May 30, 1995                HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLII  No. 34


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 public galleries twenty-two students and their teacher, Mr. Adrian Norman, who are Level III students from St. Francis Xavier High School, Long Harbour, Placentia Bay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would just like to ask that you, on behalf of all Members of the House of Assembly, join with me because we just found out, and actually are very proud and pleased to inform yourself, Your Honour, and all members of the House, that a Newfoundland author, Ms. Bernice Morgan, has won the Canadian Authors' Association Literary Award for Fiction for her latest book, Waiting for Time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: The book was published in Newfoundland by Breakwater Books, and I am sure that all members of the House would join with us in asking you to acknowledge this significant accomplishment and wish her continued success with her writing.

Thank you.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As a fan of Bernice Morgan's writing, and as one of the many people who have read Random Passage and Waiting for Time, who thinks the books are brilliant, I am delighted to join with the minister on calling on Your Honour to send a message of congratulations to Bernice Morgan.

These books portray Newfoundland life from the 1830s until some point in the next century, and -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MS. VERGE: I say to any who have not read them that they are a must read, both the books.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Leave given.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As one who has read both Random Passage and Waiting for Time, I want to join with the minister in congratulating Bernice Morgan on winning this award. Members may well know also that Random Passage is about to be made into a movie, and with all the hullabaloo a few years ago the Shipping News -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: With all the hullabaloo a few years ago about shipping news, which was written by an American set in a Newfoundland setting, those who have read both Shipping News and Random Passage will, by far I think, prefer the home-grown Newfoundland version of Newfoundland's history.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Questions

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Premier about the fishery.

Why has the Premier and the provincial government gone along with the federal government capitulation to the Spanish on overfishing outside the 200-mile limit? Why didn't the provincial government fight for Canada to stay the course after the federal government had the Estai under arrest in St. John's harbour? Why has the Premier simply watched silently and posed at Brian Tobin's photo opportunities, while the federal government released the Estai, gave back most of the undersized catch, waived the fines and negotiated an agreement that allows the Spanish to carry on with fishing outside the 200-mile limit, and gave them an even larger quota and sets out a useless enforcement mechanism? Why didn't the Premier fight for Newfoundland?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I am quite prepared to address the House on the whole issue of foreign overfishing and the manner in which the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Tobin, dealt with these issues but I am certainly not prepared to deal with it in the context of that convoluted mishmash that we just heard from the Leader of the Opposition.

It's quite simple. After pressing the Mulroney Administration after coming into office in '89, and for the first time, the government of this Province having the political courage to ask the Government of Canada to take some decisive action on that, for the first time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: The former government was too afraid to ask them to do anything at the time. Mr. Mulroney's Administration, of which Mr. Crosbie was a part at the time, was just not prepared to move on it because I suppose of concerns in the rest of Canada. Now, here I don't want to be unfairly critical of Mr. Crosbie.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Here I don't want to be unfairly critical of Mr. Crosbie. I have, no doubt, on a personal basis he tried his best, but he, Mr. Speaker, had to face the reality that he was one member from Newfoundland in a Cabinet that had other considerations involving the rest of Canada and very little interest in dealing with the issue in Newfoundland, so I have no doubt, on a personal basis, Mr. Crosbie must have tried his best and I give him the credit that he deserves. But it wasn't until Jean Chrétien came on the scene that the Government of Canada was prepared to take decisive action.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: And, Mr. Speaker, I will give credit where credit is due, it was the government led by Jean Chrétien that brought in legislation that enabled the Government of Canada to take this action. The Government of Mulroney was not prepared to do it. Now, Mr. Speaker, I make no suggestion that it is a panacea for all of the problems. I know the solution did not create one additional job in this Province, not one additional job did that issue create because we are not out there fishing juvenile turbot.

MR. SPEAKER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: I understand, Mr. Speaker, I am going to try and wind up but with the convoluted question I have to try and deal with the issue. Not one additional job but, Mr. Speaker, I give the Government of Canada credit, they tried their very best to deal with a difficult issue in difficult circumstances.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I say to the Premier, Prime Minister Chrétien squandered the political advantage he sees and he squandered our fish in the process.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier, is the Premier aware of the likelihood that the federal government is about to add insult to injury by going to the NAFO meeting in Toronto later this week and making further concessions to the Spanish by giving up more of Canada's paltry turbot quota? Is the Premier going to remain silent in the face of this further indignity to Newfoundland?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Maybe, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition would be honest and frank enough with the people of this Province to tell the people whether she prefers the action of Jean Chrétien or the actions of Brian Mulroney!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would have to concede that Mr. Tobin and Mr. Chrétien have done a masterful job of managing PR, however, as the members opposite pound their desks they are doing an abysmal job of managing our fish.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. VERGE: I ask the Premier, isn't the Premier afraid that any groundfish fishery on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks will put undue pressure on the resource and jeopardize the chances for recovery? Why isn't the Premier calling for a total shut down of the groundfish fishery outside the 200-mile limit to give the resource a chance to recover?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am not quite sure where the Opposition Leader has been. I have stated in the House, I have written to Mr. Tobin, I have spoken publicly on the issue, I asked him not to fish the Canadian portion of the turbot quota. Don't fish it, give the stocks a chance to recover, inside or outside the 200-mile limit. Don't fish it, and do everything you possibly can to prevent anybody else, Spanish or Portuguese from fishing it. That is what I asked the Government of Canada to do.

The Leader of the Opposition either genuinely doesn't know, isn't aware of the reality, or is clearly misstating the reality.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I ask the Premier, why is he going along with Canada handing over Canada's quota to Spain? Why is the Premier not kicking up a fuss as the Federal Government gets set to go to the NAFO meeting in Toronto this week to give away more of Canada's paltry turbot quota to the Spanish?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: It is easy to answer. None of what she said is true. Not one single word is accurate or true, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is true!

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some months ago, it came up as a result of a government initiative out in Central\Northeast Newfoundland that a government service centre was going to be set up in the general area, and I know a number of communities prepared briefs to put before government to have their community become the centre for one-stop shopping for certain government services. The bottom line is that, in the general region, even though a lot of people applied, most people thought that the game was down to Grand Falls-Windsor or Gander.

I ask the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs why the government chose Gander over Grand Falls-Windsor?

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

MR. REID: It is quite obvious, Mr. Speaker, if you asked the people in Grand Falls or asked the people in Gander. I met with both groups and explained, especially to the people in Grand Falls. The reason why we went to Gander was because of the movement of people. If we had to go to Grand Falls there would have been more people displaced in the Gander area than there would in Grand Falls, so we looked at what would be the best option, and in this particular case the best option was to leave Crown lands where it is right now, in Gander, which means that five people have to stay in Gander.

I spoke to the council in Grand Falls and I explained to them that the difference in the two offices would basically be one, if possibly two people. The Gander office will have approximately twenty people working there and the Grand Falls office will have approximately eighteen. We are trying to accommodate those people who have to travel long distances in Central Newfoundland to work for the government. Now, we are doing that basically to satisfy those people and at the same time trying to keep our Crown Lands Division together in one area in Gander.

That was basically the reason, and to be honest about it, up until now I felt that the people of Grand Falls and Gander were satisfied with that solution. In fact, the people of Grand Falls have told me that they are going to let the two offices open up, and assess it after a number of months and come back, and I've offered to sit down with them at a later date, and if there are any problems with it try to correct the problems.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I find the minister's rationale somewhat curious. The Town Council of Grand Falls - Windsor submitted a proposal to government and a map showing the region covered and obviously Grand Falls - Windsor was in the middle of the area concerned, midway between the service centre at Corner Brook and the other service centre in Clarenville. I ask the minister, is service to the general public the prime consideration that he is talking about, or was the political stripe of the two communities involved?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, it is a good thing I don't represent either Gander or Grand Falls because I guess you would have definitely a reason then to accuse me of playing political patronage.

Let me say to the hon. member that Mr. Baker or the past Leader of the Opposition, the Member for Grand Falls, did not at any time lobby me one way or the other as to where that particular office should go. I appreciated the fact that they didn't. It was done based on evaluation, done by people in my department and a number of other people in the Central Newfoundland area. We felt that at the time the Gander office was the best place to put the regional office. Now, even though the Gander office is called the regional office, because of the numbers of people who will be working in the Grand Falls office and compared to the Gander office, I guess basically, you could say that we have two regional offices in Central Newfoundland. And we are going to maintain those two regional offices in Central Newfoundland.

For any member of this House to accuse me or to suggest that we did it because of political stripe, then I would suggest that if I did it because of political stripe, it was done for the PCs in Grand Falls.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Yesterday, my colleague, the Member for Grand Bank, and I, together with a delegation from the Burin Peninsula, met with the minister regarding a crisis situation in health care which has developed during the past few months on the peninsula.

First there was the resignation of an obstetrician, which means that all women now ready to give birth have to be transferred by ambulance to St. John's. That is the best they can offer that new facility. Now the Burin Peninsula health care centre is without an anaesthesiologist. This is totally unacceptable, particularly when patients are waiting to have surgery and know the day before that that the surgery has been cancelled. I would like to ask the minister if there is anything he can do or will do to prevent this from happening?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the question.

Last night I did meet with a delegation of mayors and councillors, along with members of the Burin Peninsula Health Care Board and the two representatives from the Burin Peninsula, political representatives. We had a lengthy discussion about health care generally on the Peninsula, about some of the temporary gaps in services that have occurred over the last month or so with respect to obstetrician and gynaecology backup service. We talked about the anaesthetist being away for the next four days, and there was a good exchange and a lot of ideas put forward as to some possible solutions. I had the opportunity to share with them as well some of the long-term initiatives that we have ongoing to try and address the rural physician problems generally in Newfoundland.

It was not by coincidence, I might say also, in fact I was unaware that it was happening, but just down the hall in the other office my deputy was meeting with Dr. David Young and the people who run the obstetrical services at the medical school to deal with the specific problem that we were talking about in the other office, so I can say to the hon. member that we have a number of initiatives ongoing. We are lending substantial support to the Burin Peninsula Health Care Board. They have, by their acknowledgement and acknowledgement of the town council members, sufficient budgets in place to meet the needs on a physician basis on the Peninsula, and the problem at the moment is simply one of a gap in service caused by movement of people that happens in rural Newfoundland and in urban Newfoundland on occasion from time to time, physicians moving out just before others move in, and that type of thing. So we are doing everything that is possible to be done. We are doing many things on a long-term basis, and we are doing some things on a short-term basis to meet the needs. I won't elaborate on them because the member already had me share these solutions with him yesterday, and with his delegation that I was happy to meet with.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister that is little comfort for those who are awaiting surgery, or to the doctors who are waiting to perform the surgery. It is not only like the minister would have us believe, and which I was led to believe as well, that this problem was for the next four days.

Last Wednesday a lady was admitted to the Burin Peninsula health care facility to have a breast removed because of cancer. The surgery was to be performed on Thursday, as were seven other people awaiting surgery. Last Thursday, I say to the minister, that woman was informed that she could not have the surgery done because there was no anaesthesiologist available to do what he was responsible for doing. On that day this lady became very upset, as did her family, as she also suffers from a heart condition.

Mr. Speaker, this is very, very serious. When is the minister going to do whatever is necessary to ensure that this does not happen again, and that this new facility provides the kind of service that it was built there to provide in the first place?

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

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

One of the most, I guess, traumatic and unfortunate things that does happen from time to time, not only on the Burin Peninsula but at the Health Sciences Centre and other hospitals, is that at the last minute sometimes surgery has to be cancelled or postponed for various reasons. We all acknowledge that is not desirable, it is not preferable, it is traumatic, and we would prefer that it did not have to be that way, but that is something that does happen, and I believe the day that the member refers to, if I recall correctly from the meeting last night, the anaesthetist happened to be sick that day. Well, these things happen.

We are doing everything that we can do to ensure that proper physician resources are in place and that the appropriate level of service can always be delivered from our health care centres and our hospitals in the Province, and to suggest that we are not doing everything is either denying the facts and the reality that the hon. member knows exists, or else he just does not want to accept the facts, having acknowledged them.

Thank you.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't think the minister is doing very much to alleviate the problem. When you talk about services at the health care centre or other places that had to be cancelled it was because of emergencies, not because there was no anaesthetist available to do what is necessary, that is the problem. The specialists on the Burin Peninsula have been cut by over 50 per cent, the number are not down there that were down there a few years ago.

