May 24, 1995             HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLII  No. 30

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to clarify for the House several aspects of government's tax regime as it will apply to the potential mining development at Voisey Bay, Labrador, proposed by Diamond Fields Resources Inc.

First of all let me make it clear that the mining project at Voisey Bay will not be designated as an EDGE corporation and therefore will not be eligible for the ten year tax incentives or other incentives under the EDGE legislation.

One of the criteria for a project to be designated an EDGE corporation is that the applicant must demonstrate that the incentives provided are important to the establishment of the business in the Province and clearly incentives would not have any bearing on the establishment of a mine at Voisey Bay. The mine would be established at Voisey Bay because the minerals exist there. Given government's preliminary financial analysis of the Voisey Bay Project, we are confident that the EDGE incentives are not required to proceed with the project.

This means that the mining project at Voisey Bay will be subject to the normal taxes such as corporate income tax, payroll tax, retail sales tax and fuel tax, in addition to mining and mineral rights taxes. This will bring substantial additional revenues to the Province when the project comes on stream. And here I might interject of course, Mr. Speaker, that we are in the course of negotiations with the Labrador Inuit and probably may well be negotiating with the Labrador Innu on issues affecting rights in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, in the 1993 Budget Speech announced significant new changes to the provincial mining tax regime as an incentive for mining companies to explore and invest in our Province. The enabling amendments to the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act were introduced and passed in the House during the Fall session of 1994. They were formally announced in the 1993 Budget.

The amendments provided for, among other things, provincial corporate taxes paid to the Province to be creditable against mining taxes payable in the first ten years a new mine is in operation. The amendments also provided for more generous treatment of the processing allowance, a measure designed to encourage further processing of the minerals extracted in our Province and we want to continue to encourage that.

About a month or so ago government requested officials to carry out a preliminary economic analysis of the Voisey Bay Project. This analysis indicated that these incentives would be overly generous in the case of large, highly profitable mining developments and should be revisited. Officials were then asked to prepare alternative approaches for consideration by government. This work involves detailed and complicated financial analysis, but will be completed shortly.

We have had a couple of discussions within the last two weeks, in particular, since Cabinet directed the original assessment to be done and the preliminary indication indicates that there should be a cap, particularly for very large mining operations.

I am announcing today that government will introduce, in the current session, a Bill to Amend the Mining And Mineral Rights Tax act to provide for a more equitable sharing of revenues from large highly profitable mining operations while also maintaining the original intent of the 1994 amendments to provide an incentive to explore for minerals in our Province and provide an attractive mining tax regime for smaller or lower profitability mining projects.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to say that people in this Province are haunted by past resource giveaways. People have new hope now with the discovery of huge mineral resources at Voisey Bay. We have the promise of a very lucrative new mining industry and we have to do all within our power to ensure that the mineral resources at Voisey Bay are developed to ensure the maximum value for the government of the Province and for the citizens of the Province.

EDGE did not seem to be an issue and it is good to have the Premier assure the public that there will not be tax concessions under the EDGE program or other EDGE benefits for the development of Voisey Bay. It seems obvious that Voisey Bay would not qualify and the Premier has now underlined that. We are pleased to hear the Premier indicate an intention to amend a recent legislative provision, the provisions of the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act that were passed for another purpose. We in the official Opposition will be vigilant in examining the amendment that comes forward to try to make sure that the new provision of the legislation is consistent with the goal of deriving maximum value for the Province from the Voisey Bay minerals.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. Member for St. John's East have leave?


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 state of the Island's forests, the state of forests on the Island of Newfoundland. The report I am holding, dated March of this year, was commissioned by the federal and provincial governments to evaluate development opportunities of secondary wood products. This document estimates that the total allowable cut will be 20 per cent less than the requirements for pulp wood, saw logs, and fuel wood, that is a 20 per cent deficit.

Does the Premier accept this statistic about wood supply demand imbalance on the Island?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we are managing our forest industry in this Province to ensure that we have a sustainable forest for the long-term; a sustainable forest so that we can have continued three paper mills, continued very viable lumber industry and continued other uses of our wood supply. Back in 1989, there was a 20-year plan completed for this Province. In the fall of 1989, that plan projected certain wood supply forward for us in Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly on the Island that 1989 5-year plan.

We have just completed the next 5-year review. We completed it in the late fall last year. The 20-year plan of '89 was the first time it was ever done and that forecasted certain things. It was done while we were the government. We have just completed the first 5-year review in the fall of '94; it is going to be due to be published in the near future, in the next few months as it gets finalized.

The conclusion right now is that our forecast today looking forward is better than our forecast was in 1989. It is better now than it was in '89; we are continuing to take appropriate actions in forestry to ensure that things in the future will get better still. That is why in the Budget recently, we put in $10 million for silviculture and related management functions, to replace what was not available in a forestry agreement. We are going to make sure things are done properly for a sustainable forest industry.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have supplementary questions which I will put to either the Premier or the Minister of Natural Resources. I began by asking the Premier, since the minister previously, as well as today, refuses to deal with the specifics of the wood supply demand imbalance.

I will ask again: Does the government accept the statistic in this report which the provincial and federal governments commissioned, a document that was prepared very recently, dated March of this year, indicating that in the foreseeable future, there will be a 20 per cent shortfall between requirements of the three main users, the pulp and paper mills, saw mills and home fuel harvesters on the one hand and the allowable cut on the other? Does the government accept the forecast that there will be a 20 per cent shortfall?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have a copy of that report with me so I can't refer to these exact figures. But as I look forward, and from the information that I've reviewed with my staff, sure, we acknowledge that we are in a tight wood supply on the Island. I have taken actions myself in recent times to reduce the amount that people are going to be allowed to cut. There are parts of this Province, particularly the Avalon Peninsula where we are today, where we reduced the domestic cutting permits from six cords to five cords for any domestic cutter in 1995 because of the tight supply on the Avalon Peninsula.

There are other parts of this Province where in the last few months I have had my staff reduce the allowable cut for some of the logging sectors, again, to make sure that we do not over-cut. We are encouraging everything possible to make sure though, that we have continued growth in our lumber industry. For example, this year, for the first time, we are probably going to break $60 million board feet. Last year we broke 55 million board feet. The year before, we broke 50 million board feet for the first time since 1954. That is because we are encouraging proper, maximum utilization of our forests. We are encouraging that to be done.

Right now we want a full integrated usage. Where we can we would like to get a piece of lumber made from a piece of wood before it gets chipped and sent to the pulp mills. That is what we would like to do. We are encouraging much more of that to be done. We are making sure we are going to manage this forest so that it is going to be there forever.

We acknowledge the tightness of supply, we acknowledge where we have to look elsewhere in this country to bring in some wood to help supplement the available supply on the Island. For example, last year I know that Abitibi brought in about 50,000 cubic metres, I think it was, from Prince Edward Island and Labrador in combination. This year we are continuing to look at that. We are looking more and more at what we can get in Labrador where we have a huge unused forest resource. It is practically a totally unused forest resource.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary for the minister. Wouldn't the minister say that the authors of this report who were working for his department and the Federal Government were aware of the measures the minister just outlined? If the authors of the report were cognizant of those plans and measures, why, nevertheless, are they projecting a 20 per cent deficit of the softwood supply in the foreseeable future?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would send me the copy of the report - I have not yet seen that report in my office and I would welcome it if she would give me a copy. In the meantime, we acknowledge the tight situation, but we are not going to run out. We are going to manage in such a way that we are going to make sure there is wood available for all users. We may have to tighten up here or there, but we are going to ensure that the forestry industry in this Province is properly managed. We are going to make sure we do that, with our own attention to it.

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

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

The cost of providing home care services to a person who needs twenty-four-hour service is about $65,000 per year. Now, the same service can be provided in Chancellor Park for about $30,000 per year, resulting in a saving to government of $35,000 per year. I received a telephone call from a family member of a person who is living in Chancellor Park. Now, Chancellor Park is termed an independent living unit, the same as somebody who would live in a senior's complex like Kelly's Brook, or even in their own house.

I ask the minister: Why is your department discriminating against such people for support under the enriched needs program because their home is Chancellor Park?

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

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

The hon. member makes an assumption that is incorrect and is fundamental to his question, the assumption being that any personal care home, of which Chancellor Park is one of about seventy we have in the Province, is the same, by definition, as the person's own residence. That is, in fact, not the case.

We have about sixty-nine, seventy, or seventy-one personal care homes in the Province. Chancellor Park is one of these homes. We do not, as a government, by policy, provide enriched needs to people living in personal care homes. If we were to do that, the figure that the member mentioned of what we spent last year on enriched needs would be probably many, many, many times that figure, so the question is premised on the wrong circumstance.

As to whether or not on an individual basis in the past we have extended enriched needs in the personal care homes, I acknowledge that government has done that on a temporary and on an emergency basis in certain instances in the past - not only at Chancellor, but at various other personal care homes around the Province - but that does not make the presumption correct that personal care homes are the same as an individual's residence.

The fact is that enriched needs in the original instance was developed not to provide somebody with the equivalent of long-term care, even in their own home. It was provided or developed or conceptualized to provide people with some temporary assistance at a point in time when they may need some extra help by virtue of a medical condition or something like that. It has gone from a $300,000 program seven years ago to a $27 million program last year and obviously there are some things significantly out of whack with the way the thing has evolved. Government has taken responsibility to look at that, we have put budgets in place this year and we will be addressing the (inaudible) needs in the context of what we can do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister stated they do not do it as a policy they just do it not as a policy. Your department has termed Chancellor Park as an independent or congregate unit separate from the 1,346 personal care home beds that are subsidized across this Province. Separate from that, I say to the minister, and I think it is in writing by your department. Now many people moved to Chancellor Park from their own homes or from their relatives homes because beds were not available in nursing homes. Now that these people have exhausted their savings there your department is now putting them at the top of the waiting list to get in to nursing homes here in the city. Now why would you force those people out of this environment and out of their own private surroundings they call home to put them into a nursing home that is going to cost this Province substantially more money, up to $20,000 per bed?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: People have moved into private accommodations at Chancellor, in personal care homes which is a private sector operated and driven part of the health care industry, and they have moved into other congregate type housing for a number of reasons, not all of which have to do with the availability or otherwise a space in nursing homes. I can tell the hon. member that some individuals who have moved into Chancellor Park - if they moved on the basis that he alleges because there is no room in nursing homes - have very recently, in at least two or three cases, have been offered placements in nursing homes. We have beds available for them and for their own reasons they have made decisions not to move from Chancellor, where I understand the cost of staying as an individual on a private basis is substantial compared to other personal care homes. Nevertheless, we have offered placements to a number of individuals there but they have refused these placements and they of course will have to give an explanation or justification as to why they have done that. Obviously they have made the decision for personal reasons that I cannot answer to.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, and my understanding is that you have offered it to two people to my knowledge.

Your department refuses to provide adequate homes for our seniors. The Agnew Peckham Report illustrates that and you continue to allow lengthy waiting lists for people getting in those nursing homes. Now in spite of what the minister has said here in this House, there are long waiting lists, longer than 150 people. The minister admitted that there were 1,600 people who were not duplicated. He said it here in this House yesterday and he is not including people in hospital beds who are costing up to $150,000 per year to keep them there, not including people at the Waterford and Miller Centre who are waiting to be transferred or in any other hospital around the city, as well as those who are now waiting to be assessed to be put on this waiting list. The minister is distorting the figures. Now I asked the minister yesterday but he did not answer my question, I ask him again, will you permit private enterprise to build such homes and your department subsidize their operation like you are now doing in nursing homes but with regard to the needs of each individual. This will eliminate all capital costs for government borrowing in the future and could result in a savings of over $20,000 per bed.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member again alleges that this government is tolerating a situation where there is not enough nursing home beds in the Province for people. Let me tell the hon. member and this hon. House this: in 1985 there was a Royal Commission report commissioned to look at long-term care amongst other things in the Province, at that point there were 2,058 beds, long-term care beds in the Province. The Royal Commission in 1985 recommended that we would need, in the Province, somewhere around 2,758 over the next ten years. I am happy to tell the hon. member that we have not only met that recommendation, we have exceeded it such that today there are 2,958 long-term care beds in this Province as a result of action taken by this government. So the proposition that we do not have enough long-term care beds in the system is flawed.

