May 19, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                Vol. XLII  No. 28

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly, fourteen journalist students from Lawrence College accompanied by their instructor Mr. William Callahan, a former member of this House and minister of a previous government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Premier about the astounding news release he issued yesterday afternoon, a news release on Trans City, saying the five former ministers who earlier expressed dissent with the Trans City process are now, miraculously, satisfied. The Premier speaks for all five members of his caucus saying that they were quite impressed by the whitewash report of the suspended Minister of Justice and now they are all singing from the same songbook as the Premier in praising the Trans City deal as being in the best interest of the people of the Province.

I would like to ask the Premier, how did he extract the recantation of the five former ministers? Did he threaten to expel them from the caucus? Did he promise them that he will leaving soon - that the Premier will be leaving soon?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Did he beg them to praise him so that he will look good in the eyes of Prime Minister Chrétien, from whom the Premier is hoping to get a lucrative appointment?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member knows she can't impute - the latter statement was out of order.

But the hon. the Premier, if he wishes to respond.

PREMIER WELLS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

One of these days, if she is here long enough, she might learn not to make statements like that.

Mr. Speaker, there is no miraculous recantation or any such thing. It is fairly simple. The members aren't bigoted, they aren't prejudiced, they don't have a committed position that they intend to maintain in the face of all facts or in the face of all reason. They looked at the complete assessment of it that was done by the deputy clerk of the Council and by the Government House Leader and they simply acknowledged that what was reported by the deputy clerk was a reasonable explanation of what occurred. They acknowledge that no minister had any more information than they had. Every one of them is agreed on that. Every one of them has told me they have no doubt about the integrity of the government and the honesty with which the government dealt with this issue; each of them has told me that.

Now, if the hon. members opposite want to try to maintain this forever to get whatever mileage they can out of it - because they simply have nothing positive to offer. Because even the former Leader of the NDP, in his advice to the new Leader of the Tory Party, advised her to follow the policies established by the government in dealing with economic issues. And knowing they have nothing positive to offer then presumably they have to continue to rely on something like this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Well, that was no answer. The mystery remains.

I want to ask the Premier now about out-migration from Newfoundland and Labrador, about the mothers' sons and daughters and the mothers and fathers who have been leaving Newfoundland and Labrador.

Statistics Canada recently released to the news media, statistics for 1993-'94, so they are not completely up to date, but those figures include the departure from the Province of over 15,000 people in that year, in 1993 -'94, contrasted with 10,000 the year earlier, an increase from 10,000 to 15,000 from 1992-'93 to 1993-'94.

Now, a departure of 15,000 people from this Province is close to a loss of 3 per cent of the total provincial population. Is the Premier worried about these figures?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, it concerns me, but I think, in fairness to the people of the Province, they ought not to be misled; we ought to put the figures into perspective. The net loss, I don't recall it specifically but my recollection was 4,500, 4,700, something of that magnitude.

Now, Mr. Speaker, starting in 1988, '89, '90, we finally started to recover our population, a loss that had started in the 1970s, and in most years, from the late 1970s right on through, we were losing population steadily at a time when the government of that day did not have to cope with the economic catastrophe of the closure of our groundfish fishery.

Now, Mr. Speaker, look at it by contrast. In 1994, when we had to cope with the elimination of the basis for earning an income for 30,000 people in this Province, our loss was somewhere around 4,500. In 1985, when several of the leading members on the opposite side were ministers responsible for the direction of the economy, the net loss was 5,500.

Now, Mr. Speaker, put in that kind of perspective, the situation is well understood by people. Am I concerned? Yes, I am, greatly concerned. We are doing everything we possibly can to cope with these extremely difficult circumstances, and if you are to judge by the objective opinion of people who speak about it, not connected with government, not connected with the Liberal Party, we are doing a darn good job with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: I happen to know that the Leader of the Opposition was at a dinner, or a luncheon, yesterday when the Chairman of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce spoke about the high degree of success this government has had in dealing with its financial and economic issues and the great progress we were making, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I recognize the hon. member on a supplementary.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, I was at a CIBC luncheon yesterday, at which the Minister of Finance of this Provincial Government spoke about CIBC being the government's banker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada recently released to the public figures indicating that in 1993-'94 over 15,000 people left Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, these figures are obviously not up-to-date. More than a year has passed since the 1993-'94 year, and I would like to ask the Premier - because he would have more recent data, he may have more detail than Statistics Canada has released to the public - does the Premier have figures indicating that the problem of out-migration is actually worse than a loss of 15,000 in 1993-'94?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I don't have any figures that indicate that right at the moment, but I will check the up to date figures that I do have and I will make them available. I will also get the figures for 1985 and look at the out-migration in 1985 and make all of those figures available so that people can consider the issue in perspective. I also will provide the relative impact on the economy of an event like the closure of the groundfish fishery and advise the House as to what the circumstances were in '84-'85 when there was a higher level of out-migration.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I look forward to getting the Premier's data because I understand that he does have statistics indicating that the problem of out-migration is worst than a loss of 3 per cent of the total population the year before last. Mr. Speaker, this is a serious problem and this is 1995. The Premier is in office and has been for over six years. What plans does the Premier have to deal with the escalating problem of out-migration? What is the Premier going to do to stem the tide of people leaving this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: We started it six years ago, Mr. Speaker. The plan started about restructuring the devastated economy that the Tories left us with. We started, Mr. Speaker, and put in place policies that gave the Province a new direction and a completely restructured and reoriented economy, dealt with the devastating debt level and the persistent deficit year after year that put us in a position where we had to tax people inordinately and it made it unattractive for businesses. We started correcting circumstances, Mr. Speaker, that the former government had put in place where the net income from corporate income tax was significantly less, about half of the net income from liquor sales, about half of the net income from tobacco tax and is now even less than the net income from the sales of lottery tickets. That was the economic mess that we had to correct.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I remind hon. members that despite our significant reduction of corporate income tax rate from 17 per cent to 14 per cent our corporate income tax net return has increased last year and it is projected to increase again this year. The economy, Mr. Speaker, is starting to recover because we dealt with the fundamentals. It is laid out in the Strategic Economic Plan and people were alerted from the beginning. All they had to do was read it. Don't expect an immediate turn around within twenty-four hours. It is going to take some time to solve the problem of devastation to our economy that the Tories left us, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

Yesterday the Minister of Finance tabled a report from Treasury Board and the Secretariat dealing with the Workers' Compensation Review Division. My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. Does he accept the report in its totality, which basically says that the chief review commissioner interpreted the rules and regulations and legislation himself - took it upon himself to interpret the legislation - so that he could charge for postponements? Does he accept that?

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

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

I have had an opportunity to look at the audit from Treasury Board and, as the member well knows, it is incumbent upon the Department of Employment and Labour Relations, at the end of a calendar year, which would be July of this year, to review the Workers' compensation Review Commission and its workings over the past year, and because of this report I would sense that we would have to go up and use this as, I suppose, a base or a guideline, along with some other things that we would normally do. I see nothing wrong with the report. I think it is an interpretation -

MR. HEWLETT: (Inaudible) get you off the hook.

MR. MURPHY: The Member for Green Bay should still be on the hook. If we had the $90,000 he had in severance we would be able to do a lot better.

Let me say to the Member for Kilbride, in all honesty, that there is nothing here only interpretation, and let me remind the member that the word `postponement' may very well constitute a case. These are the kind of things that we would have to look at. When you see commissioners - all commissioners - who spend a tremendous amount of time reviewing a case, and subsequently new medical evidence comes into play and causes it to be postponed, that tremendous amount of work has been done, but we will look at it as required under legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, a supplementary.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am shocked that the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, the minister responsible for the administration of the Workers' Compensation Act, the minister responsible for the review division, is going to wait until the end of the year to do a report.

Just let me read from the report what it says: The chief review commissioner and the administrator decided that a postponement hearing constituted a case. While the approach taken is not unreasonable, further direction and advice on the definition of a case should have been requested from the Department of Employment and Labour Relations.

Let me ask the minister this: Why are you going to wait until the end of the year to provide some direction on whether Mr. Gullage can continue to postpone, and charge for postponements, which this report allows him to do? Why don't you take some action now and provide direction to the chief review commissioner and the review division on this matter?

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

MR. MURPHY: What the member should remember, Mr. Speaker, is that the legislation came down in June. June isn't very far away, and I can say to the member that the cases that were interpreted as postponements prior to the audit have not been billed for since. We are putting together now the criteria to do the review. We will be over there very shortly. The House is not engulfed in flames. I think the member should show a little more responsibility. He has the report. He was up earlier this year with all kinds of innuendo and what have you based on no fact. I think what the member has in front of him now is factual. It is an internal audit done by the people from Treasury Board, an independent audit that we provided freely to the House as the member requested, and so we should. I don't see anything in here to indicate that we should rush over there this afternoon and lock the doors until we are satisfied. We are doing what is required of us, I say to the member.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the only fact that is obvious to me is that Mr. Gullage, a blatant political patronage appointment, who is not qualified to review the decisions in the first place, is continued to allow to pillage and plunder the injury fund of this Province by getting $500 for postponing cases while the government will do nothing about it.

In the report also it clearly indicates that between July 1 and August 31 the acting chief review commissioner, Mr. Brace, did not charge for postponements because he interpreted the rules and regulations as they should have been interpreted, that one case, once it is heard in its entirety, for $500. I ask the minister again: How can he stand as the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and find the actions of Mr. Gullage, who took it upon himself to interpret the legislation of this Province, where if any other ordinary citizen had done so would have been thrown in jail or charged - how can he sit there and let that happen?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, when I refer to the member as having more responsibility obviously that dissertation and accusations about anybody is totally unfounded. Mr. Brace and Mr. Gullage and all commissioners, okay, up to a total of fifty-four as the member knows, had postponed cases, invoiced, billed and paid for. I say to the member again, the department will be over there within a couple of weeks with this report and other items that we would normally do. It is the responsibility of myself as the minister to report back to government our findings. If we find that there are some discrepancies that need to be looked at and changed then that report will contain that and government will deal with it as we dealt with the $437,000 that the Appeal Tribunal cost Workers' Compensation.

What the member should also realize is that the new regime has saved over $240,000 and cleared up the whole backlog of those people who had appeals in there. So to stand up and throw accusations at Mr. Gullage or anybody else is totally unfair.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Premier questions concerning provincially owned fish plants in the Province. Is the Premier aware of how many plants are owned right now by the Province? What are the plans that the government has for those fish plants?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can't at the top of my head tell him how many. I don't think it is a large number but I will certainly undertake to get the information and provide it to him. I can say to him generally that the government basically wants to put on hold any decision to do anything with any fish plants that it may own that are not operational at this stage until the joint federal-provincial fisheries renewal board that is functioning to deal with future harvesting regulation and future processing regulation has an opportunity to consider the whole matter and give the government recommendations. We do not want to exacerbate the problem by making decisions without taking the whole of the impact on the fisheries in place.

It is absolutely clear now that one of the major factors that contributed to the downfall of the groundfish fishery, as well as excessive foreign overfishing, was our own excessive fishing. The federal government allowed two great increases in the TAC, and the result, with other factors, is that has caused the destruction of the fish stocks.

One of the pressures on increasing the TAC was the increase in the number of plants, and the increase in the number of boats, so we have to acknowledge some responsibility for decisions taken in this Province. We do not want now to exacerbate an already difficult problem with our fisheries, and we want to tread cautiously rather than in a daring way, and that is generally the approach we intend to take, but as to the specific number, I will get that information and provide it to the hon. member.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I understand the Premier's answer. There is a fish plant in my district right now, Mr. Premier, that has been put for sale by the provincial government. The community I am talking about is the community of Branch in St. Mary's Bay. The people of that community are very concerned that somebody is going to -

AN HON. MEMBER: Which community?

MR. MANNING: Branch, St. Mary's Bay.

The people of that community are very concerned that somebody is going to come in, the plant will go to the highest bidder, the plant may be torn down and carted away, without the people of the community really having an opportunity to express their concerns.

