May 28, 1996               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLIII  No. 16


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin the proceedings for the day I would like to welcome, on behalf of all members, a group to the gallery; it is the 300th Anniversary Committee from Greenspond, with Chairperson Ivy Fong, committee member Bob Granter, and Councillor Bob Thistle. I am sure all members would want me to wish them every success on their 300th Anniversary celebrations this year.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question today is for the acting Premier - I believe it is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology - in lieu of the fact that the Premier is not here. Last week I asked the Minister of Education: Did he think that the decrease in Memorial University's operating budget of $8 million would limit accessibility to post-secondary programs and to a post-secondary education to the students of the Province and did he believe there would be a dramatic rise in tuition fees?

The minister responded no to both. Does the Deputy Premier, speaking on behalf of the government, support the minister's statement?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister gave quite a long answer. His answers are usually short but, as I recall, that was a pretty long and detailed answer, and I thought it was quite satisfactory.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity.

Last week the minister, in the House, in debating the Private Member's resolution dealing with this, stated that: We do not think it is true at all that this will force the Newfoundland and Labrador students to go elsewhere for a university education, dealing with the proposed increases. Can the minister confirm that Memorial University is looking at an increase in tuition fees from anywhere from 42 to 98 per cent beginning in the fall semester of 1996?

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

MR. FUREY: I cannot confirm that, Mr. Speaker. I can tell you that we will certainly have the minister review it and report back to the House. I cannot confirm that just standing here today; I have no idea what Memorial is looking at. I am sure they are looking at creative ways of dealing with a very difficult situation.

We had a $3.4 billion budget, and a very difficult set of circumstances. It was about choices. We had pre-budgetary consultations by the Minister of Finance all across the Island. We listened. We attempted not to raise taxes and we didn't, with the exception of the surtax. We attempted to cut as little as possible, and that was part of it. We attempted to keep our borrowing in line with what we thought would satisfy the bond markets, so we were in difficult circumstances. We had tough choices and tough decisions and we went about doing that. I think the minister presented an exceptional Budget under difficult circumstances.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology saying that due to the $8 million cut in Memorial University's operating grant this year, and due to the $1 million that was funded to the Department of Health, is he saying that post-secondary education in this Province will still be accessible to all students who wish to go? Is that what the minister is saying?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I do not put words in the hon. member's mouth nor do I prepare and articulate his questions, so I ask him not to say what I am saying. I ask him to listen rather to what I am saying rather than to say what I am saying.

Mr. Speaker, what I said is that we had some difficult choices, and everybody knows that. We made it quite clear through the pre-budgetary consultations. The minister made it quite clear in his speech to the House. These were not easy decisions, they were very difficult decisions. Nobody wants to see education become non-accessible to people, and nobody wants to see rates rise. That is not what we are about. We think education is very important but we have to live within our means.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I am at a loss because on the one hand what we hear when we ask questions in the House on limiting the accessibility to post-secondary education and the concerns we raised about dramatic increases in tuition, basically we have been accused of smoke and mirrors. Let me ask the minister this; I have in my possession a document prepared by the comptroller of the University sent to the vice-president of finance and administration which outlines this: the anticipated reduction in the provincial government grant required the exploration of all available options to endeavour to generate a balanced Budget. Regardless of the opportunities that may be identified and implemented by the University through this process an increase in tuition fees was identified as one of the options which had to be exercised.

In that memo, Mr. Speaker, it clearly outlines that those people who are involved in the faculties of education, pharmacy, nursing, and fine arts will experience tuition increases of 42 per cent, up this year from $1156 to $1653.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind the hon. member that he is on a supplementary and ask him to get to his question.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, people in the faculty of engineering will experience a 70 per cent increase in tuition fees, and finally the students involved in the medical school will see an increase in tuition fees of 98 per cent. Surely the minister must see that this is not an option for university students.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader, on a point of order.

MR. TULK: The member gets up and reads from a document which is suspect in itself as to whether he should be doing it on a supplementary or even, indeed, on a question, but then he goes on to give a speech, Mr. Speaker, that would be more appropriate, I say to him, for the Budget debate that is coming up.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman is not sticking to the rules of this House, he is abusing them, and I ask Your Honour to bring him to order.

MR. SPEAKER: To the point of order, our Standing Order is quite clear that Oral Questions must not be prefaced by reading of letters, telegrams, newspaper extracts or preambles of any kind. So I ask the hon. member to get to his question.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I asked the question before I sat down, and I apologize to the House, but it is clear that Memorial University, in dealing with the Budget cut -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Has the hon. member asked his question?

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: So we will give the minister an opportunity -

MR. E. BYRNE: Does the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology agree that such dramatic increases in university post-secondary tuition will limit accessibility and make university available only for the elite of this Province?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I ask the hon. member to table the document, because when you read from a document in the House at such length, it is common courtesy to table it so that we can read from it and send it over.

MR. E. BYRNE: I am not allowed to table it but I will send it over to you.

MR. FUREY: Of course, you are allowed to table it.


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

MR. FUREY: Of course, you are allowed to table it. You can table any document in the House.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind hon. members of the House again that we have had this issue of tabling documents by private members before. It has been ruled consistently in this House that a private member neither has the obligation nor the right to table any documents.

The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member says that he will send it over to me. I would like to look at the memo; I don't distrust him but I would like to see if in fact it is a legitimate memo and I will have the Minister of Education get a copy of it and review it. But I have to tell him that lots of memos went around during the Budget consultations. I mean, I recall a memo in my own department looking for major savings in communications, in purchases of furniture and purchased services, reduction in purchases that we would normally make as high as 40 per cent. So this is not something new that all of a sudden, the Opposition has discovered. The government had a significant problem. We were all instructed to look inside our own direct departments and Crowns which respond to us and find the necessary savings. Heaven help us if we did not find the savings, what the cost of education would be!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer the question so I will put it, straightforward, again.

Does he support, does he acknowledge that such dramatic, proposed increases in Memorial University's tuition will limit education to the only people in this Province who can afford it and that equal accessibility for all students, regardless of financial status, will be denied? Does he acknowledge that and support that that is what this Budget will do?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, twenty years ago, or was it fifteen years ago, when I went to university, I can tell you, tuition seemed out of touch for me, too. My family did not have the necessary funds to provide me with it. I exercised my rights, I found summer jobs, I got student loans, I made my way through the system, Mr. Speaker. I did, on my own, and I am thankful that the taxpayers of the Province gave me that opportunity. I am sure there are lots of opportunities for people as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Health.

I am raising another issue today, Mr. Minister, that proves that this government's tall talk about open budgeting and public consultation is nothing but a sham. Why did this minister not consult with the pharmacist, with the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association and with other affected groups and individuals before cutting, virtually in half, dispensing fees for pharmacies under the indigent drug program? Why did the minister bring the axe down so carelessly before conducting a thorough study of this proposal, a study that would have told him how close to bankruptcy this policy is going to force many of the front line pharmacies in our Province?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Budget was constructed on the basis partly of a reduction in the dispensing fee from $6.50 to $3.50 for pharmacists in the Province who dispense prescriptions for social services recipients only. Seniors of this Province at the moment still pay and always have paid their own dispensing fees. So we are only dealing with the social services population.

I guess, Mr. Speaker, there are a number of principles and bases on which we made our judgement, in relative terms. First of all, we have a situation in the Province where there are pharmacies, particularly in the large urban areas, who are filling prescriptions for as low as $1.99. That means that a senior or you and I can walk up to a counter in a pharmacy in some areas and have our prescription filled for $1.99. I ask the hon. member the question: Is he proposing that the taxpayers of this Province should pay more to get a prescription filled on behalf of the social services recipients in this Province or should we do what is right and proper and meet what is the market's lowest cost?

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I point out to the hon. member that in areas where we do not have pharmacies to fill prescriptions in the Province, we fill them through our hospital systems, as we used to do to a larger degree in the past. Where we have to provide a means for Social Services or for anybody to get prescriptions filled because of no pharmaceutical outlets, we do it at a cost in-house, if you like, as government, for a cost of $3.65. I ask him again, is he suggesting that we pay $6.50 to get a job done that we can get done somewhere between $1.99 and $3.65. I have to tell the hon. member that we are, on balance, wise stewards of the taxpayers' dollars of this Province, so we will continue to do what is right and proper in terms of the taxpayers and in terms of the seniors and the Social Services recipient.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am not so sure where the Minister of Health gets his prescriptions filled. Anyway, after the flood of faxes and mail he is likely to have received in the past week, the minister probably knows that the pharmacists cannot add a mark-up to prescriptions costing less than $30, and that their only source of revenue on such a prescription has been the $6.50 dispensing fee, the one that he so thoroughly slashed in half. Is the minister now finally going to start consulting, start paying attention to the many pharmacists who are telling him that they had overhead costs which are well above the $3.50 dispensing fee, and depending on the fee to survive? Why did the minister not give a moment's thought to rural and urban parts of Newfoundland when he brought the axe down on this program?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I guess the government had choices in terms of constructing its Budget. We could have done what four or five other provinces have done. We could have done like New Brunswick and added a $2 co-pay to all the seniors in the Province and to the Social Services recipients up to an annual cost to the Social Services recipients of $250. We could have added a $3 co-pay like Ontario has done. We could have added a $2 co-pay like Saskatchewan has done. We made choices. We decided that, on balance, it was better not to put an extra expense of $2 or $3 per prescription on the 70,000 people who are on the caseload of Social Services and the other 30,000 who have drug cards in the Province, as opposed to putting it where we felt it would be a better adjustment made.

I also point out to the hon. member that, on balance, the pharmaceutical industry, or the drugstores in the Province generally, tell me that about 30 per cent of their business is dispensing pharmaceutical products. Of that 30 per cent probably 30 per cent of the 30 per cent is Social Services recipient work. So we are really not talking about a very significant volume of their particular business. A drug store once was a drug store. It dispensed drugs, period. At the moment pharmaceutical outlets do 1,000 other things, sell 1,000 other products along with dispensing drugs. While we acknowledge their great value to the health care system and the services they provide, we also acknowledge reality in the marketplace today.

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

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, let me tell you, that is not the answer that either the minister or officials in his department gave the pharmacists the day before the Budget came down in this House, and nowhere near the answer that either the minister or his officials gave the association.

There is already a mail order prescription service located outside the Province doing a limited business within the Province. Is that the minister's plan now for rural Newfoundland and Labrador? Is that why he is forcing pharmacists to subsidize the government and to go out of business in the process, so that people can order their drugs by mail from outside the Province, and let the money and business help create jobs outside Newfoundland and Labrador?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FRENCH: I don't mind the hon. Government House Leader because he is full of it again today. Doesn't the minister realize his assault on local independent pharmacies and our people who have limited access to pharmacies will likely result in a substantial increase in mail order prescriptions filled outside this Province? Will the minister reverse this cut and give some hope for a better tomorrow to our local pharmacists, to these small business operators and communities that depend on them?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would have to equate the hon. member's question -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

The Chair can't hear the hon. minister.

MR. MATTHEWS: I would have to equate, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question in terms of substance to the concept of much sizzle but no steak. Because there is very little substance to what the question contained.

Clearly we are not contemplating a mail order purchase outside the Province situation for anybody who is receiving prescriptions as a result of being on social services. We acknowledge that as a result of the action we have taken we have taken $3.6 million to $4 million out of the pharmaceutical pharma-care prescription drug budget for this year. We don't deny that. We had to make decisions and choices in building the Budget and we had to make them on relative balance as to what the best way would be in the difficult circumstances we face to meet the objectives that we had to meet.

We acknowledge the value of the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacists in terms of the services they provide. We acknowledge all of that. But we also acknowledge that there has been a financial impact on some of them as a result of this. We will undertake to ensure that if there is one instance where a drug store either cannot or will not fill prescriptions for the $3.50 for Social Services we will undertake to ensure that the people of the Province are not deprived of pharmaceutical products, but we will do it in-house for $3.50 to $3.65. I think that is good value for the taxpayer, good service for the people who need it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Government Services and Lands regarding the Crown lands new value pricing policy.

