October 30, 1995              HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLII  No. 45

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we get to the routine proceedings of the day I would like to welcome to the galleries twenty students from the Council of the Students Union from Memorial University.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier. The Premier and his government have maintained their silence through yet more Federal Government cuts, this time Marine Atlantic's downgrading of the Lewisporte to Nain coastal boat service with the retiring of the Taverner and the elimination of forty-four more jobs. Does the silence indicate the Premier's agreement with these cuts and agreement on the part of the Liberal members who represent Newfoundland and Labrador districts directly affected?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, the government hasn't been silent on the matter. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation has had numerous meetings on issues affecting transportation and transportation plans of the Federal Government. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the Minister of Justice, and I don't know if there were two ministers specifically involved with doing a full assessment of the Federal Government's obligations to Newfoundland with respect to transportation matters.

As a result of that work, I have written the Prime Minister to spell it out very clearly. We have not been silent on it, we just haven't been making noise. We have been doing the work as it ought to have been done.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a supplementary for the Premier. Did the Premier say to the Prime Minister, thank you Uncle Ottawa for reducing the Northern Newfoundland coastal Labrador ferry service from two ships and an eight-day turnaround, the Northern Ranger and Taverner operating from Lewisporte to Nain, to next summer a one-vessel twelve-day turnaround service, the Northern Ranger only operating from St. Anthony to Nain. Is that the Premier's approach?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not at all the approach we have taken. I mention those two things, the letter to the Prime Minister is the culmination of a fair number of efforts mostly done by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and also by the Minister of Justice, and also by myself with Mr. Tobin. The letter to the Prime Minister only went out, in fact, this morning so when he has had time to get it and review it, I assume he probably won't mind its being made public. It is a pretty general kind of letter talking about federal responsibility generally. It doesn't make any of the kinds of comments the Leader of the Opposition has facetiously, I am sure, suggested.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Not much fight from this Premier or this government, just passive acceptance - passive acceptance of whatever comes down from Ottawa.

I ask the Premier: Marine Atlantic has revealed to the public that they are now reviewing the rate structure for the Labrador Coastal Boat Service. Evidently, Marine Atlantic is making plans to charge higher rates for slower and lower-level service. What is the Premier doing about this?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the constitutional obligations of the Federal Government with respect to the Marine and Coastal services, particularly on the Coast of Labrador, are reasonably clear but not absolutely certain. They are subject to argument and discussion but from our point of view we think they are reasonably clear. The Federal Government undertook an obligation in 1949 to take over and relieve the Province of Newfoundland from the financial burden of operating, carrying on certain transportation and other responsibilities.

Now, if the Federal Government doesn't do that, doesn't live up to its obligations, then we have looked at our rights with respect to the matter, we have had them legally assessed. It is our conclusion that we will, of course, have the right to resume those things and simply sue the Federal Government to recover the additional cost that the Province incurs as a result of having to do it. Their obligation, we think, is that clear. So, my letter to the Prime Minister suggests or requests, really, that they change this approach of unilaterally making these kinds of decisions but trying to work in a co-operative way with the Province.

Now, in the meantime, I have to say to you that the Province has always acknowledged that the Federal Government has to get its expenditures under control; it must get those expenditures under control, it must bring the debt of the nation under control. If they don't, then we will be in a far worse state than anything that their decisions now could cause, so while we support their general management of the finances in order to keep the deficits and the debt under control, nevertheless, we have to ensure that they meet their obligations under the Constitution, too.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A question to the Premier. I ask the Premier: What obligations does he think he has to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who depend on the Northern Newfoundland and Labrador Coastal boat service, and to the businesses which are trying to foster the tourism industry along the Coast of Labrador?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The obligation I just outlined, to make sure that the Federal Government lives up to its constitutional obligations. If it does not, I believe we have the right to take over and operate those services ourselves and recover the cost from the Federal Government, because the specific undertaking was not simply to take over and operate the facilities, but to relieve the Province of the cost involved in doing it. So, if they fall down on it, if they don't give the kind of service that is necessary, then we believe we have a right to do it and to recover the cost from the Federal Government.

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

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

I have a question for the Minister of Education following on the statements by the President of Memorial University, Dr. May, over the last few days, as it pertains to the tight financial situation at MUN. Dr. May made some statements that have caused great concern for students, parents, the business community and, I guess, all fifty-two of us here. Does the minister think, from the statements made by Dr. May that an affordable, accessible university education will remain a possibility for every Newfoundlander and Labradorian who seeks to go to university at Memorial?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the University receives it funding from various sources. One source is the Provincial Government, another source is tuition fees. There are other sources, but one of the main ones is established program financing which is a transfer from the Federal Government. It is common knowledge throughout Canada today that the Federal Government, indeed, intends to make that transfer payment much, much smaller. It is going to amount to a substantial amount of money for the whole post-secondary system of education, for the Department of Health and for the Department of Social Services. Unfortunately, the Province is not in a position to pick up that cut in transfer payment, Mr. Speaker, therefore we have to pass it along to the University, the Health department and the Social Services.

Dr. May is quite right when he says it will be a substantial cut to the budget of the University. Dr. May also went on to say that he would want to look at all options before he would attempt to raise tuition. He says that he wants to look at the salary that the professors receive; he wants to look at the whole operating budget of the University. And he sees an increase in the tuition, but that is the last thing he wants to do. I share that concern, Mr. Speaker, I recognize there is a problem, and just as government has to deal with the problem, so, too, the University must deal with the problem. I am pleased, though, to hear that his last resort will be to raise tuition. That is not to say there will not be an increase in tuition, there might well be, but hopefully, it will come only after he has looked at all the other options available to recover the loss because of this transfer payment.

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

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

Let me remind the minister that transfer payments have gone up. I think last year you got some $20 million more than you anticipated or projected.

Let me ask the minister this. Is the minister really saying then that we are going to see a lay off of staff at the University and that programs indeed may be watered down as Dr. May alluded to, where we may see four-year degree programs condensed into three-year programs? Is that what the minister is suggesting that we may see at the University? Is he at all concerned that the integrity of the University may be threatened? Will he go on record in this House today as saying that this government will support Memorial University, enough financial support so that the integrity of the University will not be compromised in any way?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member made a statement that transfer payments have gone up. I can assure the hon. member that the established program of financing has not increased. It is a substantial decrease which we are going to have to pass on.

Dr. May in his address this morning which was quite clear - I have a copy of the speech; if the hon. member wants a copy of the speech I can make it available to him - he did outline various ways that they would attempt to deal with this very serious issue. He did not talk about watering down. I heard the same speech. He did not talk about watering down the programs. He talked about maybe condensing it more. He talked about different ways of doing things. He could also have talked about more distance education, which would involve keeping students in school longer. Also, we've already addressed the Grade XII program. We are hoping to make that a better program so students won't have to be repeating things in University.

I have every confidence in the way that Dr. May and the Board of Regents at Memorial are attempting to deal with this crisis. But I have to be fair to the hon. member and to the people of this Province, to say that as a result of the deficit that the federal government had, notwithstanding what is going to happen as of today's referendum, the world that we once knew is no longer there. There are tremendous changes to take place. We would hope that one of the top priorities would be to educate our people. That remains a top priority. But I cannot assure people on social services or people who take advantage of the health care system or people who partake of the education system that there will not be changes. We have to work together as a group. The faculty, the administration, the students at Memorial, government, all together have to face the reality. The facts of life are that things have changed and we have to attempt to deal with that. I'm confident that working together we will deal with that. Hopefully we can maintain in this Province the access to all our people to a better education above all other changes that we have to make.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I said in my question there is a great deal of concern out and about this Province today as a result of Dr. May's statements, and I'm sure the minister as well shares those concerns. It has been suggested by the leadership of the CSU - I believe it was made to the Premier - that there be a task force struck involving all stakeholders, students, parents, the business community, administration, and on and on it goes, there has been that suggestion made, let me say to the minister, that there be a task force struck to look at the future viability of the university, to guarantee the future viability of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador for all our people. Has the minister given any consideration to that, and if he has not would he do so? I think it is a very fruitful and meaningful suggestion, and I think the minister would be wise to do it. Has he heard of this? Has the request been made? And if not, would he entertain it?

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, the first time I heard the task force suggestion was this morning when the President of the Student Council talked about it. The only correspondence I had received was a letter to the Premier and myself requesting that we would sit down and meet with the students' union, and we are trying to put that meeting in place. The issue, as important as education is, is much broader than that. We are having concerns with health and with social services as well, so we certainly would encourage a process to examine all of that, but I don't have the authority to announce any task force. That is an issue I am sure government will take under consideration.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

As the minister responsible for the creation of jobs in this Province, and as the minister who is responsible for the overseeing of the economy, I would like to ask the minister: Has his department, under his direction, begun or completed an analysis of how many jobs will be lost, either directly or indirectly over the next eight to twelve months per se, as a result of declining transfer payments?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I would imagine that is more appropriate to the Minister of Finance who deals with these budgetary impacts, and I am sure the minister is looking at that very issue.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I think it is a very appropriate question for the minister who is responsible for the creation and maintenance of jobs in this Province. He is a member of P and P; he should know the answer to that question, and if he doesn't then I suggest that he get his department to move in that direction to find out what the impact will be on the economy.

Let me ask him this. Mr. Speaker, our research indicates that there will be as many as 1,500 people from within the public service, Memorial University, the community college structure, the hospitals within the Province, who will lose their jobs as a result of declining transfer payments in the upcoming months. Can the minister confirm that these job losses will occur, and what the impact will be upon the economy?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, let me say again that I don't think any government has a responsibility for creation of jobs. If that were the case it would have been an abysmal record for the Conservative government for the last seventeen years. So that's -


MR. FUREY: But I mean that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: I say to the hon. member, we are responsible for creating a business climate. This government certainly has done that. We've provided the strategic plan in terms of setting about the private sector as the engine of growth. We've decreased corporate income tax, we've decreased manufacturing and processing tax, we've decreased small business tax. We've put in place the EDGE program - which I'm happy to report, Mr. Speaker, speaking of jobs, talk about creating an environment, this legislation is only seven months' old. We have twenty-five new companies in this Province directly responsible for 600 new jobs.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FUREY: Six hundred direct jobs, Mr. Speaker. I can't take credit for creating those. We can take credit for creating the environment. I should also point out to the House that that will cause $100 million of new investment in this Province of which 90 per cent of it is directly from the private sector. Not from governments, not from agencies, directly from the private sector. So when the hon. member prefaces his questions with the assumption that we create jobs I tell him he is all twisted out of shape. That is an incorrect assumption.

When he talks about -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FUREY: When he talks about -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to draw his answer to a conclusion.

MR. FUREY: When he talks about the financial impact I tell him that the Department of Finance and Treasury Board is looking at that. I would be most eager to look at his research and in fact to see where his research has come from.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let me assure the House and the people in this Province that the only person in this House who is twisted out of shape is the Minister of ITT in terms of being a contortionist. The reality is this, that there are a couple of thousand jobs that are about to be lost. If his department has not looked at what the impact will be then I say the minister is not doing his job.

Let me ask the minister this. Will he direct the Economic Recovery Commission which is responsible for stimulating the economy, for creating the business environment that he so talks about, that attracts wealth and that creates job in this Province, will he get the Economic Recovery Commission to take a positive step to look at what the impact on the economy these job losses will be, and will he report back to the House on that matter?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the Economic Recovery Commission has undertaken some extremely valuable work and it is a good opportunity for me to praise the Economic Recovery Commission for the work that they've done over the last number of years.


MR. FUREY: I think some hon. members who have asked for their help have gotten it, including the hon. member who just burst out laughing. They've been very supportive of Copper Creek which will generate new jobs in Baie Verte. They've been very supportive of the Argentia development corporation which is creating new work. They've been very supportive out in Deer Lake.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Copper Creek. We know why it is called Copper Creek.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Copper Creek, I said, not copper top.

Mr. Speaker, let me say that I would be glad to ask the Economic Recovery Commission in concert with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board. But the Department of Finance and Treasury Board takes the lead role on equalization and transfer reductions and the impacts on the economy. Of course our department feeds into that. We have a business analysis division that does just that. I would be happy to lend the support of the Economic Recovery Commission any time.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Recently several dozen highway signs have been erected in the Districts of Ferryland and St. Mary's - The Capes to promote the Irish loop drive, which goes through Bay Bulls, on to Trepassey, St. Mary's and Salmonier Line, back to the Trans-Canada. Will the minister conform that the design was developed in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and the erection of the Irish loop drive signs was done by a private contractor?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I have absolutely no idea if it was done in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. We developed a new signage policy this year where officials from my department who have been working in the signage area for quite some number of years have had the responsibility to carry out a whole new signage policy for the whole of the Province.

On a day-to-day basis I don't go out and ask that individual about a particular sign. We did contract out to some of the private contractors this year to put up the highway signs. In some instances the contractor did not get the job done because he found that he had bid to low so we took it back and did it ourselves but the particular one that the hon. member is talking about, I could not answer now and say who the contractor is or if we did give it to a private contractor.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There were all new signs erected, I know in my district I observed them and I have been told in St. Mary's - The Capes district also. It has been brought to my attention that all the regular highway signs were erected by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation and they were installed at the appropriate height of 1.8 metres. However, all other signs erected in my district by a private contractor were installed almost 2.5 meters high, well above the regular height for normal and safe viewing. Now will the minister tell the House, what was the total cost of doing all the new signage in the district and what he plans to do about the signs that are erected that do not meet regulations?

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

MR. EFFORD: As the hon. member says, I got that right at my finger tips. I don't know about how high the signs are. Nobody has brought it to my attention about how one sign is not as high as the other sign or that some were done by another contractor. The only thing that I know for sure, from a lot of people in the Province, is that we have some complimentary words this year on having a new highway signage policy right across the Province. To date, I have not had a single call from anybody in the hon. member's district, including the hon. member, about any problems about the putting up of signs, one is too low, one is too high, or somebody bumped their head or a moose ran into it or whatever. I have absolutely no idea what the hon. member is talking about.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Everybody in his department who are working there know what they are talking about because your officials erected them at the proper height and the ones that were not done by your department were put at an improper height and do not conform to regulations. It is your department's responsibility to see they meet regulations. Now all signs in the Ferryland, St. Mary's district, there are almost 100 in total and with the exception of two, have the four-leaf clover on the signs instead of the shamrock. Mr. Speaker, the people in the district who visit around this Province from outside the Province are laughing because the purpose of all these new signs -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I am at the question, Mr. Speaker, if they will give me a chance to ask it. The purpose of all the new signs was to promote the Irish loop drive as a distinctive tourism route detecting the Irish culture. Now I ask the minister - and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation were involved in the design - I ask the minister who was responsible for putting the four-leaf clover on all those signs except two that have the shamrock? I ask him, what is his department going to do to correct this much talked about and laughed about thing along the area and who is responsible for this very mistake?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I can just visualize the hon. member now going with his measuring tape, all day and all night measuring up the different signs. The one thing I can tell the hon. member, this is not a case of the Orange and the Green. This is just a simple case, if what the hon. member is saying, a simple case of a mistake on somebody's part of not painting a shamrock when it should be a four-leaf clover or four-leaf clover when it should have been a shamrock, I have no idea. In all seriousness, if the hon. member would have called I would have sent out one of the officials with a paint brush and probably got a fellow from Port de Grave who is a good artist and we could have corrected that if the hon. member would have made a phone call.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture. I would like to ask the minister what efforts his department is putting forward to collect outstanding monies owed by fishermen of this Province to the Fisheries and Farm Development Loan Board, now that the moratorium is in effect.

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The issue of outstanding loans that fishermen owe to the Fisheries and Farm Development Loan Board is treated very seriously by this government and in the past, over the last number of years, since the moratorium came into effect, we have looked very carefully at the ability to pay by individuals who have outstanding loans, and in every case, where there is a case that can be made where the individual has difficulties in paying, every leniency is offered to that particular individual.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South, on a supplementary.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Would the minister inform the House as to the criteria his officials use in determining the ability of a fisherman to make payments on those accounts?

For instance, is there a minimum income consideration, or is all money payable to the individual, like GST rebates, income tax overpayment, et cetera intercepted and taken before the fishermen can take possession of such monies?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

No, none of those dollars are intercepted I can tell this House unless there is every indication from the review, that the individual receiving those dollars is in such a position that he can indeed be paying on his loan.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Bonavista South, on a supplementary.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Can the minister justify the actions of his department deducting money payable to fishermen, such as taxes paid on insurance policies, through J. J. Lacey, being intercepted by the Fisheries and Farm Development Loan Board, even after the individual lost hundreds of dollars, Mr. Speaker, in premium payments or the individual's only income was a TAGS cheque?

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

DR. HULAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not familiar with the particular case or cases that the hon. member is referring to but I certainly will look into it.

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

MR. MACKEY: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Approximately two years ago, there was a fire on the Trans-Canada Highway near Glovertown which destroyed a motel, restaurant and gas bar facility.

To date, the burnt area remains an environmental eyesore, so, Mr. Speaker, can the minister advise what the hang-up is as to having this site cleaned up and when can we expect the clean up to begin?

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

MR. EFFORD: This must be a day for questions to the minister who doesn't know anything about it. I mean, I don't know what responsibility -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. EFFORD: - that my department would have with a premise that was burnt on the highway and some building owner, property owner, owns the building and is not removed off the site, the only thing I can tell the hon. member, I will find out why the owner hasn't removed it and if it is on our property -

MS YOUNG: Plant some Shamrocks.