We all understand, as the Premier touched on, what the future holds in the fishery, and we can never tell what it holds for Branch or any other rural community in the Province, but I would like to ask the Premier: In the process of selling off this plant, or any other plant for that matter, in the Province, will the community concerns be a consideration to the provincial government before they sell the plants?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, as a general practise the government always consults everybody concerned, and the community, of course, is vitally concerned and vitally interested, before anything is done of this nature. Almost always the community and the fishing interests in the community have a significant input before decisions are taken.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As we speak here today in the House there are eighty-five people in the community of Branch who are either on minimum social assistance or have absolutely no income, and everyone is concerned about the future of the community. The plant may not operate as a fish plant, but the building itself may be used for some other industry.

I ask the Premier today: Will be assure the people of Branch that before a final decision is made on that particular plant, that his officials, or the officials of the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, will go back to the community with the proposals and discuss them with the community leaders and the community as a whole before a final decision is made on the sale of the plant?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I cannot give the member any guarantee as to precisely what process will be put in place, but what I can tell the member is that the community will have ample opportunity for input before the government disposes of it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Education and Training, and concerns a fundamental issue of upgrading in Adult Basic Education for the 100,000 people of this Province who have been unable to complete high school for one reason or another.

The minister says the federal government has cut off a number of purchased seats, and that is his explanation, but that does not explain why all night school courses for upgrading run by the Cabot College outside of the Cabot College itself, the community outreach centres in Flatrock, Torbay, Long Pond, Mobile, and the Goulds have been shut down, and why the western and central and Labrador community colleges are offering no night school courses anymore in Adult Basic Education.

I want to know why this minister is presiding over the destruction of Adult Basic Education opportunities for people in this Province.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. member should get his facts correct. The Cabot College has 741 part-time students in Adult Basic Education. Now, I do not know where the sites are, but I am confident that they are sites which are accessible to the people who need them. In addition to that, they have 429 full-time students.

In the case of Labrador they have fifty part-time students doing ABE and they have 220 full-time students doing adult basic education. What the hon. member should realize is that the cut which the federal government just gave deals with direct funding to individuals who are on unemployment insurance, or what have you. They are clients of the human resources department and that department decides how to buy space for their people.

What the federal government has said is, we are no longer going to buy as much space government to government but we are going to buy space government to institution. A few days ago they announced 2700 additional seats which they would make available for adult basic education on government to institution. That means, for the hon. member's benefit, that they will buy these seats, in some cases from public institutions and in other cases from private colleges, or whichever way is most suited to make the adult basic education most available to the clients who need it.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, the facts on these cutbacks come from the staff who have been teaching these programs, and the reality is that the Department of Education, through the community colleges, is getting rid of its mandate to provide basic education to those who need it. Is this part of a scheme to privatize all this, or is it really part of this government's getting away from its responsibilities to the people who the school system has already failed once, and is now, on the community college level, avoiding its mandate?

The cuts, Mr. Speaker, have amounted to more than 60 per cent of the programs that have been provided for adult basic education through the community college system as part of its regular mandate. This is a provincial responsibility. Why is he not prepared to acknowledge that his government has lowered its commitment to adult basic education through the community college system? Why is he not prepared to do that?

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

MR. DECKER: That is the easiest question of all. Why am I not prepared to acknowledge that we have somehow lowered our commitment? The question is obvious. I am not prepared to admit it because we have not done it. Why would I admit to something we did not do, Mr. Speaker? The hon. member does not know what he is talking about.

The fact of the matter is that there are today 4800 seats available in the public system and in addition to that there are 1200 seats in the private sector which are being made available. In addition to that in the volunteer sector everyone is involved. Now, the hon. members talks about some of the staff whose jobs are on the line. The reality is that we live in an age of constant change and government and educational institutions are constantly trying to look at the best way to deliver all of the courses which are about to be delivered. We are delivering university courses by distance education to Labrador West and to parts of the Burin Peninsula. Times are changing. We are using new technology in the deliverance of adult basic education. The other problem with making the old system available - let me give an example - college experience indicates that people who are not sponsored will not come on a full-time basis. With the reduction in sponsorship it is only normal to reduce capacity. Out of the current 227 on the waiting list for Central Newfoundland only five are prepared to go full-time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Back in the Budget of 1993 the government revised the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act, and this was done at that time to ensure a positive climate for investment in mineral development in the Province. At the time government said, and other members said at the time, that the cost of this initiative would be quite low, and that was true enough, and that it was expected to attract significant attention for potential investors.

One of the clauses, Mr. Speaker, of that particular act, Section 4, Subsection (2) said that a person may, in the current taxation year, deduct from the amount payable, under the Income Tax Act in respect of mining income in the Province for that particular year, shall apply for only one of each of the first ten years after commercial production is achieved.

Is the minister, now in light of what has been happening in Voisey Bay and the substantial royalties and tremendous benefits to this Province that could be realized, contemplating any changes to this particular act?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the Voisey Bay discovery is beyond our wildest dreams. It is the best mineral discovery probably in the history of Newfoundland. It is a great discovery that is going to bring great value to the people of Newfoundland and Labour. When we made our changes to the tax legislation, or announced them two years ago in our Budget, it was after there had been a change in the federal budget of the federal taxation measures so that flow-through share regimes that were encouraging mineral exploration and expenditures across Canada had been disbanded and we were looking for a way that we could encourage people to come to Newfoundland and Labrador to explore. Well in that regard I would say we have also succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

In that, obviously, there are some financial implications. In developing this tax legislation, we modelled in doing that, every mine that we have ever operated in this Province that in recent times, relative to our taxation to see what would happen. With regard to Buchans for example, we took the Buchans model and put it into the taxation model so what would happen with Buchans, what would happen with the Daniel's Harbour, we modelled everything that we knew and everything that we thought we could expect and now we found Voisey Bay which is bigger than any of us could ever expect.

Since the discovery of Voisey Bay, we have been obviously doing our own assessment. We have an interdepartmental committee in place that has been looking at all the information relative to Voisey Bay, taxation wise, development option wise, every aspect, to see how this mine will be developed some years in the future. It is some years in the future, it will be developed as a mine I expect when all issues are addressed and everything is known; and at that time we will ensure that there is going to be a fair return on taxation to the people of this Province but also a fair return to the company for the money that they have invested. We are doing that evaluation right now, we will continue to do it until final decisions are made.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough please to call, Motions 4 through 7, and then go on to the first readings in the usual way?

MR. SPEAKER: Four through seven. Does the hon. the Government House Leader intend to do these as one motion or do you want separate motions put on each one?

MR. ROBERTS: I am in Your Honour's hands; there are only four, it might be quicker to do them one at a time, Sir?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, if the House consents, I'll do them in that fashion.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act". (Bill No. 18)

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act". (Bill No. 19)

Motion, the hon, the Minister of Natural Resources to introduce a Bill, "An Act To Amend The Mineral Act And The Mineral Holdings Impost Act". (Bill No.21)

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a Bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act". (Bill No. 20).

On motion Bill Nos. 18; 19; 21 and 20, read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, I say to my friends opposite we will have a look at Order No. 8 in due course but we are currently on government orders and unless the gentleman for Bonavista South has joined the ministry overnight, his orders don't come under government orders.

Your Honour, would you be good enough please to call Motion No. 1; I understand the Leader of the Opposition will continue to try to enlighten us on the Budget.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion No. 1, the Budget Debate, motion of non-confidence.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When I adjourned the debate yesterday, I had just moved an amendment to the motion, basically, the non-confident motion is what I proposed, seconded by my colleague from Waterford - Kenmount.

Mr. Speaker, there are many reasons why we and most people around the Province lack confidence in the Budget the government has presented to the House of Assembly. Well, first of all, it is a misrepresentation of the facts. It claims to result in a current account surplus but on examination that is revealed to be illusionary. The projected surplus is made up of $70 million from the sinking fund. Mr. Speaker, that $70 million was set aside to pay down our debt and with the $70 million being taken out of the sinking fund, essentially the debt is being enlarged.

Mr. Speaker, in another part of the Budget documentation, the claim is made that the government is bringing down the debt but obviously both can't co-exist. It is not possible to have a current account surplus, more than half of which is made up of a transfer from the sinking fund and, at the same time, have the debt lowered. I refer members to the page on the public sector debt which precedes the estimates, it is roman numeral XI. This demonstrates that the total public sector debt is calculated by adding together the provincial direct debt, the Crown corporation and other debt, the indirect debt and then subtracting from that total the sinking funds. Obviously, when the sinking fund amount is reduced, as it has been this year with $70 million being taken out for current spending, then the bottom line is, the total public sector debt has been enlarged.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is a prime example of why we maintain that the Budget is a misrepresentation of the facts. The government is trying to hood-wink people into believing that they are bringing in a fiscally responsible Budget with a current account surplus and, at the same time, that they are lowering the debt. In fact, they are adding to the debt and they are not really balancing current account.

Apart from the $70 million being taken out of current account, the government is also making up the claimed current account surplus by taking of the second instalment of the federal grant for the South Coast and White Bay ferry operations into current requirements. The bulk of that federal payment for the downloading was taken into current account and actually spent last year. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is like selling your house and using the proceeds to buy groceries. You can operate that way for a couple of years but when the money runs out there will be nothing left to buy food and there will be no asset, no house either.

Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the government is projecting the revenue from the sale of Newfoundland Hardwoods and Holiday Inn for the claimed $130 million current account surplus. So we have $70 million being taken out of the sinking fund. In a way, that adds to total government debt and that is irresponsible. We have $13 million from the Federal Government for the downloading of the ferry services and then we have another $13 million which the government anticipates to realize from the one-time sale of the Crown corporations, Hardwoods and Holiday Inn. The other $7 million they are taking from the Offshore Revenue Fund. So, Mr. Speaker, it would be wonderful if the government had succeeded in bringing in a balanced Budget and even better if the government succeeded in having a current account surplus for the current fiscal year, but based on these calculations that just is not going to happen. The government is essentially fooling or tricking people by claiming to have a Budget that is going to end us with $130 million current account surplus. This Budget is misleading.

Mr. Speaker, the government is misleading people on a number of fronts. The government continues to mislead and try to trick people on the Trans City scandal. The Premier might well leave. The Trans City deal was entered into back in the Fall of 1991. The Premier, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is still trying to maintain that that was a good deal for the Province. Now, we have a judgement of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland indicating otherwise. The Supreme Court has concluded that the government broke the law in doing the deal with Tom Hickman, Bill Case and Joe Butler. A few of the members of the Cabinet at the time who are no longer in the Cabinet have over the past few months dared to speak out publicly, indicating that they didn't think it was right and that they weren't made privy to everything that the Premier and the `Gang of Four' had, but now the Premier has whipped them into line.

The Premier issued a release yesterday presuming to speak for all five, maintaining that all five have taken back their previous objections, that all five are satisfied by the report of the former Minister of Justice, that all five are now concluding that yes, they had the same information as the other Cabinet ministers and that yes, the same as the Premier, they think that this really was a good deal for the taxpayers.

Mr. Speaker, nobody is fooled by that. Actually, it is a pathetic attempt by the Premier to try to cleanse his record. We have to ask why this is happening. Why would the Premier want to have all these internal goings-on? Why would he want to have the former Minister of Justice write a report? Why would he want to silence the five former ministers who had been daring to voice some reservations? Is it because the Premier is concerned about the record that may be examined by Prime Minister Chrétien and the Prime Minister's advisors on judicial appointments? Is it possible that the Premier has decided to retire from politics and is now concentrating on the next phase of his career, which he is hoping will involve a Federal Government appointment, perhaps an appointment to the bench.