Mr. Minister, your statements to clarify the new pricing policy only confused the public even more. I believe further clarification is in order. Yesterday I asked the question regarding the rate increase which you could not answer. Twenty-four hours later I am sure you would have the answer today. I will ask the question once again. Can the minister indicate to the House what the increased average cost would be for a residential grant and/or cottage grant? Also, the increased cost to the residential and cottage leases.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, I certainly promised the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis yesterday that I would table today the answers to the questions that he asked yesterday. I have the questions here and I could read them out, but I will table them following the oral session for his satisfaction.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Why could he not answer them, instead of having to table them? I gave him the opportunity just a minute ago, Mr. Speaker.

This new policy is based on 20 per cent of the assessed market value, meaning people will pay different rates in different locations to enjoy their summer cabins. Many people will have to pay substantially more. Mr. Minister, can you confirm or agree that a person with a cottage lease in Deer Park, Ocean Pond or similar locations throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, would see their lands conservatively assessed at $10,000 or more, and if they cannot afford to convert to a grant by October 31, 1996, will see their rental go to $2,000 or more per year, based on the assessed value, up from $75 they are presently paying?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of questions involved in that particular question. For me to try to respond to all of those questions right now, I would have to get information.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes or no?

MR. McLEAN: We have to take every case on a different basis. It has to be done on a case-by-case basis because every area is different in the Province. There are six different components to this particular policy.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis on a supplementary.

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

The minister announced this new policy without the consultation promised in the red book. The only recreation many people can afford to enjoy in the Province is going to their summer cabins. The purpose of the October 31, 1996 deadline to convert to a grant is nothing short of a money grab and a major hidden tax in the Budget, which highlights government's crisis management process.

Mr. Minister, many people cannot afford these sudden changes in increases in fees by -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to get to his question; he is now on a supplementary.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, I am just getting to it, Mr. Speaker.

As I said, many people cannot afford these sudden changes in increases in fees by October, 1996. To give cabin owners time to prepare for such outrageous increases, will the minister agree to a three-year extension to the deadline date of October 31, 1996, or will we see properties being seized?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, we will take it on a case-by-case basis. We will not see anybody lose their cabins or cottages or leases by the end of October. I would suggest to the hon. member that he suggest to any lease holder out there that they certainly apply to the department, and when we get all of the notifications out I think most people will be satisfied.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis on a final supplementary.

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

Will the minister confirm: If, after October 31, 1996, people cannot afford to pay the increased cost, they will not see their cabins being seized or lost, and if a person does not pay there will be no penalty? Is that what you are saying?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that when everybody gets the correspondence from the department, and looks through the correspondence that they do get, I am sure most cabin owners will be satisfied with the possibilities that they have.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

I know the minister is aware -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, this question has been prepared for awhile, but I had to wait for the Premier to be out of the House because I didn't want him to get up and answer it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: I know the minister is aware of the new cost recovery initiative for the fish processing industry recently brought about by DFO, so I ask the minister if his department was consulted to have input into this new fee structure, and if he agrees with the new fee schedules as brought forward by the federal government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: My first question to the hon. member would be: Who wrote the question for him? The Premier is not here, and I will answer the question very clearly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: I am fully aware of the new fee structure imposed by the federal government. I have written the minister, and I have asked the minister to put the fees on hold until we have had time to have further consultation on the impact on the industry.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, this is certainly not the information that was provided to processors when they met with the minister a short time ago.

In light of the minister's actions, could I ask the minister if he would table, here in this House, the correspondence that he had with the federal government so we could see for ourselves what his intentions are and what his department is suggesting?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of a meeting that I had with processors where we discussed that. I discussed it with an individual processor in the corridor of these Chambers just last week. I suspect the processor that the hon. member is talking about is an individual from his own district who I arranged a meeting with today to go down and talk to DFO to discuss and express their concerns and the impact on small operations, the exorbitant fees charged and the impact on small operations around the Province. I clearly told those people that.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I will ask the question once more, the minister didn't answer the question. I asked if he would table his correspondence to the federal minister. In light of what is happening with the processing sector here, where we see small processors employing less than eight and ten people, having to pay processing rates in excess of what the giants like FPI and National Sea have to pay, some of them have gone up over 4,000 per cent. I asked the minister if he would table this correspondence between the federal minister and his office here in this House, please?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Probably what I should be doing, Mr. Speaker, is ask the hon. member why his constituents had to come to me for me to arrange a meeting with them down at DFO? They simply wanted a meeting to discuss a federal issue. They had to drive from Princeton, Bonavista Bay into the Chambers to have a meeting arranged with the federal minister's office downtown. I did that, I expressed my concern. I told them exactly what I had been doing with the federal minister and they were aware of that. They reported back to the hon. member and that puts an end to that particular subject.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have one question, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Mines and Energy. Will the minister comment on any implications for Voisey's Bay development of the decision announced by Inco and Diamond Fields today that they do not expect to complete the acquisition of Diamond Fields by Inco by the previously announced date of May 29?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: No, Mr. Speaker, none at all. The companies have said that they are going to work together and close the deal on a timely basis. In their initial announcement they said that they would hope to close by tomorrow, May 29, but that the deal is open and on the table until some time in August. In the meantime, they said today that they don't expect to close tomorrow but they are going to work together to close in the near future as soon as they can have everything ready.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Just one more question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister. Does the minister have any reason to be concerned about the impact of the lawsuit by the Texas based company in the Voisey's Bay development?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

DR. GIBBONS: Not at all, Mr. Speaker. That's a private matter between private parties and it is, in my view, not going to have any significant affect on what we see as a major long-term development at Voisey's Bay that is going to be a mine/mill/ smelter refinery, a major industry that is going to last at least a quarter, if not half a century in this Province. So this to me is just a pimple on the back of an elephant.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My questions are to the Minister of Social Services.

In the election campaign the Liberal Party was committed to a new strategic social plan that was first announced on March 4, 1993. It has been talked about for some time and there have been new commitments that have been made. I want to ask the minister, when will the social plan be released, in view of the fact that it was committed to be released in sixty days, it has now been ninety-one days since the election?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This government is committed to putting forward a document that reflects the views of many groups in a consultation paper. While we did commit to the sixty days we were more focused on providing a document that will be as encompassing as possible to set out a framework to begin the discussions. It will not be a plan; it will be a consultation document. As I stated yesterday in the committee meetings, it will be released within days. We are now in the final stage of trying to secure printing and trying to get it completed so that it will be into the system, hopefully within the next seven to ten days.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to ask the minister if in their review process of the consultation document, who will be leading the review - that I think has been publicly stated - but who will be assisting? I want to ask the minister, will there be representations of the injured workers, the single parents and those people who are on social assistance? What will be the nature of the review team and what kind of a time frame are we looking at for the completion of the review?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think the hon. member yesterday stood and referred to specific pages in the Red Book. I would now refer my colleague to the Red Book again, to refer to the section on the Strategic Social Plan and underneath that section you will see the various groups that have been outlined in the Red Book -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: - so, Mr. Speaker, we are committed to having representation from the various groups outlined and in fact, plan to broaden that representation to truly get a representative group to give us the types of views and recommendations we are looking forward to as we implement the plan.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Answers to Questions

For which Notice has been Given


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands.

MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, I want to table Answers to Questions asked by the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis yesterday, concerning the new Crown lands pricing policy.


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to rise today to present another petition, Mr. Speaker, and I will, for the sake of the Minister of Education who is not here today who is going to worry about technicalities, I will read the entire petition, Mr. Speaker.

To the Honourable House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Legislative Session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, known as The Fighting Newfoundlanders, ask for the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

We, the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, do hereby petition the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to support our petition to do one of the following: Open a food and recreational fishery to all Newfoundland families or be a closed food and recreation fishery to all other Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, this is a continuation of the petitions I plan to present day after day in this House of Assembly from a long way back dated and, Mr. Speaker, I am also delighted that the other day the Premier of the Province who was then the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans at the time, who made this decision on the recreation food fishery in this Province, got up and responded and I hope he will get up again in this House, Mr. Speaker, and respond again because he didn't answer any of the questions, and said that I put forward falsehoods as it pertains to the food fishery in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, for a long time now I have been listening to people on both sides of the argument, and the Premier used the example that the majority of people in the Province believe that we are doing the right thing for conservation and so on. I don't know what polls say or surveys say about who supports the food fishery or who does not support it. I have always said in this House, I stand on this issue of the recreational food fishery on its principle, and, Mr. Speaker, I have also looked and asked people in the know, as a matter of fact, the Premier keeps referring to the scientists of DFO in Newfoundland, in Ottawa, wherever, Mr. Speaker, and I have asked for information about the fish stocks and so on.

DFO scientists and officials, to whom I have spoken, cannot give me scientific research on the difference between the biomasses on the Grand Banks and so on and why we have a moratorium in this Province. Mr. Speaker, we all know that because of the biomasses and the large masses of fish offshore on the Grand Banks and so on in the different regions of the Province, is the reason why we have a moratorium; but what we are talking about with a food fishery, Mr. Speaker, is bay stocks. There is no scientific word for it, they are talking about bay stocks and fishermen who argue for a food fishery, and I will say it in all sincerity: would you please give us the scientific research that relates in bay stocks to the offshore biomasses which is the reason for the moratorium, and, Mr. Speaker, to date, the scientific research is not completed on really, what the connections are.

There is also, Mr. Speaker, the scientific research - if you want to refer to that again - that fish that were caught off the

South Coast of Newfoundland that were tagged, were then tracked to the Barents Strait. In other words, cod fish swim around, they just don't stay in one place, and even stocks break off and some fish go in other directions, they don't always stay together. Now that is what scientific research tells us so there are two questions. First of all: what is the difference between bay stock and offshore biomasses, and, Mr. Speaker, the second part of the scientific research asks: how far do fish swim? What are the patterns of fish stocks, the ones that break away?

Mr. Speaker, until that is proven, then I would support a food fishery in this Province. And I say that I would not support a food fishery if somebody, Ottawa, Newfoundland, scientists, whoever they are, can tell me that the amount of fish caught in a food fishery would hurt the recovering stocks in this Province, that would in any way endanger the recovering of the fish stocks.

Mr. Speaker, it is ludicrous to believe that 1500 tons, which is the guesstimate, because it was not an accurate count - but the last guess was that 1500 tons were caught. Seals eat twice that much in a day. A dragger pulls up that much in less than a couple of hours. The truth is that the amount of fish caught by the food fishery when it was open was insignificant, and if it were to open again it would still be insignificant to the recovery of the fish stocks.

The truth is, Mr. Speaker, that this whole sham was all about an image and a perception. It had nothing to do with the hard facts of scientists who say there is a difference in the in-bay stocks and the offshore biomasses. The truth is, with the hard times we are having in this Province, point one, they could jig a fish to eat, and point two, if anybody is going to be stopped from fishing in this Province, the fisherman with the hand line should have been the last one stopped.

I do not believe for one minute, Mr. Speaker, and I ask the Premier again to show me the scientific research that says the in-bay stocks and the offshore biomasses are related.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to support the petition so capably put forward by my colleague, the Member for Baie Verte. I am sure the Minister of Fisheries will stand in his place and get on with the tiresome old story of telling us we do not believe in conserving stocks and that is the reason why the plants have been closed down, and that members should not be standing up speaking out for a food fishery while thousands of people are unemployed. Mr. Speaker, we all know that those tired old statements are very untrue and unfounded. And I, for one, would never stand here today and ask for a food fishery if I thought it was going to completely wipe out or destroy the cod stocks in this Province of ours.

It was only today I got a call from a fisherman who had put out twelve lump nets. I ask the minister: What is a lump net - ten-and-a-half-inch mesh? He had out twelve lump nets and when he went to haul them today, he had seventy pounds of lump roe and 1200 pounds of cod fish. I mean, that is unheard of. Normally, when you are having a good fishery and you haul lump nets, the most you would get would be a couple of hundred pounds of fish, because with the ten-inch mesh the fish would go right through and it would only be the odd one that got tangled up in the web.

