May 9, 1995                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 20

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Premier some pointed questions about the Trans City scandal, but since he is absent from the House of Assembly again today I have no choice but to direct my questions to the Premier's fall guy, the Deputy Premier.

By now everyone following the unfolding of this scandal has heard of a Cabinet document dated October 30, 1991, signed by the Deputy Premier, whom the Premier appointed to Chair a special committee of four ministers dealing with the hospital construction contracts. In that document the Deputy Premier referred to a legal opinion and he, the Deputy Premier, wrote, and I quote: "It is quite clear that if we award to Trans City Holdings we would not be acting within the spirit of the Public Tender Act and our decision would be difficult to defend within the House of Assembly."

In that document the Deputy Premier recommended that the projects be re-tendered. I ask the Deputy Premier now: Why was the dynamite paper he signed, dated October 30, 1991, withheld from the full Cabinet? Why weren't all the ministers warned of legal problems and told the special committee wanted to re-tender?

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I notice at the beginning of the question that I have been moved from head henchman to fall guy. I wonder why that change. Yesterday it was head henchman.

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the report of the committee, after looking at the legal opinion, and the sequence of events was that Cabinet had approved something and we decided to get a legal opinion on it, and after looking at the legal opinion the report was brought back to Cabinet which summarized, in effect, what was in the legal opinion, which had nothing to do with what the hon. lady is saying.

As to the piece of paper she is talking about, that was written by a civil servant as a proposed response by the committee, but the committee simply did not agree with it. The legal opinion did not agree with it. The reasons that we had for going with this proposal in the first place did not agree with it. There were overwhelming reasons why we would not agree with that position that was written by a public servant.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Deputy Premier.

Now the Deputy Premier signed the paper I just quoted from. That paper bears his signature. It was quoted in full in the Supreme Court judgement that ruled the government broke the Public Tender Act. Five government members who were Cabinet ministers at the time in question are now saying they did not see that paper dated October 30, 1991, signed by the Deputy Premier. They claim the Deputy Premier did not even tell them there were legal problems, or that the special committee wanted to re-tender.

Deputy Premier, don't you think that your colleagues had a right to have all the information? Don't you think your colleagues in Cabinet had a right to know that you were recommending that the contracts be re-tendered?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I agree that if the committee of Cabinet was of the opinion that the contract should have been re-tendered, I would have hoped that all of Cabinet would have agreed with the committee, absolutely certainly. If the committee was writing a report to Cabinet which suggested that then I would hope Cabinet would go along with it. The truth of the matter, Mr. Speaker, is that that was not the recommendation of the committee. The recommendation of the committee, which has been tabled in this House and discussed in this House in great detail, was totally different from that particular document.

The other question the hon. lady raises is that this had my signature on it. I admit it is my signature and I did sign that document that was prepared by a civil servant for consideration by the committee. I should not have signed it and it is a mistake that sometimes you make from time to time. I have made a half a dozen mistakes I suppose in the last six years and if I stay around for another six years I will probably make another half a dozen but, Mr. Speaker, that is the inescapable fact of the matter.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is a $40 million one.

MR. SULLIVAN: It is better to make fifty small ones then six big ones.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Deputy Premier, the Deputy Premier indeed made a very big mistake at the instigation of the Premier and because of that mistake he won't be around for another six years. He won't be around beyond the next election.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Now the Deputy Premier signed a paper which is quoted in full in the Supreme Court decision and in that paper the Deputy Premier cited a legal opinion. The Deputy Premier indicated that he accepted the legal advice as precluding proceeding with the award to Trans City and he recommended that the contracts be re-tendered so all interested contractors could compete on a level playing field. Now this paper was sent from the Deputy Premier's office to the Cabinet office, to the Executive Council office. It was stamped received at the Cabinet office. Now I ask the Deputy Premier: Isn't it true that only one person could have blocked his paper in the Cabinet office and withheld it from the rest of the Cabinet? Wasn't that person the Premier?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, first of all there were 150 or 200 pages of a judgement or whatever it was, 100 and-some-odd pages of a judgement handed down by the Supreme Court. She indicates and tries to use this as proof of authenticity that this was quoted from in that judgement.

In actual fact, the basis of the judgement had nothing to do with that paper at all, and the hon. lady knows that if she reads the legal report. She should also realize that if she reads the legal opinion that I obtained from the Justice Department, having to do with the legality of the process, she will see that the conclusion in the legal opinion - if she would care to read it, and all hon. members should read it - is just the opposite of what is in that paper.

All I can say to her, Mr. Speaker, is, that was a paper that was prepared by a public servant for consideration by the committee but was so different from the conclusion of the committee, after reading the legal opinion, that the committee made a totally different recommendation to Cabinet, and that in fact the paper she mentions, which by the way I turned over to the court myself, that particular document was never distributed to Cabinet, and was not made available to Cabinet because that was not the opinion of the committee. A civil servant wrote what he wanted to be, or what she wanted to be, the opinion of the committee that was not the opinion of the committee.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Premier referred to the court proceeding; he indicated that he handed this document that he signed, dated October 30, 1991, over to the court. Now, I remind the Deputy Premier that he was very late in producing that document and he handed it over only after the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir made it public. Now, I say to the Deputy Premier that the RCMP, according to the news media, have begun to look into the Trans City scandal. According to news reports the RCMP started looking at the affair after the Supreme Court decision ruling that government broke the Public Tender Act.

Now, Judge Orsborn, in the Supreme Court ruling, said that some relevant information was missing, some information had disappeared. Five of the Deputy Premier's colleagues who sat with him in Cabinet at the relevant time now say that critical information was withheld from them, information that would have changed their votes. What assurance can the Deputy Premier give the people of this Province that he and the Premier are not now withholding information from the police?

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

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is a strange web that the hon. member is concocting here. My understanding is - and I suppose she is dealing with the same information I am. My understanding is that in response to a question by the Leader of the Opposition in the House which, as far as I know has no foundation in fact at all and which was totally discounted by the police forces, there was an indication that the RCMP, I believe, look at every court judgement; they have a look at court judgements that are made all the time. I believe that was the sense of the news report and that's all that I know about that, Mr. Speaker. Nobody is hiding anything from anybody; everything has been perfectly open. In relation to my colleagues who have asked some questions, and this happened to get out to the press, these questions will be answered hopefully to my colleagues' satisfaction.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would love to follow on that line of questioning with the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board but that issue is not going away and I will have another day. I have a more important issue today to deal with.

Could I ask the Minister of Education and Training some questions dealing with Adult Basic Education, which we are all aware has been drastically cut, in fact, all but eliminated, I think, in the community colleges.

Would the minister like to tell us exactly what the situation is? Is that, as we have been told, simply because of reduction in federal funding? If so, what efforts has the minister made to have this funding reinstated by the Government of Canada? Is it not this government's policy to put emphasis on education as part of their great Economic Strategic Plan?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I see the new Education critic doesn't have his facts straight any better than the previous critic did.

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the cutbacks, there will be 200 seats taken out of Adult Basic Education in the college system. That leaves 5,500 already there, still there - No, 5,800, I am sorry, 5,500 in 1992 - 5,800 in the college system. In addition to that, there are still 1,200 students in other Adult Basic Education sites around the Province, so when the hon. member gets up and says that: Adult Basic Education has been devastated, wiped out, disappeared, the hon. member doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.

The fact is that there is more Adult Basic Education being offered in Newfoundland and Labrador today than ever there was before in our history, Mr. Speaker, so the hon. member, if he is going to be critic, he has big shoes to fill when he tries to fill those of the Member for Waterford - Kenmount, and I suggest that at least he get the first question right, Mr. Speaker, and get his facts right.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, an abundance of words does not make substance, I can assure the hon. minister.

Would the minister not confirm that at the Cabot College, sixteen of the eighteen positions that were attached to the adult basic education program have been eliminated in the last couple of weeks, and that the adult basic education program in the Cabot College has all but been eliminated, and that people are being told to go to private schools? Is the minister not aware that the Cabot College was charging something in the order of $70 per semester for adult basic education, while the private colleges are charging $200 a semester? Is that not the case, I ask the minister?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is going to have to come over so we can brief him on just what is happening. The reality is we are talking about government-to-government transfers. They are the Canada Manpower seats. In order for a person to get into one of these ABE seats, he or she used to be paid a living allowance, baby-sitting allowance, transportation in. A whole lot of things used to be paid for. The cost was $7,000 per seat.

This program has been cut back by 30 per cent, $2.3 million or something in that range. The colleges had to deal with that problem so they looked at what they could do. The adult basic education programs are one-year programs so they cut back on some of them because they had students who were in one-, two- and three-year programs. You couldn't cut a student halfway through. So they looked at what is happening to adult basic education in this Province. They looked at the millions of dollars that are being spent on TAGS. The union has something like sixteen or eighteen sites around this Province offering adult basic education. They looked at the new trends that are taking place by correspondence. They looked at a lot of people who want to do ABE who are working but could not fit it into their time system, so it is being offered after hours.

The reality is that there are 200 seats which were not solely adult basic education. They also had a social reason. It was a living allowance, it was a place to go. I should tell the hon. member that in Central Newfoundland at this moment there are 227 on the wait list. Only five are prepared to attend unless the seat is sponsored because it is more than just teaching to read and write. It is a social thing where there is a living allowance and everything involved.

What the hon. member has to realize is we are only talking about 200 places. There are more than 200 places in this Province today than there were last year. So there are more people taking adult basic education than ever there was before. When I look at this particular program I wonder -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. -

MR. DECKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the minister is only talking about 200 seats, talking about 200 people who are disadvantaged people who are trying to claw themselves out of that position to get some basic education so that they can support themselves and their families and not be dependent on government. Is the minister trying to tell this House the government doesn't care whether there are 200 or 2 people?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, at least he is a faster learner than his predecessor. He got up first, the ABE was devastated, wiped out, the whole population was going down the drain because there was no ABE. I set him on the right track and, good, he learned. His predecessor would have taken two lessons to learn, so he learned it is 200. When he got up it was everybody - 6,000 - everybody wiped out, so at least he has learned.

Yes, of course, government is concerned about 200. That is why we are offering ABE to more people than ever we were in the history of this Province, because we are concerned about it, but we are also concerned about other people in the college system. We are also concerned about business courses. We are also concerned about the technicians. We are also concerned about all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have to get an education, and we cannot spend all of our money in one area. We are doing a fabulous job in adult basic education, and we will continue to do that but we will not do it at the cost and the expense of other young people who also have to get an education in this Province.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Premier I would like to direct my questions today to the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like an explanation why Argentia was so suddenly dropped from the pre-qualifying list for the offshore supply base for Hibernia.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I think that question is more appropriately, perhaps, directed to me, the offshore benefits division coming under Industry, Trade and Technology.

The four areas that were pre-qualified were three areas in St. John's - I am sure the members who represent those areas were pretty happy - and Bay Bulls, and I would think the Member for Ferryland would be pretty happy.

I was quite shocked when I saw that Argentia was not pre-qualified. The process now allows for pre-qualification of a five day delay whereby we can intervene. We have done so today; we have asked for clarification, and we have asked for re-evaluation of that site.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad the minister said that they are starting to poke their nose in today. Obviously the Hibernia people cannot be interested in cost savings because it was proven two years ago that they could save $1,400,000 a year by using Argentia. They are not interested in an ice-free port because today there is ice outside the harbour of St. John's and there is a vessel that was supposed to go into Bull Arm that is still down in Argentia; that is going on two weeks now. So, Minister, will you pursue your meetings - your people - with Hibernia? Will you be able to keep the Member for the District of Placentia and the Town of Placentia informed on the day-to-day because, from what I can gather, they are supposed to be meeting with the Argentia Management Authority today, giving them some explanation as to why. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, HMDC has offered to debrief those people who did not pre-qualify. As I said, the process is quite simple. Whenever a tender is awarded there is a two day delay which allows the process to kick in for government to intervene. In the case of pre-qualification there is a five day delay. Our formal notification arrived yesterday sometime around noon. We have issued a letter, just in the last hour or so in fact, telling them that we would like to exercise, through the C-NOPB, our right to seek clarification on this matter and to seek re-evaluation. This is a process that was put in place, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say, by the Peckford Government.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to make it clear to this House too that there are other things going on with Hibernia. I am glad the minister is sticking in because somehow or other Hibernia has come to a certain kind of a status that people are afraid to interfere with them. There is a $27 million mistake down in Argentia right now ready to be taken apart, jump forms, designed and built in Germany for a concrete platform at Hibernia. They found out that it was not good enough so they put in slip forms. A $27 million mistake ready to be taken apart. I want again to say that the issue of saving money, a twenty year production could save $28 million by using Argentia instead of St. John's or anywhere else. Sir, I would like for you to - if we could get together - tell them what we want done in this Province by Hibernia because they should not be any bigger than the government, no matter who is on the government side, to tell them who is boss. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member's frustration and I know he is genuinely concerned and sincerely concerned. This is a massive and complex project. There is over $3 billion spent to date and some 8,000 people working, with the majority of those people working here in the Province. We also have to be concerned about Hibernia's unfettered right to make decisions based upon the economics of the project and while you may be unhappy today perhaps the Member for Ferryland is delighted, perhaps the Member for Mount Pearl is very happy, perhaps Members from St. John's are very happy. They have to have that unfettered right. What we are seeking is clarification to ensure that there was fairness in the pre-qualification and that Argentia management authority were treated honourably, upfront and the transparency is there and the fairness was there. That is what we are seeking out to show.

