November 9, 1995           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS           Vol. XLII  No. 53

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

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

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, hon. members will recall that on November 3rd, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board stated that all government departments and agencies were directed to review expenditure programs and identify immediate savings to offset a $60 million revenue shortfall for this year.

The shortfall, identified in the first half of this year, is the result of lower federal estimates of payments under the major transfer programs, particularly equalization and personal and corporate income taxes.

As hon. members know, the fiscal year for municipalities ends December 31st, and councils are now in the process of preparing their budgets. It is therefore incumbent on us to immediately announce expenditure reductions occurring this year so that municipalities impacted by any changes will be in a position to make the necessary adjustments. The expenditure reduction that I am announcing today has to do with the Municipal Operating Grant, the MOG.

Since 1993, a Municipal Operating Grant in the amount of $41,500,000 has been paid to municipalities on a quarterly basis to assist in meeting general operating expenses.

Government has decided that there will be an average reduction of 22 per cent in the Municipal Operating Grant to municipalities for the calendar year 1996.

The average reduction results from government's decision to reduce the Municipal Operating Grant in 1995-96 by $4.1 million and by $7.5 million for the fiscal year of 1996-97.

Individual municipalities will be notified as to the specific impact on their respective grants after the formula is applied. This information will be available to the municipalities early next week.

Mr. Speaker, government does realize that this is indeed a harsh measure for our municipalities; however, I want to assure hon. members that it was not taken lightly. Every available option was explored and the decision which we have taken is essential if we are to ensure the fiscal -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair can't hear the hon. minister. I ask hon. members to refrain from interjecting.

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, every available option was explored and the decision which we have taken is essential if we are to ensure the fiscal stability of government and its ability to provide essential public programs on a sustainable basis.

Since assuming the portfolio of Municipal and Provincial Affairs almost three years ago, I have worked closely with elected municipal officials in an attempt to achieve maximum efficiency with respect to the provision of local government services. I think that together we have achieved a great deal of success. As a former mayor and councillor, I have some understanding and appreciation of the difficulties being experienced by councils; however, I am confident that, in spite of these reductions, mayors and councillors around this Province will continue to work in the best interest of their citizens and in the overall best interest of all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Thank you.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my reaction is one of absolute shock. The third level of government has been abandoned by this Provincial Government. What we have today is a breach of faith by this government in the councils of this Province. What we have is more downloading. We have more communities which won't be able to meet their commitments and live within their budgets. We are going to see the potholes getting bigger, we are going to see the streetlights turned off, we are going to see more out-migration, jobs lost, water quality will be compromised. We are going to be back to the Newfoundland and Labrador of forty years ago.

We have a situation where, not surprisingly, many municipal councillors and mayors in this Province are becoming discouraged more and more every day by the persistent and pervasive negativity associated with their desire to be good community-minded citizens. That is what they want to do, to do things for municipalities. With a drop like this of 22 per cent, that is really $9 million over the period we are talking about here. We can't expect the third level of government to continue its mandate if there is going to be this kind of breach of faith in them by this minister and his government.

Things are bad now in rural Newfoundland; things are going to get a lot worse. There are 113 municipalities in trouble now. That number will go up because they have no other choices. Mr. Speaker, people cannot afford to pay more taxes. We have 90 per cent unemployment in some communities and the choices this government offers them is, move out, move to the mainland of Canada, or in other words let us get back to basic old fashion resettlement. At least thirty or forty years ago we called it by its right name.

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: I have questions for the Premier. Will the Premier confirm that the Chrétien government has briefed him about the federal government's plans to drastically reduce the already proportionately small Canadian Forces presence in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Yesterday the news media reported that the Department of National Defence is intending to cut personnel at the Canadian forces base in Gander by 60 per cent and eliminate 325 jobs. Gander MP George Baker said, worse than that hundreds of jobs will be cut at Goose Bay, and the Canadian forces station at St. John's will be closed. Will the Premier tell the House his understanding of the federal government military cuts that are coming and what these cuts will mean to this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are half a dozen questions there and I will try and answer all that I remember. The first one, was I briefed by the Chrétien government as to the details of these cuts? The answer is, no, I had the same briefing that all people had as a result of last year's Budget which predicted cuts of this magnitude in general terms but not specifically related, except to the extent that it identified certain bases in the country for closing. I believe there was some mention of Gander in last year's Budget but I do not specifically remember.

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the federal government must reduce its expenditures in order to get the nation's finances in order. Nobody can argue with that. We have acknowledged that from the beginning. If that has to be done I think most people in the country will take the approach that with what has happened with the cold war, with the disappearance of the cold war, the need for the level of military that we had in the past has diminished, so the military is one of the first areas that will suffer the cuts, and frequently an area that will suffer cuts most severely.

What I have said to the federal government in response to that is when you look at the level of Department of National Defense activity in Newfoundland, by comparison with say New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, there is such a low level of activity here that you should not even think of any reduction of units in this Province until you've dealt with units in other provinces where there is a much higher level of Department of Defence activity - the provinces of Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - Saskatchewan has even less than Newfoundland does. So that will tell you how small the defence establishment is there. So those two provinces in particular, Mr. Speaker, do not get any significant economic benefit from the Department of Defence presence. Now that is the position that I've taken with them. What I can't say to the federal government is we don't want you to cut your budget. If they don't cut the defence budget they are going to be cutting other things more severely and impact even more severely on the Province.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, is the Premier of this Province standing here today and saying to the people of the Province that he does not know how many federal government Department of National Defence and Canadian forces jobs the Chrétien Government is going to cut in this Province over the next couple of years? Is he saying he does not know because he does not care?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: There are two questions, the first question is, `Is he saying he doesn't know?' The answer is yes. `Is he saying he doesn't know because he doesn't care?' The answer is no.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Premier tell the House and the people of the Province what he has done to defend, guard and protect federal government Department of National Defence and Canadian forces jobs in this Province? He acknowledges we have had a disproportionately small number of jobs, why now is he passive and politically impotent in the face of disproportionately large cuts?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I can't answer the question because the question has no validity. I am not passive nor politically impotent.

Mr. Speaker, I have just given the House the detail but obviously the hon. member was not listening or she had her question that had to be read anyway, I don't know which. But let me repeat, the position that we have taken on a consistent basis - and I sat down in meetings with the Minister of Finance, the Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs, I have done it in meetings with the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and spelled out Newfoundland's position and I have written the position in detail, Mr. Speaker, spelling out clearly that the federal government has a responsibility to ensure that the expenditure of federal funds benefits all parts of the Province and in the past in terms of national defence matters that has not been the case. It is not peculiar to the present federal government; it is a legacy of all of the years that we have been a Province of Canada, and the former Tory federal government cut as well in this Province. As a matter of fact, the most severe treatment this Province ever got was when John Crosbie sat in the federal Cabinet.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I have consistently taken the position with the federal government that one of the ways in which they can help deal with the problem they did cause in terms of the closure of the groundfish fishery is to provide for a greater level of federal presence, and there is a variety of means by which they can do that. The new air navigation system should be located in Gander. That is where it belongs, and that is where the federal government should place it. I have told them that. They should help us establish a free trade zone in Argentia. Federal policy measures can help us do that. They should increase the level of defence activities in Newfoundland by diverting them. Instead of bringing the fighter units back from Germany to Quebec, they should have put one in Goose Bay or in Gander. This is where it belongs. Clearly the federal government has that responsibility.

I have been saying it publicly and I have been trying my best to persuade the federal minister to do that. Unless and until I am elected as Prime Minister of Canada, and I do not know whether or not that will ever happen -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: - but unless and until I am elected to be Prime Minister of Canada -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, unless and until I am elected to be the Prime Minister of Canada I cannot direct those decisions; I can only try my very best to pressure them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, God help the people of Canada if he ever crucified them the way he has crucified Newfoundlanders in the past seven years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious now that Newfoundlanders are receiving, as the Premier said, a disproportion of assistance as it relates to the cuts in the Department of National Defence, and the same is happening as it relates to the UI cuts. It now appears that the federal Minister of Human Resources will announce next week - next Thursday, I believe - that his department will make drastic cuts, that the cuts will be brutal and cruel upon the seasonal employees of this Province. Will the minister confirm that people in Newfoundland who depend on UI will receive less payments than they are receiving right now?

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

MR. MURPHY: Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. No, I can't confirm, for the obvious reason -

AN HON. MEMBER: Ask George Baker.

MR. MURPHY: No, George can't either. Because "expected" is the word that is associated with what Mr. Baker had to say, from the news reports I have. The Premier yesterday was asked the same question from the Leader of the Opposition. The Premier said to the Leader of the Opposition: No, he had received no official report. I reaffirmed that I had no official report.

MS VERGE: You have been briefed.

MR. MURPHY: I say to the Leader of the Opposition, no, I have not been briefed. Even though we have requested information, we've sought information, we've written and asked for information, we have not been officially told. I say that to the Leader of the Opposition, I say it to the Member for Burin - Placentia West. If Mr. Baker can stand confidently and support the accusations and the claims that he has made in the reduction, he has a source that I don't have, I would say to the member and to the Leader of the Opposition. I don't have it. I have not been officially given the information that Mr. Baker has quoted in the paper today. No, I have not.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I say to the hon. Member for Grand Bank again, you can't do anything else only bring forward the information that you have received officially. I am sure that the hon. members opposite would be upset and disturbed if any minister of government did anything less than that. I'm not prepared to answer or support any of the claims of Mr. Baker until we've heard from Mr. Axworthy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the member to be brief with his answer.

MR. MURPHY: Simple as that.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is strange the minister doesn't know anything today when yesterday he said in this House: The hours will work out on a thirty-six hour week. Let's say that for the first entry it is now twenty-six weeks, and we will know, Mr. Speaker, from what I am hearing, that it will come somewhere in the vicinity of twenty-two-and-a-touch weeks.

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well what is coming down, even though he has sat silently by.

Will the minister confirm that you will need twelve weeks and a minimum of thirty-five hours a week and that, Mr. Speaker, will be spread out over twenty weeks, which means, that a person with twelve weeks will have to wait an additional eight weeks before he can apply for the unemployment insurance - before he can even apply - and then, with the 2 per cent reduction for seasonal employees in this Province, that a person today who receives $300 a week, will eventually end up getting $140 a week, UI, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MURPHY: No, Mr. Speaker, I can't confirm that.

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

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that something is really happening here, that this minister, who has not stood up and defended Newfoundland, can't confirm anything, knows nothing about what's happening, and this is about a crisis that is going to fall on the seasonal employees of this Province.

Let me ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker: Will he immediately set up a meeting with Lloyd Axworthy and put together a Select Committee of this House, and let the people go up and tell Mr. Axworthy about the serious situation here? Because it is obvious, Premier, that your minister has not done it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The answer is, absolutely not. I wouldn't invite such a disaster, and I think it would be a disaster if that's what, in fact, occurred. I have every confidence in the minister and the Minister of Health, who is Chairman of the Social Policy Committee of Cabinet has done it –

AN HON. MEMBER: The Minister of Education and Training.

PREMIER WELLS: - The Minister of Education and Training rather, is Chairman of the Social Policy Committee. I have every confidence in them and I have no doubt they will continue to justify that confidence.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Health.

I spoke with a constituent yesterday who is off work since December 1st, of last year, whose sick leave runs out in a month's time. This man has experienced extreme pain and has seen several doctors on referrals over that period.

He was finally scheduled for major surgery for tomorrow at the Health Sciences Centre. His wife applied and received leave to be with him during this crucial time; however, he received a call on Tuesday indicating that his surgery was postponed until the end of this month because there was no anaesthetist available. Now, I have spoken with several other people who have had their surgery cancelled over the past several weeks for the very same reason.

It is ironic that this man, a health care worker for over twenty years, is now experiencing our declining system from a patient's perspective. Surgeries are often cancelled due to a lack of operating rooms, a lack of critical care beds - now, they are being cancelled due to the lack of an anaesthetist.

There is a problem when this is happening on an ongoing basis at the Health Sciences Complex, and I ask the minister: What does he plan to do to address this ongoing problem?

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

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

The hon. member makes a very good speech, but to the specific question that he has asked, if he is prepared to give me the details of the situation to which he refers, I will commit to him to give it the utmost attention and review it to see if there is anything untoward happening in terms of process or in terms of scheduling. I have no information or no basis to believe that anything is happening other than what should be happening in terms of scheduling surgeries and those sorts of things, but if there is an anomaly in the system or something happening that is so substantially out of whack with what the norm would be, I would be happy to investigate it and to report to the House.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: On a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Since August, there have been numerous heart surgeries cancelled because of the lack of an anaesthetist; there have been back surgeries cancelled due to the lack of an anaesthetist. I say it is not a single, isolated case; I have several names of people whose surgeries have been cancelled. It is an ongoing problem, not an isolated case, and I ask the minister: What will he do about it? Would he check and see what can be done about this problem?

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

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

I have already indicated to the member that if he is prepared to give me the information, the details, I would be happy to do that. To the point though, that he raised with respect to waiting list and heart surgery, it is true that about a month to six weeks ago we did have a waiting list of about 200 people. I checked the day before yesterday to update myself on what the waiting situation was with respect to heart surgery and I am told that the list now is down to I think 100 people, not 200, waiting for heart surgery, and there are additional people waiting for valve-replacement type procedures. So the waiting list from the time the House opened, actually, has reduced considerably and I am pleased to report, I would call it, good information, to the House for the benefit of the people of the Province and for the information of the hon. member who raises the point.

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

MR. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would prefer today to be asking questions of my colleague, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, but I will do more research and come back to the MOGs on another day. My questions today are for the Minister of the Environment.

Landfill garbage disposal sites are found throughout the Province and most are operated by municipalities, or by groups of municipalities. Can the minister confirm that there is no such thing as minimum standards or operational criteria for landfill sites in the Province, and that the standard of operations for such sites varies from one municipality to another?

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

MR. AYLWARD: I appreciate the question from the hon. member. We have a problem with landfills in the Province, for some time. Over the past twelve months, the Province, through the Department of the Environment and the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, has been doing an evaluation of the problem with the landfills we have. We are looking at new regulations to regulate the operations of landfills, and we are also looking at closing down some landfills and doing regional waste management. So there is a major effort under way and we are making some progress, both departments. The Federation of Municipalities are very interested in this matter and we are working very closely with them.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the minister said that the operation of the landfill sites can have serious implications for a lot of different people. Of course, the Minister of the Environment knows that it affects health, property values, the safety of individuals, and tourism, etcetera. I want the minister to assure the House that his new landfill site regulations, which is, in itself, the absence of the regulations, is a serious flaw in the departmental regulations. Will they be ready by January of next year? Will there be any consultation with municipalities? Will there be established criteria that will definitely say which ones meet the criteria, which ones do not, and what consultation will occur with the municipalities and other interested groups?

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

MR. AYLWARD: I can tell the member, this is a major issue for this government. We have done an extensive amount of consultation already. We had a consulting firm hired last year who did visits around all the communities in this Province. We are getting ready for some new regulations and, I believe, in a very short period of time, we will be in a much better position. We are also in the position of cleaning up and dealing with a lot of problems that weren't dealt with years ago.

We have over 200 landfills out there that weren't regulated, were this and that, and were let go, and we are trying to deal with that situation. I am optimistic that we will make some major progress in the next twelve to twenty-four months. We have a lot of work to do and, I think, it is a more opportunity for us to deal with this, so that it can be beneficial to us all in the future. We are all working on it diligently, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Social Services. Yesterday, officials from the minister's department were in my district to visit the Social Services office in St. Mary's. The purpose of the visit, I believe, was to discuss possible changes to the delivery of programs in the area. This morning, I talked to staff at various Social Services offices throughout the Province who are concerned about government's proposals to change the structure for delivery of services. I ask the minister: What are government's plans relating to the district offices throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and will the proposed changes mean the loss of jobs and/or the reduction of services to the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Everything is under review today, and certainly, when any decisions are made and I am ready to announce them they will be disclosed to everybody.

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

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about the possibility of the amalgamation of Social Services offices. The record of this government in relation to amalgamation, Mr. Speaker, is dismal. There are forty-seven district offices in this Province, forty-three of them outside St. John's. I would like to ask the minister: of these offices that now provide a number of services, such as financial support, youth corrections, child welfare and so on, how many will close and how many will just become satellite offices with a very limited number of available programs?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: I have to make a correction here, Mr. Speaker. There are actually fifty district offices in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, there are actually fifty district offices in this Province. With regard to any changes that we make, yes I say that everything is under review and if changes are made I will certainly make announcements.

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

MR. MANNING: I say to the minister, if the number there at the present time is not important, what is going to be there after you're finished, is what I'm concerned about?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, never before in recent history has there been such a need for social services. With the economic downturn in our Province many people have had to turn to social assistance for the first time in their lives. The increase in all types of stress, family problems, hungry children and so on, Mr. Speaker, leads me today to ask the minister, instead of cuts, instead of taking away and reducing, would you please commit to extra hiring of much needed social workers in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Social Services.

MS YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, we are looking at the services that we provide in this Province. We have every intention of providing the best possible service to the people who need and come to our department. Just last year one of the offices was combined out in my district with another office and it was just bringing together all of the staff. We still provide the best service we possibly can. We want to make sure that any dollars that we save and any changes that we make will be of absolute benefit to the people that we serve in rural Newfoundland. It is not our intention to cut services. It is our intention to maintain services in the best possible way we can in this Province.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

I ask the minister if his department is having any input or is he being consulted personally with the early retirement program for fishermen and fish plant workers now being formulated by the Federal Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Axworthy?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, we have had two or three discussions about the early retirement program, as the member -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The program, as the member probably is aware, comes under the jurisdiction of two federal ministers. DFO and Minister Tobin are responsible for the fishers component of the early retirement program and of course plant workers come under HRDC and/or the minister responsible, Minister Axworthy. We have been dealing with both these ministers now and we are very hopeful that we will have that situation signed and in place within a month - within three to four weeks.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the minister if he or his government are having second thoughts, reconsidering the option of allowing fishermen and fish plant workers to retire from the fishing industry at age fifty now that transfer payments from Ottawa are being reduced and the cost of taking part in the program will be a bargain at 30 per cent provincially and 70 per cent federally?

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

MR. MURPHY: Perhaps a bargain in the mind of the member. Mr. Speaker, the member is fully aware, as all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are aware, that it is a very difficult time to try to find extra funding for all kinds of programs but let me say to the member that we are committed to the original position of fifty-five to sixty-four. That is the area where it will take a committed amount of funding over that period of time on behalf of the provincial government and federal government. When the program is totally ready you can be sure that the two federal ministers and this minister will be happy to announce it.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. How can the minister justify not wanting to take part in a program that will cost the provincial government thirty cents per dollar versus dollar for dollar, Mr. Speaker? I cannot understand how the minister can stand here and talk about the value of the dollar and talk about the financial crisis we are in, to hear again he is going back to Ottawa and saying that we will give you more and more. For God's sake, get up boy and take on Ottawa -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: - and fight for Newfoundlanders -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: - and go and try to get our people to retire with dignity here in this Province!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

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

MR. MURPHY: Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I didn't hear a question in the member's statement so all I would say -


MR. MURPHY: I can no more justify -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MURPHY: - what he is trying to justify, or to justify why he is here.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. It concerns the report that is anticipated next week by the former Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, Winston Baker, on the Newfoundland Dockyard.

