May 25, 1995               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 31

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the House of Assembly three groups of students. The first, a group of thirty-five students from Bishop White All Grade School at Port Rexton accompanied by their teachers, Ms. Arlene Templeman, Wade Gillard and Barry Pierce. The second, is a group of nine Level I and Level II students from All Saints All Grade School in Grey River in the District of Burgeo - Bay D'Espoir, accompanied by their Principal, Mr. Robert Major and six other chaperons, and thirdly, a group of students from Mount Pearl Senior High School, along with their teacher, Mr. Rex Roberts.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me sincere pleasure to inform hon. members, that this past Victoria Day weekend was void of any major incidents on our provincial highways.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police report no highway deaths. This is compared to a single death during the same period in 1994. It is safe to say that stricter drinking and driving laws and continuous education campaign on highway safety have been the strong, contributing factors to a fatality-free long, holiday weekend.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the instances of motorists being charged for drinking and driving offences have also declined. The RNC and the RCMP report twenty charges under the .08 law as compared to forty-seven charges during the same period last year. In addition, twenty-seven motorists registered the .05 blood alcohol level warning therefore receiving 24-hour licence suspension.

I think that hon. members would find it interesting to note that during one RNC roadside check in St. John's, approximately 1,600 vehicles were stopped and zero alcohol related charges were laid.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, when I introduced the stricter drinking and driving laws almost six months ago, I did it not to hinder the alcohol beverage industry or to tell people that they couldn't drink. I did it to save lives, reduce injuries and to lessen the pain and suffering associated with alcohol-related mishaps. These declining numbers further reinforce my message to the motoring public: `If you drink, don't drive. It saves lives'.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation can take no credit for the fact that there were no major accidents on the Province's roads this Victoria Day weekend. The good weather was probably the major contributor to the good accident record this past weekend.

This minister, and this government, have no basis for linking their .05 law with the highway accident or fatality rate. They were unable to produce any research data when they presented their legislation to show that there is any undue safety risk associated with drivers having a blood alcohol level of below .08.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions about the Newfoundland Dockyard, which I intended to put to the Premier or to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, but since neither of those politicians is present in the House this afternoon, I will address my questions to the government generally. Perhaps the acting Premier or some other minister will respond.

I would like to know why this Provincial Government have gone along with the Federal Government scheme to close the Dockyard in St. John's, do away with 700 jobs, and have ship repair and service business move out of Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? I would like to know why this government has been bending over backwards to foster new businesses employing ten people or employing fifteen people?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. member's question.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Instead, why has government given up on a viable older business with a big geographic advantage and a business that is capable of employing 700 people?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has gone home, a victim of the 'flu, and the Premier is at a speaking engagement here in the city. He should be here imminently, so I would suggest to my hon. friend, the Leader of the Opposition -

AN HON. MEMBER: Here he is.

MR. ROBERTS: See, here I am like John the Baptist. If she wishes to rephrase the question, once the Premier has taken his seat, I am sure he would be happy to answer it for her.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are for the Premier and they have to do with the Newfoundland Dockyard. I would like the Premier to explain why his government has gone along with the Chretien government's plan to close the dockyard at St. John's and do away with the 700 Dockyard jobs and see ship repair business move out of this Province to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can't explain an action I didn't take. The action that the hon. member outlines is not the position of the government. We didn't take that action, so therefore I can't explain it.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Premier didn't aid and abet the federal government's scheme to close the St. John's Dockyard, why hasn't he been able to produce any evidence to suggest that he has fought for the St. John's ship repair facility? Why has he and his administration so obviously put an emphasis on fostering new businesses employing small numbers of people but yet made no show of protecting older businesses employing large numbers of people, specifically the St. John's Dockyard with its huge geographic advantage?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, this government as has the government of this Province ever since 1982 or 1983 when the government of the Province put in place $8 million, I believe - they've paid the interest on that $8 million. The government has continued to pay an additional $1 million a year subsidy which we told the federal government that in the circumstances where the yard was being reduced and the activity that was taking place, we could no longer justify. We are in a dispute with the federal government over paying an additional $1 million a year interest toward it. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have contributed significantly to keeping the St. John's Dockyard open.

This government wants to see that dockyard kept open, but we can't with any conscience ask the federal government to treat that dockyard any differently than we treat Marystown Shipyard. But we say to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: If the Member for Green Bay had been asked to answer the question I'm sure the Leader of the Opposition would have asked him.

Mr. Speaker, we can't ask the federal government to do more for the St. John's Dockyard than the government of this Province is prepared to do for Marystown Shipyard, but we can ask them to do just as much, and that is what we've done. That is what I will discuss with Mr. Morrison when I meet with him on Monday morning.

We've put tremendous effort into Marystown. We are trying to give it a chance to be successful. Great strides are now being taken, and I'm confident that the new management, the new approach, the new approach that labour will take down there, will see that Marystown Shipyard recover and become a viable business. The government will do everything within its power to see that that is achieved but what the government cannot do, Mr. Speaker, is ask the taxpayers of this Province to continue to subsidize it forever, no matter what the facts. We cannot ask the Government of Canada to do that in respect to the St. John's dockyard.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the Premier. Marine Atlantic, as he knows, is a division of the federal government. Now Marine Atlantic President Rod Morrison reports to federal Cabinet Minister Doug Young, who along with Brian Tobin and Prime Minister Chrétien, make decisions about the fate of the St. John's dockyard. When there are major questions about the future of the Marystown Shipyard, people expect the Premier and the minister to answer, not Marystown Shipyard President Max Ruelokke. Now isn't the Premier wasting his time meeting with Marine Atlantic President Rod Morrison on Monday? Shouldn't he instead be in Ottawa applying political pressure to the political masters, namely Doug Young, Brian Tobin and Prime Minister Chrétien?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I follow a practice that I know members of the Opposition are not terribly familiar with, I get information first and then I act, after I get the information. When I have the information I will take whatever action the information that I have gathered warrants, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So is the Premier going to wait until the dockyard is shut down and all the people laid off before he does anything? Why isn't the Premier demanding from Prime Minister Chrétien and Brian Tobin that the federal government give the same benefit, advantage and opportunity to the St. John's dockyard as facilities elsewhere in Canada that are being much more handsomely subsidized by the federal government? Why isn't the Premier of this Province demanding that the St. John's dockyard be allowed to take advantage of its strategic geographic location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I can only say to the hon. member that it doesn't matter how much she shouts in that way, it does not alter circumstances. If I were to go to the federal government and shout in the same way it is not going to alter circumstances. Mr. Speaker, I present a case on a logical basis that I can sustain intellectually, not that I can shout politically. We don't operate on that basis. We operate on a sound intelligent basis and that is what we are doing in the case of dealing with the Newfoundland dockyard.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would the Premier care to enlighten the members of this House on his intellectual case for the future of the St. John's dockyard, we haven't seen it yet?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Then I commend to the hon. member Hansard, read Hansard of yesterday, and the answer that I gave yesterday, and the answer that I gave probably a couple of days before, and it is simply this; I think I already said it here today but I will repeat it in case the hon. member wasn't listening: We cannot ask the federal government to do more with respect to subsidizing, in perpetuity, jobs in what is essentially a commercial activity in St. John's at the Newfoundland Dockyard than the Government of Newfoundland is prepared to do in terms of dealing with the Marystown Shipyard, but I also say to the federal government, we expect you to do no less. We don't expect you to sit by and see it deteriorate to the point where nobody can make a case for it continuing to operate. We expect you to establish very clearly that you have given this business every reasonable opportunity, you have put it in a condition that it can effectively compete, and if then it cannot be operated, except on the basis of an annual subsidy that is more than the total amount paid out in wages, we won't ask you to do it because we are not prepared to do it ourselves.

That is the intellectual case, in case the hon. member hasn't grasped it up until now.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Won't the Premier admit that there is a huge flaw in his intellectual case, namely that he is comparing apples with oranges? Would he not admit that it is not valid to compare the St. John's dockyard, which is a ship repair and service facility, with the Marystown Shipyard? Instead, shouldn't the Premier, to be intellectually sound, be comparing the St. John's dockyard with competitors in the Maritimes and Quebec which the federal government is subsidizing, when the St. John's dockyard has a strategic geographic advantage by being in the middle of the Atlantic shipping lanes?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the federal government obviously has a responsibility to treat all provinces fairly. It cannot create a preferential position for one province over another unless something unusual justifies it, like, for example, the mismanagement of the fishery by the federal government has impacted in the way it has in Newfoundland and Labrador that gives them a special responsibility to deal with the issue on a different basis, but if you have an older dockyard operating here, an older dockyard in Halifax, an older dockyard in Quebec City, and an older dockyard in Vancouver, how can we justify saying:...but give Newfoundland and Labrador special treatment. We can't do that, and I wouldn't ask them to do it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question, Mr. Speaker, is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

In December of 1994, the minister introduced in this House a bill dealing with mineral taxation. In discussions with the minister at that time, Mr. Speaker, he told us that he was dealing with marginal mines such as St. Lawrence, Baie Verte Peninsula, Green Bay and other places for this piece of legislation and I have no reason to doubt that the minister was sincere in what he said.

Much has now changed since then, particularly as it relates to the Voisey Bay find, and yesterday the Premier, in his statement to the House, gave the impression at least, that this find was such that no tax incentives were necessary. Would the minister confirm that this will be the case?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the record is clear of what we did last fall and why we did it. The record is also clear on what has happened since that time with regard to the major mineral discovery in Labrador. I have said it myself in this House, it is beyond our wildest dreams and it continues to grow with every news release I see; so as the Premier said in his statement yesterday, we are reviewing what we did last fall in terms of incentives and we will be taking the appropriate actions in the near future.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I noticed the minister would not confirm that there would be no tax incentives for this major and significant find that has been termed the largest find ever by some individuals. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, based on the fact that the minister has said that it is a project that could even be larger than Hibernia, I would like to ask the minister now, Mr. Speaker, would he refer this piece of legislation that they are bringing in to a select committee of the House to travel this Province and have public input?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the answer is no; I see no need to do it.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that is the same type of answer that the people of the Province received when they gave away the Churchill Falls project, and we heard from time to time that the reason there was such a significant give away with Churchill Falls, was because of the lack of public input from the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, there was public input day in and day out on the Hibernia project and I ask the minister: why is he afraid to go to the public and have input as it relates to the mineral taxation programs and the development of Voisey Bay? Why is he scared to have public input?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the Mining and Mineral Rights Tax Act is an act of general application and was brought in back in 1975. There have been amendments over the years; we made an amendment last December and we are going to make another amendment to correct what we see as a deficiency in that one. It will be brought before this House, it will be open in public debate in this House and I welcome it.

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions are for the Minister of Education and Training.

A report prepared for the government about three years ago, showed that approximately 30 per cent or more than 30,000 students in our school system live in poverty and regularly go to school hungry. Research has demonstrated that child hunger has pronounced effects on school attendance and is a substantive contributor to low school achievement.

What initiatives has the minister undertaken to remove the barrier called hunger as an impediment to school achievement and more specifically, what has the minister done to implement recommendation 148 of the Williams Royal Commission?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we have put in place an implementation committee for the Royal Commission, and that the implication committee has dealt with most of the recommendations. Now specifically, 148, I confess, I don't recall what that one is, I don't have them memorized in my mind but the Royal Commission implementation committee is moving quite swiftly to implement most of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

The problem with children going to school hungry, Mr. Speaker, is a serious problem. It is one that society I suppose, has not dealt with on a specific term. We do have social programs in place. There have been attempts by volunteers to have meal services provided and all these things. Government has social programs in place so we attempt to deal with these things. The hon. member will know that report also states that some of the children who attend school hungry are from wealthy families. It is not because they don't have the money. So it is a very complex issue. It is one that I suppose we can never say we are totally satisfied with, but it is one that we as a society continue to grope with.

The whole concept of hunger, whether you are talking about children attending school or whether you are talking about people in general, is not an easy one. In some cases people who receive social services manage themselves quite well and they do have enough to eat. In other cases people receiving the same money and apparently would have the same expenses are hungry. These are difficult issues and it is difficult to look to the Department of Education and Training or any single department. Society as a whole has been attempting over the years to grasp with these issues and they are complex issues which are not easy to deal with, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, we recognize that it is not totally a socio-economic problem. In fact, if we include the students that the minister referred to the number probably is 45,000 students. But we do know that 32,000 students go to school every day hungry in this Province. A substantive factor leading to disruptive behaviour in the school system is child hunger. Research shows, and it is common sense, that children react just like adults do when they are hungry. They have stomach pains, headaches, muscle fatigue, they become sleepy, irritable, hostile, indecisive, confused and unhappy.

