November 22, 1995           HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS         Vol. XLII  No. 60

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

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

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, may I first of all thank my friend from Humber Valley in his kindness in letting me use his copy of the statement I am about to make because mine became misplaced. If ever there was the wisdom of the practice we follow of giving members opposite a few minutes advance notice of statements here it is.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kevin Smith died early Saturday morning, November 18, while being held in custody at the St. John's lock-up. Two investigations are now underway into the circumstances of his death. The first is being conducted by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary: the second is being carried out by my officials, and in particular the adult corrections officials directly responsible for the operation of the lock-up. The investigations are separate and apart from each other, and are being conducted independently.

Any announcement of the outcome of the RNC investigation will be made by its representatives, in the usual way. I shall inform the House, and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, of the results of the investigation which is being carried out by my officials as soon as I'm in a position to make a public statement. All that I can say about the internal investigation at this time is that the two correctional officers who were on duty at the lock-up at the time that Mr. Smith was taken into custody have been reassigned to other duties in another correctional facility pending the outcome of the investigations.

I can inform the House, too, that there will be a judicial inquiry into the circumstances of Mr. Smith's death. The Director of Public Prosecutions will initiate the inquiry process at the appropriate time, by making a request to the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court that a judge be appointed to conduct the inquiry. I shall make the judge's report public in the usual way, of course.

Thank you, Sir.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There has been some questions since last weekend concerning this tragedy that happened last weekend at the lock-up here in St. John's and there have been some questions asked since that. I have asked a couple of times the minister some questions in the House on it. One of the things that I find in the minister's statement today is that usually, looking back on some of the cases that I have seen in the last number of years, usually a judicial inquiry is something that is not held until after the police investigation, whether it is RNC, RCMP or what have you. There are two separate investigations here, really. There is one by the RNC and the other by the corrections officials at the lock-up who are responsible really, for the operation of the lock-up.

Those two investigations are not finished but yet the minister is going ahead with a judicial enquiry. That tells me, Mr. Speaker, that there is something really suspect in this particular case. I'm glad to see that the minister is, before those investigations are finished, making sure that there is going to be a judicial enquiry into this matter. I say to the minister that it is a step in the right direction.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WOODFORD: However, we will have to remain -

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. WOODFORD: However, Mr. Speaker, just to conclude, the minister also said in his statement that he will make public the two investigations by the other departments, the RNC and the corrections officials. That will shed some more light on why we need a judicial enquiry into this particular matter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to inform the hon. members that November 19-25 is Drug Awareness Week in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout the rest of Canada. Drug Awareness Week is a national event organized to create awareness about alcohol and other drugs.

Our provincial theme this year is: F.A.C.T., Families and Communities Together. This theme emphasizes the importance of both the family and the community working together to prevent alcohol and drug abuse through the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices.

Throughout the week various seminars, workshops and other activities are planned in schools, community organizations, as well as in various workplaces, to heighten awareness of some of the issues surrounding alcohol and other drugs. As parents, family members, friends, educators and members of the community, each of us has a role to play in terms of promoting a strong drug prevention message. Many of the initiatives planned for this week emphasize prevention and include involvement with youth groups, school activities and information sessions for parents and teachers.

Throughout the year the staff of Drug Dependency Services within Community Health offers many programs and services in areas such as Allied Youth, peer leadership and education and parent education so that young people may make more informed decisions about alcohol and other drugs. Staff also provide counselling services for families that are directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse in addition to providing treatment services for those with alcohol and drug dependencies. These programs help of course to improve communications between families and build support mechanisms in the community.

Abuse of alcohol and other drugs is a concern that affects all of us. As members of the community, I urge everyone to become involved in the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse and in the promotion of healthy choices.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Drug Awareness Week Committee and the various community and youth groups that have worked with the committee in organizing Drug Awareness Week activities. I ask hon. members to join me in offering support for a week of successful and informative activities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Certainly it is commendable to have a national Drug Awareness Week and to focus upon some of the major problems out in our society today. This government collected $76 million last year in taxes from the Liquor Corporation and another $66.5 million in tobacco for a total of $142,500,000 collected in alcohol and tobacco tax in this Province, and when you look at the Budget, just in prevention and promotion alone, we see a measly $442,500 spent last year on prevention promotion and the Budget was $463,000. They decided this year to allocate less in the Budget again, another decline of $13,000 to $429,600 when we take in taxes of $142 million. I do not think it balances.

When you look at it overall, in community health services last year with a total Budget that includes drug dependency which is only one of many, many items in this area of $10.6 million spent when they budgeted $20 million. In other words $10 million that was budgeted was not spent to take care of numerous areas in community health services. If you look at the long list that is there drug dependency is only one small area of many, including prenatal, postnatal, child health clinics, school health programs, disease control, education promotion, speech pathology, continuing care, a whole host of these, when we spend only in the thousands of dollars a year in this Province for alcohol and drug prevention when we take in $142.5 million, I think it is criminal and is not going to solve the problem in the long-term.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Could I just have leave to finish, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: I think we have to look at the long-term cure for illness and disease prevention here in this Province and it can only be done by advancing more monies and forces in this particular area, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Before I call Oral Questions, I would like to welcome to the gallery, on behalf of all members, thirty-five Canadian Law, Democracy and Co-op Education students from Holy Trinity High School in Heart's Content, from the District of Trinity - Bay de Verde.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Along with their instructors, Maureen Robinson, Fred Driscoll, and the bus driver, Jude St. George.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have questions for the Minister of Finance, but once again he is either late or absent. In the absence of the Minister of Finance, I will address questions to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Mr. Speaker, news broke outside the House that the government is making radical changes in its capital works program for this year, news of yet another desperation move to compensate for an incomplete and inaccurate March Budget. Will the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation tell the House the status of his capital works program for the year, and in particular, will he tell us the status of the Philip Place office conversion?

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me tell the hon. the Leader of the Opposition first that this news did not break yesterday. This decision that was talked about on the news media today and yesterday was made when the Minister of Finance made his announcement that the government had a $60 million deficit to deal with. I then made the decision there would be no point going on and spending further money, and making that deficit larger, until the Minister of Finance had the opportunity to revisit and look at the financial situation of the Province.

Secondly, it is not a result of inaccurate or incomplete budgetary decisions last year. It is a result of seventeen years of mismanagement by the former government which put us $7 billion in debt, and we now pay out almost $600 million a year in interest. We are trying to get the finances of the Province in order.

The third part of the question: What is the status of Prince Philip Place? That is continuing on. The contract is let; we cannot stop it. If we did, it would cost the government just as much money, the taxpayers just as much money. That will be completed next year.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The other day, I asked the Premier why he spent $26 million this summer that was not authorized in the March Budget. He couldn't give an answer. Today, I ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation: Why are you spending mega millions of dollars to convert an office tower in St. John's, called Philip Place, for civil servants when you are supposed to be reducing the size of government in proportion to the reductions you are imposing on hospitals, schools and municipalities?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. EFFORD: Very simply, Mr. Speaker, it is a good business decision for the taxpayers of this Province - a very good decision. It is too bad the former Administration hadn't made some of these decisions, because one of the buildings owned by a minister of the former government, from which we are now taking people out of Natural Resources and bringing into Philip Place, we were paying for that building $500,000 a year in rental accommodations. What is happening, in the case of Natural Resources is, the people that we are moving into Philip Place is costing the taxpayers of this Province approximately $1 million annually. The total renovations of Prince Philip Place is $6 million. Amortize that over twenty years and you are talking $20 million versus $6 million a year, a saving of $14 million to the taxpayers of this Province. We have to make the right decisions because they have made the wrong decisions for seventeen years.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Philip Place will be known in time as Efford's folly, I say to the minister. So the government is proceeding with the conversion of the Philip Place office tower for government offices.

Let me ask the Minister of Health: What is the status of the expansion of the Gander Hospital which is planned, which is well along with the foundation laid and considerable structural work done? What is the status of that major expansion of the Gander Hospital which was promised to Gander voters during the by-election campaign a couple of months ago, along with a threat that if Gander voters elected a PC candidate, the government would halt that expansion? What is the status of the expansion of the Gander Hospital?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the Gander Hospital project was announced two or three years ago and it was a project that was designed to be spread over about a five-year period in terms of its completion; that was the original plan and nothing has changed in that respect as we speak. The contracts that have been let are ongoing and will be completed. We will not be breaking contracts that will add further financial injury to the Province or delay to the project, but in terms of the completion of all capital projects, as my colleague, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation just indicated, all capital projects that have contract components that are not yet let will be reviewed in the context of the fiscal decisions that have to be made by the Minister of Finance. If there is a delay or an aborting of any particular project in the Province, I would think, including that in the health care sector, the announcement will be made at the appropriate time. But there has been no decision in that direction at the moment and I would caution the minister or anybody else not to read anything into it. It is just that we are reviewing -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The Connaigre Peninsula, I say to the hon. member -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I say, the Connaigre Peninsula project is like all -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, on a supplementary.

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary to the Minister of Health.

How can a government that cannot stick to a budget, that has been consistently, year after year, off the mark, how can a government that cannot meet a construction schedule be trusted to manage the radical changes in St. John's hospitals announced this summer?

When I asked the minister a month or so ago about his plans for the St. John's hospital consolidation, he said there were no plans. I ask him today, at the end of November: Are there plans yet? What is the estimated capital cost of enlarging the Health Sciences site and adapting the St. Clare's Hospital so that the services now housed at the Janeway, the Children's Rehab Centre and the Grace can be merged at those two sites, at the Health Sciences and St. Clare's?

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

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

I don't know whether the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has an attention deficiency problem or whether she has a short attention span or whether she has next to nil retention capacity in her mind, in her memory. That question was asked two or three times in two or three different fashions by the hon. the Member for Ferryland about a month ago.

I indicated clearly at that time in the House and to the media that we anticipate that we will have some preliminary planning to put forward around the end of this year. The Health Care Corporation of St. John's is moving forward in a timely fashion and within a schedule that we laid out on June 29 regarding restructuring, and that was to bring forward about the end of this year some preliminary plans to move from there to have the whole thing finished by the end of December 1998.

That plan is still on schedule and the end of the year is not the first of December or November, it is not the end of November. The plan and what I laid out as being the time frames in the past remain. They are the same today as they were a month ago, and they probably will be the same next week if you want to ask the question again. But we do not have anything new to add to or take away from the answer to the question that was given three weeks ago.

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

MS VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A supplementary for the Minister of Health. So the Minister of Health still can't even estimate the capital cost for the changes in St. John's hospitals. He confirms that there is still no plan but he says there is a plan for a plan. I would like to ask the Minister of Health about the status of plans for the Connaigre Peninsula health centre and the announced new hospital for the Lake Melville area.

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

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

To the Connaigre Peninsula, last year in the Budget we provided some money to start the first phase of any facility planning, and that is the programming component. The programming component for a new facility on the Connaigre Peninsula has been completed. The next stage is obviously moving to preliminary and then detailed drawings. That will happen if and when we have the money to do it.

With respect to the Melville hospital project, that is a project that is of the highest priority in terms of government. It is a project that has been well known to be needed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. L. MATTHEWS: If the hon. member would listen, he would be infinitely better off than mouthing off.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: With respect to the Melville project, if I can answer the question without distraction, the project is one of high priority with this government. Government has announced, on occasion in the past, that the hospital will be built. We will build that hospital when we have the money to pay for it, and the people of the Province are able to commit themselves, through the tax dollars, to that type of a project, and that announcement will take place when we arrive at a decision as to what point we can commence construction of that hospital.

It is not on hold in the sense that it is being revisited in terms of the need. The need is clearly evident. The need is there, and the project will be done as soon as we can afford to do it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Health.

I ask the minister: Does he agree with the decision of the Health Care Corporation of St. John's to get into the fast-food business by buying a Tim Horton's franchise for the Health Sciences Complex?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, if there is anything that the people of this Province should take some encouragement in, it is the fact that this government is committed to active and meaningful participation of the private sector in terms of delivering services to the public of this Province, and if the Health Care Corporation, in its wisdom, has chosen to involve itself with a Tim Horton's franchise, or services from a franchisee at the Health Sciences - as they know they are, because I was in there Sunday and saw it myself - then I can only commend the Health Care Corporation for being one of the leaders in participating in the broad economic plan that we have laid out as a government, and that is to strengthen and encourage and have involvement of the private sector in every area of public service, including the selling of donuts at the Health Sciences, if that is what it takes.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ms. Peachy of the Health Care Corporation said they are also looking at buying a Wendy's franchise, and she also indicated the cafeteria is not making money. Now if it is not making money and there are no profits, that means that health care dollars that are allocated there are being used to offset the cafeteria, for health care services.

Now recently the Health Care Corporation spent $100,000 to buy a franchise, and renovations to accommodate it. They just spent $250,000 in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, including a house and renovations, without a cost-recovery plan. Now does the minister feel that such expenditures as these are acceptable use of health care dollars?

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

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, the institutional side of health care spends about $600 million a year. That is what it takes to run the hospitals and long-term care homes of the Province. The boards that we have in place -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: The eight institutional boards and the four community health boards have been given a broad mandate with significant responsibility to deliver a whole range of services from the institutions that they have responsibility for managing. One of the services that has to be managed and provided in a health care institution, in a hospital, is food services, whether it is dietary to the room, or whether it is cafeteria type services for patients and other people to use, they have the responsibility to provide that, and I have every confidence that the activities of the Health Care Corporation in St. John's with respect to delivering on that part of its mandate is consistent with good fiscal management, and consistent with meeting a need on an appropriate basis, and the moment if and when it ever turns out that is not an appropriate thing then we will address it then.