Mr. Speaker, the minister said a few minutes ago that he shared with us a long term solution he had for these problems. One of the issues he raised, Mr. Speaker, that he was going to provide incentives for people who served for two years in rural Newfoundland and he mentioned that there were three different groupings. I would like to ask the minister which grouping includes Burin? Mr. Speaker, Burin is certainly not included in any list that I have. I don't think the minister intentionally misled the people last night into believing that Burin was part of a grouping. So I ask the minister now, which group includes Burin - as he made reference to last night and again today - and if Burin is not included then why did he tell the delegation that Burin was and if they are not included, why are they not included?

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

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

The rural physician incentive package that we introduced a couple of months ago broke down rural Newfoundland, as best we could define rural Newfoundland, into three grouping areas. I guess they could be referred to generally as very remote, remote and somewhat remote. I don't have the list in front of me so I can't have -

MR. TOBIN: Well I have and Burin is not on the list.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Well probably you should ask a question to which you don't have the answer and stop wasting my time on questions to which you have the answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I am saying to the hon. member I don't have the list in front me and I cannot tell him if Burin is in either one of those three categories or which one in fact they are in but I can tell the member this, generally speaking rural Newfoundland has been covered off. If by chance Burin is determined not to be of sufficient rurality to get on the list then that is either a question of misdiagnosis of where they are in rural Newfoundland or in fact not being appropriate to be on the list period. I will check on the list and I will tell you if they are on the list but you already know, you said. So what are you asking the question for, get up and tell us?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I asked the minister the question because of what you told the delegation yesterday evening. Now if Burin is not on the list why did you lie to the delegation yesterday evening?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member cannot use a word like, `lie' in the House. I would call on him to retract, withdraw.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly withdraw the word, Mr. Speaker, if it is unparliamentary and apologize to the House for saying so and I apologize for getting carried away but this is a very important issue to me.

Why did the minister, Mr. Speaker, tell the people yesterday that the answer to their long term problem is because they were going to be grouped into this and now he says he does not know whether they are in it or not. Why did he not tell the people of the Burin Peninsula yesterday evening that they were not included in this grouping?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, people on the Burin Peninsula yesterday and I were discussing initiatives that we have taken to address rural physician problems in Newfoundland, all of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the initiatives that I alluded to that we had put forward was to make provision, incentive bonuses for physicians in rural Newfoundland that would qualify if they stayed for a certain length of time. At no time during the meeting, Mr. Speaker, did I say to the people of Burin: You are in Section A, B or C or you are not on the list at all. We were talking generally about initiatives that the government is taking to help in rural Newfoundland and I stand by what I told the group.

I think the hon. member, if he was completely honest, should also acknowledge that I never did say specifically Burin is on the list in any place but if Burin is of sufficient rurality to go on the list, I can have that revisited. It is not the end of the world because there are eight or ten names on a list and if they should go on the list because of a demonstration of circumstance that they are suffering rurally because they are in such a rural nature then we can probably put them on the list. I wish the hon. member would take a responsible and a positive approach to the thing rather than trying to be negative about it all the time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will entertain another question from the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

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

Last week we saw the unfortunate incidence of a child dying at the Janeway Hospital after being sent home on two occasions on two previous days. Now over the past few years there have been other incidents of a similar nature. At present the report of such deaths are only received by authorities sometimes long after a person's death. Will the minister confirm if his department has had draft legislation in its possession for the past several years to establish a medical examiner for this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can confirm, Mr. Speaker, that the department is seriously considering, and not only considering, it has been under substantial review, and we are proposing to bring forward legislation that will deal with the issue; it is not quite ready yet. Hopefully, it might be ready for the Fall session.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland, a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There are thousands of deaths in hospitals each year now and the majority of those are natural occurrences.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, thousands, almost 4,000, I think, the past year, according to the forensic pathologist, in the Province, in hospitals. It is not confined to this Province, I say to the Government House Leader, but some instances occur each year where investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths are warranted.

Now, the presence of a medical examiner can uncover problems in the delivery of health care which can benefit others in the future by ensuring we have a better health care system, otherwise, what motivation is there to improve? So I ask the minister, will he commit now to introducing legislation into the Fall session of the House?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct some of the exaggeration lest anybody believe that there are thousands of such deaths in the hospitals of this Province in a year?


MR. ROBERTS: Yes, he did; he did.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, I don't want the implication to be there. I mean, people who become ill frequently die in hospital; they have heart attacks, they don't survive surgery for a variety of reasons. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have had, for a very long time, a normal process in this Province, where deaths that occur that require examination have a magisterial or judicial inquiry, as it is now called, conducted. For all of the prior seventeen years that the former Administration was there, that was the case.

Now, in the last few years, we have been looking at the possibility of bringing in a medical examiner.

MS. VERGE: Six years? It's awfully slow.

PREMIER WELLS: Well, if it comes in this Fall, it is still going to be three times as fast as seventeen years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, unless I am greatly mistaken, I said in answer to the first question, that I expected the legislation could probably be ready for consideration by the Fall. The answer remains the same as it was a few minutes earlier.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are also for the Premier.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the Premier said in the media that he was not satisfied with the progress being made for the 1997 celebration by the John Cabot 500 Anniversary Corporation. He said he has concerns that government was looking into. Mr. Speaker, the Premier said that his comments are in no way a negative reflection on the terrific volunteer effort being put into the corporation.

I would like to ask the Premier today, if his concerns are not with the volunteers, then, are his concerns with the performance of the paid staff?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I didn't announce yesterday that I had concerns. The news media had a scrum outside the House and one of the news reporters asked me how matters were going with the Cabot Corporation and whether we were satisfied with the way in which everything was proceeding. I said: No, we were not totally satisfied, and for the last four to six weeks, we have been taking a detailed look at how the matter has been handled, the level of accountability - people may recall that some time ago a significant issue was created when the chairman of the corporation indicated to the newspaper of which he also happened to be publisher, that he was not prepared to give them information and questions of accountability have arisen and so on.

We weren't happy with the way the matter was set up in the first place. We would have preferred another course but we were one of two governments at the time and we couldn't absolutely dictate the order of things. We feel now that there is justification for some adjustment, but I wanted to emphasize, lest anybody get the wrong impression, there is a lot of people out there who are contributing volunteer time to this endeavour, who are making a terrific contribution and I want to acknowledge that, and I don't want anybody to infer from the remarks that I made, in an honest answer to a newsperson, any concern or any criticism of the volunteer effort.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

For months now, the Opposition has been pushing for the John Cabot 500 Corporation to be accountable to the public. After all, millions of taxpayers' dollars are being spent by this organization. They refused to release expense accounts, refused to release detailed information in any way.

I tell the Premier, we have an organization with members who are trying to compete with the Harlem Globetrotters. I would like to ask the Premier, does he have a handle on the millions that are being spent, and doesn't he believe that it would be only fair to the people of Newfoundland that this organization throw away their veil of secrecy and become publicly accountable?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I'm not prepared to account for the Harlem Globetrotters in any forum. I'm not quite sure how they got into the act. Let me say to the House that the government is determined there will be full accountability by the Cabot Corporation, public accountability because it is public funds - public accountability through the government, through this House. That is where the accountability has to be, and we have to make the adjustments that are necessary to see it.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. This morning, I was informed by thirty, maybe up to sixty, cutters on the Baie Verte Peninsula who work with contractors for Kruger, that they will not be rehired until September this year. Usually they are hired by June. Those cutters have now been informed that they will be replaced by mechanical harvesters. To make matters worse, those same workers, because of the changes to UI, will not be eligible for UI until September. So they will not work this summer and they will not be eligible for UI after June. Is the minister aware of that, and what is he planning on doing about that?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, no, I'm not aware of it. I'm assuming this must be some contractors who are cutting for a paper company and hire people. I'm not aware of it. It has nothing to do with my department, certainly no contracts related to my department. This morning, I approved two more contracts for silviculture. The press release is going out. We are doing everything we can to get people back to work.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I thought I was talking to the minister who is responsible for forestry. These are cutters on the Baie Verte Peninsula who have been working for the past fourteen years, they've said, who have been called back to work by June, been told just a couple of days ago that they will not be called back this year because of mechanical harvesters being used by Kruger. Now, on top of all of that, we also have the UI changes which are going to affect these people now by making them ineligible for UI. Is there an extension possibility for UI? What is going to happen with these workers on the Baie Verte Peninsula?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, Kruger or Corner Brook Pulp and Paper are free to do what they wish to do with their contractors. I have nothing to do with it.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I guess -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has elapsed.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: In accordance with Section 5(8) of the Internal Economy Commission act, I hereby table the report for the 1994-1995 fiscal year of the Commission of Internal Economy.

The hon. the Member for Fortune - Hermitage.

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Following the annual report of the Commissioner of Members' Interest in 1993-1994 there were a number of points - in fact, there were eight points in his report - which were raised. A Select Committee of the House was struck to deal with these eight particular points that were mentioned. The Committee has met and dealt with that, and today I would like to present the report to the House.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today, I would like to table the Workers' Compensation Commission 1994 annual report. There is one very significant detail in this report, that from 1993 to 1994 there are 705 new employers in the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I believe I'm representing (inaudible) when I say there is a consensus that we will deal first with Motion No. 4 which stands in my name and which I anticipate would be debated for a very short period of time. It is simply a motion to set up a Select Committee of the House. Then once we have dealt with that we will go on to deal in this order with Order No. 14, Order No. 16, Order No. 18, and then we will see where we get to at that point in the day. I wonder if we could first of all call Motion No. 4 which stands in my name.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion No. 4.

The hon. Government House Leader. It is moved and seconded as on the Order Paper.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to say very much in support of this motion because I believe the motion speaks for itself. It seeks the approval of the House to constitute a Select Committee and sets out the terms of reference for that Select Committee. It would be chaired by my friend for Bonavista North and the members would be, my friend for Humber Valley and my friend for Trinity North. They would be charged with an enquiry into the desirability, the practicability, and the utility of a no-fault insurance system.

Now, members I know are sufficiently familiar with this that I do not need to go into it, and thereby reveal the fact that I am not terribly familiar with it, but basically a no-fault insurance system would replace the present system whereby a person injured in an automobile accident gets compensation with another system much like the one we use for Workers' Compensation. That is a form of no-fault system. Now, one can make arguments for and against, and rather than taking a position on that the government has decided we should ask the House to appoint a Select Committee, and the committee would be at liberty to hold meetings, receive briefs, engage in discussion with members of the public, formally or informally, as the committee should decide, and then in due course report back to the House and when we get their report we will see where the matter goes from there.

The only thing I would add, Mr. Speaker, is there is a typographical error in the motion as it is on the Order Paper which probably came from the way which I read it yesterday. It was late in the day. It now reads that the Members for Bonavista North, Humber Valley and Trinity North are hereby appointed. I suggest, in correct drafting style, I should have said, be, and they are hereby appointed.

With that said, Sir, I move the motion. I believe the members of the committee are all members whose interest is obvious, whose qualifications are obvious and we would benefit greatly from their considered advice on these important matters.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there further speakers on the motion?

Is the House ready for the question?

Motion carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Order No. 14.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act." (Bill No. 18)

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

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a fairly simple amendment to the Pension Benefits Act which is very important to a group of people right now, and it is important in another sense. We are in the process of doing a complete evaluation of the Pension Benefits Act. It has not been amended for quite some time and we have had officials looking at the Pensions Acts in all other provinces across the country, Pension Benefits Acts, and our act has fallen seriously behind the times in the way it is written and what it allows, so I intend in the fall to have ready a larger bill dealing with many more amendments to the Pension Benefits Act.

However, that takes time. We would need to give it to a committee. A Legislative Review Committee would have a look at it and by the time we had our discussion in the fall this takes time, and I do not know when it would get through this House. However there is one problem that I would like to correct right now, and very simply it is to allow retiring employees access to life income fund arrangements.

Normally when an employee retires there are a couple of things that happen to investments they have. If it is portable they can put it into some other pension plan or they can purchase an annuity and then that annuity provides them with income. They can do this with their pension investments, their RSPs. There is one other option that is given in other provinces, and until this point in time it has not become sort of important for us to deal with this issue, and I could have left it until the fall. It is the option of another retirement arrangement called Life Income Funds. Essentially what it allows is, it allows the individual to keep their pension investment for one year before a decision has to be made as to what to do with it - it gives them a year's grace - and during that year they can draw down 10 per cent so that they have an income stream. Essentially that is what this does.

It became important in the recent bankruptcy of Confederation Life. There were some employees, recently retired employees of the City of Corner Brook particularly, who had investments with Confederation Life, and the trustee in bankruptcy really had to deal with this situation, and the trustee was going to discount the amount that the employees had invested.

