May 8, 1995                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 19

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Does the hon. the Minister of Finance have leave to address the House?


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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the House today, in her new capacity as Leader of the Opposition, the Member for Humber East.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Tell them she was our choice, too.

MR. BAKER: She already, Mr. Speaker, has a long history of accomplishments: being admitted to the Bar, being elected as an MHA for Humber East, the various times that she has had to defend that particular position, and her terms in Cabinet for, I believe, close to ten years as Minister of Education and Minister of Justice. Now, Mr. Speaker, she has taken the next step and has become leader of her party and Leader of the Opposition. Both carry tremendous responsibilities with them and we wish her well in her new job. We promise to co-operate as much as we possibly can to make sure that the House functions as it should and that the business of the Province gets done. We will co-operate - I pledge to her our co-operation in that regard, and I hope that there will always be an open line of communication between her and the government.

We wish her, Mr. Speaker, very well - and the House will excuse me for saying, and I am sure she will understand if I say `not too well' - and we wish her a long and a fruitful stay as Leader of the Opposition.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to thank the Deputy Premier for his gracious words of welcome and congratulations. I intend to pursue my new position as Leader of the Official Opposition with vigour; I wish to reciprocate his pledge of co-operation in the interest of good government for the people of the Province, and I assure him that my list of accomplishments is not at an end. I will be working very hard to ensure that my stay in this job is relatively brief and that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: - after the next election I intend to be in a new job occupying a seat which today, and all too often lately, has been vacant on the government side of the House in the front bench.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding with the business of the day, I had a ruling I wish to make that was held over prior to Easter.

On April 5, the question arose in this House concerning the tabling of documents by a private member, in this case, the hon. the Member for Kilbride. Arguments were ably and persuasively presented on both sides of the issue and I indicated that I would take a little time to consider the matter.

First of all, there is a difference between a private letter or memorandum and a document. A document, or the word at least, infers that the paper in question has a formal or official character. Accordingly, the rule differs with respect to ministers and private members.

Erskine May and Beauchesne both confirm the requirement that a minister must table any document that is quoted. This rule, which is not written in our Standing Orders but has been followed in practice, is intended as a safeguard to discourage ministers quoting out of context.

In the past, there has been the impression that members may read from and refer to documents provided that they table them. In one instance, a member of this hon. House, who shall remain nameless, was fond of quoting from a certain cookbook containing cucumber recipes. The demand was made to table it which by my recollection was done by consent thus ending the recipe reading.

The precedences are clear, however, that private members have neither the right nor the obligation to table documents. Documents may be tabled with the unanimous consent of the House and I rely on a decision of the House of Commons of March 29, 1995 when the hon. Jean Charest asked the House to consent to the Member for Kootenay West tabling a document relative to the proposal to privatize the Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Speaker, referred to the unusual nature of the request but asked for unanimous consent which was refused.

One of the arguments offered in support of a private member tabling documents was that if a member were not permitted to do so reports, for example, could not be filed. However, the tabling of these reports is specifically provided for by our own rules and is an exception to the general prohibition.

Finally I refer to a decision of my illustrious predecessor, the hon. Member for Bonavista North, who ruled on this point at much greater length and with considerable more eloquence on December 5, 1990. I take comfort from the fact that I concur with his views and am spared the necessity of further research.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today marks the Fiftieth Anniversary of the end of the most devastating war of modern times. On May 8, 1945, the last German forces surrendered to advancing allied troops ending the war against Hitler's Germany.

Throughout Canada and across Europe, this weekend has been marked by celebrations and acts of remembrance.

The significance of the V-E Day celebrations was nowhere more evident than in Holland. The Dutch people had endured five years of brutal occupation and experienced first-hand the terror of the Nazi Regime. Most of Holland was liberated in late 1944 but the northern portion remained in German hands throughout the winter. Food was scarce and the people were forced to scrounge for anything that could be eaten. As local resistance grew, the German occupation forces carried out acts of reprisal against the civilian population.

The parades held this past weekend were almost exactly like accounts and photographs of the sights that met allied forces in 1944 and in 1945. Civilians swarmed into the streets to shake hands with their liberators reducing the parade to a single file of soldiers then and grey-haired veterans today. For those of us to young to remember the war-years or those born after the war, those scenes of joy and celebration come as close as one can to conveying the true meaning of liberation and V-E Day.

To mark the 50th Anniversary of their liberation, the people of Holland have provided a gift of 1,000 tulips to the people of this Province. They have been planted in front of the Colonial Building. My colleague the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation hosted a ceremony on Friday to dedicate that bed as a permanent memorial to the liberation and as a place of remembrance and reflection on the impact that the Second World War has had on our people and our country.

During the Second World War, thousands of young men and women from Newfoundland and Labrador answered the call for volunteers. They served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Artillery, the Royal Air Force, the Commonwealth Armed Forces, the Merchant Navy, and the Forestry Unit, each of them contributing to the allied victory.

From the Murmansk convoys to fighting the Germans and Italians in the deserts of North Africa, battling U-Boats and the elements off the Coast of Newfoundland, or flying Mosquitos over the Normandy battle where their comrades from home were fighting on the ground, Newfoundlanders gave unstintingly of themselves to restore peace and freedom.

There is no accurate count of their numbers, because for every Newfoundlander who enroled at home there were undoubtedly more who volunteered where they happened to be when war came, whether it was Canada, England, South Africa or the United States, but we do know that they numbered in the thousands and every one was a volunteer. When their fellow citizens needed them, they did not have to be asked twice.

We do know that thousands gave their lives, and as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of victory in Europe the memory of that sacrifice cannot be far from the minds of their friends and families. It is not far from the hearts and minds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians across the Province.

What we are remembering this weekend is 50 years of peace, freedom and prosperity that came out of the allied victory in the Second World War. That is the enduring legacy which each veteran has given us. The countries which banded together to defeat the axis powers formed the United Nations, itself a remarkable and visionary effort to enhance international co-operation and promote the peaceful settlement of disputes. While it has not always been an overwhelming success, the UN has helped to foster a climate in which war is irrelevant as a means of setting differences among nations.

Today we should also remember that men and women from our Province are still at work around the world continuing the job started in Europe 50 years ago. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen on peacekeeping missions or supporting humanitarian operations in places like the former Yugoslavia are our modern-day liberators. They are working through the United Nations - very often risking their lives - to improve the quality of life and to bring peace to troubled places in much the same way that our armed forces 50 years ago worked with our allies to liberate Europe from tyranny.

Members of the House of Assembly know that most of the officials who serve as commissionaires for the House are veterans of the Second World War. The Sergeant At Arms, for example, was a young gunner fifty years ago with the 166th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. He saw action in North Africa and Italy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Others served in the Armed Forces of Britain or Canada, or like most Newfoundlanders joined the Royal Navy.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join with me in congratulating these men and women and thanking them and their comrades for their service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We owe each of you a tremendous debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid or properly acknowledged.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On behalf of the Opposition I would like to thank the Deputy Premier for his statement. We would like to be associated with his way of commemorating this 50th Anniversary of the victory in Europe and of acknowledging the tremendous contribution to the victory of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. As the Deputy Premier indicated, over the six year period, approximately six year period of the Second World War, many thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians served in the Navy, Army and Air Force of Britain, Canada and even the United States. As well, Newfoundlanders in great numbers served in the Merchant Navy and the overseas forestry unit. Also civilians at home helped the war effort through the Women's Patriotic Association and through countless individual contributions. According to Herb Wells, a noted local military historian, approximately 1,000 Newfoundlanders gave their lives in the cause of the allied victory. These are individuals who were lost serving with the forces and in the Merchant Navy. In addition we have to remember the 137 civilians who were lost at sea when our ferry Caribou was torpedoed by the Germans crossing the gulf.

Newfoundland made an enormous contribution relative to our population and resources to the allied victory in Europe and as the Deputy Premier said, those of us who are here today owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Newfoundlanders of the Second World War period, those who remain with us, such as our Sergeant At Arms and those who lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I don't have a prepared statement but given the nature I assume members on the other side will be able to respond. I want to draw to the attention of the House that since we've last met death has taken two distinguished Newfoundlanders from our ranks: Moses Morgan and Charles Granger. I would like to say a word or two if I may about each and then ask the House to take the appropriate action. No doubt members on the other side will wish to speak.

With Charlie Granger's passing - and while he may have been the hon. Charles Ronald McKay Granger, Member of the Privy Council, Officer of the Order of Canada, we all knew him as Charlie. With Charlie's passing Newfoundland and Labrador has lost a fine man and a fine citizen and a fine public servant. He had a long and distinguished career in public life in this Province. Perhaps the beginning of his public career was as the editor of The Fisherman's Advocate which in those days was the voice of the fishermen in this Province. Published at Port Union and part of the Coaker heritage. In due course he became president of the Fishermen's Protective Union.

After Confederation Charlie Granger went to Ottawa as what was then called the private secretary - we today call it the executive assistant to the chief of staff - successively to the two men who represented Newfoundland and Labrador in the Government of Canada, the first, Gordon Bradley, and secondly Jack Pickersgill.

In 1958 Charlie Granger entered the House of Commons. There weren't many Liberals who entered the House of Commons in 1958. That wasn't a good year for the Liberal Party of Canada. That was the year Mr. Diefenbaker won his massive victory. Charlie was elected in Grand Falls - White Bay - Labrador in 1958, and returned, re-elected, in 1962, 1963 and 1965.

In 1966 he entered this House as the Member for Gander and became a member of Mr. Smallwood's Cabinet as the minister for Labrador affairs. A year or so later when Mr. Pickersgill resigned from the Cabinet of Canada and from the House of Commons as the member for the Bonavista - Twillingate constituency, Mr. Granger sought election and was elected as the member for - I'm not sure if it was Gander - Twillingate or Bonavista - Twillingate at that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It was still Gander - Twillingate?

AN HON. MEMBER: Bonavista (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Bonavista - Twillingate still at that state. He entered Mr. Pearson's Cabinet and then Mr. Trudeau's Cabinet. His public political career came to an honourable end in 1968 when he was defeated. He lost in a bid for re-election.

He was one of the only two Newfoundlanders since Confederation, Mr. Speaker, who have served both in the provincial Cabinet and in the federal Cabinet. There were two men who served in the federal Cabinet who were also in the provincial cabinet before Confederation: Gordon Bradley and Bill Brown. Both served in the Cabinet before Commission - different parties - and then served in the Cabinet in Ottawa after Confederation, again in different parties.

I knew Charlie Granger very well. He and I were colleagues, we were political allies, we were personal friends. He was a man of courage and compassion. He was dedicated to the public weal and to the interests of the people of the Province and of Canada, and we are all the losers because of his death.

Like many if not all the members of the House, I also knew Mose Morgan very well. Perhaps far more members knew Mose Morgan well than would have had the pleasure and the honour of knowing Charlie Granger well. Mose Morgan, or Mose as he was called by all of us, was a man of integrity, a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was passionately committed to an ideal of truth and learning and knowledge and to Memorial University of Newfoundland, and because of the University and through the University to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

His contribution was immense. I think it is fair to say that it is difficult - in fact it is probably impossible - to conceive of the Memorial University of Newfoundland as we know it today without giving a large part of the credit, a large part of the responsibility, a large part of the praise, to Mose Morgan. It would be a far lesser institution without him. There are thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, many of them in this House, who were touched by Mose Morgan either personally or through his work as the president of the University, and his work before that as the dean and the vice-president and a professor. The lives of all he touched are better because of it.

Death in claiming Mose Morgan and Charlie Granger has taken two of our finest sons. We, in this House, Sir, should mourn their passing and honour them for their contribution. I would ask that the House - and someone on the other side will speak, but I have no doubt they will ask to be associated with these words - I would ask that the House send the appropriate message of sympathy to Mrs. Morgan and to Mrs. Granger and to the families of these two fine men.

Thank you, Sir.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government House Leader spoke eloquently for all of us in paying tribute to Charlie Granger and Mose Morgan, and we wish to be associated with the Government House Leader's remarks and with his call for messages of condolences to go to Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Granger.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the absence of the Premier this afternoon, I will direct questions about the Trans City scandal to the Premier's chief operative in this affair, the Deputy Premier, the minister the Premier appointed to head the special Cabinet committee on the matter.

Will the Deputy Premier confirm, it was the Premier who was responsible for orchestrating the convoluted series of transactions that involved the government breaking the Public Tender Act? Will the Deputy Premier admit that the Premier insisted that the three lucrative, hospital construction contacts go to the firm owned by Tom Hickman, Bill Case and Joe Butler?

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question, there were so many inflammatory words used in there, I don't quite know where to begin.