The hospital in Goose Bay, I have indicated in the House that in my judgement, and in the judgement of government, the house situation in Goose Bay could have been probably something that they should not have gotten involved in, at least not providing the services free, and that is being corrected; let me assure you, and if anything else is taking place inappropriately it will be addressed as well, but the Health Care Corporation is doing fine, and I commend them for what they are doing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister's appointed health care boards are designed to give the boards a perceived arm's length operation from government, and then those boards can advance health care towards a privatization process. Now I ask the minister, is this part of your plan to get health care boards to do something that government does not have the political guts to do?

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

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

I am not sure where the hon. member's mind is really. In one breath he is criticizing us and wants the government to get directly involved in the direction of selling donuts over at the Health Sciences and in the other breath, he is asking me whether or not, we are trying to get them to do something that we don't want to do.

No, we are not. We have put health boards in place because health boards represent the community by virtue of their existence and their structure. There are people in the community who have an interest in and have knowledge about health care.

The health care boards have a broad mandate, a significant mandate; they have a lot of responsibility, they spend $600-plus million a year and we are not asking them to do something that we would not do. We are asking them to deliver health care and provide services on a basis that is consistent with government policy and on a basis that we can support them in the way they are doing it, and we work together as a partnership in health care not in an adversarial relationship or in a relationship that you do this because we don't want to do it. That's not the case.

We are very much a partnership-type structure in health care and this government generally believes in partnership, private sector, community-based services, community involvement in various aspects of what goes on out in the day-to-day life of our Province and the boards are doing a good job.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Ferryland, on a supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister operating at perceived arm's length has just kicked out a private enterprise contract and now is operating a state run Tim Horton's franchise here. If that is promoting private business, I got the signals from the minister all mixed up, I say to the minister.

Now, it is common practice that large corporations donate to worthy causes and to institutions to gain access for their products. That's a commonly accepted thing across this country.

Now, is the Health Care Corporation of St. John's, to the minister's knowledge, the recipient of any contributions or kick backs from any such companies?

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

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

I am fairly comfortable -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. L. MATTHEWS: I am confident that the Health Care Corporation is not involved in receiving kick backs from people with whom they are doing business, but it is an interesting question as to whether or not they are getting any type of a charitable contribution or donation. I do know that Tim Horton's organizations across Canada have a foundation and they do a lot of good things in terms of children's services, in terms of children's camps, that sort of thing. I would only think it would be very magnanimous of them if they made a contribution to the health care system; I would be happy to hear that they were doing that in our system but to the question, I will undertake to find out if in fact there is an arrangement there that is in any sense out of the ordinary, and if it is, I would be the first to certainly share it with the hon. the member.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We are trying to promote healthy eating and focus on wellness and prevention rather than sickness and treatment. We are trying to remove non-health foods from our school system and from the workplace where possible.

Does the minister feel that allowing fast food operations in our hospitals flies in the face of his department's quest for a healthier lifestyle?

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

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

I can't comment in any great detail as probably my colleague the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture might be able to do as to the relative value of the content or the mixture that goes into a donut. I do know this, that donuts are tasty, I know they are attractive to look at, I know that there are a lot of them sold and a lot of them eaten.

We are not promoting them as being an item that will automatically translate into a healthier lifestyle, but neither are we at a circumstance where we are going to condemn them as being something that is not fit to eat. I think they fit somewhere in between.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and it is a question regarding the snowplough operators.

Has there been any safety training courses provided to the one-man operators now that the wingman and the mechanics are let go?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Has there been any training for the one-man operators?

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

MR. EFFORD: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

I had difficulty hearing the hon. member's question but I believe he asked me -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I would ask hon. members to refrain from interjecting and from talking across the Chamber while Question Period is in progress.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

If I understood the question right, have there been any training programs put in place for the operators of the ploughs, for one-man plough? Yes, there has.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member for St. John's East Extern on a supplementary.

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

Yesterday there was a training course at Spaniard's Bay which approximately twenty-five operators attended, including operators from Whitbourne, Avondale, Placentia, and the Heart's Content area. Could the minister confirm this and explain to the House why there was such poor planning regarding safety training, and these people getting training after our first major snowfall?

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

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that there was a training program that went ahead in Spaniard's Bay yesterday. I would hope it did because it is good for my district, but if it did I commend the people out there for having the wisdom to put a training program in that area because there are a lot of ploughs out there in the Conception Bay area, but that was not the beginning. If it happened in Spaniard's Bay yesterday it was not the beginning of the training. We started training programs back early summer once the decision was made to take the wingmen off the ploughs, to have one operator. We do not need two men to drive one truck. When we made that decision we decided to put some training programs in place. They have been ongoing all summer and they will continue, even after the second, third, fourth or fifth snowstorm, which I am sure we are going to have later on this year.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Just another example of the poor planning of this government, to give people safety training after the fact. The layoff of the mechanics and the wingmen was to save money for Works, Services and Transportation. Could the minister inform the House how much extra money has been spent on equipment, how much extra money has been spent on training, and how much extra money is now being spent on television ads under the minister's signature?

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

MR. EFFORD: I cannot tell the hon. member how much money is being spent on all of the things he said, but I will answer the question in this manner. First of all there was a very good decision made when we took the wingmen off the ploughs. We have only so much money to run the Province. We do not have the ability and we are not going to go borrowing money like drunken sailors. We are responsible financial people, so if we went out and borrowed all the money that hon. members are saying we should be borrowing instead of having a $7 billion deficit we would have a $12 or $14 billion debt. That is the way you would do it.

Now, what we are saying is that we are taking the money that we would otherwise spent on having two people driving the one truck and we will give it to the Minister of Health so he can provide a better health care system in the Province, so we are spending taxpayers dollars more wisely.

As for the ads on television I think that is money well spent, a few thousand dollars, collectively by the way, government is not spending all of that money. As a result of the accidents last winter, and the hon. Member for Mount Pearl said we were murdering people, that is what he said last year, I called all the industry together, trucking companies and everybody sat down in a meeting, and collectively they said they would contribute towards ads, because one of the difficulties we have is drivers changing from summer driving to winter driving. December and January months are the worst months for accidents, especially December month, so we are running a few ads: adjust your speed according to the conditions of the roads. I think it is money well spent. If we can spent $20,000 and save one life it is worth it, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour but he is not here today, nor is the Premier or the Minister of Finance, so I will ask, because of the urgency and seriousness of the issue, I will ask the acting Minister of Employment and Labour to respond to the question.

Mr. Speaker, the town of Baie Verte and the surrounding communities have a long history in the mining industry. As a matter of fact the asbestos mine first started its operations in 1962 under Advocate Mines. The last company to operate the mines is a company known as Terra Nova Mines Incorporated which ceased operations November 13, 1994, over a year ago. Now, since that time thirty-five miners who have worked at the mines for over thirty years and who are over the age of fifty-five have been trying to obtain benefits from the federal/provincial agreement under POWA. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the acting minister and get an answer quickly on what the status is for those miners.

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, just briefly to say that I don't know the details other than that I do understand that the applications under the Program for Older Worker Adjustment that the hon. member refers to sometimes do take a fair bit of time in verification of dates and so on. If it is that period of time we will have it checked out and I will get a report for the hon. member.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the minister has to take it under advisement and he doesn't have the details, but he said he is aware of it. I can tell you I'm aware of it because I get calls on a continuous basis every time I visit my district.

These miners who have worked for over thirty years are deserving of a compensation package as well as anybody I can think of in this Province. I have been in continuous contact with these workers and their families, and I can tell the minister here today that they are at the end of their rope. Their UI has expired. By the way, for a lot of them it was the first time they've ever claimed UI after thirty years of working. Just over the last few days and few weeks these men who have worked for thirty years - I know them personally - had to go the welfare office to try to pick up a check to get through this winter.

This is over a year from the day. I would ask the acting minister now - and as a matter of fact, I will plead with the minister - on behalf of the thirty-five miners on the Baie Verte Peninsula to take quick action with the Minister of Human Resources Development in Ottawa, Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, to resolve this problem immediately so these miners can retain their dignity and not have to go to social assistance after thirty years of slaving in a mine.

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

MR. GRIMES: Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will try to undertake to do exactly that. As a matter of fact, I will have a call placed to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations' office this afternoon to see if we can get an immediate update as to the status of it.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If my memory serves me correctly this House passed the amendment to Term 17, the education referendum question, passed this House October 30 or October 31. I'm just wondering if the Government House Leader could inform me as to when that particular resolution was forwarded to the federal government.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, first of all a statement, and then a statement of understanding. The resolution was sent forward by the Clerk of the House at the direction of the Speaker because that is the appropriate channel of communication.

My recollection is it was adopted here on a Tuesday night and it went - Tuesday afternoon - and it went the following Friday week. I'm having my gown tugged, I'm not sure. It went very shortly thereafter. It was necessary to have it printed in a formal way, because that is what protocol requires in this case we are told, and then a letter that was done from the Clerk of the House, or the Clerk wrote a letter and sent it to the Clerk of the Privy Council, the hon. Ms Bourgon.

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

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would gather that the resolution was forwarded to probably the Privy Council.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, the Clerk of the Privy Council.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Yes, but I just want to ask - the Premier has told the people of this Province and told this House that he expected the resolution to pass the federal Parliament by the end of this calendar year.

My question for the Government House Leader is: Has there been any monitoring of the situation in Ottawa? Could the minister tell us indeed where it is, when the Parliament of Canada is expected to deal with it? Because my information tells me that it has not yet reached the Speaker's level up there. The order would be the Privy Council, Speaker, Clerk of the Commons Committee, and then to the Journals branch to be placed on the order paper. It is not yet at the Speaker's level. I'm just wondering if the minister could comment on that.

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I can't respond to the details of the hon. gentleman's statement because I don't have that knowledge. What I can say is that I understand the Premier has had conversations with Mr. Tobin. The Premier's statements -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: If the hon. gentleman for Bonavista South doesn't want to hear the answer I'm still prepared to give it. Mr. Speaker, the Premier has had conversations with Mr. Tobin who is the Newfoundland member of the Cabinet of Canada. The Premier's public statements speak for themselves. The Prime Minister I know has been away from the country. I know, we all know. I believe yesterday was his first day in the House of Commons in the last two or three weeks, so I don't know whether the Prime Minister has made any response of any sort on it as yet.

The other point I would make is to say to my hon. friend that whatever the protocol chain may be - and I don't pretend to know that; he may have had more knowledge than I because he was part of an Administration, if memory serves me correctly, that actually effected a constitutional change by means of section 43 back in 1987 but the important thing is to get the government to allocate time of the House of Commons because the time in the House, as here, is largely within the control of the government. Now I cannot give him more information because I don't have it but he can be assured that, (a) we are pressing and (b) we have every reason to believe, as the Premier said, that the matter will be dealt with expeditiously and quickly.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader, time for one quick supplementary.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Let me ask the Government House Leader this, and it is only supposition, if this matter does not past the House of Commons and the Senate by the end of the calendar year, is it government's intention to proceed with reducing the number of school boards in the Province from twenty-seven to ten? Could the Government House Leader comment on that or give us an answer or whatever - in the absence of the Minister of Education - because there is a desire, it seems a willingness in the Province, for a reduction in the number of school boards. So is it government's intent to proceed with reducing those numbers anyway, even if our resolution does not pass the federal system?

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I learned a long time ago not to attempt to answer a hypothetical question and my hon. friend from Grand Bank acknowledged that his question is hypothetical. What I can say to him though, which may help to give him the information that he may need to use, is that the school boards are constituted by the present Schools Act. They in fact take the form of a schedule to the act. The act says they cannot be changed without the consent of the denominational education commissions. So should the constitutional amendment not be accepted and not come into effect

MS VERGE: Change the act.

MR. ROBERTS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we could change the act but we cannot change Term 17. That portion of the act, I say to the hon. lady from Humber East, who was Attorney General and I would have thought was aware of the legal position but let me lay it out for her in case she isn't. She was Education Minister as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you. The constitution of the school boards is very clearly a Term 17 right. The Schools Act, in that particular, simply puts into statutory form one of the very clear Term 17 rights. That is a right that the denominations possessed at March 31, 1949. So whether we could change the act or not is of no consequence because this House cannot change the boundaries of school boards or any matter in Term 17 without the consent of the denominations.

What I would say to close, is to quote a remark that Mr. Pearson used when he was Prime Minister, he said, `That's a bridge we will fall off when we come to it.'

Notices of Motion

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will, on tomorrow, move, pursuant to Standing Order 50, that the debate or further consideration of second reading of Bill No. 31, entitled "An Act To Amend The House of Assembly Act And The Electoral Boundaries Act", standing in the name of the hon. the Minister of Justice, and any amendments to that motion for second reading of Bill No. 31 shall not be further adjourned, and that the further consideration of any amendments relating to second reading of Bill No. 31 shall not be further postponed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given

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

MS YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to provide answers to questions received from the hon. the Member for Menihek concerning the unfortunate misprinting of a fax number in our departmental phone directory. Client information was inadvertently sent to a Wabush company instead of our Wabush district office because of this error. In September, the company involved informed our Wabush district office that they were receiving our faxes, and the Wabush office attempted to make this error known throughout the department. The attempt to correct this error was not successful in reaching all fifty of our offices and our facilities throughout the Province.