We have to ask why would the five former ministers, having earlier voiced or written objections to the Trans City goings-on, would suddenly recant. Why would they allow the Premier to speak for them? Can't they speak for themselves? It is quite puzzling. We can only speculate that it has to do with the internal politics of the Liberal Party. It is no secret that many of the Liberal members and Liberal supporters outside the caucus are hoping and expecting that the Premier will retire sooner rather than later. It is no secret that the race to succeed the Premier has already started. We can only speculate that yesterday's astounding news release has something to do with the internal politics of the Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier can go through these pathetic attempts to make the Trans City deal appear to be justified but the public have pronounced otherwise. The people of the Province have already decided that the Trans City deal was rotten and people were naturally, greatly influenced in their thinking about the transaction by the Supreme Court judgement. What people have not seen yet is the full exposé on the extent of waste of public funds involved in the Trans City arrangement. Are we going to tell them - we will help tell them. I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, a sure sign that the deal is going to unnecessarily cost far more than the $3 million in court order damages, is that the Premier and the government refused to put the deal to the test of an independent inquiry. The closest the Premier would come to an inquiry was handing it to the minister sitting to the Premier's left, the minister I referred to last week as the fugitive from Justice.

Mr. Speaker, with the Trans City deal there was trickery and there was corruption. Now, we have the example of the rigging of the electoral district boundaries. Mr. Speaker, the government announced with some fanfare that it was going to cut spending on the House of Assembly by substantially reducing the number of seats and that seemed to be quite popular in the Province. The government then provided for legislation setting up an independent commission, the commission did about a years-worth of inquiries at a quarter of a million dollars of public cost. The commission made a proposal for forty districts. The government didn't like that arrangement so they changed the rules in mid-stream. They introduced amendments to the legislation to change the parameters, sent the commission around the Province a second time bringing the public spending on the exercise up to $400,000. Last June, the commission brought in its final report recommending forty-four districts saying that the parameters in the legislation were more restrictive than they would have liked and pointing out some possible amendments which would allow them to enlarge certain districts and make some changes which were enumerated, which would have resulted in forty-five districts.

Mr. Speaker, instead of dealing with that legitimate report from a legitimate commission, the government tried to fool people by having the Minister of Justice hand-pick a judge to do the bidding of the Cabinet in coming up with a proposal for forty-eight districts. Now, what is disturbing about this, of course, is that the government tampered with a process that in this day and age is supposed to be completely impartial but did it in such a way that was calculated to fool people. So there is a consistent pattern. We have in the case of Trans City an attempt to camouflage, trick and fool. We have in the case of the electoral boundaries rigging another attempt to hide from the public what is really going on and then we have the Budget that is now before us which was packaged in such a way as to give one appearance when the reality is quite different. It gives the appearance of being a balanced Budget with a current account surplus even when, in fact, it is not really balanced and when the total public sector debt is being increased.

Mr. Speaker, not only is the Budget misleading, it is fiscally irresponsible. Despite the rhetoric about needing to come to grips now with the problems that have accumulated so that we don't pass on an even greater burden to the people who come after us, this Budget is doing exactly what has been done in the past. This budget is compounding the burden. It is doing that by increasing the public sector debt, it is doing it by taking into current spending the proceeds from the cashing in of assets, and it is taking into current spending the one-time grants from the Federal Government for the downloading of the ferry operations.

Where is the money going to come from for the Province to operate the South Coast and White Bay ferry services in three or four years time? I suppose the thinking of the current Premier is that he will be on the Supreme Court, or Ambassador to Singapore somewhere in three or four years time, so he won't have to worry about that. Those who come after will have to deal with that accumulated problem. Mr. Speaker, this Budget is fiscally irresponsible.

In terms of economic effort, the Budget is a dismal failure. The Wells' Administration has failed miserably in its responsibility to improve the economy. One of the fundamental errors of this Administration has been neglecting our traditional resource-based industries, the industries in which we have a natural advantage or a competitive advantage, the industries that include the fishery, the forestry, and the St. John's Dockyard, which we have been debating lately.

The St. John's Dockyard is an industry employing up to 700 people, in which we have a tremendous geographic advantage over competitors. It is a facility which provides ship repair and ship servicing, and because the Dockyard is thrust into the Northwest Atlantic shipping lanes, two full steaming days away from the competitor in Halifax - Dartmouth, we have a natural advantage, and that is an advantage that we should capitalize on. Instead, the government has ignored it, neglected it. In fact, worse than that, apparently the government has aided and abetted the Federal Government in basically allowing it to deteriorate, crippling it by prohibiting competition or bids for foreign work, so we have to ask why. Why has this government given up on such a major employer in the Province, which is so logically suited for this location?

When it comes to the fishery, the government has complete responsibility for processing. Once fish are landed, the Provincial Government is in control. Now, the fact that the Federal Government has control over harvesting is problematic in terms of the development of the economy for the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a mistake we made at the time of Confederation. This government and this Premier, during the Meech Lake process, basically completely ignored the opportunity for negotiating a change to give us more control over harvesting, but with the terms of Confederation that we have had to work with, the Province has had full say over the processing sector, but this government has basically run away from its responsibility for the fishery. This government has been quite satisfied to shrug shoulders and point to Ottawa whenever a question arises.

Now that we have had the calamitous loss of the groundfish stocks, particularly worrisome off the Northeast Coast, the government is basically waiting for Ottawa to make decisions about adjustment. A couple of days ago here in the House of Assembly, my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank asked the minister of food, fish and Agri-foods about the government effort to make harvesting adjustment decisions, and the minister couldn't even name the members of the industry adjustment board. He cited the three federal appointees to the harvesting board, and he couldn't tell us whether the Provincial Government has appointed anyone to the board. He indicated that the Province might have appointed one, and it might have been announced. He certainly wasn't demonstrating any concern or knowledge. It was quite pathetic, actually.

So, when it comes to our most important industry for which we obviously have a huge natural advantage since we are out here on the vast Continental Shelf, the industry that has provided a livelihood for more of our people and families and communities than any other, the Provincial Government, strangely, has been quite passive.

The forestry is another major part of our provincial economy: The three newsprint mills, the sawmill industry. Again, the Provincial Government has shown very little concern or interest. The indications are that we have a wood supply shortage that is going to get worse. Just recently I received a report done for the federal Department of Forestry, paid for by a federal-provincial agreement on planning. The report is dated March 1995. The report gives some estimate of the extent of the wood supply shortage.

It says: The softwood requirements for commercial production into pulpwood, sawlogs and fuel wood over the foreseeable future are projected to exceed the total allowable annual cut for the Island by approximately 595,000 cubic metres. The newsprint industry faces a deficit of 239,000 cubic metres annually from their own limits, and the remaining deficit of 356,000 is from unalienated Crown lands which is the primary source of sawlogs for the sawmill industry.

Mr. Speaker, this is quite alarming. It indicates that the forest management efforts of the past have not been enough. It indicates that the loss of wood through harvesting, through natural causes, has exceeded regrowth. With this information - and I assume the government, which is totally responsible for forestry, would have had this information with more detail for quite some time now - instead of having less effort in silviculture we should have more effort.

The Federal Government has just announced in the recent Budget a decision to withdraw completely from providing funding to provinces for forest management. A great deal of what our Provincial Government has done over the past fifteen years, twenty years, has been paid for by the Federal Government through a series of joint federal-provincial agreements. The loss of the federal revenue for forest management is a bad loss for the Provincial Government. Strangely, the Premier and the ministers haven't even acknowledged the loss. Basically, they've acquiesced in it. We all remember that a couple of days before Paul Martin brought down his Budget the Premier of this Province said publicly: Cut, go ahead and cut. Well, they cut. They withdrew completely from cost-sharing forest management in this Province.

Worse than that, the Federal Government - I shouldn't say worse. It may not be as bad, actually. But of concern as well was the federal Budget decision to essentially close the federal forest research centre in Newfoundland. That centre, I think inappropriately has been located at Pleasantville, but nevertheless it has been located in Newfoundland. The centre, together with field stations in other parts of the Island, have provided annual employment on a full-time and seasonal basis for about 200 people. The Canadian Forest Research Centre personnel have a great deal of scientific expertise about Newfoundland forests, about several aspects of the forests, including insect problems. The federal government decision essentially is to transfer the Newfoundland Forest Centre to Fredericton, New Brunswick and to change the mandate for the operation from one concentrating on the local forests to one dealing with only national and international issues, so we stand to lose a great deal of the scientific expertise about our own local Newfoundland forests. We are also losing 200 jobs, 200 a year, many sophisticated high paying jobs, and again not a whimper out of the Premier.

We have to ask why this Premier is allowing the federal government to do whatever they want in the way of reducing services to the Province, cutting jobs, and shifting personnel and services out of Newfoundland to the Mainland. Why wouldn't the Premier of this Province be fighting for the interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians? It is unimaginable that the Premier of New Brunswick would be silent in the face of a federal government decision to move the forestry centre from Fredericton to St. John's, or Fredericton to Corner Brook. Why is the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador silent? Why is the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador apparently going along with the Chretien government's move to hurt this Province?

Mr. Speaker, we should have learned a powerful lesson from the loss of the northern cod stocks. When you look at what is happening today with trees, when you look at what is happening with crab, you have to wonder if we have really learned anything, or if we are not simply repeating the same patterns, the same patterns of mismanagement, greed, overharvesting, and undue pressure on precious renewable resources. If the fish and the trees, which provide the basis for a substantial part of our Province's economy are not properly managed and conserved, then the problems we have now will obviously become much worse for the people who come after us. This is 1995. What are people going to be saying thirty years from now about what we did when it comes to the fish stocks and crab stocks? What are people going to be saying about our performance relative to the forests?

I was saying earlier that this Budget fails to come to grips with economic questions, and I made the point that one of the basic mistakes of the government is neglecting fundamental resource based industries which have always made up most of our economic activity and generated a substantial part of our wealth and employment. I am talking about industries such as the fishery and the forestry. What the government has put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on include opportunities related to the so-called new economy.

Now, I would maintain that government needs to have a balanced approach. We need to pay a great deal of attention to the traditional industries which are still making up the bulk of our economy, and if we are to have any hope to survive and maintain any number of our coastal communities are going to have to continue to be of primary importance, but at the same time government should be pursuing opportunities in the areas of high technology and services, knowledge based businesses which are not geographic, businesses which can be done successfully anywhere in the world but just as well in Newfoundland and Labrador as anywhere else.

Instead, Mr. Speaker, the government has basically put most of their economic development thrust into the Economic Recovery Commission. Recovery, has a hollow ring when you look at the steady deterioration in the five or six years since Doug House was appointed and, Mr. Speaker, one of the efforts of the Economic Recovery Commission was a publication that came out last year called: Business Ideas for Newfoundland and Labrador. I don't know if any of you saw it. It is pathetic, I mean, you know, first, a reader laughed and then after you have had a chance to digest it and think about it, there is a temptation to cry.

What's the Economic Recovery Commission touting as opportunities for business development in the Province? Well, I will just give you a few examples. It's written for the primary school reader in a Dick and Jane style of prose. First, we have cakes and cookies -this is one of my favourites actually, big opportunity in cakes and cookies - The potential exists for the production of fresh and frozen cakes and cookies. Local processors could produce: cakes, brownies, cheesecakes and frozen torts to service the local market. Some ideas for cookies would include: biscuits, cream-filled, fruit-filled, short bread and holiday cookies. The cookies could be bagged, boxed or tinned. Cakes and cookies like bread products will increase in demand with quality and freshness. What a revelation! Now the only thing is, Doug House forgot to include recipes in the back of the book.

Now what other business opportunities has Doug House identified: Breads. Fresh bread products are always in demand and processors could benefit from introducing new products in this area. Then we have coffee. Processors could import coffee beans by bulk and utilize them to process decaffeinated, regular and flavoured coffees. Confectioneries: Local processors could take a share of our market that is largely serviced by processors from outside of the Province by producing confectionery items such as, brittle, fudge, caramel, praline, taffy, toffee, mints and others; and then we have, moving along -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who wrote that?

MS. VERGE: This is by Doug House and the Economic Recovery Commission.

MR. J. BYRNE: Does he visit Auntie Crae's before he goes to bed?

MS. VERGE: A good point, the Member for St. John's East Extern made.