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

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

On March 30 of this year your department announced four initiatives to deal with the retention and recruitment of physicians in rural Newfoundland. Now this concept is a start but it does not go far enough and it does not have any concrete plan. Will the minister tell this House how this program is going to be implemented?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the question.

There is a concrete plan in terms of the initiative that we announced on March 30 to start dealing with the recruitment and retention of rural physicians. There are four elements to it; one has to do with the provision of a bonusing system depending on the isolated area that the physician is serving in, and providing that he serves at least two years from March 31 in that area. There is provision in that initiative to recognize extra workload where there is a shortage of physicians. There is provision in that initiative to bring provisionally licensed physicians up to the level of fully licensed physicians in terms of where they start. There was a $1,500 difference there.

All of these initiatives together have been brought forward partly as a result of collaboration with the rural physician sector of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. I can tell you that if the member read the press releases from NLMA and from the rural physician sector of that organization he would find that the initiatives were roundly applauded, excitedly received, very much appreciated, and by their indication will go a long way toward meeting the rural physician retention situation in Newfoundland.

They are happy. I'm sure that rural members of this House should be happy that the government was able to take those initiatives in the rather difficult financial circumstance that we all know we find ourselves in. But that may not be the end of the road. We will continue to do what we have to do to provide physicians in rural Newfoundland such that health care will be delivered on a fair and equitable and high-quality basis.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question was regarding the implementation of the plan. The Medical Association agrees with me. In a letter to doctors it indicated that the plan is very philosophical in nature, and there is no specific concrete plan to implement, and how they are going to carry it out. That is what I asked the minister. He is just avoiding the issue.

I'm aware of doctors who have been on call in this Province for several months at a time. I've a letter from a doctor who was on call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, for three consecutive months. This problem is not just about money.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He made $90,000. I ask the minister, does the minister really think an extra $5,000 per year is going to keep doctors in rural Newfoundland?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if $5,000 will keep every rural doctor in every rural setting where we would like to keep them. Five thousand dollars is the lowest bonus that will be applied and paid to a doctor who stays in a rural setting more than two years. There is another level at which they will get a $7,500 bonus and a third level at which they would get a $10,000 bonus. We have been told, they tell us, that economics is a part of the reason why we have a job to keep them there. We understand and appreciate that. We can't compete with Manitoba which starts their physicians at $90,000 to $120,000 when we have to start ours at somewhere around $67,000 to $90,000. We can't address all the problems of Newfoundland in health care on a dollars and cents basis. If we have to do it that way we are going to have difficulty for a long time. But a mixture of creating a climate where they want to come, creating a reasonable remuneration package, and all of the other elements, we think will assist us in getting the job done and meeting physician resource needs.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister have any plan that addresses the crisis developing from the shortage of specialists in rural parts of this Province, and even in urban areas of this Province, but more especially in rural parts of this Province?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The difficulty in retaining specialists is an extension of the whole problem of trying to retain physicians in rural Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker. We don't have the level of supply of specialists in all areas that we need in the Province. On a general practitioner basis PRAG tells us that we have really enough GPs in Newfoundland. Our problem is getting them spread out, equitably distributed, so that the urban areas and the rural areas have a reasonable coverage.

In terms of specialists we are encouraging our regional health care boards to recruit as vigorously as they can, to try and make a lifestyle and a work setting for these people as comfortable as they can so that it will encourage their interest. It is not an easy problem. If I were to tell you that I have a plan that can ensure that we will always have gynaecologists or obstetricians or radiologists or psychiatrists, or any of these in every place at the appropriate level all the time, I can't assure you of that.

I tell the House, Mr. Speaker, that I have been in some considerable dialogue with the people at the medical school in an effort to open up some slot so that people who go out and practice for awhile and want to come back and go on to a higher education and speciality settings will have a greater opportunity to do so. This year, we will be opening up additional spots for people who can come back and train towards certain specialities. It is a long-term problem, it is an historic problem, but one that I am happy to tell you, we are addressing as vigorously as we can. Maybe if it had been done ten or fifteen years ago with the same vigour and imagination, we may not have these problems.

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

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Health as well.

Some months ago the Burin Town Council met with the minister, concerned about the fact that the obstetric ward at the Burin Peninsula health care facility was about to close. At that time the council was assured by the minister, he gave his word, that it would not close, and I had it confirmed again today by the council.

Mr. Speaker, as of last Thursday, notice was posted in the Burin Peninsula health care facility, and in other medical doctors' offices, telling mothers-to-be that the obstetric service was closed down and there were ambulances put on stand-by to carry them to St. John's when the need arises. Let me ask the minister why did he not keep his word that he made to the Burin Town Council? In other words, why did he not live up to his commitment?

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

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

I am not about to comment on any interpretation of any observation that was given second-hand to this member by anyone who might have been at a meeting with me. If he had been at the meeting, he might have heard what I said, and if he were really interested in his district he would have come with the town council to attend the meeting, but instead of that he shoved them over on me all by themselves, and they had to come and deal with me without the benefit of having their member present. He should have been there and heard what I said and not listened to second-hand and third-hand information.

Doctors at the hospital are employees of the hospital board and it is the board's responsibility to ensure that they have sufficient doctors in place. I cannot guarantee, no minister can guarantee, no government can guarantee that people who work for salaries in hospitals will not at any point in time resign, if they chose to do so, and move on.

I tell the member this, any commitment that I gave the town council, or the Burin Peninsula health board, was to work as vigorously as I could with them and do what we could on their behalf to help them. And the rural physician enhancement package that I just announced in March was part of a response to meetings that I had with, amongst other people, the people from the Burin Peninsula.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There are a few seconds left and I give the hon. member a supplementary.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister that I have had several meetings with the Burin Town Council and at no time did I ever lie to the Burin Town Council. That is not a trait of mine, I say to the minister. I like being honest and up front.

Let me ask the minister, Mr. Speaker: Besides not keeping his word, not being honest and up front with the Burin Town Council, what is he now doing to ensure that there is obstetric service put back in the Burin Peninsula health care for the 30,000 people that facility was built for? What is the minister going to do to ensure that the services are provided in that hospital and that obstetric services are put back there immediately?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If the hon. member is trying to indicate that I lied to the people from the Burin Peninsula I wish he would have the guts to say it straight out and not try to say by means of the back door what he should be man enough to say through the front door. I did not lie to the Burin Peninsula Town Council, I did not mislead the town council, and to answer your question directly: What are we doing to ensure that gynaecologists, radiologists, and obstetricians are down there? We are providing the appropriate level of budget to ensure that the board has the ability to hire the people. The board has the responsibility to hire them, they have the mandate to hire them, and they are vigorously recruiting. They have a doctor coming in, as I understand, June 15, they have temporary help coming in June 1, and if he talked to the board down there he would find out they are doing their job a lot better than he is doing his.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I didn't hear when you called the order -I have a report to present.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the House consent to -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the House consent to revert to Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees?


MR. SPEAKER: No. No leave given - another day.

Orders of the Day


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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When this immense question of principle is settled over there, Your Honour, would you first call, please, motions 4 through 13 inclusive. These are all bills that we are asking leave to introduce and I would advise the House that I am told by the Table officers, with the exception of motion 6, which is "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act", all the other bills are printed and in the possession of the Clerk's Office so they will be distributed assuming the House gives permission to introduce them.

With that said, would you call those motions please, Sir?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. I can do them individually or as a group, how ever the House prefers to do it?

Does the House consent to my calling it one motion on all of these?

MR. ROBERTS: One motion, Your Honour.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to introduce the following bills entitled:

"An Act To Amend The Gasoline Tax Act", carried. (Bill No. 12).

"An Act To Amend The Liquor Control Act", carried. (Bill No. 17).

"An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act", carried. (Bill No. 15).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Social Services to introduce a bill entitled: "An Act To Amend The Social Workers Association Act", carried. (Bill No. 2).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Health to introduce the following bills entitled:

"An Act To Amend The Hospital And Nursing Home Association Act", carried. (Bill No. 9)

"An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act", carried. (Bill No. 10).

"An Act To Amend The Smoke-Free Environment Act", carried. (Bill No.11).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Animal Protection Act", carried. (Bill No. 3).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Department Of Works, Services And Transportation Act, carried. (Bill No. 5).

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Evidence Act", carried. (Bill No. 16).

On motion, Bill Nos. 12; 17; 15; 2; 9; 10; 11; 3; 5 and 16 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, could we carry on with the Budget Debate, please? It is motion No. 1.

MR. SPEAKER: The Budget Debate, motion No. 1.

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: I thought I gave a pretty eloquent speech yesterday, Mr. Speaker, but I have only a little bit of time left and the Hansard copies will be wanted, for sure, after I am finished.

I want to finish off with what I began with yesterday, Mr. Speaker, which is to say that for this government to get close to and be able to achieve a balanced Budget status, given the economic times, is quite an accomplishment.

The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has done a superb job in putting the Budget together, in dealing with all of the demands for public services in this Province, given the financial situation that we have been in, with declining transfer of payments over the past few years. It has taken a lot of hard work and it has taken, Mr. Speaker, a lot of perseverance but the government and the minister, in particular, have been able to accomplish quite a feat.

As I was saying yesterday, when The Globe and Mail gives a positive editorial for Newfoundland and Labrador, that is quite an accomplishment, and in this case, as far as I am concerned, we have a number of things that we can look forward to in the future that are positive for this Province, and these are things that we have to start talking about more instead of harping on the negatives which happens too often in this Province.

A lot of very positive things are going on in the areas of economic development; opportunities are arising now that were not there before in the mining sector, in the information technology sector, in the aquaculture sector; the forestry sector is coming back and that is starting to be stable and the companies are starting to make some dollars.

The other sector is the fishery, where alternative fisheries are being pursued, which is something we didn't do a few years ago. And there are other opportunities that are really starting to come around, so that looking at the economic plan for the future, we have good reason to be optimistic. We have really, a re-awakening of the resource economy in this Province; it is starting to move. We have our financial house in order in the sense of the government trying to keep it in order, given these difficult times.

So I think the companies that are out there looking to come to this Province, now have more reasons to do so: they have reason because of the EDGE legislation; they have reason because of our willingness to take on the tough decisions to make sure that the taxpayers of the Province are well-served and that their house is in order. Some very positive things have been laid out in the last couple of years. And when we see what has occurred in other provinces and we see some of the problems that are going to face a province like Ontario and so on, when they wrestle with their debt problem, which they really haven't done in the last three or four years, we have good reason to be optimistic and I think, you know, we see some changes that we are making in Education that have been going on for some time, they are starting to have an impact. So, collectively, when you put the picture together it is a very reasonable one. Again, I think it comes down to a matter of attitude. It comes down to a matter of believing whether or not we are going to be successful as a people. It comes down to believing whether or not we are going to be able to make a go of it, to make sure that there are opportunities out there for our people, and I for one am a believer that we are going to see those opportunities further increased, and I believe you are going to see, as we see the rural development movement changing its focus and changing its operation, style, it is now going to start operating with an accountability mechanism in place that they will be able to request what they need in order for them to move ahead, instead of the government coming down and saying: Here is our plan for you. We want to see what the plans are from the people out there coming forward. It is a new way of doing business, and I think it is going to pay off in spades in the next little while, and be very important as we move ahead in the rural areas which do have a very bright future.

Despite what some people say, there is a bright future out there. It depends again on what you want to make out of it. With the information highway that is at hand in all the rural areas in the Province, the availability of data, the availability of market research, the availability of information, to be able to move on things, to start things, we are in a better position. If you are going to have to face off with the type of crisis that we have had to deal within the fishery, at least what we do have is a solid base, an information base from which to try to figure out what we do with the information, what we do with the potential opportunities that are out there in the area of tourism, which is now again having a reawakening in this Province.

You see tourism really becoming a driving force with many of the rural areas, bed and breakfasts which are springing up which are really high quality operations that are going to attract people, tourism facilities that are being put up for the right reasons, because of the tremendous tourism product that we have here, one that we are working on, one that the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is working on, that I think it is really going to start paying off.

