October 27, 1995                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS       Vol. XLII  No. 44

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (L. Snow): Order, please!

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sylvester Lynch died at his home in Bay Bulls on January 29 1994. The Honourable David Orr, a Judge of the Provincial Court, was subsequently appointed to carry out an inquiry under the provisions of The Summary Proceedings Act. Judge Orr held public hearings last May and June, and submitted his report to me recently. I now table the Report, in its entirety.

Judge Orr made several findings, which are set out in the Report. These include:

1.) With respect to the cause of death, Judge Orr concluded that Mr. Lynch died of "natural causes, specifically heart arrest brought on by thrombotic inclusion." He concluded further, and again I quote, that "in this instance, it is evident that if [Mr. Lynch] had been admitted and appropriately treated in the [Grace General Hospital] on the 27 of January he would most likely have survived."

2.) The family of the deceased raised questions at the inquiry about the response time of the ambulance service and the training of the Emergency Medical Attendants aboard the ambulance. Judge Orr addressed both points in his Report. He found that, and again I quote, Sir, "on the issue of the time, it is clear that the time was not a factor. In addition, it is clear that the ambulance arrived as quickly as was possible and in any event once the [cardiac] arrest had started in this case, being outside a hospital there is little that could have been done." Judge Orr also concluded that there was, and again, Sir, I quote, "no evidence that that was anything improper or inadequate as regards the conduct of the ambulance attendants."

Judge Orr made three recommendations, which are set out on page 10 of the Report. The first was that copies of the Report be sent to a number of individuals and institutions. This has been done. The second was that "appropriate levels of training for the Emergency Medical Attendants be made available to ensure that there is always an EMA II available to respond with an ambulance and that efforts be made to upgrade all EMAs to level II." His third recommendation was that "steps should be taken to ensure that patients who are identified as having Cardiac problems be seen by a Cardiologist at the earliest possible time, preferably at the time of their arrival at the hospital." My colleague the Minister of Health has instructed his officials to follow up on these recommendations, and to take appropriate action.

A copy of the Report was provided to the representative of Mr. Lynch's family ten days or so ago, at my direction. I have a number of copies of the report, Mr. Speaker, as well as of the statement I've just made.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In the report it was mentioned that Dr. Stone, the cardiologist, testified that there were text book symptoms of unstable angina when Mr. Lynch went to that hospital. Dr. Stone testified that the immediate course of action should have been admission to hospital, bed rest and treatment with drugs to alleviate potential blood clotting, and he went on to say an inquiry judge agreed. And, as the minister read, if the deceased had been admitted and appropriately treated on January 27, he would most likely have survived.

It is public knowledge that in the wake of health funding cuts, the waiting lists for in-hospital procedures have increased significantly. It is regrettable that this inquiry was not instructed to probe into whether or not the restrictions on hospital beds and the constant limitations on hospital admissions were forcing doctors to apply more stringent criteria for hospital admissions. Now that is the central worry in the minds of Newfoundlanders today, that their health care is being compromised by hospital bed closures and funding cutbacks, and they want more than anything else to have that reassurance, not from hospital administration or the Department of Health, but from an independent inquiry, so the government might be well advised -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Just a couple of seconds to conclude?

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: The government might be well advised now to ask that judge to reopen his inquiry to examine whether there have been changes in admission criteria, or more subtle pressure on doctors to limit hospital admissions, and move immediately to implement one of the recommendations of that inquiry, that "steps should be taken to ensure that patients who are identified as having cardiac problems be seen by a Cardiologist at the earliest possible time, preferably at the time of their arrival at the hospital".

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to inform hon. members of the publishing and recent availability of the 1995 edition of the book entitled Protecting Canada's Endangered Spaces. A copy will be made available to all members of the Legislature shortly, Mr. Speaker.

In 1989 an endangered spaces campaign was launched by the World Wildlife Fund Canada and was locally driven by the Newfoundland and Labrador Protected Areas Association. In keeping with this campaign, government is dedicated to protecting 10 per cent of the Province's total land mass within a protected areas network by the year 2000.

Through this project, government is ensuring that areas representative of Newfoundland and Labrador's nineteen natural regions will be available for future generations to enjoy. To this end, the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation has assembled a Systems Planning Committee comprising representatives of government and interest groups.

Mr. Speaker, it is through the dedication of these interest groups, the Federal Government's preserved areas including Gros Morne and Terra Nova national parks, and the proposed park for the Torngat region currently under discussion, and this government's effective wilderness and ecological reserves program, that this Province can hopefully look forward to realistically meeting its goal by the year 2000.

At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to particularly recognize Ms Laura Jackson, the author who researched and penned the book's chapter on the situation currently in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ms Jackson is both well-known and respected by individuals who advocate the need for increased protected areas in this Province. Ms Jackson's journalism degree and background, coupled with her membership on the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council, has ensured quality representation for Newfoundland and Labrador in this publication.

I am very pleased also, Mr. Speaker, to point out that Ms Jackson is in the gallery today, along with Natalie Zinger, the Quebec co-ordinator of the Endangered Spaces Campaign; Mary Grantskou, the Executive Director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Mr. Kevin Kavanagh, the Research Manager for the World Wildlife Fund.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

While I acknowledge the work of a fellow-Newfoundlander, Ms Jackson, the minister mentioned nineteen natural regions. I wonder, are they supposed to be incorporated with nineteen zones? He mentioned Torngat. What has that to do with Voisey's Bay? And will the steering committee be going around Newfoundland talking to people? Because what this government is - like the old American song: Don't fence me in.

The title: Protecting Canada's Endangered Spaces - I tell you one example of spaces that are going to be endangered, and that's the Liberal spaces over there, for what they have been doing over the last six years.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: Before proceeding with Oral Questions, I would like to welcome, on behalf of all members, nineteen Journalism Communication Art Skills students from Lawrence College along with their instructor, Mr. William Callahan. As well, we have nine students from I. J. Sampson school along with their instructors, Iris Goulding and Myrtle Guinchard.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Minister of Natural Resources about forestry. The Chretien Government announced in last winter's Budget that the Federal Government is drastically scaling back its participation in forestry in Newfoundland. The minister and the Premier have said little or nothing about this to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. What have they been saying to the Federal Government, and what is the latest word from the Federal Government? Is it still the minister's understanding that federal forestry, the Canadian Forest Service in Newfoundland, number one, will be shrunk from about 75 permanent full-time professional and technical positions to about 22; number two, will be reduced from regional office status reporting to head office in Ottawa, to node status reporting to Fredericton, New Brunswick; and number three, will be mandated to shift its focus away from Newfoundland and Labrador forest research to national work; and number four, will be moved from St. John's to Corner Brook?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing new in what the hon. member is talking about, or saying. There is no great big new revelation in it. Forestry matters have been well debated, and well discussed between us and Ottawa. As a matter of fact, it is going to be improved over what the original plan was expected to be last year when the Federal Government made its initial plans about the reduction in forestry centres across Canada. Now, we do expect to have a centre that is going to be a focus for excellence for forestry remaining in this Province, and we are talking about a facility in Corner Brook. We have not finalized that yet but it would be some forestry centre similar to what is now in New Brunswick, while not of the same scale, where we would be co-operating between the Province and Ottawa, but also involving Memorial University and the model forest. I think it is an excellent model for us to continue to co-operate together among all sectors.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

So the minister is saying, thank you, Uncle Ottawa, for reducing us from seventy-five full-time jobs down to twenty-two, and thank you, Uncle Ottawa, for relegating us to the status of a node reporting to Fredericton. I would like to ask the minister to indicate his understanding of the timing of the move of this reduced federal forestry presence in our Province to Corner Brook - the timing - and the cost of what is his understanding of the plan for a facility to house federal forestry in Corner Brook? Is it his understanding that the new facility will also house his department's personnel in Western Newfoundland, as well as Grenfell College and the model forest?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we have not yet finalized what the exact arrangements are going to be in Corner Brook. We are still having discussions on that and when we have finalized our plans, we will announce them to the public. We have not done so yet.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Will the minister tell us where the money will come from to provide the new facility in Corner Brook? Will there be a new facility and where will the money come from? Will any provincial money be put into the construction of a new facility?

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

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, not today I will not tell where the money will come from because, as I said in answer to the last question, we have not yet finalized the arrangements for Corner Brook and exactly how it will be funded but when it is all finalized we will be glad to make it all public in great detail.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I would like the ask the minister the most important question of all: How will the Province replace the scientific expertise and research capacity about Newfoundland and Labrador forests that is being lost because of the drastic federal cuts and downloading?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, we are going to ensure, as a Province, that we do what is necessary in the forestry sector and we ourselves are already doing some of the things that were done last year by the federal service. We are already doing it, we are already out there doing the sampling of the egg counts, etcetera, that normally would have been led by the federal side. We are doing it ourselves and leading it ourselves. The same thing would apply in other aspects of forestry. We will ensure that what needs to be done is done. Where there is still a federal capability to help us, we will get that capability and welcome that capability, but where it is not available from the Federal Government, forestry, since it is a provincial resource, will be managed by us to the maximum benefits.

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Education.

Recently, there are huge concerns at Memorial University about the pending budget coming down from the Province, come May. Can he confirm that discussions have taken place that will see a dramatic cut in the University's budget from about 10 per cent to 15 per cent which will effectively amount to about a $17 million to $25 million cut for next year?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member might want to be a little more specific. He wants me to confirm that discussions have taken place. I don't know if he is talking about discussions between a couple of students, discussions between myself and the president of the University, discussions between CUPE and someone else. The hon. member has to be a little more specific when he puts the question to me. I don't have the knowledge to know what he has in his mind. I wonder could he be more specific.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister of Education and Training had been listening he would have understood the question that I asked. It is very simple. Can he confirm that there will be a 10 per cent to 15 per cent cut in Memorial University's budget next year which will amount to a $17 million to $25 million cut from the allocation given by the Province to the University? Can he confirm that? Very easy question, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. DECKER: No, Mr. Speaker, I can't confirm nor deny.


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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Tuesday night I was one of three MHAs that attended a public forum at the University dealing with the future of the University, the future role it will play, and the future of what type of education it will offer. Serious concerns about the cut. I say to the minister that he knows there will be a 10 per cent to 15 per cent cut in Memorial University's budget next year, and that people are seriously worried.

Let me ask the minister this: Can he confirm that as a result of such cuts that he, or his department officials, have been in discussions with the University dealing with the fallout of such cuts, which may look at an increase of some 30 per cent to 40 per cent in tuition, which may look at a three-tiered tuition structure, or a three-tiered tuition structure in terms of professional schools versus general art schools? Can he confirm that such cuts will dramatically eliminate staff and services? Can he confirm that these cuts will indeed come and are coming?

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

MR. DECKER: Now, Mr. Speaker, I finally realize the hon. member is fishing. I will tell the hon. member, though, that because of the cuts in the transfer payments we are going to see a very difficult time making the same amount of money available to our institutions as we have done in the past. It is highly unlikely we will do it. There is no doubt in my mind that Memorial University will have a cut in its budget. Whether it is 1 per cent or whether it is 10 per cent I don't even know at this time.

If there is a cut of 1 per cent at Memorial University they will have many options open to them. One option is to spend wiser. Another option would be to increase tuition. Another option would be to have a combination of spending wiser and increasing tuition. They are in talks with their union. I certainly hope that when these talks are over that they will have an agreement that they can live with and that the Province can finance; so there are a whole lot of things that can be taking place.

My simple answer to the hon. member is this, that it is most likely that there will be a cut in Memorial's budget this year. I am not in a position at this time to say how much that cut will be.

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

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

Every hon. member in this House fully understands and is aware, and if they are not they should be, that Memorial University was based on the fundamental philosophy of offering post-secondary education to every Newfoundlander in this Province, regardless of socio-economic background.