The employees quite rightly indicated that in any other province in Canada they would be allowed to wait, to make arrangements, and in the interim draw down 10 per cent, and in the interim allow their investment to become more mature so that when they eventually made an arrangement a year down the road they would get a larger income stream, a larger pension payment.

Mr. Speaker, this is a normal thing that is done in the other provinces of Canada, and because we have not updated our Pension Benefits Act we are behind the times here and it has worked to the disadvantage of this small group of individuals, and it works to the disadvantage of anybody, I guess, who retires and is forced to immediately make a decision that if they were to be allowed to sit for a year and draw down their 10 per cent to provide the income stream - allowed to sit for a year - they could make more definitive arrangements and better arrangements for themselves. So this amendment simply allows the Life Income Fund as a mechanism for an individual upon retirement to withdraw pension investments.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak to the amendments to the Pension Benefits Act in support of them. I would also like to reiterate one or two things the minister has said in terms of our Pension Benefits Act being behind the time. In fact, it is a very serious state of deficiency, to the great detriment of many people. Let me give you an example, and it may well be that we have been lucky so far not to have more than one or two disasters in terms of how people may be affected by this. There are plenty of people in this Province who are paying into pension plans, with no choice in many cases, in some cases where the pension plans are not even registered with the Province.

I had occasion a couple of years ago of dealing with an employee group who were in part of a pension plan supposed to be covered by the Pensions Benefits Act, that was supposed to be registered in this Province, and for fourteen years had not been registered. It was being managed outside of the Province by a benefit consultant. It was not registered in the Province. It had not complied with the Province's rules or laws. No one was able to have very much in the way of control over this group. There was a very expensive set of litigation involved in fighting over what was going to happen to this pension, and to give you an example of the kind of money that might be involved, and a big issue in pensions nationally has been, what happens to the surpluses? If an employee is paying in a certain amount of money every month or every week from his pay cheque, the employer is paying a certain amount, and the pension plan is what is called a defined benefit plan, at some point you can decide whether there is a surplus or whether there is an actuarially satisfactory amount of money in the plan.

What began happening four or five or six or more years ago is that some companies - most of them private companies - have been discovering that there were hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions and millions of dollars in pension plans that had been earned by the contributions and were surplus to the requirements of making the payout. Many companies tried to grab those funds, take them out, put them on their bottom line, pay them out to their shareholders, or use them for other expenses. To give you an example again of the kind of numbers that could be involved, a pension plan involving no more than twenty-six or twenty-eight people had a surplus of $600,000 or $700,000 in the plan. There are many questions and thorny questions but what happens if you wind up such a plan or what happens when people retire or what happens when people leave? I don't think this bill addresses that. This bill says you get what they call the commuted or commutated - I am not sure which - value of the plan which is a fancy name for what an actuary would describe as the actual present day value of a sum of money required to produce the benefit that you are entitled to down the road. That may well only be a portion of what is in the plan. That may in fact only be a portion of what your contribution has contributed to. Your contribution may have contributed an extra $15,000, $20,000 or $30,000 to a surplus and yet this legislation won't give you access to that. The other plan holders will have the use of that if you are gone and they carry on.

It becomes a serious matter, Mr. Speaker, when there are divergent interests between retiring members, people who are continuing on in the plan who may be able to use the surplus and use what is there to either enhance their own benefits to the detriment of those who have already retired or - I am glad to see that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is interesting in my health but he is probably more likely interested in throwing me off, as the Member for Green Bay suggests - but there are very serious problems that arise.

I appreciate that the minister says it is a complicated bill and we are going to get it soon but I think I have heard that before, not necessarily from the minister but I have heard that from officials for the past several years. For the past several years we just cannot wait to get this new pensions bill before the House. Now I don't know how far it has gotten but I think it is something that deserves a fair amount of consideration because there are all sorts of problems that arise for people who have contributed for years and years and years, and particularly when it comes to private pension schemes, Mr. Speaker, they have had pretty antiquated schemes too. They have been collecting money and adding up and quite often business managers don't know themselves what the complications are and the consequences are for the pension plans that they have been administering in their operations and it is not a simple matter. In fact, it is a very complicated matter and if you don't have proper legislation dealing with it you end up in - what I would have to say - probably some of the most expensive legal battles that I have seen.

MR. EFFORD: You should know.

MR. HARRIS: And I should know because I was involved in a case where if you are dealing with some of these pensions lawyers in Toronto the costs involved are astounding and I say that as a lawyer, the costs involved are astounding. If you want to spend $400 or $500 in legal fees talking on the telephone for twenty minutes then that is how to do it, get involved in a fight over pensions. That is the kind of problems that you have in dealing with these pensions if you do not have legislation that nails it down and spells out exactly what your rights are.

I think there is a concern, Mr. Speaker, in this Province that our Pension Benefits Act be insisted on and applying to things going on in this Province. We do have a lot of pension money in this Province that is not in fact administered in this Province, it is administered in Nova Scotia, in Halifax or in Toronto. There are a lot of union pension funds that are administered in Halifax, in Toronto or elsewhere. Some of them are registered in this Province and some of them are not. I think, Mr. Speaker, if we don't do a very, very thorough job of examining that system, the kind of problems we have had with Hiland Insurance and the kind of problems that we have had with Caribou and the kind of problems that are lurking under the carpet somewhere, Mr. Speaker, that if we don't take action very soon to have a thorough review of that entire pensions system and scheme then we could be very well faced with some serious problems with enormous consequences to individuals whose pensions could be at risk. I know that this bill here deals with certain specific issues and certain specific problems and yes, they should be solved and solved now.

I say to the minister, I'm not certain that it addresses the particular and peculiar problem of one person who has written both me and I believe the minister. I haven't been able to confirm that, although the minister has indicated that he has been advised that it addresses his particular problem, an individual in Corner Brook, and I don't think it is one of the city employees' group. I think it is an individual who has a private dispute. It may address his problem; it may not address it to his satisfaction, but that may be a different matter.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: The minister indicates that it gives him a year to perhaps sort it out. The minister assures us that it gives us a year, by which time the new legislation should be in. I appreciate that the minister can't do everything immediately but I do anticipate that this will be a matter brought forward to the House hopefully next fall for consideration by a committee. If the bill is ready I'm sure that the committee would review it. Is that the Social Legislation Review Committee? I hope it is, because that is the Committee I sit on. I would certainly like to add my limited experience and expertise in pensions to looking at the legislation because I think it is something that does need attention. If the Committee can have it over the summer to examine the intricacies of it I would think it would certainly be a good full summer's work to have a look at it, and hopefully we will be able to review it in detail by the fall.

It is an important matter. People's pensions, Mr. Speaker, are as important as their salaries. It represents their income for retirement and these private pensions are becoming more and more important. I would like to see some legislation that would guarantee that whatever surpluses are sitting in these funds be used to enhance the benefits. I don't think that if surpluses have been built up over the years for one reason and another - some of the weakest pensions are these defined pension benefits. I've heard of people working for companies - I won't name particular companies because I haven't got my facts totally right - but somebody working for a company for thirty years or forty years and walking away with a pension of $80 and $90 a month, or $100 a month. A pathetic pension from a company that they have contributed to for many years.

At the same time, that same pension fund could have a surplus of hundreds of thousands of dollars. What we need to do is if there are pension funds with surpluses in them we ought to make sure that those surpluses stay in those funds and are used to enhance the benefits of those in receipt of pensions or enhance the benefits of those who are part of the working group. It is important, and it is one of those things that individual members of this House can make a significant contribution to by using the benefit of their widespread knowledge of examples and experience in dealing with individuals with problems to address specific instances and improve legislation that is brought forward through the normal system.

I conclude by saying that I appreciate the minister's concern in bringing forth this legislation now, even though it is a piecemeal approach to some specific problems. It will help this individual employee group in Corner Brook. It will allow individuals who are separating from their employer to have some portability with their existing benefits, to move it to another plan, and it will give individuals an opportunity to have a one-year breathing space so that they can decide what is the best option for them in terms of enhancing their retirement income or post-employment income, as it may happen to be in a particular circumstance.

In saying that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to support the legislation.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This being a finance bill I thought I would take advantage of the situation and make a few general comments, insofar as we appear to be winding down in this particular session, relatively early, and I thought, for the record, it should be stated that this is a somewhat curious turn of events; we are going through a Pensions bill here now, there are a couple of other bills we dealt with yesterday and we will probably do one or two others today and tomorrow, and that will be it, and one has to wonder, Mr. Speaker, wherein lies the problem?

The Order Paper for the House of Assembly has a list of bills. There are a number of very important issues before this Assembly and before the body politic in terms of the business of the Province, yet the government appears to be in somewhat of an all- fired haste to evacuate this Chamber and to put copper fasteners, I guess, on what has been a somewhat turbulent Spring session of the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the Open Line this morning and there was a guest on from the Dockyard workers' union, who was fielding calls, and one of them called in to the effect that the government wants out and that they are trying to gloss everything over, smooth everything over, make everything look good and pretty, because the Premier is going to soon retire. That may be the case, Mr. Speaker, but I don't see any need for this Assembly to be closing right now just because the Liberal Party has some internal business to attend to. Our party, earlier in the Winter and late Spring, Mr. Speaker, went through a long leadership process and we managed to carry off that process with the House of Assembly still sitting and the vast majority of members of the House being able to attend to their duties as members in the House and in their constituency, and at the same time, contribute whatever they chose to contribute through the leadership convention.

Now, Mr. Speaker, you know, we get the feeling, one hears the rumour and so on, that the Liberal Party, the party in government is about to go through a similar process itself. Certainly, the Premier tends to take a more cavalier attitude towards most things that are put to him in the House, with the exception of things that are put to him regarding his relationship with the Federal Government. The Premier was very quick today, in response to questions from the Leader of the Opposition on the sell-out to the Spanish on the turbot issue, to jump to the defence; the Liberal Party, indeed, was very anxious to put a brave, positive face on what became a standing joke with regard to the turbot fishery.

Mr. Speaker, it is passing strange to see all members of the government, all members of the Liberal Party in this House, thump their desks wildly in support of Mr. Tobin and the Premier, knowing full-well that after the initial, good round at policing the Spaniards, we subsequently caved in on just about every issue, gave them back their boat, their bonds, their nets, their fish and now we are told that even what little fish that has been assigned to Canada, is probably going to be negotiated away at a NAFO meeting to try to bribe the Spaniards once again, into some sort of agreement on monitoring their fishing activities.

Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, the antics of Mr. Tobin and, to some extent, his assistant on the wharf in New York, our Premier, made for good theatre and the mainlanders were fooled. I had a brief vacation during the Easter period, Mr. Speaker, and I was on the mainland of Canada and they actually believed up there that some progress had been made with regard to the foreign overfishing issue, not really knowing until I pointed out to them, that after an initial burst of public relations, essentially the Canadian Government led by the Prime Minister, Mr. Tobin, and with the avid support of the Premier and the provincial Liberal Party, basically sold out on the issue. They made a good start but they quickly lost heart and caved in on all fronts, and appear to be continuing to cave in as the matters are negotiated at NAFO meetings.

Mr. Speaker, another matter that has come before this House and has been the source of considerable debate and controversy over the last little while is the fate of the St. John's Dockyard. I guess, to use a phrase, it has been like pulling teeth. It is a very difficult task to perform but we manage to extract, if you pardon the verb, from the government, some reaction with regard to the Dockyard, but only after considerable prodding, and considerable questioning.

This government basically knew, as did a lot of people on the street, that the days of the St. John's Dockyard were numbered and basically, again, went into the pretence of caring and went into the pretence of acting only after considerable pressure from the Opposition Party, from my colleague, the Member for Kilbride, the Opposition Leader, and so on.

Mr. Speaker, what we saw yesterday in the news has been nothing short of pitiful. What we have is a Liberal Party that wants out of this Assembly, either to do its own thing with regard to a leadership convention or to minimize the negative publicity that might accrue to it in terms of the Grand Falls by-election. What we have is a Liberal Party that wants out badly, wants out quickly, and wants things to go smoothly for the next little while, certainly for the month of June while we still have a by-election on the go in Central Newfoundland.

The St. John's Dockyard - the Premier is talking in general terms: we would like to give the dockyard eighteen months to two years to see if it can get its act together. We are asking the Federal Government to install new equipment and to put the yard up and running on a footing that will allow it to compete and so on - which is all well and good, Mr. Speaker. No one can argue with the validity of the need for improvements at the yard in terms of its capital equipment, but the Premier having said that, all the news carried last night - and this is crucial that people understand - what the news carried last night was that Mr. Morrison appeared to give the Dockyard about a one-month reprieve. A couple of boat repair contracts that appeared to have been axed all of a sudden were revived, which will allow the yard a few more weeks of work.

