November 15, 1995            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS        Vol. XLII  No. 55

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

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

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

This morning, on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I signed two framework agreements with the Federal Government to offer early retirement to older workers affected under The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy (TAGS). The Atlantic Fishers Early Retirement Program (AFERP) will provide assistance to fishers; the Fishplant Older Worker Adjustment Program (FOWAP) provides assistance to plant workers and trawlerpersons.

Older workers must be aged 55 to 64 as of May 15, 1995, in order to be eligible for assistance.

Benefits will be paid monthly and will range from $630 per month to $1231 per month. Benefits will be calculated individually at 70 per cent of the average UI rate used to establish the TAGS rate. Except for those at the minimum or maximum levels, the early retirement benefit rate will be equal to 74.5 per cent of the TAGS rate.

We are estimating that between 1300 to 1400 fisheries workers will permanently leave the industry through this initiative. Of these, approximately 900 will be plant workers and trawlerpersons, and 400 fish harvesters.

The total cost of both programs is estimated at $100 million, of which the Provinces' share is $30 million. The cost will be spread out over the next nine-and-a-half years to May 2005.

The maximum annual cost to the Province is estimated to be $5 million which will occur in the first year; each year after, the annual cost will decline as workers reach the age of 65 and are no longer eligible for benefits.

We have established an office at Bally Rou Place, Torbay Road, which will be staffed by provincial officials from the Department of Employment and Labour Relations and the federal staff will be from Fisheries and Oceans, and Human Resources Development Canada. Applications will be sent directly to older workers the week of November 20, 1995.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, I want to thank the minister for sending this statement over a couple of hours before the House opened. Mr. Speaker, this certainly opens a window of opportunity for people who are in the age bracket of 55 to 65 but the shame of it is, the people who are going to be eligible for the TAGS Program and will have reached the age of sixty-five while still being eligible for that particular program, will be left on the outside, will be kicked off the TAGS Program and will be entitled to nothing.

It is my understanding, Mr. Speaker, that the Federal Government was willing to take part in this program and include the people as they reached age fifty-five, to be included in this early retirement, but the Province in their wisdom, decided not to take part in a program such as this and leave the people by the wayside in the interim. So, Mr. Speaker, that's the shame of this program. I think it could have included a lot more people and I think a lot of other people not only could have been included, but could have been allowed to retire in decency.

Mr. Speaker, the minister goes on to talk about a committee that will be put together down in Bally Rou Place to formulate the program. I hope it is not like a committee that was put forward for the Level III Appeals Board where nobody knows who they are, nobody knows how to get in touch with them and nobody can appear and put their case forward in an honest and decent manner. Mr. Speaker, the program is a good program but I think there is a lot of room for improvement.

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Minister of Justice, the Government House Leader.

The Wells Administration has been in office for almost seven years now and has established certain patterns. The government is now carrying out its annual Fall ritual of spreading doom and gloom, cutting spending and raising taxes, all in an effort to make up for an incomplete and misleading spring Budget.

Three years ago when the government was at this stage, the government brought down a mini-Budget, a Fall mini-Budget, and in that document, the Minister of Finance made the following announcement: `As a further demonstration of our resolve to reduce the cost of governing the Province in the future, we will be asking the House to direct a redistribution commission to make recommendations for a House of Assembly consisting of the most appropriate number of districts, between forty and forty-six.'

Will the Minister of Justice confirm that in March of 1993, a few months after the mini-Budget, a five-member Electoral Boundaries Commission was constituted under the law, that the five-member Electoral Boundaries Commission proposed forty districts, a reduction of twelve, that the Minister of Justice and the government tampered with the work of the Boundaries Commission and then changed the law and that the Boundaries Commission -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to remind hon. members now of our own Standing Orders regarding Question Period. I am quoting Standing Order 31(c): "In putting any oral questions, no argument or opinion is to be offered nor any facts stated except so far as may be necessary to explain the same; and in answering any such question, the Minister is not to debate the matter to which it refers." Standing Order 31(d) says: "Oral questions must not be prefaced by the reading of letters, telegrams, newspaper extracts or preambles of any kind."

In the last little while, I know on a number of occasions in both answering the question and in asking the questions, there have been long extended statements. I want members to keep in mind that our own Standing Orders do not allow for this.

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To conclude: Will the Minister of Justice confirm that the five-member commission made a final report recommending forty-four districts?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. lady for the way in which she read the question. I think she read it very well. I would congratulate as well the author of the question.

We are going to be debating this bill in this House beginning on Friday. I hope the hon. lady will speak then. I shall speak then at some length and deal with it.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: (Inaudible) too long.

MR. ROBERTS: It may be too long for some but it won't be too long for others, I say to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank. I shall speak for no longer than the rules allow me to speak. I will hear him for the same length of time.

Now, Mr. Speaker -


MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, we didn't interrupt the hon. lady reading her –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: - speech. Let me make a brief answer to it.

Neither I nor any other member of the government `tampered', to use the hon. lady's phrase, with the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, or the work of the Commission. The report of the Commission which was for forty-four seats, which was within their mandate, was tabled in the House exactly as it was received by me in behalf of the government in accordance with the legislation. There was no tampering. I did appear before the Commission and read a statement on behalf of the Ministry. I was one, I suspect, of several hundred people who appeared before the Commission from time to time in the course of their hearings and made representations to them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman may think that is tampering, but if so, I can only say he doesn't read any dictionary of the English language, or he is simply letting his -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to conclude his remarks, quickly.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would be delighted to conclude them. The hon. gentleman is simply letting his partisan predilections take over from his reasoned analysis.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary to the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice conveniently omitted to acknowledge that indeed the Electoral Boundaries Commission did propose forty districts, a reduction of twelve. That was before the minister interfered.

Mr. Speaker, the minister did admit that the boundaries commission report calls for forty-four districts. I ask the minister: Is it not a contempt of this House to have boundaries drawn, as the government is now proposing under Bill 31, other than in conformity with the recommendations of the commission that was constituted under the law with the chairperson appointed by the Chief Justice of the Province and the other four commissioners appointed by the Speaker?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will make two comments in response to the hon. lady.

First of all, this House is master of its own affairs. We answer to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the way in which we discharge that authority. We will, here in this House, create the boundaries.

Secondly, when she spoke to the contempt of the House, my recollection, and those who were in the House with me before the '85 election, the redistribution..... by the administration, of which the hon. lady was a part, tampered - to use her word - with the boundaries of the commission, and furthermore the original report brought into this House by the Moores' Administration, of which the hon. lady slavishly followed and which to this day she supports, the original motion brought in by that administration, if memory serves me, of the fifty-one seats in that House of Assembly created immediately before the '75 election, no less than thirty-seven of the boundaries were drawn by some process other than that recommended by the commissioner. The bill before the House now contains, word for word, the boundaries recommended by Mr. Justice Noel in response to the report -


MR. ROBERTS: The bill contains the boundaries recommended by Mr. Justice Noel in response to a commission issued to him by the Cabinet, and we have tabled the commission and the details of it. I am proud of it, Sir. It is the fairest, most principled redistribution ever brought into this House, and I hope members on the other side will support it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What a lot of malarkey. The Minister of Justice knows full well that Mr. Justice Noel has no legal authority to recommend boundaries. He was hand-picked by the minister.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: The government promised, in the mini-Budget three years ago, to have between forty and forty-six districts. The amended act, the law of the land, authorizes a maximum of forty-six districts. Are you not now proceeding to break your political promise and violate the law?

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

MR. ROBERTS: The answer to each question, Mr. Speaker, is simply `no'. There is neither the jot nor the tittle nor the suggestion nor the substance nor even the suspicion of accuracy and truth in the statements the hon. lady is making, and I say further she knows it full well.

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

MS VERGE: Will the Minister of Justice confirm that the government paid $400,000 of scarce Newfoundland and Labradorian taxpayers' dollars for the work of the legitimate Electoral Boundaries Commission? Will the minister indicate that the government has totally ignored the work of that commission and is proceeding with its own rigged version of boundaries? And will the Minister of Justice and his Cabinet colleagues who are personally responsible for this scandalous waste of $400,000 now personally repay that amount to the provincial treasury instead of taking it from municipalities, the sick, and the disabled?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the amount that government paid is a matter of record. I do not have the figure here but it is a matter of public record. I do not recollect it being $400,000 but it was substantial. In response to the hon. lady's other question let me say we will repay the $400,000 when she repays the $24 million she and her colleagues spent on Sprung which was never authorized by the House of Assembly first nor last in what has to be the most shameful dereliction of responsibility by any ministry since Confederation. She was part of it, Mr. Speaker. They never, ever came to the House, and not only that when Mr. Rideout became Premier and she became Deputy Premier they still refused to come to the House and authorize that expenditure. Every nickel that has been spent in support of the Boundary Commission was, number one, well spent and number two, lawfully spent, and she cannot say that about anything spent on the Sprung commission.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. The minister yesterday admitted in the House he did not consider any other options before he cut the municipal operating grants by 22 per cent. I ask the minister, why he did not consider selling the luxury apartment complex at Elizabeth Towers and using this money to help offset the Province's budgetary shortfall? Why did he decide to continue to offer accommodations for the rich elite before going ahead and forcing a form of economic strangulation on the municipalities of this Province?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Chairman, I thought the hon. member knew that Elizabeth Towers is for sale. We have been trying to sell it now for two years.

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

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, will the minister confirm that his government was offered a very competitive price for the Churchill Square apartment complex some time ago? Why would the Province want to hold on to this real estate? Why did the minister not exercise that option before cutting the MOGs?

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

MR. REID: Don't be surprised, Mr. Speaker, if Churchill Square as well as Elizabeth Towers may be up for sale in the next few weeks or few months. Mr. Speaker, I dealt with the immediate problem that I had as it related to municipalities. I had to deal with the question immediately because municipalities do their budgets in December month for January 1. I had to because we made a commitment, as a government, that we would let municipalities know earlier -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. REID: I got two. The lowest department in the whole of government, I got two.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. REID: I made the commitment to municipalities, Mr. Speaker, that I would let them know the bad news or the good news. It did not matter to them as long as they knew prior to the end of the year so they could do their budgets. I came out and did that.

Now in answer to the hon. member's question, I am taking care of basically the shortfall that we have this year in our fiscal budget of that $60 million to $80 million. If you look at my statement and see the amounts of money that we did take from municipalities or are planning to take from municipalities, the money that we are looking at as well, within that total amount of $11 million to $12 million, will also offset our deficit reduction - not our deficit our current account expenditures for 1996-97 as well. I am telling the hon. member and I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, and all the members of this House that I have not finished yet. There are a number of serious reconsideration and considerations that I have to make in regards to my department and what I have in my department in the next little while.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Waterford - Kenmount.

MR. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, the member could have gotten $3 million of his $4.1 million if he had agreed to the offered price for the Churchill Square apartment complexes. Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister following the same principle of divestiture and to continue the ownership that the Province holds in facilities like Philip Place, the condominiums at Marble Mountain, the Southlands land development, if these properties were privatized and if the minister used the revenues properly the cuts to the MOGs could have been substantially less and it could have been less now. Why not sell off some of your government's real estate, Mr. Minister, and reduce the burdens faced by our cities, our towns and our communities?

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

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, I'm shocked. The hon. member, he must be trying to help me here. Because Philip Place we tried to sell last year and couldn't sell. He knows the government is not putting any money into Marble Mountain. The only money that is going into the condominiums in Marble Mountain are monies that will be invested by the would-be owners. The government is not putting in a cent. Churchill Square was put up for sale two years ago when I became minister. We had several offers for Churchill Square and at the end of the day we owed more money on Churchill Square than we were going to make on it. So we would have ended up in the hole. At the time the government decided that it couldn't afford to lose money on Churchill Square.

The same thing applies to Elizabeth Towers. At the present time - and I will tell the hon. member this if he wants to after - I expect to get a bid for Elizabeth Towers at least $4 million less than what the building is worth. Does the hon. member want me to give it away for $4 million less than it is worth? If I give it away at the end of the day, I'm going to end up having to put $4 million into the deal.