I ask the minister: Are his officials, or the government, or the Cabinet, looking at Memorial as an institution in the way it delivers its programs? Are they looking at opening up the books in terms of getting government more involved in the way that Memorial runs itself as an institution as a result of the pending cuts that are coming?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is talking about an institution which the people of this Province have come to respect over the years. I would assume the hon. member himself probably attended Memorial, as did I, and the last thing the people of this Province would want to see is a Government of Newfoundland university. If he is suggesting that we are going to poke our noses in and say: Here, give a course in NDP economics, or give a course in Tory history, or give a course in Liberal English, we would not have a university; we would have a farce, and the suggestions that the hon. member is coming up with are repulsive, to suggest that we should poke our noses into a university - the University of Russia prior to the last revolution - the utter nonsense the hon. member is talking, no wonder he is where he is, and thank goodness he is going to stay over there for a good many years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

The GST rebate to municipalities of 57.14 per cent of the 7 per cent that is paid, the intent of the rebate is to assure municipalities pay no greater or more tax on the GST structure than they previously paid under the manufacturer's retail tax system. In view of the fact that the Province has informed the NLFM that the Province is pursuing the harmonization of the PST and the GST, has the minister prepared a financial analysis of the impact on municipalities, and would he share that analysis with the NLFM and with this House?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, the answer to my hon. colleague's question, `Have we prepared..." would be: No, we have not prepared. We are in the process presently of trying to determine exactly what it will mean to municipalities as a whole around the Province. This question has been dealt with through the Federation of Municipalities as well as the FCM just recently. The question was discussed at the FCM level at our Federation of Municipalities level, and within the confines of the ministerial committee set up to look at it as well.

There is a fair amount of lobbying going on around the country right now as it relates to the harmonization of the GST and the PST, but I am not in a position as of today to provide this House or the hon. member with the exact data. I will say to him that I have been asked from a Department of Finance perspective to provide some data to them, and when that data is available and I have provided it to them at that particular point in time, then I would imagine it would probably be available to the hon. member or to the public in general.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the loss of the GST rebate will be substantial. The rebate, as I said before, is 4 per cent of the 7 per cent paid, or 57.14 per cent of GST. If the harmonization is pursued and there is no commitment to follow the principle of no greater tax burden to municipalities than they have now it means, for example, the loss of $6,000 to Witless Bay, $65,000 to Bay Roberts, $15,000 to Bishop's Falls, $114,000 to Stephenville, $850,000 to St. John's, $125,000 to Mount Pearl. The total for all the municipalities across the Province could be as high as $3 million a year. Will the minister today assure the municipalities of this Province that harmonization will not add more tax burdens to our already financially stressed towns, cities and communities?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, municipalities around this Province have on numerous occasions lobbied both myself, Cabinet, government and the Premier on this particular issue and the answer to them has been that all those figures and facts will be taken into consideration at the end of the day if and when we finally reach a point of accepting or rejecting a combined GST and PST. I am not in a position and the hon. member knows full well that I am not in a position today to make that commitment to him. At the end of the day, when we weigh and balance the pros and cons of combining GST and PST, at that particular point in time then the question of the effect of what that will have on the municipalities in the Province will be discussed.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, we have 120 municipalities that are financially broke and sixty of them which may have to declare bankruptcy. Mr. Speaker, what we have here is a situation where this 4 per cent is going to be either kept by municipalities or it is going to be lost by the municipalities and the money - we know that 4 per cent is there, it will either be given back to municipalities or it will be a tax grab by the ministry and the Department of Finance. This could be a windfall for the Province but another slap in the face to the towns, communities and cities of this Province. Will the minister show some real resolve and say that as a department, as a minister, he is committed to keeping that money in the municipalities where it belongs and where it now is?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, nobody in this House, nobody including my friend from Waterford - Kenmount, can stand here and accuse me, as the Minister of Municipal Affairs, of doing anything in the past twenty years but to try and help municipalities in rural Newfoundland and I think he would agree.

An example of this government and myself trying to help municipalities, Mr. Speaker, was yesterday when I met with the Mayor of Baie Verte and sympathized with a community which was working darn hard to try and survive in hard economic times. I take exception to the fact that the hon. member would say that we would have sixty communities that were on the brink of bankruptcy in this Province because that is absolutely incorrect, that is absolutely incorrect. I say to the member, I cannot as the Minister of the Crown, stand in this House and make a solemn commitment to do something or I suppose, reply to his request. The only thing, Mr. Speaker, that I can say is that I will try my utmost and not only me but every member of this government, will try their utmost to protect municipalities, to help, I suppose, at the end of the day, let rural Newfoundland and the communities of Newfoundland and Labrador survive and that is the commitment I make to the hon. member, nothing other than that. I believe in Newfoundland and Labrador and that is the end of it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of last week I asked the Minister of Finance some questions relating to the projected deficit. I indicated to him that we have been hearing that the department is now projecting a $50 million deficit by the end of the current fiscal year. I was wondering, can the minister confirm that now or can he tell us what his latest projection - surely two weeks later now he has had plenty of time to find out from his officials what their latest projections are. I also asked him how many temporary positions had been filled. We have been told there is upwards of 1,100 temporary positions filled at a cost of some $50 million, happens to be the same $50 million perhaps of the deficit that is proposed. Would the minister like to confirm now both of those numbers for us?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At the time I indicated to the hon. member in the House that I would be making a full statement in the House probably, I guess within four or five weeks, which would be about mid-November. I expect that will be about the time when I can indicate to the House the current fiscal position of the Province. I will deal with the numbers that he requests and perhaps indicate to the Province what interim measures we might have to deal with any deficit as he alleges there may be.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, in another four or five weeks we could be another $50 million in debt the way this government is going. It is time that the minister found out where we are and took some action about it.

Would the minister like to explain to us, Mr. Speaker, a review of the Special Warrants that he tabled in this House last week, some $26 million worth of Special Warrants? Would he like to tell us how he is proposing to deal with that extra financing that was required and, could he explain to us $7.2 million required for new water bombers? Would he like to tell us why this capital expenditure was not in the Budget in the first place and what was the great emergency that required a Special Warrant, which is what a Special Warrant is really meant to be used for? Would he like to tell us about the $9.3 million for capital financing for Marble Mountain and operating for the Cabot 500 Anniversary Committee? Would he like to explain why those items were not in the Budget last year and had to be brought in as Special Warrants, and of course, the $1.8 million in the referendum for Educational Reform we can understand, would the minister like to explain that to us, please?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board

MR. DICKS: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would be delighted to deal with the facts.

I believe the hon. member asked about three specifics, I will deal with them as they are in the public domain at present.

First of all with regard to the water bombers, Cabinet makes a decision that it is probably to have water-bomber capacity on hand rather than see the forest burn should there be a major fire. It is important to the economy of the Province that we have sufficient capacity; our mills are operating at full bore right now, Corner Brook, Stephenville and Grand Falls. The opportunity arose after the Budget was prepared to replace some of our water-bomber fleet which as I understand may be as much as fifty years old. I think those were built in the late 1940s early 1950s. As the hon. member knows, having been here, Special Warrants are used to authorize expenditures that were not foreseen. This was one. I was not in Cabinet at the time, Cabinet reviewed it and came to the conclusion that it was a prudent decision to do it and it was in the order of $7.2 million, so the idea was to replace them and as I understand, it was a prudent decision and that will be in our Budget figures as well.

The $9.3 million as well, I believe he mentioned for operating for capital and for Marble Mountain, the Province is right now negotiating with the federal government on cost-shared programs, those have not been finalized; in order to proceed with both events - and I am not sure that that is the exact figure - but in order to proceed with both matters, it was necessary that they be done this year, money had not been authorized because the agreements had not been finalized, but because of the nature of work in the Province, it had to go ahead at this time and we didn't see cancelling the Cabot celebrations for example and preparations for it, so it was in the provincial interest to authorize those expenditures now, and hopefully recover some portion of those from the federal government under our cost-shared agreements.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl, on a supplementary.

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I am aware some of our water bombers are fifty years old. That would seem to be plenty of time to decide that you needed to put some funding in the Budget. This is not something that comes up in the middle of the year that you didn't know about. You knew last year when the water bombers were put away for the winter, the condition that they were in and whether or not you needed to replace them for this summer. These are not the kinds of expenditures, Mr. Speaker, for which Special Warrants are required.

Would the minister like to tell us - I don't accept the fact that the minister doesn't know what the projected deficit is, he does know what it is. Would the minister tell us how he is proposing to deal with it? Are we looking at a mini-Budget in four or five weeks time, is this what the minister is proposing to do? Is this why he is not going to tell us exactly what the situation is now, is that how he is going to deal with it or is he waiting to sell Holiday Inns perhaps, and get another cash cow to try to balance his Budget or is he going to wait for Christmas and let Santa Claus bring him a solution?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I think the Province once tried having Santa Claus bring it its solution some years ago when the hon. member was minister and that didn't work.

On to several questions, dealing with the water bombers, first of all, Mr. Speaker, what happened was, as the hon. members knows, we are quite aware and we review the condition of all our vehicles and fleets at any given time. What we don't know and can't predict is that we may see a good deal on the market; it is as with any expenditure that a person makes, you may not be planning to replace your car, but if you know you have to do it within the next several years and you find that there is a very good deal that you hadn't anticipated, you may very well go to the bank and borrow money to do it even though you hadn't planned to do it. That's the case with the water bombers. It happened that elsewhere in Canada, another Province was, as I understand it, trading in and buying new water bombers and were prepared to sell these at what our fleet staff told us were -

AN HON. MEMBER: Bargain prices.

MR. DICKS: - bargain prices, thank you Roger - and that was in fact a Cabinet decision and I believe it was a good one.

As regards the Holiday Inns, are we waiting to sell the Holiday Inns to balance the Budget? That would be a nice thought, one hopes that it may be so but at this stage I do not anticipate it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Eleven months have passed since the minister dropped motor vehicle inspections and permitted junk on our highways. The minister stated that he would review his decision after a period of time and plenty of time has passed. Would the minister tell us what conclusion he has reached on the adequacy of the current policy and table all information which led him to this conclusion?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I don't see the junk on the highways that the hon. member is referring to, except on occasions when I passed a few of his - hon. members opposite over there on the highway. To stand in this House of Assembly and say there is junk on the highways is absolutely false. There is no more junk on the highways than there ever was in the past. We have a done a number of highway stops by the Motor Registration Division, the RCMP, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and on each and every occasion, the pieces of junk that the hon. member has referred to, are not found, and they won't ever be found.

People are responsible in this Province. The same laws remain in effect on keeping your car, your truck, or any vehicle in a safe driving condition, and if the hon. member is saying that people are not doing that, then he is saying that the people of Newfoundland are irresponsible, and I, for one, do not believe that. The percentage of people who would violate the law are no greater now than in the past, when they used to take the inspection slip and go to a friend with a garage, get it ticked off, signed, and go on without getting the vehicle inspected. That happened on occasions with a small percentage of people. The numbers are no greater now but the enforcement agencies are now picking up those people on the highway stops, with road checks on the highways and trunk roads.

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

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

I believe this is the same minister who said the people in the Province are litters and they wouldn't obey the littering laws. Surely the current policy is not perfect. How many vehicles have police officers removed from the roadways this past year for reasons related to safety and roadworthiness? Doesn't the minister have eyes? Can he not see the junk on our highways, slipping by the police and threatening the safety of motorists and pedestrians?

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

MR. EFFORD: Let us deal with the last part of the question first. Is the hon. member saying that in less than one year all of the vehicles on the highways have deteriorated to a condition where they are all junk?

MR. J. BYRNE: Not all.

MR. EFFORD: Do you mean to say, in twelve months - if that is the case, then we should not be going to vehicle inspection, we should be going to the manufacturers, because there is obviously something wrong if the vehicles are falling apart in less than twelve months. It is kind of silly for the hon. member to say that.

The first part of the question - in one police stop, in one check, there were 500 vehicles stopped and six required a vehicle inspection. The same argument was put last year when we brought in the .05 legislation. All the members were against bringing in new legislation and now we have 30 per cent fewer accidents on the road in less than a year, and over 40 per cent fewer convictions under the Criminal Code of Canada, and we are getting congratulations from every police enforcement agency in the Province, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the RCMP, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and all other people who use good common sense, trusting Newfoundlanders to do the right thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, on a final supplementary.

I would like to ask the minister how many vehicles have the police pulled over on roadside spot checks this past year, and how does this compare with the number of vehicles on our roads? This is the most important one: What extra training, if any, have police received to help them fulfil the impossible responsibility of certifying vehicles as roadworthy in these impromptu roadside spot checks? Answer that one.

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

MR. EFFORD: I would like to ask the hon. member who wrote the question for him, because he sure didn't write it. First of all, the police enforcement agencies and the motor vehicle inspection people all over - I can't tell him the exact number but there have been several thousand vehicles checked on roadside stops all over this Province.

Number one, the people with Motor Registration are all mechanics. They are all trained with a mechanical background. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are very competent people to check - the safety equipment can be checked by an individual on the roadside. They also have the intelligence, if they see a car they consider to be, as the hon. member says, a piece of junk, to require that that car, within forty-eight hours, have a vehicle inspection done.