I want to know whether the minister or his government has had discussions or consultations with Mr. Baker about his plans and proposals, and whether or not he has any reason to believe, based on those discussions or consultations, or the Newfoundland Dockyard workers ought to have any confidence, that the Dockyard will continue beyond December of this year?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the only thing I can report is that I've had a telephone conversation in the last number of days with Mr. Baker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Winston Baker. He is waiting to brief the federal Minister of Transport and Newfoundland's minister in the Cabinet, Mr. Tobin. Until such time as he has briefed the federal people he is going to wait until he notifies the Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would have expected the minister to say that he had a task force of ministers and officials working closely with the former minister to ensure that the Newfoundland Dockyard stays there, given its importance to the workers and people of this Province.

I want to ask the minister, whether his government is prepared to do anything to ensure the continuation of the Newfoundland Dockyard beyond the end of this year? Or is it prepared to see the federal government scuttle that, the same way as it scuttled the South Coast ferries and they are scuttling the road cruiser service, defence projects in Gander?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: Is the minister prepared to do anything?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I've had a number of meetings with Mr. Baker. He has met with the five unions involved, with the management involved. He is waiting to give his report to the federal ministers. Yes, I've told him what the Province's position is. We are willing to be as creative as is possible to keep the Dockyard open.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Premier. I wonder if the Premier could inform the House how many people are within the provincial public service system, or management system, who have deputy minister status? Could the Premier inform us of that? Considering there are fourteen departments, I'm wondering how many people have deputy minister status.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I think there would be about thirteen or fourteen in the departments. Then there are certain Crown agencies that have deputy minister status. Newfoundland and Labrador Housing would be one; ENL would be another one, Workers Compensation, which would be another one. I think the Clerk of the House has deputy minister status or near abouts, something of that nature. There are a number of others. I will get a count and provide the count. I can't give you exactly. There is one for every department and there are others.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the Premier saying he will get the information for us, but I've heard that there are about twice as many people with deputy minister status as there are departments. I don't know if that is correct or not but I'm sure the Premier will.... There are certainly more people with deputy minister status than there are the ones, say, with each department, I'm sure the Premier knows that.

While the Premier is doing it, the supplementary is: Would he as well table for the House, or inform the House, of how many people are within the system with assistant deputy minister status? So that we can see the deputy minister status and the assistant deputy minister status that is in the provincial system to date.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Most certainly. I will get them all, Mr. Speaker. Another one I just remembered, the Auditor General would have deputy minister status as well. There is a handful of others too. What I will do is I will - just so that the House will be fully informed, and have something that they can compare, I will get the 1989 list. I will produce the 1988 list as well, 1989 list, and provide some comparison.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question period has expired.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: In accordance with section 32.(4) of the Auditor General's Act, I am pleased to table the Auditor's Report and Financial Statements of the Office of the Auditor General for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1995.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I shall, on tomorrow, ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The House of Assembly Act And The Electoral Boundaries Act".

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROBERTS: My one regret is that although the bill is now being printed it will not be available for the weekend, so my hon. friend from Burin - Placentia West will not be able to spend the weekend reading it, but it will be in the House on Tuesday.

I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act Respecting The Executive Council".

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

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

I give notice that I will, on next Wednesday, ask leave to introduce the following motion:

WHEREAS the federal fisheries policies in relation to groundfish licence retirement are discriminatory to many fishermen and plant workers throughout the Province, and especially in the district of Torngat Mountains; and

WHEREAS federal policy states that the groundfish licence holders eligible for TAGS are the only groundfish licence holders who will be eligible for the retirement program; and

WHEREAS there are many fishermen and plant workers throughout the Province who for generations have relied on the fishery for a living and are not recognized under the TAGS program; and

WHEREAS it can be proven that thousands of fishermen and plant workers who just happened to be involved in the fishery at an arbitrary date set by DFO, and not because of their historical attachment to the groundfish fishery, are on TAGS as opposed to those who fished thirty, forty, fifty years or more and still do not qualify;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Canada be called upon to include those fishermen and plant workers who can demonstrate a historical attachment to and activity in the prosecution of the groundfish fishery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MR. REID: Yesterday during Question Period the Member for Waterford - Kenmount asked me about a $1.5 million revenue item in the budget. The $1.5 million -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: $1.8 million, was it? $1.5 million I thought it was. Basically, I want to inform the House that the $1.8 million was a shortfall in the budget of the department which I would have had to save some time during this fiscal year, and if I am not mistaken I think it was included in the announcement today when I made the comments about the MOG, so it was $1.5 million that I had to save in the department and it was reflected over on the other side. I hope that answers his question.

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

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

In response to a question asked yesterday by the hon. the Member for Ferryland when he indicated there were approximately 100 medically discharged people in acute care beds in the St. John's area at any given time, I checked with the system yesterday and I am told that there is, on average, about forty-five to fifty people on any given day probably who would be medically discharged, waiting for movement out of the institution. That is about half of what the hon. member indicated, but that figure is the right figure, the factual one.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is only off by 100 per cent.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: He is off by 100 per cent, yes.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl asked me some questions concerning the tenders received for the sale of the Holiday Inns and Hotel Port aux Basques, which was not part of the Holiday Inn chain.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I am about to give a summary of the tenders for the Holiday Inns and Hotel Port aux Basques. I will do them by hotel and then do the general groupings.

First, there was one tender for St. John's from Lord God The Father Almighty Hospitality Inn Limited.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Her, her; I say to the hon. member, her.

It was in the amount of $1.3 million however, the offer was not acceptable as the company submitted a deposit which was less than the required 3 per cent of the amount tendered. There were a number of conditions to the tender; one was that a deposit was required and that satisfactory financing had to be provided within ten days.

There were two bids for Clarenville. One from Leonards Holdings Limited in the amount of $1,100,000. This offer met all the tender requirements but was not recommended on the basis of price. We also received, secondly, from another group of interested parties, a company to be incorporated, N. V. Bruce Pardy on behalf of N. V. Bruce Pardy, Rex Anthony, Basil Dobbin and Richard Pardy in the amount of $850,500. Again, this met all the tender requirements but again, was not recommended on a basis of price. In respect to Clarenville it was second as between the two individual bids.

In the case of Corner Brook, there was one bid received from Northern Construction and Insulatin Limited in the amount of $1, 310,000. There was no individual tender for Gander. In the case of Port aux Basques, there were three tenders. One from T. F. Holdings to be incorporated. I believe Mr. Tom Tobin was a proponent in the amount of $180,000; again, they met all the tender requirements but was not recommended on the base of price.

Hubert Chaulk who was the highest tender, tendered $210,000 and met all the tender requirements. There was one from Darrel House in the amount of $156,000 which also met all the tender requirements but was low on price.

There was one bid for all four franchise, Holiday Inn properties at St. John's, Clarenville, Gander and Corner Brook, that was Fortis Properties Corporation in the amount of $6,275,000. This met all the tender requirements and this and the Chalk offer were the ones that were accepted for the five properties.

There were two bids received for all five properties. One was from Atlific Newfoundland Limited, $6,500,000 but it did not meet the tender requirements in a number of respects. The first was that the tender was conditional upon the purchaser obtaining EDGE status, which would give them preference and subsidies and the second problem with it was that, it was not a clean offer, they wanted to provide the money over ten years and that was not in accordance with the tender.

There was a second bid for all five properties from Canadian Hospitality Group or its designate and Alywards (1975) Limited or its designate and James Chalker was the agent for the Offerors, that was in the amount of $5,600,000. This was not an exceptional tender either as it was conditional upon the offer having thirty days to demonstrate satisfactory financing as opposed to the ten days outlined in the terms and conditions of the tender documents.

Now looking at the individual properties, if one added up Gander for which there was no tender, but the combination of single bids for St. John's at $1.3 million, Clarenville at $1.1 million and Corner Brook at $1.310, million would have totalled $3.710 as opposed to the tender offer we accepted in the amount of $6, 275,000.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Before we call petitions, I would like to welcome on behalf of all hon. members to the House of Assembly, Mrs. Betty Gilbert, the Mayor of Come By Chance in the District of Bellevue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


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

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of my district. The prayer of the petition, Mr. Speaker, is as follows:

To the House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador:

WHEREAS the Janeway Child Health Centre has served the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and their children for more than twenty-five years as the only acute care children's hospital; and

WHEREAS the people of Newfoundland and Labrador show their support for the Janeway by contributing millions of dollars every year to enhance the services provided by the children's hospital;

WE THE UNDERSIGNED support the continuation of a stand-alone children's hospital to provide quality health care for the children of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of several petitions I have presented on behalf of people in the District of St. Mary's - The Capes as it relates to the government's plans to close down the Janeway Hospital and move it to a site adjacent to the Health Sciences Complex as an adjoining building.

Mr. Speaker, for a minute, if I could talk about the history of the Janeway and the services it has provided for the people of this Province over the years. Because as we said before in this House, it is a provincial hospital, not so much a city hospital. People from throughout this Province, in Labrador, have travelled to the Janeway for child health care services and have been provided with first-class services from the staff and from the medical people at that institution.

Over the past couple of years there certainly has been need for some type of upgrading of the building itself, and certainly some concerns as it relates to the structure. The important thing I think that people are starting to realize, and the major thing that they are concerned about, is the fact that the change that the government is planning will take away the feeling or the atmosphere of a children's hospital. I believe that is the major concern that is being raised here.

While the Janeway Child Health Centre has provided the care, it has also provided an atmosphere where both the patient as children and the parents feel at home. I myself have had experience of having to take my children to the Janeway. Once you walk inside the door there is an atmosphere that definitely coincides with the fact of it being a children's hospital.

My concern is, and I'm sure that the people of my district who put forward this petition here today in the House are concerned about the fact that the plan to move the Janeway, we really don't know exactly what the plans are. We know an outline of what the government plans to do in taking the Janeway Hospital and moving it and joining it with the Health Sciences building, but exactly what are they planning? Is it going to be a children's wing to itself? Are there going to be different wards that are going to be assigned for children where you will have to come out of one wing of the hospital, down a hallway, and into another wing?

The concern that has been raised by people in my district who talk to me about this issue is the concern not so much of the medical services - because the people who provide the medical services and the equipment and everything else I believe will be part of the change that is taking place - but it is the atmosphere of a children's hospital, the feeling of the children having their own place, I think, that is the major concern that is being brought forward through this petition and through the concerns I have had raised to me.

Another concern that people have is that due to the financial restraint that government finds itself under, and due to the cutbacks and the reduction in services, there is a concern that the millions of dollars that have been raised in this Province to help bring proper equipment and improved equipment to the Janeway Child Health Centre, this will pose a problem to continue that type of fund-raising here. Because the people can associate with a children's hospital now. The fact that it is going to be moved and joined with the Health Sciences Centre, people may not feel as comfortable with it, that all the funding will be going into the children's concern in the health care system.

I guess this is another issue that is being brought forward again through this petition. Because as we know, and we look back on the history of the dollars that have been donated and the dollars that have been raised for the Janeway Hospital over the years, the level of gratitude and the level of support that the people of this Province have shown the Janeway is second to none. Even from the people of St. Mary's - The Capes and throughout the Province.

I'm pleased today to bring forward this petition. From what I can gather there are other petitions circulating in my district. This petition is mostly from the community of St. Bride's. People in the community of St. Bride's, 95 per cent of this petition is from those people, many of whom had had reason over the past number of years to visit –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. MANNING: - the Janeway Hospital. I hope that the minister takes the petition seriously and assures the people of this Province that the level of health care that the children have been used to and the parents have been used to continues, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to support my colleague for St. Mary's - The Capes' petition with concerns raised regarding the Janeway Hospital, and I think rightly so. People have a reason to be concerned. The Janeway Child Health Centre has served as a very significant hospital in the lives of children in this Province. It has played a very important role and provided some excellent care.

Now with the consolidation under the system, as of yet we have not seen, and hopefully we will see things that will be positive and something that I can support, but I would have to see what is going to happen. We have not seen yet a particular plan as to what will happen when the Janeway Hospital is moved to the site at the Health Sciences Centre.

Now the minister did say in this House a couple of weeks ago, which caused some concern to me, that they would be sharing operating rooms in the new facility. The minister made that statement on the third day after the House opened. To be sharing operating rooms with adults and kids, young kids, sometimes infants, it is a concern with critical care beds. When they come out of an operating room we have critical care beds that will take care of these people whether it is cardiac care or intensive care units. If they will be in a separate area, a separate wing they will be moved to and the same nurse would be attending on people, kids, that attend on adults. We have not been told that. We have been generally given general indications but we have not been shown any particular plan.

We were told at the beginning - initially they could not say if there was going to be a new wing attached or it is going to be incorporated. Then Mr. Tilley did say that there is going to be an annex or something adjacent to it, he made reference and that seems to be the predominate thing since but they have not come forth to show us how they are going to be able to take those numbers of beds that are actively used and I do believe that it is in the vicinity of sixty beds that are usually used approximately there on an ongoing basis. I think they have the capacity of, I believe, of about 100 beds initially -

AN HON. MEMBER: One hundred and fifty.

MR. SULLIVAN: One hundred and fifty but it has never been any more then around sixty recently, to my knowledge, in the more recent past anyway. I am wondering where they are going to be accommodated and how? The minister said we will have something before this fall is out, before Christmas, and I am looking forward to seeing what is going to happen.

We do know that there are only twenty-four operating rooms in the city today and we do know that if the Janeway closes and the Grace closes we are only going to have about fourteen left. Unless we are going to increase the operating room space - and I know that you just cannot plan and have your operations on a twenty-four hour basis, some are emergencies. They have to be done when the need arises. We just cannot slate all the slate operations and intensive care beds like we would do on other more elective type beds and elective surgery. They can be scheduled a lot better. We have to have enough in the system that is going to accommodate that.

Right now Sister Elizabeth Davis stated, and she stated back on September 28, in The Evening Telegram, that there may well be a shortage of operating room beds here in the city and made reference to critical care beds in the city. There are forty-three adult critical care beds in the city now and with the moving together of these facilities people want some assurances that their health care is not going to be compromised.

Now Sister Elizabeth Davis yesterday spoke to the Board of Trade, I heard in the media, that there are concerns with the system and there is a crunch from a financial perspective and steps have to be taken but my concern and I said it from day one at Holiday Inn and the minister was there too, I said do not use this under the disguise of improved health care. If it is a budgetary restraint and this Province cannot afford it and it is costly, come up front and tell the people we cannot afford it. We cannot afford to be putting those dollars in the health care, tell the truth to the people and tell them what your plan is. Now we have been told it is under improved health, that I have not seen. The minister has made reference to numerous statistics here, I can tell you for the last number of years the Fraser Forum has put us seven out of ten in the country, except this year. Mr. Tilley of the Health Science - and I was interviewed the same day - acknowledged that these figures are very misleading. They were showing waiting lists for cardiac surgery is only a matter of a few months when doctors were telling me they have patients - cardiologists - that there are 200. The waiting list is over a year, year-and-a-half.

I spoke to doctors in the last month or so who said the list is not accurate. We have the longest waiting lists for ultrasound in the country; Fraser Forum tells us that this year. We have the longest ones for diagnostic services, most diagnostic services is the longest in the country, we are last. The Fraser Forum, the recent edition, tells us those things. So we are hearing one thing, the minister and the bureaucracy, the health care corporation hired two new public relations people because we are misinterpreting what they are saying in the public.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Now, I would like to know - if I have put out false information I would certainly like to know what it is. I was told by people that there was ninety-five medically discharged people in hospitals there and I can almost tell them what floors they are on and where they are, yes, I will agree. Some people have been there so long that they are considered nursing home people and they are calling them chronic care now. They are calling them chronic care people, not acute care and that is the difference in the number, I say to the minister, they are still tying up beds in acute care hospitals.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Maybe you discharged (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I did. If you are medically discharged and you pay your way they keep you there, if you are not you have to get out.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

Just a word or two to the petition that was presented by the hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes. First of all I want to commend the hon. member for bringing forward the petitions that he has brought forward. He has brought forward two or three now. I think it is healthy, I think it is a good sign, and I think it is positive that people are expressing their views and their concerns. I think it is good that people are asking questions with respect to the redevelopment of the hospitals in the St. John's area, and I think it is good that people are wanting to know what restructuring means in terms of the future of the health care system.

It is the first sign, really, that people have an interest in and that people are willing to participate in the discussion and in the debate with respect to the issue. I commend the hon. members for bringing forward the petitions and for asking the questions they are asking. The questions they are asking are not dissimilar to the questions that others have asked from the time we announced restructuring on June 29, and the questions that the petitions raise are not different from the questions raised by the doctors at the Grace who wrote the Health Care Corporation, and copied me on their letter with respect to the future of health care. It gives us an opportunity in government and throughout the system to again address the questions in the context of trying to give factual information and to try and allay the fears of the people of the community as to what is going on.

The move to restructure health care, the hon. Member for Ferryland indicated, might be more about dollars and cents than it is about health care. Let me be very direct and very honest with the hon. member, as I have tried to be always, of course. It is about both improved health care, it is about an improvement in the quality of the programs we deliver through health care, and it is also about dollars and cents. We are in fiscally difficult times and we have not cut for the sake of saving money, but when you can make adjustments to a system to provide a better service and at the same time save or maximize efficiencies fiscally then it is only appropriate that we do those types of things.

Again, I refer to the question he raised and the answer I gave last week, I believe it was, to another petition. We are not closing the Janeway, we are relocating the Janeway. The Janeway represents to the people of this Province a dedicated pediatric service. It does not, in the first instance, represent a building. It is not about bricks and mortar; it is about a service to children in terms of health care that we have provided for many years. That is what we are relocating to the Health Sciences Centre, to be located in a more user friendly atmosphere, to be provided in a more efficient manner, and to be provided on a more cooperative basis with the other range of services that are provided at the Health Sciences that now have to be accessed by the people at the Janeway by having to go up there and come back on a continuous basis using ambulance and other types of services to get some services that are not at both sites.

What we will accomplish and what we will achieve at the Health Sciences Centre with the relocation of the Janeway there is essentially equivalent to what we have already achieved there when we moved the H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre there, and for those who have had opportunity to go over there and visit that centre they will readily agree. I have not heard one person say anything but words of commendation and praise for the move of the cancer clinic to the site over adjacent to, and contiguous with the Health Sciences Centre.

