May 17, 1995               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 26

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly eleven ABE Skills for Success students, accompanied by their instructor, Donna Adams.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

For the second day in a row I have questions about forest management. I will put them to the government and hope that some member of the government will have some answers today. The forestry accounts for a very important part of our provincial economy. Thousands of Newfoundlanders depend for their livelihood on forest industries and the provincial government has exclusive jurisdiction over forest resources. I would like to ask the government, either the acting Premier, the acting minister or somebody else over there who acts, what is the government reaction to the statements of people knowledgeable about the forest that the rate of cutting and natural loss has been exceeding the rate of regrowth? What does the government say to those who claim the Newfoundland forest are in trouble?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I briefed the Minister of Natural Resources that these questions came up yesterday. I thought he would be here for Question Period. He should be here momentarily.

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

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, this is a shocking display by an incompetent government. I am asking about forestry which is one of the main responsibilities of this government and for the second day in a row nobody sitting on the government benches has been able to answer a simple basic question about the state of the Province's forests. Now, Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology assuring me that the Minister of Natural Resources will make an appearance here today?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the forest industry. There are a lot of people who make their livelihood from it, from the paper mills to people who work in the lumberyards, right across the Province. That is why we have sustained the programs through Enterprise Newfoundland for the small sawmillers program which has been very successful. I have briefed the Minister of Natural Resources this morning. Maybe he has a luncheon speech, which somebody just mentioned to me, but he is suppose to be here this afternoon, and if he is here, by leave, we will let him answer your questions.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's fair enough.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Yesterday in the House he indicated that he met with the federal Transport Minister, Doug Young, regarding and with relation to the Newfoundland Dockyard. Can he be more specific on what his meeting was about, and is the federal government committed to the Newfoundland Dockyard and its future survival?

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

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

Let me say to the hon. member that I said yesterday I talked to Mr. Young on two occasions about the Newfoundland Dockyard and my concerns that have been ongoing for some six years about the state of the yard and the uncertainty the workers have faced over those years. Mr. Young assured me that Mr. Morrison, initially, who is the CEO and the President of Marine Atlantic who are responsible for the yard, will be available as soon as possible. Now, as I told the member yesterday Mr. Morrison had gone to Europe.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is he going to stay over there?

MR. MURPHY: No, he is not going to stay over there. As a matter of fact we have arranged and confirmed a meeting with Mr. Morrision. It is just a matter of which day it will be. We are going to get him over initially, but if we do not get a response that suits this government, suits this member, suits the Minister of ITT, and suits the Premier then we will ask to see Mr. Young.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride on a supplementary.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it was suggested a second ago that maybe Mr. Morrison should stay in Europe because he is not committed to the Newfoundland Dockyard, I can tell you that, and the reality of the situation is that Mr. Morrison is a public servant of the federal Liberal government. The reality is this, Doug Young the Minister of Transport, the federal minister, in their own policy decisions, has he or has his department given Marine Atlantic the mandate to dismantle the yard? That is the question. Whether Mr. Morrision shows up here or not, Mr. Speaker, is irrelevant.

Can the minister say that he asked Mr. Young, the federal minister: is the survival of the Newfoundland Dockyard a priority for the Federal Liberal Government? Did he ask him that and if he did, what was his response?

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

MR. MURPHY: I think the member fully knows and should know that initially, in order for this government to address with Minister Young the issues, we have to have that meeting with Mr. Morrison. When that date is confirmed, then if we are not satisfied as I told the member, yes, we would request to discuss the issues with Mr. Young, but in all fairness, we have to sit with Mr. Morrison and hear what he is telling us, to take that message and bring it to Mr. Young and say that we are concerned. Maybe, Mr. Morrison and I say maybe, because I have some of the same feelings that the hon. member has about Mr. Morrison's concern with the yard, but in all fairness we have to go through that procedure. I think the member understands that, I think the workers understand that and the time will come very soon when we will sit with whomever and get a resolution to the yard problem

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

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

In response to the first question, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations indicated that if they were not satisfied with the response, if he as the minister was not satisfied, if the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology was not satisfied with Mr. Morrison's response and if the Premier is not satisfied, then they would see Mr. Young, so let me ask the minister this: Is the closure of the Newfoundland Dockyard something that will satisfy your government or will you, as a provincial minister and part of the provincial Cabinet, stand up and say that the survival of the dockyard and the closure is not a possibility and is not a consideration that this government will accept?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before the hon. minister answers the question, I would like to point out for those in the public gallery that neither applause or booing or some level of feeling about what is said on the floor is permissible and if it occurs again, we will have to eject you.

The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me say to the hon. member, let me say to all hon. members, let me say to those in the galleries and let me say to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador: this government is not supporting the closure of the Newfoundland Dockyard. Now let me also say to the member that I have had ongoing negotiations with the former government, with the former minister in the Mulroney government and we still never came up with a solution for the dockyard. He never met with this government nor did the Minister of Transportation of the Mulroney government meet with this government. This government is committed to keeping the dockyard open, let me assure the member of that, let me assure everybody that we will do everything in our power to make that a reality.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Minister of Natural Resources, now the minister of forestry since the Wells Government did away with our Department of Forestry. I would like the minister's reaction to the feelings of many Newfoundlanders that the Province hasn't done enough to protect our forests and ensure adequate regrowth. Will the minister comment on the growing concerns of Newfoundlanders about the state of our forests?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we are well aware of the situation with the forestry. We are doing everything that is necessary and appropriate. We are maintaining the funding for forestry. With the federal-provincial agreement ending, we put $10 million into it provincially so that we will continue to do what we need to do. We are going to do it. We are going to do what we need to do and have to do, because forestry is a provincial resource and forestry is forever, regardless of the comments from the other side.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary - it's for the Minister of Natural Resources. I say to the minister that is no assurance, that is no comfort. Will the minister admit that much of what the Province has done - and many claim that has been inadequate - but much of what the Province has done in the way of planting and thinning has been paid for by the Federal Government through federal-provincial cost-sharing agreements? Will the minister confirm that the Federal Government is making a bad forest management situation much worse by discontinuing cost-sharing? Will the minister explain why he and the Premier and the whole government have been silent in the face of these federal cuts?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the ending of federal-provincial forestry agreements, which was not just with Newfoundland but with the other provinces from coast to coast, this was a decision made by the former Tory government in Ottawa two years ago and I, as a minister, was against it then. I worked with the new Federal Government and tried to get them to change their mind. They stuck by the former decision made by Minister Mazankowski two years ago. Unfortunately, the decision is firm. In view of the decision that was made, we, as a Province, said we will do what we have to do with this as a provincial resource and we put the $10 million in ourselves to do it.

As to what we are doing relative to wood thinning and planting, this year I expect to plant tree number 100 million in the very near future - 100 million trees planted in Newfoundland and Labrador. Every year now we are planting about 10 million trees. We are going to plant a significant number again this year. We have many silviculture projects on for thinning in various parts of the Province, done through our provincial Budget. The Minister of Social Services has given me another extra million dollars for people who are her clients. We can put them to work as well doing similar silviculture projects in this Province.

We are putting the money into forest management, and we will continue to do so.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the Minister of Natural Resources that whatever work he did to maintain federal funding was invisible and silent. The Chrétien government reversed other unpopular decisions because of public pressure, and it is strange that there was no visible pressure applied by the Government of Newfoundland to maintain federal funding for forest management in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister about the Chrétien government's decision to close the Canadian Forest Services Centre in Newfoundland, centered at Pleasantville, with field stations in other parts of Newfoundland, and the decision to shift the Newfoundland centre to Fredericton, New Brunswick, with a loss of 200 full-time and temporary jobs and, worse, the loss of the scientific expertise and research capacities specific to Newfoundland forests.

If the tables were turned, doesn't the minister think that the New Brunswick government would be fighting for New Brunswick jobs and New Brunswick forest protection? Why isn't this minister and this government fighting to save Newfoundland jobs and the Newfoundland forests?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

DR. GIBBONS: I would say the hon. member should try to get her information from somewhere other than the union that is representing the CFS.

We, Mr. Speaker, are continuing to work on that particular subject. I have had meetings with the federal minister on that subject. I have had discussions with the federal minister who represents Newfoundland on that subject, and the Minister of Finance and I are scheduled to have a meeting on it in the near future in Ottawa. So we are working on that subject. We want to maintain an appropriate scientific base here, a base from Ottawa. We want to do that, and we are working on it.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A supplementary to the Minister of Natural Resources.

What does the minister consider to be an appropriate federal government forestry scientific base in Newfoundland and just what is he saying to the federal ministers in these private meetings?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I am not about to say that today. I will deal with that in the private meetings with the federal minister.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture.

Yesterday there were some high level discussions between processors, the union and government pertaining to some potential problems in the crab fishing industry. I wonder if the minister could inform the House what the problems discussed were and if they have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I can confirm that discussions took place yesterday between representatives of the union, fishermen and processors concerning the issue of crab, crab harvesting and production this year. Later on this week I will be prepared to make a public announcement on the outcome of these discussions.

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

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

I understand that there has been a request put to government for an exemption to export out of Province part or whole crab, unprocessed, not in the form of crab meat. Is government seriously considering granting that exemption? I understand it has happened in other years and there seems to be some very serious implications for the industry of around $100 million on the line here if this exemption is not granted. Can the minister confirm that that is a fact and that government is seriously considering granting the exemption now?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At this point in time I will just simply say that the concerns raised by the industry were discussed yesterday and a decision will be made that is best for the entire crab processing and harvesting sector for the Province.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Another supplementary, Mr. Speaker, tied to a question I asked the minister yesterday about the processing sector reduction given to the industry renewal boards now.

I asked the minister yesterday who is going to represent the interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on that reduction board?. Can the minister inform the House whether or not the Province has made any appointments to that board and if so, who are they? If he cannot give the names would he tell the House how many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be represented on the processing sector reduction board?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The chairman of the board is a Newfoundlander and the three representatives on the board are from this great Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, all of whom are either active in the industry or directly associated with the fishing industry.

MS. VERGE: Who are they?

DR. HULAN: I will tell you that the chair of the board is Mr. Cashin, Mr. Broderick is on the board and a representative from Mr. Tobin's office is on the board as well.

MS. VERGE: Who are the provincial government appointees?

DR. HULAN: The provincial government appointee, I think has already been made public and if it has not then I will table that information tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, does this part-time Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture know anything, I ask him? Does he know anything? Can he give an answer on any question that is asked in this House?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Every time I ask him a question he has to go off and call his deputy minister or some other official who will provide him with a briefing note that he will bring back a day or a week after or he will ask the Member for Eagle River or the Member for Fogo and get the answer. I ask him, Mr. Speaker, will he please get more informed about the very important fishing industry so that he can stand in his place and give us some answers in this House?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The question.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Now I asked the minister yesterday, Mr. Speaker, a final supplementary. Would the people in the communities who are going to be affected by the processing sector reduction, who are going to have their fish plants in a lot of cases, closed, their communities are going to shut down. Can the minister inform the House whether or not the people in the various communities around this Province, who now have fish plants, will be provided an opportunity to appear before the industry renewal boards to make a case for their fish plant staying in the system for their communities being allowed to survive in rural Newfoundland. Can the minister answer that for us?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I notice the hon. member did not say that I went to him for advice. I guess the Province knows why. After seventeen years of advice and direction from the Tories and himself included we inherited a debt that our children and our grandchildren will be paying on for generations to come. I'm appalled that they have the audacity to ask some of the questions that directly relate to the mismanagement of this Province by the Tories who were in power for unfortunately seventeen years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the question.

DR. HULAN: Mr. Speaker, I have already answered the question publicly and I have answered the question here in this House. The realignment of the processing sector will be done in full consultation with those who will be most directly affected.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My District of Green Bay has a considerable industry involved in mineral exploration. I would like to ask the Minister of Natural Resources, has there been a change in the nature of mineral claim staking on the Island of Newfoundland?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, yes. A couple of weeks ago - I can't remember the exact day now - we published a notice in the Gazette stating that we would be switching to map staking on the Island as we now do in Labrador so that all of the Province, every square inch of it, will be subject to the same regulations so that there would be fairness for all.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When we have people involved in the outfitting industry who take Americans or whoever into the bush to fish salmon or hunt moose we require that they avail of the services of local guides, et cetera. I have a small industry in my district that makes its living from staking claims physically on the ground. Is the minister aware that this particular policy change, this conforming Labrador with the Island in terms of how claims are staked, could cost my district up to fifty jobs in this particular year?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, last year in the Province as a whole we had approximately 5,000 mineral claims staked. That would mean about 5,000 mineral claims getting explored, about 5,000 mineral claims getting line cutting on them for various exploration activities relating thereto other than just putting boundaries around the claims. This year, as of yesterday, we have 145,000 mineral claims staked in the Province in Labrador alone plus another 5,000 I guess on the Island. I'm not sure of the exact number. In round figures we probably have 150,000 claims outstanding that will be explored this coming year.