What he refers to is a further study that grew out of the Royal Commission that was commissioned by the nursing homes council in St. John's that wanted to look specifically at what was required in this region. That report essentially said two things. It said, number one, that we need to redevelop some level one beds so that they could take care of levels two and three consistent with aging of population. We acknowledge that is required. It also recommended that.... What was the second point?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: You are sunstruck, boy, sit down.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: No, I'm not sunstruck, I'm happy to let the hon. member know. I'm not too struck with some of the questions that the hon. member puts or the context in which he puts them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to conclude his answer.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The second recommendation was that by the year 2001 we should probably have, maximum, ninety-three extra long-term care beds in the St. John's region. I can tell you that we are taking that under advisement and that at what point we get the proper redevelopment done of the level one beds that are now being inappropriately used we will move forward to see what we need in maximum extra long-term care beds. So the information that the member premises his question on -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: - is taken totally out of context and is put forward to skew a situation that doesn't exist.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. The minister is aware of the dollar value salmon angling brings to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. Over $850 basically per salmon caught, over $62 million in total. Basically 110 jobs in Labrador through the outfitters. Does the minister roughly agree with these figures?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There is a variety of figures available depending upon who is presenting the information and for what particular reason. But everybody does accept that it is a tremendously valuable part of the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. Salmon angling itself is something that we are trying to increase the benefit of to everybody here, the economic benefit for Newfoundlanders and Labrador.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In 1992 the anglers visiting Labrador were permitted to take four large salmon. In 1992 the feds set the quota at ninety tons for the commercial fishery and permitted anglers to catch two large salmon, which was difficult on the outfitters. This year the commercial quota is seventy tons, it was cut by 20 per cent, and the anglers were cut by 50 per cent to allow them to keep one large salmon plus five grilse. Labrador cannot compete with Quebec and even other countries in promoting their industry. The outfitters are prepared to buy a certain percentage of the commercial quota. Will the minister support this proposal and talk to the federal minister, Mr. Tobin?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have discussed the issue in detail with the federal minister responsible and understand and I believe as well, it is fair to say in my last meeting with the representatives of the outfitters from Labrador in particular, that they too now agree that the number one emphasis for all of us has to be the conservation of the stock. Because we can argue about whether you take one large salmon or two large salmon or four large salmon, but if we don't conserve the stock we will be down to talking about taking no salmon. So they do recognize that the conservation issue has to be first and foremost. I'm sure that the issue right now that has been raised by representatives of the outfitters in Labrador of buying some of the quota from the commercial fishermen is currently under consideration by the federal minister and he will be letting them know in due course what exactly his view is with respect to that.

Just one point that the hon. member made. In my last dialogue with the federal minister he and his staff again indicated quite clearly that even with the reduction from two large salmon this year to one Newfoundland and Labrador - the Labrador anglers in particular - still have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Because other than some of the north shore Quebec rivers where they take some of the fish in bigger numbers, in most other areas for those people whose biggest interest in catching the salmon is to keep the salmon, even keeping one salmon is a competitive advantage to anglers in Labrador. Because most other areas have gone into more of a conservation mode with complete emphasis on hook-and-release.

I think that most of the people here now are understanding and most of the operators are understanding that if everybody moves onto an equal footing where hook-and-release becomes the norm rather than keeping the salmon then all of us will have an industry that we can sustain well into the future.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a final question for the minister.

Will you look at other ways to support the outfitters? As an example, is it possible for the provincial government to set camp quotas, something along that nature?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the last meetings, again, that we have had with representatives of the outfitters, particularly the salmon anglers for Labrador, it is indicated that is an area they would like for us to pursue. We have had some discussions with the officials of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and they are looking at the implications and ramifications of a move in that direction. There are discussions ongoing. We will be in a position or at a point in time some time in the not too distant future to report back to the government as to what the pros and cons are with respect to camp quotas for keeping and catching large salmon on the licensed rivers of Labrador as well as on the Island part of Newfoundland and Labrador, so it is an issue that is under debate and discussion right now. What the outcome will be is too hard to tell at this point in time because we do not have the full analysis done, but it is an issue that the outfitters themselves are interested in; but again I am pleased to note that in their meetings with us they are coming very squarely to the position that it is in everyone's best interest to make sure that we do not put any immediate short-term economic gain ahead of the long-term conservation of the stock, so that we can repeatedly reap some economic benefit from this enterprise.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier.

Can the Premier confirm that the only interested bidder in the St. John's dockyard, negotiations which have been ongoing with the federal government through its Crown corporation, Marine Atlantic, have broken down, and that the only option from the federal government's point of view right now that they see is that the Newfoundland Dockyard will be closed by the end of June. Can the Premier confirm that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm it.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am shocked; I am really shocked. Last year the dockyard was stopped from bidding international work. The members may laugh, I can tell you that, but it is no laughing matter. If 700 jobs were about to disappear in Corner Brook, I don't say the Premier would say `no comment'; I can guarantee you that. If there were twenty more jobs available in Japan, he would be hopping on the plane over to get those.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Yet he cannot maintain 700 jobs for the people in this area of the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: It is ridiculous!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get to his question.

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me ask the Premier this: Is he aware that negotiations have broken off? I can tell him that they have. What representations will he make, as Premier of this Province, or has he made any representations to the federal government to ensure that the Newfoundland Dockyard remains open and viable for business?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, my answer to the hon. gentleman was not `no comment'. He asked me a straightforward question, was I aware that negotiations had broken off and that now Marine Atlantic plan to close the dockyard at the end of June. The answer is, no, I am not aware of any such thing. Whether or not there is any validity to it or not at this moment, I have no idea. It may or may not be so. The answer is simple; I am not aware of it. No, I am not aware of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: And I am not prepared to accept that statement by the hon. member, even though it may be accurate - I do not know that it is - but unless and until I have it confirmed I am not prepared to act as though it is accurate.

The second part of his question was: Have any representations been made? Yes, representations have been made, public statements have been made, and direct statements have been made indicating clearly the government's view that the responsibility of the federal government in the matter is to make sure that the dockyard has every conceivable opportunity to be a viable business, and I do not consider that it is given a fair opportunity if it is deliberately allowed to deteriorate to the point where it cannot function effectively. I do not consider that giving it a fair opportunity.

If that fair opportunity is given and it cannot function successfully, then I am not about to ask the federal government to continue to operate it anyway, no matter what, any more than the government of the Province would be prepared to operate Marystown on the same basis, no matter what.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me say to the Premier, that is exactly the point. The federal government has not given the Newfoundland Dockyard the opportunity or the wherewithal to make it survive and compete internationally or nationally.

Let me ask the Premier this: You have indicated, in your second response to me and my question, that yes, representations have been made on behalf of your government dealing with the Newfoundland Dockyard. Can you elaborate on what those representations were, when they were made, with whom they were made, and did you make them yourself or did other ministers make them?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, there have been direct discussions with federal ministers about the issue; there have been public statements, I made statements in the House, I made statements to the news media outside the House that said essentially what I have just said here today.

I have to tell the House that a meeting has been arranged with Mr. Morrison and is scheduled to take place -

AN HON. MEMBER: On Monday morning.

PREMIER WELLS: - on Monday morning, okay; a meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday morning and the government's view will be made known and made very clear to Mr. Morrison at that time.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

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

Last Wednesday, Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture a question pertaining to the industry renewal boards and the processing capacity reduction. I asked the minister who were the Provincial Government appointee or appointees to those renewal boards. And the minister went on to say, "The provincial government appointee, I think has already been made public and if it has not then I will table the information tomorrow."

The minister didn't table the information. I am wondering if he could answer the question now and tell us who the Province has appointed to the industry renewal boards.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The appointment to the industry renewal board, actually the appointment to the harvesting renewal board, which now has an expanded mandate to consider the re-alignment of the processing sector, that appointee has been decided on jointly by the Federal and the Provincial Governments, and an announcement will be made jointly very shortly, as to who that appointee is.

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

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

It is almost like the Miss America contest, and I expect the minister is going to produce the envelope any day now.

Let me pursue another question with the minister. I asked the minister as well, the same day or the day after, about the time frame given to the renewal boards particularly as it deals with the processing sector, the reduction in that sector of the industry - if they would be given a time frame in which to make a decision as the harvesting end of things were given, I believe it was twelve months, to make decisions. Has the board been given a time frame, a limit, in which to make decisions about the processing sector?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

At this point in time I must say that no specific time frame has been allotted simply because the board has not started to assess the realignment of the processing sector. When the board is ready to start considering the re-alignment of the processing sector in this Province, then we will deal with the issue of the time frame at that time.

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

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

I want to ask the minister a final supplementary as it pertains to the involvement or input of people in the communities where fish processing plants are located. The minister will recall last week I asked him a question on that, and I asked him then, would the people in the communities or action groups or councils or whomever have an opportunity to make representations to the industry renewal boards to make a case or presentation, and the minister said: Yes, they would.

I am wondering if the minister could inform the House, in what form, representatives of the various communities will be able to make representations. Will there be hearings held in various regions of the Province? Will the renewal boards accept written presentations, or what format will they use in allowing the people in the communities that will be directly affected to have input? Could the minister inform the House of that?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, I must say to the hon. member, these details will be worked out by the board when it is ready to examine the re-alignment of that particular sector of the industry. Thank you.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Now, with the $15 million allocated for road work this year, can the minister, first of all, tell me how much of that $15 million will go towards actual road construction? Secondly, can the minister confirm that the calcium for communities with gravel roads, this year is now cancelled?

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

MR. EFFORD: Fourteen million dollars is allocated to provincial road construction and there will be no calcium spread on the roads this year.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, on a supplementary.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, it was $15 million, and if I am correct $5 million was already committed from last year, and also $1 million going into road signs. Can the minister break down what exactly is going into road construction this year, and also can he tell the House, of the roads to be paved, are these gravel roads that have never been paved, or is it mostly pavement that was taken up from last year? Is that true, Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, we have put in place this year a new signage policy for the whole of the Province, and $1 million of the $15 million this year will be put into the signage policy which will be continued for a number of years until the signs are completed to the satisfaction of all right across the Province. There will be $14 million spent on roads and the construction of bridges this year, and 95 per cent of that money will be spent on resurfacing of old roads.

The reason for that is, we don't have sufficient money to start constructing new roads, and building new roads, when we don't have the money to keep the existing asphalt together, so we are trying to maintain what we have before we build any further roads in the Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has elapsed.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, two or three days ago, I guess, probably Friday of last week, the Leader of the Opposition asked some questions about the migration and the population figures, and I undertook to get them. I have now received them but I will not read the figures. I just draw members' attention to what they disclose, and they disclose that every year from 1949 until 1984, the population increased, year after year, after year. Then in 1984 it dropped, it dropped in 1985, it dropped in 1986, it dropped in 1987, it dropped in 1988, and in 1989 it started to recover. It recovered in 1989, it recovered in 1990, it recovered in 1991, it recovered in 1992, and it recovered in 1993.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Now, lest my colleagues get too enthusiastic, I have to say that even the tremendous economic activity of the government in restoring the economy could not withstand totally the impact of the closure of the groundfish fishery, and that had an impact in 1994 which dropped the population by 2,000 for the first time since 1988. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is pretty good performance.

If you look, then, at the actual migration figures, you will see that from the year 1961 - and I don't have it back beyond 1961. They only gave me from 1961, but I guess that is far enough to show the example, from 1961 back to 1994 in all but, oh, I would say, eight or ten quarters - 1961 to 1994 is about 120 quarters, in all but eight to ten quarters there was a net out-migration. It is consistent. It has been endemic to this Province for at least the last thirty-five years. So, Mr. Speaker, it didn't occur only in the last few years.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, our performance was so good - with the exception of last year with the full impact of the 30,000 people displaced due to the closure of the fisheries - our performance was so good that we were able to offset the impact of the out-migration, and despite the lower birth rate in those intervening years, provide an increase in population.

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, this is Wednesday and, of course, Private Members' Day. The motion we are going to ask the House to debate today is Motion No. 6 standing in the name of my friend, the Member for Pleasantville.

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

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

Today I am proposing this House consider that:

WHEREAS the value of Newfoundland and Labrador's fish resource continues to be a substantial factor in our economy; and

WHEREAS government must do everything possible to create and raise revenues necessary to maintain valuable public services; and

WHEREAS the value of Newfoundland and Labrador's fish resource continues to be a substantial factor in our economy;

AND WHEREAS government must do everything possible to create jobs and raise revenues necessary to maintain valuable public services at minimum and equitable tax levels;

AND WHEREAS government has a responsibility to ensure all citizens benefit to the highest and fairest extent from resources owned in common;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador ensure that our fish resource is managed to provide the highest level of employment through maximum local processing where practical; and, where appropriate, through devising other means of ensuring the whole province benefits from value which may be derived above reasonable levels of return for harvesters and processors."

Mr. Speaker, I raise this matter in the House today because I think what is happening in our fishery is very significant for the Province. The fishery remains a major part of our economy and is now becoming as valuable again as it used to be. What is happening in the fishery really today is in some ways comparable to what is happening in Voisey Bay. There has been a real change of the environment and we have to transform our regulations and our management principles in order to accommodate it.

In the past, the fishery has been used as a means of creating jobs primarily in the Province. People haven't thought of it so much in resource terms, I think. I think we now have to realize that it is a tremendous resource that is not producing as much gain as it should for all Newfoundlanders. In particular this year, it is a result of the increase in the value of the crab. The crab landed value will probably increase by something like $200 million this year over two years ago. That is a very significant sum. It is about 15 per cent of what is said to be the value of the minerals in Voisey Bay today. Over seven years that amount of money coming into the Province as a result of the crab fishery would be equivalent to a Voisey Bay. So we are talking about a lot of money.