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. Today the minister announced a joint federal-provincial early retirement program for fisheries workers between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four. Can the minister inform the House what method his department will use to make sure all eligible TAGS recipients are fully informed of this opportunity, and to ensure they are aware of all the facts before making such an important decision to take part in this program?

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

MR. MURPHY: Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The Department of HRDC has now on file all the applicants and the ages of recipients of TAGS. That particular subject is now in computer. Our department and their department and DFO will ask the computer to tell us who is available to take advantage of the program that we announced today. When that print-out is done the department will send to those individuals an application and a booklet outlining the early retirement program.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, the TAGS program will continue until May of 1999. I would like to ask the minister if he has made representation to his federal cousins in Ottawa to allow fisheries workers who attain the age of fifty-five while still eligible for TAGS to become eligible for part of this early retirement program.

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

MR. MURPHY: No, Mr. Speaker. That question is obviously a deceptive question. Let me say to the hon. member, what the system as I announced today - and he was there - is those people who are presently eligible for TAGS who meet the age criteria on the early retirement program can take advantage for nine and a half years of either the maximum of $1,231 a month or $631 a month on the minimum, or some average in between depending on their age presently. As the member knows, you can't have access to both ends of TAGS. You can't have the early retirement program; you can't access that and as well access TAGS.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, that is not what I asked. I asked the minister if he had made representation to his cousins in Ottawa to see if people, as they reached the age of fifty-five, could take part in the program. The minister skated around the answer.

Informed sources have told me that the federal government was willing to participate in such a retirement program for those who are not now fifty-five but will reach the age of fifty-five during their TAGS eligibility, but this provincial government refused to take part in that program. I ask the minister: What are your plans to deal with those individuals when they are kicked off the TAGS program in their late fifties with no opportunities for employment?

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

MR. MURPHY: Mr. Speaker, let's put this in its right perspective, okay? The provincial government - this provincial government or the other provincial government - were not responsible for the closure of the groundfish fishery. The federal government, totally, is responsible for the funding of fishers and plant workers. This government, in negotiations, because the older workers in the program could access some consistent funding, put forward $30 million. The member knows that if you are fifty-five as of May 15, 1995, you are eligible. That is the eligibility criteria. Now, he can mix it around. If you are sixty you can access Canada Pension. If you are sixty-five you get your Old Age Pension, et cetera. No, it is a one-time program, I say to the member. We wish we had the money to do a lot more. Now the member also knows that.

The federal government, both departments, have sat and negotiated with us. This government has picked up $30 million of that program, I say to the member, and we can do no more. We would certainly like to include people two years down the road who become fifty-five, but this government does not have that capability. Yes, we have talked. I do not know that I have any relations in Ottawa, but I certainly have people up there who we discussed a lot of issues with, and we discussed that, I say to the member, well.

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

MR. MACKEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Last week in the House I raised some questions with respect to the hydroelectric development project on Northwest River, which begins in the Bay du Nord wilderness and flows through Terra Nova National Park. It is an established fact that the rate of consumption for hydroelectric power is significantly reduced because of diminished industrial demands, more energy efficient housing, and less need because of declining population. Hydro sales, in fact, on the Island last year declined 3.4 per cent. My question to the minister is this: Is there a need for extra power on the Island at the risk of destroying a healthy, pristine and bountiful salmon river?

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

DR. GIBBONS: Mr. Speaker, the environmental aspects of this particular project, like other projects, will be addressed through the environmental assessment process. They are being addressed through the environmental assessment process, and my hon. colleague from environment is handling that at this time for four of these projects.

Now I will get back to the original part of your question: Do we have an increasing demand? The answer is `yes', and the projection is that we are going to need new sources of supply to add to our firm power, with the emphasis on the firm power available to this Province, by the fall of 1998. In response to the demand forecasted, a number of years ago Hydro put out a call for proposals in the non-utility area, the non-utility generator area, for small hydro developments. Four finally made the short list, and four are in the environmental assessment process. I believe one of the four has gotten through the environmental assessment process; the other three are still in it. If they all succeed, then the power from these four will be purchased and go into the grid as of the fall of 1998. They would then take care of the demand forecast for this Province, for this Island, until about the year 2000 or the year 2001, because our growth and demand has been rather flat.

As the hon. member said, we have not had a lot of growth because of the economic conditions that we have had in the last few years. We were quite flat and, as a matter of fact, we dipped a little bit, but the overall long-term direction is upwards. The overall direction is upwards and will continue to be upwards, so by 1998 we forecast that we need a small increase in our firm power, and that is the thirty-eight megawatts that these four non-utility generators will provide. They would take care of us, though, for about three years, and we will have to get some more on by around 2000 or 2001, but the long-term trend is upward even though we have had some dips through the economic recession we have had.

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

MR. MACKEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My next question, still related to the project, is for the Minister of Environment.

Friday past was the deadline for public input from individuals or groups to make their views known, either for or against this project. Can the minister inform us today of the result of this public input? Was it for or against this project?

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

MR. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. We have not done a numerical calculation as to either for or against this project.

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not a poll.

MR. AYLWARD: It is not a poll. What we have done is that we have taken all of the expressions of interest on this project and we are reviewing them. As a matter of fact, even though the deadline was Friday, I have been meeting with a couple of groups this week, I am going to meet with a couple more next week to get further input before we make any further decision on the acceptability of the EIS because it is an open process, Mr. Speaker, in this process of Environmental Assessment and we are going to assure that every person who wants to have his say about it will have his say, and at the end of the day, a decision will be rendered as to whether or not the project is acceptable or not acceptable.

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

MR. MACKEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, the Salmonid Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Wildlife Division, the Natural History Society and the Co -alition to save Northwest River and many other groups believe this project will do irreparable damage to the river ecosystem and to the Bay du Nord wilderness area.

From all sources, Mr. Speaker, it appears this development will have a devastating effect on the salmon stock and other fish habitat. It is believed also, it will have a negative impact on tourism potential and recreational activities; as well, there is a deep concern for safety.

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister satisfied that this hydro-electric project will not negatively impact on the migration of salmon, will not negatively impact on tourism and recreational activities, and if he is not satisfied, is he prepared to convince his colleagues in Cabinet that this project which could destroy a bountiful river, should be stopped immediately?

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

MR. AYLWARD: You know, Mr. Speaker, I suppose we could take the Environmental Assessment Act and throw it out the window. I mean, the reason the Environmental Assessment Act is there, is to review projects and allow for public input into the process. This is what we are doing in this project; a decision is not rendered, there is no bias either way. We are looking at the information our environmental assessment committee, which is comprised of a number of government departments including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which are giving us advice as to the no-net loss or no-net gain of salmon in the Northwest River, will give us that advice in the near future and then we will determine whether or not the project is acceptable environmentally and all the other issues that the member has talked about.

We are meeting with a variety of groups, have met with a variety of groups who are for this project or are against the project, and we will be continuing to do so as we go through the process. The act is working very well, it is a great example of how it works, the input is in, the government, the Cabinet will make a final decision at the end of the day, to see where we go with this project.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Minister of Health.

The new Labrador Health Care Board recently purchased a house for $182,000 for its CEO in Happy Valley - Goose Bay. Now, two weeks ago in this House, the minister referred to a government policy that was adopted in 1991, and I quote the minister, He said: that be on normal pay or normal salaries that are appropriate and applicable to positions, boards were directed not to enhance or to provide additional benefits to employees of hospital boards, that is, CEOs and the like.

Now, the minister said, in the House that day, that he is of a comfort level, that the chairman, he said the chairman may not really have known about the policy that was enunciated in 1991, because he wasn't working in the system, and the minister said that he will see that the problem is corrected.

I ask the minister, if the board's Chairman, Mr. Woodward, violated government policy when he wrote that cheque for $182,000?

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

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

The answer that I gave two weeks ago to the question remains the answer today. Government directed hospital boards in 1991 that no monetary, no additional monetary or non-monetary benefits would be made available to employees who were over and above the pay schedule that was in place for that position and that policy remains.

The issue of purchasing a house is really not the issue. The issue is of course providing a benefit. There is no big deal if I might put it that way, in purchasing a piece of property and renting it out because that doesn't in and off itself add a cost to the health care system or an expense to the operation of the health care board. If you buy a house and if you amortize the mortgage, you collect rent so that the mortgage can be paid off then that does not add anything to the cost of health care of the system. The issue of whether or not the non-monetary benefit that was being provided was appropriate is the issue. I clearly indicated it was not appropriate to provide such a benefit and I have given direction to all boards to ensure that in cases where these things are in place that cessation take place and that it be corrected, and I expect that will happen. I have only heard back from one board in the two weeks to say that nothing is in place in their jurisdiction. I am meeting with all the boards this week and will have further clarification on that particular issue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has expired.


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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to rise to present a petition today on behalf of the residents of the Baie Verte - White Bay district.

We, the residents of the Baie Verte Peninsula, are very concerned with recent cutbacks to the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. We believe that these cutbacks will seriously affect the safety as well as the overall quality of transportation on the Baie Verte Peninsula. We urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to reconsider these reductions in order to ensure that the safety and quality of road transportation is retained at an acceptable and safe level.

Mr. Speaker, this is one of a number of petitions now that I have presented to this House and to this minister. The bottom line is rural Newfoundland. Again, this minister shirks off his responsibility and goes on with cutbacks. Just a few days ago in this House he said there are no reductions. Well, what does the minister consider reductions, I wonder, Mr. Speaker? People in my district, for example - but I am sure the growing concerns are throughout the Province, not just in my district, especially in rural parts of Newfoundland, that as we see the snow coming on now, Mr. Speaker - it is in Toronto today, it will be here tomorrow - then we are going to see more concerns. Of course, the problem is going to be - again, Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, the problem is again - it is too late when the minister stands in the House and tries to weave his way around, Mr. Speaker, to try to justify these cutbacks. He is not giving any attention to the real problem out there which is the safety on the roads. He has not talked to the people in the industry that are directly involved.

This weekend again, Mr. Speaker, while I was in my district, I spoke to the wingmen who have worked as wingmen on these trucks for thirty years and more. I wonder has the minister talked to these people instead of going up to his office and talking to somebody in a shirt and tie who has no idea what it is really like out there on those trucks and on the roads in the wintertime and in rural Newfoundland. So I tell the minister don't talk to the so-called experts up in your department, go talk to the men who worked in these trucks for thirty years and they will tell you that you have a problem on your hands and it is going to become a bigger problem as this winter goes on. There is danger without that second man in the truck. When we find out, Mr. Speaker, it is going to be too late - when somebody has to stand in this House and point a finger at this minister again. When there are major problems with an accident or, as we hope not, a fatality in this Province through a school bus accident or involving a pedestrian on the side of the street, it will be too late to stand then and point a finger at the minister. That doesn't get us anywhere then. The problem has to be corrected now, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to rural Newfoundland, the minister should keep in mind, that just, for example, in my district alone there are seventeen trunk roads that lead off the main road, Mr. Speaker. With these reductions, it will take a lot longer to clear the roads.

I will ask the minister this, too, Mr. Speaker, maybe he will respond. Right now, with the reduction in mechanics at the Baie Verte depot they have to put the equipment on a flatbed, send it to Grand Falls, two hours away, and send it back again. Just a few days ago, they sent the equipment up there, they had to be sent back again and back up for the second time. Now, I ask the minister, where is the saving in that? Really there was no plan to this whatsoever. It makes no logical sense whatsoever. The minister again has pushed the panic button, not really having thought it out and he certainly didn't talk to the people in the depots out there who do the work day after day.

MR. EFFORD: Did you?

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, I certainly did, I say to the minister. You can go ask them, because I was there again this weekend and I visit them on a regular basis, more than I can say for the minister responsible who sits up in his office and asks the experts up there. Go ask the wingmen who were sitting in this gallery here last week and listened to the minister. They were shocked to hear his comments. A man who was sat here last week has worked for thirty years on one of those trucks, and he said: This man down here doesn't know what he is talking about. Because he hasn't come and talked to the people who work in this industry, the wingmen on the trucks. Mr. Speaker, it is a serious, serious problem. He is playing Russian roulette with the people of this Province when it comes to safety and it is going to be too late when we have to call this minister to stand here in this House of Assembly and explain when a snowstorm hits and we see a wing clip a car or a bus on the roadside, or maybe a pedestrian who walks along the side of the road.

