed charges be laid or a statement made that no charges will be laid if such is the case? It would be interesting to find out just how that matter will be disposed of, Mr. Speaker. But at any rate, the minister who no longer has a portfolio, no longer has any major ministerial responsibilities or at least he is not supposed to, now has a new sub-head in the Budget of $150,000 for salaries and costs associated with the office of Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Little enough I'd say.

MR. WINDSOR: Little enough. I say to the minister - he doesn't know where it is - it is here in the Executive Council -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The minister should have a look at page 15 of the Budget, of the estimates, Section 2.2.02, Government House Leader: appropriations provide for administrative support to the Government House Leader as minister responsible for government's legislative agenda.

MR. ROBERTS: Sounds good to me.

MR. WINDSOR: Onerous responsibility, Mr. Speaker, ever since the House of Assembly has been, the office has been fulfilled by one of the ministers. It is hardly a separate responsibility that requires a separate department and a separate Budget, Mr. Speaker.

But anyway, we have it this year and I will say though, there was one case many years ago when the Minister of Forestry at the time, during the debate on the Estimates -

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, Ed. Maynard.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Maynard, his salary was reduced to $1.00. I believe the hon. gentleman opposite, the Government House Leader was in the House at the time -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: - and his salary was reduced to $1.00 by way of a motion during the Estimates, Mr. Speaker, and I guess the government of the day was caught short-handed and the motion was approved, and I think then we appointed him President of Treasury Board and created a salary for President of Treasury Board or President of the Executive -

MR. ROBERTS: I did see when I looked at the Estimates salary for the President of Treasury Board (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh there is one there. There always was because there has often been a separate Minister of Finance and a separate President of Treasury Board but there is only one allocation there now I think. It is there but there is no amount of money in it. Anyway that's an interesting -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well it is there, $150,000 to see that the poor, hon. gentleman doesn't have to go to the welfare rolls and it is a good thing he doesn't because there is less money available for those in need in the Social Services department this year, Mr. Speaker. Anyway, the Minister of Finance is gone, but there is where his so-called surplus arises, one-time windfalls that will not be repeated and some additional tax increases that the minister tries to indicate there were no increase in taxes in the Budget, but next year, Mr. Speaker, where is he going to find this $90 million windfall that he had this year, and where is he going to find the $110 million that he has estimated himself, we will lose from transfers from the Government of Canada next year? That is $200 million in total that the minister will have to make up next year. Now that is in addition to the problems of the deficit on the pension fund and the $5.5 billion deficit that this Province is carrying now that is debt, neither of which he has addressed at all in his Budget.

Mr. Speaker, the way to deal obviously, with the financial problems that the Province, the government is faced with, that all the people of the Province are faced with, is to strengthen the economy. Now we could look at the economic performance for this year and the projections for next year and that gives us some interesting insight, a real gross domestic product in this Province grew last year by 3.4 per cent, which in itself looks a little higher than I would have expected it to be, but it also tells us that the real gross domestic product in Canada grew by 4.5 per cent, so again, we have slipped behind in national average.

Personal income for next year is estimated to increase by 2.5 per cent. Where is that coming from, Mr. Speaker, when we know that there is nothing going to change in the fishing industry; some increase in activity in Hibernia but certainly the fishing industry, Mr. Speaker, is not going to change. Personal income this year grew by only 1.5 per cent, only 1.5 per cent, but the minister is predicting, and these figures are reflected in his estimates of revenues here in personal income tax and things of that nature that I will deal with in due course. All of these estimates are based on personal income expected to increase by 2.5 per cent.

Retail sales are forecast to grow by 3.2 per cent. Where are we going to find all of the disposable incomes, Mr. Speaker, in this Province, to increase retail sales by 3.2 per cent? We are expecting some increase in the forest industry and the mining industry we hope, I will guarantee you that. Hibernia has already said employment will peak at 5,800 person years this year, which is good and tourism is expected to grow, but overall, in spite of some of these positive variances and some of the negative variances, the minister is predicting the unemployment rate will still be at 20.2 per cent, just down .2 per cent from this year, which averaged at 20.4, so if unemployment is not going to decrease, how can personal income, how can retail sales and all of these other factors increase as markedly as the minister is predicting, when we haven't seen it in the last several years, how can the minister predict with any degree of confidence that the economy is going to perform that well this year?

Twenty point two per cent, Mr. Speaker, compared to the average rate in Canada of 10.4 per cent, which is down almost a full percentage point. Yet we are still double the national average of the unemployment rate. Hardly acceptable, hardly something that the minister and the government should be part of. Hardly something we should be proud of.

There is a number of issues that I wanted to deal with. A lot of them have been dealt with. A lot of the items in the Budget will be dealt with. I don't propose to take hours and hours, I say to my friends opposite, going through the Estimates, as I've done in previous years, dealing with individual small items in the Estimates. I am going to leave that for the Estimates debates and Committee, let my colleagues who are critics for various departments deal with their own departments and have comments on what is taking place. I want to stick to the larger generalized topics.

MR. EFFORD: I guarantee you (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Maybe I should send a copy of this over to the Member for Port de Grave. Maybe he would like to see this little cartoon. Has the member a copy of this cartoon? Saying: Don't dwink and dwive, but it's okay to dwive a weck. There it is. I could send him over a copy, I suppose, if he would like to have a copy of that.

MR. EFFORD: I have one. I have the original.

MR. WINDSOR: You have the original? I don't know who it is who is supposed to be there.

MR. EFFORD: I am the original.

MR. WINDSOR: You are the original? Is the minister saying that this is a caricature of him?

MR. EFFORD: There is nothing wrong with that.

MR. WINDSOR: I never would have suggested it. I wouldn't have insulted the minister, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the title on it? (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There is no title on it. If the minister is so informed of that, perhaps he would like to tell us, is he so aware of the impact that his .05 per cent legislation has had on the hospitality industry in this Province? Is the minister aware that we have lost hundreds of jobs in the hospitality industry? Is the minister aware that hundreds of lounges and motels that operate and depend for a small portion of their revenues at least on liquor sales that are no longer there because of the legislation, is the minister aware of that, Mr. Speaker? Is the government proposing to reconsider that piece of legislation? Is it aware that it was ill-advised?

They refused to listen to us when we gave them the information that was provided by the hospitality industry that showed very clearly that lowering the tolerance level from .08 per cent to .05 per cent would have such a negative impact upon the hospitality industry, and that in fact it has done absolutely nothing to protect the travelling public. Statistics show very clearly that the level of risk for those who are at .05 per cent is not significantly better than those at .08 per cent. That those who have been involved in accidents, particularly fatal accidents in this Province, all of them, 100 per cent of them, at or above the .15 level per cent. Not only above .08 per cent, but well above .15 per cent. That they are habitual drinking drivers.

Those are the people who the minister should be targeting. Those are the ones he should be dealing with. Not the responsible drivers, I say. The responsible driver who stops in for a beer on his way home, for a happy hour in many of the motels and lounges in this Province. Business in those facilities has decreased markedly.

I spoke with one operator who told me that he traditionally had anywhere from fifteen to twenty or twenty-five persons in his bar every day from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., dropped in for a beer or two on the way home - perhaps the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is one of them - stopped in on the way home for a beer or two. Now, instead of anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five he might have three or four. Now that is not going to bankrupt that particular business, but it sure takes the top off it. It sure take the cream off it; and his Friday night business that was always good for sixty and seventy people in his lounge, largely based on the video machines that are feeding money into the government hand-over-fist - the government has done very well by their video lottery machines, very, very well, far better than they had ever expected when the legislation was changed to permit them - now, instead of fifty to sixty people in there on a Friday night he may have a dozen, maybe twenty. So the liquor sales are down, but I suspect, at least in that establishment, so are the lottery revenues, so the video lottery machine revenues have to be going down there as well. So that ill-advised change to the tolerance levels for driving has had a tremendous impact there.

It has had a tremendous impact on those who will attend functions in the evening. It is all very well to say: Well, you shouldn't be driving - and neither should you - certainly if you are impaired you shouldn't be driving, but practice has not shown - statistics do not show - that a person with an alcohol level between .05 and .08 is intoxicated, or is impaired, or is in any way unable to drive. I am not advocating drinking and driving, far from it, but .08 is a legal limit in Newfoundland; it is a legal level in Canada, under federal law, but we have now imposed a second law that imposes a second legal level, and it is not only, I say to hon. members, for people who are driving on our highways.

I had a friend of mine who, three weeks ago, was driving a snowmobile, and an RCMP officer apprehended him on a snowmobile - the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology will be interested in this; the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation certainly should be interested - he was stopped by that RCMP officer and asked to take the test. He was .06, had been out doing some ice fishing, had a toddy or two on the ice to keep him warm - who amongst us doesn't do it, if you go out on a snow machine to go ice fishing - had a toddy or two, a cup of tea, while ice fishing, and he was stopped by an RCMP officer on a snow machine, and he lost his driver's licence for twenty-four hours. Justice is well served, I am sure. He was a great threat on his snow machine, fifty miles back in the woods, not even a danger to himself.

We have many cases where persons operating snowmobiles are impaired and have had serious accidents, and they can, indeed, have very serious ones. We have had people who have lost their lives. We have had a couple this year who have lost their lives, very likely because of extremely high alcohol levels while operating snow machines and, as an experienced snow machine operator, I can tell you it is not a time to be drinking heavily - very, very dangerous, not only from a point of view of operating a machine but, I think, from a hypothermal point of view, because you generate false heat. If you stop, then, if your machine breaks down, let me tell you, hypothermia sets in much more quickly than it would normally if you had not been consuming high levels of alcohol. So, Mr. Speaker, there is one area that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has, I think, served us wrong.

The second area was the cancellation of the requirement for vehicle inspections. Now, if you want to talk about job losses, here is an area where we have lost literally hundreds of jobs, and hundreds of businesses across this Province, in rural Newfoundland, are closing. Now, it is not only the loss of the revenue from the inspection itself, but from the repairs that are undertaken as a result of it. As a result we now have thousands of vehicles driving on the Province's highways which are not safe. There is a little characterization of the minister: But it is okay to dwive a weck. It is not funny at all.

In addition to which we now have the irritation of being stopped for vehicle safety checks on the side of the highway. Twenty minutes, a half an hour perhaps, held up having a vehicle check. I was told the story the other day of a person who left here to drive to Argentia. As he turned onto the Argentia access road there was a checkpoint. They checked his vehicle out. He went to Argentia and as he came back they stopped him again. Wanted to check him out again. He had only driven to Argentia and back. They were going to check him again. I think after awhile he talked his way out of it. He said: Look, I was here an hour and half ago. They finally agreed to let him carry on. Surely there needs to be some system to deal with that.