Mr. Speaker, the process was not overly convoluted. We decided to take a different route in terms of tendering for I believe, it was five - we were originally considering five projects; we went for an open proposal call and we went through a process that we recognized from day one, Mr. Speaker, was different from the normal process. And we did go through it. The decision was made on reasons that have been explained so far, and very logical reasons or several decision points. The first was the analysis of the projects or the proposals and then there was a decision point in terms of the structure, so a decision was made on the recommendation of the civil service that we go with brick, steel and then there was an additional analysis done of the brick, steel proposals and the recommendation was that the most cost effective and overall better proposal was won by Trans City; hence, it was awarded.

Before the award, once the decision was made, we sought a legal opinion as to whether this was satisfactory under the Public Tender Act and received our legal opinion, which in fact it was. Since then, there has been a court case and all these things, the hon. lady knows, were brought out in the court case, and she knows them all. There was a decision by the court that there was a contravention of the Public Tender Act, but, Mr. Speaker, we have appealed that decision with very good grounds, and I am assuming that this will be handled expeditiously by the Court of Appeal, and we will see when the Court of Appeal deals with it, whether in fact there was a breach of the Public Tender Act.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now, the Deputy Premier has said: We made a decision, we sought a legal opinion. He might have added that: we ignored the legal opinion; he might have added that: we ignored pointed warnings and advice from other public servants besides the senior lawyer they consulted.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, my question: Did the Deputy Premier use the `royal' we? Was it the `royal' Premier who orchestrated this whole sleazy affair? Was it the Premier who sent down orders which the Deputy Premier carried out, that no matter what the legal opinion, no matter what the advice from senior public servants, those contracts were going to Tom Hickman, Bill Case and Joe Butler?

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


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the Leader of the Opposition read the legal opinion, which I tabled in the House. It says: `In summary, Cabinet does have the authority to award these contracts to Trans City Holdings Limited under section VIII of the act, even though it is not the lowest or preferred bidder; however, this will require the tabling of the reasons for the contract award in the House of Assembly.

That is the conclusion of the legal opinion, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. lady knows how to read a legal opinion.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I note, the Deputy Premier is avoiding answering my pointed questions about the responsibility, the personal responsibility and culpability of the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Premier has selectively lifted a quote from the legal opinion. He failed to read the section of the legal opinion warning of violation of the spirit of the Public Tendering Act and possible infraction of the letter of the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, my supplementary for the Deputy Premier: The Deputy Premier is, for whatever reason, trying to protect the Premier. Now, if the Premier wasn't directly responsible for orchestrating this whole affair, what is the responsibility and blame that should be assigned to the Deputy Premier himself and the three other ministers who served with the Deputy Premier on the committee? Those three other ministers are now the Minister of Education and Training, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and Your Honour, the Speaker. Is the Deputy Premier expecting anyone to believe that the gang of four acted without express direction of the Premier himself?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out, I am disappointed with the Leader of the Opposition. I did answer her question. Her question was simply: were we given direction by the Premier to ignore the legal opinion and proceed against the legal opinion? I simply pointed out that the legal opinion, in fact, says that this could be done under the Public Tender Act, so that is an answer to the question. It is a very direct answer.

Mr. Speaker, in terms of apportioning blame, I would like to advise the Leader of the Opposition that in this process we have three buildings that have been constructed and are still operating, providing employment for hundreds of people. We got these buildings at the cheapest possible price. We, as a matter of fact, got those buildings at a price that was cheaper than we could have done ourselves, and the information has been tabled in the House, so I am perfectly willing to accept the blame for that. We have done what was in the best interest of the people of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So is the Deputy Premier saying that he, personally, is taking the Premier's blame for breaking the Public Tender Act, for being ordered by the Supreme Court Trial Division to pay approximately $3 million of scarce taxpayers' dollars in damages for giving three hospital construction contracts to Liberal bag men and contributors in an arrangement that saw not one extra construction job, not one benefit to the people of this Province, and a deal that is going to cost the Treasury, despite what the minister is trying to hide, millions of dollars additional compared to what those three same facilities could have been constructed for?

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

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is on a wrong track here, totally. That was a good financial deal. We do have the buildings operating, and they are providing good service. I would like to remind the Leader of the Opposition that the contract amount was about $26 million - she keeps saying hundreds of millions, or $100 and-some-odd million - about $26 million, and that the total cost of the contract plus the interest we will pay over thirty years when these buildings then become our property, totally paid for, is in the vicinity of $96 million. That compares with the expenditure on Sprung of $24 million which over thirty years will cost us an additional $75,700,000 in interest. At the end of the thirty years the total cost will be $99.8 million and we will still owe the $24 million that that fiasco cost us. So, Mr. Speaker, if you want to compare that to something else to relate it to effective spending, I am very proud that we have done something here that was effective spending.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a further supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the Deputy Premier, if this was a good deal, why did the Supreme Court of Newfoundland rule that the government broke the Public Tender Act and order the government to pay $3 million in damages? If this was a good deal, why is the Premier refusing to have a public inquiry into the whole sleazy affair?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Isn't it because you know that you did wrong and that you squandered millions of scarce taxpayers' dollars for no benefit for the unemployed workers or the sick people in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I have to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that there was a decision in the Supreme Court that made an indeterminate award; the amount was not specified, and the amount, if it stands up, will have to be determined by the court. So her $3 million is, I suppose, a number she is coming up with which is a maximum amount. We will see perhaps what that is going to be, but I would also like to remind her -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

One question at a time.

MR. BAKER: - that a court decision has been appealed. The process is still with the court, and that is why I have to be sort of careful as to the kinds of details I go into, in terms of that appeal. The process is still with the court and the final decision has not yet been rendered. In spite of what the hon. lady says, the final decision of the court has not yet been rendered, Mr. Speaker, and that is the reality of the situation. The hon. lady knows well the court process and cannot refute that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Health.

Now, restructuring our health care system has been ongoing for a long, long time and there is currently a lot of anxiety out there in the system. I ask the minister: When is the reorganization plan for the Health Care Corporation of St. John's going to be decided and released to the public?

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

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

Thank you for the question. It is not a new question. The hon. member asked that question on a previous occasion and more than once.

The St. John's Health Care Corporation assumed their responsibilities April 1. They have a significant mandate of rationalizing, probably reorganizing, certainly, administering in as efficient a manner as possible, the health care system for which they have jurisdiction starting with Bell Island and coming right on through to St. John's six, seven or eight institutions. They have collapsed six boards into that corporation and I can tell you that they are moving on quite vigorously and quite swiftly, I would anticipate, in reviewing the whole spectrum of health care in the St. John's and metro region. And at what time they have developed some ideas as to what the reorganization should look like, I am sure they will bring it to government, they will bring it to my office and government will look at it and we will deal with it. The reorganization is an evolving process and we have nothing to report to you today. We can't tell you that this is going to happen or that is going to happen, other than what you already know. When we make decisions that are firm, fixed and final and in the best interest of health care, you will be amongst the first to know.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question will be ongoing, I guess as long as we are waiting for the reorganization plan; that has been some time. There has been an executive director in your office, reporting directly to you for the past ten months and I am sure progress has been made in the past ten months and it is about time the public knew. Now, I say to the minister, surely he knows how many people are going to lose their jobs. Will the minister tell this House how many jobs are going to be eliminated within the eight institutions here in the St. John's region?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, surely the hon. minister does not know how many jobs are going to be affected, and that is a question that can only be answered after certain restructuring decisions are made. It is just not sensible for the member to conclude, to think, or to make the proposition that I know if there are any jobs to be affected, or how many in fact will be. Will there be less jobs, maybe, in institutions? Maybe there will. Will there be more jobs on the community side as a result of restructuring? Yes, there will be more jobs, but what the balance will be I do not know, nor does anybody else. If anybody tells you they have the answer to that question today you can be suspect of the information that you receive. When the information becomes available, when the plan is developed, when restructuring occurs, when all things fall in place, as I said before, this House will be amongst the first to be advised of anything in that regard.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister knows as well as I do, and people in the system, that he is not being up-front. I say to the minister to come up-front and tell the public how many jobs are going to be eliminated. We know there are going to be several hundred jobs. Now, many of these people have twenty-five to thirty years of service and they are not eligible for pension because of their age. I ask the minister if there is any plan in place to make arrangements for those people who do not meet retirement because of their age for some type of early retirement benefits for those displaced after twenty-six and up to thirty years service?

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

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

The number that the hon. member puts forward is a number that he has arrived at from his own calculations, which I hope is better than the arithmetic that his leader can do. In any event he has come up with a number and I have no idea where he got it. I cannot attest to its validity. I cannot even comment on it because reorganization has not even taken place. We have not even got to the first stage of deciding exactly how it is all going to be done.

The new Health Care Corporation is dealing with that issue, amongst a lot of other issues. They have only been on the ground a month and I am sure the member understands that. Now, as to how we are going to deal with it in the event that there are displacements of persons, government has a plan in place to deal with redundancies. We have a process in place to deal with people who may be displaced. The unions have certain rights with respect to employees who may be adversely affected with restructuring, and if and when that happens all of these mechanisms will take over and will work, I am sure, to the advantage of employees to the greatest extent possible, and certainly there will be fairness, balance, and things will be done in a proper, orderly, and in an organized fashion.

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

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

My question is for the Deputy Premier.

Five weeks ago, based on questions I asked in the House, the Deputy Premier stood and indicated that the government would be conducting an investigation into the allegations and evidence that I laid to the table of this House and to him, dealing with double and triple billing by the chief review commissioner, Eric Gullage, and other review commissioners. Can the Deputy Premier inform the House today what is the status of that investigation and when will it be tabled. Can he inform us of that, please?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, on Friday I received an interim report on this. I had a look at it. We asked a number of questions and had a number of things to be investigated, and there was one question that was not dealt with, so I sent it back and asked: could you very quickly come back and deal with this final question? I am expecting the final version sometime this week.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it has taken a long, long time for this investigation to be completed. Can he tell the House and the people of this Province, and especially injured workers, did the scope of his investigation include in all, or in part, the quality of decisions made by the chief review commissioner or any of the part-time review commissioners?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the work plan involved reviewing sections of the Workers' Compensation Act pertaining to the Compensation Review Division and the Orders in Council, and so on, to meet with the officials and so on to obtain an overview. Remember, this is being done by the Internal Audit Division of Treasury Board that has nothing to start with, to document the billing process in detail, to determine in consultation with the Department of Justice what should constitute a case, determine the method used by commissioners to support billings, perform a review of the fifty-nine cases and any or all others - and the review was extremely extensive in terms of listening to tapes and the whole thing - and prepare a report outlining the results of the review.

One of these questions wasn't fully answered and I suggested that it should take another couple of days to make sure that all of the questions were answered. That is the basis of the internal review.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Three and a half weeks ago I asked the Deputy Premier to table the terms of reference for what the conduct of this investigation would be. He would not. He just reads from it. I thank him for reading from that today and ask him why he hasn't tabled it before.

I would like to bring another piece of information to the Deputy Premier's attention. It may be another question that he would want received. As we all know, a case reviewed by a commissioner - whether it be by the chief commissioner or part-time commissioner - supposedly is paid $500. I have information here, Mr. Speaker, that shows that - I have lots of cases but I brought one to the House, and I want to ask the minister this question. One case in particular came from the Internal Review Division at Workers' Compensation where there is a ten-page typed report on the worker. It was reviewed by one Eric Gullage, the chief review commissioner. The front page is different, the two lines or twenty words on the back page are different, but the ten pages in between are completely plagiarized word for word, sentence for sentence, paragraph for paragraph, page for page.

Let me ask the Deputy Premier this. Does he find this sort of conduct by the chief review commissioner - plagiarism of cases, not reviewing the case in detail on behalf of an injured worker that he should have, and getting paid $500 - do you find that acceptable?

AN HON. MEMBER: Shame, shame!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind members opposite that when we came to government there was no review process. There was no independent review. There was no outside review, okay?

MR. TOBIN: Why should we (inaudible)?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: We were under great pressure -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) another Senate is what you have got set up over there!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: What used to happen - I would like to give a full answer, Mr. Speaker, if I may. What used to happen is that the same people who made the decisions in Workers' Comp handled any feedback. So in other words they were reviewing themselves. The argument was made that this wasn't quite right and you should set up an independent review process. We eventually did. The first process we set up was found to be unsatisfactory and we were paying in terms of either hours or days. I forget which that was spent.

Then the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations at the time decided to come up with a different process because of problems we were running into. His process involved paying a flat rate per case, whether the case took three hours or whether it took a week. There was a flat rate per case.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. BAKER: I'm trying to do a sensible answer if the hon. member will let me. Okay?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BAKER: We decided on a flat rate per case. Then the question becomes: Is there abuse of that system of the flat rate per case? I guess the key is the definition of what constitutes a case and so on. In order to fully make a decision on this we needed somebody to have a look at it, to go back and listen to the tapes, to go over all of the information, to do a report and to provide us with definitions that we could use. We needed to do that.