So, Mr. Speaker, the advice to the minister - although he will never take any because he knows it all - is that he should go back and talk to the people who are working these depots year after year after year and keep in mind also it is the people of rural Newfoundland who are going to suffer most from these cutbacks. These are the people who are furthest off the main roads. They need good, safe road clearing, Mr. Speaker, especially when the stormy season comes upon us.

As it relates to health care, some of these people have to drive for two hours, as it is now, to get to a hospital in Corner Brook or Grand Falls. Now, Mr. Speaker, they are going to have to wait an extra length of time so that roads are cleared and so that school kids who travel these buses every morning - and especially with the education reform that is happening there will be more school buses to rural Newfoundland. Now, Mr. Speaker, he does the opposite, goes in the opposite direction, and now we have a reduction, of which he says: There is no reduction.

The first thing that you have to say to the minister is: Before you can fix a problem you have to acknowledge that there is a problem. Until the minister gets out of his office up here and stops listening to his experts - go out and talk to the people in rural Newfoundland, the people who worked in these depots for years. Maybe, just maybe, the minister will come to his senses before it is too late, before we have a snowstorm next week or the week after, or soon. I know it is coming soon, as the minister knows, and it is going to be too late.

Mr. Speaker, although the minister doesn't take advice from anybody, it seems, he should really sit back and think about this one. Because it is going to be too late when we have to stand in this House and point our fingers at the minister when he gets all upset again like he did last year. He is going to get all upset again, sit down in his chair and say: Don't point your finger at me; I wasn't the cause of the snowstorm. No, we know you weren't the cause of the weather, but the reductions now in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation are really putting in jeopardy the safety of the people of this Province, and especially as it relates to rural Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SHELLEY: So I ask the minister -

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

MR. SHELLEY: - to use his senses, come to his senses, and talk to someone who really knows about the situation.

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

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

I am pleased to be able to stand today and support the petition presented by the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay. I believe this is the fourth petition that has been presented by the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay on this issue, so obviously it is a very serious matter to him. Of course, if it is a serious matter to him and he is presenting these petitions, he is obviously receiving petitions from people within his district. These people have to take this as a very serious matter also.

Not only is it serious in his district, it is serious in all districts throughout this Province. We have the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation normally smirking, and shirking off his responsibility when this issue is brought up, but it is a very serious issue. Staff reductions in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation have been drastic over the past number of years. This year, now, we see the wingmen being let go; the wingmen who help operate the ploughs in the middle of storms in this Province during the wintertime.

Roads in this Province in the past four or five years have gotten into a deplorable condition. Most roads that you would travel over, especially the trunk roads, are in very bad shape and this only adds to the seriousness of the situation when we are letting people go and are having one person operating this equipment. When I'm talking about the safety here, now we have bumps in the roads, we have cracks in the pavement; we have shoulders being washed out. If we have a plough in the middle of a snowstorm travelling down the highway and it hits these bumps, it could quite conceivably bounce over in front of an oncoming automobile with very serious results.

In the past number of years, in particular in St. John's East Extern, in the district that I'm most familiar with, all I see being done in that district is road maintenance, and not a lot of road maintenance at that.

The District of St. John's East Extern deserves some money. I have been looking at the districts that had capital works spent on them last year and in previous years, and when I can make the comparison with St. John's East Extern there is very little money being spent in St. John's East Extern. The minister himself would have to agree with that. He knows. He agreed to it with me in a meeting with the councillors in Bauline a few weeks ago. He knows there has been very little money spent in that district.

This government has been reduced to management by crisis. They are jumping from crisis to crisis and that is how they are handling the management of this Province. The Department of Works, Services and Transportation last year was cut by $10 million, and quite conceivably, it could be cut by monies again this year in capital expenditures. That is quite accurate.

This government, at this point in time, in this very day, now, is actually scrambling to cut services or to cut staff or try to save money in this year's Budget, the so-called balanced Budget. They have already admitted that they are out by $60 million so far this year - and how much more by the end of the year? This government, last spring, got up and made a big deal out of a balanced budget which they knew full well at that point in time was not a balanced budget, is not a balanced budget. I would have to say that this government and the ministers in it are running around like a bunch of hens with their heads chopped off, and the one leading the flock is the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. EFFORD: I want to read just a couple of lines in a Ministerial Statement. `With these lower than expected revenues we did not limit our efforts to restraining wages. We reduced programs in government as well. Here are some of the cuts in expenditure we made, reductions in hiring, reductions in operating expenses, closure of institutions, including the cottage hospitals at North West River and Markland, program reductions, elimination of student allowances and the introduction of tuition fees in vocational schools, reduction in financial assistance to municipalities and school boards, and reduction in road and building maintenance cutbacks. The hon. Brian Peckford, February 29, 1984.'

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have not cut back the operating expenses, or the winter maintenance, or the road maintenance program in the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. Last year we spent $23,498,800 on salt, sand and labour for the winter months. We will spend as much as that again this year and probably it will be more if we get the same amount of snowstorms this year as we did last year. If we get a worse winter this year we will spend more money. We had 678 pieces of equipment on the road last winter and we will have 678 pieces of equipment on the road this winter. The only change we have made, because it can only happen in Newfoundland, where two people must drive the same truck, only in Newfoundland. Nowhere else in Canada does it take two people to drive the one vehicle, so what I have done is try and put some sense in the department and have one driver on one truck. Now, when I have to issue an order to the department that says when that truck goes out on the road it requires two people to do it, then it is time for me to leave the ministerial office of the department. It does not make any sense.

Mr. Speaker, we are not reducing the service in the department. We are making some sense out of the organization of the department. We are trying to spend the taxpayers' money wisely. We are trying to make sure that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Education get the money where it is needed more so than having two men on one truck. For the last time there are no cutbacks in the operating services of the department. We will provide whatever service is required to make sure that our winters are as safe as they can possibly be. I am not God. I cannot stop the snow from falling.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. EFFORD: Yes, the snow fell in Toronto yesterday. Maybe it is in New Brunswick today and possibly, if the wind does not change, it will be here tomorrow. I cannot, Mr. Speaker, do anything about that, nor do I intend to try.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, this is Private Members' Day and we will be debating Motion 5, but may I first note that there is an error on the Order Paper. There is a misspelling of the name of the gentleman for Torngat, and nothing turns on it except I would like to note it, and as a courtesy could we ensure that the printer spells my friend's name correctly from here on in. In fact I believe it is Mr. William Andersen III.

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

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

Today I feel very pleased to introduce a Private Members' motion, and before I get into speaking to the motion I would like to once again read it out:

WHEREAS 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 DEO 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 to, and activity in, the prosecution of the groundfish fishery.

In introducing this motion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to now spend a few moments talking about the fishermen in the District of Torngat Mountains who I personally feel have been very much discriminated against, not discriminated against in terms of the fact that they are Aboriginal people or anything like that. There are Newfoundlanders up in the Torngat Mountains district who have been waylaid by this program as well, and even though I am very pleased to see my hon. colleague, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations announce a new retirement program today, I can still envision these fishermen in my district and those, I presume, around the Province who have been turned down because they do not meet the eligibility criteria, will still suffer the same fate.

Mr. Speaker, for about 100 years we had 300, 400 or 500 Newfoundland schooners coming into the Torngat Mountains district and sharing the fisheries resource with the people of the Torngat Mountains district. Most of those fishermen were from the Island of Newfoundland, and throughout that period some of them have stayed in Labrador and continued their fishing tradition.

In the late sixties, seventies and early eighties the inshore groundfish fishery in my district was pretty much fished out by the lack of control on one hand, and on the other hand too many fishermen coming into the area, and the people in the district never once thought twice about sharing that resource. One thing in hindsight they did not realize was the fate they would suffer when the groundfish fishery was put to a halt a few years ago, and it is pretty much seen as `out of sight, out of mind' because for centuries fishermen up there fished the same as Newfoundlanders and Maritimers did.

A few years ago when TAGS came into effect, at the time before it became HRDC, it was Manpower and Immigration. They had employees, civil service people, going to my district and explaining the program to the fishermen. The civil servant who went into Hopedale, for example, went into Hopedale in the morning, spent three hours in the community, and was supposed to have explained the whole TAGS program to the fishermen of Hopedale. I believe there might be one or two fishermen in Hopedale who are under TAGS; the rest never even had a look in.

I would like to go further into this, Mr. Speaker. We have people like the Jararuse family, the Merkuratsuk family, the Ittulak family, Inuit families who, perhaps by the majority of society would be considered illiterate because they do not understand or read English or French - they only speak their own Mother tongue, the Inuktitut language - and yet they are told by authorities language problems should not be an excuse; you should understand what you are trying to get, even if you cannot read it.

There was one occasion about three years ago where, for the first time, I believe, in Labrador's history, an Inuit man was found not guilty by pleading ignorance of the law because he could not read it. The same thing applies to these programs. I don't wish to have my fishermen in my district become eligible for TAGS just because of the money that they will get. One of the things we don't take into consideration, Mr. Speaker, is what they lose out on by not being eligible. The training programs that are offered in terms of economic diversification, retraining - if you are not eligible for TAGS, most of those federal programs that are introduced today are based upon the fact that you can only get it if you are eligible for TAGS.

That creates hardship for my district in two ways. There are learning institutions which are willing to go into any given area, provided that they have the demand for retraining. Under the present system only about 10 per cent of the fishermen in my district are eligible for TAGS. That doesn't justify the requirement that would be needed by, let's say, the Labrador Community College, or the College of Trades and Technology, to introduce something up there to retrain people. The numbers don't justify bringing in trainers. That is one of the setbacks for the district.

There are also fishermen in my district who are settlers. I will name one. We all know him in Labrador as Uncle George Sheppard from Postville, Labrador. He fished for sixty-seven years. He is about eighty-seven years old now. He trapped last year. He still had his own trap line last year. He groundfished in the Makkovik area for sixty-seven years and the federal government turned around and told him he wasn't eligible for their retirement program.

AN HON. MEMBER: On what basis?

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: On the basis that he wasn't groundfishing during those two years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Yes, 1991. Even though he salmon fished and maintained his groundfish licence in the hope that the groundfish will return he will have that opportunity again, he was refused by DFO the opportunity of that retirement. I can name many fishermen who have fished for more than fifty or sixty years in the same boat in my district. This family can read English, they understand English, but they cannot understand why they who fished with Newfoundlanders in Ailik, Labrador, Strawberry, Ironbound islands. They see their old fishing partners from the Island being compensated for their loss and yet they are told: I'm sorry, you are not eligible.

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is time that governments and this hon. House are called upon to do something. I must reiterate what the Premier said in Sudbury yesterday: A citizen is a citizen is a citizen. Right now the people in my district don't feel like they are citizens of this Province because they are only considered when it is absolutely necessary.

It is rather sad to see. Newfoundlanders come to my area to live. We have people from St. Anthony, we have people from this area, who suffer the same brunt of neglect on the part of all governments. The Peckford Administration, this Administration, the present federal Administration, the former federal Administration, I feel are neglecting their commitment to a given area because they are so few and far between up there. If we are going to be citizens of Canada and treated as such, we pay taxes -

I heard earlier, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation talking about the services they provide for on the roads. We don't have roads in my district. Most of the children in my district don't know what a paved road is, and yet, we are citizens of this Province.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I have tried very diligently and in the most kindly way possible, if you will, approaching on three different occasions since coming in here, the federal fisheries minister, Mr. Tobin, on this very matter, and the answer I always get, is, the criteria has been set. I call upon this hon. House, Mr. Speaker, to support my motion in stating that, people who can demonstrate that long-term attachment to the fishery must be included in that criteria and it shouldn't be the criteria that determines who we are. I think enough people in Newfoundland and Labrador know who and what we are, that we should be able to be fitted into that criteria.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad today to rise and speak in response to the resolution of the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains. Mr. Speaker, I think it is a prime example of the frustrations - we just heard a prime example of the frustrations that many of us are feeling in representing rural Newfoundland communities, representing fishermen in fisheries communities who find themselves in a situation where they fear every day; when they wake up in the morning they don't know what's in store for them or whether they are going to put bread and butter on the table come the end of the brown envelope that might be arriving on a bi-monthly basis now.