It will take the Provincial Government, which has been slack on this issue, through the month of June, presumably past the by-election and all the negative publicity that would come from the Dockyard closing in the short to medium term. But what else do the Dockyard workers have, unless they get an eighteen-month to two-year reprieve with some significant help from the Federal Government and a real opportunity to compete in the ship repair markets of the world?

Yesterday's meeting and the two boats being repaired are relatively insignificant. What we are talking about is a few weeks of extra life for that dockyard, unless the Federal Government comes across with a more significant revitalization program and a more significant second chance program for the St. John's Dockyard. But one has to be suspicious, Mr. Speaker, if the current initiatives will carry the Liberal Party past the by-election in Grand Falls at which time the Federal Government will very conveniently say, we took a month to review the situation and, whoops! we don't think we can continue to support the St. John's Dockyard.

I hope that is not the case, Mr. Speaker, but if that is the case there are going to be a lot of very angry people, yard workers included, in the St. John's region who will feel they have been terribly deceived with the events of the last twenty-four hours. My colleague, the Member for Kilbride raised concerns over and over in this Assembly and they were laughed at. He was told he was mistaken on all fronts. Mr. Speaker, we shall see how mistaken he was. I don't think he was mistaken at all.

Mr. Morrison was very careful on the public statements he made yesterday and the most that was given in terms of firm commitments from that federal Crown corporation was a few weeks or a month more of work at that dockyard, and as I said, that will take this Provincial Government off the hook for a month, get it into the summer vacation period, and then I have the feeling that everything goes then, that we are into a new world, a new era, and that somehow, closing the House early, putting the Dockyard thing off for awhile, transferring the electoral boundaries mess - that is about the only way to describe it - off until the Fall or some infinite future date, that sort of thing gives you the impression that somehow the month of June is a hump that the Liberal Party somehow has to get over, and once the Liberal Party has gotten over that, we will be into a new period in terms of the politics and governance of this Province of ours.

One has to wonder, Mr. Speaker, just what is going on. Speculation is that the Premier will be retiring, and if that is the case, I wish him well in his new life, but there is no reason for the Province, there is no reason for the Assembly, the people's Assembly, to shut down just because the Premier is moving on. There is no reason for the Dockyard to be toyed with just because somehow, this Assembly has to close and somehow, the government wants to get us over the hurdle of the next month or so.

Mr. Speaker, there is something going on here and it is not only my suspicious mind. As I said, a gentleman called in on Open Line this morning and he summed up what is out there on the street, that something is going on; the Liberal Party and the Premier want to smooth things over, make everything look clean and white and shiny, and somehow, get through this interim period, be it the by-election in Grand Falls, a leadership change in the Liberal Party - we are not exactly sure what it is - but somehow, the Liberal Party wants to get through the month of June under cover of darkness, out of the light of day, away from the scrutiny of Question Period in this House, and somehow, things are going to be better for the people in due course. I am not at all optimistic that is going to be the case. I think the people of the Province are being cynically manipulated in this regard, and we shall see whether or not those suspicions of mine bear fruit in due course.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

If the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board now speaks he will conclude debate on the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

MR. A. SNOW: In discussion with my colleague there -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I should have been paying more attention; I agree with you.


MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the two members will probably have a little discussion after. They can probably get up and speak publicly rather than ranting and roaring across the House and interrupting my opportunity to speak in this debate on the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: All that glitters is not diamonds or gold.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a few comments with regard to Bill 18, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act". This particular bill was brought in by the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to address a specific problem with pensions, and it does address it and I do support the bill to correct the specific problem for a specific pension in this particular area, but this Province has a tremendous pension problem that has to be addressed, a $2.5 billion problem.

The minister mentioned that what he was going to do was bring in a bill later on in the Fall. I am surprised that this was so important an issue that the minister had called in unions to warn them what he was going to do, has talked to the teachers and threatened them, what he was going to do with their pension plan, and yet we have ample time for him to present this particular bill here. He has known what the problem is. He hasn't addressed the problem. He hasn't addressed the tremendous unfunded liability of the pension plans in this Province, Mr. Speaker, and this has caused, I believe, serious problems with regard to our debt management of the Province. We have to be aware of the problems associated with this unfunded liability of the pension plans of the Province.

Because this government hasn't dealt with the problem of the unfunded liability, I think it is costing this Province untold millions of dollars in additional expenses. We should be addressing this problem, we have to address it.

MR. SULLIVAN: The Premier said it was in this agenda for this session.

MR. A. SNOW: It is supposed to be. He did say it was going to be addressed in this session, and I guess it probably will be in this session, but it will be the Fall sitting.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, this winter. He said it was going to be brought to the House this Spring.

MR. A. SNOW: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, while they do appear to be doing something, they are not really solving the problem, and that is, of course, one of the hallmarks of this particular government. They just want to appear to be doing things rather than actually doing things. That is exactly why this government is getting the ratings from business leaders such as they are getting. That is exactly why this government is in such political trouble, it is that they are only doing PR. They are only concerned about image, that is all. They are not concerned about the actual problem. They don't attempt to clean up the problem with the pension plan. They just want to do something that glosses over it, a veneer, smoke and mirrors, that's all it is.

The people of this Province are sick and tired of the approach that this particular government have. They have to recognize that we have this unfunded liability and correct the problem, and they are not addressing it. And, Mr. Speaker, this is affecting our credit ratings, and I'm sure the lending agencies would want us to correct this problem. We have to correct it. We have to ensure, as my hon. colleague, the Member for St. John's East mentioned earlier, with what has occurred with Hiland Insurance and Confederation Life, that people who have contributed to these plans, the two insurance plans, have thirty years or thirty-five of work, of their life, and expect to have some type of pension, some type of remuneration when they retire, that it is secure.

We have a responsibility to the employees who are going to be involved, these individuals, because -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: A very good pension plan, a tremendous pension plan. Mr. Speaker, this government has to address this problem. While I support this particular bill, I don't support what they are attempting to do, gloss over it. I think they are going to have to address this problem more closely and hopefully it will be addressed in the Fall, but I was hoping that it could be done in this sitting of the Legislature rather than the Fall sitting; and so were the people of the Province hoping that it could be done.

It being a finance bill, we get the opportunity to speak of other issues, all other financial issues in the Province. The government have a responsibility to this Province. I believe if they managed the financial affairs and took a more active role in doing certain things, we wouldn't have to be delaying. Because the only reason why they are addressing this problem, I believe, is the fact that they know they have more of a liability there and they don't want to address that financial liability that they do have. They are just putting it off, and they are going to continue to put it off, unless, of course, they have a hidden agenda. They don't want to do it now because they want to get out of the House, doing some political damage control. That is what they are possibly doing, damage control now. This is all they are going to be doing. They want to get out of the House and get on with the selection of delegates for the leadership and select the next temporary premier of this Province.

Because it is only going to be temporary, if the present Premier - when he retires and they select the temporary premier. Because he or she will only be there for a short period of time, and then the people will throw them out - just like they are going to do with the NDP in Ontario. They are throwing them out of office. When they called the election they were 52 per cent in the polls. Recently, we see that the polls have changed now, where the Tories have pulled ahead of the Liberals in Ontario and they are into a deep slide. The NDP are into a deep slide and I think you are going to see a similar type of approach here in this Province when they call an election.

MR. SULLIVAN: An avalanche landed on the NDP two years ago, they were in a avalanche.

MR. A. SNOW: They are going to be buried, Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Member for Ferryland says. The NDP are going to be buried by an avalanche of Tory support in Ontario and we are going to see a similar type of thing occur here unless this government changes its attitude and discontinues the arrogant way they treat people in this Province, Mr. Speaker. They have to discontinue this method of trying to - this `father knows best' attitude. I know better then you and you have to listen to me. You are all wrong, I am right. That attitude, Mr. Speaker, has to stop, whether it is in industrial development or whether it is in the development of tourism in this Province.

I have had the opportunity of going out and hunting here on the Island portion of the Province. We don't have much of a forest industry in Western Labrador but I have had the opportunity of seeing what the forest industry has done to some of the areas I have visited over the last five or six years in hunting and seeing the change in harvesting procedures, Mr. Speaker - in one specific area I have been, in Weir's Pond, I had the opportunity to go moose hunting there for a couple of years. I went there five years ago hunting successfully and I successfully acquired a moose. I shot a moose there. It was a tremendous hunting trip in a beautiful part of the country, Mr. Speaker, Weir's Pond, that is out near Carmanville.

I went back to the same area, I guess about two or three years later, and the harvesters had been in there getting pulp wood out, Mr. Speaker, and I couldn't believe the devastation that these machines did to the area. Mr. Speaker, albeit having said that, I was successful in getting a moose on my second trip, too. That is probably more to do with the proficiency of my hunting, of course, rather than the ability of this government to control what the harvesters are doing to the environment.

MR. SULLIVAN: There is no trouble to see a moose now. A moose in there is easy to see, there are no trees.

MR. A. SNOW: That is true but, Mr. Speaker, I only mention this because again, this issue is being raised today, the issue of harvesters, the method of harvesting and the lack of control of this government to protect the environment. I say this because I am sure that - I was amazed, I was shocked when I saw the devastation that these harvesters are doing. I hadn't witnessed it before because being in the part of Labrador where I live, we don't have a tremendous forest industry. So we don't have this type of damage being done to the forest.

Mr. Speaker, the government should address this particular problem, they are going to have to. I believe if they don't do it we are going to have - if we don't get into looking after the environment in a silviculture program and addressing the problem with respect to the aesthetics, I think our tourism industry will suffer, undoubtedly, and that will cause economic problems. The lack of silviculture will cause economic problems down the road because of the lack of a resource, Mr. Speaker. We have seen reports being submitted -

MR. ROBERTS: Come on, now (inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: It is, I know. Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader wants me to say something substantial.

Mr. Speaker, this government is going to have to address the problems in a substantial manner rather than the way that they have been addressing the problems in this Province. They have to give up the idea that you can fix the health problem by getting rid of the few doctors and hiring another person in public relations, or cutting back on hospital beds and getting more advertisements about how the quality of life has to change and we have to change our lifestyles. That doesn't work, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I would probably like to take the minister up on that particular challenge, Mr. Speaker, but anyway, with those few comments, I thank you.

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

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

I just want to make a few points, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is gone but on "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act"; I understand in my discussions with him, that there is a more wholesale review coming maybe the fall or next spring in terms of the overall pension act.

Some of the questions that arise out of these amendments, and I understand that it was made for a particular case in Corner Brook arising out of the collapse of Confederation Life, but it says in section (d) this section enables the commuted value to be transferred to another pension plan which deals with the portability of pensions; and on that point I would just like to raise some questions, more so for the record than for anything else, that there are many employees in Newfoundland and Labrador today, many people who work with varied contractors, construction contractors, they could work with seven or eight or nine in a particular season and the question with that comes, if you are a member of a trade union for example, what happens?

Many of their pension plans are paid into an international pension plan which is administered outside the Province and in many cases, Mr. Speaker, administered outside the country, outside Canada. Now the question is this: once a member is vested, do these amendments apply to international pension funds, such as the operating engineers or the labourers union or NAPE or CUPE or whatever the case may be, does it allow or will it allow or will some of the wholesale review, more of an extensive review that is coming up, will it allow individuals who have accumulated pensions, who have accumulated x number of dollars, say $50,000 over a ten or fifteen-year period in some international pension fund, which they will not see until they are sixty-five, but the pension fund or the organization or group who owns the pension fund is accumulating large sums of money on the backs of many workers in the Province, will that allow this person to take his or her contributions which may have been accumulated from several employers throughout the Province over a period of several months each year, but invested through and then becomes vested at some point, does it allow that person to access their benefits from that pension fund, that international pension fund, which is administered for the most part outside the Province and in many cases outside Canada, does it allow that employee to take that pension and their contributions into it and to put it into their own self-directed plan? A legitimate question some people have asked me about and I mean, it is a concern of many people.

In terms of another retirement arrangement, LIF, Life Investment Fund, this amendment calls for the creation, is that correct, I ask the minister, does it call for the creation for a Life Investment Fund? Again, I guess it goes back to some of the questions I have asked. Now there are many I would think literally, probably 10,000 to 12,000 people who are in the boat that I have just described, who are part of large, international unions, locals associated with large, international unions who have accumulated significant amounts of money from working in this Province and their pensions are taken outside, administered outside the country. I mean work is scarce even in good times for some of these people and they don't have the luxury of a guaranteed amount of money going in every week or every month for a period of fifteen or twenty years, so the question is, does this arrangement, these amendments allow for them to take care of that? I don't know. Maybe the minister can respond to that when he gets up.