The landed value of our fishery this year is probably going to be the highest on record, over $300 million, I believe. The record in the past I think was something like $287 million in 1988. The export value of the fishery this year is probably going to be over $500 million, and that will make it probably the fourth or fifth most valuable year on record. So we are talking about a lot of money. If you were to include the amount of money, the amount of revenues generated in this Province as a result of TAGS program, which is another $300 million or $400 million a year, on top of the export value which is going to be over $500 million a year, we are talking about the fishery being responsible for revenues in this Province this year of close to $1 billion. That is almost twice as much as the fishery in itself produced in its best year.

The problem we have in the Province today is this record level of value is only being shared by about half the number of people who used to work and invest in the fishery in the past, so we have a very much different situation that we have to deal with. As a result of what has been happening, a number of fortunate people in the fishery are going to be making extraordinary profit this year. Many of them made it last year, primarily as a result of the increase in the crab price. The Government of this Province has a responsibility to make sure that the benefits of the fishery are maximized to start with and are shared equitably amongst all the citizens of the Province. Everybody owns the fishery; everybody who is a resident of this Province owns our share of the national fish quota and has a right to share in the benefits it produces.

The people who work in it have a right to the wages it produces, and the people who invest in it have a right in the profits it produces. But any value that it produces beyond that has to be shared amongst everybody in the Province, has to be used to try to create additional jobs to try to help government finance its responsibilities, to try to develop our economy in other ways and to try to minimise the level of taxation in the Province. Now we have to, I think, look at new ways of ensuring that that happens.

I think that one of the things that we have to look at is the imposition of royalties or a resource tax in the fishing industry. I am not wetted to that option. If the industry can be organized in order to produce enough jobs to get all the potential value that is there for our Province then that is fine. We should create as many jobs as we can but what the industry is telling us this year is the case that markets are such that we cannot manage the industry in a way to provide maximum jobs and get maximum economic benefits at the same time.

They say the markets are there for relatively unprocessed product in the crab for instance but they are not there for fully processed product and if that is the case then we have to pay attention to that. I don't think that we should be committed to creating processing jobs for themselves. What we have to be committed to is getting maximum benefit out of the economy. If we can do that by not processing any fish in this Province but by selling it unprocessed then there is probably no reason why we should not do that as long as we are getting full economic value for the whole Province and not just for the people involved in harvesting and processing the product. So I think the way in which we can be most flexible, in that regard, is through using a resource tax.

In the past there was not enough in the fishery perhaps, even though some people made a lot of money, the stronger operators always survived and many of them flourished. There was not enough money I suppose to worry about a resource tax but there is today because there are so few people working in the business, either as plant workers or as harvesters. People of the Province who do not work in that industry have as much right to share in the benefits as the people in Port de Grave district for instance, have a right to share in the benefits of Voisey Bay. We are going to have a resource tax on the mineral wealth in Voisey Bay that is going to be shared with all residents of the Province and that is the way it should be. The same thing goes for the people who fish out in the Port de Grave district, they have a right to earn reasonable wages and reasonable profits from their involvement in the fishery but what is produced beyond that level has to be shared with all other residents of the Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to know how we can go about maximizing the benefits for our Province. I don't think we know enough about the markets. I think a lot of the decisions that we are making are being based to much on information being provided from the industry, from the processors, the harvesters, the union and the manufacturers association. I think that we have to get more hard information ourselves. For instance we are told this year that if we - Mr. Speaker, I don't guess many people are interested in participating in debate in the House today.

AN HON. MEMBER: For good reason.

MR. NOEL: For good reason, is that right?

I don't think that the Constitution interferes with our opportunities to have a resource tax in the fishery and it does not interfere with our opportunity to have a resource tax in the forestry or in mining. So I don't think that it is going to interfere with -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. NOEL: Fish harvesting might be but we can have a provincial tax on the resource, I believe, and if we cannot then we can talk to the federal government about imposing a federal tax if that is the way we have to go but the fact is that there is value there that must not be allowed to accumulate unjustifiably in too few hands. It has to be used to finance the activities and the responsibilities of the whole Province.

Now the industry has told us this year that we can't process too much in meat form where most of the labour would be required because we would cause a collapse in the markets. Now, I don't see why we should have concern about the markets collapsing when the meat price in the New England market has doubled in the past two years and gone up by 50 per cent alone in the past year, and I understand today it is somewhere around fourteen dollars a pound compared to twelve dollars a pound or so a year ago, so I can't accept this line of thought, that we can't produce any more meat without collapsing the market; and of course, the American market is not the only meat market available to us. The whole world consumes fish and crab meat is sold throughout the world and some of our existing plants in this Province export crab meat to the European market and elsewhere, and there is even some market in Japan and across Canada and elsewhere so that's one point I would make.

Now what I think the industry wants to do this year is ship as much of the crab meat as possible, as little processed as possible, because that's the way the industry processors can maximize their particular profit. It's the way they can pay fishermen the highest prices so that they can get as much stock as possible from the fishermen, and they can turn it over as quickly as possible, have less headaches with processing, dealing with unions, setting up manufacturing operations, making capital investments. It is in the processing industry's interest to sell the product unprocessed. They make the most profit doing it that way for themselves, but they don't make the most profit for the Province.

I don't blame them for trying to maximize their own profit; that's what anybody out in business does, but we have a responsibility to maximize the profit for the Province as a whole, and I think that this year, if we are to believe their case, that we can't fully manufacture the crab, then I think we should be imposing a resource tax. Now it is a very difficult industry, the international fishing industry, and there are all kinds of products that are sold. I am told that there are ten different types of crab products that are going to be sold, perhaps in this Province this year, but what I am most concerned about is the so-called bulk industrial pack, which I think is a package of essentially just boiled crab, packed forty to fifty-five pounds to a package that is shipped out with relatively little processing, hardly even cleaned.

The processors will make the most profit that way but what they will be doing is shipping jobs out of the Province. They will be selling those stocks to Japan perhaps, and Japanese businesspeople will do processing there and make their profit on the processing instead of us making it. Very often, as the member tells me, they send it over to China and other low-wage countries, have it processed into meat form and probably canned, and probably sold back to this Province and sold in supermarkets in St. John's and other communities in this Province. So here we are, Mr. Speaker, shipping jobs out of the Province, by shipping fish out in block form, which we complained about as long as I can remember, we always said: oh what a shame it is that we have to ship cod out of the Province unprocessed in 1,500-pound blocks! How great life would be if we were able to have market situations and tariff arrangements that would enable us to fully process the product here and ship it out in consumer packages.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) happen this year, Walter.

MR. NOEL: Well now, free trade has enabled us to do that and we are able to do that with the crab this year, but what are we doing of our own volition? We are deciding to permit it to be shipped out unprocessed. Now, as I say, if market conditions are such that we have no choice about that then we have to do it, but that doesn't mean that the whole Province has to be denied a reasonable share of the value of this resource, and that is why I say, let us look at a resource tax. If other people have a better idea, then let's consider it. The main point is that something has to be done to increase the value of the fishery in this Province, and to make sure that that value is fairly shared amongst all people, and is used by government to help us prevent having to have cutbacks in valuable public services.

People are talking about our responsibility not to interfere with the free market, not to interfere with the rights of fishing people who have had some difficult years. Well, some of them have had difficult years, but some of the people who are going to do very well this year, and did very well last year, have done very well in a lot of years. They are not the people who have had the hard times. The people who have had the hard times are people who have been thrown out of the industry, some of them now to rely on TAGS, UI, and other things for their income, and some people having to go to Social Services.

Most people in the industry in the past have made very poor wages and I am happy to see them have their wages increased. Some of them may be making a reasonable wage this year. I think the average wage in the industry this year will probably be close to double what it was a few years ago, but that is still not a big wage. It is probably something in the area of $20,000 to $24,000 a year, but there are many people in the industry who are going to make $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 and $60,000 this year, and in addition to that they will collect TAGS benefits, or UI for forty-eight or fifty weeks of the year, or forty-five weeks of the year.

Those people are getting a tremendous return out of our economy while people down in my district are getting no extra help. Lots of people in my district are out of work through no fault of their own, any more than the people in the fishing industry, but they are provided no special assistance aside from social services. Now, why is that, when other people are being provided with all of this extra assistance? And a lot of money is being wasted, Mr. Speaker, as is becoming evident now. A few years ago when NCARP was first announced I think I was one of the few people in the Province who criticized it, and said that it was an inequitable program and a wasteful program. I have criticized it a number of times since that, and we are now starting to see studies appear that are bearing out the allegations that many people have been making, and every people in the industry.

Even people who are on those training programs are complaining that they are not really helping them in the long run. There was a story in The Globe and Mail today talking about the jobless being retrained in jobless fields.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

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

MS. VERGE: By leave.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We, in the Opposition, would be glad to give the Member for Pleasantville a couple of minutes to clue up, if he would like that additional time.

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

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

This is such an extensive topic that you can go on for a long time, but the main point I would make at this time is that I am all for helping people in our fishing industry earn a good living, and I have been prepared to help them. I have gone down to the water front to support their demonstrations, and meetings. I supported the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation a few years ago when he was helping organize to deal with fisheries problems we had. Now that times have changed a bit and a lot of people in the fishing industry are doing fairly well themselves, I think they have to understand that they have the responsibility now to share their good fortune with other people and they should be supportive of the efforts some of us are making to make sure that we really do maximize and equalize the benefits being derived from this industry.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to begin by commending the Member for Pleasantville for initiating this debate. I think his effort to generate discussion about how we can maximize the value of our seafood resources, and share the benefits equitably, are extremely important. The fishery is a very valuable part of the economy of this Province. It is the most important industry for a great number of our communities.

MR. EFFORD: It is about time you realized it.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation should talk. He sits in a Cabinet which has badly neglected the fishery. The Provincial Government has been extremely derelict in its duty to the people of this Province over the last few years in failing to make representations to the Federal Government which has jurisdiction over harvesting and by hiding away from its constitutional responsibility for the processing sector.

Mr. Speaker, the Member for Pleasantville, in contrast to the Premier and the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, has at least led a process of examining some of the fundamental issues of maximizing value and sharing benefits. I commend the Member for Pleasantville. I would be much happier if that initiative had been taken by the Premier or the minister responsible. The attitude of the Administration overall is symbolized by their downgrading the status of the fisheries responsibility for taking away a separate, distinct Department of Fisheries and combining it with agriculture, compounding the neglect by appointing to the portfolio an individual who has no competence whatsoever in the field of fishery.

I would like to come back to the motion of the Member for Pleasantville. I only have fifteen minutes total speaking time. I will examine the member's resolution clause by clause. The first recital indicates that our Province's "fish resource continues to be a substantial factor in our economy." It is about time that more of us started acknowledging that. There has been too much gloom and doom about the fishery. Of course, the actions and the behaviour of the Wells Administration has reinforced that negative view of the fishery. Make no wonder the mainland press have written off our fishery. Nevertheless, those of us who live here realize that the fishery continues. Even after the groundfish moratorium the fishery continues to be a major contributor to the Province's economy.

The most recent data indicate that the overall landed value of fish and seafood during 1994 was $212 million. That contrasts with $261 million in 1991, before the moratorium. That is the total value of the landed material. The big change has been the composition of that landed value. Before the moratorium, the bulk of the value came from groundfish, whereas in 1994 most of it came from shellfish. Of the $212 million total landed value, $191 million was represented by shellfish, mainly crab, shrimp, lobster, scallops and clams. Only $14 million came from groundfish, mostly turbot and redfish, and $6.9 million from pelagics, mainly herring and swordfish. The big change was the composition. The total is down but not nearly as much as commentators would have us believe: $261 million in 1991 before the moratorium, $212 million last year.

As the Member for Pleasantville indicated, however, significantly fewer people were employed in the fishery last year compared to the period before the moratorium. One of the reasons is that shellfish which constitute most of the landed value, involve less processing and fewer jobs. Crab and clams all along have had a fair bit of value added through processing; however, lobster and shrimp have had relatively little value added, and that is obviously in response to market forces. In the case of crab, some of us talked last year about jobs going out of the Province with industrial sections. A bad situation has become worse with more deals having been made by processors for the new season to ship out of the Province industrial sections or semi-processed product.

Now, we are told, part of that is in response to the Japanese market, and part of it has to do with a preference by Japanese buyers for final processing to be done in the Orient. Nevertheless, the employment associated with our fishing industry has dropped, and that is a major concern, but the first recital is correct in acknowledging the ongoing significance of the fishing industry to our economy.

The second recital deals with government's obligation to create jobs and raise revenues. Now, everyone would agree with that although we may have differing opinions on the relative roles of government and the private sector. I would maintain that the onus for job creation has to rest with the private sector, which has the capacity to create employment, and raising revenue by government, in some instances, is an impediment to employment. The Wells Administration payroll tax is a notorious example of a revenue-raising measure that has discouraged jobs in the Province.