They are fears, Mr. Speaker, that some of us find hard to associate with, because we have this mentality, that if you are getting a cheque, then you are okay, you are alright. But the member goes on to speak about the people who were not included in the program and there are many, many of them out there today. We all remember the NCARP Program and its inception back in 1992. At that time, I think things were done in a rush; it was done because a moratorium was announced pretty well one day and funding was announced a few days after that; people were included in a program when they should never have been included and other people were left by the wayside. But, Mr. Speaker, one very important thing was done with that particular program, and what I am referring to, was the point of having it put into the hands of people who had a heart, the hands of people who dealt with people and dealt with the industry every day - and I am referring to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

It seems like, in those days, when somebody came to you with a problem, Mr. Speaker, you could go and you always had somebody to talk to and you always had somebody to reason with and you could go and you could sit down before an appeals board and you could put forward your case or the case of your constituent and you had human ears there, Mr. Speaker, to listen to you, human eyes to look at you and a human heart to deal with. Today, we find this is not happening. It is not happening with the TAGS Program, it was taken from DFO and was put in the hands of HRD, which is a completely different group of people, Mr. Speaker, a group of people who are used to going by policy-making rules and regulations, and black is black, white is white and they very seldom stray from that, a completely different group of people and I don't think that it has been given the attention or the heart that it deserves.

Then, Mr. Speaker, it was done in such a way that you could go to an appeals board if you had somebody who didn't qualify for the TAGS Program; there were three different levels of appeal, Level I, Level II and Level III. The first level of appeal is when you would apply - and it escapes me why everybody who was involved with the NCARP Program, at the very end of the eighteen months of that program, still had to go and apply for TAGS. That has always escaped me. I always thought that if they was involved and they had their records - and God knows, there was enough attention paid to it, because the unions sent representatives around, there were counsellors who went around, there were people from DFO who went around and made sure that everybody who was in that program deserved to be there.

Then, all of a sudden, in May, 1994, this new program TAGS was created, Mr. Speaker. Everybody involved with the program had to go and apply again, had to fill out an application and apply in order to continue to get fisheries response money, fisheries moratorium money.

MR. WOODFORD: Playing tag ever since.

MR. FITZGERALD: Playing tag ever since, the member says, and he is so right, Mr. Speaker.

They had to go - and first of all if you were deemed ineligible for that program - there were some people taken off it. In fact, there were thousands taken off it right from the very beginning and there were thousands placed on it, another thousand people entered the program. Mr. Speaker, the first thing they had to do was to appeal. Level No. I appeal meant that you had to write and the people who made the decision to take you off the program were the people who carried out the Level I appeal, the same people, the same names, the same people. They were the ones who wrote back and said, `No, I am sorry, you are ineligible for the program.'

So then, because there was so much of an uproar, they went through a Level II appeal. A Level II appeal meant that now you could go and you would go to some certain place in the area or in your district and you will appear before an independent consultant put forward by the government. He always made a decision that would go back again to HRD. In many times we feared - and I believe that the fears were justified - that it was probably the same people who made the decision that turned you down in the Level I appeal. I am sure, in many cases, they were the same people. So you appear before this independent consultant and then somehow, he or she - it was a gentleman in my particular district; he always had a way of making people feel good when they left. He could never understand the reason why they were refused. So they always left with a feeling, well, this is great. At least I've talked to somebody and now I am going to get this mess straightened out, but, Mr. Speaker, only to get a letter a couple of months after that - and it was a couple of months I say to the member - saying: I am sorry, but you have been deemed ineligible for the TAGS program.

Then there was another uproar. Some members from the opposite side, from the government side, from what I understand, Mr. Speaker, went up and met with Minister Tobin and his people up there. They said: We have a problem, Mr. Minister, in that a lot of people we think are eligible are being denied this program.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The only one who got any results from him was I got it for you, for a (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: You're right, for a plant in my district. Summerville fisheries.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: The only one who got any results from Tobin - I got it for you.

MR. FITZGERALD: It wasn't deemed eligible and they went and got it back.

The Member for Fogo, I think, is probably one of the people who went up and met with Minister Tobin and came back - and the Member for Eagle River - and they were shouting in the streets, `We were up and we met with the minister, we finally got results.' What were the results, Mr. Speaker? What were the results? The results were now we are going to go to Level III appeal. So, Mr. Speaker, now we are going to have another level of appeal and this Level III appeal people were phantoms, I say to the Member for Fogo. They were phantoms, nobody knew who they were, nobody knows where they are located, they don't have an address, they don't have a telephone number. It is impossible to get hold of them. I asked a question of the minister here earlier -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I know some of their names, too, but I am not so sure that is the way it should work, I say to the member. I think if you have an appeal board put in place and if those people are being paid, then the least we can do is allow our people to go before them and plead their case, because a lot of them - I know them, the Member for Fogo knows them, the Member for Carbonear knows them and anybody else dealing with people in a rural community knows many people who have been taken off this program and justifiably should be there. They should be there, Mr. Speaker, but they're not. So what do they do? They are told to write a letter. You write a letter, send it to HRD, address it to Clarenville, in the case of my district, Bonavista South, and we will make sure that those people get this piece of correspondence. They won't answer you. Oh no, they won't answer the letter that you sent. They may have some indication there that they will expose where they are or what they are all about. Mr. Speaker, this is a farce, and I don't think the Member for Port de Grave would agree with it, even though he may never admit it; I am sure that he doesn't agree with it.

Today, we have many people out there who should be entitled to this program who are not. There are many more people out there who are on the program, who probably should be taken off it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I say to the member, I don't know who they are, but maybe; if there is, then this is a way to deal with it, through the appeal board. There is nothing wrong with going and sitting before a group of individuals, or an individual, and being able to express yourself. It is kind of hard to put in writing, kind of hard to speak on the telephone, kind of hard to appear on television. A lot of people don't like that. We may like it, as politicians, because that is why we are here. We look for publicity, we look to get our name out, and everything else, but there are a lot of people out there today, our constituents, who don't like it, I say to the member. There are a lot of people out there who don't like it, and they would like to be able to go and sit down in front of somebody and express their views and opinions, and find out a reason why.

The other option is to take somebody with them. That is always an option, to be able to take somebody with them. I see our members here doing it all the time. I do it; members over there do it. I have seen the member - and I will say his name again - for Fogo, going to represent some of his constituents on appeals, and that is important; that is why we are here, but we are being deprived of it by dealing with this so-called TAGS program and the Level III program, which is a farce, and I think the people who are taking part as the appeal members should come forward and allow people to come before them.

I have an individual in my district who is a fisherman, and a very good fisherman, I might add. He and his brother get up in the morning and they get aboard the same truck; they drive to the same wharf; they get aboard the same boat; they share the cost of gas; they share the cost of their fishing gear, and when they make a sale everything is split right down the middle. In this particular place, one brother was deemed SEC eligible, and the other brother was not. What could he do? He called his TAGS counsellors, and he called DFO, and the first thing they would say to him was: Why is it important for you to be deemed SEC eligible?

Well, it is very important. It may not have been important for them, but somewhere down the line, those three little letters may have a big meaning. It has a big meaning now when you go and try to retire your licence. It has a big meaning now, but the people in the TAGS program couldn't understand why he was so determined to go and become SEC eligible, because they didn't have a heart.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did not realize (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: You are right, they didn't realize it. The same individual, when he would get laid off - when the fishing season was open, when he had fished lobster and he had fished salmon, and when he had fished the groundfish and the squid, herring and mackerel - and everybody knows when herring are in; it's weather like we have today. This is when you go fishing herring, when the snow flies and the glitter and the rain; that is the herring fishery season. He would take part in all of this, and when he would get laid off he would go to work on construction. He would look for another job. He wouldn't rush in to file unemployment insurance. He would go to work with somebody else, because he was like a lot of rural Newfoundlanders; he had a lot of knowledge. He could fish in a fishing boat, he could build a house, he could operate a truck or a tractor, and he used his talents, and because of that he was deemed ineligible for the TAGS program -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: - and deemed ineligible for SEC, whereas his brother was entitled to both of them. Now, is this a fair program, I ask the member?

Mr. Speaker, before I run out of time, I would like to say that I am going to move an amendment to the resolution as put forward by my friend, the Member for Torngat Mountains. It is going to be an addition. The member's statement says, `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 an activity in the prosecution of the groundfish fishery.' Mr. Speaker, I will go on and make an addition to that, and say, `Be it further resolved that all fishermen and plant workers who can demonstrate this historical attachment to the groundfish fishery be considered eligible for early retirement if they attain the age of fifty-five years while still entitled to the TAGS program.'

Mr. Speaker, that is put there for a really good reason. A lot of people out there who took part in the NCARP program -

MR. SPEAKER: I wonder if the hon. member could get a copy of that for the Table and the Chair? I would like to see it before I make a ruling on it.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, there is a very good reason for that. A lot of people who took part in the early retirement NCARP program -

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, a point of order.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: My understanding is that Your Honour has not yet ruled the amendment to be either in order or out of order, and that being so, may I suggest that the debate cannot carry on, unless and until, Your Honour makes a ruling. I understood Your Honour wanted to see it, a not unreasonable proposition, in my - I would like to see a copy, too, if I may, member.

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

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, if the Speaker is so determined that he needed time to determine whether or not it was in order - but I guess on the basis of where he did not make any indication, it was only appropriate for the member to continue to speak if it is not in order, assuming it is incumbent on the Speaker to take the time to make that ruling.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is waiting for some copies of the amendment to be made, and we will recess briefly to have a look at the amendment to rule on it.

The hon. member's time has elapsed, anyway.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

On the amendment put forward by the hon. the Member for Bonavista South, the Chair has considered the addition to the original motion and finds the amendment the hon. member made is in order. It meets all the requirements of amendments, and I guess it makes it perhaps more acceptable to all members of the House.

The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise this afternoon to support the resolution as put forward by the Member for Torngat Mountains. I think the resolution is very timely and I think it speaks to a problem that not only, I say to him, concerns fishermen in Labrador, but concerns fishermen throughout the Province as well.

I want, in particular, to speak to the third and the fourth `whereases':

"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 for 30-40 or 50 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 an historical attachment" - and I think those are the important words - "to, and activity in, the prosecution of the groundfish fishery."

Of course, the problem that the Member for Torngat Mountains has with this are two years basically in the history of the fishery in this Province, and the two years are 1990 and 1991. Before I go into that though, let me say that in the same way as I praised John Crosbie and as I called him and told him, even though I was out of politics, that I thought we were lucky to have him in Ottawa pursuing this problem for us; in the same way as I despised what happened to him - I believe it was at the Delta Hotel; I think we are also very lucky to have Brian Tobin in the fisheries portfolio under the present government.

I think the problem is that John Crosbie took the Federal Government of the day farther than they wished to go at that time. I think he pushed, and because of his position, was able to get us at least something for the Newfoundland fishermen and fish plant workers, or fishers, I should say. Brian Tobin, I suspect, finds himself in the same kind of position. I also want, by the way, to say that in dealing with individual cases, I want to praise Brian Tobin's office staff at the regional level, in particular, Max Short, Jim Flight, and a former employee of John Crosbie, Rosalind Walsh. They are very sensitive people, and I say to you that we are very lucky to have them in the position that they are in.