The advertising across Canada and the U.S. and so on to attract people here is starting to pay off. I think the tourism numbers have been going up in the last year or two, so it really is starting to come around. Again, it is a matter of philosophy, I think.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

MR. AYLWARD: I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your kind patience. Thank you very much.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you lose your vote?

MR. WOODFORD: I don't know yet about the voting part of it.

MR. CAREEN: (Inaudible) $500 in the PC fund, right?

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, $500 in the... I guess after this there will be a lot of funds, I would say, sprouting up around the St. John's area and other areas of the Province after we get a few days in the House.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few short comments on the Budget. When I was going through the Budget, when the Budget was being read, and after the Budget was read, and going through the Estimates after, and in questioning the minister of the Department of Natural Resources on the Budget, I found that there was something consistent with it. All throughout the Budget reading, all throughout the Estimates and so on, there was something consistent. That was that pretty well everywhere in the Estimates there was cut, and nowhere, Mr. Speaker, in the reading of the Budget, in the details, was there any mention of any job losses whatsoever. Yet just about every heading in the Estimates, pretty well every heading, has a cut in funding.

We all know what is going to happen. It was evident in past budgets by this Administration and it will be evident in this one, that pretty well every day of the week now we will hear about five jobs gone, ten jobs gone, twenty jobs gone here, 100 here, 200 somewhere else, all throughout the year.

One prime example of what has been happening is in transportation. We had the airports, the federal government - members opposite are really cosy with their federal buddies in Ottawa. When the airports policy came down the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation for the Province said absolutely nothing to his federal counterpart about what was happening to airports in the Province.

I would like for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to just pay a little more attention to what I was saying about the airport policy in the Province and the attention that his government has paid to this particular problem. It is a very serious problem.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) weren't in Gander.

MR. WOODFORD: I wasn't in Gander for the meeting, but I didn't have to be in Gander to the meeting.

MR. EFFORD: You weren't in Gander for the meeting.

MR. WOODFORD: You should have been in Ottawa to meet with your counterpart Mr. Young.

MR. EFFORD: I've been in Ottawa.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, but what did he tell you? You came back from Ottawa with absolutely nothing, only probably a side agreement. You might have had a side agreement. It was probably a side agreement, Mr. Speaker. The minister in a meeting in Deer Lake with the town council in Deer Lake, stated that in no way, shape or form were there any municipalities in the Province going to be given the right to - or any amendments made to the municipalities act to run any airports in the Province.

That has been so, so far. What is going to happen when it comes down to the crunch with those airports, when the federal government says: We can't get first of all the provincial government to run them, we can't get the municipalities to run them, we can't get a local airport authority to run them, and last, the possibility of absolute privatization is the one that they would have to look at. What is going to happen? What will the feds do? All the airports' budgets would have to be balanced before that. They've got to be balanced within five years. Whether the federal government has them or not, or the Province, or the municipalities or whoever, their budgets will be balanced.

This is another example. What I'm getting at is that the down loading from the federal government onto the people of this Province, especially in the last two years, amounts to a very large percentage of tax increases. I would submit that if there were calculations done to the amount of tax increases that it is after costing each individual in this Province over the last two federal budgets alone would come somewhere between 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

Examples of that is this. The airports is one of them. The down loading to the municipalities, all down through the federal government and the provincial government to the municipalities, is another example. Another example is the South Coast ferry service that will cost the people of the Province millions of dollars down the road. Something that the hon. Minister of Works, Services and Transportation would not have heard of six or seven years ago. He would be going around with flashlights all around the Province -Duracell, Mr. Speaker, their sales have gone down 50 per cent since the member got in government in 1989. Mr. Speaker, what is going to happen to the South Coast ferry service? What is going to happen to the Member for Labrador now who sings out about the ferry service, the Marine Atlantic Ferry Service all up the coast? There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with taking over the ferry service. There is nothing wrong with taking over airports; nothing wrong with running the infrastructure programs or any other kind of a program; nothing wrong with a one-third cut to the community colleges, education; nothing wrong with cuts to the University when it comes to education, absolutely nothing wrong. Now all of a sudden everything is hunky-dory with their so-called cousins.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Tories.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, the Tories in Ottawa. I should say the Tories in Ottawa because there was never a Tory Government elected in Ottawa as Tory as the Chrétien Government is today, never. Every word, almost verbatim, that Kim Campbell said during the campaign of '93 is carried out by the federal government in Ottawa. Pretty well every word, Mr. Speaker, that she uttered with regards to no jobs, there will be no reduction in jobs for six or seven years, that is happening. It has gone down a very small percentage. It is up and down just like a yo-yo.

Interest rates, they blamed it all on the Bank of Canada and the Minister of Finance. Interest rates went through the ceiling. Interest rates in the last year or so have gone sky high again. It is only in the last few weeks they have dropped down a little bit. The dollar went up and saved your necks there. Absolutely nothing, Mr. Speaker, there can't be any consultation. The Premier is after spending more time out of the Province in the last year than any other Premier in the history. What has been done? Where is the consultation with Ottawa, Mr. Speaker? The downloading - there is no fight left. Absolutely no fight left whatsoever, none whatsoever. No matter what comes up, no matter what kind of a program, no matter what kind of a cut, whether it is transfer payments or whatever it is, everything is okay. We will accept it. All of a sudden everything is okay but yet at the same time they were elected to protect the interests and the rights of the people of this Province and, Mr. Speaker, that has not been done. That has not been done.

We have another example now, Mr. Speaker, of the CN and Marine Atlantic being privatized. There are proposals out now for the Marine Atlantic to be privatized. What is going to happen? The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation is not in his seat. What is going to happen with tourism in this Province? If Marine Atlantic tomorrow puts that up just a fraction there would be no one -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, that is right, it is an essential service. If they interfere with that, Mr. Speaker, and if they privatize it we know what is going to happen. We know what is going to happen because the government of the day wants to do it. One of the reasons why they want to get out of it is because of the fact that it is costing them too much money. They won't admit that and they won't put up the fee so they will privatize it so that the company who gets it will jack up the fees. They will kill the tourism industry in the Province. Every bit of produce coming over by truck, every bit of produce coming over across that gulf, Mr. Speaker, will cost the people of this Province another 10 to 20 per cent. To add insult to injury, they just took away the Atlantic Regional Freight Assistance Program - another 10 per cent, they dropped it to 8 per cent. Now that is gone, to add to that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Mount Scio - Bell Island just a few short years ago when he was in Cabinet and he was beating his chest about Marine Atlantic putting up the fee coming across the gulf by five or ten dollars, Mr. Speaker, he said he was going to sue the federal government. He was going to sue the federal government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: The little bit of change that was left over from buying shares belonging to the member.


MR. TOBIN: Give it up; sit down!

MR. WOODFORD: May I have some protection from the Chair, Mr. Speaker?

He was going to sue the Federal Government. He was going to make sure that the Tories in Ottawa were going to be taken to court because of a small increase in the fee for the crossing from North Sydney to Port aux Basques by CN Marine. Where is he today? There is not a sound when the Federal Government is going to privatize the whole Marine Atlantic system and CN as a whole - not a sound. All of a sudden there are a few former Cabinet ministers over there starting to speak up. It is too late. They sat around the table when the decisions were made, and they have to take responsibility for it, but I would say they are doing a little bit of polling, and doing a little bit of door-to-door in their districts, and they are finding out that the die is cast.

The die is cast, and the only life-preserver they can jump for now is the fact that they are outside Cabinet and they can all of a sudden speak up. That is the life-jacket they are clinging to now, they are reaching for now, but it is too late, as far as I am concerned. That will not save them. They know their districts are gone. They know that this government is on the ropes, and now they are starting to speak up when it is too late. They were there; never mind what they knew and what they did not know. They sat around the table when those decisions were made, and if there was something withheld then they knew that the tender call, for instance, from Trans City, went to this certain company. Why were there not questions asked then? Why were there not questions asked just a few short weeks ago? All of a sudden, in the last couple of weeks, there has been a revival and some people, former Cabinet ministers, all of a sudden, saw the light. But that light is flickering pretty dim now and it will go out. The lights for those particular members will be out when the next provincial election is called.

Mr. Speaker, in the transportation sector, the downloading from the Federal Government onto the Province, if it is all carried out, for instance, with regard to Marine Atlantic, the South Coast ferry system, the airport system, the ferry system to Labrador, all going to add millions of dollar - millions of dollars - to the already overburdened coffers of this Province. The people will pay. Sooner or later the people of this Province are going to pay, and pay dearly, for what is happening with regard to the changes that the Federal Government is making as they pertain to this Province.

I say to members opposite, and I say to the Premier, and the message should get back to him, that there is going to have to be some fight, something put up by this government, to try to pick up for the people of the Province. That is what they were elected to do, and that is what they should do, never mind giving them clear sailing and letting them do absolutely what they like with any program that pertains to this Province, and that is exactly what is happening, adding millions of dollars on the backs of the people of this Province who can ill afford it. We have anywhere from 23 per cent to 35 per cent unemployment. How can the people of this Province absorb any more taxes directly or indirectly, whichever? There is no way, shape or form by which they can do it.

Another example of the Federal Government's compassion and sympathy for the people of this Province, is in the forestry industry. The forestry industry in this Province is one of the biggest industries that we have. It is a renewable resource. It is a resource that can go on in perpetuity, and we can harvest if it is looked after properly. What did they cut out? Pretty well the whole program forestry centre in this Province is gone, the whole silviculture program is gone. Now we are down, and all of a sudden the Province could reach in, pluck out ten million and put into forestry, put into the Department of Natural Resources in this Province to take the place of the $12 million that the Federal Government just cut out. Great for them, but why was there not anything said about it? Why were there not meetings held with the federal officials to make sure that this did not happen? Why do such things happen now without anything being said, that have such a drastic effect on the people of this Province?

The paper companies in this Province today are doing well. There have been three increases in newsprint over the last seven or eight months, and just recently, a few weeks ago, there was another increase of $75 per ton. It is pretty cyclical.

Just a year ago we were here in this House debating a bill whereby the government was going to pay Kruger $15 million for buying back some of the Reid properties and so on, $7.5 million a year. They were a bit hesitant at that time because of the $15 million bill, but I found out when I questioned the minister in the estimates that that $15 million was paid in one year - another $7.5 million, absolutely no problem. So, we could pluck out $7.5 million last year. At first $15 million was too much, but we paid them the $15 million in one year with no problem, and yet we have companies like Kruger and Abitibi-Price, who are doing okay now, like I said, but for instance Abitibi in Stephenville - and I say this now while the member is there, and I have to say this about the member.

I have had some calls from people in my district and the union rep from out his way, people cutting for Abitibi-Price. We have had a meeting on it already. He has had several, as I know, with his Cabinet colleague, and it is sad when you have Abitibi-Price bringing in wood from PEI and Nova Scotia and we with all kinds of timber stands in this Province that are over matured, and the minister has to go out this summer and spray another 209,000 hectares. The government will sit down over the next few weeks and approve the annual allowable cut for the companies in this Province, but when they look at that and they look over in this corner of the Province and see 3,000 hectares of forest that are over matured, look over in Central and see another 5,000 that would have to be salvaged now or else be lost because of the looper, or if they look in another section and it is over matured, why does Abitibi-Price have to have wood come in from PEI and Nova Scotia when the wood is here but it just happens to belong to another company? Why should Kruger be allowed to sit on hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of wood when we have a company in this Province that could be hiring another forty, fifty, sixty, or one hundred people, providing jobs for the people in this Province, providing revenues for the people in this Province, and providing much-needed pulpwood for the mills in Stephenville, Grand Falls, or wherever it might be? Why should we look at hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of wood falling down around our ears just because there is another label attached?

Now, Mr. Speaker, I said in the House before and I will say again today, there is no company, whether it is Kruger, whether it is Abitibi-Price, or whether it is MacMillan Bloedel, whoever they are, they should not own one stick, not one log in this Province should they own, not a limb, and I will go out on a limb and say that they should have to do the same thing I have to do, or any other citizen of this Province. I have to go down and ask for a permit to cut 5,000 board feet of lumber. If I want to cut a few hundred cubic meters of pulpwood, I have to go down and get a permit. Not only do I have to go and get it, I have to beg for it, from forestry. There is even a freeze on commercial sawmill licenses now. You can't even transfer a commercial sawmill license.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) crab license.

MR. WOODFORD: Well, the crab license is another matter; I will get to that in a minute. I want to have a few words on that as well.