MR. EFFORD: The hon. minister says we will plant some Shamrocks and probably that is what we will have to do.

I will check it out. Again I come to the House and there is a building that was burnt down a couple years ago on the Trans-Canada and it is the first time that anybody has asked a question of the Minister of Environment, I would say you must be getting desperate for questions.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Grand Falls, on a supplementary.

MR. MACKEY: No. I think, Mr. Speaker, this situation is serious enough that we don't have to make light of it. It has been brought to my attention on a number of occasions.

Mr. Speaker, it appears that someone is dragging his feet. After two years of exposure to the elements, certainly, there can't be much more there to investigate. If it is the police who are dragging their feet or if it is the insurance companies who are blocking the process, I ask the minister: does he know when the ongoing insurance investigation will be completed so he can get on to get his workers to clean up this mess?

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

MR. EFFORD: I am not making light of the situation. What bothers me about it is that I am in my office pretty well every day on a day to day basis, from seven in the morning until whatever time in the evening, and the hon. member did not see fit to phone myself or one of my officials. We could have answered the question. Number one, I can only do what the hon. member would do, phone the insurance company or phone somebody and find out why they have not cleaned it up. It is not my responsibility as minister to tell somebody that they have an insurance problem. It is maybe going through the courts, I do not know, but I will do what the hon. member could do, phone and find out for you.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last Thursday, I believe it was, October 26 the hon. Member for Mount Pearl posed a number of questions that had some detail that needed a little more research. The department has now completed it and I can advise the following with respect to most of the questions the hon. member posed related to the sale of the assets of Hotel Buildings Limited, which operated the Holiday Inns in four locations in the Province and a hotel in Port aux Basques.

In answer to the first question, I believe the hon. member asked what the amount owing by Hotel Buildings Limited was to the Province. There was a $9 million serial debenture issued in the mid-1960s to facilitate the construction of the Holiday Inns. That was paid off on December 31, 1989. The debt was guaranteed by the Province, and because the funds generated by the hotel operations were insufficient to pay off that debt it was serviced through advances from the Province. In other words, because a hotel did not produce enough money to pay it off, the Province paid on it in its place. The advances from the time that the debenture was first taken out until 1989, when it was paid off, totalled $14,363,300. This was a direct payment by the Province to the bond holders.

It was felt that the Province, because it was paying money on behalf of the company, in this case Hotel Buildings Limited, should charge interest on these advances at prime plus 1 per cent, which reflects, I think, a very modest corporate rate. When that amount is included over the life of that loan, that amount of interest at prime plus 1 per cent amounted to an additional $15,610,900, so that Hotel Buildings Limited now owes the Province, and this was the figure I referred to in simpler terms to the hon. member, the amount of $29,974,200. As of March 31, 1991 on the advice of Hotel Buildings Limited auditors, the Province ceased accruing interest because at that point we realized there was no point in accumulating interest since we would not realize that amount from any sale that might take place in due course, so that amount is on the books; that is how it is calculated.

In answer to another question by the hon. member, Atlific Limited manages the hotels on behalf of Hotel Buildings Limited and is remunerated for these services under a management agreement that has subsisted essentially since the hotels were first opened in the mid-1960s. It has changed over a period of years. The department has continually negotiated. It was essentially a revenue-based arrangement with so much of gross and so much of net profits. They were recently renegotiated pending sale of the hotels for a fixed sum.

Atlific, under the terms of that contract, was not required to pay any fees to Hotel Buildings Limited, but was required to remit excess cash flow to be applied by Hotel Buildings Limited to amounts owed the Province. Given the financial results over the past several years, there was no excess cash flows from the hotels since they were not making any money. The last remittance we had on this basis, in other words an amount over and above the expenses of operating the hotels and the Atlific management fees, the last remittance we had of any amount was in the fiscal year 1990-'91.

In answer to another question posed by the hon. member, I will give you the profits and losses for Hotel Buildings Limited for the years ending March 31, 1990 through 1994.

In the fiscal year ending March 31, 1990 Hotel Buildings Limited lost $43,388. In 1991 the company which essentially owned the hotels lost $513,787. In 1992 it lost $108,169. In 1993 it made $125,442, and in 1994 it earned $94,366.

Another question, I think related to the tender process, we have received the following bids: There were two bids for all five properties owned by Hotel Buildings Limited. There was one bid for the four Holiday Inn properties which are in St. John's, Clarenville, Gander and Corner Brook, and there were seven individual bids for various of the properties for a total of ten bids. The tender was structured such that interested parties could bid on all five properties as a group, the four franchise properties, in other words the four Holiday Inn operated properties as a group, or on any, or all properties on an individual basis, so it was a very broad based call for tenders. As I am sure the hon. member will appreciate I cannot comment specifically on what is happening right now. We have the bids in and they are being evaluated. The paper will be going to Cabinet shortly to consider what if any disposition should be made of them and I will make a full report to the House at a later date.

The other question the hon. member asked was whether or not a recent appraisal had been done. The answer to that is, no, the most recent appraisal, I guess, are the bids we received on October 20 and we will be reporting to the Province and to the House in due course.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: In response to a question asked Thursday by the hon. Member for Ferryland with respect to the 1992 operational review of the Newfoundland cancer clinic, the Newfoundland Cancer Foundation, rather. He asked how many of the 107 recommendations contained in the 1992 review had been acted upon and I can report the following for the House. Seventy-three of 107 recommendations have been implemented, thirteen were not applicable to the foundation as an organization, although they were included in that review, and the remaining twenty-one are being implemented on an ongoing basis. They are more of a long-term nature and their full implementation has not yet been totally effected, but they are still in the circumstance of trying to implement them as is appropriate on an ongoing basis. Of the 107 recommendations seventy-three are implemented, thirteen do not apply, and twenty-one are ongoing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today I rise to present to the hon. House a petition on behalf of the constituents in the Torngat Mountain district in the town of Nain. I have here a covering letter that came along with it which I will just enter for the record, and I will now read the prayer to the petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of the District of Torngat Mountains, humbly showeth:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador did issue a permit to NDT Ventures Limited to diamond drill on Nain Hill in the town of Nain in the District of Torngat Mountains;

AND WHEREAS the area in which NDT Ventures Limited plan to diamond drill is within the protected watershed zone and the rural zone of the municipal planning area of the town of Nain;

AND WHEREAS diamond drilling on Nain Hill could have detrimental effects on the town reservoir and adjacent areas;

AND WHEREAS residents of the town of Nain have traditionally used, and continue to use Nain Hill and land within the municipal planning area for hunting, trapping, gandering, recreation and leisure activities;

AND WHEREAS the undersigned recently circulated the attached petition within the community of the town of Nain;

AND WHEREAS in duty bound the petitioners will ever pray that the hon. House of Assembly and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, will; (1) cancel all permits issued for mineral exploration and drilling within the town of Nain municipal planning area; (2) declare all land within the town of Nain municipal planning area to be exempt from all mineral activity and development. This petition, Mr. Speaker, is dated October 17, 1995.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to speak in support of this petition. In speaking in support of the petition and the constituents in Nain, Labrador, I don't want to be seen as a person opposed to development and exploration activity in my area.

I think in hindsight one of the mistakes that has been made with exploration activity in Labrador is the issuance of exploration permits by just looking at a map here in St. John's without ever considering where there might be people living. I believe the fear that the residents of Nain face today is the fact that if exploration activity takes place within the municipal planning area they could very well in the future be uprooted.

There have already been two communities, namely Hebron and Nutak that were uprooted in 1956, 1957 and 1958 without ever having the opportunity to consent to that. I realize dollars and cents in terms of exploration activity and development means a lot to the treasury of the Province and the well-being of mineral companies, but should it be looked at in terms of destroying a community? I'm afraid I cannot agree with that.

I think this problem too could have been alleviated, and I've spoken to the Premier on this issue more than once, and the Minister of Natural Resources, if the town had been consulted. The town, and along with myself as the representative to government for the District of Torngat Mountains, were only informed long after the decisions were made. Perhaps the company would be exploring up there if there had been consultation right in the beginning; perhaps not.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe it is very important that, even though I understand that NDT Ventures Ltd. who are contracted by Takla Star have appealed this decision, if exploration and mineral development are going to get the required support from the district of Torngat Mountains, especially the aboriginal people, that it needs, then right within town limits as such their decision should be supported by government, and number two, respected by the companies.

I realize companies are investor driven, but perhaps it is time there was a message sent out to exploration companies that they should perhaps first of all consult with the people before they assume they can go ahead. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like a few words with regard to the hon. member's petition.

As the mines and energy critic for the Opposition, generally speaking I am one that certainly favours ongoing and extensive mineral exploration throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. However, that being said, it should be done within a certain context of civility, of consultation, especially when we are talking about drilling in and around populated areas. Add to this in Labrador the unresolved matter of native land claims and it would appear, on the surface of it, just hearing this today, that the circumstance the hon. member refers to would indicate a degree of insensitivity on the part of someone with regard to the views and concerns of the local community.

I attended the mines conference dinner on Friday past after the House closed. Some of the things raised in talk afterwards were certainly some concerns from the mineral industry with regard to possible restrictions on drilling in Northern Labrador with the creation of a new national park. There are certainly some very significant issues that need to be addressed there about drilling in a wilderness area, and how much wilderness area should be possibly set aside with absolutely no type of exploration or development. Those are major areas and major issues, I think, that we need to visit and look further at, but certainly, Mr. Speaker, drilling in and around a community with a community plan without proper consultation is less than okay, as far as I am concerned, and I ask that the Minister of Natural Resources take a look at this matter.

Thank you.

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say a few words on this matter to try to clarify it.

It is unfortunate that in this particular case - because we are talking here about an area in which there is very little history of explanation, and therefore, very little understanding of the normal process of exploration. My staff who issued the permit to drill should have consulted in advance with the Town of Nain so they would have known before they received the first contact from the company, but let me give you some of the facts.

My staff did issue a drilling permit, but that drilling permit had several conditions attached, and it said: `...is approved subject to the following conditions...' because we, as a department, do not issue all of the permits for any activity. We issue the permits related to the mineral exploration itself. The first condition on our approval: The drilling is within the municipal boundary of Nain. You must contact officials with the town, etcetera. That is the first condition.

The second condition: The drilling is partly within the protected watershed and the water supply of the community, etcetera. I will not read all of it, because I have limited time.

The third and fourth conditions relate to archaeological screening. The fifth condition: The activity will be entirely helicopter supported so that any movement of the drilling rig will be through the air and not over the ground, so that there can be no ground disturbance in this traditional area in this particular town.

The final, the sixth condition, was: All personnel should be familiar with and must observe the environmental guidelines for mineral exploration companies.

So we had numerous conditions put on, and the first one was, go consult the town. Now, I will acknowledge in this particular case my officials should have consulted the town, too, and should have told them up front that this was coming so that they would be more familiar with it instead of seeing it at the end.

What has happened since, of course, is that the drilling company, after getting a rejection from the town, and the town had the right to look at it and say no - after getting a rejection from the town, the drilling company has appealed through the normal municipal appeal process. That appeal is still under way; it has not yet reached its conclusion, but the town will be able to make its case, the company will be able to make its case. One thing the company has said, though, is that now they only require approval to drill outside of the watershed but within the town.

Now, mineral exploration activity is a normally approved activity in rural areas of any town, and there are a lot of towns where there has been a lot of drilling done and a lot of exploration activity, and gladly. In the Town of Buchans the number of drill holes is literally in the thousands. In the Town of Baie Verte it is in the hundreds and maybe in the thousands, and towns in Pilley's Island, Robert's Arm, in other parts of this Province, where we give the permit, they will consult, and then the drilling goes ahead.

There are examples in this Province where drilling has been done not only in the watershed area but on the watershed itself in the winter, with appropriate environmental conditions, and there hasn't been any problem. The footprint of a drilling rig is less than the footprint of one-half of the public gallery opposite in this House, so it is not a huge area. It does not have an effect on the traditional uses, and if someone tries to make it so, it can be corrected quickly.

So, Mr. Speaker, in the future, my staff have certainly been given direction to ensure that the Town of Nain is consulted, but this is not an unusual activity. In this case we will also give the appeal process time to work, and let that work and we will see what comes out of it.

As for making it exempt mineral land, since last January everything except this one mineral licence in that area has been exempt mineral land. We have over 285,000 mineral claims in the Province right now. In Nain, we have one mineral license maybe including twenty claims, so this is only a very small area of what is being explored in the Province, and I think we should let the process work but we must make sure that we consult appropriately.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we are not trying to prejudge or I am not trying to prejudge the disposition of the House with respect to Motion 4 which we will be debating, but I understand there is some suggestion that perhaps we may conclude the debate today. I mentioned on Friday and I believe there is a consensus among the groups in the House, and if my friend, the Member for St. John's East would acknowledge if he in fact is a group for these purposes, that we should schedule a vote so that members could arrange to be here and not have to hang around, or, you know, be on call. If we finish the debate today, we will not take the vote today, perhaps tomorrow might be an appropriate day, but I will consult with my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and my friend, the Member for St. John's East.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, certainly we will, but we haven't finished the debate yet, I say to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank. But, Mr. Speaker, in order to accommodate members who may wish to speak, I would first of all move that the House do not adjourn at five o'clock, and I would say, I do not anticipate we shall sit beyond seven because members will no doubt want to follow on the radio and television the results of the vote now underway in Quebec.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that this House should not adjourn at five. All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Against?

Motion, carried.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: We are voting at ten o'clock.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my friend, the Member for Grand Bank may be here at ten o'clock, and if that is so, he will be the only person, I suspect, in the House tonight.

Your Honour, would you please call Motion 4. As I recollect, my friend, the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, adjourned the debate. I understand he has an amendment to move, and provided he so move, we will deal with that and then get on with the debate in the normal course.

Thank you, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 4, the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say, the members on my side of the House are waiting with bated breath for my few remarks and I am sure I will get to the quote by the Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture; it may fall back into the speech again.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today and say a few words - especially today; it is a very historic day in Canada -I won't say in Newfoundland - as the people in Quebec go ahead and vote in a very important referendum that they are having in their province today. The country waits for the answer. There are many similarities between the vote in Quebec, Mr. Speaker, and the vote here today or the vote that we anticipate here in the next couple of days. The similarities lie, Mr. Speaker, with a litany of broken promises by hon. members opposite and indeed by the Premier himself.

Mr. Speaker, just to touch on the Quebec referendum and the fact that a free vote wasn't allowed here in the House of Assembly on the Meech Lake Accord, is one broken promise. Another broken promise that we go back to, was a promise that was made here to the church leaders on March 12, 1993 by the Premier. The promise made at that time was, and I will read the Premier's own words: " Mr. Speaker, in response to the church leaders' concerns that implementing certain recommendations of the Royal Commission Report would jeopardise their traditional rights, government has assured the leaders that it is not seeking change to the Constitution that will remove constitutionally-protected rights of classes of people specifically provided for." And he goes on to say: "It was recognized by all at the meeting that, if after the conclusion of these discussions, there is consensus amongst the leaders and the government however, that some adjustment or changes to the Constitution are necessary or desirable, then they could be pursued".

Now, that is what was said in the House of Assembly by the Premier on March 12, 1993. We all know that, had that commitment been kept, we would not be standing here today voting on a change to the Constitution of Canada to take away the rights of denominations in the schools in this Province. Mr. Speaker, as I said before, it is a litany of broken promises that this Premier has made to the Province - and indeed, to the country, as it relates to what is happening in Quebec today.

Mr. Speaker, we all talk about honour and honesty when we stand in this hon. House. As a matter of fact, we are referred to, many times, as hon. members. I have to ask myself time and time again, do people know in this particular House the definition of honour, when you have the Premier making promises that are broken afterwards, when you have members on the other side of the House, people who sit in the Cabinet, making promises that are not kept.

I refer once again to a November 16, 1994 quote by the hon. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation when he quoted in this House, `that 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.' Mr. Speaker, the present Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, the Member for Exploits, made that statement in this House on November 16, 1994.

I look at the results of the September 5 referendum in the minister's district, when we had 4,694 people vote and 2,752 of those people voted `no' and 1,929 voted `yes'. I say that the minister should remember the remarks he made on November 16, 1994 and listen to the people in his district and what they said on September 5, 1995, and if he had any conviction he would stand here and vote with his people on November 5.

I would like to just touch on the results of the district vote in St. Mary's - The Capes on September 5. The people of St. Mary's - The Capes sent a loud and clear message, not only to me as their member, Mr. Speaker, but indeed to the government, that they are not in favour of stripping the constitutional rights that they hold so dear under the Constitution. They sent that message loud and clear on September 5, in my district, when 2,790 people cast their ballots and 2,243 people voted no while 541 voted yes, with six rejected ballots. Mr. Speaker, 87 per cent of the people in St. Mary's - The Capes have voted and sent a loud and clear message to this government that they want to hold on to their constitutional rights. It was the largest vote, Mr. Speaker, for the `no' side in the Province.

I was glad to see that vote coming forward from my district because I had emphatically put forward, before the referendum, my stand on this very important issue facing our Province; to see a community like Point Lance in my district, eighty-six people cast their ballots and eighty-four of them voted `no'; to see a community such as Mall Bay, where seventeen people cast `no' ballots and five marked `yes'; to see communities down in Trepassey where in one poll in Trepassey we had ninety-one people casting ballots for `no' and twenty-five casting ballots for `yes'. In St. Mary's East, for another example, 120 people cast `no' ballots while only twelve voted `yes'.