A few days ago, I say to the minister, I visited St. Jean Vianney Elementary School in Piccadilly where children are offered a free breakfast. Approximately 70 per cent of the school's children participate (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask the hon. member to come to the question (inaudible).

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I ask the minister, is he prepared to undertake a comprehensive study of the relationship between child hunger and school achievement?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member said in that long drawn-out preamble to his question, these studies exist. We definitely know that there is a relationship between hunger and discipline. Mind you, now, that is not the sole cause of discipline problems in school. The hon. member knows that. I don't think it is necessary to do a further discussion, research, or put in place an expensive task force. It would make a lot more sense to take the money you would spend on a task force and try and apply it to the problem. We know the problem so we are not prepared to do that.

There have been many attempts to deal with this issue. The hon. member will know that prior to Confederation the problem was so desperate that the schools made available Cocoamalt in the schools, the schools made available cod liver oil. Society has matured since then. We try to deal with our people who can't afford to buy food for their children, we try to deal with that through the Social Services network, through the various supports that the Province has in place. We try to do it too without humiliating people. It is extremely embarrassing for a school to have meals available to all the children, and child A who couldn't afford breakfast has to go up and get a hand-out.

I know there have been attempts to deal with that very issue but we don't believe it would be of any benefit to put in place a task force. We have to deal with it as a bigger issue which society as a whole has to deal with and recognize that yes, it is a problem in the schools, but in some cases it is also a problem throughout the Province as a whole. It is the social safety network we have to use to deal with that, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, recommendation 148 does call upon the provincial government to convene a planning group to deal with this particular matter. I ask the minister: how can his government justify cutting $6 million from the Department of Education and Training and more than $10 million from the Department of Social Services this year when we have more than a third of our children going to school every day hungry? Does he not recognize that his government's balanced Budget comes at the expense of the children in our school system?

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

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member will find that one of the reasons for the cut in the Department of Education and Training's budget was the fact that we are having one less payroll for teachers this year. That happens every so often, there is one less payroll, and there are some other cuts. The suggestion that we've taken money from Social Services is absolute nonsense.

The Department of Social Services anticipated a certain budget predicting that certain things would happen when the budget was approved. We did not accept their assumptions, and we have made available more money, I believe, to social services than last year.

Now, Mr. Speaker, based on what might be, if circumstances change then we will have to deal with that, but when the Budget was done no money was being taken away from hungry people to balance the Budget. But I am quite proud to say that we did balance the Budget and that will make life better for the hungry people and for all of us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who hope to have a future as a Province in this great nation of Canada. We will not do it if we have to be dragged along because the rest of the country have continued to bail us out. We are on the way to becoming a have Province, and I am quite proud to be part of the government that is making that possible.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and concerns that open sewer that is known as St. John's harbour. This is not a new problem and I do not accuse the minister of contributing to it, except perhaps on a personal basis like the rest of us, at least when he is in St. John's. I want to ask the minister why his government and he are not prepared to help do something about it, at least to the point of supporting a study into the cost and the methods of dealing with that problem?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, there has been a fair amount of confusion over this whole particular question. I had a letter from the City of St. John's, signed by His Worship, Mayor Murphy, requesting me and the government to investigate with the federal government ways and means of supplying money to help clean up St. John's harbour.

I wrote a number of federal ministers, we talked to ministers in Ottawa, and bureaucrats, and basically after four months of trying to find some money to help the City of St. John's, the federal government came back and said: We are sorry; there is no money right now available to help clean up St. John's harbour.

I wrote back the Mayor and said: Here is what the federal government have said, they don't have any money; and that is all I was asked. I was not asked, or this government was not asked, to contribute to the cleanup of St. John's harbour; were not asked to contribute to a study. We were asked to go to Ottawa and ask the feds if there was some money, and I did that, and I am really not in a position to say anything other than that. I think I did what Mayor Murphy asked me to do, and if the hon. member questions that I will provide him with the correspondence gladly.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the environment is concerned about Prince Edward Island sinking, and I am concerned about St. John's harbour floating if we don't have something done about this problem. I realize that the federal government may not be willing at this time to contribute significant sums of money, but the question at this point is whether or not this Province is prepared to participate with the city in undertaking a study to determine the cost. There are so many figures floating around from $120 million to $500 million, can we not find out - with the Province and the city participating, and perhaps Mount Pearl as well, since they are contributing as well - what the cost of dealing with this problem is?

I ask the minister, regardless of what the city has asked, is the Province prepared to contribute to the cost of undertaking a study?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, correct me if I am wrong here, but I find it difficult, as the minister responsible for municipalities, be it cities, large towns or small towns, to stand in this House and make commitments to MHAs, or representatives I suppose, of certain areas of cities or towns when they ask for requests for cities or towns that they represent.

If the Mayor of St. John's, or the City Council of St. John's, wants to ask this government to take part in a study, or to work with them towards finding a solution to the problems that we have in St. John's harbour - and I am the first to admit that there are some serious problems there - if they want to write this minister or the government, be it the Premier or anyone else, I am certainly sure at that particular point in time due consideration, ample consideration, and a response will be made at that time, but for me to answer and to make a commitment to the member, who I do not consider to be representative of the City of St. John's, is not fair, I don't think, as far as he is concerned, to ask, and number two, it would not be fair for me to answer. I think Mayor John Murphy speaks on behalf of the city through his council, and when that happens I certainly will reply.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is surprising to hear the minister say he is not prepared to talk about a provincial commitment on a provincial issue when asked by an MHA who represents a St. John's district. Is the Province prepared to take no initiative on what is a serious provincial-size problem involving the largest city in this Province, the capital city? The minister is not prepared to answer any questions on that city unless they come from the City of St. John's, is that what the minister is saying?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. REID: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not what I am saying. One of the ADMs in my department has been assigned now for over a year-and-a-half to sit on a special committee, recommended and made up of city council, to discuss that particular issue. I have already offered assistance to Mayor Murphy and the council with regard to that issue. The Premier has discussed that particular issue and others with the Mayor of St. John's, I believe, and we are with the City of St. John's in trying to find a solution to the problem. But I will say quite sincerely that I think it is my responsibility to respond more directly to the city council than it is to be responding to members of the House of Assembly on those particular questions. This government will offer any assistance we possibly can to help the City of St. John's in the clean up of St. John's Harbour and when and if we get a letter requesting that, I will certainly respond to it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to direct questions to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Now, it is my understanding that commercial vehicles over 4,500 kilograms must be inspected before they can operate on our highways. I ask the minister, would he confirm if that is correct?

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

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is correct. All commercial vehicles operating on our highways, tractor-trailers and all transport trucks, must be inspected on our highways on a regular basis.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Would the minister tell this House if vehicles over 4,500 kilograms must first be inspected and valid inspection certificates presented to Motor Registration before the registration and stickers are provided to the owner?

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

MR. EFFORD: All commercial vehicles, including school buses and all that operate on the highways, must be inspected. There is no abolishment of inspections except on light vehicles.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question was, are vehicles supposed to be inspected and a valid inspection certificate presented to Motor Registration before the certificate of registration and the stickers are given to the owner? I say to the minister, safety on our highways should be a major concern. That's not what is happening. I am aware of government vehicles obtaining stickers and then going to garages for inspections before they can operate on our highway. Is the government not putting the cart before the horse in this case? Will he correct the problem, have inspections first and give out the stickers later?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I answered the question correctly in the beginning. All commercial vehicles must be inspected before the owner receives an operating permit or a license to operate that vehicle. Now, that is very clear. All vehicles must be inspected, commercial vehicles.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I was informed today, I say to the minister, by the motor vehicle registration office that they can get their stickers and then get their inspection. I ask the minister, will he correct that problem? I was told by a senior official of his department.

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

MR. EFFORD: Again, Mr. Speaker, information is being presented by hon. members opposite with nothing to back it up. If the hon. member - let me finish now - if the hon. member has a name of an individual who stated that then the hon. member should pass the information along or report it to the proper authorities. All vehicles must be inspected by -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes, that may very well be. All commercial vehicles must be inspected according to the highway safety standard and points in-between. Not only when the licenses are given out but periodic times twice a year and at periodic times on the highway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I wasn't here at the outset, I was speaking to the Newfoundland branch of the Canadian Manufacturers Association and the media wanted some answers afterwards. So I wasn't here to make a statement that I would have made - I don't have a detailed statement in front of me. I know a news release has been prepared but with leave of the House I would like to revert for a moment. It is only a brief statement and nothing earth shattering.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Premier have leave to make a Ministerial Statement at this time?

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I simply want to announce that the Cabinet this morning asked His Honour to issue a proclamation to call a by-election for the district of Grand Falls for June 27.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I can't hear the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: I assume I have a moment to respond?

MR. SPEAKER: I think that took about thirty seconds.

MS. VERGE: I would just like to express my disappointment that the Premier has chosen to have the Grand Falls by-election after school is closed when a considerable number of Grand Falls voters will be on vacation and out of the district.


MR. SPEAKER: In order for the Premier to speak he would need leave of the House again.

Does the hon. the Premier have leave to respond to the statement?

PREMIER WELLS: I just remind members that there is advanced polling, Mr. Speaker.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Elections Act, 1991," and then, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology - and this may be why he went home ill, Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Architect's Act, The Chartered Accountant's Act, The Dietician's Act, The Embalmer's And Funeral Director's Act, The Engineers And Geoscientist's Act, The Land Surveyor's Act, The Private Investigation And Security Service's Act, and The Psychologist's Act."I know that hon. members, including the Premier, are wondering what this is about. These amendments seek to bring the legislation listed in the short title which I just read into conformity with the internal trade arrangements across the county. The short title is longer than the act itself.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Revise The Law Respecting Mental Health."


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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think it is the sixth time in a row that I stand to present a petition on behalf of my constituents on the electoral boundaries issue. This petition contains the names of some 212 residents of King's Point, Springdale, Miles Cove, Robert's Arm, and Sheppardville.

The prayer of the petition is as follows, Mr. Speaker:

Whereas our communities have been in Green Bay distract for many years and whereas a recent government proposal would see some of our communities assigned to Baie Verte district, therefore, we. the undersigned, petition the hon. House of Assembly not to entertain or approve any proposal that would see our communities removed from Green Bay district.

I found it rather curious - I believe it was yesterday in this House that the current Member for Windsor - Buchans dropped over to see me for a chat and was enquiring as to just what was my intention in presenting these petitions in the House. Mr. Speaker, I thought it was clear to all and sundry in the prayer of the petition just exactly what it was about. Basically, the communities in Green Bay who are being assigned to the Baie Verte district do not want to be removed from Baie Verte district, and the other communities do not want to see their friends and neighbours assigned to another district.

Basically, the joint councils of Green Bay and the Green Bay Economic Development Association want to see Green Bay district left intact in the outcome of any changes to the electoral boundaries.

Now, whether or not, in the outcome of any changes to the boundaries, some other territory is added to the current Green Bay district - be it Badger, Buchans, parts of the old town of Windsor, whatever - is basically academic to the citizens of Green Bay. They want the existing Green Bay district to remain intact after the electoral boundary changes are made.

The government has sat on this matter now for a number of weeks since it tabled the proposal in the House. I think it is about time that it made its intentions clear. The Central Newfoundland area is very tied up in this electoral boundary proposal. Today the Premier mentioned that a by-election has been called for the district of Grand Falls. I think the people in the Central Newfoundland area have a right to know what are the intentions of the government with regard to the electoral boundaries issue.

Suffice it to say that the people of Green Bay, whatever the outcome of the process, want to remain intact afterwards. If that means that any district coming out of it is above the population quota established, that is something that the sitting member would have to deal with, something I would have no problem with. But I must reiterate concerns of my constituents that whatever the outcome, whatever additions are put in under a new scenario, that the existing communities in Green Bay district remain in Green Bay plus X or Green Bay plus Y, whatever is the outcome in due course. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we proceed to Orders itself, may I bring one matter to the attention of the House. I am told that our friend, the Member for Humber Valley, has lost his mother. Mrs. Woodford died, I gather, yesterday or last night or overnight. I wonder if perhaps the House would agree to send the usual mark of respect and condolence to the member and to his family. If that is agreed we could -


MR. ROBERTS: I thank members.

MR. SPEAKER: So agreed.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we get into government business, as such, there is on the Order Paper a motion in the name of my friend, the Member for Bonavista South, who wishes leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution Of Food."

As the House knows, our rules really don't address the issue of private members presenting bills. A private member has every right to present a bill but the private members' motion process doesn't really address a bill as such. It would take four days to deal with it because it is four motions. Now, I'm not going to say what position we, on this side, will take with respect to the bill but we do believe the member has a right to bring it forward for debate at the principle stage, that is, the second reading stage. Accordingly, I would ask that we first of all deal with Motion 4.