But I don't think there is a member in this Legislature who will be able to stand in his or her place and argue against what I just said when it comes to the paper mills in this Province. It should not be, I would be the first to say that there should be efficiency. I would be the first to say that there should be conservation and I would be the first to say that Abitibi-Price or Kruger can come in to me today and sit down with the minister and say look, we will give you 40,000, 200,000 or 300,000 cubic metres of wood a year. We will guarantee your mill is going to run for twelve months of the year for the next twenty years, thirty years or whatever, but they should not own everything that is out there and tell me, every Newfoundlander and Labradorian out there, if we can build, if we can go walk around a lake or if we can cut a log. That to me, Mr. Speaker, is criminal.

We have a company in this Province today, Abitibi-Price, which is going outside this Province looking for timber when we have all kinds of stands - and I never even got into the Labrador part of it. Labrador has the best kind of spruce, some of the best fibre in the country. Some of the best fibre contents in the country is in the Labrador area. And we have places around this Province today where people, right around communities, cannot cut a log and cannot cut a bit of firewood. If they do they will be fined either by Forestry or by Kruger, or be charged.

Many times, Mr. Speaker, over the last few years I have had calls from constituents who had gotten permits from Crown lands to cut, went in and happened to cut over the line that was on Kruger. When Kruger got the RCMP to come up - in this case it was the RCMP - and look at it, here was a full pallet load of logs cut by individuals for their homes on a legitimate permit, and they were seized. The logs were seized, they were sent up, a trucker was sent up to hook on to the pallet and bring it to the mill. And the individual not only lost the effort and time that was put into it and the expense but also was charged because a portion of that was cut on Kruger property. That is the kind of stuff - it is a wonder, Mr. Speaker, that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are not more hostile. It is a wonder that there are not riots in the streets. It is a wonder because of what was done to them, and has been done to them over the past years.

If the minister put half as much effort into it when he was sitting around the Cabinet table when something came up with regard to forestry as he is putting into criticizing other members for speaking in the House, Mr. Speaker, well, then, I would say we would be well served.

So I say to members opposite that something - and the minister is present, I don't know if he heard anything I said but he should take note, because I tell you, the time has come when the people of this Province, who have been dictated to for so long, have to stand by and watch people from other provinces make a living when we have a nucleus and hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of wood standing right around our backyards.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for St. George's mentioned about the crab licenses. Now, that is an issue -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I say to the member that I have - most of the crab licenses in the Province are in my district, Mr. Speaker. We had licences for 400 tons of crab for the Jackson's Arm plant last year. What have the feds done now, in conjunction with the provincial government, I ask you? They have it cut from 400 tons down to 250 tons. They went and issued more crab licenses around the Province. They moved 150 tons out of Jackson's Arm - moved it elsewhere around the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, sure there was, but who - and where did it go? Where are the plants now? Who has the plant open in Englee? Who opened the plant in Englee?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I can tell the member a few things, too, about this crab fiasco that is going to come to light in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Tobin had better come around, because the people of his district are waiting for him. I was in Sops Arm on Friday night and -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not only his (inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, that is right; there are other areas as well, but why they moved that... If in that area there was a TAGS program, or there was a downturn, a good groundfish fishery over the years and it was gone, or turbot or whichever, was gone, I could probably see some of that being spread around, but in this case, that is all that plant has to rely on. That plant was open every year, pretty well, except - that and the other pelagics. We had good mackerel, herring, and caplin markets over the years but couldn't take advantage of them, but that particular area relied heavily on that 400 tons of crab. All of a sudden, when the crab sales were up - we have boats around this Province, in the hon. member's district, $875,000 to $1 million in crab last year alone, one boat. Then we have inshore fishermen out there with a little punt, they go out and they are depending on this to try to get them through the season, get them through the year, and they can't do it.

The offshore crab fishery last year dictated to the minister when to open the supplementary fishery in the Fall of the year, because you know why, they could take their big boats and go offshore, their sixty-five footers, rake it in, stay overnight, bring in the big loads, and the little fellow had to stay home. He couldn't go offshore in his twenty or twenty-five foot boat to take advantage of the crab fishery, in the hostile elements that they have to encounter out there, but the big sixty or sixty-five footers could do it, absolutely no problem, and they dictated to the minister when and when not to open the supplementary crab fishery last Fall.

Mr. Speaker, the cuts to education and health care are the two that we should be very careful of. The health care system - all members of this House should take a stroll down, begin at the Health Sciences Complex over here, and start going through some of the wards, look at some of the patients, stop and talk to some of the patients, and then leave there and go down to the Miller Centre where we have three nurses looking after thirty-three, it is just as well to say, totally handicapped people. Then, leave there and go over to Hoyles-Escasoni and spend a few hours if you want to see something.

I experienced it first-hand this year, because my mother was in the Health Sciences Centre and then went to the Miller Centre, and from there over to Hoyles-Escasoni. If someone wants to know first-hand, let them take the time in the night to go down and watch what is going on in those health institutions. Go down and see who is looking after those people who cannot feed themselves. They cannot put a hand to their mouth to give themselves a drink, and they do not have the capacity and the manpower or the womanpower there to feed those people. You have to see it. We need not turn on the television and look at foreign countries. All we have to do, if you take the time, is to go down there and find out what is going on, down at the Miller Centre three nurses - one nurse and two nursing assistants - looking after thirty-three people.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I am not gone half-an-hour, am I?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before we proceed with the debate, the Chair would like to take a minute just to rule on the point of order raised by the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes on April 5, 1995, dealing with comments made by the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

The point that was raised by the member was that the hon. minister's words were out of order and therefore unparliamentary. The Chair, at the time, had not heard exactly what the comments were that were made by the hon. minister, and so, took the point raised under advisement and to review Hansard to see exactly what had transpired.

With regard to unparliamentary language, Beauchesne has several references; however, there is no complete list of words or statements or phrases that are considered unparliamentary at all times. Beauchesne paragraph 486 (1) indicates that: "It is impossible to lay down any specific rules in regard to injurious reflections uttered in debate against particular Members, or to declare beforehand what expressions are or are not contrary to order; much depends upon the tone and manner, and intention..." and it depends on the person speaking, and "sometimes upon the person to whom the words are addressed...."

Paragraph 486 (3) says: "There are few words that have been judged to be unparliamentary consistently, and any list of unparliamentary words is only a compilation of words that at some time have been found to cause disorder in the House."

Beauchesne continues on at page 149, paragraph 491. It says there: "The Speaker has consistently ruled that language used in the House should be temperate and worthy of the place in which it is spoken. No language is, by virtue of any list, acceptable or unacceptable. A word which is parliamentary in one context may cause disorder in another context, and therefore be ruled unparliamentary." Our own Standing Order 52 states: No member shall use "offensive words against any member of this House."

Reviewing what the hon. minister had said, the Chair considers that the language in this House at any point in time should conform to good standards, should conform to standards of good taste, and should not be inappropriate. In reviewing Hansard, I came to the conclusion that the hon. member's statements were inappropriate and I ask him to withdraw them at this point in time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Shame, shame!

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture if he would withdraw the remarks that he made on April 5.

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

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, if I made a comment that was unparliamentary, I withdraw it.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the floor, and also pleased to be able to make some comments about the Budget this year. The hon. member opposite who was so able, as some would say, to hold himself in his long approach to dealing with the Budget Speech - I suppose quantity sometimes is a substitute for quality, although others might not agree.

We have with us this year a budget to analyze and a budget to discuss and debate that is a budget of prudence. It is a budget that we have been working toward ever since we've been elected. The ability to reach a balanced budget in what some refer to as the poorest province of the country - I would refer to it more as the wealthiest province in the country, but one which has had a very difficult economic circumstance dealt it over the years, some by virtue of our situation with fluctuations in the resource sector, some, because of the very nature of our economy in the way that it has functioned and possibly also, because of the lack of some overall effort at literacy and a variety of other areas which could certainly have improved a lot for many of our Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the years, so there were contributing factors to our economy and a lot of reasons for our difficult economic circumstance.

We have, Mr. Speaker, as was pointed out by The Globe and Mail back some weeks ago, set an example which is an interesting situation for Newfoundland, but one in a series of many examples that have been set, if we look back to the initial changes that we made to the health care system back around 1990-'91, when there was an outcry that we were going to destroy the health care system through some of the efforts that were taken, and what happened at that time? The same scholarly paper I suppose, was given praise when praise is due, decided to do a complete analysis of the changes to the Newfoundland health care system.

The hon. Minister of Education was, at the time the minister who, in the captain's chair of the Department of Health, presided over a fundamental shift and a fundamental change in the way that health care was operated in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: Could we have a quorum call, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: A quorum call.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is a quorum present.

The hon. the Member for LaPoile.

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I -

AN HON. MEMBER: Before you were so rudely interrupted.

MR. RAMSAY: - was so rudely interrupted, exactly, by an Opposition member.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I thank the hon. member then for his diligence in making sure that the words of which I am about to speak, are so worthwhile that they need everybody's attention and I wish him well in getting the other members of his caucus in to have a listen as well.

As I was saying, the hon. minister at that time of the Department of Health, made these changes; there was a fundamental shift, it could be called a paradigm shift of the way that we delivered health care in this Province and that was a test of the way the administration of government worked in the Province and it worked well. It allowed us to cut down on the administrative costs of health care delivery; it allowed us to focus different institutions so there was little or no competition between the tertiary care centres in a given region, and that the monies that were becoming fewer and far between would be better utilized in the delivery of health care. So that was the single I suppose effort back at the beginning of our term back in 1990 that was a test.

We've worked towards a point where now with further declining revenue, with a situation that has - it has changed somewhat with the way that the federal government will deliver money to the provinces, that we now see an overall shift in the way that we have to administer government in this Province. We no longer can see a situation where we go out and spend money and it is offset on a co-pay basis by the Government of Canada. We will end up in a block grant situation for social programs. We will also, Mr. Speaker, have a situation to deal with where we know that we will get less and less as time goes on, as inflation and other activity erodes the overall total amount of money on what we deliver.

We have to look at the situation and determine if in fact there are economies that we can realize in the administration of government. You only have to ask the general public which deals with government on a regular basis as to whether there are economies that can be realized. Can we under administer and over perform? I really think we can. We can change the administration of the variety of government services provided to the people in the Province. We can lessen the administrative cost. We can get some economies by focusing the administration in given areas.

To give an example, on the West Coast of the Province by combining the health care boards there we will be able to set in motion a system where the overall payroll and finance and administration is done in one centre, the laundry and that end of the service is provided in another centre. By spreading it around we can maintain and sustain the different institutions, but we can also realize certain economies by putting where it makes sense the functions that are needed to be a shared service for all of these different institutions. It is no different here in the capital city where there is a need to share services, a need to designate specific services to specific institutions.

I might point out for hon. members that when I was on my way back to the office this morning from another meeting in the other building I met a very concerned parent whose daughter was recently admitted to the Janeway. He brought to me his concern about the possibility of the Janeway being integrated into the Health Science Centre, and concerns I suppose that have been expressed by staff there and also by parents. There is of course with the Janeway and dealing with children a lot of attachment and a lot of emotion that goes with this kind of situation. Certainly the Janeway as a creation, as an institution that has served this Province so well, I think certainly - and I would mirror his comments in saying that I feel we should do whatever we can to maintain the Janeway as a separate entity even if the Janeway itself does share some services and some location. If it were to be constructed as a separate location attached to the Health Sciences Centre I'm sure that it could then realize certain economies in the plant and equipment side of things, the sharing of heating, the sharing of food services, et cetera, but certainly retain its identity, a very important identity here for the Province and for the area.

A number of other things that come to mind. The hon. members opposite maintain that we are adding millions on the tax burden to the average person in this Province. We can look at financial situations either on a direct basis at a given point in time or we can look at a financial situation spread over a longer period of time. I suppose it depends on the philosophy that you espouse and how you will look at a given situation. We could say that the cost of not funding a given amount of activity is the same as if you do fund it because the overall expense either to the economy or to the individual is the same: either it is expense in an adverse reaction to no treatment in the medical field or, on the social side, if the money is not available then there is a consequence to not intervening in a person's life at the right point in time, there is a cost and an expense to intervening and raising the money necessary. If you do not have the money at a given point in time, if you do not have the financial wherewithal to look after the expenses then, Mr. Speaker, the costs in the future, if you borrow the money to pay for them now, the costs become even greater from a financial perspective if you are spending borrowed money.