This afternoon the provincial Minister of Employment and Labour Relations announced an early retirement program for the fishers and fish plant workers in this Province. We heard him announce that he was going to spend $30 million. Just how much money has this program cost the Province? I say to him that I laud what he has done today and I think he has done a marvellous job to even find that $30 million. Besides that, this government is going to put in place another $20 million for an economic diversification program for fisheries. I believe, if memory serves me correctly, that under the old NCARP retirement fisheries program it spent something like $27 million. So, in actual fact, the Provincial Government has discharged its responsibilities very well, in that it has spent some $80 million to deal with this crisis. And God knows how much more it has had to deal with in make-work programs as a result of no fish being around. But that is direct expenditure.

I fully agree with most of the things that the Member for Bonavista South said. I fully agree with what the Member for Torngat Mountains said that because you didn't fish a particular year, because you didn't fish a particular two years, in this case, 1990-1991, many people who have done nothing else in their lives have been cut off the TAGS Program. It is the biggest shambles. The TAGS Program, I believe, is the biggest shambles that we have seen in a long, long time in terms of helping people who should be eligible.

But, Mr. Speaker, I find it is part of a bigger problem. The TAGS Program, to me, is a prime example of the unwillingness of the Federal Government to pay for damages - and I don't care whether it is Federal-Liberal or Federal-P.C - it is the central government, central bureaucracy, central politicians, who are refusing to pay for the damages, who are refusing to accept the responsibility, their responsibility, the responsibility of the central government, for the damages that they have done to an environment, to an ecological system - fish stocks are part of that ecological system. They destroyed it, and in the process, they have allowed a way of life in this Province to be destroyed as well, and they should pay for it.

In the same way, I say to the Member for Baie Verte, if I go out this evening and beat up his car, burn down his house or destroy his land, I am held responsible, at least partially responsible, for my share of it. I am held responsible for my share of the damage that I did to his place. And I think the Provincial Government has paid for its share, but I think the problem is that central Canada is unwilling to pay for its share. And, Mr. Speaker, make no mistake, let us not make any mistake in this Province today, that the people who are responsible for the fact that Fogo Island is being resettled, the North East Coast is being resettled, that most of rural Newfoundland is being resettled, the people who are primarily responsible for that are, fisheries, federal fisheries bureaucrats - make no mistake about that - part of that central government in Ottawa.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: I say to my friend, the Member for Ferryland, that the former federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in this Province - I said it to him earlier - I believe, fought the good fight and I believe he did very well.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Oh, I am not talking about the damage. The damage was done, I say to him, by big fish companies and by politicians who wanted more; it is called human greed. But there is another serious problem in this country, and it is at the federal level.

There is a belief, Mr. Speaker, that our debt or deficits and our debt which is our accumulated deficits, are being caused by poor people and the working people. And there is also another belief that - You can see it in The Evening Telegram, too, if you want to look. If you look in The Evening Telegram, once in a while you will see an editorial which says that Newfoundlanders are somehow lazy because they are on unemployment insurance. You will see that the Globe and Mail says the same kinds of things, and I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that that's part of the problem that John Crosbie and Brian Tobin are experiencing in this situation.

It is the big lie, Mr. Speaker, it is the big lie. The person who is unemployed today on Fogo Island, the person who is unemployed today in Musgrave Harbour, the person who lost TAGS, a Mr. Abbott in Musgrave Harbour, his name sits in a file on my desk, who fished for forty-five years, and because of an accident, was out of the fishery in 1991, is not responsible for the debt of this country, is not responsible for what has happened to this country.

The Royal Bank of Canada last year - my friend, the Member for Pleasantville, put out a news release yesterday, very informative, in which he pointed out that it is really corporations in this country are making record profits. The Royal Bank of Canada, last year, made a profit of $1.8 billion. The six chartered banks in this country, last year, made profits of $4.5 billion, and somehow or another, this country can't afford to pay for the destruction of outport Newfoundland? What a joke! It is the big lie. If you tell it often enough, somebody will believe you.

Mr. Speaker, my ancestors - and I suspect most of the people in this House - lived in this Province and fished here for hundreds of years. Mr. Speaker, let me say this, that times are hard, sometimes, but my parents and my ancestors never ever had to go to a government for what my father called `the dole', never ever, but I am not sure today - now, Mr. Speaker, if you take away unemployment insurance and if you take away such things as the TAGS program that the people, the same kinds of people who still live in Fogo, would not have to go for the dole or starve to death and all because, Mr. Speaker, some scientist and maybe as the Member for Ferryland says, some politician, said we must have a bit more fish. To satisfy whom? Maybe to satisfy the weak farmer on the prairies, maybe to satisfy somebody who was going to give them a donation to get elected, some big fish company, maybe.

Mr. Speaker, there is a right wing agenda in this country. Well, it is gradually going to the top, and we are paying the price for it. It is numbers, I say to members in this House, that count in the case of the fishery. There is a determination by federal fisheries bureaucrats, the same crew who destroyed our fish stocks, destroyed that system, there is a determination by them that in five years they are going to reduce the number of people involved in the fishery, in Atlantic Canada, to 6,700 people. That is the number, and there is a group of fish companies in Atlantic Canada who would love nothing better than to see seven or eight major growth centres in this Province with the rest of the communities resettled either close or into them.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the result is resettlement, no odds how you look at it. You can't look at it in any other way. The worst, Mr. Speaker, is the tremendous hardship, that people that you have known all your life - I just picked out five or six files; I can't name the individuals, I wish I could, but I just picked out, this afternoon, five or six files that I have had to deal with. I have dealt with hundreds in the last two years, I don't know why. It is really a federal problem, but it is a people problem so you have to deal with it. This gentleman here, as I said to you, spent forty-five years fishing and he spent forty-five years fishing. Don't anybody doubt - I wish I could use his name, but I never got a chance to call him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your time is up.

MR. TULK: One minute.


MR. TULK: This woman from Seldom, because she is a woman somebody said she doesn't go on a boat. This fellow here lost an income because somebody said the groundfish plant that you sold your fish - that you collected out of 2J, 3KL fish, is not a designated plant, and on it goes, Mr. Speaker. Who is this guy - this is a guy who lost a boat and the next year couldn't - lost his boat in 1990, I say to the Member for Torngat Mountains, and in 1991 could not find a berth with another fishing boat, no longer eligible for TAGS, and on it goes.

Now, the appeal process: yes, we went to Ottawa; and yes, Brian Tobin put in place the appeal process. I say to the Member for Bonavista South, I am not going to make any apologies to anybody for this, that the fish plant side of that committee worked fairly well - about 25 per cent of the people who appealed got through it. The fisheries committee, on the other hand, I believe as he does, that all they did was took the word of HRD, whatever the report was from HRD, and basically rubber-stamped it. I believe that is the process.

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Member for Bonavista South that there is very little wrong with his amendment, and I believe that over time this government will push for it. I say then, the Federal Government should pay, not 70 per cent of early retirement, but all of it, and if that be the case, I have no problem standing here this evening and supporting it, but I have to say also that I cannot see how a provincial government, that has already put $100 million into this one way or another, can afford to come up with the rest of the cash. I find that a bit difficult, but other than that I would have to support it.

Mr. Speaker, let me say that I support this resolution. Let me say that I believe that the TAGS program is a program of social engineering that we, in this Legislature, have to be against. I support the resolution because I think we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians - not somebody sitting in an office in Ottawa, I am not talking about a politician, I am talking about bureaucrats.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if I could, just for a minute?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. TULK: I believe that we, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, have to decide on the type of Newfoundland we want. It is we who have to decide. We haven't had that debate. I can remember the Government House Leader, I believe it was 1972, some twenty-three years ago, I can remember the Government House Leader who was then, I believe, the Leader of the Opposition, or certainly, the leader of the Liberal Party, saying that one of the discussions that will have to be held in this Province is on the type of society we want. I don't believe we have had that, but I think we are fast coming to the place where we are going to have to.

I will say one other thing, Mr. Speaker, and then I am going to sit down. I think it is time, as a Province, as a Legislature, that we hold the Federal Government - regardless of their political stripe - that we hold them responsible for the greatest ecological cultural devastation that has ever occurred in this world, pure genocide.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LUSH: This government, for example, is just about to spend $1.5 million, roughly, on a stadium for Fogo Island, something that should have been there ten or fifteen years ago. We all know that, but seriously, do you realize something? that by the time the doors open, there may not be anybody there to get on the ice. Next year, we may have to close that because there will not be enough revenue coming in to pay for the operating cost, but that is not the point. The point is that the young people are leaving Fogo Island in droves, and I say to hon. members, it has very little to do with the policy of the former government or the policy of this government. It has to do with the destruction of the resource off our coast that the Federal Government has to be held responsible for. So, Mr. Speaker, I have no trouble in supporting the resolution.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the resolution presented by the Member for Torngat Mountans, and also the amendment introduced by the Member for Bonavista South. I say to the Member for Fogo that the responsibility for this fishery rests with almost every single Newfoundlander, and bureaucrats and politicians in Ottawa, because there were people over on that side, too, that clamoured for increased quotas. Members of community councils all over this Province fought to have the fish plant keep open in their community. Let us balance nature and what it can support with the social repercussions that would occur by closing the fish plant in a community.

People fought to keep their fish plants open to balance between what nature could support, the cycle in nature, and the total allowable catch and what would be a devastating social impact on communities. We erred, not on the side of caution, I say, but on the side of destruction and a lack of long-term foresight in the fishery. That is where mistakes were made. People shouted they wanted higher quotas when we couldn't sustain them. People who were fishing twenty years ago on trawlers, and in my district, told me when I went door-to-door - I was out there back in 1992 before the moratorium, and I went to every door in the district - twenty-five year trawlermen told me: It is lit up out there. They were hauling up nets, and they could see flounder, there wasn't one longer than three inches in length and almost every mesh in the net was filled. And there were boats and factory-freezer trawlers out there.

We ignored the experts in the industry, the fisherpeople who were out there. Those are the people who got ignored there, and politicians wanted to balance the social impact. Community leaders and everybody else wanted to balance the social impact. Companies wanted to get more, and greed played an important part. And we are just as much to blame as bureaucrats and politicians in Ottawa. We are all part of the problem now and it is important that we all be part of the solution to the problem.

Now, I went to an appeal board with a person who was sixty-four years of age, who left the fishery at the age of thirteen, who spent fifty-one years of his life working. Out of those fifty-one years, he spent forty-six years in the fishery. He left for a period in the 1960s and went north, Greenland I think, for two years. He came back. He was out of the fishery in 1990 because he worked at some community project there with a council. Back in in 1991, the moratorium in 1992 - and he was in back in the late 1980s also.

That person reached sixty-five in June of this year. In December he was dropped from TAGS - didn't meet it. He went through an appeal board. With forty-six years out of fifty-one working years in the fishery, that person went on social assistance in January of this year until he reached the old age pension age of sixty-five in June of this year. I went through an NCARP appeal with that man who got approved; I went to a TAGS appeal, he got denied.

The member made reference to per cent - as of roughly a month ago only a little over 19 per cent - between 19 per cent and 20 per cent of decisions made by then, on plant workers, were successful: 110 approved, 457 rejected, denied. Of the same date, there were only thirty-one fishers approved, and 1,061 denied.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, much higher. No, I would agree. It was very close. It was a little over 19 per cent. In fact, way more. Three-tenths of 1 per cent of fishers got approved, compared to between 19 per cent or so, or 20 per cent. Which is about seventy times as many people got approved, had a chance of getting approved if you were a plant worker than a fisher. So, the statistics there certainly bear out.

I have a big problem with the system under TAGS, what happened; because I went through many TAGS appeals and NCARP. There were 200 NCARP appeals that I sat in on, and a fair number of TAGS appeals. I've noticed big differences, and one of the biggest problems arose: number one, the first step in the process, your Level I appeal that was held under NCARP was internal; Level I under HRD was internal. Well, that is a normal first step and I agree with that. What they did under NCARP was they put up an independent board of three people. Here is what they did under TAGS, which was wrong.