Assuming it is passed by the House - and we on this side will support it, and I've no doubt my friends opposite will - then the bill could be printed and distributed in the usual form. It is up to my friends opposite if they want to call it the next time they have a right to call a private member's motion, which would be the next Wednesday we sit. We will deal with it at a second reading debate and we will see what happens with that. So I would ask Motion No. 4.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman may give leave for (inaudible) but we may not. Your Honour, what I want to do is call the first reading so we can get to the point where we can debate it at second reading when the next Private Members' Day - if that is the wish of the Opposition members.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Motion, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Good Faith Donation And Distribution Of Food," carried.

On motion, bill read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you. We will leave it, of course, to the Opposition when they wish to call the matter for debate. That is properly in their hands.

AN HON. MEMBER: Presently, by leave.

MR. ROBERTS: If we do the other business before, we would agree to have it on government time.

Your Honour, the Budget Debate has been going so very rapidly we should carry on with it again. Would you be good enough then, please, to call Motion 1. Let me say that I have not moved `the' motion, as my friends call it, the one that the House not rise at 5:00 p.m. because -

MR. TOBIN: Your brains (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, given what happened three or four weeks ago, I have a great deal more than he has, and he knows whereof I speak. I would say to him, the Leader of the Opposition didn't laugh at that remark and he should be very careful.

Mr. Speaker, there is a consensus, I understand, between both sides that by adjournment tomorrow we shall have dealt with all of the Budget motions so, with that said, I shall not move the motion. We will just get on with the Budget Debate and see where we get to.

Thank you, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, the Budget Debate.

I am sorry - the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the House, I would like to briefly acknowledge the remarks of the Government House Leader about the death of the mother of the Member for Humber Valley.

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


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

MS. VERGE: I am sure all members appreciate the call of the Government House Leader for a message of condolences to be sent on behalf of all of us to the Member for Humber Valley. I would like to inform members that the funeral service will take place in Harbour Main at St. Peter and Paul Church on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1, the Budget Debate.

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today, for a few concluding moments; I think I have a few minutes left from the last day. I have just a few brief comments on a few issues and topics that I wanted to conclude just a few days ago.

The first issue that I would like to speak about - just briefly again, what I concluded with last day was transportation. It also relates to the questions I asked in the House of the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation on Tuesday. It seems that when we keep talking about the balanced Budget we are starting to see day by day the effects of that so-called balanced Budget and what it really means. When you say a balanced Budget, what does it really mean? What are the implications, and who does it affect the most? Those are the questions we have to ask. It seems to me that the people who are affected most, are mainly the people in rural Newfoundland, and also people with lower incomes. Those are the people who have been hit the hardest.

The reason I refer to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, there was another example just a few days ago of how this balanced Budget affected so many people in my district, and I am sure in many districts of the Province, and I refer to gravel roads in this Province. This Spring, as the minister knows, I presented petitions on behalf of school students who gave me petitions, wrote letters, and said basically that they get sick from travelling over potholes on gravel roads to go to school in the morning. They have to get off and take half-an-hour to an hour, one teacher told me, before they even get back to normal so they can sit at their desks and pay attention. That is a reality. That is not fabrication, that is not an exaggeration, it is the truth. The truth is that these kids travel, some of them twenty to twenty-five kilometres, on a gravel road in a bus - and any of us who have travelled in those school buses realize how bumpy they can be, let alone what it's like even in a good car, but a bus on those roads, we know what it can do to these children. The kids come home in the evening - and again, parents have told me how sick they are and how long it takes for them to just settle down again in the house.

Mr. Speaker, along with that point, just a couple of days ago the question to the minister - it is bad enough that with this balanced Budget we see $15 million this year for road construction in this Province, but when you look a little bit deeper than that, we find that $1 million of that $15 million - the paltry $15 million that it is, which doesn't cover hardly anything in this Province when it comes to road construction - goes into road signs, so that is $1 million gone. Another $500,000, I am told by the officials in the minister's department, goes towards fixing cracks in pavement throughout the Province; that is just wonderful. Another $500,000 is held back for emergency, so we are down to $13 million. Then we find out from officials in the minister's department again that $5 million was already committed from last year. Let's go a little bit deeper again. We find out, again, if you ask the minister, the truth is that very few of these gravel roads are even going to be looked at, and I don't know if it is zero, but it is pretty close to zero number of dollars that will actually go towards paving gravel roads. As a matter of fact, the little bit of paving money that is left will go towards roads that have already been paved and have deteriorated, and now they have to be paved again.

So when we jump up and down about a balanced Budget, we have to ask, `Who is this balanced Budget affecting the most?' And it is people like I just described, people in these small communities, who don't have the necessities of life, of water and sewer and roads, and here we are talking about ring roads, talking about renovations to buildings and our offices here, so where are the priorities? That is what the people of this Province are asking. They are asking, when we talk about a balanced Budget: What are your priorities? Obviously, the priorities for spending should tighten up and we should give people in the Province who look for necessities of water and sewer and road work - that should be the priority, Mr. Speaker, not renovations to buildings, not a Ring Road in St. John's; none of those, Mr. Speaker, are necessities of life. So that is why I ask the minister - I am glad the minister is back in the House - how he could even `swallow' getting that amount of money, the paltry $15 million for transportation this year?

Now, Mr. Speaker, to put a little bit of icing on top of all that cake for the people of rural Newfoundland, we find out then that these people who are waiting for the roads to be paved, who are still looking at dirt roads and pot holes, they had a little reprieve for the last few years because the Department of Works, Services and Transportation would sprinkle a bit of calcium on the road, the liquid calcium, to keep the dust down so that if we got another summer like we had last year, at least the whole community - with one car going around the community you would see a dust bowl for the next couple of hours.

Now, Mr. Speaker, on top of no pavement and no upgrading, the minister, in his wisdom, and of course, using priorities, decided to cut the bit of calcium that they sprinkle around these communities. Mr. Speaker, how low will the minister go in that department? How low can you go? Here it is, it is bad enough; they have accepted it, okay our roads won't be paved this year, they accepted that our roads won't be upgraded this year, they can hardly get a grader there when you need one and now, Mr. Speaker, on top of all that, the minister has the gall to announce yesterday with not even a smile, not even a smirk, no calcium for these communities this year either! I mean, what is the message out of all this, Mr. Speaker, when we talk about the cuts in the different departments?

Why doesn't he just put up a big sign and say: Get to heck out of rural Newfoundland? Your roads are not going to be done, we are not going to give you a bit of calcium; water and sewer are not going to be done, why don't you just come straight out and say it?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Now, here is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation with a joke because it is usually a joke to him, he is saying: `Get out, rural Newfoundland, get out'. Well, Mr. Speaker, I am going to tell you that the minister had better go back to his roots, because I know what the minister's roots are, and he should be proud of rural Newfoundland. He has to realize that these people are not ready to move out. These people are not going to give up because the minister decides he is not going to pave roads and now, he is not even going to put a drop of calcium on the roads?

Mr. Speaker, these people are not asking for paved driveways, they are not even asking for pavement, and at this point, they are not even upset if they don't get a bit of upgrading for the roads, but on top of all that, the minister in his wisdom, with the clout in Cabinet that I thought he had, gets $15 million and now, he is not even going to give them a drop of calcium to spread around their communities! I mean, Mr. Speaker, how low are we going with a balanced Budget so we can get up next Spring again when the Budget comes in and say: "yes, balanced Budget". Well, you ask the people in rural Newfoundland if they are so happy about the Premier saying it was a balanced Budget, when they can't even drive over a decent road, when they beat up their cars, and they have just as much right as the minister when he talks about people in urban areas, just as much right, they pay their taxes; they pay provincial taxes, too, and for this minister to look back and put `the icing on the cake', the humiliation, I call it, and say: No, you are not going to get roads paved, you are not going to get them upgraded but not only that, I tell you what I am going to do to you, you are not even getting a bit of calcium to keep the dust down during the summer.

Mr. Speaker, one constituent from Shoe Cove said to me: You know, last year we had such a good summer, such good weather, but we are hoping this year that we have rain for most of the summer. And that's not because they like the bad weather, Mr. Speaker, but when it dries up for three or four days or they have a week of sunshine - and anybody who drives in rural Newfoundland knows this. You go around those communities with the pot holes and drive around once at any speed within the law, and you have a dust bowl in that community for hours afterwards, so if you have a little bit of traffic at all coming through those communities, it is all dust. So, Mr. Speaker, these communities weren't asking for a lot when they asked for the calcium on the road to keep the dust down.

Now, they accepted a few years ago, an announcement by the minister that calcium would not be put on the whole highway entering into the communities, and a lot of people swallowed that and decided, well, okay, if that's a cut then that's a cut we will accept so the roads leading in to the communities were not done with calcium, but this year, Mr. Speaker, he decides, in his wisdom, that he is going to cut the calcium for roads within the community. People can't even go out for a walk in the summer time; when they see one car coming they have to head into their houses. Mr. Speaker, the way this minister is going with the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, I won't be surprised that soon you will see bulldozers in the community taking the road up altogether, and they'll be telling them to go around on quads and skidoos. I mean, it is totally ridiculous! How low is he going to go?

The truth is, Mr. Speaker, if the minister had the championship in him that he had a few years ago with the fishery and he put it into his portfolio in this department he would be standing up and saying to his Cabinet colleagues, `Listen, $15 million is not adequate, will not come near to what we need in this budget for transportation in this Province.' The truth is that there are many roads in this Province at a breaking point where they are almost impassable and if they are not done now they are going to deteriorate even further. Then to slap the people of rural Newfoundland in the face by saying, we are not going to supply a bit of calcium to keep the dust down this year. That is unacceptable.

The minister is alright while he sits here in St. John's but I can tell you, when he goes back out to rural Newfoundland he will hear it soon enough. I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the next time he goes out to rural Newfoundland that he doesn't take the helicopter like he did the last time. To go out and check the road in Bonavista he flew in a helicopter. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, a helicopter stirs up a lot of dust, so I will suggest to the minister that he leave his helicopter home this summer. Don't come out stirring up dust in rural Newfoundland. If you are going to come at all come driving and drive very slowly because they don't want the dust kicked up, Mr. Speaker. That is what I say to the minister.

So when we talk about the balanced budget, and a big hurrah, a big hooray for the government to balance the budget - well, there is a lot more behind that word, `balanced budget' than what we see in our face right here, Mr. Speaker. If you want the real answer to the balanced budget and what it means to people, go out to rural Newfoundland to places where they don't have the basic necessities of running water and sewer, places where they can't travel up the road using their cars. They would rather walk because they are afraid they will stir up dust in the community. That is what a balanced budget means, Mr. Speaker.

Then, of course, there are the social programs. We will go further again - just off the topic of transportation - Mr. Speaker, social programs. Bill C-76, that has gone through second reading in the House of Commons in Ottawa is going to have dramatic impact in this Province to the social programs. Now, Mr. Speaker, we were told that not one of the MPs, including our minister, not one - as a matter of fact, three of them never heard of the bill and not one of the seven MPs, including the minister, knew in detail what the bill meant after going through second reading in the House of Commons in Ottawa - a bill that is going to impact on this Province more than any other bill ever introduced in the history of this country, probably. We have seven MPS, three - I won't even use their names because it is too embarrassing for everybody - three MPs in Ottawa, after going through second reading on Bill C-76, the biggest impact in this Province on social programs, have admitted openly that they have never even seen the bill. Now, Mr. Speaker, some people may be guessing who those MPs are, and I bet you they are guessing right. That just gives you an idea, Mr. Speaker, of what kind of representation we have in Ottawa right now.

We have a minister who has been vigilant on the turbot wars and I commend him for that. We have done that before but, Mr. Speaker, there are more major problems then that relating to the fishery but also outside the fishery. Those problems are going to be major on the social impact in this Province in the next year, Mr. Speaker, very soon; unemployment and welfare. That is the thing -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SHELLEY: By leave, Mr. Speaker, a couple of minutes?

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


MR. SPEAKER: Leave given.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, just a couple of minutes to clue up, Mr. Speaker.

I would really like to make issue of that point, Mr. Speaker, that Bill C-76, which a lot of members I know in this House are not fully aware of, is introduced on the table in Ottawa right now. It has been in second reading, it is about to be passed and it is going to have the biggest impact on social programs this Province has ever seen. Now, what we can do about that - and the implications for that will unfold as it may but we should certainly, as elected politicians in this Province, be aware of what that bill contains and its implications for Newfoundland, especially as it relates to unemployment insurance and also how it relates to the social programs.