You are trying to make an issue out of what is really no issue. Our highways are the safest highways in all of Canada. Look at the situation on the reported accidents - thirty per cent fewer accidents this year than last year in the same period of time. You can take it all the way you want - you know that we made the right decision, and we are going to stick by it.

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

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

I thought the minister was going to say that he has armed the Constabulary with a tool kit but I don't believe he has done that.

I want to ask the Minister of Natural Resources a question as it pertains to the reactivation of the St. Lawrence fluorspar mine. Can the minister update the House as to what activities are taking place in St. Lawrence now, where we are with the process, and when we might expect some decision to be made as to direct reactivation of the fluorspar mine?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the gentleman, Alex Harris, who is working with Burin Minerals, who has the option on St. Lawrence fluorspar, is in town this week and we have had discussions in the last couple of days. He is making good progress on the feasibility study that he and his colleagues are doing relative to St. Lawrence fluorspar. The option on the property is good until next April, but clearly, the company is going to have to complete its assessment probably in the next two or three months, I would think, and then try to get financing for the project. We are into the final six months, anyway, of trying to get this one done, but they have made great progress.

We have been very pleased with the work that we have seen from them on the marketing possibilities. They are very pleased themselves with what they see on the technical side, the quality of the mill and the work they have done on the ore underground. So I am hoping, as the minister responsible for mines, that all this can come together in the next six months, but it is not quite there yet. As I said, we have been having some discussions with them, myself and the Minister of Environment, in the last couple of days, because he is in town now for the mining conference.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has elapsed.

Earlier, I introduced to you a group of students from Lawrence College, along with their instructor, Mr. William Callahan. What I failed to acknowledge was that Mr. Callahan was a former member of this Assembly for the District of Port au Port.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to questions for which notice has been given.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: As for answers to questions for which notice has been given, yesterday the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations promised to table in the House, in the afternoon but certainly no later than today, answers to the questions that I asked him regarding some statistics.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have two comments.

As I suspect the hon. gentleman from Burin - Placentia West realizes full well, that is not a point of order. Secondly, may I remind him today is not over.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for Ferryland, is he speaking to the point of order?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, Mr. Speaker, I was making another point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: We have to deal with the...

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, sure.

MR. SPEAKER: There is really no point of order. The hon. member will have taken notice, and there is no point of order when the minister will table that information.

The hon. the Member for Ferryland on a point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The Minister of Health gave a commitment yesterday to this House to table how many of the 101 recommendations of the Cancer Foundation have been implemented, and he did not do it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

That is basically the same point of order. There is really no point of order.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Before we go into Orders of the Day, perhaps I could make two points. First of all, I know that members on all sides, or both sides, would want me to take note of the fact that these two soul mates on the other side, the Leader of the NDP and the Leader of the PCs, who share so much also share a common birthday. I understand today is their birthdays, so I know that all members will wish them a happy birthday.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: One of my colleagues said, `kissing cousins'; my answer is no, because that would be incestuous.

Mr. Speaker, I should point out as well, I am told by those with better knowledge than I have of astrological signs, that this is the month of Scorpio. Now I am Virgo, but these two are Scorpio and one can read what one wants into that, particularly when we realize that the Premier is also a Scorpio. Now that should give the astrological admirers something to think about.

PREMIER WELLS: It says something about leadership.

MR. ROBERTS: It says something about leadership, and the Premier, being Scorpio, does not mean scorpion.

Mr. Speaker, may I come to a more substantive point.

MR. TOBIN: Snook is a Scorpio.

MR. ROBERTS: I will take the hon. gentleman's word. I have seen many Snooks, but only he has ever been snookered in this House.

Your Honour, I think we can probably anticipate that the debate on Term 17 resolution, which will be called in a second or two, will conclude probably not today but likely on Monday at some time. Now there are many members who wish to speak who have not yet spoken, and I understand there is a possibility there may be an amendment to be dealt with as well, so we will have to play and see, but I have had some consultation with my friend from Grand Bank and my friend from St. John's East, and we are going to suggest to the House - and I say it now so members can arrange themselves accordingly, arrange their schedules - because of the importance of this matter we will schedule the vote on it. In other words, if the debate finishes at some particular time which is not the time set for the vote, we will carry on with other business until the time comes, so members will have a number of hours notice, perhaps overnight, so that every member who wishes to be present - I anticipate there will be a recorded vote - will have an opportunity to do so, and it will not be a matter of members coming to me and saying: Can I catch an eleven o'clock airplane to my constituency? Or, I have a funeral to go to; can I go today? If that is agreeable, that is the way we will proceed.

With that said, Your Honour, I would ask if you would call Motion 4 on today's Order Paper. My friend from Menihek was coming to the part of his speech where he was going to tell us how he was going to vote on the resolution, I think, and also how the stocks are today.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 4, the hon. the Member for Menihek.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: It hasn't changed; I am still upset, and so is the stock market.

MR. TOBIN: Imagine how upset Roberts is.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. A. SNOW: It is undoubtedly true; he undoubtedly has a lot more to be upset about.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue my few brief remarks with regard to -

MR. TOBIN: Chuck, bought pesos. I heard that you bought pesos.

MR. A. SNOW: He went short on the Canadian dollar and bought pesos but, Mr. Speaker, I will continue my remarks on the resolution to amend Term 17.

I will continue along with last night when I adjourned debate I had talked about how the government had called the referendum. People questioned the very date of the referendum and how that left a lot to be desired with regard to having the election on a day preceding the school opening. A lot of people felt that it would have been a lot more appropriate to hold the referendum at a later date, Mr. Speaker, if indeed there should have been a referendum, in point of fact. A lot of people suggest that most of the reforms that are necessary in education could have been done and should have been done over the last five or six years and naturally the referendum, to removed the constitutional rights of individuals or classes of people, would not have been necessary, Mr. Speaker, and still is not necessary.

In my particular district I did not participate in the referendum campaign per se. I did state in interviews with the media that I would be voting no, for reasons that I had articulated at the time and I did vote no. I voted in the advance poll because I had made arrangements to go hunting, my annual caribou hunt in Northern Labrador on Election Day but I voted in the advanced poll, I did vote no. The majority of the people in my district voted yes, 63 per cent and 37 per cent voted no. With approximately 51 per cent or 52 per cent of the electorate voting.

The campaign itself, Mr. Speaker, I guess that to the people who campaigned in the referendum - I suppose you could say the no side, there was a campaign team that seemed to be mostly involving representatives from the Roman Catholic church and representatives from the Pentecostal Assemblies of this Province, Mr. Speaker, on the no side. On the yes side the government campaigned, undoubtedly. They sent literature to every household in this Province. The Premier and the Minister of Education campaigned every time they did interviews, meeting with editorial boards or in the media generally, Mr. Speaker, they undoubtedly campaigned. I would suggest that it was a very hard hitting campaign, not a soft campaign. There was nothing soft about the type of things that were said and done during the campaign, Mr. Speaker, the forums, the misrepresentation and the misstatements that were made by people. Now I am neither a Roman Catholic nor a Pentecostal, Mr. Speaker, and I say that, not that I have anything against either faith but I just wanted to make that known right up front, that I am not and I did not take part in the campaign per se.

A lot of people questioned the actual question itself, Mr. Speaker, in my district, the wording, the ambiguity of it. Most people I would say, there would have to be something wrong with you to feel that something cannot be changed or reformed to improve. So people voted for reform in a lot of cases, I believe, because it is necessary at all times to have reform and to improve. There is nothing that is perfect that cannot be improved upon but quite often some people change things and it is to the detriment. The question itself should have been debated. I believe that the government should have had more consultation with regard to what the question was going to be. The government should have made people aware of what the new schools act is going to do, what exactly does viability mean, how does one get there. These are the types of things that people should have been made aware of so they could vote with a clear knowledge of what the effect their vote would cause.

Maybe the people in Cabinet are aware of what the new schools act will mean. I am not. Nobody who I'm aware of in my district is aware of it. At least, nobody that I know of. I would assume - maybe it is a large assumption - that the people in Cabinet know what affect the new schools act will have on education in this Province.

If indeed this government saw fit to send a legislative review committee around this Province made up of legislators to see if it was appropriate to have a name change, shouldn't we really have sent a legislative review committee around this Province on something as important as this reform is going to do to Term 17, as a removal of constitutional rights from a minority group? Something that basic, something that fundamental. Shouldn't we have made an attempt as legislators to make people more aware of the consequences of changing the Constitution? I think, Mr. Speaker, that it is incumbent on a government to make people more aware of consequences of changing such a thing as the Constitution. I believe that the government was negligent, irresponsible, for not doing it.

I suppose everybody in this Province knows that there is nothing in Term 17 that talks about busing. Yet the Minister of Education and Training in his campaign did more talking about busing than anything else. You would swear to God that Term 17 was all about busing. I suppose half the newspaper articles and media reports and interviews that he did during the campaign were about busing. Then a couple of days before the vote we had a study released where he was going to save his $10 million. It got diluted down to around $8 million, I think. They had this big study commissioned. They were going to save a whack of money in my district; they were going to be one of the hardest hit, Labrador West. Going to save over $300,000 in busing in Labrador West. Three hundred thousand dollars they were going to cut out of busing in Labrador West, going to cut out of an area that produces more wealth per capita than any other district in this Province. That is what they were going to do.

They sent some fellow in during the exams, during June, he came in to do the study on busing. Followed the buses around, he said, in June. Going to take $300,000. The suggestion was to have triple busing. Can you imagine the kids in Labrador West going to school 7:00 in the morning, pitch black, in April, thirty below zero? If you are less than a mile from school you have to walk. People weren't made aware of that before the referendum. They didn't know about that in Labrador West. If they had known they wouldn't have supported it. So there were misstatements. People were misled, or information kept from them. This government was negligent on that.

The effects on the busing in Labrador West is that the winter season the busing occurs within a mile from the school, but about 85 per cent of the people live outside this mile, or inside the mile, because of how Labrador City had been developed, and Wabush. So in the spring busing this is where they are going to save all the money, from April 15 on. They are going to save a whack of money there, but at whose expense are they going to save this money?

Weather reports done in April in Labrador City - sounds good, you know, when you can sit up in your ivory tower in St. John's with your six-inch carpet on the Cabinet Room floors, your oak tables, nice soft cushy chair, and suggest changes to the busing in Western Labrador in April. Mr. Speaker, in April in Labrador City, we had chill factors twenty-three below zero, April 16, twenty-five below zero, April 17. It continues on down, with thirty-three below zero. Can you imagine a kid in Kindergarten, six feet of snow on the sidewalks, and the minister is going to trot him off to school at 7:00 in the morning -

MR. DECKER: You could be talking about (inaudible) the same as the teachers.

MR. A. SNOW: Well, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education and Training raises a good point.

MR. DECKER: Why should we treat busing differently from (inaudible)?

MR. A. SNOW: I will tell you why, because you should level up, not down. Don't haul everybody down with you. You tried that with the quality of debate in the House.

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible) Sprung (inaudible)!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, the minister tries that with everything in this Province. He tries it with the level of debate. He wants to bring it down to his level. Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, rules protect people in this House.

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible).

MR. A. SNOW: I want people to be treated -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: He doesn't have the floor - the Minister of Education and Training. Didn't he have his say, in thirty minutes?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: I rest my case with regard to how the minister feels about levels. He thinks he is above the debate in this House because he happens to be appointed to the Crown. He can rule with his iron fist. He is part of the problem in the whole debate. The whole debate could have been settled a lot easier if there had been a different minister.

We had a guest in the gallery last night, a former Minister of Education, who I would bet would have had this debate settled, would have had this reform through, finished, if he had run and been appointed Minister of Education and Training. If Dr. Phil Warren had run for re-election and had won and had been appointed Minister of Education and Training, most of these reforms that people desire in this Province could have been in effect right now, Mr. Speaker.

Instead of that, we have an individual as a Minister of Education and Training who wants to bully everybody. We just witnessed it here in the House. It is rules that - and thank goodness we do have rules that protect a free debate. You can't get shouted down. Mr. Speaker, his attitude of levelling down services where will that bring us? We continue bringing down the level of service. We saw Western Labrador, which has received national awards for delivery of education services to the mentally disabled. This government used that same practice of attempting to wipe that out, to take these kids and put them back in the closet, whereas they rightfully belong in the classroom.

AN HON. MEMBER: That isn't true!

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I can't allow this to go unchallenged. The hon. member knows full well that there is a system in place in this Province where handicapped people, whether they live in Conche or in Lab City, are entitled to certain privileges and certain rights. The hon. member would have it that one part of this Province would be left with a Cadillac system that the Province cannot afford.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: So the hon. member - I can't leave this unchallenged.