In light of this problem, new procedures will ensure this type of unfortunate mistake need not happen in the future, and all staff are now aware of the correct fax number for our Wabush office. Unfortunately, we could not accurately be provided with the number of faxes received, or the dates on which they were received; however, the company did assure us that all faxes received were either forwarded to our Wabush office or destroyed. I would like to commend the company for acting in a responsible manner.

I would also like to assure the member opposite that we will be contacting clients who were identified in these faxes, to inform them of the information which was sent in error. Since information about clients is confidential and personal, I am sure he will agree that it would not be appropriate to discuss it in this public forum.

Orders of the Day

Private Members' Day

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

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, this is Private Members' Day and it is the turn of the members who sit to Your Honour's right. I understand my friend, the Member for Green Bay has succeeded in putting his motion into a form that is acceptable to the Chair, and perhaps then you would be good enough to call it, Sir.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Government House Leader is correct. I guess the general form of my motion is what can be described as a non-confidence motion in the government. I was advised to tone down certain of the phrases in the resolution, and the resolution as amended - i.e. toned down to lessen the damage to the Liberal Party - reads as follows:

WHEREAS the government's balanced budget is now a deficit budget; and

WHEREAS part of the budgetary problem is caused by cuts in federal transfers about which this government has said little; and

WHEREAS another part of the problem is due to the administration's failure to cut waste in government; and

WHEREAS the government has also failed to keep its commitment to reduce costs by significantly decreasing the number of seats in the House of Assembly; and

WHEREAS government's answer to its budgetary problem has been to download the burden onto municipalities and severely cut front-line health, education and social services;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this hon. House condemn this government for:

a) its approach to Ottawa;

b) its handling of government's finances; and

c) the effects of its actions on the well-being of our citizens.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, this is a general motion which expresses non-confidence in the government, basically in its handling of the Province's affairs.

The first WHEREAS refers to the fact that the balanced Budget is now a deficit Budget, and this has become a repetitive pattern with regard to this particular Administration. They have a tendency to bring in relatively rosy Spring budgets. Somehow, God, Mother Nature, the feds, or somebody throws a monkey wrench into the works somewhere throughout the summer and they have to bring in a fall correction to an otherwise rosy budget picture.

Mr. Speaker, I remember some years ago when the Assembly was in the Chamber upstairs, the Member for St. Barbe district had been in charge of the House and made somewhat of a technical faux pas in the handling of the House's business and got caught out on a boat. The Member for St. Mary's - The Capes, at the time, put together a little poem, `The boy stood on the burning deck\Wracked with indecision\He called out Point of Order and he should have called Division.' While there is another poem that you might call the Liberal right of spring: `The boy stood on the burning deck\Wracked with indecision\Bite the Budget bullet now or await a fall revision.' Mr. Speaker, that is what we are into now, the annual fall revision. `Bite the Budget bullet now or await a fall revision,' Mr. Speaker, that is what we are into. I will sing it at the conclusion of today's remarks.

Mr. Speaker, we are, as I said, into a repetitive pattern of rosy budgets. Unfortunate news throughout the summer months culminating in an admission by this government that they didn't know, or someone tricked them, someone pulled a fast one on them, or the economy of Ontario dipped or something happened to bring about a deficit which they have to deal with later in the year.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you make that up?

MR. HEWLETT: Yes, I made it up. At the time this Budget came down, I did a story with my local newspaper in the spring and the headline they put on that story was simply, `Is this an election Budget?' I remember flying on the airplane out to Deer Lake to visit my district and I sat next to the current Minister of Education. I was talking to him about it and I said, the way you painted this rosy picture, one would think that you are going to go to the people in an election probably later in the spring or maybe even in the fall, and the minister said, `Oh, no, no, no.' Ordinarily, I think that would be the case, but the current Premier we have is fixated on four years and we couldn't possibly go to the people under four years. Any other Premier, we possibly could with such a rosy Budget.

So, Mr. Speaker, obviously, this rosy Budget was somewhat of a public relations event. I sat here in my seat and watched the former Minister of Finance say that for the first time in history since we joined Confederation, the Province is bringing in a balanced Budget. The government members, especially the Member for Eagle River, were on their feet with a standing ovation, a big round of applause, reminiscent of the round of applause they gave Brian Tobin for driving the Spanish off the high seas. We all know, Mr. Speaker, what happened there. The Spanish left but when they left they took their fish and their fines. They took everything back and now they are suing us for false arrest. And that round of applause for Mr. Tobin had about as much validity as the round of applause for the Minister of Finance.

So, Mr. Speaker, what we have is a fictitious yearly spring right where they bring in a false, cooked up, doctored budget which, as the year goes on, unravels and they have to bring in some corrective action in the fall. Now, one of the reasons given for the Budget shortfall, of course, were federal transfer cuts, various cuts, health, education, equalization from the Federal Government. Most of the provinces in Canada, especially the poorer provinces, their Premiers and their governments have a tendency to stand up and fight the actions of the Federal Government when it negatively affects their particular province. This government has been singular in its absolute silence in the way it deals with the Federal Government. Now, the Premier, at times, seems to wholeheartedly agree with certain policy positions on the part of the Federal Liberal Government, which are impacting negatively on the Province.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have a relationship with Ottawa that is too cosy, that is really unhealthy for the well-being of this Province. We are always seeing the best of situations in this Province when you have a government at the provincial level generally whose political stripe is different from the one in Ottawa. This allows the Provincial Government to stand up and fight for things related to the Province more freely than if it is constrained, especially if the two governments at both levels tend to be Liberal.

Liberal governments of whatever, be it municipal, provincial or national stripe, have a tendency to stick together and put party stuff before the relevant jurisdiction involved. We have seen this time and time again. When the Liberals were in Opposition, they didn't mind nailing federal PC governments. They were always easy on federal Liberal governments. Now, in office, they are even easier on federal Liberal governments. So, part of our problem is not only the cutbacks from the federal level, Mr. Speaker, but the quiet, acquiescent way that this particular government roll over and play dead every time they gets bad news from Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, this government claim and pronounce themselves loudly throughout the Province that they have good management of the Province's fiscal situation. They admit they are top-heavy in terms of the management in this government. There are a good many managers, far too many managers for the number of front-line employees, and I gather that may be one of the groups that will take a hit when Budget adjustments are made shortly. While there has been an official freeze on hiring through the Public Service Commission, literally hundreds of Liberal Party hacks and supporters have come in through the back door and been put on the government payroll in terms of temporary employees. There are a lot of temporary employees on what is called a long-term temporary situation, if that is not a contradiction in terms. One would hope that when the Budget axe starts to fly in a few weeks, these people would be among the first to go, insofar as their position in the system, not being direct political staff, was achieved illegitimately by doing an end-run around the Public Service Commission.

We have other instances of waste. We had a lot of money spent, millions, this summer, on the referendum. Last year, we saw several million dollars spent on a failed plan to privatize Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. In the first term of this government, they spent millions trying to force amalgamation down the throats of many municipalities in the Province. They have construction projects on the go that seem to boggle people's mind, like Philip Place. The Minister of Health described the hospital project in Gander as a sort of long-term construction project. One has to wonder if the purpose of that particular project was health care driven, or was it because it was in the former Minister of Finance's district, some sort of glorified make-work project not so much based on health care needs but based on the political needs of that particular minister who has since departed this House.

Certainly, in the by-election in Gander, had the truth about the hospital project and the truth about the defence cuts that were coming, come out, I don't think the result would have been as it was. George Baker on the federal scene was only too willing to point out the cuts coming in UI and the military cutbacks, but on election day in the Gander by-election, George was on the phone the entire election day getting long-term supporters of his on a personal basis to come out for the current Liberal Member for Gander.

So, Mr. Speaker, one has to wonder just where the waste is. So far, most of the cutting in government has been on the front-line, and the middle ranks of this government have been swelling, if anything, over the past little while.

Another part of the budgetary problem with this government is that they promised a significant reduction, probably something in the order of $1 million a year with regard to this Assembly, a matter we are debating now, a matter on which the Government House Leader brought in a closure motion this afternoon to limit debate, having slugged it through two nights until 10:00, mainly to cover up their shame. They want to get this through the system quickly, they want it to be in place for the next election. It was doctored to make it as good as they could for the Liberal Party. Instead of saving $1 million on an annual basis they spent $500,000 to come up with a paltry saving, but to develop a set of districts tailor-made to the convenience of the Liberal Party.

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line on all of this has been cuts in government services to the people of the Province. The cuts in terms of government have been in layoffs on the front-line in health, education, social services. The people who deliver services to the general public have been the ones to take the full impact of the Budget axe since this government has come to power.

Municipalities recently got a big hit in terms of their Municipal Operating Grants, the grants to municipalities have been eroded steadily over the last number of years. This government, in failing to get its own house in order, has found it convenient to pass its problems down the line to municipal governments on an ongoing basis and, as I said, the recent pass-down to municipal governments was severe and caused considerable outrage and uproar among the mayors and municipalities in this Province.

Health care - what more can be said? On a daily basis, there are questions in this Assembly about continuous cuts in health care, absolutely abysmal planning in health care, and one has to wonder where it is all going to stop. It has gotten to the point now where there are not sufficient nurses and service deliverers are on the front line in health care. One has to wonder where they are going to cut next. I would suggest, in the upper echelons of the health care system, at the management level if there has to be further cuts, but it is no good just to cut, alone, Mr. Speaker, we need some significant planning, some prioritizing of what needs to be done in health, but the watchword of this particular government has been, clumsiness with regard to their spending activities, planning activities have been practically non-existent, and they have been lurching around from one crisis to another.

So, Mr. Speaker, what we have, in a nutshell, is a government who have basically failed to keep their house in order in terms of the finances of the Province. They have done, I will give them credit, a fairly good public relations job in pretending to be tough-minded managers of the people's money but, for the most part, it has all been a charade, it has all been a public relations facade and what we have behind the scenes is a total lack of planning, crisis management, a wimpish approach to cutbacks coming from the federal level of the government and just a general callous disregard of the effects of all of these items on the general public of the Province.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation keeps making speeches about how we have only so much money and we have to do this and we have to that. He says that every year several months after the balanced Budget when the so-called fake, rosy, balanced Budget has all gone to pieces and they have to do emergency patch up on the situation. If the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is a senior minister of this government and understands the fiscal realities as he claims to do, then, Mr. Speaker, why can't he have some influence around the Cabinet table at Budget time, and bring in a realistic Budget that will last the whole year through?

Instead, Mr. Speaker, we are stuck with the Liberal right of spring: `The boy stood on the burning deck\Wracked with indecision\Bite the Budget bullet now or await a fall revision.'

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am glad I came in at the end of the hon. member's few remarks. Make no wonder, Mr. Speaker, at the problems in this Province that we have.

For an hon. member to introduce a resolution in this House as he did today - which is his right; he is an Opposition critic, and he has a responsibility to the people who elected him to perform his duties as an Opposition member, but at the very least, he also has a responsibility, as does every Opposition member, to perform those duties which some level of credibility - and that's the key issue here, some level of credibility.

Now, when I hear the hon. member saying that I, as the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, playing a role as a minister in the government, should not be wimpish in making decisions, should make a decision, in budgetary decisions, and in regards of what happens in the rest of the year, to follow through with those decisions, not to be able to react to a certain situation if the Federal Government decides, in our mid-year of a Budget being announced, that they are now going to change the transfer or equalization payments to the Province, that we should not react to that - that is what I mean by a level of credibility because, the people of this Province elected us to be the government, to make a decision on behalf of their best interests for the future.

They had long enough to put up with these wrong decisions, with these foolish decisions, with seventeen years of decisions that drove us farther and farther and farther in debt. Now, if we have a massive debt in this Province, we have to live with it but we have to do something to be able to control it and not let it grow any larger, and no government is going to be popular in making decisions that are going to cause a deficit to be under control or cause a debt of a province to go down. And that is what we are doing, causing a debt of the Province to be under control, not to enlarge it, not to let it expand so that, as I said so many times, that the future generations will have to pay the piper. That is what it comes down to.

We can go on and on, and be as irresponsible as was the former government members when they were on this side and not sitting where they are now. Thank God, they are over there and not over here now, because if they were over here now and acted the way they say we should act, then you know there is only one thing that would happen, the debt would grow, and grow, and grow. We do have a difficult time in this Province. I have often referred to it as if I were back in private business and I knew of a company that was going into near bankruptcy, or having major financial troubles, and I made a decision to take over that business. That is a sensible thought, that you want to expand your business and you are going to try to pick up a business that is now in financial trouble because, number one, it comes pretty cheap, but the first obligation that you have when you take over a business that is in financial trouble is to put it back on its feet before you do any major expansion. You have to run the business on a day-to-day basis, you have to keep it afloat so there is a certain cost to that, as the government is trying to maintain a level of service now and there is a cost to that.

Before you go out and make any major expansions, or any major changes to that existing business, get its financial position under control. Operating a government is no different, get the financial position under control. We cannot go out and borrow money which we cannot pay back. That is only common sense. I could not, if I were operating a business, go out to a bank and say I want a loan of X number of dollars - hundreds of thousands of dollars - when the business is not capable of paying that money back. That is what it amounts to. It is a simple business financial decision.