Mr. Speaker, that is precisely what we are in the process of doing. I will tell the hon. member that is close to being finished. There was one question that wasn't fully answered and I asked them to answer it. I've had nothing to do with the process other than that. Purely done by the Internal Audit Division. When that report comes before us then it will be given to the Premier and then decisions will have to be made. I hesitate to go back and comment on individual cases now brought up in light of this review that is going on. I expect very shortly to get that final report and I've indicated to the House that very quickly after we get it the information will be made available.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question about another scandalous Liberal giveaway to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. It pertains to the recent Canada-European Union fisheries agreement, that infamous, scandalous fisheries agreement, I say to the minister. I am wondering if the minister -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, I say to the Minister of Education and Training, and so do a lot of other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians today have a lot of different opinions on that agreement.

Does the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture have a copy of the agreement? And if he does, will he undertake to table it so that all members of the House can have a copy and familiarize themselves with the contents so that we all know just what a giveaway this agreement really is?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Maybe I should say that had the previous administration been on their toes back in the eighties, and had Mr. Crosbie dealt with this problem properly, we would have had fish to catch today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: When my colleague from Grand Bank was the minister, he should have been on his toes and prevented some of this problem from happening, but obviously he wasn't with it and that is why we are where we are today; however, I do have a copy of the agreement and it will be my pleasure to table it in the House, in fact, to provide a copy to everybody.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't have it with you?

DR. HULAN: I don't have it with me today, no, Sir, but I can bring it tomorrow.

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

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

I just hope, now that the minister has confirmed he has a copy, that he takes the time to read it and find out what he and the Premier and the government really supported on this scandalous deal where they gave away so much turbot to the Europeans.

I want to ask him a question specifically about the Observer's Program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, could I ask for protection from the proud Canadian, the proud Liberal, the Member for Eagle River, who is not quite as proud today or he wouldn't be shouting across the House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If we are going to proceed in an orderly manner, I think we don't need shouting across the House during Question Period.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

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

The question I have for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, is that I have information that Canada is sharing some of the cost of the Observer's Program. I want to ask the minister, since he has obviously been very close to the negotiations and the agreement, can he confirm for the House that Canada, indeed, is sharing some of the cost of the Observer's Program, and could he inform the House what cost Canada is paying for when those observers are European and have not been trained by Canada? Could the minister confirm we are paying some of the cost, and perhaps inform the House of really what the costs are that we are paying for?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First, I should say that the agreement that the hon. member so incorrectly calls a terrible agreement, and has attached other words to it, are absolutely not the case, of course, and we would be happy to address that on another day, but under the circumstances the agreement is a good agreement. Probably we would have liked to have seen some different things in there, but under the circumstances we got a good agreement and I am very happy that we have that agreement.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is a heck of a lot more than you did.

DR. HULAN: Indeed, a heck of a lot more.

Canada will be participating in the Observer Program, without question. The exact dollar figure I cannot put on it right now - that will be provided at a later date - but indeed Canada will be participating in the Observer Program.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A final supplementary to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. He is praising the agreement, saying how great it is. Could he inform the House why the provincial government thinks it is so great that our share of turbot on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks has gone from 60 per cent under this agreement to now 11 per cent? Could the minister stand in his place and inform this House and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, why this Premier and this government supported an agreement entered into by Brian Tobin and Jean Chrétien and the federal government that has brought our share of the turbot on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks from 60 per cent to now 11 per cent? Could the minister now do that?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: Again, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Grand Bank is using a play on words. I did not stand praising the agreement as he said. I said it is a good agreement; under the circumstances, it is a very good agreement. Maybe we would have liked to have seen some other different things in it, but for today it is a good agreement and we should be very pleased to have the agreement that we have in place.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: I didn't, Mr. Speaker, try to win an election by buying chicken, I say to the Member for Ferryland.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: I hereby table the annual report of the Commissioner of Members' Interest for the year 1994-1995.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following bills entitled:

"An Act To Amend The Gasoline Tax Act"; "An Act To Amend The Liquor Control Act"; and "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act."

I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the advancing or guaranteeing of certain loans made under the Loan and Guarantee Act.

Mr. Speaker, finally, I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that this House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider certain resolutions relating to the guaranteeing of certain loans under the Local Authority Guarantee Act, 1957.

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

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Social Workers Association Act."

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce the following bills entitled: "An Act To Amend The Hospital And Nursing Homes Association Act"; "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act"; and "An Act To Amend The Smoke-Free Environment Act."

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that:

Whereas the issue of fire safety among the residents and owners of property in the older row housing units in St. John's is a prime concern;

And whereas many of the row houses in this area have inadequate fire blocks between attached houses, in some cases with common attics and no fire blocks at all between houses;

Therefore be it resolved that the provincial government devote more of its financial resources to instituting programs and policies which would assist in the refurbishment of existing units and buildings, both private and publicly-owned, in the downtown core of St. John's and other communities with similar safety problems with row housing.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Animal Protection Act."

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Department Of Works, Services And Transportation Act."

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, in giving this notice, I say to the members opposite, it has nothing to do with what went on in Fogo Island. I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Evidence Act."


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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can see many reasons why the minister would want to change The Evidence Act. I can certainly see that. He hid his shares in Fortis and NEWTEL and everywhere else until we found out.

Anyway, it is my pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to present a petition on behalf of 287 residents of Burnt Cove, St. Michaels and Bauline South, in my district. I will read the prayer of the petition:

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

We, the undersigned residents of the communities of Burnt Cove, St. Michaels and Bauline in the district of Ferryland, do hereby petition the House of Assembly to direct the Department of Works, Services and Transportation to upgrade and pave the main road from the Southern Shore Highway, Route 10, to the end of Bauline South.'

I have an accompanying letter here for the minister. Mr. Speaker, this particular stretch of road was constructed in 1972. That is over twenty-three years ago and it is now in a deplorable condition. I asked the minister before and he assured me - whether he did, I am not sure - he assured me he would travel up to my district and take a look at the deplorable condition of those roads. There are five in particular, I say to the minister.

MR. EFFORD: Liberal or Tory?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, it is - almost all Tory the last time and hopefully less the next time, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: Less Liberals.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, less Liberals the next time. We are looking at eradicating Liberals in that end of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, the road was constructed twenty-three years ago and it is deplorable. There are huge potholes and it is eaten away at the sides. It is in a prime tourism area. Now, the infrastructure for roads in this Province is falling down around our ears. We had $50 some-million of provincial money spent in maintaining highroads and secondary roads around this Province. Since 1989, we have seen an erosion from over $50 million to, today, only about $7 million of new provincial dollars going into roads in our Province. Now, how do we expect to promote tourism and bring people in over our highroads when the roads are in a deplorable state?

I say to the minister, I think it is very important that we maintain a certain infrastructure here in this Province. It is conducive to bringing tourist back to our area. The road conditions are causing major problems for people in our area, especially in terms of damage to buses travelling over those roads and damage to private vehicles there, much more damage lately, I guess, since inspection standards are not there. They actually shake apart, those vehicles now that don't have to be inspected anymore. They are creating a hazard, not only to the drivers and passengers, but to pedestrians and so on in this particular area. There has been no road construction for the past three years in my district and those secondary roads - we have had a few bridges built in our district, a few badly-needed bridges, but we have had no road construction and the twenty-five-year-old roads are in terrible shape.

So I ask the minister - and the people in this area are justified -and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations would know, he has a summer cabin up in the area, and he should certainly be able to attest that he travels over this road occasionally, maybe once a month, to visit his temporary residence there. I say to the minister, you should take the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation along with you, drive down to Bauline South, Burnt Cove and St. Michaels and just see the terrible road conditions. The minister can vouch for that. When he sits around the Cabinet table and doles out funding for roads, there is no greater need, I can assure you. I have seen just about every single road in this Province over the past three-and-a-half months and there are none worse than those roads in my district, I say to the minister.

So let's do the honourable thing now and allocate funding on the basis of need, not on the basis of political preference. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me a pleasure today to get up to support my colleague.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: We will see, it's not over until it's over.

It gives me pleasure today to get up and support my colleague, the Member for Ferryland, on a petition put forward by the people of Burnt Cove, St. Michaels and Bauline South. That area needs upgrading and pavement. With less money this year, $15 million to be spent throughout this Province, we have come back a long way from $50-odd million in 1989. I thought they were wanting to put people on their feet. They are going to put them out of vehicles so they must be wanting to put people on their feet. There was talk that there is a deliberate resettlement program. Well, there are all kinds of scenarios going on about this government, and the monster not the minister, the monster of Works, Services and Transportation is one of the chief culprits over there.

I mean, in an emergency, waiting an ambulance, one extra minute is enough to put someone in the graveyard and wherever they are, if they take a longer time to get there, it is going to jeopardize those people and their health.

MR. SULLIVAN: The road is too bad to send an ambulance up there, to tell the truth.

MR. CAREEN: Yes, the road is too bad to send an ambulance up there.

Minister, how can you sit there and be responsible? He is an irresponsible minister. These people have every right to decent roads to travel over, every right. We heard earlier today about the rights some people paid for, and paid for with their lives. And the minister, every now and again, gets in jabs about political stripes. Very small, Minister - you are a very small minister. We have seen how insignificant you are when you talk about money on the South Coast in perpetuity, and the other ministers (inaudible) about the small minister. But worse than a small minister is a small-minded minister.

Well, I have the pleasure today to support the people of the Southern Shore who want nothing but decent services. And people on the Southern Shore are no different from those in your district, Minister, or the district of anybody else in this House, they deserve a decent road to travel on; and tourism, is going to be waving `bye-bye' at us. Who is going there? The Minister is allowing $15 million for road upgrading and maintenance this year, far, far less than we have ever had before, and it won't go anywhere near what we need.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Listening to the two hon. members opposite reminded me of the numbers - that hundreds of times I stood on my feet from 1985 to 1989, four years, and asked the then Minister of Transportation, the then Minister of Municipal Affairs about money for the district of Port de Grave.

From 1985 to 1989, we had a total sum, in the district of Port de Grave of $20,000, in four years, for your Municipal Affairs and provincial capital works program for roads. Now, the members opposite are over there saying that we should be concerned about roads. We are. We are concerned about roads.

First of all, we have to be concerned about the amount of money that we have to spend on roads, and if I had a portion of the $585 million a year that we pay out in interest on money which that government owe, that that crowd over there, when they were in government, put us in debt, I would be able to build roads in every corner of this Province. I would even be forced to think about building them in Tory districts if I had that kind of money, but we don't have the money. We first have to pay off the debt from when those people over there mismanaged the Province for seventeen years.

Now, the other problem we have is to try to catch up, Mr. Speaker, with the neglect in certain areas around this Province for seventeen years and - yes, my colleague from Labrador; no money going into the area of Labrador at all. We are trying to find some money to build the Trans-Labrador Highway. At least you have roads; in Labrador they don't have roads. So our priorities, Mr. Speaker, are in the right area.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

If members on both sides have exhausted themselves on this issue for the moment, we will go on now as we said we would and -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, that in the fullness of time even he will be let into the secret, and I hope that he will be the very first to congratulate Judge Noel on the very splendid way in which he carried out the commission given to him by the government.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the Government House Leader full credit for anything he does. It is not Judge Noel we should congratulate on the way the boundaries are split up, it is the hon. minister who deserves the congratulations because he is the man who chopped up the districts.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend is letting his mouth run away with his mind again so we will deal with this. The report is the report of Judge Noel and it will be tabled in exactly the form in which Mr. Justice Noel presented it to the ministry.

Your Honour, would you please be good enough to call Motion 1, that is the Budget Debate. When we adjourned the gentleman for Mount Pearl, my friend from Mount Pearl had the floor and I assume he will carry on. He certainly has the right to, so we look forward to hearing whatever more he has to say on the point. If you would call it, please, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, the Budget Debate.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me first of all respond to the Government House Leaders's note which he just sent me. He is living in hope that I will finish today. I can assure the hon. minister that I will not be finished today but my voice is going to finish long before 5 o'clock. I am afraid I am not going to last that long, so you are going to get a break, otherwise I certainly could go on for several days.

MR. ROBERTS: There will be another chance.

MR. WINDSOR: There will be another chance. There certainly will be many more opportunities.

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to once again revisit the question of the Budget, although I have had two opportunities prior to the Easter break, but perhaps by now some of the government members opposite would have sobered up a little bit and taken a second look themselves at what is contained in the Budget document. They were all in too much of a hurry to support this document when the minister brought it into the House back in March, I guess it was, March 24, when the minister tabled his Budget for this year.