Section (e) says: This section enables regulations to be promulgated to establish the terms and conditions of any transfers of funds relating to the commuted value. Interesting point, but what really are the ramifications of that section? If we take money from one section, say Confederation Life in dealing with the case in Corner Brook - does the amendment allow people to deal with the same arrangement as was done with that previous company that they were dealing with, or does it allow greater flexibility?

Those are some of the issues that I question on this specific amendment. I want to make a couple of general observations that the minister has raised and that we all must take very seriously. That deals with the unfunded liability in terms of our pensions, a pension that government is responsible for administering, et cetera.

At some point, as the minister has indicated, we are going to have to deal with that very seriously. All of us, not just legislators, but everyone in this Province. Because if we don't the unfunded liability portion of our pensions will reach a point in the very near future that our ability to make decisions dealing with the pension fund will be taken away from us altogether. Our ability to determine what our own direction will be or to plan will be taken away from us altogether. If we don't deal with it very soon the decisions about the unfunded liability portion of pensions and the wholesale review that the minister has talked about will be made for us, not by us, and that is a thought that as a member of this House I wouldn't want to see and I don't look forward to.

With that I would just like to ask the minister if he can deal with some of the concerns that are raised. Because I think there is an issue there that at some point the government of this Province must look at. And look at the excess of capital that really is leaving this Province in some ways - this is one way that it is leaving - and look at ways and means by which we can at least get a greater value for the capital that we raise here in forms of pensions with contractors that leave and exit this Province and this country that necessarily do not provide any long-term or lasting benefit to us. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board speaks now he will close the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A number of interesting issues have been raised. First of all, let me deal with the one that was not related to this particular bill.

I believe the Member for Green Bay indicated that he was very concerned about the fact that we have all the legislation on the Order Paper and we are not dealing with it all. I just simply want to make the comment that when we became the government of this Province we indicated to the Opposition - and he was a member of the Opposition at the time - that each year there would be two sessions: The spring session dealing with budgetary matters, the fall session to be a legislative session. I've been operating under that understanding for the last six years. I'm assuming members opposite have also been operating with that understanding, that the fall session is indeed the legislative session and the spring session is the budget-monetary session. So the answer to his question quite simply is that our legislation will all be dealt with in the legislative session which will start this fall. When it starts will be determined by how much legislation we have and that we need to get through. The legislation will be done in the fall. That is the answer to that question.

With regards to the comments that actually pertain to the bill itself, I would like to reiterate that this bill does not do a whole lot in itself. All it does is allow individuals who upon retirement are forced to do something with their RRSPs, in this case I guess their investment was with Confederation Life, and most of that was put into GCIs, or whatever it is. Anyway, it allows them, rather than being forced to immediately annuitize their RRSPs and immediately deal with the problem, to put it off for a while and to draw down from their sum an amount not to exceed 10 per cent of the value to provide an income stream so they have more time to make their arrangements.

Now essentially that is what it does. It does not deal with the issues raised by the last member who spoke - it does not really deal with that - but I will tell you what it does; it gives a year. Anybody who has retired recently or is about to retire and so on, it gives them a year so they can let their funds sit in the RRSPs. In this case, the City of Corner Brook, it will allow the trustees for Confederation Life to hold their funds and they can draw down an amount. During that year, this fall, there will be a complete revision of the Pension Benefits Act, and that gets back to the question by the Member for St. John's East. He indicates that he has had all kinds comments and so on from politicians and bureaucrats about the reform of the Pension Benefits Act and the fact that it always seems to be almost there, and he is right, I suppose; he has talked to the people in the department and so on.

I would like to tell him that everything is now ready; it is ready. We will be very shortly printing the bill, and we would hope to put it out to the committee he sits on for examination during the summer, and if they decide they need to have hearings and so on I guess they will, but it is a very comprehensive series of changes to the Pension Benefits Act that will attempt to deal in some way with these points raised by the hon. members.

I thank them first of all for their understanding that this one thing really should be done now and not wait until the whole review. I welcome their input during the summer, especially the Member for St. John's East who seems to have had a lot of experience in pension matters, I would welcome his input directly on this bill so that when we eventually go through the House in the fall it will be the best possible series of amendments to the Pension Benefits Act that we can come up with.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently by leave. (Bill No. 18)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough, please, to call Order 16, that is the Amendment to the Judicature Act.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act". (Bill No. 20)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

I do not propose to speak at any length on the introduction of this bill because it is a relatively straightforward situation. I realize that my hon. friends opposite may have the belief - they certainly have the suspicion; they may even have the belief - that there is an ulterior motive, but I will deal with that in a very straightforward way. I will lay out the facts and then my hon. friends can make their judgement, and I know they will come to whatever conclusion they wish.

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by reminding members, if I may, that the so-called superior courts, and I believe that is the phrase used in the Constitution Act, are controlled - not controlled, I am sorry, are constituted; they are not controlled by anybody except themselves - are constituted by statutes at both levels of government. One of the many unique emanations of the Canadian federal system is the fact that superior courts are constituted by virtue of provincial legislation and federal legislation. The provinces create the courts. The Supreme Court of Newfoundland, the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal, both exist by virtue of our Judicature Act, the act this amendment seeks to amend, and we pay the staff of the court and we finance their operations.

The appointment of judges and the creation of offices of judges rests with the Parliament of Canada in the latter instance and the Government of Canada in the former instance. The Parliament of Canada creates the number of judges, or judicial positions we have, and the Governor General in Council appoints them and the Government of Canada pays our judges and pays their salaries. Now I am speaking, of course, of the Superior Court Judges, so-called. The provincial court comes under a separate statute and it is entirely the creature - the creation of the Legislature of the Province. It is not the creature; it is the creation.

Mr. Speaker, our Judicature Act here, which at least in this respect has not been amended since 1986 when it was introduced by the present Leader of the Opposition who, I believe, was the Minister of Justice at the time that the Judicature Act was brought into the House, the present one. It provides for two courts and establishes a number of judges in each. Section 4 creates the Court of Appeal and provides that there shall be a Chief Justice of Newfoundland - parenthetically, I would add, `and Labrador' - and five so-called puisne judges, judges who are not chief judges. The correct word is `puisne' and I realize, to lay people, to call a judge `puisne' is perhaps a rather unusual term of phrase.

In Section 21 of the Judicature Act there is a provision that creates a Trial Division of nineteen judges, that is the Chief Justice of the Trial Division and eighteen puisne judges. Section 47, if one wants to be precise, goes on and creates provision for additional judges, so-called supernumerary judges. Supernumerary judges are judges who have taken, by their own choice, supernumerary status, whereby they work part-time, they are paid part-time, and get a pension on top.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many are there?

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my hon. friend, I don't recollect how many there are at present. It varies. I saw a notice the other day that Mr. Justice Adams, who had been supernumerary, has now retired. I believe Mr. Justice Noel is a supernumerary judge, Mr. Justice Kevin Barry, Mr. Justice Soper, I think, is retired, I am not certain. But there are a small number of judges who, from time to time, are supernumerary. I believe the former Chief Justice Mifflin -

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Justice Morgan has retired.

MR. ROBERTS: My friend, the Member for St. John's East tells me that Mr. Justice Morgan has now retired, and I am not sure whether former Chief Justice Mifflin is still on the supernumerary list or whether he has now retired. There are a relatively small number of supernumerary judges who sit part-time and who are remunerated accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, the difficulty we seek to address with this amendment comes from the fact that a judge is appointed, a man or a woman is appointed a judge, and if he or she is to be a Chief Justice, he or she is appointed as a Chief Justice, so in the present context, Chief Justice Goodridge is appointed, not only as a judge, but as Chief Justice of Newfoundland, which is the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal. Chief Justice Hickman is the Chief Justice of the Trial Division and he, too, is appointed not simply as a judge but as Chief Justice of the Trial Division.

Should the situation arise where a Chief Justice, either of the two, wishes to step down as Chief Justice but remain a judge, there is no way that the present act will be able to accommodate that. That is the situation this amendment seeks to address. There is no more mystery to it that this. There is no more behind it than that.

Mr. Speaker, the amendment before the House says in so many words that when a Chief Justice wishes to step down from that position but remain in office as a judge, there is an additional position created to allow that to be done. In other words, let us assume Chief Justice Hickman wanted to step down as Chief Justice of the Trial Division but remain as a judge, then the effect of this amendment would be to increase the Judicature Act complement, which is now nineteen for the Trial Division, by one, to twenty, and we are going to be offering an amendment in Committee to make it very clear, to carry on with my example, that when former Chief Justice, and now Mr. Justice Hickman, in the example, retired from office, the complement of the court would revert to nineteen. His retirement would not leave a vacancy that could then be filled by the appointment of yet another judge. If we want to increase the court we will come before the House and ask authority to increase the court in the usual way.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A temporary provision?

MR. ROBERTS: It is a temporary provision, I say to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and that is an accurate thing. The wording of the present amendment may leave some room for argument. I don't mind saying I am advised by the law officers of the Crown that there probably isn't any room for the argument that it creates an extra position, but to be certain there isn't, we will be offering an amendment at the appropriate time.

This is made possible by Section 32 of the Judges Act of Canada, which is the act that creates all the judges positions across the country, and 32 (1) is the provision that is relevant here. Let me perhaps read it to the House because it is not the sort of thing that members would have been up last night having a look at. Here is what 32(1) says - my learned friend, the Member for St. John's East has got it. Now, Mr. Speaker, here is what 32(1) of the Judges Act of Canada says, `Where the Legislature of a Province...' all hon. members may stand and take a bow at this stage, `Where the Legislature of the Province has enacted legislation, establishing for each office of Chief Justice of a Superior Court of the Province such additional offices of judge of that court as are required for the purpose of this section and a Chief Justice of that court has notified the Minister of Justice of Canada and the Attorney General of the Province of his election' - no gender neutrality there - `to cease to perform the duties of Chief Justice and to perform only the duties of a judge, the Chief Justice shall thereupon hold only the office of a judge other than a Chief Justice of the court and shall be paid the salary annex to the office of a judge other than a Chief Justice of that court until he reaches the age of retirement, resigns or is removed from or otherwise ceases to hold office.' There are some other provisions that simply expand upon the eligibility of a man or a woman who is a Chief Justice to take advantage of 32(1).

Now, Mr. Speaker, I should add (inaudible) uncertainty, if this amendment passes there would be created a twentieth seat in the Trial Division and a seventh seat in the Court of Appeal. In the event a Chief Justice wishes to step down another judge could then be appointed either as Chief Justice or could be appointed as a puisne judge and another of the existing, the present judges, could then be made Chief Justice of Newfoundland or Chief Justice of the Trial Division. The spare seat would disappear when the former Chief Justice retired.

Now, Mr. Speaker, members will probably ask why we are doing this. Well, let me say precisely why we are doing it. We are doing it at the request of the Judges of the Court of Appeal who have written to the government, and I have the permission of Mr. Justice Gushue who wrote the letter to suggest the amendment or to ask that we consider it. They have written to ask would we consider putting it in. It is authorized by the Judges Act of Canada and a comparable provision is found in many - I don't know if it is in all - but many of the other Supreme Court acts across the country, the Judicature Act or by whatever name they go.

So we are not doing anything unusual here. We are doing something that is permitted by the Judges Act of Canada and that other provinces have done. Now, I don't know why the court wants to do this and it is not for me to speculate but I will say that in the present circumstances it would be, in the judgement of the government, appropriate to make this option available to the present Chief Justice of Newfoundland and the present Chief Justice of the Trial Division. I have no idea whether either gentleman is the least bit interested in making advantage of this or not. I have not asked them and I have not been told. It is no business of mine and I don't think it is any business of the House, with respect, but in our judgement it is appropriate in the present situation to make the option available and that is why we are bringing the bill before the House at this stage. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no more to it than that. I have explained what the bill does, I have explained the authority for it and I have explained the reason why we are seeking the leave and the support of the House to do it.

With that said, Sir, I will move the bill be read a second time.