Now, the hon. member opposite introduces his resolution to try to discredit the government for the decisions that were made. I don't need to be argumentive about it; I need to state a few facts. I need to talk about the debt we have. I need to talk about the revenues that are coming in. I need to talk about what would happen in the future if we were not making these decisions. I think the one thing we are comfortable with is that for the most part, the average citizen in this Province - the citizens of this Province, understand the position the government is faced with.

They understand that revenues are down, the demand for services are the same as they always were, the transfer and equalization payments from Ottawa are less, but we still have a responsibility to provide a reasonable level of service. That is not difficult for anybody with any level of common sense to understand, with any degree of common sense. Everybody would like a raise. Every civil servant in this Province would like to make more money. Everybody in private industry would like to make more money. We all, as human beings, have that little bit of greed in us where we want more, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with people wanting to get more than they now have. There is nothing wrong with people working harder to prove they are capable of doing the job and expecting more remuneration for it, but the bottom-line is that government has a financial problem, the same as most financial corporations.

I remember just a few short months ago one of the larger and most successful businesses in this Province, Newfoundland Telephone, Newel, had a financial problem. Things were happening there and they knew they had to make some changes to get their house in order. They didn't go to the markets and borrow more money to pay off those problems. They made some rational, logical decisions in reorganizing its operation, making the essential operations more cost-effective, and at the same time, deliver the services to the people.

In some of those instances, they made some cuts by way of layoffs, but what they did was, they looked at the people on staff and those people who were close to retirement they offered an opportunity to be bought out. It was a private company, a private business in this Province which had some financial problems. They couldn't give the raises that the people wanted, they couldn't give the bonuses that the people would normally get - they had to make some hard decisions. And everybody in the general public and the people who work with Newfoundland Telephone, NewTel, co-operated and understood.

Now, compare that to what government has to do. It has the same problem. We have, not the same, but a similar problem where there are major financial responsibilities and decisions that must be made. Could we go out and offer everybody a 5 per cent or 10 per cent or a 15 per cent raise? Could we go out and give everybody bonuses? Could we go out and say: You did this last year and we are going to give you more things in your collective agreement? We can hire more staff here. That is not sensible. It doesn't make any sense in my book. So we said: Let's bite the bullet for a few years. Because the good part about is, Mr. Speaker, is there are better times ahead.

That is why hon. members on the opposite side are losing credibility. Because they are preaching doom and gloom all the time. They don't look at -

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell them about the new poll that's out.

MR. EFFORD: Do you have it there? I will read it. They don't look at what is ahead for us. They don't look at the point, given two years down the road, when Hibernia comes on stream, when we start pumping oil, when Voisey's Bay comes on stream, when there is a new smelter built, when Terra Nova starts to be developed, when the fishery comes back. And that is not a long, long ways ahead. I can go on and on. Look at all the new businesses started up in this Province over the last four or five years, the number of jobs that have been created by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology to create a whole new economy - new waves in the future businesses, it is now happening.

There is where the Opposition is losing credibility in not being able to understand what this government is doing is called short-term pain for long-term gain. What they did was short-term gain for long-term pain, the complete opposite. Because they made political decisions, major expenditures of money, for their own political advantage, which is what I'm calling short-term gain, but caused a long-term pain on the Province. That is what happened - long-term pain on the Province. That which we are going through now is what I am referring to as long-term pain. That is the reason why we have to make the hard decisions. That is the reason why we are in a major financial mess today, because the decisions were made for short-term gain inflicting long-term pain on the people of this Province.

They didn't do it to me as a minister, or an elected member for the District of Port de Grave. They did it to the taxpayers of the Province. I'm only one small piece of the whole system or the puzzle. Every man, woman and child in this Province is a part of the problem. They are suffering. The major financial decisions that were made by the former Administration are now being suffered by every man, woman and child in this Province, and will be for some time in the future. Thank God, we are here making some hard, fast decisions that are in their best interests to try to get it under control.

If we could only get that $585 million that we are paying out in interest. If I had that in my capital budget next year to put into road construction, to put into building construction, to put into building maintenance across this Province, just think about the number of jobs that would be created across this Province. That is only one year. We pay out each and every single year in excess of $550 million to $580 million in interest payments alone. Mr. Speaker, that is one awful lot of money in anybody's context, in anybody's imagination. That is one awful lot of money.

When they took over in 1972, the debt of the Province was less than $1 billion. When they completed their term after seventeen years the debt of the Province was in excess of $7 billion.

AN HON. MEMBER: Joey (inaudible).

MR. EFFORD: At the end of Joey's days, with all the infrastructure being built up in this Province, new schools, new hospitals, and other things being built, there was less than $1 billion. At the end of the term there was in excess of $7 billion. Now, we have a population of less than 600,000 people - 550,000 - with a total debt of in excess of $7 billion. Now, I don't know where I am living, if I am living in the real world or not, but I, for the life of me, cannot understand how anybody can stand in this House on the opposite side and demand that we spend more money, or be critical of a government that is making decisions not to further increase that debt.

As I said last week in another speech, in another debate in the House, just let us imagine if we were going to borrow more money just to make people happy. If I went out to my district tonight and I made an announcement that I am going to spend $1 million next month, in Port de Grave; the next month $1 million in North River; the next month $1 million in paving in Clarke's Beach or whatever, I would be a great fellow. I would be one of the most popular ministers or MHAs that ever was in the district that they represent.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are, you are.

MR. EFFORD: But not through spending foolishly. The margin of victory that I got in the last election was simply because they trust me and have confidence in me as one individual in the system making decisions in their best interest. They trust me and they know that I have some credibility in protecting the interest of their future, that I am not going to be an individual persuaded by the forcefulness of the Opposition, persuaded by the indecisiveness of the Opposition, to make the right decisions.

That is what I was talking about when I said at the beginning of my remarks that the hon. member is not being seen as credible, to put a motion on the paper which he did today, not being seen as having any credibility, because when you simply ask a question: How much does the Province owe - not the government. Premier Clyde Wells and his ministers don't owe the money any more than the Page and any more than the members opposite, or any more than any citizen of this Province. We all owe the money. We are only hired by the voters of this Province to administer and make the right decisions - simple, not hard to understand - and if we don't do that, come the next election they will fire us; they will vote us out - simple - and if we make the right decisions with their best interest in mind, then they will have the good, common sense to re-elect the people who are making those right decisions, basically hiring and firing, basically having confidence in the people you elected to make the right decisions. Politicians are normally regarded as not being capable of making the right decision. Why did it happen? It happened because they spent seventeen years being`mix-mangled', `twingled' and `twangled' around by a group of people opposite who couldn't make the right decision, by a group of people who drove the debt of this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. EFFORD: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

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

MR. EFFORD: By leave just to clue up?


MR. EFFORD: Can't take the truth!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave; the hon. member doesn't have leave.

The hon. the Member for Humber Valley.

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to have a few words on this resolution introduced by my colleague, the Member for Green Bay. Nothing is new with regard to the speech just given by the hon. the Member for Port de Grave - absolutely nothing new. The only suggestion I would make is that he should get a tape made, and we will allow him to put the machine on the desk, and just push the button and play it. Every time you get up to speak, put on the tape and it is the same thing, seventeen years of Tory mismanagement. That is all you hear.

Well, the hon. member talked about our children today as paying the price for those seventeen years, from 1971 or 1972. The children of today are paying a price since 1989. Since 1989, six years of complete mismanagement - no governing, just housekeeping, that is all, absolutely nothing. Two years spent on the Constitution, absolutely nothing, no government at all, none.

Mr. Speaker, if we had back the $700 million or $800 million a year that is coming from Churchill Falls in this Province, we would pay the interest plus pump another $200 million or $300 million into the economy of this Province every single year. That was done by a Liberal government, that was a Liberal policy. When I looked at the Quebec Hydro's report three years ago and saw $870 million in profit going to another Province and we here looking for a hand-out from Ottawa, we looking for equalization payments from Upper Canada from the so-called well-to-do, from the Albertas of the world, the Quebecs of the world and the Ontarios of the world, and we here begging on our hands and knees and an administration of members opposite have the gall to stand in this House and talk about mismanagement over the last seventeen years. Mr. Speaker, wake up and smell the roses! Wake up!

The people of this Province should be reminded of that every single day of week. It is the worst travesty ever, the worst travesty and tragedy ever, Mr. Speaker, to be bestowed on a Province. It was done by the Liberal Party of this Province which members opposite are affiliated with. So don't get up talking about seventeen years. Talk about the last six or seven where you could have done something. For a minister of the Crown to come in here today and talk about a $60 million deficit - something that has occurred nine months after you brought down a Budget? God help this crowd, Mr. Speaker, if they are in for seventeen years, if they got a $60 million deficit after nine months. God help the people of this Province, the children of this Province and our grandchildren, $60 million in nine months and don't know what's wrong. Everybody in the Province knows what's wrong, Mr. Speaker, there is nobody working. If you don't work there is no revenue. If you don't work there is nothing to come in.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: A good one to talk about the debt of seventeen years, putting her in $60 million in six months.

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, it is time the people of this Province - and it is going to have to be told day after day, week after week, month after month until it gets through to people. This Administration has done nothing to stimulate the economy of this Province and everything to stymie small business in this Province today. There is no one working.

I was talking to a university person in Corner Brook the other day who went over on the ferry October 15 or 16, went across the Gulf, and every year for the last eight or ten years he went over to meetings in Nova Scotia. He said you can walk around the boat anywhere. There was hardly anybody on it. This year when he went, the ferry was filled with people leaving Newfoundland and Labrador and going to the mainland, somewhere in Upper Canada or out west. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is happening every day of the week, and why is it happening? The minister got up and talked about the Opposition preaching gloom and doom. Mr. Speaker, you can look at television any day of the week and see the Premier of this Province preaching gloom and doom. Who spoke to the Board of Trade a few weeks ago and said that this Province should be very careful over the next two years, we are in for hard times over the next two years? Is that not gloom and doom? one of the ministers of the Province who speaks at functions in this Province and talked about the economy over the next six months to a year. What about the Atlantic Provinces, the forecast from the Economic Council on the gloom and doom for Atlantic Canada over the next two years? Is that the Opposition?

Mr. Speaker, it is like our Federal Government today, we have no Opposition in Ottawa today, absolutely none. We have one member in all Atlantic Canada who is speaking up for the people in Atlantic Canada and that is George Baker, whenever he speaks up. But there is absolutely no one else. The only Opposition in Atlantic Canada is George Baker, when he does open his mouth.

Mr. Speaker, our job here as an Opposition is to oppose but oppose constructively. You are not supposed to be up just beating your chops and opposing for the sake of opposing, for the sake of opposition. You have to do it constructively. And we will get the message out there. People realize what is happening in this Province today. We won't be talking about the hon. member talking about polls. There is only one pole that the hon. member is familiar with, and that is the one that Harry gets by in the morning when they let him outdoors.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: I can understand why the hon. member is always singing about polls. Every morning he has every pole down around where the Premier lives, every pole around the block is contaminated - I don't know if from the dog or the member. Takes Harry for his walk in the mornings.

Mr. Speaker, don't let members opposite take too much heart from and too much belief in polls. I remember going into a general election in 1989 twenty-six points ahead in the polls. Great feeling, lovely feeling. Three weeks later we know what happened. I remember going into a general election in 1993 - 13 percentage points, and members opposite up around 39 percentage points - no, 42 percentage points, or something like that. At the end of the day it was 45 versus 43, or 46 versus 43 percentage points, something like that.

Look at the Gander by-election, with the new member now sitting in the House. Three to one. Forget putting the member there, no need of running anybody, he is a clean sweep. Forget it. At the end of the day when the Liberal vote in Gander dropped out over 3,000 - just squeaked through with forty-odd votes. The Member for St. John's North, I hear him every now and again bragging about the next election. I say to the member, and anybody else who wants to listen, you had better not stand in this House bragging about what is going to happen in your district, I guarantee you that. Because the electorate has the last say. They can make polls look pretty spindly, I say to the members opposite. The people in your district, people in any district in this Province, are not to be taken for granted anymore. I say to members opposite, they had better start governing in the next year to two years, or I'm going to tell you they are going to have an awful lot to answer for.

If we had, like I said, just half the monies that are lost in Churchill Falls in one year - half! - we could pay the interest on the debt, and every other dollar that is coming into this Province could be used to stimulate the economy or to put back into some sort of infrastructure or some sort of public works, public infrastructure - which is nothing. There was nothing there last year, nothing there the year before, and there is going to be nothing there next spring.

What are we saying to the Federal Government in Ottawa? Absolutely nothing. They can cut health care, they can cut education, they can cut UI, they can cut absolutely what they like and there is nothing said. I remember back in the Spring of 1993 when there was a $33 million shortfall for equalization payments for this Province. The Federal Government of the day offered to spread it out over three years. We had just about every Cabinet minister and including the Premier off to Ottawa day after day, on television night after night, complaining about the $33 million that is going to be spread out over three years to help the blow that it would cause to the fiscal regime of this Administration.

Now, we have $50 million, $60 million, $110 million, $150 million forecast to be cut to the Province and there isn't a word. The Premier stood in his place the other day concerning the changes in the UI program and said: I will have something to say after the fact, I will have something to say after the rules are made. You don't jump into a lake and then call out for someone to throw you out a life-jacket. Your best chance is to take one with you when you are going because there may not be anybody there and you may not get it.