They appointed individual, independent people at Level II. These people, the one I dealt with, did an excellent job, here in this region. That person did an excellent job. He made recommendations, he was an independent consultant. I compliment that person. He knew the fishery. That person was a fisherperson at one time himself and is now a consultant and he did a commendable job. I'm sure he made many positive recommendations based on his knowledge of the fishery. That person had the power to make recommendations back to HRD; the same people that the Member for Bonavista South said turned him down in the first place.

What did they do, after many months? I stood in this House in May, and the Member for Eagle River said I wasn't telling the truth, and this is November, and you will see that I was telling the truth back in May, and I said: We will not know decisions on people until the end of this year. He said: No, we will know in a couple of months. What they did in May, they put in place a third level, an independent panel. Here is what happens. All the Level II appeals then got fast-routed through the Level III. If you were recommended for approval it is supposed to come up more quickly. That didn't happen. They did each region in terms of priorities. Next region, priority one, two, and the next region - as of today there are people in my district with no income since the end of December, had their case heard in February or March, and haven't heard back yet.

I told the Member for Eagle River that day, and I told this House -I think I asked a question in Question Period - I said: There are 1,800 people out there now waiting for appeal. He said: No. He checked it himself and came back the next day and came over and said to me: There are 1,782 people.

Now, that goes - I was speaking to people on statistics. I know how many are going through the system. And I said in the House back in May, it is going to be next year, probably 1996, before we know.

I have people in my district - not very many - and I have some people who are now living here in St. John's that I am waiting to be heard at Level II. Last month there were fifty who had not gone through Level I. I spoke with people in HRD, who acknowledged that and I discussed it with them, and they can't do any more than they can physically put in the time. They are not given the resources to be able to deal with these. Can you imagine somebody who has been without an income since December? somebody who probably spent, in some cases, forty years out of forty-five years of their working life in the fishery, and they don't have the courtesy to deal with them on a fast basis.

We didn't know NCARP was coming; it came fast, and they got retirement and everything dealt with in a year-and-a-half, everything dealt with in a year-and-a-half. We knew this program was coming. We knew it was coming in the fall of 1993, two years ago, and they are still only at the stage now where they are announcing a retirement program today.

The Member for Bonavista South proposed that if you turn fifty-five during the life of the program, you should qualify, and you should. If a person is fifty-four today, who is going to stay on this program for four more years, until 1999, that person will be fifty-eight. What do you do to that person at fifty-eight years of age, who you kick off the program in 1999 with no income? He will go on the social welfare lines of this Province at a full cost, at 50 per cent now; what is it going to be in the future? The Province is going to have to pick up a bigger chunk with the cutbacks under CAP.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Here is what I am going to say. I will get to that. I am saying it would cost this Province, and actuarials have shown, about twelve cents on the dollar to carry these people for the government's 30 per cent. The people who are now, as of May 15 - that is four years on the program - while you are on the program there is not a very large number of people, between fifty-five and sixty-four, I think, the minister said 1,300 to 1,400. If you are looking at people within four years, from May until 1999, assuming they are going to stay on it for four years, assuming the full amount, of which all people are not eligible, we are only going to have about one-third, 300 to 400 people who are going to be eligible to fall within this rolling age limit. Three hundred to 400 people, I say, at 30 per cent of the cost of these, is equivalent to this Province of carrying a little over 100 people on that program when they hit fifty-five until sixty-four. Work out the cost of carrying them when some at fifty-eight are going to be dropped, some at fifty-seven, a person who is only good for two years, until 1996, which everybody is, and they are not yet fifty-five - I know people who turned fifty-five in June and missed it, July - these people are going to be fifty-seven, and for eight years before they are sixty-five. Where is a fifty-seven-year-old person with a Grade IV, V or VI education, who left school at the age of thirteen, going to get employed? Let's be realistic. They are not going to get work. They are going to go on the social welfare lines of this Province. So by having the few dollars to carry them and their families through now will save dollars in the long term at a net cost of twelve cents to this Province when it is factored in.

There were actuarial reviews done under the NCARP proposal, and with age, and I was told, and informed sources told me that the Federal Government was prepared to carry these people who are going to turn fifty-five while they are still on the program, but this Province wouldn't go along with it. This Province wasn't prepared to make that sacrifice.

Now, I can see a fundamental difference in not accepting a fifty age retirement. Yes, the Province has come out on record before, and the Premier has said between fifty and fifty-five we cannot give you retirement; we didn't do it for other workers in other areas, and so on. Well, I can buy that as being a logical explanation, but I can't buy turning fifty-five and being fifty-nine, some people, fifty-eight, almost fifty-nine... I know an individual who will be almost fifty-nine a month after this program ends, who is going to be dropped from this program now without any form of income for his family.

AN HON. MEMBER: What are you saying (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I am saying we, this Province, should have gone along with having somebody who turns fifty-five while they are still eligible to receive TAGS, during the duration of benefits to be carried on the program. And I do not think that is fair - maybe the Province didn't push for the feds to pick up a portion. I can't see the feds picking up 100 per cent. Most retirement programs are on a shared basis of 70/30 on those other programs there. The Province didn't go along with it, and the feds had given express intent to go along with it and the Province did not go along with that. Now, we talk about the Member from Torngat Mountains historical attachment, I agree with the Member for Torngat Mountain. You have to look at something in its totality.

I cannot speak for other regions of the Province, I can speak for the individual who was in this region, a Mr. Melendy is his name who handled the appeals in this region, I can speak for him, the person who I dealt with who did an excellent job and understood it. He understood the industry and did a tremendous job. I don't know of other regions in the Province. His recommendation should have been final. We did not have to need three other people appointed. We did not have to wait eight more months to get a result and still waiting for results. We should have taken that gentleman's recommendation whether it was positive or whether it wasn't and accepted that recommendation because he understood the industry. He knew what it was like to own fishing gear and have a licensed boat. He knew what it is - what you do in the fall of the year when you have a bad year, when you have barely enough - not enough to qualify for UI.

What have people traditionally done in this Province? They have left to get work in the wintertime. If you fished during the summer and your wife is not working, you have three or four kids and you only made $4,000 or $5,000, maybe enough to get low UI - many people won't leave and go to work and take a job in construction. They go out of the Province and elsewhere. Because they did that, here is what happened, more than 25 per cent of their income came outside the fishery therefore they are not SEC eligible now. Therefore they are not eligible to qualify for licenses and quotas and things in the future because they were ambitious and wanted to work and raise extra money to put - not extra money, probably necessities there and that is the tradition. It has happened during the course of our history.

During the course of our history. I know my father raised twelve children. He fished his entire life. He left in November, December, he climbed poles with CN, he worked as a nets and gear instructor with the Fisheries College. He went wherever he got work involved in the wintertime and back again in the spring to pursue fishing, that he pursued for sixty years. He fished for sixty years. He retired in his seventies when he got out of the fishing boat. We had to force him out of the fishing boat and he is not the only one. There are many people around, I have seen during my life, who had big families then in Newfoundland. They had to depend on other sources of income during bad years in the fishery. Everybody knows during the dying years of the fishery in this Province, especially down off Labrador, 2J, 3K and more so then 3L, the fishery was starting to die earlier. People could not make a living from the ground fishery. They had to pursue other things, whatever job they could get and because they did that they jeopardized their entitlement as full fledged people in the fishing industry under this program and I say that is wrong.

I have one example of a person, he called me yesterday. I went to an appeal with this person just last month. He was in the fishery his entire life, sixteen years. He went on banker boats and then he came home and fished his own license for three or four years. In 1991 - because 1990 was not a good year he got a job on another boat with somebody else - he did not fish his own license in '91. He went back and he has fished it since in '92, '93, '94, '95 and was ruled ineligible for SEC. He received word yesterday, cannot get SEC. One year out of eight that he did not fish his own enterprise. He met the requirements on income, 75 per cent of your income from the fishery. One hundred percent was from the fishery and he was denied on that basis of SEC which deprives that person from opportunities in the future fishery in this Province because somebody did not look at those factors. They did not understand those factors there, people who are close to the industry and I think that is wrong.

Now this Province has a strong responsibility to at least be able to provide an income or some type of retirement for people who are fifty-five years of age or over who have worked in the fishery all their lives. That is not too much to ask, I say. If we look at the numbers of people, just to give you an indication about this process, how much money is spent on this review process? There were -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, not yet.

There were 1275 fishers up to October 10 of this year -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Now it is up, I say to the member.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I did not see my colleague. The Chair looks after me.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a couple of minutes because it is important that we get the right understanding of what is taking place in this Province. I speak from the point of view of representing, I would go so far as to say, the largest fishing district in all of Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: I understand that. The largest concentration of fishing vessels in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I'm not going to talk specifically about how a person qualifies for the TAGS on the criteria at first. I want to go back to the early 1980s, when there was an agenda set in Ottawa by the federal bureaucrats of the day to do away with the Newfoundland fishery. That is exactly how this unfolded over the years. There was a very clear agenda set.

They started that agenda, the bureaucrats, and they started it slowly, how to unfold it. The one thing that they could not do was point the finger and say: Get out of the fishing boat. The next thing they couldn't do was to legislate people out of the fishing boat. Nor could they say: We are going to force resettlement. It wasn't politically wise to do it. But if you frustrate and you confuse and you make it so difficult for people, eventually the numbers will unfold that way.

Newfoundland and Labrador is paying a price. The fishing industry and the communities along the Newfoundland and Labrador coast are paying a price for an agenda set back in the early 1980s. That is what I said when I first became an Opposition member in this House, I very clearly said on numerous occasions, as printed verbatim in Hansard, the exact words that I said: There is an agenda to do away with the Newfoundland fishery as we've known it for some 500 years.

I want to say very clearly that I support my colleague the Member for Torngat Mountains in his resolution. I support all the speakers today in what they've said about the criteria being set forth by the federal government on how a person first of all applied for NCARP. Secondly came the TAGS program. I would say that the federal government is totally responsible for everything that has happened in the fishery of Newfoundland and Labrador and the federal government should pay the total price, as they did for many other industries, as they have done on many occasions for the farming industry out in the western provinces. How many billions of dollars have they put into the farming industry when there was a crop failure or some other problem that happened in the industry? They immediately came in with the money.

AN HON. MEMBER: John. Crow, $500 million a year.

MR. EFFORD: Five hundred-plus million dollars each year for the Crow, for the freight subsidies, the grain subsidies to the farming industry. But never until the fishery failed in the Province and the federal government had to put in some monies to compensate for the loss of the fishery, which they caused to happen, did we hear them cry out about monies, and there isn't going to be enough money to do it. I don't listen to those excuses. There should be the monies to do that because they caused the problem to happen.

The criteria that you need to get into an NCARP or a TAGS program? Let me tell you about some of the things that are happening in the NCARP, the application of anybody getting in NCARP, and now the TAGS program. I can give you examples of people who have fished every single day of their working life, have drawn not a cent of income from any other thing, only the fishery, have never worked on a make-work program, have never drawn a cent of income in any manner whatsoever outside of the fishing industry, and today did not get the NCARP and cannot receive the TAGS program.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: Yes. They fished groundfish all their life. But, Mr. Speaker, when the groundfish was available, what happened was simply this. As the codfish started to decline in numbers and less became available for an individual fisherman to catch sufficient numbers enough of fish to have indeed a reasonable season for he and his crew, he diversified into other species, he had no choice but to diversify because of the over fishing on the Grand Banks and the FPIs and the National Seas caused the stocks to decline that he had to diversify. But because he diversified and because a certain year he didn't meet a certain percentage of that certain species of fish, he is not now allowed to draw on the TAGS Program. He did not choose by choice, to give up fishing that part of the fishery, he was forced to do it because of the mismanagement by the federal system of the day to cause the stocks to deplete. So it is not a matter of choice that he chose to get out of the fishery or to go into another fishery, it was forced upon him.