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. member to get - Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: The more the minister speaks, Mr. Speaker, the more he tells and shows the people of this Province what the problems are with education - the more he attempts to bully, the more he attempts to qualify what he is doing to reform education. He wants to bring the level of education down. That is what he aspires to. Can you imagine? A minister of the Crown aspires to level down the delivery of service. Make no wonder he would run out, make no wonder he would leave, make no wonder he escapes. Why? Because he is ashamed. He has to be ashamed of that attitude, of levelling down services.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Western Labrador are proud. They are proud of the education service that we have. The delivery of education in Western Labrador, I feel, is by far the best in the Province. Should we be ashamed of that? No, Mr. Speaker, the people of Lab West are not ashamed of receiving national awards for delivery of education for the inclusion of disabled people. Children in the classroom have received national awards. They have been recognized around this country for being in the forefront of education. Ninety-two per cent of the people who finish high school in Labrador City actually go on to further education, 92 per cent go on for post-secondary education, and 98 per cent finish high school.

I am proud of those statistics - but yet, what you want to do is take that system and bring it down.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is not true.

MR. A. SNOW: What we should be doing is taking the rest of the scores - the CTBS scores in Labrador can compare with anywhere in the country. In most cases, they are higher in Labrador, but what does this government want to do? They want to take those systems and bring them down to the low average. That is fundamentally wrong, Mr. Speaker, it is fundamentally wrong with an idea that you level down. You should try to level up. If we continually level down we will revert to the cave. That is where we will end up if you continuously level down. You should always level up. It is a fundamental mistake of this government, of attempting to level down. I always thought that Liberalism was to bring the level up and not down.

Mr. Speaker, they misled the people during the campaign and that is unfortunate. This Province probably never would have entered Confederation in 1949 if there had not been a guarantee of rights to an education in certain denominations. We would probably never have been part of this country.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. A. SNOW: May I have leave to continue?


MR. A. SNOW: Thank you.

This country probably would not have even been created if there had not been an inclusion of minority rights in 1867, as my colleague, the Member for St. John's Centre so readily pointed out to us a couple of days ago. If we had not included minority rights to classes of people in 1867 the country would not even have been created.

Mr. Speaker, what we are now debating here is removing the constitutional rights of a minority and, to me, there is something fundamentally wrong with a society when the majority takes advantage and votes to take away a minority right, a minority right that was only given to one group of people in 1987. And seven short years later, because there is more of us than them, we are going to take it away. To me, there is something fundamentally wrong with that.

Mr. Speaker, a German theologian once said, `First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.' Now, think about those words when we are taking away the minority rights of people.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The District of LaPoile, as I guess a lot of hon. members know, contains within it a complete integrated school system, a single school board, and the religions involved in the school system out there participate through the school board itself. It, of course, represents the classes of people that are within the integrated system plus they have other representation being made through pastoral services and pastoral care for the other people who are participating in the school system there. It is an unusual situation to have a completely integrated system, within the Province, in one given electoral district.

The people of the area, during the referendum, did speak very clearly, in light of the fact that I think it was some 77 per cent, voted in favour of the change that the government has put forward, that was of those who voted. I don't have any doubt that if there had been a higher voter turn-out that the number of voters who would have selected the government's option would have been higher in percentage. There is a general view that an integrated system out there is a system which certainly is a model for the Province. I certainly, with respect to the hon. member opposite who speaks of us bringing the level of education down, I say that is such a negative commentary on what governments aspire to. For those of us who have children in this Province, it is almost disturbing to hear someone acting so politically with respect to an issue such as this. To think that we, as members on this side of the House, would aspire to level down, as opposed to wanting improvement for the people of our Province, for the children, our children, our grandchildren I suppose, those of us who have grandchildren, and those that will follow us, not only into this Chamber but into the future. It is disturbing and certainly -

I understand, from a certain standpoint, where the gentleman is coming from, because in areas where there are good economic prospects, where you have certain elements of the community doing very well economically, you have different results, Mr. Speaker. You have a case where, because of the overall outlook and the influence, I suppose, of economic prosperity on students who have come up and had a good socio-economic background to bring into their school system, they tend to do a bit better. It has been proven that without the worry of finances - and this goes right to the heart of the upcoming strategic social initiative that the government will bring forward, but it is certain that these people do better. Of course, if anything that these individuals have is at all going to change, there is a certain element of threat. So I understand, to a point, where the hon. member is coming from but it is certainly not to point the finger at the government and say that we intend to level down the system. It certainly is, I feel to the hon. member, that such is not the case. I respectfully disagree with the position that he has put forward because we don't aspire to level down. We aspire to utilize the administration funding that is in excess in the system, to level up, to bring everyone up to a good provincial average to try to correct the problems associated with the education system in this Province.

Now, this resolution that has been put forward by the government is a resolution which will effectively change the Constitution of Canada. There are a number of things that we have to keep in mind though, first and foremost, we have to recognize that the churches have contributed so well and have essentially, I suppose, started the education system in this Province, that the churches - it is certainly a fact that they have contributed so much to the social and community fabric of our Province. They have been the pioneer builders who have put the cornerstones down for our corner of the world. They have nurtured the framework for democracy in this Province by participating in the education of our people here in the Province and by setting the foundations on which we maintain the system that we currently have. Some would suggest and some have suggested on the other side and some on this side, that government's action in this educational debate would have the effect of undertaking changes against the wishes of minorities.

Now, I disagree with that because we have the ultimate method of canvassing the majority of people in the Province, the referendum, in which everyone of voting age was eligible to vote and in which all people had the opportunity to choose to vote for or against this proposition by government. The majority of those who voted, of course, gave us the necessity by which we now must proceed. We certainly would wish that a larger percentage of individuals had voted but the opportunity and the option were there and, of course, part of our democracy, I suppose, is not being forced to vote as we have seen recently in Iraq, where, I suppose some 99.5 per cent of the population voted. Here, it is an option we have. Part of democracy is the option to vote or to choose not to, and as much as some of us would wish that the whole population would vote, it is not reasonable to expect that.

The hon. the Member for St. John's Centre, my colleague who sits here in front of me, has gone as far as to suggest that the largest single group involved in the governance of education constitutes a minority. Now, Mr. Speaker, that really, I would suggest, is stretching it somewhat; that would be so, I would think, only if the person who speaks of such has his fingers crossed, to suggest that the largest single group would be a minority. That only can happen, Mr. Speaker - and it must be the new math, because you can only create a minority out of the largest group of people by adding together all of the others. So, really, to suggest that a single group, the single largest group, constitutes a minority can only come about if you add all of the other minorities together, to constitute a single group. It is certainly convoluted logic and something that sounds like the creation of a very rich mind.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that we must move forward from this point. My children are just now moving into the school system. I have a five-year-old daughter who just started Kindergarten this year, and another who is four and has just entered into the preschool system once a week, doing half-a-day, getting used to the school system in a preschool program that is in place in our district. I feel very strongly about the school system and about the problems associated with the funding of schools in the school system, not just because I have children in there myself, I also have two other daughters who are sixteen and fifteen and are in the high school system, and I see a difference, of course, in the attitudes that have prevailed in that gap between the two families, I suppose you could say, and how the approach is changing now.

I must say, the improvements are very, very marked improvements in the delivery of education at the younger levels, and hopefully that will spawn some new interest and encouragement in the education of the younger two, and, as well, the older two, of course, are doing very well. They have a desire to do well in school and are doing quite well at this stage. Some of the offerings, though - I should suggest, in the smaller areas such as the district where I come from in the Town of Port aux Basques, which is the largest school in the area, we have a system where they don't even offer a physical education program in the largest school in my district. So to understand why we can do that and yet still maintain the administration of three school systems in some districts - in Central Newfoundland, for example, we have a Roman Catholic School Board, a Pentecostal School Board and an Integrated School Board, and the administration that is associated with the three -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: A lot of shared services.

MR. RAMSAY: A lot of shared services, yes, but there is a duplication and possibly a triplication in some elements with respect to superintendents, assistant superintendents in some cases, co-ordinators from each of the programs, and that, in essence, is the kind of thing that we must seek to change. Now, granted, I know we had some form of agreement to change that kind of thing and lower the number of school boards anyway, but I feel that it certainly could be improved much by bringing in this measure to make sure that there is no duplication and essential growth of bureaucracy in the administration of education that appeared to me to be the case if we continued on the course of negotiating incessantly and going to a point where our negotiations led to nothing but a maintenance of the status quo.

The people of the Province have directed us, by virtue of the majority vote in the referendum, to move forward with this. I don't feel we have the moral right at this stage to do anything different other than what has been proposed, which is to move forward with the resolution as was proposed in the referendum.

So what is the problem in the school system? Why do we, here in this Province, have a school system which is considered by many to be behind in certain respects; I shouldn't say behind overall. We have our scholars, we have a general system which has served us well over the years, but in areas of excellence on an overall basis there is something missing. Maybe it is because we don't spend so much per student. Maybe it is because of the socio-economic factors in our society.

I know that in one case in my own work activity in the past, I was doing some work for a cable TV company and it entailed some door-to-door, somewhat a prelude, I suppose, to politics and knocking on people's doors, but it involved going to communities and signing people up for subscriptions to cable TV. Through different communities in the Province... The hon. the Member for Harbour Grace, I went through an area in his district. I went through other areas up through Conception Bay, and I also at that time had the opportunity to go through the area of Fox Harbour and Long Harbour, and it was very, very interesting to note that in that area where there was a really good socio-economic, I suppose, background, because of the fact that there were jobs in the area, there was good money, the community was doing very well, the people had a situation - and it was very noticeable, I must say - the situation was much better than it was in some of the outport areas where I had visited and knocked on doors and assisted people with their subscriptions to cable TV. And I couldn't help but notice it, it was very, very noticeable, that the students appeared to be not only better dressed, which they were, but they also appeared to have benefited greatly from that financial situation that most of the people in that area experience because of the proximity of the phosphorus plant. It was really noticeable, so much so that myself and an associate of mine who was working with me both remarked at the time that the students appeared to be so much more eager and interested in school that there were less worries, you heard less regretful stories when you visited their houses. Really, I know since that time the area has had some severe economic problems because of the closure of the phosphorous plant, but it was so noticeable that I thought to myself: If only we could have that kind of economic impact in other areas of the Province, maybe all of these things would improve. All of the educational opportunities would improve because the overall effect on the students in that given area would of course be one of less worry and one where they could concentrate and focus their efforts on their school work much better without having the concerns of their parents' finances as a part of the process.

My own situation, Mr. Speaker, I was born and raised in Port aux Basques, and raised in that school system. Just at the time when I started school was when that school system changed over from being a separate school system to consolidated. I remember at first it was called the Consolidated School Board. I started in 1967 and went on from there. At that time the school board was -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was the principal?

MR. RAMSAY: No. Art Bull actually was the principal at the time.

Just to explain that I went through a school system where - it was an old school. All the way up through school of course we went through the buildings. The first one that I went into that was either bit new was built in the late 1960s. It was the high school at the time when we moved into the high school. It still never had some of the necessary facilities that one would expect in an area of such a large population, a population of about 6,500 people at the time, and we never even had a proper gymnasium. The gymnasium that was there was built down. As the hon. member said we were going to bring it down; well, that gymnasium was brought down because the integrated educational council of the day couldn't afford to build it in the right way.

We had a gymnasium where when you played some of the sports you were always knocking the ceiling tiles out of the ceiling of the gym. If we had a tournament of some kind no one could even come in to watch because the gym was so small. This was a large centre in the Province that had this kind of multi-purpose, or multi-religion. Everyone went to the one integrated high school in the area. This is what we had. Even as far back as the mid- to late-1970s this was the case.

I know there are cases throughout the Province where others had facilities that were not as good or were probably even worse and others who had better. At one point in time when I was first elected I mentioned to one of the hon. members opposite, I remember the hon. Member for St. John's East, the former Mayor of St. John's, who preceded the current hon. member, and I mentioned to her that the photocopying budget for one school in Mount Pearl exceeded the total budget of one of our schools, with the exception of teachers' salaries and that, but exceeded the total discretionary budget for the full school in one of the areas in my district.

Certainly she argued it with me. We got out the figures and we looked at it. She said: It is hard to believe that a small school in a community of 1,000 people in your area that serves X number of students, and a similar school in here, and the difference is so marked. Such a difference that one would not believe that the small school in an outside area of the Province would be suffering along with so little when some of the larger schools in this area and the larger urban centres would have so much.