Mr. Speaker, this is a prime example of the amount of cod that is there today and is able to support a food fish. All the scientific evidence that the minister continues to bring forward, evidence that a few years ago he did not believe in, he thought it was hogwash. He would not listen to them. They were people that should not be heard of, and now, all of a sudden, he is singing their tune, singing from the same book.

I call on the minister to listen to the true people, the true scientists out there today, listen to the fishermen, and I can assure you, the amount of cod fish caught to support a food fishery in this Province will have nothing to do with destroying the cod fishery as we know it. It would have nothing to do with the plant opening in Port Union, have nothing to do with the plant opening in Bonavista, but it would have a lot to do with putting food on the table of many people out there today who always enjoyed a meal of cod fish. It would have a lot to do with that, and I believe as responsible people, as people duly elected to serve our constituents, that we should be here today trying to do exactly that.

I hear the Member for Baie Verte talk about the stories he has heard from people calling in from his district, and if the minister were truthful and would like to tell the stories from his own district, he could get up and go on with the same thing as well. When the fishery was closed down, we talked about one of the reasons why it was closed down, being because of the people dealing on the black market, because of the fish that was sold under the table. But the only people that you stopped fishing, I say to the minister, were the people who were out there doing it sincerely. The person who was going out, catching his ten fish, coming ashore and putting it away for the winter. The people who are going out selling on the black market, the people who are going out in darkness to catch fish, are still taking part in that particular activity and they have not been stopped. I know of Newfoundlanders who have lost their skidoos through ice-fishing, lost their boats and motors in going out to jig a meal of codfish, something that was always there for them.

The minister continues to talk about conservation, continues to talk about the bad, negative things that would happen if we had a food fishery. I don't know of anything that will happen if we allowed people to go out and catch a meal of codfish that they have always been able to do. If he really wants to deal with conservation he might do as I suggested a couple of days ago. Go up and go for a trip on some of the shrimp draggers up off Northern Labrador and up off Greenland, where I understand, when they make one drag and pull back their nets, they spend as long as two hours shovelling juvenile fish off the decks of the boats. Codfish, halibut, turbot, redfish, two inches long. Then the minister sits here and says: We can't support a food fishery because it would destroy the cod stocks of Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. FITZGERALD: Shame, I say, to the minister. Speak up and support the people!

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

The hon. member's time is up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The shame of all of the comments by the hon. member is exactly this. The hon. member is saying, or both members are saying, there is sufficient fish in the ocean or in the bays to have a food fishery, that when you put a net over the side of the boat, a lump net or whatever, an indication of crab pots or lobster pots, I'm hearing, there is an abundance of fish out there. If that is the case, and we are totally confident that the bays are full of fish, and the ocean is full of fish, then why don't we have petitions in the House of Assembly to start a commercial hook and line fishery? so that people who are being cut off TAGS, people who are not working, people who are devastated financially and have to go to Social Services - why they cannot go out and catch fish and sell them commercially if the fish are that plentiful in the bays.

If I were being responsible as the members are trying to put across this House of Assembly, you would think they would be speaking on behalf of all the people out there who are suffering because there is no fish.

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Baie Verte, on a point of order.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I presented a petition. I know what is in the prayer of the petition. He is misleading the House if he is saying that we are supporting a commercial fishery. We certainly are not. The petition's intent was to support a food fishery, not what the minister said.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now, let me try to put this together. There aren't enough fish to fish commercially, but there are enough fish that we can go out and fish recreationally. In other words, we are not going to go out there and catch the fish, because there is not enough to fish commercially. But we will allow people to go out there and catch for a food fishery, knowing full well if the stocks are not rebuilt to a commercial standard, and if we go and take more fish out of the oceans, it will take that much longer to rebuild, and it will take that much longer for people to get back to working in this industry.

That is what the hon. members are saying. You cannot have it both ways. There is either enough fish out there or there is not enough fish. Now, make up your minds, and when you are ready to come to a decent conclusion come and talk to me.

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

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I presented a petition yesterday on the school busing in Shea Heights. I stand today to present a second petition on that. The prayer of the petition reads as follows:

We, the residents of Shea Heights, wish to petition the House of Assembly to oppose the discontinuation of school busing services to the community of Shea Heights, as we believe the cost of the Metrobus service can be burdensome on a family already trying to live within a limited financial budget. There would be very little cost to the Province in having a school bus stop in the community of Shea Heights on its way to or from the community of Blackhead to pick up these students. The Metrobus schedule in some cases does not coincide with school hours, and the students would have to make a stop on Water Street to get a transfer, take a second bus under the Metrobus system, to get to their destination.

I ask the House if they would accept this petition in support of the residents of Shea Heights and their school busing system.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise in my place to support the petition presented by the Member for St. John's South concerning the school busing problems in the Shea Heights area.

On May 22, the Member for St. John's South asked a question of the minister with respect to the discontinuance of school busing in the Shea Heights area, and he made a comment with respect that the yellow school bus now goes up over the hill and goes out to Blackhead, and basically will be passing through the community empty and not picking up twenty or twenty-five students in that area. He just made a comment and noted that there would be very little cost involved, and I agree that there would be very little cost involved, especially seeing that the bus is passing through the community.

He also mentioned that there would be a problem now with the existing Metrobus schedule, with the students coming down the hill having to transfer to the Metrobus, and there would be problems arise there, I suppose, with the very young children; that would be a problem.

Mr. Speaker, also with respect to this situation in Shea Heights, families with two and three children could run up quite a monthly bill for paying to have their children transported by the Metrobus to the schools. A note was made here, I believe it was $10 a week, or $40 or $50 a month for every child; so if you have three children that could be anywhere from $120 to $150 per month.

Now, if you compare this to other areas in and around St. John's, Wedgwood Park and East Meadows had the school busing system which is going to be discontinued - and I expected, actually, the Member for Virginia Waters to be making a comment on this, and he has not to this point in time - you have to question: Would it be reasonable to have some areas serviced and other areas not serviced with the school bus system? I want to be careful in trying not to have one group pitted against another group type of thing, which seems to be the hallmark of this administration, to pit one group against another group and then finally discontinue it and say the problem is solved, and I say that with respect to the education reform itself. When the referendum was coming down, I made comments that it was going to be very divisive, and that is certainly proving to be true, that it is being very divisive.

With respect to the school busing in Shea Heights, again I think it was only reasonable to expect that a bus going through the area would pick up the students, especially when it is returning and going to basically the same areas.

Another point that I would like to make with respect to the discontinuance of school busing in and around St. John's - and this may not be a very popular point of view, I suppose, but I think someone should mention it - how many jobs are going to be lost because of the discontinuance of the bus service in and around St. John's? It seems to me that a lot of policies that are being put forth by this administration over the past few years always seem to be geared at destroying jobs instead of creating jobs.

I know of one bus operation that will be possibly laying off as many as five bus drivers because of this policy. I know this person personally, and I know of other bus operators, or owners I suppose, who will be laying off drivers themselves. Again, we have to wonder what the bottom line would be, or the end result would be. Are we going beyond the point of diminishing returns with respect to this? If we have the government saving on one hand with respect to the busing, will we actually lose, if you have say five, ten, fifteen or twenty bus drivers laid off? I don't have the actual number. Then you are going to be losing revenues with respect to income tax, GST, and provincial sales tax, or what have you.

Then to push that even further, if these people don't get jobs for themselves or are unemployed for any length of time and their UI runs out then they could very easily end up on the social services network. So then in the long haul it could be costing the government money to discontinue the bus service. So I just wonder what kind of an assessment was done and what kind of a study was done when they decided to discontinue the bus service in and around St. John's?

Another point too I suppose, to unload it onto the Metrobus system itself with respect to the City of St. John's, certain individuals are saying now that it could cost upwards of $1 million to the people of the City of St. John's to put this busing schedule in place. Again, you have to wonder is that fair to the people of the City of St. John's if you compare it to other areas within the Province. Now I know the Minister of Education was on his feet the other day and said that if Mount Pearl gets the Metrobus - same service in Mount Pearl with respect to Metrobus they would discontinue it in Mount Pearl. So then that would lend one to believe - what would be the point of Metrobus expanding into Mount Pearl? Why would Mount Pearl even want to encourage Metrobus to expand into the service in Mount Pearl if it is going to end up costing the taxpayers of Mount Pearl money?

Back to the Shea Heights issue, members presented a couple of petitions to ask questions on that very issue and I would just like to say that I support his petition with respect to having the busing continued in the Shea Heights area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I just want to acknowledge, for our side of the House, the presentation of the petition. I think a similar petition was presented yesterday and the minister responded but we will take a look at the remarks by both members and ensure that the Minister of Education receives it. We don't doubt the sincerity of the presentation from the Member for St. John's South, my member and a good member.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the House of Assembly: To the hon. the House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened. The petition of the undersigned students of Mount Pearl Senior High that:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has eliminated the public exam marking board and cancelled public exams; and

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to reinstate public exams and the public exam marking board.

I stand today, Mr. Speaker, to present this petition specifically on behalf of a particular group of students but I might add, Mr. Speaker, that this petition echoes the thoughts and sentiments of literally thousands of students and thousands of parents and teachers throughout this Province.

Mr. Speaker, it has been brought to the attention of the Minister of Education and the government throughout the announcement last Friday of the cancellation of public exams, that this particular decision is not a popular one. There are indeed, as indicated, thousands of students who have voiced their objection to the cancellation of public exams, have voiced their objection, Mr. Speaker, in addition to the fact, prior to that particular announcement, that if examinations were in fact going to be written that they would not have been marked by a provincially appointed public exam marking board.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday when this issue was brought up during Question Period I asked the Minister of Education if he would reconsider his decision and in fact give some consideration to reversing the decision with respect to the cancellation of public exams. The Minister of Education responded by saying absolutely, Mr. Speaker, absolutely nothing wrong when reversing any decision that deserves or requires reversing. Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister and I say to the hon. members opposite that this is indeed an issue that requires attention. It requires immediate redress, it requires a reconsideration and why, Mr. Speaker?... because there is a movement afoot by active students and concerned students in this Province to bring this particular matter to the attention of the members and to the attention of the members opposite in a very real way.

Tomorrow a group referred to as Student Education Alliance will be marching on Confederation Hill during the noon hour. Hundreds, and I would submit potentially thousands, of students from this region who will speak with respect to their disapproval to the announcement that has been made by this government in the cancellation of public exams. As indicated yesterday when this issue was raised, all of the regional high schools - and in fact there will be participation from students outside this particular region who will be joining in this movement and who will be participating in a demonstration and presentation in front of Confederation Building.

The Minister of Education indicates that he will not reverse or reconsider a decision when there is no worth in reconsidering or reviewing a decision. I say to the minister and I say to the members opposite that this is indeed a critical issue. Time is of the essence. We cannot afford to wait for days and indeed weeks before there is reconsideration. It needs immediate attention; it needs to be brought to the fore of this House. The Minister of Education has an obligation to reconsider this very important decision that has been made with respect to the cancellation of public exams.

I'm sure members opposite have received faxes, letters and phone calls from concerned parents and students on this particular issue. We have a memo from the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association simply headed: The government did not consult. That says it all. There was no prior discussion, there has been no plan, there was no attempt to consult with the powers that be with respect to this important issue. Therein lies the problem. That is why we have a crisis in education today. This government has failed to consult adequately with stakeholders, has failed to consult adequately with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, with school boards, and perhaps most importantly with the very students that this decision would directly affect.

In closing I would ask the minister, and again his colleagues in Cabinet, to reconsider this issue, to listen to what students are saying in this Province, and to reverse the decision that was made on Friday of last week with respect to the cancellation of public exams. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very delighted today to rise and to support the petition put forward by my colleague, and to say that for the last several days we have witnessed in this House a reversal of leadership. We have seen a case of where for many years the former Minister of Education and Training stood in his place and said he was very concerned about standards in the educational system. He went to some conferences in which he lambasted the students of the Province, he lambasted the teachers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and talked about the fact that our children couldn't measure up to the students in other parts of Canada and throughout North America, and indeed throughout the world. He said he was going to take aggressive action to make sure that our students measured up.

To do that we have to measure our students against not only themselves but against the scholastic achievements of others in other parts of this country. Then, in the last little while, we see the Minister of Education say: It is okay, you don't need to have a standard evaluation at the end of Grade XII, you don't need to have that. We can do away with standards.