Nevertheless, if you are on a schedule, as we all are - it is a busy world we live in. We are not all out just for a casual drive down the highway. We are generally, by far the majority of people who are driving, on a schedule to get from point A to point B. A half an hour delay on the side of a highway is something that can seriously disrupt your schedule for the day.

One would also have to ask the question: Just how adequate are the safety checks on the side of the highway? Unless they have a portable hydraulic jack system and they jack up a vehicle, pull off a couple of wheels and check some of the brake drums, check the wheel bearings, see if the tire rod ends and the ball joints are in good shape. What training do these people have? Are they qualified mechanics that the Department of Works, Services and Transportation has now hired on to do these safety checks? I think not. They are safety inspection officers, but I doubt if they are qualified mechanics, qualified to judge whether that vehicle is safe. They are not doing that. Do your headlights work, windshield wipers work, tail-lights work, indicator lights work, does your handbrake work, and did you have your seat belts on? That is all they are checking. Cars are lined up on the side of the highway while somebody is checking that. Have you a windshield broken? Maybe. Superficial things are what are being checked.

Most of us are responsible enough to want to maintain our vehicles in a condition where we are going to check those things and have those repaired ourselves. It is what is under the vehicle. Even as a responsible driver we may not know that there is a potential hazard underneath that vehicle. An exhaust system that is leaking, for example. We don't often think that is so serious, but it can well be. Many people have been overcome by the fumes from an exhaust system getting into the vehicle while they are driving.

So not only is it a nuisance, not only is the inspection an inadequate inspection, really accomplishing nothing, the fact is that most vehicles are not being inspected. I've seen vehicles driving on the highways of this Province in the last month that have no business being outside of a junk yard. I've had numerous cases quoted to me of people who had vehicles that were turned down last year and the year before, that have been sitting in the yard somewhere, and now, no problem. Go on out and drive down the highway. No inspection is required.

I say again, even the responsible driver needs from time to time to have an inspection which says: Here is your problem. We all tend to procrastinate sometimes. We might know we have some sort of a small problem with the vehicle. It could be too late when we finally get around to having it checked, but at least once a year we were caused, we were forced, to have an adequate vehicle safety inspection done.

These are the sorts of concerns that we have around the Province. It is not only the concern for safety, but the literally hundreds of jobs and the hundreds of businesses that have been impacted by that decision. These are businesses again in many parts of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I am sure every member opposite represents some people who have experienced these types of problems, have come across that in their own districts.

Insurance, is an interesting one, Mr. Speaker, that has been a big topic in this Province. Insurance, automobile insurance, home insurance, a major problem with the Hyland Insurance bankruptcy that affected thousands of people in this Province, millions of dollars were lost as a result of that. Government has not yet fully answered, Mr. Speaker, for what happened with Hyland Insurance; how was that allowed to take place? Why did we not have closer control on what is taking place? Government has a responsibility to protect the consumer here, a responsibility to ensure that companies doing business in this Province, selling insurance, selling trusts, anything of that nature, are bona fide companies with adequate financial security to support the debt and the responsibilities that they are accepting, the liabilities that they are building up by selling insurance or accepting trusts.

Caribou Investment and Loan is another example, Mr. Speaker, and in due course, hopefully, we will find out how could that company be allowed to continue for an extended period of time without even a license; their license had expired, had not been renewed. Government has an obligation, Mr. Speaker, when there are any danger signs whatsoever to ensure that these companies are operating wisely and that they have adequate financial security to meet the obligations they are accepting. In the case of Caribou Investment and Loan, the information we have received and as far as we know, they extended beyond their legislated limits, the level of responsibility they were able to accept. Government, Mr. Speaker, should have been there to protect consumers from those types of happenings. There are two examples.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have had numerous complaints from people about the cost of insurance today. The cost of automobile insurance has skyrocketed. Now a lot of that is due to abuse of the system. The system has quite often been abused by those who purchase insurance and make false claims, make claims in excess of what they are entitled to, all kinds of games and tricks are being played and we think it is okay. People think it is alright they can get paid from an insurance company, they can get a few extra dollars, they don't realize where that insurance company gets the money; they get it from you and me, from everybody who purchases insurance. They obviously are in the business to make some money but the spread the risk, that's what insurance is all about.

You and I purchase insurance knowing that some people will claim on that insurance, most of us hopefully will never have to claim on insurance if we don't get involved in an accident so the risk is spread but lately, Mr. Speaker, the cost of insurance has skyrocketed, absolutely abhorrent, the cost for insurance. Surely, it can't be only because of the increased risk. I mean, I don't think our claims have increased that much, I really don't believe that they have, so, what control do we have on insurance companies? Is there any collaboration between insurance companies in setting rates, and what controls do we have on them to ensure that these rates are not out of line, that the insurance companies are making a reasonable return on investment, but I can also go further and say that insurance companies now are being greatly threatened by banks, because insurance companies can only accept these liabilities if they have a fairly high level of investment to back that.

Banks now are competing with insurance companies for investment funds, RRSPs are a prime example then; banks are out competing and offering premiums to transfer your RRSP investments from insurance companies to the banks. I guess we could say it's a free, competitive world, but the insurance companies can't make the types of loans the banks can make, so I guess we are moving very quickly toward a system whereby banks and insurance companies are of one.

We have seen the trust companies and the banks all combined now. They are all doing business as one. It won't be long, I guess, before insurance companies are attached to each one of the banks so that all of your financial requirements are controlled by these major institutions.

What control do we have? I don't know which minister is responsible - the Minister of Justice, probably - for insurance companies, for controlling the way in which insurance companies act, and the kind of protection that is provided by policies; and are, indeed, the consumers getting the kind of protection they are paying for?

I had a case recently where the company notified me that they were not going to renew my policy. This is an interesting little tale. The company had notified me they weren't going to renew my insurance policy because of claims history.

MR. ROBERTS: Car insurance?

MR. WINDSOR: Automobile insurance - weren't going to renew my policy because of claims history, and with two vehicles on this particular policy. On one vehicle our daughter had an accident, an unfortunate accident, at a traffic intersection, early morning at rush hour, but a clear accident, one of those that happen quite frequently in and around cities, not driving dangerously, not driving fast, not under any influence of alcohol or anything else, but had an accident at a traffic light and damaged the vehicle, a legitimate accident - unfortunate - but a claim was put in, obviously, and fairly expensive. I think it was probably a total cost, the two vehicles, of around $10,000 - not an expensive claim by today's standards, but there it was.

We had a second claim on that same vehicle, or the one that replaced it, because the vehicle she was driving was actually written off so we replaced it with another vehicle, and we had another small claim under the comprehensive section. Some person, unknown, dragged a key, or a nail, or some sharp object, across the bonnet of the car, scratched the bonnet of the car, and under comprehensive the bonnet was painted. The cost was $257 under comprehensive. Now I was always under the impression that claims under the comprehensive section of insurance don't impact on your insurability at all.


MR. WINDSOR: Ha! is right.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman learned (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The hon. gentleman lived and learned.

Now, we had a third claim, not on that same vehicle. We had two claims on that -

MR. ROBERTS: The same policy, though.

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: The same policy?

MR. WINDSOR: The same policy, two vehicles on it, encouraged to combine the two - you get a 10 per cent discount because you combine the two - so you figure, well, we have two policies, one on this car and one on that car. So we had two claims on the first one, one a major one, one of those things that hopefully happens once every fifty years. The second claim was a comprehensive one. Somebody downtown one night scratched a key across the bonnet, hardly would classify us as a risk.

Now the third claim was on the other vehicle, my vehicle. I have been driving now thirty years, thirty-five years, I suppose - well, thirty-three years, I guess - and never claimed a cent on any insurance policy, never had an accident for which I was at fault. I have had a couple of minor incidents that somebody else was at fault and had to pay damages, but I have never been liable for any accident whatsoever in my thirty-three years of driving, and I still haven't been. The third claim arose in December when we had a major power outage in the city, and I was without power, in fact, for seven days. During the course of that I transported a kerosene heater from my brother's house to my house and, in the course of transporting it, some kerosene leaked from the tank in the heater onto the seats of the car, and it smelled like kerosene, which is very, very difficult to get out. The next day I had it steam cleaned, at my own expense, to see if that would do it.

They said, we will do it for you - I paid them I think seventy-five dollars to have it steam cleaned and it helped a little bit but they said, you will never get it out. You have to have the carpets and the coverings of your seats changed. You have to have new foam cushions put in the seats and the covers changed. Perhaps cleaning the covers without the foam you might get it out but the carpet certainly will have to be changed. They said: your insurance will cover that. I said very well, another comprehensive claim or in my view, the first claim, comprehensive or anything else on my vehicle in thirty-three years. So I claimed it, no problem, no hesitation. The insurance adjusters authorized it but it still has not been done. I have not been able to get the carpets or anything for a particular vehicle that I have but they are supposed to be on order. They were ordered at one time and the company that was going to do it have gone into receivership I am told and so I still haven't got the carpets or the seats done. So I still have the smell of kerosene in it, that is since December.

Anyway I get this notification from the insurance company that when my policy comes due, which it did three weeks ago or a month ago, they will not be renewing. I thought this was a mistake so I called a local broker, discussed it with the local broker and said you are making a mistake here. First of all this is a claim of less than $1,000 or around $1,000, a comprehensive claim because I spilled some kerosene. I am hardly a dangerous driver or a great risk. The other one was where somebody scratched a key across the bonnet, it cost $200 to have it painted. The first one, a legitimate accident, will cost you some dollars. That is what I bought insurance for, that is what I have been paying insurance for, for thirty years. For these two vehicles I think I was paying $2,400 or up to $3,000 I think for these two vehicles in insurance and now they told me they were going to cancel it. So I called the broker, I don't understand it. So I finally got to the regional office in Halifax and talked to a lady who I think was responsible for making the decision. She could be replaced with a computer because she does not use her head the way God gave it to her.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did she say?

MR. WINDSOR: She said: Well this is our policy. You have three claims, the total risk is greater then we are getting out of you so we are going to cancel your policy. I said: Well what the heck do I have insurance for? I have insurance in case I have an accident. In my view I had one accident. The other two were minor comprehensive claims that don't indicate in any way - neither did the first one - did not indicate any dangerous driving - coming through a traffic intersection, turned the wrong time, bang, we have two meetings of minds, an unfortunate act. That is why I buy insurance, to protect me from that but the minute I get a claim, now you are going to cancel my insurance? Anyway I had this argument with her and got nowhere. So I called the president of the company, Mr. Henry Rodriguez in Toronto, Continental Insurance of Canada Limited, Henry Rodriguez, and I spoke to him I would say for forty-five minutes or an hour and I got the same kind of garbage from Henry Rodriguez as I got from his office in Halifax. The same kind of garbage.