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

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There may be authority to do this, I say to the Government House Leader, but it certainly isn't an ordinary or usual measure. By legislation of this provincial Legislature, the number of Supreme Court Trial Division and Court of Appeal Judges positions is set. The appointments are federal. The salaries and benefits are paid for by the Federal Government. My understanding is that the workload of the Court of Appeal is not such as to warrant an increase in the number of judges. There are six full-time judges positions on the Court of Appeal now,and in addition to the six full-time positions there are semi-retired judges handling a partial workload. They are referred to as supernumerary judges. Among the many benefits of federally appointed judges is the opportunity upon serving for a period of years and attaining the age of sixty-five to semi-retire and to continue to get full salary and benefits until age seventy-five, at which time it is mandatory for federally-appointed judges to retire. On retirement, federally-appointed judges are entitled to a handsome indexed pension. The same arrangement applies to the Supreme Court Trial Division.

There is no need for a provision to allow the Chief Justice of Newfoundland who is the head Court of Appeal judge, or the Chief Justice of the Trial Division, to move into a regular judge's position on the respective court and have the complement increase by one. If the Chief Justice wants to become a regular judge, then the Federal Government is perfectly entitled, and this would be a logical choice, to choose from among the ranks of the regular judges on that court, a new Chief Justice. There is public money at stake here. Each of these judges' positions carries an annual salary of about $140,000 a year. I would say to the Government House Leader that he hasn't provided an explanation for this measure.

What the measure does in simple language is, in the case of the Newfoundland Supreme Court Court of Appeal, increase the number of judges' positions, full-time $140,000 a year judges' positions, from six to seven by giving the Chief Justice the option of moving from the Chief Justice's position to a regular judge's position. That seems to assume that the replacement for the Chief Justice would be drawn from outside the Court, from perhaps the House of Assembly or from private law practice.

Mr. Speaker, we have enough judges' positions to handle the workload. If the Chief Justice at either level chooses to move into a regular judge's position and free himself from the administrative responsibilities of the Chief Justice's position, then it is up to the Federal Government to fill the vacated position from choosing one of the other regular judges; or if the office of Chief Justice is to be vacated for just a short period of time until one of the regular judges retires, then the responsibilities of Chief Justice may be carried on by the senior judge of the court.

So, Mr. Speaker, I don't see any need for this bill. The minister hasn't provided a rationale and I think it will lead to an unnecessary expenditure of scarce taxpayers' dollars. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I've had a look at the legislation and I've had a look at the judges' act, and I'm a little bit surprised, I guess, by the comments of the Leader of the Opposition. I guess what she is saying is that if she were the Premier and this request had come forth from the Court of Appeal, she would say no. That would put our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal in a position different from that of, say, a federal tax court judge or a judge of the federal court of Canada or the judges of other provinces who would have the right to elect to stop being a Chief Justice and be an ordinary judge. I can conceive of a number of circumstances where a Chief Justice may want to do that, and the only option left would be to resign totally as a judge if one did not wish to perform the duties of a Chief Justice. I don't think I would be prepared to agree that we should restrict that position and the person in that position in our courts in that way.

As I said, there are circumstances, there could be reasons of health, could be reasons of other family demands, there could be other reasons which would indicate a good reason for a person to cease to be Chief Judge or Chief Justice, and continue on as an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal and the Trial Division in particular, there is a great deal of administrative responsibility that the Chief Justice undertakes and it may not be that a person who is in that position would want to or be able to continue in that, but would be quite satisfied to continue as an ordinary judge; but I do agree with her on one point.

The purpose, if one looks as section 32, of the federal Judges Act, the idea of it is that if you allow - what it seems to say is that unless there is a provision for an additional judge being appointed, the Chief Justice of a Court of Appeal or a Trial Division, can't elect down and the purpose of that seems to be that the federal government wishes to reserve to itself the right to choose who the Chief Justice is from whomever and if you were to allow the Chief Justice of a province or a Trial Division to elect to sit as an ordinary judge, then the federal government could only choose one of the people who are already on the court and that may not be a circumstance which the government -

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour (inaudible).

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

MR. ROBERTS: I also invite him to comment upon the situation that there is no way that a sitting Chief Justice can become a puisne judge of a court without retiring and hoping for re-appointment. There is no way, under the Judges Act unless this amendment is adopted.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I said that at the outset that, if this amendment is not passed, then the Chief Justice of Newfoundland could not become an ordinary judge, that the election down if you will, is only permitted if there is an additional judge provision provided under section 32, and it seems, and here I agree with the Leader of the Opposition, that the reasoning behind this federal court act, not the amendment but the reasoning behind the federal court provision, is that the Prime Minister of Canada, the Government of Canada wants to decide who the Chief Justice is, not just from amongst those who are already sitting on the bench; they don't want to be restricted to choosing the former Member for St. John's East for example, Judge Marshall, they might have to choose amongst people whom they might not wish to appoint as the Chief Justice or to the Court of Appeal. They may want to look farther afield; they may want to look into the federal court, they may want to look to certain provincial Legislatures, even this one, to choose whom the new Chief Justice may be and that I think, would be the Leader of the Opposition's point, that perhaps this is not a provision that's aimed at looking after the needs of our Court of Appeal but is rather more of a make-room piece of legislation. However, I think from my perspective that might be, that's a speculative position and of course, as politicians we are entitled to speculate all we like.

I am prepared to wait and see, because in the meantime the provision that is being offered by this Legislature, in other words to permit our Chief Justice in the Court of Appeal and the Trial Division to have the same right to elect down as do federal court judges, as do Tax Court of Canada judges, as previously did County Court judges, we don't have them any more, as other Superior Court Chiefs in other provinces and territories, have the right to step down and become an ordinary judge on the bench of a Court of Appeal or Superior Court, then I think that it is only right that our judges have the same right to do that and the provision should be made for that.

I did raise the point the other day that there ought not to be any confusion as to how long this additional position ought to be there. I take it from the comments of the Government House Leader that an amendment will make it clear that room for the additional judge would only last so long as the electing Chief Justice continues to sit on the bench of the Court of Appeal or the Trial Division. That makes sense too, because we don't want to slip in an extra position without the requirement for it.

I appreciate what the Leader of the Opposition is saying about the cost. It is a cost to the taxpayer of Canada which is a slightly different taxpayer than the provincial taxpayer. At the same time, it is not necessary that it be in fact a serious additional expense. The number of supernumerary judges that might be required might diminish as a result of an additional seat being there. I don't imagine that the actual difference will be considerable in the long run in any event.

With those comments, and with the understanding that the apparent reason for the federal court act is to allow the Government of Canada to decide from anybody they wish who is to be the new Chief Justice, that that gives rise to speculation about the future of certain sitting politicians, members perhaps of this House, on the government side. I think that is a matter for speculation and ought not to be a reason why we would oppose the legislation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Government House Leader speaks now he will close the debate.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I gather there is no other member who wants to speak. Does my friend for Burin - Placentia West want to...?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I thank my hon. friend. I too would rather listen to me than him, I say to him.

Mr. Speaker, I thank members for their contribution. The House will not be surprised -

MR. TOBIN: Are you applying for the job (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: No, I say to my friend, I'm not applying for the job, and if offered will not accept.

Your Honour, let me say to the Leader of the Opposition that at least four other provinces have legislation similar to this in their judicature acts or equivalent: Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Let me also place on the record of the House that we are not doing this because of the workload in the Court of Appeal. My understanding is the Court of Appeal is very much up to date with its caseload. Its judgements are being filed very quickly and that matters are being heard really as quickly as counsel are able to appear and to argue. There is no need in my judgement to expand the complement of the Court of Appeal.

The Trial Division, one hears suggestions from time to time that we need extra judges, but every time I ask for statistics on the workload and why we have what appears to be a bit of a backlog, I get answers back that are not convincing, or at least don't convince me to ask my colleagues to authorize an amendment to the complement of the Trial Division. We will deal with that on its merits as it comes forward.

The comments made by my friend for St. John's East are much more pertinent and much more to the point. I must reject his speculation as to why this is being done. It is being done at the request of the - I can't say all the judges, I don't know that, but the senior puisne judge has suggested this might be done and we are of the mind that it should be done. As I said earlier, it is our judgement in the present circumstances we should make this option available to whoever from time to time may happen to hold the seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Justice Gushue, the senior puisne judge. My hon. friend may not know what a puisne judge is, and for his sake I hope he never has to find out. He has been very trying on occasion, but as far as I know he has never been tried. If he had been tried I am sure he would have been found wanting.

MR. TOBIN: If you can get the job, I am prepared to buy the robe.

MR. ROBERTS: Prepared to do what?

AN HON. MEMBER: Buy the robe.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I will hold the hon. gentleman to it. He has just made an offer that if I were ever to get the job he would buy the robe. All I can say is that I would wait for the cheque to clear the bank before I put it on.

Your Honour, let me finally make the point that my friend from St. John's East, my learned friend, quite rightly reminds us that it is the prerogative of the Government of Canada, the Governor General in Council, to appoint the Chief Justice of Newfoundland, as of every other province. In fact, as he said, all judges are appointed by the Governor General in Council. My understanding, in fact, the practice that has developed over the years is that the right of nomination for the Chief Justice of all of the courts rests with the Prime Minister. The Minister of Justice has, in his or her hands, the right of nomination of other judges and the appointment power rests with the Cabinet in the form of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

With that said, Sir, I move that the bill be read a second time.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House presently by leave. (Bill No. 20)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend from Grand Bank.

Would you please be good enough to call the next order, Order No. 18, and I won't even ask you to read the long title of the bill once I can find my speaking notes.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Architects Act, The Chartered Accountants Act, The Dieticians Act, The Embalmers And Funeral Directors Act, The Engineers And Geoscientists Act, The Land Surveyors Act, 1991, The Private Investigation And Security Services Act And The Psychologists Act". (Bill No. 22).

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my friend, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, has had a better offer than to spend the afternoon with my friend from Grand Bank and my friend from Burin - Placentia West. He is on his way to Twillingate to honour, to carry out, a speaking engagement at the school there, the Geoffrey Shaw Collegiate, which I believe is on Chapel Island, midway between New World and Twillingate Islands, G. Shaw Collegiate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend from Green Bay, I knew Geoffrey Shaw very well. He may still be alive, for all I know, a fine man. He used to be the Pentecostal superintendent many years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: One heckle at a time, I say to my friend. I got a heckle and then I will get a jekyll.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, my friend from St. Barbe, the minister, said that he had a better invitation; I won't take it beyond that.

Mr. Speaker, the bill is one of these -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I thank my hon. friend for the vote of confidence, and I appreciate it. As I said to him earlier, when we looked at the internal economy, where he is not the most expensive member we have, it just seems that way, that nobody in this House minds paying for him going to his constituency, but paying for him to come back is what hurts.

Mr. Speaker, the legislation in Bill 22 seeks to amend a number of statutes to give effect to the Internal Trade Agreement. Now that is the agreement, as I am sure all members are aware - most of them no doubt have read it from cover to cover, as I haven't - the Internal Trade Agreement was signed by all First Ministers, including the Prime Minister, on July 18 of last year. It will come into force on the first of July, 1995, eight weeks from now.

The objective of the Internal Trade Agreement is to reduce and eliminate - to eliminate if we can, if not to reduce - the barriers to the free movement of people, goods, services and investments in Canada. It is to try to create within Canada a free trade zone, and by doing so the agreement will establish a more open, efficient and stable domestic market, and that will promote long-term job creation, business competitiveness and general economic growth for the benefit of all parts of the country.

The goals of the agreement are consistent with out Strategic Economic Plan. The plan recognizes the need for more liberalized trading arrangements - that is a small `l' I say for the benefit of members on both sides - with jurisdictions beyond our borders, both within Canada and internationally. The enhanced access that we gain in external markets with arrangements such as the Internal Trade Agreement will provide new business opportunities for our firms and help our economy to grow and to provide new jobs for our people.

I want to emphasize as well that the agreement provides appropriate protection of Newfoundland's special circumstances and interests. For example, I am very pleased to point out, my friend, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology won, at the table, in the negotiations, two very significant concessions and exemptions which are in the agreement.

The first, is that, for the first time all of the provinces and the Government of Canada collectively acknowledge as they did in the agreement, the legitimacy of the right embodied in the Fish Inspection Act, to regulate the fish processing sector in the best interests of the Province. That legislation goes back to the Smallwood years as I recollect, during my earlier life, and it has now been accepted by the other provinces and it's ratified and enshrined in the agreement.

We also have a special exemption on the brewing industry to protect the locally brewed beers for a period of years. We would like to have had a longer time but the reality of it is, that to get any time was a considerable step forward. The agreement also recognizes and protects the ability of the federal Government of Canada to continue with special regional economic development programs and we believe that's essential and we, as a Province, have the flexibility to mount innovative and economic and business development initiatives such as the EDGE Program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I would table the speaking notes if the hon. gentleman want it. The agreement I believe has been tabled, if not I could arrange to let him have a copy. It's about 150,000 pages thick I would say to him, most of it unintelligible jargon of the sort that he and I as lawyers produce from time to time, where, if we are not being paid by the word, we are certainly not being paid by the clarity.