Now we have leadership from the students. The students of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly in the St. John's region, have now taken over leadership roles in the standards that are expected from them, because they know they are the ones who have to meet the challenges when they get into the post-secondary institutions. They know that they are the ones who have to be in their places and they want to know that an 80 per cent that you receive in a course in St. John's is equal to an 80 per cent anywhere else in this Province. So, Mr. Speaker, leadership in education has now reversed itself. Leadership is now with the students and so, Mr. Speaker, we say to the government: listen to the voice of your children.

We talked about education, Our Children Our Future, and that was the big thing we talked about. We talked about making sure that we could measure up. I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, if he would listen to the young people in his district, they might give him a few ideas as to what this change means to them, so when you have tomorrow, an example of leadership that my colleagues mention here, Sir, maybe 1,000 young people will march here tomorrow and say: Don't do away with Public Examinations. There may be up to a 1,000 young people tomorrow marching on this building and saying: We want standards; we want to have a quality education; we want the government to listen to us and we want to be consulted, it is our future. And we said in the Royal Commission, it was their future.

Tomorrow, they are coming here to tell us that they want to be part of the decision-making process. I say to the ministry opposite, don't just say: Boys, we will tough it out; don't just take the attitude that you can't reverse your decision. Any decision can be reversed, and what the young people are saying to us is that the wrong decision has been made, particularly at this time of the year when they had expectations of a process to be followed.

We say to the minister opposite that he should take the advice of the young people, do the right thing, admit that what has been done has been an injustice, and when these young people arrive here tomorrow, don't bar the doors, don't go, as the minister did just a few days ago, lock up the place, put guards outside, do all these things; don't close down the elevators, don't make this into a fortress. Listen to the young people. They are not a bunch of hooligans, they are the good, young people, our future, and treat them with decency because their voice is important, and I say to all hon. members that if there is one decision that this government should reflect on and change, is the decision about this year's marking board. It is $650,000 but you have to ask yourselves, who really is going to pay the price. Is it going to be the young people? Well, they think it is, therefore you need to convince them. They are saying to you that they are not very happy with the whole decision.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FUREY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the hon. member for his petition. Again, we will ensure that the Minister of Education, who is in Ottawa travelling with the Leaders of the three parties with respect to Term 17, is made aware of it, and he, too, the Member for St. John's East is indeed a good member; at least, my mother, who is one of his constituents tells me he is, and I never argue with my mother.

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

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

I have a petition to the hon. House of Assembly in Legislative session convened, petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador that:

WHEREAS Newfoundland Power has asked the Public Utilities Board to approve an increase in electricity rates; and

WHEREAS many Newfoundlanders who do not use Newfoundland Power delivered electricity to heat their homes, instead use wood furnaces because they cannot afford to do otherwise; and

WHEREAS not having had a rate increase since 1992 is no justification for a rate increase in 1996;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador do whatever is required to prevent an increase in Newfoundland Power electricity rates.

Mr. Speaker, back in March, we debated, the entire House, a resolution that was put before this Assembly calling upon the government to do exactly that, do whatever is required to prevent an increase in electricity rates. And there was an amendment passed to that private member's resolution that saw all members present in the House that day, support and vote for it, and saw the government to give whatever resources necessary to the Public Utilities Board and in particular, Mr. Speaker, the Consumer Advocate, to ensure that the consumers in the Province had the best representation possible, to ensure that Newfoundland Power rate increases would not take place. But since that time, things have changed; things have been added to it. Newfoundland Power is not now looking for a rate increase of 4.9 per cent, they are looking for a rate increase of 2.9 per cent, and since that time government has announced its intention to harmonize the provincial sales tax, the PST with the goods and services tax, the federal tax, GST.

What this harmonization has done, in particular, to the home heating industry, not only electricity rates but home heating fuels as well, is that we will see an automatic increase in the electricity rates in this Province of somewhere between 7.7 and 8 per cent. Now, government has it within its power to stop the rate increase. It has it within its power to stop the impact of the GST and the PST harmonization. While we let the Public Utilities Board, a quasi-judicial board take its route and operate arm's length of government, and we provide the Consumer Advocate with all the necessary resources, financial, human, and otherwise, to ensure that consumers in the Province get the best representation at the Public Utilities Board possible, that process will work itself through and will rectify itself, and at the end of the day we will find out if the Public Utilities Board, based upon the representations of the Consumer Advocate, will allow an increase of 2.9 per cent.

However, Mr. Speaker, government today, Cabinet - members of the Opposition, but, in particular, the Cabinet and government members have an opportunity to take the impact of the GST and PST harmonization on electricity rates and to exempt it. All government has to do, and all Cabinet has to do, is say to the Department of Finance in particular, all home heating fuels, electricity and home heating oil will be exempt, and I repeat, Mr. Speaker, will be exempt from the broadening of the tax base as it relates to, and as a result of the GST and PST harmonization. In effect, by doing that, government will say to the people of this Province: We believe you are taxed enough when it comes to basic commodities such as electric heat and oil, and that as a result of that we will not let this tax impose upon the people of the Province an additional burden of between 7.7 and 8 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition on behalf of the constituents of my district and ask the House, and in particular the government, to give it serious consideration.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, again today I stand in my place to support the petition presented by the Member for Kilbride. As stated previously there have been many, many petitions presented in this House by members on this side of the House with respect to the proposed rate increase by Newfoundland Power. I have yet to see a petition presented from the other side of the House. There may have been but I do not remember seeing any petition presented to oppose the rate increase by Newfoundland Power.

The Public Utilities Board have the wherewithal to say yes or no to the proposed rate increase. As stated earlier, the first request by Newfoundland Power for this year was 4.9 per cent but we saw that decreased to 3.9 per cent after the Consumer Advocate was appointed. Since then, actually, we have seen it being decreased even further. I believe the Consumer Advocate is planning on asking for a reduction in rates. Now, would that not be ironic, Mr. Speaker, if Newfoundland Power actually got a reduction in rates. If the Consumer Advocate was successful in getting a reduction, I wonder would it be possible for the people of the Province who receive their energy, or their heating in particular, I suppose, because that is the biggest bill, would actually get a refund from Newfoundland Power. Talking about something coming back on them, Mr. Speaker!

As I stated before in the House, Newfoundland Power's credibility is coming into question here now because, of course, they went from 4.9 per cent. I am not sure if - the last one was 2.9 per cent, I believe, and that is a fair decrease. It is 50 per cent less than what they originally requested. So now you have to ask the question if indeed the proper planning procedures were in place with Newfoundland Power when they put their brief to the PUB to request a rate increase.

Mr. Speaker, there are many people in this Province who cannot afford to pay any more money to Newfoundland Power for their energy, especially in light of the fact that it is getting more and more difficult all the time for people in rural Newfoundland to actually go in the woods and cut wood to heat their homes with wood. We have permits that are required now, and there are only certain places that you can cut, and there are only certain times of the year that you can cut wood and bring it out and utilize that for heating your home. So there are many factors involved with respect to this Newfoundland Power rate increase.

Many people on social assistance are finding it very, very difficult to pay the bill to Newfoundland Power each month. I know I get many calls, and over the past number of years, I have only been here three years, I could go to Newfoundland Power and Social Services and work out some sort of an agreement whereby people who are in arrears to Newfoundland Power - and normally their arrears grow during the winter months, of course, when they utilize more energy to heat their homes - I could usually work out an agreement between Social Services and Newfoundland Power. But that is becoming more difficult, especially in light of this Budget now that has come down, and the strict conditions that are being put on the people with Social Services, and the funding cuts.

The Minister of Finance, in his Budget Speech, announced, I think, that there was a 2 per cent increase in funds for Social Services but, again, that was more of a smoke screen because, in actual fact, the people on social assistance are being hit quite hard, are being cut. We have had people in this House, and the critic for Social Services on his feet a number of times asking the Minister of Social Services questions with respect to the cuts to Social Services, and the answers that we are getting are certainly not what we would be expecting to get, or would like to get, of course. I know times are hard, and everybody has to pay their dues to a certain extent, but the people in the Province who are hard put, I suppose, or in a harder situation to foot these bills, should not be put in a situation where they would have to skip a meal or turn off their heat. I know people in this Province today who, during the winter months, actually will not turn their heat on because they cannot afford to pay Newfoundland Power. They go around their house with their coats and sweaters on in the wintertime, and really it is quite sad to see that these people -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

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

Just in conclusion I would like to say again that I support the petition presented by the Member for Kilbride, and expect to see many more in the days to come.

Thank you.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: Motion 1, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1: The hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board to move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Ways and Means to consider the Raising of Supply to be granted to Her Majesty - commonly known as the Budget Debate.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We do not have any need to present further evidence that the government was asleep at the wheel over there. We were waiting over here, waiting and waiting, and while the ministers were consulting, not with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, they were just chatting with each other. Of course, that is the extent of their consultation. Then, to add to this scenario, one of my colleagues on this side of the House was over there trying to give them a bit of advice, and trying to shed some light in this world of darkness.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) long, long time.

MR. H. HODDER: Well, I am glad the Government House Leader admits that the advice that gets from this side is sincere, it is genuine and, of course, it is -

AN HON. MEMBER: From my member.

MR. H. HODDER: From your member? Well, I am sure that the Member for Kilbride will give any of his constituents lots of advice any time at all.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen a Budget presented to this Legislature by the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board that, of course, indicates that real GDP and employment and incomes will decline from last year's levels. In fact, in the booklet called The Economy, it is estimated that the real GDP for this Province will contract by 4.3 per cent. That is $344 million. The number of people employed will decline by 9,000 persons, and personal income will drop by 4.5 per cent. It also says that retail sales is also anticipated to decline by 4.7 per cent, with decreases in capital investment of 17.7 per cent. The labour force is predicted to decline by 3.7 per cent. Housing starts will be down by 8 per cent.

This is certainly not a happy budget. Based on these poor economic projections, total provincial revenue is expected to decline by 3.4 per cent, or by $58,343,000. We know that the government has adopted some strategies to try to overcome that. While we applaud some of them, most of them reflect a lack of commitment to really deal with the fundamental problems of the structure of the Newfoundland economy.

We certainly have seen examples in the last few days of where the Premier, in the Budget Speech - and I guess he approved of it, is in direct contrast to what he said during the election. We heard the Premier say during the election on television that you cannot cut, cut, cut your way to prosperity. But as soon as the election is over, what does the Premier do? He starts chop, chop, chop, and he starts chopping out jobs in the civil service. On Budget Day there were people running around with layoff notices. The Premier on t.v. during the election said he couldn't cut, cut, cut his way to prosperity, and then when the Budget came down we have people running all over the building here giving out layoff notices and that kind of thing. A thousand people were laid off, on top of the 450 people laid off in December 1995. If that is the way we are going to get this economy back on track, then I would say to all hon. members there must be some kind of a direct contrast between the advice the Premier got during the election and what he got after the election.

We also wanted to note the closure of some of the colleges. I have made note of this on several occasions. It would mean that people in rural Newfoundland will not have an opportunity to pursue an education to the same extent that they have enjoyed prior to this. I made note the other day in the House of the commitments made in 1989. I made note of the election promises made in 1993. Then we faced the reality of 1996. Reductions in the operating grant at Memorial of $8 million, which was talked about by my colleague, the Member for the District of Kilbride on many occasions, will mean, of course, a severe hardship for the University. We heard today in this House how the University has circulated a document to the members of the Board of Regents for the University, in which they have anticipated some possible strategies, and the impact it is going to have on tuition fees. Some tuition fees will be doubling, and, of course, that causes great concern.

Because one of the fundamental things that we learned in this Province and which was given to us by our former premiers, including Liberal and Conservative premiers, was accessibility to a quality education. When I was growing up on the Burin Peninsula in the 1950s, graduating from high school in 1960, I was told that if you went to university it was a way in which you could improve yourself and get ahead in the world. I completed my first year of university in the old campus on Parade Street. Not many people in the House here can say that, but I did do some studies on the old campus.