AN HON. MEMBER: He didn't change the decision?

MR. WINDSOR: He did not change the decision, no. His decision was that I have to support the people who work for me. I understand your position but I have to support my adjuster or whatever her title might be in Halifax and refuse to renew the policy. So it makes you wonder, Mr. Speaker, what you are paying for. Now there is a happy side to it, I say to the Minister of Finance, I realized that under the Association of Professional Engineers there was a group plan available that I had never bothered to check into. So I checked into that and I now have the two vehicles ensured - the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is not listening again - under this group rate that is available through the Association of Professional Engineers at half the cost. I saved $1,400. I'm going to write Mr. Rodriguez and say: Thank you for being such a miserable human thing, you've saved me $1,400.

I will just continue with this story; it has no great relevance to the Budget. I had two of my properties, my homes, whose insurance were due. My renewal came from the company that I've been dealing with here, a different company on the house insurance than the car insurance, a company I've been with for many years. The renewal came, I looked at it. Yes, and it is much the same as last year. I wrote out the cheque and I put it in the envelope and I was about to send it off and I said: Maybe I will check with this group policy on this one. I think the total cost of the two properties was approximately $1,400. I checked with this group policy. I got better coverage, I've got more coverage, less deductibles, more items included - as I did with the automobile insurance, by the way.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where was this, Neil?

MR. WINDSOR: This is a group policy available through the Association of Professional Engineers. Monnex Insurance.

AN HON. MEMBER: I can't get into that.

MR. WINDSOR: No, you can't. Monnex Insurance, a company in Toronto. They only deal with group policies of professional groups too. So I guess the risk level for that group is probably lower -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) as an engineer.

MR. WINDSOR: As an engineer, yes. As part of the Association - APENG - Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland. Actually, through the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. It is a national group policy.

My two homes would have cost me $1,400 to renew with this company that I've been with for many years. I got better coverage from this company, from Monnex, for a total cost of about $800 or $900. I saved about $500 on that one. So I saved myself $2,000, thanks to Henry Rodriguez for cancelling the policy on my automobiles.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He is the president of Continental Insurance of Canada. If the minister had been here and listening he would have heard the sad tale that I just related. He is the president of the company that I had been ensured with.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Who I've had other involvement with through other business and found them to be an extremely good company to deal with, quite honestly, and their local representatives are extremely well-qualified and good individuals. But that decision was made up there. Very interesting. Totally without any concept of what is taking place at the local level.

This gets back to one of the problems in our economy, Mr. Speaker. So much has gone out of here. The world of the computer and the communications, and all the rest of it, has changed the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. Decisions are no longer made here. They are all made in Montreal.

If you ever have a problem - I had one the other day with my Visa card. I have an Aerogold Visa card with a limit of $6,000 or something on it. I think I had about $600 on it at the time from current expense. I just pay it quickly, I don't let it build up. Not at 19 per cent. I pulled into a service station on the way in here a couple of days ago. Declined. The card was declined. You can imagine now first of all how embarrassed I was standing there. Card was declined. Fortunately I had other cards that I could use, no problem. I said: What is going on? I got a little hot under the collar and we called the Visa from there. No, there was a claim of $5,000 or something, a charge of $5,000 put against my card.

It took two or three days, but the point I want to make - I mean, those things happen - I'm not (inaudible). You are at the whim of a computer again. You can't deal with it here, you've got to call some number in Montreal and deal with somebody who doesn't know at all what is going on, except what some computer screen pulls up, whatever data happens to be on a computer screen. If a computer makes a mistake - I do not know anything about this, and it is not only something like that, but so many decisions are being made, particularly in the banking industry. There used to be a time when you could sit down with your bank manager here and tailor a mortgage that was to your advantage. There is still a lot of flexibility there and you can indeed get in and do some things that can change the overall impact to your mortgage over a period of time if you know what you are talking about, but once you sign that document everything goes away to Montreal or Toronto, sometimes Halifax.

AN HON. MEMBER: Just like the people of Newfoundland.

MR. WINDSOR: Everything is leaving Newfoundland, just like the people, but that is why we are leaving, because there are no jobs created in Newfoundland anymore. When dealing with these things they were always handled locally, but the local banks now are no more than store fronts.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly. You are dealing now with head offices. The local feeling is not there. Well, if you go back to the story of the house insurance, when I was dealing with this company again as one of these, unfortunately, I am dealing with somebody who is looking at a computer screen. Now, I have called that company three or four times and I get a different person every time, a different agent who pulls my name up on a computer screen and reads the notes that the last person put there, and tries to get familiar with my case. I speak to a different person every time. I was giving the information about the properties so that that person could plug into a computer and the computer told him how much the properties were supposed to be worth so he knew how much to insure them for. He kept asking me: do you have air conditioning? I said, my dear, this is Newfoundland. We open the windows and we have the best fresh, cool, air blowing through. How many houses in Newfoundland have air conditioning?

That is the kind of thing you run into, that complete lack of knowledge on the local level, of conditions, what is reasonable, and what can be expected. I have had times when people have said: can you do such and such a thing? Sorry, that is 250 miles away. Have you ever looked at a map to see where we are in this Province and what you are asking me to do? The totally impersonal approach now for banks and financial institutions, and insurance companies. Many national companies are now doing business by fax machine, by telephone, and by e-mail. There is no longer any personal contact there. You are now simply another number in the computer, simply another number. Now, it has improved a number of things but there are drawbacks from it as well. So much for banks and auto insurance, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is here. There is a small item that I want to raise with the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation if he is listening.

AN HON. MEMBER: He does not listen to anybody.

MR. WINDSOR: Does the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation listen to anybody? Not a soul, you cannot even get his attention. Is the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation alive today?

An issue that was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago when talking to a group of individuals dealing with moose licenses. The minister looked at me but he is not listening. Dealing with moose licenses, or is that over in Resources? That is over in Resources. I apologize to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. It is the Minister of Natural Resources. I say to the minister that I have applied this year, applied last week for a moose license for the first time in my life. I have never, ever had a license.

AN HON. MEMBER: Don't go shooting chicken.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I do not shoot chicken either. I eat a scattered one. The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture the other day asked me about my red tie. I said, that is the blood of a few Liberals, that is all that is there on that tie.

I say to the Minister of Natural Resources that I have applied for a license for the first time. I have never had one. I did my test last fall, very successfully, 100 per cent on the written, and bang, bang, bang, on the target, so I have proven myself to be an able hunter but I have never shot an animal in my life and I am looking forward to the experience, but in talking to a group of individuals around the Province about the party license system, the minister may not know it, but back in early 1976 I think it was, we instituted the two-party license and that was born in the rec. room of my home in Mount Pearl, from my district associations, some people who were on my association at the time, avid hunters and we discussed that and they said: why don't you have a two-party license system, and, at the time it was a hot topic and we had the difficulty of not having enough licenses, and very quickly moved from there through our caucus and in the Cabinet and into the House of Assembly within two or three days and it was agreed that this was a good suggestion and it was done and that's where we got the two-party licenses and now, I have a similar suggestion: why do we not have a four-party license? The minister agrees, I am delighted to hear it, it came up in conversation with -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Three maybe, four maybe. I mean, why not have the option, you can go one, two, three or four and as it does now, the more people you have in your party, the higher priority pool that you will go into, and it makes a lot of sense and you know, most people will say that a quarter of an animal is plenty for the average individual for a year, it is plenty.

Now there are some individuals in rural Newfoundland who depend more on it as a basic food source than most of us would do as being a supplement to your basic diet, but the moose hunt to us and to most Newfoundlanders is a recreational thing, so you are getting out and you are getting a week or two in the country hunting your animal, and a quarter of an animal is plenty for the average family but there are exceptions to that and I recognize that, and there is the right I say to the minister, you should retain the right to apply for an individual license if one wishes to or two people or three or four and that would do two things.

If I look at the numbers - I meant to bring them with me but I didn't but I looked at the numbers in the back of the book, the statistics in the Guide for Hunters that is provided with your application with your license for this year, a very nice document I might say, very helpful, very informative but in the back of that there are some statistics; the number of persons who apply in each district, each one of the areas and how many licenses are approved and what pool they were approved in and that sort of thing, very informative statistical information. As I looked at that I said: if we had half of these applications, if we had two-thirds of them, assuming you know, not all would apply for a four-party license but some would want to, so if we only had two-thirds of them, virtually every application could be approved, just about every application could be approved, everybody would have the opportunity to participate in the hunt.

Now you would only get a quarter of an animal perhaps, each year, but you could get a quarter of an animal virtually every year and that's really the objective, that is probably what's happening now. I get my license this year and I get an animal and I give you a share, and somebody else a share, and somebody else a share, next year you get your license and you get a share and you get a share and you get a share, why not have a party license? It amounts to the same thing, no more animals will be taken, no more licenses are issued but you have a party license so more people can get out there and participate. You are spending more money, it is helping the tourism industry and they are enjoying that experience out in the country. I see no negatives in it, I say to the minister and I am pleased to see the minister is at least, nodding agreement; obviously he will look at the details, it is too late to do it for this year but I certainly ask the minister to seriously consider that and institute that for next year, so that we can indeed have far more people involved in the hunting activity in this Province.

Now you will get those, who, because now you need four on it instead of two, instead of having father and son, we will have father, son, mother and daughter on a four-party license, so we haven't accomplished anything, it is still one license coming into the same household. You will have that which is abusing the system, but I think there is a large number - you know, maybe three of my colleagues could apply for a license and get one perhaps - so that was a suggestion that I thought had merit.

Mr. Speaker, some issues that are current as they relate to the City of Mount Pearl that I wanted to talk about. I want to get into that, because a couple of issues have occurred, Mr.Speaker, dealing as of today with the regional fire services again.

My friend from St. John's East Extern is very, very familiar with this issue as it relates to the rural municipalities. The member knows that not long ago there was finally an agreement reached so that the five rural municipalities were now excluded from the regional fire system. They have the option to purchase services, if they wish, and some of the debt was written off, and they are paying off the past debt, but it goes back to the whole amalgamation issue, being forced to be part of it. It was ill-advised at the time; we opposed it at the time; municipalities opposed it at the time. They were forced to get into the situation.