The third recital deals with government's responsibility to ensure all citizens benefit to the highest and fairest extent from resources owned in common. I would certainly agree with that, but acknowledging that fairness has to be extended to investors in the fishing industry, investors in harvesting and also processing, who are entitled to a return on their investment consistent with the risk they undertake.

The resolution itself calls upon the Provincial Government to ensure that our fish resource is managed to provide the highest level of employment through maximum local processing where practical, so the emphasis is on management to ensure employment through processing where practical. Then the resolution goes on to say, where appropriate through devising other means of ensuring the whole Province benefits from value which may be derived above reasonable levels of return for harvesters and processors.

Mr. Speaker, in speaking to his motion, the Member for Pleasantville used a variety of terms to describe his major goal. I would suggest that the term `maximizing value' is more in keeping with a worthy objective. Maximizing employment sometimes does not give good overall results. Maximizing employment is an attempt to ensure distribution of income, not necessarily maximization of income. Maximizing the value obtained from the resource, or in other words, maximizing the sales value of products obtained, is a better goal because it brings more money into the economy. The distribution of the benefit, or the money brought into the economy, is another extremely important issue.

Focusing on maximizing employment, which has been done in the past, has lead to problems. In our own recent experience, the preoccupation with maximizing employment has contributed to the destruction of groundfish resources, and we have to learn lessons from our past mistakes. Also concentrating on maximizing employment has contributed to the excess capacity in the processing industry, a question which the Wells Administration has been avoiding dealing with, as we have seen here again this afternoon. Furthermore, a preoccupation with maximizing employment rather than maximizing value typically leads to a poorer quality fish landed than optimal quality, and results in production of lower value products than might be possible through an emphasis on maximizing value overall.

In some people's eyes the focus on maximizing jobs involves imposing on the industry, on investors, limits on products that can be made or technology that can be used. It can amount to an ultimately self-defeating intrusion by government in the private sector - self-defeating in the sense of lowering the value obtained or diminishing the results over the medium to long term.

We have to ask, what is a reasonable level of return? The fishing industry is notoriously risky and there have always been fluctuations. There have been good years, there have been bad years. I would suggest that it is not appropriate to look at rate of return in just a small span of time, just one or two years. What would be fair would be to try to quantify rate of return over a longer period of time, such as the useful life of an investment.

In the case of our crab industry, there are processors in the Province who have invested significant capital in modernizing plant and equipment so that they can meet the exacting demands of Japanese consumers. Those processors are able to employ more people in producing products to meet the final consumer compared to other processors who have made much less investment in plant and equipment, who are shipping crab out either unprocessed or barely processed. Those who have invested should be entitled, in a competitive environment, to a reasonable return on that investment, which may take a period of time.

The final clause of the member's motion where he gets into devising other means of sharing the benefits, is one that, I agree with the member, deserves further exploration. Harvesting is within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. That is, most of us in the Opposition feel, a mistake made when the Terms of Union were negotiated. The Peckford Administration made an attempt to regain meaningful control over the fishery through the constitutional talks of the 1980s, and that was one feature of the long-debated Meech Lake Accord that some of us felt represented a potential gain for the Province. At any rate, harvesting remains within the constitutional jurisdiction of the Federal Government, so the question of a Royalty or a resource tax would probably have to be handled by the Federal Government. I would be interested in hearing the ideas of the Member for Pleasantville on a provincial Royalty given the jurisdictional division.

At any rate, Mr. Speaker, I would like to express support for the resolution overall. I think it might be better if the emphasis were on maximizing value overall, which is a phrase that the member used in his speech, and that there be another provision dealing with sharing equitably the value derived from the resource, since I agree with the member. It is a common property resource. These are issues that we need to address, not only with respect to the fishery but also other raw resource-based industries such as the forestry and mining.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Coming from a fishing district along the South Coast, I understand the premise on which the resolution is based. There is no doubt about it that the fishery of the present time and that of the future is going to be quite different from that of twenty-five or thirty or even ten years ago. I am fortunate, I guess, in the fact that on the South Coast of the Province we have a tremendous future in aquaculture.

In the district of the hon. the Member for Burgeo - Bay d'Espoir - Mr. Gilbert's district - we have probably one of the greatest potentials of aquaculture, not only in Newfoundland, but probably in all of Canada. A company involved in that particular venture known as SCB fisheries takes into account some of the things that the hon. the Member for Pleasantville talks about, and that is maximizing the number of dollars that comes to this Province in value-added products in the fishery. I would like to comment a little further on that.

The SCB fisheries - in talking to the proprietors and owners of that particular fishery, they say they would like to see the trout, steelhead trout and salmon from the Bay d'Espoir area put into total secondary processing value packs and using the liver of the salmon for salmon paté, using the head crushed so that they can extract oil for the market and so on, to utilize the full fish. So if that is the case, Mr. Speaker, maximizing the secondary processing, there is no doubt about it that's where the jobs are. On the other hand, we must also remember that, philosophically speaking in the free market, we cannot expect, I guess, to dictate totally to the way that the processor would work and neither should we to the fishermen.

The government does have a responsibility, there is no doubt about that, to achieve maximum return on its resource. I guess the Newfoundland processor and the Newfoundland fishermen find themselves, in the last year or so, in a situation that is unique, where the price of crab has gone from fifty cents a pound to two dollars plus. That is due, in no small part, to the fact that the Alaskan crab resource has been depleted and its export to the Japanese market has dried up to some extent; therefore, that's the reason why we have an increase in price for the Newfoundland resource because of the demand in that particular market. So we are faced with the situation, in short term, to allow the resource to go out as the market dictates, not in meat processing but in the industrial pack. As a result of that, we probably will not be able to get the total maximum benefit out of the industrial pack as we would out of the processed crab. So therefore the government, no doubt, has to look at the possibility of creating new revenues from that particular fishery by maximizing its possible impact to the people who work in the plants.

Also, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about it that we find ourselves, as I said earlier, with a new fishery. I am also glad to announce, as I have said in the House before, that in my district also, in the town of Belleoram, through Dr. Dabinett of the University and Marine Biology Lab here, he has particularly perfected the giant scallop that can be grown in captivity. And, as I said, it is going to be done in the Belleoram plant.

AN HON. MEMBER: Scallops?

MR. LANGDON: Scallops.

I think that hatchery will produce somewhere between 10 million to 20 million spats a year when it is in production and that should be in production, growing by the end of May. And obviously, if we were to achieve the maximum benefit from that, what we would have to do, of course, is make sure that the processing is done in the local area or in the Province somewhere, to achieve the total benefits achievable under that, and for maximizing the profit for the company and maximizing the amount of work for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. And that's what it's all about. Obviously, this is what the resolution put forth by the Member for Pleasantville is about today, that the fish resource continues to be a substantial factor in our economy and to maximize its benefits.

Also, in the South Coast and from the area that I represent, there is a number of fish there that had not been processed, not been caught and I am sure that we can maximize the benefits from that as well. One of the fish that is in abundance on the South Coast for a month or two of the year is dogfish; and a company in Prince Edward Island has perfected, I guess, the cat and dog food out of the dogfish there and has a viable industry. Only last week, in talking to the owners of Compak Seafoods who have a plant in Hermitage and Gaultois on the South Coast, I talked to them about buying from the fishermen because that has not been done over the last - well not in any year - to buy dogfish from these people, and he has assured me that dogfish and the maiden ray, - another word for the maiden ray is skate - there are markets for that and hopefully, this year, these can be done as well. Now, from the skate, obviously the skate wings, if you went to a restaurant and bought the scallops from the skate wings you would not be able to identify them, a layman wouldn't, from the scallop; so obviously, we have a number of species in the water that we can maximize from and get the fullest potential.

In the resolution brought forth by the Member for Pleasantville, it calls upon government to maximize, as it said, the secondary processing. Also, I suppose, as I said previously, that with the resource we have, if we were going to completely control the marketplace, then we would have to control the economy and we would have, I guess, what is known as a socialist or communistic regime; nevertheless, we have to get the maximum results from the resource that we have and it is incumbent upon government to make sure that happens. Let us hope, as a result of the bringing it to the House of Assembly, that over the next number of months and probably before the next fishing season for crab and other species, that we can put a process in place to make sure we receive the total benefits accrued from that.

When I think of the situation of FPI as a plant - and I understand from the reports of the company that they have reached maximum profits this year for their company, but most of their secondary processing is done outside of the Province and that is done in the New England market. The Burin plant continues to put these particular secondary processing products and that is where the jobs are. So I honestly think, as the resolution states, that the highest maximum return comes when we do the secondary processing, and that has to be, and is the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government. The actual licences themselves come from the Federal Government and we do not control the number of licences that come to the fishermen; nevertheless, we do have the wherewithal to regulate the processing that is done here in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, the fishing industry, as I said, in the Province, has undergone a tremendous downturn in the ground fish fishery, due to the moratorium, and we see large numbers of our people who are unemployed and receiving, as we said, TAGS benefits from the Federal Government. But with the resource we have, the fishing resource, we have to, overall, make sure that we receive the maximum potential from the resource we have. If we don't do that, then obviously, the amount of revenue generated to the Province will not be as great as it could be, and therefore, will not bring the total benefit to the people as a whole.

I really believe the government is doing that. I was talking only last week with the Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Dean. They are doing major undertaking within the department to look at ways and means whereby they can maximize the total catch to this Province and to the people concerned. They are doing a new policy analysis of ways in which we can generate secondary processing in this Province, so really, the work has already been done by the Government of the Province to explore ways whereby we can utilize the fishing industry and provide maximum contribution to the Province. The Province will continue to promote secondary processing by providing broad licensing flexibility and incentives to facilitate increasing outputs of value-added products. Obviously, it is the objective to maximize employment through minimal local processing and to be responsive to the realities of the marketplace, as I said earlier.

We have talked so much about the sealing industry, and I think if we were to go to the supermarket today and we were to see a roast of seal in the supermarket as compared to a chicken or a turkey, not too many Newfoundland people would buy it. The product itself is not palatable to the people here, so we have to find some new ways to do that as well. So it is with the Japanese marketplace, or with the Chinese marketplace, or into Europe. The market is somewhat driven by the realities that these people want, and that is the way of the market system, the free market system.

The challenges facing the Province in the fishing industry are no different from those faced by other jurisdictions competing in the same market, so we have to be aware of that. Also, as has already been stated, by I think, the Leader of the Opposition, the processors have invested heavily in new machinery and so on to process crab, and so also have the fishermen become heavily involved in the crab industry. So I guess, at this particular time, they are reaping the benefits from, as I said, the collapse of the Alaskan fishery.

There is no doubt about it that the collapse of the ground fishery out there cannot be compensated in full by other species such as the crab. That is understandable, but nevertheless, as the resolution suggests, we must be diligent and we must find ways to maximize the resource we have for the public and for the people we represent. There is also no doubt that the industry is saddled with extremely high levels of investment in plants, in fishing infrastructure, fishing gear and fishing vessels, on which debt payments have to be met, insurance paid and normal maintenance costs incurred.

So for the industry, as a whole, from one point or more, fisheries such as the crab and shrimp are critical to the very survival of the industry, and its rebuilding concurrent with any improving resource prospect. That is very important for the Newfoundland economy as well, those people who are involved in the crab fishery. There is also no doubt that there are more people involved with the crab this year than last year, and as the Member for Pleasantville has stated, and rightly so, the increased value of the crab to the Province this year is way above what it was last year and has been one of the highest in recent years. Therefore, there is no doubt about it, the Province does reap the Royalties from that but not as much as we probably would like if we were to see jobs maximize in the Province as a whole.

There is no doubt about it, the fishing industry will continue to make an invaluable contribution to our economy in the future. And as we rebuild in all of the industry we have to make sure to maximize the benefits that come to the people we represent. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes and allow our resources to be depleted as they were in the past. I believe the prospect for the return of the groundfish industry, especially along the South Coast, is encouraging.

In fact, only a few weeks ago when I was down in my district and some of the fishermen from the Hermitage, Seal Cove area put out their gill-nets to catch redfish, actually, the nets had to be taken up because there were excessive amounts of cod in the nets. In fact, it was reported that one of the longliners brought in 30,000 pounds of cod from the nets that he had out to catch redfish.

So the sign is encouraging and I'm sure that when the cod returns, like the other resources that we have, we must maximize the resource, we must maximize in jobs for the community, and must maximize in revenue for the Province. There is no doubt about that. The challenges we face are difficult but I believe we will succeed in doing the best for the people we represent.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. LANGDON: Thank you to the Member for Grand Bank.

In concluding, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt about it that we have to maximize the potential to the Province, to the fishermen, to the fish plant workers. I'm sure that in time we will do that, make sure we do that, to maximize the full value of the resource that we have. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I want to take a few minutes to participate in the debate on the resolution put forward by the Member for Pleasantville. It has been interesting to listen to the views of speakers, so far. It is an issue on which there are, I guess, wide-ranging opinions on a lot of what should be done or what shouldn't be done and the way about it as it pertains to our fishing industry and our fish resources, using those resources for the maximum benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador.