It appears as though Doug House went to Auntie Crae's at Churchill Square and walked through the store and got a chapter for his book by itemizing what Auntie Crae's is doing, but in another chapter he identifies as a major opportunity for new business, Rocks. Rocks have the potential to provide diverse products for crafts, garden decorating and concrete surface enhancement; and then we have driftwood. Provincial driftwood is plentiful and on and on, so, Mr. Speaker, instead of addressing the big opportunities, the big responsibilities, we have Doug House concentrating on brownies and rocks.

Mr. Speaker, time is moving along and I understand there is somebody waiting for me outside. To sum up, Mr. Speaker, there are many, many reasons why we, in the Opposition and the people we represent, lack confidence in this Budget and in the Premier and the government who produced the Budget. First of all because the Budget is a misrepresentation of reality; it distorts figures by projecting a current account deficit when that's not justified. When it claims that the debt is being reduced when it is actually being increased because of the big haul from the sinking fund, the $70 million that is being taken out of the sinking fund. Mr. Speaker, the Budget is fiscally irresponsible because it is calculated for short-term political gain at some cost to the citizens, taxpayers and politicians of future years. The Budget will compound the problems that will be passed on to those who come after us.

Economically the Budget is quite inadequate, consistent with the performance of the Wells' administration throughout their six years in office. Overall the government has badly miscalculated by neglecting the traditional resource-base industries. They have put a disproportionate emphasis into pursuing opportunities related to the new economy. Some of that effort, I believe, is justified, and may pay some dividends, but by contrast much more significant opportunities related to the fishery and the forestry are being missed, and realistically most of our communities will make it or break it on the fishery and the forestry. Cookies and rocks may provide a small income supplement, but people are not going to be able to stay here based on some of these ideas Doug House is touting.

Mr. Speaker, socially the Budget is quite insensitive. When I spoke yesterday I pointed out that the cut of $10 million in social assistance is either another misrepresentation of what is actually going to be spent, or it is going to necessitate a callous reduction in the meagre payments for people who have no choice but to turn to the provincial government for income for basic needs.

Mr. Speaker, I will finish now by saying once again that this is a government that can no longer be trusted. The Budget cannot be believed. The claim that Trans City was in the best interest of the Province cannot be believed, and is not being believed, and the attempt to rig the electoral boundaries for Liberal partisan gain has to be seen for what it is and must be stopped.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to add a few comments to the debate this morning. First of all, I wanted to return to some comments made by the Minister of Education and Training just yesterday when he was trying to clarify some of the comments I made during Question Period a few days ago.

Mr. Speaker, when you look at the allocations in the Human Resources section of the Budget, which is item 1.2.05, you will find that in last year's allocation there was $257,400 allocated. This year there is $395,200 allocated, and the minister indicated that really is in the form of purchased services, which makes up a good bit of that - of course, that is $84,000 of it - but that would still leave nearly another $40,000 that has been added to the Human Resources Division.

If we go over to item 1.2.02, we will find that last year there was again the total administrative support there, the bottom line there being that there was $1,154,400 and, of course, that is moved to $1,269,800. What that means, of course, is that there have been additional people added to the bureaucracy. At the same time we find that we have had reductions in youth services. We have to ask ourselves, who is paying the price? Where is the additional money coming from, because the totals of the budget for that department would show a significant decrease.

Mr. Speaker, we know where that extra money is coming from. It is coming from the classrooms of Newfoundland and Labrador, it is coming from reduced numbers of teachers. It is coming from reductions in programs. It is coming from a cancellation of adult basic education seats in the various colleges. We also find as well another increase in the royal commission implementation. We find that last year $341,000 was spent, this year $418,000 spent.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. HODDER: That is right. My colleague for Ferryland indicates the total reduction in the department spending this year over last year is over $6 million. We know that savings is not coming from the bureaucracy, not coming from the minister's office or his support people. It is not coming from the group that is out there going to be implementing the royal commission recommendations, because that is all showing increases. So where are those dollars being saved? As I said before, they are being saved at the classroom level, they are being saved in the programs aimed at trying to improve the quality of education in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, in 1989 in the Liberal campaign manifesto the following quote appears: Young men and women who cannot find work have become despondent. There is little incentive to complete school and to seek higher education or vocational training. If this situation is allowed to continue we will be sowing the seeds of our own economic and cultural destruction.

I say to the minister and to the government, what has happened to the commitments made in 1989? Young men and young women are just as despondent today as they were in 1989. Just last week I talked to one high school where five students dropped out within a week. Unfortunately two of those students were passing every single course. Why did they drop out? Because they told their guidance counsellors that they didn't see much purpose in staying. These students went off to join the labour force in Prince Edward Island. We agree with the statement made in the Liberal policy manual of 1989. What we want to say to the minister is that he has to show greater leadership in making sure that we don't end up having more people dropping out of school. Therefore we have to go and make sure that the means are provided in budgets to encourage them to stay in school.

In 1989 as well, and I quote from the Liberal campaign manual, it says: The Liberal youth program will include a revised student loan program that will accommodate the needs of students in the advanced years of their education. Since 1989 there has been an 84 per cent increase in tuition fees at Memorial University. That is the kind of revised student loan program that this government in consort with their federal partners have introduced in this Province. We know that many students this coming fall will not be going to Memorial. We know that many of the people who would like to go can't go because they are poor. The price of being poor is to be denied access to higher education. That is the price you pay for the fact that you are born into a family that is not able to send you off to university.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the enrolments at Memorial are going down. They are going down not because the students don't want to go to Memorial, they are going down because the parents can't afford to send them to Memorial University.

So therefore, Mr. Speaker, we ask the government, What has happened to your commitment to accommodate the needs of students in the advanced years of their education? We know what has happened to it. We know that the Provincial Government, in full co-operation with the Federal Government, has made it more difficult to get grants - in fact, there are no grants at all - everything is put on the basis of student loans and students simply are saying that they can't afford access. Mr. Speaker, it is a tragedy that is unfolding, when young men and women in this Province have to say that they can't afford to go to university or they can't afford to take advantage of post-secondary education.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, as well, I would like to comment more fully on Adult Basic Education. This morning, my colleague, the Member for St. John's East asked questions on this particular matter. It has been asked as well, a week ago, by members of this party - the Member for Mount Pearl, while I was away. The situation is that we have the minister denying that there is a reduction in commitment to Adult Basic Education. Well, all his convincing is not going to do much for the lady who called me two days ago and called me this morning at 8:30 from Stephenville to tell me that at West Viking Community College -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If hon. members want to carry on a conversation, I suggest they do it outside the House.

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this morning, as I was indicating, I have received calls from all parts of the Province, and this morning in particular from the Stephenville area, where there is a great concern about the number of spaces that are being dropped for Adult Basic Education. Now, Mr. Speaker, the information I have received from that particular college is that there are thirty students right now in Level I. After June 30 of this year, all Level I Adult Basic Education spaces will be gone. In fact, there are only four seats open in August for Levels II and III. The question is, Who of those thirty, which four, will be able to move on to Levels II and III?

Mr. Speaker, the real problem here is that in the last year-and-a-half the number of spaces at West Viking College has gone from ninety seats to thirty seats to four seats. Now, Mr. Speaker, the problem is that these people -

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible). You're misleading the House.

MR. HODDER: I say to the minister, I am only saying here the information that has been communicated from the college itself and I assume the information to be reasonably accurate.

Mr. Speaker, the situation is that these students -

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order, the hon. the Minister of Education and Training.

MR. DECKER: The hon. member doesn't have his facts right. West Viking has 376 full-time spaces and 440 part-time. Now, the hon. member can't come to this House and come up with fabricated information, whoever is giving it to him, Mr. Speaker. He doesn't have his facts correct.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

To that point of order, there is no point of order. The hon. member disagrees with the statements that the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount is making but that certainly doesn't constitute a point of order. A difference of opinion is not a point of order.

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, with all the extra staff that the minister has added to his department this year, I am sure that with the increase in bureaucracy he will be able to get his fact correct from West Viking College.

MR. DECKER: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Education and Training on a point of order.

MR. DECKER: The hon. member knows full well that there is no increase in bureaucracy. As a matter of fact, we have taken three divisions and made them into two, and we have laid off fourteen people. Tell them there has been an increase in bureaucracy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, therefore, he must be paying the people who are there more. They must have had fantastic increases in pay because the total cost goes up. If there are fourteen fewer people then you are still adding to the bureaucracy regardless if it is more than salary or not.

The truth of the matter is that in this Province there are a great number of adults who left school without completing their high school education. The initiatives undertaken by the government in the literacy program are commendable and I have supported them. The concern that I have is not an argument with the minister over whether the number of seats are thirty, twenty, or whatever it is, the argument is over the word `commitment', and it is a commitment that we have to continue to those people who left school, not because they lacked ability, but because they, for one reason or another - because of parental support, or because of the culture in particular communities - whatever the reasons might have been, whether or not they left for personal reasons, we have to make sure that we continue the commitment to assure that young and middle-aged Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are given the chance to go back to school.

Now, we have to facilitate that and we can't say to people, as has been said in some of the colleges: You can come back in but it is going to cost you $500 per semester, so therefore you are looking at $1,500 per year. These people can't afford to pay that kind of tuition.

MR. DECKER: They are paying $1.00 an hour. This is ridiculous!

MR. HODDER: The truth of the matter is, regardless of what the minister is shouting across the floor - $1.00 an hour, these people can't afford $1.00 an hour. These people do not have the wherewithal to pay that kind of money. These people are poor.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to look at a couple of other issues as they pertain to education. The minister has been so focused on governance issues that people in the profession are wondering when we are going to see some real results at the classroom level in education, the real classroom level in education. Teachers are talking about disruptive students, and they are talking about identification of troubled learners at an early age. Now, the minister has spent three years and the only thing he has achieved is that he has become a disruptive minister.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the minister that he should be spending a little more time talking about the basics in education, and talking about what is happening at the classroom level, because just the other day I called a school in the St. John's area and I found out there were 715 students and thirty-four teachers. That compares not favourably with some of the other schools across the Province.

MR. DECKER: So, what are you saying, close down the school in the smaller communities and have all the teachers in here? Is that what you are saying?

MR. HODDER: No. What I am saying to the minister is that we need to have a comprehensive small schools policy. Last year during the labour dispute the minister said: If I can get the control to be able to allocate teachers the way I would like to allocate them we would have a really positive small schools policy. We are asking him today: Where is it? Where is the small schools policy? I would be the last person to stand here and say there should not be - the same ratio should be applied all across the Province in all the schools.

MR. DECKER: So you are saying, close out the small schools.

MR. HODDER: I'm not saying close the small schools, I'm simply saying that we have to allocate teachers more wisely.

Mr. Speaker, I was going to speak a few moments ago about identification of troubled learners at an early age. The minister started off a couple of years ago with his initiatives in kindergarten - full day kindergarten.

AN HON. MEMBER: And you were against (inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, at that time, my position was the same as it is today. I believe in having a part-time kindergarten from September until December and full-time from January until the end of the first year. That's what is done in Nova Scotia. It is working quite well. That was my position two years ago, it is my position today, and it is backed up by good solid research from right across the country. What the minister has done is he has fumbled around with full-day kindergarten. He talks about taking a curriculum off the shelf in New Brunswick and bringing it in instead of doing a comprehensive thing at that time as he is now supposed to be doing.

The truth of the matter is this government takes no responsibility at all for education until a child gets to be five years old. Let's compare the example in other parts of Canada. In other parts of Canada the department of education takes responsibility for the learning environment of children as young as age three. The Royal commission in Ontario is committed to two things: Early childhood education, and having the learning difficulties identified early and addressed. We are saying to the minister today: Give a commitment to early childhood education. If we are going to have an early start program in this Province for children we should be doing something about it and not simply saying that we are going to put fewer dollars into early childhood education. We need more dollars put into it.

I wanted, as well, to comment on a couple of other issues as regards education. A few days ago the minister talked about integrating students of different abilities into classrooms. Everybody in education knows that integration of students of different abilities into classrooms is a positive step. We know that. It is supported by all the research. What we have in other provinces is more support at the classroom level. In this Province we have taken students out of various institutions, we've closed down the institutions, but we haven't put the support into the schools to make a positive program possible.