Mr. Speaker, let me carry on. All the signatories to the agreement, the provinces, the territories and the Government of Canada have made a commitment to bring their statutes and regulations and to administer the policies in the conformance with the provisions of the Internal Trade Agreement by July 1, 1995. We have recently concluded our own review of Newfoundland's statutes and have identified eight acts that required amendments.

Mr. Speaker, these are the eight acts that are listed in the title of the bill and the amendments are set out in detail in the bill: The Dieticians Act, -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend from Grand Bank, he asked if I support free trade, the answer is: I would trade him freely for anything or anybody at any time, any place any where.


MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, free thought, free speech. Freedom is a great concept indeed.

The statutes that are to be amended are: The Dieticians Act; The Embalmers And Funeral Directors Act; The Psychologists Act; The Engineers And Geoscientists Act; The Architects Act; The Land Surveyors Act, The Private Investigation And Security Services Act and The Chartered Accountants Act. All of these acts have in them provisions which import residency requirements. The amendments, are quite limited in scope. They pertain exclusively to the removal of the residency requirements which are used by these professional groups in the certification and registration of their members. The residency restrictions are not consistent with the principles embodied in the Internal Trade Agreement, which are to allow Canadians to move freely and to take advantage of employment opportunities in any area of the country.

My friend from Green Bay asked about lawyers. The answer is, there is nothing in the Law Society Act that restricts the right to practice law to persons resident in this Province. Any qualified lawyer who wishes to practice in this Province need only do two things: number one, attorn to the jurisdiction of this Province and secondly, have in place adequate errors and omissions insurance cover, and we have seen many, many instances of special calls to the Bar. One of the biggest lawsuits fought out here has just been decided by the Court of Appeal, the Husky-Bow Valley litigation at the appelate level, Judge Cameron's decision which was for the unanimous court was filed the other day, and my recollection is that of the five parties in that case, three or four had brought in lawyers from outside Newfoundland, all of whom were entitled to practice here because they met the requirements of the Bar here. The lawyers years ago had restrictive legislation but the Supreme Court of Canada took care of that in a case called Black and Company, an Alberta case that went to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Speaker, the only exception to the principle of residency that is permitted by the Internal Trade Agreement is where residency plays a legitimate role in the development of a province's labour force to meet a specific economic development objective. This means the provinces will still be allowed to maintain measures such as the Atlantic Accord which gives first consideration to Newfoundlanders in the offshore petroleum industry. I emphasize as well, that these amendments are focused exclusively on the removal of discriminatory residency practices and will not in any way adversely affect the ability of these groups to maintain professional standards and qualifications that are essential to ensuring the integrity of their professional organizations.

Mr. Speaker, the Internal Trade Agreement represents yet another tangible step in the implementation of the policies outlined in the Strategic Economic Plan, and the government is confident that these amendments will have a positive economic impact on Newfoundland and Labrador. I move the bill now be read a second time.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, I will speak for a few moments on the bill. I think essentially it recognizes that the named professional groups should be open to representatives of those groups, qualified individuals from other provinces carrying out their profession in the Province of Newfoundland.

I suppose I can see why in certain instances it might make sense to bring someone else in from outside the Province if you had a mind to. I mean, you might want to bring Eddie Greenspan in to defend you in the Supreme Court for a criminal matter, although I'm not sure I can see why you would want to bring someone in from outside the Province to bury you.

MR. CAREEN: The Embalmers' Act is the way to bring home every mother's son.

MR. HARRIS: I'm not sure you would want to bring in an embalmer from Toronto to bury you, Mr. Speaker, or as the Member for Placentia says, that is perhaps the way to bring home every mother's son, in a box.

I do say I suppose it may well be that some enterprising individuals in the embalmers' trade or the funeral directors' trade in Ontario or Nova Scotia or perhaps in North Sydney might want to open up a branch in Port aux Basque and carry on the trade of funeral director or embalmer in the town of Port aux Basque from their location in Sydney. That may be a possibility, or it may be the other way, that somebody in this Province carrying on a business in Port aux Basque might want to carry on a branch of their business in North Sydney or in Nova Scotia, or anywhere else in Canada for that matter. Presumably reciprocal legislation is being enacted in the Province of Nova Scotia and other provinces which are signatory to this agreement to allow the professionals of this Province to carry out their profession or trade in other provinces.

On that, the principle of this legislation, I have no quarrel, provided of course the individuals who are exercising their rights under these acts have the professional qualifications and the public is protected by the relevant provision for insurances for negligence or errors and omissions. With that, Mr. Speaker, I endorse the principle of the bill and offer my support at second reading.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have a few remarks on this bill which is basically to implement the internal Canadian free trade agreement signed by the First Ministers of Canada some time ago, which I'm told comes into effect July this year.

In general terms, free trade is the way of the world these days and such is the case I guess internally in Canada as well as with our trading partners on the international scene. One problem I had with the government's approach to free trade before there was a formal agreement is that this particular government did, on a number of occasions, volunteer certain free trade initiatives in the Canadian confederation where it was doubtful that we had the numbers of people or companies that could compete effectively in the context of the general Canadian economy. Certainly with the same effectiveness of other mainland Canadian companies which could come into our market and compete.

The realities forced these initiatives upon us, but I had some problems in the early going with this government volunteering sectors of the Newfoundland economy to go into the Canadian whole before it became a necessity. What that meant was that some companies which may not have had the capacity to compete nationally, were nonetheless, sort of volunteered by this government to so do before their time.

I realize that one of the prices for being in a nation state, in today's world, is a degree of internal free trade but there were times when I thought the Wells Government was bending over backwards to accommodate national goals and there were times I had serious concerns as to whether or not, in net terms, the Newfoundland business community would be the loser in some of these initiatives. Whether or not they are the winner or the loser in some of these initiatives, as I said, Mr. Speaker, the reality of the trade deal is upon us and we have to take appropriate legislative action. We are, I suppose, for want of a better phrase, `honour bound' to pass amendments to legislation in this House which are reflective of an agreement reached by the First Ministers of this nation some months ago.

It is rather sad, Mr. Speaker, given the state that the nation is in today, in terms of national unity, that the current and presumably out-going Premier was not so moved to be honour bound to ratify in this Legislative Chamber the Meech Lake Accord which would probably have saved this nation a lot of `to-ing and fro-ing' and a lot of wasted time and energy on the constitutional front, when the vast majority of Canadians, and certainly, Newfoundlanders, are far more concerned with their economic well-being than their Constitutional well-being. But at the time, Mr. Speaker, it provided an appropriate platform for the Premier to launch into national politics and become somewhat of a national hero, somewhat the way Mr. Tobin is up there now. Mainlanders not being sophisticated, I suppose, in the nuances of Newfoundland politics, are fooled for the most part, as to Mr. Tobin's reputation. Although to be quite honest with you, Mr. Speaker, I haven't come across a soul in my district who are not utterly convinced that we sold our shirt, we sold the shop - to borrow my former boss's phrase - in terms of the turbot war. The Member for Eagle River shakes his head over there. He is among the loudest thumpers in the Brian Tobin chorus, but I am really surprised that he is not standing up for the fishing industry of the Province,given the fact that his district has a considerable fishery presence. But like a lot of members of the Liberal Party it would appear that matters of party unity and whatnot, go further afield than do matters of economic sanity.

Mr. Speaker, when we talk of free trade within the nation, I am somewhat bemused when we think of - we have a dockyard here in St. John's that received lukewarm and late support from this Administration and yet it is shackled, it is hobbled by the federal Liberal Government from competing effectively in the nation's economy. It has restrictions put on it to prevent it from prospering, Mr. Speaker, and one has to wonder why, in the closing days of this Assembly, everything is in such a rush to get out of here. We have to pass this and we have to pass that. We have to pass something that has to take effect for July, sobeit. It has to do with free trade in the nation, yet we have industries in this Province that are deliberately being stifled by this nation state of ours with the aiding of the Government of this Province. There is no excuse, Mr. Speaker, for the government sitting on its hands and quietly letting the feds do what they see fit. Everybody knows what is going on. The feds want to privatize Canadian National. Canadian National has to get rid of some of the odds and ends within the larger federal Crown corporation that are money losers and so they told the government down here, `Behave yourselves, behave yourselves, we will give you a month so you can get the by-election in Grand Falls over with. We will give you a month but that's all.' That is what you have been given, you have been given a month. The people who work at the Dockyard have been given a month to get you people over the hump, that is all, just to get you people over the hump and then -

AN HON. MEMBER: Are you nervous about Grand Falls? Are you nervous?

MR. EFFORD: The problem is trying to get over the Tory (inaudible) for the last six years.

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, they have been given a month to get them through the immediate hurdle - whether it is the Grand Falls by-election or the exit of the Premier from the political scene, I don't know, but it is rather ironic that we sit here today and debate something relating to free trade within the Canadian nation state and this government is quite content to sit around and watch the St. John's Dockyard have shackles and hobbles put on it, see its scope of operations being restricted from the international scene, see it chased out of Central and Maritime Canada in terms of its capacity to bid on work, and you have a government here that stands around and applauds Brian Tobin who does along with this kind of stuff, and they applaud him for a failed fisheries initiative in taking on the Spaniards.

Mr. Speaker, it is sad and pitiful.

MR. MURPHY: What a convenient short memory the member has!

MR. HEWLETT: No, I do not have a convenient short memory. I remember sitting in the galleries before I was elected, when I worked for the former PC Administration in matters of fishery jurisdiction. The Peckford Administration took on the Trudeau Administration, took on the Clark Administration, and it took on the Mulroney Administration. We stood up for Newfoundland and Labrador.

With regard to the St. John's Dockyard,we stood by and watch the Trudeau Administration refuse to do anything to give that yard a hand, so we, as the government of the day, came to the rescue of a federal Crown corporation and put provincial dollars into maintaining the St. John's Dockyard.

MR. MURPHY: And how much did Mulroney and Crosbie give you back on that investment?

MR. HEWLETT: Mulroney and Crosbie didn't do for the St. John's Dockyard what should have been done, and that's no reason under the sun why Chrétien should be allowed to get away with not doing it either. The provincial PC Party has stood up to whoever has been in Ottawa, of whatever political stripe they were.

MR. MURPHY: You are disappointed that this government assisted in keeping the Dockyard open. That is what it sounds like.

MR. HEWLETT: This government has done very little. This government bought one month, and I wonder was the month bought for the workers in the St. John's Dockyard or was it bought for the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador?

MR. MURPHY: You are totally incorrect.

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I hope, as the Member for St. John's South says, that I am totally incorrect, that it is not a matter of just buying a month to get this government over a hump. I am not exactly sure what the hump is.

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs wants to close it now, he says.

MR. HEWLETT: I am not in favour of closing it now, as the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs suggested. We are in favour, in this party, of recapitalizing and expanding the St. John's Dockyard to make it effective and competitive in the national and international shipbuilding and repair industry.

What we have is a Federal Government which has hobbled the Dockyard from effectively competing either nationally or internationally. Word was all over the street that she was going to be shutdown. A big meeting with Mr. Morrison,the senior civil servant in charge of the Crown corporation, Canadian National, so what do we have? We get, in a period of twenty-four hours, two ships that were not going to be repaired, are now going to be repaired. That is all the people have been promised.

The Premier is on the news and in the House answering questions to the effect that we hope the Federal Government will give the Dockyard eighteen months to two years. I hope the Premier is right. I hope the Federal Government will give the Dockyard that extra time, but nothing that Mr. Morrison said publicly on the record for the media or for anybody involved, indicates that anything more than a few weeks of grace, has been given the Dockyard. They have agreed to go and look at the proposal from the Premier to give the Dockyard a couple of years to get back on its feet.

MR. MURPHY: Will you resign if the Dockyard is open longer than a month?

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I hope the Dockyard is open longer than a month. It is not a matter of my resigning, but I can tell you one thing, if the Dockyard is not open longer than a month there are a lot of people over there who should resign.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, I have seen it all in this Assembly in the six years I have been elected. This particular government can't seem to do enough for the federal Liberals. It is very difficult to believe how at least they wouldn't even do what is politically smart, and that is stand up for the people of Newfoundland. You know, there is an axiom that says you can't lose in Newfoundland politics on fed bashing, but they don't seem to even want to survive that way. Somehow, the Liberal Party of Canada comes first, and here we are debating a free trade bill when we have a Dockyard that is hobbled and shackled and prevented from competing freely in the national economy, even in the economy of Eastern Canada, and that is not good enough.