So, Mr. Speaker, we all have a duty, as elected people in this Province, to make sure that we are aware of what happens up there. I can say to all members here, we can't certainly depend on our federal MPs because if ever there was a deafening silence in Ottawa it is from our seven MPs who are there with us now. We need some representation up there, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to have to do it from this House of Assembly right here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the galleries today, forty-eight Grades IV, V and VI students from St. Mark's All-Grade School in King's Cove, accompanied by their teachers, Tom Maddox, Maurice Lewis and Diane Curtis.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to go on record as well, in welcoming the students from St. Mark's All-Grade School, and the three educators, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Maddox and Ms. Curtis.

I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that hopefully, those people, Sir, will hold you accountable for when you went down to their territory about four weeks ago and promised those students and the concerned parents who were at a public meeting that you would get back to them in four days time to let them know what you were going to do with Route 235, how much money it would cost to upgrade the road, and what your intentions were for Route 235. I talked to the gentleman who headed up that committee, a Mr. Monks down in King's Cove, this morning, knowing I would be speaking on debate of the Budget here today, and up until now, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has not made a call down there to those concerned citizens, those concerned community leaders.

Many of the people who are sitting here in the gallery today are the very students who wrote the minister. They wrote their concerns about how they were getting sick travelling twenty kilometres over a stretch of road that was constructed twenty-three or twenty-four years ago, but the minister has seen fit to turn his back on them. I say, he and his party will be judged in due time. They will be judged in Grand Falls. Watch what will happen in Grand Falls when the by-election takes place there, at the announcement of the Chair here today.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the minister as well, from now on when he goes out to rural Newfoundland, that he drive over the road instead of taking a helicopter out, or instead of taking his boat and pulling into the wharves along the coastline. I suggest he drive over the roads himself. The minister reminds me of the story of the fellow who has a leak in his roof - he never repairs it when it's raining because it is to dirty, and when the sun is shining it doesn't need to be repaired. That is like the minister going out and looking at the highway. He doesn't need to fix it in the summertime because many of the humps and bumps disappear. They disappear in the summertime and in the wintertime he can't fix them because the weather doesn't co-operate.

That is the kind of analogy that the minister uses, Mr. Speaker, when he goes out in rural Newfoundland and looks at some of the problems that are out there. I say to the minister, go out and look at the problem and respond to it. If he had gone out there a month or so before he made his trip in a helicopter, he would have found that it was almost like an obstacle course. Moving back and forth over that Route 235 there are mufflers and parts of automobiles all along the highway. The minister shakes his head, but it is true, and many of the kids up there is the gallery today can verify that. I know because I travel that stretch of highway at least twice a week. And they were not exaggerating one little bit when they called you and told you about the concerns they had and about the children being sick going to school, I say to the minister.

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

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on the hon. member opposite that when he is making a speech and giving information to the House, and especially when he is talking to his constituents in the gallery that he give the correct information. The correct information is that I did drive out over that road that day, with one of his constituents. He took me over the road. We took our time, went through all the communities, and saw first-hand the condition of the road the hon. member is talking about. Give the correct information.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister is correct, he did drive. A gentleman took him in a car and drove him over part of the highway. But the issue is that the minister had promised at the meeting that he would get back to the individuals within four days, within that week, and they are still waiting. They are still waiting for an answer four weeks later.

Mr. Speaker, if we were seeing a Budget being brought forward in this House, a balanced Budget, and the roads were being repaired, our hospitals were being looked after, and the education system in this Province was being looked after, we would all be happy. I say we would all be happy, we would be rejoicing. But I take no pride in it, nor, I fear, does any member on the opposite side, when they see the need that is out there today. If people from the government side are spending any time in their constituencies, they will know that the concerns that have been brought forward by the speakers here on this side of the House are for what is happening out there today in every rural Newfoundland district. It is not only in Bonavista South but every district that I drive through - Trinity North, Terra Nova, Bellevue, all the way out, the needs are quite evident. It is shameful!

When we see the cutbacks in our health care - and I referred to this a couple of days ago when the minister wasn't in his seat but he is there today, I have to refer to it once again, about an experience that I encountered by going to the Health Sciences Centre myself here in St. John's about three weeks ago. I say to the minister that I had occasion to take my wife to the emergency ward of the Health Sciences Centre. I called her doctor that night and her doctor suggested that I take her out to the emergency ward, suggested I take the ambulance. I said: No, there is no need of that, I will take her in my car and we will go out.

I went out and she sat in a chair for two hours. While she was waiting there I had an opportunity to talk with other people. There was one lady there, I say to the minister, sitting in the emergency ward at the Health Sciences Centre for eight hours - eight hours at the emergency ward at the Health Sciences Centre. Another lady from Clarenville was there for six hours - six hours standing, waiting, in an emergency ward in one of our most modern hospitals.

Is this what we have to experience in order to balance the Budget? Is this what we are going to put our people through? Take away their health care, take away all other things that they were once entitled to and believe that they should get from government. If this is what the people have to go through, then we should take no pride in the balancing of this Budget or bringing forward a surplus. That is the reason why we saw a non-confidence motion moved on this Budget a few days ago by the Leader of the Opposition.

The reason those people were sitting in the Health Sciences Centre, from what I am told in talking to one of the head nurses there, is that the beds were full in the emergency ward and in order for them to be moved upstairs they had to find a vacant bed. There were no vacant beds. The beds down at emergency were filled and everybody else had to sit and wait in a chair until they could be attended to.

Water and sewer - another fundamental right that we should all expect as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is now being taken away from us. If we are going to have water and sewer, we are expected to fund our own, 100 per cent payment. I say to the minister, when he talks about putting out infrastructure money on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Canada: instead of only looking at some of our larger communities which have a tax base that can fully pay back 100 per cent of infrastructure money, maybe he should look at the communities that are making an effort, Look at the communities that are trying and allow those people to enjoy some of those given rights.

The Member for Conception Bay South stood here in responding to the Throne Speech a few short months ago and talked about the concerns in her district. She said some of her greatest concerns were traffic lights and sidewalks. I only wish that she could come out to rural Newfoundland and see some of the needs that are existing out there. I can assure her that traffic lights and sidewalks are a long, long way down the list - a long way down the list - and I kind of envy her.

Housing - the Member for St. John's South introduced a Private Members' motion here some time ago and talked about the need for -

AN HON. MEMBER: St. John's Centre.

MR. FITZGERALD: St. John's Centre - and talked about the need for housing in his district. I reminded him at that time, in response to his Private Members' motion, that this not only exists in St. John's Centre but it is a problem that exists in all of Newfoundland.

At one time when we saw the program known as the RRAP program that was sponsored, I think, 75 per cent federal and 25 per cent provincial, we saw a fair number of houses in our areas being upgraded, new windows, new doors, new siding, good foundation, and all of a sudden some of the rundown places, some of the places that were not so nice looking, took on a new appearance; people became proud of their property. When they did up their houses, you saw them take pride, then, in their landscaping. The next thing you know, they had a lawn. The next thing, you saw the car wrecks disappearing - a good program.

When John Crosbie was there, our federal minister, and cut back on the program, there was a loud noise made from the people opposite, a loud noise made saying: How dare you take away money from this program that is doing so much for rural Newfoundland? And people over here said the same thing. Just because they were of the same political stripe did not mean to say that you had to be quiet when something was being done that you did not believe in.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this year there is absolutely no money whatsoever being put in that much needed program, and not a murmur from the people opposite, not a complaint. Nobody seems to care, because they are of the same colour and they represent the same values and morals. I say that if those people are listening to their constituents, and if they see a need out there in the area that they represent, then they should do no less than speak up for the people who elected them and put them in this House, and bring forward their cares and their suggestions, and if it means taking it to Ottawa then do that as well.

Unemployment was never greater in this Province before than it is today. It was never greater than it is today, and we continue to talk about people moving outside the Province; there are work opportunities in Alberta, there are work opportunities in Ontario and British Columbia. I could never tell anybody from my district that. If somebody called in looking for a work opportunity, they know that; that is not what they want to hear. They want to know if something is happening in this Province, somewhere where they can be with their families. I don't think we should have to pull up roots and move to Vancouver, or move to Alberta. I think we should be visionaries enough that we should create some opportunities here and try to keep our people here. If we are going to allow our young people, our post-secondary graduates, to come out of university, to come out of our technical colleges today and move to the mainland, then I fear that we will always be existing in the doldrums of double-digit 20 per cent unemployment for today and a long, long time to come.

Mr. Speaker, the government talks about the private sector; the private sector has to be the vehicle to take us into the next century. The private sector is the area of growth. Well, I don't know how many people here have had an experience of directing some of their constituents to go and look for funding, to go and look for loans at ENL or ACOA, or Community Futures, or rural development. I don't know how many people here have run into that experience, because I can assure you it is not a very pleasant one. We go and continue to buy newspaper ads and radio ads, television clips, talking about all the things that are there for somebody who wants to start and create their own business. Once you start, you will find that you get involved in so much bureaucracy that you will throw your hands up in frustration and walk away from it. You will walk away from it because the people who are involved in those lending agencies I am not so sure has the right approach or are listening to the right people. Most of them are Liberals by the way, most of them are Liberals put there as patronage payments. Patronage payments for what they have done in the past and far too often they are the wrong people not listening to good ideas and not listening to suggestions.

A prime example I suppose was the suggestion that was put forward by a group of councils in the lower part of the Bonavista Peninsula a couple of months ago. A prime example of a group of people had gotten together and said: Look let's take this Crown land that is now lying vacant, let's take this Crown land and apply it to the Department of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture and see if we can get a wild berry industry going here. Maybe we can get the land brought up to fertility where we can get the berries growing; partridgeberries, blueberries, bakeapples, maybe we can get a jam factory going, maybe we can create some employment. It is called diversification but I don't know if anybody over there knows the meaning of the word.

They went and the first thing they were told - HRD, the new name for the Canada Manpower, they agreed with the suggestion. They agreed that it was a wonderful idea. They were going to give them the manpower, they were going to use the TAGS program. They went and applied for - I think it was something like 200 acres of land. They came and applied for it and they wanted it for, I think, a fifteen year period. What did the minister do, Mr. Speaker, but turn them down. You cannot use that Crown land. You cannot use it. We are going to take that opportunity away from you. Why, Mr. Speaker? Why couldn't they use the Crown land? Why couldn't they burn off the shrub, the shrub and the brush and put it back into berry production and employ some people? It took a lot of convincing, Mr. Speaker, to go to the minister and plead to him in order to get that project back on track again.

Then, Mr. Speaker, the government of the day came up with another bright idea, they were going to do away with red tape. They said the days are gone when you have to go through three and four levels of government. We are going to do away with all of that. We are going to give you one-stop shopping. If you want to take part and be part of some organization or get into some industry then why should you have to go through the Department of Health, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, the Department of Environment and the Department of Employment and Labour Relations? Let's send them in one direction. This is what they had on the go last year and everybody were all happy about it, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, for people who are sitting here, if you have ever had the opportunity to go and get a permit to cut some firewood? Have you ever had the opportunity to go and look for a permit to cut firewood? They will give you a permit to cut firewood. They will give you a permit for - depending on where you get it. On the Bonavista Peninsula now I think it is something like eight cords of wood. They had it down to six but finally after enough complaining and the minister listened, he put it back up to eight. But if you want to get 200 logs, Mr. Speaker, and build a shed, 200 logs to complete your house, go and try it I plead with any member here and see the red tape that you have to go through.

If you want 200 logs the first thing you have to do, if you cannot get them out in the four month period that has been designated, you have to go to the minister. Now just imagine! The minister has to sign a document, sign a paper to allow you to bring your wood out of the woods. Now if the Minister of Natural Resources - a man who I have great respect for and I think that that man will change it. I think that he will see fit that there is a lot of bureaucracy there that should be done away with. I believe enough in the minister that he will change it and I am sure that he has more to do with his time then go and sign a paper and say to somebody that you need this paper in case somebody stops you bringing your firewood home. What other rights have we got as Newfoundlanders? We talk about living in a free country. Mr. Speaker, I don't call that living in a free country if you have to go and ask somebody to give you permission in order to do things like the things that we were always used to being able to do: Go and cut a few logs or go and cut some firewood.

How about the person who is fortunate enough to have a job? I know they are few but there are still some. How about the fellow who is fortunate enough to have a job in the winter? Take a winter like this, for instance. The only time he can cut his firewood now is between I think September 28 and May 31. I believe those days are - in fact, I'm sure they are correct. He must also transport his wood within those dates as well. How about the person, say the fellow who is working on CN boats, working with CN Marine, gone for a month at a time? A couple of times they double back and work a double shift. Right? How is this gentleman expected to go and get his wood? Why shouldn't he be allowed to go back in the woods in June month and go and cut his wood? Sure, if he has to take a fire extinguisher with him or take something with him in case a fire starts, that can be accommodated.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I say to the minister that I do spend a lot of time in the woods. I say to the minister that a commercial woodcutter must take fire extinguishers in the woods. I say to the minister that most of the people over here on this side do come out of the woods, and that is more than I can say for some of the people opposite.