I can't find in this Province any support for cancelling or changing the initiatives of the minister as far as the integration of students is concerned. What we want from the government is support by the way of personnel to make sure that students who have learning difficulties have equal opportunity to learn. That is what we need. I say to the government, when we are allocating teachers, make sure we recognize that students who have difficulty need support from different agencies, from the teacher level with special education teachers to support from Social Services with social workers, support from Health, making sure that their health needs are addressed, and we need a multi-departmental approach. If we do all of that we might be able to identify some of the learning difficulties at an early age. We can find lots of money at the federal level for stay in school when people are sixteen and seventeen years old. When they are already out of their age grade relationship we can find lots of money to help them catch up. What we don't have any commitment to is identifying students who have learning difficulties when they are three, four, five, six and seven years old, and all the research will show that you can tell by the time a child is three whether or not that child is likely to have difficulty in Grade I or Grade II.

What we need is some commitment to put money at the front end of education. Young children have no voices. What we need is a child-centred philosophy of education. Education and departments of the bureaucracy are not known to be very child centred. They are system centred. We want, in this Province, to put some emphasis where we need it, and we need a better commitment to primary and pre-school education. If a child does not have the skills on getting to Grade III or Grade IV, then you can be assured he is going to have greater difficulty being able to cope when you adopt remedial measures that are too little, too late.

Mr. Speaker, children exist in the future tense. They are what we have to look forward to in terms of our educational system. Children do not have political power, so therefore what we are saying is that we need to have a commitment to youth and a commitment to pre-school, and a commitment to early childhood education. We say to the minister and to the government, that is something we don't see a great deal of.

A great many of the comments in the Royal Commission Report were on the length of the school day. There are recommendations in the Royal Commission Report on making the school day longer. We haven't seen any initiatives in that regard at all, but we do know there is a direct relationship between the amount of time a child spends in school and achievement. The same thing goes for the length of the school year. There were recommendations that the school year be increased basically by ten days to 200 days. Again, we have not seen any implementation of that particular recommendation.

There has been some work done on the time on task. My contacts within the profession tell me that there are fewer days lost now for things like high school graduations, and other activities like that, than there used to be; but am assured by my contacts within the profession that there can still be tremendous improvements made in time on task. However, I have not seen a great deal of emphasis placed on that particular aspect of educational reform either.

A positive thing - school councils: the Royal Commission recommends that we would implement school councils. Some school boards do not particularly support school councils; however, it is a fact that where parents become directly involved in education, students do better, and the more direct involvement we have by parents, the better the achievement levels will be.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the government, in a positive sense, they should be encouraging school councils in every single school in this Province. It does two things: it makes sure that the parents themselves are more accountable to themselves for what happens, and makes sure as well that the schools become more responsive to the community. It is not putting extra pressure on the teachers and the school is saying it makes the joint approach work more positively, and education is too important to be left to teachers alone; it has to be the responsibility of everybody in the community not just teachers. It has to be the responsibility of parents, the responsibility, in some cases, of grandparents, the responsibility of the business community and the whole of society.

So, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say as well, my contacts and profession tell me that we are doing better with student absenteeism, a positive measure, and the department is to be commended for some of the initiatives they are taking there. However, it is a case of where, absenteeism is still a very fundamental factor in lowering student achievement.

Mr. Speaker, before I sit, I want to comment on a couple of other things. I want to comment on the electoral boundaries issue. When the government announced in 1993, I think it was in August of 1993, the Mahoney Commission released a proposal dividing the Province into, I think it was forty districts, and that recommendation was that, it was not a recommendation but, in essence, a proposal that would serve as a focus for public discussions. When these discussions were held, I made a presentation to the Commission, in writing, which argued for fewer members in the House.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what has happened in the meantime is that we have gone through a lot of changes - I have just been notified my time is rather short - but I say to the government: If you are going to make changes in the electoral boundaries, let's do it, don't do it piecemeal. Take the forty-four, that was the first proposal, that's what I would support. Either go with the forty-four or find - well, you are left with fifty-two -

MR. SULLIVAN: Or find another judge.

MR. HODDER: Or find another judge. Mr. Speaker, we are committed to lowering the number of MHAs who sit in this House and I say to the government, get away from the gerrymandering -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.


MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I was thinking this morning when I heard the Premier's response to the initial question from the Leader of the Opposition with regard to the change of heart, I suppose, on the part of the five former Cabinet ministers. In the Bible, I believe, we had one prominent person, Saul, struck down on the Road to Damascus by seeing a brilliant flash of light, but even the Bible, which gives great credence to miracles and extraordinary happenings, did not foresee five people being struck down on the Road to Damascus in one fell swoop, Mr. Speaker.

It has become obvious that this government is doing its best to clean up its image. We had a situation with regard to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal that was nothing short of scandalous and played as such in the press and among the body politic for quite some time and all of a sudden, now we get a report that seems to tame the wild horses of scandal with regard to that particular situation. We have the Government House Leader doing a report on the awarding of government contracts for hospitals; what we are getting is, Mr. Speaker, the government sort of cleansing itself of any taint of wrongdoing. It is obviously a situation of political damage control and in general, I guess, the word is `whitewashing, Mr. Speaker.

Now, the President of the United States has a scandal sort of hanging out in left field with regard to his particular Administration, one that sort of stays there, it hangs there, it just won't go away, Mr. Speaker, and that is called white water. What we have around here, Mr. Speaker, is, I guess, a situation called whitewasher. One has to wonder with regard to the Administration, Mr. Speaker, who is the designated whitewasher of the week? The next thing you know, VOCM will be having an award on, Mr. Speaker, instead of `newsmaker of the week' it will be `whitewasher of the week'. What we have is an Administration in desperate trouble, its image severely tarnished and going out of its way to clean up, if not its act, Mr. Speaker, the appearance of its act. One has to wonder if the Faustian deal hasn't been done within the Liberal caucus with regard to Premier Wells, that the deal is that everything will come together, everything will be glossed over, everything will be whitewashed; in exchange, Mr. Premier, you will probably have to do two things; go easy on the electoral boundaries situation, and leave quietly so that the Liberal Party can organize a leadership convention.

Mr. Speaker, the other factor, of course, which the Premier would want out of this bargain, is that he needs his image whitewashed. He needs the perception of his being a patriot, of his being a statesman because obviously, the Prime Minister is due to appoint him to something lofty, be it ambassadorial or judicial and we couldn't have the Premier leaving office and taking on a significant role at the behest of the national government with any kind of a Nixonian image. The Premier obviously has to appear lily-white, at least in technical terms, on the national or international scene. So what we have is the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador acquiescing to his requirement of an image refurbishing in exchange probably for a timely exit so that the Liberal Party can rejuvenate itself in terms of a leadership convention and at least stand a chance come the next election.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party needs to do a fair bit of refurbishing as regards its image. For fifteen years, I worked for the former PC government of the seventeen years that the Liberal Party was in Opposition. I worked fifteen years for the former PC government, first of Frank Moores and then of Brian Peckford. The one thing, Mr. Speaker, that characterized the Liberal Party then and even now in government, which I find utterly amazing, is that the motto of the Liberal Party seems to be `my party first, my country second and my Province third'. Even though it is a provincial Liberal Party it is my party first, my country second and my Province third.

When the Liberal Party took over the government, when the Assembly Chamber was up in the tower of this building, Mr. Speaker, I had the occasion during one Christmas social to go over and visit with them in their common room. A few photographs on the walls, Mr. Speaker, spoke volumes about the attitude of the Liberal Party that has the motto: `My party first, my country second and my Province third'. On the wall of the common room up in the tower, Mr. Speaker, were portraits of federal Liberal Prime Ministers, not even Joey Smallwood was hung on the wall of their common room, Mr. Speaker, nothing but federal Liberals. That showed where the priority of the provincial Liberal Party was.

When the eighth floor was redecorated during the days of Premier Peckford, as Chief of Staff, I hung portraits of Premier Smallwood in the outer lobby and in the inner lobby of the Premier's Office. One of the first things that the Liberal Party did in coming to office and taking power and moving into the eighth floor premier's office was to take down the photo of Joseph R. Smallwood. Shows you the provincial orientation of the provincial Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker. The first thing they did was gut the icon of their party, the man who took their party and the Province into Confederation with Canada. Shows their orientation. Therefore is it any surprise when Brian Tobin sells out to the Spaniards that they give him a standing ovation in this House.

Out my way nobody is fooled. The people in my district understand full well that the whole scenario with regard to the Spaniards started off good. We were arresting the people who were breaking the fishing rules. The minute the diplomats got involved we knew Tobin had been elbowed aside and from then on his role was strictly showmanship. The Canadian government and their federal representative for this Province, they sold out. By the time we got the deal with the Spaniards there was hardly a fish left swimming in the ocean. We gave them back their nets, we gave them back their bonds, we gave them back their fines, we gave them back their fish, we gave them a pat on the back and we said: We are sorry, we didn't mean to do you in.

The people out there in the Province know that it was all a show. It started off good. To be fair to Brian Tobin, he did the right thing at the very beginning, but he didn't sustain the effort. After the initial effort of arresting the Spanish trawler from there on in it was all downhill, it was all showmanship. The Premier was reluctant at the beginning to get involved with showmanship, but after being shamed by the Member for Port de Grave and a few of the other members in showing up on the waterfront of St. John's at least the Premier, in an effort to do political catch up, I guess in an effort to improve and refurbish his image, didn't mind hanging around on the wharf in New York. I see a great grin on the face of the Member for Port de Grave because that sentiment I'm sure is one that is whispered among his confrères, if not openly to the media.

MR. SULLIVAN: He won't be grinning after the next election when these boundaries go through.

MR. HEWLETT: I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if part of the Faustian bargain between the caucus and the Premier, apart from whitewashing the image with regard to the Trans City scandal, with regard to the Workers' Compensation scandal, is some sort of promise on the Premier's part to maybe drop the entire issue of the electoral boundaries. A number of the Liberal members, Cabinet ministers, in the case of the Member for Windsor - Buchans a back bencher, have real problems with regard to the outcome of the electoral boundaries report. Maybe a part of the deal with the Premier to refurbish his image is that the government officially will back off. The Government House Leader in charge of the House business has always caveated his remarks in response to petitions that I've put forward with: If we do it, when we do it, that sort thing.

The Premier has always said: We are going to push ahead with this boundaries commission report. One has to wonder who he was tough bargaining with, the members of the Opposition or actually the people in his own caucus. Acting tough and bargaining tough with the people in his own caucus to get the best image deal he could as he exited the political life of this Province. The Liberal Party, including five dissident members, will all sort of toe the line and say: Oops, I was mistaken, I really didn't mean to say that the Premier did the Trans City deal without fully consulting with me or other members of the caucus or Cabinet. Somehow there has all been a tremendous great misunderstanding, and a lot of these off the record conversations I had with members of the media - I was having a bad hair day, I was having a bad day and I really didn't realize what I was saying. Now that the Premier has made it very clear to me, obviously yes, I was mistaken. The Premier did it right and there is no problem with regard to the way the contracts were awarded to Trans City.

The five dissidents have now become the five fans, to use the words of my colleague for Humber Valley. Sounds like a singing group, Mr. Speaker, but they are singing all from the one hymn book, and it is the hymn book whose main song is: My party first, my country second, and my Province third of all.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just wonder if the hon. member would allow me to introduce a group that is in the gallery. They are leaving in a few minutes. I got the notice a little bit late.

I would like to welcome to the gallery on behalf of all hon. members students of St. Stephen's school of Grand Le Pierre and they are accompanied by their teacher Mr. Rumbolt and two chaperons Mrs. Rumbolt and Mr. Hickey.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the students in the gallery I would say that most times in the House of Assembly the most interesting, and maybe even, I suppose, the most entertaining time in House business, is the business of Question Period when there is a lively flow of debate back and forth between both sides, when voices are raised, when tempers sometimes flare and things get a bit exciting.