I can assure you and the people of this Province over the next week to ten days that what is coming down the tube from Ottawa for this Province, and absolutely nothing being said about it by members opposite, nothing, because of their political cousins in Ottawa. Mr. Speaker, it is going to be devastating for this Province. This $60 million shortfall we have now from last year's Budget, just to be picked up in the next few months, will be peanuts compared to what is going to happen next year in this Province if something is not done about it. If we don't start kicking this Administration opposite which was elected to represent the people of this Province, and to pick up for the people of this Province, to defend the programs we are supposed to get in this Province against whoever might be in Ottawa, whether they be Liberal, PC, NDP, Reform, Bloc, whoever, and we are not hearing a sound.

All we hear when members get up is this diatribe about years gone by. Members should realize that in a few months time there may be someone else over there talking about the last seven years, Mr. Speaker, and will we ever have something to talk about, what happened in this Province for the last six or seven years, since 1989. We will not have to compare it at all to seventeen years. At least when people are working and paying their bills, Mr. Speaker, they can see something at the end of the day, or the end of the week for their week's work.

Students can see something when they come out of university, or out of some post-secondary institution, where to go. What are they doing today? Nothing, only clinging to a bit of hope, and as far as I am concerned that is just grasping at straws. People go on wondering why there are 1200 over here in a graduate program, 1206, 17,000 in undergraduate work going to university in this Province. We have 1200 doing graduate work over at the University. Why? Because it is too expensive for one thing. Some of them go outside the Province to try and get their Masters or their PHD. Some will apply over here and some will get turned down, but the majority I talk to can't afford it, but yet they almost can't afford not to, because there is absolutely nothing out there for them to do. Their only chance today is to try to stay in university or some post-secondary institution until they get something. But they don't have the means or the fiscal capabilities of doing it, so they are stymied.

This is our generation. Those are the young people who will be looking after us in another few years, who will be governing us and making decisions so that we may get through the few years we have left in life, yet they are stymied and we are doing absolutely nothing about it. Ottawa was going to do this and going to do that in 1993 to help the student loan program, but not a sound since. You go to the banks today, as I said the other day - oh, you can get $5000 provided your parents sign for you if they have the fiscal capabilities of looking after it for you, to guarantee it, but there is nobody doing anything.

We are in here now debating a boundaries resolution, night after night until eight, nine, or ten o'clock, for what? to reduce fifty-two seats down to forty-eight, to save the Province what? and people out there in this Province today are crying for help. We have other legislation on the Order Paper here today -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

Does the hon. member have leave?

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

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

I am pleased today to have a few words in this particular debate. Today is probably a bad day for the Member for Green Bay to be introducing this resolution. Obviously, the resolution cannot be supported by this side of the House for quite a number of reasons. I would like in the next few minutes to have a bit to say about our approach to Ottawa, our financial performance, and obviously, the well-being of our citizens.

When I read the member's statement, where he says that we are not standing up to Ottawa as we should, I can't help but say to the hon. member that he is obviously not living in the real times. Because when it comes to the fishery, for instance, the Member for Green Bay, in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, the Member for Ferryland was there with him, going out to Mr. Crosbie, talking about the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, the fact that there was nothing anybody could do on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

Mr. Crosbie said, I would have to be an idiot to think that I could go to the international community and go outside of the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and enforce any kind of fisheries regulations, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, the Prime Minister of Canada came in November of 1993 and he said: No way. We are going to live up to what the people of Canada told us to. The people of Newfoundland supported the Liberal Party and we are going to do what has to be done. We will extend the jurisdiction on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks.

Mr. Speaker, within a few days after taking office, our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Brian Tobin, gave notice to the international community that he would be taking the steps to see that the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks were protected. Just last week, I got a copy of the latest NAFO circulation letter. Now, I have been following those NAFO circulation letters for some time, particularly the last six-and-a-half years, because in those letters you see exactly what went on in the previous year on the Nose and Tail and outside the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks in terms of foreign overfishing, and I must say, it was a pleasant and very, very interesting letter that I had in the last week on this particular issue because, when you look at the American plaice that was being caught out there, when you look at the Greenland halibut that was supposed to be caught out there by the European community, Mr. Speaker, the note that was next to it was: There are no vessels there anymore. There is no fishing to date on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks this year, Mr. Speaker, for these particular species.

The first time in our history - and it was because the Liberal Party of Canada, headed up by the Prime Minister of Canada, said that this was the right thing to do, so they did it. So, no, we are not on today saying to Brian Tobin, go out there and get rid of the vessels of convenience, we are not on to Brian Tobin today saying get rid of the Spanish trawlers on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks; we don't have to do those things, because the Government of Canada took action and got them out of there for all of the right reasons. So, we don't have the same kind of blustering now that we had when we had to go up against Mr. Crosbie because we have seen a government brought in in Ottawa that has acted, that has delivered, that has given good government to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the TAGS Program, when the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans went to Ottawa in 1993, he asked: Well, where is the Income Support Program for the fishermen and plant workers of Atlantic Canada? because the fishery is not going to open. The officials there said: Well, Mr. Crosbie and the Tory Government of the day said, there was no plan. They did not have any kind of forecasting, they did not have any kind of a budget allocated for income support for these 30,000-odd people in Newfoundland but, did the Ottawa government of the day turn their backs on them? Did Brian Tobin say: We are not going to give income support to those people? No, Mr. Speaker, never.

They went and put a very, very solid package in place of $1.9 billion, the only measure of expense that was in the federal budget of the day because we know we are in tough financial times but we did that. So, no, we don't have to come in here today and go clamouring and shouting at Brian Tobin and the Federal Government because they didn't bring in income support for our fishermen and plant workers, because they did it. They did, they delivered income support; they delivered good government to the people of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

We don't have to, today, go and say to them as we did to Mr. Crosbie when they had the NCARP Appeal Board in place that used to turn down 96 per cent of the applications, and even when the independent assessors used to say yes to the client out there, the officials in Crosbie's office would say no, and they would take them off, sometimes, I have heard, for pure, political, partisan reasons, but when we made that point to Mr. Tobin we didn't have to ask twice.

We went up there, the Minister of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture, along with other members of our caucus. We had a good solid meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Minister Axworthy, and yes, indeed there was action taken. There was a concrete proposal put forward, and they responded in kind by setting up a fully independent appeals board which had binding authority. It could not be interfered with politically, and it did the job. So on every aspect of the fishery to date we have seen consultation, we have seen action, and we have seen good government, so we don't have to come in here as a government and be ranting and roaring, like the previous government did when Mr. Crosbie and Mr. McGrath were up there. We didn't have to come in here and demand things, knowing full well that Crosbie was up there and couldn't get the support of his Cabinet. He didn't have a Prime Minister who cared a darn about what happened in Newfoundland and Labrador, but we don't have that today and we are thankful for that.

We fought hard to get the Liberal Party back in power in Ottawa, and we fought hard to send our MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador up there to represent us, and it has obviously paid off. We do have co-operation. We have good government being delivered, and I know it is not what the people opposite wanted to see. The people opposite want to see us fighting each other, tearing each other apart, but I tell the members opposite that the people of this Province have had enough of that. What they want to see is when you have two governments, especially two governments of the same party elected, they want to see you co-operating. They want to see you delivering. They want to see you meeting the challenges of the day, and that is exactly what we have here in this Province today. We have a government in Ottawa that we are pleased to have there. We have a minister in the federal Cabinet who is giving us the time of day, and giving the consultation that is required, and indeed is giving us the action that we justly deserve.

In terms of fiscal and financial performance, again we have no lessons to learn at all from the members opposite. It was pointed out here today by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that indeed after seventeen years of rule by the members opposite that this Province was really, really, given a hard financial blow, one that hardly - if we did not get back, as the Minister of Education has mentioned so many times, if we hadn't gotten here in the nick of time, I would say that this Province now would be back in the hands of a commission of some kind or another, because surely, the people of Canada, and the international financial community would never have allowed the previous government to continue another day. They could not do it.

Mr. Speaker, I have a copy now of the debt position, which will clearly show people what has happened in very real terms. These are not Liberal figures, or this government's figures. This is not something that is done up for partisan reasons, but for the record it must be said and must be acknowledged that in 1972, when the Liberal government of the day left office under the Premiership of Joseph R. Smallwood, after twenty-three years in office, there was a total provincial debt of $1.8 billion. Now, that was made up of the total provincial debt plus the debentures and the guaranteed debt and other liabilities, for $1.8 billion.

Can you imagine - I know many people in this House know it well, I certainly do, of the new schools that were built during those twenty-three years, the new hospitals that were built, the highway that was put across this Province, and all the other essential services.

MR. ROBERTS: All the lights we put in.

MR. DUMARESQUE: All the lights that we put in.

MR. ROBERTS: The roads we built.

MR. DUMARESQUE: All the roads we built, and the vessels, the boats and everything that we built.

MR. ROBERTS: The vocational schools.

MR. DUMARESQUE: All the vocational schools that we built. I recently read Joey's book again, because he details it very well about the number of schools. It is unbelievable that anybody - the University, the College of Fisheries, trades schools. Twenty-three years of steady progress, twenty-three years of building this Province and giving them essential public services. We did that after twenty-three years for a net debt of $1.8 billion.

Now then. In 1973 we had the now infamous - probably be more infamous as time goes on - Frank Moores come into the office of premier in 1973 for the Progressive Conservative Party. He was supposed to take over and the Conservatives were supposed to have the fiscal responsibility as their primary responsibility. He stayed for seven years. In 1979, in the year that he was gone, the debt had then risen from $1.8 billion to now $4.5 billion. In seven years. The total debt of this Province after twenty-three of Liberal rule, to $1.8 billion, in seven years that debt then went to $4.5 billion. It more than doubled. Four point five billion dollars in seven years, Mr. Speaker, $650 million a year.

Now then. Not to be outdone, in 1979 A. Brian Peckford came on the scene. He was going to tear the place apart. He was going to be: Have-not will be no more. He was going to be the end-all and be-all to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. He stayed around for ten years. Ten years later we now have a situation where the total provincial debt has reached $8.4 billion. One point eight billion dollars in 1972, after twenty-three years of rule by the Liberal government, and then seventeen years later, in 1989, it is $8.4 billion. At a time when all the schools were built, all the roads were built, the hospitals were built, the colleges of trades and technology were built and throughout all this Province, the University was built, the Fisheries institution was built. We had built a tremendous infrastructure for our people in this Province, but after twenty-three years we could still walk out of here at $1.8 billion. Seventeen years later, $8.4 billion.

That is what we inherited. This government, under the premiership of Clyde Wells, and this Administration came in in 1989, just six and a half short years ago and we inherited that $8.4 billion. What have we done? This is what this resolution is about. He is saying that we didn't handle the finances well. I would like to quote from a document that was just recently released in November 1995, just a document recently released a couple of short days ago by the Investment Dealers Association of Canada. On the cover it says: Canadian fiscal round-up. It says: The state of public finances in Canada today. When you look under Newfoundland, Newfoundland's situation is very clearly laid out. The first paragraph says: Newfoundland's deficit has declined in each of the past four years, despite weak economic conditions.

So we inherited that $8.4 billion -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DUMARESQUE: - in 1989, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


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


MR. DUMARESQUE: Time up already? Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. member does not have leave.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Good news, I suppose, you just don't know that the time is going.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm actually quite pleased to stand in my place today and support the resolution put forth by the Member for Green Bay. This resolution goes right to the heart of the problems that are caused in this Province today. The misery that is in this Province today is caused by no other than the government of today. The government sitting on that side of the House. Mr. Speaker, the incompetence of this government has never been matched by any government before in the history of Newfoundland, and we have the proof of the incompetence of this government. Every year we see them coming down with budgets and this year they had a so called balanced budget, Mr. Speaker, admittedly, by the Minister of Finance who said it was nothing more then smoke and mirrors. This government is not able to manage the affairs of this Province.

In the spring of the year we have a budget come down and in the fall of the year we have the government coming out and announcing cutbacks after cutbacks after cutbacks. Mr. Speaker, what is that doing to the people of this Province? I will get back to that - what is that doing to the people of this Province? What is that doing to the confidence of the people of this Province? What is that doing to the morale of the people of this Province? We have a time of year when we have people looking forward to Christmas. We have a time of year when people normally spend much more money then they would normally spend at any other time of year and we have a government come down and say we have to have more cutbacks, we have to have more lay-offs, Mr. Speaker. It just boils down to poor planning and nothing less than poor planning.

Now as I said, we have Christmas coming upon us and the government depends upon revenues and they get revenues in the form of the RST and the GST. They even have the RST on top of the GST which is more revenue in itself. Now, Mr. Speaker, we have a government here who is telling the people not to go out and spend any money this year because you may not have a job next week or next month. You won't have a job next week, next month or next summer because of the cutbacks. There is nothing but doom and gloom from this government. The Premier himself gets on his feet and talks doom and gloom. He has done nothing but talk doom and gloom since 1989 when he was first elected. We need people out there spending money.

I can give you an example of an individual, when talking about what is going on in this Province today about the lack of confidence in the economy, an individual who was retired this fall and got a severance package from the government. They were planning to buy a vehicle for the husband and then they come out with the cutbacks - they find out that her husband may indeed be laid off. So then she would not go out and spend that $16,000 or $20,000 on a vehicle which would have been another $2,000 in revenues for the government. And that goes right on, right up through the whole scale, anywhere from buying a toy at Christmas to buying a large product, such as a vehicle. It is because of the lack of confidence in this government that people are afraid to spend money and that goes to the very root of the problem. Now, Mr. Speaker, if people are refusing to spend their money or are afraid to spend their money, of course, as I mentioned earlier, we are not getting the revenues in taxes and that in itself is causing jobs to be lost in this Province, jobs, jobs, jobs.