So, Mr. Speaker, the message was loud and clear from my district on September 5, that the people were proud of their constitutional rights and wanted to hold on to them.

Before the referendum, Mr. Speaker, as I touched on earlier, I had put forward my stand on this very important issue. I had received letters and several pieces of correspondence from individuals in my district, the parish councils in my district, the Holy Name Society in St. Mary's, and so on. I had responded with a letter to all those concerned, my stand on this very important issue and the fact that I would be voting `no' on September 5.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - I will leave him for another day. It is too important an issue to carry on a conversation with this minister today.

I put forward my beliefs and my concerns to the people in my district and they responded on September 5 with an overwhelming majority voting `no'. That is why I have no problem in saying that when the vote comes before the House of Assembly, I, too, will be voting `no' once again, Mr. Speaker - I once again will be voting `no' when the vote comes before us in the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people in my district.

Mr. Speaker, the history of education in my district is a history of Catholic education. Ninety-nine per cent of my district is Catholic. Our history of success in our schools is evident. If you had the opportunity to attend graduations or any sort of achievement days or nights that are held in my district, you would find that the records of achievement speak for themselves. From Stella Maris in Trepassey to Dunne Memorial Academy in St. Mary's to St. Catherine's Academy in St. Catherine's to Fatima Academy in St. Bride's, there is a list of successes.

Because of the faith that the people have and because of the concerns they have with the taking away of their constitutional rights, I cannot agree with what the government plans to do here with Term 17. Therefore, today, I would like to move the following amendment, seconded by the Member for Placentia;

That the English version of the schedule of the constitutional resolution which would amend Term 17 of the Terms of Union of Newfoundland with Canada be amended as follows:

By deleting the words "be denominational schools" on lines five and six of paragraph (a) and adding the following: "continue to be denominational schools" within the meaning of section 29 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

By deleting the words "right to provide for" on line eleven of paragraph (a) and adding the following: "rights which now exist with respect to the provision of."

By adding to paragraph (b) on line two following the word "provincial" the word "viability".

By eliminating all words after the word "and" on line ten in paragraph (c) and substituting with the following: "to determine and direct the teaching of aspects of curriculum affecting religious beliefs and student admission policy and to establish and carry into effect policies regarding the assignment and dismissal of teachers in that school."

So moved, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I listened intently as the hon. gentleman read his amendment. I have not seen the text of it. I think it might be possible to argue that it is out of order but I don't propose to do that. I would suggest that perhaps Your Honour might wish to recess. If Your Honour determines it is in order we will raise no quarrel from this side. I am prepared to ask the House to deal with the issue, assuming Your Honour finds me in order, but my suggestion would be that you might wish to recess and take counsel from your Clerk.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair hasn't seen the amendment, so we will recess briefly and have a look at the amendment to see if it is legitimate.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair would like to rule on the amendment put forward by the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. Let me say that the amendment that was proposed has given the Chair some difficulty. This amendment appears to be out of order, particularly the first paragraph of the amendment. This paragraph has the effect of negating the resolution and for this reason the whole of the amendment is out of order. I quote Beauchesne, Paragraph 569, Section 2: "When an amendment is irregular in one particular, the whole of it is not admissible and must be ruled out of order."

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, thank you for your ruling.

I only have a few minutes left and I am sure the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation wished I had never stood up to speak, but I am sure his quote will receive wide recognition over the next few months.

I have brought forward the concerns that have been raised to me by the people of St. Mary's - The Capes on this very important issue leading up to the referendum and since the referendum. As I stated earlier, over 83 per cent of the people in my district voted, `no', in the referendum because they want to send a clear message here to the government, that they want to hold on to their constitutional rights that they have held so dear over the past number of decades and that they do not see any reason for them to be taken away.

Mr. Speaker, government has major control over education in this Province as it is today, and in relation to the reforms they want carried out they can do very much of that without changing the Constitution and without upsetting and dividing the people of this Province. I believe that was the intent of government from day one and that is the intent of government today.

In closing off I would like to say that this amendment, I believe, will see the light of day tomorrow and after that it will receive darkness, because it will not see the House of Commons, Mr. Speaker, it will not go before the Senate. It will either be caught up in court challenges or whatever the case may be and we will wait for years for school reform to start taking place in this Province. At a time when I'm sure over 90 per cent of the people in this Province would vote to agree with reform, we will have to wait years.

Because the Williams report gave the government over three years of time to start putting reforms in place in this Province and they refused to do so based on the government's issue with the churches. They refused to bring forward and make conditions with the churches and (inaudible) agreement that had been reached with the churches as it relates to cost in relation to the school boards, in relation to the number of schools in the Province, et cetera. Agreements that were put in place as it relates to student achievement. All these agreements were made, but the government for some reason or other still disagreed with agreeing with the churches on reform. Therefore we ended up with a referendum.

I say that the success of schools in this Province speaks for itself, and that only through negotiation and agreement can we continue to carry out the necessary reforms that are needed in our education system.

In closing I would like to say that I will go back to March 12, 1993 once again and the Premier's promise to the people of this Province when he made a promise that he would not seek a constitutional change to take away the rights of the minorities or the classes of people who held those rights in this Province. Shortly after being re-elected on May 3, 1993 the government went full-speed ahead in stripping the rights of those people and are still on that course today. We go back to those promises that were made, the promise that was made by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation to the people of this Province as a member of the Cabinet, and indeed out to the people of the District of Exploits, and he backtracked on his promise just as the Premier backtracked on his promise that he made on March 12.

I say only time will tell the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and the Member for Exploits, and the Premier and his government whether the people are satisfied with having broken promises. I say I promised the people in my district that I would stand up and bring forward their concerns on this very important issue that affects every man, woman and child in this Province. I promised the people in my constituency of St. Mary's - The Capes that I would bring forward their concerns and I have tried my best to do so. I didn't break any promises I made to the people of St. Mary's - The Capes, as the Premier and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation did. I didn't break the promises that I promised the people and I will not do so.

Mr. Speaker -

MR. TOBIN: That isn't breaking a promise, what the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) resignation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, we will have another day I'm sure to bring forward the concerns.

We have in my district several schools, one Fatima Academy in St. Bride's, St. Catherine's Academy in St. Catherine's, Dunne Memorial Academy in St. Mary's, and Stella Maris in Trepassey, all who have a list of teachers who are second to none. Along with that they have, like I said the other day, a community within their own community, a community to be proud of. Every school in my district, the people of the district and the people of the communities that the schools are in are definitely proud of their schools. I'm sure if you went out around my district you would get the same answers that I have gotten when I asked about what they thought about the schools in their community.

The schools come first in a lot of cases before anything else in our communities. We are proud of the Catholic schools, we are proud of the Catholic tradition, and we want it to continue. I haven't seen any way under the legislation that has been brought forward here or the comments that have been made, questions I have asked, that will guarantee that Catholic education will remain in St. Mary's - The Capes, or any district for that matter. That is why the concerns are being brought forward not only by me but by several members of the House of Assembly over the past couple of weeks.

Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. MANNING: By leave, Mr. Speaker.

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


MR. SPEAKER: No leave?

MR. MANNING: By leave, Mr. Speaker?


AN HON. MEMBER: No, leave, he spoke twice already.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave! By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MANNING: I say the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation refuses me leave -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MANNING: I will speak again, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we on this side will agree to a couple of minutes to clue up his remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Government House Leader for giving me the opportunity as was availed of by many other members to clue up their remarks.

I can understand the frustration of some members on this very important issue. When you look back through the results of the referendum and see what happens in many districts in the Province. There are people who have some major concerns. There is major division not only within the Province but within districts themselves. I ran into family members throughout my district who thought on both sides of the question, and it is definitely a major issue.

In cluing up my remarks, I would just like to say once again that from the people of St. Mary's - The Capes, the issue of Catholic education in schools is very important. We have depended upon it for many, many years. When I look back on the years I spent in school, and I look back on the commitment of the people in my community and my area, whether they were from the churches or they were from the people out on the streets, even people who did not have students and children in school, they were always there in full support of their school, in full support of their teachers.

We have problems, and I admit we have problems, in our education system, and we are in desperate need of reform in some parts of that system, but our problems are not because of denomination. Our problems are not because a teacher is a Catholic or a Pentecostal or a United or any other denomination. Our problem has to do with dollars. Our problem has to do with resources. Our problem has to do with the teachers who do not have the tools to do the job in our schools. That is the problem we face, and whether the changes that the government proposes are going to change that and put dollars into the coffers of the schools of this Province remains to be seen.

Mr. Speaker, the people of St. Mary's - The Capes, feel that we, in some cases, lack some of the opportunities that other people may have and other schools may have, but we do not think it is going to change. We do not trust this government far enough to think that because they are going to change and take away the rights of denominations in the school that dollars will start flowing into the several schools in my district and provide the computers and the library books and the guidance counsellors and so on. We do not think that is going to happen. That is why the people of St. Mary's - The Capes sent a loud and clear message, and I reiterate that today, that we do not, and I will not, stand and support something that will take away the rights of the people of St. Mary's - The Capes, or anyone else in the Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. NOEL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This is a difficult issue for me because I found myself in a bit of a quandary over the past six months, because I thought I would be the last person who would have voted no in the referendum that was held, because I essentially support everything the government is trying to do in reforming education in the Province. I have some problems with it. I think that the effect of what is being planned is going to centralize more power in the education bureaucracy with the government. I think it is going to reduce choice in the Province, and diversity, and that sort of thing to some extent, but as for the savings that are to be made I do not think government is doing enough. I think there is a lot more fundamental reform we need to make in education in this Province than has to do with the denominational aspect of it. I think there is a lot more money that we could be saving. The Royal Commission Report projected that we could be saving $30 million a year right now, and if we had been saving that just since this government has been in office for seven years we would have saved over $200 million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) get on with it.

MR. NOEL: That is one of the concerns that I have also, that I think we may be getting into a complicated situation looking for a constitutional change in Ottawa, and that might well mean that we will go a longer time without making the changes that we are able to make.

Essentially my position throughout all of this was that I sympathized with everything that government was trying to do, but I think that religious freedoms and minority rights and those sorts of things are very delicate things for a country, and very delicate things in a constitution, and I was really impressed by the case made to me by people who favour the denominational school system. Those people feel that it is of great value to them and to their children, and they stand to lose something that they really do not want to lose. I thought that we could have found a way to make the changes that are necessary without scaring them as to what may happen in the future, and it looked like it was possible to make those changes. During the negotiations over the past couple of years at various times it looked like government and the churches had come to an agreement. I met with the church representatives several times, and met with government representatives, and each time you listened to the case being made by each side it was a persuasive case. You would go to one side and they would say the problems they had and that the other side was not being reasonable and that sort of thing, and then the other side would make their case.

It is a very complicated issue and a lot of people took positions without understanding all of the complications, some of which I think we have an advantage of having some understanding of because all the people involved talked to their members of the House of Assembly. It was a very complicated situation and by the time the referendum came, I guess, a lot of people in the Province were not really sure who was making the most accurate case. That is why I felt that it would be best if we could proceed without the option of constitutional change and that government would go ahead and make the changes it wanted to make, and hopefully they would have gone the distance they needed to go without taking away the rights that some people were so concerned about. At any rate if we had chosen that course we would have more clearly identified the obstacles that remained and hopefully had more support for making the changes that were being contemplated.

Mr. Speaker, that is why I voted, no, in the referendum when voting personally, and that is why I do not have any difficulty in voting, yes, to the resolution in the House of Assembly, because I clearly made the referendum a referendum in my district. I made clear to all my constituents that I would vote in this House in accordance with how they voted and I intend to do so, but, Mr. Speaker, I think we have some real problems in education that we have to start focusing on, aside from the denominational aspects, and they are becoming much clearer as we hear of the problems over at Memorial University.

The President of the university, I think, said yesterday that they may be looking at a 50 per cent increase in fees over the next few years, or laying off 400 people, or reducing salaries 12 per cent, that sort of thing. I think there is more money being wasted in education in this Province today than in probably any other aspect of government activities. Look at all the people who are being over educated in terms of what education they need in order to get jobs. I have people coming to me with bachelors and masters degrees who are out working as security people, who are doing jobs that require very little education. We see all kinds of government programs putting people into private schools, community colleges, in universities, and other means of education, that are never going to help them find jobs.

Now, at some point government has to realize that we cannot keep pouring money down the drain in this way. It may be useful for those people to acquire additional education for their own purposes. It will, no doubt, increase their quality of life, but the public and the government have to ask questions as to just how much we can afford as a society to spend on educating people. I think we have to concentrate on educating people to find employment, but the education they want to improve their own quality of life, I think, they have to be prepared to undertake on their own.

The kind of problems that exist in the Province were illustrated by the Dean of Education over at the university who was quoted as saying, that whatever the most important educational issue facing the Province, one thing is certain, that it is not denominational education. There are a lot of things happening in education in the world today as a result of technological change and all sorts of other changes happening. I think we are going to see far more of what they are calling, tele-learning.

Newfoundland and Memorial University has had a great history of involvement in distance education in this Province and I think we have to look at educating people in that sort of way because it is going to be a lot more economical. We are spending hundreds of million of dollars, I think, on education in this Province today that is not being spent productively. We have to look at new ways of doing things. One of the things that has been talked about - some people who have spoken to me and in other parts of the world these days, is a voucher system of education, whereby the government allocates a certain amount of money to each student.

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of noise in the House. If people expect me to listen and be quiet while they are speaking I think they are going to have to show the same kind of accommodation.

Mr. Speaker, I think we have to look at different systems in order to encourage choice and diversity in our education system. One possibility is the voucher kind of system whereby an amount of money is allocated to each student. That student can go to whatever kind of school the person would like to go to and the government would pay that amount of money to that school. That would encourage diversity, it would encourage competition and it would maximize people's freedom to go to whatever kind of school they want and for people to set up whatever kind of schools they want. That of course could include religious schools and schools for all kinds of purposes. We are seeing some schools for very extraordinary kinds of purposes being set up in the country these days, Mr. Speaker. So I think that we have to look at doing far more basic reform in the field of education and doing it more quickly.

On the question of busing, Mr. Speaker, St. John's residents are really discriminated in the amount of money that the provincial government spends on busing. We get very little busing in St. John's but St. John's residents, my constituents, pay their share of taxation to the Province. They have to pay their own children's way for transportation to school whereas people in other parts of the Province and lots of people just on the outskirts of St. John's are having their busing provided for free. That is something I think that we have to change, Mr. Speaker, and of course I think there is a lot of money that can be saved in busing, as the Minister of Education indicated in the study that he produced last August. My question is, why aren't we saving it this year, Mr. Speaker? If that amount of money can be saved I think we've wasted - Mr. Speaker, if hon. members are going to continue making as much noise as they are I am going to keep speaking for the maximum time available to me. If they would be quiet a little bit they may not have to put up with me much longer.

So, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to make clear my position on this whole issue today. I don't see any point of going into all of the details of the debate. I do have concerns with the process that was adopted. I would have done it differently if I would have been organizing it and I do have concerns about the process in Ottawa. I think that we are dealing with changing the Constitution and I think the process has to be unimpeachable when you are doing that. I think a number of people have raised questions about the process that was used and that might add further complications to what Ottawa will do with our request.

But having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think that I don't need to impose my views on the House any longer today and I would -

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that man is trying to make a speech and he cannot do (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. NOEL: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member complaining is the one I've heard most while I have been trying to make the speech.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: But anyway, Mr. Speaker, I will be enthusiastically supporting this resolution in the House when the vote is called, thank you very much.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise at this time to speak on the main motion now before the House, the resolution relating to the proposed changes to Term 17. My previous intervention in this debate was to support the amendment put forth by the Member for Twillingate that would have the effect of retaining the right as a constitutional right of parents to choose to have their children educated in a uni-denominational school where numbers warrant. That amendment has been defeated despite my support and the support of a goodly number of members on both sides of the House. That being the case, we are left with the main motion that is the result of, I would submit, a rather unsatisfactory debate in this Province and a rather unsatisfactory process as other members have commented on.

The proposed changes to Term 17 were devised in the offices of the Premier of this Province and communicated to the public by means of a press release, a process of a referendum was set into motion after schools had closed, after the House had closed, while the citizens of this Province were on vacation, attending to the needs of their families and planned vacations that they had. The referendum itself was held right after the Labour Day weekend; all calculated and designed, Mr. Speaker, to give the minimal amount of scrutiny to the actual provisions of this Term 17.

Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, nevertheless, the final results of the referendum were in support of the changes that are now before us today. The question was not black or white as the government tried to put it to people, if you are in favour of reform of the education system, you should vote `yes', if you are in favour of the status quo, you should vote `no'; that is the same kind of referendum campaign that the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois are trying to put before the Quebec people, that if you want change vote `oui', if you want the status quo, vote `non', that is what they are trying to tell the people of Quebec is the issue before them today in Quebec. That's not the case anymore than it was the case in Newfoundland on September 5th, that the choice was between either the reform or the status quo. Nevertheless, it is very clear that my own party and I myself have been on record for many years to seek fundamental changes to the denominational educational system in this Province.