That same principle will be applied to the move of the Janeway services over there. There will be space provided that will be better space, used more efficiently and more proficiently for the delivery of health care to children, paediatrics who need that service. I am only too glad to be able to again reinforce for the members of the House and the people of the Province, hopefully, as they get to hear what we say here through the media, the move of the Janeway as a service will be a positive step, it will be an enhanced service. Doctors and nurses, as best I have heard and can judge, are almost totally supportive of the move of the Janeway to the Health Sciences.

I heard from doctors at the Grace last week raising questions about that move, but I have to say I have not heard that same type of representation, to date at any rate. I don't know whether it will come, but I have not heard those types of concerns raised by -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: - the physicians at the Janeway.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I think they accept what they are doing as the right and proper thing to do, and, with the cooperation of all Members of the House and the people of the Province, we will achieve a better result in the end.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, before we call the orders, perhaps the House would want to note that the third of the Leaders, who is a Scorpio in the House - the other two Leaders, my learned friend, the Member for St. John's East and my learned friend, the Member for Humber East –

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, they are indeed learned - not blessed, but learned. They both are Scorpios. Each of them celebrated a birthday recently, and I'm sure the House would want me to note that the Premier celebrates his birthday today. And I would say for the benefit of those who hope to take his seat, he is now a year older than he was yesterday. They can read what they want into that.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did he call his mother?

MR. ROBERTS: I think the Premier's mother is dead, so I'm not -

MR. TOBIN: The Premier's birthday today. How old is he, `Ed'?

MR. ROBERTS: Old enough to know better, I would say.

MR. TOBIN: Is he older than you?

MR. ROBERTS: I believe he is fifty-eight, isn't he? He made a reference that he is past beyond the Heinz stage.

AN HON. MEMBER: The number on the catsup bottle.

MR. ROBERTS: That is the Heinz stage, isn't it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, I see. I thought you were talking about the Heinz variety.

MR. ROBERTS: In any event, Your Honour, with that said, that is a fitting introduction to the business of the House. Let me first of all move that the House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved and seconded that this House do not adjourn at 5:00 p.m.

All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Against.


MR. SPEAKER: Carried.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: I notice the enthusiasm with which members on both sides dealt with that motion, Mr. Speaker, and I thank them.

Would we first of all please, Sir, deal with Order No. 11 which is Bill No. 7. I believe `Byrne Primus,' my friend, the Member for St. John's East Extern, was holding the floor at the time.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: He is finished.

MR. ROBERTS: I know he is finished, but does he - doesn't want to speak in the debate?

AN HON. MEMBER: No. (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I thought my hon. friend - had my hon. friend concluded his remarks?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: He has every right to speak. If he has time left we will gladly hear him. If he doesn't want to, I will close the debate, Mr. Speaker.

MR. J. BYRNE: I adjourned debate to give you an opportunity to get up.

MR. ROBERTS: I thank my friend, then.

MR. SPEAKER: You are calling Bill No. 7.

If the hon. the Government House Leader speaks now, he will close the debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, thank you.

In the Premier's absence, I will say a few words to conclude the debate. For the benefit of those who are to come next, let me say that the next order we will be dealing with is Order No. 20 on today's Order Paper, which is Bill No. 27. My note is that my friend, the Member for Humber Valley had us in his thrall when he adjourned the debate last Friday, if memory serves me correctly.

Let me just make a couple of comments with respect to the debate. I think we have had a vigorous and wide-ranging debate, and I thank all the members on both sides who participated. I assure them that the Premier, as the minister responsible, and his colleagues in the Ministry will accord to each of the speeches made in the debate the weight and the merits that they carry with them intrinsically.

The bill, itself, is an enabling bill. Strictly speaking, we do not need such legislation, because it would be, I think, constitutionally and legally proper for the government simply to repeal all Orders in Council if we wanted to. As a matter of law, if the Lieutenant-Governor in Council has the authority to make a regulation, then he or she has the authority to repeal it - the same as if a minister has the authority to make, he or she may repeal. And if the House has the authority to adopt a statute, then the House may amend or repeal it.

We chose to take the route we are on because we wanted to make -

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I think we should call a quorum.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. gentleman wants to call a quorum, I suggest he should feel free to do so. All he will do, I suggest to my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, is number one, make a fool of himself today as he did yesterday, and number two, delay the work of the House. But if he wants to call a quorum he has the right under the rules of the House to do so.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker -

AN HON. MEMBER: You're in trouble again.

MR. TOBIN: No, I'm not in trouble again, but I think it is incumbent upon this government to keep a quorum in the House, Mr. Speaker. And today, as yesterday, we have seven members in the House on the government side.

AN HON. MEMBER: One here, one here!

MR. TOBIN: One here. Okay, we have eight, Mr. Speaker.

My House Leader doesn't want me to call a quorum, only for that, I would, Mr. Speaker.


MR. TOBIN: I don't think the Government House Leader is so boring that his caucus shouldn't listen to what he has to say.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend for his assurance that I'm not sufficiently boring. Could I have that in writing so I could use it at the next meeting of our own caucus?

Your Honour, the point I was making is this is an enabling bill. We chose to take the route set out in this legislation because we wanted, first of all, to make a statement, and secondly, to demonstrate in a conclusive and determinative fashion that we are deadly serious about this process of revising and consolidating this subordinate legislation.

The bill, itself, is only one of a three-part process. It is the first of a three-stage process. Part one is the bill which, as the Premier explained, will put a sunset clause into place, and I remind the House that we will be dealing with that in Committee. We will need to extend the 31 December date by a period of two or three months to enable the necessary work to be done, because the whole process did slip somewhat behind, perhaps not unexpectedly and certainly not as a result of any delay on the part of the Commissioner or the men and the women who worked with him. I worked fairly closely with the process, and I think that the Commissioner and the staff who worked with him did extremely good work, and I think that we in this House and we in this Province owe them a vote of thanks.

Secondly, the second stage will be the re-enactment of the regulations that are being re-enacted. Now, members asked here today, and have asked over the past two or three days in the course of debate, what were we going to enact and what were we not going to re-enact? What I can say to members is that there are lists prepared.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, it is in the Commissioner's report. My hon. friend - has that been tabled? I will not ask how my hon. friend got the report.

MR. HARRIS: I don't have (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Oh, okay. Let me talk about the report, but let me just come to it in my own way, if I may, I say to my learned friend, the Member for St. John's East.

The Commissioner has prepared lists of the orders which, in his advice, his recommendation, ought to be re-enacted, some with amendments, some without, and those which, in his advice and on his recommendation, ought not to be re-enacted. Now, the Commissioner is the Commissioner, and we treat his reports extremely seriously and take his advice extremely seriously, but - and it is an important but - the Cabinet, itself has the obligation, the responsibility and the authority to enact or not to re-enact, as may be the case, so we are dealing with those. We have not yet worked our way through. We were contemplating tabling the entire report and then it was said, no, that is hardly fair until the Cabinet have taken a decision. I would hope we will be in a position shortly where we have finished. There are roughly 350 separate reports, some of them dealing with far more than one regulation. We have dealt with perhaps 320, if memory serves me well. We will be dealing with the remainder very quickly. We shall then be tabling lists, and at that point, I have no difficulty in laying out exactly what we have done and why. The second stage, as I said, of the process, is the re-enactment of regulations.

The third stage is that this House will be asked to deal with another bill which will do two things. In some cases, the Commissioner has recommended changes in legislation as a result of what he has recommended in connection with regulations. For example, we have a number of acts which specify certain fees and certain forms. The Commissioner's recommendation, uniformly in that case, has been that we take those sections out of the act and have a much simpler and a much more uniform fee and form-setting process, and that is dealt with in his report. So we will need to do that.

Secondly, the bill will address the fact that in a number of cases we need to repeal statutes that, in the Commissionaire's judgement, are no longer necessary, and if Cabinet accepts that judgement then we shall ask the House to repeal those statutes.

Mr. Speaker, we will be doing that, and once the process is completed, we will be able to do something that has never been done in this Province before. We will be able to publish a consolidated regulations of Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, there may not be meetings in Sheshatshiu or in Mud Lake in my constituency tonight to pass resolutions to commend the government for this, or to commend the House of Assembly for it, but anybody who works -

MR. AYLWARD: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Member for Stephenville, I agree with him, there should be, because anybody who works with the regulations - anybody - whether it is a lawyer or some business person trying to work their way through the maze, or an official administering the rules, or anybody else, cannot help but be all but staggered by the fact that the regulations are difficult of access, to put it gently.

MR. HARRIS: No votes in Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: No votes in Justice, says my friend, the Member for St. John's East. Well, I think he is wrong. Anyway, whether there are or not we have an obligation to do what is right and we try to do that. Mr. Speaker, the regulations are all but inaccessible now. There is an index. That was a new development - about the late '70s, I think that came along. But still, once you get the index, then you have to go hunting through the gazettes which is where most of them are, and if there have been amendments, the most you have are office copies of amendments and all office consolidations have on the front the legend that says, `Office consolidation. Do not rely on this. Check with the original enactments to be sure you have it right.' So, working with them as a practical tool is a very difficult process. Regulations are an inescapable and an important part of our life as a society here or elsewhere, so we think being able to consolidate them and put them together in one publication will be a considerable step forward.

I believe we are going to do them on a loose-leaf format. I am having my gown tugged here. I am told we are not going to have them done in a loose-leaf format. I have to say that my advice to Mr. Smallwood's biographer, Richard Gwynn, was that he should publish his book in loose-leaf format because there would be changes to come, and I give the same advice to the authorities here. Also, I understand, we are going to be able to put these on the internet - maybe not the internet, I may have that term wrong, but to make them available electronically so that my learned friend, the Member for St. John's East, when he is not being a full-time member of the House and is at his law office downtown, he can plug in, if he is computer literate, as I am not, and he can have the regulations there on his screen, and if we can only get around the technology, he can print out the regulations he wants. We do have some copyright issues. I think we can solve those, and we do have some issues about making sure my learned friend pays his share of the freight. And no lawyer would begrudge paying his or her share of the freight.

Mr. Speaker, that's where we are. We believe the bill is a step forward and we have no hesitation in asking the House to adopt it. We suggest it will be a considerable step forward if it is adopted so we commend it on that basis. Let me conclude by simply saying that regulations are an inescapable fact of life.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Does my friend, the Member for Grand Bank have something to say?

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I like your jacket.

MR. ROBERTS: I am glad my friend, the Member for Grand Bank likes my jacket. If he wishes, he may come and touch the hem of my garment, and good things may happen to him.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) goodwill -

MR. ROBERTS: Well, I have to tell my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, there is more goodwill here towards me than there is towards him. I have to say that people will just not believe that I don't pay him handsomely to feed me these straight lines that he does. The only person to whom I can compare him is the former, and much lamented member for Mount Scio or St. John's North, `savory' John Carter. If you would read in Hansard what John Carter and I said back and forth to each other across this House, you would think we were sworn blood enemies, and we were politically, but in no other sense.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Well, maybe we heard the hon. gentleman from Mount Scio think. That is a step up on some of my friends opposite now.

Your Honour, I am trying to conclude the debate, but I must say it is difficult. It is difficult when I am being led astray. Now, Byrne Primus is there saying, of course, I love it - why else would you be in the House for twenty-one years? I know my friend will never get the chance to find out. My friend, the Member for St. John's East Extern will never find out why anybody would want to be in the House for twenty-two or twenty-three years. But, of course I like it. Why else would you be here?

MR. TOBIN: I am serious now. What did you do with your old suit?

MR. ROBERTS: What did I do with my old suit? My hon. friend is wearing it. He is not going to pretend he bought that one he has on, new, is he? If he got it at a goodwill centre, that is doing a disservice to the goodwill centre. I say to my friends with the Irish - this is a Donegal tweed.

MR. SULLIVAN: I donated that.

MR. ROBERTS: That is the only thing the hon. gentleman, the Member for Ferryland, ever donated to anybody, I say, if he donated this. Checking out the hon. gentleman's background is nearly as much fun as checking out his foreground.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible) back in 19 -

MR. ROBERTS: I am extremely grateful for that and I hope the hon. gentleman acknowledges that he got good value for his donation. I appreciate that and I appreciate the hon. gentleman's continuing support today.

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I beg your pardon?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I thank him for that.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I could say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, he could do me a favour by arguing against me.

Mr. Speaker, it really is difficult to stick to the point of the second reading of "An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation".

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I am sorry?

MR. TOBIN: If you and `Loyola' got into an argument (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the gentleman from Ferryland and I got into an argument, it would be a case of the blind leading the blind. Now, think that one through.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The Member for Ferryland, I think, is a plausible admirer of yours.

MR. ROBERTS: I say to my friend, the Minister of Health, the Member for Ferryland keeps it well hidden most of the time.

These are three notes now; I am simply going to have to sit down. These do not say, `Carry on'. This one says: Bill Matthews says he is ready to cross the House; could he see you at 5:00 p.m. to talk about it?

Your Honour, let me try to conclude by saying that we must have regulations in this Province; we simply must. The trick is to make them as few as possible, as clear as possible, and as user-friendly as possible, and we believe, and it is our request to the House, that the adoption of this bill will enable us to move closer to that goal.

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

On motion, a bill, "An Act Respecting The Revision And Consolidation Of Subordinate Legislation," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 7)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, would you be good enough to call Order 20; that is Bill No. 27, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act And The Summary Proceedings Act." My recollection is that the Member for Humber Valley had the floor.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just have a few minutes left to speak on this particular piece of legislation. One of the things that was brought up today - I brought it up the other day, and I think the minister nodded in agreement - about the waste disposal sites around the Province, and the regulations and so on governing waste disposal sites. I also mentioned the incinerator sites around the Province and what is happening with municipalities, even where there is an incinerator site, I say to the minister, when he is looking at the waste disposal act, or whatever the problem is with waste disposal sites around the Province, especially landfill sites I should say, really. But I think the whole thing is going to have to be looked at, even the incinerator sites, because the incinerator itself only burns the garbage, we will say, like anything that is burnable, or that can be -

AN HON. MEMBER: Cindered.

MR. WOODFORD: Cindered and so on - what goes into it. When you look around the areas outside those incinerator sites, it is just terrible, to say the least. At least, in a landfill site what happens is that there is usually a grubbing that takes place with regard to small trees and so on around the area - that is grubbed off first - and then the landfill, the garbage, old fridges, old stoves, everything under the sun is brought in there and dumped, and then the fill is bulled in on it and so on and it is covered over.

Now, what I am noticing, I was in and saw two incinerator sites - it is rather funny that it happened since I think it was last Thursday or Friday that I spoke on it, and I have been into two sites. One, I had to go to myself, specifically on a personal matter, to bring out some garbage, and another, I dropped in just to see if it was as bad. It is just terrible what is happening outside the incinerator site itself. So I say to the minister that when he is looking at the problems with regard to landfill sites around the Province - and I notice there now it is a matter of cleanup and that is very costly, especially what the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs announced today, it is going to be worse still; it is going to add more cost to municipalities - I say to him that is one of the things to look at as well, towns and communities that have incinerator sites, but look at the surrounding area, because -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, look at the whole thing, because I think it is going to have to be addressed. It is getting worse and worse all the time. What is happening, I say to the minister, is that municipalities are putting out their tenders - I know of one, for sure - putting out their tenders and the contractor is bidding lower and lower and lower all the time. As long as the municipality gets the tender lower, good for them, because they are saving a few dollars, but what is happening with the contractor is, he takes the contract and goes in and puts whatever has to be burned, but the stuff on the outside is left, it is there, it is not covered. It is left because the least time they have to spend bringing in the tractor, bulldozer or anything to cover it, the less money they spend. So I can see what is happening.

Furthermore, I mentioned last week about garbage trucks. Many communities are using just pick-ups with a wooden rack on the back, and it is terrible. From the time they leave Deer Lake, for instance, until they get up to the incinerator site, it is terrible what is on the sides of the roads. So I think that is a matter of being policed, the RCMP - I don't know, in this area, the RNC. Maybe there isn't, but I think there are rules and regulations pertaining to an uncovered load or something like that to make sure the garbage is protected - or a net. I think they are supposed to have a net over it, really. So that is another real problem.

I remember a couple of years ago asking Social Services, in one of their community development projects, to clean up between Deer Lake and Cormack - an excellent job, perfect, one of the best things that was ever done - because that is the gateway to Gros Morne, to L'Anse aux Meadows, to Red Bay, to the Northern Peninsula. It is terrible when you have to go through that 5 kilometre section where there is garbage coming from the backs of trucks and so on and private individuals bringing stuff up to the dump. So that is another area that should be addressed.

One other thing, Mr. Speaker, that I would like to say, and I say to the minister - I said it on Friday and I say it again: Section II says:`for the purpose of subsection (1) an offense shall not be considered a second or subsequent offense unless it is committed within one year of the date of the last previous conviction.' I say to the minister that possibly in Committee or so on, I don't know whether I will make an amendment or someone else will, or what, but I would like the minister to take that under consideration and say that, `for the purpose of subsection (1) an offense shall be considered - shall be considered - a second or subsequent offense if committed within one year of the date of the last previous conviction.' That then, will mean that if someone is caught today and they are caught again tomorrow and they are caught next week or next month they should get the maximum fine. There should be no such thing as waiting for a full year before they are nailed with a second offense because of the increase in the amount of fine that they are charged. I think it is $25 to $100 or something? Yes, $25 to $100 in the case of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WOODFORD: It is thirty days?

MR. SULLIVAN: A second offense within thirty days, but after a year, it is the first offense again.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, it goes back - but if you are caught twice within that one year you are only getting the same fine, that first twenty-five dollar fine. An offense shall not be considered a second or a subsequent offense unless it is committed within one year of the date.

MR. SULLIVAN: Second offense.

MR. WOODFORD: Yes, but as long as it is a second offense.

MR. SULLIVAN: After a year it goes back to a first offense.

MR. WOODFORD: Then it goes back to one, something like - but I agree with the - yes, something like the .05 or whatever.

Anyway, I say to the minister, anything that has to do with the clean up of the environment or the enhancement of the environment is a good piece of legislation, but anything we can add to it - I think, anybody who is caught doing anything like that today with regard to garbage trucked in all over the place, bringing it on the sides of roads, in our woods roads, just throwing it anywhere, Mr. Speaker, should be penalized to the full extent of the law. I say to the minister that probably the $25 or the $100 is probably not enough for them, they should be nailed further. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words today on Bill 27, "An Act to Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act And The Summary Proceedings Act."

Mr. Speaker, the intent of this act is to include penalties with respect to littering within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The first penalty for littering will be twenty-five dollars for the first offence and $100 for the second offence.

I believe that the people in Newfoundland and Labrador, some people I suppose, I mean, there is a tendency to litter. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation was on the radio awhile back saying about people being irresponsible and littering and they brought in a - the Department of Works, Services and Transportation, and I think the Department of the Environment, what was it - Adopt a Highway in their plan.