Now, Mr. Speaker, at that time we prided ourselves in making opportunities available for people from rural Newfoundland. I came from a little one-room school where in Grade IX and Grade X I was the only student. Therefore, I can tell you, the school was rather small, but there were opportunities for people with my kind of background to get ahead; that is not true anymore.

AN HON. MEMBER: Was that the year they had the (inaudible)?

MR. H. HODDER: No, that was the year when they had the 100 per cent passes, I say to the hon. minister. They had public examinations in those years, too. But, Mr. Speaker, I ask hon. members: What has happened to the philosophy? What has happened to our sense of responsibility towards our young people in rural Newfoundland? We know today that if they complete their university, complete their post-secondary, there is not always a great predictability of a career job. That is bad enough but now we are telling them that you really don't have an opportunity to get to university if you live outside the overpass or within driving distance of it.

So, Mr. Speaker, what I am saying to all hon. members is that we have to examine our philosophy, because if you don't have the right philosophy, you are not going to make the right decisions. And I sense in this government a retrenchment of a philosophy. I sense a philosophy that is more akin to Preston Manning's Reform Party than it is to the true principles of Liberalism. I see the group on this side of the House over here have deviated from the very principles on which that party was founded, and that is equal opportunity, equal access and the rights of all citizens to enjoy the benefits of being a Canadian and a Newfoundlander.

So, Mr. Speaker, I say to all members, when we start closing down access to educational opportunities, then we are denying the future to our young people, and while we can smugly sit in our places and pretend that it does not exist, in doing that we ignore the realities that young people face every day in this Province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we saw a case just a few days ago where the young people in this Province - I made mention of it earlier today - where they have said that they want to have a quality education. No young person wants to graduate from high school and have somebody say to him that his education does not measure up. They demand that they have a quality and standard of education. I can say to all hon. members, as a former high school teacher and principal, I remember on many occasions parents saying to me, make sure that the standards of your school stay very high. Some hon. members here sit in this House, they have had their children attend schools where I have been the administrator, and I can say to them today, that parents want high standards. They want to know that their children have a high quality education. When you know that young people in this region are saying to the government, on the issue of public examinations, they want to write those exams, that gives the government a message. Certainly, I think that some hon. members opposite, although they pretend to be cool, calculating and indifferent and they pretend to be uninvolved and not moved by the pleas of these young people, I know that in their hearts they must be, because these members opposite on the government side, they, too, are parents. They know that they want to have a quality education in this Province.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want just to refer again to the general principles outlined in this Budget. It certainly isn't a budget that we can be proud of; it certainly doesn't do a great deal to address the fundamental needs in our communities. While we have such things as the elimination of twenty-six boards and commissions, that kind of thing, that is only just the tip of the iceberg. We eliminate twenty-six boards. So what? Most of them haven't met for the last quarter of a century.

We say to all hon. members, it is one thing for us to present a budget as we have seen here, but we have to say to the government: Your Budget doesn't have a vision; it doesn't tell us where we are going in terms of our fiscal management.

Mr. Speaker, with these words, and since my time is up, and you are pushing your hand on the time clock over there, I will yield. I do believe my colleague for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair is going to speak next.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have to apologize for the unclarity in my voice, but since the Budget came down I've been overworked and had so many calls from my district that I haven't had time to take care of myself, so -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: I wanted to no doubt have some comments on the Budget. It has had devastating affects on my district, especially with regard to the RCMP detachment at Cartwright. I rose a couple of days ago and mentioned what affects that would have on rural communities in that particular area. That situation remains the same. We have also had to contend with the closing of an airport in Paradise River. The closing of this airport could possibly mean the total non-existence of the community. There will not be any transportation system in or out of that particular area and therefore people will be forced to be reserved to an area of the Province where they will have no access to the outside.

I guess more importantly there have been ongoing protests and outrage across my district over the Budget and a number of concerns that have come down. I'm sure you have all heard the media this morning and what happened in Paradise River and Cartwright. We had a woman who was a commercial salmon fisher on the Eagle River all of her life. She was charged in 1993 for exercising her right in the food fishery as an aboriginal person. This morning the RCMP went into that community and took that woman out for exercising what she believed was her right. Yet it was only a few weeks ago that this government issued a licence to an outfitter in this Province to go into the Eagle River and to exploit the resource that was there.

The Eagle River situation has been an ongoing situation in my district for a number of years. It was an area that was monopolized by local people in a commercial salmon fishery, but due to outfitters outside in the recreational fishery they have been pushed out, and it has been taken over by outside forces. No doubt the LMA has been involved in the protest of this particular fishery on the Eagle River. It has had response from DFO and refusals that permitted them for subsistence fishing. In response to continued licensing by the Province of outfitters to operate commercial sports fishing camps, I just want to read from an article that was put out here that explains the case in full.

But protests in previous years have led to the closure of the DND fishing camp that was operated on the Eagle River, and it was because there were no economic gains for the local people and that area was being monopolized by outside forces. In some instances they were not even permitted on the river where they had once lived and grew up and raised their families. There has been intervention from the Native Council of Canada, its president Ron George, and he protested also in the protest fishery back in 1993 on the Eagle River. A lot of the people at that time were arrested, including the president of the LMA, Kirby Lethbridge. After negotiations with DFO and the fisheries minister at the time the charges against him were dropped, with the exception of Ms Brown.

Her trial was held in Goose Bay in February of 1995. She pleaded not guilty, and defended herself on two grounds: a) that as a Metis she had a right to fish for food and subsistence, and b) that she had a commercial licence for the Eagle River and that she was not in breach of any valid licensing restrictions. Therefore the issue in the case boiled down to whether or not the fishing she was engaged in constituted a food fishery or not, and whether she was in fact fishing outside of her licensed commercial fishing area.

The court ruled on April 3 that Ms Brown was a Metis, and that Metis have the right to fish for food as an Aboriginal right, protected under Section 35.(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982. However, the court ruled her guilty of illegally fishing for commercial purposes without a permit, yet there was no evidence at the trial that suggested Ms Brown was fishing in a restricted area; after all, she did have a commercial licence for that area.

Ms Brown's lawyer filed a motion of appeal in 1995 and argued that she was a subsistence fisherperson within the meaning of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Sparrow case and other cases across Canada, and the salmon caught were eaten and the only dollar value attained from it was somewhere around $400. The Fisheries Act, the sections under which Ms Brown was charged were not consistent with Aboriginal rights and the Crown had failed to justify the provisions concerned.

I guess the ironic thing about all this is that, throughout the case of what has been happening on the Eagle River, with regard to the Province allowing people from outside to go in there and set up outfitting camps and not giving the local people the opportunity to do so, the LMA have been lobbying to have camps of their own on the Eagle River and they have been refused. DFO has also refused to negotiate with them on the food harvest arrangement despite the court rulings which supported the Metis food fisheries rights and despite negotiating food-fishing arrangements with both the LIA and the Innu Nation.

The real pressure we feel on DFO is coming from the Province and the outfitters to take action against the Metis. I guess, as we all know, and as I said earlier a month ago, the Province awarded another group, a non-resident, a license to operate a commercial sports camp on the Eagle River, and I guess the ironic thing about this is that, one of the individuals who was awarded the contract, it was her husband who was the lawyer who prosecuted Ms Violet Brown. So, because of all of these things, the LMA and the people across my district find it very difficult to see this not just being as coincidence but being something that is certainly intended.

People of my district in this case, feel that this case is one of wrongful and even malicious prosecution in order to suppress the Labrador Metis fishing rights while opening up the lucrative sports fishing rivers in Labrador to, as they say: friends of the government. It appears very clear as a result of the recent decision of the Province to charge three Cartwright area Metis residents for food fishing in 1994 despite the clear court rulings to date that such cases which did not involve sale of fish at all, are clearly valid.

The people of my district, especially the Metis people will also be protesting the discrimination against Metis in the federal funding of Aboriginal test cases. The Supreme Court has clearly stated that the Metis rights are equally protected to those of Indians or Inuit and the Indian Act has nothing to do with Aboriginal rights in the Constitution. An urgent meeting on this matter has already been decided upon between the Minister Ron Irwin and Justice Minister Allan Rock and that will be taking place soon.

The Metis Association has been mandated under the interim measures pending land claims to ensure that these communities have control of river scheduling and development, and that is what they are trying to do. They feel that there have to be mechanisms of community control in place to insure maximum community participation and benefits, but in the situation of Violet Brown and other Metis prosecutions, it is the result of the outfitters lobby to shut down the commercial salmon fishery and get people out of the waterways, that is, the local people.

The Metis Association, in conjunction with other Labrador people, will be consulting within their own communities to lay strategies about existing outfitting operations and what they will do. The whole industry of outfitting in the food fishery has been an ongoing one since 1993 in my district. It is a combination of regulations that have been set out by the Province that have people upset and discontent. For example, when you look at the guiding regulations for rivers in Labrador, it does not fall in line with the guiding regulations for that of the Island part of the Province. We feel again that this is because of the outside influence of outfitters in our area, and they want to control and protect what they claim is theirs.

Ms Violet Brown is unlike any other individual. She lives on a river, she raised her family there; yet she sees people come in from all over the country and fish that river and take the resource away, a resource to which she is not entitled, a resource on which she is charged if she so much as tries to exercise her right to feed her family.

There is no justice in situations like this. If she is a licensed guide, she cannot even take those people onto the river and guide them herself because the regulations of this Province do not allow it, but if that was a river on the Island she would be allowed to do that. There is no fairness. The only people who can guide in Labrador and across my district are outfitters, and the bulk of them are from the Newfoundland part of the Province or outside the Province altogether, and it is the combination of these factors that have gotten people in Labrador to the point where they are today.

We saw three protests this morning, one in Paradise River when the RCMP took Ms Brown out, one in Cartwright when the plane landed at the airport, and another one in Goose Bay when they got there. This is not an issue that is going to go away. This is an issue that has to be addressed by this Province, and the regulations have to be put in place to treat all people fairly, whether you live in Labrador or you live on the Island, and that is what the people in my district are asking and what the Labrador Metis Association is asking, and in the coming days you will see more protests regarding this issue until something can be rectified for the benefit and equality of all people involved.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to make a few comments, I guess, on the Budget Debate.

First of all, I congratulate the member for getting up and expressing her views on a very important topic in her area. I think that we are going to see a lot of further developments with that particular issue in the very near future, and this gives the member a chance to get up and speak on behalf of the people in her district. I am sure that she is hearing a lot from them on that particular issue, and also on the issue of the Budget itself, that the member will hopefully get another chance to speak more on that, but I know that in her part of this Province, in southern Labrador, which I have had occasion to visit, and met a lot of people in that area, and made some very good friends there, that they have some very serious concerns with this particular Budget and how it is going to affect them. I think one of the words she used was to `devastate' people of her area. We are talking about the real people who are going to be really hurt by this particular Budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: Shelley, your wife just called; she had a baby boy.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, my colleague informs me that I am on call right now and I could have to leave very soon, but I think that was the boy who cried wolf a few times.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have been on call (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I have been on call for awhile now, Mr. Speaker, but I could very well be called today to attend to much more important business, and there is not a lot more important than the House of Assembly, but when it comes to family...

Mr. Speaker, as far as the Budget goes, I think that the member is right when she says especially rural Newfoundland - all of the Province indeed, but there are special implications for rural Newfoundland which this Budget, on the front, you don't see, and if there was ever a well crafted Budget, and if there ever was a set-up for a Budget, it was never done better than this one. For weeks on end leading up to the Budget, what did we hear? We heard of how terrible this Budget could be. The whole thing was set from the beginning. Let's put out those feelers now and tell people how bad the Budget is going to be. Let's set them up for the worst of all. Then, on top of that, they took the Budget - once they had everybody scared to death about what was going to come down in the Budget - and did a little bit, I was going to say, Mr. Speaker, but actually they did a lot of window dressing, a lot of smoke and mirrors, that we are starting to see day by day in this House and in the public. I have never seen so many demonstrations and petitions in such a short time on so many different issues, but when the Budget first came out the media and everybody said: Oh, thank God, it's not as bad as what we thought it would be. But the real story behind the Budget of 1996 is about to unfold, it is yet to be told, and so goes the same story of the election of 1996; the winter election in Newfoundland in 1996 is about to be told.