The people who in the past would spend their time cutting boundaries around 5,000 claims can now I think avail of a lot of work opportunities to do exploration on the claims that are already mapped for the next year and get out in other types of exploration activity. Put the work into exploring for minerals, not in putting boundaries around claimed blocks.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, there are obviously various categories of work in mineral exploration. What the minister is saying, because of the Voisey Bay situation and a bonanza situation in Labrador, somehow the situation on the Labrador peninsula has got to be equated with the situation in the Province where the bonanza situation is not altogether the case. So the minister is saying that these jobs are expendable. Is that what he is saying?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Quite the opposite, Mr. Speaker. I'm saying that there will be many more job opportunities available for this year for people who are interested and involved and experienced in mineral exploration type activities. People are going to be looking for them. Our estimate to date is that there will probably be 1,500 to 2,000 jobs this summer carrying out exploration on claims that have been staked, and that is going to require people who cut lines and do such related activities.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my questions are directed to the Minister of Education and Training.

The Royal Commission identifies, in chapter 15, a number of barriers to educational achievement. Disruptive student behaviour seriously comprises the learning environment for all students, including the student or students causing the disruption. What initiatives have the department taken to ensure that disruptive behaviour in classrooms is kept to an absolute minimum?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. gentleman for his question.

Two initiatives immediately spring to mind. One is the initiative which was put in place by the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador when we put a joint committee in place with representatives from Education, Health and Social Services, as well as from NLTA. They have prepared a document called `The Classroom Issues Report', which makes a significant number of recommendations as to what we should do to deal with the problems with disruptive children. Government has accepted the whole report in principle. We have a process in place to start implementing some of the recommendations.

The other initiative which government has taken is in co-operation with the school boards in the St. John's region, again in co-operation with the Department of Justice. There is a Judge Hyslop who is playing a tremendous role in this initiative, and representatives from the various departments of government, to deal specifically with the problem. One of the problems is where a child goes before the courts and in his sentence has to attend school. The teachers have been saying: We don't know what this person has done; we don't know how to deal with this person. This committee has found a way, with the co-operation of Judge Hyslop, to deal specifically with it, to tell teachers what they can do.

These are at least two initiatives. Another initiative which is related not in the fact of discipline as much as the special needs children, the Royal Commission recommended that we should do further study on the requirements of the special needs children. As the hon. member may or may not know, about three or four months ago we had a task force in place which is pursuing that recommendation of the Royal Commission, so we recognize the problem. I believe we have finally taken the bull by the horns and we are coming to grips with the issue, and we are making good success. I thank the hon. member for giving me an opportunity to say that.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, recommendation 142 of the Royal Commission report says that schools be empowered to refuse access to students who regularly disrupt the learning environment. Other provinces, for example Manitoba, have recently adopted zero tolerance to persistent disruptive behaviour and have empowered teachers to suspend students, and have deemed parents to be totally and completely responsible for the care of such students during such periods of suspension.

Will the minister be implementing recommendation 142, and will he empower teachers to suspend disruptive students in the classrooms of Newfoundland and Labrador?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, you have to weigh the rights of the majority as well as the rights of the individual. Now, if I am a parent who has a child in a school and my child's education is being disrupted by an unruly student, my first reaction is to kick out the unruly student; however, if I am the parent of that discipline problem I am responsible for that person as well, so we have to look at both sides of it.

The Royal Commission talked about alternate schooling. There is a very small minority of our children who have a discipline problem, and it seems like in many, many cases the schools have a very difficult time dealing with them, and the other children's education is being disrupted by that, so are trying to weigh - and society ever has to do that - the rights of the minority against the rights of the majority.

We have not gone far enough yet to suggest that the principal or the teacher can expel the student indefinitely. As the hon. member will know, there is already a process in place where students can be expelled for one, two or three days, but total expulsion has to receive the approval of myself, or whoever the minister of the day happens to be. We are wrestling with that. I do not think we will get into permanent expulsion until we have an alternate system in place, but we are looking at the concept of the alternate school to deal with the discipline problem. We have a duty as a society to the majority of students, but we also, as a society, have a responsibility to the child who has a discipline problem, and there are many factors which makes a child a discipline problem.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister referred to alternate classroom settings which of course is recommendation 143 of the Royal Commission Report. I wanted to ask the minister if he could be more precise as to when the ministry will be ready to establish some parameters for that kind of classroom setting and if there will be pilot projects initiated and where will they be established in the Province, and under what school boards?

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

MR. DECKER: The hon. member has gone a little bit further than I have but yet, Mr. Speaker, he is quite right, that the concept of the alternate school was recommended.

Now, as I said in the early answer to his question: the Classroom Issues Report which the NLTA and the Province did, made some excellent suggestions which might make it possible for us not to have to go with alternate schools. The last thing we want to do as a government, Mr. Speaker, is to pluck children out of the classroom and put them into an alternate setting and would only do that as a last resort. One of the problems we are finding, and the Classroom Issues Report pointed it out, is that, there is a lot of co-ordination between Social Services and Education and Justice.

For example: there are many teachers in this Province who thought that because of the Young Offenders Act, the teacher had no right to know what a particular student had done before that student came into the classroom as a result of a court case. Judge Hyslop points out that the Young Offenders Act does not say that, but certain people whose business it is to know should know, and there have been several cases in this very city where some children have been ordered back to school and because of this process which is put in place on the Avalon there has been remarkable success, Mr. Speaker, so the recommendation is, alternate schooling yes, but that will be dealt with only as a last resort.

We are not talking about something similar to Whitbourne, we are not talking about some sort of a prison, Mr. Speaker, we are simply talking about addressing the needs of all of our citizens and some of our children, for whatever reason, have severe discipline problems and I don't believe there is such a thing as `a bad child'; I believe there is something which causes these discipline problems. I would like to be able to get at the cause and solve it that way but as a last resort, if we have to do it and can't do it any other way, then I suppose in desperation, I will have to ask my colleagues to consider recommendation 143 which is alternate schooling.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.


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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to present a petition signed by forty people, most of them from my District of Green Bay, from Springdale, one from Gander, some from Grand Falls - Windsor, Robert's Arm, South Brook, Port Anson, Miles Cove et cetera, and the prayer of the petition is as follows, Mr. Speaker, petition to the House of Assembly:

We the undersigned, petition the hon. House of Assembly not to approve changing claim staking from ground staking to map staking.

Mr. Speaker, this is a matter that I raised with the minister concerned, in Question Period a few moments earlier. The government in its rush to be consistent between its operations on the Labrador Peninsula and on the Island of Newfoundland, has brought about a policy change that is going to cost, in a slack year, my district in the order of fifty jobs.

I met with a number of concerned individuals on this subject the weekend past, and in the short space of an hour they managed to put together a petition with these forty names, most of whom are directly concerned with the claim-staking industry, as an avenue for me to bring their concerns before this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, there is a great rush on in Labrador, as the minister indicated. I think there was something in the order of 140,000-plus claims being staked in that area; obviously, when you get into a situation of that size and magnitude, a frenzied situation is the only way to describe it and individual staking of claims on the ground is not at all practical. The situation on the Island of Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker, is somewhat more sedate and there is no need to rush into a massive map-staking situation when there are literally dozens of Newfoundlanders not only in my district but in several other areas of the Province, who make their living working in the bush during the Spring and summer months staking claims for various mineral exploration companies.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that this particular government has gotten onto with regard to map staking, especially in Labrador, is they recently upped the fees for staking claims and they are getting tens of thousands of claims staked in any given week, so it has become a cash cow, and one has to wonder if a similar motivation didn't apply to their changing the claim staking provisions around the Island. However, with the number of claims being staked on the Island of Newfoundland, compared to Labrador, they would not be raking in any great amount of cash and I would suggest that they would haul in much more cash from the income tax provided by people actually working in the bush staking claims.

Mr. Speaker, as far as I have been told by people in my district who are affected by this, there was no consultation. They happened to see a notice in The Newfoundland Gazette of a change in policy, one that will practically wipe out a number of companies in Central Newfoundland and literally put dozens of people out of work. Mr. Speaker, this isn't good enough and it is another example of this government catering to interests from the mainland who like to call up a friend here in St. John's and have him walk down to a government office and file a claim by marking an X on a map. Mr. Speaker, that is simply not good enough. We have to cater to the mineral exploration industry, yes, but not only the big shots from upalong who have an interest in running amuck all over the Labrador Peninsula, we also have to take into account the people who earn their livelihoods on the Island of Newfoundland in this industry as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

MR. SPEAKER: It is Private Members' Day and I understand that motion 5 will be debated.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

On Monday afternoon I rose in this House to introduce a private members' resolution. I will read it again for the record of Hansard:

`WHEREAS the Newfoundland Dockyard has been operating in Newfoundland and employing Newfoundlanders for most of the century; and

WHEREAS the Dockyard has proven its ability to make a significant contribution to the Newfoundland economy, most recently having employed more than 700 people in 1994; and

WHEREAS the Dockyard, being situated in Newfoundland, is strategically placed in the Northwest Atlantic to take advantage of shipping and other marine traffic routes; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a direct interest in the Dockyard through its $8 to $10 million investment in the snychrolift; and

WHEREAS recent decisions by Marine Atlantic in managing the facility have raised serious concerns about the Crown corporation's plans for the future of the operation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador strongly urge the Government of Canada to intervene promptly in the management of the Newfoundland Dockyard, to revitalize the operation, safeguard the jobs it provides, by among other things, Mr. Speaker, permitting the Newfoundland Dockyard to bid on projects all across Canada, and internationally.'

Now, the question that we have to answer today - and as elected representatives, it is one we must answer. It is not good enough to pass the buck to the Federal Government and say it is their responsibility, because ultimately, it is ours as provincial members of the House of Assembly.

Now, this is a very, very serious issue and one that deserves full attention by all members in this House in a non-partisan, non-biased way. What we are talking about here at one level, the most important level, is the maintenance of several hundred jobs, directly, several hundred families, directly, and 300 to 400 other jobs in this neck of the woods, or in this region of the Province, indirectly. Now, if it was not in question, or if there was not a concern, or if there was not a problem, there would be no need to present such a resolution, Mr. Speaker. There would be no need to debate it. There would be no need for people who work in the Dockyard, who have worked there for years and years to be here, there would be no need for anybody to be concerned about what the future holds for them.

The question is, why are we here? What has brought us to this point? The reality is this, and it is simple from where I stand. There is a private agenda by Marine Atlantic to dismantle the Newfoundland Dockyard. I do not say that without having put some thought into it, without having gathered the evidence that demonstrates clearly what I am saying is a fact. What is more important and what is scary about that is that it is not an agenda that is being debated publicly, until recently, it is not an agenda that the federal Minister of Transport put forward so that he would let people know upfront but it is one that has been motivated for the past several years, year by year, bit by bit, month by month and so on. We have seen lack of capital investment in the Dockyard and more and more the statements made by the new CEO certainly indicate that what I have said here is true.

In a recent interview with CBC Radio, Mr. Morrison was asked, `Is there a likelihood that the Newfoundland Dockyard will be dismantled?' His response was unequivocal, `It is a distinct possibility.' They asked him, `What has led to this situation?' He indicated, `Well there is not much shipbuilding repair work going on nationally, in Atlantic Canada, in Europe or internationally.' Misleading statements, Mr. Speaker, very misleading statements and I am not about to stand up and take strips off people in the House today because I know there are members on both sides who are extremely concerned about the future viability and the survival of that yard, and they should be, but let me get back to Mr. Morrison.

In the last two to three years the Newfoundland Dockyard has positioned itself to bid on work internationally, most recently, a lucrative contract in Peru. It was stopped. Orders came down from the ivory tower in New Brunswick, Marine Atlantic's head office, to stop the bidding process that we were positioned to win. We, as a Province, and we, as the Newfoundland Dockyard, employing Newfoundlanders, was positioned to win. Why? that is the question. Why was it stopped? In the interview he said, `The Newfoundland Dockyard cannot bid on work in Quebec or in Ontario.' Why is that so? Why does Marine Atlantic, who has the ultimate responsibility for the operation of the Newfoundland Dockyard, say to a subsidiary company that you cannot bid on work internationally or in other parts of Canada? Is that not suspect? Does it not deserve more attention? Does it not deserve the raising of some serious questions about what Marine Atlantic's agenda is? It further supports my claim that Marine Atlantic - it is their agenda driven by the political masters in Ottawa, not by Mr. Morrison. He is a top level bureaucrat, yes. He is a problem, yes, but he is not the ultimate problem.

The ultimate problem lies at the federal Cabinet table, the ultimate problem lies with the political masters, that is where the problem lies. If there is a solution, that is where the problem will be solved. It is not Mr. Morrison who will solve the problem, he is a task master. He is given the agenda, he carries it out on behalf of the government; but the agenda he has been given is not to make the Newfoundland Dockyard viable, it is not to make Newfoundland position it so that it can aggressively go after work in Europe and elsewhere. He has not been given an agenda by the Federal Government to take advantage of the 33,000 to 50,000 vessels that pass 50-60 miles off our coast, outside the Narrows of this city, that is not the agenda that he has been given. So it deserves more attention then we, all of us, have been giving it.