When we go through the school system sometimes of course we wonder what is it that stimulates us to aspire and succeed. What is it about the schooling that we take? Is it the fact that we do certain academics? Is it the fact that we are influenced so much by certain teachers? I think really the teacher side of the thing, having a teacher that is a special teacher, one that gives you some of life's lessons, along with your parents, but a teacher or some person you look up to who offers you little comments and life lessons that you carry with you into the future. I had a few like that and I am sure most hon. members did. We remember little sayings. I remember my high school English teacher said: If it is worth doing it is worth doing well.


MR. RAMSAY: Yes, it was always Billy. Certainly, it is the kind of thing we look back on, and you sometimes wonder, I suppose, what it is that will help a student who is an underachiever to achieve and succeed in the future, which is what we want, I suppose all of us here. If you look at that as an example to our community in the Province, the achievement of students in the school system, how does that then relate to people's ability to achieve in business, to succeed as members of the community and to succeed in respect of their offering of community service and public service to the Province?

These are the things, I think, we have to look at and hopefully this measure will improve. We have no guarantee that what we do here, no one has any guarantee that what we undertake as government, or even as members of the Opposition for that matter, will have a positive impact on future generations whose best interests we are looking out for. We certainly hope that our efforts here do have some positive impact on those we aspire to lead.

Another point, I wanted to mention about the integration of the school community in the district I represent, and what it has done to the social fabric of the community. There were, of course, the differences not only between the Roman Catholic community, which was very small in our area, and the Protestants, but there was also the Anglican against the United. It was not such that it was a terrible thing but it was a rivalry that was laced with snowball fights. The situation of a snowball with a rock, of course, was a terrible thing and you were sent to the principal for that type of thing, but it existed, there was a difference and a gap between the different religions in the area.

Since the integration of the different religions totally into the school system, into one melting pot, so to speak, the religious differences are still here but as a community the integration has done so much to bring the people, regardless of their religion, together in the community. As I recall it, an ecumenical spirituality. We have a case where you have a rotation of the spiritual leadership for the church in the school system and it works very well.

The most recent high school graduation I attended in Port aux Basques had the Pentecostal pastor for the area, representing a very small percentage of the population, giving the blessing at the graduation church ceremony. It was very moving to see the members of the congregation and the students who were there to participate so much in this ecumenical service. It was certainly the kind of thing that was an example for the Province, to see that this integration and this type of overall activity can be very helpful for the spiritual healing of the community, and for bringing people together in such a way that religious differences and any bigotry that existed in the past can disappear.

I note, as an example, that nearby in the district of the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture - and I know a lot of people from the Codroy Valley as it is very close geographically to my own area, and that kind of harmony is not as prevalent in the Codroy Valley area which has a very, very strong population of a single school system. It is much improved over what it was, but it is not as harmonious as it is for the integrated system in our area - so to look at what we did...

We tried to reach a consensus amongst the churches, which was the way we preferred to proceed. That attempt, of course, there was a considerable effort made on the part of churches, on the part of government, to try to bring about a resolution to this without having to proceed to any legislative or constitutional measure. We reached a point at which the integrated schools, schools in integration, were comfortable with the situation; they had reached their limit, and they allowed us then to negotiate further with the Pentecostal and Roman Catholic school boards, or the DECs, and as far as the Pentecostal and Roman Catholics were concerned at that time, we had to go further.

So we went further along, but then we reached a point where the schools in integration informed us that they were not prepared to go as far as the others had said, so we were left with a problem. What do you do when those with whom you are negotiating cannot agree? What do we as a government do when we have one group that is in agreement to a certain point, and another two groups that say we have to go further, and it is an impossibility. It was an intractable situation, one which we really had no choice but to choose another way of proceeding. We had to take another course of action, and basically if you look at that in comparison to what the Opposition is saying about us, they are criticizing us for having held a referendum. They will criticize us for not acting on the recommendations in the Royal Commission Report. They will criticize us for having showed the leadership that we have shown in the face of a difficult situation.

I think if the Opposition were in a similar circumstance to us, they would have either done one of two things. They would have capitulated and allowed things to remain as they were, or they would possibly have gone back and come up with something that would have been nothing but the status quo, and I sincerely believe that.

The Royal Commission on Education is certainly something that the Opposition is always suggesting that we should have followed in changing the education system. Well, a lot of the recommendations in there are being acted upon, and a lot of the parts of this Royal Commission, Our Children, Our Future, certainly are the basis on which we have acted. They are the basis on which we have proceeded to the point that we are now, and I feel that we have been very justified in proceeding the way we have, and in light of the view of my constituents that changes should be made, I really feel it is no difficulty for me because I have always felt this way and have said so in previous speeches in this Chamber on anything to do with education.

There are a number of parts of this which I do not really have time to get into, with the limited amount of time we have to comment, but certainly I have noted out some of the recommendations about equal access, equal opportunities to programming, the tie-in with the problems associated with socio-economic status, and certainly I would say to the people of the Province and to the Opposition here that this is not a conspiracy for us to conspire to go off and create some education system that was not what we thought would be the best in the first place.

Opposition would have the people of the Province believe that government conspires to hurt people, that governments are - and I understand that is part of the process of governing, having an Opposition to call you to task, but some of the comments that the Opposition make, you would swear we are all a bunch of evil, three-headed monsters over here that were out to do nothing but hurt people.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are.

MR. RAMSAY: I know that they say that we are, but it really shows just how ludicrous the comments of Opposition sometimes are, and how much they grasp for straws in the administration of opposing government. So this exercise in democracy that we have come forward with here in this resolution to eventually change the constitution is our best judgement of what should be done given the circumstances of the day, so we plan to lead by example in this, and we will make the decisions that are necessary. We must achieve a more integrated system here in the Province. We need and demand nothing but excellence in the education system, and we need a minimum of duplication in the delivery of school administration, and that is a necessity for our children.

Now we do not enjoy the conflict of putting churches in a position where they have no choice but to oppose us, but at times for the benefit of all of the people of the Province, and all of the students and children in our Province, we have to bite the bullet I suppose, and move forward with something that is not as we would like but it is the best possible solution to the problem; and we consider these changes necessary, I certainly do for the benefit of my children, for the benefit of the children of the people in my district and I certainly hope that the future will allow us to free up some of those administrative funds that have previously been wasted through duplication, and I don't mean wasted as if someone was throwing them into a furnace or anything like that, I mean that we allowed the system to grow to a point where bureaucracy and the administration of education became more important than the school supplies and the teaching supplies given to a small school in the community of Petites as an example, so for the sake of our children and our children's futures, I don't think we can shirk our responsibility because of disagreement with the churches on how we would proceed.

The people of the Province and the people of the District of LaPoile voted for reform, it is plain and simple, they voted for the specific prospect put forward in the resolution that government proposed -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RAMSAY: - and in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would say that we would be remiss if we did not proceed as we intend to, and I look forward to the vote on this to express the wishes not only of my constituents, but of the majority of the people in the Province.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I was going to yield to my friend from Eagle River because I thought he might have some other chores to attend to before lunch, but I looked at the clock and I said: he has lots of time after I sit down to have his few words and still get to whatever he has to for lunchtime.

Mr. Speaker, the question that a lot of people around this Province and I am no exception, had on their minds when government and especially the Premier and the Minister of Education and Training, over the last number of months - over the last couple of years really, because I can remember back in the House I think it was a little over a year ago what the Premier said here, it was on a Friday morning - really it was on a Friday morning when he said it when he spoke to - I think it was in the form of a Ministerial Statement if I am not mistaken, when he told the church leaders in this Province that there would be absolutely no changes and the government wouldn't go for a change in the Constitution in Term 17 with regard to changing the constitution referencing the denominations in the Province, and the part that the churches were playing in education in the Province.

However, Mr. Speaker, all I can see that is happening - I mean, we had the Royal Commission on Education, we had approximately I think it was something like 90 per cent of the 211 recommendations made in that particular report implemented, if not, could have been implemented and probably more. I was looking at the report and as far as I am concerned, probably 95 or 96 per cent of the recommendations could be implemented and the other small portion could have also been implemented with the consensus and the dialogue that could be carried out between government and churches.

Over the years, Mr. Speaker, a lot of changes, especially in the last ten years, have come to education in the Province. In a way, it was an evolutionary thing, the way that school boards came together, the way that different schools, R.C. Pentecostal and Integrated in certain areas of the Province came together, I suppose, consolidated in a lot of cases and made the school system better for school children in the area and as a whole, saved government money and saved the people of this Province large dollars, all done by consensus, all done by agreement.

There was no need to change Term 17 to do that, there was no need of changing Term 17 to do it today and there would not have been any reason to change Term 17 to do it tomorrow, if they got their minds together.

Mr. Speaker, there is one thing obvious, there was one thing obvious from members opposite and especially the government of the day, and it is evident ever since they came to power in 1989 and that is, power. You go back to some of the legislation that has been introduced into this House over the last six years, examples, municipalities in the Province. Strip municipalities of the Province of their MOGs, of their formula for the repayment on the capital debt, it was done arbitrarily, Mr. Speaker. Those are volunteer groups carrying on the government of municipalities in the Province, at their own expense. It was dictated to them what to do, what they have to do in order to survive, what they have to do in order to get funding from the government, that was dictated to them. Library boards in the Province is another prime example. There was no consultation, there was absolutely none. We will tell you how to operate. We will tell you how to spend your dollars and we will tell you where to operate in this Province. If you want anything more then do it voluntarily and go to the community in which you live, ask the people, if not, you do without.

There are all kinds of examples, Mr. Speaker. There are examples now from the federal cousins in Ottawa, our social programs, our UI, our health care, education, not a word, not a whimper. I can remember a few short years ago when there was a $32 million or $33 million shortfall in equalization payments in this Province, when there was another government in power in Ottawa and everybody was hitting the ceiling. The concerns expressed by individuals opposite were unreal. We were going to be bankrupt. We could not provide this program; we could not provide that program. Today there are millions, hundreds of millions - billions like Mr. Smallwood would say - billions and on top of billions going out of this Province being stripped from the coffers of this Province and there is not one word said about it. We know, I know, Mr. Speaker, and the people of this Province will know in another few days, another few months as we progress and as we go on in bringing in the next provincial budget, the next federal budget and so on, what is going to happen to our social programs in this Province and to everything else, but the big one is education.

We had another prime example this morning, in questions to the minister as it pertains to the university, what about cuts to the university over the next little while? The minister admitted that there will be cuts. He did not know what, 1 per cent, 10 per cent, 20 per cent or 50 per cent but he knew there was going to be cuts. They know now how much it is going to be but who is saying anything about it? If this government is so concerned about the children of this Province and about the education of the children of this Province, how come there is nothing being said now about what is going to happen with the shortfall of dollars coming from Ottawa? Not a word, not a whimper but yet they are so concerned about the denominational system in this Province and the dollars that are going to be saved, those large millions of dollars that are going to be saved over the next little while is going to save the educational system in this Province. Isn't it rather hypocritical? Isn't it hypocritical to think that the measly $15 million or $20 million - if that is so, that remains to be seen, there is nothing proven - is going to save the educational system in this Province, is going to make all Einstein's out of everybody that comes out of our educational system in this Province? Everybody all of a sudden is going to be able to go off and say that we just graduated from the educational system in Newfoundland, you have to accept us.

Mr. Speaker, the monies that are going to be saved from the changes that are going to be made as it pertains to Term 17 in this Province and the doing away with the denominational system in this Province is going to be minuscule. It will be nothing compared to the cuts in education alone from the federal government over the next six to twelve months; they will be insignificant, Mr. Speaker.

I say to members opposite and to the people of this Province, if you are so concerned about the education of people in this Province then you better start speaking up. If not members opposite will be the ones who will be answerable in a very short period of time for what is going to happen to the education system in this Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Well no, you are right. Nobody listens. I never forget the time that I was in Pollards Point in my district to talk about the insignificance of what you say in the House of Assembly and the insignificance of the place itself as far as I'm concerned. I went down to visit this old gentleman, he said: Rick I haven't seen you for a few weeks. I said: No, I haven't been around; I've been in the House for the last few weeks. He asked: What, were you sick, did you have the flu or what? This is, Mr. Speaker, indicative, I say to members opposite and my colleagues on this side of the House, of how the House of Assembly is seen in the rural areas of this Province, anyway.