I believe these regulations are good steps, this amendment. The public of this Province need to be informed of these new regulations and these new penalties. We all know that people shouldn't litter but they certainly have a right to know now what is in store for these people. The question with respect to these regulations too, Mr. Speaker, of course, is then, who will be responsible for enforcing the regulations? Will members of the general public themselves be required or asked to help enforce these regulations by phoning in and telling on people with respect to the wildlife now? We have a 1-800 number, what about the cost involved with respect to enforcing these regulations if they are enforced or if they will be enforced? Can these regulations be enforced? Will these penalties be put in place or will they be implemented?

We had regulations come in last year, the ATV regulations, and we made an argument to the government with respect to these regulations, they could not be enforced as they were not logical and they didn't have the staff to enforce these regulations and what we see today, Mr. Speaker, is exactly just that happening. With respect to these penalties, we have jail terms if people cannot pay their fines and we have situations today where the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is now cutting the Municipal Operating Grants to the municipalities in this Province so we can see what hardships the people of this Province are incurring because of this government, so now, we have a ten-dollar fine or a $100-fine or whatever the case may be and if they cannot pay these fines, these people will be jailed.

Now, with the unemployment rate in this Province and the difficulties that the people in this Province find themselves in, I would have to question the stiffness of that penalty. Another thing, we often see children going to the local convenient stores buying candy bars and a bottle of pop and what have you, and oftentimes will forget themselves and throw it in the ditch on the side of the road. Now, if we have an RNC officer or an RCMP officer or maybe an employee of a municipality, will the children be stopped, will they be asked to pick up the garbage? Will the parents now be fined for children littering?

I know that littering is a very serious problem in this Province. We see highways -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, if he were paying attention he wouldn't have to ask that question, he should know and if he doesn't have enough responsibility within himself to follow the proceedings of the House of Assembly, he shouldn't be here, so he should go take a break for himself I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Now, Mr. Speaker, back to the littering and the seriousness of littering within this Province, we have, as I said, children leaving the convenient stores in their communities and throwing candy wrappers or bar wrappers or pop drink bottles on the side of the road and an RNC officer or an RCMP officer or someone comes along and asks these children to pick it up, will the parents have to pay these fines? Will the children be fined? I don't know but these are some of the questions maybe, the Minister of Environment will be able to answer in due course.

I am not a hunter, Mr. Speaker, but I am a fisherman, I like trouting and salmon fishing and I like to go in the country and there is a lot of littering in the countryside, but I always make it a practice that if we drive to where we are going or if we walk to where we are going, we take the garbage out, any garbage that we have. We burn what we can and it takes a concentrated effort to get the garbage out but this has to be done.

Speaking of garbage, and this party, the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative Party, and the party on this side of the House, the Official Opposition, is doing its best at this point in time to remove the garbage from that side of the House the next time after the next provincial election. I say that to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. With respect to garbage too, we hear a lot of verbal garbage in this House of Assembly, in particular verbal garbage from the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation who loves to interrupt. He doesn't know what he is talking about most of the time.

I believe what we should be doing in this Province is putting in a proper education program with respect to educating people on the negative impact of littering within the Province. A few years ago before this government was elected it talked about bringing in legislation with respect to soft drink bottles, returnable bottles. I think it may have been a part of their platform to get re-elected, but soon after they were elected they dropped that argument or that belief and went with an anti-litter campaign which is being paid for by the soft drink association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I don't believe that this program is working. It is not working by any stretch of the imagination. I've travelled the Trans-Canada Highway and a lot of the highways in this Province. They have cleanups each year and you can go back the following year and again there is litter, there are soft drink bottle on the side of the road. Soft drinks bottles are only part of the problem. One thing you don't see on the side of the road are beer bottles, because they are returnable and people can make a few cents and get a few dollars when they return their bottles. Maybe it is something that this government should reconsider with respect to the anti-litter campaign and show some - if it is working, let's show the proof.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible)!

MR. J. BYRNE: I would say the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation probably dropped a few in his day on the side of the road, Mr. Speaker.

MR. EFFORD: No sir. I have more respect for the Province than that.

MR. J. BYRNE: You do? I'm glad to hear that, Mr. Speaker, that he does have more respect for the Province. A lot more people should have it also.

The Premier the other day - I was speaking on education until the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation so rudely interrupted, as he normally does - brought in Bill No. 7 with respect to consolidating regulations within this Province and reducing the regulations. Which is a good idea. I think most everybody who stood up here in this House supported that bill, with respect to the duplication. The thing is this: Will these regulations that we are talking about now, these penalties, be enforced? If they are not enforceable, there is no point in having them on the books.

A few years ago - I think since the new Minister of Environment took his place, he brought in regulations with respect to the importation of garbage into this Province. We all know the history of the importation of garbage, and the opposition that the general public has with respect to the importation of garbage in this Province. If you look at those regulations, there was nothing in place before, so basically it was at the discretion of the government to allow the importation of garbage into this Province. But what the government has done now is put regulations in place that if these regulations are met the argument then when they allow the importation of garbage will be: They met our regulations and there is nothing we could do about it. But these are the regulations that this government brought in. Regulations which will permit the importation of garbage, not disallow the importation of garbage.

Anyway, I will tell you a little story now about littering in this Province. Down in Logy Bay there is a road we call Red Cliff Road which leads up to the old Red Cliff military site which was put there during the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I don't know I didn't see it. Anyway, there is a road down there, Red Cliff Road, which leads up to the old military site. For years that area, the Red Cliff Road, was used as a dump site. When I was mayor we went down there and we cleaned up that road, both sides, 50 feet, 60 feet on either side of the road, and we made a major cleanup and brought all the garbage out to Robin Hood Bay.

People used to come down from the area - mostly around St. John's - and go down to Robin Hood Bay on a Saturday - Robin Hood Bay closes at 12:00. If they were three or four minutes late the gate would be closed, and then they would find an alternate site to do their dumping.

We on occasion actually got the garbage, went through the garbage itself, got names off envelopes and that of people who owned the garbage, who produced the garbage, and brought those names to the RNC and asked the RNC to investigate and put fines in place, or do whatever they could to stop this dumping of garbage on the Red Cliff Road. Because of the regulations that were in place I don't know of anybody that ever got fined. Maybe if these fines work it will be a great move with respect to stopping the littering of garbage on Red Cliff Road or any roads in and around St. John's, or on any byroad within the Province. I think if this legislation gives a bit of clout to the RNC or to the police officers or the police forces within the Province to stop the littering within the Province, of course it has to be a good thing.

A couple of things here with respect to the bill itself, Bill No. 27, the clauses themselves, Mr. Speaker. It says in section 23.1(1)(a): "where the offence is a first offence, to a fine of $25 and in default of payment to imprisonment for 2 days...." I have to question the wisdom of that. We have a $25 fine. If someone doesn't pay it he or she ends up going in jail for two nights. What would the cost of that be to the taxpayers of this Province, two days in jail? Section 23.1(1)(b) says: "where the offence is a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of $100 and in default of payment to imprisonment for 7 days."

I have a note here, cost to the taxpayer again. They pay a fine of $100. If they don't pay that fine, or if they can't pay that fine, and that is going to be the case, and I know it is there as a deterrent to stop people from littering, but if you get some person who forgets himself - discretion of course has to be a factor here. But if you have a person who is fined $100 who is unemployed - the rate of unemployment in this Province now is 22 per cent, maybe more like 50 per cent - and so, they go to jail for seven days. Can you imagine the cost to the taxpayer for putting someone in jail for seven days for throwing a bar wrapper or pop bottle on the side of the road?

MR. EFFORD: If they don't litter they don't have to pay the fine, and (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, we aren't all God-like like yourself, maybe, and we all can't walk on water, and we aren't all perfect. So are you saying if you pay $100 now, and if you don't pay $100 you should get seven days in jail? Seven days? Can you realize the cost to the taxpayer? The government here is talking all the time about cutbacks, 22 per cent now of the cuts to the municipal operating grants next year, on top of a 60 per cent cut to the municipal operating grants because the government doesn't have money to pay for the services, and we are going to put somebody in jail for seven days for throwing a pop bottle on the side of the road? Come on, boy. Get your priorities straight. That is what I would say.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon? What was that? Could you repeat that, please?

MR. EFFORD: There are places in the world they would chop off your fingers for less then that.

MR. J. BYRNE: There are places in the world where they would chop off your tongue for some of the things you say.

Also, Mr. Speaker, another point with respect to section 23.1(4): "The late penalty referred to in subsection (3) shall be (a) in case of a fine of $25, $10;" - so if you don't pay your fine, you can be re-fined another $10 on top of that - "and (b) in the case of a fine of $100, $25."

MR. EFFORD: What's wrong with that?

MR. J. BYRNE: Pay attention and you might find out.

MR. EFFORD: Tell me, what's wrong with it.

MR. J. BYRNE: I'm getting to it. Be patient, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. Don't blow a fuse over there. Watch your blood pressure. We are saying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) criticizing.

MR. J. BYRNE: I'm not criticizing; I'm trying to give some constructive criticism here. I don't criticize for the sake of criticizing, like the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I'm not that type of an individual. So if you pay attention you might know and learn something.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, my time is getting short. I have other things to do. You are saying that if you don't pay your $25 fine then there is a $10 fine on top of that, and in the case of a fine of $100 it is $25. There are all kinds of factors to consider, but instead of putting somebody in jail for seven days if he or she doesn't pay a $100 fine, maybe they should double the fine, or maybe allow the person to pay off the fine in instalments, whatever the case may be.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, I'm not. I will say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, there are people in this Province who do not know where their next loaf of bread is coming from or their next pound of butter, I will say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. There is not everybody in this Province who are getting the salaries that we are getting. They are not getting $100,000 - $120,000 a year. That $100 means a lot to them. There are people in this Province who are not getting $100 a week. So that is a major factor. They are the people who are going to get nailed and crucified.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is now saying that the people in this Province, the ordinary Joe in this Province who is probably on social services or who is getting the minimum wage, who is maybe getting $120 a week should be crucified and should be nailed to the cross if they throw a pop bottle or a candy bar wrapper on the side of the road. You got to look at it, Mr. Speaker, from the seriousness of the offense. There are people in this Province and in this country that are doing much more serious offenses then throwing a piece of paper on the road and not getting seven days in jail for it, Mr. Speaker. I say that to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I said pretty well what I wanted to say about this bill. Indeed, I would have to agree, if the bill does prevent littering in the Province it would have to be considered a good bill, I would imagine, but I would have to say the seriousness of the offense would have to be a major consideration when we are talking about jail terms and jail time within the Province, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like a few words as well on this Bill 27, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act And The Summary Proceedings Act."

I do believe it was the Government House Leader some days ago in some questioning back and forth across this House with regard to this bill, that it was indicated that this particular amendment to the waste disposal act was meant to replace a basically unenforceable part of the highway traffic act, in that the littering law attached to the highway traffic act had to do with the disposal of materials on a road surface that would cause injury to tires or other moving parts of a vehicle and thereby, presumably lead to car accidents and that sort of thing.

Mr. Speaker, the thrust of my remarks are simply this, that yes this is an improvement if the changes are more enforceable and have a more general nature. However, Mr. Speaker, the issue I think, is that the government has avoided - deliberately as a matter of government policy - dealing head on with one of the major causes of litter in our Province and that has to do with soft drink containers. The government, as a matter of electoral policy, indicated it was going to bring in a returnable bottle policy some time ago but when it came to power and under the influence of a strong lobby from the soft drink bottling industry it agreed to back down on requiring returnable bottles and brought in, basically under the financing of the soft drink industry, a public education program.

Mr. Speaker, a public education program with regard to littering in general is a commendable move, one that the government and/or many parts of our local industry should be supporting. I see ads on the TV and they are all well and good as far as they go. Public education with the proper mixture, a balance with enforcement, is a part of the anti-littering campaign but, Mr. Speaker, what this government has failed to do is take advantage of the incentives built in in the returnable bottle policy. People who check the sides of the roads find there are very few beer bottles laying around for any considerable length of time because there is money to be had in collecting them. I think it is in the order of five cents a bottle and a lot of young people and even older people have taken advantage of the refund deposit to earn considerable extra money from the collection of bottles thrown loosely by the side of the road.

Mr. Speaker, when I was a boy I spent considerable time in the Boy Scouts and one of our major fund-raising efforts every year was a bottle drive. Now, Mr. Speaker, as is obvious from the vote in the provincial education referendum, I come from a part of the Province loosely known in the media as the Bible belt. The Scout troop of which I was a member, of which I was a patrol leader, was sponsored by my local church, the United Church in Springdale. That particular church would have no truck or trade with the Scout troop collecting beer bottles either from the side of the road or from people's homes or whatever. We raised considerable sums of money over a number of years just based on the soft drink trade alone. Those of us at the time were, I guess, chafing at the bit or somewhat resentful that the adults in charge of us would not let us get at the more lucrative beer bottle supply both on the side of the road and in people's basements. Many times when we went knocking on the doors we asked for soft-drink bottles. Sometimes there were some, sometimes there were none, but quite often we were offered beer bottles and had to decline because the moral code that dictated the running of our troop at the time did not allow us to collect beer bottles, but even with the more limited supply of soft-drink bottles we raised good money in those years, back when soft-drinks and such things sold for a lot less than they do today.

Certain places in Canada, Prince Edward Island for instance, has made it a policy that there be a five cent fee tacked on to all soft drink products and that the bottles be returnable. Even if you had a can situation where the bringing in of a can would give you a so many cent deposit, rather than bringing in cans by the kilo or whatever, so that there would be a tangible reward for the collection of soft-drink bottles or soft-drink cans even, as is the case with beer bottles.

This government had a chance to bring in a law like this to help clean up the environment of Newfoundland and Labrador, but this government, like it has on so many other things, came under undue influence by a lobby effort in the Province. This government sold out in this particular case, as it has in many other cases, to vested interest to certain big business interest. We have seen it year after year since they have come to power. Certain people who trade heavily in the stock markets almost got this government to stampede through this House a bill to sell Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro against the wishes of the vast majority of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. A very small segment of the population, generally speaking a well-monied segment, were in favour of that because they knew they could do well either in trading stocks relating to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro or by just owning stocks, getting a guaranteed rate of return because it was a regulated public utility. That is the sort of thing that this government has been up to. People who have influence, people who have money have undue influence on this government.

We saw an instance here a few days ago in this House where a Cabinet minister was severely reprimanded. He got himself a lovely cartoon and an absolutely savage editorial in yesterday's Evening Telegram all because of the notion that influence can be tied to money.

Mr. Speaker, what we have here is a good measure in this bill, but the key measure, the measure that this government campaigned on, it backed off on, it chickened out on, it sold out on, and I say simply it is not good enough. We have other provinces in Canada where they have had the nerve or they have seen the priority. I know, for instance, Prince Edward Island makes a good chunk of its living from the tourism industry, and it has good, strict laws regarding littering. It also has a returnable bottles policy, and you will not find much garbage or litter or soft-drink cans lying around the roads of Prince Edward Island. They know what side their bread is buttered on. In this case it is not the side of the bread of the Province that is buttered on; it is the side of the bread of the Liberal Party where the butter went, and the minister of heckling can leave all he wants.

Mr. Speaker, I am not afraid of the Minister of Works, Services and Intimidation, and most members on this side would do well to take a note of that. If you stand up to that bully - and the way it is with many bullies on the other side - if you stand up to them and shout them down there is not a word in their chops and they have to leave this Chamber with their tail between their legs.

MR. DUMARESQUE: (Inaudible) $100,000 in severance pay, I would not have (inaudible).

MR. HEWLETT: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Eagle River is back to his usual chatter about my severance from a former administration and so on. I do not apologize for taking what was my due, given my rank, et cetera, at the time, and my years of service. If the Member for Eagle River is concerned about that, he can make sure that the policy with regard to people that this government is severing is adjusted according to his particular philosophy and views. He cannot undo the past, but let him put his money where his mouth is, or his lack of money where his mouth is, when it comes to the thousands that this government is going to sever, and let him answer then to the people being laid off in their thousands with regard to whether or not they have severance or whatever, M. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this particular bill is good as far as it goes but it's like many things on the part of this government, it is essentially smoke and mirrors, it is a public relations exercise and we all know how good this government is at public relations. When I worked for the previous administration, Mr. Speaker, in this Assembly, when the Liberal Party was on this side in Opposition, there was a constant chant on a daily basis with regard to Cabinet ministers each having a junior press aide. A press aide who was junior to the minister's executive assistant. It was a scandal, it was a horrible waste of money, public relations; even pictures of ministers in the paper with regard to public service messages, all that sort of stuff were condemned by Premier Wells and the Liberal Party when they were in Opposition, as an absolute, total waste of public funds.

As I say, this bill to some extent is a public relations exercise, brought forward by a government that has spent a fortune, spent literally millions in public relations. If you listened to what they said when they were in Opposition versus what they do when they are in government, you wouldn't know they were the same party, you wouldn't know they are the same government and sooner or later, Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will wake up to the fact that what you see is not what you get and heaven help you with what you get.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I rise to have a few comments relative to Bill 27. Many of the speakers have been talking about the commitment of the Province and the commitment of our communities to recycling programs to reducing the amount of waste. Mr. Speaker, this piece of legislation is very good, it puts forward certain penalties and consequences for those people who deposit litter and waste material and of course it provides for, as I said, certain sanctions. However, Mr. Speaker, the real commitment of the government should be in the form of preventing litter, it should be a prevention of the litter and that's where we would have some real, positive impact.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to quote from a $200,000-study done by ADI Limited, A Newplan Consultants Limited on Waste Management Alternatives For The St. John's Urban Region and, Mr. Speaker, this study is very up-to-date, completed in the last year or so and this particular study says to the government that we should have strategies adopted for the reduction of waste and should fall into several general categories.

Mr. Speaker, the St. John's urban region has always wanted to have an aggressive program of reducing litter, therefore the St. John's urban region committed itself to this particular study which was funded by the municipalities in conjunction with the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs and it included the major communities in the greater St. John's area including Conception Bay South, Mount Pearl, St. John's, Holyrood, Petty Harbour, Maddox Cove, Pouch Cove and all the communities in between.

Mr. Speaker, what this study says and it was done in a rather comprehensive manner and I will just quote for a few minutes from some of the comments from this report. It says: the whole region, therefore the whole Province should be working towards greater regional and provincial co-operation in waste management. Now, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister and the ministry, that we can do a lot in terms of getting rid of some of the litter and we don't have to spend great numbers of dollars to achieve it, therefore, in that respect, this kind of initiative here is a positive initiative.

I worry about the fact that we do not see a great commitment towards education. Someone, earlier, I think it was the Member for St. John's East, spoke about trying to make people more litter-conscious. Well, Mr. Speaker, I can give you an example of what happened in a school system, in a junior high school. We put in various programs of waste recycling and I have to say to you that, for the most part, the teenagers were very, very, committed to it, and I will just illustrate for you what happened.