The fire department in Mount Pearl, in particular, was robbed from the people of Mount Pearl and handed over to the City of St. John's, and we created what was to be known as a St. John's Regional Fire Service. The only thing that is regional about it is the name, and that was the intent of the City of St. John's from the day it was formed. That was the way they intended to treat it, and that is the way they did treat it. There was absolutely nothing regional about it because the City of St. John's doesn't understand the concept of regional cooperation. Their concept of regional cooperation is: We are the great city, and we will tell everybody else what we will do, and what they will do, and how much they will pay us.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's exactly what was said at the meeting.

MR. WINDSOR: That's exactly what was said at the meeting.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, that was the worst.

So, Mr. Speaker, the concept was doomed to fail from the beginning, simply because the City of St. John's, who were put in a position of superiority within the structure, had no intention of allowing other municipalities to have any meaningful say in the operation and control of that system.

Meetings were not called properly, were not convened, and even when they were the City of St. John's had the majority anyway, so they could do whatever they wanted to do. So they have shown a complete lack of cooperation throughout, whereas the other municipalities have tried to make the system that was imposed on them work.

Now the City of Mount Pearl is a separate case. They built their own fire department when the City of St. John's, and the Province, at the time, refused to put a fire station in Mount Pearl. The city wanted to run their own, and they showed that what they were paying for fire protection as part of the St. John's system, without a station in Mount Pearl, was far in excess - $800,000 a year, $1 million a year more - than it would cost to own and operate their own, fully modern, independent fire department. Yet, this government took those facilities away from Mount Pearl, gave them to St. John's, and said: St. John's will operate it and you will be part of the regional system.

The only accuracy was that St. John's operated it, but there was nothing regional about it. The cost escalated. Mount Pearl was very responsible, paid their fair share of the cost and, even over the past number of months when it became very, very obvious that the system was not going to work, Mount Pearl was instrumental in bringing the municipalities together.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I hate to even respond - to get us back for Donovans. The minister is still under the false impression that Donovans was taken away from St. John's and given to Mount Pearl.

AN HON. MEMBER: They wanted it.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, they wanted it. St. John's wants anything that will give you revenue and no expense. That is what they wanted; that is all they wanted. That is the only reason they wanted Mount Pearl to be part of St. John's. It was to get Donovans, not to provide any level of service to Mount Pearl. What have they got now? They have a huge area right out to Foxtrap, they got the Southlands included and now they are going to start to develop it. What have they done with the Southlands, Mr. Speaker? They have taken the plans that have been developed by the housing corporation and by Mount Pearl over the past twenty-five years and they are now going to ruin the whole concept. They are going to build houses now on thirty-five foot lots with four foot sideyards, in Southlands. Thirty-five foot lots with four foot sideyards and allow basement apartments. Now if you have four foot sideyards on both sides where the hell do you park a car, out on what is supposed to be the front lawn? If you have two apartments you have to have at least two driveways, two parking places. If you have a thirty-five foot building lot you got to have at least twenty feet paved to park two cars in front of it.

No lawns is right. We are going to build an asphalt jungle in an area that was designed to be one of the most attractive housing areas on the Avalon Peninsula. Where the hell are you going to put your snow, Mr. Speaker? The City of St. John's has already proven that they cannot handle snow clearing on what they have and now they are going to build a situation out here which is ten times worst than that. Well it is not as bad as downtown St. John's where you have no sideyards and no off-street parking whatsoever. Nothing can compare with that, I can excuse him for that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Four and four I am told. No eight foot side yard, even at eight feet it is not enough. The requirements in Mount Pearl - at least they were twenty years ago when I was town engineer it was eight feet sideyards if you had one apartment, one unit but if you had two units, if you had a basement apartment, you had to have a ten foot side yard. So you could get that extra parking stall on the side of the House. Now you cannot get one if you want one. Mr. Speaker, who lives in Mount Pearl knows that there are areas in Mount Pearl, in the earlier areas developed by housing corporation - before we finally got Newtown to be part of Mount Pearl which should never ever have been anything different but they were developed under the auspices of Metro Board at the time who relaxed the regulations, did not follow the requirements that Mount Pearl wanted, built twenty-six foot wide streets and less. In a couple of cases they were twenty-two foot wide streets.

They put fire hydrants right at the curb and telephone poles right at the curb and never operated a snow plough, not one of them. They changed the requirements for copper piping and the water and sewer systems - the system is sub-standard to the regulations that Mount Pearl had in place at the time and now we are seeing it again in Southlands where the City of St. John's are putting in place sub-standard developments, Mr. Speaker. Town housing developments are what they amount to. They are worst than townhousing developments - I am sure -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The City of St. John's - being done with the housing corporation but the City of St. John's has taken this great plan that was in place - the same plan that was developed by Murray and Jones and Associates in 1973 and adopted by the City of Mount Pearl as a Mount Pearl development scheme plan and a Mount Pearl - Newtown development scheme plan, all in conjunction, which I say to the Minister of Finance, also included the Donovans Industrial Park as the industrial base for this great expanded city of 50,000 people. This great plum that we are supposed to have stolen from St. John's which never was in St. John's, never was planned to be part of St. John's and never was designed to be part of St. John's. That is what O'Leary Avenue is, a St. John's industrial base. That is what Torbay Estates is, a St. John's industrial base but the whole concept plan - and I can table it, Mr. Speaker, I still have a copy at home somewhere - the whole concept plan designed at a proper share of residential, commercial, industrial, institutional open space -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) cheap property.

MR. WINDSOR: In Southlands? Yes right, there is a great rush for the City of St. John's to develop something. So that now they have to have six or seven kilometres to go from their other closest urbanized area to get out there and collect garbage and do street cleaning. You would be lucky to see them once a week. They have to come through Mount Pearl and get over there and provide street cleaning. Never mind recreational facilities, never mind schools, churches, commercial areas or anything else. They are all going to have to come into Mount Pearl to do that, but they are going to jack it into thirty-five foot building lots with four foot side yards. Thirty-five foot building lots, what an absolute disgrace.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Trinity - Bay de Verde talks about boxes of chicken. There is one thing about giving somebody a box of chicken in the course of an evening but there is a different thing to stuff $50,000 out of a brown paper bag into your pocket in order to agree to be Premier of the Province. Don't you talk to me about political patronage. There is political patronage of the highest order and we still do not know who paid the $50,000, but you can be damn well sure that the boys who benefited from the hospital contract did not do too badly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: If you want to talk about political patronage I can go on. I can go on about the brown paper bags. We can talk about that. That is right. We will have a look at those figures. I am not finished with those yet. I am not finished with the hospitals by a long shot, Mr. Speaker, not by a long shot.

MR. TOBIN: The judged passed a decision with the hospitals.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. We all know what happened there. We want to find out what happened to the Public Tender Act, too. Where is that one hidden I ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation who is responsible for the Public Tender Act? When are you going to haul the Public Tender Act out of the garbage bucket and start applying it in this Province, instead of breaking the Public Tender Act?

MR. EFFORD: We do not need the Public Tender Act.

MR. WINDSOR: You do not need the Public Tender Act. You do not think you do but you have one. The minister should know that he does not have the right to ignore the Public Tender Act or any other act of this Province. You would never know it by the way the Premier of this Province behaves. Whenever he comes up against a piece of legislation that is contrary to what he wants to do: all the legislation must be wrong so let us change it. We will change it and make it retroactive if we want to. We will make it retroactive. That is what we will do.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let us get back to this fire department in Mount Pearl. We now have a case where the minister signed an agreement with the mayors of all the municipalities that excused those five rural municipalities from participating in a regional service. The minister absorbed part of the cost as recommended, suggested by Mount Pearl, in fact, in order to allow these smaller municipalities a reasonable way of getting out from underneath this debt burden that he could never hope to support. They couldn't pay it, and the Province did the right thing. If they can't pay it, let's get rid of this. We will put a one-time grant in there, wipe this off. Let's get on with it, and let them get on with providing volunteer services, or purchasing services, on some reasonable basis or whatever; and I think they agreed to participate, to share the cost of services to them, but the City of St. John's signed that agreement, an agreement which says that St. John's and Mount Pearl - unfortunately, Mount Pearl weren't allowed to get out from underneath it, and the only reason for that is because the city wants the people of Mount Pearl to share the inefficiencies of that fire department with them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, yes. Oh, the minister shakes his head. No. How does the minister say no, when it's costing us $1 million a year more to participate in his regional system than it was costing us to operate our own system? Justify that, I ask the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Don't give me that nonsense.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) operating it.

MR. WINDSOR: We were operating it, at $1 million a year less than it is costing the taxpayers of Mount Pearl now.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Back us up; back us up, nothing. You think St. John's wouldn't call Mount Pearl to back them up if they had a fire in Cowan Heights? Of course they would. There's the problem. The minister doesn't even understand the concept of regional cooperation, let alone regional services. Regional services means that there is a regional cooperative effort, controlled and managed on a regionally cooperative basis, not dictated to by the City of St. John's and the incompetence down there at City Hall.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Incompetence at City Hall in St. John's. The only reason they look to the west is that they want to grab something, the money grab. They see that Mount Pearl might be able to provide a few extra bucks for them that they can spend somewhere else - no interest in Mount Pearl, the people of Mount Pearl, or providing any services in there, none whatsoever, and we will see it when the Southlands gets developed - but the minister signed an agreement with all the municipalities. It said: There shall be a new committee now, consisting of five members, two from Mount Pearl, two from St. John's, one to be appointed jointly independent, and the minister will adjudicate that. The minister hasn't adjudicated that, has he?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) have to.

MR. WINDSOR: Not until you have to? How long are you going to have to wait? The City of St. John's is making decisions now without even convening a meeting, unilaterally, without consulting with Mount Pearl. They have instituted paid fire-fighters in the Goulds without consultation. It negotiated collective agreements without consultation, making all kinds of management decisions and they refused to even establish the committee. How long, Mr. Speaker, does the City of Mount Pearl have to be subjected to this kind of incompetence from the City of St. John's?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Hear what the Minister of Health says, that Mount Pearl is not a city, it is only a suburb (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mount Pearl is not a city, it is only a suburb (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Who said that, the Minister of Health?


MR. WINDSOR: Well, that doesn't surprise me, Mr. Speaker. The level of intelligence of that Minister of Health does not surprise me one bit.

MR. TOBIN: You don't mind selling Hardwoods (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I don't mind selling that. That is about the same level of integrity and intelligence that a former Mayor of St. John's said to me one time: Why would you need an Arts and Culture Centre in Mount Pearl, what would you want that for, you have no culture in there?