Now, we are at the eleventh hour, supposedly, but I think not. I have a great deal of optimism about the future of the Newfoundland Dockyard. I think it has positioned well, outside of all other normal regular activity of work that is going on in the shipbuilding industry in fabrication. The Hibernia project alone, which I will get into in more detail, that alone and the spin-offs from that over the next fifteen to twenty years could see the Dockyard survive, on that work alone and it doesn't need to get all of it. It needs to get a portion of it. It doesn't need to be greedy.

I will get into more detail about the Federal Government's response but first I would like to point out that the federal minister, Doug Young, indicated in the federal House that the Newfoundland Dockyard lost $3 million last year and it is part of the government's agenda to privatize, possibly. But it is a situation that can't continue.

Mr. Young neglected to tell the people of Canada and his associates and colleagues in the federal House that last year there was a $25 million payroll at the Newfoundland Dockyard. He neglected to tell the people of Canada and his colleagues in the House that $8 million to $10 million from that payroll went into Federal Government coffers in personal income tax. Why did he neglect to do it? That is the question that must be asked.

Again, another question must be asked: Did it really lose money? Did it really lose money last year? All we have heard is that Doug Young, the federal minister, has said that the Newfoundland Dockyard has lost money. But on no occasion has the Federal Government or the Dockyard or Marine Atlantic produced the solid evidence to demonstrate clearly that the Newfoundland Dockyard in fact lost $3 million, or if it lost $1 million, or if it lost a dollar or $100 million. The questions have been asked but they have never been answered.

The reality is different. This is a game of political smoke and mirrors by the Federal Government. You throw up a concern to get at what you are really after through the back door. It is not right, it is unethical. The reality -

MR. HARRIS: How much (inaudible) the yard?

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me?

MR. HARRIS: How much (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: That is another question that deserves to be answered. The reality is this, that Newfoundland Dockyard last year represented 30 per cent of the revenues of Marine Atlantic and 3 per cent of its losses. That doesn't sound like a losing proposition to me, doesn't sound like a losing proposition to the 150 or so people from my district who work at the Newfoundland Dockyard.

What about the spin-off impact? which again I will get into more detail about, but it is important to highlight up front. One employer in this city, if the Newfoundland Dockyard closes tomorrow, within a week will lay off fourteen people indirectly associated with the work that that employer has done consecutively, year-by-year, with the Newfoundland Dockyard. That is a fact. The Dockyard itself entered into agreements, bought and purchased services, from over 300 companies in this Province last year. Over 300 companies, local business. The money that has been brought in through its contracts is not old money circulating from one hand in this Province and another hand, it is a new money. It creates new wealth, it creates new opportunities, it creates new jobs.

Much has been said about the workforce at the Newfoundland Dockyard. Some people within municipal politics have indicated that productivity is low, it is not high, it is a problem. Again, the reality is quite different. The tradespeople employed at the Newfoundland Dockyard are amongst the most highly-technical, highly-skilled, the most ingenious, especially with the equipment that they have to work with, in this country. It is a testament to the Newfoundland mind and to the Newfoundland work ethic, the Newfoundland Dockyard, and the people who work down there. We should be proud of that.

What about Atlantic Canada? What else is happening in the shipyard industry in Canada? Saint John, New Brunswick, that much work going on, new contracts coming in. They are subbing it out. The Federal Government is directly involved. Halifax, the Dartmouth yard, frigate contract worth $40 million to $50 million, subbing out work now because every employee who has ever been employed there is working full steam ahead. Again, direct involvement by the Federal Government.

The shipyard in Quebec - the former Mulroney government, I know, pumped in $363 million to MIL-Davie, in fact, bailed them out. Three hundred and sixty-three million dollars - if the Newfoundland Dockyard were to get .05 per cent of that we would be employing 600 people or 700 people down there today. It wouldn't be a ghost town at the Newfoundland Dockyard today, there would be 600 or 700 people employed down there. And it is not because its geographic location inhibits the work it can do. It is not because the workforce is not skilled to do it. The reality is that Marine Atlantic does not want the Newfoundland Dockyard to survive and it is out to dismantle it, pure and simple.

The Newfoundland Dockyard historically has been - in its own creation initially it was a yard that was established, it was a Crown corporation that was not ever set up to compete privately initially in the 1950s. It was set up to service the marine fleet in Newfoundland and Labrador but, as we all know, the marine fleet disappeared for a variety of reasons which are not necessarily important to the scope of the debate but important to mention it. What has happened since then? The Dockyard entered into - I am trying to give it a very quick overview because I have other points to make, more important points, but it is important for the record that we understand the synopsis of where it came from and where it is.

In the mid-'70s trouble began. Then we enter into the mid-80s when the Federal Government, under Pierre Trudeau, did not want to invest in the Newfoundland Dockyard, and were going to shut it down but the Provincial Government of the day stepped in with an $8 million - $10 million investment in the syncohrolift. While it was not enough, Mr. Speaker, it was certainly a step in the right direction. But where does that leave us today? Where does that leave the several hundred people who are employed there? Where does it leave their families? That is the real question and more importantly, Mr. Speaker, where does it leave this Provincial Government? Because what is happening at the Newfoundland Dockyard is not isolated. It has happened before in the last two years and it is continuing to happen.

We have seen, in the last two years, a downloading from the Federal Government on the Provincial Government. We have seen jobs disappear in forestry, from the Canadian Forestry Service, gone, disappeared to Moncton. That is where those jobs are gone. We have seen a downloading in UI. The changes in UI cost this Province $273 million. We seen the loss of work at Marystown, which was incredible unto itself, but we have seen the loss of work there. The question for this government is, When does it stop? When do you draw the line in the sand and say, That's it, enough is enough, we are not going to take this lying down anymore and that by god, if this is going to happen to the Newfoundland Dockyard - if we don't stand up today it could happen to me tomorrow, it could happen to you, it could happen to anyone of us and we, as a Provincial Government and as provincial members -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: By leave?

- if we do not stand on this issue today then we will have more serious problems in the future, because this government, provincially, must say to the Federal Government and to its federal representative, Brian Tobin, that closing the Newfoundland Dockyard is not an option. What does it take to revitalize it? Does it need to be privatized to ensure that several hundred people will work? Do we need to diversify so that several hundred people may continue working? Do we need to go after niches in the marketplace? If we do, then how do we achieve that? What capital investment is required? If it is $20 million - $30 million how are we going to achieve that over a period of time? These are the questions we must be asking now but never, ever, ever must the closure of that facility be an option for any of us in this room, ever!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, future considerations for the Dockyard are bright. Recently, in an interview with a specialist, Mr. Deans - I have a transcript of what he said about the Newfoundland Dockyard - when asked about the future considerations: Does it have a future? He said to Catherine Hicks, `Well, let me put it this way, the shore base facility requirements for Hibernia alone - never mind any future exploration and development of Terra Nova, White Rose or other fields in the oil and gas industry - called for considerably more space and heavy duty dock, that at present exists only in the Newfoundland Dockyard in this Province, only in this region.' I understand that the Harvey Group would have a plan to spend money because they have largely wooden jetties, that wouldn't be up to task. We are talking here of shipping very large quantities of tubulars.

There is a $2 billion drilling program to commence immediately, ninety wells in the provision on the Hibernia platform alone and these are running 30,000 feet. If you think 30,000 feet of casing and 30,000 feet of production tubulars - the vast quantities of cement, mud, brine, diesel and so on required to be shipped offshore, I believe it is unlikely that the sea base facility, really quite small - and the only other place is the old fish plant he mentions. But the reality he talks about is the same. The future is bright for the Newfoundland Dockyard if it is given a chance to survive. And if it is given the equipment to survive with, it can be a profitable operation. It can continue to impact positively on the Newfoundland economy. It can continue to impact positively on several hundred families from Harbour Grace, Harbour Main, Carbonear, Flatrock, Torbay, Kilbride, the Goulds, and Bay Bulls. These are the places they come from. These are the places from which the people at the Newfoundland Dockyard work.

I think, in my own heart and soul, of our federal minister, Brian Tobin, who made such a solid stand for conservation of our turbot stocks, who stood up to the international community, stared them in the face and stared them down, and won. Will he stand as he stood on the dock in New York? Will he stand on the dock in St. John's Harbour and stare his Cabinet colleagues down and say: the Newfoundland Dockyard not only will survive, supported by this Federal Government, but it will thrive?

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for placing this motion before the House. I think it is appropriate, I think it is timely, and I am sure it is something that the government can support. Without any question you will find 100 per cent support from this side of the House.

I recognized from the outset that the hon. member's comments began by saying this is not a partisan issue, and it certainly isn't. Because the very history of this Dockyard, some 112 years ago, in 1884 when it was set up, somebody at that time obviously had great vision. They obviously saw that the most easterly point in North America, here in the capital city, that long ago, and the oldest city, the strategic location that could be capitalized on, if in fact things were done correctly, were absolutely magnificent and monumental.

The hon. member is quite right when he says this crosses partisan lines because in 1949 when we joined Confederation, many of the assets that were held by the Crown at that time directly reverted to the Crown of Canada, to the Government of Canada, the various steamships and transportation systems, including the Dockyard. But you are right when you say it is an non-partisan issue, because from St. Laurent on, right through to Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau, Clark, Mulroney, and even today, the Dockyard essentially has been cast aside, set adrift, and treated like an orphan. It really hasn't been treated fairly. I can see that and any fair examination of history will show that is true.

Mr. Speaker, while in 1884 somebody did have the foresight, nobody from 1949 onward saw the real potential that is here. You asked and urged the government to proceed to make those people who were in power, currently, today, because we can all look backward over various governments, whether Conservative or Liberal - I think the only one who can seek safe harbour from the politics of this is the New Democratic Party because they haven't governed in this country yet. But it is not a political issue. It is one of which any reasonable and fair-minded person would say it is an issue which nobody has focused on properly, nobody has assessed it fully, and nobody has put the muscle power and capital behind it to give it a fair and decent chance in the marketplace.

Mr. Speaker, I know a little bit about what I am taking about, because on the other side of the horns of this dilemma, the Province itself owns a shipbuilding facility here in Eastern Canada, at Marystown. And it has been most difficult, because it is a very competitive, almost vicious, global marketplace where many people who are bidding on contracts around the globe recognize that they have to walk the margins of these contracts just to win contracts, just to keep the wolves away from the door, and just to keep the thing up, operating and functioning.

I know; I have taken some interesting hits on the very yard that we operate ourselves, and we put substantial capital at Marystown to chase a diversified opportunity in the world marketplace at Cow Head, and still we find that it is very difficult. We have had some winners; we have had some losers. We have some winners happening down there right now with two ships which were commissioned from Maersk out of Copenhagen, and we just won this morning, I am told, a $2 million contract to do the soffit fittings for the concrete in the roof of the gravity-based system, so it is very difficult out there.

So the Dockyard was set adrift. It was treated as an orphan. It was never really focused upon. Nobody asked: Is this really a strategic location that we can capitalize on? What kind of equipment are they using down there?' I have had meetings with the management, and I can only commend the management down there, particularly under the enlightened leadership of Michael Apostolidis, who is there now. I have had a number of sessions with that gentleman and I am very impressed with his view of the world and of the potential for that place.

Secondly, I want to say that I have met with Mr. Locke and Mr. O'Keefe and a few others who I tip my hat to as well. They have done a terrific job under extremely trying, frightening circumstances, and they, too, have to be commended because it is a difficult time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the orphan wasn't cast adrift in '49. It was also cast adrift from the Government of Canada and placed with CNR, I believe. Then CNR, in its great big corporation across the country, shunted it aside as well. I see the hon. Member for Placentia nodding. I know he worked in that operation at, I believe, the marine system, for awhile.

Then in 1987 they came up with a great plan. They said, we will carve off the marine sector and make it a corporation unto itself called Marine Atlantic, and the Dockyard will report to it. On the surface it looked like a brilliant idea, because the Dockyard then would fold under the very marine capacity whose lifeblood could be passed to the Dockyard to sustain it for a considerable period of time, but did that happen? Did Marine Atlantic direct their ships into the Dockyard, use its very own facility to beef up not only employment and opportunity but its very own bottom line? No, it did not, Mr. Speaker. It didn't do a focused direction of work into the Dockyard, so the orphan was set adrift yet again.

Then, in December, 1990, Transport Canada announced that they would seek privatization, and they made a public statement to that effect whereby they would look at the privatization possibilities and they would take a year to review the process and see what would happen. I think that was in 1990 - 1990?



So that process went along. From everything that I can see, they just basically spun their wheels. They accepted and looked at some propositions, but none of them at that time were acceptable.

In 1992, they put in, I think, $5.1 million, a portion of that for emergency structural repair, and a smaller portion for training.

Then, in January, 1994, a little over a year ago, Marine Atlantic received an unsolicited proposal for the Dockyard. That unsolicited proposal triggered them going out publicly yet again, and I am told six parties came forward and they were assessed by a local accounting firm, I believe it was Nesbitt Burns at the time, and paring that down, one group looked acceptable and one group is in discussions on the privatization side for the dockyard as we speak here today on this critical and important issue.