It makes a lot of sense, I say to the Member for Pleasantville. The Member for Pleasantville sort of drew attention, I think it was last week on CBC radio, when he was on there in debate with Mr. McCurdy - I think it was last week, or the week before - on the crab situation. Since then, I feel the member has been under sort of a vicious attack from both inside and outside his caucus. A lot of people -

MR. SULLIVAN: Earle told him off.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, well, I know the President of the Fishermen's Union really gave him a hard time that morning, I had reports. I understand he has had some vicious attacks from inside his caucus, by watching the -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) me again?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, not you. They have stopped attacking the Government House Leader, I say to him.

MR. ROBERTS: Given it up (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: They consider the job to be done, I say to the Government House Leader. They consider the job is done on the Government House Leader and they are now turning their attention to the Member for Pleasantville.

I was watching the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation while the Member for Pleasantville was speaking. I thought we were going to have to get a restraining belt to put on him, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure that if the minister were to have given in to himself he would have gone in the back benches and god knows what he would have done. He was muttering something about: `If I could only get the Member for Pleasantville on the wharf in Port de Grave' - I thought he said it would be the end of him.

MR. NOEL: I'm going to run out there next time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It would be a big improvement, I say to the Member for Pleasantville, if only he would run out there. I would say the electorate in both districts would be so pleased. The people in Pleasantville would be so happy that they are rid of him, and the people in Port de Grave would be so relieved that they are rid of Efford. They would be very happy to get you and the people of Pleasantville would be so happy to get rid of you, I say to him.

MR. SULLIVAN: Port de Grave would be an appropriate name - Port of grave.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Port of grave.

Mr. Speaker, it is a serious resolution. There is one thing that struck home to me, I guess, this morning after this debate and watching this crab industry situation unfold over the last couple of weeks. Thank God, it has been resolved, I have to say that. I supported - what the industry requested, the exemption, I didn't support that, because I didn't know what choice government would have at this late stage of not granting the extension. They had to grant the exemption or else we would have had an industry in turmoil that would have cost the Province somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million.

I said publicly that if the government, in its wisdom, wants to undertake a review, an analysis of this situation, do it from now on until the next season so that everyone knows what is evolving, everyone will know the ground rules, everyone will know the decisions well in advance. But you can't change it on the eve of putting your pots in the water. You can't change it on the eve of processors having lined up markets, of fishermen being ready to fish. You can't change the game then; it is too late. You have to proceed. Of course, it would have been a great expense and a great loss to the economy of this Province if in any way this fishery had been disrupted at that very late stage.

So I understood the Member for Pleasantville's concerns, and I understand the Member for Eagle River's voice of similar concerns, but that has become almost a daily occurrence now, that the Member for Eagle River is expressing opinions of his own, or opinions of others. He is not very consistent. He sort of senses that there is a little bit of a bandwagon and he likes to jump on, but what you have to watch with the Member for Eagle River is that he will jump off the wagon just as fast, so you don't know where he's going. He is a jumper on-er and off-er.

AN HON. MEMBER: He would jump off a roller coaster.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, he would jump off a roller coaster if he thought he wouldn't hurt his head.

Mr. Speaker, there is very little you can argue about in the resolution. Government must do everything possible to create jobs. Yes, government must. They haven't yet. The government hasn't yet, but the government must do everything to create jobs and raise revenues to maintain valuable public services. No one can argue against that. I can't. Who can disagree that our fish resources continue to be a substantial factor in our economy - 270 million last year?

MR. SULLIVAN: The crab fishery?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, the total.

MR. SULLIVAN: In the fishery, 212 (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am sorry?

MR. DUMARESQUE: Laughing rocks.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Laughing rockets?



MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) little fellow got them (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, and I am going to tell you, I know who plays with it most. It is not the little fellow, I say to the Member for Eagle River, who plays with a laughing rock. It is not the little fellow.

Government has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens benefit to the highest and fairest extent from resources owned in common - no doubt.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is Bud light going to speak on this?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Bud light? Light Bud - not Bud light, light Bud.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the government ensure that our fish resource is managed to provide the highest level of employment through maximum local processing where practical. That means in-Province, I guess.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am talking to the Member for Pleasantville, I say to the Member for Eagle River. I am trying to understand his resolution. I want to understand where the member is coming from.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Give us an idea if you have one.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I do have an idea, I say to the Member for Eagle River, but I wouldn't be permitted to express it here; it would be unparliamentary - about the hon. member, that is.

The member has concern, a concern that I have expressed for years, by the way, about fish products in raw form - a more raw form than it should be exported in - going out of this Province, where I thought we had an opportunity to value add and create jobs, so I agree with the Member for Pleasantville on that aspect. It is something I have advocated for years. We have shipped too many jobs out of this Province - too many jobs - and the hon. member believes that we are doing the same thing now with the crab fishery, I believe; he believes that. Now, there are those who will counter the argument. Those who are involved in the industry, processors, fishermen, the union, are sort of all on the same wavelength when it comes to this. The Member for Pleasantville thinks they are in cahoots, now, whatever that means - cahoots. To me, cahoots means like it is almost for a common cause that is not really -

MR. NOEL: Their own cause rather than (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Okay, their own cause rather than the cause of the common good.

Now, there are those who understand the crab industry a lot better than I do. There are those who understand the crab industry a lot better than most people in this House do. This gentleman here understands the crab industry better than anyone else in this House, I would suggest. Better than anyone else in this House, the Member for Ferryland understands the crab industry.

MR. SULLIVAN: I was never involved in the crab industry.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Never involved in it, but he knows it well I tell you. Any topic that the Member for Ferryland talks about, he knows about, quite different from the Member for Eagle River who talks about everything and doesn't know anything about anything. Quite different, quite a comparison. If you ever wanted to look at two extremes of knowledge, Mr. Speaker, if you ever wanted to do a comparison on knowledge and lack thereof, compare the Members for Ferryland and Eagle River. If you ever wanted to compare someone who knows what they are talking about and someone who doesn't know what they are talking about, compare the Members for Ferryland and Eagle River. Talks a lot about nothing, the Member for Eagle River.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Bamboozled. When the Member for Ferryland speaks now he will bamboozle the Member for Eagle River, he will blind him with statistics.

MR. DUMARESQUE: How come you couldn't get the job no one else wanted?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well, I say to the Member for Eagle River -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I thought the hon. member was going to say Snook would have won.

Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious issue, it is a very complex issue, I say to the Government House Leader. It suddenly hit me this morning when we had a little discussion in caucus about the resolution.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Only a small number of them. No, we were just chatting about the resolution, and then people started to talk about the situation in our fishery and about crab and other stuff.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, it was amazing to see in that group of people such a divergence of opinion. It was such a difference of opinion about this one issue. I just sat there and I listened to whoever wanted to talk about it, and I said: It tells me something about our fishing industry, about how complex it is. I wondered then if we will ever sort it out to our satisfaction. I don't think we will ever sort it out to our satisfaction, I say to the Minister of Health.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Sort out where you got your suntan - never sorted out to our satisfaction, I say to the Minister of Health.

MR. SULLIVAN: I know where he got that. A Caribbean cruise, and the health care system falling down around our ears.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes. Some worried, now, about the waiting list. No, but I wondered really if we will ever be able to address the problems and the complexities of the fishing industry to our satisfaction. Because it is so complex. It is. When you look at - you know, people this morning expressing views about: Why don't we let more people get in and share the wealth? Why can't we do that? Then of course you have the problem of the resource. How do you do that? Do you have more people sharing the level of resource that we now harvest? Then of course that brings the earnings down for everyone. Do you do that? There is a concern for the resource, the amount of fish or crab or whatever is there. On and on, it gets very complex. How do you address it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Sure the scientists change their minds every day.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Of course they do. But you know what I'm saying, to the Member for Pleasantville. If you allow more people in you can't really take more resource. So that is going to bring the earnings down for those now in and those coming in. How do you address it? I think that is what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is sort of upset about, listening to him mumble on there a bit earlier. He knows that those involved in the crab industry today haven't always had good years. They haven't always been good years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) price.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Price is what it is all about, isn't it? The price of anything is what it is all about, Mr. Speaker. Because it is up this year, as the Member for Ferryland said so many times, doesn't mean that next year it is not going to go down. What do you do then if you have 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 new entrants into the fishery and the price goes down? What do we have then? We will have 5,000 more people who will come to the government and say: You have to help us out because you let us in, and now you have to keep us alive.

So is that the answer, is my point. Is that the answer, to let more in, sharing up the resource that we are now taking, and then when the industry dips and the resource dips then you have to bail it out. So it is complex, I say to the Member for Eagle River. You just can't say: Let more in to share it up. You have to look to the future and ask: What might happen down here, and if this happens what are the consequences to the governments, what are the consequences to the economy?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I can tell the hon. member that I'm very worried and concerned about a resource tax. I can't jump on board with the principle of a resource tax like that. I can't do it. I can't.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well he probably is against it, I would say. The Member for St. John's East I would think, without knowing, is against it and the thing about it is, it would be a federal tax.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not necessarily.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Well what are you talking about, an export tax? You don't know what you are talking about then. A resource tax, are you going to tax the resource that comes out of the water so you are taxing the harvesters?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, you want more taxes on it all. You said - put tax on everybody. So I ask the member, what will that achieve? What will it accomplish besides making the coffers of the Province a little richer, they will put more money into the general revenue fund but what will it do for the industry itself? What will it do, seriously? What will it do to straighten out the industry and the problems in it if today we administer a resource tax?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Can I have leave to finish for a second?

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: It is just -

AN HON. MEMBER: Be nice.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am going to be nice because it is something that I would like to really flesh out, I say to the member, in all sincerity. Since the Member for Pleasantville raised the issue of a resource tax, I think it should be fleshed out a bit more. What are the implications of a resource tax? I know the Province would - if the Province could - it is a federal tax on the resource coming out of the water, if then you tax the processors on amount of throughput, if you tax then how much is exported, so the Province gets more taxes and our general revenue account is healthier.

AN HON. MEMBER: And we can open these hospital beds you wanted open.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am not arguing against that, we all know we need that but my point is that we are trying to address the problems in the fishing industry and applying a resource tax, I don't know how that is going to sort it out is my point. It is not connected, it is two different issues. The problems in the crab fishery today are totally unrelated to whether we have a resource tax or not, I say to the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: We are not interested in the resource tax (inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, I know that. I have noticed that is out of there and I have also noticed that the resolution has been sort of, what I would call watered down, weakened a bit. I am sure that is because of the influence of the Caucus and because of their concerns about this matter. I know there are concerns, there are concerns amongst the Caucus there, I know that. We have a difference of opinion here which I knew this morning when we had a little talk about it. I say to the Member for Pleasantville, if he wants to talk about a resource tax let's not do it in a tangle with trying to address the problems of the crab fishing industry or the fishing industry in general. If you want more money coming into the government Caucus that is an option but you are not going to straighten out the problems in the fishing industry by applying a resource tax is my point. We all know there are problems with our fishery. There are problems that need to be reviewed and analyzed. We need to look at it and I support that but I cannot jump on board a resource tax immediately and say yes it is a good thing. You have to know the implications of any tax but especially something when we are talking about -

MR. A. SNOW: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The Member for Menihek thinks the concept is good, he says. I can understand that.

AN HON. MEMBER: His fishermen support him.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, all the fishermen in Menihek support that but of course the Member for Menihek and Pleasantville, there is something in their past that is a little bit similar, there is something there. I am not sure what it is. There is something in their past that is a little alike and something in common with the Member for St. John's East I believe and the Member for Gander, yes but it is a complex issue. I commend the Member for bringing it forward, I do. I think we need to debate issues like this more and more. We need to debate it here in this House of Assembly, as a Caucus you need to debate it, as a Caucus we need to debate, the industry needs to debate it, we all do. The Caucus, the NDP needs to debate it and see what divergence of opinion there is in their Caucus.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No they don't and there are days I envy the member. There are days when I sit in our Caucus and I envy the Member for St. John's East at how easy it must be to reach a consensus because we have problems on some days but the government House Leader must be the most envious of all. There were people ready to kill over there today on this resolution - ready to kill, issuing threats.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, not to kill you. There were members over there ready, like the Minister of Works Services and Transportation. I would be surprised if he is not on his feet after me now to speak to this. He is a great supporter of this resolution. He is a great supporter of the ideas put forward by the Member for Pleasantville. I am sure he will be on his feet with full support for this resolution.

It is in this Province everywhere. It is very complex. It needs to be addressed, and I commend the member for bringing forward the resolution. I say that sincerely. I think it is good to have a debate on it, but we have to have a review, a thorough review, I say to the minister, over the next six to ten months. Let's not wait until the eleventh hour to do it again. But we have to keep in mind, with whatever we anticipate doing, the involvement in those in the industry who are there now, the investment that they have put into the industry, to their enterprises, to their processing facilities. That all has to be considered before we make any radical changes, and we have to certainly look at the resource. We cannot deplete another resource, I say to the Member for Eagle River. It is funny now to say, jump in, throw more into the industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave; get down.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Oh, Mr. Speaker, how I wish I had met the member when I was younger.