Now I remember back in '89 when this government first ran they campaigned on creating jobs for the people of the Province, Mr. Speaker, and what have we seen since 1989? We have seen nothing less than thousands of jobs being eliminated from the civil service, we have seen thousands of jobs eliminated from the private sector and what do we see this government do about that? Absolutely nothing, they do nothing. All they do is sit on that side of the House, add lip service and try to make quick comments or smart remarks, in particular, like the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

Now the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation gets on his feet and to be quite honest and to be truthful, I am sick and tired of hearing that old tired line that he uses. This government has been in power since 1989, seven budgets and what have they accomplished? All they have accomplished so far is the cutbacks, Mr. Speaker, cut, cut, cut to the bone of people of this Province. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, as I said, uses the old tired line, it is the fault of the previous administration. I say it is about time that this government took the responsibility on its own shoulders and start taking some of the blame for what is going on in this Province today. They know that they have mismanaged the affairs of this Province. They know that they did not come up with any new ideas to create jobs. They know they have a lack of imagination and they have to start taking the responsibility and the blame for that. To stand in their place and say it is the fault of the previous administration is ridiculous. The government is living in the past. This government was elected to manage the affairs of this Province today and they are not doing it, Mr. Speaker, by any stretch of the imagination they are not doing it.

As I said, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation gets on his feet and refers to the old tired line. What he does not talk about - and I don't want to get into the past too much - but he says he blames the situation problems today on $22 million that was spent on the Sprung facility. Now, I have to make a comment with respect to that. I believe that you have to have new ideas, you have to come up with new ways of doing things, you have to use new technology, and you have to try and incorporate that into the affairs of the Province in trying to create jobs.

I was not a part of the government at that point in time. I agree that the magnitude, the degree to which the previous administration went with respect to that project was too big. If they had probably created one module and went with that, and expanded it if it worked, or if it had probably been in a different location in the Province it might have worked.

What the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation does not say and does not talk about is the affairs and the grandiose ideas of the administration before the PC administration for seventeen years, the administration, the Liberal government that was in power from 1949 to 1971 or 1972. They did create jobs, and they did accomplish quite a bit for the Province, but just after joining Confederation, and with the monies that were on the go at that point in time, if it had to be a PC administration, if it had to be an NDP administration, whatever administration was in power at that point in time would have accomplished the same. They would have accomplished the same progress in this Province because the time was right and would just allow for that to happen. We were coming from a colony of England and joining a large country, Canada. There were monies made available for the joining up to Canada, becoming the tenth Province of Canada, so in actual fact any government that was in power at that point in time would have accomplished the same things, but they did have some attempts to create jobs and to bring industry to the Province which were major failures.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation always declines to comment on that. It is only the previous seventeen years, but he does not go on to the twenty-one or twenty-two years before that. He does not talk about the rubber factories that were started up in this Province and failed. He does not talk about the boot factories that were started up and failed. We have one here now and it works fine, and it is creating jobs, and it is a great accomplishment for the people of the Province, just one. We had an orange juice factory that failed, I believe, Mr. Speaker, the biggest thing, the biggest failure in the history of this Province, other than the mismanagement of this government at this point in time, is, of course, the Churchill Falls deal.

Now when we bring that up and look at anywhere from $600 million to $800 million a year that could be going into the coffers of this Province if the administration at that point in time, the Smallwood administration, the Liberal administration, had worked out a proper deal and had to have any vision at all - actually this government has no vision either; it must go with Liberal administrations - but $800 million a year, $400 million of that could be going now to compensate, offset, the interest on the debt of this Province at this point in time.

So we have $800 million that is never mentioned by the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. If we had that coming into our coffers today we would not be in the mess we are in today, and can you compare that, $800 million, to $22 million - $22 million over seventeen years, a project that failed; no ifs, ands or buts about that, but we have $800 million now. Well, we will give it $600 million, on the lower side - $600 million that could be coming into this Province - $600 million a year. Now what could that do for the economy of this Province? And for people to stand in their place and make light of a deal that failed, but it was an attempt to do something. This government is attempting to do nothing.

One of their big ideas was Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador. How many jobs did that create, really? The ERC, Economic Recovery Commission, how many jobs have those two groups created in this Province? They do not even match the number of jobs that the civil service has lost since this government took over.

Then, when you talk about civil servants losing their jobs, of course the amount of money that is paid out in pay cheques, in salaries, to the civil servants is a great expense to the people of the Province, but you have to look at the overall picture. How many of those people who were laid off - supposedly laid off - have ended up on the welfare roles of this Province? I have been led to believe, by the figures floating around this House, that the social service rolls have grown from just over 40,000 to somewhere around 80,000. Now if we were paying people to be productive, which goes to their morale also, Mr. Speaker, now we are paying people for actually not producing anything. These people would love to be working and they aren't.

It is a very complicated picture, I suppose, but we have to look at the overall picture when we are making plans. That is the problem with this government, it doesn't make plans. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation over there usually sits in his seat and he doesn't say a lot, only in question period when he gets up after someone has asked him a question and he tries to bluff his way through question period. He says a lot about nothing, just to waste the time of the Opposition. But when there are any serious issues on the go - like, for the discussion today that is before the House, not today but the past couple of days, is the electoral boundary issue. I've yet to see the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation on his feet and say anything in support or in opposition of the electoral boundaries.

That in itself will tell you about the workings of this government, the electoral boundary issue. I've been up and speaking on that twice in this House of Assembly. The government made a promise. Then it goes back, I suppose, to the competence of this Administration. I would say it lacks the competence to run a government. The electoral boundaries was supposed to - when the Premier first announced it, it was going to be downwards of forty seats from fifty-two seats. What do we have? We have now an administration proposing forty-eight seats in this House when we had an independent commissioner go around and recommend forty seats.

Too bad the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation just walked in. I'm after covering his poor, weak arguments that he makes with respect to the running of this Province. Back to the electoral boundary issue. We are cutting it by four seats, which is not a significant figure by any stretch of the imagination. Four seats, when we had the government spend over $400,000 on it. Again, it is just another poor, pathetic example of the way that this government is trying to manage this Province.

Again I will repeat, what is wrong with this government is that it has no heart. It doesn't show any compassion. It governs by looking at the bottom line only. It is not looking at the affect that these polices have on the lives of the people of this Province. We have people now who've worked for twenty and thirty years in this Province who've contributed to society all their lives, who reared families and what have you, and what are they finding today? Their unemployment is running out. Any people who are on TAGS are being cut off of TAGS. What do we have this government doing? All we see is: Yes, Prime Minister. We don't have a government today in Newfoundland and Labrador that is standing up for the people of this Province. It is not standing up for the people of the Province which it is paid to do.

We see the Premier on a number of occasions stand in his place and say that we have to take responsibility, that we have to take our share. We need people in this Province today, people like the previous premiers. Premier Joseph Smallwood, I will give the devil his due, he fought for Newfoundland. The number one thing on his mind as far as I'm concerned -

AN HON. MEMBER: Churchill Falls.

MR. J. BYRNE: - is the - well, aside from the major mistake of Churchill Falls, he did have the best interest of the people of this Province at heart, Mr. Speaker. He fought for the people of this Province. We had the previous premier, Peckford, who stood up and was counted. He stood up and he took on Ottawa whenever the occasion arose. He took on Ottawa and he let it know point blank, quite clearly, where the people of this Province stood and what they stood for. The present Premier, all he does is bow to the present Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


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

MR. J. BYRNE: I can finish up.


MR. J. BYRNE: No leave?


MR. J. BYRNE: Boys, I have about another six or eight pages of notes.

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

MR. RAMSAY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak in the debate today. The hon. members opposite, of course, as is their due, would have the people of the Province think that we are here to hurt people, that we are here to do a bad job, and that we are here to do nothing of any benefit for the people of the Province. One would expect that hon. members opposite would at least give us credit where credit is due, and at least give us credit for having the right intentions, and the right intentions we offer to the people of the Province in getting elected, and the intention to try and do a good job for the people of the Province.

Now, the hon. Member for Green Bay has said in this resolution that we are doing badly because part of the budgetary problem is caused by cuts in federal transfers about which we have said little. Well, nothing could be further from the case, Mr. Speaker. We do not like the fact that we have to bear an inordinate burden that the federal government has placed on us. It is just that we are realistic enough about it to say, yes, the burden is there and we have to deal with it. We could beat up on the federal government and try to gain cheap political points, as has been done in the past and sometimes justifiably so, using that tactic so to speak to be very popular in our own Province.

Now, that is one way of going about it. Some would say that is the way you would get yourself somewhere down the line as far as electability and in trying to look good to the populous of the Province, but not necessarily the way that will accomplish anything because we all have this problem in this country and we share the financial responsibility for dealing with the situation.

They have also said that we have failed, and on this one, I suppose, there is no one who can espouse as having done a perfect job. We failed to cut waste. There certainly is some waste in government that we, and others in government who had the responsibility to the people of the Province, have failed to cut. That one there I would say is not for lack of trying but there is a certain element of failure in trying to cut the waste. That is something we acknowledge and something that we constantly are tying to improve on. There is a constant effort on the part of government and on the part of officials of the different minister's departments, and all of those who serve the public, to establish a regime where waste is something that is in the past and to try and do as much as we can with the few dollars that are available, so I give them a bit of credit for that part of the resolution.

Thirdly, saying that we failed to keep the commitment to reduce costs by decreasing the number of seats in the House of Assembly. Well, to look at the way this process has evolved, and I spoke about it last evening, the process would now allow for the creation of a House with forty-eight seats. To suggest that we could save a lot of money by going to forty or forty-four seats, and as some members even of the Opposition stated last evening, then we may have a need for additional staff to help with the administration of the House of Assembly matters and to help with the administration that members do on behalf of their constituents, because unlike other provinces Newfoundland is a Province where members of the House of Assembly are called on to do an inordinate number of tasks.

We deal with appeals on an non-legal basis, we deal with some of the most unusual requests that members of provincial parliaments and legislatures in other provinces would find to be things they would not normally be even asked to do, because people utilize the private sector through law firms, arbitrators and what have you as opposed to using their elected members to do so. These are things we have to take into account but we must also, Mr. Speaker, look at it, that you can't see the different things that they may suggest.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Yes, I can see it now. Someone has been playing with my notes, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RAMSAY: Stop me in midstream.

There is one question which I wonder about and maybe they wouldn't lend the money to me.

But anyway, looking at the fiscal situation we are now in which is part of what the members of the Opposition have put forward, would the hon. members associated with the House of Assembly here, lend the government the money they have accumulated? Now, if you as members of the Opposition I would suggest, would not lend the cash that you have on deposit in banks, in mutual funds or whatever investments that you have. If you yourselves would not offer the Government of Newfoundland that money to utilize on behalf of the people of the Province, then really, there is no purpose in even discussing the issue.

Why should you suggest that we go to the bankers and the financial institutions throughout the world to borrow money to run the affairs of the Province when, some of you would not be willing to lend your own money to do the same? So how can we justify lending the money to us as an institution to undertake public services on behalf of the people of the Province? That's a point I wanted to make.

Now the hon. member opposite also makes a point of us having down loaded the responsibility for government and the cuts that have been made to the other levels of government namely municipalities, health care institutions, educational institutions and what not. Now, I ask you: What should we do? What is it that we should do when we take a financial decrease on the transfers from Ottawa? Should we automatically absorb it ourselves? Should we, as the government then say, okay, we are going to have to do with less, we are going to keep giving the same amount of money out to municipalities, we are going to maintain our budgetary position and borrow all that money because there are only three ways we can get it?

We can lower our expenditures and our expectations for expenditure, we can increase the taxes or we can borrow it, and we have been borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and borrowing in the past, and the one thing about borrowing, it is only since this government came to office over the last six years, and to the hon. Member for Humber Valley, who spoke eloquently about the downfall of the financial situation of this Province since we took over, I would implore him to have a look at the fact that the tailspin that the finances of all governments in Canada have been in since that period of time, it is not only here, and we have been dealing with it.

We have been dealing with it to the point of reaching a balanced Budget in the last fiscal year, and the hon. member opposite has to realize that that is a full balance of a budget, that is not a balance of a current account as they used to do, still borrowing, $100 million, $200 million for capital works. That is a complete, a total balance that we are trying to achieve and I think we still will, there may be a small amount of borrowing to see us over the crest that we need to get past for this fiscal year, but that is a complete thing.

This government has borrowed less in each of the six years of its mandate than it did the previous year, and it is the first government in Canada to borrow less each and every fiscal year since it has taken office, so one has to look at that and say: Are they doing something right? Yes, in fact they are doing something right because they are borrowing less. It is the only government in the country to borrow less each and every year of its mandate to a point of hopefully, not having to borrow any whatsoever this year. If we manage to achieve that, it will be quite an achievement in light of the fiscal circumstances we face. If we don't achieve it, then hopefully we will be able to achieve it next year, but I would say that the tight reins that we have on the finances of this Province are something to be commended and not something to be condemned.