They were very anxious to support it then, but perhaps on sober second reflection on the document they have realized that it is simply another great feat in smoke and mirrors. The minister has tried to sell his Budget document far and wide across the Province as a Budget that indeed has no tax increases and has no borrowings, and neither statement is even close to the truth, of course. As we have already seen from comments made earlier I don't think it is important to go through these again.

The minister tried to tell us, of course, that he achieved a $25 million surplus last year whereas in fact he was predicting a $26 million deficit. Well, certainly the books show that there was a surplus, Mr. Speaker, and the fact of the matter is that comes from one-time windfalls, in changes in transfers, adjustments for prior years, transfer of funding, and as well from the sale of the ferries on the South Coast that we have heard a great deal about.

It is far from over, Mr. Speaker, the sellout of the federal ferry service on the South Coast of this Province. Now, we see it is being replaced by private enterprise, by private ferry service and I guess time will tell how satisfactory that is, but we are led to believe that neither is the service satisfactory nor is it cost efficient. In fact we have every reason to believe that it will be far more expensive in the long run than the former service that was operated by the Government of Canada, so what it amounts to is a down-loading by the Government of Canada onto the Province and a sellout by the Province of the ferry service.

Now, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation assured the people of the South Coast that the funds would be put into a fund to be used in perpetuity, to ensure a high level of service to the people of the South Coast, but we soon found, Mr. Speaker, that not only was that not to be the case in the future, but that indeed last year the Minister of Finance took $31 million from that fund, applied it to general revenues, and that was part of the reason for the so-called surplus at the end of the year, again smoke and mirrors, Mr. Speaker.

Well, the same is true for this year, the minister is trying to tell us that he is not doing any borrowing, but he is taking $70 million from the sinking fund surplus. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact the Auditor General has been recommending that for some time, that where we have sinking funds in place for particular borrowing and where those funds have developed surpluses in excess of what is required to retire the debt when it matures, that it is not good and prudent financial management to leave that money in an account and to be borrowing on the foreign market. The Auditor General is quite right, and the minister is quite right in taking the $70 million and using that for government purposes.


What I say is wrong is in trying to say to the people of the Province and to this House that he is not doing any borrowing, because indeed he is. He is borrowing to retire debt. Something in the order of $104 million will be borrowed this year to retire other debt that becomes due. Now, whether you take that $70 million and put it into current account, or whether you take that $70 million and pay it against the debt and then borrow to balance your current account, obviously it is six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, but one is much more honest. One is more straightforward and is closer to the truth of what actually is taking place here, so it certainly is misleading for the minister to stand in his place and try to indicate to the House that indeed he is not doing any borrowing and that he has a surplus on capital and current account of some $2 million, or close to $2 million, that he is predicting for this year. We know that is not true.

We also know, Mr. Speaker, that there are additional one-time funds that are included here. I am talking about the additional, I think, $13 million that will come from that ferry sell-out this year that will not be available next year, and it leads to a very, very important question that the minister has evaded thus far - he has not even attempted to address - and that is: Where will he find the funds next year to meet the projected deficit? And the deficit next year will be a far more serious problem than it was this year, because we have already been told through the Federal Budget of the cuts in federal transfers that will be applicable to this Province. I think for next year it is something in the order of $115 million. Now, you add to that the $70 million that was taken from the surplus on the sinking funds that will not be available next year, you take several other one-time revenue sources that we see for this year that will not be available next year, and without any increase in the cost of service, without any increases at all, we are already looking at a $200 million problem for next year.

Now the minister has taken no action whatsoever to prepare for that. If he is hoping that next year something else will happen, he will find another $70 million somewhere else, and $30 million somewhere else, and $50 million somewhere else, he indeed is waiting for the lottery to come home to roost, I suspect, and it is not going to happen.

So where is the great long-term plan, the great economic plan that has been so touted by this government as being the saviour of our Province, going to bring us back to fiscal security, there is no financial plan here even in the short term. The minister has a one-year budget, no long-term plan of dealing with the financial problems facing this Province.

Another major issue, obviously, that will have to be addressed is the unfunded liability of the pension fund. The minister paid lip service to it here and said, we will be dealing with it. There are no answers; there are no suggested solutions, even, to dealing with the tremendous unfunded liability, that tremendous debt that every man, woman and child in this Province bears in the pension plan, not to mention the insecurity that gives to those persons who have been contributing all their lives to this pension fund and expect - and have every right to expect - that at the end of their service to the Province they will be entitled to and will receive a pension which is appropriate for their years of service and their contribution into that fund.

So these issues are major, major issues that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is dancing around. He has not dealt with them, he has made no attempt to deal with them, and he has not even pretended to deal with them. He has paid lip service to them. He has at least recognized them, there will be problems next year, but he is not giving us any hint of how he is going to deal with that.

It is all very well and good to come in this year and say: Well, not only did we balance last year's budget, but we had a surplus of $25 million which is, of course, we all know, not accurate. It is all very well and good to say we are going to have a surplus on combined current and capital this year, which we also know is not true, but unless you are going to deal with next year and the year after, unless you can project down the road the strengthening of our financial position, then you have done nothing to secure the image of this Province in the money markets of the world, nothing whatsoever. You have done nothing to assure our ability to finance capital works in the future. You have done nothing to assure that investors will want to come to this Province and invest in this Province, to create industry because there can be no assurance of financial integrity and without that kind of an assurance, obviously no enterprise, no investor or business person will want to take a risk of investing in this Province and this is a real role, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Finance. The real role is to create confidence in the economy of our Province, to build a financial structure, a taxation system and incentive programs of various kinds that makes it attractive for private enterprise to build here and to invest here. It makes it attractive for local businesses to expand, it makes it possible for them to expand, to thrive and to prosper in this Province and to do business and to be competitive with companies in other parts of Canada and indeed today around the world, Mr. Speaker.

We have some fine examples of Newfoundland companies that in fact, despite some of the disincentives, some of the disadvantages of doing business in Newfoundland, despite that, they have proven themselves to be highly competitive in the world marketplace, to be very efficient and effective at doing what they do. In fact, capturing a significant portion of the world market for their particular product to service and I believe we can do more of that, Mr. Speaker. The role of the government is to create that economic climate and we have not seen it. We have not seen the economic climate improving. We have not seen programs put in place. We have had words, lip service, through great economic recovery plans. We have had all kinds of expressions of intention of what this government might do. We have seen welcome mats put out, Mr. Speaker, but they are bare. They offer no great incentive.

The great EDGE program seems to be the end all and the be all of saving industry and attracting new industry to this Province, Mr. Speaker. I suspect that all we are doing here is providing short term incentives that will not cause these companies to be here for the long term. In conversations with business people, over the past number of months particularly, Mr. Speaker, it has become very clear to us that businesses do not want government hand-outs. What business wants today is less interference from government. Remove some of the red tape. Remove some of the cost of doing business in this Province and a very significant part of that cost is the overall administrative burden that is placed on the private entrepreneur by government regulation. I can testify to that.

I am in the process now of establishing a new small business. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the paperwork that is involved in establishing this very small business is incredible. I suspect that it will take - when I get it up and operating, right now it is - even when the business is operating, I suspect it will take a good part of one day to deal with the administrative affairs to run that small company. With all of the returns that have to go to various government departments by the twentieth of the month or you will get a fine of fifty dollars if you don't have your tax return in. All of these sorts of things, Mr. Speaker, that are very essential. I understand where government is coming from. No doubt I had a role in putting some of them in place myself.

We also had a plan, Mr. Speaker, some years ago of trying to reduce some of this paper burden because it is indeed, very, very difficult to deal with for private enterprise. I went to the Government of Canada, the new building on Duckworth Street, the Sir Humphrey Gilbert Building, to apply for a GST number and I not only got a GST number, I got a business number, an employer's number, a payroll number and I believe one other. I now have a file of five numbers, all federal, all of which require returns of one sort or another each month.

AN HON. MEMBER: One number would do it.

MR. WINDSOR: Well, they have consolidated that into a business number so each number is an extension of that number so that is a move in the right direction, nevertheless, there are still all of these rules and regulations that one has to follow, and I don't know how a small operation, a Mama-Papa corner-store-type operation is able to deal with some of the paper work that is put in front of them. I have a university degree, I am not the brightest in the world but I am not the most stunned in the world either, and there are a lot of business people out there who do not have university degrees or formal training in business, unfortunately, and this is one of the problems in Newfoundland, that too few of our business people have formal business training. But that's changing very quickly. Nevertheless, there is a tremendous paper burden there that must be awesome to some people starting out in small, private enterprise and it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that there should be some way to streamline that for the very small enterprise.

GST attempts to do it. If you are under a certain amount each year, then you only have to file once a year; larger businesses have to file quarterly or even monthly I guess, so there is some attempt to do that but I think there is a long way we can go yet, and I think we need to co-ordinate and co-operate between the federal and provincial governments so that you don't have this tremendous duplication, it is just incredible. I am putting in place a small tourism facility. I had to get permits from the Department of Environment, the Department of Health, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, the Fire Commissioner, the Coast Guard, from Labour and Manpower under Accessibility Act; I have to have a retail sales tax number, a GST number and all these other numbers that I just talked about, Workmen's compensation, not to mention insurances and all the other things that are in place for a very simple, little, tourist operation and it is mind-boggling, Mr. Speaker.

All very well and good; it would be difficult to fault any of it but when you add it all together and you look at the file that I have on just these things alone, of what has to be gone through to satisfy all of the requirements. Now if I were in the municipality, I would have another step to go through, maybe two, to deal with the municipality and get permits there so it is quite an incredible process, Mr. Speaker, for anybody.

To get back to where I started, when I was talking about the EDGE corporation, all that is being provided here is some tax incentive up front and that is good as far as it goes, but I have a great fear as I said when we debated this legislation. I have a great fear that at the end of that ten or fifteen-year period, that those companies are going to say: you have to extend this tax exemption otherwise we can't continue to be here. The only reason we are here is because of this tax exemption and if we lose it, then we have no reason to stay and will have to look elsewhere.

Government will be hard-pressed then, Mr. Speaker, not to comply, very hard-pressed or run the risk of losing that company and it may be very socially unacceptable to lose that company at that point in time; so I suspect even though it may, I am not sure that it is responsible for attracting businesses. Obviously any business that can take advantage will take advantage, but I am not sure that the EDGE Corporation is really attracting business. I am not sure how much of an advantage it is over other parts of Canada but it gives us a selling feature.

I wish the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was here, because you talk of giving incentives here. We had a program in place for a three-year incentive, a three-year forgiveness of taxes for small businesses for the first three years of operation and if I am not mistaken, that has now expired or is about to expire. It was always in place for three years and was extended each year for a further year so that there was always three years down the road. If I am not mistaken, that has not been extended and is probably not now in place. I wish the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board were here so I could ask him some questions in that regard, and other questions indeed that I would like to ask this afternoon if I can last at all. I am not doing well.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education and Training is here so I would like to engage him for a few moments because the Budget impacts very heavily on education in this Province, even though the minister has tried to downplay it and say: No, we are doing more with education, and we are going to be improving education. We are going to restructure and therefore we are going to save some money, so that is how we are reducing the overall expenditure on education this year.

We are starting to see already the impacts of it. We are aware that we are seeing lay-offs already, particularly in post-secondary education, in some of the community colleges. Cabot College last week, I say to the minister, I am told, laid off sixteen instructors in adult basic education. Mr. Speaker, this government talked so much about improving the quality of education in this Province, about improving the educational standards of people, about attacking the literacy problem in our Province, it appears to me, of all things to eliminate, adult basic education... Many people are in those courses in adult basic education, but I suspect the majority of them are people who, through no fault of their own in their younger years, most likely because of the socio-economic conditions, were unable to obtain education at that time in their lives, and now in later years, somewhere down the road, they are trying to better themselves. It would seem to me that this government should be doing everything possible to help those people - everything possible.

I have a constituent who called me late last week, who is a single parent, and she has basically raised her family now so that they are almost independent of her but not quite, and she has been going to Cabot College doing adult basic education, and working three nights a week to help her and her family survive, and she has been doing very well to try to upgrade herself. Now that she basically has her family moving on their own, about to stand on their own two feet, she now wants to upgrade herself, to provide for herself a better life. All of a sudden last week the adult basic education course at Cabot College was eliminated. She was told: You can go to any one of the private schools and get that same education - and I have no doubt that is true - but she was paying $70 a semester at Cabot College and she would have to pay $200 per semester at the private educational institutions.