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

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

I am very pleased today to have a few words. For the first time in a long time I get the chance to follow next to the Member for Grand Bank. The Member for Ferryland will be coming behind me, not unlike how he just came behind the Member for Humber East, and not unlike how he will come behind the Liberal Party the next election. It is going to be his trademark. He will be behind for the rest of his life if he stays here.

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak on this issue and I want to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the fishermen and plant workers and the industry out there this year in this Province. I also want to touch on what is happening in my district to illustrate that the Atlantic groundfish strategy is working, that the Atlantic groundfish strategy is being successful, and indeed we should be out commending Brian Tobin and the federal government for what they are doing on this particular issue.

I want to start off by saying to all people of this House, and through this House to the people of this Province, that we should be standing here commending the fishermen and the plant workers of this Province today for what they are doing to seize this challenge, to seize this opportunity to respond to the challenge of their lifetime, and it is great to see fishermen and plant workers and companies out there making money. There is absolutely no problem with that, and I hope that we will see in the future that the fishermen and the plant workers and the industry in this Province be as good in this country as they are in Iceland and in Norway and in other parts of the Scandinavian countries, where they are occupying the best seats in society as far as getting some economic benefits from an industry. We have had for too long our industry being looked down upon and our people not getting some adequate return from our industry.

Indeed, today we have an opportunity to be very proud of what is happening in our shrimp industry. We are getting jobs from that shrimp industry, not as many as we would like, but we do have jobs today, $50,000; $60,000; $70,000 and $80,000 jobs in that shrimp industry. They should still be there. Those companies need to be successful. That does not mean that we should not also look at having an inshore shrimp fishery. It does not mean that we should not also have that shrimp processed on land in Canada - we should have that - but right now today we can be proud that we do have fishermen out there in the shrimp industry earning $50,000 or $60,000 a year, very happy to see that.

In the crab fishery this year, as was last year, there is going to be another great year, and it is very, very encouraging to see fishermen out there making good money, and obviously companies that are able to expand on the workforce that they have. I think, Mr. Speaker, we have to acknowledge that what the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in Ottawa did with his crab management plan was the best thing he could possibly do this year. He went this year and said: we are going to spread the resource around. This year we are going to have 1500 to 2000 new people working in the crab fishery on the harvesting side, because of those seasonal licenses he has put out there. He has done that. He has been able to deliver on those extra jobs that we need from the fishery, good paying jobs, and at the same time he has put the trip limits and the weekly limits in place, that worked there before on the full-time and the supplementary fleet in the crab fishery.

What we are going to see this year is a much more orderly harvesting and processing of the crab industry, which will see plants all over this Province have their processing life extended this year so that they will get the maximum out of this resource. I think it is the best crab management plan that we have ever seen in this Province. Without a doubt, I think that is the case, and if we do what we are saying we are going to do, to make sure that the industry out there, the crab industry, does recognize, and particularly the processors, they have to recognize that they cannot take the crab out in industrial form in the kind of numbers they are talking about because that will affect the processing jobs, the plant workers jobs.

That is something we want to have control over, and I am sure that the minister here is going to send a strong message on that particular aspect of it. When it comes to sections, there are more jobs in the sections, the consumer pack sections, than there are in any other part of the crab processing industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. DUMARESQUE: There are more jobs in the consumer pack section of the crab than there are in any other aspect of the crab processing. In the meat there are less jobs than there are in the consumer pack section, there are more jobs in the consumer pack section than there are in the industrial pack, so I think what we are seeing over the last couple of years, and what we should continue to see is exactly that process and those percentages continue. As a matter of fact I would not be unhappy if there was 95 per cent done in the consumer pack sections.

I would not be unhappy with that because that is where the jobs are. You will get those jobs in the cleaning, the presentation, the packaging, and the transportation of those smaller five pound, five kilo containers, ready for the consumer. I know in my own riding the Labrador Shrimp Company now are working very hard to get a consumer pack in place where they will have the legs and the claws. You will be able to go in and pick it up in a five pound package in the supermarket. This is where the jobs are. There are more jobs than there are in the meat market because you need a machine, the machine does the meat extraction. It is the machine which will do the splitting of the crab and so forth, so if you turn and put the crab into the meat market you are going to take away jobs. You are also going to take away jobs if you put it into the industrial pack, where you have the crab come in, you cook it, then you freeze in bulk form and put it into fifty pound containers. That will then be shipped out, and yes, we will be shipping our jobs with it.

On the crab processing side, Mr. Speaker, what we have done in the last couple of years, and what we are going to continue to do this year is in the best interest of everybody in this Province, the crab processors, the crab fishermen and indeed the plant workers which I think must be given the kind of voice and the kind of attention they deserve at this point in time. We are seeing that done in my riding and I am quite proud to see what these people are doing at this point with the crab industry.

That is also not lost on other species this year. In the last couple of years in the Labrador Straits 300 to 400 fishermen and workers have been getting scallops and getting a premium price for them, up to $7.00 a pound. That is very welcome news indeed because we do have a healthy scallop resource over there. Down in the Williams Harbour area, for the first time last year, we had 150 people who were on TAGS previous to this, who went out with the small speedboats and got a greater level of earnings from the inshore scallop fishery in the last two years than they ever did in the cod fishery in many cases.

This is a resource that was never harvested before but we have identified it and we have kept it at a small boat level so that it is being done in an orderly fashion. The technology that they are using protects the interest of the environment and obviously we are seeing good economic returns to people in the scallop industry in the Williams Harbour area and there is no doubt that that is going to be extended to other parts of the Labrador Coast and throughout the Province.

We are seeing the turbot fishery, which last year was a very valuable one to Nain and Makkovik, and this year I hope that we will be able to extend it to Black Tickle. I know there are some discussions ongoing to try to see the turbot that is being - a very healthy stock of turbot at the present time in the 2J area and the 2Gh area to be harvested and processed in Labrador, and I want to say to my friend from Ferryland or my friend from Port de Grave that all we want in Labrador is enough of that turbot to satisfy our processing needs and I would suspect that we would still have 50 per cent or 60 per cent of it go to our friends, our neighbours, in Newfoundland and Labrador, that we want to see get good jobs and get the benefits from this turbot industry rather than see it go to other parts of Canada before our needs are addressed.

But, Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, this year, we are going to have within ten months - and this should not be lost, this message must go out to all corners of this Province and to all corners of this nation - that within ten months of the complete closure of the Northern cod fishery, which affected 126 communities in this Province, within ten months of that, we are now, this year, going to have 13,000 to 14,000 people working in the fishery, getting better incomes than they ever had before. It is a proud day for us to be here, Mr. Speaker; it is a proud day for us to be here and to be able to recognize that fact. Too many people in this Province today are trying to look at their navels and trying to find negative aspects of our fishery, trying to say that this one is to blame, that one is to blame; there is nothing for anybody any more, it is time for those people who are over there who are responsible to stand up and go shoulder to shoulder with our fishermen from Port de Grave or our plant workers in Port au Choix or our people on the Coast of Labrador and say: you are meeting the challenge like we did and our forefathers before, and we are going to rebuild this Province, we are going to make the fishery the best it has ever been; more stable, our communities are going to be diversified.

Yes, we are going to have different species, yes we are going to get more secondary processing and yes, the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture is going to deliver on the aquaculture industry like it was never delivered on before, he is going to do it in the seal fishery and, Mr. Speaker, within four years by the time this TAGS program runs its course, we will have a very substantial, secure fishery in this Province that was never talked about for hundreds of years. Too many people in this Province are of the view and we are still getting it today, everybody talks about the fishery. They say the fishery is gone; everybody automatically means the cod fishery is gone. They still can't see beyond the cod fishery and that is what is wrong with our fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We have to see those other twenty species utilized; we have to see those extra species brought in and extra processing done with them, and we have to see those other fish that are out there, the salmon and the char and the cod too; cod included along with our shellfish, the scallop and the other industries, the aquaculture, that is where that must come over and take the meaningful part it must in our fishery, and that is the kind of thing that will give the security to our communities that our people out there are looking for. So we have no axe to grind with this particular resolution, in the gist of it, but we do have a lot of problems, when we have people opposite and people out there in the communities who are trying to tear down what we are doing those days for the first time ever to rebuild this industry on a sound, rational footing that was never done before and never applied before.

Mr. Speaker, the TAGS program that was put in place, $1.9 billion that was put in place last year by the federal government, was the only piece of new money in the federal budget; it was a substantial commitment to our fishery, a substantial acknowledgement of responsibility by the federal government and yes, indeed, right now, today, we know that that strategy is working. We know today that our people have not laid back and said we are going to collect our TAGS cheque even if we have an opportunity to work. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are proud people. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are great at meeting challenges; Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a resilient people who love their communities and want to stay in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. They are doing it in spades, and we should be here today commending them for it, saying to them to keep on going, to keep on getting that extra distance from your fish that you are getting, keep on getting that extra money from the crab resource or the scallop resource or the shrimp resource. We should be commending them, Mr. Speaker.

We should be taking every opportunity to acknowledge what they are doing is what we would probably, a few years ago, never have expected. We would have thought that this was all over for them. Many people in our Province even today say that there is no future. The future of the fishery is nil because the cod fishery is gone. I've said it before and I will say it here again in this House, the cod fishery is going to return to Newfoundland and Labrador, the cod fishery is going to be alive and well in Newfoundland and Labrador, but we are not going to harvest cod and process cod like we did in the past.

We are going to have a much more effective management plan, we are going to have a much more substantial scientific background to our total allowable catches, we are going to have a much more effective quota system and resource allocation policy which will see areas of the Province supported, and obviously the interests of this Province supported before the interests of another province until all of our needs are met. At the end of the day everybody out there these days is scared by people out there indicating that their community is gone, that resettlement is in place, and all those things.

They are saying: You can't have in five years' time 10,000 people in the cod fishery. I don't think that there should be any more than 10,000 to 15,000 people in the cod fishery if we are looking at a total allowable catch in the area of 100,000 metric tons. What we have to do is what we are doing in Labrador, what we are doing in my riding. In Cartwright, Labrador we have a crab resource within eighty miles off there. It is 1,000 tons. It provides 150 jobs, 160 jobs, better security than they ever had before. They are making money at that plant, $1 million a couple of years ago.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of thing we are seeing in the fishery and the kind of thing I'm obviously -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: - very proud here to be able to enunciate for all the benefit of hon. members.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The resolution by the Member for Pleasantville I guess it is so general. As the Member for Grand Bank said, watered down. It is not very significant anyway. I guess what he is advocating is elimination of the capitalist state, to have the government control all revenues and so on and disperse it among the people. Maybe he wants to bring in another temporary measure or resource tax equivalent to the temporary measure that was instituted I think in 1914 called income tax to fund the war that is still temporary, I might say to the Member for Pleasantville.

If you are going to distribute the wealth, as the member calls it, if you are going to spread out the wealth, shouldn't you spread out the wealth - and the member is not listening, in case he wants to respond when he gets the opportunity. If you want to spread out the wealth that we have, if there is a problem there, the first thing you do is analyze the problem.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Here is what we have. I will just run through the crab fishery by region, by area, the number of licences there, and the average amount of funds per crew in each area based on size, and show the member why we don't have a situation that is tilted extremely in one direction.

For example, let's take the 2-J area. There are thirty-three licences in 2-J with a quota of 2,700 metric tons, an average of eighty-two tons per boat, or $450,000 per boat in 2-J. That means there are going to be 231 people employed on those boats and the average crew member is going to make, based on an assignment of 60 per cent to the boat and 40 per cent to the crew, the average person is going to make $25,700.00 based on the quota and the number of licences. In 3K there are twenty-nine full-time licences. The average amount per boat is going to be 128 metric tons, 281,000 pounds, and each of these are going to bring in about $700,000 per enterprise, employing 203 people at a cost - each crew member in this area is going to make $40,000; so I am dealing with the upper end of the scale first. Also in 3K there are 238 supplementary licences, employing 1,428 people, and the average amount per boat in 3K supplementary is going to be 73,000 pounds at a market value of about $183,000 per boat. Once again, the average crew member in 3K, out of 1,428 people, will make about $12,167, dividing the number of licences by the quota and by the going price; I am just using $2.50 per pound.

In 3L, the area off our coast here, there are thirty-nine full-time licences, 119 ton per boat would be the average, 261,000 pounds per boat, for an income per enterprise of $652,500. Now, if you look at the average crew member in that operation, they would make around $37,000 in 3L.