The Budget was just a first page, Mr. Speaker, but it was all set because everybody in the Province was saying: Oh we are going to be killed. It is going to be the worse Budget in the history of the Province. Mr. Speaker, but then it was window dressed and set up so perfectly that they said first of all; health care not touched; no problem with health care, Mr. Speaker. They said social services not touched, no problem with social services, everything is just fine. Then, Mr. Speaker, the thing that drives us - the thing that every politician, provincial and federal, every single politician in the land and probably the United States also, all repeat the same thing that the key, the answer to the recovery of any developed country is education and that is what took the hardest hit, Mr. Speaker.

The lead-up to the Budget is what is interesting, Mr. Speaker. I remember reading a paper just a few days ago, looking through the archives on papers during the election, in The Evening Telegram, I think it was February 17, three or four days before the election, headlines of the now Premier of the Province, four days before the election: We were off on our numbers. Mr. Baker was wrong. We were wrong on our numbers we were getting from Ottawa. It's not going to be so bad. Remember now this is four days before the final vote in the Election of '96. It was not going to be so bad and then all of a sudden, Mr. Speaker, the election takes place and what happens is we finally see the real results of the Budget of '96 starting to unfold in front of us. Yes, we are all set to believe that the worse is going to come and you are going to be hit hard. The whole media was running around saying this is going to be the worse Budget in history and get ready, fasten your seatbelts; the impact is going to be hard.

Then of course, Mr. Speaker, the next step is the Minister of Finance stands in this House and presents the Budget. What he does first is put a lot of good things in front, you could say, a window dressing saying that the health care was not going to be touched, social services is not going to be touched and there will be no new taxes. Now, Mr. Speaker, there is one for you, to let you know what kind of Budget that this was going to be. There will be no new taxes and on the other side of the House there was tapping of desks. When it was all said and done, Mr. Speaker, what did we have in the House of Assembly here with this Budget that truly will come down to pass as one of the worse budgets ever passed in this Province? We had a standing ovation by every member on the opposite side. That was a great budget, over shaking hands and tapping them on the back. The Member for Bell Island was over shaking his hand. The day before he was out in the lobby because his college was closed down. He said on television that he was not told but he was over congratulating them for a budget that hit his district harder - one of the hardest with the closure of colleges, Mr. Speaker. So which is it? Is it a great Budget or is it really, when you take the window dressing away and you find out the hidden fees - no taxes.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let's dig into that one for a minute. No taxes in this Budget, tapping the desks, applause, shaking hands and no taxes. Now, Mr. Speaker, we find ambulance fees, we find if somebody has a cabin, which is a great luxury, the government seems to think so in this Province, that if you own a cabin we are going to get you. If you have to take an ambulance - and talking about ambulance fees, Mr. Speaker, a woman in Shoe Cove called me, 3 kilometres from La Scie where she has to go - a woman with only one income, with her husband on TAGS, three children in the family and she was at the minimum. They were paying $40 for that fee to La Scie, 3 kilometres away and she found that tough enough, $75 but no increased taxes. We are going to collect $12 million in fees but we cannot tell you exactly where we are going to get that yet, you will find out soon enough.

Mr. Speaker, I have never seen so many petitions and phone calls - which we were discussing a few minutes ago - phone calls doubling. People calling you to come out to public meetings and not even in my own district, Mr. Speaker, come out for a public meeting to discuss the ambulance changes and discuss fees for cabin owners. Everything, Mr. Speaker, all at the same time and then of course -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)

MR. SHELLEY: Yes sir, Mr. Speaker, and I would not doubt soon that I will be asked to the minister's district. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I think I live in his district. No, I live in the Minister for St. John's West - I am corrected by the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker, I don't live in his district. I live in the Minister of Mines and Energy's district, St. John's West. The Minister of Health is in the district of the Minister of Mines and Energy, is that right?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, and you may have to be called to that district, Mr. Speaker, to explain really what is the true story behind the Budget of '96, this great budget that we had a standing ovation for in the House of Assembly, this great budget that is not going to inflict any problems in rural Newfoundland.

This great Budget that said: We are going to consult the people that went across the Province. Oh, and by the way, when you came back with all the consulting they stood up and said: By the way, when we were consulting you and said that we were going to be $130 million short, we were just off a little bit. Our calculators weren't working that day and we are off by $290 million.

What a ridiculous way to consult, Mr. Speaker. That is like going into a bank and they telling you, you were $100 in the hole when you went in there, and then when you left they find out and tell you that you are $500 in the hole. I mean, the truth is that the consultation process was a sham from the start. What is the use of consulting if you don't give the facts up front? Then we continue to say partnership and consulting. Ask the teachers of this Province, who has a former president of the NLTA turn around and say not one member of that executive was consulted on public exams. Ask students if they were consulted. They would be the last to be consulted, by the sound of what has been happening so far. Ask the teachers if they were consulted. Nobody was consulted. That is the bottom line to this.

What we see here, and the best phrase I've heard of it yet, are fire fighting measures. This Budget was fire fighting, that is what it was, and it was quick fixes. My biggest fear is that the whole philosophy of the government, not just from this particular Budget, is for their whole four-year term. What I believe, although, and I will say this up front, and I've discussed it with the Minister of Mines and Energy in the Estimates, in the House: I'm all for the development of Voisey's Bay. We will all be there to ask questions because it is a mammoth undertaking. It is one of the biggest developments this Province will ever see. But it isn't the answer to our full economic recovery. It is not. No mega-project ever will be.

I said it to the Minister responsible for Development and Rural Renewal this morning. Voisey's Bay, the Hibernias, they are all great, but what we really need to get this Province back on the right road to prosperity is that rural Newfoundland has to survive. The small business and the small entrepreneur and the small businessman are allowed to remain in rural Newfoundland and make a living for themselves. That is how Newfoundland is going to survive. St. John's only survives as does rural Newfoundland. I agree with the minister for `R2D2,' they call it, Development and Rural Renewal. She agreed too that anything outside of St. John's is rural Newfoundland. That is what the minister had said. She also agreed that St. John's is only as good as rural Newfoundland is. If rural Newfoundland fails so do St. John's, Corner Brook, Gander and the bigger centres of this Province.

What we have to really see is put back into the people of rural Newfoundland some real confidence. Not hope of aspirations and dreams, but real confidence. Yes, we are going to let you develop, we are going to lend a hand. We spoke this morning again about rural development, about the young people in this Province. There isn't one thing ahead of the young people in our Province as an answer, a key, to this Province's recovery. The young people in this Province have to stay here; we have to give them a reason to stay here. It is not the attack that this Budget put on the young people of this Province.

Day after day I get them - I know every member here does, I know the members on the other side get them - young people who come in with great ideas on business. I spoke to the minister about this this morning. Great ideas that would employ two and three people. Small business, small ideas. Most of the time - I don't know if I can put a number on it - but 80 per cent of the time these young people are turned off because of the bureaucratic red tape and the brick walls that they run into when they start to go through government to find out where they can go to next. That is where our biggest mistake is in this Province. If we are ever going to survive and recover we have to let our young people grow and prosper and be their own providers. Not to depend on UI, not depend on Social Services.

There is nothing more cruel in this Budget than the fact that first-year university and college closures will happen around this Province. I heard something that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology spoke on today when he got up to speak with the questions from my colleague about the university tuitions. The cruel thing is that people of low- to middle-income families in this Province are now going to have more deterrents in the way to send their young boy or girl to do first-year university so that they can go and be productive members of society. I think that is the cruel part of this Budget.

Any time we take something as first-year courses around this Province, or if we see an increase in tuitions - I hope for this House and for this Province that my colleague today, when he raised the question on tuitions with Memorial University, I hope that he is wrong. I hope that document he had in his hand today is wrong, for everybody's sake. Because if he is right, if that document is right, and tuitions in this Province rise up to 40 per cent, 15 per cent for some, all you will see in this Province is education for the elite.

I know the people in my district, somebody from Fleur de Lys or Coachman's Cove, and low- and middle-income families, if they see this and it comes to pass, that is the end of a chance for a lot of people in rural Newfoundland to get an education. If those people decide to either leave the Province or, worse again, they decide to stay in the Province and not be productive and not get educated; our Province continues to spiral downward. Because that is exactly what happened. We have young people who have given up hope because they want to get an education, and we should provide them with every opportunity.

The Minister of ITT spoke this morning and he talked about - I don't know his particular background. I think he was talking about that he didn't come from a rich family and that he had a hard time, and that he had to put himself through university with initiatives and so on. Of course, tuitions were much lower at that time. I can tell the minister I'm from a very similar background of a large family with low income, and I went to university and put myself through with a five-year course of conjoint degrees, and I am going to tell you that if I had to turn around today and make that same decision, I may make that decision that I will not be educated. And that is where the shame of this entire Budget rests, that the key to our recovery is the education of our young people, in keeping them in this Province, and the shame is that we have young people sitting at home today, sixteen and seventeen, coming out of high school, and as of today saying to their parents, or their parents saying to them: I am sorry, Johnny or Mary, but we just cannot afford to send you to university. What happens to those young people? They turn to UI, try to get their twelve weeks' work, and even worse again, when that runs out the problem is they turn to social assistance. So, instead of being productive members of society, and being the answer to our problems, and helping us provide, and probably turning out members in this House of Assembly, instead of all of that, they are going to drain the system with social assistance and unemployment insurance, and that is the real death knoll of this Budget. That is why I spoke in this House two years ago when this provincial government, the last administration under the Wells government, cancelled the grants, which were a little incentive - not a lot, but it was a little incentive - for young people of low income families in this Province to say: I am going to go and give university a try - they were going to give it a shot - and you know what happens to some people? They say: Well, the grant is there, there are some loans there, I can be helped out; I am going to try Memorial University.

I will tell you why I say that, because I was one of those people. If I had to rely on my parents to put me through university, through no fault of their own, then I would not have gone to university. I lived off those grants, and when the minister spoke today I could remember many days - and I told it before in this House - of living off Kraft dinner, or Minute Rice, or whatever you could scrounge up, that is what got us through, but when we got that grant halfway through your term, when you were about to give up, quit and go home, and when your mother was calling you and saying: Stay in there; we will send you another goody bag of some home-made bread, or whatever they could send you to keep you here, you got the grant, and it was like we won the 649.

I lived in an apartment with three other young fellows in the same situation, and that kept us alive. There were days and days when you would come home from class, and you were not doing so well, and you had nothing at home to eat, pretty well; you weren't starving, but you were pretty well down there. There were many days in my education career of five years, coming from a low income family, that I almost gave up.

Nine years ago I graduated from Memorial University, and I think about how tough it was then, and when I see this Budget I think about people like myself, who are out there now, seventeen or eighteen years old, and are saying, Well, we might as well forget it, forget an education.

Mr. Speaker, I have talked to so many students, and their parents who say: I am so delighted that Johnny is going to try first-year university in Grand Falls, because it is only next door, and hopefully, he will get turned on to education and go on. A lot of parents in Central Newfoundland will tell you - and that is the area I know best - and I sure people on the West Coast, in Labrador, and so on, will tell you: I am so glad that Johnny went and did that first-year university, because he got turned on to education and got a degree, and he now has a job and is doing well.

If we take away that advantage, Mr. Speaker, if we take away a possibility - I just talked to a student a few days ago who asked me what I thought the tuition was going to be next year, and I honestly said to him, I think there is going to be an increase, but I don't think it is going to be too much, so don't give up on it yet. But, Mr. Speaker, today when you see a document that was put forward, obviously by officials in the know at Memorial University, and if those suggestions are right, and if tuitions do go up that far at Memorial University, two years from now, you will go to Memorial University and you will see nothing but Porsches and Cadillacs parked, because nobody in this Province, in rural Newfoundland from low or middle incomes will be able to put their child through that University.

It will be a university for the elite in this Province, and there goes our only chance at being able to stay and live in rural Newfoundland, anywhere in Newfoundland, even in St. John's. It is hard enough that people in rural Newfoundland have to come in here and put up with the added expenses of going to school away from their homes, people who have to drive six or seven hours. Even people right here in St. John's with low and middle income who do not have the added expense of staying somewhere, and of transportation, they are even going to be turned off by that, Mr. Speaker.