Seeing we had visitors to our gallery I tried to stir up the pot a little bit here today by saying a few things with regard to the opposite party that they do not believe are altogether complimentary, and hopefully will get a rise out of them, and maybe, Mr. Speaker, after I sit down somebody from the other side will stand and speak. We have been in a Budget debate here for the last number of days and all of the speakers, students should know, have been from this side of the House. The government side are not standing to speak, they are not standing to defend their point of view. The most you will get are a few catty comments flying across the floor.

MR. EFFORD: You have not said a thing about the Budget yet, ten minutes and not one thing.

MR. HEWLETT: Another thing I should point out to the students as well is that a Budget debate, or any debate on a tax or money bill, allows you to speak on a wide-ranging variety of subjects and is often used by members of the House of Assembly to discuss matters relating to their districts or issues of importance to the public generally.

The Budget debate does not require, as the Member for Port de Grave said, a dull, dry, boring, diatribe on the finances of the Province. What we are talking about here today is not so much the finances of the Province, but the behaviour, the image, and the attitude displayed by the Wells administration. The Wells administration is in trouble with the general public. Its image is in deep trouble with the general public. The Liberal Party, I do believe, has decided the best way they can survive is to jettison the Premier, go through a leadership convention of their own, come forward with a new leader, take on, I guess, our party in another election, so you will have two parties, hopefully revitalized with new leaders, going before the people in the next election.

What I believe, Mr. Speaker, will happen to this Liberal Party is what similarly happened to the federal PC Party, that the damage to the image was done, and that bringing forward a new leader was not sufficient to refurbish the image of the party. We have a situation here where the Liberal Party, Mr. Speaker, is acting in desperation to try and salvage its grip on power. Having been in the political wilderness for seventeen years they know what it is like to be in opposition and they do not want to go back there, Mr. Speaker.

It is good for democracy for parties to alternate back and forth between their status in government and opposition, and not only democracy but I do believe but I do believe the body politic and the Province in general would benefit significantly from a change in government, not only from a change in government leader but from a change in government party.

We have a situation here in this Province where this party has worn out its welcome. The party in power has worn out its welcome with the people and it has pushed its luck too far. It has involved itself in questionable activities, and the other thing it has refused to do, it did not do when it was in opposition and it is still not doing now in government, is standing up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Liberal Party puts its party first, the nation second, and the Province third, even though it is a provincial Liberal Party. It did it when it was in opposition, when we were in government, and it is still doing it today.

The federal government, when we were last in power, tried to abandon the Newfoundland Dockyard in St. John's. The Peckford administration came to the rescue of the dockyard, put in several million dollars to bring in a synchrolift, a major ship lifting facility to give that shipyard a new breath of life. The Trudeau administration of the day was quite willing to let the St. John's dockyard die. The provincial government of the day, having failed to get any sympathy from the Liberal Government of the day in Ottawa, came forward and financed an improvement to the St. John's dockyard. Now we have the Liberal Government in power in St. John's, still a Liberal Government in power in Ottawa, and we have the government in Ottawa again wanting to abandon - which is not unusual for Ottawa, regardless of the party in Ottawa, believe me - they want to abandon the St. John's dockyard, and we have the Liberal Government now in Newfoundland and Labrador basically being embarrassed into standing up to fight for the St. John's dockyard. It is a situation where their sense of party loyalty overrides their responsibility as the governing party. Their direct and most predominant responsibility has to be the governing of the Province, the well-being of the people of the Province, but it really hurts the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador to take on the Liberal Party in Ottawa when the people's interests are at stake.

I have never been able to understand that. It has been a peculiar trait of the provincial Liberal Party, and one that I cannot fathom. I worked for Premier Peckford when he was Premier for ten years, and in those days we made war on Joe Clarke, we made war on Brian Mulroney, we made war on Pierre Trudeau. Whoever in Ottawa was against the best interest of Newfoundland and Labrador, we took them on four square. We were not afraid to stand up for the people of the Province. Yet, we have a government here that will not stand up to the Liberal Government in Ottawa.

I presume if the government in Ottawa were PC or NDP, or Reform or Bloc Québéçois, they might stand up and fight for the Province, but one has to wonder if somehow this soft peddling of the provincial interest in going up against the federal government is part of the deal that they may have cut with the outgoing Premier, Mr. Wells, if the federal government are to take the Premier off their hands, if the federal government are to salt him away somewhere in some post in the judiciary, or in some significant ambassadorial post, if they are to do that for you, to do that favour for you so that you can go through a leadership convention process and thereby cleanse yourself to face the people in the next election, the price that you have to pay, the price that the people of the Province have to pay, for the federal government co-operating with you in removing the Premier from the scene is that you have to kowtow to the feds; you have to let them run roughshod over the St. John's dockyard; you will have to stand around and applaud like mad when they gut the UI system.

I saw The Globe and Mail this morning. Mr. Axworthy is not doing a two-tier system. He is not going to hit you smack in the face; he is going to stab you in the back, because Mr. Axworthy's thing, as announced in The Globe and Mail this morning, says that people who frequently use UI are going to see their benefits gutted. They are doing a PR thing. They are not going to call it a two-tier system because that is too wide open to attack, but people in rural Canada, especially rural Atlantic Canada, are going to get the shaft from Mr. Axworthy very soon because the nature of the changes that were mentioned in The Globe and Mail this morning indicate that frequent and seasonal users of UI are going to see their benefits significantly reduced. It is not a rose by another name; it is a thorn. We never get the rose down here. We never get the gold mine; we only get the shaft, and here we are going to get the thorn, not the rose. It is a thorn by another name. It is not a two-tier system. It is going to be a one-tier system, but we are going to get it nonetheless. The Globe and Mail makes that very clear this morning.

So the agenda has not changed in Ottawa. The only thing that has changed in this Province is that we have a Liberal Government in power at the provincial level that refuses to stand up and fight for the Province in the face of attacks from the federal government, in the face of our being, I suppose, dismissed, for want of a better phrase, by the federal government.

I do not understand why, because the politically smart thing to do, whatever you think of Brian Peckford and the ten years he spent as Premier, he was politically smart on just about every project he took on, and certainly when it came to fed bashing he was among the best that this Province ever saw. Joey Smallwood had the science down pat. Mr. Peckford took on Joe Clarke if it was necessary; he took on Pierre Trudeau, and he took on Brian Mulroney. Whoever stood against the interest of this Province, he took on: number one, because it was the right thing to do but number two, it was the politically smart thing to do, and I do not understand why the Liberal Government in this Province, given the political trouble that its in, is not doing much politically smart. What have you people over there to lose by taking the gloves off and standing up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador? I mean, the federal party under financing rules, these days the federal party can't fund the provincial party so you don't owe your souls to them financially to run in the next election campaign, what is it, what hold do they have over you?

I think, Mr. Speaker, it's an attitude, no hold; like I said when they took over in the Common Room up in the tower, when the Assembly Chamber was up in the tower, they immediately redecorated their Common Room with pictures of Pearson and St. Laurent, Federal Prime Ministers, all Liberal, no picture of Joey, indeed, they even removed the picture of Joey that hung in the Premier's Office on the eighth floor, one of the Premier's first moves was to get rid of the portrait of Joey on the eighth floor.

I have been active in the PC Party since my early twenties, Mr. Speaker, but you know, even I had the decency when we redid the Premier's Office to hang a picture of Joey Smallwood. The Member for Port de Grave, attacked what we did in the Premier's Office because I hung a picture of the Queen in the lobby of the eighth floor and he came up with the phrase, `Buckingham Porch'. Now I am not sure if the current Premier removed the picture of the Queen, but also in that same porch, `Buckingham Porch' was a picture of Joey Smallwood and it was one of the first things to go when the Liberal Party took over. I am surprised they didn't put a picture of Lester Pearson in the front lobby of the eighth floor, Mr. Speaker, because they had it in their Common Room when they took over upstairs and moved to the government side of the House of Assembly, so it must be attitudinal, it doesn't make any sense politically.

No one in Newfoundland is impressed with the way they give in to the federal government, Mr. Speaker, it doesn't make any sense. Their mandate as a government is to stand up for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, to do things that are in the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, yet we see them applauding Brian Tobin, a standing ovation in this House and a few weeks later, he `sells the shop', to borrow a phrase with regard to his treatment of the Spaniards and there is nobody in my district, everybody with whom I speak on the street, nobody is fooled.

I spent a few days on the mainland a week or so ago, Mr. Speaker, and Mr. Tobin, up there, he is like a god, same as the Premier was after Meech Lake. They don't realize he sold the shop to the Spaniards. Newfoundlanders know it and now we are letting them run rough shod over us on St. John's Dockyard; the same dockyard that was saved by the Peckford Administration, you guys are going to turn a blind eye to the Chretién Administration putting the scuttles to it. It is simply not good enough, Mr. Speaker, and one has to wonder, why. The built-in attitude of the Liberal Party seems to put holding party ranks together more important than doing your duty as a duly elected government.

One has to wonder if there is another motivation and is it, Mr. Speaker, a deal between the Premier and the caucus to smooth things over, to polish things off, to whitewash stuff so that he can make a tidy exit from politics in Newfoundland because I think it is crucial from the point of view of Prime Minister Chretién, if he wants to appoint Premier Wells, post politics to something important be it a judgeship, or an ambassadorial position or some position with the United Nations, something of stature, then obviously, he can't have a Premier coming out of office and taking a post under a cloud of suspicion, under a cloud of negativity, so obviously, the fix is in, we have to dress things up, we have to make people look good, Mr. Speaker, and as I say, Bill Clinton, he is haunted by the shadow of White Water and what we have around here is whitewasher, Mr. Speaker. Everything is being whitewashed, the Trans City scandal is now an instance of ineptitude on the part of the government.

We fumbled the ball, Mr. Speaker. What we should have done I suppose is, we should have called a press conference and said: I would like to give some contracts to some Liberals and I am not going to apply the Public Tender Act in this particular case, I am going to give the contracts to the Liberals.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: That was the way it was done, yes, by the Smallwood Administration before the Public Tender Act came in. And if they had done that, Mr. Speaker, they would have taken it on the chin for a week, everybody would have said: They are terrible people, giving contracts to their buddies,' but they wouldn't have broken the law to do it. They would have made some sort of exception or passed an act in the House, the Trans City Act, to make a special case to give these people some contracts. But what they did was - they wanted to give them the contracts but they still tried to use the Public Tender Act as the vehicle. `Oh what a tangled web we weave,' Mr. Speaker, `when first we practice to deceive.' They would have taken a hit on the chin for a patronage job if they had given them the contracts. Now they are taking a hit on the chin, a much bigger hit, for a full-scale scandal, Mr. Speaker. Last weekend the editorial in The Evening Telegram, basically pronounced what the press of the Province and what the public of the Province think of the Trans City situation.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is a situation where we have a Premier ready to go and he wants to leave on a white horse, not a spotted horse and certainly not a dark horse, and we have the Federal Government requiring a shining bright new Premier leaving office. We have a caucus with major problems with that Premier, now, all of a sudden buckling under, agreeing to anything just to get rid of the man so that the Liberal Party can move on to a leadership convention and I guess, hopefully, with a new leader at their helm, a hope to hold on to power after the next election. As I said, Mr. Speaker, I think the fate for this Liberal Party is the same fate that awaited the Mulroney Adminstration in Ottawa. The damage is done, changing leaders will not solve the party's hold on power and whitewashing will not work, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: Don't be overly optimistic, my friend. It is only because I don't say very much that you believe that when I say something it might be worth listening to.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few words today about what I consider to be the schizophrenic economic environment existing in Canada and to some extent in Newfoundland today, but first I would like to talk about a kind of schizophrenia being generated in this House of Assembly. The previous speaker criticizes members of our caucus when they speak out. When we have a debate in our caucus about issues of today and some of our members speak out publicly, and then we have some minor skirmishes among ourselves, we get criticized for being a caucus falling apart, but if we don't speak out on anything, then we are criticized for being a caucus of sheep. So I am having a great deal of trouble knowing what I should do to please the hon. the Member for Green Bay. But certainly I can't take much of a lesson from the other side because the other side seems to have created this miraculous situation in which they all agree on everything. When do we ever hear any difference of agreement, publicly, at any rate, from the members of the Opposition?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Yes, it gets extended sometimes. I think there have been a number of issues recently on which we should hear some disagreement from members of the Opposition, particularly, I think, the recent crab issue that has been in the news. But first I would like to speak a little more generally about the state of the economy and what I mean when I talk about the schizophrenic economic environment that seems to exist in this country.