In the 3L region, when you look at the supplementary, there are 320 supplementary licences in 3L, of which seventy-five are for boats over forty ton, and the remaining 245 are for boats under 40 ton. Now the seventy-five that are over forty ton boats are going to average, based on the quota, around fifty-six ton a boat, or 123,000 pounds, bringing in a gross value for the enterprise of $307,000 for that enterprise. Under forty ton, the 245 category, are only going to bring in eighteen ton per boat, or 40,000 pounds, and just slightly under $100,000 for the entire enterprise for those 245 enterprises employing 1,225 people.

Now in the 3Ps area there are eighty-four supplementary licences, and they only average, based on the quota and based on the tonnage, about 20 ton, 44,000 pounds, times the going price of the market; they will bring in about $112,000 to $113,000 total enterprise for each enterprise, when a crew member would make roughly $7,500 in 3Ps.

The Member for Pleasantville, this is a new one that is coming in this year, there are 380 temporary seasonal permits this year, with an average, if you take four people per crew, should be roughly eight for a small thirty-five foot boat, we are looking at 1,520 new people getting into the crab fishery that were not there last year, and each of these enterprises would be allowed around 11,000 pounds, about five ton, and that would bring in for that crew around $27,000 in total, and assuming it is split, the smaller boat, the boat may take 50 per cent, the remaining spread through the crew. Each crew member in that operation is only going to make about between $3,000 and $4,000 per person.

Now, when you look at all of these areas, and I went through and did a little summary, just to give you an indication of where we stand overall with how it is spread out over the scale, if you look at the boats that are making $400,000 to $700,000 per enterprise, that is the upper end of the scale, $700,000, based on the average - I am taking the number of permits, now, the number of licences, and the quota, and assuming an average, which is the logical way to go. If someone can catch more, or they happen to be more aggressive or luckier fishing...

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) extremes.

MR. SULLIVAN: I say to the Member for Pleasantville, I am going to give you all the figures. They are not extremes. I will give him all the facts and he can look at the figures then. I will read it in Hansard tomorrow because he is not listening. Mr. Speaker, he will have his opportunity to address the issue there.

Now in the $400,000 to $700,000 range; there are 101 licenses that will bring in between $400,000 and $700,000. That represents 9 per cent of the crab licenses that are out there today, 9 per cent are in the $400,000 to $700,000 range. It employs 700 people representing 12 per cent of the people employed in the crab fishery.

In the next category I categorized from $200,000 to $400,000 income. I looked at the numbers in that category and there are seventy-five boats that are going to make between $200,000 and $400,000. That represents only 6.7 per cent which employs 450 people in that category. I looked at the $100,000 to $200,000 income and in that range there are eighty-four boats that will have landings in the $100,000 to $200,000 range; 7.5 per cent of the total employing 524 people in that sector of the enterprise.

Now when you look at those, the important thing there I say to the Member for Pleasantville, in the next two categories, in boats that land between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of crab this year, in that category, there are 483 boats in that category employing 2,653 people representing 43 per cent. The boats fishing for crab this year will have landings in the $50,000 to $100,000. Boats with less than $50,000 income represents 34 per cent of the boats that will be out there this year, 380, and that is the new category there for those temporary permits that are given this year.

I say to the Member for Pleasantville, 71 per cent of the boats fishing for crab this year will have incomes less than $100,000 per boat. Now the average crew member in those boats will range from around $3,000-some a crew member up to about $7,000 per crew member. That represents 77 per cent of the boats and it represents 71 per cent of the people. Like in any industry you are going to have a higher number of people bringing in more income. It happens in Canada, it happens in business and it happens in private enterprise. Some people have the ability to generate more revenues than others. Now do we go back and re-invent the wheel and start off?

Now there is no full time crab license holders in my district, that I am aware of, I don't think there are. They might be residing there now, an occasional one. There has been none there in my district and for many years we have seen crab caught off our shores and brought elsewhere. There is only one crab operation in my district but overall there are many crab fishermen in my district and many people with supplementary licenses and that has been a positive step forward to bring as many people as possible into the industry. Right now this year, based on the figures, the average number per boat - and I use seven in the large boat, sixty-five footer, I use six in smaller boats down to four - there is going to be almost 6,000 people in the harvesting sector of the fishing industry this year bringing into this Province, in direct sales, a minimum of $165 million in the crab up to as high as $200 million, depending on the price from two-fifty up. So that is what is going to come into this province in the industry this year.

I will use an example, and it is not out of the ordinary, a person who has a sixty-five foot boat or a forty-five foot boat or somewhere in that category - we will take the lower end of the scale, a forty-five foot boat, there are more in that range - it cost probably $250,000 for that boat. The person went out and got a loan at the bank, a guaranteed loan through a bank by the government through the loan board and that person owes $200,000 or $150,000 and the fishery was pulled out from underneath that persons feet in 1992.

The shellfish industry in this Province comprised about 90 per cent of the revenues last year. There was no basic groundfish industry in the Province, it disappeared. These people don't have other licences to pursue shrimp or other species. Some fish turbot, some have taken up scallops, at a loss to their enterprise. Forty thousand dollars and $50,000, some have spent $80,000 to gear up for a scallop industry that they lost money on.

The banks are coming after these people, yes and the Loan Board, the provincial government, are coming after them, swooping down like hawks. They want financial statements from their wife if they are working elsewhere. These people gave a commitment to assign 20 per cent of their catch to the Loan Board to help pay for their boats and there has been no industry there since 1992. They have 20 per cent of nothing; it is still nothing. Now they have an opportunity to catch up on their payments to the banks and the Loan Board, a chance to get ahead on their payments to maintain the enterprise and keep their families here in this Province instead of sending them off to Alberta, Yellowknife, and all over this country.

That is an opportunity at catching up to do. If it is distorted, if there is a distortion of figures for an extended period of time, I would have concerns about the government. Only 9 per cent of the enterprises are making over $400,000, the whole enterprise. Only 6.7 per cent are over $200,000. Sixty per cent assigned to the boat, $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 to a boat, only meets an interest payment plus some maintenance, to repair, to keep that boat going. If that boat could go out and fish for the next five months and catch other species and even break even to help cover their operational costs, maybe they are going to do extra well this year, better than they normally would do.

So what is wrong with that? I heard you mention before, some people are afraid to inflict prosperity upon other people. I don't think this government should be afraid to inflict prosperity upon people who haven't had much prosperity in this Province for the last number of years with a declining fishery. I think they should sit still, give the exemption like they did. If we are exporting jobs I'm as concerned as anybody else. But to export jobs, to limit on the exportation of jobs, will drive the price down so far instead of getting your $200 million into the fishery this year we won't get $100 million into this Province. We will probably be down to fifty cents or sixty cents a pound. We will get down to probably one-fifth of what is there. The revenues to this Province, and the spin-off employment in this Province for the welders and the truckers and everybody else in the Province here, it is going to be devastating for an industry that is already crippled.

So I think the resolution here is not going to address it. It is too general anyway. There is not much significance there. Who wouldn't want the revenues of this Province? How are we going to tax the harvesters? Nova Scotia has as much right as Newfoundland to put a tax on the harvesters in our waters that belong to Canada, not Newfoundland. On harvesters in this Province it is a federal responsibility, it is constitutionally enshrined, the rights for the fishery off our coasts. If they want to put a tax on processors it is going to reflect back to harvesters anyway and so on, and it is going to be detrimental to the fishery of this Province.

The proper decision was made. Maybe down the road, who knows what the future, or what will happen? So I say to the Member for Pleasantville, he would like to have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Just one minute to finish up, Mr. Speaker.

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


MR. SULLIVAN: Maybe he would like every single part of this Province that is more prosperous than others - if the milk producers are making too much money, tax them and give it to the rest of the Province. If the potato growers are making too much money, tax them. If all other industries - and put it back. We have a system in place to do that. I said at the beginning the system that is in place to do that is called income tax. If you make a lot of money and you have profits, you should pay taxes. If you make a lot more money you should pay more taxes. That is how it is done.

What the member has proposed is not going to do anything for the fishery in this Province. It is not going to do anything for free enterprise in this Province. He should get up and vote against it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to stand here this afternoon and speak to this resolution. In doing so I would like to speak on a couple of the `whereases.' That's a very, very true statement, although the collapse of the groundfish fishery was the most devastating thing to occur in this Province in recent decades and centuries one can say, although that did occur and it was the lifeblood of this Province for the last 450 years, the value of the fishery last year was indeed substantial and it was in excess of $400 million. In the heyday of the fishery in the '70s and the '80s, the value of the fishery was somewhere around $650 million.

That increase in the value of the fishery, of course it has been referenced here this afternoon by a number of speakers, has to do with the product that we are now fortunate enough to have off our coasts and to be harvesting a produce that, until recent years and as a result of the downturn in the groundfish fishery, we had ignored that species all through the years - or species - and that is, crab, shrimp, lobster, the shellfish that are in our waters but, this year as last year, about 75 per cent of the export value of the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador will be accrued from the crab fishery; and I am very, very pleased and very happy that we have that type of industry developing in this Province, considering the fact that what we have gone through since 1992, with the moratoria that have been imposed upon many of the groundfish species.

You know, Mr. Speaker, I am also very glad to be associated with an industry that still has a chance in our Province to make money, and I am also very pleased to be associated with an industry where profit isn't a dirty word.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not sinful.

DR. HULAN: It is not sinful, that's right.

We have a developing fishing industry in the shellfish species of which we can all be proud and we can all support and encourage. Now there are some this year, this past number of weeks, who have been advocating that crab should be exported from this Province only as a meat, only in the form of meat. That's fine, that's fine if there was a market for meat, a tremendous market for meat out there that was offering big dollars for meat product and provided the extraction of meat provided additional processing jobs, because, after all, the tenor of this resolution, Mr. Speaker, is not about a resource tax as has been referred to many times this afternoon, but as the tenor of this resolution is that we in the fishing industry and not only the fishing industry I might say, Mr. Speaker, but in the food industry in general in this Province, that we make every attempt possible to maximize jobs for Newfoundlanders and to maximize jobs in the processing sector of the food industry, be it food from the land or food from the sea, and that, Mr. Speaker, is indeed, a chief focus of the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture to do exactly that.

I can tell this hon. House that I have been disturbed for many years to see all of the raw materials that have been harvested in our land, be they materials from the mining industry, the forest industry, the ocean, that have gone out as raw materials and not as processed, finished products and so, in the fishery today, in the crab fishery specifically, we have a tremendous market for in-shell product in places such as Japan. A tremendous market that is there, it is for a product in the shell and not for a meat product. I guess one could draw the analogy, and use the comparison that it is not much use to start making rubber boots if you can only sell dress shoes. It is as simple as that. Dress shoes that you put on when you go into the bank, I say to the hon. member, to put in all the money he makes. Since he drives a Cadillac I know he has a lot of money every week to put in the bank and he has to put on dress shoes to go into the bank.

Mr. Speaker, the crab fishery this year will employ around 8,000 people in this Province, no small number when we think of in the heyday of the fishery, the entire fishery employed only around, I might say, 28,000 people. Now, we have had a complete collapse of the groundfish fishery and yet one sector of the industry, the crab industry this year will employ around 8000 people, fisherfolk, processors and so on. I know my colleague for Eagle River referenced this earlier but I think it is worthy of referencing again. In the processing of crab, the processing of meat product requires very, very little labour, very little labour indeed, very little labour compared to what it did fifteen years ago before mechanization took place. That is what I am saying to the hon. Member for Ferryland. I notice you are up on this as well.

The processing of the commercial pack that we have heard referenced today requires a substantial amount of labour for most commercial packs. Now, mind you there are commercial packs and then there are commercial packs, and some commercial packs do not require as much labour as others, but the top of the line and the proper commercial pack requires a tremendous amount of labour, in the polishing of the product, the cleaning of the product, the trimming of the product with scissors and so on, the placing of the product properly in the trays, and I can keep going on.

In fact the industry can very well, and justifiably so, make a statement that that product requires a greater labour intensity than meat.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

DR. HULAN: More indeed. Now, there has been this year something that has come on the scene that has brought concern to the fishing industry in general, and to many members on both sides of this House, and that is the introduction of a new industrial pack, an industrial pack where there is a minimal amount of processing. The product is brine frozen, put into a forty-five or fifty pound pack and sent out of the Province. That has created some concern, but let me assure you that the amount of product going out of the Province in that form is not a substantial amount. It is probably more than I as minister would like to see, because I would like to see all of the product going out as a commercial pack or maybe as a meat product.

We must respond as an industry, and as a department we must assist and direct the industry in this way to respond to the needs and the demands in the marketplace. The demand today is for a shelled crab product and not a meat product. The main meat market for crab meat in the world today is in the United States where the market is practically glutted. Had we gone this year, Mr. Speaker, had I succumbed to the pressure or not relaxed the legislation, and required that 85 per cent of crab go out of this Province this year as a meat product the price to fishermen would have been cut drastically. There is no question about that, and the number of workers in the processing industry would have been reduced compared to what they are now under the relaxed regulation issue, so we have an industry here that we can indeed be very proud of, and an industry that we will continue to encourage its development.