Those changes include the removal of the control by the institutional churches of the day-to-day operation of the schools; they include the removal of the layers of bureaucracy which have made for additional cost and prevented quick changes when necessary to the system; they included, unfortunately, a provision set in stone in 1949 and whatever was in effect in 1949, would be in effect forever. Those rigidities, those provisions which provided for a lack of democratic control over the education system are the provisions that needed to be changed to provide a modern system of education in keeping with the needs of this Province. So, I supported and urged this government to proceed with the seeking of reform to the education system, and did not agree when this government took the position that the only changes that would be made will be made by consensus. I always thought that at the end of the day, consensus may not achieve what needed to be achieved, and I believed that constitutional change was necessary in order to modernize our education system. The changes that were necessary have in large measure been brought about by the proposed Term 17.

Mr. Speaker, I want to go on record as saying to those members of the public, including some of those members of my party who believed that voting `yes' in the referendum was going to remove religion from the schools, was going to take religion out of the schools, was going to take any rights of the churches out of the schools - there are people who believe that. There are people in my party who believed: I must vote `yes', because that is what this was going to do; that I must vote `yes' as an individual in the referendum because this was going to take religion out of the schools. And I say to them, as I say to members here, that was never the intention of the New Democratic Party in seeking to bring about change to the denominational education system, and it certainly wasn't the intention of the government in Term 17, because if you read it, Term 17, in fact, entrenches and spells out rights that have never before been contained in the Constitution as it affects the rights to control certain religious aspects of the schools, teachers' hiring, and admission policies, and so on.

So, this was not a black and white resolution that was being presented to the public on September 5. This was a situation where certain rights were being removed, and certain others further entrenched, so it is not a black and white, it was a grey and grey, and individuals had to make up their minds, first of all, on a personal level, whether they were prepared to support in the referendum the changes that were spelled out, including the change that would have the effect of taking away the individual rights of parents to have a choice, where numbers warrant, of having their children educated in a uni-denominational school.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that it was not necessary for the government, in the referendum and in the proposed Term 17, to remove the constitutional right of parents to have that choice. They could still have the reform that was wanted without taking away the constitutional rights that so many, a very large minority, as it turned out, of 45 per cent in the referendum, but a very large minority of people felt were very important to them and they wanted to keep. They didn't have to do that; they chose to do that, and as a result, people made their individual decision on the referendum based on that point of view. Those who were prepared to go along with the change, including the change to the Constitution, voted `yes', and those who thought otherwise voted `no'.

I want to say that there is a difference between what an individual may do in a referendum - because each individual in this House had his or her particular choice to make when casting a ballot in the referendum - and what an individual does in the House of Assembly representing a constituency, representing a party, and representing a point of view consistently over time and presenting it to the public on election. It was our position as a party, and mine, to support the Williams report and to support fundamental changes in denominational education. As a result, despite the inadequacies of the proposed Term 17, it is my intention in this House, as the Member for St. John's East and as Leader of the New Democratic Party, to support this resolution when it comes to a vote in this House. It is unfortunate that government has seen fit to take away the constitutional right, and efforts in this House to restore that right have failed. Nonetheless, constitutional change is necessary to achieve proper results, and therefore, I will support it.

I do see one important change that is also fundamental. When I said that I wanted to see the role of the institutional churches diminished, I do not want to see the role of the classes of persons diminished in that they have a right to participate fully in the democratic selection of members of the school board, and that those persons elected by that class shall have the right within the school board to carry out as part of the democratic process a mandate received by them from the electorate. I see that, Mr. Speaker, as a proper way for the conduct of the business of the school boards and for the classes to be represented in the operations of the school.

The minister has talked about this. Based on census data or other methods to determine the percentage of a particular class, a resident, a particular school area, and that that class would form a separate electorate to whom would be assigned a certain number of seats. And if an individual wished to run for one of those seats then he or she would offer himself or herself and the electorate would have the right to choose amongst those offering themselves, and those individuals would be representatives of that class, that religious group, on the school board.

That is the democratization of our school system, which is also a fundamental change that we in the New Democratic Party sought. When we say we seek to remove the role of the institutional churches that is not to say we wish to seek the removal of the influence of a class of persons. What we seek is to have those classes of persons democratically represented through people elected by them on the school boards, and this is a feature of the new proposed Term 17 that appropriately recognizes the role of the classes of persons in contributing and continuing to contribute to the conduct of education in our Province.

I do think, Mr. Speaker, that this has been an unsatisfactory process, but I think at the end of the day, we have to recognize that this is a fundamental change that has been crying out for reform for many years, and though we all may not be happy with the exact form of the Term 17 that is before us -

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I say to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology that no, I am not moving another amendment. The amendment that I supported was an amendment that would have restored the right, a constitutional right of parents to choose, if they so wished, where numbers warrant, to have their child or children educated in the uni-denominational school. That's the amendment that I would have liked to have seen passed and I supported the amendment put before the House by the Member for Twillingate. In fact, it was the same amendment, that particular part of it that I intended to bring before this House. The minister saw fit to vote against that and members opposite decided to vote against that; they want to take away that constitutional right and I wanted to restore it because I do believe, Mr. Speaker, that that particular right can co-exist with the reforms that are necessary and desirable to move our education system forward.

But, Mr. Speaker, even though that has not been included in the proposed Term 17, one has to take into consideration; one has to take into account, the ultimate results of the referendum and the desire for reform. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I will be voting in favour of this resolution when the matter comes to a vote. As Member for St. John's East and as Leader of the New Democratic Party which believes in reform and democratization of our education system, that is the stand that I take in this House. The efforts to bring about the changes that are desirable have failed and we are left with deciding at the end of the day whether or not one supports the reforms that are necessary. Those are my remarks, Mr. Speaker, and I thank all hon. members for their attention.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Windsor - Buchans.

MR. FLIGHT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult time for me. It has been a difficult, maybe three years, I suppose, four years, ever since it became apparent to me, anyway, that one day we would resolve the education issue the way we are doing it today.

There are three members sitting in the House of Assembly that were elected at the same time I was elected, the Member for Bonavista North, the Member for Mount Pearl who is not in his seat, and the Member for the Straits. The best part of twenty years in politics, twenty years totally supporting the Liberal Party, in most capacities, three years out through no choice of my own - the electorate decided they did not want me to continue representing them in 1982 to 1985, two years out later, of that twenty years, by my own decision, and I have never, ever, stood in this House of Assembly and questioned policies of the Liberal Party or of the Opposition. Even in the Opposition I have never publicly criticized decisions made in caucus and I surely never criticized decisions made in Cabinet. As a matter of fact there are people still in Cabinet on this side of the House, there are ex-ministers of Cabinet, there are ex-ministers of Cabinet over there, and each of them knows that at some time or other during their four, five, or six years tenure, issues were discussed that they may not have personally agreed with, made the case and then lived with the consensus.

That was true in my case, Mr. Speaker, but I never, ever came outside and criticized or voted against a decision made by the Cabinet, even by the caucus or the party, but not this time, Mr. Speaker. There are those who will say that what I am going to do today, vote against my own government, is politically motivated. It is a fact that I represent the biggest Pentecostal congregation east of Montreal, one congregation in the town of Windsor. There are a substantial number of Roman Catholics in that district as well, and I have reached a point in my political career where I have to make a decision as to whether or not - and you can be the judge as to whether it is politically motivated, I may or may not ever again ask the people of Windsor - Buchans to vote for me, whatever denomination they are. There is one thing I can stand here and say, that whatever else can be proven right or wrong I have been consistent. From the day this issue first surfaced, in the House, in the caucus, in the churches, in the clubs, when talking to constituents and talking to everybody else's constituents, I have from day one believed that what we are doing here is wrong. We should not change the Constitution, and take out and extinguished the rights of the classes of people.

There are people here in this House of Assembly who in their speeches these last few days have said this is not an issue. Well, it was an issue two or three years ago when I was called to my constituents and other constituents and faced 500, 600, or 700 people. The purpose of the meeting was not necessarily for me to take a stand but for me as their member to hear their concerns. It was an issue where the Leader of the Opposition stood up to a standing ovation and said, I agree with educational reform but my party will never agree, the Opposition will never agree to changing the Constitution and taking out the rights. It was an issue then.

It was an issue when every member in this House received correspondence from their constituents, particularly constituents of certain religious followings in this Province. It was an issue to warrant that kind of letter writing. Whether we like it or lump it, it is an issue when you set up a situation where the majority of people are given the opportunity to extinguish or take out the rights of minorities. It was an issue, Mr. Speaker, when just prior to the general election in 1993, the Premier felt obligated to make a statement which in effect, as I interpreted, as I read it, which in effect said that we would not change the Constitution, we would not take out the rights without the consensus of the churches.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I do not know what happened in other districts. I will not pretend. What I am saying here today are my thoughts, Mr. Speaker, and I respect the rights of everyone else here to be for or against this issue, and I am prepared to accept their reasoning. I do not know what happened in other districts but I know what happened in mine, and maybe it goes back to the fact, as I said a few minutes ago, that I have a major, major Pentecostal congregation. I had people ahead of me going door to door campaigning and saying: if you elect Flight it will mean changing the Constitution, it will mean this, it will mean that, it will mean the end of our denominational schools, it will mean the end of the Pentecostals, in this case, being able to continue on in their own schools.

I had the statement to fall back on. I don't know if that contributed to my being re-elected. I don't know to what extent that contributed. I don't know if those people if I could not have produced that statement, if I had to leave that door in a situation that: Yes, indeed, maybe I will be party to doing that. I don't know what would have happened. In any event I won the election. Let me say for those who think anywhere in Newfoundland, not just in this House, that this is not an issue: This is an issue that will be around for many generations.

My personal experience is I came from a one-room school. I was born in Notre Dame Bay, Cottle's Island, Cottlesville now. My mother died when I was very young and I moved from Cottlesville to Embree which is in the Speaker's district, which he will be very familiar with. I went to a little one-room school. The teacher was referred to as a little. Actually, she was referred to as a little Salvation Army lieutenant teaching school. I remember we carried our own wood. We bought our own school supplies, our slates. We bought our own scribblers. I was better off than most of the kids in that school, the young people. The age was only from primer then to Grade VIII. Because my father had got a job in Buchans and could afford to buy scribblers and slates and send me.

I don't know what contribution the government was making to that school. We carried our own wood, we carried our own supplies. They weren't providing that. The Salvation Army was providing teachers. I suspect the Salvation Army owned the school. No wonder we evolved and developed a denominational system of education in this Province. If it weren't for that I don't know what would have happened. In many communities such as that one there would have been no schools, I presume. There would have been nothing. There was no need for us as a society to turn our backs on what has been accomplished by the churches with regard to education in this Province.

We will talk about underachieving. In the debate one of the reasons we are being given that we have to do this is because our students are underachieving. The fact of the matter is, and this is an undeniable fact to this day, there are hundreds if not thousands of students in this Province today going to school hungry, undernourished. Now that kind of a situation in a classroom does not contribute to achieving.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FLIGHT: Undernourished, certainly.

Mr. Speaker, there are thousands of children in this Province today going to school not properly dressed, damp, wet, cold feet, not conducive to achieving or overachieving. There are thousands of families who cannot provide the basics to their children. They cannot provide the basics for their children, eye care, the kind of glasses they need, to understand what is going on around them in school, maybe not being able to afford to be able to heat the house properly, these are the kinds of things, among others, that will contribute to underachievement; but no, the cause of underachievement, we are lead to believe, is the churches involvement in the role of education in Newfoundland, and the solution is to end denominational education as we know it, to diminish or eradicate the churches role in education, to risk having Newfoundland end up with a secular education system, and what does getting to that solution involve? It involves spending scarce monies, scarce dollars, in a referendum. It involves sapping the energy and emotion of everyone in Newfoundland, including the Members of this House of Assembly, and it involves a referendum that in the end, and during the referendum, pitted community against community, church against church, school against school, and in some cases friend against friend, and it revived bigotries that everyone had hoped no longer existed in this Province, and what was accomplished? In my opinion nothing was accomplished.

People could not believe that we would have a referendum on this issue. They saw it and said: no, no, there will not be a referendum. They will see it as a move to give the majority the right to remove or to rescind or to extinguish the rights of the minorities. That frightened people. It concerned me, it worried me, and yes, it upset me. You see, in the early negotiations, right up to the referendum call that is the way it was seen. The integrated churches, the churches representing the integrated schools, did not seem to have a problem. It was only the Catholic and Pentecostals who were resisting government reforms, so in this environment, in this kind of a referendum, it would be majority against minority, and the minorities suddenly felt vulnerable, and suddenly felt very threatened.

But ironically, Mr. Speaker, you see when we were talking about if we ever got to a referendum or if we ever got to a resolution that would take out the rights from the Constitution, they all went. The rights of the churches as part of the integrated system went as well. So, Mr. Speaker - I said ironically, that may be the wrong word but interestingly, coming on towards the end of the referendum and after the referendum the churches representing the integrated schools wrote letters to their adherents, expressing concerns about the governments proposals. They were telling their adherents that they were concerned about government proposals. They were now taking positions that under the government's proposals that our denominational Christian based education system was at risk and they have recently, within the past two days, Mr. Speaker, written to the Premier expressing those views. No one believed, Mr. Speaker, that the issue would go to a referendum. The risk was too great, as I referred to the religious bigotries that we thought were behind us.

In that referendum, Mr. Speaker, not many people have referred to it - in that referendum it all happened. The worst of our fears or certainly the worst of mine, materialized. I sat listening to open line shows and I was ashamed of what I was hearing. I grimaced; I cringed at some of the comments I heard that was supposedly part of this debate. I knew, as did many other people in this Province, I knew that the issue in a lot of people's minds was not educational reform but then the referendum came and we had to vote.

Mr. Speaker, I will never question nor do I question the government's right to act on the results of that referendum, 55 per cent is a majority, regardless, Mr. Speaker, of who votes. I would have accepted 55 per cent in the six elections that I ran in and I would have accepted a two-vote majority of that 55 per cent, as winning. I don't question and I don't argue with the government's right but I tell you what I do question, Mr. Speaker, and it is my opinion and I am entitled to it, it is my spin and I am entitled to it, Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that 28 per cent of the people of this Province voted yes. That tells me that 72 per cent either voted no or was not moved to vote yes, who did not see this as such a major compelling reason. Now one spin can be that all the people who did not vote, if they had voted, would have voted no. Well, Mr. Speaker, my spin is exactly the opposite. The people who did not vote - because I tell you something that was going on in the heads of people in this Province during that referendum, Mr. Speaker.

What was going on was 100 per cent of the people of this Province supports the government in major education reform. But I can tell you that a lot of Newfoundlanders were concerned about the necessity - even if there was no necessity - they were concerned about indicating to the government that they were prepared to change the Constitution, to take out the churches' rights, to extinguish minority rights. My spin on that is rather than do that, and rather than take that chance, and rather than take a chance on visiting secular schools on this Province, they stayed home.

I keep referring to secular schools. I've never ever used in the debate godless schools. I heard that used. There are times one feels like a ping-pong ball. I listened to the advisors and the lawyers speaking for the government who say that there is no risk in Newfoundland, that we are not at risk. Our education system is not at risk of becoming secular. Then I listen to the heads - and I'm not talking about the negotiators either. I'm not talking about the Gerry Fallons or the Earle Batstones, the people who a lot of people said were building empires or protecting their empires or protecting their big salaries. I'm talking about the leaders of the church, the people who speak for the classes of people. Their view of the world and their legal interpretation is that a revised Term 17 can indeed lead to secular schools. Because it will be subject to a court challenge in a way that the existing Term 17 is not subject to a court challenge.

What did the people see as necessary education reforms? They saw the number of school boards in this Province. The people of Newfoundland have watched for years as the school boards built empires in this Province and the people were concerned about it. They were prepared to give the government the right to change that and to reform education and to reform the system as far as the school board is concerned. I'm told that the churches agreed on a construction board that would see the schools rebuilt in this Province where the need existed, and not based on purely because some denomination said: We want to build a school. School busing, although not covered in the Constitution, was the kind of reform.

These are the three reforms that the people of this Province could feel, could touch, could talk about. There were the number of school boards -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FLIGHT: There were the number of school boards, the waste and duplication in building schools, the waste and duplication of school busing. Mr. Speaker, it is my belief and the belief of many Newfoundlanders that these reforms were attainable without amending the Constitution, without removing the rights of minorities. Mr. Speaker, I know something about wasted money in building schools.

In Badger today, there is a school called Terry Fox. When I became the member, every student in Badger, every student in high school was being bused to Grand Falls. The first thing I did in this House of Assembly, was present a petition to ask that the government stop busing students to Grand Falls from Badger and build schools. Eventually, the Catholic School Board built a school and called it `Avoca', a state of the art school in Badger and every integrated family agreed to send their children there, and they did. But what happened, Mr. Speaker, the day that school was opened, the Integrated School Board decided - we talk about the empire Building - the Integrated School Board decided to build a school, $400,000 of taxpayers money. Today that school is closed and yesterday, Mr. Speaker, it was sold for $6,500, so don't anyone talk to me about the necessary reforms on education in Newfoundland.

But, Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that these reforms could have been attained through negotiations. It was not necessary, Mr. Speaker, to change the Constitution to effect those reforms. The people have spoken, even in the referendum, have spoken loud and clear, the churches had the message, the educators had the message, government reform the system and I believe, Mr. Speaker, we could have reformed the system without taking out the rights. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is one other thing I might say here. I have identified what most Newfoundlanders see. There may be other reforms that were necessary, that were worthy and worth changing the Constitution for, Mr. Speaker. I believe it is incumbent on the government to lay those reasons on the table because that's the three that the people in the Province saw as a real need for reform.