Mr. Speaker, privatization is nothing new. This government was involved in privatization. I remember the Member for Grand Bank and I in Marystown signing an agreement in principle with a very big and muscular power from the North Sea, Kvaerner Rosenberg and we were within a whisker of privatizing the Marystown Shipyard for $21.5 million and putting the muscle power of the North Sea behind this corporation down at Marystown. What happened was, in the intervening week, in that seven, short days before we signed the actual legal text of that agreement, Gulf Canada pulled their shares out of Hibernia, collapsing and sending the whole massive project into a spiral. That collapsed the deal.

Now I heard somebody on the radio the other day, some expert in the oil industry saying: nobody wanted Marystown and they ran away from it. That is just not true, that is a fabrication of the highest order. There was a deal in principle struck and the legal text was being finalized and within that seven days, Gulf Canada crippled the Hibernia project by withdrawing their 25 per cent share and that sent the whole thing into a spiral. So privatization is not something that's new, or foreign, or frightening or shouldn't be frightening; nobody should be frightened of that. These are people who operate in the real world of shipbuilding, ship repair and offshore fabrication; we weren't frightened of it, we nearly had a deal, I think it would have been good for the Burin Peninsula and it is just a shame that it fell through.

Now, I am not privy to the details of the one company that is left behind bidding on the dockyard, but I hope that it is substantive, I hope it is meaningful and with Mr. Locke and I the other day, the President of the union, were asked about it, to comment on it in the media, we both agreed that if there were some kind of meaningful way that the Province could ante-up, whether it's through some kind of forgiveness of the $8 million and accumulated interest on our portion of the synchrolift, some kind of combination with EDGE status to wipe out the burden of taxation for ten years, if there is some way that we can come to the table as a provincial government, I and the Cabinet and the government would be happy to do that; we would be more than happy to do that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I can't speak to the numbers because every time I hear numbers floating around, they lost $3 million here, they lost $4 million there, it has been a loser since Confederation, I think the only way to do that is to have a proper and audited set of numbers before you, so you can review it in a meaningful way; but what -

MR. E. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes. - otherwise we are just dealing with smoke and mirrors but when you blow away the smoke and fold up the mirrors and you look at the reality of what's happening, the trend at the dockyard, Mr. Apostolidis who ought to know, tells me the trend from 1992 forward, is decline and losses - and I heard the Member for St. John's East, quite rightly say: what apportion of those losses are applied against the mother company or the holding company from the dockyard, so you need to see the whole picture, to examine it properly and to look at audited numbers to see whether it is right or wrong and I concur with the hon. Member for Kilbride, he is quite right to say that.

But, here are, as I see them and as honestly as I can say it to the House and to the people of the Province, the three choices that clearly are before us, and unless there are others, Mr. Speaker, that I can't see or somebody hasn't brought to my attention, they seem to be as plain as the nose on your face. The first is, Mr. Speaker, you either take the tough decision to recapitalize this yard to give it a fighting, fair chance; and when I say that, Mr. Speaker, I hear horror stories from the union and others - and I visited with Mr. O'Keefe and Mr. Locke I believe about two years ago; they took me through the dockyard and I felt like I was walking through a Charles Dickens' novel; it was just extraordinary to see the kinds of equipment they are asking these men and women to produce, heavy -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, antique is a kind word. I mean, it is just completely antiquated. Your are asking this workforce to walk in to an antiquated environment; you are asking them to bid with this antiquated equipment against state-of-the-art facilities including Marystown but worldwide, Mr. Speaker, where I said at the outset, the competitive, global marketplace is forcing even the winners to walk the margins and the profit lines to draw in income to keep their machinery operating and the workforces moving so, when I think of the despicable, horrific, Dickensian atmosphere that I walked through at the dockyard, it is just frightening.

Lifting equipment that is forty years old. When you see the cranes of Korea and Norway, and even our own on the South Coast, modern, efficient, state-of-the-art equipment, how can they dare talk about productivity against such an antiquated set of equipment? Yet the men and women of the Dockyard are forced to produce, be efficient, and be productive against all the other bidders in the world. That is too much to ask of any workforce or of any group.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the graving dock, they tell me the door is leaking and that there are pumps going all the time, twenty-four hours a day. Spilling out capital where they have to bring in pumps from the outside and pour money into that just to create a decent working environment for the men and women there. The president tells me the other day they had to shut down the heat, and men are asked to go in in large coats and big gloves and boots and work and be productive? It is impossible.

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, clearly the first option is to recapitalize, make it efficient, make it productive, give these men and women decent equipment, transform that antiquated, Dickensian environment to a state-of-the-art facility, leading edge technology, sitting in the strategic position on the most easterly part of the North American continent where, yes, thousands of ships go by and ply our waters. That is number one.

Number two is to privatize. Go aggressively privatize. Do joint venture deals. Do a public-private partnering if you have. Yes, ask the union to participate. From my discussions that I've had with them these men and women are prepared - they have been in the past prepared - to come to the table to make concessions to make it work. We are taking the tough decisions at Marystown. They are not pleasant.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.



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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. FUREY: They are not pleasant, Mr. Speaker, but they are necessary. I get the impression directly from the union membership that I talked to that they are willing to play their part, but it takes two to play in this game. The other partner is the federal government through that Crown corporation that must give them the state-of-the-art facility.

So you either recapitalize - recapitalize means putting your money where your mouth is - privatize - which means aggressively getting out there and doing the deal - or three, and this is the one that is least hopeful, you've got to be honest enough with the workforce and the management and the men and women who for 100 or more years have worked at that facility, be honest enough to tell them the truth. Don't tow them along with threads of hope and some kind of illusion, and toss up smoke and put up mirrors. Be honest.

We concur with the member's resolution. It is a fine resolution and it is one we accept and is appropriate and we are in total agreement. The way to go is to recapitalize. The Government of Canada can no longer treat this as an orphan. It must take full possession of it, own it, be proud of it, recapitalize it, put the money where the mouths are always spouting rhetoric. Because there is a future. There is a great potential out there. When I saw the supply bases - with great deference to my friend for Argentia and Placentia, who I understand for his reasons is very upset that they didn't make the pre-qualification list, and he makes some valid points - but in reality who are pre-qualified are three companies in St. John's, one at Bay Bulls, all in proximity to what could be a great facility with a great future.

Because Hibernia's real cash is in the production side. Yes, there will be $6 billion on construction at Bull Arm. But when it is towed out and it sits in that eighty metres of water and that oil is pumping at 100,000 barrels a day, it will pump for twenty-four years. Billions and billions of dollars will flow through this support system here at St. John's or Bay Bulls. Guess what? Sitting there is a golden opportunity called the Newfoundland Dockyard. It owes, and it is owed, the opportunity to recapitalize, to get back up on its feet, to not be treated as an orphan, and to take hold of that bright future for another 100 years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm honoured today and pleased to be able to stand in my place and say a few words of support for the private member's resolution brought in by the Member for Kilbride, Mr. Speaker.

The Member for Kilbride is well informed on this topic and has been for the past number of weeks and months. He has researched the topic with respect to the dockyard very well, the situation down there. He has had meetings with the union. A number of us have had meetings with the union representative, and there are a lot of problems in the dockyard. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology just touched on a few of them as he spoke a short while ago.

This resolution is asking for the federal government to get involved with the dockyard, to help save the dockyard and get involved in the management of the dockyard. Now we all know that Marine Atlantic is responsible for the dockyard at this point in time, and that is basically an offshoot of the federal government, but I believe it is not doing its job. We have to get the federal government more involved in the process, and one of the big problems I see down there is that they are not allowed to bid on international projects. That is what I have been informed of.

Marine Atlantic has been basically tying the hands of the workers and administration at the dockyard. Competition - how can these people be expected to compete in the international market if they are not permitted to compete in the international market? They are not on a level playing field at this point in time.

The federal government has pumped millions and millions of dollars into shipyards in Quebec. The latest figure I have heard is $360 million. They have pumped millions of dollars into other shipyards in Atlantic Canada. Again, the Newfoundland dockyard is not being treated fairly.

The Newfoundland dockyard has been operating for most of the century, employing hundreds and thousands of people over that period of time. They have been supporting families in and around St. John's over that period of time. These families have been paying taxes to the City of St. John's, have been paying income tax, federal sales tax, and retail sales tax. The federal government has been receiving revenue from the people working at the dockyard.

The dockyard has supported other businesses in the area, as many as 300 businesses. They supported these businesses' employees and their families. These people have paid taxes to the federal and provincial government over that period of time.

Mr. Speaker, there is a chain reaction. If the dockyard closes, it is not only the 700 or more people who have been employed down there over the past number of years, but hundreds and hundreds of more small businesses affected.

The Member for Kilbride mentioned the people who supply the gas for the dockyard, fourteen people automatically laid off if the dockyard closes. It is not something that is acceptable. The dockyard has contributed greatly to the Newfoundland economy over those years and I would like to see it, and I am sure everybody in this House would gladly see it, continue on that way.

Maybe some of the people in the galleries, or the workers or the employees at the dockyard, should start a petition from these local companies and do some kind of study to see what businesses have been involved with the dockyard over the years, how many people are directly affected, and what the benefits have been to these people individually.

The location of the dockyard has been addressed somewhat here over the past week or two. The Newfoundland dockyard, of course, is in a strategic location on the Atlantic Ocean. Thousands of ships pass by each year, just outside the Narrows. These ships require repairs, they require maintenance, and they require upgrading, and they pass right by the dockyard - no benefits coming to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and none to the people who work at the dockyard.

Something that has been on my mind since this issue has come up, and it has been ongoing for a long while, is the promotion of the dockyard itself, and that is the question: Has it been promoted properly? Obviously not. I have yet to see or hear of any promotion with respect to the dockyard. How much money has been put into advertising of the dockyard, in selling the quality of the yard, in promoting the experience of the employees at the dockyard and the great work that has been completed down there over the past number of years since the dockyard has been started up, over 100 years ago?

I know a number of people who work at the dockyard - some of them live in my district - and they are quite proud of the work that they do down there and, of course, they are quite concerned with what may happen to the dockyard.

Mr. Speaker, the provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has an investment of $8 to $10 million in the synchrolift at the dockyard, and I believe this investment has to be protected. Now, how do we protect an investment of $8 to $10 million? When you talk about the investment, I suppose, it is not only dollars you would be speaking of, but you would have to look at, again, the employees, the experience, and all the hard work and labour that has gone into that site over the past number of years.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you how we have to protect our investment and I probably will not be as polite and as nice as the Member for Kilbride on this issue when I am speaking to the government. The provincial government, and its ministers, from my perspective, have to start standing up for Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders. We have to stop accepting the cutbacks that have been dictated from Ottawa over the past number of years. We have to stop being yes men for the Chretien government, Mr. Speaker.

The Premier was elected in 1989 to represent the interests of Newfoundlanders, not the rest of Canada, and I do not think he has done that. I do not think he has represented the interests of Newfoundlanders properly over that period. I would like to tell the ministers that they have to stop being yes men for the Premier and have to start standing up for their constituents. The closing of the dockyard affects all, all the districts in and around St. John's and on the Avalon Peninsula. As a matter of fact it will affect all districts in the Province because of the revenues that are received by the provincial government from the dockyard.

The MHAs have to speak up for their districts. The families in all the districts around St. John's, as I said, are being affected. I saw the Premier and two ministers this past week in the media and they only got onto this after the Member for Kilbride, the union, and other people started making an issue of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: The government has been at it for six years.

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, if they have been at it for six years why is it only now when it is on the verge of closing that they are getting on the media saying they have to do something about it?

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology was on the media the other night and made the statement that it is a time we have to be tough and make tough decisions. Is the decision already made? Has Marine Atlantic already made the decision? The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said he would meet with the federal minister, Young, to discuss the dockyard.


MR. J. BYRNE: He has already had the meeting with these people? Well, he has asked the question, will the dockyard be saved? Will Mr. Morrison be called before the provincial government and asked what he is going to do to save the dockyard?

AN HON. MEMBER: You were told today he has been.

MR. J. BYRNE: He has been? A big deal, he is on call. Mr. Morrison the President of Marine Atlantic is on call. What does that mean? Are we now having the same situation here as we had in Marystown where jobs are going to be floating away? Is Mr. Morrison a happy man? I am asking the questions that need to be asked, and that the government over there should be asking and have not been asking. It is nice to say, we will be on call.

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that Mr. Morrison is the problem. I believe he is a symptom. He is a symptom of what is going on with his lack of interest in the dockyard. Mr. Morrison has already stated that the yard will probably close if it cannot be privatized.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are trying to privatize it.

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, if we are trying to privatize it, and we are tying to sell it, how can we tell the potential buyers that we are trying to sell a dockyard that has been losing money over the past number of years? How can we approach a potential buyer and say the dockyard lost $3 million last year? The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology got up and said, did it really lose money? We are talking $3 million, $4 million, or is it no million dollars? Did it lose any money at all? I agree that there needs to be a financial study done on the dockyard and have it looked at properly, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has already stated that tough decisions have to be made and I fear the decision has been made. Marine Atlantic, as I said earlier, has basically tied the hands of the people of the Dockyard by not allowing them to bid on international work. Only bid on work in Atlantic Canada, they have been told. What work is there in Atlantic Canada for the Newfoundland Dockyard to bid on? There has been no money gone into the Dockyard for upgrading of equipment. How can the Newfoundland Dockyard compete? There has been no money go into the facility itself for upgrading. Again I ask, how can the Dockyard compete. How can the Dockyard survive?