Mr. Speaker, obviously that is totally out of reach of this person, and I suspect most others that are in a situation of trying to get adult basic education. There may well be exceptions, but I suspect most of those people are not in a financial position to finance their own education here, and they are scratching and clawing at everything they have to try to improve themselves so that they will be less dependent on government and better able to provide for themselves and their families. Now, of all things to eliminate, I, for the life of me, fail to understand why government would eliminate adult basic education.

I am hearing other stories. Down on the Burin Peninsula, I am told, they have eliminated beauty culture and auto repair. Is that because there is no take-up down there? Is there no interest in those courses? I doubt that very much.

I heard just a few moments ago that somewhere between fifteen and twenty-five positions are being eliminated at the Grand Falls community college. How many are going to be eliminated in community colleges all across this Province? And why are they being eliminated? Is it because there is no interest in those courses? I doubt it, Mr. Speaker.

My own son had an interest in doing a course. It was offered in Ontario and he wasn't able to get in there. And while he was here on a Christmas vacation - because he had gone away to work for a couple of months, but he came home for Christmas - the course that he wanted to do was offered at the Stephenville community college. `First time, going to try it; will be offered if there is enough interest.' So he applied quickly, eagerly, and was accepted subject to the course going ahead and the seat being available to him. Well, we waited. He stayed home. He didn't go back to the job he had in Ontario. He stayed home waiting every day to see if he could get into the West Viking College in Stephenville. We didn't hear. Finally, his mother called to find out when we might hear. She was told: The course has started already. He wasn't notified because there wasn't a seat available to him.

Why wasn't there a seat available to him? Because every seat was taken up by Canada Manpower and by the TAGS program - paid for by taxpayers, every single seat. This young man who was quite prepared to pay his own way was not able to get in. Do you know where he is now? He is in Hollywood, California, doing that course at a cost of $10,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is the course?

MR. WINDSOR: Audio engineering. Ten thousand dollars - that is what we have had to pay - tuition - for him, plus getting him there, plus his living expenses, ten thousand dollars that we've sent to Hollywood, California. No doubt the top-ranked school in the world, sitting right downtown Hollywood. The Musical Institute, I think it is called.

The course was available here. He could have done it here in his own Province. And I doubt if he will ever come back, quite honestly. I suspect he will stay down there. He will get a very high level of training there, I have no doubt, a very high quality training, but there will also be so many opportunities available to people with his particular skills that he may never come back.

So here is what we are talking about, Mr. Speaker. We are talking about privatizing the educational system when it gets out of the secondary schools. That's what is happening. More and more courses will be offered by the private institutions, and more and more, the minister is going to cut back on funding for the community colleges, forcing people to go to these private educational systems. That is fine for those who can afford it, Mr. Speaker, but those like my constituent, this lady who is trying to drag herself up - having struggled through life to support her family, she now wants to improve herself, and she gets the legs cut out from underneath her. Just when she is really starting to move forward and improve herself a little bit the minister cuts out adult basic education.

It is not a luxury course. This is not some airy-fairy course that could be considered an optional course, something that might be interesting to do, but adult basic education. It is about as basic - pardon the pun - as you can get. It pains me to see that sort of thing taking place and the minister trying to tell us that we have a surplus and we are not doing any borrowing. What a wonderful Budget it is! What a deceitful Budget it is, Mr. Speaker!

MR. SULLIVAN: What about the South Coast ferries there, were they not going to put that into a separate fund?

MR. WINDSOR: Well, the minister was quoted as saying the funds for the South Coast ferries would be put into a separate fund to be used in perpetuity to ensure an adequate level of service for those ferries.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister, my friend is quite right, move closer toward him so that he can see his picture when I hold it up to him. `Don't dwink and dwive.' It is okay to dwive a weck but don't dwink and dwive. That is why I moved closer, and pretty soon I am going to move closer over there. And one of the big reasons will be the Minister of Work, Services and Transportation. We have thousands of vehicles on the road now that are not safe to be on the road. Once again he is playing with the lives of the travelling public in this Province.

MR. EFFORD: You got yourself in trouble on this one.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I got the minister in trouble. I wish I had a nickel for everybody who called me and said, `You are absolutely right, the minister is a disgrace. Snow clearing in this Province is a disgrace and the minister is putting the travelling public at risk.' I wish I had a nickel for everyone who called me and every letter that I got.

MR. EFFORD: How come you couldn't enlist the delegates?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish I had nickel for each one of the 450 Tories that came out in Port de Grave to elect our delegates, the 450 that are sworn to defeat that member in the next provincial election and are going to defeat him soundly.

MR. EFFORD: Oh, definitely - Dr. Powell!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: They are going to defeat him soundly, and Dr. Powell might just be our candidate. He may be.

MR. EFFORD: Yes, yes! (Inaudible) together.

MR. WINDSOR: He may be. We will see. Mr. Speaker, between his .05 legislation -

MR. EFFORD: I am shivering in my shoes.

MR. WINDSOR: They will get him.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) your leader. You (inaudible) to your leader.

MR. WINDSOR: I have to remind the hon. member that my leader is sitting right here but not for very long because she is going over there as well.

MR. EFFORD: No thanks to you. If everybody delivered like you did she wouldn't be there.

MR. WINDSOR: Ah, I see. Those 495 Tories in Port de Grave will tuck you away.

AN HON. MEMBER: We will deliver (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: We will see how he delivers.

Now, Mr. Speaker, while the minister is so anxious to shoot off his face, maybe he will tell us what kind of a cosy little deal has he got with the federal Minister of Transport to sell out other ferry services in this Province?

MR. EFFORD: You will never know.

MR. WINDSOR: I will find out, I say to that minister, and the people of this Province will find out. The people in Lewisporte would like to know what kind of deal the minister has cooked up with the hon. Doug Young to sell out the service from Lewisporte to Goose Bay. The business people in Lewisporte would like to find that out, Mr. Speaker, and the people in Goose Bay would like to find that out. Tell us, Mr. Speaker. If the minister wants to say something, tell us, what is his intention? Is he serious when he says he wants to privatize the Northeast Coast ferry service? Is he right when he wants to sell out the service from Lewisporte to Goose Bay and transfer that money into the Trans-Labrador Highway? Is that what the minister is saying? Because if it is, it is not what the Premier is saying, and we would like to find out the truth here.

MR. TOBIN: You will never find it out from them.

MR. WINDSOR: What kind of a deal does he have? All we are seeing here is the government ministers opposite playing cosy little games with ministers in Ottawa. Every day the Government in Ottawa does something, not a word comes out of them. A couple of years ago they wouldn't stay quiet.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Now, the minister shouldn't attack the Chair.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: The minister doesn't like the questions, does he? He is very uncomfortable there now, very uncomfortable, and so he should be, because he shot off his face saying he was going to privatize that service, and the Premier, I think, has put him in his place. I hope the Premier has more sense than that minister does. You are talking 500 jobs dependent on the Northeast Coast ferry service in this Province.

MR. EFFORD: You don't know what you are talking about.

MR. WINDSOR: I don't? Well, in that case, Mr. Speaker, the members of the CN union that I met with this morning don't know what they are talking about. Maybe the minister would like to tell them they don't know what they are talking about.

MR. EFFORD: Bring them over. (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: They would love to.

MR. EFFORD: Send the union over.

MR. WINDSOR: They tried to get a meeting with the Premier and it was cancelled.

MR. EFFORD: That's right, it was cancelled (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, it was cancelled because the Premier said: There is no need for a meeting. Whatever the minister said was wrong, so there is no need for a meeting. That's why your meeting with the Premier was cancelled.

MR. EFFORD: Well, then, there is no need for a meeting is there?

MR. WINDSOR: I would like for the minister to stand up and have the fortitude to tell exactly what is being proposed by this government. Put the people at rest in Lewisporte and Goose Bay, and all the employees in the CN service; put their fears at rest. Tell them that their jobs are secure, that the service is secure, and ask the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation how he feels about it. Ask the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation what the impact is of that ferry service, and it is growing. The Minister of Development will tell you the impact of that ferry service is growing tremendously. The amount of travelling tourist traffic on that service has increased tenfold in the last ten years, I suspect.

MR. EFFORD: You don't know what you are talking about.

MR. WINDSOR: I do know what I am talking about - just the opposite to the hon. member opposite, and the Minister of Development knows that I know what I am talking about, he knows that my numbers are right and he is agreeing with me there, so the member should get the facts. If he had had his facts before he brought in .05 he would not have brought in .05, because not one fatal traffic accident was caused by a driver who had an alcohol level of between .05 and .08.

MR. EFFORD: You are wrong.

MR. WINDSOR: I am not wrong. Not one was caused by a driver that was below .15.

MR. EFFORD: You don't know anything.

MR. WINDSOR: I do know. The minister doesn't like the facts, but you can't change them. The bottom line is that the minister didn't have the facts. He is flying by the seat of his pants. He has done no research, he has taken no advice. He just thinks it is the right thing to do and he went ahead and did it, and he has destroyed the hospitality industry in this Province.

MR. EFFORD: So you are saying we should build up the hospitality industry by allowing people to drink and drive? Now, you are sensible! You are getting worse all the time!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, there is nobody advocating drinking and driving. The law of Canada says .08 is a safe level at which to drive.

MR. EFFORD: That is not correct.

MR. WINDSOR: It is. The only problem here is that the minister doesn't like to drink at all and he wants to impose his moral standards on the rest of the world. I say to the minister, it's not your decision.

MR. EFFORD: What? I don't like a drink?

MR. WINDSOR: It is not your decision. Could I have some water, please?

MR. EFFORD: I tell you what, get a bottle of scotch and see won't it put you under the table.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: I was about to say, it sounds like he has already consumed one, but that would be unparliamentary, Mr. Speaker, and I won't utter it.

Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to where I was, dealing with the economy. There are things that can be done to improve this economy, but one of the problems today is that there are too few people working to support too many - far too few. Too many people are dependent on government funding of one sort or another, or are otherwise on the government payroll, legitimately working, but the size of government in relation to the size of the private sector, Mr. Speaker, is out of proportion. Too many people are being supported by the public purse, either directly or indirectly, so we have to create jobs. There should be one focus for government, Mr. Speaker, no other focus, except to create jobs in this Province. Stimulate the economy and you will create jobs. Create jobs and you will stimulate the economy. They go hand in hand, Mr. Speaker. If people are working, they have disposable income, it moves the economy. If you can stimulate the economy, jobs will be created and people will be working. It is the chicken and the egg situation, both are equally valid and that should be the soul objective of this government, Mr. Speaker.

Now, I could go on and on all day about different items in this Budget. I could talk about the Trans City proposal, I could speak about that for two weeks. I can talk about rubber factories, I can talk about light bulb factories, I can talk about chocolate factories, I can talk about all kinds of hare-brained schemes, all kinds of them, but never did we break the Public Tender Act and blow $40 odd-million to look after our buddies, Mr. Speaker, never - didn't create one job, didn't create a building or a service that would not have otherwise been created had the Public Tender Act been followed. The ministers over there, Mr. Speaker, have supported it - or have they? Did they support it? Did the ministers even know what they were doing? There is a real question. I saw the former Minister of Finance on television Friday night and heard his letter being discussed, a letter that he has written the Premier, an interesting letter taking the Premier to task, asking the Premier, `Why were we not made aware of the recommendations that the committee had before them? Why were we not made aware? And I hold you responsible,' he said to the Premier.

It is one thing, Mr. Speaker, for a government or a Cabinet - within the realm of Cabinet solidarity - to make a collective decision and all ministers are responsible, that is the way our system works. If you are part of the Cabinet and a decision is made you have the right to argue with it in Cabinet. Once that decision is made by Cabinet, you go out and you defend it. That is the principle under which the collective responsibility of Cabinet works and if you don't like that you have one other choice, you resign from Cabinet. So that is an onerous responsibility on every Cabinet minister. You are responsible - and I hope all ministers realize it - you are equally responsible for every decision taken by Cabinet, whether or not you agree with it and your one alternative is to resign and say, `No, Mr. Premier, I cannot support that decision and I have to take my leave.' That is your one way out.

Once that decision is taken you are all responsible but, Mr. Speaker, one thing you should be able to expect, when you accept that responsibility, is that you are fully made aware of all of the facts, when you make that collective decision, that all ministers who are involved in making that decision have all of the facts. It certainly appears here, according to the Member for St. John's Centre, that not all ministers were aware of the facts. This great Cabinet paper really shows what the Trans City deal was really all about. The one Cabinet document - the Minister of Finance said he didn't see it, but his signature was on it. He must have been sleep-walking when he signed it. He didn't remember signing it. He didn't know it existed but found it in his file, found the original in his file with the original stamp of the Executive Council on it. Interesting! How did a Cabinet paper that was sent to the Executive Council, stamped received by the Executive Council, get back into the minister's files and nobody knew about it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes, he was the President of the Council, interesting, but there is no evidence of that paper having been distributed to his colleagues, except the ministers on the committee. The ministers on the committee said, `We don't think this paper reflects the facts. We don't think this paper is accurate. So we will have it changed. We won't send it up at all.'