You talk to some people and they would have you believe that Canada is going the drain economically. The economy is coming apart, we have no money to do anything and government has to cut back on services. The same thing occurs in this Province. But what is the reality in the country today, Mr. Speaker? The reality is that this year, Canadians will produce more wealth, income and profits than the country has ever produced, ever on record, more wealth and income and profits.

Now, what is the problem in the country? One of the problems is that governments have been irresponsible in the past in the way they've managed the public finances. They've borrowed and borrowed in order to keep everybody happy, in order to maintain services at levels that they needed in order to retain support of the public or to win elections. They've been hesitant to prepare to properly finance their responsibilities. That can be done in the country today and should be done. And it can be done in the Province today. We have to look at finding new ways of generating revenues if we are to maintain a reasonable level of services and income for all of the citizens that we represent here.

What is happening in the country and what is happening in the Province is we are witnessing increasing economic disparity. Some people are ever better and better off, earning more and more income; more and more people, unfortunately, are getting worse off all the time. There is an increasing polarization in our society that to me is unacceptable, and it is clearly having negative economic impacts. The people who are doing well and making more are investing it, often in mutual funds or something like that, and where does it end up? Over in China or down in Latin America trying to develop those economies. Because they save. The more they earn each year the more they save and invest, and it gets invested in other countries of the world.

But the people who are on the lower end of the income scale who are finding that they are losing their jobs, that they are not getting salary increases, the kinds of people who spend everything they make and who would contribute more to the economy if they were able to earn more, are the people being deprived of increased income either through salary increases or increased income through jobs. People who are on welfare and had to take early retirement and on TAGS and all that sort of thing. What we have to do to help the economy here is try to put more money in the hands of those people. That way, we will all be better off and the people at the top won't stand to have their situation jeopardized, as it surely will be if we don't get this economy in order. Because you can see discontent rising in this country and in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, what do we have to do in order to strengthen the economy, in order to ensure that government has the finances it needs to carry out its responsibilities, in order to create jobs and to raise incomes for people who are living on low incomes today? Well, I think the recent crab controversy is one illustration of the kind of thing that we can do. If you go down and take a poll on Water Street or throughout this city or Province today, or at least if you had, a week or two ago, and asked people how the fishery is doing, I suppose 90-odd per cent of them would say the fishery is dead in Newfoundland, the fishery is lost, nobody is working in it any more.

The reality is that the fishery is going to generate more revenue than ever this year. The landed value of the fishery in the Province this year is going to be a record number unless the catches and prices turn out to be a lot different from what is anticipated now. The export value of the entire fishery is going to be perhaps the fifth or sixth best year on record. The primary reason for this is a result of the increased value of the crab stock.

Now, the reality in the Province today is that we are going to have as viable a fishery as ever this year but half as many people are going to share in the benefits. Half or less than half as many people are going to work in the fishery this year as in the best years. What has happened over the past few years is that the people who are left in the industry, the processors, the fishers, the traders and that sort of thing, are making more money than ever, are making decent livings in many cases. They have a perfect right to that and I'm happy for them and I will do anything that I can to help that continue to be the case. There is no problem with the people who are making reasonable incomes and reasonable returns on their investment and that sort of thing.

The problem is that there are excess profits being made in the fishery these days, and are going to be made to an extreme degree this year. The problem is also that half the people have been put out of the fishery and been put on TAGS program and are now living on compensation programs that are being financed by all taxpayers, the lucky ones who are on TAGS. Some other people have been thrown out and have no jobs at all.

MR. E. BYRNE: Like the people at the St. John's Dockyard.

MR. NOEL: Like the people at the St. John's - the Newfoundland Dockyard I think it is, sir. Government has a responsibility to ensure our fishing resource is managed in a way that is going to provide maximum benefits for the Province and equitable benefits for all Newfoundlanders. Equitable benefits require that those who have licenses to harvest and licences to process the fish get a reasonable return for their labours and for their investment. But when the return becomes excessive, as it is going to in the crab industry this year, then government has a responsibility to manage the industry in a way to ensure that the rest of the Province shares in that -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, if people don't be more quiet while I'm speaking I will speak more often to make up for the unfairness. So they can have their choice of the poison they prefer.

Government has a responsibility to take actions to ensure that the revenues and profits generated are equitably shared. We've gotten into a kind of complicated issue over what to do with the crab in particular for this year. The solutions are not simple. I'm glad to see that the minister and the government have paid attention to those of us who've raised concerns in recent weeks and have agreed to put more pressure on the industry to ensure that they create as many jobs as possible processing the product in the Province this year. I think that is some progress. I'm happy to see that the federal government has increased the number of licences to catch crab. I think that is a reasonable and a progressive action to take.

I still have concerns about the proper sharing of the wealth that the resource produces. I think too much of the debate has focused around what is the best way to create processing jobs in the Province. We've had the argument about whether it is through requiring the industry to process as much as possible into meat form or into sections and the consumer packs and all that kind of thing. It is very difficult to know what the best sort of way to proceed would be. I think we have to be guided by one standard. We have to manage the industry in a way that is going to produce maximum economic returns for the product. If that would mean eliminating all processing jobs in the Province so that we just take the fish out of the ocean and ship it out, if that is the way you could get maximum economic return for the Province, then how could you object to doing that.

I don't think that is the case. I think that the direction we should move in is to try to create as many jobs as possible in our Province. What is the point in catching crab here and doing very little with it and sending it over to Japan, which in turn sends it over to China to have it processed for minimum wage standards - people being paid a dollar an hour or something like that - then have it canned over there and shipped back here, and sold on our supermarket shelves as products made in Taiwan or China or something like that? That doesn't seem to make very much sense. I guess it is conceivable that the industry could be managed in that sort of way if it produced the maximum economic benefits for the Province as a result of the price that we were going to be paid for shipping it.

The debate has been complicated by all kinds of stories about the state of the market. In my view the industry - and when I say the industry I have in mind the unions and the fishermen and women, and the processors, because they are all the industry - and insofar as I can see they are all in cahoots to get as much as they can out of the industry for themselves. Now I don't blame them for doing that. That is their business, to make as much as they can themselves. But government has to make sure that the industry is managed in a way so that the benefits are maximized and equalized throughout the Province.

What kind of stories do we hear this year? The industry has been saying that - they have been making a very self-serving case - they have to be permitted to export crab this year in a way that is going to make them the most money for themselves. Not create the highest economic benefit for the Province, but the way in which they will make the most money personally. I think government has to look at this. We are being told, for instance - see, I think the industry's real intention this year, and its real wish, is to ship as much crab as they can in the so-called industrial packs. Which means that the creature is just caught and cooked and frozen in fifty-pound boxes or something and shipped over to Japan. I think that is the way they can make the quickest profit for themselves. They turn over their money as quick as possible, avoid the headaches of setting up processing operations and dealing with workers and unions and all that kind of stuff, and enable them to pay the fishermen the highest possible price for the product so that they can get as much product as they can for themselves that they can sell and make the highest returns.

They are making a case on the basis of suggestions that the meat market would collapse if we required excess processing into meat form. Where is the evidence that the meat market is in danger? I would like to know. We have the fisheries spokesman for the Opposition quoted in the Telegram the other day as saying: If government rejects their request it could mean about $100 million to the industry, a loss to the industry. I would like the Member for Grand Bank to tell me where he got that $100 million figure. The industry is telling us that if we processed and tried to sell more of the stock in meat form we would kill the American market which is the primary market for crab meat. But where is the evidence that we are about to kill that market when the meat price in that market has doubled over the past two years from $6 to $12, and last year alone it went up 50 per cent, from $8 the previous year to $12 last year.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) demand for product.

MR. NOEL: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: It is called demand for product.

MR. NOEL: That is right, and that is the point I'm making. There is enough demand there to justify high prices.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Well, we don't know about that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Well, I would ask the member if he would be quiet for a little while until I make the case and then respond to it.

We don't know what the markets would be, but one basic lesson and fact of economics is that if the markets are weak the price goes down. If the price is going up the market is not weak. Whether or not an increased supply of meat into the New England market would cause prices to go down very much is to be seen. I understand that the price presently is maybe down around $10 a pound or something like that, but this is probably the low season. When people get out travelling around this summer and go into the fast-food places and buy crab meals and things like that we might well see prices go up to $12 or $15 a pound then this year.

Also, the American market is not our only market for meat. A lot of crab meat is sold from this Province into the European market. The prices there have been very good. On top of the prices that people are able to get they are making a lot of money on the difference in exchange rates between the Canadian dollar, and it is a result of the Canadian dollar being devalued in comparison with the Japanese dollar and some of the European currencies. That is a big factor, I think, in why the industry wants to ship as much as it can to Japan this year, because in addition to the mark-up they can make on the product itself they make a lot more on the difference in exchange rates. Because the Japanese yen has appreciated so significantly in comparison with the Canadian dollar over the past few years the price of the product being sold in Japan has not gone up very much in Japanese yen prices, but the value of it in Canadian dollars has gone up considerably.

Now, the industry has made a case to the Province that they have to sell a relatively high amount unprocessed. They have promised to try and process as much as they can into a section form and consumer packs, and the argument is made that that can create as many jobs as if it were processed into full meat form. I think there is some virtue to that argument. I think product exported in that manner will create a lot of jobs, if it is processed in that manner, but will it be?

Government has now permitted the industry to ship all it wants essentially in a relatively unprocessed form. As I understand it there is no teeth in the new regulation. They have just said that they are not going to impose the requirement that not more than 15 per cent be shipped in meat form, but I have not been able to find out yet whether there is any regulation as to just how the rest is going to be permitted to be exported this year. While the industry is saying, oh yes, we are going to try and create as many jobs as we can, and try and ship it in a form that creates as many jobs as possible in the Province, what requirement is there for them to do that?

What I predict is going to happen is that at the end of this season we are going to find that an awful lot of crab is going to have been shipped in the industrial pack form which creates the least benefit for this Province, and the industry will say at the end of the season, well, we tried but there was nothing we could do. The crab came in so fast we could not process it ourselves so we had to ship it out. Market conditions were such that this was the most profitable way to sell it. We could not sell it in the New England market as meat, and we could not sell it in Europe. The only way they could sell it was the way that made the most money for them, and the least for the rest of the Province. Now, if that happens this House is going to have a lot to answer for next fall.

AN HON. MEMBER: The House?

MR. NOEL: The House. The House, because you are supporting what the government is doing, every member of this House except me.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Who woke you up to value added anyway?

MR. NOEL: I managed to do a little study in my earlier years. I have not been entirely devoid of some awareness -


MR. NOEL: I tell you, Mr. Speaker, as far as I know no other member of the House has publicly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: No, publicly. I am just saying publicly that I have heard. I have not heard you call for a resource tax on the fishery.

MR. E. BYRNE: I have not heard you talk about the Newfoundland Dockyard -

MR. NOEL: Well, I will talk about that. I have no problem talking about the dockyard.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Well, that is not true. I put out a press release on that last fall sometime. Why do you laugh at that? That is the kind of thing you do.

MR. E. BYRNE: What do you intend to do as a St. John's representative about the dockyard?

MR. NOEL: I am going to give Mr. Chretien a call tonight and tell him to send down the money that is necessary to keep it going.

AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: Thank you.