I think Newfoundlanders deserve better than this government has been prepared to dish out to them over the past few years. There has been out-migration of Newfoundlanders over the past five years and it has been getting worse each year. Last year 4,500 people left this Province that we know about. Forty-five hundred people, increasing year after year. Now we have possibly 700 more employees of the Newfoundland Dockyard who may end up having to leave this Province and their families to look for work elsewhere. Then they have to look at the spin-off, the employees at other companies from the work they receive from the Dockyard. How many of those people will have to leave? Will they have to go to Quebec where the federal government pumped in $360 million to work in the dockyard in Quebec? Serious concerns here.

This government has done very little to promote the hope and prosperity of Newfoundlanders. The Member for Kilbride was getting up and saying that we can't play politics. I'm not playing politics here. I'm being sincere when I say it is like there is a plan here within this government that they believe there are too many Newfoundlanders living in Newfoundland. It is like a plan that they want to see them leave, forcing people out of the Province. I think it is time for this government to stand up to Ottawa and say: Listen, we've had enough, we are not taking any more. We gave away our fishery, we let you control that, and what happened to it? We let you control our railway, and what happened to it? Churchill Falls, what happened to it? Time to stand up. The list goes on.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology said that the government is 100 per cent supportive of this resolution. He talks about vision when the Dockyard was set up, what great vision those people had. What about the vision now, today? We all need to have the vision with respect to the Dockyard and other industries within this Province. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology talks about real potential, he talks about stiff competition in the marketplace. How can the Dockyard compete, with the equipment that they have at the Dockyard? The Minister of Industry, Trade an Technology put it in better words than I could, let me tell you, when he talked about the equipment and the facility itself.

The minister realizes the potential for the Dockyard, I say. He talks about giving it proper support and to upgrade it and to allow international competition. These are basic things that need to be done to the Dockyard. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology talked about tough decisions. He talked about three choices. Recapitalizing, which would make the Dockyard more efficient and productive and put state-of-the-art equipment in there. Who can argue with that? We all agree that should be done. Second choice, he was talking about privatizing. As I said, how can we really expect to privatize it if we go out promoting the idea that the Dockyard is losing money annually and is on a decline? That is not something that would be very attractive to a potential buyer.

I would say that closing the Dockyard is not an option. I would like to again say I support this resolution put forward by the Member for Kilbride and hope that the Ministers of Employment and Labour Relations and Industry, Trade and Technology, when they do talk to the federal counterparts, that they be tough -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, that they be tough with Ottawa and say: Listen, this is the way it is going to be, like it or lump it. Do it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm really pleased today to have an opportunity to stand in this House and say a few words on the private member's resolution moved by my colleague for Kilbride. Not only is it a timely Private Members bill, it is one that I accept with great support, I suppose, because since 1990, when Marine Atlantic first announced that they were going to privatize the Dockyard, that uncertainty - I suppose it goes back even to when CN and - the CN program that was in place for the workers at the yard, the pension structure and all the things associated with CN, when it moved over to Marine Atlantic the workforce at that yard were given a commitment and a promise that the yard would continue to prosper and grow. As we have seen since the exploration days in the oil, a tremendous amount of marine involvement has taken place but always there has been a workforce at the yard. The three managers that I have had discussions with, Mr. Locke, Mr. O'Keefe, the workers' representative, workers themselves - workers have come not only from St. John's South but as the Member for Kilbride said, from all over the Avalon area.

The Dockyard has been a tremendous way of life for me. I remember - I think it was in 1954 and the late Mike Curtis - when I went to work at the Newfoundland Dockyard to try to gather up a few dollars to go to university, bucketing rivets. I ended up in the valley car shop and back in the Dockyard. My grandfather worked at the Dockyard for some thirty years. So I have a long and a very good association with the yard. I have walked into the yard, I suppose, a couple of dozen times over the last six years, for different reasons. I have tried, as the member, where the yard sits - not that all the people in the yard are from St. John's South. All the members adjacent; the Member for Mount Pearl, the Member for St. John's East Extern, the Member for Kilbride said it, even my colleagues, the Member for Carbonear and the Member for Harbour Grace and those areas, that is where the workforce comes from.

I was always a little sceptical and/or afraid during the last few years to talk about the equipment at the yard and was often cautioned because if we made too much of equipment that should have been, I suppose, for all intents and purposes, in a Smithsonian Institute, if I made too much of that it may have reflected, it may get out and the yard's ability to do the work - somebody would say, Oh, I just heard the Member for St. John's South advocating that the equipment was not good equipment, it was old equipment, and that would reflect on the ability of the workers at the yard, but the Minister of ITT covered that very, very well. He said it and I will say it again because it needs to be said. If you look at the batch plant that was constructed for the Hibernia job, not on schedule but ahead of schedule, 850-approximately people just a year ago employed at the yard, good high-paying jobs.

I have talked to the senior management people at Hibernia. That whole slipform that was so important to that GBS, my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources will tell you how important it was. He said it many times. We have discussed it many times. It was a state of the art - to reuse the phrase - job. It was done, as I said, ahead of schedule. It was in the minds of the Hibernia management people, a class A job. So we don't need to sit and discuss whether the yard can do the work and do it competitively.

Number one, I don't believe the numbers that I am hearing. I, like the Member for Kilbride - that is why the Morrison meeting, to get some numbers so we have some ammunition to address. I don't think that Mr. Morrison and/or anybody else - I have seen bean counters, I have seen people take numbers. There is an old adage and somebody used to say it to me: `Figures lie and liars figure.' I take that approach to that kind of $3 million loss - the Member for Kilbride said it, and I am glad to have some help, I say to the Member for Kilbride. I am glad, after six years, to see some help from the other side. I never saw it - and I don't want to make this a political issue - I never saw it up until this present crisis.

MR. J. BYRNE: We never saw it for seventeen years.

MR. MURPHY: I never saw it - and the Member for St. John's East Extern should not bring politics into it. This is not a political problem. This is a problem for all of us to address as Newfoundlanders, and the Newfoundland Government to tell Ottawa - it matters not who is in Ottawa - to tell them we are not going to tolerate the closing of the Newfoundland Dockyard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: The best thing for us to do is to forget that rhetoric; I will forget it, and hon. members forget it.

The initial thing that I want to say, number one, right now again, is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: If the McCulloch chain saw would just keep his tongue over there and hang on to it, I would really appreciate it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: I don't need any lectures from the member, when he was coaching a basketball team, to tell me about what I was doing for the Dockyard. He is the last one I need to hear it from.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MURPHY: So let me say this to you, Mr. Speaker. Number one, the thing that Marine Atlantic has to do is take the handcuffs off the Newfoundland Dockyard immediately. I have said it to Mr. Morrison, I have said it in the yard, I have said it to the union representatives, and I will continue to say it: Take the cuffs off the yard. Let the yard bid whatever jobs, whatever work is available - that is number one.

Number two is to put immediately some marketing money into the Newfoundland Dockyard, to tell trade magazines and whatever vehicle, to tell the world that the Newfoundland dockyard is open for business. We have long seen too many federal governments -

MR. SULLIVAN: - close it down.

MR. MURPHY: Well, I say to the Member for Ferryland, yes, that is the attitude. He should remember when the Federal Government shut down CN, closed CN.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Fine. Let me say to the member that Bonnie and Jean have worked very hard, more than the member knows, and I am not here to discuss that issue but some day in private I will tell the member exactly what Bonnie and Jean have done, okay?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We know.

MR. MURPHY: No, you don't know, I say to the Member for Grand Bank; you don't know anything.

The other thing that is needed immediately besides taking off the handcuffs, besides putting some marketing dollars in place, is to put in place a task force comprised of the workers, management, Marine Atlantic and Transport Canada, and have a 90-day reporting structure in place - nothing less than that - to put that task force in place to ensure that all the information, the financial information, the work that is available, the whole situation, is looked at by this task force and reported back in 90 days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Yes, I say to the member - yes.

Now, if ever an opportunity was at hand... We are seeing things going on in the world. We are seeing the great yards in Asia and Japan, and what have you, in real, real trouble because of the yen versus the dollar, etcetera. It was never more of an opportune time for Marine Atlantic to promote the Newfoundland Dockyard. The same thing is happening in Europe with the structure of the European money market versus the American and Canadian market.

We have long seen, as the member has said, the support that federal governments have given to MIL-Davie and Sorel, $361 million. When I asked Mr. Crosbie about it some three or four years ago he said to me: I am lucky to get $5 million, $6 million, for the Newfoundland Dockyard. I am sitting around a Cabinet table with ten people from Quebec.

I understood that, and I publicly thank Mr. Crosbie for his effort on behalf of the Newfoundland Dockyard - never brought any politics into it, because the issue was too great. It is not political.

It is an appropriate time for Marine Atlantic, for the Government of Canada, to address the Newfoundland Dockyard, to promote the Newfoundland Dockyard, to tell the world that the Newfoundland Dockyard is capable. They should show the pictures of the batch plant in trade magazines - produced at the Newfoundland Dockyard. The first keel that was ever laid, to my knowledge, in years at the Dockyard was some years ago when we got a herring seiner. I've listened to the figures and watched the figures being twisted around in that particular situation. So I have no reason, as the member who is responsible, where the yard is, to believe any of the figures that I hear.

That is why on May 29 at 11:30 a.m. the Premier and the Minister of ITT and this minister will sit with Mr. Morrison and whoever Mr. Morrison wants to bring and discuss the issues of the Newfoundland Dockyard. There will be questions asked and I am sure - I can't speak for the Minister of ITT and the Premier, but I can assure you and this House and the workers of the yard that I will be putting very strong suggestions to Mr. Morrison, looking to his response. I say to the Member for Ferryland, that may be the ammunition to take this member and whoever else to address Mr. Young. But we have to get that little parcel out of the way first.

AN HON. MEMBER: He has his orders. (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: That is fine. I say to the member, yes, I don't doubt but he has some orders. Maybe the agenda is - and I say "maybe," but I don't want to deal in anything hypothetical here. I want to look at this whole thing face on. I don't want to look over my shoulder at it, I don't want to think or surmise that it is a real estate deal here, that the yard and the adjacent properties will be a lay down area, or a marshalling yard for the offshore, with thirty-two jobs of forklift operator. That is not what I'm after. I'm after the continuation of what I saw this time last year, 820 qualified Newfoundlanders working at the Newfoundland Dockyard, and the spin-offs.

The Member for Kilbride is totally right when he says we never take into account the indirect jobs that are associated with the Newfoundland Dockyard. The tremendous amount of oxygen acetylene they buy, the aprons they buy, the hard-hats they buy, all the welding rods, and all the other things that support the business community in and around the city. There is a tremendous amount of consideration here. Just the mere thought of somebody sitting in Ottawa making the decision, which has historically been thrust upon us as Newfoundlanders. This is not new. And somebody sits in Ottawa making a balance sheet decision and not knowing the situation in the Newfoundland Dockyard.

We saw it in the fishery, we saw it in other areas, we are continuing to see it in other areas, and it is time for us to be extremely severe and direct with those who are making the decisions. We just can't sit back any longer and say: That is okay.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I suppose, yes, the Member for Grand Bank is right, political cousins of some substance. But I also remember, and the member remembers, when we had the difficulty of dealing with your cousins.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) kicked them out.

MR. MURPHY: Well, the country kicked them out.

Mr. Speaker, not to be repetitious, I say that this government is totally committed to doing everything we can as a Provincial Government in addressing the problem of the Newfoundland Dockyard. The innuendo, the maybes - I mean, the impact on the lives of the workers down there, I have dealt with it, talked to them - I'm sure some members opposite have - for six years. It is one of: Do we have a job, will we have a job, will they build another job?

This is the kind of constant pressure that these workers have been under and subject to for so many years. We have to address it. As the Minister of ITT said, it is time to come clean and address the issues. I think with the White Rose, with -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. MURPHY: Just a few seconds to clue up.


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. MURPHY: The Terra Nova, and the vessels associated with the supply and what have you, there could not be a yard more strategically located as we see the offshore building to refit, to refurbish, to repair than the Newfoundland Dockyard. We have tremendous capabilities not only with the dry dock itself but with the synchrolift, so all in all we have in place a yard that can do the work, has the workers to do it, all it needs is some capital to dress it up, to give it a chance so that somebody in the yard can push a computer and get a plate rolled to suit the vessel, instead of the quality of that worker having to do it in a roll mill that only he knows how to do and pick it off a drawing; that's the kind of skill we have at our dockyard, that's why we can still bid and compete.