We have to wonder just what is the hump that this joke as regards free trade is all about. What is it that the Liberal Party wants to get over in the next few weeks? They want out of this House so bad they can taste it. Can it be the Premier is resigning? Can it be one by-election in Central Newfoundland? Is that so devastating to the Liberal Party that they want out, that they don't want the negative publicity that comes daily from Question Period? That is hard to believe, that one by-election, one dockyard, is sufficient to get them out, that one Premier's resignation is sufficient to get this House closed. It is very hard to know exactly what is going on, but the haste to abandon this place is somewhat unseemly and it is somewhat ironic, as I stated, for us to be here talking about free trade and we allow one of our industries in the capital city to be tied up in knots and not allowed to effectively compete, trade freely in the services it provides within the context of the Canadian nation.

Mr. Speaker, I wish someone on the Liberal side of the House would stand and clearly enunciate why it is we have to run away from this Chamber two or three weeks earlier than usual. We are dealing with a very restricted list of bills. There are nineteen on the list here. We are going to do half-a-dozen at most, and one of them is the bill we are debating now, but one has to wonder: What is the rush? Why all the fuss? Why do we have to go now?

Mr. Speaker, I was elected to come here and represent my constituents in this Assembly, and in general terms to help with the governance of this Province, and there are a number of ongoing issues of importance to the body politic in this Province, and for some reason, this government does not wish to deal with issues openly and squarely in the people's House where everything is said on the record, where there is a daily Question Period. Somehow, they have gotten shy of this Assembly, this Chamber, this institution, and that simply isn't good enough, and we are not going to go away, we are not going to shut up just because they close this place. There are other ways to make your point in the body politic of this Province, but it is simply not good enough that we have to be getting out of here in an all-fired rush right now to help the Liberal Party somehow get over some sort of temporary hump which has to do with either a by-election, the resignation of the Premier, or the imminent closure of the Dockyard. Either way, it is simply not good enough.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Minister speaks now, he closes the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, all I need to say in response to the absolutely -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) the Member for Ferryland.

MR. ROBERTS: Does the Member for Ferryland want to speak?

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Of course, I will yield to the hon. gentleman.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was so busy reading the act, I didn't stand when I should have. I thank the Government House Leader for giving me a couple of minutes. I will not unduly delay the process here today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Good, the people of Canada are. Well, I agree with it, and I ask the member, what has kept it so long to get free trade here? Your own Government of Canada, in the last election, said: We are going to tear up the Free Trade Agreement. We don't want NAFTA. We are going to tear up the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. We don't want free trade. We don't want GST and we are going to change it.

I say to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, the faster free trade comes the better, and the more widespread it arrives on a global scene the better. It is time to tear down barriers now and let companies and businesses operate without being propped up by government, and with subsidies. There may have to be periods of phasing in the elimination of these subsidies and that, but it is important -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), free trade.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, and Prime Minister Chrétien and Brian Tobin said: We will tear up the Free Trade Agreement. `We will tear it up,' they said. `We don't want free trade. The North American Free Trade is going to be taking jobs out of Canada.' Well, I tell the Member for Eagle River, since free trade, exports on items that have been affected by free trade, ones to which this reduction in tariffs have applied, have increased by 20 per cent in Canada, to the U.S. and ones where there was no change, where there were no tariffs in effect, it increased by only 2 per cent; ten times the export business in Canada, where the restrictions were lifted on free trade, to those that weren't, and the Government of Canada today, oppose that, they don't want trade with Mexico; they said that jobs are going to be rushed out to Mexico; we are going to have a drain. There is going to be a sucking sound heading south, they said, those are the words they used and we are going to drain jobs out of Canada, and the Member for Eagle River, the sucking sound, he is afraid, is when he stops to catch his breath and I tell him, that there is no drain of jobs out of Canada. We are going to make a more competitive industry in Canada; we are going to increase our export trade, which we have done. There has been a substantial increase in gain to Canada because of free trade and that is why it is important with NAFTA now, and to bring other countries on stream.

I know this only applies to the breakdown of barriers within provinces, so we would break down the barriers between the provinces of the country and the territories to enable a person not to be I guess, discriminated against, in an opportunity for employment and trade within the country, and that is positive. We don't want to be a `have-not' Province, we want to break down barriers and encourage this within our Province.

So I support this legislation, Mr. Speaker, and in fact, support free trade generally among the provinces of Canada and among the countries of the world in general.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. the Minister speaks now he will close the debate.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. gentleman, the Member for Ferryland; as always, his remarks added to the debate. I won't say very much about his colleague, the Member for Green Bay, but I did mark two remarks down. My friend, the Member for Green Bay used the remark that these are the closing days of this Assembly. I tell him they are not, we shall be back in the Fall and there is a very, very heavy Legislative program for the Fall. My friend, the Member for Ferryland will be in some form of controlled ecstasy for a number of months when he gets his teeth into the legislation that we have here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I would take that wager if he wishes, but he may not want to make the wager with me because I will have a voice when the House opens; however, if he wishes I would be glad to.

The Member for Green Bay also asked why we have suggested the House perhaps take the summer break; it won't be today, it won't be tomorrow, it may be Thursday, who knows? It may be Friday. But my answer is, having heard his speech, I need no other reason to suggest that we leave this House soon and forever. I mean, it was just about the most pathetic emanation I have ever seen from a gentleman who, really, has never accepted the reality of the fact that he is now where he is because the people of Newfoundland and Labrador put him there.

With that said, Sir, I thank my friend, the Member for Ferryland and I move the bill be now read a second time.

On motion, a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Architects Act, The Chartered Accountants Act, The Dieticians Act, The Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act, The Engineers And Geoscientists Act, The Land Surveyors Act, 1991, The Private Investigation And Security Services Act, and The Psychologists Act", read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 22).

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough, please, to put the House in Committee of the Whole and we will deal with the five bills which are ready for Committee stage.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Committee of the Whole

MR. CHAIRMAN (Barrett): Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, it is 4:38 p.m. I take it nobody in the House has a desire to be back here tonight so we either have to agree to sit a little beyond 5:00 p.m. or govern ourselves with the knowledge that we have twenty-two minutes left to deal with the five bills that are at Committee stage in third reading. I am in the hands of the Committee, of course, but if we don't do something by 5:00 p.m., the Deputy Speaker will automatically leave the Chair until 7:00 tonight and I don't think that is the wish of the members of the House. So, if we could have an understanding that if need be we shall sit a little beyond 5:00 p.m. to deal with these matters, we will. If that is agreed, fine, if not, we will carry on.

MR. TOBIN: Why do you always (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: It is easy for me to do, I say to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: We will not finish Bill No. 7 today. We will not get to it today, that is correct. We will have to deal with it on Thursday.

Do I have the understanding of the House?

On that basis, Mr. Chairman, would you be good enough, please, to call Order No. 2 which is The Smoke-Free Environment Act. I understand there are no amendments to be made to it so the Committee can deal with it as it wishes.

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the following bills without amendment, carried.

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

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act," (Bill No. 19)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act." (Bill No. 18)

MR. ROBERTS: Your Honour, Bill No. 20, Order 16.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Bill No. 20.

MR. ROBERTS: I will ask my friend, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, to offer an amendment to the Judicature Act.

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

MR. MURPHY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I offer an amendment, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act". Clause 1 of the bill is amended by adding immediately after the word `judge' the words `as is from time to time required to be held by a Chief Justice of Newfoundland, or a Chief Justice of the Trial Division who has elected under the Judges Act, Canada, to perform only the duties of a judge of the Court of Appeal or the Trial Division, as the case may be.'

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act." (Bill No. 20)

On motion, amendment carried.

On motion, Clause 1, as amended, carried.

Motion that the Committee report having passed the bill with amendment, carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Your Honour.

Finally, Bill No. 22, please, which is Order No. 18 on the paper.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Architects Act, The Chartered Accountants Act, The Dieticians Act, The Embalmers And Funeral Directors Act, The Engineers And Geoscientists Act, The Land Surveyors Act, 1991, The Private Investigation And Security Services Act And The Psychologists Act." (Bill No. 22)

Motion, that the Committee report having passed the bill without amendment, carried.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again, Mr. Speaker returned to the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Bellevue.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole has considered the matters to it referred and wishes to report Bill Nos. 11, 19, 18 and 22 without amendment, and Bill No. 20 with amendment, and asks leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, bills ordered read a third time presently by leave.

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act." (Bill No. 20)

On motion, amendments to Bill No. 20 read a first and second time.

On motion, the following bills read a third time, ordered passed and their titles be as on the Order Paper.

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

A bill, "An Act To Amend The City Of St. John's Act". (Bill No. 19)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Pension Benefits Act". (Bill No. 18)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Judicature Act". (Bill No. 20)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Architects Act, The Chartered Accountants Act, The Dieticians Act, The Embalmers And Funeral Directors Act, The Engineers And Geoscientists Act, The Land Surveyors Act, 1991, The Private Investigation And Security Services Act And The Psychologists Act". (Bill No. 22)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I don't have the heart to begin debate on the one matter left which will be Order No. 4 which is Bill No. 7. We will deal with that on Thursday. Tomorrow is Private Members' Day and it is the day when it falls to the Opposition to select the subject for debate. The order to be called, I understand from my friend from Grand Bank, is Order No. 19 which is Bill No. 100. I don't know why it was given that number but in any event, Bill No. 100. So we will deal with that tomorrow. I say to my friends the motion before the House will be that this bill be now read a second time. We will deal with that tomorrow after Question Period. In any event, Mr. Speaker -

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, of course.

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

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

I just want to clarify something. The procedure tomorrow, I am not quite clear on how we are going to handle Bill No. 100 tomorrow, I say to the Government House Leader, and I want some clarification on it. I mean we are giving up our Private Members' Day to do it.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Okay, well fair enough, let's agree to that but my point is, what are we doing tomorrow then just debating the principle of the bill? The hon. Member for Bonavista South will introduce it for fifteen minutes then we will have fifteen minutes back and forth and then he concludes debate? Is that what the -

AN HON. MEMBER: We have to vote on it too.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, of course.

AN HON. MEMBER: The motion is that it be read a second time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, so basically tomorrow we are dealing with the principle of the bill. I am trying to determine whether or not we will deal with the bill in its totality tomorrow to get it all the way dealt with, I guess is what I am asking the Government House Leader? Can we do that tomorrow or are we just going to leave it hanging there, that is the point?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the first point I would make of course is - I think my learned friend for St. John's East has already made it in an interjection - that the motion before the House tomorrow - now tomorrow is a day when the Opposition side has the right to select the topic of debate, and that is why Order No. 19 will be called.

Order No. 19 is cast in the form of a bill, and that is fine. We gave consent to move it, the notice of motion, forward to the point where it has been cast in a bill. So we shall be doing a second reading debate tomorrow. That is the order. The motion before the Chair will be that this bill be now read a second time. My understanding is that falls within the words of Standing Order 53.1 where it speaks of motions. So the fifteen minutes back and forth, and with my friend for Bonavista South having fifteen minutes at the conclusion of the day -

MR. TOBIN: What happens (inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: Well, let me come back to that. At the conclusion of debate my friend for Bonavista South has the right to close the debate and the matter will be put to a vote and we will see what the House does with the motion. That will I think determine where we go from here.

My friend for Burin - Placentia West asks: What happens if we conclude before that? If we have no other business we will go home. If we have other business we will deal with it. But I would understand the subject matter before the House tomorrow to be the second reading stage of this bill which is the principle of the bill, and the normal rules of debate will deal with relevancy and what have you. Does that address my friend's concerns?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: There might be leave to do third reading, there might be leave to do Committee, there might be anything. I've no idea what will happen. We will just have to stand by the morrow and see what happens.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend for Grand Bank, I'm the most transparent member in the House. Perhaps one of the bulkier ones, but still one of the most transparent.

Mr. Speaker, I had hoped that we might be able to grant members their summer leave by Wednesday, tomorrow, but I don't think that will be possible, so we shall be here Thursday and possibly Friday, because we are going to have to ask the House to address the subordinate legislation bill. It is my fault, I neglected to mention it, and I acknowledge that, and covered with crime and confusion and sin and corruption, if I had any other job to go to, I say to my friend for Grand Bank, unlike him, I would go to it.

Mr. Speaker, let's deal with things as we deal with them. It is now nigh on 5:00 p.m. and I'm sure the House doesn't want to hear anything more from anybody. That being so, I will move that we adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

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