So, Mr. Speaker, hon. ministers opposite are sitting there fully responsible for that decision, yet they were not given all of the information. It was kept from them, it was hidden, it was denied them. Now, Mr. Speaker, if I were a member of that Cabinet, I would feel very uncomfortable about every decision that I made from now on. I would want to know, every time a decision was being made by Cabinet, whether or not I had all the information. What are you hiding from me now?

We can understand why government would keep as much information away from the Opposition and out of the public eye as possible, but it is frightening to think that we have a government and a Cabinet where information is not being shared amongst the Cabinet ministers. The question is, as my colleague, the Leader of the Opposition asked today, who gave the orders to have that Cabinet paper hidden? Who gave the order to have that contract awarded `come hell or high water'? Why were those orders given?

There is only one way to answer it. The only way to get the answer to that is through a public inquiry, and we know that this government certainly doesn't want to have a public inquiry. We know what they are hiding. There is more yet to be exposed, and it will be exposed. So they are appealing the Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court said: You've broken the Public Tender Act, you had no business doing it, you pay damages because the other company had the right to have that contract, they were the low bidder. So the taxpayers of this Province will cough up another $3 million for nothing, for damages, for profits to a contractor to compensate it for lost profits as a result of the Public Tender Act being broken.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Well, they haven't paid it yet because they've appealed it. That is just another stalling tactic, that will delay it another while. It also keeps it away from the Public Accounts Committee for another while, I guess. We have a few members over there who are part of this as well, a few back benchers who are part of this whole scam; the members of the Public Accounts Committee - the Member for Eagle River was the chief puppet at the time. He was the vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee. He got his reward. They silenced him, shut him up, made him parliamentary assistant to the Premier. That will quieten him down. He was getting too cocky over there. He was doing too good a job for his constituency by speaking up for them against government, Mr. Speaker, so they bought him off, that's what happened.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. The hon. Member for St. John's South was one step ahead of him. He left the Public Accounts Committee, went into Cabinet, with a slight stay in the Premier's Office, but he went into Cabinet.

They are all part of this great cover-up, Mr. Speaker. We have the four members of the Public Accounts Committee who muzzled the Public Accounts Committee on this issue. We have the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation who was Minister of - at that time it was Public Works - I think, the department has been changed. He refused to come to the Public Accounts Committee, where the Minister of Finance and his committee of ministers, who not only refused to give the information to the Opposition, apparently didn't even give it to his colleagues, didn't give it to the rest of the ministers in Cabinet. That is the greatest sin of all, Mr. Speaker, to ask his colleagues in Cabinet to share the responsibility for that decision and not to tell them the whole truth, and that is what is taking place here so, Mr. Speaker, that issue will not go away.

The Premier would like it to go away; the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board would like it to go away, some other ministers and backbenchers would like it to go away but it will not die, Mr. Speaker, because the people of this Province know full-well that there is a serious injustice here, that this government has willingly, knowingly and deliberately violated the Public Tender Act to benefit certain supporters of the Party, and that is as blatant as it can be, Mr. Speaker, so we will deal with that again in further days and will get into many, many other areas that need to be dealt with.

I want to ask the minister, I guess it is the acting Minister of Justice, we have not yet had any report dealing with the Hiland Insurance deal.

AN HON. MEMBER: We don't have a quorum here, do we?

MR. WINDSOR: Two, four, six, eight, nine. No, if you people leave we don't have a quorum. Could we have a quorum call, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Quorum call.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There was a quorum present at the time I believe.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I just needed to get some of the members back in the House because so many of them were missing some of the important points that I was making. I might have to start all over again. I might have to start over where I started back in March, maybe. My voice is coming around. I swallowed the frog, I am starting to get stronger. I could be good for several more days now. I was afraid this morning. I said to my colleagues: I don't think I'm going to be able to go too long because of the cold I have and the bad throat, but I said: I might start having fun and stay there forever. I'm getting into that range.

I wanted to ask the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, can he tell us what has happened with the Hiland Insurance deal and the superintendent of insurance? Where are we now? What services are being put in place to protect persons who purchase insurance in this Province? Will the minister tell us then? What is happening there now? That is another area that the government feels very sensitive about, tries to evade. We would like to know exactly what is happening. Has there been an investigation ongoing? Where is that investigation? Where is the report? The minister will go to find out.

While he is gone I want to say, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the Member for Lewisporte is back. Because I was here trying to defend the town of Lewisporte -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your member.

MR. WINDSOR: My member. He is away almost as much as the Premier but he is my member. I was trying to defend the town of Lewisporte against the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation over there who wants to sell out the northeast coast transportation system to the Government of Canada. I want to know where the Member for Lewisporte sits on that, Mr. Speaker. He is on record as supporting privatization. He confirms that, he nods his head, the Member for Lewisporte. He is on the record as supporting privatization of Marine Atlantic service from Lewisporte to Goose Bay. Yes he is. He is quoted in the Lewisporte Pilot and I haven't seen him print a retraction yet. He had better get out of bed in the morning and start dealing with the issues.

We haven't heard anything more about the lighthouses either. The Member for Lewisporte has been a good spokesperson.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: On the lighthouses. The member has been a good spokesperson on that. I have to give him credit. He has done his bit. But we haven't heard any policy from this government as to whether or nor they support the move of the Government of Canada. They are just lying down and letting the Government of Canada run on over them. Going to close down all of the lighthouses. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation hasn't opened up his mouth, at least not to say anything sensible. Certainly not to oppose that. The Member for Lewisporte has. If we didn't have the Member for Lewisporte opposing it we would have nobody over there opposing it.

What has the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation said? Will the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation table any letters that he has sent to the Minister of Transportation in Ottawa?


MR. WINDSOR: No he won't, because he hasn't sent any, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SULLIVAN: Is the Member for Lewisporte going to be able to stop this?

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for Lewisporte has no impact. He can shout and scream and bawl, and that is all he can do. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation speaks for government on these issues but he hasn't spoken up. Yes, we had a cleverly worded resolution in the House that was passed. Why wouldn't it be? Motherhood issue. It is easy, Mr. Speaker, for all members opposite to support a motion in this House, but where is the action? Has the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation been to Ottawa to speak with the federal minister to say: Do you realize what a mistake you are making? Or does the minister even care. That is the question.

I'm really amazed at the Member for Lewisporte on the CN Marine issue. We haven't heard him yet. We haven't heard him speak up. We've heard him say he is in favour of privatizing but we haven't heard him oppose it yet. We haven't heard him defend all of the business people in Lewisporte who will be affected, the hundreds of people who will lose their jobs.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have a selective memory.

MR. WINDSOR: No, I don't have a selective memory. I have a very accurate memory when it comes to this sort of thing, very accurate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: A very selective memory he has.

We haven't heard yet from the Premier on his great Federal/Provincial Committee on the Economy, this special committee that has the Premier and the Prime Minister on it, and the Minister of Fisheries for Canada, emergency crisis committee, is going to do wonders and come up with great, new, innovative ways to solve the economic crisis in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Premier has promised he will have a report for us very shortly. We haven't seen that - or is that just more smoke and mirrors, more words with no action? That is what we are seeing here.

The problem we have over here, you see, is that there is no unified approach. The Premier doesn't have the confidence of his back benches. He doesn't even have the confidence of all of his Cabinet. In fact, he is not sure how many groups he has within his Cabinet and his caucus. That is the real problem over there. He has five or six former Cabinet ministers who are publicly speaking out against what the government is doing. He has government back benches who are meeting secretly outside of caucus - the group of twelve I believe they call themselves, is it? Is that the group?

AN HON. MEMBER: The dirty dozen.

MR. WINDSOR: The dirty dozen, that meet secretly to decide if we are going to support this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation. An interesting concept, Mr. Speaker, we now have two oppositions in the House, the Official Opposition over here, and the unofficial opposition in the back bench over there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which is more dangerous?

MR. WINDSOR: Which is more dangerous is true. This opposition is more dangerous to the government; that opposition is more dangerous to the Province, but they might not be because it may not be too long before the Premier says: That is enough of this. Maybe we should have an election and clean out some of these back benches over here. I wonder would he do that? Would he have an election to try to clean out some of the back benches over there? Or maybe he will test the waters in Grand Falls first.

AN HON. MEMBER: There are going to be a few nomination papers not signed over there.

MR. WINDSOR: A few nomination papers not signed. Maybe he will pass through Newfoundland and stop long enough to call a by-election in Grand Falls to test the waters. Maybe he will do that so we can give him a trimming out there. Maybe he will do that. It won't be long now. We will see who is right. I am going to predict, Mr. Speaker, you will not see a by-election in Grand Falls.


MR. WINDSOR: I don't think we will see a by-election in Grand Falls. I think we will have a general election before the Premier calls a by-election in Grand Falls.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: No, we will see. The Premier is very uncomfortable knowing who is sitting behind him right now, very, very uncomfortable.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: You need not worry about what goes on over here. You should pay attention to what is going on over there. The Premier just hired you to watch his back. You are supposed to have the inside track with the dirty dozen over there. That is your job now, to protect the Premier from these intestine insurrections from within his own caucus. That is the job the Member for Eagle River has, Mr. Speaker. That was his payoff to shut him up, to keep him from speaking out against the government. The only one now left to speak is the Member for Pleasantville. He still has the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say what he believes in. He will be elected forever. God bless him, if I lived in Pleasantville I believe I would vote for him. Now, he is not always right, he is quite often wrong, but he believes what he says, says what he believes, and is not afraid to stand up and be counted, but the rest of them over there, Mr. Speaker, what a tired, beaten bunch they are.

They have all been muzzled. They have either been muzzled or tossed out of Cabinet, one or the other, and they are over there licking their wounds.


MR. WINDSOR: There is not a problem over here. Unlike the party opposite we have one leader, one caucus, and we all have the one purpose which is to move over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WINDSOR: Over here we have a leader who does not have a party. He is a leader of one. We have a dictator for a leader, we have two or there others who think they are leaders, and we have at least two, if not three caucuses over there.

MR. TOBIN: Herb Kitchen is the chief. He tells the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: The Member for St. John's Centre has written probably the strongest letter I have ever seen written to a Premier by any backbencher.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you have a copy, too?

MR. WINDSOR: No, I don't yet but I will. The member can rest assured that I will. In short order I will have it. In short order the whole House will have it because it is a very important letter, a very powerful letter, and it is coming out of the mouth of the former Minister of Finance when he said: Premier, I was part of a Cabinet decision that I made without all of the information that was available and you as Premier were responsible to make sure that I had all the information. The Member for St. John's Centre is not happy about that and I do not blame him, and I compliment him for having the intestinal fortitude to speak up to the Premier.

He was not here a moment ago when I was telling other ministers who were there how uncomfortable they should feel in every decision they make now, that they cannot be sure they have all the information. You cannot be sure you have all the information, and that has to be an uncomfortable feeling because you were all equally responsible, whether you like it or not. In every decision Cabinet makes you share the responsibility, and I would be just as upset as the Member for St. John's Centre if I participated in a Cabinet decision and found out later that a committee of Cabinet had withheld information from me, or as the Member for St. John's Centre suggests, maybe the Premier ordered them to withhold the information from them. Which is true? We do not know but we will find out in due course.

I urge the Member for St. John's Centre to continue on with his efforts to find out from the Premier exactly what happened, because whether he likes it or not he is painted with the same brush, and he is just as responsible as the Minister of Finance and the Premier for that decision. The minister knows it was a wrong decision. He has indicated in this House, by his questions and by his comments in the House, that he knows it was a bad decision to make. The Supreme Court has told us that. The minister in his heart knows that was a bad decision. He knows the Public Tender Act was violated. He knows it was not in the best interest of this Province and he made that decision with false information, information hidden from him.

I do not blame him for being upset and I do not blame him for writing the Premier and saying: what is going on here, Mr. Premier? I wonder, just in passing, if it had anything to do with the fact that he is no longer the Minister of Finance?


MR. WINDSOR: The Member for St. John's Centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: He probably should be. What do you mean?

MR. WINDSOR: The fact that he does not agree, that he is no longer in Cabinet. I wonder if that was it? I wonder if he found out that this decision was made, because as Minister of Health he was very much involved. Maybe the Minister of Health at the time found out that we've made a decision and that information was held from us. I wonder is that why. Maybe we are getting very close to the truth here now. Maybe this is what happened.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Neil, he didn't get much warning when he was kicked out of Cabinet. He didn't get much warning.