This Budget that we had a standing ovation on, where does it lead us? Where does it lead us when colleges around this Province have closed? Where are the priorities? We see renovations to buildings, renovations to this building over the years, millions of dollars. We see travel by politicians all over the country. We see the wastage on chauffeurs. It was cancelled, but now, I think, they are using government cars to drive them around. What is the difference? It is still waste.

There is not a person in this Province - I am after hearing it so often - who says we are not in financial difficulty. The Federal Government tells us every day and the Provincial Government tells us every day, what a mess we are in, this is how much we owe, we are in a big debt. We know that. That is why they elect governments. Then the Premier turns around and has the audacity to ask: Well, what is your answer? Mr. Speaker, if we were there we would be answering it. It is the responsibility of government and it is incumbent on government to give the answer. What is your plan? A government cannot tell me there was a plan to what we have just seen in this government.

Term 29, the $8 million we were supposed to get every year from our federal counterparts - we just mortgaged it, Mr. Speaker. We just sold it off, that is what we did, and I am afraid that this Budget is going to reflect exactly the plans this government has for this Province over the next four years, which is, let us get past these two or three years, boys, let us sell out what we have, because hopefully, Voisey's Bay and everything is going to make us all prosperous and we will be okay.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Premier of this Province on this Budget is: what if it does not happen? What if Voisey's Bay and so on does not come on stream? What do we do then? Where are we going to go then? There is nowhere for us to go. That $8 million a year on Term 29, two years ago the Wells Administration on the selling of the ferries to balance the Budget, looked good. They sold the ferries because they were one year away from an election and they would look good going into an election. Now, this government has done a similar thing with Term 29 and so on.

I think the best description and analogy was used when we said it was like pumping air into a flat tire that has no plug in it, it is just going to keep going down. You haven't solved the problem. You just have enough air in your tire to get up the road, but it is a long road, it is a long four years, and if this is indicative of Budgets that are going to be brought down, if this is indicative of what the four-year plan of this government is, we are in big trouble.

When I spoke to the minister today on rural development, I congratulated her on her portfolio and said that we have really got to put our minds and thoughts together on rural Newfoundland and its survival. That is what we have to put our hearts and minds on. And health care - to say that there were no cuts to health care. Mr. Speaker, the biggest, single issue on which I ran for politics the first time some three years ago now, was on health care. To believe that I live in a district of some 10,000 people with a hospital where you can't deliver a baby. We have to drive for two hours in order to have a baby delivered - in 1996 we are sending people to the moon, but we have to drive for two hours. I am in here now, Mr. Speaker, on that very same thing, that you have to leave and drive for two hours - imagine, in Central Newfoundland. We are not in the sticks anywhere, we are in Central Newfoundland, the heart of the Province, and we have to drive for two hours, and people in La Scie have to drive for three hours to have a child born, and you are telling us there is no problem with health care and that the Budget is fine.

I mean, when are we going to hit reality and say that it is not fine? The health care system in this Province is in a crisis situation and is only going downwards. Where are the plans for the Janeway? Where are the plans for the Grace and St. Clare's? I mean, how can you make practical sense in saying: Yes, we are going to close down three hospitals but the health care is not going to decline? Now, who, in his right mind, is going to believe that, Mr. Speaker? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if you close three hospitals and you build one wing onto some other hospital, you are going to have the same level of health care.

On the West Coast of the Province, a lot of the patients in the Baie Verte area are sent to Corner Brook. So, you would think, or we were told, by the way, that in Corner Brook, yes, the Western Memorial will take care of all the influx now from the Baie Verte area, which has 10,000 people. But what happens, Mr. Speaker, that the hospital, Western Memorial in Corner Brook does not see any increases either. That is like this foolishness about there is no decrease in social services, but guess what? There will be an increase in clients. So, if you have the same amount budgeted for social services, how does that meet the need, Mr. Speaker? I mean, simple, logical realities have not hit home with this Budget, the Budget that everybody said was going to be terrible, then they put the chocolate coating on the front and now, Mr. Speaker, every single day, you have a new group saying: I didn't know this was in the Budget; I didn't know I was going to pay for my cabin; I didn't know that I had to pay that extra for ambulance fees; I didn't know that the community councils were going to have another decrease in MOGs. We didn't know the school busing was going to be cut, and so on, and then we say: consult. And the former President of the NLTA has the gall, Mr. Speaker, to stand up, as a former NLTA president, a former teacher, and say that he consulted with the people and he cut public exams.

Ask the parents of this Province, were they consulted. Oh, by the way, in the Budget, or take it back further, three months ago - by the way, if we take over the government, we are going to cancel public exams. By the way, in your `Better Tomorrow', there should have been a small print on the `Better Tomorrow' on the front of the Red Book. Maybe the Red Book, Mr. Speaker, should have had: A Better Tomorrow, but there are a lot of surprises. Because this was the most dressed-up Budget in this Province's history. And it will all come out in the wash. Yes, Mr. Speaker, it was a very short honeymoon. As a matter of fact, I had a call from a reporter, from a paper in Ottawa, Hill Times, who knows our illustrious Premier very well, Mr. Speaker, to say: We hear the honeymoon is already over in Newfoundland. Mr. Speaker, we are going to be asking for an annulment - the honeymoon is definitely over. What happened here, Mr. Speaker, within three, short months?

I had a good Liberal supporter call me from my district - there is not a lot there but there are a few, but it is a good Liberal supporter who called me and said: Paul, I was wrong, and I asked: What do you mean? He said: I said it was going to be six months before they really figured out what was going on but it is only three. Three months, Mr. Speaker, saying: hold on, is this the Better Tomorrow, is this what we were talking about?

Mr. Speaker, in Ottawa they say that he is slick - Teflon and so on, it slides off; but sooner or later you scratch the Teflon and after a while everything sticks to it. But the truth is that this Budget that came down and looked so good - it had representatives on this side, although they say they weren't consulted. I stood with the Member for Windsor - Springdale at a protest in his district, with angry people standing in front of him. Imagine, I knew about the college closure in Springdale before the member did. Well, Mr. Speaker, how do you figure that?

Now, if you are not consulting with your own people sitting around you, who were elected, where was the consultation process? There was no consultation process. And what will happen in the best - I guess the best phrase I have heard so far in talking about the Budget is `fire-fighting measures'. The former President of NLTA, the Minister of Education would stand and say that he consulted when not one person on that executive, Mr. Speaker, and I spoke with them in their press conference over there, none of them knew about the public exams changing. The government said, `Go ahead boy, as long you save $650,000 don't worry about the implications of it. Don't worry that it is going to ruin the standards in this Province.' I don't know but they lined up the Minister of Education and said, `Listen, can you take all of that?' That is what the Premier said to the Minister of Education.

AN HON. MEMBER: TNT, they forgot to tell them what they are going to blow up.

MR. SHELLEY: TNT, Mr. Speaker, Tobin and Tulk. Now, you know what happens to dynamite, don't you?

AN HON. MEMBER: It blows.

MR. SHELLEY: That's right, and you are about to blow. The government is about to blow, because the real story behind, not just the Budget of '96 - just three short months ago, the real story behind this surprise Election of 1996 - right from day one, Mr. Speaker, I will always remember this election and waiting for the election to be called, I will always remember Mr. Tobin saying, `I am going to the mountain to have a talk. I have not made up my mind. I have no plans to be the Premier of Newfoundland. I have no plans to be the Premier of Newfoundland. I am going skiing. I am going to talk to the mountain.' He came down from the mountain, having had a good ski. He must have talked to a couple of people because eight days later - an eighty-three page Red Book. Now, can he print fast or how fast can that man write? You think about it, Mr. Speaker. So right from day one it was a falsehood. Right from day one it was a falsehood, a set up - for not one minute. There was a tide, Mr. Speaker, a red tide going across the Province, jump on the bandwagon.

AN HON. MEMBER: Winston Baker wrote it.

MR. SHELLEY: Oh, Winston Baker wrote it. This was orchestrated a year-and-a-half ago. Don't tell me that former Premier Wells decided one Christmas Day, `I am going to move over now, Brian, you can come down and take over. By the way, I have a Red Book printed for you, you just follow it.' Then he said, `Now, who can take -

AN HON. MEMBER: He was the only mother's son that Clyde brought home.

MR. SHELLEY: He did bring home a mother's son but I don't know if that is correct either, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if he did bring him home, because from what I am hearing, he is still living in Ottawa. He is there more than he is here, and he has been in Bristol and now he is going up tomorrow to finally do some -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is in Ottawa today.

MR. SHELLEY: He is in Ottawa today.

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


MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have a couple of minutes.

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, they said yes.

MR. TULK: Yes, we realize the hon. member is under a lot of stress, he is about to become a father again I believe. So yes, we are so nice to people over there. Sure, take two or three minutes and then rush off down to the hospital.

MR. SHELLEY: I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker. It is good to see there is a little bit of heart on the other side every now and then, although it is hard to find. Mr. Speaker, all we need now to do is combine a little bit of heart with a little bit of brain and then we will have a good government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I will just take a couple of minutes to clue up. What we really see and it will unfold, there is no doubt about it. All these small groups - well it may not be a small group tomorrow; I hear we may have 1,000 or 2,000 students out here. They are people who will speak tomorrow - 2,000 people here tomorrow, students and people who protested right from the situation with the colleges. I have never seen so many protests. But I can tell the minister this, Mr. Speaker, to clue up, that this Budget is really starting to unfold now. We are starting to see a well-crafted - I will give the Premier that - a well-crafted document that although it said no taxes and no reduction in health care, we are really going to see what the outcome will be in a short while. As I said, or the good Liberal supporter said, he thought it would take six months before we figured out the government, but now it's three months.

Mr. Speaker, health care and education - I say it again, education is the key to the recovery of this Province, under any government. Any government has to take into account, any time it touches the education budget, that that is our key to recovering this Province and if our young people are turned off, this Province will be turned off, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind people in the galleries that they are not supposed to show their support or applaud in any way.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I can certainly understand the people in the gallery wanting to clap to a speech like that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: That is why I feel very intimidated myself in following somebody like the hon. the Member for Baie Verte and especially our feisty House Leader this year, Mr. Speaker, the great member for Waterford Valley. When they get up they speak with conviction and they speak through stories and the telephone calls they are getting from their districts. I can understand them when they get carried away and frustrated with the actions of government, who choose to go the other way and follow their Leader rather than follow their people, I say to the Government House Leader.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I beg your pardon?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am not encouraging. I am just acknowledging the reason why it was done, not encouraging at all.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to add a few comments, I suppose, if you would, to the 1996-1997 Budget. I suppose the first thing that comes into my mind is the great consultation process that took place. When the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and each government member for the particular area that he visited went out and met with their constituents. What a wonderful consultation process it was, and what a new face it put on the Budget. When you see the same old cuts and the same old things brought back and included in a document to resettle rural Newfoundland, because that is what this Budget will do.

When you look at the downloading on municipalities, the increase in fees that we saw the Minister of Government Services and Lands bring forward, when you see the increase in fees that the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods brought forward in his particular department; when you see the closure of rural colleges, the increase in tuition fees for post-secondary education, and I suppose, the taking away of first-year university courses to rural Newfoundlanders. That is all a slap in the face to people living in the rural areas of this Province.

Speaking about the downloading to municipalities, it was only, I think, last year there was a reduction of 22 per cent brought forward at that time by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. At that particular time, the minister indicated to the town mayors and councillors that that would be it, that he didn't see any reason why they would have to take another hit in the near future. What happened when the Budget was brought down? Another 10 per cent hit.

Who does it affect? We talk about there being no taxes, no increases in taxation. Who are we dealing with when we are dealing with municipalities? We are dealing with the same taxpayers who contributed not only municipally but provincially and federally as well. When you pass along a fee, it is passed on by a council fee; it comes from the same pockets.