Now, we have realized a balanced Budget this year and that again, as I said in the beginning, is leading the way. We are probably held in much high esteem if we take the commentaries that we read on the Newfoundland situation seriously, that we are leading the way again throughout the country. We have looked at the area of business in the business community in the Province and I must say in the last six years that I have been here I have seen a fundamental shift again by the business community, by the small business person, by people in the Province in general in understanding and knowing that they have to do something a little differently in order to get the support that is necessary to finance their businesses either from government or from the private sector, from the banking services that are available. They realize that they have to put forward a professionalized packaged product in order to sell people on the idea of financing their project. That was not realized as much back then. It has become a change in the way that people approach things. They realize that money is not freely available, there is a limit to the amounts available, both private and public, and they also realize that they have to put their best foot forward in trying to maintain the financing for the business venture they have in mind.

This is happening and it is causing us to be held in much higher esteem throughout the country, and of course, when we see business people coming here from all over North America, from other places throughout the world, they look at Newfoundland and they say, you guys are doing things right. Just last evening I spent some time with a vice president of a large multinational corporation who was saying you guys are doing some of the right things here and I only wish that some of the other provinces would do it as well.

Mr. Speaker, it is this kind of impression that Newfoundland is leaving on people throughout North America that is certainly going to have an impact on the future business prospects here in this Province. We have brought in the EDGE legislation, something which we were very pleased to have the whole of the loyal Opposition loyally doing their duty to support real initiatives, which make sense. The EDGE legislation is something which does make sense. They have supported us in that and with that I think they deserve to know that it has been a success, not that it would only be a success if they had supported it, even if they had not supported it, I am sure it would still be successful. Of course, some of their input was very valuable in making some of the decisions we did make in the development of that legislation.

Now, we have had over 1000 enquiries so far on the EDGE legislation, through the toll-free phone line, written enquiries, and other telephone calls to the department. Those 1000 enquiries along with other writings and situations that have arisen have allowed us to distribute some 6000 packages of information all throughout the world as to what Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer in the way of incentives. That shows you that people are standing up and taking notice. They are paying attention to what Newfoundland is saying.

Initially at the first press conference the minister held there were two announced. The following second round, some two or three weeks later, they were able to announce another four businesses that qualified under the EDGE legislation. There were seven last week that were approved and will be announced some time very shortly. We also have another six being analyzed that are in an negotiation stage with the government right now, and another fourteen businesses which are making enquiries. There is a lot of activity and that is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, no pun intended to the iceberg companies that have come our way, but certainly it is the kind of thing we like to see.

There is excitement out there. People want to come here to set up shop, not just to take advantage of some of the wealthy resource sectors that we have. If you look at the Voisey Bay discovery, just as a case in point, with Voisey Bay coming here and being the talk of the mining world, so to speak - if in fact this mining discovery is as big as some of the indicators point to we could have on our hands probably one of the biggest mining finds in all of the world, in value and in the potential for generating economic wealth for the people of the Province and for the shareholders in the various companies involved. That is speaking well for the wealth of the resources that we have.

We have a single most important resource in this Province, our people. We are also very wealthy in the area of the different resources that we have. Some of them of course are renewable but others like mines are not renewable resources. We have to make sure that we exercise sustainable development efforts in the mining of these resources and see to it that it is done on a sustainable basis and that the environmental impact is limited, that the overall effort takes into account the socio-economic actions that may result. The activity that will cause problems with our socio-economic affairs in the Province, take those into account and, Mr. Speaker, from there I am sure that that will also help contribute to the truly balanced budgets that we need from this point onward.

We will face some difficulty in the next number of years as the federal government limits the amount of money that they are able to transfer to the provinces but I am sure we are up to the task, probably better prepared for it than any other province because we have practised it ever since we took office in 1989. I think the people can be proud that we have managed, in spite of all of this, to resist the temptation to throw money at everything that comes along, from a political perspective. We based it on a very strictly planned perspective and borrowed less and less money each and every year. We are the only government in the country to borrow less money each of the last five years which certainly is the kind of thing that we, as a government and as the Liberal Party, have brought to the people of the Province. Most people say they are amazed that we have managed to do this in spite of the economic circumstance that we find ourselves in.

There will be a lot of changes to the economy over the next while. A lot has already occurred but a lot of the changes to the economy that we see - if you look at real estate, everyone thought over the last forty years, thirty years that real estate was a solid investment. If you put your money in real estate and if you are able to maintain it, it will always be worth more. Then we get such a shift in the overall value of real estate with the severe drop in the inflated values of Central Canada but also to a point where there are new businesses in this economy that are preforming and they are performing without the benefit or need for a lot of brick and mortar. So what we are experiencing, Mr. Speaker, is - some could say - the death of brick and mortar as a collateral value for business purposes. What we will have now, Mr. Speaker, is a situation where the ideas, the people you have associated with your company and your group, the overall effort that you make in putting together a very well crafted plan in an effort to create your business, is going to be worth more.

Information is the only thing of value in the new economy. As the information can lead you to producing, either in another location or here, that the information value is very high. Based on that, banks and financial institutions are having to shift their focus and come up with a different ways and means to analysis and develop the overall method by which they determine the relative value of business ideas and the way that they will lend money to people who start these new business ventures. Based on that, Mr. Speaker, we, as a government, have to set the stage so to speak. We have to help these individuals, who are interested in business, start their businesses by helping them set the stage, make sure that the business environment is one that they can survive and prosper in.

We have to also make sure that we provide a tax regime, a regulatory regime that is certainly the kind of regime that will allow them to survive, prosper and contribute back to this country. To contribute back to the Province and the people here, just what it is that we want to do in producing wealth for our nation and for our Province, and that is the key to the overall optimism, I think, that we as politicians should put forward to the people of the Province. We have to be the optimists. We have to be positive about the future of the Province. We have to take little steps such as this Budget, which is a stellar accomplishment, but it is a little step along the road to the prosperity that we will seek in the future.

To look at some other initiatives where we have made some effort, if you look at the nineteen economic zones that have been proposed for the Province, in these nineteen economic zones we have set up a situation where these zones will be required to, in the given zone, have all groups or organizations that will be funded to do so under the confines of a performance contract.

Now, some would say confines but probably you can say, when you are performing within a required contract that will allow you to be free - as the hon. Government House Leader sometimes says: The truth shall set you free - and to use that as a bit of a situation where it is a totally open process. The performance contracts will be tabled here in the House of Assembly. Therefore, economic development activity in this Province that we have to pay administration costs for throughout the Province, throughout the nineteen economic zones, will be a totally transparent process. It will be a process where they are required to put forward their desires for their district, their needs and the amount of activity that they will undertake, the performance parameters that they will require in order to satisfy their performance in that given contract, so it is very important. It is a change, and it is a fundamental change, in the way that the people of the Province and those involved in economic development activity will behave in the future.

Getting into something a little different, on the technology side, we have developed a task force called the ONLINE Task Force. The ONLINE Task Force, just to mention, anyone who has heard the term `on-line' knows that it is usually referring to a computer connected to another computer, but the ONLINE Task Force is an acronym for `Opportunities Newfoundland Labrador In The New Economy'. This partnering arrangement between business, between governments, both federal and provincial, and the industry, is a key in order for us to undertake what it is that we have here in the form of a new economy, computer on-line hi-tech industry, and you have to know where you are in order to determine where you are going and how best to get there. What this exercise is, over the next six months, the ONLINE Task Force are working on a partnership, in a partnered way, in coming about the understanding of exactly statistically where the Province is with respect to its high technology industry, and where we go from here, what is the best overall strategy. We have people from the different walks of life. These individuals, we hope, will provide us with good advice on how the government can best set the stage so that drama can unfold in the right way.

The movie producers association, the Producers Association of Newfoundland, the acronym PAN, I just had a meeting with them this morning and they also will require some support in their industry, and we are hopeful that we can also provide that support through the formation of a partnership arrangement between the industry, the federal and provincial governments, to set the stage and determine where we go from here with our support of the Producers Association. We see much more production of video commercials, feature films, a lot of activity in that, the art and advertising section. At one time if the Government of Newfoundland wanted to do a video, or wanted to get something printed for the promotion of the Province, it would always go outside the Province to get someone to provide this material, this product. More and more, as the industry matures here in this Province, we are going to be able to provide it here at home.

I met with another individual this morning in the area of a small business in a southern Newfoundland location, and he intends to start doing something here which is a product that is currently imported into the Province. We can do it here and we can do it here better; this individual and his partner were in to see me and they are determined to make it happen and to distribute the product first here at home and then eventually export and bring in new dollars here into the Province, creating an industry, much needed work and also putting a product forward that will be certainly a product that is better than the current ones that are in the market in this specific sector of the food services industry. So there is a lot happening out there, there is a lot of excitement. People outside the Province - no longer is it such that we have to go and get them. It is the case now where they are coming to see us and saying: What can we do in Newfoundland? We want to come here and set up shop; we would like to be part of the Newfoundland economy, we want to contribute. You are the closest point of Canada and North America to Europe, how can we best utilize that as a part of our overall activity, and they are excited and that makes us even more excited here in this Province and we have to capitalize on that.

Each and every one of us as elected politicians should take our own situation, our own personal desires and aspirations, put them to one side every once in awhile and see what we can do for the benefit of our Province. Some probably would say that their own personal strategy would be for the ultimate benefit of the Province, but one only has to look at the words of a famous individual, who has become famous I guess because of the tv medium, but he is a very good speaker and trainer, one Anthony Robbins who says: It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you have no worry about who gets the credit. This is the kind of thing, Mr. Speaker, that we have to do, not worry about who gets the credit.

Each and every one of us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can take a little bit of the credit for the type of people we are and we can go from there, Mr. Speaker, and see to it that we support the development of our Province. We support the future of the Province by giving a little bit of ourselves for the overall greater good of the Province, and we will see an increase in jobs, prosperity and economic development in this Province unlike anything that has been seen since Confederation, even since the turn of the century, since man first settled here in the Province and then eventually families settled here, it will be the place to be in North America. Newfoundland and Labrador will be a have province by the turn of the century, Mr. Speaker, and I say that with no word of doubt.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. TOBIN: I have to check my notes.

MR. ROBERTS: You probably have 1992 written on them.

MR. TOBIN: No, actually, my colleague from Grand Bank I thought was going to be -

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, there will be time for him.

MR. TOBIN: I won't let him down.

MR. ROBERTS: I believe that and he would do the same for me.

MR. TOBIN: That's right because if he didn't -

MR. ROBERTS: It is the Leader we have to worry about, not the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

MR. ROBERTS: It's the Leader we have to worry about not the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. TOBIN: She would not let me down either, Mr. Speaker, I can assure you of that.

MR. ROBERTS: Not gently, I agree. It will be painful and protracted I say to my friend.

MR. TOBIN: No, I think she is going to lay some of you down.

Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words on the Budget and what is taking place regarding it.

As I was preparing to speak in this debate, I came across some of the bills that were just passed out. One was An Act To Amend The Department Of Works, Services And Transportation Act. I hope hon. members opposite had the opportunity to pick this up and look at it. The Explanatory Note reads: "The purpose of this Bill is to allow the transfer of highways from the jurisdiction of the Department of Works, Services and Transportation to the municipal authority in which that highway is located. Presently, such a transfer requires the permission of the municipality...."

Mr. Speaker, what is going on? The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is bringing before this House another piece of legislation whereby he will crucify the municipalities. He is going to force, without any chance of them agreeing - for example, in my district - take the town of Marystown.

MR. EFFORD: Proper thing. Tory district.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Forever, forever.

MR. EFFORD: No, not forever.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, for as long as I'm there it will. I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that there will be a lot of Tory districts after the next elections, including Port de Grave. Dr. Cal Powell out in Port de Grave on election night, on election night we will be all watching television, the results coming in, and we will see Cal Powell. The big thing will be -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What do you mean?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You wait. Cal Powell, Mr. Speaker, will beat the minister.

MR. SULLIVAN: New district.

MR. TOBIN: New district, Mr. Speaker. He is going to lose his district.

MR. REID: Tobin, you don't know Calvin Powell very well if you can say that.

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

MR. REID: You don't know Calvin Powell very well to say what you just said.

MR. TOBIN: I don't know the man at all, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: Oh yes you do!

MR. REID: He was born in Carbonear. I know him personally. He wouldn't get elected in Bay Roberts as the dog-catcher.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs shouldn't become that arrogant. Because that minister there has a pretty good track record of running and not winning as well. I would say that Dr. Cal Powell will beat the Member for Port de Grave in the next elections. That is what I would say, Mr. Speaker. He will wipe him out. He won't know what hit him.

MR. EFFORD: Oh yes he might!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is here today -

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) protective armour. When I get into a political battle.

MR. TOBIN: Protective armour. `Armorall.' Mr. Speaker, he will need protective armour out in Port de Grave according to what I'm hearing. Seven hundred people out to the rally in Port de Grave to elect delegates. The largest convention in the history of Newfoundland we just had, the largest political convention ever held in this Province was just hosted last week. There were more people registered at the convention last weekend to choose between two people than attended the leadership convention in 1989 to choose between five people who would become the premier. That is what is taking place.