Mr. Speaker, if there are other reforms necessary that are so important so as to change the Constitution, so necessary as to alienate half the population, so necessary as to cause our total population to be concerned, in some cases feel guilty, then put those needed reforms on the table with the other three or four major reforms so that Newfoundlanders can understand them, and if there are not such reasons, Mr. Speaker, for reforms, then there is no need for this drastic action we are about to undertake.

As I travelled through my district, Mr. Speaker, people came up to me during the three years the debate was going on and they were saying: Graham, why are we having this referendum? Why does your government want to take our rights out of the Constitution?... and I explained the need for reforms. Oh, they said, we understand that, we understand the need for reforms.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you, I have never had a constituent or a Newfoundlander ever question me on the extent of the reforms. They knew we had to have reforms, and they weren't putting any limits on the reforms they were prepared to see government do. What they did not want, and I can tell you what they still don't want, is to extinguish the rights from the constitution.

Mr. Speaker, early in negotiations there were times when we were like we were on a roller coaster. There were times when there was a sense of relief because it appeared that we were going to come to a consensus and reform education by way of consensus, which is what everybody wanted. Then the word would come out that consensus wasn't possible and we were talking about the constitution again.

Mr. Speaker, the one sentiment that I heard throughout my district and throughout Newfoundland on this debate was the need and the plea not to change the constitution, not to take out the rights. Reform the system, by all means, but don't take out the rights; it is not necessary.

Mr. Speaker, could the government have implemented the reforms that you know and that I know and the rest of this House of Assembly and all of Newfoundland know are necessary? For argument sake, let's talk about schools. I am told by people who know that in excess of 50 per cent of the Pentecostal schools in Newfoundland will close in the next five years. If there were no government here that would happen because of the dropping enrolment, because of the lack of dollars, because the dollars are not going far enough, for all sorts of reasons the decisions have been made. What will be accomplished? In lots of cases people are saying we are fighting a battle that has already been won.

Mr. Speaker, let's take the three major reforms. Remember, our denominational education system was entrenched in this Province for 150 years. So what if it took ten years to get the reforms we needed? So what if the churches said, we accept ten school boards, from twenty-seven to ten?.... but there is a little caveat or two here. So what if it took three years to say, okay, we have the ten school boards, down from twenty-seven? We will accept the caveat and we will take the two or three years that is needed to do away with that caveat, to make that change as well. So what if they said that we have to have construction boards?.... and with that we agree to a construction board. But the only reason we agree, and we agree that schools have to be built on a needs basis; however, there would come a point when we would have to look and see if the denominations were getting their fair share. There was a caveat or two caveats. So what?

Why could the government not have said, we accept the fact that we have now got a situation after 150 years where the churches agree that schools will only be built on need, but there is a caveat. We will take two or three years. We will work out that caveat as well. The same thing applied to school busing. So what if it took ten years to change a system that was so important to people, that was entrenched for 150 years? I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, it would be a major accomplishment.

I believe that hundreds of thousands of graduates from our Newfoundland schools over the last years are better off and are better-rounded citizens because they attended a Christianity-based denominational education system. And I'm talking about all schools and all churches. I believe that what we are doing today will put at risk our Christianity-based schools, our denominational education system. I believe we could see secular schools visited on Newfoundland.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are known around the world as a caring, decent, God-fearing, compassionate people with high standards, high morals. We are told that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are unique. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, and it will sound rhetorical, but I will ask the question: To what extent did our unique-based education system contribute to the reputation that we are all so proud of? Because every Labradorian and Newfoundlander alive today came out of our denominational-based education system.

There are some people who suggested that over the last three years we were into a power struggle, that certain people, negotiators for the churches, Mr. Fallon and Mr. Batstone, were people who were defending their own empires, defending their own jobs. But it won't be only those two who will lose their rights. It will be the parents, it will be the people, it will be the family who believes they need the protection that the Constitution affords them.

The risk for secular schools being visited on Newfoundland is too great. Even as late as October 26, there have been letters from church leaders signed by church leaders - not signed by negotiators, but by church leaders, pleading to have the reforms that are necessary attained through negotiation, pleading to reform our education system without amending the constitution.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I realize a lot of the things I said have been repetitious but I believe everything I have said. I believe we are embarking on a drastic, unnecessary action, an action from which there will be resentment and recriminations for years to come, an action under which thousands of our people will feel let down and betrayed, and it need not be so. The message is clear from the people of Newfoundland to the churches, to the educators. The people want and will support whatever reforms are needed and necessary. The people are not demanding, nor will they support, constitutional change which is seen not to be necessary. I believe the government has the means and the options to implement whatever reforms are needed, that are necessary, without extinguishing minority rights and without amending the constitution, and I implore the government, in a spirit of understanding, in a spirit of goodwill, in a considerate spirit, in a compassionate spirit, to do so, because if we don't use the option to reform our education system without amending the constitution, without taking out or extinguishing minority rights, then this Province will be forever, in my opinion, the worse off.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


October 30, 1995          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 45A

[Continuation of sitting]

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

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to have a few words about the motion put forward by government to deal with amending Term 17, so that we can move the process forward to reform our school system, Mr. Speaker.

This has been a difficult process I think for a lot of people but what we are discussing here today and have been for the last couple of weeks, is an issue about moving on for the future, that's what it comes down to and we can either decide to go with the process that we have had for two-and-a-half years, which the government and the Minister of Education and Training and the officials, and church leaders and the negotiators for the churches attempted to do, find a resolution or you go to the people and you ask the people for a resolution and in this case we went to the people.

Now if the government had lost that vote, the government would have accepted that vote. In this case, we are talking about moving towards the future so at the end of the day, the vote was held and everybody had an opportunity, Mr. Speaker. It would be like having an election and that 50 per cent never got out so you better go back and check with them first. I mean, at the end of the day, everybody had an opportunity and they voted, and so we went forward after attempting to negotiate as best we could, an arrangement that would see a modified change, some modifications to the present system that was called Adjusting The Course, so really, there were adjustments, Mr. Speaker, to our system.

It wasn't taking away massive rights, it wasn't taking away and making it a secular system, it was making some adjustments to the system; it was making some adjustments for the 1990s and going into the new millennium, that's what we are talking about, and every attempt was being made - as a matter of fact, two other people were brought into it at the behest of some other people, the hon. Phil Warren and I believe Mr. Dennis Browne as private citizens attempting to try to get an understanding and go back and forth between both parties to try to see if there was a way to have this settled.

So every attempt really, was made to try to do that and I think everybody in the House of Assembly want to see it resolved that way. I know I did, personally. I mean, no one wants to go and have to make an amendment to a Constitution to resolve something but in this case after many, many attempts, it was decided by government and by caucus to go forward to do this and to call for a referendum, and so it was called, and we have an outcome, and what we are talking about today is moving on, trying to move on to make some changes to our system amongst other changes that are now being made, they have been made, that will be made in the future, the plan that was set out in the Royal Commission that was set out to make some changes to our school system, to make the changes in the curriculum that are needed.

As a matter of fact, I have a copy of some changes here, Mr. Speaker, a copy this morning of some changes that are being made to the curriculum now on educational reform, and they are going to deal with the high school system and deal with the credits in the high school system, about more math in the system, more technology in the system so there is a whole range of changes that are being made as we speak. A professional development centre for teachers is now set up and that's starting to bring some new improvements to professional education for teachers in the Province, so there is a whole range of changes that are being made to deal with improving our education system.

The attempt, Mr. Speaker, by government, was to modify our present system, to make some changes in the structure of the system so they could operate efficiently and effectively. The hon. Phil Warren used to say, Mr. Speaker, there is more scholar for the dollar and this is what we are talking about here and the Minister of Education and Training of the day and the government of the day is trying to do the same thing.

When you look at the amending of Term 17, government is not taking Term 17 and throwing it away. Government is amending Term 17, modifying Term 17, leaving Term 17. Now if Term 17 protects something now and you are amending Term 17, the amended Term 17 will protect something. It will protect a number of things in the system. It certainly will protect the religions and their role in education. A role that they can have in education, a major role that they can have in education and protection for uni-denominational schools that will be allowed in this system, Mr. Speaker. There is a major role here for churches in the education system. There has been in the past and there will be in the future. These are modifications that have been made, after a vote of the people.

So democracy, I suppose, you can describe in a few different ways but this is not bad, in a democracy to be able to go this route at the end of the day, if you cannot seem to get anywhere. I am as sad as everybody else is that we did not get a deal on the table, that we did not get it finalized. I am saddened by that but we also cannot ignore that we have to make changes for the future. So at the end of the day not everybody will be happy. Maybe the school boards won't be happy, maybe certain people in the church groups won't be happy, maybe certain people in other groups won't be happy but we have to talk about moving ahead. We can choose to live and just leave it alone and go on and not bother tackling the issues of the day. We can either do that or we can tackle the issues of the day. This is not going to resolve all of the problems in the education system and nobody said it will but it is part of a plan that will help resolve some of the problems and it is a modification of a system. It is not the taking away of and wiping out of anything. It is a modification of a system and if the amended Term 17 is put in place it will protect for a long time in the future, the role of churches in the schools and I think it is going to actually enhance them as a matter of fact. As a matter of fact it is going to define them and whatever that role, that role can be expansive in a number of areas, and I think it will be very positive.

I believe that once school boards grab hold of it and start moving ahead, I think we are going to see some very good changes in our school system. Also, we have a lot of good things in our school system. A lot of good things that have happened over the years. There is nobody saying that this was the reason or the denominational system is this, that or anything. It was a very positive system. It will be a positive system in the future, Mr. Speaker. It will be a positive system in the future but what this is is a modification of changes. It is moving on to the future after every attempt was made on both sides of the issue to try to resolve it. That is what it comes down to. Every attempt was made and sometimes you have to find a mechanism to use and this was the mechanism that was used, Mr. Speaker. I have no doubt that once the changes are made we will see people wanting to grasp hold of what, for example, their rights are in education, what their rights are in religious education. We hope we will see people wanting to grab hold of that and go with it in the system and to create a better system.

Back in 1968, Mr. Speaker, or '69 when they were looking at changing the system, they were looking at: How do we come together and make changes for an effective education system? The integrated system was formed out of that. The system that we have today was formed out of that 1968-69 system along with our present RC system and Pentecostal systems. That was formed, Mr. Speaker, with an understanding that this is an arrangement that we can work within the Term 17 of the day. They agreed at that time to go ahead and move ahead.

Mr. Speaker, again I went back and was reading how they did that. I was reading why they did it. I was reading: why would religions of the day decide to give up what? What were they giving up? They decided to get together to make a more effective education system for their classes of people. That is what they did in those days, and it wasn't taken as giving away anything. It wasn't considered to be that we are throwing away our rights.

AN HON. MEMBER: They didn't.

MR. AYLWARD: No, they didn't. That is right, they didn't, but they had an integrated education system, a denominational system. They had a denominational system like we are going to have in the future, a denominational system with rights that are entrenched in the Constitution. So they did that then, but the one line that I just want to highlight in it when I read it over, the one line I want to highlight, says: Mr. Speaker, let me remind the House that this bill is, in the final analysis, not designed for the teachers of Newfoundland, or for professors, or for students of education at our university, or for the churches, or for the school boards; it is for the education of children - it is for the children of Newfoundland - and that is what this is about, Mr. Speaker. The bottom line is - and this was a statement made by Dr. F. W. Rowe, 1969 - the bottom line is we are trying to make some improvements to a system for children of the Province.

So if some people want to still concentrate on the power side of it they can go right ahead, as far as I am concerned, but I know I was always an advocate of reforming our system but being mindful of and ensuring the protection of religious education in our system and this, I am quite confident, will do that in the future. I am quite confident that it meets those challenges. I am quite confident that these modifications - which is all they are, modifications...

Some people have advocated taking religion right out of the school system, and I would never, ever agree to it, and we would never agree to it in this government. We have agreed to uni-denominational schools, and making sure that religious education and the role of religion in education is there for the future. We would never agree to the other end of it, the other spectrum that some people would like to go. We will never agree to that, no matter how hard they advocate it, whoever wants to advocate it; we would never agree to it. We have agreed to a modified system. This is what we were trying to negotiate. This is what we attempted to negotiate, and this is what we are doing in a democratic fashion at the end of the day, attempting to move on and make some changes for the kids in the future of this school system that we have.

Mr. Speaker, with all of the problems that we have to face on this society of Newfoundland and Labrador, with the budget deficits that we have to face, making sure that we don't inflict on our kids deficits for the future, for them to be paying income taxes in the future, with those problems to face you have to make some moves. You have to face the future, and you have to think about it when you make your decisions. This will ensure that there is protection in the system for religious education and for a role for religions in the future, and that I am quite content with but we also have to move on and try to effectively manage every dollar. Every scarce dollar that we now have for education has to be used as wisely as possible, and with these changes that will help make it happen, and it will make a more effective administration of the education system, and this is what we are talking about. That is the bottom line, and if some people want to make it more than it is, that is okay; that is everybody's right. Everybody has that right, to speak their own mind. It is not a problem at all, but I just say it is my interpretation of it, my sole interpretation of it. I have supported those changes from day one. I will continue to support them as we move forward trying to make our system more responsive -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: The Member for Ferryland - you know, I was very quiet and listened to him, as a matter of fact, when he was speaking; and if he wants to get on with that kind of - in words like integrity, and talk about that, that is up to him, but I would remind him that I was quiet and I would appreciate the same. If that is okay with him, I would appreciate that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. AYLWARD: What is integrity? Why don't we inflict more deficits in the future for our kids? Why don't we make sure that when they go and pay their income taxes in the year 2005 that we are going to inflict them with income taxes for debts we incurred for them? That is integrity, is it not, I suppose? I do not know. Normally, I kind of keep on track but I give my apologies to the Speaker.

I say very simply that I support the reforms to our education system. I believe they are modifications to the system. I believe they recognize the rights of churches in the future, and I think they will have a major and substantial role, and they are not going to do what some people said, and what some people have advocated in other political stripes, to either take religion out of it altogether or leave it the way it was in the past. We are trying to move on to the future and this is what this is all about, for the kids, for the future, and very simply that is what it comes down to and that is what I am advocating.

Thank you, very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. WHELAN: First of all I would like to congratulate all the speakers who have gone before me. We are debating a very important issue, one of the most important issues that most of us will ever have to face in our political careers, so I feel duty bound to make my comments known as well as all the others. I cannot exactly say that I am delighted to be standing in this debate. I had hoped that there would not be a debate.

As the negotiations progressed and one day led into the other I was sort of on a roller coaster ride. One day we thought we were close to a resolution and another day we were further apart than ever. I guess it is all history now. We are here standing up to our ears in debate and it is all over but the vote, and I do not think there is any doubt as to which way the vote is going to go.

I have to say for the most part that I agree with the resolution, the amendment to Term 17. It does not necessarily mean that I am going to vote for it. I recall a long time ago, back in Colliers where I grew up in an area that was totally Catholic, and when I was a kid I lived in a time where there was very little tolerance from one religion to another, much less than there is now, and there is not a big lot now from what I am seeing. I as I mentioned before when I was a child, I suppose I was taught, at least I had the impression that most Protestants were bad people. Indeed when I went to school we took our lead from Butler's Catechumen and that was the final word on the dogma for the Catholic church. Certainly, in that particular text one of the questions was: is there any redemption outside the Catholic church, and of course the answer was, no, so I always looked on people of other religions, on Protestants as very unfortunate people because they were destined to the everlasting fires of hell forever and ever.

I suppose at that particular time I developed a bit of sympathy for them and as years went on and we got into high school in the 1960s there was a man who came on the world scene who was known to us and remembered by us, Pope John XX111. He instigated Vatican 11 and was one of the main reasons why we had the movement around the world known as the Ecumenical Movement. At that particular time we were all very hopeful that perhaps some day, perhaps, there would be a unification of the churches, particular the Christian churches. Things were moving along quite well, the spirit of ecumenism prevailed in the land and tolerance seemed to be the order of the day. Pope John XX111 unfortunately did not live very long and ecumenism stagnated. It did not die, it stagnated, and we have not made a lot of progress since.

Now I am not saying that there is no tolerance, or the ecumenical movement is still not alive, because I know that there are services that are held amongst various religions, and Catholics now are allowed in Protestant churches and vice versa, but I noticed as the debate started on this particular issue, very early in the debate, first when it came up, there were a number of public meetings throughout my district and I attended them, and things I heard at that particular time began to bother me because they were things that I was hearing back in the fifties. We were you and us and them. We were the good guys and we were the bad guys. There were people, teachers even, talking about things that were going on in Protestant schools, and did you ever hear the like of that? That disturbed me very much.

There was one lady there who stood up and was very concerned about the fact of: Who is going to teach my child about the Catholic church? I am harping on the Catholic church - I hope nobody gets the wrong idea - but I was brought up in the Catholic church; I am a Catholic, and I feel that I am some authority on the Catholic church more than any other. She asked the question: Who is going to teach my child about Catholicism and about the Catholic church? She said: I cannot teach him; I don't know anything about it. I don't go to church, so I don't know anything about my church. The first thing that I had to ask myself was: What good did the denominational system do her? What did she benefit from all those years in school in a denominational system?