We had bins put in our school where you had the soft drink containers put into one receptacle and you had paper waste put into another. Unfortunately, when the containers got filled, our greatest difficulty was finding someone to come and pick them up. The teenagers today have a commitment towards litter reduction. The teenagers are committed to environmental issues; however, I have to say that very often, that kind of commitment is not always shared by their parents. In fact, teenagers, for the most part, are more committed to litter reduction than are their parents and some of the twenty-five to thirty-year-olds. In many ways, when it comes to litter reduction, we have to let the children lead us, and if we let the children lead us, they will tell you - even Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, they will tell you that they have been educated towards litter reduction, but when it comes to finding a place to put these things, very often they don't get the kind of co-operation they should from their seniors, their parents, from their school systems, or from their community at large. Mr. Speaker, we should be working towards a proper waste management plan and in this report that was prepared for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs on waste management alternatives, these issues are brought out in that report.

Other things that got mentioned here - it says do something about the illegal dumping. Now, all of us have driven on some of our highways, the highway going to Cape Spear, or the highway up to our favourite places where we go berry picking, hunting, or whatever, depending on what your sports are, and we all know what it is like to drive up a roadway and to see along that roadway many examples of people choosing just to dump their garbage. We have to try to do something about illegal dumping which, of course, is again a problem that perplexes many municipalities.

For example, I can tell you that a major, major issue in municipalities is cleaning up from people who simply dump their waste, leave it at the curb, or for that matter, you can see it in some of our urban areas, if the garbage truck comes too early, or whatever, you can see litter all over the streets. Very gradually, we find that people are taking more care and they are willing to take more responsibility for keeping their environment clean and have commitment to their neighbourhood and commitment to their community.

The report also mentioned banning the sale of non-recyclable or non-reusable products. That has been mentioned by my colleague here and by most speakers from this side of the House. We know that the real way to control litter and to have a waste management program is if we would do something about encouraging recycling. We should be doing that at the industrial level. For example, we should be telling our paper mills that we would give them incentives if they would be able to use some of the paper and recycle the paper waste. People, who make oils, have waste oils, should be encouraged to recycle them. We are doing some things about that but not quite enough to have the kind of impact that we would like to have.

It says here: Ban the use of problem products. It says: Plastic six-pack rings. We know the plastic rings that went around some of the soft drink containers and some of the other beverage containers were very dangerous to wildlife. For the most part, I don't see them used very much now, but that was a major problem and I'm glad that the industry realized it and have done something about it. Again, we should be watching the kinds of products that we put in our landfill sites because, again, we have to look after the other creatures that share our environment, including the gulls and animals.

Mr. Speaker, it says that we should require newspapers be made from recycled paper fibres. This, again, would help to reduce the amount of litter. All that we are saying here, whether it is reusable bottles for pop, or whether it is newspapers that can be recycled or other products, the list goes on and on, if we have that kind of commitment, then we will reduce the litter.

This amendment here is, of course, to draw sanctions. The real solution is when we don't need those sanctions, when we have people who are going to take on some responsibility for their actions, and that responsibility would mean that they: (a) wouldn't buy certain products; (b) they would only buy those, for example, that could be recycled, or they would give a commitment to take their garbage with them and to deposit it in the proper disposal area.

Some members here have made comments about the financial sanctions that are here. I can only say to the members that if we are going to bring in sanctions, then this piece of legislation is not worth the paper it is printed on. In fact, this piece of legislation would be in itself a piece of litter if we are not going to do anything about enforcing the law. Therefore, if we are not going to do something about it, we are only making legislation for the sake of making the legislation. If we are not going to do something about enforcement, then we have only just wasted our time and we have again not done really anything about solving the problem.

I can say to the members that there is a positive part in this particular piece of legislation. We just encourage the enforcement to get out there and do the job and let the legislation work, and again renew our commitment that we will do all we can to stop the litter before it is even generated, and then do a lot more to get it picked up and to draw sanctions against those people who disobey the law. Because our highways will be clean highways when every single person who drives on them says: I want a clean highway. We have to take the education that the children have, take the mind frame of a ten-year-old today, and most of them are very committed to environmental issues. If we can encourage them as they grow older to follow the principles that they are learning in their primary and elementary schools and take them into adult life, we can have a cleaner, safer environment including our highways and our byways. We can all learn to enjoy the beauty of our Province; we can be proud when tourists come and we can take them out into the countryside and we can say: This is Newfoundland and Labrador. It still has its beauty; it still has its very clear waters -

MR. EFFORD: Pristine environment.

MR. HODDER: Pristine environment are the words the minister wants me to use, and I agree with him. That is the kind of environment we want. This will be a step in the right direction. It will fail if we, as a group of people, do not make it happen.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) get rid of all the Tories.

MR. HODDER: If we could clean up all the red in the Province we would have a great - blue is a good colour; it is the colour of clear, clean water. I don't like red water.

Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

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

The hon. the Minister of Environment.

MR. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I must say that this bill has created a lot of interest in the House of Assembly and I am delighted to see it. I think it is part of an overall plan to deal with litter in the Province, to deal with waste in the Province, and it is one of the things -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: A number of things. We have a few other things coming down the pipe. We have a few other things we are working on. But the government has been trying to clean up Newfoundland and Labrador, because for many years it was left to do whatever. So what we are trying to do is bring in initiatives, a collection of initiatives that we can bring in that will help reinforce the attitudes, help reinforce the fact that we can't let this type of behaviour keep going on without having a penalty. This is a symbolic thing also, that we don't want to see this occur in this Province. It is symbolic and it is also real at the same time.

The minister of highways - our great Minister of Works Services and Transportation - it has been a pleasure to work with him over the last ten years. I can remember sharing an office with him, as a matter of fact, when the water was coming down over our heads. Do you remember that?

MR. EFFORD: We stopped it, too, didn't we?

MR. AYLWARD: I tell you. We had one office between us, I think, one office, one secretary. The water was coming down. As a matter of fact, I think, the member at the time brought in a bucket one day.

MR. EFFORD: I brought the buckets in the House of Assembly (inaudible).

MR. AYLWARD: I think the former minister was Haig Young at the time, of Public Works. I was just reminiscing a little bit there. I shouldn't get off my track. But he is such a good minister, because he is dedicated to this effort, and the new Adopt a Highway program is creating a lot of interest out there in the Province now. We have fifty-five requests in already. Five groups have already informed us that they will be taking it on, and we expect to be up over fifty-five next summer. So the highways around the Province are going to see also new signage talking about anti-litter, no littering, with fines on them now - we are going to have a fine for it - but we are also going to have groups taking over and cleaning up highways in this Province on a volunteer basis, which is working with industry and working with government. That is a very good initiative and the minister deserves a great commendation for that in bringing it in and bringing it forward.

MR. EFFORD: He deserves a raise.

MR. AYLWARD: He deserves a raise. Well, forget the raise, but he deserves a commendation. He can have that. The thing is, it is a positive initiative.

There is a whole range of other initiatives that have been going on in the last twenty-four months that are having an impact on the litter question and also on waste management in this Province, and there is going to be a number of other things as we bring them forward. There is no doubt that the money problems are there, but there are a lot of inventive solutions to these problems.

I highlight the fact that we were talking about landfills. We have a big landfill problem but we have a plan in place now to start cleaning up that problem. The Town of Botwood just recently closed down their landfill. They now have a transfer station in place, and they are into a regional waste management plan. There are a number of other places that I could identify doing the same thing, so there is some action starting to occur, but we have to put an organized plan in place, which we have done, and now we are going to try to implement that plan.

Who would have thought three or four years ago that car wrecks were valuable? Who would have thought car wrecks were valuable? Twenty-five people are working down in Argentia, recycling car wrecks and exporting the product offshore. It is all about attitude.

MR. EFFORD: If we could do the same thing now with Tories we would do alright.

MR. AYLWARD: Well, recycled Tories; I don't even want to recycle them. But recycling car wrecks - car wrecks were a big problem in this Province. They still are a problem, but because of a strategy of bringing in a fine and going after those car wrecks, and then also putting in place and helping out a company get started, we now see agreements in place around the Province at a number of landfills where car wrecks are collected and are hauled off to a site, they are recycled, creating jobs, giving back employment to this Province in an area that we never would have thought of five years ago. That's just one of the many, many positives that are going on, Mr. Speaker, in that area.

The other thing is that government is looking to now, are its own operations with Works, Services and Transportation and our Department of Environment. We are going to be bringing a further change, a new policy I expect in the next little while environmentally as to where we go from there. We are also looking at, Mr. Speaker, dealing with the packaging industry very shortly; we have to come to a conclusion on our final negotiations with the packaging industry and we have to find a way to get our collection rates up around the Province and we will be bringing forward some recommendations to government in caucus here, very shortly.

We also, on deck right now, with Abitibi-Price in Stephenville, they went to their board of directors and are proposing a recycling operation at the Stephenville mill that would see about fifty jobs created if that is approved, and it would see a full market for our wastepaper in this Province for the entire Province. The Nova Recycling would have the total market for their wastepaper if we can get this recycling project off the ground at the Abitibi-Price operation, so this would be very positive, it would be excellent for Nova Recycling and it would be excellent for the overall generation of recycling activity in this Province, so that's another initiative that we are working on with Abitibi-Price in the private sector and Nova Recycling. Cardboard has been banned by five municipalities so far out of their landfills and we are going to see it banned from a few others in the next little while.

There are a whole list of initiatives, Mr. Speaker, that have been worked on. This is one of them, bringing in the litter bill is one of them, we are going to be bringing in some new initiatives also further, in the next few months and on the overall, Mr. Speaker, waste reduction is starting to happen. The Federation of Municipalities is very interested in this issue and have been helping also and taking a strong interest; we are working with them closely and I see some real positives coming, Mr. Speaker as we move ahead.

Newspapers and Education, Mr. Speaker, I heard a couple of members talking in the debate about education and about kids and their involvement in this issue and right now there are over 240 schools involved in a Newspaper and Education Program, there is information going to schools, it is going into the courses for students around the Province, both newspapers, Robinson-Blackmore Printing and Publishing Ltd. and The Evening Telegram are participating in that program and from all we can find so far, it is working quite well, so on the overall, Mr. Speaker, we are making some progress, it is not all done yet, we have a long way to go but we are going to get there. We are making progress because we are organizing a plan, we are not just going at it piecemeal, we have an organized strategy to deal with littering and to deal with waste management in this Province which we are trying to do, and at the same time dealing with the fiscal problem which is a tough problem to deal with at the same time, so we are moving ahead, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to move the second reading of this bill.

Thank you very much.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act And The Summary Proceedings Act" (Bill No.27), read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Order 19, Bill No. 28.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Credit Unions", (Bill No. 28).

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This second reading of a bill, To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Credit Unions. Most people, I am sure, are familiar with credit unions which are widely dispersed throughout the Province. Essentially they perform in many respects the functions that banks do in terms of accepting deposits and realigning them. They are somewhat different in their essential characteristic in that they are not widely held through public ownership but are in fact, the property of the individuals who deposit money with them.

The first Credit Union Act in the Province was passed in 1939, and over the last fifty-five years, there has been a patchwork of amendments. What this act does is essentially consolidate the many amendments and as well, brings into effect some changes to the legislative framework.

There are presently seventy credit unions in the Province that have a total capitalization of $260 million. The former act was used to cover both cooperatives and credit unions but it was thought proper at this time to change the two pieces of legislation to provide separately for credit unions which have grown in scope and size in this Province to become major, in our terms at least, financial institutions.

Our legislation is consistent with that of other jurisdictions. New Brunswick, perhaps, at one extreme is the most different in that it provides for two credit union arrangements, one English, one French, but our act is most similar to that in Nova Scotia. The reason is that Nova Scotia, in our region, operates as a clearinghouse for the credit union movement. That is a place where cheques and other financial sorts of transactions are correlated and then returned to the original branches.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: What we've done - because as well we have our financial security arrangements in essence through that Nova Scotian credit union system, and the national credit union system - on the financial side this legislation people will find to be identical to that of the Province of Nova Scotia.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

I ask hon. members if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is too much conversation going on. The Chair has recognized the hon. Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, yet it is difficult to hear what the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is saying because there is a lot of conversation going on to my left. I ask hon. members if it is necessary to converse, or to have a meeting, that you do so outside the Chamber, or do it so you don't interfere with the hon. member speaking.

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

MR. DICKS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will say for the benefit of the hon. Member for Mount Pearl who may not have heard me and is my critic in this, yes, essentially this act replaces an older piece of legislation that covered both credit unions and co-ops and that was in existence since 1935. There have been fifty-five amendments over the years so this new act was brought in for two reasons: one was to consolidate and to in some fundamental respects change the law, but secondly, to separate the legislation governing credit unions from that of cooperatives.

This legislation is essentially patterned on Nova Scotia, particularly on the financial arrangement side. The reason for that is that the Province of Nova Scotia acts as a clearinghouse for the credit unions. It is therefore essential to us that our financial legislation mirrors that of Nova Scotia so that there are no problems should a difficulty arise among, or between, different financial institutions as to whether or not a cheque would be honoured and these sorts of things which my learned friend can appreciate. So on the financial side our act is virtually identical, for all intents and purposes.

In terms of how the act originated, the credit unions were given a discussion paper which covered the essential points in the act. It is on that basis that this was brought to Cabinet when I wasn't a member and brought forward today. I believe that as a result of the input from the credit unions that had the benefit of reading the general thrust of the act that changes were made. I will just say that the one substantial change that was suggested and was not made and that is still a matter of concern to one particular credit union, and that being the largest, is that we require under this legislation that they keep deposit insurance with the Newfoundland Credit Union central. I think there is one credit union which is the largest that would wish to be, or to have the option, not to be insured here but to have it anywhere across Canada or with the Canadian Central Credit Union.

In our view this would not be appropriate since this legislation is meant to govern Newfoundland credit unions. In order to maintain the viability of that whole sector of our financial institutions, we believe it is appropriate to require all credit unions doing business in the Province to be a member of our own central credit union system and to have insurance.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada I believe expressed some sensitivity to the fact that we not allow credit unions to intrude into the insurance field, as the banks have done on a national basis. What we have done in that respect is we have prohibited credit unions from acting as - and there are a number of things - security dealers, real estate brokers, insurance agents, brokers or adjustors, or an insurance company. The insurance company of course would underwrite the risk. The brokers would merely sell insurance and distribute that risk among others.

We do not preclude, however, credit unions from acquiring a subsidiary which may be in the insurance business. Now that is a differentiation. The general principle behind the separation of financial activity such as brokering and selling securities from that of the investment business and making up deposits really stemmed out of the (inaudible) made by Roosevelt back in the early 1930s when the American banks got into a lot of trouble during the Depression or prior to and in fact caused the Depression by taking too much money and speculating in the stock market and contributing significantly to the collapse of what really was the world financial stability at the time. Growing out of that was a very strong view that the two sectors should be separated. In recent times, nationally and internationally, that has again become (inaudible).

Since the mid-1980s the Canadian government has taken the view that we should allow financial institutions to acquire security dealers. This time it is being done a little differently in the sense that while banks can take ownership in security dealers for example, they cannot themselves speculate in securities. So to some extent we accept the principle of not allowing banks to intrude into speculative areas such as this. So what we have done with credit unions, I think we are being consistent here with some of the reforms and at the same time we are moderating the whole effect that it would have by allowing them to get too far afield from what we see as their essential purpose which is to accept deposits and re-lend to those people who are depositors of the credit union itself.

Much of the legislation that is before the House, Mr. Speaker, is basic corporate law. In many fundamental respects it is similar to our Corporations Act. We require financial returns each year, financial disclosure. We have requirements as to the number of directors, how and often and in what ways they would meet, membership and how that comes about. I think you will find provisions in here as well dealing with dissolution of the credit union, setting up arrangements for distribution of property and so on. Those perhaps are, I think, matters of pure governance. They do little, if anything, to influence the day to day financial affairs of the credit union movement but they do set up protections for the members of the credit union to ensure that those people who direct credit unions will become and remain accountable to the membership. I don't think any person reading those would find them particularly objectionable. I think in fact they are relatively standard and certainly compatible with our general corporations' law.

One of the differences between this and the previous act was that the previous act did not have a credit union central provided for. One existed but it did not require the credit unions to be members. We are part of what is known as the Credit Union Central. All the credit unions in Canada are members of this organization. I am told by members of the credit union movement that there has never been a credit union that has lost money on behalf of a credit union member of Canada. In essence, I suppose what they are saying is that although some have gone into financial difficulties the credit union movement has always acted to force mergers and amalgamation so that no person who has ever deposited money in a credit union has ever in effect, lost any money. That sadly could not have been said of the banks many years ago, which at the time of the Depression, suffered significant losses.

What the Credit Union Central does is it enhances security because what it provides is a spreading of the risk among all the credit unions across Canada. We in Newfoundland have acquired access to the Credit Union Central which helps provide another level of subsidy and assurance against our deposit insurance. If I can say how it works, the provincial government gives a guarantee of $60,000 in respect of individual accounts after the central fund is exhausted.

When my learned colleague from St. John's Centre was in Cabinet - and I was there with him at the time back in the early 1990s - he was a very keen supporter of the credit union movement believing for many reasons that it would be central to Newfoundland development and rural Newfoundland that we encourage and foster the development of credit unions. He suggested at the time of bringing in this particular provision and this sort of protection for credit union depositors. As people know, if you deposit money in a bank you are guaranteed up to $60,000 in the event of the failure of the bank for the CIDC, Canada Insurance Depository Corporation. In return for that the banks each deposit a certain amount of money to CIDC in order to have each account guaranteed. The public may or may not know, but in each institution you are only guaranteed for one deposit account, but that includes accounts you hold jointly. It also is provided to different banks. I am sorry?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Yes. As well, if you have an account, for instance, at the Royal Bank, the Bank of Commerce, Toronto Dominion, Bank of Nova Scotia or the Bank of Montreal, you can have five different insurances so you could therefore insure up to $300,000, and if you held an account jointly with another person in a similar institution. So one can acquire protection by diversifying the number of accounts, and it would be prudent financially, if one had more than $60,000, to consider these arrangements.

MR. SULLIVAN: What is the protection under (inaudible)?

MR. DICKS: Yes, I wanted to get that back on to explain how essentially it works right now.

What the credit unions were set up to do, and what my friend, Dr. Kitchen, who I thought was is the House but there is another person occupying his chair presently -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: Yes, I see similarities there.

Dr. Kitchen was very keen on having the credit union movement offered a measure of protection by the Provincial Government in order to encourage their growth. That was at a time when we could afford to do it, although I must say, there was some measure of disagreement with him at the time, myself.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: I think that is where it all went.