Today in the House I had the opportunity to raise a very important issue, that being health care on the Burin Peninsula. We had the Minister of Health who gave his unwavering word, stood on his principle, and said to the Burin town council: We will ensure that there will be obstetric service provided in that health care facility - not to worry. What is going on now, I would ask the Minister of Health? Why did he not tell these people the facts?

I think what the Minister of Health is trying to do is have birth certificates printed in only four places in this Province, St. John's -

MR. SULLIVAN: Central Newfoundland, Western Newfoundland, and Labrador.

MR. TOBIN: Western Newfoundland, Central Newfoundland, and Labrador. That is the game plan.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your time is up.

MR. TOBIN: I have half-an-hour, I say to the Minister of Health, and I may move the appropriate motion and have unlimited time.


MR. TOBIN: Yes, and the Minister of Fisheries should laugh, alright, after what is printed in that book about you. You should laugh. What happened, the Commissioner of Members' Interest?

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you read it?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I can read it, and I will read it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I will read it for you if you want me to read it.

Each of the new ministers, except the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, met the October 25, 1994 filing deadline. The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture breached section 36.1, Obligations, by not filing his statement of private interest until November 14, 1994.

AN HON. MEMBER: And there was nothing said about it.

MR. TOBIN: And not one word said about it, not a word.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Sure, there should have been.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in this about our leader - past leader or present leader - not a thing. What is in this is that the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture breached section 36.1 and covered it up. You covered it up. You were not honest. You did not come clean.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You breached it.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did he cover up?

MR. TOBIN: He covered up his disclosure statement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Yes, and the other thing, the combine harvester, another dilly, put it on the cover of the book. Tell us what you have harvested in this Province since you became minister.

The other day he was over floating around Europe, trying to get a tanning plant. Well, good luck. The only thing tanned around here is the hon. minister, the old bark and kettle, remember that?

Mr. Speaker, the only minister, the only Member of the House of Assembly who breached a section of the act, and yet he covered it up, he sat silent, and he did not come clean with this House. I want to know, and I will be asking the Premier at the appropriate time upon his return - I serve notice to the minister today that we will be pursuing this. The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture cannot be allowed to cover up.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did he cover up?

MR. TOBIN: He never disclosed his -


AN HON. MEMBER: There is no committee formed now to look into that, is there?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the question that I want to ask the Government House Leader is: Are they going to now strike a committee to investigate the fact that that minister over there breached the act?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Member for Bonavista North that if he has something to say, to stand up and say it. I don't know if the Member for Bonavista North agrees with it, but I don't. What is in this conflict of interest, this commission of members' interest, I don't agree with it, a minister of the Crown -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I will say to the Member for Bonavista what I am referring to, it is that the Commissioner reported yesterday that each new minister, except the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture met the October 25, 1994 filing deadline. The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture breached Section 36.1 obligations by not filing his statement of private interest until November 14. I wonder if the House Leader now - the minister struck a report the other day, struck a committee last year - last year when there was someone who did not file there was a commission struck to review why a certain person did not file.

MR. SULLIVAN: It was not the member it was a spouse.

MR. TOBIN: It was a spouse. Yes, Mr. Speaker, it was not the member, it was a spouse who did not file. Now I ask the minister, is he going to do the same thing for a member who refused to file?

MR. ROBERTS: He did file (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but what I am saying is if we believe in spousal rights we would not have them file.

MR. TOBIN: I don't think the spouse should. I don't agree with it by the way, I don't think they should have to file. I will say it up front, I don't think they should have to.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that means that I will have to be around government as long as the hon. member. That means that I will have to be around here as long as the hon. member and who wants to be around here as long as the hon. minister? That is right, 100 years.

MR. ROBERTS: I was here when (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Oh, I don't know if there is any truth to the rumour that he is going to be running federally. I don't believe it personally. I don't believe you are going to run federally - that you are running in Grand Falls.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I am sure you would have and I would say that there is a good chance that you would have won twenty years ago wherever you ran, I would say that too.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, the more people who come to know him the more difficulty the chance is going to be but twenty years ago he could have won. Twenty years ago he could have won it, any district in this Province. No doubt he could have won federally.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Joe would have told them to vote for him. Joe would have said vote for this man.

MR. ROBERTS: To know me is to love me.

MR. TOBIN: What is that? To know you is to love you.

MR. ROBERTS: I should not interrupt the hon. gentleman.


MR. W. MATTHEWS: He enjoys it, Ed.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree, it gives him something (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: But the combine harvester, Mr. Speaker, the old combine harvester. How much money has he wasted? And then he is out golfing, Mr. Speaker, spending money out on the golf course.

MR. ROBERTS: What are they harvesting, golf courses are they?

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, the first thing they harvested was the hon. minister's head and it is probably the only thing it harvested.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman should remember (inaudible) famous comment.

MR. TOBIN: What is that?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) more brains in your belly then in your head.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't follow the NDP or the Socialists so I would not know what they said. Being a good Conservative I can tell them what Mr. Diefenbaker said to Rick Cashin -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) by elephants.

MR. TOBIN: That is right. No, he said when I -

MR. ROBERTS: I always like the famous comment of Otto Lang: If the hon. gentleman were crossing a quarter section of a wheat field (inaudible) all three of them?

MR. TOBIN: I did not hear that one either. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, the old combine harvester, he has spent a fortune so that he could get his picture taken sitting up on it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who did?

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture and last week he was over in Europe. Going around Europe, Mr. Speaker, at the taxpayers expense, doing what? Trying to get -

MR. SULLIVAN: Trying to gather up a few grains.

MR. TOBIN: Going to Norway now, myself and the minister of development.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I might be going to Norway now with the Minister of ITT. Does the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation agree with that?


MR. TOBIN: I might be going to Norway now with the Minister of ITT.



MR. EFFORD: Not a chance.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I know Norway, Mr. Speaker, I've been to Norway before.

MR. ROBERTS: I don't mind that, but I do object to the fact the hon. gentleman came back.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact I was over in England one time and I checked into a hotel, and they said that you stay there fairly often.

MR. ROBERTS: I hope so.

MR. TOBIN: They did. You and Hal Barrett, I believe they said stayed.

MR. ROBERTS: Oh yes, buddies. Hal Barrett and I were never in England together but we were soul mates.

MR. SULLIVAN: But they say their occupancy rate has declined by 70 per cent since.

MR. ROBERTS: What was this?

MR. SULLIVAN: Their occupancy rate has gone down since.

MR. ROBERTS: And the quality has gone down even more. There can't be a hotel in (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the old combine harvester is over there (inaudible) - and the other thing that should happen is that he should have to stand up in this House and defend what he spent last week over in Europe. The other thing that the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture hasn't come clean about is that golf trip when he got caught at the last minute. There was a big panic over in the office when he got caught and had to run around and try to get receipts and everything else. Oh, but yes!, I would say to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

DR. HULAN: I didn't say no.

MR. TOBIN: What?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, nor should you say no, because if you said no you wouldn't be telling the truth, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SULLIVAN: Didn't they put up a fence for him that he knocked down there with the snow plough?

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation did that. Built a fence for him out in his district, put up a fence.

DR. HULAN: Almost like the Tory days, eh?

MR. TOBIN: You wouldn't know about the Tory days. You weren't here, you were living down in the States going to university. You were going to university. You must have went a lot by the degrees you have. You must have spent forty years in university. You spent forty years there, Mr. Speaker.

Here comes a good minister. If only the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture would take an example from the Minister of Environment. There is only one thing I would say about the Minister of Environment, and that is the Premier punished him too long. The Premier has to be one of the most vindictive people who ever lived in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: In the world!

MR. TOBIN: In the world. Because the Minister of Environment was there in the back benches for five years. The Premier was trying to get even with him because he wouldn't resign his seat and let him run out in Stephenville, Mr. Speaker. Since he became a minister he has been one of the best ministers in this government. That is not hard, but the Minister of Environment has been one of the best.

The Minister of Health is not here now. Old `conflict-of-interest' just came in, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. Say it again, he didn't hear you.

MR. TOBIN: He heard me.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, say it again. Old `conflict-of-interest.'

MR. TOBIN: He heard me, don't you worry about that. He heard me. He knows what I'm talking about. The minister of -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Natural Resources.

MR. TOBIN: No, no.

MR. WOODFORD: No, Tourism -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Mr. Speaker, where was he the last couple of days, last couple of weeks? Down in Florida on the golf course. I would say to members opposite


MR. TOBIN: I remember where I grew up out in Trepassey you could hear the old rooster crowing about six o'clock in the morning, but I never hear him crow ten past four.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: His biological clock is off. You have to get your biological clock back.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is circulating in this bill is serious stuff and it is going to hurt municipalities in this Province. If the government today decides to pass over a road to a municipality it has to be done with the agreement and the consensus of the municipality in question, but under this bill here whatever government want to do, they will do it without the consent of municipalities. So, all the roads now, whether it be in Grand Bank or Marystown, whether it be in Cape Broyle or in Pasadena, the government will just pass it over and do what they like and the municipality has no say whatsoever in it.

What does the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs think of that, Mr. Speaker? Does he support it? Does the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs support that legislation that is going to con the councils?

MR. SULLIVAN: Is he going to increase the MOGs to make up for it?


MR. TOBIN: When he was President of the Federation of Municipalities, he was a hero. He came in here and took on the former minister, Mrs. Newhook and others, about different things. Now, I would like to ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, does he support government bullying councils to the extent that is in this bill? Is he prepared, Mr. Speaker, to stand up and defend municipalities, which is his responsibility, or is he going to cave in and roll over to the bully from Port de Grave? It is one thing or the other. He can laugh all he likes, he can smirk it off all he likes, but the councils in this Province are not going to be happy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Which one is that?

MR. TOBIN: Number four, isn't it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Look, Bill 5.

MR. TOBIN: Bill 5, Mr. Speaker, and for the benefit of the minister, I will read it. `The purpose of this Bill is to allow the transfer of highways from the jurisdiction of the Department of Works, Service and Transportation to the municipal authority in which the highway is located. Presently, such a transfer requires the permission of the municipality in question.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, that's what is going to happen. What is going to happen to the councils in this Province? More down loading - tomorrow or the next day they will end up with more roads in this Province and not one cent of an increase, but a decrease in the MOGs; not one bit of co-operation from the municipalities, and the Minister of Municipalities has a responsibility in that Cabinet to defend the councils.

We have all seen the actions of this Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. We have seen the .05, where he closed out jobs in this Province and he was doing it `because he was concerned for safety'. He had to put it back to .05 because of this great concern he had for safety, but in the next breath he put every wreck in Newfoundland on the road, cars that were lying up for two or three years. People couldn't afford it.

Mr. Speaker, no wonder there were 1,000 people out to the meeting in Port de Grave to elect delegates. It is no wonder Cal Powell will pound him into the ground when the next election is called. It is no wonder he is creeping and crawling around.

MR. EFFORD: I do not crawl.

MR. TOBIN: When he is finished with you, you will crawl.

MR. EFFORD: If I crawled around I could be in a lot of trouble.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He was a night crawler, wasn't he?

MR. TOBIN: We will all be watching the campaign. I say to him, Mr. Speaker, you won't have to crawl in front of Cal Powell, you will be crawling behind him because he will beat you, he will be first; you will be last. We will all be watching the election results when they declare the Member for Humber East the next Premier of the Province and the Member for Port de Grave gone, the Member for Carbonear, who didn't (inaudible) his caucus, gone. The Minister of Development will be back; the Minister of Environment will be back; the Member for Bonavista North won't run, if he does, he won't be back; The Minister of - what is he called?

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Downloading.

MR. TOBIN: That's right, he won't be back; he almost went the last time. The Member for Lewisporte might as well stay home as put his name on the ballot. The Member for Eagle River will be back.


MR. TOBIN: Yes, he will. The Member for Eagle River will be back, Mr. Speaker, and I will tell you why. He is not going to get into Cabinet over there when the new leader is elected and the shuffle is put in place, he is not getting into Cabinet and he will come over here.

MR. SULLIVAN: He is not coming over here.

MR. TOBIN: Well, I was prepared to accept you but it looks like you won't be back `Danny'.


MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Humber Valley won't be back, if he stays with that crowd over there.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, but he might be back as a Liberal.

MR. TOBIN: No, he won't be back as a Liberal, that's what I am telling them. The Member for Humber Valley will never be elected as a Liberal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: What about yourself?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, I could not.

MR. TOBIN: Is that right? Because I was hoping to nominate you for dog-catcher up in Conche.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I would say, Mr. Speaker. I would think there is a good chance, particularly if they put part of your district in his there would be a better chance.