I know that all the graduates from the denominational system were not as ignorant of the religion that they grew up in as she was, but there are quite a few people who are. The point that I am trying to make, actually, is the fact that we are beginning to lose that tolerance that was developing in the sixties and that survived in the seventies and eighties, probably dying in the nineties.

I have to say that I agree with the resolution that was presented by the government. I find that I cannot bring myself to vote for it, and I say that because of the principle that I believe in a vote for a vote, one man, one vote, and the majority of the people in my district voted no so I feel duty bound to recognize that their judgement saw them vote no. I agreed with their judgement when they elected me in 1993. I thought that they had sound and proper judgement then. I accepted their judgement, and I feel I cannot turn around and say today that their judgement is not all that good, because it would be condemning myself.

I find it strange that people who have been here for over twenty years, or around twenty years, and four and five terms, and have represented people for that length of time all of a sudden turn around and say: I don't respect their judgement any more. It doesn't say much for them.

Mr. Speaker, I regret the fact that we have not been able to come to a satisfactory agreement, the churches and the state - I regret that - however, we must plod on. Again I repeat myself, I will have to vote against the resolution in the House of Assembly, but I do agree with a lot of the things that they believe in.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to have a few brief words to state my position on this resolution to amend Term 17 of our Terms of Union with Canada.

Term 17 of course, is the section that guarantees denominational education rights, rights which are basically exempt from some provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Last week, Mr. Speaker, I stood here and supported an amendment by the representative from Twillingate that was seconded by the representative from Fogo who did not even speak or support it. It seems like the Member for Fogo must have been taking magician lessons because he quickly disappeared when anything had to be said.

This whole debate, like referendum debates, are very divisive and sometimes they get worst than others. Back in 1948 we were into a very divisive thing in this Province, the referendum, hauling Newfoundland eventually, in through the back door of Canada. It is very significant today, for me at least, to be talking about a referendum that was held a few weeks ago and one that was held, going on fifty years ago. Referendums by the perpetrators of those referendums put the spin on to get their way. Back in 1948 and what led into it and all the spin doctors, Newfoundland lost their country. Some say what country was she? But she was a country and under the statutes of Westminster in 1927 she was formerly recognized as the Dominion of Newfoundland.

We had raised the contingent during the First World War and up to 1933 Newfoundland and Finland were the only two countries in the world that paid theirs off, their war debt. One Newfoundlander who had been Prime Minister got a peerage out of it and stayed in England because he could not see how the people could live in such a clime, Prime Minister Morris from here in this City. We always had someone to sell us out. We always managed to find Judas goats, someone to lead you down the road for their own ends.

Over the weekend I picked up this little article and very appropriate for today, it was written by John Wesley. John Wesley, for those who don't know, he did not actually found it but his teachings - I think he was born Anglican and buried Anglican but all his teachings caused someone else to found the Methodist religion. He had a respected rule of conduct; do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. Great words from a man of the stature of John Wesley. We have had words issued in this House too; we have had words issued here.

We had the Premier here on March 12, 1993, just before he called an election on the backs of trade unionists in this Province and particularly the NTA, on March 12, in his seat there and as repeated by other members, he said he would not seek to change the Constitution of Canada to remove educational rights from citizens of our Province. So much for his word.

On November 16, 1994 the present Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation said in this House that this government's plan was not then and is not now to seek a change to the Constitution. Our plan is to try to get needed reforms for a better educational system by consensus. That was the plan then, Mr. Speaker, it was the plan last week, it is the plan this week, it is the plan this afternoon, it is the plan tonight, it will be the plan tomorrow and it will be the plan until the day we die.

I would like to ask the Speaker: Where can I send flowers to the Member for Exploits? Was he talking about the American Constitution or some other country's constitution, because he certainly wasn't talking about our Constitution?

I am not as academically educated as some people here. I don't need to be, obviously, by the way some of them get on here. In 1994 when little old me, with some help, had to face a barrage of Liberals in a by-election in Placentia District, I said during that by-election, and I quote, "During the May 3 election campaign the Liberals refused to admit their plan to change the denominational education system, and no opportunities for input have been given to parents, teachers, school boards and others who are concerned about the quality of education in our Province. Government should respect existing constitutional rights and not change them without the consent of the people who own them."

That was my word in 1994, and I didn't change my word since because on this earth I still have people to face, and they do not necessarily have to be the electorate. They are the people I grew up with and the people who raised me. Yes, and I say to the member who pointed it out, what we are led to believe, that there is something more important above us all. If I made an agreement all I needed was a handshake, but there are some here - you could have this House of Assembly filled with signed documents and they would mean nothing. Is that what we are?

I find it amazing that one person here in this House who wanted to get more than a half page in the history book got his way. He is only one man. Now, he got his way and he will get his way here with this vote, which will be held tomorrow. He will get his way.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: Well, if you are all `yes' to him. Sometimes you have to say no.

I am not saying that he is evil, but I am saying down the road some other person, at some other time, another jackbooter or far worse, with a bunch of yes men, can take this further. Then what about court challenges when this goes through? What about some fancy lawyer who knows all the words, who ate Webster's Dictionary, with all the little innuendoes and stuff that can go on in a courtroom to get their way. Would that be proper? We heard about the O.J. trial with Johnny Cochrane on one side and the other crowd on the other, and people who watched it on TV taking sides. The point is, Sir, just because this is going through now who says it is going to be protected when it gets into the courts? We have seen strange things happen. We in this Province were raised thinking that our railroad was safe under the Constitution, and we saw what the Tories did to that. I said to Premier Peckford that if we got one thousand times what we got for Roads for Rails it would not be good enough because the train was one of the reasons why we lost our country, and one of the reasons why, going back, raising a contingent to fight for someone else.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible)

MR. CAREEN: Well, we never raised a contingent to fight for ourselves, did we, I say to the member for Port aux Basques. Sure, those men and women fought for freedom but there is something else at stake here, too, constitutional rights. What we think is ours someone is willing to take away. It gets popular, you know. In my district, in Placentia, they knew where I stood in 1994 and I knew where they stood in 1995. We had people confused about the voting issue. I never met one person who did not want the reform. We are subject to changes all the time, but not one of them would dare vote against reform, because every parent I ever met always wanted their child to do better than they did, and changes are sometimes the way to do it. They did not want them to go out into the cold world the same as they had been subjected to themselves and with the least opportunities.

The Placentia district had a turnout of 56.2 per cent, fairly large as compared to what was going on in other places, but do not forget in the by-election there was an 83 per cent turn out in the Placentia district to send a resounding message in here because it was least confusing. Things were more black and white in an election that they were on those constitutional reforms proposed by this government.

Out in the Placentia district over the years and in the Placentia area particularly, we were designated as one of the growth centres for resettlement, another scheme of the Liberal government, and now we have another one on the go which is more subtle than the last one. After the resettlement program and the phase-out in Argentia as time went on we saw schools starting to close because of declining enrolment. We saw a school close in Point Verde, a school close in Southeast Placentia, a school close in Bons Path, a school closed in Jerseyside, the high school was taken out of Freshwater, and so on.

In an agreement in the last while the Anglicans closed the high school in Dunville, the United Church people agreed to the closure of the elementary school, and in Ship Harbour and Fox Harbour two RC Schools closed in favour of a joint services school in Dunville. It is great! It is wonderful!

Now, when the referendum was called, a Salvation Army friend of mine in Dunville came up to me and asked me: What in the hell is going on? He was mad. He said: if you want to see changes you need not look any further than Dunville, because they all gave in a little bit. They were all trustworthy and satisfied with their children going to this type of school, but they don't want any further rights stripped away. He was not properly consulted.

We saw them going around this Province a couple of years ago with regard to the name change to this Province; the name change. And such an important issue as this, we never even got a chance to debate it here, not a chance to talk about what should be in it, the question that should be put forward to the people, to listen to petitions from people in our districts.

AN HON. MEMBER: We love you, Nick.

MR. CAREEN: I don't like jackboots and I don't like jackboot treatment. I wouldn't do it to anybody and I don't want anybody to do it to me.

Placentia District historically too - in 1686 they figure they had the first school, in Placentia.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the first one here.

MR. CAREEN: No, I say to the Minister, they tried to take Carbonear Island but they failed. The strange thing about it - I must digress for a second - D'Iberville left Placentia, burned Ferryland, burned St. John's and then wintered in Bull Arm on his way home.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member's time is up.

MR. CAREEN: Mr. Speaker, for one more second. I always said that was the first make-work project in Newfoundland, burning Ferryland and St. John's, a make-work project.

MR. TOBIN: Who was that?

MR. CAREEN: Pierre LaMoine D'Iberville was his name.

AN HON. MEMBER: Were you with him, Nick?

MR. CAREEN: Probably in some other life.

I said earlier, and I will go back to this, about the divisive methods that are used in referendums. There are people talking about Lucien Bouchard and Parizeau: they are out to get their way. Is this any different? I mean, they may be using some different tricks that were not used here; cold and calculating kinds of tricks, but referendums are divisive, very divisive.

We see the government here, the Premier, the Minister of Education, who were not going to interfere unless they heard someone from the `no' side saying something wrong. They were talking about a certain amount of money that they were willing to spend on brochures and advertisements.

AN HON. MEMBER: They spend it all in one week.

MR. CAREEN: But they had lots of help from the media of this Province. They were aided and abetted very well. You had the Crocker boys, one in Education and one down at the CBC. I saw the CBC Evening News one night - I spoke to friends of mine on this side and the other side of the House - and the announcer said: We are going to talk about the education referendum, with a picture of Mount Cashel in the background - I don't like that. I would have been harsher on those brothers then any court in this land because Mount Cashel itself, over the years, did a lot of good and there is still a reason for a type of institution like Mount Cashel but we gave in to public pressure. They did not tear down Germany or Japan and that is where the money lenders are today of this world.

I also see on the eve of the election - because everyone here in this House, every member knows on campaign day what you check at 12 o'clock and then at 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock - then you start motoring, moving, calling and getting your people to call every last vote and it continues on to accelerate at 3 o'clock, four, five and six. Well just after the news started on referendum evening, what should be on CBC? Brother Kenny is out on day parole. I know a whole bunch of friends of mine who could not bring themselves to vote yes and that evening could not bring themselves to vote no. He would still be in if it was up to me. I cannot punish anybody forever but what some of these boys went through I would have been a harsher judge then anybody in this country.

We see the telegram and its column and they all supported it. They were like lemmings going to a cliff. They are all supporting it, mad to support it. Who is the managing editor at the telegram? Who is it, Miller Ayre? We used to always say there are saucy youngsters in Placentia, that the lightest man in St. John's was Mr. Ayre. Well I don't say there was much weight to him but when it came to this referendum and his paper there was a good bit of weight to him. He is also head of the Cabot Corporation and his wife works in the ministry of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. The perception is there of collaboration. I don't know, you think government and the media?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: I am not saying it is right, minister, I am not saying about first time, last time or any other time. I am saying it is not right. You are interrupting; you will have a chance to speak. You will get up and you will make excuses, all the excuses you want and send them out to your district of what you said here in November of 1994. Such a smart man, you get out of your own mess. I am going for a smoke, I got my dirty habits too but one of them is not trying to put down the throat of just what I believe in. There are a whole bunch of people out there.

Now the children - I grew up in Placentia and there was every colour and every religion who went to that school in Placentia. You had the Americans who were there, you had the Filipinos who were affiliated with the Americans and I was never taught hate. I knew the word Protestant. Now a history lesson for you, I was born in a Catholic community out on the Cape Shore. Men from in here, in Conception Bay South, used to be out there buying cattle and sheep. Men from Tacks Beach used to be up there fishing. I never knew the word Protestant until I was six years old. Some youngster in the lane held it against some other family and I went in to ask my mother what it was. She told me not to mention that or yell it at anybody and she told me what it was. I was six years old.

I will tell you what kind of a crowd I came from. Alec Baird, a man out in Conception Bay, used to buy cattle out on the shore, an Anglican, and I think an Orangeman, but he said, when I am in Long Pond, Manuels, I am an Anglican, but when I am in Point Lance, St. Mary's Bay, I am R.C. What a compliment to the crowd who live there.

AN HON. MEMBER: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

MR. CAREEN: But he wasn't mean about it. Gee-whiz, there is nothing as bad as being miserable. I worked with hard men, I worked with tough men, and I knew where they stood on any issue, but I don't like working with miserable men.

Parts of my district went overwhelmingly yes - Little Harbour and Fair Haven - and that is their right. I never got any calls from them. There were no pressures on them; there was no pressure on anybody in my district. Like I said earlier, they knew where I was in ninety-four and I knew where they were in ninety-five, and it is easy for me to get up here on the strength of the vote in Placentia district and get on. I admire the man from Twillingate who had guts enough to get up with his amendment, and the man from over in Port au Port who had guts enough to vote for it. Anyway, those who hide around little messages -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: My time will be up.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) who hide away.

MR. CAREEN: You will hide away when they come looking for you. In the next election, boundary changes and all of this, we will see who is waiting for you. It is alright as long as everything goes alright, but your constitutional changes leave too much to chance. This is not a bingo game. I heard - I don't know if it is true - that the Liberals are out to take the free out of the bingo games now.

Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness, I have known most of you only the last two years. There is not one of you I wouldn't stop to help on the Trans-Canada if you had a flat tire, not one of you, but I cannot agree with what you are doing here over this past number of months. You are talking about negotiating for two years. The total time was twenty hours. What kind of negotiations were they? A six-month period on one case without getting back to the table? Twenty hours in two years, total. Who are they trying to cod? The name is Careen, not green.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: We would careen Hogan out in Placentia.

Anyway, it is not right. We should be here debating and talking about jobs, job creation, out-migration, because if there was a full spirit of negotiation we would not be here at all, because the Premier at some other time probably would have been glad to announce the changes that were necessary had been put in. We all know about 90 per cent of them on the Williams Report already have been agreed to, but it boiled down to a couple of the main ones - power - an extra page in the history book for someone to see, because in six years of his leadership in this government he leaves a lot to be desired, so in some Newfoundland history somewhere, some time or other, he will have done something that the other premiers before him have not done. He tampered with the Constitution, Term 17, and time will tell if he will get away with it.

The busing issues of the Constitution, flawed information on what our children were doing. I came through the school system and there were many brighter than me. They did good. The busing issue as we all know was not part of the Terms of Union with this country. It was not part of the 1949 Term 17. Then we see another thing, too, when the Pentecostals got their rights some of the members opposite were still here, and unanimously they gave them constitutional rights, so they are here today and they will vote tomorrow to take them back. How nice, wonderful.

I think it is a shame, because if I were over in a ministerial seat I can tell you now if I did something like that, I have an eighty-one year old father in Placentia, a damn good man, a darn sight better than me, but I can tell you if I voted for something against what we were all brought up to believe the hardest chastising I would get would be from my old man. He used to say to me when I was a young fellow: I never worked with a person I could not go back to work with again, and I say to the man from Harbour Grace he knows it, and he is straight.

Now, that is the way we were all brought up, was it not? I would not say either one of us here was brought up any different than me, so what happened?

MR. SPEAKER: Time is up.


MR. CAREEN: I thank the members opposite for allowing me leave, and the Speaker as well, who is from the far greater bay, but I was not brought up on hate. I was not brought up to do anything to anybody who was a different religion or a different colour. Yes, the Butler catechism, much different than the one they have in school today, now the religions are getting along, and what the other fellow does is totally different. It is more tolerant and that is the way it should be because they have every right to be here on this God's green earth as I do, or anyone of us here. Mr. Speaker, when it comes to giving your word if you cannot keep it, do not give it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just wanted to make a few comments for the record with respect to the speech because I can tell you one point only with respect to the constituency that I represent and how they feel about the issue.

Some time ago, on September 5, there was a vote held that went a certain way for the whole Province. The only reason, by the way, it was counted by districts is because that was most convenient. You cannot have a different education system in each district, so it doesn't really matter how a district votes; you can have one education system for the Province. By convenience and for convenience it was counted by district, but in our district because of the make-up of the people who are there, a majority voted no, and when I went back shortly after that and visited with them, because I was there within a matter of days after that asking about the issue and so on, and indicating to some of them that we were going to go and have a debate in the Legislature and then it had to go to Ottawa for both the Parliament and the Senate, their question was: Why are you people going to have a debate in St. John's? We can understand you having a debate if you did not have a referendum, but you debate all kinds of issues. On this one you decided to give us a say and we have told you what we want to do; we want to support the change.

You can make all kinds of arguments about what they thought they were voting for, and knew they were voting for, or whatever. There was a question asked, there was an answer given, and their question to me was, they were saying - I know we are hon. members, but to me they were saying - Roger, are you serious that you people are going to go into St. John's and actually have a debate for two or three weeks? This issue has been decided. You mean to say you are not going into St. John's and just, if you have to have a vote, they said, we can even understand that, that if you have to have a vote then have a vote, but you don't need to have a debate. The issue is over.

That, Mr. Speaker, reflects how the constituents in Exploits have treated this issue since. I have been there countless times. They are not debating this issue. There is no one in the Province debating this issue except for a few people who don't want to accept the majority will of those who voted, and want to drag it on for some time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of other points that I want to make, and it reflects things based on some of the debate here in this House and some of the things that were debated publicly. For the record, and just so we all know, Newfoundland has always had a denominationally based education system. They had it in the past. It started as such. It is denominationally based today, and the change that has been proposed means that it will be denominationally based in the future. Nothing changes with respect to that fundamental.