I don't care where the tenders are, in Timbuktu, the Newfoundland Dockyard, if it is a marine tender, it should be out there bidding on it, should be out there aggressively saying: we can do it and, Mr. Speaker, I can assure hon. members in this House, I can assure those whom I have dealt with over the last six years, Mr. Locke and the workers of the yard - I have forgotten some of the fellows now but - yes, Kevin and all the rest of the guys, that this government will do everything that we possibly can to ensure that the yard continues as a yard and not as a piece of real estate for some mainland investment, for some mainland company to come in here and live off our backs.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am delighted to be able to get up today for a few minutes to say something about an area where I didn't work but was quite familiar with the work.

I worked with CN Marine, then it became East Coast Marine and Ferry Services, if you remember it went through various changes and paper chases. I joined the William Carson in 1965, it wasn't until the following spring that I first visited the dock in St. John's. I knew a number of men over the years in the various shops there, from the sail shop down to the boiler makers, the machine shop and security after hours but, they did great work and the last time I was there, I finished a shift, when I resigned in April of 1980.

St. John's dry dock has been up and down like a yo-yo ever since, and contrary to what hon. members have said here today, it is political because everything in this Province is political. It is the cradle to grave politics that we are facing here, but what we are facing here is Ottawa again, Ottawa. Ministers out of Ontario and Quebec running this country. We have 2 per cent of the population I believe, and it is like the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology had said earlier, it's an orphan's fight and you know what an orphan's fight is, when you have a stepmother or a stepfather who is supposed to be looking after you.

The dry dock, the people down there had an apprentice program and when you came through that at the time, when you were trained as a machinist, you were a machinist when you finished your trade. We heard about the antiquated equipment. Well how good are they if they can still make a few dollars against such obstacles? How good are they, and I can identify with the people from this region who work on the dock because there are people from the District of Placentia who worked there last year.

I remember, the Member for Kilbride and I were quite upset when people in power did not have the training done for welders, for CWBs and they had to bring them in mostly from Nova Scotia because we should be looking after our own. If you don't look after your own first, who in the hell are going to look after them?

Mr. Morrison, a very highly paid messenger, but that is all he is, just a messenger. Before that we saw Mr. Ivany and for every bit he could save on cutbacks he got more of a commission at Christmas. That is a fact. Where is Mr. Ivany now? Gone off to do something on Via Rail. He is going to railroad someone else. The St. John's dry dock is Newfoundland in a little bit of space. It is 700 workers, 600, 800, or whatever it is, and every reaction causes another reaction. Where are those businesses that the dry dock has been supporting for years? Where are their representatives today? Where is the city? Where is the town council of this city, the city council? I know if it was out in Placentia or in any of the other member's districts there would be a lot more say. They would fight. All I heard was one member from the city council talk about the productivity of the dry dock. Well, that is not good enough.

If you fight and you fight and lose that is one thing, but if you do not fight at all, that is another thing. Where are those people? They have a big stake in it. They are suppose to be representing our capital city. Where are they? The minister earlier mentioned our geography. Well, we know about the jet lanes. They are too fast, but in the ocean seagoing lanes this Province, and particularly this area, is very strategically located.

If you stood on your toes high enough on Cape Spear you would be able to see Ireland. That is if it is not foggy here in St. John's, but we are closer than any other part of North America to Europe. Someone mentioned the thousands of ships that pass by. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations made a good point about the ninety days and the marketing money, and you go after it. We must also be reminded of the hundreds and thousands of men that poured through here because of the Second World War. It was documented a few weeks ago, about the part the dry dock played in the efforts to fight of the Axis and how they were retained to work there, being just as important as other people in fields of endeavour.

Are we going to let that grand old veteran, that 112 or 114 year old veteran go without a fight? No. It is not Mr. Morrision. It has to be the Minister of Transportation. He is the one who is talking about icebreaking service which you will have to pay for in this Province, about airports and municipalities. That is the same minister, Doug Young. Somebody has to clip his wings and the only ones who can come close to it is our government.

In Opposition I can get over here and mouth off. Now, if I had been in the company of Mr. Young I would certainly mouth off to him, but it is our provincial government, obviously, which is going to have the most influence on him. You should do as much as you can to influence him, or the civil servants who have been retained from the Mulroney era and who are still there, to change their minds. Politicians come and go but these career civil servants still have their own agenda, and their agenda is not St. John's, Port aux Basques, St. Anthony or Placentia, it is where they live or where the majority of them are.

I was a bit disappointed there awhile ago, on March 22 of this year when I brought up the issue of the dockyard here, when they were only suppose to be rumours, and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation explained he had every bit of confidence in the federal Minister of Transport. Well, I have no confidence in the federal Minister of Transport. I have no confidence in what I have seen since he came into power, and his attitudes about this Province. He is no better than the Globe and Mail, it is the same attitude.

AN HON. MEMBER: More expensive.

MR. CAREEN: Oh yes, he is a damn sight more expensive and he is a damn sight more damaging.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Oh yes, God forbid.

Marine Atlantic is saying to the dry dock that if you lose the wind out of your sails then row. Well probably you could row but they have taken the oars. They are out there ready to scuttle the boat they are on and that is not good enough. The fight starts here today. We know that the member has a good resolution. I compliment the Member for Kilbride and the government, I know, will not refuse it. There will be a unanimous vote here today but it has to be more than just a unanimous vote. It has to go somewhere this evening, tomorrow morning and to continue on to give the people and the dock -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. CAREEN: - a fighting chance and to show other Newfoundlanders that when you hang together you will certainly get your way. Thank you.

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

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to stand here today and to speak in favour of this resolution that my friend from Kilbride has brought forward and to compliment the speakers who have preceded me, all speakers who preceded me. A number of very strong points have been made that we not only can support but hopefully add to.

A hundred or so years ago when the Newfoundland Dockyard was built it injected into the economy of this town a large number of jobs and other purchasing powers. A number of things have changed in St. John's over the last number of years and in this Province, which has had a very serious effect on the city in which we live. We had a railway and the railway closed. We lost a lot of very strong jobs, good jobs went. We had a lot of jobs, longshore - labour intensive jobs, good jobs that people had. Downtown there were shops galore and we had a lot of jobs in the shops. The wages were not always that high but the jobs were there, labour intensive, people writing out bills and so on. That has changed because now you have the supermarkets, you have the cash registers and you don't have all this labour intensive work going on in shops. Times have changed and they have changed dramatically.

When the dockyard was built and the railway was there we had all the coastal boats coming in. A lot of coastal boats up until recently were refurbished at the dockyard. That was the purpose of the dockyard to refurbish the coastal boats to a large extent and to refurbish the ferries but times have changed. The railway now has been replaced by roads, no longer do we have that and the shops have changed. The whole pattern of life has changed. It has not been good for this city, particularly the area that I represent because people are without work in many cases and they have not been able to restore that work yet. That is part of the physical deterioration of downtown that we have noted and we spoke about last week. A week ago today when we talked about the problems that we are having with housing and the other problems we are having, the social problems and so on, that it is related to the lack of work. I, for one, am very nervous about the closure of the dockyard because it is not just the number of jobs that would go; it is what happens to people who are there afterwards.

I would like to say this, that amongst the changes that have taken place, the longshore went when they brought in the automation of the containers. The ships come in, the containers go off, and off they go on the trucks, not many jobs loading and moving things around from the holes to the dock and onto the shops that are nearby.

We used to have a song around: When the outport member's family comes to town. I remember Gerald Doyle collected that one. They don't come to town anymore, because everything is done by truck that doesn't come through this city anymore, so there has been a deterioration in many of the jobs and the stuff that we used to do in the downtown of the city.

The jobs that I am talking about are good jobs, unionized jobs, good wages, and labour intensive, but I think we should look carefully at the future. What is the future? We have heard some fine remarks by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology as to what has to be done with the dockyard, and that is the kind of thinking that I believe we have to bring positively to this problem. Let's look at what is there.

We have quite a number of federal boats that are operating in this area. We have the coastal boats still; there are still a number of coastal boats. There are still ferries. Now some of the ferries cannot use the dockyard because they were constructed incorrectly. They were constructed a bit too long for some reason or other, a bit too large. I would think that in future ferries should be able to be constructed in such a way that we can use, if there is a ferry to Newfoundland, surely we should be fixing up the ferry here and refitting it and so on, and perhaps that point can be made to the federal government. If the dockyard is privatized, perhaps a conditional sale would be that that dockyard can continue to refurbish the ships that the Crown corporation refurbishes. It almost has to go there.

We have Coast Guard vessels in the area, the Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the J. E. Bernier, the Sir John Franklin, the Ann Harvey, the Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and all of these. We have offshore surveillance now, with the Leonard J. Cowley and the Cape Roger, and the DND sometimes comes in. We have inshore surveillance as well, a boat or so there. I believe all these should continue to get their fittings done at the dockyard. We have federal government research vessels, Telost, the Wilfred Templeman, and so on. They also have to continue to be refurbished and fixed up at the dockyard, so there has to be a continuation of the business that is out there, and this business has to continue to be tied to that dockyard, no matter what happens, whether it is privatized or retained.

Something else has happened in Canada recently. Somebody across mentioned the federal Minister of Fisheries and how he was able to take control of the overfishing off our coasts, and it seems now that we have the Spaniards and the Portuguese on side. One of the saddest things that ever happened to us in St. John's, I think, was when Canada and Spain began to fight and the Spaniards were no longer able to bring their ships into the city. I think now that there is peace between the two, I believe we should encourage a good, strong relationship, because it looks like the Spaniards are going to continue to have quotas offshore, and the Portuguese are going to continue offshore, so they should come into this port. I don't think the Portuguese are going to be washing their clothes on Rennies River anymore, but they should come in here and be made welcome, and so should the Spaniards. They should come in here, and they should be fitting out their vessels at the dry dock. That is what they should be doing, and I believe that could be part of the agenda that our people bring to Ottawa, or wherever they bring it to discuss this question, because that involves some sort of foreign relations initiative on the part of Canada. We have to do that.

You know, Halifax used to be the centre of the Canadian navy, largely because they had the great Bedford basin. They could back up convoys for ever so long. That is not the issue any more. I don't know why the Canadian navy doesn't have a presence in St. John's or nearby. They should have a presence. They should have the odd ship coming in here and stationed here. That too can be fixed up in the Dockyard. There are things like that I believe, initiatives that we should go after. I don't know how practical what I'm saying is because I'm not an expert in the shipbuilding industry. But it seems to me there is a lot of local ships, ships that are used locally and are in our waters, not only those which pass by our shores, but which are part of our life here and have been part of our life for many years, and should be part of our life. If we can do that, it seems to me that there is no reason why the Newfoundland Dockyard should close.

The hon. Member for St. John's East Extern referred to the value of the Dockyard in terms of the taxes and so on. I would like to elaborate a little bit on that. A $3 million loss last year, that is something that a private firm would find hard to keep going with. This is the problem we have. When we conceive of a thing like the Dockyard as being a private company then the bottom line of $3 million means something. But it can't be conceptualized only in terms of a private firm. You have to look at it holistically and how it fits into the total economy, as my friend mentioned.

You have to look at the taxes. That is one thing you have to look at. Just look at the taxes. You mentioned the income tax. Twenty-five million dollars and the pay is good. These are good jobs and so people are paying quite a lot of income tax. I haven't totalled it up but it is probably as much as $3 million or probably more. Not only that - that is the federal government's share, whatever it is - on top of all that we get a cut out of that too, because 69 per cent of the federal tax equals what we get out of income tax. So my friend here, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, is getting a good cut off the Dockyard workers' salaries as well. It is good. That has to be counted in. When you look at the thing holistically rather than just on the enterprise of the firm itself you have to look at these things because they are important. They are real. They are not just imaginary things, this is real.

AN HON. MEMBER: RST (inaudible) GST.

DR. KITCHEN: Then you have to look at the GST and the RST that the people spend over and above what they would be spending if they were on some other sort of income and so on.

Supposing the worst happens and people just stay in the area and when their UI runs out they go on government assistance. Seven hundred families on social assistance, that is close to $10 million a year out of this government. Half of that comes from the federal government. You see? When you start thinking along those lines you realize that this figure of $3 million loss has less significance. It is something to be considered - we don't want to lose money on an enterprise - but that is not the only figure that we should be taking into account. That is not to mention what it does to other industries as well, as my friends have mentioned.

What I would suggest is that we do have a cost-benefit analysis. Not just a cost-benefit analysis that applies solely to the firm itself, to the company or whatever, to the enterprise, the Crown corporation itself, but as it fits into the whole structure of the area. Now I'm nervous because, as I said before, if the breadwinners are gone from 700 families what is that going to do to the families if they continue to live in this area? Imagine the social problems that would occur when people don't have the funds. I can imagine because I know lots of people who are not working now and they are having one heck of a job trying to stay alive and to live meaningful lives.

If you have 700 more families that are in the same position - now I'm sure a lot of the people, if anything bad happens, they would probably take off and move somewhere else and probably get as good a job or better. But it will have a very negative impact on the quality of life in this city which has already been hurt, as I mentioned before, by the closure of the railway, by the changes in the longshore, by the changes in the shopping patterns in this city, where it has now moved out of the downtown and we will be faced with a very serious question.