That is another issue I have to get on, now, the gerrymandering, the way they have chopped up the districts.

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you seen the report?

MR. TOBIN: Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you seen the report?

MR. TOBIN: I have seen the report that we paid millions of dollars for, the one that was done by an independent Justice, Mr. Mahoney, I have seen that, Mr. Speaker, but I haven't seen the report that was concocted up on the Eighth floor, I haven't seen that one; I haven't seen the deceitful one, the dishonest one.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, how do you know it was gerrymandered?

MR. TOBIN: How do I know? Mr. Speaker, with the Premier and the Minister of Justice involved in something, what do you call it? It would turn your stomach what goes on over there.

I am going to say something today and I hope whoever is listening brings it back to the Premier. There is one reason and one reason only why Clyde Wells was not in this House yesterday; one reason only -

MR. AYLWARD: What was that?

MR. TOBIN: - and I would like the parliamentary assistant to the Premier to listen to what I am going to say. There is one reason and one reason only why the Premier refused to come into this House yesterday and that is because he was not man enough, he did not have the intestinal fortitude, Mr. Speaker, he did not have the basic principle to stand up and congratulate the Member for Humber East on being elected.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: That's the only reason why he wasn't here.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you think he would ever get up the courage?

MR. TOBIN: No, Mr. Speaker, because he is gutless when it comes to being decent and honest and having to show and display integrity.

MR. EFFORD: Could I ask you a question?


MR. EFFORD: Is that the same man who (inaudible) leadership race?

MR. TOBIN: No, no. I supported the Member for Ferryland, Mr. Speaker. But I tell you, I support the Member for Humber East just as strongly when it comes to winning the next election as I did the Member for Ferryland.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, all I say to the Member for Carbonear is that I was in the back benches in 1982 when the people of Carbonear wouldn't even elect you. You weren't in the back benches. You got the boot. Milton Peach defeated you - defeated you twice - so don't talk about being in the back benches until you get elected.

Not only that, after the next election you are going to be back in the back benches again. Now that he started it, he got so sulky when Bill Hogan went in Cabinet that he wouldn't speak to the members. He refused to go on a Public Accounts Committee meeting that we all went on. He was sulky; he was sooky - the boys told me themselves - because Bill Hogan went in Cabinet and he didn't, so you talk about the back benches.

I will tell him as well, after the next election I will be in the front benches over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: You are not going to cross the floor, too?

MR. TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am going to cross the floor with all of my colleagues, every one of them, and the new ones that come in.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Three people now want to come over right away.

MR. TOBIN: What?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Three people want to come over right away now.

MR. TOBIN: Well, I say to you, if they are, you say the same thing to them as we said to John Efford.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Say the same thing to them as we said to the Minister of Fisheries; that is what I would say to them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) on principle.

MR. TOBIN: If it is going to be done on principle, there is one thing for sure, the Minister of Education won't be going anywhere.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if the Member for St. John's East wants to practice law that is his business.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think the hon. member's time is up. My clock is showing thirty-three minutes.

MR. TOBIN: In conclusion, let me say that it is unfortunate that the -

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



MR. TOBIN: It is unfortunate the Member for Port de Grave, who will never be around here after the next election, will not provide me leave so I can continue with my speech.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I am honoured again today to rise in this House for, I guess, the sixth Budget, to be labelled the sixth red book, the sixth edition of the red book, the sixth-and-a-half edition. It is almost like wine; it is getting better with age, I would say.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: When we took over after seventeen years of Tory rule we went to the cupboard, of course, and here the cupboard was bare. We found the cupboard totally bare. Not only was the cupboard totally bare, there was nothing in the back room, there was nothing down the street, there was hardly anything left in the provincial coffers, and obviously the only thing that was fully stacked was the executive dining room on the first floor. The PO numbers were flying out through the door, Mr. Speaker, as they were going down with the ship. The PO numbers for the Cuban cigars, the PO numbers for the boxes of liquor. The wine goblet - the big fire sale they had at Cabinet when they had all the china being distributed to the people, Mr. Speaker, and they gave it out at a fire sale. So there was nothing left there.

We had an onerous job to do indeed and the people knew that we had an onerous job to do. When we came into this government to find the financial state of affairs, we were obviously shocked, it was unbelievable. We did not think anybody in their right mind would have been able to sit there and prevail over such an economic mess. So obviously, Mr. Speaker, there were a lot of things that contributed to that particular mess of course. We know that there were certain ministers in that Cabinet over there at the time, who said that if I cannot have the right colour furniture, the right texture furniture, the right piece of furniture, the right colour, if I cannot have that kind of furniture, I will have nothing.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said it?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Oh, I don't know. I cannot say for sure who that minister was. I am saying that there was a Cabinet minister over there at the time who said that, yes you can go and get an appraisal for a piece of furniture for $1600 that would be fitting for a Cabinet minister's office. There was an independent assessment made for a Cabinet minister over there for $1600. You could get this particular piece of furniture that would be becoming of any Cabinet minister but obviously this particular Cabinet minister said: No, if the texture is not right, if the colour is not right, if the walls are not right then I am not going to have it. I am going to Carbonear and get a $12,000 piece of furniture for my office. Now that is the fact, Mr. Speaker, that is the fact of the matter. That is what happened. It did not suit the texture.

AN HON. MEMBER: Windsor?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, I don't know if the Member for Mount Pearl was connected in some way or not, I don't know. The interior design advice may have been some way provided.

AN HON. MEMBER: The interior decorating.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, the interior decorating type of information. The consulting that was provided might have been somehow connected, I don't know but I know there was an assessment done of the furniture for a certain Cabinet minister's office and it said for $1500 or so, you could get a class A piece of furniture that would be becoming of any minister. I am sure ministers over here would be quite comfortable in it but this particular minister said: No, I cannot have that piece of furniture because it is not the right colour, not the right texture and it does not have the right - it glares when I look at it.

AN HON. MEMBER: Was that the former Minister of Education?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, no, it was not the former Minister of Education but I think you are on to something. You might be getting close. Now I am sure that there was a minister over there who was probably used to the decorative circles of some legal office maybe at some point in time, a very posh -

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: I understand that if that minister could have collected air miles on the government aircraft, she would be going around the world for the next twenty years. That minister would have been going around the world for the next twenty years, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was she?

MR. DUMARESQUE: He or she, that minister would have been going around the world for twenty years non-stop if she could have -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bill Matthews?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, close. Close, yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Was it the Minister of Agriculture?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, I cannot recall if -

AN HON. MEMBER: Glen Tobin?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, not Glen Tobin.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, he was. Not many people would remember it but he was, yes.

MR. DECKER: He does not understand furniture texture.

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, some people would have been -

AN HON. MEMBER: Pee Wee Herman?

MR. DUMARESQUE: No, it was not Pee Wee Herman but some people would have a very good eye for that -

AN HON. MEMBER: The private interior decorator recommended to that person a certain type of furniture only found in one place and that was in Carbonear.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, that is right. There was a particular piece of interior decorating advice provided to that Cabinet minister that said if you want this particular piece of furniture, as far as we are concerned, there is only one place in this world that you can find it, it is not in China, it is in Carbonear. Obviously, if you have a fine eye you would probably have to go, not to an interior decorator, not to a consultant in fisheries, you would probably have to go to the President of the PC Party. The local President of the PC Party in Carbonear would probably have the only eye in the world for this type of texture, this type of colour, this type of furniture, that would be becoming of my office, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: They would go on tender.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Tender. What's that?


MR. DUMARESQUE: Judicial enquiry. Never heard of it.

You have to remember that there was a certain environment there at the time. You have to remember that around this time they had a big Cabinet meeting when they put out the wine goblets, and they put out the cooler for the wine that would be by the side of the bed, a particular type one that could only be put in the bedroom, apparently. That was how it was described. Then there were the crystal glasses at the time.

Now, you have to remember that there was a big sale on at the time and there were a number of bidders for the wine goblets. They were valued at somewhere around $20.00 a shot, eighteen wine goblets. They had a number of people who put bids in. The Member for Mount Pearl put a bid in, the Member for Grand Bank had a bid put in. Then this fellow said, no, out off the wine goblets. I want the wine goblets - $1.20. Okay, Sir, he said, take them all. What about the cherry wood furniture, the mahogany?

AN HON. MEMBER: Give up on the furniture in Carbonear. Was it a he or a she over there?

MR. DUMARESQUE: I have to confess, I must confess, I have to come clean with the people of this Province and say it was a her.


MR. DUMARESQUE: In 1986, I believe. I am not sure if Mr. Baker - I believe he got into politics in 1985, if I am right, so obviously that lady was not there. I do not know what other ladies come to mind immediately that would have been there, especially somebody who would have that kind of taste and who would say: I have to have a particular type of colour, a particular type of texture, I have to have exactly the same in bold eighteen inch. If you are familiar with the new fonts they have on the computer programs you can get the twelve font or the sixteen font, or the twenty-four font or the thirty-six font. Well, if it would not really have went over the page altogether she would have had a seventy-two font saying I have to have exactly this type of furniture, do not talk to me. Do not come and tell me that you have a $1500 appraisal for a piece of furniture. I have got to have a $10,800 piece of furniture for my office because anything else would not be in keeping with my taste, with my style, with the kind of image and ambiance that I want to create around my office.

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province knew that, the people of this Province suspected that, the people of this Province voted on that and said there will never again be a time when they will be able to sit around that Cabinet table and flick off the wine goblets, or the cherry mahogany, or will they be able to get around that table again and drive the public affairs of this Province to a point of almost no return, Mr. Speaker. They said we are going to put our trust in a Liberal government and a government of real change, in a government that is going to act on the basis of fairness and balance, which is going to say to anybody in this Province that this is how we are going to approach the finances, not on partisan political points but on what is good government, what is going to produce the best results, what is going to be an investment in the future of our young people, what is going to secure our communities in rural Newfoundland.

The same thing obviously happened the fall before last when the crowd in Ottawa got their decorations put in order, too. They had their style put on the line, and obviously the Prime Minister who used to fly over Newfoundland, eat his smoked salmon and drink his French wine on the way to Paris got the flick as well. He got the same kind of treatment, Mr. Speaker, and it was all totally justified.

I cannot conclude without having something to say about the great fisheries critic from Grand Bank who spoke yesterday. You will remember that last January, not this January past, but last January, January '94 -

AN HON. MEMBER: January' 94?

MR. DUMARESQUE: January '94, yes. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa brought in a piece of legislation and said that he was going to take care of the overfishing, the blatant overfishing that was going on on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and that he was going to exercise unilateral action if necessary to take the problem in hand.

The Member for Grand Bank, the great fisheries critic got up: Oh yes, but he is only taking care of a few flags of convenience vessels, and fair enough, we said: okay, be the Chicken Little if you want and we will put up with that bit of criticism. But I got up I think on the very next day and said: now, I hope that you will remember that this did not come to pass because we did take care of those vessels, obviously, but a few short months after that we went out and arrested another vessel, an American vessel, we went out and arrested a Portuguese vessel that was out there fishing, but then the other day he comes in, we get this agreement, an agreement that is recognized worldwide, from one end of this planet to the other, it is recognized.

Brian Tobin, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Prime Minister of Canada have delivered an agreement that has international acclaim, international support and international recognition as a watershed piece of agreement that is going to protect the fish of the world for all generations to come.

But what do we have from the Member for Grand Bank, the great, hon. fisheries critic but to jump up again and say: Oh yes, but this is a great give away, this is a scandal, this is an unbelievable thing, we are not going to get anything out of this. Can you believe that they are putting observers on their own boats? Can you believe that we are even paying for them? Now, what happened today?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Here he is again, he is starting at it again. How many times do you want to have your face purple and red and blue, how many times do you want to be embarrassed, how many times do you want to be struck down, how many times do you want to be stopped by public opinion from everywhere in this Province? You are not going to be able to get any credibility unless you come up and say: This is the greatest deal that ever was, this is the greatest government in Ottawa that has ever been there, and this is the kind of visionary government with which the people have entrusted us because today, we have had the Spanish come out and say: We are going to withdraw our vessels from the Nose and Tail... why, why? For the first time in 500 years the Spanish have recognized that what they were doing was wrong and they said: we are going to withdraw our vessel because an observer on that vessel told us that we were taking fish with a 90 millimetre mesh and the basic one is 120.

Now then, they have recognized that. The Spanish have recognized that and are saying today that this is unconscionable, this is unbelievable, we cannot put up with this. We have to recognize that Canada has set a standard for the world; we have now to recognize that if we are going to operate on the seas as any kind of a credible nation, we have to follow the example of Canada. We have to follow the example of Brian Tobin, Jean Chretién, our own Minister of Fisheries here, Dr. Hulan and our Premier, who have obviously been very involved in these negotiations, helped shaped the kind of agreement that we have on a very, very important basis, Mr. Speaker. So I hope they have been withdrawn, taken back to Spain, the license cleaned up and the company owner has been told never to set foot again on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Bank because you are going to hurt our credibility.