In and around the precincts of St. John's and so on - I mean, you look around this House in the last week or so, with the debate on education. It was supposed to be the most significant piece of - well, it isn't legislation, resolution, really. It is supposed to be - you know, all the people in the Province, 75 per cent or 80 per cent really in the polls suggested they wanted change. I look around this House this week and what do I see? Five members. It makes you wonder. There is also another message in there. It translates further, it brings more of what I was just talking about earlier about the concerns that they should have over the next few months as it pertains to education in the Province.

Another question that I would ask, and I ask a lot of people around this Province, especially parents who have children in school today, and had children in school yesterday, and their fathers and mothers who had children in school before that, and the schools that they went to, the schools that I went to, and every other member of this House. Are we any less human beings or educated people in this Province because we went to a religious school? Are we any less educated because we went to a public school? Are we less educated if we went to school at all?

Poor old grandfather used to say to me, he said he went to school and he left in what they call primer. He said: I only spent two or three weeks there and left. He said: As far as I'm concerned, there are two kinds of education. I asked: What would they be? He said: The kind you get going to school and the kind you get after. He said: What I got after was a lot better than what I got going, and some of the people who continued right on through. You know, you could ask that man a question about pretty well anything on current affairs any day of the week and he could answer it. Because they were well versed, well read and so on. I'm sure other members in the House can speak the same way about their grandfathers, grandmothers and other kin.

I went to a school in Buchans. I went personally to St. Theresa's Academy in Buchans. My colleague the Member for Windsor - Buchans knows what I'm talking about. He went to the integrated system just down the road. I went to St. Theresa's Academy, RC school in Buchans. I had the sisters teach me. I had some great clergy there at that time. One I remember fondly is Father Fitzgerald, old Father Fitzgerald an old-time priest years gone by, well-respected in this Province, well-respected among his peers and so on. We always got together afterward. There was never any animosity between the schools. We played hockey, different teams, we played basketball. I will never forget Grand Falls Academy and St. Mike's in Grand Falls. Same thing. There was never anything about religion. Nothing.

In fact at midnight mass, I would say, 50 per cent of the congregation were from other religions. Always came to midnight mass. We lived in harmony with each other. We lived without animosity, went to church suppers here and there. There were all kinds of get-togethers and so on, and there was never anything said.

Now, all of a sudden, I ask members and I ask the people of this Province: How come, since 1949, all of a sudden the problem with education in the Province is because we have religion involved in schools? Because that is what it is all about. This is not about anything else. This is about absolutely nothing else. This is not about school bussing. This is not about curriculum. This is not about whether a Protestant teacher is any better than a Catholic teacher. If so, why haven't we asked the questions before, why an R.C. teacher would be any better than a Pentecostal teacher would be any better or any less than an integrated teacher? They live and work together in the same communities. They share the same buildings. They share the same interests. Their children go to the same figure skating, the same hockey, the same everything, yet all of a sudden the problem with the education system in this Province is religion, since 1949. That doesn't say much for the political leaders of this Province over the years, when all of a sudden it comes down to a few measly $10 million or $15 million over the next number of years to put the so-called education system back to where it should be, and the insinuations are made that all of a sudden we are all going to be AAA overnight.

I say to members opposite, and the people of this Province, that they are being misled. There is no way; this is a cover up for something. I do not know what. I mentioned earlier that it has to do with power, and as far as I am concerned that is absolutely what it has to do with, nothing more, nothing less. For the minister to get up in his place this morning and say there were going to be cuts to university, where is the money going to come from the so-called savings in the communities around this Province after the resolution is passed?

I said, when the referendum was on - I did not tell anybody in the district; if anybody asked me I told them; I did not go public - I wrote to the coalition that asked me, and I put it on record that I was going to vote no in the referendum. I did not go around my district preaching it. If they asked me I told them, and if they asked me why, I told them. That was it. That is where it stopped, but there was something more to it. I let the people have their say. I did not want to interfere. I did not want to interfere at all.

The question I want to ask members opposite: What are they going to do after this resolution is passed? Will there be legislation? Because I told the people during the referendum: If I were voting on the actual piece of legislation that was going to govern the schools in this Province and the school boards in this Province, right the next day, or the day after the referendum, then I would be able to look at it in a more educated way and have a better handle on what I was voting for. What was I voting for? The question: Do you support revising Term 17 in the manner proposed by government?

I asked some members opposite would they mind elaborating on the manner proposed by government. I couldn't get it. I don't know if other members could get it, I was never told. I asked him, what was the manner proposed by government? What was going to be in the legislation? What was going to be in the small Schools Act? This small Schools Act came up here four or five years ago - where is it? They could have made changes in that. That was a big thing here one day, with a Ministerial Statement. Absolutely nothing - it disappeared. All of a sudden it is after resurfacing again. That is going to be the legislation that is going to govern the schools in this Province. What legislation, Mr. Speaker? What legislation is going to govern it? Let the people of the Province see it. Let the members of the House of Assembly see it. We are voting on a resolution that says nothing. This resolution says that they are going to go to Ottawa and the Senate and change Term 17 to accommodate the few changes that are contained in this resolution. There are a few words being changed, `continue to' and so on in (a) and `continue to' added in Section C, who is going to direct and determine the set up of schools after and the type of schools. That is it, the bottom line here is that we are taking away a minority right.

The bottom line here, Mr. Speaker, that we, in this Province, had people go overseas and fight and give their lives to protect the rights of this country and the people of this country. We had people go overseas in 1939, in the '40s, the Second World War, to give their lives, and this country and this Province paid dearly for that, Mr. Speaker, dearly, to give us the right to operate and to carry on the functions, whether it was education or freedom of speech or whatever you had in this country and this Province. We and the people in it paid dearly. All we had to do was go around this Province, look at some of the cemeteries around here. All we have to do is go to other countries and look at it, all we have to do on Remembrance Day, Mr. Speaker, is go to the Legion's around this Province and the memorial grounds, in the cenotaphs and have a look at who's laying the wreaths.

When I see a government in this so-called great Canada of ours that we are debating so much about in the last couple of weeks and when I see the minority rights taken away from people, whether they are church groups, whether they are someone in a community, municipality or whatever they might be, when I see this happen, Mr. Speaker, whether there is a referendum or no referendum - there was no referendum when those people went off to fight the battle for freedom of speech, there was no referendum to say how long they would stay over there. There was no referendum for that, but there was a referendum to take away the rights of an individual to have something in their communities that they want. Those same people, Mr. Speaker, whether they are RC, Pentecostal, integrated, Anglican, United or whatever, they pay taxes in case people don't remember. They pay taxes in this country; they pay taxes in this Province.

A prime example in my area, the Pentecostal people put up $785,000 in a very short period of time to pay for their own school out of their own pockets, hard work and hard earned money. Now if the rest of the people in this Province wanted to do otherwise, why should they be condemned, put down and belittled because they tried to do something with an education system in their Province, because they tried to enhance the education of their children, because they tried to do something beneficial and positive and they were optimistic in doing so? They could not get money from government. At the same time they did it, there was no money from government. Government was out cutting school boards, cutting maintenance in school boards. I mean, Mr. Speaker, if people would only realize and wake up and look around within their own communities, they would see that this is nothing but a bluff, an absolute, as the hon. member calls it, a charade - a charade, that's what it is.

This would all be done by evolution, this would all be done in communities, is done by necessity. In my area now, the R. C. School Board in Deer Lake has a junior high made out of one school; the rest of the people are going to the integrated system and the Pentecostal system has 340 to 350 students in their school. We have a prime example of the hypocrisy of this particular resolution in the petition I presented the other day to the House of Assembly.

I am down in what is called the White Bay south part of my district. In the communities of Jackson's Arm, Sop's Arm, Pollards Point, willing parents came together; this, as the minister says is going to be parental-driven. Big deal, parental-driven! This is not going to be parental driven, they are going to be told what to do, when, where and how to act. They are going to be told how much money they are going to get. Well, Mr. Speaker, I say to you and members in this House, three-and-a-half years, long before a referendum, long before a resolution change in Term 17, the people in the bottom part of my district in the White Bay south part of my district have cried out loudly for a school.

They were willing to close four schools, Mr. Speaker, four schools, but it fell on deaf ears and then, someone in government has the gall to tell those people: Well, it is not efficient to close four schools and build one, Mr. Speaker, whom have we around this Province not efficient to put away four schools and put up one, where is the money? $4 million out of $6 million this year, to do what? It is not enough to caulk the windows in the schools around the Province, not enough to put caulking compound around the windows and yet, we are talking about all the schools that are going to be built after this resolution goes through. Everything is going to be hunky dory.

Children will come out of the classrooms with Grade XII ready to go off to Ontario or Harvard, no problem, they will be able to pass right on by the university here, pass right on through the doors, no problem; apply for a graduate program in this Province after we get this resolution through, no problem you will be accepted. Masters program will be a thing of the past, Mr. Speaker. There will be more money, Mr. Speaker, more money I would say in selling bubble gum. There will be more bars sold, more calendars bought and more doors worn out in this Province from youngsters knocking on them, trying to get donations to try to even get through Grade XII, let alone do any extra curricular activities.

Mr. Speaker, there is one thing evident in this resolution and I started this debate with one word, and that was `power'. This government knows nothing else, only power. If they are going to make such a good educational system, if all of a sudden, overnight, someone has actually wakened up, where is the money the last six years? Where is it going to be tomorrow, when the legislature kicks in? I say after Tuesday, Mr. Speaker, that probably this resolution will die. This resolution will never see the light of day. If we vote on this legislation come Monday, I am not a betting man, Mr. Speaker, but I would say that this resolution will probably never be seen anywhere else. The House of Commons, it might go to the House of Commons but I guarantee you, I will be very, very, very surprised if anything is done with that after Monday. I will tell you that, Mr. Speaker, I will say, because I will say there is more to this, if people look a little deeper, than what is on the surface, what is presented here. The facts are, if we had the legislation we could see it, and sit down as grown men and women and have a look at what is actually going to be implemented, what schools are going to have to go by, what we are going to be governed by. Where is the legislation? Granted, I admit, they want to go this route and change Term 17. Do it if that is what they want to do, but where is the legislation and what is the need of this?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: I will let the hon. member know what I am voting when I stand in the House to vote.

MR. ROBERTS: I have it marked down as, no, anyway.

MR. WOODFORD: Well, you can do that but you have been fooled before. Mr. Speaker, members opposite have all alluded to the monies that were wasted over the years. Members opposite talked about the $21 million or $22 million that was put into Sprung, they always get up and talk about Sprung. Well, I say to members opposite, why don't they go now to Hydro Quebec and ask them for 10 per cent of the $700 million they are getting every year from Churchill Falls? Ask for 10 per cent and you wouldn't have any problem with keeping up the maintenance of schools and the construction of schools in this Province. And members opposite rise and talk about the $21 million or $22 million that was spent by a Tory government on Sprung.

Mr. Speaker, the people of this Province should wake up and look at what Hydro Quebec is dragging out of the coffers of this Province and we have nothing and are wondering why we can't build a school. There is $700 million to $800 million a year going into the coffers of Quebec and we are talking about $15 million or $20 million over seventeen years. I say to members opposite and members on this side of the House, and the people of this Province, that we should be very careful.

There is one note I would like to leave with members - I don't know if other members have seen it. On August 28 there was an article in Time magazine which talked about the federal constitutional court in Germany and what happened. In the Bavarian state in Germany, in Bavaria, they have a law there which says you can display the crucifix in the classroom. There was a couple complained that the half naked, dead male figure frightened and intimidated their three children, and when school officials replaced that with just a plain crucifix, the parents amended their objections to add that such symbols contravened the Constitution by influencing their children to accept Christianity. By a five-to-three vote, the court accepted the constitutional argument and the country erupted in controversy.

Mr. Speaker, somewhere down the road, if this resolution is passed, if the legislation comes in based on some of the things in here, because there is a lot of interpretation here -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Does the member have leave?

MR. WOODFORD: Just one minute?

AN HON. MEMBER: One minute.

MR. WOODFORD: There are a lot of questions asked by this Mr. Irving who is supposed to be a constitutional expert. He made some glaring remarks as to inequities in this resolution, and the possibilities and the probabilities of this happening. Now, I know, as the hon. member said, that lawyers are there to interpret the justice system.

AN HON. MEMBER: And also cause trouble.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, I say to the hon. member, to cause trouble, too. They can do that quite well with all due respect to my colleagues.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, and that as well.