MR. WINDSOR: No, he didn't get much warning. He was not a very happy camper the day of the Cabinet shuffle.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He heard it on the news going to Government House.

MR. WINDSOR: Yes. It is an effrontery to withhold information from a Cabinet minister, an effrontery to withhold information from a minister in making a decision, but it is a supreme effrontery for the Premier to advise that minister that he is no longer a minister via the news media. What an insult. I don't blame the former minister, the Member for St. John's Centre, for being upset. He had every right to be upset.

I don't think it has ever happened before. Even former Premier Smallwood had the decency the day that he swore you into office to have you sign a letter of resignation that he could accept whenever it was appropriate for him to do so. Even that, at least he had that. At least you had some knowledge that: I might get a call and say thank you, I've accepted your letter and dated it today. The Member for St. John's Centre didn't even get that. Heard it on the radio, we are told. Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker.

It shows again that members opposite - and have a look at the back benches. Are there five or six ministers now, or seven ministers that have gone in the last four or five years? They are like pawns in a chess game. The Premier flicks them aside if they step out of line at all. If they make any kind of an indiscretion, if they disagree with the Premier in any way, shape or form, he flicks them aside like a mosquito, disposable. The Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island finds it funny. He didn't find it so funny the night he was tossed out of Cabinet, he was asked to resign.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No he was not.

MR. WINDSOR: Alright, you go ahead and correct it. Either way. I will give leave, Mr. Speaker. Let the member - because it won't change a thing. Either way he was thrown out of Cabinet.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is he up on?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: He is up by leave, Mr. Speaker.

MR. WALSH: No, I stand on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member for - Mount Scio - Bell Island on a point of order.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, I don't want the hon. Member for Mount Pearl who I've known for many years both personally and here in the House to leave the House with the impression that I was asked to resign from Cabinet. I repeat now what I said before: I was not asked to resign, it was not suggested that I resign, there was no innuendo that I should resign. I made the decision myself because I thought it was the proper thing to do at that time. I don't believe the hon. member wants to leave the House with an impression that is incorrect. I thought I should correct him.

MR. SPEAKER: No point of order. Maybe a disagreement between hon. members but there is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly didn't want to leave a false impression with the House, that is why I gave the hon. member an opportunity to interject and to say that. It strikes me as queer therefore that the member hasn't decided to put himself back in Cabinet then, if it was his choice to resign. If the member was cleared supposedly by the investigation - who did it? The Premier, was it, did the investigation?



MR. WALSH: Not supposedly.

MR. WINDSOR: Okay. So the member was cleared.

MR. WALSH: Not supposedly. (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: The member was cleared by the RCMP investigation. In which case, how come he wasn't put back in Cabinet? Why wasn't he put back in Cabinet?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Can he answer that?

MR. WINDSOR: No, he can't answer that. Why was the member not put back in Cabinet?

MR. WALSH: No, I can't answer that. I didn't make the selection at this time.

MR. WINDSOR: No, you didn't make the selection this time. But if he voluntarily said: Premier, I will step aside till this investigation is over. If he volunteered to do that, which would be an honourable thing to do and I am sure the Premier would be delighted if that is what you said to them. The Premier would appreciate the fact that you volunteered to resign while the investigation was on, as is the Minister of Justice. Are you trying to tell me that the Minister of Justice is not going to pop back into his seat? He has not left his seat.

MR. TOBIN: And there is some difference between what he did and what the Member for Mount Scio did (inaudible) -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: That is right. Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Justice is going to have to wait until the Premier invites him to come back and be Minister of Justice? Not likely.

AN HON. MEMBER: I declare it a good speech.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, Mr. Speaker, it is not a good speech. My lungs are getting weary and the hon. gentlemen opposite, their ears are getting weary.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are doing a good job. You are telling the truth.

MR. WINDSOR: There are so many issues that we can deal with. The Minister of Finance is gone again. I wanted to ask him some more questions. Where is he gone?

AN HON. MEMBER: The electoral boundaries and all of that stuff?

MR. WINDSOR: The electoral boundaries? No, I have not touched on that. What happened to the electoral boundaries report today? Oh, they are not coming until Wednesday or Thursday.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Caucus is going to meet (inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: They had a long Caucus meeting this morning, had a lunch brought in -

MR. SULLIVAN: And they did not get to the electoral boundaries report.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, they did not get to it? The biggest issue on their agenda, had already said publicly it would be here -

AN HON. MEMBER: Over the agenda they had a row.

MR. WINDSOR: Oh, they had another row. The dirty dozen did their deed again today. How many of the dirty dozen are going to lose their seats if the gerrymandered forty-eight seat proposal comes through, I wonder?

MR. TOBIN: John Efford loses part of his.

MR. WINDSOR: It would be interesting to see what the cost of all of that was. To go through that process of appointing an independent commission chaired by a former Justice of the Supreme Court or a Justice of the Supreme Court, I guess he is still a Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: He is still a Justice. But he was then still a justice, was he not?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) Judge Mahoney.

MR. WINDSOR: It does not matter, either a former or a present judge but Justice Mahoney, a very reputable individual and several persons from across the Province, some with political experience, many without, carried on an inquiry right across this Province to decide what, if any, reforms were appropriate to the House of Assembly, to the structure. Now unfortunately they had some strict guidelines put on them, their hands were tied. So in fact the commission reported that here is what we are recommending, it is the best we can do with the terms of reference that we were given because the government wanted to direct them. Why did they want to direct them wrong? Politics, Mr. Speaker. They thought at the time it was politically wise to say we are going to reduce the number of seats to forty to forty-six seats. It has nothing to do with whether or not they wanted to, I submit, as I have said before, they thought it was politically expedient to say that. So they said to the commission, come back with a report recommending between forty and forty-six seats. What did they recommend? Forty, forty-two?

AN HON. MEMBER: Forty the first time.

MR. WINDSOR: Forty the first time but they said: because you have so restricted our ability in terms of population by representation, representation by population, you have put such restrictions on us that we cannot do what we want to do. They said here is our report but we don't agree with our own report. It is not the right report. It is not what we would want to tell you to do. So the government used that as a crutch but now they had so much opposition from all of their members who were going to be turfed out, whose districts were going to be swallowed up and they had so many wars between one member and the other as to who would be running for the combined district that they decided to change the terms of reference a little bit and come back again. The next time they came back with forty-six, I believe, but again they said: It is the best we can do but it is not what we would want to recommend if we had a free hand. So then, what did the government do? They then got another former Supreme Court Justice, a retired justice, plus the lawyer who served the previous commission as an assistant to him I believe, and said: Go to it, come back with something else; and we are about to hear that now, forty-eight seats.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it certainly appears that this whole process has gone off the rails, that there can be no credibility in either one of the reports regardless of what Justice Noel brings in, regardless of what he recommends. There has been so much tampering with the process, so much obstruction, so many restrictions put on the commissions that there can be no validity placed in whatever recommendation comes in from Judge Noel or any other two. I wonder how much we have spent on that so far? Probably a heck of a lot more than we might expect to save by the process if we were to reduce the number of seats, Mr. Speaker, but once again, politics come into it, whether it is the Public Tender Act, the Electoral Boundaries Act, whatever government deals with, if they don't like the act and the Premier has been quoted as saying: Well, if the Public Tender Act doesn't allow us to do this the way we want to do it, then the Public Tender Act must be wrong.

Maybe it is, but that is not the Premier's decision, that is a decision for this House and let the Premier come forward with a new piece of legislation and let the House decide after an appropriate amount of debate whether or not the Public Tender Act needs to be changed, but it has served us well for many years, Mr. Speaker, except for the numerous cases we can show in the last five years where it has been violated, deliberately violated by this government, but nothing as blatant as the Trans City contracts, Mr. Speaker, nothing as blatant as that. So, I am going to end there if my colleagues are ready to move forward; there are many issues that I can deal with, I can go back over all the numbers again but I have done it twice already, prior to the Easter break.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are losing your voice.

MR. WINDSOR: My voice is getting stronger actually, I didn't think I could last this long but I have done very well, it is actually getting better and I could go on and on but there is nothing to be served and I don't wish to stand here and speak for the sake of speaking, but I think I have made so many very valid points. Many points that I have raised are issues that will be revisited again in days coming at greater depth than I have taken them, by me and by some of my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, and I say to the government that these are issues that the people of this Province are concerned about. I don't speak just for myself, I speak on behalf of all my constituents and all the people from around the Province with whom I have spoken over the past months, in expressing their concerns to this hon. House. Where else can they go when they have difficulties, if they can't come to this hon. House and ask members elected here to serve them, to recognize the problems and to deal with them, Mr. Speaker, where else can they go?

The Budget debate is an excellent opportunity to raise a whole range of questions obviously focusing on the financial implications of the Budget, in this case there is so little in the Budget of merit that one can hardly dwell too long on the straight, financial aspects of the Budget. More importantly, to emphasize, as I believe I have done, the role of this government to create economic activity, to stimulate the economy, to create an economic climate that is attractive to private enterprise, that is attractive to investors, to prepare our people not to make the kinds of educational decisions that eliminate adult basic education, but to make education available to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, who have the ability and the desire to improve themselves, to become productive members of society in our Province, to ensure that the economy is such that jobs are available to them, that challenges are available to people when they gain these skills and this knowledge, that they can become productive members of our society, and that the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Province itself will prosper. This is where this government has failed, and failed miserably.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to have a few comments about this very, very good Budget that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has brought down. You know, it is the first time that we reached a balanced budget status, a first time for this Province. I think the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and this government should be commended highly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: He deserves a great deal of credit for keeping this government on line in these tough financial times, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board does and the government does, but the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board in particular for his diligent effort and hard work to ensure that we kept on line to deal with the deficit.

My good colleague and my good friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, has done a job that should have been done a long time ago in the sense of making the government more accountable, and making the government budget process realistic, and help us get financial stability. For that, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board for this government deserves a great deal of credit. He deserves to be a hero, as far as I am concerned. Considering the economic times that we have had to deal with as a government, to get The Globe and Mail, the wonderful national newspaper, to say a nice thing about this Province first off is a major accomplishment, but the editorial that they put out just recently, which was right after we brought down our Budget, was an amazing piece of work for The Globe and Mail, as far as I am concerned. They gave this government credit for getting close to and bringing in, finally, a balanced budget process. To get that far, and to get The Globe and Mail to say something nice about us, I thought, again, the Minister of Finance and this government deserve at least a bit of credit for that, if anything, because The Globe and Mail has been beating up on us for a long time and it was nice to see a pleasant article that talked about the future and that said: How could a Province like Newfoundland and Labrador get even close to a balanced budget given the problems that it had, given the problems of the fishery, given the problems of the recession past and so on, in dealing with this... It was amazing to see them finally come out and say that this government had finally done the job, a wonderful job indeed. It is something that not many people talk about often enough, but that was a piece of good news in this Province and it should be more recognized, as far as I am concerned.

We see an election in Ontario right now going on with a government that probably - I don't know if it is going to survive or not, but if it doesn't survive, the reason it won't survive is because it didn't deal with its deficit problem, and it has left the Ontario people with a gigantic deficit. It is spiralling out of control, and somebody has to get a handle on it. It doesn't matter if you are NDP, Liberal, or PC; you have to deal with the deficit at the end of the day.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, God, it does matter.

MR. AYLWARD: It does matter in the sense of how you deal with it, but you have to deal with the problem. You cannot ignore it; it will run away from you.

When I hear the Member for Mount Pearl talk about this Budget, and talking about business incentives, we did not bring in the 12 per cent sales tax. That has been there for quite some time. As a matter of fact it was there well before we got there, and we have been trying to restructure our tax system for business activity in this Province.

The EDGE legislation which the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology is promoting, and doing a very good job of it, I might add, is an excellent piece of legislation. It is being recognized right across Canada and in other jurisdictions as a way to help attract business. What it does also is ensure in the future that if companies come in here, they are here for the long term, not the short term, which is the old program of an older government way back when. This policy now being brought in and starting to operate, and doing a darn good job of it, the new EDGE legislation is starting to work. Some people complain about it, because they complain about everything, but this is an excellent piece of legislation. It is one of the best things that any government in this Province has ever done. It is ensuring that companies are here for the long term. We are not giving away funds - we are not giving away big government guaranteed loans - we are asking companies to make a commitment and if they employ people they will get some credit for employing people; and that is a positive thing. It is attracting companies to this Province and is helping expand new business opportunities in the Province. So the EDGE legislation, I think, is an excellent piece of legislation which had public input from Chambers of Commerce around this Province. We changed a few things that people wanted to see happen and that is really starting to work. So it about time we started bragging about it, instead of some people saying it is nothing, and just not worth the paper it is written on.