Now, when they call in a total moratorium, a total closure of the fishery all around the Province, he is not allowed to catch any of the groundfish stocks, he has no income so he says I will go and apply for the TAGS Program or the NCARP Program. When he applied, he was refused on the basis that in 1989 and 1990 he didn't catch any cod. Well, my God Almighty, the reason he didn't catch cod was because there was no cod to catch. There was no cod to catch so how could he catch the cod if there were none swimming in the water, that's the very reason why they called the moratorium, there was no fish, otherwise we wouldn't have a moratorium, otherwise we wouldn't have a TAGS Program, otherwise there would never have been an NCARP Program, otherwise there would never have been any reason to retrain people. The very reason why they closed it is the reason why he or she applied but yet he was refused because he didn't catch it. That doesn't make any sense.

My little, thick head cannot understand the logic except to be believe what I said in 1985, '86, '87, '88 and '89, that their agenda is simply to do away with the inshore fishery in Newfoundland as we have known it for 500 years, to allow the larger, national companies to have total control over the catching of fish, what odds about Fogo, what odds about Port de Grave, what odds about Grand Bruit, what odds about François and all those people who have lived in all those coastal communities, by choice, quite capable, quite capable, Mr. Speaker, of earning a living.

I will never forget the day I was in MacCallum, just last year, and a man and his wife who pursued the fishery all of their lives told me that the last week, the last day of the moratorium, that at the end of that week, their cheque was $1,000. They earned $1,000 from the fishery the day the federal government closed it down. They are quite capable of earning a living. Newfoundlanders are quite capable of surviving; give them a chance. As one fisherman said at a meeting in Port de Grave just recently: I don't want the TAGS, I don't want any of the programs, I don't want the retraining; I want what's rightfully my right, to go out and catch fish. That's what I know best, that's what my great grandfather, my grandfather and my father passed on to me, the knowledge and the expertise and the ability to go out and fish in the ocean that God put there when he created the world. Simply that, the right to do what I was born on this Island and what my ancestors came across from the many different countries to come to this Province to do.

What other reason would we move here? What other reason did they come here? It wasn't because of the weather, it wasn't because of all the other opportunities but it was because of the geography, the location of an Island in the Atlantic Ocean with all its vast resources, but that was caused. The failure of the fishery was caused to happen by the mismanagement of other forces outside of this Province, and they have no choice but to be totally, financially responsible to pay the cost of those people until the stocks return. All of those people, who derived a living from the fishing industry, whether they are fisherpeople or plant workers, should be paid that compensation package. Historical attachments should be maintained. Because somebody didn't catch a percentage of cod in a given year should not be a factor in it because the stocks were not there to catch, very simple. Very simple, Mr. Speaker.

How do you get before a people? I agree with what the hon. members are saying. There is nothing more confusing to an individual in this world today, in this Province today, when he or she has a problem and have nobody to present his problem to, only a piece of machinery; or sit down and write a letter. I do not agree with the process. I think an individual should have a chance to go and present his or her case but if the decisions are already made on the criteria before you go to an appeal, what is the purpose of having an appeal anyway? The criteria is already set. People who did not demonstrate or catch a certain percentage of fish, they don't think about the fact that there were no fish there to catch, just because they did not catch a certain percentage of fish in a given number of years, then they were not allowed to receive programs.

I tell you, it is worth our while sometimes to sit down and listen to people who have been involved in the fishing industry the whole of their life; they know nothing else. You can name them, and I can name them, real, honest, what we call the real experts in the fishing industry.

AN HON. MEMBER: The salt of the earth.

MR. EFFORD: The salt of the earth, and today they are not allowed to receive money because they went out and caught another fish. They did not want to sit down and do nothing. They did not want to go on welfare. They wanted to go and explore other fisheries. They did that.

I will give you an example. People from Port de Grave today, as we are here talking, are out 300 miles on the Grand Banks in the sixty-four foot, eleven-and-a-half inch boat, catching sword fish, catching shark, catching monk fish, catching skate, because they are industrious people. All they are asking for is to be given the opportunity and the ability to go out and do what they know best.

Can you imagine taking a friend of mine, who I went to school with - he dropped out of school and went into the fishing industry, a Grade IV or Grade V education. He spent two months last winter being retrained into the computerization program. He cannot even read his own name, but he had to spend two months - he was told: You have to spend two months going and taking and learning how to operate computers, a person who will never do anything in his life except fish. He knows nothing else, and at fifty-one or fifty-two years old, what is the point of retraining? What are you going to retrain him for? It doesn't make any sense, but the agenda is near completion. The agenda of Ottawa is near completion, and discouraging and getting several thousand people out of the fishery, the scheme is in full flight, the scheme is in high gear, and it is now near completion. And what they have set out to do is what they are accomplishing and we, as a Province, must hold the federal government totally responsible for the lives that are being destroyed through the mismanagement they have done all through the years. It must not be allowed to be shoved off as the responsibility of the government of this Province, or the responsibility of the people of this Province. We have to stand collectively together, and we have to send a message, but unfortunately the question I ask is: Who is listening? In Ottawa, who really cares what happens to Twillingate, what happens to Blow Me Down, what happens to Fogo, what happens to Grand Bruit, what happens to all of those other little communities? Who really cares?

Mr. Speaker, what has happened to this Province over the last ten or fifteen years - five years - will never be forgotten in history. It will be repeated over and over again as my colleague, the Member for Fogo said. There is no excuse for allowing it to happen. There is no excuse for the devastation that is being put on people's lives, for a way of life that started here some 550 years ago. It is total destruction of a tradition, a way of life, a culture, and everything, and we are guilty for allowing it to happen.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. CAREEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am delighted to be able to get up to support the resolution as put forward by the Member for Torngat Mountains, and the amendment that was put forward by my friend from Bonavista South - two good men, two different parts of the Province.

It was nice to hear the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation show a bit of emotion, because everybody else in this Province is going to be subject to some of the decisions that were made by him. He was talking about us as being human, while he wants to make robots out of his own department, machinery. Probably he will take all of the operators out of her yet and he will have them operated by robots.

MR. EFFORD: For the love of God, sit down boy.

MR. CAREEN: Anyway, that was you, you were going on for years, but where is the fight? You are the government. The federal government at one time offered to lower the retirement age down to fifty but who turned it down? Did they not talk about turning it down to fifty? It was the Province that did not bother to buy into fifty. What were all the reasons?


MR. CAREEN: Money, that is the big reason, and I have to concur with the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation about Ottawa and the bureaucrats. It is an old story but you have to keep on harping, and harping, and harping. The only reason they probably wanted us in Canada was because they wanted Labrador, a big reason, they wanted the resources of Labrador. We have 2 per cent of the population. It is an orphan's fight and always has been with Ottawa. You can all imagine what an orphan's fight is at a table trying to get a few crumbs.

Our fish, we all know, have been bargained off by different federal governments, for wheat out of Saskatchewan and manufactured goods out of Ontario. They say we are a drag on the system. They give us unemployment while they maintain their big structures in the province of Quebec and Ontario, tens of thousands of working bureaucrats, and they give us unemployment.

We have heard before about license buy back and the people who were eligible were the people who were already geared up to retire. People had put in what they figured was a good price, a fair price, to be bought out and they never even touched them. We hear today about the retirement but it is not going to affect other people who have come of age before the end of the program, other people that will become of age before the program runs out in 1999. They are going to be left out in the cold. We were told that on the 70/30 federal/provincial retirement it could cost about twelve cents on the dollar instead of thirty cents because right now on social services you pay 50/50 on every dollar and with the cutbacks coming from Ottawa we are told that next year we are going to be paying dollar for dollar here so would it not be cheaper for us to adopt the 30 per cent now?

This Bally Rou Place that other members have echoed. Are we going to see ghostly trios, ghostly boards that people cannot to? It was this provincial government that threw out the Ombudsman because hundreds of people in this Province cannot get to Level three TAGS to find out who they are. The Ombudsperson, to be politically correct, could be a person who people could go to. Still and all we are here bawling and wailing at ourselves, but there is also a great plot, and I must add to what the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation said, I always thought it was a great plot to have Newfoundlanders fight with Newfoundlanders, inshore and offshore, but also with those UIC changes.

Some people on TAGS are saying that other people should not be on TAGS, and other people of long standing cannot get on it. I know a man from Ship Harbour, Placentia Bay who fished for thirty-five years and because he had some stuff stolen one year and did not have the money to replace it so it took him two years to get back into the fishery adequately, and after thirty-five years he cannot get TAGS.

Another man down in Southern Harbour, twenty-seven years fishing. The fish was scarce, the boat he was on he was laid off. Got some of his stamps through the land, and some of them... and he's not eligible. It is wrong. I mean, they never looked at the historical attachment for a lot of these people in the fishery. Who do we get at? Each other here?

I got a quick list here in the District of Placentia next spring. From Southern Harbour through to Point Verde there are some sixty-one people who are going to be dropped off TAGS next spring. How many of these people could be eligible to retire tomorrow, or since May 15, I say to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations? Right?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: We don't know. I can guess at a couple of them. If this was a rolling program where more people could be eligible. It is a shame that anybody can't be eligible when they should be eligible. I think that with the $0.30 on the dollar, and what is coming, what is looming out after - and I know the ministers know better than me, as an Opposition member, some of the stuff that we are about to face. Because we are going to be 50-50 on social services next year and the year after with more transfer cuts. Could be a dollar. Our dollar and nobody else's dollar. So wouldn't it be cheaper for us to go 70-30 now, I say to the minister?

I was asked by the Member for Port de Grave, the fishing district - I have fishermen in Placentia too, and Southern Harbour right on through - but I will bow down to the member for the Western.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This has to be an issue I suppose that is one of the most frustrating issues we as members of the House of Assembly have dealt with. I know in my six years, hon. members who've been here over that period of time will remember me standing time and time again raising the issue of fishermen and plant workers in the District of LaPoile, and the treatment of these fishermen and plant workers by the federal government in, first and foremost, denying the NCARP to our area of the Coast. It was not an NCARP area, initially. Also, to look at the individuals who are now discriminated against because of the application of the criteria for this TAGS program.

These individuals are of course part of the reason for the Province's existence, the fishermen and ultimately the plant workers. Who do we blame? If we look at the amount of money that was committed, there was a large amount of money that was committed to the program. It was the amount of money that the Government of Canada and the political leaders - Brian Tobin and others - thought was the amount required. Somewhere in the overall mix there was an ineptitude, because the officials didn't have a handle on the number of people who were involved in the fishery. Therefore now we have to deal with a situation where - it is a sadness, I suppose. Because the political climate of this country currently with the agenda that we have at this moment, the neo-conservative rise, the popularity of the right-wing side of things, that is now preventing us from having any adjustment made even if the adjustment should be made.

Brian Tobin and others in the Government of Canada have their hands tied because of the financial situation that we've ended up in. If we look at it, this constraint shouldn't prevent a fairness in the application of the policy to benefit the full-time fish plant workers and the full-time fishermen who are involved in the prosecution of the fisheries.

The other thing that I would like to point out is that we have tried our best here, as a government, and certainly I know that the others here in the House have done things to support their members, the constituents in their district, and certainly we have tried our best, and hopefully we will be able to go further.

It seems that in cases there are people on the program who probably should not be there, and there seems to be almost like, one would call it a silence; sometimes it is referred to as a conspiracy of silence. No one wants someone who is receiving the benefits to be taken off the program, because these people are going to have the hardship of having to pay back the monies if, in fact, they were not entitled to receive them in the first place, but nobody in the community wants to deny someone who was participating in the fishery the benefits that they are being given, even though they may not meet the criteria, but because of some reason or other, there was some interference with the program, or because a person kicked up a fuss in the media and they got put on to the program, and there have been items that have been discovered. I have found out, during this process of examination, and the appeals process, and the independent review committee, they have discovered some that they have had no choice but to deregister from the program.

Certainly these are things that we have to take into account, and no one wants to go out on a witch hunt looking for people who are not eligible, but if they are not eligible, and that is part of the reason why some people who are genuine fishermen and plant workers, who have perpetrated their living over the years in the fishery, certainly we should see to it that this situation is rectified in a fair manner, to do it the right way.