Mr. Speaker, I will finish up with my few short comments on this particular resolution. I say to all members in the House there is no doubt from the way members are speaking and what they have said, publicly, and in the confines of the Legislature, how they will be voting. There is no doubt in my mind that this resolution will be passed. What happens after it leaves this Chamber will be very important, as far as I am concerned, to the people in this Province. It will be very important to the church groups in this Province. The people when they voted in the referendum didn't vote to take away minority rights. They voted for reform in education. They did not vote to take away minority rights. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I have been in this Legislature over six years. Whether I get re-elected again the next time or not I am pleased today, more so than any other time that I've risen in this Legislature, to be able to support what I think is a very historic piece of legislation, to support what I think is a very progressive piece of legislation, to support a great liberal piece of legislation. In the next little while that I have I want to talk about why there is a need for educational change, and I want to talk about why this educational reform is not a partisan issue, and why it is an issue of good government. And obviously, I want to talk about my role as a member of this Legislature and what I should do in representing my people.

In 1989 we got elected on a message and sought the mandate of the people for real change. When we approached the government of this Province we approached it because we felt that there were some fundamental changes that had to happen in our society in this Province, and not the least of them was in the Department of Education, and what education we are going to put in place for our children as they strive for excellence towards the 21st Century. That was fundamental in our 1989 election campaign. In 1993 we got elected again, endorsed by the people because we wanted to continue to meet the challenges of the day. Fundamental to meeting those challenges of the day were the glaring problems that we had in education and what we needed to do in that particular field.

In my riding, not unlike other ridings in other parts of this Province, there has been a lack of educational program, a lack of educational facilities, particularly in the sciences, particularly in being able to give our students, our children, the ability to go on to post-secondary education equipped with the best information, the best education, when it came to chemistry, physics, biology, or any of those other sciences. I didn't have it growing up on the Coast of Labrador. I never knew what it was like to be in a laboratory. I know the Minister of Education and Training and many others in this House were in the same category. We did not have it.

When I wanted to go to University, I never had the luxury of being able to say whether I can decide to be a doctor or to be an engineer because I did not have the opportunity, I did not have the facilities, I did not have the system to provide me with the basics to approach those very noble professions, and that isn't right. That isn't fair. Our children on the Coast of Labrador should be no different from the children on Merrymeeting Road. They should be given the same opportunities for educational excellence, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, I am in a position where I look at our most challenged children in our society. I happen to be a parent of a child who has some challenges far above all of us, and, Mr. Speaker, it bothers me when I hear people talk about minority rights. It bothers me when I hear people talk about whether 6 per cent or 7 per cent of the Christians in our society should be getting some special rights, because I know firsthand that the greatest service we can do to our society is to reach out to our most vulnerable people, our most vulnerable children, listen to what they need to have so that they can strive for a quality of life like all of us. Look to them and say: Is there anybody in our society who needs to have education so they can have the dignity of living by themselves, the dignity of being able to get a job, the dignity of being able to have an income and a bank account, and be able to go out and participate in society. The only equalizer that is available to them is education. Education is the thing that can equalize their participation in our society.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Oh, it is so unfortunate that even in the Year of the Child, even in the Year of the Disabled that has been proclaimed by the United Nations, that it has still not reached the consciousness of us here in this Legislature, or indeed in this country, that there is no other more valuable contribution we can make with our education dollar than to give it to those people who have the least ability to be able to go out and manage excellence in their community, and they want that.

In rural Newfoundland and Labrador today we cannot provide that opportunity. We cannot provide it in many other places in this Province because funding is a real issue. The Minister of Education is not insensitive to that. The Minister of Education does not want to break down the excellent quality of education that those students in Labrador West have built. He does not want to do that.

I participated in that debate, and I tried to do what I could to manage a solution to that situation in Labrador West a couple of years ago, but you know what was so disheartening was that there was $40,000 or $50,000 required so that we could get those student assistants to be able to provide that care, but we could not do it. Yet, there was a superintendent on one side of the lake, a superintendent on the other side of the lake.

My wife went through J.R. Smallwood Collegiate when there was one manager, or one principal, in that school. They combined it and made it a model - not as good a model as I think we have here, but yes it was a good model for the day - but they still kept the two sides. They still kept the principal on two sides of the room. They still kept the superintendents on two sides of the lake, but they could not get $40,000 so they could get the student assistants and give our disabled community in Labrador West the excellence that they deserve and that, to me, was despicable. That was wrong, and that was something I hope I will have the opportunity to effect some change to, and I am very grateful to be part of a government that has that vision, to be a part of that team that has the courage to move on that issue because it may be not in vogue, but we are being progressive, we are being visionary, and when I say and hear people talk about minority rights, I say: Think about those minorities out there who have the least opportunity to be able to get that education and participate in our society like they yearn to, like all of us do.

It is not an issue of whether one religion should be getting greater precedence over another. We are all Christians. There is only one Bible. Those who are not Christian certainly also have an opportunity to go and have access to the best education that we can. This is not an issue of partisanship. This is not an issue of trying to get one-upmanship for the sake of political expediency. I think this government has demonstrated more than anybody else that this is an action issue of good government which we have approached with sincerity, with vision, with courage, with dedication. We have had two-and-a-half years of negotiations. We have had tremendous work being put in by our Planning and Priorities committee, by our caucus, by our members of caucus, trying to make sure that this program of reform was put in place by consensus.

That is the commitment that we made to people, that we were committed to arriving at a consensus in this issue. Because we knew only too well that the things that we wanted to do could not be effected without consensus or constitutional change. But at no point during those two-and-a-half years of negotiations, at no point in our recent political history, did we ever indicate that we would be taking the steps under the Constitution without giving it every last effort, going that extra mile.

Mr. Speaker, we know today that the funding is a real issue. As much as we want to try to avoid coming to grips with it, as much as we want to live in the past, as much as we want to be able to take that dollar and give it to the people when they are asking for it sincerely, we know that it is not there like it was yesterday, it is not there like it was ten years before. We know after Monday of next week, regardless of the way the vote goes, it will have significant financial implications. Obviously we are a net contributor, a net beneficiary of Confederation. We receive forty-some cents of our dollars from Ottawa, and regardless of what happens, yes or no, I think that we will see some change in that, simply because the world has caught up to us in that regard.

Therefore we have fundamental choices to make in terms of funding a program that we are dedicated to as Liberals. We are determined to change as reformers. We are determined to affect progress as legislators because we want to stand up and gratefully accept the recognition of the people once again for good government like we did the last time around. I do believe that the program that we have set out in Change and Challenge, the children-first approach to education, is the one that is being received from Nain to L'Anse-au-Clair to Labrador West to Port aux Basques to St. John's to Point Leamington. In every part of this Province people are responding because they know that we have a plan. They know that we have a Deputy Minister of Education who did a wonderful job on that royal commission. They know, after meeting him and seeing the kind of dedication that he carries to this job that we do have at the top level, at the helm of education in this Province, people who are dedicated to making fundamental and real change to education for all of the right reasons.

The Leaders of the Opposition didn't know what way to go. They didn't know which way to go because they didn't know at first which way the parade was going. That was the thing that propelled them, that was the thing that said to every one of them: We have to find out where the parade is headed so then we go. It wasn't a matter of education; it wasn't a matter of a commitment to seeing that our scarce dollars are put to the people and the children who are most needy. It was a pre-determined focus on partisan futuring for the benefit obviously of that political party.

It isn't lost on us. We know that we get the calls over here to the members who have districts that voted no. We get the calls saying: Stand up for your district, stand up for your people who voted no. It is awful telling, that at no point was there a member of the Opposition who stood up and said he was going to vote no while his constituents voted 60 per cent, 65 per cent, 70 per cent yes, did you ever have one of the colleagues say: Stand up for your constituents. No, you didn't. Simply because it isn't politically expedient to turn to your colleague and say that. It is good to look across this way and say to some of our hon. members, but it is awful telling that it is not politically expedient to be able to say it to the one who sits next to you simply because he is not of the same political stripe.

Yes, I was more than disappointed to hear the new Member for Grand Falls, and to hear the Member for Menihek today, get up and appeal to us to vote against this resolution because it was something comparable to the holocaust.

AN HON. MEMBER: Despicable.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Despicable behaviour of a legislator who should be taking his responsibilities with the utmost sincerity, to stand in this House and say to the rest of this Province and the rest of the world that we are doing something comparable to what Adolph Hitler did, that is totally irresponsible and totally out of keeping with the role of any responsible individual, I think, in public life, whether it is in this Province or any other province. Yes, the Member for Humber Valley said that it was an issue of power, and I agree with him, it is an issue of power, but I believe that it is the issue of power with the denominations. It is the issue of power with those churches that want to continue to have that power over every aspect of education, and it is obviously that kind of power that has led us to the position now that we cannot get those extra dollars to be able to give to the Minister of Education so that he can implement even more of those recommendations under the Royal Commission. That is the essence of this argument, and that is why I submit that since the referendum day, September 5, I have not gotten one call from anybody in my district, not one letter from anybody in my district, telling me what I should do on this issue, because the people out there saw through this issue. The people out there saw this for what it was, and yes they did follow their leadership and exercise their vote, but they knew that the essence of it was to continue to have that power simply for the exercise of power and not for a realignment of educational reform to suit the needs of our children. They saw through that, and that is why we have not had the response from the public since we have indicated what we should be doing and what we intend to do.

In my riding there is no doubt that there were twenty-five more people who voted no than yes, but also in my riding there is absolutely no doubt that many of these people who voted no said they voted no because religion was going to be taken out of the schools. They were told that in no uncertain terms, that religion was going to be taken out of the schools, and the people in my riding, not unlike any other part of this Province, did not agree with that happening, and neither do I. They figured that there was still a place for prayers in the school, as their parents before them had a chance to practice. They knew that there was still the Christmas pageants and Easter pageants, and everything that they like about the system.

I look to the people of Black Tickle who voted no, and I know that the Sisters of Mercy in Black Tickle have provided an exemplary service, an exemplary educational effort in delivering quality education to that community, but I know that there are people in that community who voted no simply because they were told that after referendum day you are not going to have that Catholic education any more, even though 90 per cent of that community is Roman Catholic. They were told, you are not going to be able to come in here and have the prayers that you used to have, and it has added tremendously to the education and the quality of education that they get there. I saw it, I've participated in it, and I know that it was effective and I know that it helped those children. So why wouldn't they vote no?

I didn't campaign. I didn't go down to that community and give the other side. Maybe I should have. Maybe I fell down on my responsibility and maybe I should have. But I didn't want to put myself in a position where people would have to choose between their religious leaders and myself. Because I think that obviously the people who hold those positions have as sincere an obligation to be honest with their congregations as I do with my constituents.

I can assure the people here today, the people in Black Tickle, that in a year or so when I go back and progress has been made on this issue, I'm sure that the Sisters of Mercy will still be teaching in Black Tickle. I'm sure that program will still be there in St. Peter's School. I'm sure that they will still have their practices and their services and the other aspects of religious education in that system that they had there before. That is why I take added comfort in being able to say yes to this resolution and yes to this initiative by this government.

I also am able to do this today because I view my role a little bit differently than some members of this Legislature do. I view my role as not only a representative of every wish that the people may want to have carried in their Legislature. There are two roles that have been associated with parliamentarians over the years. One is that yes, a pure representative, where you gauge the public opinion of the day and you get up and you vote according to that public opinion. People who want to accept that role I have no quarrel with. People who want to say that this is their function in a parliament I have no quarrel with.

There is also another fundamental role that members of a Legislature have, and that is to exercise their judgement. That is a fundamental role. Exercise your judgement on issues of complexity, on issues of great debate, on issues of the kind that the ordinary individual doesn't have the access of information to. They tell me that. People in my riding tell me that: We know that you have asked for our support on the basis of being able to approach these issues because you have the time and you are paid to do so and you have the interest to find out all the intricacies and ask the questions to the minister, the government, the Premier. We know that you are there to do that. We can't do that. So there are issues that come up from time to time that are of that nature where the exercise of judgement is as fundamental to your role here as it is to represent the mere wishes on any given day. I know members of the other side are acting in that vein and I commend them.

Mr. Speaker, today is a day to think about what we are trying to do for the children of this Province. Think about what we are trying to do to effect change in our schools so that we can equip our people with excellence to take on those challenges that are out there for us, and those opportunities. To seize those opportunities, whether it be in the information technology, whether it be in the new economy that is going to be associated with our offshore oil, or whether it be in Labrador and we want to process and have the engineering and have all the other work associated with Voisey's Bay and other things that are going to be happening in this Province.

That is the kind of thing that we have to do with our education system if we are going to create self-reliance rather than dependence. That is what we are all here for. We are all here seeking self-reliance as a province, not dependence on Ottawa or any other taxpayer in this country. Because we do have the people.

Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I would say that I am happy today to have had this chance to express my views on this issue. I am proud to be part of a team under the vision of Premier Wells and the courage of the people who sit with him to approach this fundamental issue on the basis of good government and on the basis of protecting the interests of our children first, not the least of those most challenged and most vulnerable, and those who seek the greatest opportunity to equalize themselves in our society, and I will be very happy when the time comes to stand up on behalf of the people of Eagle River and vote for this progressive reform for all of the right reasons.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand here today as many of the hon. members in the House of Assembly have stated here before me, pleased and honoured to have an opportunity to speak on what I believe to be one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before this House of Assembly since Confederation. Even the Premier himself has made that statement as many other members of the House of Assembly have.

I sat and listened to the Premier on Tuesday, October 17, and I sat and listened to members on both sides of the House over the past couple of weeks as we have debated this issue back and forth across the House, brought forward the concerns of the people of our own particular districts, talked about our own beliefs, talked about the history of education in this Province and most importantly, the future of education in this Province, Mr. Speaker. We talked about honour and honesty; we have talked about our role as legislators in determining the future of education in this Province, and most importantly of all, of bringing the concerns of the people of our districts and indeed the people of the Province to the floor of the House of Assembly for debate.

I listened with interest as the Member for Eagle River talked about his district and his passionate speech here this morning as he brought forward the concerns of the people of Eagle River and he talked about honesty, Mr. Speaker. He talked about honesty in dealing with people on a straight up and straightforward sense, and I too, Mr. Speaker, found that in dealing with people in my district, I have found them to be honest and straightforward too and that is why I have a problem when I stand here in this House of Assembly and listen to speakers comment on what Premier Wells said in this House on March 12, 1993, when he promised the people of this Province, when the church leaders were sitting here in the House of Assembly, the Premier promised that he would not, he would not seek to change the Constitution of Canada, to remove education rights from citizens of our Province. It is far known and well-known that the Premier made that statement.

He talked about honesty and honour. I have to ask myself and I am sure many others in the House and across this Province are asking themselves: where is the honesty and honour in making a commitment on March 12, and then shortly after being re-elected, a couple of months later, to totally change what he had promised to the people of this Province and to go forward in seeking a change to the Constitution of Canada. Mr. Speaker, that's the Premier, and that one has been hashed over and over again but I just repeated it to make sure that I had the opportunity to say a few words on it too. We listened to the Premier make those comments and as I said, it is well-known but we also had other members of this hon. Legislature, who again have answered to the call when you call hon. members and I have to ask myself once again, what is the definition of honour, Mr. Speaker, because it is definitely different from the definition of honour with which I was brought up in St. Bride's.

I comment on a statement that was made here on November 16th, 1994 and I ask that hon. members opposite listen to the following words: "Mr. Speaker, this government was not then and is not now, and it is not our plan to seek a change to the Constitution. Our plan is to try to get needed reforms for a better education system by consensus. That was the plan then, Mr. Speaker, it was the plan last week, it's the plan this week, it's the plan this afternoon, it's the plan tonight, it will be the plan tomorrow and it will be the plan until the day we die."

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said it?

MR. MANNING: That statement was made in this House on November 16, 1994; it was made by a member of this Legislature who will stand up next week and vote to change the Constitution of Canada. That statement was made by no other than the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. As you notice, Mr. Speaker, I dropped the word, honourable.

Mr. Speaker, I read again into the record once again the statement made by the hon. Mr. Roger Grimes, the present Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, a statement made in this House on November 16, 1994. Once again I state I drop the word, honourable: "Mr. Speaker, this government was not then and is not now and it is not our plan to seek a change to the Constitution. Our plan is to try to get needed reforms for a better education system by consensus. That was the plan then, Mr. Speaker, it was the plan last week, it's the plan this week, it's the plan this afternoon, it's the plan tonight, it will be the plan tomorrow and it will be the plan until the day we die."

Many days I sit here in this House and I think that members on the opposite side of the House are dead, but every now and again they move so that takes away that, Mr. Speaker. Some of them are still alive so I say we should send that out to every hon. member's district. If the hon. member would like a copy, because he might forget what he said, I will provide him with a copy afterwards.

People talked about the campaign leading up to the referendum. I participated in the campaign. I did not hide behind the shadows I say to the Member for St. John's South. I stated point blank what my belief was and what my stand was on the issue that had come before us, Mr. Speaker. I held four meetings in my district and I expressed my concern. I told the people at the meetings the way I was planning on voting on September 5 as an individual. I told them why I had decided to vote that way, and I told them I would look at the results from my district on September 5 and I would make a decision based on my own beliefs and based on the results in my district.

Mr. Speaker, on September 5, even though we had lost the battle - the people who were on the `no' side - we had won the battle loud and clear in the district of St. Mary's - The Capes. I was very pleased when the votes were counted and that in St. Mary's - The Capes 2790 people had turned out to vote on September 5, with 2243 voting `no' and 541 voting `yes', and six spoiled ballots. It was the largest percentage in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with 83 per cent for `no' and 17 per cent for `yes'. Did the people listen to me, Mr. Speaker? I do not say that. I went and told them what my concerns were, and my beliefs, but maybe they listened to their own conscience, a lesson that should be taught to people on the other side of the House.

Mr. Speaker, I received several letters and telephone calls from my district. In fact I have letters here with me today from different organizations within my district who were looking for my input into this very important issue that came before us. I put in writing my stand on it and I stand by that today. I had no problem putting forward the fact that I was voting `no' because I believed, because I had grown up in the system, have been part of the system, and I believed in the system.

I started my schooling back in St. Bride's on The Pond Hill. On The Pond Hill in St. Bride's we went to what was then called the Low School, back in 1969. I started my schooling there and went right on through until I came into what was called Fatima High School at that time and which is Fatima Academy today. We did have a school in our community. We had a community within a community. We had parents, teachers, students, and other members of the general public that were constantly a part of that school. The parish priest, the Presentation Sisters were part of the schooling I had and partook in. We were a community within a community. We were proud of our school then, we are proud of our school now, and we are proud of the results and the achievements of the students and indeed of the teachers of that school.

Mr. Speaker, several members opposite and members on this side of the House have talked about teachers, and teachers' roles in education in this Province, and whether they are Catholic, whether they are Pentecostal, or whether they are of some other denomination. Well, I tend to differ. I don't believe there is any difference in a teacher because of their religious faith. I don't believe there is any difference in a teacher because of the situation in which they find themselves. I believe that great teachers are great teachers whether they are Catholic, Pentecostal, or any other denomination. They are great teachers if they can instill in their students hope, if they can instill in their students a purpose for living and working and trying to improve Newfoundland and Labrador. Teachers are only trying to do their best, but the problem we have in this Province, and we will find time and time again, is that teachers do not have the tools to do the job. Teachers do not have the tools to carry out the necessary teachings that we need in our Province. They do not have the tools to give the students of this Province the education that they deserve and they desire.

I am sorry to say that I have yet to be convinced that the changes that this government is bringing forward, or planning on bringing forward, will provide the tools for the trade that teachers need in this Province. I have not yet come to the conclusion, and nobody has shown me, that the changes that they are planning here now will provide the tools for the trade for the teachers of this Province.

The problem we have when we talk about achievement of students in this Province does not have to do with teachers; it has to do with resources. That is the problem we have in this Province, the problem with resources. We have a problem when we have libraries in this Province that have empty shelves. We have a problem when we have computer rooms in our schools in this Province that have no computers. I heard recently from my colleague from Baie Verte about a school in his district that has thirty students and one computer. We have laboratories in this Province that only have running water in them, and I guess in some cases they do not even have that. We have guidance counsellor offices in this Province that have no guidance counsellors. We have the offices but they don't have guidance counsellors. We have one guidance counsellor for every 1,000 students in this Province. I say it is a shame and I have seen nothing come forward from this government, over the past couple of weeks, showing me that we will improve anything by the changes that they are bringing forward to us today in relation to allowing teachers to have the right tools for the trade, Mr. Speaker, and I repeat that again.

Mr. Speaker, 99 per cent of my district is of the Catholic faith. They are strong in their beliefs and they have stood up time and time again to voice their concerns, as they did on September 5. I feel that it is their right to do so and it is their right to at least have a say in this House of Assembly. I look forward to continuing on in bringing forward their concerns in the years ahead but I have to now talk about the education referendum that we have brought forward.

When the Premier stood up the other day here in this hon. House, Mr. Speaker, he talked about several things. The two main reasons he talked about, in bringing forward the changes that he plans, have to do with cost and student achievement. Cost and student achievement were his two main concerns, Mr. Speaker. Well, through the negotiations, and it is public knowledge to most people that a lot of these things have been discussed - and on the other hand, Mr. Speaker, a lot of these things are already within the realm of the power of this government.

We talk about costs, it is my understanding that the churches and the government have agreed to the reduction of school boards in this Province. They have agreed to the reduction of schools in this Province. They have made major concessions and major agreements on busing. They have agreed to put a school construction board in place over the next little while. All of these things, Mr. Speaker, have to do with costs which have been agreed to. All of things that have to do with the public purse that the churches and the schools have come to agreement on. I ask once again, where are the dollars going to come from that will address these concerns any more than what they have already agreed on?

We talk about student achievement in this Province. This government today, as we sit here in this House today, Mr. Speaker, this government has total control over several things that have to deal with student achievement. Mr. Speaker, government has sole jurisdiction for educational reform in the following areas; curriculum reorganization, new graduation requirements, length of the school day and school year, greater parental participation, performance standards in school subjects, school improvement, teacher education, student evaluation, system accountability, and much more. These things all have to do with student achievement. How can the government stand up in this House, how can the Premier stand up in this House, and try to put the blame on denominational education for the failure of what we have in this Province if there is a failure in education.

The failure, if there is a failure that exists in this Province in education, rests completely upon the shoulders of this government, or any government of the day, whoever it may be. It rests completely upon the shoulders of the Minister of Education, and we have many conflicting reports on achievements and low grades. We have people who get up - the minister himself got up in this House on several occasions. When he wants to talk about the achievements he quotes from statistics that he has. When he wants to talk about failures, he quotes from statistics that he has. It is a numbers game.

Just last Friday night I attended a high school graduation in St. Mary's, in my district, a success story in itself. I would ask, if the minister was interested in learning the success of students in this Province, that he contact that school and get a list of the achievements and the awards that were passed out at that graduation in St. Mary's last Friday night, a success story in itself, a learning experience not only for myself but indeed for several people in that area as they watched student after student come across the stage and accept awards for their hard work and determination in their school years. Many of these students now are on their way to MUN or to Cabot, on to some post-secondary education, to try to improve and to prepare for the future. A success story in itself was St. Mary's graduation last Friday night.

Mr. Speaker, there are many things I would like to talk about. My time is getting limited for this morning, so I am not going to carry on. There is one little item I would just like to pass on before I finish up for today, and it concerns the Schools Act. We are here now debating something when, in a lot of cases, we don't know what is coming down the road. We have grave concerns over what the Schools Act entails. We have grave concerns over exactly what the plan of this government is as it relates to reforms in education in this Province. I will have to continue with that on Monday because my time is getting limited now. I would just like to say that for now I will leave it, but I look forward to continuing on with what I have to say on behalf of the people of St. Mary's - The Capes on Monday.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I adjourn debate.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I take it the motion to adjourn the debate has carried so we will be adjourning the House in a moment. The hon. member I understand is to move an amendment. That is fine, if he wishes to do so he has every right to do so. There is at least one member on the other side who has not yet spoken in the debate and if he is prepared to second it we are off and running. In fact, there are two -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the kissing cousins can get together here. Mr. Speaker, I would say, I commend to hon. members of the House, the horoscope in today's issue of the telegram - it is found on the funny page, appropriately enough - it gives the most glowing description of those born today. One will recollect that my friend the Opposition Leader and my friend the NDP Leader were in fact born today. I read this and was horrified because it said they have a great career in government ahead of them and all of that but then one of my colleagues pointed out - where it says that born today; it means Saturday the twenty-eighth, which of course is tomorrow's horoscope. So I commend it to my friend's opposite.

Mr. Speaker, we will be debating the motion on Monday. It is possible we will finish it. We will have to put our minds to that because I suspect Monday night none of us will want to be here, there are other matters that will command our attention. So perhaps on Monday we can address that issue and I would remind members that we will schedule a vote. I have had a word with the Clerk, I think it is procedurally possible to schedule a vote to ensure everybody is given an opportunity to come and cast his vote or her vote on this matter.

So with that said, Mr. Speaker, I move the House adjourn until Monday, at 2:00 p.m.

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