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. WINDSOR: A former Mayor of St. John's, that's the kind of attitude we have had to put up with and that's the kind of attitude I see now from this Minister of Health over there. How stupid, how stupid!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for Trinity - Bay de Verte, crawl back down in your rabbit hole, I am not talking to the likes of you today, I am talking to this Minister of Health, who just insulted the people of Mount Pearl, Mr. Speaker. What a disgrace that Minister of Health is, what a disgrace. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, when is he going to fulfil the obligation, the contract that he signed with St. John's and Mount Pearl, when is he going to intervene and either direct the City of St. John's to establish that joint committee that was agreed on, or otherwise, allow the City of Mount Pearl the same privilege that the other municipalities have, allow them to operate their own fire department, which is a democratic right every other municipality in Canada has. When are you going to undo the last of Eric the Amalgamator? Flush him out for once and for all, Mr. Speaker.

When is the minister going to fulfil his obligations, Mr. Speaker? How much longer is he going to continue to persecute the City of Mount Pearl? Now, Mr. Speaker -


MR. WINDSOR: I am just letting you beat your gums while I take a break and have a glass of water. I am not in any hurry. I have all night, Mr. Speaker - a bottle of cognac waiting at the end of the night, kept it from last year just for such an occasion.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is appropriate for us to examine -


MR. SPEAKER (Barrett): Order, please!

I have recognized the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the Minister of Health and the Member for Burin- Placentia West want to engage in a debate they will have to wait for the Member for Mount Pearl to finish.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, every year in this House -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the Minister of Health and the Member for Menihek to restrain themselves.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, to get back to some of the business at hand, as much fun as all that is. Every year the Auditor General tables a report in this House and not much happens to it. Not a great deal happens to it. Hopefully the departments read the comments and try to respond. We have some evidence that they do. It is referred to the Public Accounts Committee and the Public Accounts Committee examines items in the report, calls witnesses. We've had a number of very interesting hearings over the last several years since I, personally, have been involved, Mr. Speaker. I think it has done some good work, but I think it is important to examine the Auditor General's report in some detail in this House because there are some very interesting things. Particularly this year the Auditor General has given us some a very detailed report and she has also given, I think for the first time, a summary report which is very handy and very easy reading, and all members should certainly read at least the summary, even if they don't go through the whole report in detail.

There are a number of items, Mr. Speaker, which I think are worthy of some consideration here in the House. As in previous years, the Auditor General has pointed out that the House of Assembly is not receiving sufficient, appropriate and timely information that is necessary to ensure accountability of all government departments, Crown agencies, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Now, I have already touched briefly on Memorial University of Newfoundland. We all know why Memorial University is not accounting to the House of Assembly, simply because this government has chosen not to cause the university to be accountable. They have given them a privileged position that no other group has. The Auditor General points out here that even since this new legislation was passed a year or so ago which gave them a privileged position, even though that legislation is very clear in its direction, and says that the University is required to provide the Auditor General with access to all books, accounts, financial records, reports, electronic data processing records, explanation files, and all other papers necessary for the performance of her duties, the university, Mr. Speaker, is still refusing to provide the Auditor General access to those records and documents.

Now, I say to the Minister of Education, it is his responsibility. When is he going to accept that responsibility and direct the President of the University to comply with the provisions of the University Act and the Auditor General's Act? When is the University going to be told to comply with legislation? Now, the mistake was made, Mr. Speaker, when the legislation was changed to give the University a privileged position, and now they figure if we don't like their legislation, as the President said a year or so ago: Well, we didn't agree with the legislation so we are not going to comply with it and we are going to ask government to change it. I don't care who you are, Mr. Speaker, you don't have a right to fly in the face of legislation. You don't have that right. How do you maintain law and order in society if selected individuals are going to be allowed to choose which laws they obey and which laws they don't.

It is totally unacceptable that the President of the University and the Board of Regents and the Board of Governors of the University will just totally disregard, and have no respect for the laws of this Province as it relates to complying with the Auditor General's request. It is totally unacceptable that government totally disregards the Public Tender Act. It is in the same category. No one person has a right, no agency, not even government, has a right to disregard the laws of this Province. I remind hon. members opposite that the government does not make the laws of the Province, this hon. House does. The government does not have a right to choose which laws it is going to comply with and which ones it is not, and neither does the University. It is absolutely intolerable that the President of the University can advise the Auditor General that he has no intention of providing these documents so that a complete audit can be done.

It is not only the University - as the Auditor General clearly points out, there are many Crown agencies that are not adequately reporting and accounting to this House of Assembly. And that is our fault. We are responsible. We are elected by the taxpayers to protect the public purse, and as long as we allow these boards and agencies and commissions and government-funded bodies to continue on without accounting properly to this hon. House, they are going to continue to do so. We are derelict in our responsibility as the House of Assembly if we allow that to continue.

I say to the government, they must accept the responsibility for Memorial University.


March 27, 1995             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS             Vol. XLII  No. 6A

[Continuation of Hansard No. 6]

They must accept that responsibility. An incredible amount of money is spent at the University each year, and the University takes it as a grant and says: Thank you very much, we will decide how it is going to be spent, and we don't account for it. It has nothing to do with interfering with academic freedom, which the President tries to throw back - nobody talked about that. It is the Board of Regents, I think, that decides on the academic side of it; it is the Board of Governors that decides on the finance. I may have it backwards, I don't remember - a totally different group of individuals. Nobody is saying: You can't teach this course or you can't teach that course, or you can't have this material content in a course.

We are saying, we want to know how our money is spent and that it is accounted for in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and good accounting principles. The principle of accountability is well recognized all across our nation, not only here. We are failing to enforce it, and the government is failing to enforce it. The Auditor General is saying that the House is not receiving sufficient, appropriate and timely information to do that, says Treasury Board should develop an accountability framework for all sectors of government in the Province including central agencies, departments and Crown agencies. The end result of this work should be the enactment of a legislated accountability framework by the House of Assembly. She says: Each board should be ultimately accountable to the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, nothing is more basic than that. Any board that is being given government funds to expend should be ultimately accountable to this House, should answer for its actions. She reviewed it and she had these observations as it relates to various boards and agencies.

She said: Chairpersons and members of boards hold a vast digression of opinions and perceptions concerning board governance. The legislation is very broad and does not clearly define roles, responsibilities and duties of the board through precise terms of reference or mandates for the board and its committees. Generally, boards do not provide input into the appointment of new members - part of the problem, I guess. There are no established policies for the removal and timely replacement of board members. The majority of boards do not have a formal evaluation process of the board's performance. A majority of board reports are not tabled in the House of Assembly, even. We don't even get annual reports for a majority of the boards.

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It would be nice if somebody opposite paid some attention to what is in this little book; maybe if they did, the Auditor General wouldn't have to write this big book. So much that she said here has been said year after year after year and this government fails to take any action because of the flippant attitude of people like the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation here who doesn't realize that he is responsible to the people of this Province. He is responsible for accountability and as long as government ministers are going to have the attitude the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is displaying here today, we will never be truly accountable and these boards will go on their merry way spending government funds. I say to the minister, many of our boards and agencies are doing things that if government departments were doing them the minister would be hung out to dry long ago. Now, I am surprised that the minister doesn't have any concern about that.

MR. GRIMES: Not a bit.

MR. WINDSOR: Not a bit, the minister says, no concern whatsoever. Well, I say to the minister, he should be concerned. His words will come back to haunt him because he is ultimately responsible. As part of Cabinet, he has accepted that collective responsibility.

`Several boards indicated they were not receiving relevant directives and guidelines from government. The boards are saying they are not getting proper direction from government as to what their mandate is supposed to be. The directing and monitoring of management by the boards is not adequate; the Crown's lack of established objectives, strategic and operational plans and regular performance and evaluation reports.' Now, that is nothing new. That is not unique for boards and agencies, I say, as the Auditor General, that is also true of many government departments that they do not have a mission plan, a clearly defined set of objectives and goals that the department is supposed to be working toward; or plans as to how they are going to get there; or an accountability at the end of the year as to whether or not the funds that were expended in that department that year had any success in meeting these developmental goals - no accountability again, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General talked about pension funds as well, and points out that the government has not accounted for all of its unfunded pension liability, and states that it has not been clearly indicating the true extent of that.

Now, I suspect the document the minister has provided with the Budget this year may change that somewhat. I suspect this was written, in fact, I know it was written, prior to that, and the minister has now produced a document which does give us some information.

What is even more important, I guess, and more of concern, she points out that the Superintendent of Pensions has not completed reviews of private sector pension plans to determine compliance with the Pensions Benefits Act. Now, this goes back to what we talked about a few moments ago as it relates to insurance and trust funds, protection of the consumer. Here is a case again, where government are responsible for protecting the consumer, but the Superintendent of Pensions has not completed reviews of private sector pension plans to determine compliance with the Pensions Benefits Act, and has not reported to the Minister of Finance on the affairs of office; nor has he tabled a report to the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, these are pretty basic management functions, and legislated responsibilities to account to the people's House for the actions, for the functions of that division, and for protection of people who are involved in private pension plans. The people have a right to assume, if they are contributing to a private pension fund, that government has a mechanism in place to oversee and control that fund to ensure that when that pension becomes due and payable, that adequate funds are in place to guarantee the terms and conditions of that pension are fulfilled.

In government's own pension plan, actuarial reviews for pension plans are required every three years, but in the case of one of our plans it has not been done since 1988. There is a case where government is not complying with its own legislation.

MR. ROBERTS: Which one is that?

MR. WINDSOR: The MHA plan.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) report coming in on that (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Coming in soon, that's fine, but still, that is seven years instead of three, and the MHA plan is small. It pales by comparison with the liabilities in the public service one.

MR. BAKER: You are going to try it out, are you?

MR. WINDSOR: Somebody from over there should certainly try it out.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Just to get used to how it feels.

AN HON. MEMBER: Roger Grimes -

MR. WINDSOR: Maybe that is a hint as to who is going to be running for the leadership of that party and who is going to be the next Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DUMARESQUE: How are the candidates going?

MR. WINDSOR: That's where it's going, no question.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is going to win?

MR. WINDSOR: Over there? I'd say the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board would have a good shot at it.


MR. WINDSOR: There will be a few more, no doubt, vying for that particular position, Mr. Speaker. Your chickens are going to come home to roost very soon, don't you worry about it. The Auditor General has enough information in here to make history out of this particular government. The problem is - and this is the point, and this is why I'm simply addressing some of these points - is it is ignored, no action is taken. Many of these things have been reported on by the Auditor General year after year and the government has refused to take action on them.

MR. BAKER: Not true.

MR. WINDSOR: It is very true. Some items, I said in my earlier statement - the minister was out - some items the government has acted upon. Individual departments have taken some action, but there is a great deal of it that just goes on, totally ignored every year.