There are a couple of other things I did want to mention. Of course, we have to look at what happens next. If this is the ultimate political statement for these people who are denied benefits, then what do we do if this gets them nowhere? I would suggest that there should be an effort then made to go through the court system to allow them to have the right to take the issue to court. Now maybe this would work, maybe it would not, but in the past if people were being discriminated against they could take an issue like this where they were discriminated against, using the rationale that was provided for the whole thing in the beginning, and see if the courts could help us settle the problem. It may be no settlement at all because of no money left in the system, but it is the kind of thing that we have to look at.

There is discrimination, of course, that is proper discrimination. When a criteria evolves for an issue such as the application of the TAGS criteria, it is done for a reason. It is not to try to fit a certain number of people into a program. It is to try to say, these are legitimate people who have a legitimate claim for income replacement because of their displacement from the fishery. That is the reason why these people should be afforded benefits.

Now I would support the main motion, but I would suggest that the amendment put forward by the Opposition is inappropriate at this time and certainly would be seeking to defeat the hon. member's main resolution.

That is pretty well it. The District of LaPoile certainly has suffered. We have had a lot of reversals as a result of the independent review panel, but there are many people - and I did not bring the actual files down - whose cases I have worked on, who have had no benefit from the TAGS program, and these people could certainly use the understanding of a very small change that would allow them to qualify. Now if we have to come up with the monies necessary to do this, these monies could be found in the overall TAGS program.

I think the union has done quite handsomely out of the system, and they do not seem to be the ones picking up for these individuals. You see an uprising; I heard on the Open Line earlier this morning people feeling that the union has not represented them well. It is not for me to say one way or the other, but there certainly is a feeling out there in people who have been denied benefits, that they should have the representation of their union and their political leaders here in the Province to continue on with this fight.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will yield to the hon. Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the Member for LaPoile giving me a few minutes just to make a few comments on this, and I want to commend the Member for Torngat Mountains for putting forward the resolution. I think it is timely but perhaps it should have been done a long time ago.

Mr. Speaker, as far as this particular issue goes, I guess it is dear to a lot of people who were just elected in the last election because the truth is, I cut my eye teeth on the NCARP Program. Before I even ran, the situation with NCARP had arisen and, of course, I know all members in the House were inundated with calls and visits from people who were trying to figure out what was happening with the NCARP and eligibility and the criteria and so on.

Of course, like one of the members mentioned earlier in the debate, NCARP was done hastily and of course, from the beating of the doors down at the Delta until it was put in place, Mr. Speaker, there were a lot of problems with it and there is no doubt about that, but what we all have to realize, Mr. Speaker, the Member for LaPoile also made mentioned that hands are tied in Ottawa, but I don't think hands should be tied. There has to be priority and the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation said it also, that this is something that happened that was a disaster to this Province and could be put squarely on the shoulders of anybody who was in Ottawa, no matter what political stripe they were, but the government of the day, I believe, Mr. Speaker, that anyone of the members in this House, and any Newfoundlander and Labradorian and as a matter of fact, any Canadian I say, should support any compensation that can be bestowed on people in this Province who were directly affected by this crisis in the fishery.

All of us, not just as politicians but as individuals and as Canadians and, Mr. Speaker, we should not be ashamed to go to Ottawa to make sure that we are compensated properly and that's what we all have to do as politicians in this Province, is to make sure that that message is sent loud and clear and, no, Mr. Speaker, I don't agree with the Member for LaPoile's statement that their hands are tied. Yes, we have restraints in the country, yes we have deficit problems, we have it in the Province, we have it in the country, but this, Mr. Speaker, these are people who made a living in this Province with a right that they had to fish to make a living.

It wasn't their fault but it seems that all of a sudden, we have to feel embarrassed or some of them had to feel embarrassed to go to look for their compensation because of this. Mr. Speaker, what had happened, we had fishermen turned on other fishermen and I have known many, many cases, Mr. Speaker, one case in particular I will mention. The minister mentioned some specific ones but the one I remember is the grandfather, fished all his life but because of technicalities and cracks in the system he couldn't receive the TAGS, meanwhile, his grandson who happened to fish for the right, proper three summers or four summers, was on the TAGS Program and here was his grandfather who fished all his life was off that. Those were the types of things that were happening around this Province.

Another one that I remember, and those are the two cases in particular. Another one is a man who fished for twenty-seven years in a small community in my district, in Purbeck's Cove, twenty-seven years but never drew unemployment insurance, Mr. Speaker, never drew unemployment insurance in his life. I always remember his answer to me, he said: I didn't draw unemployment insurance because I thought I could make it without it. So, Mr. Speaker, he was doing the government a favour by not drawing UI and because of that technicality, this man got mixed up in a process and was delayed but finally, I think it was corrected later down the road.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I think the point was well taken here today that this was a situation that arose in this Province through simple mismanagement. Mismanagement by our federal government, the government of the days and we know who reaped the benefits. It wasn't Newfoundlanders, Mr. Speaker, it was the big corporate companies, that's who reaped the benefits, dragging the ocean and ruining this resource, and that's why we should not only not feel ashamed, but we should feel proud when we go to ask for help on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who gave their lives to fishing, we should feel proud to be able to go up to our members in Ottawa and our own representatives from Newfoundland, our seven MPs and proudly say that we deserve the proper compensation for these people who put their lives into fishing. That is what we have to remember and, Mr. Speaker, the Member for Fogo, I think mentioned about resettlement in this Province.

There is no doubt about that, Mr. Speaker, especially those of us who have rural districts. I was in my district again this weekend and as people watched the episode on television the last few days on resettlement; that's not directed and edited for television, that's the real world. That's exactly like what it is out there. People who lived in these rural communities, who owned their homes, raised their families with dignity and want to continue living in those parts of the Province, Mr. Speaker, but they can't now, because of the crisis with this particular resource.

So, Mr. Speaker, that's the real shame that we have in front of us and that's why each and every one of us, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as politicians, as citizens, as Canadians, should be proud to go to the federal government in this country and say that we deserve every possible right as far as compensation goes. That is why we have to support the fishermen and fisherwomen of this Province, the people who worked in the fishing industry, wholeheartedly and be proud to support them. That is why we as a government in this Province - it is incumbent on us that we pressure as much as possible, and I ask the Premier and the Cabinet and the government of the day here in this Province, to make sure the message is brought loud and clear that this crisis was brought on through mismanagement over the years. We have to make sure the message is loud and clear to our federal counterparts that we are not up there being embarrassed - we are not looking for hand-outs. It is not a hand-out, it is a right, as Canadians in this country, that a resource was destroyed by mismanagement. That is why we should feel proud when we go ask for that.

So, just a few words on that. Because my district is a very big part of this resource with twenty-one communities and the big plants in La Scie and down in Fleur de Lys and those areas. A lot of people in my area know the effect of this. They depend on TAGS now and they are looking forward to retirement if they can retire. People who put their lives into this, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.

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

MR. WILLIAM ANDERSEN III: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In closing off this debate today I would first like to state my opposition to the Member for Bonavista South's amendment to this motion, for two reasons.

Number one, this motion was presented to try and encourage this hon. House to help push the federal government to recognize fishermen and fisherwomen, plant workers, who have been left out of the NCARP and the TAGS program up to date, ever since its birth some four or five years back. Number two, my understanding of the announcement today by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations is that this new program applies to this year only, and perhaps it will be considered in other years coming.

Even though I am calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the hon. House of Assembly to recognize the people in my district as citizens of this Province and to support that, I cannot agree that these people should be the responsibility of the Province itself. It was the federal government which destroyed the industry and caused the situation that the fishery is in now.

I would like to, in my closing remarks, make a few other observations that I think are not considered. Even though they may not have direct relation to this debate itself, it certainly has direct relationship to the fact that it is tougher to get recognized when you are in an isolated area as opposed to the urban centres.

A few examples I will give are: for example, the teachers in Labrador. They work under the same agreement as teachers in the City of St. John's. If a teacher wants to upgrade his or her teaching skills he or she doesn't get any more support than a teacher in St. John's does. Even though it would cost him or her, just on a ticket from Nain to St. John's, $1,000 extra. He or she don't get that kind of support to upgrade his or her skills. It goes right across the board in Labrador in my district.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, that I would like to bring out is the salmon license buy-back. I have represented a few constituents in the appeal process and last year I was successful in one appeal on behalf of a constituent who happened to take ill at the time he was fishing and to save his life, he lost both legs. It took us two years to make that appeal, Mr. Speaker, and federal fisheries said and agreed that the appeal was correct and it was their mistake, but to date that fisherman has not been compensated for the loss of his salmon license. How can, on one hand, the Federal Government say: Okay, you are right, you deserve compensation, but on the other hand, say to that man: We are sorry, we don't have any more money and we can't pay you? Where is that commitment, Mr. Speaker?

I am also told, Mr. Speaker, and know that since NCARP and TAGS were introduced, there have been probably in excess of $85 million spent on payments, retraining, and buying seats from community colleges and training institutions for TAGS recipients. It is rather sad to say that from my district we probably might have gotten, at best, $100,000 worth of that. If $1 million had been spent in my district, the needs would probably have been met and the people of that district would feel much more like a part of this Province than they do right now.

Without belabouring the point, Mr. Speaker, I would like to also make a few comments on a statement I heard earlier this year in Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Labrador, by the hon. Brian Tobin, federal Minister of Fisheries. He talked about what a proud Labradorian he is, and I say, I am proud that he is a Labradorian. He grew up in Labrador. But it is rather sad to see, and have to stand up in this House and state, that I have for two years made efforts and representations to Mr. Tobin on behalf of my constituents who are involved in the fisheries, to try to get them recognition under these programs. It is very hard, especially with a fellow-politician, to say today: `Brian Tobin, you have turned your back on us.' Because this basically is what happened in Labrador. How can an individual publicly state that he is a proud Labradorian, on one hand, and on the other hand, say, `Sorry, we can't recognize you'? I have to question, is it because the majority of the people in the district are aboriginal people, or is it because they are so isolated?

Another example, Mr. Speaker, and this was a very sad situation - just a few days ago, three Newfoundlanders lost their lives near Nain, two of whom happened to be from one of the communities in the district of my colleague from the Southern Shore area. But the news coverage, Mr. Speaker, spoke of near Voisey's Bay and yet the accident happened near a community that is nearly 300 years old. Everywhere you go, the only recognition of my district, as I see it today, is Voisey's Bay, not the communities of Nain, Davis Inlet, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik or Rigolet. Those communities south of Nain, I have not heard those communities mentioned other than by myself. They deserve just as much recognition as Voisey's Bay or Nain does. I would hope that, Mr. Speaker, I will have the support of this hon. House in calling upon all levels of government to do that. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Is the House ready for the question?

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

All in favour of the amendment, please say, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those opposed, `nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion, the `nays' have it. I declare the amendment lost.

Is it the pleasure of the House now to adopt the motion?

Those in favour of the motion, please say, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those opposed, `nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion, the `ayes' have it. I declare the motion carried.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I say to my friend, the Member for Grand Bank, that he is indeed a weak naysayer and he says `nay' weakly daily or he daily says `nay' weakly. Let Hansard figure that one out.

Your Honour, that is the end of the day's business. I know members are anxious to keep on, but they will have to resist the temptation. Tomorrow, we will continue with the enlightening and illuminating debate on, I forget which - was it a pension amendment bill that my friend, the Minister of Finance, innocently brought in here and walked into a buzz-saw of unreasoning, irrational and altogether quite unobjectionable and ineffective comment from the other side.

MR. DECKER: You have six minutes left.

MR. ROBERTS: My friend, the Minister of Education, wants me to use six minutes but I will resist his temptation.

Your Honour, we will be doing that tomorrow. Perhaps the gentleman, the Member for Grand Bank and I could put our heads together -

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Twenty-nine and then twenty-five. Let's look at today's Order Paper to make sure of the right one. It will be Bill No. 29, which is Order No. 20. We will then do Bill No. 25, which is Order 22, and should we be so fortunate as to get through those we will do Motions 1, 2 and 4. Then, before that happy moment comes, my friend, the Member for Grand Bank and I shall have consulted with each other as to where we go on Friday. He has his view where I should go, and I have my view where he should go.

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

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