In any event, what was decided was that we would set up in the Province a deposit guarantee corporation which is provided for under this act. What we do is, we charge 2 per cent of the interest revenue that each credit union acquires in the run of a year, and that money is required to be transferred over to the deposit guarantee corporation under the act. That fund is now in the vicinity of $3.6 million to $3.7 million. We plan to change that so that it will not be 2 per cent of the interest revenue, but we will be moving to one-quarter of 1 per cent of the assets, the difference being, of course, that the assets would include all the monies and the property and everything else that a particular credit union owns. We would value that annually and require them to provide one-quarter of 1 per cent. That is consistent, I believe, with what CDIC does nationally. Right now ours is based on a portion of interest revenue, and I think it is deemed by our officials, and I don't have any value judgement on it at this point, that this would be a better way to do it. I think it is open for argument, but it seems to be a consensus with our officials and I don't know of any objection by the credit union or its members as to how we might do that. In any event, however one does collect some degree of funding from these institutions, I believe it is essential for their growth and for the measure of public protection that we offer, that we encourage a strong deposit guarantee corporation for depositors to prevent loss.

As I said, that is the fund of initial recourse. If there were to be a problem with a credit union tomorrow and it were to go bankrupt, or monies were to be lost, that money would be available immediately to pay out to depositors after the accounts had been realized because, of course, on the one hand, the credit union has deposit, on the other it has assets, whether it be in buildings or in loans to members or non-members. This money would be available and, secondly, after that has been exhausted the government would then pick up any amount beyond that up to $60,000, so there is some potential here for government liability. We have had that now for some four or five years. We believe, as each year goes by and the fund grows, the risk to the taxpayers becomes less. I also take some comfort from the fact that the credit union movement generally has responded historically to events of this sort to prevent there ever having been a claim, which I think is admirable and quite interesting.

I believe, and I might say this, there is a slight change here, as well, in terms of the nature of credit unions. Before, a credit union could only do what it was actually empowered to do. In other words, the government vested with credit unions the power to do certain things. Most corporations have the power of natural persons. What we are doing in this act is changing it from a sort of process where we say the credit union may do this, that or the other thing to give it a full corporate identity so that it can do all the acts of a natural person at law. I suppose, to some extent that might even include propagation in that I suppose it could incorporate subsidiaries but, to all intents and purposes, it is going to be a full corporation and not be restricted as it had been previously.

We have more comprehensive rules on auditing, reporting and committees, which I think are essential to ensure public confidence in the credit union movement. There are conflict of interest regulations in section 98 so that no member of a board of a credit union can take unlawful, unfair, and undue advantage of his or her position to influence loans being made to himself or herself, and thereby acquire either an unfair advantage or do detriment to the institution he or she has an obligation to, or to whose good governance the institution is entrusted.

The former registrar is now called a superintendent. Why, I don't know, but it is one of these things that seems to have greater currency.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DICKS: I guess it sounds better, as the hon. the Member for Ferryland says.

The supervision of credit unions will now be greater. The superintendent will now have the power, for instance, to force amalgamations and to - he has been given broader powers to ensure financial stability. There is a right of appeal to the courts should any person feel aggrieved by a particular action of a superintendent. We believe that is an appropriate and necessary mechanism to prevent arbitrary use of the office of superintendent. We don't suggest that - and we have complete confidence, as far as I know, in Mr. Morris, who has done this job and done it very well, and worked well with the movement, but I do believe it is necessary for us to look beyond the individual to the position and to make sure there is a safeguard for the general public.

I should say, the credit union central, there is a - it is necessary, I think, to distinguish in the act between the credit union central and the deposit guarantee corporation. Essentially, the central is the organization of the various credit unions in the Province, and it is a trade association, if you will. It is set up independent of government. This just gives it status under the act. They would have an executive director who, in turn, would provide training and just a general sort of - I don't know if lobbying is the right word, but sort of general interest actions on behalf of the credit union movement. Those would include, of course, in-house things and the necessary things they see, and also, I suppose, dealing with the general public in terms of communications, fostering joint initiatives and so on.

The deposit corporation, itself, which guarantees and handles this fund that I mentioned earlier, the $3.6 million, $3.7 million, is made up of a board that is broadly representative and includes the executive director of the credit union central. Our debt management people in the Department of Finance and Treasury Board do the management of this particular fund, the $3.6 million or so. As hon. members will know, they are very conservative in their investments. I don't think there is any danger in terms of how the money is managed.

I believe that sets forth in general terms the intent, the nature and some of the specifics of the act. Having said that, it is quite lengthy, relatively, I think, straightforward, but it does take some time to absorb all the provisions. I believe it is consistent with our general corporate law except to the extent that we have very few statutes that exist that provide provisions to manage financial institutions. Among those other ones there might be some comparison to be drawn to some of our insurance company regulation. Aside from that, our direct provincial supervision of financial institutions is not that great, since most of these institutions are national and, in many cases, fall under federal jurisdiction.

With that, I would commend the bill to the Legislature for review, and hopefully, eventual passage by this Legislature. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, I was confused before the minister started. I think I'm even more confused now on this particular piece of legislation, not that the minister hasn't done his best to try to explain it, but it is a complicated piece of legislation for a layman. The minister, being a lawyer, perhaps might have some knowledge of it.

I (inaudible) this level, there is some detail that we want to discuss later on, but this level is basically the principle of the bill, of course, and I guess our concern here is for primarily the consumer, the investor in credit unions. How is that person protected and what provisions are in place? Let me ask the minister, when he responds eventually at the end when closing debate, will he tell us: Does the investor have equal protection with the credit union as he or she would have with the bank, if he were to invest in a bank, for example? Are the provisions similar, are they more stringent on credit unions, or not as stringent? It is my understanding that they are probably even more stringent than they are on the banks, and if so one would assume the protection is there? The minister has already noted that the government guarantees the $60,000 the same as for a bank, so that protection is in place.

I was wondering about the level of supervision, and I ask simply because of the problems we had with insurance, recently, or last year, with an insurance agency and people lost a lot of money there. Is the minister reasonably assured that government has in place the expertise to adequately monitor and audit the accounts of various credit unions on a basis that is satisfactory to ensure to the consumer that the funds are being protected? and, of course, to ensure the government that government's interest, because government is ultimately liable as well, that government's interest is being protected? What rules are there for disclosure here? Does government have full access to the books of the credit union so that they can identify any difficulties, hopefully, before they occur?

Now, the minister says it is patterned on Nova Scotia. Just how different are we from Nova Scotia? Is there any difference? Are there any major differences here, particularly any major differences as relates to protection of the consumer, which would be our concern here? There are areas in the act that one wonders are they are there to protect the consumer, the credit union, or competitors? There are some differences, I believe, and maybe the minister can enlighten us on this, in the requirements of the credit unions on banks. Is that in place to protect the banks in any way, or is it simply because the minister doesn't feel that credit unions are providing the same level of security as banks? I am not sure that can be said with any degree of reliability. It has been my experience, and I think the minister referred to it a few moments ago, that credit unions have had a very good record, in fact.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is displaying his lack of intelligence once again, and I ask Your Honour to instruct him that if he has nothing to add to the debate to say absolutely nothing, or otherwise, if he can't control himself, to remove himself from the Chamber and do us all a favour.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WINDSOR: I would be happy to debate that issue with the minister at another time. I realize the minister is not interested in credit unions, or what his colleague is trying to put through the House of Assembly. The only thing he has ever done in this House of Assembly in the years he has been here is disrupt the House of Assembly. Absolutely nothing constructive has ever come from that hon. minister. He is a disgrace to his district, a disgrace to the Province, and a disgrace to this House.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Now, if he is finished with his foolishness, Mr. Speaker, I will try to get on with it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Again, the Chair is asking hon. members to restrain themselves and to refrain from interjecting, because it sidetracks the debate, it does nothing to add to the decorum or the order of the House, and I ask hon. members again to help maintain order and decorum in this House by not interjecting when they are not recognized by the Speaker.

MR. WINDSOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your ruling very much.

Let me ask the minister: the rules of taxation on credit unions, are they the same as for banks? I am not entirely sure what taxes apply here. There is a capital tax, is there not, on banks and credit unions? I assume it would be the same, would be equal, would apply the same way.

There is a provision in the act that equity invested must be retained for one year. I assume that is there to provide some stability to the credit union. Why would that be any more necessary for credit unions than it would be for banks, for example? Let me ask the minister: Does he feel one year is the appropriate term? How many of us would want to invest funds and know they are locked in for one year?

I know when we did, a few years ago, an investment tax credit program, it was a requirement that funds be locked in for one year. Well, that was for very good reasons. I am not sure the same reasons would apply here, and that people who want to invest money obviously want to have some flexibility in that money, to take it out and invest it elsewhere or to use it for whatever purposes they deem appropriate. After all, these are personal funds. If one is going to lock in for a longer period of time then one would assume there would be a higher rate of return, but if there is not then there would hardly be a stimulus, so it would seem to be putting credit unions at a disadvantage with other financial institutions, and if our objective here, as the minister has indicated, is to try to facilitate credit unions in this Province, to keep investment capital in the Province and allow people to benefit from their own investments, then it would seem that we should not be putting in place disincentives for individuals to invest in credit unions. That is in the definitions of what equity is, and how long it should be held in place.

Mr. Speaker, there will be other things that we will want to ask the minister during the committee stage as we go through. Generally speaking as I have gone through it, and I must confess I am not sure I totally understand everything that is in it, but what I have seen appears to be normal, straightforward - not very straightforward, I suppose, in some terms - but normal, corporate law, normal sorts of provisions that you find in the Financial Administration Act and other places, other similar acts, and it is very difficult... My colleague from Deer Lake, I think, and his committee have gone through it, and the social committee, I believe, in some detail.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: It did not go to the committee?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: Government services didn't go through them?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINDSOR: There is an example of where this is a piece of legislation that really should go through that kind of a committee so that members can have the advantage of having officials there, to ask them to explain some of the provisions, because it is not the kind of legislation that most hon. members would be familiar with or have great awareness of. That would have been a prime opportunity for those committees to work properly, in fact, rather than simply just in name, so I will leave it there and ask the minister when he responds in due course, after other speakers are finished, if he would refer to some of these questions and again we will have other questions as we get into Committee stage.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of the legislation which is an "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Credit Unions". In saying so, I say I support in principle, the purpose of consolidating the credit union act. We know that over the years there have been amendments from time to time to the credit union legislation and now to have it consolidated in one place is a good thing.

I have a caution though at the outset, before I start my remarks in general about credit unions, I have a caution about this act because when you consolidate an act as lengthy and as detailed as this, and amend it at the same time, hon. members of this House can sit down and spend several hours reading this rather lengthy and complicated and technical bill and not know which parts of it are consolidation and which parts of it are amendment, where in fact policy changes may be hidden or buried or added, where in fact there are new things that are implemented and the reasons for them, and I know the minister in his remarks gave general remarks about the purpose of the act and the purpose of what's going on, but there hasn't really been an opportunity for members to have detailed study.

What I would commend to the House and to the committee who would have this for review which I assume would be, I think the Government Services Committee, I am not sure which Legislative Review Committee, that they would call upon officials from the Department of Finance who participated in producing this legislation and providing the consolidation and the amendments to come to that committee and advise the committee, what are the amendments to existing act that are included in the consolidation, because if this House is to play any role at all, other than that as a rubber stamp for what bureaucrats or officials may have put together or what may or may not have been adequately considered by the minister or Cabinet, in terms of policy, may be in place, there may be differing views in this House amongst members as to what provisions have been added or changed.

So, as I say, if the members of this House are to have any role at all, then it would be in the Committee where there will be an opportunity for detailed study and also for an explanation to be given by officials of the Department of Finance, which by the way, has only recently come to supervise credit unions. As members may know, the credit unions were supervised previously by the Department of Rural Development or what was called the Northern Agriculture and Rural Development. They had various names, from time to time, RAND - Rural Agricultural Northern Development and various different incarnations of rural development. The supervision of credit unions was included along with the supervision of cooperatives in the rural development part of government. It has only been in the last several years, I believe during the life of this government, that the Department of Finance has in fact taken over the supervision of credit unions and I don't disagree with that as an approach. I think that given the fact that it is more of a regulatory animal, as it were, than cooperatives from a financial point of view, stricter controls need to be put into place. People with a finance background, with knowledge of accounting practices, with access to financial advice and supervision, I think that perhaps it is more appropriate to come under the Department of Finance.

With regards to supervision, Mr. Speaker, I understand that - as some people have commented about insurance companies - I understand that credit unions are supervised very well in this Province. I think it might be worthwhile for members to know, to my knowledge and it has always been said in the credit union movement, that there has not been a single depositor, in the history of credit unions in this Province, to have lost their deposits in credit unions. That cannot be said of banks, Mr. Speaker, in this Province. That cannot be said of banks or other financial institutions including such a savings and loans type operations as the Caribou Investment and Loan. So there is a history of credit unions in this Province that is quite remarkable. It has been a part of rural development in the rural development sector for many years for good and interesting reasons, Mr. Speaker. I know the Member for Eagle River may well know about the history of the Eagle River credit union which took the place of the Bank of Montreal serving the Straits of Bell Isle area and the Southern Coast of Labrador.

MR. DUMARESQUE: It is a model for all Canada.

MR. HARRIS: It is a model for all Canada as is the Fishermen's Union Shrimp Company, I say to the Member for Eagle River and he does not praise it enough. When he does praise it he does not give praise to the right elements but the Eagle River credit union is a fine example, Mr. Speaker, of a community taking on a role of providing its own source of capital, of lending, of financial services that are controlled by local people, controlled by local people.

If you look at the kinds of success rates that the Eagle River credit union, for example, has had in collecting loans, they have a remarkably efficient method of collecting loans, Mr. Speaker. I'm told that if you borrow money from the Eagle River credit union to buy a car and you don't pay your loan, then they take back your car and they put it in front of the credit union for a little while. They repossess your car and you are kind of embarrassed, because you are really borrowing this money from all of your fellow citizens in the communities around there. If you don't pay it back then it is your fellow citizens who have deposits as well in this community credit union who are subject to losses. There is a very good incentive to keep your debts paid and be a productive member of the community.

MR. TOBIN: We have a good one in Marystown too.

MR. HARRIS: There is a good one in Marystown. The Member for Burin - Placentia West - an excellent credit union started by the fishermen's union. I had hoped at one time, Mr. Speaker, that that credit union, the fishermen's credit union, would have merged with the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union and had a larger level of service in the Burin Peninsula. I don't think that ever happened.

I have to say to hon. members, I have had considerable experience in the credit union movement in the 1980s as a director and vice-president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union. Looking around the House I see many former members of the teaching profession, all of whom perhaps were members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union at one time, many of whom would have been, and probably still are. I guess many members of this House are members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, as is this member.

That is another remarkable example of a financial institution controlled by the people of this Province, within the Province, democratically elected, as I was. Democratically elected, controlling assets now in excess of, I believe, $130 million. More money even than the Member for Port de Grave has. Under the direct control of democratically elected people in this Province.

If you compare the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union - you know, the credit union movement, it is a whole - I think the minister mentioned the figure of $260 million in assets of the credit union movement in this Province. All controlled by the citizens of this Province through democratically elected boards, through loans committees that are appointed by the elected boards, controlled by people in this Province on the basis of one member one vote, not one share one vote, one member one vote. So, if you have a democratic organization, no matter how many shares a person may have in the credit union that person only has one vote at the annual meeting, one vote to elect a director, and that is the democracy of a credit union.

I think we do not often recognize how few pools of capital, I guess, is the only way to call it, are in fact controlled by people in this Province, certainly democratically. There may well be bigger pools of capital than $130 million, for example, in the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, but they are not democratically controlled by the members of a financial institution such as this here. The pools of capital that are controlled by the Bank of Montreal, or the Bank of Nova Scotia, or the CIBC are not controlled by Newfoundlanders. They are controlled by the national offices of those companies, not democratically elected, I would say, but elected in accordance with corporate practice, which is each share has one vote, so if you have 1 million shares you have 1 million votes. If the Minister of Justice has 1,000 shares in the Bank of Montreal he gets 1,000 votes, but that is not much good to him when there are 10 million shares outstanding.

MR. ROBERTS: It is like the hon. gentleman's vote here in the House.

MR. HARRIS: Well, I have one vote; just as in a credit union you have one vote. No matter how much money you have, no matter how rich you are or how poor you are, you have one vote in the credit union, and that is the difference between a credit union and a co-operative, both of which are democratic organizations, and a private corporation such as a bank, or even if it is a publicly traded corporation, it is a privately owned corporation where each -

MR. TOBIN: We should all be members.

MR. HARRIS: The Member for Burin - Placentia West said we should all be members. If we were all members and we used the services exclusively they would be able to provide better services.

Some of the things that credit unions have done in this Province - the first financial institutions in this Province to introduce daily interest savings were credit unions. The banks were all ready, they had their computer systems all ready to go, but because it was going to cost them money, they didn't do it. They didn't introduce daily interest savings. They had their products that you would get your interest on the lowest monthly balance, the lowest balance in your account. They had practices that obviously were there to maximize profit, not maximize service. But the credit unions led the way in providing daily interest savings accounts and checking accounts. Once one of the banks did it, then all the banks did it in a matter of days, because they were all ready to go, but because they didn't see it as a competitive thing, they didn't introduce this program.

There are countless examples of services being provided by the credit union system ahead of the banks. Interbranch banking is one of them. The Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union has had interbranch banking for at least fifteen years, where you could, as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, go into a branch in St. John's, in Grand Falls, in Labrador City, and deal with all of your accounts as if they were in the branch which you dealt with ordinarily, through a computerized system. So it is a very innovative, creative service-oriented system that is, in this Province, very well run.

In speaking on this bill - and I won't go on very much longer - I want, at this point, to pay tribute to an individual who contributed –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: No, I want to pay tribute to a man named Brian McDonald, who died suddenly last weekend, and who dedicated a large part of his adult life to the credit union movement. He was an employee of government. He worked most recently in the Public Service Commission. Mr. McDonald was very active and very influential in the credit union movement. The minister spoke of some of the consolidations of services within the credit union movement in this Province and the link-ups between the credit union movement and the credit union central in Nova Scotia and in Canada, and the guarantee system that is in place.

I want to say that Brian McDonald deserves the lion's share of the credit for putting that together, and I have to say, it wasn't easy. I am well aware of the diversity of opinion within the credit union movement, the difference between the big credit unions and small credit unions, the tug of war that goes on between wanting to consolidate the existing credit unions and wanting to expand by bringing more people into the movement, because the credit union system is also considered a movement. It is considered a movement because it is important for self-reliance, for community growth, for rural development. Brian McDonald was very influential and very effective in bringing all those varied interests and varied opinions together for the good of the credit union movement, and negotiating and steering the way to bring all the credit unions together and to accept and to come on board, as it were, the national system and to work together to ensure that it worked well.