A lot of people are starting to look at it. It is getting some good attention out there and it's really almost like a provincial free-tax zone for companies in this type of area. I think it is a good piece of work and I think the government deserves at least a little bit of credit for attempting something a little bit different, where we are reaching out and doing something that I think is more inventive than a lot of other governments have. It is about time, Mr. Speaker, that we move in that direction and I think it is a major effort on the part of this government to get at it.

Also, when you look at what is going on with the economic rebuilding in rural Newfoundland, the Task Force on Economic Development which has just been finalized and cleared, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, again is helping spearhead that effort, Mr. Speaker, and what we see out there now, are regional groups which were all divided up with their own agendas, coming together and they are being asked to consider one agenda in these economic zones. Mr. Speaker, it is long overdue, but it is starting to work; there are organizations out there that are saying to themselves: yes, we are going to have one agenda for our region of 20,000 people and it is about time that we did; what they are also going to have though is, they are not going to have a government coming in saying: Here is our program for you.

What the governments are saying is: you give us the program you want for what you want to do, and that is the opposite, Mr. Speaker, of a government that wants to centralize something. What it is, is pro-active government saying, we want you to create your opportunities and we are going to help you, instead of coming in and telling you that we have the answer to all your problems. Because we don't have the answer to all your problems, governments never do, but governments are attempting and should attempt to try to stimulate people to create the options for themselves and the alternatives for themselves, and this new task force out there now, that is creating in the economic zones around this Province an accountability mechanism for those groups out there, those volunteer groups, is starting to work and you are going to see some very interesting proposals and projects and you are going to see a lot of economic development activity coming forward, a lot more interesting than we have seen in the past, Mr. Speaker. And this government deserves some credit for that, because what this government has done is, they have said, `No, we will help give you the funds, we will give you the backup, but you come up with the ideas and come forward and present your strategic plan and tell us where you want to go with it.'

So, Mr. Speaker, that is a very positive development in this type of economy that we are in, where a lot of people are out there wondering, what are we going to do in our region these days. Where some of them have relied solely on one industry in some places, this at least gives them an opportunity to be involved in the process of developing the alternatives, and in rural development, Mr. Speaker, what it is all about is being involved in developing the alternatives, and I think it is high time that we commended the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology for that fine piece of work that he has brought forward, because he has done some job on it, I have to tell you. As far as I am concerned, he has done a wonderful job and when it comes to giving people who are out there, stakeholders in rural Newfoundland - we have given them a major role to play and they are going to help create their economy in their region, and it is about time, Mr. Speaker. I think it is a very positive development and we are going to see, in this Budget year, some new initiatives coming forward. But you don't see it talked often enough, I mean, we have to talk about it more.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is working hard, Mr. Speaker. He has to deal with ferry services, airports, he has a lot to deal with this Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and there is not a more committed politician. What a committed politician the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is! And with 450 Tories out there, he probably has to work a little harder, but that is beside the point; that is out in his district and I am sure if his district is in trouble, we are all in trouble, because I am sure this gentleman will get elected forever. I am getting off my speech, Mr. Speaker, they are doing a good job of getting me off it.

Mr. Speaker, educational reform - you talk about where we are going in this Province. There are a lot of reforms under way and they don't get enough highlight. The Minister of Education and Training is doing a tremendous job in trying to change and make some changes in the school system. The big issue you hear about - you hear about the issue of governance a lot, but there are a lot of other things happening out there that are very positive in the education field. Scholarships have been increased. There are a number of things that have occurred for young people in the school system, new computers going into schools that never had them before. Some of the things have been very positive and I hope that one day, maybe soon, the minister will come in and just highlight some of the initiatives that are going on. There are some tremendous changes going on out there in education, and I tell you a lot of young people -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) volunteers teaching ABE.

MR. AYLWARD: Volunteers teaching ABE - what I am trying to figure out from the Opposition is, they are saying, `Don't cut this, and don't cut that.' Then they talk about the deficit problem. Now, I haven't figured out what it is; either they want the deficit to go up and have everything you want... I am not sure what it is. I have to tell you, I am having a hard time trying to figure this out. I haven't been able to figure it out because it doesn't really jibe, as they say. It seems to be a bit of a problem here. One way or the other, we have to deal with the Federal Government now in their budget reductions. We have to find a way to make effective use of every dollar that comes into this Province, and I am quite confident that we will attempt to do that, and try to do the best we can, which is all you can do at the end of the day.

Given what we have had to deal with, I am not listening to the naysayers anymore. If they want to talk negatively, if you believe there are negatives, and you want to have negatives, then fine, that is what you are going to have, but there are a lot of things happening out there in the mining sector; we have potential oil off the West Coast - we might have it, we don't know yet; it depends. But we have private sector exploration activity going on on the West Coast for the first time. Baie Verte is starting to really open up in the mining activity level, really starting to improve; and we have an increase in chicken quotas.

AN HON. MEMBER: An increase in what?

MR. AYLWARD: In chicken quotas, that is what the minister tells me. There are a lot of things going on, but you have to take the blinders off.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) chicken quotas.

MR. AYLWARD: I have to say, though, the Member for Ferryland deserves credit for the good show he put off.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: The Member for Ferryland deserves a great deal of credit. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to run for a leadership. He is only a young fellow.

AN HON. MEMBER: A new member.

MR. AYLWARD: A young fellow, too, oh, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: A rookie.

MR. AYLWARD: A rookie member, and he did a good job.

Mr. Speaker, with Hibernia out there now getting developed, the potential for Terra Nova, Voisey Bay, the potential of oil off the West Coast, a reawakening of the resource industries in the Province going on, with the development of information technology businesses in this Province, which the Minister of ITT is working on, and the whole government is working on - we just approved an IT sector strategy trying to attract information technology industries. So there are a whole range of things beginning to occur, that are starting to awaken people in the Province to deal with the realities.

There are a lot of private sector investments going on, there are a lot of private sector activities going on, and what government is trying to do - all I ask is when everybody gets up around here, let's be a bit realistic. We know that in some places we are going to make mistakes. Government is not perfect; no government is perfect. I could get into a litany of what the other government did when they were there, about being perfect. I know all about that because I was around then.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: Well, I won't say how far off perfect you were.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: No, I won't get into that.

I want to get back to my other topic about this Budget. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board deserves credit for helping to get this Province a balanced Budget. I tell you, that is some accomplishment in this environment that we are in, in this country today. It is some accomplishment to be able to do. The money markets are smiling a lot more these days at this Province than they are at a lot of other provinces and, I tell you, one of the reasons is because of the competent minister we have in Finance. It is wonderful to say, well, you are dealing with the deficit this way, or increase spending that way, but let's be realistic when you get up and say: But what is the action plan? I don't see an action plan from the other side, Mr. Speaker. Hopefully we will see one, maybe one of these days, but I don't see an action plan.

What we are trying to do is organize the finances of the Province, and we are trying to organize the economic development activity so that government gets out of the way instead of in the way, which I know the Member for Mount Pearl talked about earlier.

Now, one of the initiatives on that front is the government service centre concept which has just been brought in, where you take the different departmental representatives in certain regions of the Province, and you put them under one roof, and try to get forms and so on that people have to fill out, try to put them as one document and get the process simplified for the private business person who is coming through the door. That is an initiative that is just under way as of April. It is starting to work. There are some bugs to get out and so on, Mr. Speaker, but it is starting to work. It is a response to the idea that there is too much red tape out there, and this government recognizes that there is too much red tape. We like to call it red, but we also understand that there is too much red tape, and we are trying to get rid of red tape. We are trying to simplify the process and going through that process is not an easy task. It is not easy to orient a bureaucracy towards less interference. We have been trying to do that, Mr. Speaker, diligently as a government, despite - given the tough times that we have been in in the past, we are having some success, and it is coming together.

I am looking forward to hearing further reports from our officials as to the response from the private sector who have to deal with these new government service centres and the integration of services under the one roof, Mr. Speaker, because it is very important that we simplify the process for business development in this Province. We cannot get in the way anymore, people are spending their own money, they invested in new business and we have to find a way to make it as simple as possible. We are committed Mr. Speaker, to trying to do that in this budget process, this year, and trying to find more inventive ways to deal with this issue. This is a response to that and I think it is going to work pretty well. We hope it will. It is a new idea but it is something that has been talked about for a long time and we are finally doing it.

One of the other things, Mr. Speaker, that a lot of people don't realize is that we have what is called the ACOA enterprise network out there. The ACOA enterprise network should be highlighted more often. It is an excellent information network all over the Province. I think there are at least 150 to 200 locations now in this Province that have access to business information, access to market information and a whole range of data bases that people can avail of to develop businesses in this Province. It is one of the best rural information networks in Canada and we have even had places in Europe come over here to look at how we have, here in this Province, developed a rural information network. It is an excellent development that was initiated here by, again, the Department of Industry, Trade and Technology to let people have access to business information in rural Newfoundland. It is working really well. A lot of companies are using this access of information and we are going to see, Mr. Speaker, with the information highway that is now being brought forward in this Province - NewTel is putting in a lot of infrastructure all over Newfoundland, the second digital line, and we are going to have the best infrastructure that money can buy to develop a rural economy. And the government deserves a little bit of credit for trying to move that forward and see it happen.

We can talk about the information highway but in this Province we will realistically be able to say that we do have the technology available to us and that we are able to avail of this information and detail. This market information is very important to a lot of people out there who are trying to figure out what they want to do for their future. It allows them to do their homework. We can't put our heads in the sand and not recognize that the economy, the types of jobs, and the types of work that is required in the future - we cannot ignore what the reality is, Mr. Speaker, and you cannot ignore change.

You embrace change and you go forward with it. That is something we, as a government are trying to do, and that we are trying to do as members of the House of Assembly. You are trying to face off with change and you are trying to figure out how you avail of the opportunities. That is all we are trying to do and I think that as a government, that is not too bad so far. We have a lot of work to do and it will come in due time. When you look at where we are going in the future, I think, there is a great deal of room here for optimism. It is a word we don't use often enough in this Province.

There are is a program put out by the ERC called The Ambassador Program, and I think it is a good effort. It highlights positive news, it highlights positive developments, it highlights entrepreneurs in Newfoundland and Labrador who are doing good work, who are out there creating opportunities for people. It is a piece of good news, a little good news, and we should concentrate more often on talking about some of the good things going on instead of some of the negative things going on, which some people around here have a tendency to do too often.

Sometimes you don't recognize what you have around you, and we have such an abundance of resources that we have to dedicate ourselves more to looking at what we have in front of us and around us than what we have had in the past, Mr. Speaker. In this Province right now we have a re-awakening of the resource economy under way. (Inaudible) is half right, Mr. Speaker, we now see the use of technology; it is helping reawaken the resource economy and it is starting to happen very quickly. It is a good thing that it is. Because we are, in this Province, trying to deal with our own debt problems but we also have the Federal Government starting to deal with theirs, and it is going to be a little tougher for us to grapple with.

As we see the reawakening of our economy further, partly by the efforts of this government that have come forward, it will hopefully help us deal with federal expenditures that may be less and help us see new opportunities and less of a dependence on the Federal Government for our economy. We are moving really, in many ways, towards a very independent economy in this Province, gradually, and we have had to face off with it, I think, very quickly because of the fishery problems that we have had, resource problems. I think it is coming along quite well.

On the West Coast we have a lot of positive things occurring. We have again, as I said earlier, the potential for development of oil off the West Coast, maybe. We will soon see whether or not we have a viable find out there and whether or not the company is going to give us a piece of good news in a little while. Some regions of this Province are starting to do pretty darn well.

Sometimes, as I said, we don't hear the good things that are going on. It is sad, but we have a duty to speak about the good, positive things that are going on, to not be so darn negative, to start talking about the future here for people in this Province. Because there is a very bright future. On that note I will adjourn the debate, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the debate having been adjourned with more sense having been talked in the last ten minutes than in the last three days, I will move that - I don't think anybody wants to sit this evening. Even my friend, the Member for St. John's East Extern, who has made it to the front rank, doesn't want to sit this evening. So I will suggest by means of a motion that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., and I will advise members, Your Honour, that the government will be asking tomorrow afternoon that we carry on with the Budget Speech, so members can prepare themselves accordingly.

Wednesday, of course, will be Private Members' Day, and we will deal with the motion put down by my friend, the Member for St. John's Centre, which will be called for debate. Later in the week we will probably ask the House to deal with some of the legislation that is on the Order Paper. The bills, I understand, of which we gave notice today, are ready for distribution and - the Clerk is looking blankly. He might have a word with his colleague, the legislative counsel, in the morning. I understand they are, but we will get them out and get them distributed. The advanced health care bill has been distributed for some time, as has the statutory regulation bill, so we will deal with those two first.

With that said, Your Honour, I move the House do now adjourn.

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