Getting back to the University, the Auditor General points out: `The Department of Education and Training does not have an adequate system of accountability over the grants paid to the University. For the years ended March 31 1993 and March 31 1994 the University did not submit its annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council as required, and there is a lack of a statutory responsibility to report to the House of Assembly on the performance of the University' - no legislative responsibility to report to the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to give the University academic freedom, but it is another thing totally to give them total financial freedom, no accountability. They haven't even bothered to report to the minister as they are required to do. What has the minister done about it? Has the minister asked the President of the University for a report? Why has the University not reported to the minister? The minister will stand up, no doubt, and say: Well, you don't need to have the President of the University answer to the Public Accounts Committee, because I can answer it. How can he answer if the University hasn't even answered to him? Is he going to bring his crystal ball with him when he comes to the Public Accounts Committee and try to deal with things that way?

Interesting, Mr. Speaker, if you look at municipal debt, the Budget this year - and I will get into that a little later - the Budget this year provides no new provincial funding for municipalities. The only funding in there is under the infrastructure program, the federal/provincial program and to fulfil existing obligations but there will be no more funding for municipalities for capital works unless the municipality can absorb 100 per cent of the debt itself. I think somewhere in here it has been indicated that there are only thirty-five municipalities that will now qualify for funding out of 400-and-some-odd municipalities, less than 10 per cent, thirty-five municipalities. Those are all that are going to qualify to even borrow money to get government guarantees. Those are the ones that have never needed, never received any support from government other than guarantees because that is all that government has ever done.

The program always was for water and sewer, 100 per cent recoverable from the municipalities but we always knew that there are many rural municipalities that can never hope to support the debt associated with constructing those capital works. Well, now they are no longer going to get them. So what government is now saying is that those that can least afford them will not get them. Now, that is a blanket statement. That has nothing to do with the economy of that community, has nothing to do with the ability to pay. What the government is saying is that if you want it then you have to charge high enough municipal taxes to pay for it.

MR. J. BYRNE: Another nail in the coffin.

MR. WINDSOR: Another nail in the coffin. That is a big nail in the coffin, I say to my friend the Member for St. John's East Extern, a very big nail, and he knows so well what it is like to try to run a small rural municipality - very, very, very difficult. And the cost of servicing municipalities varies tremendously from one municipality, one area, to the other. So it is hardly fair to say to all municipalities - I suppose one could justify it from a financial point of view and say, `User-pay, user-pay.' Well, then there would be no program from the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. There would be no program, no funding. There will be no capital works this year. There will be no construction, so the construction industry is going to be severely affected by this decision of government - severely affected. There will be no jobs this summer in the construction industry, no activity in rural Newfoundland at all, which gets me to another area of concern, this overall concept of employment in this Province.

I had an interesting experience last week in rural Newfoundland where a gentleman said to me, `What is this government doing? What is wrong with this government? We have to get rid of it. We have to get rid of this government.' I said, `Yes, I agree with that, but why are you saying that?' He said, `Boy, they have taken the make-work programs taken away. I used to always be able to get on two programs a year, get my twelve weeks, but I haven't worked now for almost a year, so this government is no good because they are not providing me with my twelve weeks.'

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible) not on twelve.

MR. WINDSOR: The point to be taken from that, is that he wasn't looking for fifty-two weeks - no concept in that man's mind whatsoever of working for a full year. Maybe it's because he has no hope of ever having a full year's employment, doesn't expect to, so he lowered his expectations, but I suspect it is more than that, it is deeper than that. We have now developed a mentality in this Province that says it is acceptable to live on unemployment, that you only have to work twelve or fourteen weeks a year, depending on where you are living, and that's part of the problem with our economy. I don't fault him to a large measure. That is there because there is probably no opportunity for any more than that, but it is a sad statement when somebody's concern is not that they can't get a full-time job, but that they can't get the twelve weeks to get their stamps. Their goal is gone.

MR. BAKER: A brand new phenomenon.

MR. WINDSOR: As the minister said, it's a brand new phenomenon. It's a new concept.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It has gotten worse, I say to the minister. Is it because this is now acceptable, or is it because it is the best you could ever hope for? Have you given up in despair, is the question. Have we now said, `I could never hope to get a full-time job, so I am not even going to think about that, but I have to get the twelve weeks so I have some income coming in all year, and if I get my twelve weeks, that is good enough; and it is fostered by government. We have programs - we had a make-work program this year that only hired those persons who would get off welfare and get onto the unemployment roll, because of it. You had to have more than six weeks in order to get on a six-week program because that guaranteed that you would then get on unemployment. But the poor fellow who hasn't worked at all this year couldn't get a job, he couldn't get on there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I wouldn't want to wake the member up. He is now making a much better contribution than he has made thus far anyway.

What happens to the guy who didn't get any work this year? He can't get his six weeks of work, he can't get unemployment. What about the young person who has never worked and needs twenty weeks to qualify for the first time? How does a young person break into the labour market and get twenty weeks work to get him into the unemployment system - even to have that?

What bothers me, Mr. Speaker, is that now it is acceptable. There used to be a time in this Province when you felt a little embarrassed by having to admit that you were on unemployment. You used to be embarrassed. It is no longer a safety net, it has become a way of life, and that's what is wrong with it. That's why there are some changes being proposed. I'm anxious to see them, not that I agree with them, but I'm anxious to see what might be proposed. Because I, for one, believe that we do have to change it, for the sake of those persons who are caught in that system. We have to help them get off that system. We have to change the attitude that twelve weeks work is enough.

We are now in the second and third generations of families that have seen their parents and their grandparents living on that system. They see no hope of getting off the system, and they have no ambition for getting off the system, and that's even worse, starting to lose their ambition, starting to lose their self-confidence - not even starting; many have lost their self-confidence.

I see it, too, in public housing. I had cases when I was in the housing portfolio of people who called me and said, `My parents had a public housing unit, my grandparents had a public housing unit, and I have a right to a public housing unit - I have a right.' I said to that person, `No, you don't have a right. It is a privilege that is provided by our society for those who cannot help themselves, but you have a responsibility, first of all, to try to help yourself.' It is no longer something that we accept, and in so doing we admit that we can't support ourselves, that we have to fall back on society, and ask society to support us by giving us a low rental housing unit.

I had a case where a young gentleman called me at home and asked me could I get him into a public housing unit. I asked him a little bit about himself and his family situation, if he was married, and how many children. `No, Sir, I am not married' - not married - planning to get married the next month, or two months later.

AN HON. MEMBER: Making provision for (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Making provision.

I asked, `Are you working?' `No, Sir.' I said, `Excuse me for asking the question, but I am curious as to why you are getting married. Is your fiancée expecting?' `No, Sir' - no problem like that. I said, `Well, you are proposing to get married, and you are admitting, two months prior to your marriage, that you are not able to provide for this woman. Before you take a wife, you are asking society to provide you with a home to put her in.' I said, `My friend, you are talking to the wrong minister. Go to church and get some professional advice in that direction.' But it is symbolic of the attitude, unfortunately, that Newfoundlanders, many of them, have started to accept as being reasonable and acceptable, not necessarily through their own fault. Maybe they have been so long trapped on this spinning wheel, maybe they are there so long they don't know how to get off, and they've stopped trying to get off, Mr. Speaker.

These are the kinds of things that concern us, and it is that attitude, and it is time, Mr. Speaker, that we dealt with it. This is the real challenge to government, to create an economy in this Province that allows us to deal with that great challenge. The longer it is allowed to go on, the harder it is going to be to break loose from this whole attitude. Young people today don't have a lot to look forward to in this Province, and I hate to admit that. I have been for years saying to young people: Don't listen to this concept of you've got to get your education and go away to get a job. I don't agree with it. There are opportunities here. There is no better place in this world to live than right here in Newfoundland and Labrador - none.

I've seen over the years my fair share of the world, and I can tell you that there is nowhere that I would prefer to live than right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. From a quality of life - we don't have all of the amenities, depending on how you judge quality of life, but you can't replace the quality of life that we have in this Province by some of the artificial amenities that are provided by some of the bigger cities in other parts of the world. We may not have the greatest weather certain times of the year - it depends on how you approach it - but we have a great deal more to offer in quality of life and environment to people.

That is the problem we are faced with. Young people today don't have the opportunity, so what are we doing? We are spending a fortune on educating young people, as we must and as we should. Because these young people deserve to have a right - it is a right - to a decent education, to choose and pursue the career of their choice, and we, with great difficulty, are financing educational institutions, trying to upgrade those institutions to provide the best possible level of education for our young people, and so we must.

The sad reality of it is that we are unable to offer a challenging opportunity in this Province for those young people once they have gained their education. Far too many of our better educated young people are going elsewhere to seek employment, and that is a sad reality, so we are investing all of this money in their education and they are being forced, through no fault of their own, to go outside of this Province to seek employment, and are making a real contribution to society, to the economy, in other parts of Canada and other parts of the world. From their point of view, it is fortunate that they have the opportunity to choose. It is unfortunate that they are almost forced to leave, and it is unfortunate for us that these people whom we invested so much money in to educate are not here to contribute to our society, and to the economy of our society, but they will probably be back when they retire. They will probably want to come home to retire, when they are no longer productive members of society. So that is the treadmill we are on that I think merits a great deal of concern and attention, and it is government's responsibility to create an environment that is conducive.

Mr. Speaker, let's just look at some of the highlights of the Budget again. As I indicated, I have no intention -

AN HON. MEMBER: Are there any?

MR. WINDSOR: Well, there are a few highlights in there. You have to pick out the best of the least and comment on them, and I don't intend, I say to hon. members, to take a lot more time. I intend to leave that to my colleagues to go into some of the details, and I have covered most of the things that are here, I think. I can't see any more, because I only have half a pair of glasses.

The minister indicated a 3 per cent decrease in funding across the boards in operating expenditures for government departments and agencies. Now, it is going to be very curious as to how that is going to apply. If you had all departments that were similar then you could apply an across the board 3 per cent cut but when you take a department such as the Department of Education, that 95 per cent of their budget is locked in as teachers' salaries - and you can't change that because that is locked in by bargaining agreements, labour agreements that say how many teachers there will be and what the salaries will be - how does the Department of Education find that 3 per cent?

So, Mr. Speaker, how does the Department of Education, how does the Department of Health, where so much funding is tied in to grants to hospital boards, how do they find 3 per cent? Or is this just operating, maybe the wording here, Mr. Speaker, I am just thinking out loud, perhaps 3 per cent is simply on operating expenditures, not program expenditures. Maybe there is a distinction here. Maybe the minister would like to clarify that for us. But the bottom line is, Mr. Speaker, what it is going to do to government departments is it will mean lay-offs. There is no question, it is going to mean a reduction in the number of employees. When you look at the salary details you will see there is less money allocated for salaries this year than there was last year. So there is obviously going to be fewer people employed in the public service and there is going to be a reduction.