Brian McDonald, as I said, died last weekend and was buried on Wednesday, and has left behind him very strong memories from all those who knew him as a dedicated, sincere and most effective individual. He died at the age of fifty. He worked for the Public Service Commission but was also very active in credit unions and the co-operative movement over the last number of years. I wanted to pay tribute to him for his efforts in making the credit union system what it is today and for his concern and interest and dedication in that regard.

In saying that, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I support the legislation in principle but, at the same time, say that there ought to be, in the appropriate committee, a detailed explanation by the officials from the minister's department as to which parts of this consolidation and amendment are, in fact, revisions to the law, and what are the effects of those revisions. I know it is a very lengthy act, and I don't expect the minister in a general speech at second reading to detail all of that. But I think that members of this House would have no role whatsoever if all they did was come into this House - and I say that to members on both sides of the House - and rubber stamp a piece of legislation that may have policy issues and policy considerations in it that, in fact, have not been subject to public scrutiny by elected members of this House.

I would encourage the minister to provide plenty of time for the Committee to deal with that issue, and if it hasn't already, perhaps the Committee should ask that the bill be sent to them. That triggers certain provisions under the rule of the House so that the Committee can consider this bill before it is given third reading or before we go to the Committee stage. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


November 9, 1995          HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLII  No. 53A

[Continuation of Sitting]

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the hon. members for Mount Pearl and St. John's East for their comments. They have raised quite a number of points that I think probably would be best addressed in Committee because they are fairly detailed concerns that I think are legitimate. My learned friend, the Member for Mount Pearl asked about protection for consumers. There are about 42,000 members of credit unions in the Province and he asked whether or not they would be getting any protection.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having difficulty hearing the minister.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

One of his questions was whether or not they are equally protected or more or less stringent than the banks. I think that in a certain sense it is a greater protection in that it is across the credit union movement itself. There is a form of cross-subsidy that exists - you do not have that with the banks. The Bank of Nova Scotia will not bail out the Royal Bank of Canada and so on. But having said that, I think one has to recognize the difference in the tremendous capital that the banks have at hand as opposed to the credit union movement which in this Province is still relatively small. So I think, in point of theory, the credit union does, but in point of practice the banks have such enormous capitalization that they really are operating at different levels.

Supervision, the rules for disclosure, that type of protection that comes from the government itself. We have about five people who are working in our office, including the superintendent, to supervise seventeen credit unions. We have some fairly stringent rules on providing audited statements. I ask members to look at Section 104, and the sections there that follow which set out relatively detailed financial requirements, including the provision that they have and provide audited financial statements. In addition to that later in the act there is a provision that three members of the credit union must act as an audit committee, and other provisions of that sort which I think are necessary, but also adequate to protect the people whose deposits are at hand.

The hon. member asked whether or not there was any difference between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in terms of the protection offered. I cannot say with certainty because I have not reviewed the Nova Scotia act in detail, but I can tell you that the object of the exercise in drafting the act was to make it compatible with the other three jurisdictions. That I believe to be the case. At the end of the day I think the question will not so much be as to whether or not there is any difference in these acts but rather whether the act we propose provides the level of supervision and concern, and protection of the consumer that we deem appropriate in our jurisdiction here.

The protections I am referring to, of course, are not protections to ensure that the credit union movement is competitive with the banks or anything else, but to ensure that to the extent that people entrust funds to them, that those be well-managed and available to the people who make the deposits. The rules on taxation are of general application and to the extent that those apply to all financial institutions, of course, do also apply to credit unions.

The capital tax is one that we might address in Committee and I think the suggestion that perhaps we refer this to a Committee of the House is one that I will take up with the House Leader, and given the nature of the act is probably one that I think I would recommend to him. He mentioned the provision that we keep the money there for one year. It is unusual to require that a person keep the money there for one year, in one sense. Most people are familiar with deposits at a bank where you go in and take out a term deposit receipt, or a guaranteed investment certificate, and you are committed to keeping that money there for a given period of time. That is not an unusual financial arrangement to make. It differs from the stock market where you are purchasing securities that are freely traded on stock exchanges.

I think, in this case though, the essential point that needs to be made with respect to the money that would be put in there for one year is that a credit union does not have shares in the same way that a bank would do, that would be freely transferable. In most corporate legislation that I am familiar with there is a requirement that the corporation cannot reduce its capital below the amount of its capitalization in its paper's incorporation, and that is there to protect creditors. So if a company, in getting incorporated, has a shared capitalization of $100,000 and it issues all $100,000, it cannot reduce its capital below that amount without having the consent of the court. So I suspect that the reason we have put that in there is to provide some level of assurance for people dealing with credit unions that there will be a stable financial and capital base there but that is something that, as I said, if members have concern about, we might get into it in a little more detail in Committee.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, at this stage I think, as the hon. the Member for Mount Pearl said, we are dealing with this piece of legislation in point of general principle. It gives us an opportunity to speak about the credit union movement and its value to the Province and the sort of protections we look for. As to the various details, certainly we are open to suggestions of hon. members. I believe that the thought of putting it to a committee, one of our House Committees that might now exist to review it, whether it be the Government Services or one other, might be a reasonable suggestion and a way to deal with individual concerns of members rather than in Committee of the Whole but I will leave that to hon. members of the House and to House Leaders to take up. I therefore move second reading.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Revise And Consolidate The Law Respecting Credit Unions," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 28)

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the Minister of Finance and he set the mark that I shall try to emulate, three bills in an hour. It is now a little after 5:00 p.m. and the suggestion is that we should address the Tobacco Control Act amendment, which is Order 12, it is Bill No. 10. If the House is minded to dispose of that before 6:30 p.m. we shall adjourn. If the House has not disposed of the bill by 6:30 we shall adjourn at 6:30 p.m. So I leave that - if that is a carrot, I leave the carrot to those -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I suspect it is in the hands of my friend, the Member for Ferryland and my friend, the Minister of Health but anyway, if Your Honour would call the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Did the House Leader say Order No. 12, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act"?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Bill No. 10.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act". (Bill No. 10)

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

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

Bill 10, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act." There are three or four clause amendments that are necessary to further refine the bill. The bill was, of course, brought in to control the sale of tobacco products on a direct basis by retailers and it has implications for the wholesaling industry as well, to some extent. I won't take a very long time but let me just run over the changes or the amendments to the act that are envisaged in the amendments that are before us.

We are proposing that Clause 1 of the act be amended to specify basically that not only a retailer but any person selling on behalf of a retailer is subject to an equal fine and prohibition, as outlined in the act, at present for the retailer only. What that means basically is that the addition of a fine - the change will mean in effect that a person who sells on behalf of a retailer, in addition to the retailer, will be subject to the same penalty or the same fine by order of law, as the result of a violation of the act. It is appropriate, we believe, to bring in this particular amendment so that the operator of a premises, the vendor or retailer, has responsibility to ensure that no product is sold that is deemed to be illegal or sold to somebody of an illegal age, and also that the same penalty be applied to a person who works for that retailer, such that they will be subject to the same penalty as well. That, basically, is the explanation for the change in clause (1).

Clause (2) of the bill will now, when amended, give authority to an inspector to seek or ask for identification from an individual whom he or she suspects might be an underage recipient or who may be a vendor or operating in the name of a vendor. This change to the bill will basically facilitate the enforcement of law or the enforcement of legislation, if you like, and essentially make the job of the inspector easier, causing the bill to be an enforcement piece of legislation, an easier tool for operational purposes for those who have the responsibility to enforce it.

Clause (3) of the bill, or the amendment that we are putting forward to clause (3) of the bill, is an amendment that will make an exception for a person who is under the age of nineteen but who is living in an adult correctional institute, and cause them to be able to legally purchase and use, I guess, tobacco products while being incarcerated in a penal institution or correctional setting.

This is as a result, basically, of the experience that the correctional system generally is having with respect to enforcement of the usage of tobacco products, sale to and usage by individuals who are under the age of nineteen. Very simply put, what happens, of course, in an incarceration situation, in a penal institute, in a remand centre or correctional institute, is you have individuals who are under the age of nineteen mixed in with a population that is over that age for the most part and it becomes almost an impractical situation or almost an unenforceable situation to have correctional officers and police, as the case may be, enforce the legislation in those settings.

I don't think it would be any news, Mr. Speaker, to indicate that these are neither usual work settings nor usual social environments in which these people are operating. We are dealing with inmates at various levels of, I guess, danger to themselves and to the public who have had to be put away. The interaction, of course, that occurs in those settings is not sometimes what we would expect or experience in the normal course of everyday living in the community. For practical purposes and for purposes of reducing any additional potential, I guess, for difficulties in penal institutions it was thought reasonable by the correctional system, and government agreed, that an amendment be made so that these populations could mix and have access to tobacco products on an equal basis.

It may give the indication that we are fundamentally working against the principle of what we are trying to do in terms of usage or control of usage to minors, but under the circumstances, even though it may have that appearance, we think that, in fact, is not sufficient to outweigh the practical implications of causing it to be allowed to happen for purposes of enforcement or lack thereof in penal settings. So that is the change that is being put forward to clause 3 of the bill.

Clause 4 of the bill is amended actually by adding a fine for a retailer who sells tobacco while prohibited from selling same, and the fine, basically, is added there and the amount is indicated in the bill as well. We are making one other change to clause 4 by deleting subsection 10 (e) of the bill which up to now causes notification to a wholesaler that a retailer is prohibited from selling. That provision was put in there and it really meant that a wholesaler had to be notified when a retailer was prohibited from selling tobacco products by virtue of a conviction and that sort of thing, and upon reflection, it is basically not a necessary provision to have in the bill. When a retailer is no longer permitted to sell tobacco products, then it will become abundantly evident to the retailer.

So these are the basic amendments, Mr. Speaker, to Bill 10, the Tobacco Control Act, and I would be happy to answer any questions that might arise from speakers to the bill.

I move second reading of the bill.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do have certainly, some questions for the minister pertaining to this, in fact, questions on each section, even the one the minister missed on the way through, I think.

In section 1, the minister has indicated, the impact it is going to have is that if a retailer, right now, is charged for selling tobacco, they have to fine the retailer as to include, not just the person who has the valid registration certificate but a person who is working in that store, we will say, a retail store, and sells on behalf of the retailer, so that person also, under the new definition, is now a retailer for purpose of this act, which means, there is going to be a double hit.

Some employees may be working in a store under direction of the owner who has that licence, subject to losing their employment if they don't follow something, so if that person sells illegally, I certainly agree, the person who holds that licence and allows that to happen in that person's establishment should be fined and should be guilty, but there are some concerns and implications there that if a person who is acting on behalf of that person and is employed there, that person's future employment could be jeopardized, it could be the loss of a job and so on, and it puts him in a very difficult situation. And if the owner of the premises permits that person or asks that person to do something illegal, and that person is an employee, he is under a fair amount of stress; I think the fine should be solely restricted to the retailer, as was the fine prior to this proposal, because it could have some strong implications on that individual's future employment. And today, in the situation where employment opportunities are very limited, it puts the employee there in a difficult position.

If the minister wanted to be more effective, instead of getting $500 from each, why wouldn't he get $1,000? A thousand dollars from the owner would have the same results, the same dollar value and it should be least as great a deterrent, if not greater, because it is not a loss of revenue. It is not going to be any greater enforcement aspect in terms of accomplishing what the minister would set out to do. That is one point I wanted to add on that amendment.

The next amendment there, I don't think the minister mentioned it; if he did, I apologize. In clause 1.(3), it says paragraph 2(f) of the act is repealed; we are going to eliminate wholesaler. He made reference to wholesaler in his closing comment in the last section. Paragraph 2(f) of the act is repealed. That means - 2(f) of the act, I say to the minister, refers to a wholesaler. It states a wholesaler means a person who sells tobacco in the Province for the purpose of resale, so that is being eliminated. I would like to know why that section is eliminated. Is it because the wholesaler doesn't sell to the public so it could be covered under some aspect that is not under the Retail Sales Act, and this is strictly confined to the Retail Sales Act? And is the wholesaler now removed from the Retail Sales Act - a period, in other words? Would that be the reason why, or why would it be? When the minister has a chance to close on that he might be able to answer that one.

Also, in the next one, in clause 2, which is subsection 3(2) of the act, that was amended by - this is one, too, that can be of some concern. Now you have the right, according to the amendment here, to ask a person who is on the premises for proof of that person's age, and may make other enquiries of that person. Now, what about if that person is not a retailer as you are defining under this new 1.(d)? What happens if that person is not a retailer? I walk into a store, or some other person walks off the street into a store, and is standing in that store, just an innocent bystander, or a person who is in doing some shopping, to buy an ice cream in a store, then, I would say to the minister, according to this change this act entitles that person to show proof of that person's age, whether this person has no tobacco in his possession at all - he might have an ice cream in his hand, or nothing - that person would be required now to show proof of age and so on, and other enquiries can be made of that person because that person happens to be in a line up waiting at a cash register, or in a store, whatever the case may be.

I am just wondering, Minister, are these extra powers going beyond the scope of intent to accomplish what the minister wishes to accomplish? Because if a person is selling the product, yes, a retailer, he has every right to question as to proof of age, or a person who they suspect there is tobacco sold to. I say to the minister: What if that person is not under any suspicion for having any tobacco products at all, none in his possession, nothing there at all? Do you still have the right to pursue that, I say to the minister? That person may come in wearing a pair of jogging shorts, and it is quite visible that the person has no tobacco products in his hand; are you given the right to question that individual to give proof of age, and any other enquiries? That might be taking a very broad outlook to accomplish something that is intended to be for somebody who may be in suspicion of having tobacco products illegally or selling them illegally, so that is a point of concern, too. Was the intent to be applied to a retailer or to a person who was suspected to have possession, not just the general public? Because according to this it is any person who would now be in that store.

The next point I want to draw to the minister's attention, I am just wondering about clause 3 here in this bill, which pertains to section 4.(4) of the act, where you can now give to people, or furnish to people, directly or indirectly, in a correctional institution, to a person who is under 19 years of age - and the minister sort of indicated, if they cannot enforce it, change it; that was the intent. It cannot be enforced. So if we cannot enforce certain provisions or laws, do we change them because we cannot enforce them? No, you have stricter enforcement people to ensure the regulations there, it is in extra manpower. Now I ask the minister, too, Is this a double standard that if I am eighteen years of age I can smoke in a correctional institution or receive it and if I am eighteen and I am outside I cannot? I mean, what type of signal would that be sending there? Wouldn't it make sense to think that you can control the sale of tobacco in a confined institution more easily than you would in the public at large? Wouldn't it be easier to enforce it within than to enforce it out in the general public? So if it is difficult to enforce, why change it? If nineteen is the limit for smoking, nineteen should be equal under the law for everybody whether in a correctional institution or out in the public at large and it should not change. So that is one.

In fact, I am having a little bit of difficulty with every one of these amendments, to be honest with you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Why? (Inaudible) incarcerated did you get to smoke when you are younger than nineteen?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, you are now permitted to, as a result of this amendment now, if you are in an adult correctional institution. So, in other words, it is not going to apply universally now, the age at which you can smoke, it is also going to be dependent upon where you are, if you are allowed to smoke, basically.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the law is supplying it.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that is what I mean, supplying it. Yes, that is the point; the law is supplying it now. You can supply it now in an adult correctional institution whereas you cannot supply it to the general public through one of the other basic outlets that are now available.

Just one other point, I say to the minister, in clause 4 pertaining to subsection 7.1(d), in your last amendment there to a fine of $500 for selling tobacco while prohibited from doing so under paragraph a, b and c. Now, the Minister of Justice may be able to answer the question I am going to ask. I am wondering if there is another provision - like I say to the minister, under this now, a person whose license is suspended and who decides to sell tobacco -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, normally there is a fine anyway, for a first offense under the act, of $500, if you are listed as a retailer. You have a second offense of $2,500 and a third is $5,000, within a nine-month period under the act as it stands now. When your license is suspended and you are fined again, I guess you would normally get this fine that is there anyway, that is the $500, $2,500 or $5,000. Why would they be adding in - is there any other -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) offense.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that is not the question I am asking. I will just repeat it again and make it a little clearer. Under the act now the first offense is $500, your second offense is $2,500 within a six-month period -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, we are and I am referring to - which is section 7.1 of the act. Pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I am making clear first of all what is there now before I get to my question. Under 7(c) if you have a third offense within nine months you will get a $5,000 fine. That is what the act states right now. It is $500, $2,500 in six months; it is $5,000 after nine months. Now, if your license is suspended, in other words, you are prohibited from selling, are you now defined as a retailer, still, under the act? Are you still subject to this fine? Because if you are suspended, I guess for technical purposes are you now not a retailer under the act? Because you are suspended, and therefore, if you then sell, will you only get the additional $500 that we are putting on now or are you also subject to this other one? That is one question that I wanted to ask.

Is the minister clear on what I am asking?

MR. ROBERTS: I think so.

AN HON. MEMBER: We are not.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay. I want to make it clear, because I think it is important. I have another follow-up question, too, on the point.

MR. ROBERTS: That doesn't (inaudible) or retailer (inaudible)?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I am not saying that. I am saying if a person under section (7)(1), I say to the Minister of Justice, the first fine for the first offence is $500 -

MR. ROBERTS: Do you want me to answer now?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that one and then I will get to my next one, if that is possible.

MR. ROBERTS: Just a very short (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, sure.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Section (7)(1) now says that notwithstanding the Summary Proceedings Act, which is the generic legislation that deals with provincial offenses, a retailer guilty of an offense is liable on summary conviction, a) for a first offense, to a fine, as my friend said, and a prohibition, and then higher penalties for succeeding offenses within a limited time period.

Now, a conviction - and I think this may be my hon. friend's point, but if not, if he will tell me I will try to deal with it - a conviction does not make a person not a retailer.

AN HON. MEMBER: But it does (inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No. A retailer means a person who holds a valid registration certification under the Retail Sales Tax Act. So, let us assume for a moment that Sullivan and Roberts Groc and Conf down on British Square here in the city is fined under (7)(1)(b). It is the second offense and we are fined and we are under a prohibition order. My hon. friend and I are under a prohibition orders not to sell. We are still retailers in that we still hold - the prohibition is from selling tobacco. We can still sell soft drinks and squares and whatever else Sullivan and Roberts Groc and Conf are selling.


MR. ROBERTS: Coke or Pepsi or what have you. I am old enough to remember when cigarettes were two cents each and three for a nickel.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend's jealousy about my new jacket will get him nowhere. What I want to know is whether he and his friend from Grand Bank are, in fact, cut from the same cloth, as would appear to be the case from looking at their jackets. Now, that should give him something to worry about.

My answer to my hon. friend is, one is still a retailer. A retailer is defined in the act as being a person under the Retail Sales Tax Act, a vendor's license in the common parlance, and one does not cease to be a retailer simply because one is convicted under (7)(1).