I think the federal government should treat that dockyard more seriously and realize that it is a real asset for this Province, and do what is necessary to make it work if it can possibly be done. Now the indications are, that they are making efforts but I am not convinced by the substance of the efforts that they are making. I have the same kinds of concerns about it as you do, but we can only deal with a number of issues in our roles in here; but the point that I was making is that a number of people, a number of members of the House have raised concerns about the crab industry this year and in private they have raised it and some have raised it publicly, but I don't think any has gone as far as I have, in saying that the government should insist on as much processing as possible.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not only with crab boy, that's true will all things, not only with crab.

MR. NOEL: With all things, that's right, yes, but I am focusing on the crab right now because that happens to be the topical issue, but my basic position as I said earlier, is that, I don't know what markets are dictating, I am not on top of markets and if markets are in fact dictating that we have to sell this product in a way that is going to generate the highest prices for the fishermen and for the processors, then this Province has a responsibility to bring in some sort of regulation to ensure that some benefit returns to people in the Province who don't have harvesting and processing licences. Those people have a right to a reasonable return on their efforts and on their investment but they are not dealing with their own resource.

If they were dealing with their own resource, their own privately owned resource, if they were dealing with their own capital, I would say good luck to them, go out and make all you can, manipulate their markets in the best way you can to get the best possible return for yourself, but they are dealing with a publicly-owned resource. They have the privilege of fishing it and processing it in order to make a reasonable return for themselves but they don't have the right to get all of the return for themselves once the return becomes more than is reasonable.

When that's the case, we, as a House of Assembly and the provincial government have a responsibility to come up with a manner -

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible) income tax on Voisey Bay.

MR. NOEL: Well, that's going to be another question in the future, no doubt about that; but we have a responsibility to put some sort of regulations in place to ensure that the rest of the Province gets a reasonable share of these benefits.


MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have the opportunity to speak in a little more quiet, please?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member has asked for silence.

MR. NOEL: Yes, these corner boys are not always as quiet as they should be. So, Mr. Speaker, this Province today is cutting back on some of the most vulnerable people in the Province. We are taking away free medical examinations for senior citizens in order to get drivers' licences, we are cutting social services by $10 million a year; we are doing all kinds of things that are making life more difficult for people at the bottom and close to the bottom, but then the argument is made that those who are able to make a half-a-million dollars in the crab business this year, many of whom made similar amounts last year, and processors who are able to make millions of dollars this year, have more right not to be interferred with than the people who are living on the fringe.

Now we, as a government, had a responsibility to do something about that and one way we can do something about it is through getting a share of the extra $200 million that is going to be floating around in the fishing industry this year compared with two years ago, and if we can't get it through creating processing jobs in the Province, then we have to get it through imposing a resource tax on the industry. Now we impose resource taxes in the mining industry, we impose resource taxes in the forestry industry, we impose resource taxes in the oil industry, none of them is high enough, Mr. Speaker, none of the resource taxes is high enough and this is going to be an interesting debate in this Province in the next few years as we look as what is going to happen in Voisey Bay.

We were only getting about $18 million I think, last year in the mining resource tax in this Province and that's not enough. Government has to find new ways to finance its responsibilities. Excuse me, sorry I have to be speaking so loudly, Mr. Speaker, but it is the result of conditions in the Chamber.

Government has to look at new ways of financing its responsibilities. One way is through a reasonable resource tax in the fishery. We are going to have to look at increasing resource taxes perhaps in the mining industry and in the forestry industry, which are doing better these days and have to be prepared to share with the rest of the Province in order to maintain reasonable levels of services without having to impose excess tax levels on our taxpayers.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about the banking industry.

MR. NOEL: The banking industry the same way; the federal government recently imposed a minor tax on the banking industry which is going to be passed along to consumers. We have to do something about that.

Mr. Speaker, I see that my time is about to run out so I will return to the debate when I have an opportunity again. Thank you very much.

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

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Fifty-two; I am still on fifty-two. I will be until I leave the place.

Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place today to support the non-confidence motion put forth by the Leader of the Opposition, the Member for Humber East. Before I get into my comments, I was listening to the Member for Pleasantville. It is good to see him on his feet, speaking up and saying what is on his mind, and I have to say that I agree with a lot of what he has to say on various issues.

Why do I support the non-confidence motion? Simply because I believe this Budget to be basically a deceptive Budget, a misleading Budget. For example, some of the money they are using to balance the Budget is coming from Newfoundland Hydro - Newfoundland Hydro which, last year, the Premier was basically saying it was costing the people of Newfoundland and Labrador millions of dollars, and now this year I think they took something like $10 million or $20 million out of Newfoundland Hydro to help balance the Budget. Also, they took money from the South Coast ferry system, $50 million, I believe - $31 million and $19 million, for a total of $50 million - that was supposed to be put aside, or was basically promised to be put aside, for a fund for the South Coast ferry in perpetuity.

This government is basically saying they are balancing the Budget, but that is about it. Saying it does not mean that it is actually happening. Downloading onto the municipalities has been ongoing, as I said in the past, for many years now since this government took over. It is getting to the point where it is breaking the backs of the municipalities, as I have said before in this House. The most recent thing that is going to do the job, I think, on the municipalities, or the towns of this Province is Bill No. 5 which basically now allows the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to force on the towns the roads in the towns which are now the responsibility of the Provincial Government or the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, Mr. Speaker. The assessments that have been done recently in some of the towns in the Province, basically in areas down my way, causing taxes to double. Some assessments on vacant lands have gone up as much as ten times.

The Department of Works, Services and Transportation is now having layoffs again. When the committee meetings were under way I asked the minister at that time if there would be any layoffs within the department because there was a decrease in the salaries, and basically I was told there would be some reshuffling but no layoffs, but now we find out there are being 200 people laid off from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, 100 in mechanical, 47 permanent labourers are going to be laid off, and 50 50 seasonal labourers. This is after being told that there would be no layoffs.

People are being laid off from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation that assist the plow operators in the wintertime, the second person on the plow, the person who is there for safety reasons and to help the operator of the plow, not only the operator but the public as well. The safety of the public is a concern of mine and other people who have spoken on this topic. Also, the second person on the plow basically helps the operator of the plow on maintenance and repairs if they break down.

The government has in the past talked about one-stop shopping. I think the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs has promoted the one-stop shopping on occasion. It was supposed to save the government money in the long haul and better service the public. Instead of having to go to five or six different locations to get permits they would now go to one. I was under the impression that was going to be in operation as of April 1995, but as far as I know up to this point in time there are no one-stop shopping centres open.

Let us talk about some of the positive steps this government has taken to help the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is not that I have seen very many, but the EDGE legislation was supposed to be the saviour of the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. It was brought in in the Fall of 1995. It was promoted by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, but what I have discovered - or it certainly appears that way - is that this legislation is basically a copy of the legislation that was put forward down in Indiana and brought into effect in February of '94. The EDGE legislation was brought into place in Newfoundland or passed through the House in the Fall of 1994. Some of the things that are in the Indiana legislation called the EDGE legislation - which is what the EDGE legislation in Newfoundland is referred to -are tax credits for new businesses, tax credits of up to ten years, the same as in the Newfoundland legislation, Mr. Speaker. The legislation in Indiana also expects local communities to take part in the Indiana legislation in promoting tax incentives to the new businesses that would be encouraged to start up in Indiana. There was financial assistance for worker training in the legislation in Indiana, Mr. Speaker, the same thing was offered in the EDGE legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are incentives in the EDGE legislation in Indiana as for a business expansion and attraction, Mr. Speaker, the same thing that is offered in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland has been promoted this legislation, Mr. Speaker, and now I believe that it is just a take off of the legislation in Indiana. Someone sat down, looked at the legislation and tried to come up with some new ideas, read this in a magazine somewhere and said this is a good idea, let's try this. That is basically where it came from. It wasn't the input and the major ideas coming from the government opposite. It is an example of the hypocrisy of this government over the past six years. This government, as far as I am concerned, has no plan for the future. It is like a ship with no rudder, Mr. Speaker.

Speaking of ships and boats, there was a resolution put forward in this House the day before yesterday with respect to the Newfoundland Dockyard. All speakers got up and supported wholeheartedly the restructuring or the recapitalization of the Dockyard. The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations spoke and said: `The government supports the Dockyard 100 per cent.' Yet Marine Atlantic, at the very time that we were speaking in this House to try to revamp the Dockyard and telling the people of this Province exactly what Marine Atlantic were up to in trying to scuttle the Newfoundland Dockyard, the managers of Marine Atlantic upalong, the big wheels, Mr. Speaker, told the managers at the Dockyard and the people who were responsible for putting contracts together, to take their holidays, basically a layoff, Mr. Speaker.


As I said, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations says he supports the Newfoundland Dockyard. Well, if you are going to support it let us make sure that it doesn't close, Mr. Speaker. Let us get a cost benefit analysis study done, a financial study of that dockyard and if needs be, the provincial government, if they are serious, the Premier and the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations should put forward a case to the federal government for funding for that dockyard, and if that is not forthcoming from the federal government, then maybe the provincial government should look at funding the Newfoundland Dockyard themselves over a five-year period or what have you and put money into that to keep the 700 jobs in St.John's in and around St. John's and also the spin-off jobs.

The provincial government should take a serious look at financing that operation itself; it is not a lost situation down there from my perspective. If it is $3 million, if it is $5 million, that could very well be balanced out over the long haul if a comprehensive cost benefit analysis study was done. The government, I believe, should be promoting more so than they have been in the past, in promoting jobs. They should be able to create jobs from the ideas from our natural resources. Let us get back to our natural resources more so than we have done in the past.

Voisey Bay is a prime example of what can happen in Newfoundland and Labrador if we work out a deal with the Natives in Labrador on their legitimate claims to the land. We also have to look at Voisey Bay through the eyes of the EDGE legislation. I sincerely hope that the EDGE legislation would not apply to Voisey Bay, it is something that will be developed because the demand is there and because of the find itself, it is a self-sustaining project I believe in the long haul, and we should not apply the EDGE legislation to that. Let us not make the mistakes that were made in the past, with this opportunity; let us not create another Churchill Falls.

I think we can, in the future, with respect to creating jobs - we have to look at the new technology and the information highway. There are some great ideas there and maybe some jobs can be created, but I don't believe it is Newfoundland's saviour. As I said a minute ago, let us draw on our natural resources; let us look at our waters, our oceans; let us start promoting that more than we have in the past. Let us look at our forestry; let us look at our mining. Our mining is all but devastated and we have the opportunity now, with Voisey Bay, again to get it back on the way.

With respect to those natural resources, we have to look at new technology in our main industries. We have to look at the efficiency, the state-of-the-art equipment; let us not have another Newfoundland Dockyard on our hands, years down the road and try to bring it up to standard, up to state-of-the-art when it is almost too late; but I think the Newfoundland Dockyard situation can be saved. If Newfoundlanders want to be, or can be, competitive on the world market we have to have the training, the experience, the equipment and the technology to allow us to do so, and that is the place where we should be looking in the future for the employment of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I would like to say a few words about the government's job creation program, or I really should say the lack of a job creation program. The Emergency Employment Program, I am not referring to that really. It was basically a farce back in January and February when it was brought into place. Much of the money had to be returned -

AN HON. MEMBER: Adjourn the debate, Jack.

MR. J. BYRNE: Take your time; I am watching the clock.

Much of the money had to be returned by the towns and the groups who applied and were approved. I am looking for the true job creation program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: If we go after twelve, when do we have to sit again?

MR. ROBERTS: If we go after twelve, we are back here at 2:00 p.m. (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I am only teasing, I say to the Government House Leader, and I would like to adjourn the debate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, for once my friend from St. John's East Extern has divined the temper of the House. He is not very good at it, but for once he got it right when he moved the adjournment.

Mr. Speaker, we will not be sitting Monday, despite the request of my friend from Ferryland. He will be here Monday, I have no doubt, Sir, looking for those three extra votes, but the rest of us won't be here until Tuesday, Monday being a statutory holiday and not simply a collective agreement holiday.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, when I see my friend from Placentia district I have to use my heart, because the head is of no use in dealing with him, I say to him.

Your Honour, I move that the House adjourn until Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: On Monday we are going to take the day off. On Tuesday we will be carrying on with the Budget debate.

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