In the compensation to individuals, the minister has said there shall be a reduction and that employees will take one-and-a-half days leave without pay which was -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) the agreement.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, it was in the agreement, it was there last year but it was eliminated during the course of the year when government found some favourable variances and employees didn't, in fact, take their day-and-a-half.

MR. ROBERTS: There will be no reduction this year beyond what has been agreed.

MR. WINDSOR: There is no reduction beyond what has been agreed except this 3 per cent in operating costs for each department across the board. Now, how are we going to find that? And that is going to mean some more reductions.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) for sure there will be reductions.

MR. WINDSOR: There will be reductions, yes, but I say to the government, Mr. Speaker, that the minister is so proud that he is showing his $125 million surplus on current account - I realize that current and capital is balanced, which is a tremendous jump in one year, made possible only because of the windfalls in there, nevertheless, we have already dealt with that and I won't go over that again. The last increase the public service has had was in October of 1990. In fact, it had a decrease then. In 1994-1995 it had a reduction based on the pension -

MR. ROBERTS: Every member here as well.

MR. WINDSOR: Every member as well. All the public service, yes, then last year, one-and-a-half days without pay. Employees are actually receiving less now than they were five years ago.

MR. ROBERTS: And there have been (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: And there have been tax (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There have been tax increases. Absolutely. All of society has been saddled with the tax increases. So, the effect of take-home pay of all of the public service is less, and the disposable income is less. And that is true, Mr. Speaker, of many areas of society, in the private sector as well.

I say that the public service has certainly paid its fair share of dealing with the financial problems of government. I would have thought a minister who could come up with $125 million surplus would have loosened the purse strings even ever so slightly, even if it were to eliminate what was already agreed upon as cutbacks for this year, even only that much. Even if we could say: Well, last year you agreed to a day-and-a-half, but that was cancelled, and we think we can get around it this year. We are not going to ask you this year for that.

Because the public sector has a very big impact on the economy of the Province. Throughout the Province these are some of the higher-paying jobs in rural Newfoundland. When your disposable income goes down that has an impact. Even a few jobs here and there in smaller rural communities, a small office closing down, three or four people leaving, has a big impact on that small community where the majority of the funds are expended by those people. I think it is worth noting that the public sector again is being asked to take a bite and that we are going to see some reduction in its numbers. The wage restraint program is still in place.

It is interesting that the Premier is finding money to host the annual Conference of Premiers in 1995-1996. I know that is done on a rotating basis.

AN HON. MEMBER: It comes every ten years.

MR. WINDSOR: It comes every ten years. I guess this is our ten years. I just have to wonder if the timing is not appropriate here for this particular Premier. Is this his retirement party, I wonder?

MR. ROBERTS: I doubt it.

MR. WINDSOR: You doubt it.

AN HON. MEMBER: I think (inaudible) for one more.

MR. WINDSOR: One more Premier's conference, or hosting one more?

MR. ROBERTS: Hosting one.

MR. WINDSOR: Hosting one more; he is going to be around for another eleven years. I don't think even the Government House Leader believes that.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I know, we have all been here for a long time, but I don't have the knives in my back that the Premier does.

AN HON. MEMBER: Or the fortitude.

MR. WINDSOR: Or the fortitude.

The Premier has too many problems in his back benches, in his second caucus. There are two caucuses over there now, two caucuses on the other side of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that right?

MR. TOBIN: Which has more power?

MR. WINDSOR: There is a caucus and a rump caucus, and the rump caucus is pulling the strings over there. A couple of them were bought out in the last shuffle, tried to shut them up, and all that did was stimulate more, drove more to the rump caucus. And they are a powerful caucus, because there are enough of them in it. If they say, no, we are going to vote with the Opposition, then the government could lose their bill.

MR. ROBERTS: Then we would have an election.

MR. WINDSOR: Then we would have an election.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Then `Clyde' wouldn't sign twelve nomination forms, and on and on it goes.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, that would be an interesting scenario, but I don't think that will happen. I think what we will see is a leadership convention before that over there.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There are only twelve - thirty dozen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We all know about that one, but there is another one coming before long.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I don't bet a bottle of cognac on something that is at the discretion of hon. people opposite. I am not quite that foolish.

Mr. Speaker, there is an item here that I have to agree with. It is under the Public Service Commission. It says: Funds have been allocated to establish a service quality unit to increase awareness among all civil servants of our service role in respect to the public.

Now, that says a mouthful, and I say it is long overdue. What a formidable challenge whoever is given that responsibility is going to be faced with! What a formidable challenge! Because there are so many public servants in this Province who think they are doing you a favour by providing you some service. They think they are doing you a favour instead of realizing that they are being paid to serve the public, paid by public funds and that they should be providing service the same as private enterprise would provide. No, all in their own good time, when they are ready, when they are finished their coffee break, when they are finished their chat on the phone or to the person sitting next to them or whatever, they will do you a favour.

Now, before I get charged with having attacked all public servants, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, there are some extremely qualified, capable public servants in this Province who are doing tremendous service. I have run across some of them - I have run across a large number of them over the past few months in dealing with various government departments and some personal business. I have run across some who are very professional, very helpful in their approach, very courteous, but I have run across some, Mr. Speaker, over the years, who would just as soon you didn't even walk in the door and ask them to do something, and that is unfortunate. I hope we can change that attitude. I hope those people can realize that your time is valuable, too, and that you don't have time to be standing around waiting while somebody finds his own good time to provide you with a service they are being paid to provide by the public purse, Mr. Speaker. We have to change that attitude. Service is the name of the game. It is the name of the game in the hospitality industry and we have a long way to go there. We have made some strides but we have a long way to go in the hospitality industry as well. But in the public sector I say, Mr. Speaker, that I support that particular proposal.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is some concern about phasing out subsidies to the broiler industry. I am not sure what impact that would have. I wish the minister were here because he could probably enlighten us. The price support to producers has been reduced by $1 million. Now what impact is that going to have?

MR. ROBERTS: It will still give them about $6 million.

MR. WINDSOR: It will still give them $6 million, but we are having a lot of competition even today from outside producers. You reduce the effectiveness here.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) $6 million is a combination of (inaudible) but if more comes in from the mainland (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, to make them more competitive. The problem is, we are competing with, again, the large producers in other parts of Canada. Oh yes, and the economy (inaudible) and they are dumping what they can't sell. They have a huge market and the surplus they have, they dump here to get rid of it.

Try an example: my friend, the Member for Lewisporte, just sold his drugstore out to a national chain. You know, there was a time when you could go in and do business with these people but you can't do it today. Again, it is all controlled - it was back when I was talking about banks and -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You can't possibly compete with their buying power, and you can't compete just in the marketplace with them.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: How much money is going out of the Province as a result of it?


MR. WINDSOR: A tremendous amount.

MR. ROBERTS: The trouble is, (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's right.

MR. ROBERTS: The equity money is gone.

MR. WINDSOR: The equity money is gone, that's right. It is all gone, and a lot of the top management is outside of this Province.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) both you and I (inaudible) at it twenty years ago (inaudible) excellent job. Now, they (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That's right.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Exactly. You know, that is a very broad topic that we could talk about for days. It goes back, in fact, to Confederation, when so many small local companies died right after Confederation, because, as part of Canada, the larger national companies gained access. Many local businesses and industries died as a result of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, I see enough of it walking in front of me.

Additional funds have been provided to Industry, Trade and Technology for identification of new business investments, trade opportunities and market development for the Province. Mr. Speaker, I can only support that. Anything that we can do - and it gets back to solving the financial problems. The way to solve the fiscal problem is to strengthen the economy. You create jobs in this Province and the economy will look after itself. I don't know that this will have a great impact on creating jobs. Hopefully, it will. If we can attract new business and investments, if we can find new trade opportunities and new markets for any of our businesses, hopefully that will strengthen the economy of the Province and create some jobs, and that is the solution.

I have to say, in saying that, short of these couple of minor items here - the EDGE corporations that is in place might have some small impact, not a great one; the Economic Recovery Commission I talked about earlier; Additional funds for Information Technology Centre that is important. Let's take advantage of the Information Technology Centre, because we have lost so much because of the increase in technology. We have lost so much out of this Province. We certainly have to participate in it, and we can. It opens up new opportunities for business and industry in this Province. Because there is a great increase in technology and in communications in Canada, and around the world. It has opened up tremendous opportunities here and we should take advantage of them or we will get left behind once again, and we will pay the price with no benefits.

Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Mr. Speaker - the 500th Anniversary Celebrations Corporation, that's a good one. I know there have been some problems with accountability, and that needs to be looked into the same as other Crown corporations, but overall this is an anniversary that merits a great deal of support because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, once every 500 years, in fact.

MR. ROBERTS: Once in a lifetime (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Far more than a lifetime, once in five lifetimes. It is an major opportunity to attract tourist dollars to this Province, the biggest opportunity we've had since the Come Home Year many years ago, which was highly successful. That was one of the first major efforts that were undertaken. It is a major opportunity, and I, for one, Mr. Speaker, want to be on record as supporting the Cabot 500th Anniversary. We should do everything we possibly can to tap that into every group and organization, every community, anybody in this Province that has anything to offer for the tourism industry, and ensure that we maximize the returns on that investment as much as we possibly can.

There is no doubt in my mind that we can certainly do that. From a cultural and historical point of view, from a simple environmental and tourism point of view, there are so many opportunities here. As with the Newfoundland T'Railway Park. I've talked many times in this House about maintaining the rail bed across this Province. I still see - and I have to say it again as I've said before - so many examples of where sections of that rail bed are being alienated and that can not be recovered again and tied into this trail system. What a tremendous opportunity we have with the closing of the railway to maintain this trail across the Province, and some of the spur lines, a tremendous recreational opportunity, and we should be capitalizing on it. Those of us who are involved in snowmobiling know that the rail trail is a great route but it could use some grooming.

Now, that might sound like a rather frivolous thing to be talking about at a time when finances are so scarce in this Province, but I say to the government that you are not talking about huge amounts of money to groom some of these trails and to promote them. I spoke last year, when I was on this topic, to the Minister of Tourism at the time, and told him that I have packages at home from Tourism Quebec outlining very well in very good brochures and maps and guides the trails that are available in the Province of Quebec, and the hospitality business that is available as a result of it; the facilities that are available for renting snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and canoes and things of that nature, and the accommodations and services that are available. They've done a wonderful job of packaging and marketing their tourism plan, and we have so far to go in that area. I don't know if the minister is a snowmobile enthusiast or not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He is not. One of the greatest opportunities in winter tourism - because we've always had this problem of tourism being a three- or four-season-long industry, which it is not. There is tremendous winter potential in this Province and it is growing very quickly, in spite of government, I say, Mr. Speaker.