Also, before sitting down, I want to mention one other area as far as secondary processing is concerned. Moving away from crab, let's go to the processing of groundfish that is taking place in this Province right now.

In Burin, on the beautiful Burin Peninsula - I notice my colleague from Marystown did not pick that up - secondary processing products there, the product and the plant, and I have referred to it before in this House, is a star plant. It is second to none anywhere in North America. It is producing ready-to-eat meals. Unfortunately, it is producing those meals containing products from the United States, such as broccoli and cauliflower and carrots. In fact, last year that plant used 200,000 pounds of broccoli in their products that were leaving this Province as a finished meal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: It came in from the United States. The challenge is for the other part of the food industry, the agri-food industry, to supplement that product, to replace that product into those fish packs, and that move is under way right at the present time. So we must not only think of the processing in the fishing industry, but we have to think of the processing in the agri-food industry as well and the total food industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: Where did the carrots come from?

DR. HULAN: The carrots, again, are coming in from the U.S.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: I am very pleased to answer that question. Our carrot production in this Province is increasing at a great rate. In fact, this year we will have two secondary processing plants for carrots established on the West Coast of Newfoundland, freezing and canning carrots in addition to providing a fresh product.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: Why it was never put forward to the management before, I have already said, the wheels are in motion to replace those imported products.

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak to this resolution, to be very proud of the fishing industry that we have here in this Province today, considering all, and to say that the processing sector is very, very important in this Province and for this industry, and it will be a chief focus of this government and this department to increase processing in the future.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

DR. HULAN: Oh, I have no comment. There are lots of people trying to get my job, so that is fine, no problem.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: It appears that I only have about three minutes -

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: - unless the hon. members want to give me leave for a few minutes.

I want to say that it is a resolution that is very hard to oppose. Obviously, every member of this House and every person in this Province would want to see the maximization of jobs and processing in this Province from our resources, so there is no question about that; everybody supports it. The real key question is: How is that done?

I have to acknowledge the initiative of the Member for Pleasantville in bringing forth his ideas about the crab fishery, and I think he has done us a service in one respect, and that is drawing the attention of the people of this Province to the fact that our fishery resource is still and will continue to be a most valuable sector of our Province.

Where I differ with the member is in the solutions, and his lack of consistency, I would say to the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Would it be a crime for a fisherman in this Province to make $125,000 in six or eight weeks? It would be no more a crime, I suppose, for a fisherman to make that kind of money in six or eight weeks than the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to make $100,000 or $200,000 in the stock market.

You put a cap on one -

MR. EFFORD: I don't mind making money, and I'm not complaining about somebody else making money.

MR. HARRIS: That's what I say to the Member for Pleasantville, are we talking here about something that is going to be consistently applied across all sectors of our economy? Will we put a cap on fishermen's earnings, will we put a cap on the earnings of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation or lawyers or doctors? If he is going to be consistent, let's be consistent about it, and I do say that there is a certain amount of inconsistency in the Member for Pleasantville as well.

I mean, if you are in favour of free trade and you want to do away with marketing boards on the one hand, which do guarantee jobs in this Province for the producers of poultry and eggs and milk, then why would you want to, on the other hand, say well, we are going to control exports or we are not going to control imports or we are not going to have marketing schemes, so there is a lack of consistency there. But I think we all want - and I am just going to end off because I only have a few seconds left - we all want to control resources to the extent that we can, to guarantee the maximum resources to the Province and if there were a way of doing that on the wholesale, then I would be in favour of working with the Member for Pleasantville and other members to try to develop a regime that would do that consistently across various resources, resource industries -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. HARRIS: - but not take on a piecemeal effort and a one-shot deal right now.

If there is no leave from hon. members, I will let the Member for Pleasantville conclude his remarks and -

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

MR. EFFORD: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member doesn't have leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I must say, I have enjoyed the debate today and I think it is very good that we have an opportunity for an exchange of views about this issue, because it is a very complicated issue. Nobody has all of the answers - I certainly don't pretend to have all of the answers.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't have any.

MR. NOEL: Whether or not I have any, we will determine by the result of what happens in the future.

I think, unfortunately, some of the debate got too caught up in detail today, and particularly the Member for Ferryland who is so anxious to speak now, got very consumed by the detail of this issue, and, you know, this is not, I don't think, an appropriate forum for a debate in detail. What we have to debate here is the principles. How do we share our resource values? Should there be a resource tax? How do we create jobs in the processing and harvesting industry and that sort of thing, and is it right that we have an industry that this year, is going to produce as much revenue as it did, when twice as many people were sharing it? This year it is going to produce the same amount of revenue but it is only going to be shared by about half as many people.

Now, I have no problem with people earning a decent income. That is why I got elected, to try to help people earn decent incomes through helping legislate in this Province. But we are not talking about the averages here. The Member for Ferryland talked about the averages. In the last provincial election there was an average vote but the difference between the people who got below average and the people who got above average is that we got above average and we are here and the people who got below average are not here.

It is the same thing with food, in the world today there is an average amount of food, that if everybody shared it properly, everybody would have a decent diet, but the fact is, some people are starving; and that applies to this industry.

I have no problem with the averages except to say that too many people in the industry are not making enough money, are not making enough income, but what I am talking about today is the extremes. I am not talking about taxing them. I am talking about taxing the people who are making too much, the big boat owners who are making a million dollars and the plant owners who are making many millions of dollars. Now, I have no problem with people making a profit in business - that is why you work in business - as long as they are working with their own resources and their own capital. In this instance, they are not, they are working with a common resource. And while the people in the business have an obligation to themselves and their families to go out and make as much as they can from it, our obligation is to see that it is regulated in a way that provides maximum benefits and equitable benefits for the whole Province.

Now, I am not wedded to trying to achieve that through creating processing jobs or through insisting that we export meat products, crab as a fully processed meat product. If it makes more sense not to process, let's not process, and that is the advantage of a resource tax. It leaves us free to respond to whatever the market situation happens to be at the time. Let us leave the people in the industry free to respond to what the markets are and if there is no market for the processed product then ship it out unprocessed. As long as they don't get all of the profits that can be made in that way and as long as the profits are shared with the rest of the Province above a rate of reasonable return for their wages and for their profits. Now, that is a responsibility that we have, that is a principle that we accept in relation to all of our resource industries.

We have the Member for Ferryland and some other members today questioning the idea of a resource tax for the fishery. But then they get up and talk about the inadequacy of our resource tax on our mineral industry, and are concerned that we may not get enough out of Voisey Bay for the provincial coffers, because they believe in the principle of a resource tax, and that belief is based on the belief that people who work in the industry have a right to a reasonable return for their efforts, but the returns above that level have to be shared with all the other shareholders in the company that operates the resource, and that is the Province and all the citizens of this Province.

MR. TOBIN: How much money did you make on shoes?

MR. NOEL: Not enough, unfortunately.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to respond to a few of the particular speakers in the debate today. I was happy to see the Leader of the Opposition essentially endorse the resolution and some of the issues that I have been raising. I was disappointed to see her not speak more directly about how she feels about a resource tax, or some other means of ensuring that we maximize and equalize the value of this industry.

The Member for Grand Bank said he thought it was a serious resolution and it is a complex industry, and we have to find solutions, and he says that we should do so for next year, but in the meantime there are $100 million, or $50 million, or $125 million in supernormal profits that some people are going to get in this Province this year, and we have a responsibility to try to ensure that they are distributed as fairly as possible.

Now, this issue didn't just arise last month. We all knew last summer what was happening in the crab industry, and how prices were going up, and throughout last Fall. I should have been talking about it earlier, and other people should have been talking about it earlier; but one good thing about the idea of a resource tax is that we could have acted on it promptly. All you had to do was pass a regulation or a piece of legislation.

I think it is too bad we didn't get into a debate on it earlier, but I am happy to see that the minister has gotten tougher with the industry this year and told them that he wants them to make sure they produce as many jobs as possible and get as much value as possible for the rest of the Province. I am glad to see him do that. Unfortunately, I am sceptical about what is going to happen because I think there is probably going to be too much produced relatively unprocessed. I know that is hard to regulate, but we are going to put our faith in the minister for this year and hope that he sees that it happens, but we still have the problem of the excess value that is created beyond that level.

We are all happy to see the fishing industry doing well, and people doing well, and to see that the industry has a second life, and this is not unusual. The fishing industry has always been cyclical. One stock goes up and goes down, another stock goes up and goes down. It has happened in the past and it is going to happen in the future. The cod will come back and the crab will go down. That is why it is a hard industry to regulate, because it changes so much from year to year. It is not like a mine where you know how much copper you have up there, or you can easily reasonably estimate it, or the forestry where you know how many trees are out there and you can estimate, and they are not going to move around and they are not perishable and all of that sort of thing, so the fishery is a much more difficult industry to regulate. That is another reason why I like the idea of considering a resource tax in order to ensure there is appropriate provincial value, because a resource tax is so flexible and so variable. If the market on one stock is up this year you can increase the tax, and if it goes down you can eliminate the tax. I think it is a very easy tool to work with.

I have no problem standing shoulder to shoulder with people in the fishing industry. I did that down on the waterfront and in different meetings around here, but my primary responsibility is to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people who elected me to this House of Assembly, and a lot of them are having a hard time today, and I have more cause to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people who are having a hard time than with the people who are doing well, and the people who are doing well off a common resource.

There are so many people in my district who have lost their jobs, in their middle years, and have nothing to fall back on but social services. There has been no special assistance provided for them, and now we have an opportunity with a very lucrative crab fishery in particular, and any other resource that we have in the Province, like the mining resource and Voisey Bay, and all of these things.

We are facing some difficult choices in this Province. I am telling you - and you all know, you don't need me to tell you - that in the next few years, because of federal cutbacks and because of government tightening up and all that sort of thing, there are going to have to be very difficult decisions made in this Province. We are going to have to decide to cut services back even more than we have up until now, or to increase taxes on individuals and on companies, and that sort of thing, or we can look at increasing resource taxes. What is more legitimate than to look at getting a maximum reasonable return out of resource taxes? They are the commonwealth and they can help us maintain a reasonable level of services in the Province at minimum levels of taxation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't think that I need to delay the House much longer but I think we have to look at some innovative means of dealing with the situation. Perhaps what we should do every year is tender fishing quotas so that every year we could announce that a quota of 1,000 pounds of this fish will be available in this area. Let people submit tenders on it for different quotas in different parts of the Province and that sort of thing.

Another thing I think we have to look at is, if we are indeed committed to privatization what are we doing licensing fish plants? What are we doing licensing them to process particular species? We should license a plant because it is a suitable operation and because it can produce a quality product and then let them go out and buy whatever species they can and sell what they can. Why should we tell a particular plant that it has to process a particular species or so much of a particular species? So I think we have to look at all that sort of thing. I think that this House of Assembly and the government in particular, has to realize that our fishery is transforming. We have a new fishery and we have to find new ways to manage and regulate it. I think one way perhaps we should consider going about that is establishing a committee of this House perhaps, a committee of other people or members of this House and outsiders to hold hearings. To study the industry and to look at what we may be able to do in order to ensure that, as we have said so often today, we maximize and equalize the benefits that are there and which can be put to great use for all of our people. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

Motion carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I note with pleasure that the House was unanimous but I must say having heard the speeches of those on the other side, I had my doubts where they were.

Your Honour tomorrow we will be back on the budget and if I - perhaps we could take just a second or two, it is my understanding that there -

MR. HARRIS: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's East on a point of order.

MR. HARRIS: I know the Speaker didn't declare it to be unanimous vote, but the Government House Leader has put it on the record that the vote was unanimous. I distinctly heard the Member for Port de Grave, the Minister for Works, Services and Transportation, vote "no" against the resolution. I wouldn't want the record to show that there was an unanimous vote when in fact there wasn't (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, there is a consensus I gather between both sides of the House that we should try to conclude the Budget debate by noon on Friday, and that will include the reports through the Ways and Means reporting to Supply, or is it Supply (inaudible) - I can never remember which is which. Anyway, whatever we have to do we will do so we can conclude all the Budget motions.

What that will mean, depending on how many -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, later than noon Friday. Depending on how many hon. members opposite, or for that matter on my side of the House, wish to speak in the amendment debate, we may have to sit late tomorrow night. We are in the hands of the House and we will play it -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is not a threat, I say to my friend for Grand Bank. We will play it as it comes, but if the House is minded not to sit tomorrow night we have it in our own hands; if we are minded to sit tomorrow night we have it in our own hands. The hope is that by noon on Friday when we break for the weekend we shall have concluded the exciting, extensive debate on the Budget. We shall call the Budget first thing tomorrow afternoon when we come to the government orders part of the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) on Hydro (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Hydro bill tomorrow. (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: That is a thought. I will mention that to the Cabinet and we will see what we do.

With that said Your Honour, I don't need to move an adjournment motion, but I ask you to note that it is 5:00 p.m. unless the House stands adjourned.

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