So I believe that there is justification, good justification for keeping the Dockyard open and on reasonable, not just passionate reasons, but for realistic, serious reasons. Perhaps a small subsidy may even be justified. I can't lose any more jobs in St. John's Centre. There are only a few people working now. I don't know how many thousands of people - every day I get calls: Can you get me a job? I will go back to my office now and there will be calls: Have you got me a job yet, boy? Can you help me? What can you do?

I'm tired of passing out lists of the companies that are working up in Voisey Bay, saying why don't you try some of those guys, that is a possibility. Thank goodness we have Voisey Bay. I don't know how many they are hiring, Mr. Minister. Are they hiring now?

DR. GIBBONS: Not until the summer I expect (inaudible).

DR. KITCHEN: I'm telling everybody to go and get your applications in. Phone up Diamond Fields and get cracking on it if you can. Go on up there. Apart from that - I don't want to be too pessimistic, because I have great faith in the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and what he is doing. It takes time to change the economy of this Province. To change takes time. But I really believe, as he has said, that we have to revitalize the Dockyard where it is necessary. The provincial government did help some time ago with the synchrolift and we have to do a similar - whatever is required, we have to do.

Because I tell you that maybe we have not only to go to see Mr. Morrison and Mr. Young. There is another guy up there who is even more important. That is Jean Chrétien. We've got a really good relationship in this Province with that man. I believe that he will do - that we can do something here. I think we should take nothing less than the retention and the modernization of that Dockyard. I wholeheartedly support the resolution of my friend for Kilbride.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased today to rise to support the resolution of my colleague for Kilbride. In the greater St. John's region the St. John's Dockyard has been a contributor for many generations to the economy. Its closure or even talk of its closure is sending serious financial messages to not just the St. John's area but all throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

We are looking at over 800 jobs. Last year I understand that there were 850 jobs counting the full-time and part-time positions. Last year these employees paid $8 million in income tax to the federal government and the provincial government. They contribute over $300,000 in UI premiums. There was $24 million paid in wages; over $1 million paid to the provincial economy or the provincial government by way of payroll taxes; and $11 million worth of goods and services were purchased from local businesses. We have to look at the full impact that kind of industry has positively on the St. John's and the Newfoundland economy.

Let's think of it for a moment in terms of what we would call in economics the multiplier factor. If you are going to have $30 million paid in wages then what happens to that money? It gets spent by the people who receive that income. Studies will show that when you receive $100 in income, on average people will spend $92. Then, of that $92, on average there will be $87 of that spent. In other words, you are looking at disposable income and savings. The result of every $100 is $1,000 put into the economy, therefore $30 million put into the Newfoundland economy really amounts to $300 million of benefit because everybody does one or two things with their money. They either spend it or they save it, and I don't think that the people who work at the Newfoundland Dockyard are known for the magnitude of their savings accounts. These are ordinary, Newfoundland men and women who spend their money in ordinary ways; they are people with young families, who have mortgages, who have expenditures related to everyday living. They buy cars, they buy all kinds of household and family items.

So, Mr. Speaker, the loss of this Dockyard is of great significance to all Newfoundland and Labrador, and that's why, when in Quebec last year, when there was a possibility that there would be a layoff of 300 workers at MIL Davie Shipyard, the Premier of Quebec was jumping up and down. He was saying, this is not going to happen.

We know what would happen in the Province of New Brunswick and what Premier Frank McKenna would do if the Province of New Brunswick were going to lose its 800 jobs. Premier Frank McKenna would be on every airwave, and would be doing all that he could do to make sure it simply did not happen. We want to see no less of a resolve from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador relative to the Newfoundland Dockyard. We want to see a determination that is unequalled by any premier in this country. We don't want to say today that the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is not concerned, his government is not concerned, we believe they are, but saying that: tell the people the truth, if you are going to close it then go ahead and close it, because I heard the minister say on CBC radio yesterday morning - and I don't think that is sufficient. You have to struggle, you have to work, you have to make sure that we have done every single thing that we can do, before we say that we will engage in that kind of pessimism and that kind of negativity.

Mr. Speaker, as legislators in this Province, we take great offence to the private agenda of Marine Atlantic on this issue. What we need in this Dockyard is more consultation, more dialogue, more determination, a commitment to investment, a commitment that will see that every possibility is explored before we give up on it. But, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the 150 people in my district who find employment at the Dockyard, I say to the House today that we have to encourage the people of the Dockyard to seek new contracts; we can't go and simply say, we won't let you bid on certain kinds of work because it might offend somebody else; we can't let contracts like the Peru contract slip away because it doesn't suit the agenda of Marine Atlantic or the federal minister. We must do all we can to preserve the well-trained workforce.

Someone said earlier today, it is amazing what these workers have been able to do with the antiquated equipment they have to work with. Mr. Speaker, these are well-trained people. It is a miracle that they have been so competitive. Yes, they lost $1 million, someone said. Someone said it might be as high as $3 million last year. Maybe that has to - if we could turn that loss into investment, into new retraining with modern machinery and equipment then certainly if they can reduce their losses to that kind of number, with the equipment they have, what would they do if they had the proper equipment? They probably could make it a very viable and successful industry.

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased with the comments of the minister. He talked about a task force, a ninety-day task force. I say to the minister, that is positive. Put these decisions on hold, do your ninety-day task force and let's get it out in the open. Let's start telling the workers the absolute truth about the implications for their jobs and let's get down to dialogue with the federal minister. Let's let the federal minister know that we, as a group of people in this Province, are not going to be treated differently than if this shipyard were located in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or in British Columbia. We want equal treatment for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We want it because we deserve it, we want it because we are Canadians, too.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the House that this situation at the Dockyard has gone on long enough. You only have to speak to the people I talked to today to understand the anguish and the anxiety, the inner torment, the frustration that is occurring in people's families. It is very difficult for a father to go home and every day have to say he doesn't know what the future holds. We have a possibility here of seeing more of the daily and weekly out-migration. We read in the paper a couple of days ago that 5,000 people left Newfoundland and Labrador last year. Unfortunately, many of these people are our well-trained tradespeople.

AN HON. MEMBER: These are people we know of.

MR. HODDER: As my colleague said here, these are the people we know about, who let the government or someone know they are leaving. These are the well-trained people we have. The people who work at the Newfoundland Dockyard will find jobs, many of them will, in spite of the dislocation, the separation, the frustration, the anxiety and all of that. Many of them will find jobs but at what price? What price to their families? What price to their sense of community? At what price to the overall employment and skilled workforce we need in this Province? Mr. Speaker, if there is one time when this House should stand and support a group of people, it is now - 850 employees who want us to give them the strongest, the firmest, the most concerted effort that we can to preserve what has been a significant long-term employment opportunity for so many Newfoundlanders over the past century.

So, Mr. Speaker, in concluding my few comments - because I know there are others who would like to speak - I fully endorse the resolution. I thank the Member for Kilbride for bringing it forward and I ask all members of the House to support it unanimously.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous speakers in this debate today, I come from an area that is not directly tied to the Dockyard in any way, although I have had considerable experience over the past number of years in efforts to secure business for steel fabrication for the Port aux Basques area, not in direct competition with the Dockyard, but also with Marine Atlantic as an entity which operates in the Port aux Basques area, probably its principal area of operation, and I would certainly like to pass some comments on the style of management and the way that Marine Atlantic seemed to approach some of these activities in the overall way they run things, and even more so, I suppose, since the appointment of Mr. Morrison.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride mentioned when he made his remarks - and I hope those who are here watching realize that it is not always the case in this place, as we all know, for us to agree on a given issue. This one, even though peppered by occasional political shots back and forth from each side, is an issue which goes beyond partisanship. It is an issue on which if we work together, if we keep in mind the people and the families of those involved, that would be our ultimate responsibility to these workers and to the Province and the overall economic benefit that a yard such as the Newfoundland Dockyard, functioning well, can provide good work for these people.

Now, not only is there the idea of it providing work for those involved, but it must be something they can be proud of, that we can stand up and say, we are going to do work here that is second to none, that we are going to give our utmost and give our best, and that the people involved in the management of the Dockyard and other facilities throughout the Province, put the best foot forward on behalf of the Province and make sure that the people who have some work that has been produced here realize it is topnotch and top quality, because Newfoundlanders generally at anything they do and undertake, do a really good job.

It is well known. If you look in all corners of the globe you will find people from this Province who are doing top work and who are singled out because of the fact they are Newfoundlanders. We recognize that but there is always someone asking: Where did they come from? The hon. member opposite also talked about the direct and indirect jobs. Well, that is not really the kind of thing we need to study, but we do know that with a $25 million payroll, that $3 million loss is no loss. In the event of a Crown corporation that has produced work in that amount, with that amount of activity, given a $3 million deficit on their accounts at the end of it, the Province and the nation are better off because of that.

Some would say if that money was then ploughed back into the Dockyard, or at the very least, provided so that the activity could be undertaken to seek new work for the facility, to recapitalize it, to assist with the recapitalization, then it would be much better off and the workers there would have a future.

I, like all other members, when I heard the CBC radio report - at the time I was listening to CBC, saying they were not going to bid on outside work, that they were not going to bid on any work other than the Eastern Canadian provinces, and they were not going to bid on international work. Immediately in my mind it clicked in that they are attempting to dismantle the facility, that this is the key and it was being done through Marine Atlantic stewardship at the time.

Now, to understand the way Marine Atlantic has functioned over the last number of years, just to give a case in point, Marine Atlantic normally are given a subsidy of a certain amount of money per annum as most of us in here know, but for the benefit of some of those who are listening, the way they have dealt with it over the last number of years, since the arrival of some of the managers of late, or the presidents of Marine Atlantic, they have attempted to cut their deficit year after year, after year.

They have brought in enhancements such as performance management for their workers, different things and activities, have cut back on the amount of service, and tried to rationalize and create efficiencies where possible, for good reasons. But what we see now is the Dockyard, of course, being handed over to Marine Atlantic managers and the individual in charge, Mr. Morrison, whom I have only met very briefly but who I am told is a gentleman who likes a tidy bottom-line. Now, a tidy bottom-line is one thing but the need to have this kind of facility here in the Province, I think, is without question. Certainly, it would be even better if all of the Marine Atlantic vessels were at the very least serviced here. I would love to see them all serviced in my own home district. It is not sensible. We could do some of the work there, but if the dry dock work could be done here on all of the Marine Atlantic vessels that would be very advantageous to the Province, and that is the kind of thing that needs to be done.

The other thing, if you look at it as a business, then banks and financial institutions only look at the bottom line, so if you are out to sell the property, or if you are out to sell the facility as a running operation, then it is the bottom line so they will throw out little things like the $3 million loss, which buys into the idea that it is being run as a business but still, as the hon. Member for St. John's Centre said, you cannot look at it that way and that way only.

The spin-offs from the amounts of money that have flowed through that facility, and the overall business activity, is not only good for St. John's; it is good for the whole Province. It is more work that is being done here in this Province, contributing to the health and welfare and well-being of our people, and it is certainly good, productive work, and good quality work on behalf of the workers at the dockyard, so these people must be unrestrained. They must be able to go and seek out the work. Give them a future. They must have a future by taking off the handcuffs that were placed on them by saying: No, you cannot bid on this work. They need a good team of engineers. They need good people to back them up, and it is very possible that the people who are there now may be just the people who are needed, as long as they are unrestrained in their ability to seek out the different work available.

Looking at what is happening throughout the world, and the amount of work that is potentially available, one only has to look at the electricity market, which is something I am familiar with. As some members have heard, the facility in Port aux Basques had signed a contract to deliver an electricity barge for a foreign nation, and this barge work and the amount of activity on that, should we manage to get this contract finalized and financed, and everything in place on it, along with a number of others throughout the world, is the tip of the iceberg for the amount of industrial steel fabrication work that needs to be done throughout the world.

What we will be doing essentially is bringing a lot of the underdeveloped nations throughout - I will give the hon. the Member for St. John's East a little bit of time if he would like out of my time. I don't plan to spend the whole amount of time here.

Anyway, the industrialization, so to speak, or the fact that in a lot of these underdeveloped countries we are going to bring them up to the infrastructure standards that the world requires. Based on that, I think that there is a promising amount of work out there, there is a promising potential for the yard, as long as the right people are allowed - and the federal government, I would submit, if provided with these facts in a good, concise format with the right kind of representations being made by the government, in a solid, non-bickering way... The hon. Member for Kilbride, again I commend him for bringing this here today, but I remember back over the last number of years, every time I would mention my district, the hon. Member for St. John's South would be right in there with the dockyard, and making sure that it wasn't left on the table. It was always mentioned, and I am not saying this to try to say that - I give you full credit where credit is due, and it is the kind of thing where this hon. member over here also has been diligently working on behalf of the people in the dockyard.

Let's work together. Let's not try to make this a Progressive Conservative issue or a Liberal issue. If the government in Ottawa needs a kick in the teeth over it at some point in the future, then sure, we will all be there to do it, if that is what is required, but you get a lot more at times with honey than you do with vinegar, and let's make sure we put that effort forward.