We have not done a lot to encourage the winter tourism season. We've not put a lot of money into it. It would not take a lot to provide some grooming. My friend, the Member for Lewisporte is nodding in agreement. It would not cost a lot of money to provide some grooming of trails, some safety across the way, some signage, some mapping, and list off some of the facilities and services that are available.

As I say again, for the benefit of my friend, the Member for Lewisporte who just came in, I can show him a package that I have from Quebec that is just absolutely phenomenal: what is available on snowmobile trails, on rental of snowmobiles, on accommodations, on guided tours, and on the groomed trails - thousands of miles of groomed trails in Quebec, and in other provinces, but I happen to have a package; I wrote away to Quebec last year just to get it. The packages that are being offered are very attractive, what is being done in Quebec.

There is not only just skiing. Skiing is a tremendous industry in Quebec, as it is beginning to be in Newfoundland, and so it should be. But snowmobiling has not been developed at all here. It is developing in spite of government.

AN HON. MEMBER: Our potential is ahead of Quebec.

MR. WINDSOR: Our potential is way ahead of Quebec.


MR. WINDSOR: I say to my friend, the Member for Lewisporte, the attitude of his colleagues tells you why we haven't progressed any further. They think all of this is funny. Yet, Mr. Speaker, in the great Strategic Economic Plan, this government puts forward tourism as the greatest industry, has the most potential, and so it does. If you look at the document provided with the Budget on the economy, in the front of that document you will see some charts and graphs that show the performance of various sectors in the economy. If you have a look at it, you will see that tourism, in the bottom left-hand corner, has shown by far the greatest level of growth over the past ten years, consistent growth. We have tremendous potential to grow even more.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, Mr. Speaker, who is doing everything possible to make our highways less safe by allowing vehicles on it which are not inspected, as well as trying to destroy the lounges and the motels and everything in this Province, is doing everything possible to destroy the tourism industry in this Province, but it is going to grow in spite of him. Whether he can speak the King's English or not. Whether he sounds like Elmer Fudd or not, whether he gets a picture in the paper or not, the tourism industry is going to grow in spite of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, even if it is just to come down here and see who this silly Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You have something there on him, haven't you?

MR. WINDSOR: Oh yes, I have a picture of him here somewhere. It is a little too nice.


MR. WINDSOR: Yes. They've been too complimentary to him. `Don't dwink and dwive, but it's okay to dwive a weck.' `Stop, twaffic patwol.' Tourists are going to flock in here to see this, Mr. Speaker. They are going to want to meet - he could be our biggest tourist attraction, I would say. They are going to want to see the real Elmer Fudd. There is the real Elmer Fudd.

I urge the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to seriously have a look at this. The national trailway park is a tremendous tourism opportunity - not only that, it is a great unifying force for Canada. But it opens up a wealth of opportunity for tourist development.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is a good idea.

MR. WINDSOR: What is?

AN HON. MEMBER: Trailways.

MR. WINDSOR: Trailways, absolutely. The former president of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, of course, is very familiar with it and has supported it for many years.

Mr. Speaker, I find the next one interesting. We are provided $1 million for the first year of a five-year program to enhance provincial parks, yet we are closing twenty-nine of them. Now, there is a decision that I find interesting. The government say they are closing twenty-nine provincial parks and will save $300,000. That is all they are going to save. How many summer jobs are we losing? Three hundred maybe - their average of ten employees in a park? Could there be that many - 300 summer jobs gone to save $300,000; $1,000 a job. We will have a student employment program paying out $3,000 and $4,000 a job, trying to create some jobs for students this summer, and we have just eliminated them in parks.

Last year, as I recall, we eliminated the fees - wanted to get rid of some of the fees - said they are going to increase a few of them now. There will be minor increases in some provincial park fees. Last year, we were eliminating fees, were going to get rid of them. Seventy-three fees, a couple of years ago, the former Minister of Finance said he was eliminating, and last year, I believe, we eliminated the fees charged to the Newfoundland Wildlife Park on Salmonier Line. All that did was eliminate three or four jobs at the Wildlife Park for young students who would have worked there. They eliminated three or four jobs. Nobody objected - I think it was only fifty cents a head to get in, or $1 at the most. The comment that I had from people who visited there from out of Province was: How can you afford to run the park at so little? Why aren't you charging more? We would be paying $2 or $3 or $5 to get into such a facility in other parts of Canada. So we eliminated it altogether, Mr. Speaker. It is nice, I suppose, for the person who is going there, a little short-sighted.

Now, we are going to spend $1 million - and that's good; it should be $10 million - to do some upgrading to our parks. I haven't seen any statement from the minister as to exactly what is involved in that. In fact, I haven't seen the details of the closing of the twenty-nine parks, or which ones are being closed. I do know, Father Duffy's Well is one of them. There are no employees at Father Duffy's Well anyway. It is only a roadside stop, a natural well that has been there for years and years and years, since I was a boy. I can't remember when it wasn't there, and I think what we do is pick up garbage there every day. The Department of Works, Services and Transportation, I think, picks up the garbage in the garbage bucket.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's a great picnic spot there.

MR. WINDSOR: It's a great picnic spot.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: For what?

AN HON. MEMBER: For seniors (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Not seniors, no, the travelling public. A lot of people who go to that area, stop in to these day-use parks. There are a number of these day-use parks.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) bottle of water.

MR. WINDSOR: That is right, a bottle of water.

A lot of these day-use parks, and this one in particular because it has a good source of fresh spring water - it has always been a popular watering hole in the true sense of the word, not the kind of watering hole we often talk about, but it is a true watering hole and one that has been very popular. People stop and they will have their lunch, they may even have a boil up. There are half a dozen picnic tables scattered in the woods.

Surely the cost of operating that is negligible in the overall scheme of things. There are no full-time employees there to my knowledge. Somebody checks it every day or so. Probably the staff from the wildlife park on Salmonier Line service it and pick up the garbage. I don't know. It is not a major, major cost, but it is a great spot.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the man who saved the caribou.

MR. WINDSOR: Saved the caribou? Mike -


MR. WINDSOR: Not Keough.

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you talking about up the Shore?



MR. WINDSOR: Not Mike Ryan.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Michael Nolan, a great environmentalist and a great patriot. He saved the caribou herd, yes. You are right, I think I had heard before they had spent a lot of time looking after Father Duffy's Well.

Another question: What is going to happen to Father Duffy's Well? I mean, are we simply going to let it go to rot now and be vandalized and all the rest of it or is it going to be sold to the private sector? At least (inaudible) in the private sector could deal with it. I mean, somebody has to maintain it. Are we simply going to take the gates down and let everybody go on through? It makes no sense whatsoever, Mr. Speaker, absolutely no sense whatsoever.

The cost of that, just to have a little - on the Trans Canada Highway we are building little lay-bys where people can stop and have a rest. I know there is a very good one being constructed now with make-work money at Gambo, looking out over a beautiful scene there. There is a considerable amount of money being spent there now building a patio-type deck, a step-down thing with railings around it and a picnic area and everything there, at the tip of the hill looking out over Gambo; a very valuable thing. A lot of people stop there, travel there on a regular basis. I see a lot of trucks stopped there at night, having a rest, having a nap, probably gone to bed, transport trucks pulled in for the night. I see a lot of individuals stopped there, tourists taking pictures and everything else. A great thing! Father Duffy's Well is just another one of them.

Why, when we are spending money out developing these other sites on the highway, are we closing one that has been there for years and years and years and really costs almost nothing, Mr. Speaker? At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we are going to increase a few provincial park fees, some of the ones that we cut back a couple of years ago, some of the ones we eliminated probably.

Mr. Speaker, the minister talked about not having any tax increases but then we see there are going to be changes to benefits covered by medicare, drug and dental programs to save $1 million. Well, that is an increase. That has got to come out of taxpayers' pockets, Mr. Speaker, does it not? We are not going to provide those services. Individuals are going to have to pay for them themselves. So, there we are.

Minor fee increases for Securities and Sheriff's Office areas. That is big stuff. The hon. gentleman should read what the Auditor General has to say about the Sheriff's Office. I suspect if the accountability of the Sheriff was a little better, the administration was a little better, you wouldn't need those fee increases. The Auditor General has some very unkind words for the operation of the Sheriff's Office.

The Member for St. John's Centre talked today about recovering damage deposits on apartments in St. John's and other areas. He is quite right in every word he said. There is a cost. He mentioned that there is a fifty dollar charge for the notice and then it costs about fifty dollars to have it served, and he is quite right. There used to be a time when the Sheriff's Office served that notice, but it doesn't anymore. You now have to hire a private individual.

AN HON. MEMBER: Adjourn the debate.

MR. WINDSOR: Adjourn the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman needs -

MR. WINDSOR: If you want me to adjourn debate, I can. Are we going to come back this evening?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentleman would yield for a moment.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

We are essentially in the hon. gentleman's hands. If the hon. gentleman would like a few moments to finish - I don't know how long he plans to speak - then perhaps we would do it now and adjourn and go home for the night. If not, I suspect what we will do is adjourn until another day, and it may be a bit getting back to it.

I am really in the hon. gentleman's hands because it all comes out of the seventy-five hours anyway. In that sense, I have to put up with the punishment. So, whatever the hon. gentleman wishes.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I don't really know how much longer I am going to be, so maybe it is probably wise if we adjourn now and come back another day. There is lots of time. I adjourn the debate, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Debate adjourns.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we shall tomorrow begin the debate on the Interim Supply Bill which is in the House. We don't plan to sit late tomorrow, Wednesday will be Private Members' Day, and Thursday we shall be back on Interim Supply, unless we have passed the bill. As I mentioned to the House earlier, government are in a position that until we get Supply from the House, assuming the Governor signs the bill, assuming it is presented to him, we will not be able to issue the pay cheques that must go in the mail by about lunch time on Friday if they are to get to the recipients at the time they are destined to get there.

MR. TOBIN: Perhaps you could write a cheque and help them out.

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: Perhaps you can pay them all (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It's possible, but it depends on the chicken account, I have to say to my hon. friend, depends on the bill at Mary Brown's this week, but we will talk to him about that later.

In any event, Your Honour, tomorrow we shall be on the Interim Supply Bill and we will see how we get on.

With that said, Your Honour, I move the House at its rising adjourn until tomorrow at two, and that the House do now adjourn.

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