Now, what are some of the highlights? What are some of the things that we have done that are good? Well that was one case in point, Mr. Speaker, there are others. We can highlight some of the positives; we can look at the overall way that we have done the process of governing. It is a much more open process. We have to thank the media to an extent for, along with us, educating the public about the way that we run government and the finances of government. One time if you suggested the word deficit to people out in the general public there would not be a good understanding of what it was. Now when you talk about deficit finances and even on the television interviews recently, kids as young as ten and eleven years old have some understanding about what governments do. If we don't have the money then we have to find it somewhere and everyone of course sees it as it hurts their own situation, as our children do see it, the problems associated with it when it affects their schooling, their schools and teachers and others. So we are getting the information out there. The public is much more aware of government financing and that will help us to make the tough decisions that are necessary to be made.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the other thing that we have to look at is what are we doing on the economic side? Well the lowering of taxes, in spite of the fact - and we have to give the Opposition credit for bringing this out the other day - in spite of the fact that we have lowered the overall corporate income tax, the manufacturers tax and the general tax rate paid by business, we are achieving more from the private sector in taxation. So that will lead us to conclude that there is more business activity here in the Province. That, along with the basic statistical analysis of the way that the Province is operating the small business creation. We are tied at this current point and a lot of it has to do with the policies of this government. Some of it has to do with necessity but a lot of it has to do with the policies of this government that allow the private sector to become the engine of economic growth in the Province. When the Tories were managing government the public sector was the main focus of economic growth in the Province. We have switched that around and gone from having a total public sector driven growth to a private sector driven growth. It is the equal of British Columbia's small business growth on a per capita basis and really we are leading the nation in the creation of small and medium sized enterprises throughout the country.

Another thing that we should certainly look at is that government has to be smaller. The days of big government, the days of government managing things that could be better done by the private sector are over. We have to realize this and manage the change properly, which is what we are doing, Mr. Speaker. It is not showy, it is not the kind of thing that helps you get elected, it is not the kind of things that you can stick out your chest and say look at what we are doing but it is a very clean systematic approach to governance that this Province's government, for the last six years, has done its best to entertain on behalf of the people.

Now I would say to the hon. members that they should consider this, don't suggest that we should borrow unless they in turn, as I said earlier, will be prepared to invest each and every penny of their savings in that borrowing. Maybe they feel that they would only do that if they were in control of government but I would say, Mr. Speaker, that they would not allow themselves the opportunity to spend their own savings as a part of government's borrowing program. So I offer that to the hon. members opposite as a part of my remarks. I would suggest that the hon. member's resolution does not do anything for the Province. It is typical of the negativity that the Tories espouse.

I was visiting a gentleman in the hospital today, a friend of mine who is in after an accident and he said: really, with the negativity that the Leader of the Opposition and the Opposition espouse, there is certainly nothing that the Province can offer with them in charge. Thank God that we are in charge and running things properly. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, as he put it, the current Leader of the Opposition is really the best reason for us to continue governing. It will be the ultimate, along with all of the good things that we have been doing, part of our success electorally and otherwise in the future and hopefully the negativity remain over there. We cannot allow that kind of negativity to get in and run the Province because then people will never see their way past the difficult circumstances that we have today. That is all for now, thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: You were never thought good manners, were you?

AN HON. MEMBER: No applause.

MR. CAREEN: No need of applause. You will be taken care of. Mr. Speaker, the member will be taken care of by the people that he gave snide remarks to, from Island Cove and Spaniard's Bay, and all that little circle, they are waiting.

Mr. Speaker, I take delight today in getting up on this Private Members' bill. The Member for LaPoile talked about the negativity. Well, what else could you talk about with this government that started out with their slogan in 1989, looking for a real change. Well, I will tell you what, they certainly brought real changes. To the poor of Newfoundland, they made them poorer, and to the disenfranchised they added tens of thousands more people.

Mr. Speaker, last spring this House was subject to a Budget, and the government was bragging, thumping their chests, about a balanced Budget on current account. Now, a few months after, they are back looking for $60 million, when part of the money that they used last spring was the money that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation had gotten because Marine Atlantic had dumped good jobs on the South Coast in favour of lesser paying jobs. He let the Ministry of Transport, federal, and Marine Atlantic, off the hook, and that money was supposed to be put into a separate account in perpetuity, to look after the transportation needs on the South Coast, and that all disappeared. That was gone, that was taken and put into current account. Now, all of a sudden, we are $60 million...

Now I heard that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is also talking about taking over wharves and freight sheds on the South Coast. What does he want to do, make it worse? You want to make matters worse, I say, Mr. Speaker.

This government was the one talking about, for ages, fairness and balance. When you visit a hospital, do you see fairness and balance? The nurses and the nursing assistants are run off their feet. We saw the massive lay-offs in 1991, and what we found out a couple of weeks ago, there are more than 1,000 temporary workers that they hired on since. We heard what they are looking for at Municipal Affairs is again looking towards the people of this Province. They have our municipal governments - speed bumps for government. They want to increase taxes, so they expect the third level of government to put it to the necks of the people of this Province. Rural developments, they are being caught in a squeeze throughout this Province as well, a squeeze by this government.

We heard them talking a couple of years ago about their ISP program that would make matters worse. This government brought it to the attention of the Prime Minister and Mr. Axworthy without taking it to the people of this Province first - took it to Ottawa.

AN HON. MEMBER: Your time is up.

MR. CAREEN: Your time is up. You can count the ticking, now. You had better get a calendar, and a good one, because your time is coming.

For a couple of years this Premier never opened his mouth about fisheries until, I say, the new Government House Leader came back into provincial politics again. What we see is resettlement. At least Smallwood and them had a little bit more honesty about them; not very much, mind you, but what we see now is a more subtle resettlement than we have ever seen before in our lives.

The Argentia ferry took more one-way tickets from Eastern Newfoundland this year than ever before in the history of this Province. Then, what about Port aux Basques, and what about the flights that are going out of here? Tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders have left since this government came in, and there is more, and you talk about negativity. How else can they react? Because people have to put bread on the table. They have to eat.

We see about the Cabot Corporation. We asked for two years for the accountability of the Cabot Corporation. We asked for Memorial University, how it spends its money, and $120 million goes in there and it is not accountable either. You wasted $2 million on the education referendum, and that is gathering dust in Ottawa. You see what last year anywhere from $6 million to $10 million was thrown on the sale of Hydro. You never went to the people of the Province to ask was it a good idea in the first place. This is a hack-and-slash government. Lorena Bobbitt was more genteel than this government is with its people. This government uses a blunt axe on its own people.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: How can you be anything, Mr. Speaker, only negative towards the government of this Province? As managers they leave a lot to be desired. As responsible people they leave a lot more to be desired. They wouldn't run an outhouse over a river, and that doesn't take very much brains. Now we are expecting this government to deal with Voisey's Bay? Is it going to do the same thing that its Liberal brethren did two decades ago with Churchill Falls when the Premier of the day afterwards said he never even saw the contract? The Rothschilds saw the contract. Quebec Hydro saw the contract. Who is paying for it? The people of this Province who are left here, and the people of this Province who are forced to leave and have gone.

I said it before and I will keep on saying it, that a family reunion in this Province is only a wake or a funeral. A family reunion in this Province because of this government - and it is letting Ottawa off the hook. Anything Ottawa does is alright. Why? Where is your fight? Mr. Smallwood at least would have fought. Peckford would have declared war. Where is your fight? Everything Ottawa does is alright. Are you all that interested in running for the leadership of the Liberal Party? Are you waiting for your Leader to leave to get some federal appointment? Are you waiting for his appointment so you will find your tongues, so you will find your guts?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CAREEN: No question. You had your time, you were up earlier, I would say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. You can get up tomorrow and on some other day when you find your guts and find your tongue, and you can get up.

The Premier said he is going to manage Newfoundland, sometime or another, Newfoundland in decline. He certainly put the skids on her. Our people in Newfoundland are suffering from one end of the Island to the other, and the Labrador region. They want some confidence in a government that is not being delivered by the government of this day.

We heard about the so-called zones, the nineteen economic zones. Some people say it is an advance on what some day will be regional government in this Province. If that is what it is looking at, regional government, be honest. Come forward to the people of this Province. But it doesn't come forward. It went around this Province with a task force looking for a name change. It never went around this Province about its income support program. It never went around this Province on Hydro and other matters that were more important than a name change. Can you believe it? Can you trust it? That is the big question, Mr. Speaker.

This is an non-confidence motion, an non-confidence resolution, and how can you have confidence in people you cannot trust, with a so-called balanced Budget back in the Spring and then all of a sudden - they had a few million then they had gotten, and now all of a sudden they are looking for another $60 million. What kind of arithmetic are they playing with? What kind of kindergarten numbers do they have over there? I say that some of our front bench people over there dare not look out the window in the morning because then they will have nothing to do in the afternoon, and still in all the people of this Province, the ones we know, suffer.

Nobody can tell me that everything is rosy in this Province. Why not take a shot at Ottawa? Why not follow in the steps of Mr. Smallwood or Peckford? Why not take on Mr. Paul Martin? He is telling us to tighten our belts, the federal Finance Minister. I said before that he had his ships that were crewed by Canadian personnel. He had his ships registered under flags of convenience so that he could hire foreign sailors on his ships at dirt wages. Is that a person we should take example from?

We have the western character, Mr. Axworthy, and what he is going to be allowed to do to UIC is going to further hurt the people of this Province. I do not hear anything coming from the government of this Province. I hear that the government in New Brunswick is upset, but I do not hear this government in Newfoundland being upset.

The people of Placentia district witnessed a resettlement program back in the '60s. People were moved into Southern Harbour. Placentia was designated a growth area as were other areas of this Province. Some people moved into Long Harbour, Fair Haven and Little Harbour, not so much as the other places, and now we find people moving on again like gypsies. People being driven and a government that is not honest with you, a government that indeed is not upfront with its constituents.

Mr. Speaker, it's a sad day when you cannot apply the term `Fighting Newfoundlander' to your own government. The fight is gone out of them, there is no fight. We are going to see a whole bunch of civil servants gone. We do not know what else we are going to see over the next few days, expected cuts in health, education is looking for more cuts. They said monies they would save by putting this referendum through would go back into the classrooms of this Province, but you will never see it, not from this government.

This government bought fire bombers. I hope it was a fire sale. They claim it was. They bought fire bombers for service in Alberta but Newfoundland exists from Cape Chidley to Cape St. Mary's, and Cape Ray to Cape Spear.

MR. REID: That is as much as you know about it.

MR. CAREEN: I know about it because I have been around this Province. You haven't been off the Avalon yet except for the times when you flew to Japan or some of them other places since you became minister I say to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I am glad to be able to rise here today on this non-confidence resolution because I and so many thousands of Newfoundlanders have no confidence in this government, and no trust in them either.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Port au Port.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am very pleased to rise and participate in this debate today. It is the first time I had occasion to follow my good friend for Placentia in debate here in the House and is perhaps the first time in a - I shouldn't say the first time - it has been a first time for a while that he and I are certainly of differing opinions on the matter that's before us today.

None of us in this House and indeed in this Province, has any delusions as to the very difficult times in which we are living. Also, I think, at least and to the people I speak with in this Province and the circles that I travel, I sense that there is a very real understanding among the grassroots as to the nature of the problem that confronts us. The very genuine understanding of the factors that are at play here and the fact that all of us, we as a people, have to accept a common responsibility for trying to come to a resolution on this very serious problem.

The present crisis that faces us, one of the things that I see in this, is the very frail situation in which we find ourselves in this Province, where we are so dependent and have become so dependent on Ottawa for our very existence, that every time a decision is made up along in national interest, the repercussions certainly have tremendous effect here in Newfoundland and certainly in the situation in which we find ourselves now. We cannot deny that this has been in large part brought on by certain budgetary decisions made in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot, and the opposition may suggest but they cannot certainly bring forward convincing evidence to the people of this Province, that the problem which we are presently facing is one that has been created by this government. This problem has come about after many, many years of dealing with the finances of this Province in a way that perhaps any of us here in this House could stand and be negative of. We could question, but it is always difficult, Mr. Speaker, when you are casting a backward glance and you are looking at history, to cast the eye of the day on what happened twenty, twenty-five years ago because we cannot really understand the context in which those decisions were arrived at, however the reality is, that the $6 billion plus debt which this Province faces today has not been created by this government.

However, it is something that we have in the main inherited and as the people right now who have been entrusted with the responsibility to provide good government for this Province, that it falls to us to try to lead the way in taking the people of this Province out of the difficulties in which we find ourselves, and I don't think anyone can deny that this government is trying to come to grips with this problem. Now the answers are not easy and they are certainly not something that the people in the Province, that if they had their druthers, they would rather have something else I am sure, but the people that I talk to, Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, are demonstrating to me, a very clear understanding as to what is afoot here, and what needs to happen to make sure that we have a future for this Province.

I find it difficult whenever there are statements made in this House and cuts that have to be made to try to be responsible in dealing with the limited resources that we do have available in the Province, when I hear hon. members opposite stand in their places and condemn this and that and the other thing; well you can't do this and you can't do that, and that's fine, Mr. Speaker, and as Opposition members, it is certainly their right and their responsibility to provide opposition, but to me, providing opposition also means providing something in the way of productive opposition, that of offering alternatives -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, the easiest thing in the world is to stand and condemn. The easiest thing in the world is to stand and criticize but until you are prepared to say what you would do otherwise, then you are going to ring fairly shallow as far as I am concerned, and the people I am talking to in this Province are not being fooled by what they are hearing coming from the Opposition benches.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, not having come from a background of business, not having had occasion during my lifetime, in my working lifetime, to have had to spend sleepless nights in wondering the state of my finances, I have to admit that I have not had a lot of personal experience in balancing budgets. Mine has been fairly easy. The longest I have had to look at, perhaps, is two weeks, so it is fairly simple in that sense; however, even in that very simplest approach to budgeting it has been pretty obvious to me that at the end of the day I cannot be, on a consistent basis, spending more than I am bringing in, and either I have to make the decision that I will live within my means, or I can rest assured that someone will be making that decision for me. And I think any of us who are in situations where we have to rely on credit from time to time to get by recognize that the banks will be accommodating, and they will try to carry you for so long, but you will reach a stage when they will step in and say: If you are no longer able to manage your own finances then we are prepared, and indeed we must, do it for you.