AN HON. MEMBER: What credibility?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, well I mean, obviously that is something the Spanish will have to agree to themselves but the Spanish have now recognized that indeed there is an agreement in place that they have to fear, they have to follow, they have to make sure they are in adherence to it because if they do not, then the wrath of the international world is coming down on all for all the right reasons. They are not going to be allowed into British waters next year if they are going to be continuously being reported to be using undersized mesh and taking immature fish, doing everything that is wrong against conservation, Mr. Speaker.

So I would say to the Member for Grand Bank, the fisheries critic, when he gets up the next time to try and stop putting his partisan political platform before the good common sense that I know he has, because he would get more points with the public, more points with me, more points with the people opposite here. More people over here would give him credit if he were to come out and say that indeed, this is a great agreement and that we are fully in support of it and we are recognizing today that there will never, ever be another discussion on whether this is a good, bad or indifferent agreement, because when you get the Spanish saying that we are going to take our vessel out, not because the Canadians went out and arrested her, not because of the Russians going and saying we are going to have sanctions against them; they are going to do it because they said we have reached an agreement and obviously we have just breached it, and we are not going to allow ourselves to be internationally recognized as the pirates that they have been accustomed to. They have now realized they can no longer control the high seas on the basis of force and bullying. They know now that they cannot exercise their authority on the high seas on the basis of pure economic reasons.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, they cannot do that on the basis of what they have been doing in the past, and therefore there is no way that we will have to worry about the kinds of things that have been done in the past.

I expect there will be action forthcoming on other species. I expect there will be other things. I know that the hon. members over there don't like to hear these things. They don't like to hear about the kind of things they did when they were in government. They don't like to have to recognize that for the first time in our history in Confederation, for the first time in forty-six years, it wasn't lost on me, it wasn't lost on the people of Eagle River, it wasn't lost on the people of Gander, it wasn't lost on the people of Port aux Basques, it wasn't lost on anybody in this Province except the minds of the Opposition, that for the first time since Confederation we delivered a balanced Budget. That is something that has been recognized.

I was in Ontario last week and I spoke to the Rotary Club in Blenheim. I have the front-page story of The Chatham Daily News, a very, very good article. Here is another one from The Blenheim News Tribune, a picture and everything. Obviously they recognize that they need to know what is going on. What the people were saying to me was: We understand that you have some problems down there, but how can you, in light of the problems that you have in the fishery... They said: We know that Newfoundlanders are ingenious people. They know that Newfoundlanders are hard-working people. They know that Newfoundlanders are industrious people, but they said: How could you, as a government, with the problems that you have and the services that you are providing in education, in health care and in social services, in works, services and transportation, how can you provide those essential services and bring in a balanced Budget? Here they have the richest province in Canada, they are projecting something like a $6 billion deficit, even on the current account this year, and they are saying: How can you do it in Newfoundland?

Obviously I would not allow myself to have a partisan shot. I would not even allow myself to even talk about politics, or think about politics, even while I was up there, because I was speaking to a non-partisan crowd, but I did say to them that yes, we had a Premier in Newfoundland and a government in Newfoundland that was committed to having the financial integrity of our Province protected in perpetuity regardless of the political consequences.

That is what I said to the people up there, and obviously they say the people in Newfoundland are very wise people indeed to go and re-elect a Liberal government because of the job you are doing. They know that the days of the blown mind are gone. They know that the days of the man who said this (inaudible) six days. They know that the days of changing wallpaper three times are gone. They know that the days of stacking the executive - oh, here he is, old emperor severance himself.

They know that the days of leaving the eighth floor with $125,000 cash in your back pocket are over. This is not going to happen anymore. They know that the days of having a Cabinet minister look around and saying: He had me (inaudible); I don't think the texture is right and I am not going to buy it. They know that is not going to be there anymore. They will never return to office in this Province again a Cabinet minister who doesn't think the colour is right, the glare is too bad; I am not going to be able to sign my name properly; I am not going to be not going to be able to have the kind of glare in my eye that I would be accustomed to.

I mean, these things are not going to be done anymore. The time of the paper clip being on the wrong side of the letter is gone. I mean, you can't come back anymore and refuse to sign a letter because the paper clip is on the other side of the line. That is the kind of thing that cannot be allowed to be done. You can't do it. You cannot put the government of this Province, the future of our children, the future of our communities, the financial integrity of our Province, you can't put it back in the hands of people who are preoccupied with that kind of thing. No, Mr. Speaker, I will not do it.

I know the Minister of Education and Training will not bring back the school tax. He will not bring it back. In spite of them over there who want the school tax back, they are not getting it back. No, they are not getting it back. We cannot sit here and say: Yes, you can have it back. No, we can't do that. We have to restore integrity in our government, we have to restore confidence in our Administration and in our public officials.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) reform, `Danny'?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, we are going to have education reform for all the right reasons, Mr. Speaker. We know that there have been times over there when the present Leader of the Opposition, to give her some credit, wanted to do something about reforming education. To give her some credit, I think she was on the right track. But, I mean, there were some - the poor old Member for Waterford - Kenmount hasn't shown up. I don't know if he is waiting for the 36 point bold print to come to say exactly what the policy is now on education or not. Because before, one night he was for it, the next day he was against it. So you know, I guess he is taking a bit harder time to get his act together. He hasn't got the party strategy work to do now that he had to do before. I guess there is some reason for that.

No doubt there are other members over there who are finding it very difficult. The Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, if he goes any further, he is going to be out by the bird sanctuary. If the Member for Humber East could do it that is where his seat would be, right out there today - no doubt about that.

I know that the Member for Grand Bank, if I could say so myself, when he looks now to his immediate left, I would say he looks - sometimes I wonder if he doesn't see a dog, as I've probably been accused of over here, he probably looks opposite and sees something that he wouldn't mind - I don't know. Maybe literally he wouldn't want to do that, I'm sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do what?

MR. DUMARESQUE: They've been accusing me, as you know, of having certain feelings towards a dog. They said I would wring his neck or something if I -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes. They've been making accusations against me on that, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, I would say now what I would have done if I ever thought it, to that poor little animal is only a joke, is only an iota of what he would like to do to the Leader of the Opposition presently. There is no doubt.

AN HON. MEMBER: He tried to do it!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Oh yes, he tried very hard. The old red phones were going. Four more buckets for the Green Bay people, they are swaying to the other side. Ten buckets for the people from Port aux Basques, they are going to the other side. Oh yes, Mr. Sullivan, we are in trouble, I think we are behind. I think we are going to have to pour on the old Kentucky and Mary Brown's there now. That was the main advice. Obviously, it didn't work. The Member for Humber East, to her credit, got to the party strategists and certainly switched gears. Obviously, submarines were much more palatable. They won the day. I'm sure Mr. Sub is advertising that a lot these days.

The point of it all is that as we sit here today and debate this Budget, as we sit here today and acknowledge what has gone on, six consecutive years where we have seen the deficit of this Province on current and capital account come steadily down. We have seen the funding for education and health care maintained and/or not increased year after year. We have seen financial integrity restored to this Province like it was not before the last twenty years. I think that if anybody in this hon. House were to not stand on their feet and to absolutely give the commendation to this particular Minister of Finance and Treasury Board that he deserves, to get up and acknowledge that this is a miraculous feat, to be able to bring in a budget this year that is balanced not only on current account but fully balanced, and be able to keep and maintain those services, is absolutely a wonder, a miracle indeed.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on for much longer. There are many other things that are associated with the other members opposite that I know the people of this Province are looking forward to hear. They want to know the kind of style that the present Leader of the Opposition has been accustomed to. They want to know the kind of taste that she would demand. They want to know the kind of extremes that she would go to, to be able to see what extremes she would go to see that her particular taste and her particular ambience would be protected inside of the Cabinet door. Those are the kinds of things we will have to continue to let the people know.

There are many other things, just to even hear the Member for Green Bay say something gives me five more things just then. I could go on for another half-an-hour. There are many things about the ethics of Cabinet solidarity; there are many things about the tendering process; there are many things about how contracts were awarded.

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: I would submit that the Leader of the Opposition is going to be making a rod for her own back very shortly, that she is going to have to be accustomed to answering for the tendering process that she was a part of, and that she stamped very clearly and didn't care where the benefits accrued.

On a final note, I would now pass it over to whichever hon. member over there would like to get up and extol the virtues of this particular -


MR. DUMARESQUE: By leave? Any leave?


MR. DUMARESQUE: No leave? No, I didn't think so.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

For some reason, I always seem to follow the Member for Eagle River.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, you know, that may be, I say to the Government House Leader, but I only have a few minutes so -

MR. ROBERTS: We don't want to be here tonight.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: You just might be here tonight, I say to the Government House Leader. You keep pushing your luck now and speak when I am supposed to be speaking and perhaps we just might be here tonight. You can see how nasty the Member for Eagle River has made me today.

When he talked about the furniture, I said: `Danny' can't be talking about his Brian like that. He can't be talking about all this lavish furniture. He can't be talking about his hero like that, his hero Brian Tobin, about all he spent on furniture. I couldn't put it together first; I really couldn't. I didn't believe that. Then, to hear him talk about integrity in the tendering process, I mean, can you believe that any one of them over there would have the gall to stand in their places and talk about integrity when it comes to tendering, after the scandal that is before the people of this Province today in spades - the scandal. It was one thing to give the contracts the way they were given, but to get a decision of Cabinet, to get a decision from your Cabinet colleagues by withholding very important information from them, I say to the Member for Eagle River, is going to be the downfall of this government. It is not the fact of giving the contract to Tom Hickman, Bill Case and Joe Butler that is going to be the problem. The problem with this government is going to be, why wasn't the Cabinet given the pertinent information to make a very valid decision? That is what the problem is.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) weighed in the balance - your days are numbered.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Your days are numbered, I agree. I agree the whole government's days are numbered, very much numbered, I say to the minister.

MR. ROBERTS: `Neil Windsor' (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I hope he is, he would do a good job. I have no problem with the Member for Mount Pearl, he would do an excellent job, as all members on this side are capable of doing good jobs. We don't have the problem that the Liberal caucus has. There is no one over there who is capable of doing a good job, that is their problem. There are five or six over there who think they are capable of doing a good job and that is why they have the knives out now for the Premier. Five or six of them have the knives already sharpened for the Premier.

MR. DECKER: Is it true you threatened to resign if you didn't (inaudible)?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, that is not correct. The Minister of Education is not going to deflect the attention away from what is happening over there now by trying to turn the tables on me. We have the Minister of Health now who has the knife sharpened and the campaign rolling; the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is geared up; the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has it on the rails; the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation has his campaign in gear; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology almost has his mind made up not to but there is some lobbying going on with him. So I want to say to the Member for Eagle River before I adjourn for the day, oh, how I wait for this time next year when it has all unfolded over there, when they have all carved one another up and the blood is flowing over the floors. What a fight it is going to be! How a few buckets of chicken, how a few chicken boxes in Fogo - how insignificant it is going to be! How insignificant it is going to be, I say to members opposite. I can't wait for it to unfold. It is going to be priceless, the war, the battle, the blood, the bitterness and the damage - not that there needs to be any more damage done to the Liberal Party. There doesn't need to be any more damage done, because one, Clyde K. Wells has done all the damage that is necessary.

MR. DECKER: Do you support your leader?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Of course, I always support my leader. I am not going to ask the Minister of Education that because I know he was at the turr supper when they did away with a leader over there, a big turr supper. I am not going to ask him that.

MS. VERGE: He was a member of the gang of four.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, how I remember asking the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation if there was soon going to be another turr supper and he said, `No, the prize is bigger this time, we are going to have geese.' So that told me everything about what is shaping up over there. They are having geese because they are after the big prize this time.

I have a few notes made that I will talk about next day, Mr. Speaker. With that I adjourn debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, tomorrow will be Private Members' Day and the motion that stands in the name of my friend, the Member for St. John's Centre is the one that will be debated here. We are under the new rules so it will be put to a vote tomorrow afternoon.

MR. SULLIVAN: We are going to see the Cabinet paper.

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, that is the closest he will ever likely get to seeing a Cabinet paper, so he should treasure it.

Your Honour, I will speak with my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and we will either continue on with the Budget or perhaps try to deal with some legislation. I would like to ask the House to deal with the advanced Health Care bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, a pleasure deferred is a pleasure heightened, I say to my hon. friend. I say that to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, too, in a different context.

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

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