The comparisons that are made sometimes, they were made during the actual referendum itself, they were referenced by some members' speeches here in the House, to systems in other provinces and states in the United States, no application whatsoever. There is not another province of Canada that started with a denominational system like we did; there is not another province in Canada that has a denominational system like we do, and there is not another province in Canada that is moving toward a denominational system like we will still have. It doesn't happen in the States either; it is not there. There is no comparison.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: In other systems that have been referenced there is one consistency; they are public school systems that started as such in which there are some denominational rights now granted. We have a denominationally based system. As I said before, that is how it started, that is how it is today while we are speaking, that is the way it will be in the future by this resolution that we are debating in the Legislature.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. GRIMES: There was only one fear in my district, and I will get to that shortly. The member opposite is raising an issue that I do intend to address. There was one fear raised to me during the referendum debate itself, because people did stop me. It was summertime. It was a great time. I spent a lot of time in my district, and spent a lot of time in the Province, actually, in the ministry that I have the pleasure of holding right now. I had a great time to see a lot of Newfoundland and Labrador that I had not previously seen, but in my own district this issue came up from time to time, what about the referendum? What about this schools issue? And these people don't call me Mr. Minister; as I said before, they call me Roger because they have known me for a long time, even before I got involved in politics.

They say: Roger, what about this schools' issue? I say: Well, look, what do you see as being the problem with it? They say: Well, we have one fear. The fear that we have is that this will be the beginning of moving down the road towards these phrases of `totally secular systems' or `godless schools.' I know you say that this cannot happen and the government is saying that this cannot happen and they are saying that that is not the intent, but somewhere down the road somebody might get elected who might actually make the change and say, well we don't want any reference to religion in our schools. So this might be the first step towards that.

The big fear was there, Mr. Speaker, as it was in some of the ad campaigns, that you won't be able to say prayers, the Lord's Prayer in particular, you won't be able to have Christmas celebrations, you won't be able to have Easter celebrations and so on. Mr. Speaker, I used to answer to them each time that that is not true, from anything that I have heard or seen in this debate. As a matter of fact, if it were ever shown to be even possible for that to occur, myself and I think everybody on this side of the House, just about everybody anyway, almost everybody here, would lead the charge to reinstate the right to have religious practices and observances in the schools in Newfoundland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Because we believe that plays an important part in the system. If we were starting, Mr. Speaker, with a brand new system where that had never been the case there might be a debate in the Province about whether it was appropriate, but recognizing the development and the history of the school system in this Province, there has always been a positive influence from the churches and the denominations. As far as I know, the members on this side of the House support its continuance. The issue here is governance, not these observances in the schools.

This debate, Mr. Speaker, has been a little bit disappointing. There has been some wonderful rhetoric, I call it, but I don't think it has had much to do with the actual issue. We have had our new member for Grand Falls who the member for Eagle River talked about. He was a bit disappointed, some reference to comparisons - I won't talk about it in any detail - but the idea that they came for this group and nobody defended them, they came for that group and nobody defended them and when they came to me there was nobody to defend any of us. I can relate to that kind of rhetoric, Mr. Speaker, because when I was a leader of the teachers' association I used similar rhetoric myself. Rhetoric is effective in a certain audience and a certain place but it really does not bring anything to bear on the issue that we are debating.

The phrase we used to use and I used as the leader of a union, a professional organization that was also a union, was: you better not let them do this, because we didn't talk about other reference, we talked about, I think the phrase was: it is the nose of the camel. You cannot let this happen because that is the nose of the camel coming into the tent and the next thing you know the neck will be in, then the shoulders, then the big humps, then the big arse and then it will all be in there. Then there is no room in there for anything else because the camel is in and has it taken over and you are out. It is the same kind of rhetoric. It has absolutely nothing to do with the issue, Mr. Speaker, but if you were standing in front of a crowd and that is the point you wanted to make and you wanted to use any rhetoric at all, any words to try to help support your argument because you probably didn't have enough facts to support it all by itself, just on the case, so you picked some of the rhetoric.

There has been some pretty good rhetoric in this debate but not a lot of it, Mr. Speaker, has had much substance with respect to the issue we are debating here. The real answer with respect to this is that this resolution and this change is the right thing to do in the Province at this point in time. It does not take anything away from the positive denominational influences in our schools; it was never intended to do that and will not do that, Mr. Speaker. It won't do that, that is the simple case. You can pretend it might do that or you are not sure and all these kinds of things but the reality is that it won't happen.

On a personal note, Mr. Speaker, let me add this. I think anyone who has tracked the public record of my involvement and my statements with respect to the school system in the Province - and I have been in positions to make public statements now for close to fifteen years - it has been consistent in this regard. I have always respected and believed that there was a role for the churches and the denominations in education. Never, Mr. Speaker, never, ever believed that that should conclude to having a system where the students had to be put into separate schools to cash in on and take advantage of that positive influence. I didn't believe it then, don't believe it now and I don't believe it is necessary but that is a personal point of view.

I believe in this instance that the change here that is being proposed through this resolution will guarantee the continued positive influences from the schools, in the schools for the churches. In fact, it will make sure that the administration and the decision making, in terms of who puts what schools where, will be done more efficiently and more effectively with the total class of students taken as the prime consideration instead of having to consider a group of Protestants, a group of Catholics or a group of somebody else as separate entities. So the students will be put first and foremost. The churches influence will be very strongly felt in the schools and it is the best possible thing to do in the Province at this time.

On the other issue, Mr. Speaker, if consensus were possible we would not be here having this debate. We would not have had a referendum. We would have done these things because everyone would have agreed. There was no agreement and there was no consensus. Government made the decision to have a referendum. Those people who had a particular interest in the issue, voted. There was a mandate given and as I indicated, the people in my district thought we should have just come in here and put it to a vote, to affirm in the House what they already told us they wanted done because that is the issue.

There has been a little bit of politics in it and I will touch on that, Mr. Speaker, but for my own purpose in terms of what we should be doing now, with the best interest of the students in mind, I think there should be three things that should happen; first of all I think we should pass this resolution. It won't be unanimous I don't think from some of the speeches I heard, it should be. It would be helpful but I understand that some people won't vote for it for different reasons. We should encourage its ready, quick passage in Ottawa. Some of the events of today and tonight might cause some problems with that but, Mr. Speaker, I hope not. I hope that there is a no vote today and I hope that the other issues in the country get dealt with in an expeditious fashion. I believe all of us, rather than play any continuing politics with this, should unite regardless of the number of the vote here, that this vote pass and that all of us encourage ready, quick passage in Ottawa, that it get through the Parliament of Canada and the Senate quickly. Then, Mr. Speaker, to put to rest once and for all those great fears that I realize were very real in the minds of my own constituents about, well maybe this is the first step in not being able to say the Lord's prayer ten, twelve or fifteen years down the road. Maybe it is the first step because maybe somebody will mount a successful challenge and there are some pretty high priced lawyers on both sides getting paid to battle this one out and will in the future.

So what we should do, Mr. Speaker, I think then, for everybody's sake in the Province, is have the speedy passage of it in Ottawa, encourage that and then put the test case to the courts ourselves so that everybody will see. I firmly believe that the test case will show that because of the wording of the present resolution that is before us, which guarantees that the system will continue to be a denominationally based system, that a challenge will fail. I believe that particular legal opinion and that argument - with every bone in my body, I think that that is going to win because if it does not, then I think all of us should unite to make sure we go back and put the legislative changes in place to bring back the rights to do that if that kind of a challenge succeeds. We have been advised that it won't. I am convinced personally that it won't succeed and then that will allay all of the fears of those people in my district and throughout the Province who were legitimately led to believe that this could be the nose of the camel, that this could be the first step to not being able to pray, to not being able to have a Christmas, to not being able to celebrate Easter and nobody wants that to happen and it won't happen.

The politics of it, Mr. Speaker, has been a little bit disappointing to me. I don't mind it being focused on me a bit in the last couple of days, that is all part of the game, but in fact it just shows the typical approach that the Opposition, in particular, has taken consistently since I have been here in 1989. On this side of the House, and the other, we have splits in terms of the convenient district vote, and I say again I believe very strongly it was only done for convenience. We could have had just one vote, had all the boxes shipped into St. John's, thrown them in a hat and then counted them up and said, okay, it is 55 per cent, or 45, nobody knows where they came from, and the Province would have voted. Maybe we should have done that in retrospect. We offered the churches to count them by classes on a basis where we decided that would be more divisive, and maybe some would be left alone. That was probably a good decision, not to do that.

If you were not going to actually let each class vote and make up its own mind there was not really much point in counting by classes, but in fact when you have the politics of it there are probably as many members opposite here whose constituents voted on it and said, we are for it. Almost to a person my view of it, and this is the only bit of politics I will play in it, my view of it is that they have taken their time in their twenty minutes or half hour to stand up and craft out a fairly good excuse as to why they have to vote against their constituents and why they have to, almost to a person, become unanimous again on the no side.

The leader, well, it is not much point in talking about the leader, the leader has no credibility on the issue anyway. I just hope that she does not change her mind again before the vote is called, because that is the problem, Mr. Speaker. I know she has gone both ways and in her heart she really believes in the issue. She played some politics with it during the campaign, which was unfortunate, and now I guess she is going to vote, yes. I am delighted to hear the Leader of the NDP come back into the fold of the yes side because his party believes that, and I believe he personally believes that. Maybe there are some things you would like to see different, but on balance I think if this is the only way we can move forward, well, we move forward and face the challenges.

In fact the excuses are, we should not have had a referendum, so I am going to vote against it. Well, we have a referendum. We have to deal with what is here today, Mr. Speaker. We have had a referendum. You cannot get up and say, my constituents voted, yes, but I am going to vote, no, because we should not have had a referendum. That is a nice try but it just does not wash with anybody. Then there is the other issue, my constituents voted, yes, but I am going to vote, no, because 90 per cent of the reforms in here can be done anyway. That is true, but the other side of the sentence left out is that the 10 per cent that are significant, that decide the control issues of whether the churches or the government actually makes the decision about where schools go, and in what circumstances, they cannot be changed at all without this particular resolution.

Then, of course, the age old one that is perfect, if you cannot dream up anything else, well, my constituents voted, yes, but I have to vote, no, because I do not trust the government. Well, that is wonderful and I suppose some members on this side even said that when they were on that side and a handful of you crowd were over here, because the likelihood of you coming back here in the foreseeable future is not great. It is certainly not great at all. So, when all else fails, Mr. Speaker, I have to vote, no, because I do not trust the government. Now, that is a wonderful statement and a great comment.

Then, Mr. Speaker, the last part of it is this whole idea about taking - let me put in context the reference to what has been said about the hon. Member for St. Mary's - The Capes and the hon. Member for Placentia about my own comments. For someone to try and suggest that anything other than exactly what I said has been the government's plan and remains to be, if this plan had worked we would not have needed a referendum. We would not be here debating this resolution today, and this government right from day one and going back before the election in 1993 and so on, indicated clearly that it was our plan not to seek a change of the Constitution.

If we had said that we would have said: look, never mind all this talk, there is no need to have negotiation or discussion, we are going to change the Constitution by ourselves, whether you want to or not, whether you like it or not, because that is the only way we can do it. The plan was to try to get the needed reforms for a better education system by consensus.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me put in context when that speech by me was made, because this will show you how the Opposition consistently plays politics with this, which is a very important issue for the Province. It was just after the House opened, a year or so ago, the former Leader of the Opposition, my good friend from Grand Falls, a very unprecedented move - Leader of the Opposition - introduced a private member's motion for one very simple reason. I rose to speak, and in the twenty minutes or so that I spoke that day I spelled out what he was doing, and why.

He personally put a private member's motion on the floor, as the Leader of the Opposition, to try and get the Legislature to vote that under no circumstances - under no circumstances - regardless of what happened today, tomorrow, next week, next year, would this Legislature ever support a change in the Constitution. That was the intent of the private member's motion. He got up and spoke about it for twenty minutes or so of the thirty that he introduced it, and he got on with all kinds of political nonsense, laid out five points, actually had a smile on his face while he was doing it because he could hardly keep a straight face, and was trying to embarrass everybody into putting a vote on a private member's motion. It was amended by the government to say that we want to work towards educational reform, and that it is not the intent to change the Constitution, but we could not vote for a motion that said we would never, ever, entertain the notion.

So when the amendment was moved in order the hon. member, in a big huff, got up and walked out of the Legislature, did not come back to close the debate, did not return to close the debate, did not vote on his own private member's motion. That is how important it was to him. It was an absolute sham, and it is the same kind of thing that is happening here now, unfortunately, to go out - because this group has done it before - I think they were brought to task actually, by a Speaker, when we used to be up in the old Legislature - that members opposite at that time - some of them are not returned here since '93 and some are, but the Speaker made a ruling that by taking selective excerpts from Hansard and sending them out around the Province - it was a fisheries issue at the time, and they almost like cut and pasted some statements from Hansard and sent them around the Province as the government's position, and the Speaker ruled that they were absolutely violating the privileges of the members of the House, and they are no different today, to try to take a context and try to suggest in some way... And then the unfortunate part is that some people would almost go so far as to say this proves that some members don't keep their word, or they are not worthy members, and all these kinds of things. It is very disappointing and, in fact, it shows that again, true to form, the members opposite are not interested in the issue, they are not interested in education reform, they are not interested in what is happening with this particular resolution. They think again that there is part of a parade going somewhere and, just like they have done before, they are trying to find a way to jump out in front of it, because they certainly didn't start it, and it is the same practice they have used on a regular basis since 1989.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, let me just point out this. This is clearly the right thing to do. It is not going to take away the positive denominational influences in the schools. The fears that have been expressed by some people that are legitimately held should be put to rest by a speedy passage here, a speedy passage in Ottawa, and a test case in the courts, and then we should all get back to putting our effort into the transition, because the transition needs some work. We need to know exactly what this school system is going to be like either next September or the September after, and unfortunately too much time has been spent on these issues and not enough time on the details of the transition, so let's stop this politicking about it and let's get on with the real effort in the transition, get on with the business of going back to the churches to see how they can best have their influences in the new denominational system that we will continue with, and make sure that all of us put aside any politics and do whatever we can to get the much needed reforms on the road so we can do something in the best interest of the students. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, my point in trying to catch Your Honours eye, if my colleague would allow, is to be the concluding speaker in the debate. Now I know there is nobody on the other side who has not spoken. It is my understanding that none of those who sit to Your Honours left wish to speak but if there be any such, I will gladly yield. The Premier will not be here to close the debate. He was asked to (inaudible) speak.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I propose to treat this matter with the same seriousness as other hon. members have and I would ask my friend from Grand Bank if he would do me the courtesy to do the same. Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend can either make a fool of himself or he can allow the debate to go on. I have, Mr. Speaker –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great care and attention to all the speakers in the debate, including my friend from Grand Bank and I would ask him to extend me the same courtesy.

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, if there is anybody who wishes to speak, who has not spoken, I will gladly yield. It is my intention at the conclusion of my few brief remarks, which will not be as brief as my colleagues, some of them would hope, but will be brief I assure you, to ask the House to arrange to hold a vote on this matter when the Orders of the Day are called at 2:45 or 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, that will be the concluding speech. If nobody tries to catch Your Honours eye I will go on.

Mr. Speaker, let me first of all, in thanking my friend from Exploits who made, in my view, an estimable speech, a very good speech. Let me go on and add a word or two to what he said to destroy three of the shibboleths that hon. gentlemen and hon. lady opposite have attempted to perpetrate in this debate, just so the record bears my interpretation as well as theirs. First of all, this twenty-hour stuff, we heard this from the gentleman from Placentia most recently. It was not original. We have heard it from other members around and nobody ever accused the hon. gentleman from Placentia of having thought these things through. He picked it up somewhere and is passing it on in good faith.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me say as one who took part in the negotiations, that is flatly incorrect. I am aware of no calculation of the time but I will assume, without any hesitation, that 200 hours might be close to it. Twenty hours might be the amount of time that the formal meetings took place between; on one hand the Premier and the other members of the priorities and planning committee and on the other hand the five, six, seven, eight heads of the denominations. That may have been twenty hours there but I would say, my friend the Minister of Education, my friend from the Straits and I alone spent twenty hours in a series of meetings we held informally during that process. So I don't know what it is but let me just simply say anybody who believes that twenty hours is welcome to accept my title deed to Confederation Building in payment of a small, modest consideration which I would ask to receive in cash and in small bills too. It is just not true.

The agreement on 90 per cent, that is another shibboleth that has been passed around. My friend from Exploits, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation exposed that for what it is. My note was that saying that 90 per cent of the matters have been agreed and putting that forward as a reason not to vote in favour of the resolution is a little like the recipe for the 50/50 horse and rabbit stew; one horse, one rabbit. The 10 per cent that were not agreed were the essential ones, Mr. Speaker, and anybody familiar with these matters knows full well that that is the case. One can count up the 90 per cent and sure, perhaps you are, but when one came down to the recommendations and the points that mattered there was no agreement on that. I will come back to that point.

Finally, this other nastiness that has been spewed across the House by members opposite about: you voted in favour of Pentecostal rights how can you vote now to take them away? Let me remind members of some history.

This House, in 1968, voted in favour of extending constitutional rights to the Pentecostal Assemblies. The only reason the constitution did not go ahead at that time was that the Prime Minister of the day asked the Premier -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that?