Mr. Speaker, the thing that bothers me, as a Newfoundlander, is that I do not want to see this Province reach the stage where we are going to have the creditors who in the main live outside this Province, and indeed outside this country, stepping forward and saying: You have demonstrated, on a regular basis, that you do not have the ability to look after your financial affairs. You are beholding to us; now we want to come in here and we are going to show you how to run the finances of this Province. That, to me, is a frightening scenario. I do not think it is something that any of us - any of the hon. members in this House - it is not something that any of us can run the risk that this situation could ever arise. We have seen it in this Province before, and surely there are none of us here - and I am sure my hon. friend from Placentia the least - would want to see us go back to the days when we had the Commission of Government, when the government of the Province was no longer capable of looking after their own affairs, and as a result someone from outside had to come in and do it for us. Surely none of us want to see that again.

Mr. Speaker, when I came in this hon. House a short time ago I did not come in under any delusions. I was prepared to do one thing, to come into this House, to work hard, and hopefully in some small way to make a difference. The one thing that I did commit to do was to represent, to the best of my ability, the people of the District of Port au Port who saw fit to place their confidence in me and to send me to this hon. House to represent them. I have recognized the contribution that I will make in whatever time I will have in this House may indeed be limited, but I also feel that I do have a responsibility to stand up and speak out on behalf of the people of Port au Port, and indeed on behalf of the people of the Province generally, and express my opinions on a matter which I feel is of utmost importance to all of us at this point in our history.

Mr. Speaker, some of the factors and some of the events which have contributed to the present crisis in which we find ourselves are things that are completely beyond the control of this government. I think of the shut-down of the fishery. Surely this government cannot be asked to accept responsibility for the closure of the fishery. We all are so aware as to what a tremendous impact that has had on our districts, especially the rural districts, and has had on our economy generally. I have heard a lot of statements made within the last number of weeks referencing forced resettlement. I take great exception to that. If there is one issue that I have difficulty with is any suggestion that on this side we would be engaging in any sort of a deliberate exercise to try to resettle the rural areas of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I was part, am still part, of the rural development movement in this Province, a movement that grew up in response -

MR. HEWLETT: You just shut it down.

MR. SMITH: That may be your opinion, sir, but I haven't seen too much coming from you yet that is offering an alternative to it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, with regards to the resettlement issue, I see in this, in terms of the rural development association, evidence of the need for the continuance of these rural development associations. Because I feel that they do have a significant role to play in providing the leadership that will be necessary to help rebuild the economy in rural Newfoundland. It is not something that the rural development associations have not been doing. Indeed, it is something that they have been involved in. They are the ones that we are going to look to to help us get us out of the difficulty in which we find ourselves at present.

We've heard a lot of talk about the impending changes to the UI program, and I for one am very concerned as to what may be coming with regards to the UI program. We heard over the last couple of years and again today reference to the fact that a year or so ago there was a program put forward that was looking at and exploring the area of a guaranteed income supplement: the income supplementation program. Tremendous opposition to the program when it was announced, and a lot of concern in the rural areas. I remember at the time some of my own constituents expressing tremendous concern with regards to this program.

I share it with them. We don't want to be removing the limited benefits that they have. I for one certainly would hope that any changes that are proposed to the UI program will not impact too negatively on the area of the Province which I represent. But to suggest that this government has done nothing to try to address or redress the problems which confront us in this Province is not being fair to this government.

The Strategic Economic Plan, which was developed some time ago, and in which I had occasion to participate in, and I served on the Advisory Council on the Economy, I travelled with other members of that voluntary body throughout the Province and consulted with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in developing this document.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. SMITH: Just a couple of minutes to....

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SMITH: Yes, okay, just a couple of minutes to clue up. Mr. Speaker, what is contained in this particular document is a vision not only of this government but it is indeed a vision of the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Because this is where this document came from.

In conclusion, just let me say that we can't continue to live in the past. Neither can we ignore the reality of the present. We must recognize the challenges which face us all, all hon. members of this House, and with confidence in ourselves as a people - this is something that we must never lose sight of - and armed with a vision and a plan, we must not hesitate to take actions which are required at present to guarantee that there will be a future for ourselves and our children. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HEWLETT: I will give him a few minutes of my time.


The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My colleague for Green Bay has allowed me a few minutes - I thought I would get a few more - just to make a few brief points anyway. I was hoping to have fifteen minutes but I will take five minutes.

I enjoyed listening to the Member for Port au Port and he made some very good points. He did. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that he is one of the most respected members on that side of the House by this side of the House. He does make some good points and he sticks to the rationales and tries to be logical and practical in his comments. I respect that.

We also try to, in talking about some of the points that the Member for Port au Port -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Anyway, Mr. Speaker. We gave the courtesy of listening to the Member for Port au Port. I would like to have the same courtesy from the other side of the House now.

Anyway, the Member for Port au Port did make some good points, especially the point of being - and I've always believed in this too myself and that is why I wanted to make a few comments - that: Listen, the governments of the past, Liberals, Tories, NDP, federal, provincial, have left this country and this Province in a fiscal mess. There is no doubt about that and are we going to stick up and say it was seventeen years of Tories or ten years of Trudeau governments or whatever, Mr. Speaker, anybody else saying anything different - it is just gone too far into their political minds to come back out and think rationally. I believe that it has been different governments and different stripes but that does not forgive or forget the government of the day. This provincial government has been in office for seven years and yes, they have a strategic plan in place and yes, they try to follow that but, Mr. Speaker, somewhere along the line they forgot to keep in touch with, I believe, the grass roots Newfoundland.

The one comment that the member did make that I have a problem with is the fact that he does not believe there is a problem with the resettlement issue that keeps coming up. Mr. Speaker, everywhere I go in dealing with a rural Newfoundland district, like I do, the people in rural Newfoundland, especially the communities out there, don't even have a status as far as this government is concerned and are not allowed to get a status, have been abandoned by the government totally.

When you go to small communities in my district - and I am sure it is the same for the Member for Port au Port - go and ask them what they think about their health care being downgraded, the road services being downgraded. All the services that we, as Canadians and Newfoundlanders, enjoy and believe that we should have no matter where we are in this Province. If you are in Tilt Cove or if you are in Rose Blanche, anywhere you are in this Province you believe as a Newfoundlander, as a taxpayer, as a true Newfoundlander that you deserve such services to at least a certain extent but I don't think that is happening now, Mr. Speaker. I don't think that the agenda set by this government is really compassionate to the feelings of the real rural Newfoundland. It is destroying our culture. What it has done and what it has really done is ruin the will and the hope of people in this Province. The people in this Province right now have no hope. The back has been broken of the average Newfoundlander. They have given up on it.

If the Member for Eagle River was really up in the district he would understand that but he goes on with his buffooning politics all the time and of course he is so blinded by the red flag he does not see beyond that anyway. He is probably the most political bound person in the House, I would say, Mr. Speaker, bound by politics and nothing else. He never sees beyond it and that is the problem with it, when he got the red flag.

Then they talk about the big poll that they have coming out. I have to tell you about polls, Mr. Speaker, let's do the most recent and work back. The most recent poll, eighteen days before the election was called in Gander we had the poll, 82 per cent Liberal of the decided vote. He said forget it, don't go to Gander, forget about it, 82 per cent and don't even run a candidate. Eighteen days later, Mr. Speaker, the poll went from 82 per cent to 47 per cent. The Progressive Conservative candidate was less then 1 per cent, .9 of a percentage point from a victory. That was in eighteen days. Can you imagine what could happen, Mr. Speaker? Can you imagine what could happen, a planned election, a provincial election? We will see what polls mean.

MR. DUMARESQUE: You will be up here in the gallery.

MR. SHELLEY: If the Member for Eagle River thinks I am going to be in the gallery then he will be sitting up there long before I will, Mr. Speaker, I can guarantee you that. If we change the electoral boundaries I will take in Eagle River, 292 people out for a PC meeting in Eagle River. I say that is the most who have been out to a public meeting in a number of years, 292 people and another bus load who could not even get in there. Mr. Speaker, the agenda is set. It is an agenda. Maybe it is even unconscionable as the Premier would say, but it is an agenda against rural Newfoundland. They are the ones who are suffering the most and that is what this government should keep in mind.

I give leave to my college for Green Bay, Mr. Speaker, to conclude the debate.

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

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There have been some interesting comments today, some very predictable ones, obviously, from the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I, too, share some disappointment with the comments from the Member for Port au Port with regard to rural development because there is one hallmark of this particular government, it has been its attack on the rural development movement and to some extent in its municipal policy as well, the abandonment of many of the small communities in rural Newfoundland. It is whistling past the graveyard to go around saying this particular government is not doing in rural Newfoundland one way or the other.

Mr. Speaker, the leading phrase in my resolution today had to do with the so-called balanced Budget being in a deficit. The balanced Budget was essentially a farce. It was a public relation's charade, if you will, to basically gloss over problems facing the Province. As I indicated earlier in my opening remark I regarded this spring's Budget as an election budget. It was so good it was too good to be true. There is no way such a thing could be true given what everybody had said about the realities of the economics in North American, the cutbacks coming from the feds, so on and so forth. It was impossible to come up with a balanced Budget in any real sense of the word.

Mr. Speaker, this government came up with, at least on paper, a balanced Budget earlier in the spring, and as I indicated earlier it has been a pattern of glossy PR driven balanced Budgets that have unravelled as the year went on. We have now a situation where the government says they are $60 million in the red, and a little while ago they promised quick action, a quick Ministerial Statement or a mini-Budget to put things right. All of a sudden the mini-Budget that is supposed to be coming down has been delayed somewhat. A quick and dirty fix does not appear to be the way they are going to do it right now, and I wonder just what this government is up to.

Sooner or later this government is going to have to face a real Budget, and I wonder if this scenario might not be what they have in mind today - they seem to be buoyed up today - possibly putting a slick fix on a mini-Budget some time this fall, picking a fight with Ottawa over a constitutional resolution gathering dust up along, and possibly going to the people, calling an election in the spring without a Budget, because sooner or later this government has to deal with a real Budget, and to be quite honest with you, if we are $60 million off on a balanced Budget, I don't think this government has the nerve to go to the people after they bring down a real Budget.

Sooner or later this government has to get real, and one has to wonder just exactly what they are up to. I doubt if they can withstand the fallout of the cuts involved in the 200 million to 300 million range that are coming down, according to all commentators, and one has to wonder. They are getting their Electoral Boundaries bill through the House. The Premier has promised a tax revision with regard to Voisey's Bay. The energy minister has indicated the good news coming soon on Terra Nova and, like I say, we still have the constitutional resolution gathering dust in Ottawa, so one has to wonder if the real Budget that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will get will be after the next election.

I was mistaken; the spring budget this year was not an election Budget. The election Budget will be after the next election.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the resolution, aye.


MR. SPEAKER: Against?


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the resolution defeated.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman may think he needs a recount. The fact that he is of that view helps to explain why the administration of which he was such a prominent part came so close to driving her under, they never could count.

Now Your Honour, tomorrow we shall be back -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: When I have the attention of my friend from Carbonear-

Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleagues on both sides note the charity with which I spoke of my friend from (inaudible).

Your Honour, tomorrow we will be back on Order 24 on today's Order Paper, The Redistribution Bill, it is Bill No. 31. I anticipate that my friend from Port de Grave, the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation will ask the House to address the Standing Order 50, motion. If that's adopted we shall proceed to a vote at the appropriate time. My guess is that it will be of the order of nine to ten o'clock tomorrow evening, if members wish to arrange their schedules and affairs to that effect, I anticipate we shall sit through the supper hour and the latest the vote can come, members will recall is one o'clock but I don't anticipate that it will be that late.

Whenever the vote comes on second reading, that will be the conclusion of the business tomorrow. We shall have no other business tomorrow except to deal with that and there is a Late Show tomorrow afternoon of course. I can't imagine anybody being dissatisfied with the answers they get from the ministry but, should that be the case, there will be the Late Show in the middle of the afternoon.

Your Honour, I would anticipate on Friday we will resume the adjourned debate in Committee on the Whole on the two Guarantee Bills and a Loan Supply Bill. We will go back on those on Friday morning; the House will not sit beyond noon on Friday assuming that the Redistribution will get second reading tomorrow night. Members could anticipate that we shall deal with it on Monday again, we will be back in Committee stage and perhaps third reading; we will deal with that. If it doesn't get second reading members will be about other business I suspect by next Monday so we will carry on as we were, but anyway, Your Honour, with those few brief remarks and in deference to my friend from Ferryland who has implored me not to make mockery of him, and I said I couldn't make mockery of him because he does it to himself.

With that said, Your Honour, I move the House adjourn tomorrow at two o'clock.

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