Mr. Speaker, some people when they go in - the commercial woodcutters do have to take fire extinguishing equipment, as the Minister of Natural Resources knows. What is so wrong with allowing those people to go and cut their firewood and bring it out in a responsible way and heat their homes like they've been used to doing over the past number of years. Let's do away with the restrictions. Let's be ever cognizant of what might happen. Make them take all the necessary safety precautions, but don't put the stranglehold on them and say: You can't do this and you can't do something else. Allow them to do their God-given right, as far as I am concerned, to go and be able to cut a few sticks of wood.

I know that the people from my community, and I'm sure the people from my district have always taken a great lot of pride in owning their own homes. That was one of the things that we always put forward when we lived in rural Newfoundland: Boy, at least we own our own homes. We can grow our own vegetables, we can build our own houses, we can raise our own livestock and this sort of thing. Now it seems that we have a government which somebody compared to - the front seven, the seven millionaires who are making all those decisions, and don't realize what people have to go through today in order to go and build those houses. They can't reach in their back pocket and pull out their wallet and write out a cheque and buy a new home. They've always taken a great pride in being able to do that. That now is being taken from them and we are all put in, I suppose, the same classification that we are going to owe.

Mobilization allowance. I referred a few minutes ago to people looking for a job and knowing that jobs existed in other provinces. The last few days I've had several calls with people looking for mobilization allowance. They go to HRD and the first thing this government agency tells them is: We will give you mobility allowance, mobility allowance is there for you, but you have to meet certain criteria. Number one is, you must have a job. I have no problem with that. The other one, the one that I have a real problem with, is that there can be nobody else from that particular jurisdiction who is capable of doing the job that you apply for.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have always been able to find myself a job. Sometimes it meant leaving the Province but I have always been able to find myself a job and I have always thanked God I have been able to pay my way to go there, but there are people out there today who are even less fortunate than me, God help them, they have to look for help to get there and by the time that they go through the red tape of trying to get financial sponsorship to travel to some other jurisdiction, to some other area to go to work, they find that the job has disappeared.

If somebody wants an employee today, it is today that they want them not two weeks time, Mr. Speaker, not two weeks time to wait for somebody who is travelling from Newfoundland or some other province; they need somebody today and they need them now, and I am a firm believer that if there is a job somewhere and if you have a person who is willing to take that job, the person who is trying to get off either unemployment or social assistance, then we should do whatever we can in order to encourage them and in order for them to get off the welfare rolls and once again be a contributor to society.

Education, Mr. Speaker, education. We have two schools, not in my district but in the District of Terra Nova which many of my constituents attend, two schools that are dilapidated, they are obsolete and it is a shame. The Government House, that's another story and I have already expressed my views on that so I won't get into that one today. Mr. Speaker, those schools are to the point where the ceilings are falling down, the roof leaks, they have classrooms in the corridors, water buckets set up around the aisles in order to catch leaks and we say we are giving our students in rural Newfoundland the same opportunities as some of our students here in urban areas.

I would like the Minister of Education and Training to go out and visit some of those schools. I would like him to go out and see the conditions that some of those students have to contend with every day when they attend school in order to try to eke out an education. I don't think that's good enough, Mr. Speaker. I think if we believe in the fairness and balance that the Liberal government is putting forward in their belief and their manifesto that they put forward and declared some wonderful things in the past, Mr. Speaker, if they believe in that then they should believe in treating everybody in rural Newfoundland alike; they should believe in equal opportunity for education as well as water and sewer, fair, good drinking water, et cetera, et cetera.

Drinking water, Mr. Speaker, another topic, where we have to come back to government, begging today for as simple a thing as an artesian well, a water supply, for which people are willing to assume the responsibility, they are willing to assume the payments, willing to look after the costs –

AN HON. MEMBER: It's a mortgage.

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, it is a mortgage, yes that's what it is, a mortgage. They had to go to the bank and they had to borrow money. Many times the government of the day would only allow them financial contributions in order to put the well, the pump and other things in place and the holes and people will assume responsibility and would pay their debt back to society. In fact, I am a firm believer that we shouldn't give anybody anything.


MR. FITZGERALD: I am a firm believer that we shouldn't give anybody anything.

MR. TOBIN: What would you (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Let them make them responsible for paying back. By all means help them, give them a loan, but let's not go giving people outright gifts; make them responsible. If you start a business today and the business can't stand on its own two feet after a number of years, say five years, it deserves to die; it does not deserve to be helped but, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason why the government of today can't provide funding and help those businesses and not go looking a month after or two months after for their first return on their money but they should be looking for their money back, treat everybody alike.

The EDGE legislation, fairness and balance, I say to the minister, fairness and balance, but when you look at what the minister is doing in rural Newfoundland and when he stood in his place today and talked about the wonderful thing that he had done by introducing the .05-

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

By leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: So, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I say to the minister, if he is going to do away with drinking and driving then have no drinking and driving. Never mind .08 or .05, or have somebody say because I am 150 pounds I can drink two beer, or the Member for Harbour Grace saying I can drink half a dozen and not be .05. There should be none of that. There should be absolutely no drinking and driving, and when the minister stands in his place he will be applauded.

Mr. Speaker, members here on this side do not take any pleasure in getting up and talking about a balanced Budget. We take a great amount of pleasure in speaking on the non-confidence motion that was brought forward by our leader, but we do not take any pride in talking about a balanced Budget, or surplus, when there are so many needs out there in rural Newfoundland today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: The armchair socialist.

MR. A. SNOW: No, I am not an armchair socialist. I am a very community minded businessman with a very large social conscience.

MS. COWAN: A large heart.

MR. A. SNOW: A large heart and empty pockets.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is a big businessman.

MR. A. SNOW: I am a big businessman operating a small family business.

Anyway, I will be glad to have the opportunity, sometime this afternoon, to speak on the non-confidence motion, and probably nobody will listen. It is unfortunate, that in the streets of the Province today people are saying that it does not matter what you say to this government because they will not listen, and we have had it verified here in the House today by the Government House Leader.

The Government House Leader openly and publicly stated in the House, for Hansard to record, that they are not going to listen to what people are saying, and that is one of the first signs that appears in a government on its way out. That is one of the first signs that occurs, when they do not listen. This government has not been listening for years and the people of this Province, I believe, are fed up with it. They are fed up with this attitude of father knows best. A poll recently done in this Province showed that 54 per cent of the people favoured a public inquiry into the latest scandal that this government was involved in.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are they saying in Grand Falls?

MR. A. SNOW: I do not know what the polls are saying in Grand Falls but I do know that 54 per cent of the people polled favoured having a public enquiry into the Trans City hospital scandal, this scandal where it is possible that over $30 million of taxpayer money, in reality over $100 million of taxpayers money was illegally spent and possibly as much as $30 million over what it should have cost, or what it could have cost. That is a tremendous amount of money.

Mr. Speaker, these arrogant attitudes and policies - I am not sure if you can call participating in a scandal a giveaway of $30 million, a policy. I do not think it is something that the Liberal government would have put out in the booklet they put out in the last election, their red book. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, whether it is their written policy or not, the attitude of not listening to people -

MR. EFFORD: Tell us about your Voisey Bay stocks.

MR. A. SNOW: My Voisey Bay stocks are doing well, Sir, doing very, very well, and so is everybody else who participated in investing their hard-earned dollars in purchasing shares. The Voisey Bay ore discovery is one of the best things that has happened to this Province, and I just hope -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: How much money have you made so far?

MR. A. SNOW: Oh, I haven't made near the amount of money that is going to be made.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I just hope that this government approaches Voisey Bay -

MR. EFFORD: You are hoping the stock goes up.

MR. A. SNOW: Sure, there is nothing wrong with the marketplace -

MR. EFFORD: Oh, I agree with you.

MR. A. SNOW: Nothing wrong with it whatsoever.

MR. SULLIVAN: Castle Rock is gone down.

MR. A. SNOW: As soon as they found out I -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Those who laugh last...

MR. A. SNOW: Laugh best.

Mr. Speaker, the members opposite raise the issue about Voisey Bay, the Voisey Bay development or the Voisey Bay ore deposit. It is one of the most significant mineral finds of the last fifty years. Some people have even said that it is probably the greatest mineral find in the last 100 years. That is a tremendous, tremendous amount of wealth, and we have to ensure that if we are going to develop - and it will be developed - that the people of this Province get a maximum benefit from that particular resource, because we don't get many opportunities in our lifetime to correct things, and one of the things we have been - I don't know what the correct term is, but we have fouled up a few development opportunities in this Province, one in the fishery -

MR. SULLIVAN: Fouled up or followed up?

MR. A. SNOW: Foul, f-o-u. The Member for Ferryland was wondering whether my foul had a `u' or a `w'. I don't know why he would be concerned.

MR. SULLIVAN: I said, `followed up'.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, we, as a Province, did not properly -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: We have to ensure that this is properly developed to maximize the benefit to the people of this Province.

I have said it many times, that I am proud to represent the District of Menihek, which is the towns of Labrador City and Wabush, the two largest mines operating, I guess, in the Province today. These people who work in the mines produce a tremendous amount of wealth for this Province, about three-quarters of a billion dollars amount of wealth to this Province. There is no other electoral district in this Province that produces a similar amount of wealth. They contribute tremendously in economics, revenue to the coffers of this government, in income tax, sales tax, and yet they are treated with utter disdain by the government when the government looks at the delivery of services in Labrador.

So I readily recognize how much a mine, a properly developed mine, can contribute to a local economy and also to the provincial and national economies, but I am more concerned about what it can contribute, how much more we can contribute, through a properly developed mining operation, to our provincial economy.

I have seen, I have witnessed, I have lived, part of the development in Western Labrador when they developed the mines in Wabush. There was considerable debate over where a pelletizing plant would be built for the Wabush concentrator, or the ore that is mined by Wabush Mines in that mining property. That value-added process, adding the value to the concentrate, making a pellet from it, the debate at the time in the early 1960s was whether it would go in Pointe Noire, Quebec, or in Newfoundland. The company wanted to put it down there for whatever reasons. A lot of people speculate the reasons that the company did it was more political in the sense of the company, where a lot of the company management was located in Quebec and that is why it was being put there.

Indeed, that is exactly what occurred. The pellet plant did get constructed in Pointe Noire and we lost hundreds of jobs. The iron ore complex over on the other side of the lake, the Iron Ore Company of Canada, in their facility they have a value-added process over there. The pellet plant in Labrador City, the Carroll project, today makes the best pellet in the world. The best pellet in the world is made in Western Labrador, in Labrador City. They are going to be producing next year probably 20 million tons of concentrate and 12 million to 13 million tons of pellets - hopefully, next year.

Mr. Speaker, most of the jobs in the Iron Ore complex in Labrador City are in the pellet plant, in that value-added process. What we have to ensure in the Voisey Bay development is that we, as a people, derive the greatest benefit from it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, through revenues accruing from salaries, mining taxes, Royalties, but we also have to ensure that when this is being developed, we add as much value to the resource. Because that is where the real opportunities are. We have seen Quebec utilize our resource from Churchill Falls. We have seen Quebec derive a revenue - an economic rent is the method that they use to calculate how much wealth an area derives from a resources. Quebec, it has been suggested, is getting an economic rent from the Churchill Falls development of about $750 million and we get about $25 million. Now, that is a tremendous difference.

We have to ensure that when we develop Voisey we don't make the mistakes we have made with our fishery, the mistakes we have made with the forest industry development vis-ŕ-vis the Abitibi property in Stephenville rather than being constructed in Labrador. We have to ensure that we have as much value-added in Voisey Bay ore as we possibly can do from the approach that it has to be developed - and I say it basing it on economic sense - it has to be developed within Labrador. Put together a package. I don't raise that issue just because I'm a member representing a community in Labrador. I say it because I recognize that it wouldn't make sense to catch fish on the Grand Banks and put a fish plant in Western Labrador and expect it to make any economic sense. Neither will it make, I believe, any economic sense to take an ore out of the ground in Labrador and bring it to some other province, or even to the Island, to add value to it. We are going to have to add as much value as we can as close to the source as we possibly can.

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of talk recently about - this government is saying that things are getting better. News reports today indicate that - the Premier was up in my district last week saying: The provincial economy is on the upswing. That is what the Premier told the chamber. Everything is rosy. It is all because of the policies of this government. Well, it may be rosy for a few businessmen that got involved in a scandal in ripping off the people of this Province to the tune of $100 million in the Trans City scandal. It may be rosy for them, but it is not rosy according to the recent reports that are being covered that say we are entering a recession and that the province with the least amount of growth next year will be this Province. That is what they are predicting. We are going to have the least amount of growth in this country next year.