MR. ROBERTS: - Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Smallwood, for those who don't remember.

- not to bring the matter forward in a formal sense because at that stage there was no agreed procedure for amending the Constitution of Canada, and in fact there was no such agreed procedure until we got the 1982 amendments in the form of the 1982 Constitution Act. But this House - and I was a member who voted unanimously in favour of it. Brian Peckford, in this case, was simply coming along behind sweeping up after those who had gone before him.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I say that proudly I voted for it and were that the issue today, I would vote again for that, but I would also vote to extend rights to the Buddhists and to the Moslems and to the apostolic faith and any other group in this Province of people gathered together who wish to have a school system on a basis the same as any other. I have no quarrel with the Pentecostal people having their own schools if the Roman Catholic people have them -and I belong to the United Church, if my people have them and the Anglicans and the Salvationists but let us not draw the line as it is now drawn which is where it was in 1949.

The Moravians, my friend from Torngat spoke eloquently about what it was to grow up in the Moravian community and they did not have school rights in 1949. They are not one of the recognized denominations in Term 17 parlance. And he has told us eloquently what that meant. Mr. Speaker, it's a shibboleth and unworthy of this House, in my view, to throw this across: Oh, you voted for Pentecostal rights and now you are voting to take them away. We are voting to treat everybody alike and that is why the Pentecostal people came in, in 1968 and that's why now, they are being treated in exactly the same position as the members of the church to which I belong, and the members of every other church in this Province, Christian or non-Christian alike, and Term 17 rights or Term 17 no-rights alike.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this is an important issue. Education touches us all and usually very directly. It is a significant part of our responsibilities as members of the government and as members of the House of the Assembly, it is a very important field of endeavour and this is an important vote we are going to make because we are making fundamental changes. We are making a constitutional enactment, it is a very difficult thing to do and it is not done yet; I am confident it will be, but it is a very difficult thing to do and, if done, it will be a very difficult thing to change and that is what constitutions are all about. They are not the laws of the Medes and the Persians that can never be changed, they are simply the basic law, the most fundamental law and the ones that are most difficult to change. Ministerial directives can be changed by ministerial fiat. Cabinet can make and unmake regulations by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. The House can make and unmake laws, but to make and unmake a Constitution requires a very complicated process, in this case, the approval of this Legislature and of the two national Legislatures, the Parliament, made up of the House of Commons and the Senate.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the resolution will give this House, not the government, Mr. Speaker, but the House, far more powers with respect to education than it now has. That is what the amendment will achieve and that is all it will achieve, and that's what this debate, in my view, is all about, and I congratulate members on both sides who have taken part in it because most have spoken to that, as to whether they think we should reach out and take that power to this House or whether we should it leave it where it now is in the hands, in large measure, of the denominational authorities.

Mr. Speaker, what the amendment will do is, it will shift power from the classes of people, to use the term that is found in Term 17 and that's also found in Section 93 of the BNA Act, now called the Constitution Act. It is not a `made-in-Newfoundland' or `made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador' phrase. Term 17 is nothing more or less than an adaptation of Section 93 of the Constitution Act to our peculiar and particular circumstances here, no magic about that. It will shift power from the classes of people and when we say the classes of people, that means the heads of the denominations, in practice, and almost certainly, by convention, probably by constitutional convention.

It will shift power from the heads of denomination speaking as they have, certainly since Confederation for the classes of people to the classes of every Newfoundlander and every Labradorian as represented by the fifty-two men and women who sit in this House. That's what this resolution does, nothing more and nothing less. It will shift it, Mr. Speaker, from those who answer only to their consciences and to their colleagues, to the fifty-two of us here who answer to their electors, to all of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as to our colleagues and to our consciences. That's what it will do, Mr. Speaker.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the amendments are the result of a very long process, and I think I may fairly say that I have a very good knowledge of the negotiations. I wasn't at every meeting, I wasn't in every discussion, I haven't read every piece of paper and I don't claim to understand everything I have read or everything I have heard, but I think I have a pretty fair knowledge of what went on; and I can say and I do say now categorically, that both sides, all participants, made a sincere and a prolonged effort to find a consensus. The gap, however, was unbridgeable.

We suggested, in fact we proceeded on the basis of the 1968 compromise where there was no change in the Constitution, but that gap, too, proved unbridgeable, we could not get agreement to proceed as we did in 1968. And I was part of that government, too, part of the ministry that achieved those reforms, going on another Royal Commission, this one led by Dr. Philip Warren, who featured in this as well in a very helpful way. But we could not have bridged that gap, Mr. Speaker. I don't blame anybody for that.

The issue was money, that's what drove it all, to get the best value for scarce dollars. Anybody who thinks in this Province today we can afford to operate any part of the public service in anything less than the most efficient manner, is not only living in a dream world but is doing a grave disservice to the people of this Province. We are hard put for money. We are up against it. We are going to have to watch very carefully where we are. We have spent, and spent, and spent, and we don't have it and the butcher's bill is now due. In Education as in everywhere else, we have to make sure that we get the very best value and there are those of us who believe that we cannot do that under the present system. We cannot do it in two respects, Mr. Speaker, capital allocation and viability of schools.

We have all talked about the Gander Bay example. I have heard no contrary view from anybody. It cost us, the people of this Province, $6 million to provide a $3-million school that was needed in Gander Bay. Viability - I am not going into any of the horror stories but we are all familiar with them, the buses that pass each other half-empty going each way. There is no need for that. It is not an educational matter; it is not a religious matter. I have religious beliefs as does every member of this House and I hold mine as sincerely and as deeply as any member of this House, but it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs to have buses passing, Mr. Speaker, half-empty, taking children around; there is no Roman Catholic arithmetic or Anglican algebra or United Church eurhythmics or Pentecostal psychology. No, Mr. Speaker, that has nothing to do with what is being taught in the schools.

There is a lot of denominational presence in the schools, that we acknowledge, a lot in having the denominational school, but not, Mr. Speaker, the way we have been doing it in this Province, not with the way the capital allocation rules work. The way they work, Mr. Speaker, that is one of the clearest things about Term 17. One of the few, really clear things about Term 17, is that every dollar this House votes for Education on capital account must be allocated proportionately. The Pentecostal people are about 6 per cent of the population of the Province, and about half of them are in Pentecostal schools, the rest are in -

In my district there are no Pentecostal schools. The Pentecostal children go, in the main, to the integrated schools - some may go to the Roman Catholic schools. But they still get double their capital funding on a proportionate basis. I don't fault that, the Constitution requires it, but that must change. The viability rules are not set by my colleague and his officials or by this House. The viability rules are set by the heads of the denominations speaking to the Denominational Education Commissions, and that must change.

The issue, Mr. Speaker, is one of money, and that comes forward in governance, power and control, that's what this is about. It is not an attack on religion, it is not an attack on history, it's an attack on a system that prevents us from getting the best value for the dollars we spend and we cannot afford that, the people in this Province cannot afford it and this government are determined to ask that it be changed. That is why we are here tonight.

Mr. Speaker, the negotiations failed. I blame nobody. Every single man - and it is noteworthy, there were no women at that table, every single person at the table was a man - every single man at that table, from the Premier to His Grace the Archbishop, to Pastor King of the Pentecostal Assemblies, to Bishop Harvey, I could go on through all of them, every single man at that table earnestly desired to make an arrangement that was acceptable to him and those for whom he spoke, but we could not do it, and after two-and-a-half years, the time had come to fish or to cut bait.

We had three options open to us. One was simply to discontinue the effort entirely, abandon it. It would have been wrong, it would have been unthinkable, we would have regarded it as a dereliction of our duty, we were not prepared as a government to do it and we did not do it. The second, would be to settle for less than, in our judgement, was absolutely necessary, and we were not prepared to do that, Mr. Speaker. We were prepared to come to the people and to the House and do what we believe is right and then answer for it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner and we shall, and gladly.

The third course open to us, Mr. Speaker, was to consult the people. Now, this brings me to the 12, March 1993 statement. The Premier made that statement, he spoke for the government and he spoke sincerely and truthfully and genuinely, and what he said was true and what he said was completely consistent with where we are today. This government did not seek constitutional amendment. It was the absolute last recourse. We did not say we would not do it, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is being obtuse or partisan but he is not being right.

The statement says, and the important words: `We do not seek constitutional amendment,' and that is correct. We did not seek it, we do not seek it now but we have no choice unless we are prepared either to abandon it or to take half-a-deal, and we are not. Some other government may stand here, but as long, Mr. Speaker, as this government has the responsibility for running the affairs of this Province, we will persevere with this course, Mr. Speaker. We shall, we have and we will.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Mr. Speaker, there were two reasons we decided to have the referendum. The first was the March 1993 statement. We put our case to the people, the people, in effect, have said: Go ahead. Now, if we hadn't done that, what would they have said? Somebody whispered: `Go ahead' - I will deal with that. Anybody who thinks they whispered had both ears to the ground at the same time and no wonder, he or she couldn't hear.

The second was the importance of the issue, Mr. Speaker. This is a major matter; it is the nature of the mechanisms for change required, a clear vote. Now, we have two ways we could have consulted the people. We could have had a general election; we could have had a referendum. We chose a referendum; there were some who said: Let us have an election but at the end, the decision was to have a referendum. The cost was the same, near enough, there were no candidates costs incurred in the referendum but the cost was the same in the public chest but, Mr. Speaker, a referendum gives the clearer outcome. Those opposite said if you had an election or those on this side, who say if you had an election it would have been clear; I could hear them now. They are like those so ably exposed by my friend from Exploits, who, if their district happen to vote in a way that is convenient to their vote, say I am voting with my district and their district voted against the way they think it is convenient to go would say: Oh I am against my district, it is a matter of conscience or trickery or whatever excuse or whatever reason they choose to give.

The referendum is a clear verdict, clearer than an election would be. An election would be caught up in a multiplicity of issues and would not have, in any way, satisfied those who now cry election and, Mr. Speaker, the result of the referendum I suggest was clear and beyond doubt. I took the trouble today to do something that apparently very few other members would bother doing, they are flicking around numbers but I rang the Chief Electoral Officer's office and got the final results. 54.83 per cent voted `yes'; 44.95 per cent voted `no', so that's 55/45, the balance, .21 per cent were rejected ballots and 52.42 per cent of those on the list voted. Now, those are the numbers.

Now, Mr. Speaker, one would wish that the vote turn-out was higher. I think that's what prompted my friend from St. John's Centre to say it was a whisper. Well, I will say, Mr. Speaker, that those who wanted to vote did vote, and I say we are justified, in my judgement, in acting to implement the change. If people chose not to vote for whatever reason, that in itself, Mr. Speaker, does not stop the process going forward. I have no hesitation, Mr. Speaker, in going forward on this basis. If we had had a general election and only 55 per cent of the people voted there is no member of the House who would refuse to take her seat or his seat because only 52 per cent voted. Who are we trying to kid?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: Now, Mr. Speaker, let me very briefly, describe the changes. There has been a lot of discussion on this but let me just very briefly describe them as I understand them.

The schools in Newfoundland and Labrador under a new Term 17 will still be denominational but the rights of the denominations will be changed and they will be those clearly set out in the resolution instead of the amorphous situation which we now face with Term 17.

AN HON. MEMBER: Could I ask a question.

MR. ROBERTS: No, Mr. Speaker, I will not permit a question at this stage.

In a phrase: authority and responsibility will henceforth be lodged in this House of Assembly and only in this House. This is where the buck stops. We will have the power, we will have the responsibility and we will have the authority and we will answer for how we use that power and that authority and how we exercise that responsibility but the schools will still be denominational and the churches will still have specific and substantial rights. The schools will not be secular, Mr. Speaker, they will not be secular but this House will make the rules as to where schools are built and how the system will function. This House will decide it in the form of a Schools Act, assuming this goes through, not anybody else and we will answer for it. This government will answer and our successors will answer.

Mr. Speaker, I have one note of regret in the entire debate and that's this: That several members, and I fear they come from both sides of the House, have found it necessary to question the good faith of those involved in the process. Some went so far as to quote an unnamed German philosopher, I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer but I am subject to correction on that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Bonhoeffer?

MR. ROBERTS: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The quotation that they came for the Jews and I was silent and they came for the Unionists -


MR. ROBERTS: Müller, it might have been. Nobody gave the name it doesn't matter. The thought is an eloquent one and the thought is a true one, but I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the comments were uninformed and inflammatory in this context. To compare what is happening here with what passed in Germany in 1934 and '35 and '36 and '37 and on up through 'til the destruction of all of the evil that Hitler and his group represented, to compare what happened in Germany under Nazi domination with what happened here is an act, in my judgement, unworthy of any member of this House of Assembly or any person in this Province or this Country today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I simply reject the statement. While I acknowledge the right of any member to make such statements, to me it is a matter for regret that one or more of them has chosen to do so.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentlemen over there are talking about districts. I have been elected eight times to this House. I may or may not be elected a ninth time, that remains to be seen, but, Mr. Speaker, I don't need hon. gentlemen opposite telling me about districts or constituencies and I don't need them interrupting, like little children in an unruly kindergarten, trying to interrupt when I am making a speech on what I consider to be a serious matter, and in respect of which I have listened to them go on at incredible, inane length without interrupting them.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this has been a good debate and one of which this House can justifiably be proud. By my count, thirty-six or thirty-seven of the fifty-two members have spoken. That is a very substantial cross-section of the opinion of those in the speak. Every member who spoke did so, I believe, as their hearts and minds and consciences told them to speak, and I believe every member who wished to speak did in fact speak. I believe it is important, Mr. Speaker, that every member would opt to cast a vote on this and to stand in our places to do so, and that any individual who wishes to come and watch the vote be here.

I have been struck by the overwhelming attendance in the galleries, not simply because word may have gone out that I would speak, but I am overwhelmed by it. Even Mr. Fallon who generally has been a very faithful attender has seen fit not to be here today. Maybe he has other commitments, I don't know.

I am going to suggest to the House, Mr. Speaker, that when I finish in a moment or two or three, that the House agree by a resolution -we will take unanimous consent, and if members are not prepared to do it we will deal with that, of course, every member can do as he wishes - that we take the vote on this resolution tomorrow immediately the routine proceedings are concluded, just before Your Honour calls Orders of the Day, and that each of the members who wishes to be here can be here in his or her place. We, on this side, will be calling for a recorded Division and we will probably simply proceed with the Division and let the members stand up.

Mr. Speaker, if that is acceptable, then I have two or three remarks in conclusion that I would like to make, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

As I understand it, the hon. Government House Leader is putting in the form of a motion that the vote be held tomorrow before the Orders of the Day are called?

MR. ROBERTS: That is correct, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Against, `nay'.


MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The record will note that there was no voice raised to the contrary.

Mr. Speaker, let me conclude, in case there is any doubt, by telling members of the House that I shall vote 'yes' tomorrow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I must say, Mr. Speaker, in the same spirit as my colleagues just pounded their desks, I had a moment of doubt when my friend from Exploits started to talk about noses going in the tent. I have to tell you, `popsy', you will hear about this one. I will sic Cuddles on you if you are not careful.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that this resolution is a great step forward in the history of this Province. I shall vote for it. I shall vote for it because my heart and my mind and my conscience all combine to tell me that it is right to do so. For every Newfoundlander and every Labradorian -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Today's adults and children - and that even includes my friend from Burin - Placentia West - today's adults and children alike, I believe it is a step forward for them. I believe it is a step forward for those who will come, for those who will be in the schools in this Province in the years to come, for those who will stand in this House in the years to come, for those who will live in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Canada in the years to come, that is why I shall vote yes, and that is why I ask all who believe in the cause we advocate to join with us tomorrow in voting yes.

Thank you, Sir.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before I move the adjournment may I just raise two or three matters which I am sure will interest members. Business for tomorrow, now one assumes that the outcome of the vote tonight, whatever it may be, will not have an impact on our business tomorrow but I don't know that. I think every Canadian will be watching with concern and apprehension.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My friend from Grand Banks says he doesn't know; I have no idea what the people of Quebec will decide in the referendum. I simply say it may have an impact on this House. We are Canadians, he is a Canadian, and I simply say to him I have no reason to suggest it will have an impact but I don't know that. We are, I think you will agree, in an unusual time.

Mr. Speaker, absent that, as I told my friend from Grand Bank earlier when he raised the issue with me, we shall suggest tomorrow that we proceed with Bill 16, that is the adjourned debate on the Evidence Act. We then go on to Bill 33, which is a debate on the amendments to the Jury Act, and Bill 30, which is the Central Guaranty Trust Act. If we get beyond that we will go to the Children's Law Act and my friend from Burin - Placentia West can make a contribution, that being an area in which he has some knowledge.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we are quite accustomed to our friend from Burin - Placentia West missing something. He has been doing that regularly for all the years he has been in the House.

Mr. Speaker, the requirement of the rules is that we on this side ought to have given notice at 5:00 p.m. today of the private member's motion for Wednesday. We have not done so. Again I would ask the indulgence of the House. I will let my friend from Grand Bank know as soon as I know where we are, and I shall also speak with my friend from St. John's East.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) fell apart since he left.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I would trade eighty-seven gentlemen from Burin - Placentia West for one Winston Baker and I would still have change left over.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: I don't know when members in this House are going to realize that it costs me a great deal to get the Member for Burin - Placentia West to set up these lines for me; but, on the other hand, he does give value for money. He is not paid very much. He does get value for money.

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

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