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Yes. You are convicted and, in addition, if the court sees fit - these are discretionary fines - you are prohibited from selling tobacco for nine months or whatever the period is. I think that is my hon. friend's concern.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, (inaudible) number two.

MR. ROBERTS: Okay, well, we will deal with the second one next.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A person who is prohibited from selling tobacco under the Retail Sales Tax Act can sell other items in that business, but not tobacco because of the fine. He is prohibited. If a person does sell, of course, when they are not supposed to, this clause is putting in now a $500 fine for somebody who does that.

I just want to ask -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Just a fine of $500. If you sell when you are not allowed to sell, there is a $500 fine now for doing that. In addition to the normal second or third offence fine you would receive, this is compounded with that one.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that is correct.

I am just wondering, is there any other provision in legislation in some other act, other than the Retail Sales Tax Act, that applies to fining any person in this Province who has a prohibition and can be fined? In other words, is there some other provision in the law that prevents any person operating a business and who was given a license and who is now under prohibition to be fined under some other aspect of the law? In other words, is there possibility for a double fine in this instance? Maybe the Minister of Justice could answer that.

MR. SPEAKER: The Minister of Justice, by leave.

MR. ROBERTS: The answer to the question, as I understand it, is no. The question - just to be sure my hon. friend is being precise, let me be sure I understood him - is a person convicted under 7.1.(d), if that is added to the act, as we ask, will be liable to two charges. One is for selling while under a prohibition, and the second would be selling - selling under a prohibition would be the new one, and then selling contrary to the act is a separate offence, so upon conviction one would be liable to both penalties. Now, he then went on to ask, `Is there any other act under which that person could be subjected to a penalty?' That is my understanding of his question, and my answer is: No, the general legislative scheme is this in respect of provincial offenses, that where an act specifies an offence and provides a penalty, that is the end of it. That is the legislative direction to the court, and the court deals with that.

Where an act specifies an offence but no penalty, the Summary of Proceedings Act would apply, and it has provisions. Where an act -and we have acts that for some reason specify neither an offence nor a penalty but do, nonetheless, create obligations which can be breached, then the Summary of Proceedings Act constitutes an offence as well as a penalty.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I thank the minister for that. That does answer it, because my concern there was that this is going to be an opportunity to fine someone for selling, which would be under (b) or (c) of the act, because (a) would have already sold it once, so it must be a second or third offence to be prohibited, so that will be (b) or (c) -

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, thank you. So section (d) will now kick in, in a case where it is prohibited.

I thank the minister for that answer, and maybe when the Minister of Health gets an opportunity to close, some of the other concerns I addressed that are real, legitimate concerns that do not apply, I don't think, the law, on an equal basis, in the case of the 19 one.

Also, one of very much concern - I am not sure if the Minister of Justice, either, was listening on this one; I just want to repeat this before I sit down to make sure it gets addressed, too - under section 3.(2) of the act he has there, they are adding in a new section (g) now, and it states here, under this bill: ask the person who is on the premises for proof, and so on.

Now, there could be implications there. A person who walks into a store, it could be a teenager, an adult, or whomever - my interpretation of what I am reading here is that the person who is on that premises could be asked for proof of age, and they could make any other inquiries of that person, even though that person could be one of fifteen in a line-up to a checkout counter. Even though that person is not defined as a retailer under this new definition under the act, including an agent of that person who has the licence, and it could be anybody else who walks in there, the person might not even be under suspicion - they could be taken in and asked proof of age in questioning of all twenty people around there. Maybe that is the intent, to ask all of these people if they saw tobacco being sold to this particular individual and so on. So there are implications there where we could see innocent people go in, have no involvement whatsoever, maybe no knowledge of what is going on, and they could be subject to an intense questioning and proof of age.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) may ask a person for proof of that person's age.

MR. SULLIVAN: And make other inquiries of that person. Now that could be very general, other inquiries. Am I interpreting that correctly, I ask the minister? Maybe in his closing statement -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is correct? Am I correct in stating that, that any person who is in that store, whether it is a fifteen-year-old, an eighteen-year-old, or twenty or whatever, who happens to go in to pick up an ice cream, or any people who are shopping in that store, now can be subjected to providing proof of age and any inquiries at all? That is my question. It is not an agent for the retailer, necessarily; it could be anybody.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister, by leave?

MR. ROBERTS: Is the hon. member finished?

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I am finished.

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Okay, the hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would not have wanted the minister to close debate yet. I realize he is under pressure. He is over there bleeding now, having been cut and thrust and parried and whatever by the Member for Ferryland.

MR. ROBERTS: Nobody (inaudible) speak anyway.

MR. HARRIS: Now, Mr. Speaker, I know the Government House Leader has had his say and he wants to go home; he doesn't want anyone else to speak.

I want to speak on this bill and I don't intend to do a legal analysis or a dissection of the various, ands, ifs, buts or commas that are contained in this. I want to ask the minister some practical questions.

MR. ROBERTS: It is too late for (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: You know, the minister is a bit of a joke. We sit here all afternoon listening to the Government House Leader, you know, carp back and forth, minute after minute, hour after hour and when someone gets up who wants to make a speech, he wants everyone to go home. Well, I say to him, if the minister didn't want anyone to be here, he should not have passed the resolution earlier today saying that the House shouldn't close at five o'clock and we will stay here until 6:30. If he doesn't want the House to sit, I would be prepared to move the adjournment and we will come back again the next day and carry on - I leave it up to the minister. I have no problem, I don't have to speak today; I can speak next Tuesday, tomorrow morning or next week and I am not going to carry on but I don't want to be interrupted by the kinds of comments from the minister suggesting that I don't have the right or indeed the duty to speak on legislation, when I feel the need to do so. Because I have some serious issues to raise about the fact that we are dealing here with an amendment to the Tobacco Control Act and I am concerned about enforcement.

I am concerned about enforcement. Why are we here dealing with amendments to this act? Can the minister tell us about the enforcement record? How many people have been prosecuted so far under this act? Who is policing this act? Are they only following up on complaints? Is the minister's staff policing this act? Does he have people out inspecting groc and con stores? If I, or any other member of the public walks in to a grocery store or a groc and con for a retailer, and sees someone selling loose cigarettes contrary to the act, what do I do? Do I make a citizen's arrest or do I phone the minister at his home?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Do I phone the minister at his home, is there some public way of enforcing this act? Do you have to phone the police, are there inspectors? Is there someone -

AN HON. MEMBER: 1-800 (inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Do you phone 911 or, what do you do? I don't mean to be joking about this. I am serious, that if we are going to all the trouble of having legislation that is this particular and this specific to try to get at, not only the retailer, the person who owns the store, but the person who may be under the direction of that retailer, and imposing a fine of $500, then I am very concerned as to whether or not we are actually enforcing this legislation. I think there are people still selling loose cigarettes in this town, in my district, and in the district of the Member of St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: What?

MR. HARRIS: Selling cigarettes loose in stores, you can buy one, two, or three cigarettes.

MR. J. BYRNE: I have not seen it happen.

MR. HARRIS: The member has not seen it happen but I have. I think there is an issue of enforcement here. If we are serious about this legislation, if we are serious about keeping cigarettes out of the hands of minors where it is possible to do so, or at least possible to prevent people from making money selling cigarettes to minors, then I think we should have a proper enforcement system.

Now, I share the concern of the Member for Ferryland, that the individual employee of a shopkeeper or a shop owner, that that person might be told or encouraged, or in fact implied that if you don't do what I want you to do, you are not going to keep your job. Instead of singling out these people for fines separately, I say to the minister, there should be a way found to perhaps nail the employer a little harder if the employer is, in fact, instructing, permitting, or directing his or her employees to carry that out.

I would like for the minister to deal with it, because that is a serious issue. Why single out an individual employee who, maybe acting under the direction of the employer, is in fear of losing his job if he does not comply with the instructions or directions of the employer, and has to do something that may be in violation of this law but may be good for the employer's business not to be too thorough in asking for ID, not to be too scrupulous in forcing this legislation.

With those two comments, I hope the minister will deal with this. I do not have a lot of confidence that he heard what I said because he has been engaged in conversation for most of my speech. I do not have a lot of confidence that the minister has in fact made note of what I have said or has been listening to what I said, or intends to deal with these issues when he gets up. I do not have a lot of confidence because I note that the minister is engaged in a rather strenuous discussion with a couple of members who have their backs turned to the Chair, contrary to the rules. I do not know if the Speaker wants to deal with that or not.

We are in a situation here today where nobody wants to be here except the Government House Leader. Nobody wants to listen to what members are saying, not even the minister whose bill this is, not the Government House Leader, not the members who are busy talking to the minister whose bill this is, nor the minister himself. Nobody wants to talk about this. All the government wants to do, Mr. Speaker, is have this legislation passed, rubber-stamped, and go through the motions of democracy. A farce this is, an absolute, total, unambiguous farce. That is what we are going through here this afternoon and it is perhaps time somebody said it. This is an absolute, total farce.

We have legislation before the House and the minister who introduced the legislation is not even listening to the comments made by members who are elected by the people of this Province to voice their opinions in this House and to act on their behalf in scrutinizing legislation and make public comment. I think it is time we had this House televised. It is time we had remarks of hon. members televised so that people could see and hear what is going on, and the fact that not even the minister -

MR. L. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Hey, we finally got the attention of the minister.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: You get my attention all the time.

MR. HARRIS: Well, if I had your attention all the time you would have interjected a few minutes before, when I said you were too busy talking to other members even to hear what I was saying, and I hadn't much confidence that you would respond to my remarks because I did not see you paying attention.

I want to ask the minister just to deal with two issues in his closing remarks. Firstly: Why not make sure that the boss, the employer - that is the person who should have the responsibility - if that employer is directing or permitting or allowing or instructing an employee, it is not to find a way to fine the employee, but find a way to get at the retailer, because he is the boss and he is in charge.

The second thing I would like the minister to talk about is enforcement. I know he has made note of that because he did that earlier. But these are important things and I would ask the minister to deal with them. I have no difficulty in supporting the bill in principle, with the exception of my concerns about the retailers, and finding additional people to fine. How many people have been fined so far? How many prosecutions have there been? And how is this legislation enforced?

I have no difficulty with the special provision that relates to an incarcerated person. That is a special circumstance, and I know how difficult it would be to enforce that legislation in a prison or other facility, whether it be other inmates supplying cigarettes or, in fact, people who are there who have smoking habits. If they are in an adult institution I can see them being able to be treated as adults in this exceptional circumstance.

Those are my remarks, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: If the minister speaks now, he closes the debate. The hon. the Minister of Health.

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

I will not take very long, but I will address a couple of the points that were raised by the Member for St. John's East and also the Member for Fogo.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Fogo is not here.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Ferryland; I knew it was an `f'.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) the `f' word.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: It was the `f' word - not `fuddle-duddle', it was Ferryland.

I want to express appreciation to my colleague, the Minister of Justice. Good help is hard to find these days, but I must say that he came to the - not so much the rescue, but he filled in very ably there and answered some of the questions that you had with respect to when a retailer doesn't become a retailer, or continues to be a retailer.

I think the hon. the Member for Ferryland made the point earlier: why not increase the fine from $500 to $1,000 and apply it against the retailer or the vendor only, of a licence-holder and not charge the employee who is selling tobacco in his name. The concept, really, is not about getting an extra $500 or getting more money in fines. The whole concept in making the amendment to the bill is to make it a more effective enforcement tool. People who go to work for employers have a responsibility, and it is not good enough to say that just because I work for somebody and they tell me I have to sell tobacco products, that in fact I have to do it or else I am going to lose my job. These are moral and fundamental choices that everybody makes when he takes a job. You just cannot take a job that translates you into a con artist the very day you take the job, and say, `Well, I cannot do anything about it.' It is almost like Flip Wilson saying, `Well, the devil made me do it.' That is not the concept. So we are not dealing with money here. We are not dealing with trying to get higher levels of fines. It is simply a question of trying to facilitate enforcement.

As to the question that was raised -

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Yes, we sure do. We could stand $60 million tonight if you had it.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Well, we are down a little bit because he took revenue from us - with .05 there are not as many fellows drinking beer and, of course, we do not have as much revenue there. So now I have to try to make up a few of the dollars that he took from our coffers, but he is sorry for it and he is going to work on an initiative that will get it back in another way - such as he doesn't have the wingmen anymore; the wingmen are gone and that is money in the bank.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Just to speak to the issue of whether or not an inspector can go in now and ask anybody in a store for identification, just on a whim. The hon. member, I am sure, understands that is not the concept. When I was working with Revenue Canada years ago, many years ago, there was one of the sections of the act that I used to enforce quite regularly. If I recall it correctly, it went something like this: when an auditor has reasonable and probable grounds to believe and does believe that an offense has occurred, then he has the ability to cause some enforcement to bear, and that is the situation here. That is the concept here in terms of bringing in provision for ID to be able to be asked for. It will only be asked for when an inspector has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a commission of an offense is taking place. If somebody standing at the counter who looks to be twelve years old, is buying cigarettes, obviously before the assumption is made that he is only twelve years old, it is only reasonable that ID be asked for. There is an obligation on behalf of the purchaser to ensure that the ID is on their body or to provide it at a later date. So it is not a means or method of harassing customers in a store, Mr. Speaker, and that will not happen.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Yes, I am getting to that. It is just one basic reason why we eliminated the requirement, Mr. Speaker, to have to advise a wholesaler that a retailer has been under suspension for sale of tobacco products; and that is because if a retailer is fined and if he is suspended from selling tobacco products, he also has an obligation on himself to ensure that he does not purchase the product. On the other hand, there is an obligation inherent in being a wholesaler to ensure that the person to whom he sells or wholesales tobacco products is in fact a holder of a valid license as a vendor and has not been found himself under suspension because of violating the act. So it was just an unnecessary requirement that was put in there originally. Probably it was not thought through completely when the act was written and there is just no need to have it there, that is all. It is just taken out. Whether you think it should be there or not is another question but there is really no validly in having it there.

The Member for St. John's East asked a question as to how many charges had been laid under the act. I did have that figure on my desk a couple of weeks ago and I asked for an update on it. I don't have it in front of me but it seems to me that we had probably caused about twenty or thirty convictions, at least, to be registered. I don't know how many charges have been laid but there are about twenty to thirty convictions within the first year of the act for people violating provisions of the sale of tobacco products act.

As to who can implement or as to who can enforce it, the act provides that the minister can appoint or designate people to be enforcers. As a matter of fact, I should tell the hon. member that we not only enforce the provincial provisions under the sale of tobacco act but we also have entered into an agreement with the Federal Government whereby we also do the enforcing of the federal regulations with respect to the sale of tobacco products.

MR. SULLIVAN: Do they give you anything for that?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Not a lot. We get, I think, $100,000 or $150,000 a year which they give us to enforce their regulations. It is money we can use and really the two sets of regulations are almost identical and synonymous in terms of what they seek to achieve, and so it was a reasonable proposition for the feds to pay us some money to carry out the enforcement on their account.

In addition to the inspectors that government appoint or designate to enforce the act, of course, the hon. member is right, somebody can literally make a citizen's arrest if they feel so inclined and so offended about the sale of a product. But over and above that, the RCMP and the police or any police officer or enforcement agent can enforce the act and cause a charge to be laid.

I did get a call there in July, I think it was, I got a call one night about eight o'clock, when I was home having a barbecue, from some fellow who was down at Holiday Inn attending a wedding and was violently offended because somebody was smoking at the wedding and he wanted to know what I was going to do about it. If I told you who the guy was you would probably get a bigger laugh out of it.

I said, `There are two or three things you can do. You can complain to the people who invited you to the wedding that you are offended at the conditions in the hall.' He didn't want to do that. I said, `Well, you can complain to the manager of the hotel.' He said, `I have done that and they told me there is nothing they can do about it.' I said, `Thirdly, you can call the police and lay a complaint with them if you feel that terribly offended.' I don't know what advice he took or if he took any of it, but I haven't heard from him since.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was that? (Inaudible) `Danny'.

MR. L. MATTHEWS: No, it was not `Danny' who called me. I think Harry has `Danny' muzzled, rather than the other way around, so I don't get the calls in the night from him.

Just in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the concept of not causing an enforcement to take place in the penal institutions is not intended to cause discrimination, it is not intended to provide a double standard for the enforcement of the legislation, it is simply an amendment that the correctional facilities and the people who run the correctional facilities feel will more easily facilitate them in doing their job on a day-to-day basis.

It is practically impossible to distinguish sometimes, by looking, between an eighteen and a nineteen year old. You have inmates who share the same cell together and who trade or share each other's tobacco products. It is really an impossibility, in fact, to bring enforcement to bear in those settings. So rather than cause it to be a hypocritical piece of legislation where we have a requirement that we are not enforcing, we are amending the act to take any perception of hypocrisy out of it and to simply allow those under nineteen years of age who are inmates to participate and have a smoke, whether or not we think it is a good thing. I personally think it is the dirtiest habit in the world. I have never appreciated smoking and I have never done it. On the other hand, I have never been one to put a sign up in my office, `Don't Smoke' or `Thanks for not smoking', because I think people should have the good, common sense to do what is right and I shouldn't be required to make an indication to somebody that they are not using their common sense in the right way.

I move second reading of the bill, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

On motion, a bill, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 10)

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the outcry from all sides to allow my friend, the Member for Ferryland and my friend, the Member for St. John's North to deal with this in Committee, we will resist -

MR. TOBIN: Quite a performance.

MR. ROBERTS: I agree it was quite a performance, nearly as good a performance as my friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West has been putting on over here.

AN HON. MEMBER: If he were Premier he would put on something, I tell you.

MR. ROBERTS: I say without his being Premier he puts on something.

Mr. Speaker, that is as far as we shall go today. We will not sit tomorrow, of course; we will not sit on Monday, but we shall sit on Tuesday, and on Tuesday we shall ask the House to deal - and I am reading from today's Order Paper - with some finance legislation, Order 18, which is a pension plan amendment act. It is a simple enough bill, but it could be debated for 100 years if people want to; then, Order 22, which is another pension act amendment, again a relatively straightforward one. Then we will go into -

AN HON. MEMBER: The electrical boundaries.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. gentleman is going to get a shock on the electrical boundaries bill.

We will go then into the motions standing in the name of my friend, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, and those are motions 1, 2 and 4 on the Order Paper. If we can get that far we will have done a good day's work on Tuesday.

With that said, Your Honour, I move the adjournment, but the Electoral Boundaries bill, I understand, should be in the House on Tuesday. If anybody is wondering, all you need to do is read Judge Noel's report, because that is what it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Possibly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Judge Noel. Judge Noel's report, the forty-eight seat House.


MR. ROBERTS: Exactly. I had to leave some seats for the Opposition, so that is what we did.

Mr. Speaker, I don't see what is wrong with a little charity for the Opposition. Is the Chinese food all gone, `John'?

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Sit down.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman not only thinks he is the Premier; he is acting like the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, 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.