The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board says that is correct and -

MR. BAKER: No, he is totally `out to lunch' on his figures.

MR. SULLIVAN: Tell us how he is `out to lunch'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Who? Mr. Speaker, this is another hallmark of this government. They don't believe The Conference Board of Canada, they don't know what they are talking about. Now, I don't know if the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board can remember. Who was it? How is the memory today?

MR. DUMARESQUE: The first time you have been allowed to speak since the leadership.

MR. A. SNOW: I have been allowed to speak quite often since the leadership and before. But, Mr. Speaker, again, another one of the hallmarks of this particular government is they don't believe anybody from the outside, `Father knows best'; `Father knows best' and that is exactly what is getting them into a lot of trouble. Listen to me, don't believe The Conference Board of Canada, don't believe them, predicting that this Province is going to be mired into a recession, that we are going to have the least amount of growth of any province in the country next year, don't believe that, don't believe The Conference Board of Canada, believe me.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board says that's all malarkey, it is not true; The Conference Board of Canada doesn't know what they are talking about. It is not true that The Conference Board of Canada says that Ontario and British Columbia are going to lead the country in economic growth, that's what he is saying - `believe me, don't believe them'. Again, Mr. Speaker, that is one of the problems with this government, that they won't listen to anybody else, they will only cook up their own figures such as this so-called balanced Budget this year. It is not a balanced Budget, Mr. Speaker, it is creative bookkeeping, that's all it is.

In the real estate industry you hear people talking about when they put together a deal, sometimes they have to do some creative financing. Mr. Speaker, what the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board has done with this Budget, is creative financing; it is not a balanced Budget. It is like an individual attempting to pay off their Visa with their MasterCard; it is not balanced, it's not paid off, they still have a debt. And this Province has done a very similar type of thing. It is all smoke and mirrors. It is exactly what this government has been doing year after year after year; saying one thing, doing another and attempting to mislead and deceive the people of the Province through slick talk, and I am saying, Mr. Speaker, to the people on the other side, that the people of this Province are sick and tired of the slick talk.

They want a common-sense approach; they are tired of the slick, fast-talking, smooth-talking lawyers who take advantage of them with the fine print, and they remember this government which tried to give away their Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and they are also going to figure out very quickly how much this government is gouging out of the ratepayers of this Province through the money that they are asking Newfoundland Hydro to pay to them for guaranteeing the loan, and the rural subsidy that this government took back in their first few years in office. The voters are going to remember that, and that is why I know they are not going to be re-electing this government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board in his speech, talked about how the private sector was going to be the engine of recovery and he said that they have been doing everything to allow businesses to grow and prosper, they are going to create a better economic climate, thus giving business a better opportunity to operate. Mr. Speaker, again, it is smoke and mirrors. They talked about, in their EDGE Program, this program that they lifted from Indiana, the only difference is a little change in the acronym, it's EDGE, the Economic Diversification and Growth Enterprise in this Province but in Indiana, they call it the Economic Development for a Growing Economy.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in Indiana, they saw that yes, indeed, it did attract a few businesses to Indiana.

I was surprised to hear the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology last week suggest that he wasn't even aware of it. I find it a tremendous coincidence that the programs are very, very similar in the type of incentives that they offer to businesses, and being that it is exactly the same acronym, I don't fault them for copying somebody else's wheel, so to speak. I don't think it is necessary at times, just because somebody has it somewhere else, if it is a good piece of legislation, copy it. If it is good for the economy there, it should help here.

Mr. Speaker, it is not going to help a lot of the businesses I know in Western Labrador that this government is hurting through not coming in with some of the policies that they suggested they should be doing, such as increasing the rebate on the tobacco tax.

A lot of people in Western Labrador are looking forward to the tourism industry being more properly developed, and I am hoping to get the minister responsible for tourism in this Province off the Island, because he is going to have to try to get more delegates than just the ones around Central Newfoundland. If he is going to be going after the Premier's job, he is going to have to go out and get some of the delegates even from Labrador, because the Member for Eagle River doesn't have all those delegates in Western Labrador for sure. I know the Member for Eagle River doesn't have them wrapped up. So the Minister of Tourism should get up to Menihek and get some of those delegates. While he is in there, he should have a talk to the Tourism Development Board up there and they will explain to him some of the problems they are having with regard to developing tourism in Western Labrador. Instead of just staying here on the Island, he should get up and have a look at the problems up in Labrador, and then we will probably get some action and get some more businesses operating, and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the pellet plant when you get down there.

MR. A. SNOW: Oh, I wouldn't want to take the minister to the pellet plant. That is not the type of operation -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: May get a little dirt under the fingernails if he were to travel in the pellet plant in the mining industry. He is not interested in this, and that is probably one of the reasons he is not going to get the amount of support that is going to be necessary to put him over the top to get the job as leader of the Liberal Party and temporary Premier for a year or so. He is not going to get enough delegate support.

When the Premier was in Western Labrador, he met with concerned groups up there, and they explained to him some of the problems they are having. One of the things that did come up, and I hope the Minister of Finance is listening, is the tobacco tax problem again. I have mentioned it to him several times and he says he is going to have his officials study it. There is nothing being done on it, and it is not fair for the businesses in Western Labrador to treat them the way this government has been treating them. They are not on a level playing field with the businesses in Quebec. Again, one of the hallmarks of this government is the smoke and mirrors thing where they say one thing and do another. They say that they are going to do whatever they can to assist businesses; they are going to create a climate to allow them to grow and prosper. Yet, what do they do here? They allow the tax differential to be so great between the Province of Quebec and the Province of Newfoundland that the people are going up there to shop and buy because of the difference in tobacco tax, the difference in sales tax, and thus people are cross-border shopping.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) smuggling (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Now, Mr. Speaker, that is the attitude, you see; they think it is smuggling. How is it smuggling that a housewife goes up and spends $200 worth of groceries, buys two packages of cigarettes, and she gets arrested. It is crazy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: That is exactly what happens. It is cross-border shopping, and we should - this government has a policy of tobacco tax rebates in border communities, but the problem is that they did not increase the tobacco tax rebate when the federal tobacco sales tax was lowered and so was the provincial tax lowered in the Province of Quebec. They again say one thing and do another. They did not implement the rebate to a higher level and that is what created the problem.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a simple solution to it, follow the policy that they continue to follow which the previous Administration put in place. That is all they have to do. But they won't listen to the Chamber of Commerce, they won't listen to the business people, they won't listen to the town councils or the unions - they know best. And people are sick and tired of it. They are sick and tired of this government's arrogant attitude, whether it's the treatment of the people, in this particular case the businesses in Western Labrador. They are sick and tired of the Premier saying everything is rosy, the economy is on an upswing. Then a day later the Conference Board of Canada predicts we are entering a recession and Newfoundland is going to have the least amount of growth in this country, the least amount of economic growth next year.

Mr. Speaker, they are tired of being misled, of listening to this type of propaganda, because that is all it is. The reality of it is that we are entering a recession and we have just barely got out of the last one. Some people would even suggest that we never came out of it, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if the hon. member would allow me to inform the House of the questions for the Adjournment Debate at 4:30?

The first question is from the hon. the Member for Green Bay and it is to the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation: Re my question on the provincial roads program. The second question is from the hon. the Opposition House Leader to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture on the processing sector reduction by the industry renewal board. The third question is to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation from the hon. the Member for Ferryland on the inspection of vehicles over 4,500 kilograms.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognized the hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. BAKER: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Ah, nice try! Nice try, `Baker'!

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, this is exactly what I have been saying. The Minister of Finance still will not listen. It doesn't matter who tells him, he will not listen. It doesn't matter unless `Clyde' tells him. Now, if `Clyde' tells him: `You forget this `Winst',' Winst' forgets. Whatever `Clyde' says, `Winst' says, `Yes, Sir.'

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem, as recognized by Atlantic Progress.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Yes, because it is exactly what the big problem is in this Province. This Atlantic Progress says the Premier's report card says that Clyde Wells is concerned with image and public perception but there is often no real substance beneath the veneer of the position or the program. Mr. Speaker, that is what the Atlantic Progress said on the Premier's report card with regard to his performance and they gave him a failing grade.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: Well I did not buy the magazine I can tell you, but I am trying to find out who wrote the article. I am going to have to either get longer arms or a pair of glasses. I cannot find exactly who wrote -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: But anyway, Mr. Speaker, one of the problems this magazine identified is exactly the problem that I have been talking about for the last few minutes, Mr. Speaker. It is that this government is all full of perception, smoke and mirrors but no real substance. Exactly how these people failed, the Premier and this government, with regard to what they are doing to promote and develop a climate for business to properly develop and prosper in this Province, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, maybe the problem is indeed the leadership of this particular government. Maybe that is the problem and maybe they will correct it over the summer. If that was the problem and if that is the exact problem and you correct it over the summer, who is going to solve all the problems next, Mr. Speaker? Who is going to clean up this mess that has been created over the last six to seven years? We don't know who is going to win. We know that there are people jockeying for a position over there and they are getting ready to the post, Mr. Speaker, they are coming up close to the post. I am sure that it is going to be an exciting summer, an exciting race and I look forward to it, Mr. Speaker, but I don't think that they are going to be able to attempt to just change leaders and go ahead and get re-elected. I don't think that they are going to be able to fool the people in that manner. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to say a few more words, although I did have ample opportunity -

MR. ROBERTS: A pleasure for whom?

MR. WINDSOR: A pleasure for me. It should be a pleasure for hon. members opposite as well. I saw great looks of disappointment when I sat down a number of days ago after having spoken only for three or four days in my response to the Budget Speech. I have had an amazing recovery.

I have had some second thoughts. Whereas I condemned the government for their Budget a few weeks ago now I feel much more strongly - if my colleague will pass me back my speech notes - on the front page of The Evening Telegram the Conference Board of Canada has now given the greatest condemnation to this government that we have ever seen. I think it confirms everything that we have been saying on this side of the House about this particular Budget, as my colleague just said so well, it is indeed smoke and mirrors. There is nothing in it to stimulate the economy. In fact the Conference Board of Canada now confirms that we are heading into a recession in this Province next year, in their view. Admittedly, it is simply the view of some economists who advise the Conference Board of Canada but it is a collected wisdom and they are a well respected organization.

The Conference Board predicts that Newfoundland should remain at the bottom of the economic heap this year with a meagre 1.7 per cent growth and that private industries, such as fishing and fish processing being sluggish but a stable growth of 1.7 per cent this year and a recessionary 0.4 per cent decline in 1996. Now, Mr. Speaker, that has to say something about the economic policies of this government; the great Economic Recovery Commission, Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador and all the philosophizing of this government about the great improvements to the economy that they are going to bring forward. This is in spite of the great Hibernia development and in spite of the major world scale development expected in Voisey Bay, Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

In spite of all of that, giving recognition to the fact that the fishing industry has been extremely weak, particularly in the processing sector, been very weak in the groundfish sector and the processing sector, but did very well in some other species, nevertheless that has been a major impact. It should have been more than offset by developments in Labrador and by the Hibernia development. Mr. Speaker, that hasn't taken place and we are now finding, and now seeing, we are now being told that we are probably looking forward to very much more difficult times over the next couple of years. We should be progressing but we are not.

What is the reason for it? Obviously it has to be that this government in the Budget has done nothing to stimulate the economy. There are no programs there, nothing new, no great initiatives, no great imaginative concepts to stimulate the economy. In fact, what we are seeing are great cutbacks. To say that we are balancing the Budget - smoke-and-mirrors is being kind to it. Outright deceitful statements would be more accurate. There is no question that the Budget is far from balanced.

I won't go into those details again. I've gone through that on at least two or three occasions in the House. There is no point in saying again what I said before, other than to emphasize the fact that the Budget is far from being a balanced budget. It pretends to be, it purports to be, but by no means is it a balanced budget. Not even cleverly disguised. Attempted to disguise it but not very cleverly. Very transparent to see through that particular document.

There are a few things I want to talk about. I don't have a lot of time. It is getting late in the day. One thing that is obvious: The Budget talked about $5 million in savings as a result of lay-offs. We are seeing those now. We saw them in the adult basic education courses at Cabot College and other institutions across the Province. The impact of that is just incredible. For a government to say that it wants to stimulate the economy and yet it is all but eliminating adult basic education courses at Cabot College, it just doesn't jive. There is no consistency here. It makes a lie of the statement that we want to stimulate the economy and that education is an important factor in stimulating the economy. That education is the basic tool for which Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can contribute to our society and stimulate our economy, contribute to the economy of this Province.

To take away the opportunity for those persons for whatever reasons who did not have the opportunity in their younger years to obtain even basic high school education, to take away their opportunity to better themselves, to get themselves in a position where they can become greater contributors to society, be better able to support themselves and their families, be less of a burden on the social structure of government, of the taxpayers, to remove that is absolutely counterproductive and has to be the most blatant error that I've seen this government commit since it came into office, the most blatant of many.