This government has committed that we will consider an application to the EDGE program to make sure that if a privatization is what it will take, that we will put it in there, give the private operators some consideration for the potential of avoiding the tax implications for the first ten years. These are the things that we need to look at, and take it forward to the Marine Atlantic people, and make sure this is not just a part of Marine Atlantic's concern with the bottom line.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I might add, yes, the EDGE program, which the city has now agreed with. So now that will be not only the tax implications on the part of the Province, but also the municipality of St. John's having kicked in their support for the EDGE program, a tenet of this government's economic policy. Hopefully that will give us some extra oomph. So, to the people here from the dockyard, I understand the concern and I hope that on behalf of people in other areas of the Province - and I might add that I know some people there at the dockyard, I was speaking to one of the boilermakers there today on the way in who is a friend of mine, a fellow who came from Port-aux-Basques to look back at the railway when it was closing, he moved in here to St. John's and has been working at the dockyard ever since, and other people whom I know who have worked there doing steel fabrication, so it is something that touches each and every one of us, and we hope that our efforts in this House today are a step along the road to having the problem resolved and to making a bright future for these people and a better future for all of those in the Province.

I will allow the Member for St. John's East to have part of my time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before I recognize the Member for St. John's East, I think it is the understanding that the hon. Member for LaPoile has agreed to give some of his time, and it is my understanding that the Member for Kilbride has also indicated that he will give some time -

MR. E. BYRNE: If the hon. Member for St. John's East has five minutes now that will be fine, because I wouldn't mind having the last fifteen minutes. If he didn't have the opportunity -

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, okay.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: No, no.

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to have an opportunity to support the resolution brought forward by the Member for Kilbride and in doing so, I want to say that I think it is vital, it is vital that the government of this Province set forth in the strongest possible terms the importance of the dockyard to the economy of this city and to this Province.

When the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology was talking about the history of the dockyard going back 100 years, Mr. Speaker, that period of time, 100 years was perhaps the highlight of St. John's commercial and manufacturing activity. In order to maintain a vibrancy, over time there has to be modernization, there has to be adaptation, there has to be an increase in diversity and ability and that has happened, Mr. Speaker, it has happened on the part of the workforce in that dockyard but it hasn't happened on the other part of the assets, the physical assets of the dockyard, particularly when it comes to the efforts of the federal government, Marine Atlantic and CN.

This Province, Mr. Speaker, had to put in the financing for the synchrolift because Marine Atlantic and the Government of Canada would not do that and that, Mr. Speaker, is an indication of the fact that the Government of Canada has not paid sufficient attention to the importance of the Newfoundland Dockyard to the people of this Province.

One of the most significant assets is the workforce itself and that, as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations has said, to judge that, one only has to look at the successful batch plant barge that was built there last year, that it is a credit to the workforce despite the assets that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has called Dickensian, the workforce at that dockyard was able to put together a very, very competent, high standard, highest quality piece of work under the time frame and on Budget, Mr. Speaker.

Now when we talk about the dockyard losing money, there are two things I need to say about that. Number one: I, too question the audit, I question the accounting methods, I question the allocation of costs at the Newfoundland Dockyard and anybody with whom you talk down at the dockyard, whether they are in management or in the union can give you examples of the kind of things that are done that make that dockyard uneconomic from a bean counter accountant point of view.

But let us look. Who owns the dockyard and who is losing money? Are the people of Canada losing money on the dockyard, they are the owners? If there is a $25 million payroll and $8 million go back in income tax alone to the federal and provincial taxpayers, the people of Canada are making $5 million; it is not a loss to the people of Canada, it is not losing money for the people. It may be if you look at just the operation alone and have your bean counters charge out work in certain ways, you can, maybe, show a loss but, Mr. Speaker, it is not a loss to the people of Canada and the people of this Province.

The $25 million payroll that we talk about, that money is all spent and most of it is spent here in this Province, here in this city and there are taxes paid on the expenditure side as well, whether it be GST, RST and all of the spin-off that other people have talked about, so the actual cost benefit analysis, if it was properly done on this dockyard then you would find that it is in fact a terrific financial, commercial and economic asset to this Province.

I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, when you are going to talk to Mr. Rod Morrison I don't think you can expect that you are going to convince him of anything. The issue here is a political one, not a commercial one necessarily. Obviously, if the political will is not there to make that dockyard a success and to keep it viable, to modernize it, to promote it, to ensure that it lives, that is a political decision and that is not going to be made by Mr. Rod Morrison who has been told by the Minister of Transport in Ottawa to commercialize that operation. So there has to be more than a chat with Mr. Rod Morrison. There has to be a concerted effort by the government of this Province to insist that the Government of Canada makes sure that that yard stays viable. It must happen, Mr. Speaker, and it must happen now.

I see that I am out of time and the Member for Kilbride wants to speak for another fifteen minutes on this matter and he has the right to under the rules but it is an important resolution. It is important and I am pleased to have a chance to go on the record as supporting it. I would like to speak for another fifteen to tell you all the other reasons why this dockyard must be saved but indeed, Mr. Speaker, it must and I call on the government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) couple of more minutes?

MR. HARRIS: If I can have a couple of more minutes I would be pleased to do that.

I think the government of this Province has a responsibility to do more than just meet with the minister, talk to the minister or meet with Mr. Rod Morrison. We have to have some of that fighting spirit, Mr. Speaker, that we have had in the past. Where are the fighting Newfoundlanders on that side of the House when it comes to dealing with the Government of Canada? I don't care whether they are Tories, Liberals or who they are. The government of this Province are the ones who have to stand up and fight for the people of this Province because they have the power to do that, they have the authority as the government of all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to do that and it is only if they do, are they going to be listened to.

It is not good enough, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, the Premier and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to be told to go off and talk to Rod Morrison because Rod Morrison has no power, Mr. Speaker, Rod Morrison is doing what he is bid to do by the Government of Canada. We must insist that that dockyard be saved. It is a valuable asset, the workforce is a valuable workforce and that asset must be saved and used rather than turn that part of this Province into part of the wasteland that the Canadian government seems to be prepared to have created in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Those are my remarks and I hope the government shows some fighting spirit on this one.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for Kilbride will speak to close the debate.

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

I appreciate the support of members who have spoken to this Private Member's Resolution. I am sure that the people of the dockyard appreciate it much more. I would just like to talk about some of the comments that have been made. Certainly, I would like to thank the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology for his eloquent and passionate plea on behalf of the dockyard, but he said a couple of things that must be highlighted and that we must talk about. He said there were three choices facing the dockyard. One is recapitalization of the yard, two, privatization of the dockyard, and three dismantle it, or shut it down.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, privatization is not going to proceed in such a way as to protect the number of jobs there, that are there right now or possibly could be there, if we do not recapitalize. It has to be done. It is as simple as that. Closure of the yard is not a possibility, it is not something that should enter into the minds of the politicians here provincially. It is not something we should discuss as an eventual possibility, or any possibility. We must, we have no other choice but to recapitalize the yard, to position it, to take advantage, as people said, to unlock the handcuffs and let them go after work internationally.

The drydock, the synchrolift, the strategic location, and the ability of the highly skilled and highly trained workforce are the four assets that we have that can make us compete nationally, internationally, and win. That is the reality of the situation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: The other thing that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology said which was more enlightening than anything, he said he understands that there was one privatization proposal in front of the federal government now but he is not privy to it.

Now, for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to say that he is not privy to the private sector proposal that has come forwards to privatize the yard tells me an awful lot. Has he asked for it? I do not know. He did not elaborate on that. If he has not asked for it, then why hasn't he asked for it? Does that privatization proposal only mean that there will be a base of operations employing sixty people dealing with the Hibernia site? Does it mean that there will be no fabrication or boat building going on? I suggest to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that he get on the plane tomorrow, go to Ottawa, and make himself privy to that privatization proposal so that he knows what implications are coming from the private sector, and not leave it in the hands of the Federal Government. Their track record is abysmal when it comes to dealing with this Province.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to say, in response to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, I know he has worked hard for the Dockyard; I understand that. Where has the effort been? I understand that over the last six years, since being elected, it is something that has been close to him, but last year is when the Provincial Government should have stepped in. Last year when Marine Atlantic scuttled the Dockyard's ability to bid internationally, that is when the questions should have started to be asked - they were asked in the House here - but things got a bit better at the Dockyard; work came in, contracts came in. When that work was finished and completed there were no future plans.

The reality is this, and some people have indicated that this is not a political issue. I said, when I stood up first, that we should not be - it is a non-partisan issue, but make no mistake; this is a political issue federally. Make no mistake that the Minister of Transport, who does not know where St. John's, Newfoundland is, I would say, and what that Dockyard means, he understands full well what the shipyard means to Moncton, New Brunswick; he understands full well what the shipyard means to Halifax, and is willing to support it. But it is a political issue and we must, here, stand tall and together politically and have the will to say this is not going to take place. The option of closing down the Dockyard or dismantling it is not an option that we will accept. It is as simple as that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: But more than anything else, what has been lacking so far is the real, concrete issue that we should be talking about; what are we going to do about it provincially? What is the government, provincially, prepared to do? Ministers and some people who have spoken have talked about it. After they meet with Morrison, they will take the case to whomever they have to take it.

Let me make a couple of suggestions as to what we should do right now. A committee of this House should be struck immediately to deal with the issue. We should meet with the Board of Trade; we should meet with the St. John's City Council; we should meet with the minister, Brian Tobin, who has been silent on this issue to date, and make it known that the citizens of this Province will not accept another closure and another loss of 500 to 700 jobs. Are we that flush in this Province that we can throw up our hands today and say goodbye to another 700 jobs? I think not. My god, is it not worth standing up and fighting for? Let's get beyond the rhetoric; let's get beyond it.

The money that has been talked about to recapitalize, somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million and $30 million - if it comes to it, if the investment is so good and if members opposite believe in what they have already said here in supporting this, is it not our responsibility primarily to say to the people of this Province, to the people who work at the Dockyard and to the Dockyard itself - if we have faith in the Dockyard and its survival, if we have faith that it can prosper as an initiative, if we have faith in the workforce then let's demonstrate it. Let's put some money up front provincially into it as well. If we have to, over the next five to seven years, introduce a schedule of payments that will see $4 million to $5 million a year go into that Dockyard to recapitalize it, to give it a fighting chance, at the end of the day if that is what we have to do then we must do it, Mr. Speaker, we have no other choice.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: My final comments dealing with Marine Atlantic: It is obvious to any thinking person that Marine Atlantic is out to dismantle the Newfoundland Dockyard. I mean, how laughable when you consider exactly what has happened here. You have Marine Atlantic, a Crown corporation, fully subsidized by the people of Canada, complaining that the Newfoundland Dockyard is losing money and that it doesn't deserve subsidy. Is it not part of Marine Atlantic's mandate for all of its companies to ensure that it is viable, to ensure that it moves on, to ensure that it prospers? That is the mandate of Marine Atlantic, and to say - I have to stress it again and again, while Rod Morrison is the president and CEO of Marine Atlantic, he is not the problem, he is a symptom of the problem. This solution has to be a political solution. It has to happen at the Federal Government level and at the Provincial Government level. There is no question about that.

Mr. Speaker, if privatization is a serious consideration for the Newfoundland Dockyard,why would you, a CEO of a company,say on one hand that privatization is something that we are very, very interested in, and then say on the other hand that we are continuing to bid work and then, in the same breath, announce publicly that which has impacts and ripple effects throughout the provincial, national and international community in terms of business, say, `but the distinct possibility is that we will dismantle the Dockyard'? If I had $100 million or $25 million and I was interested in the Newfoundland Dockyard and I listened to the CEO of a company express that type of confidence in the ability of what it is trying to privatize, it is doubtful, extremely doubtful, that I would be willing to put my money into such an operation. I mean common sense would dictate otherwise. It would be simple but, Mr. Speaker, that is not happening. The reality - and there are many realities with this issue. Maybe it is time, like I said, that this government, because it has an opportunity, demonstrate clearly that it has the backbone to stand up on certain issues to Ottawa. As the Member for LaPoile said, if the Federal Government needs a kick in the teeth, or a kick in the behind over this issue, then what are we waiting for? They have the opportunity to say to everyone in this Province, whatever John Chrétien and Brian Tobin want to do in this Province, that it is not alright by them, that it must pass the approval of the government, that it must pass the approval of this provincial Assembly. That is the opportunity that is before them politically. But the impact, the results of that stand, will be far felt by the 700 or so people and the families who are working at the Newfoundland Dockyard, and that is what I am after. I am after security for individuals. I am after maintenance of jobs.

I know the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has talked about providing incentives under the EDGE legislation. While that may be a start, we have a longer way to go in terms of this, but the simple truth of it is that we must first come to terms and acknowledge that the problem is that Marine Atlantic wants to dismantle the Dockyard and it is doing so with the endorsement of the Federal Government. Only then will we be able to deal with the real issue which is very political - very, very political - and once we acknowledge that as a group and as individuals, only then will there be some hope for the Newfoundland Dockyard, its future, and, as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology said, so that it can continue, will continue and must continue for the next century.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Motion carried unanimously.

The House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.