I mentioned in Question Period some time ago that I had a constituent who was attending Cabot College, paying something like $70 per semester to receive basic education. This is a woman who has raised her family to the point where now they are not gone from home but much more self-sufficient, and she is able to find more time now to try to better herself. Now where she was paying $70 per semester she is told that opportunity is no longer available to her, and many more like her, and that she is expected to go to a private college and pay something like $200 per credit, which is totally out of reach, well out of reach. The Minister of Education and Training would have us believe that this is simply a make-work or a means of receiving some sort of income, a subsidy, while one is attending school.

I have no doubt that there may be some persons who do take advantage of this system. We have seen many cases where the system has been abused by those who use it not for the purpose for which it was intended, not to better themselves, but simply as a crutch when they have no other means of supporting themselves. You can hardly fault them. We all have to put bread on the table for our families, and I guess if there is no other way to do it than to take advantage of the system and to go into an educational institution in order to qualify for support during the terms of being in that institution, then I guess you do what you have to do. It doesn't make it right, but it is another sad reflection on the state of the economy and how difficult it really is out there for the average Newfoundlander, particularly those who don't have skills and the basic educational tools to work with in order to find gainful employment to support themselves and their family.

It is a very, very difficult situation, but to attack those who are least able to help themselves, those who are trying to crawl up from the depths of which they probably have been in for so many years, unable to support themselves and their family, who are really making that effort, they should be encouraged, not penalized. I think it is a very, very regressive step.

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of issues... The Minister of Finance is gone for the moment, but I wanted to talk to him. The Minister of Health is here, and there is an issue that he has dealt with, and I want to throw him somewhat of a bouquet, the issue of speech pathology. I had a constituent who called me, and I know there are others in the same position, where we found that children who are preschool children fall under the auspices of the Department of Health and are receiving, I think, two hours a week of speech therapy, or even more, basically all year long, and there are children who need that and probably more, but certainly the level that had been provided, I believe was two hours a week, was absolutely essential to those individuals. It was one hour per week for ten weeks, with a four week break and then another ten weeks. That is what this young person that I referred to, and I will use no names, that is the kind of support that person was getting, but once they get over five years old and go to school, now you leave the ambit of the Department of Health and come under the Department of Education, and that service, that special attention, is meant to be provided by the Department of Education. Apparently you get one-half hour every six school days, so it is less than half-an-hour a week, so that is quite a change. Of course, you only get it when school is in session. You don't get it during Christmas recess or Easter recess, or during the summer holiday break. That is a big, big change to young people who are quite reliant on this kind of special education training in order to try to deal with the difficulties with which they are faced.

There is one private school only, one office available, that has a three month waiting list, and that charges $68 per hour for that training, in other words $240 to $480 per month depending on the number of hours. Insurance, I am told, pays $200 per year in compensation.

I did receive a copy of a letter from the minister whereby he has taken some action, has undertaken to deal with the issue, together with the Minister of Education, to try to correct this anomaly whereby one department provides one level of service and the other department provides a different level of service altogether. So I simply want to encourage the Minister of Health to continue with that, to pursue that quickly, and perhaps he would like to stifle the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation who has no interest in any matter whatsoever. The Minister of Health is trying to deal with what is a very serious problem, with what is unfair, and I thank the minister for responding quickly to that issue, and I hope he will proceed quickly to try to resolve that, because a young person who loses that kind of special care can slip very quickly back into improper speech patterns without that kind of help. It is very, very important in the early years, as the minister knows well, the formative years for young people, that they have that kind of help. If he does not correct that problem now, then it will never be corrected in later years. Once again I thank the minister for responding in writing, at least quickly and in putting some wheels in motion and I would encourage him to move those wheels as quickly as possible if he can at all.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I had an issue that had been brought to me by many, many people which is the gun control legislation, and I realize that it is not a provincial matter it is a federal matter, but it is a very, very important issue and I would hope that the department and the minister involved and responsible here, is making the strongest possible representations to Ottawa, and we should all be contacting our Members of Parliament in this regard, and objecting to this particular piece of legislation. It makes no sense whatsoever, particularly to Newfoundlanders. Their objective is one that one can hardly argue with in having stricter control on guns and firearms, to try to reduce crime. By all means, nobody can argue with that, but I would argue that in Newfoundland we have had very, very few if any, violent crimes involving the use of firearms nor do I really expect maybe at least over at least the next number of years, it will become a major problem.

Newfoundlanders, almost as a way of life, own one or two firearms. A shotgun for birding and rabbit hunting in the fall and a 303 for hunting their moose or perhaps hunting the seals so, Mr. Speaker, it is not unusual for Newfoundland homes to have two, maybe even more guns in their homes for legitimate purposes, and my experience is, that most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are very conscious of safety and keep their guns as required under the act, under lock and key, with proper safety precautions taken and use these guns quite properly for the purposes for which they were intended, and to have that person register the gun, I don't think does anything.

I don't have a problem with the concept of registration itself for whatever benefit it may be for government to have some idea of exactly what weapons are out there, and to perhaps, if one is stolen, be able to trace it back and have some idea where it might have come from, but I would submit, Mr. Speaker, that it is a folly to think that this is going to cause those criminal elements in our society, who are using guns for illegal purposes, for criminal purposes, that it is going to cause them to register their guns; not likely, Mr. Speaker, I say. It is not going to change one thing.

It is just like putting a lock on the door. A lock on the door keeps out the honest people; the thief will come through that lock very, very quickly, either pick the lock or break his way in; somebody who wants to get in will certainly get in and that lock won't stop him, but the honest individual who is not causing or not planning to cause any harm is not going to come through that door, and I say the gun legislation is the same thing, Mr. Speaker; it will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the amount of crime in my view, in Canada, and certainly, it has no impact to Newfoundland and the cost of registering the guns; I understand that that is being watered down somewhat, nevertheless it is there and there are many people in Newfoundland who collect guns and have numerous, numerous, hundreds in some cases, guns in their gun collection, antique guns that can never be fired again, not capable of being fired, they are of no threat to anyone, but are there simply because of their value as antiques and as a collector's item and is a hobby that is pursued by many in our Province and these people are being very unduly penalized, Mr. Speaker, so I would urge the minister responsible to make representations in the strongest terms to Ottawa, to Members of Parliament, to the Prime Minister, to the Minister of Justice, whoever is involved in Ottawa, to see that that will change.

Now, I wish the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was here, but I will put it on the record and see that a copy of Hansard is brought to his attention but there is a problem, again it is a federal issue that the Minister of Housing might be interested in. Perhaps the Minister of Housing would like to listen for a moment if he would. It deals with the goods and services tax, which is no reflection on the minister obviously, it is a federal tax but I am wondering if the minister is aware of the impact that GST is having on the housing construction industry. Is the minister aware that there are hundreds of small housing contractors in Newfoundland who will build a home on spec. They will finance the construction of that home, hoping and feeling there will be a market for it. Now, we all know the housing market today is very, very weak, so it is speculating at its worst to build a house now, to invest upwards of $100,000 on an average home in this Province.

Is the minister aware that when that contractor builds that home, if he cannot sell it right away, what is he going to do with it? Well, he would want to try to rent it because at a rate of say 10 per cent on a $100,000 home there is $10,000 of interest alone to be paid. If that contractor can work a deal with his bank that he pays interest only until the house is sold, which is not impossible, he could probably do that, but the interest alone would cost him $10,000. A contractor cannot afford to have a house sitting there, empty, for say twelve months, so he would want to rent that house.

Now, if that house is rented for even a couple of months it is then no longer considered a new home and when that house is sold two months down the road, say, the contractor has to charge the 7 per cent GST, because he is now selling an existing home, not a new home. On a $100,000 home that is $7000 so he is caught between a rock and a hard place. He either pays the $10,000 interest per year to the bank to keep that house there empty or he rents it and pays $7000 in GST when he can eventually sell it. You can say: well, you are going to pass that along but you are not, the market is weak and the advantage of having a new home on the market is that a home buyer will want to buy a new home because GST is not applicable here. I wonder if the minister has had that brought to his attention before?

AN HON. MEMBER: What if I sell my house tomorrow?

MR. WINDSOR: If you sell your house tomorrow apparently GST has to apply to it. You cannot get the money back. That is what happens. The contractor cannot get the GST back. When he sells a new home he can get his $7000 GST back, but if you sell a used home you cannot claim GST.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. WINDSOR: Well, you did not pay it originally. You built your house twenty years ago and if you sell your house now there is no GST credit, but a contractor who builds a home now can get that GST credit, but if he rents the house for two months he cannot get his GST credit, so he either loses that $7000 or he has to up the price $7000, in which case he will not sell it. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. He pays $10,000 a year in interest to the bank or loses his $7000 rebate on GST.

I say to the minister what is happening is that contractors are not building on spec. You are losing those jobs, you are losing that economic activity, that money is not being spent. A contractor will only build a house today when he has a buyer first unless he is into a very fortunate situation where he has a market and he is able to take that risk, or if he is big enough and building twenty houses and he knows he is going to sell at least nineteen of them he might take that chance. Small contractors, particularly in rural Newfoundland, where they only expect to build and sell a couple of houses a year, maybe two or three houses a year, he cannot afford to take that chance. He is not big enough to take the risk of maybe having one on his hands for another year, he is not big enough to handle that, so he is not going to take the chance.

I can give the minister examples of small contractors who right now would have seven or eight men employed working on building homes but they are sitting home, none of them working. They are out trying to find small jobs, because of the downturn in the market, no question. But the fact that the market is so weak means you are not likely to sell that house and therefore you would need to rent it for a period of time until you could, and with the GST rebate being lost you are caught. What do you do? I ask the minister seriously to sit down with his federal counterpart and try to deal with that problem. Give that contractor a year or two years or some reasonable period within which to sell that house. It is a valid point. I've had several contractors come to me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: I would gladly write the minister a note, by all means. I'm pleased to see that the minister is responding positively to it. I certainly will write him over the next twenty-four, forty-eight hours. Put it in writing, explain it as carefully and as well as I know it. If the minister needs names of contractors to contact to support what is happening, if he needs some backup information on the impact it is having on those individuals, I would certainly be glad to give it.

Mr. Speaker, it being 4:30 p.m. we have to move into the Late Show. I thank the Ministers of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and Health, both of them, for their attention on these very serious matters that I've brought forward. Thank you.

Debate on the Adjournment

[Late Show]

MR. SPEAKER: This being Thursday, 4:30 p.m., we enter into the adjournment debate.

I call on the hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to express dissatisfaction, and not for the first time in this Assembly, with an answer given to me by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation with regard to this year's provincial roads program.

The minister attended a joint councils meeting in Green Bay some weeks ago and an enquiry was made of him at that time with regard to the Harry's Harbour - Jackson's Cove road. He indicated that there would be nothing forthcoming this year. I wrote him on that when I got back to St. John's just to confirm what he said and he wrote me back and indicated that was the case. His letter went something to the effect: As you already know there will be no money allocated for this road this year.

That was not something that generally I would have known had I not made an enquiry, because the usual hoopla surrounding government's capital program, be it roads or water and sewer, has been non-existent this year. I understand that apart from the federal infrastructure program the water and sewer program is very minuscule this year. I understand as well that the provincial roads program is relatively small, being in the order of $12 million or so.

The government however has not done its usual thing in making an announcement of the list of projects that have been approved this year. I found out by making an enquiry that a project had not been approved for Green Bay. I found out in Question Period the other day that no projects had been approved for Green Bay. Which, given the attitude of the administration and the particular attitude of the minister concerned, was not a great surprise to me. Since the Wells Administration came to power it has built one bridge on the Brighton causeway. Apart from that there has been no significant capital road work in Green Bay District since the government came to power.

The minister makes much to-do about the fact that former Premier Peckford refused him an artesian well for the community of Makinsons. Somehow the 10,000 people who inhabit Green Bay have to pay the price for that Makinsons well, and have been paying that price for the last six years. I think that level of vengeance, that level of petty, partisan vindictiveness, is totally uncalled for, and certainly out of sync with the Premier's much touted formula of fairness and balance.

Green Bay District entered the 20th century when it elected Brian Peckford in 1972. Prior to that, having had the former premier's son as the member, the government didn't see fit to spend any money in Green Bay. They didn't have to. They got a candidate elected automatically with little or no effort, certainly little or no government money, because he was the premier's son. So we had to do a lot of catch-up. What a lot of districts got from Confederation on, from 1949 on, we only started to get in Green Bay from 1972 on. There is a lot of work left to be done in terms of roads and water and sewer in Green Bay, and the attitude of this government is that somehow everything in Green Bay is all done, all the streets are paved with gold. That is not the case.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is probably the most partisan minister on the government side of the House. Very rarely officially on the record will he indicate that Green Bay is being punished for having given the Province seventeen years of Brian Peckford. But in little banter across the floor he makes it quite clear that the attitude is that Green Bay is to be paid back for Makinsons, and all the affronts given the hon. member, and I say that is not good enough. We deserve roads, water and sewer the same as any other rural district, and it is about time the minister stood in his place and agreed that my district deserves as much consideration as any other rural district, which it has not received from the Wells' administration, and certainly not from that minister's department.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that the hon. member is wrong when he says that Green Bay district is being punished. I will correct the hon. member and say the whole of the Province is being punished for the seventeen years of the Tory government.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: So it is not just Green Bay district.

In regard to the hon. member making accusations that this member is punishing a district because it voted Tory, let me tell the hon. member that I was well educated from 1985-1989 on what it is like to sit in the Opposition - well educated. I well learned for four years over there of the arrogant fashion that you could never get through a minister's door, and how well do the people of Makinsons know about it? How well do the people of Makinsons know about it when they could not even get drinking water, when ministers of the day did not tell the truth when they went in and asked for a few dollars to get some money to put in their taps at the wells in the community, to get some money, to have decent drinking water? So I don't need to take any lectures from the member opposite on what is right and what is fair, because the member opposite well knows what is right and what is fair, from 1985-1989.

AN HON. MEMBER: While he was in the private dining room.

MR. EFFORD: While he was in the private dining room, while he collected $100,000 in a severance package, not one penny went to the district of Port de Grave. It will take us twenty-five years to catch up, not four or five years. We are just trying to catch up with the rest of the communities and districts around the Province, so the hon. member should hide his head in shame when he stands in this House and makes accusations about this side of the House. What we are is fair to all people, where priorities count.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: Where the need is greatest, where the worst section of road is to be found, where the greatest priority is to be found, this minister will spend the money according to the need that he sees fit, provided by the officials of his department, on the greatest need in the Province.

The hon. member should think back to four or five years ago when that was never done. It was done purely based on politics, and I say nothing less to the hon. member than shame, shame, shame.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thought I had heard it all, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, that minister talking about shame.

MR. EFFORD: You agree with me, though.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I agree with you being full of shame.

Mr. Speaker, on a couple of occasions now I have questioned the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture on the -

AN HON. MEMBER: He doesn't know anything.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: No, he doesn't know anything.

- on the process to be followed by the industry renewal boards into reducing the processing capacity in the Province, the fishing industry processing capacity. What the minister has refused to answer now, for the second time, is: Who are the Province's appointees to the industry renewal boards? The minister, on the first occasion, said he thought it had been made public but if it had not he would table it the following day; that was the week before last. He still has not tabled it, and he still does not know the appointees to the board.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you know?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Do I know? Oh, I am not supposed to know. I am kept in the dark, I say to the Minister of Employment -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Here he comes now. He heard his name. Come in. I was going to say we were Bud Light before he came in, but that means we were missing Bud, in case the minister didn't get it.

MR. SULLIVAN: Not Bud wiser, that is for sure.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We are no Bud wiser, no.

I am wondering now if the minister, since I have been so dissatisfied with his answers, when he rises, could he tell the House now who the provincial appointees are on the industry renewal boards. Specifically, who is going to represent the Province in the processing capacity reduction which is 100 per cent provincial jurisdiction? Who is going to represent us there? Does the industry renewal board have to report in six months, twelve months or eighteen months to make decisions on reduction in the processing sector? How will community leaders, community groups be able to make representation to the boards? Will they be able to appear in person at public meetings? Will they be requested to submit written presentations, will there be a 1-800 number that they could call to make a representation on behalf of their community, I say to the minister?

AN HON. MEMBER: 1-900.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: 1-900 now is it? Well that is some other things that I have seen in the paper. I did not know that was about industry renewal boards, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I have seen some other numbers in the paper now that you can call for various services and thrills. There are different numbers you can call but I wonder if the minister now, if he could rise and give us the answers to those three very simple questions? Does he understand the questions, I ask the minister? Does the minister understand the questions? Who were the appointees on the board? Does the board have a time frame in which to render decisions; six months, twelve months, eighteen months? Will community leaders and groups be able to make representation to the industry renewal boards before decisions are made on their fish plants? Can the minister answer that for us today, please? Will he get up and answer that, please? I know he is tired but will he get up?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Perhaps the minister is confused. When you came in we were into the Late Show expressing dissatisfaction about Answers to Questions. So it was not a debate, it was five minutes I had to express dissatisfaction. So perhaps the minister could rise now and answer the question?

MR. TOBIN: Get up boy and answer the question, don't be so stunned and stubborn.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will ask the hon. minister to sit down. To the Member for Burin - Placentia West, the Chair has ruled very many times that the word stunned in this House is unparliamentary, so I ask you to withdraw it.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if it is unparliamentary to refer to the hon. Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture as being stunned then I will withdraw it but I won't change my mind.

MR. SPEAKER: I will ask the member to withdraw.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if you want me to withdraw that I will withdraw it and say that what I said is s-t-u-n-n-e-d.

MR. SPEAKER: I will ask the hon. member to withdraw.

MR. TOBIN: S-t-u-n-n-e-d is what I said, Mr. Speaker, and if that is unparliamentary I will withdraw.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will answer the question but before I do so, of all the members in this hon. Chamber to call me stunned I can take it most gently from the member that named me stunned and I will let the rest of the hon. members read into it whatever they like.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the answers to those questions that have been raised by the hon. Member from Grand Bank will be answered in due course when the time is appropriate.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In reference to my questions to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - the minister who ran off after Question Period to make a call to see if I was right or whether he was right. But I say to the minister, I asked the minister in the House today if it is true that vehicles over 4,500 kilograms must be inspected before they can operate on the highways. The minister said: "All commercial vehicles operating on our highways, tractor-trailers and all transport trucks, must be inspected on our highways on a regular basis." I asked him if they must be inspected before they are permitted to go on the highway. He didn't answer at first so I asked again, and once again he didn't answer the question.

Here is what the minister said on the third question. I asked him if it was necessary to go to Motor Registration with an inspection certificate and be given your registration and stickers after you present the certificate to Motor Registration. The minister said: "...I answered the question correctly in the beginning. All commercial vehicles must be inspected before the owner receives an operating permit or a licence to operate that vehicle. Now that is very clear. All vehicles must be inspected, commercial vehicles."

I talked to garage owners who told me they come to the garage with their stickers without an inspection. I called Motor Registration myself personally this morning and they told me that you can get your stickers and then go and get it inspected. The only people who need to get it inspected before you are given stickers are ones whose registration has expired, or new vehicles from other provinces. I was told by an official today at Motor Registration - I can give you the licence plates of government vehicles now that have come with stickers to garages in this city that were not inspected before they got their stickers. They have them, I say to the minister, and that is a fact. You can check it out. They are government vehicles over four and a half tons, over 4,500 kilograms.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. I would tell him to check out - I won't give the department. Maybe I will. Check out Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation as an example, and check out all government vehicles. You will find they are going to garages to be inspected -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, a `vehicle right', okay? That is what they want me to say. I would say to the minister, the minister stated that wasn't correct. Garage owners have told me you do not need an inspection certificate before you get your stickers. The minister said yes, and Motor Vehicle Registration told me no. I would now like him to clarify that because I think it is a very important safety concern.

Here is what happens, I was told by Motor Registration, for the minister's information. Once they receive their stickers and their registration they can go and get an inspection. Then they must show in the windshield that sticker, where it was inspected. They can operate that vehicle legally -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: - but if they are pulled in by the RCMP and they do not have the sticker displayed they are violating the law. They can get the stickers and they can the registration without being inspected, and I do not think that is correct. I think that commercial vehicles over four and a half ton should have to get an inspection before they can get on the highway.

I ask the minister if he will confirm this and will he tell this House what exactly is the regulation? I checked it also, I called Grand Falls and asked the question, too, and I was told the same thing, just to make sure there was consistency by officials in your department. Will you now tell this House what is the correct answer?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member is trying to make a point and trying to twist it to his own advantage, and trying to make the point that he sees it as the correct answer to give. Now, let me explain to the House very clearly what I said and what the requirement is.

All commercial vehicles must be inspected. It is required by law that they be inspected. If any owner, or operator of a vehicle is caught on our highways without an inspection they will pay a $600 fine.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: I gave a statement of fact in this House, recorded and quoted from Hansard, and now the minister stands up and is telling us that all commercial vehicles must be inspected before the owner receives an operating permit or a license to operate that vehicle. Now, that is very clear. That is what the minister said. He has contradicted me and indicated that I am not telling the truth in this House when I have it here in Hansard.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. If the record is there it is for the public and members to resolve this.

MR. EFFORD: I made no reference to the hon. member not giving the correct information as to the statement I made to this hon. House about the requirement of inspections to commercial vehicles.

MR. TOBIN: All commercial vehicles must be inspected before the owner receives an operating -


MR. EFFORD: If you want to get on a technicality I will say it again. The new law brought in by the Department of Motor Registration as of the fall of 1994 when we abolished the inspections of all light vehicles, is that all commercial vehicles operating in the Province are required to be inspected. It used to be twice a year, and now it is once a year. Added on to that we require that even now the trailer part must be inspected. Not only the mechanical part of the truck, but the trailers are now required to be inspected, the same requirement by law as a person must have stickers on their vehicles, and if they do not go and get the stickers from Motor Vehicle Registration Division, they will be fined by their authorities. The maximum of the commercial inspection is $600 if an individual is caught operating a vehicle without an inspection.

I don't think it needs to be explained any more clearly than that. That is the law, and that is the way the law is going to stand, and that was only changed less than a year ago to conform with all the regulations around Canada. The onus is on the operator of the vehicle to have an inspection. He must have an inspection to operate that vehicle, and if he does not follow the rules his licence will be taken from him, and I am not going to make it any clearer than that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! If there is nothing further we will...

Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I gather that is the conclusion of the edifying debate on the Late Show. Just before we adopt the adjournment motion, which I predict will be the outcome when Your Honour puts the vote in a moment, let me talk about tomorrow and where we are.

My understanding is that in addition to my friend from Mount Pearl there are three members on the other side who have not spoken in the amendment debate. My friend from Ferryland, to whom the number three is, I am afraid, all too familiar, held up four fingers. I understand there are only three, but -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, it is unlikely, I acknowledge to my friend, that he is wrong, but it is not impossible. In any event, there are a number of members on his side who may wish to speak.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: There could be. It doesn't really matter. With luck they won't be here. Your Honour, three or four doesn't really matter. Who wishes to speak has a right to speak and we will deal with that, but that will mean at some point in the latter part of the morning - we will meet at 9:00 a.m., and in the latter part of the morning we will come to deal with the Budget motions.

There are two or three other bills the government will ask the House to address. We probably will not get to them tomorrow. I realize we will not sit beyond noon and members can make their plans accordingly. But if I look at today's Order Paper, there are five that I think members may wish to address. There is the advanced health care bill which has been debated twice at second reading in the House and been passed each time; there is "An Act To Amend The Smoke-Free Environment Act" which is a situation to deal with recreation centres; there is a problem there in the act that was adopted last year; there is "An Act To Amend The Pensions Benefits Act" that my friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board will address. I understand it is not his pension or mine, hasten to add. There is an "Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act", that is the $5,000 - you know,that penalty on that by-law to allow them to go up to $5,000; there is "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act", which addresses a particular situation with respect to the - which should have been done years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, we shall do the rest of them, the question is when?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Who will get the job (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: My friend, the Member for Grand Bank wants to know who is going to get the Judicature Act job? I can tell you who won't be getting it. It won't be him, because you have to be at least ten years at the Bar -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: And I realize that my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West is the exemplar of the old line: that `lips that touch liquor will never touch mine'.

MR. TOBIN: One thing about coming from the Burin Peninsula, you don't have to spend (inaudible) in bars.

MR. ROBERTS: I believe him, and he could go on as he has on occasion and said that there are some there who may spend time behind bars if they don't spend time in bars.

Be that as it may, Your Honour, there are at least those five matters we will want to deal with. So, we will see how we get along with that, but what I am telling members in my own rather circuitous way, assuming we can keep members on both sides under control, is that the House may be in a position where we can adjourn within the month, I would say, if I can only keep my friend, the Member for Ferryland under control.

Mr. Speaker, there are at least five bills that have to be dealt with and -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I understand that, and I say to my friend, the Member for Burin - Peninsula West, I was cheering for him at the appropriate time but unfortunately, my vote wasn't one of those that counted.

Your Honour, with that said, perhaps you would be good enough to put the motion before the House?

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Friday, at 9:00 a.m.