You look at the increase in fees as brought forward by the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. You talk about such silliness as an increase in fees to catch rabbits. It went from $3 to $18. You look at other fees to do other things, to get married, and a fee for a birth certificate.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I would suggest - yes, I will go along with that one, too. I would agree with the Minister of Mines and Energy, I go along with that one as well.

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that it would probably cost more, if there was an analysis done, to administer those fees than the actual revenue that they collect. I mean, we are all Newfoundlanders here. I don't know why you have to go and get a fee for this and a licence for something else and a permit to do something else. It doesn't make sense at all.

Then you look at the most recent one, the one brought forward by the Minister of Government Services and Lands this past couple of days - it was leaked out, it came out in The Evening Telegram first - it was totally confusing, and the minister stood here responding to some hard-hitting questions from the Member for Cape St. Francis and muddled the waters even more. I know my office has been flooded with calls, wondering what it is going to cost them to maintain the land that their cottages are on, what it is going to cost them to maintain a permit to occupy, which is completely different than granted land. Nobody knows; I don't know why those rules and regulations were not brought forward in a clearer way, and the fees set before the minister brought forward all the fears put out there.

I don't think it is a luxury any more to own a cabin in the woods. In many, many cases most of those cabins were built by the sweat and toil of common Newfoundlanders out there today who went and cut their own logs, and bought second-hand furniture, and built a cabin where they could get away. They don't have the luxury of going to Florida, hopping on the plane and going to Florida every six months, or every winter. Their getaway was to go to their cabin in the woods, out in the bush or by some lake, for a couple of months of the year, and they are all told now, all of a sudden, in order to do that it is going to cost them another $3,000.

AN HON. MEMBER: It would be cheaper for them to go to Florida.

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, it would probably be cheaper for them to go to Florida, and it is $3,000 that a lot of those people don't have.

It seems like sometimes when we come in here and sit as Members of the House of Assembly we very quickly forget about the people who put us here, and we very quickly forget the cost of some things that a lot of us take for granted.

Look at the closure of some of our rural colleges in rural Newfoundland. Many times a lot of our people went to those colleges and trained right in their own home towns, and were able to go on and take part in a career that provided for their families the rest of their lives. Now, in a lot of cases, that is being taken away from them.

The same thing with first-year university courses. They say it's no big thing; let them come into St. John's and prepare themselves, because next year they are coming in anyway. Well, it is much greater than that. Most of the people here representing rural Newfoundland communities, and who have had the occasion to see the experience of having their sons or daughters attend university, they know that that first year is just as expensive as the second year or the third year, and they find they are out of pocket thousands of dollars more than people who are fortunate enough to be living in the urban areas. When we reach a point in this Province where education is only available to the rich or the well-to-do, or if we allow only our people to attend university who reach a certain class in our society, then I fear that we will never get out of the economic doldrums that we are facing today.

I cannot understand the quietness of the government on the other side not speaking out on the unemployment insurance cuts, the things that are being brought forward by the federal government today to do away with - I suppose, the value of seasonal work is unheard of. In most cases - in fact in all cases that I know of - people who take part in seasonal work, and I think of our construction workers, and I think of fish plant workers, and other resource sectors in our economy, they don't have a choice as to when they go to work, or when they get laid off - it is completely out of their control - and I am certain that most of them would love to have a job where they would work year round. They would love to be able to get up in the morning and go to work like their next door neighbour, if they are fortunate enough to have a job, but in most cases that option is not available to them, and I would urge government members on the other side to speak out and speak up for their constituents, because I can assure you that if this new unemployment insurance proposal is going to be implemented in this Province, then you will see the biggest resettlement program that you have ever seen in your life.

The one that we witnessed with Premier Smallwood at the helm will be small in comparison. At least Premier Smallwood had the decency to pay people, and to let them know what his intentions were. Now it seems like this particular government is trying to bring about resettlement by misery. That is what it is; it is resettlement, and it is resettlement by misery.

Mr. Speaker, we talk about water and sewer services. I remember this government when they first came to power in 1989, you can correct me if I am wrong, but I think they were going to bring about a water and sewer corporation - can you remember that - a water and sewer corporation, fairness and balance. Everybody living in Newfoundland had a right to clean drinking water and a proper sewer system; that was what they put forward.

AN HON. MEMBER: That was my idea.

MR. FITZGERALD: No, it wasn't your idea because you didn't even get elected in that election. The people in Fogo - Twillingate said: Enough is enough.


MR. FITZGERALD: Fogo - Twillingate.


MR. FITZGERALD: Fogo - said enough is enough. They slapped the minister on the wrist and they sent him packing, to go out and open his building supply place.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: You may have sold it, but that was the route that you took. So they sent him packing, and the member today learned a lesson from that. That is why you see him as a different man sitting in the front benches of this government. He is a different man. He is reformed, and I commend him for doing that. I am sure the people in Bonavista North, if he continues to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: The Bonavista North people will look and see that he has made a positive change as well, but he cannot sit here and support the actions of his government when it hurts his people out there. You had a member sitting here from Eagle River who supported his government on every move it made. Who will ever forget the compassionate speeches that he would give here of how proud he was to be a Newfoundlander, and how proud he was to be a Canadian. Who could ever forget it? But there is one thing he forgot. He forgot to talk about how proud he was to represent the desires of his people. He forgot his people and, as a result of that, that is why you no longer see him sitting there.

We hear the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture continue to shout across the floor about Tories this and Tories that. The other day I was reading a paper that was published back in 1989, and I would like to read a couple of quotes from the paper. It is a local paper, printed here in Newfoundland. This was printed in 1989, and it says: Province's unemployment rate dropping. Stats Canada report says Newfoundland employment grew 5.5 per cent in 1988.

I am going to read a couple of quotes here, and I would like for you to let me know when you heard such positive news before. This was when there was a Tory government sitting right here in this building - not in the same surroundings that we are sitting in now; it was upstairs, but it was certainly in this building and they were in charge. Let me read a couple of quotes for you: Activity in labour market in Newfoundland and Labrador during 1988 indicates last year was one of the best in the Province's history. Both the labour force and employment rose to their highest record levels ever, benefiting both male and female workers in both urban and rural parts of the Province. According to an analysis of Statistics Canada, labour forces survey results for 1988 were as follows - and it gives a graph there to show it - since 1985, however, Newfoundland's labour force has grown to record levels, in many respects outperforming the labour markets of other provinces, between 1985 and 1988 there was an absolute decline in the search for employment. During 1988 in Newfoundland, persons in the growing labour force were more successful at finding employment than in 1987. Employment grew by 5.5 per cent in the Province between 1987 and 1988. This was significantly faster than any of the other Canadian provinces. The Newfoundland unemployment rate decline advanced beyond the national decline in 1988 by falling 1.5 percentage points from the previous year to 16.4 per cent. The decrease was exceeded only in Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it goes on to give facts and figures which I won't get into but those are not my writings. This was taken right from the local paper published here in St. John's, I say to members opposite. Mr. Speaker, that was back in 1989 when you had a Conservative government here who listened to the people, believed in rural areas and put forward an environment where people came and invested money and created economic activity.

Mr. Speaker, I suppose when we talk about bringing forward suggestions or we talk about taking a dart at government for some of the negative things that they brought about in this Budget we should also bring about some suggestions, offer some suggestions as to where they can save money. I will tell you a place where you can save $750,000 awful fast and I have to refer again to the Lieutenant-Governor's residence in this Province. I think it is shameful today when we go out and spend $750,000 to maintain a residence for anybody. We don't do it for the Premier why should we do it for the Lieutenant-Governor? I give all due respect to the gentleman who presently occupies that office but I don't see anything wrong, I don't think it is degrading to expect a Lieutenant-Governor of this Province to occupy an office in another government building. It is done in Alberta and it is done in Ontario, much, much richer provinces than this little Province that we are living in today.

When you look at the cost again that is brought forward and the permanent staff complement on page nine, the department salary details and look at some of the people that the Lieutenant-Governor has around him again. When you look at the secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor, the private secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor, the secretary to the assistant deputy minister - now I don't know where the assistant deputy minister fits into there but that one is included in the appropriations for the Lieutenant-Governor's residence. Then you look at the establishment operations; there is a gardener that gets paid $30,593. Then there is a chef, Mr. Speaker, at the Lieutenant-Governor's house, he gets paid $26,645. Whoever printed the book tried to throw in a little bit of a scenario here where you would not fit it all together because just below the chef there is a Gardener II. That is a second gardener who gets paid $24,752. Then there is a housekeeper, then there is a chauffeur and listen to this one, a seamstress. A seamstress employed at the Lieutenant-Governor's house, Mr. Speaker, paid $19,201, not a lot of money. I don't know how long that they work. There are five domestic workers; there is a director of protocol that gets $60,000. There is another protocol officer that gets $36,000 and then there is a clerk stenographer who gets $22,640.

Now that is not to mention the Lieutenant-Governor's salary at all. That is being paid from Ottawa and, Mr. Speaker, from what I understand that is tax free. Now I am not going to touch that because from what I understand this Legislature does not have the power to unilaterally say that you don't need a Lieutenant-Governor. I am not going to touch that but we do have the power, Mr. Speaker, to change the way that we provide services to the Lieutenant-Governor. We do have the power to do that and that can be done right here in this Assembly, Mr. Speaker.

Now the next thing you might say is that I am creating unemployment. I might be creating unemployment when I am doing away with those seventeen jobs. Mr. Speaker, if you will give me $484,315 I can assure you that I would create a lot more than seventeen jobs and they would all do very well. They would all be much better off than many of our people out in rural Newfoundland today.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think that is degrading and I think it is something that this House should seriously look at. I think that, if we feel it is necessary and I suppose we do or it would not be here to have a representative of the Queen being the Head of this government, then I have no problem with that but I do have a problem in paying out $750,000 a year to maintain the residence for the Lieutenant-Governor.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am speaking as Roger Fitzgerald, Member of the House of Assembly for Bonavista South, I say to the member. I am not speaking on behalf of caucus, I am speaking as a Private Member here today and that is the way I stand, but I can assure you, I say to the Government House Leader, that I probably echo the thoughts of many, many Newfoundlanders today when I put forward that scenario.

MR. TULK: I am sure you do, but I just want to know if you are speaking for (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I am not speaking for my caucus. We have one speaker for our caucus and he happens to be in Ottawa today, that is the Leader of our caucus and the Leader of our Party, I say to the minister - so this is one area where I think that we should seriously look at and it is somewhere where we can save $750,000, not hurt anybody, maintain the Lieutenant-Governor with all the protocol that goes with it, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am sorry? Will I entertain a question? Sure.

MR. TULK: On the issue that the member is now debating, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if he will attempt as a member -

MR. FITZGERALD: Would I what?

MR. TULK: Would you attempt to get a position from your caucus?

MR. FITZGERALD: Now, Mr. Speaker, it may not be an issue with our caucus and I would suggest maybe that if it was put forward and if it was put out there that the Government House Leader might find trouble maintaining the status quo within his own caucus I say to him. But no, Mr. Speaker, I stand today -

MR. TULK: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. gentleman is over there making all kinds of statements and yet he wants to do something for his people and he refuses to do anything about it. He is just a blowhard.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, the Government House Leader would be expected to come here and set a quorum I suppose if you would and show a little bit of respect for the House.

AN HON. MEMBER: Set an example.

MR. FITZGERALD: Set an example for the House but he stands there and tries to take the House on his back. He stands here and tries not to acknowledge the rules of the Chair and take the whole House on his back.

Mr. Speaker, I stand here today, and I think I have a half-an-hour to put forward my views and opinions of the Budget and the Government House Leader will be afforded the same privilege where he could stand up and speak in favour of Government House if he desires to do so. He can certainly stand up and speak on that and I will offer him the opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, I just showed you one way where you could save $750,000, now I will ask the Government House Leader if he will take it under advisement and probably he could buy another new water bomber or something like that to provide some service to our rural areas.

While the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs is here, I don't know if he has done the appropriations for his department or not, but I would also like to bring up the situation in my own district and that is the pollution of O'Deas Pond, of which the minister is very, very well aware, it was brought forward here at least two years ago by a petition -

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, I spoke to the petition.

MR. FITZGERALD: You spoke to the petition, you were the critic for Environment I say to the hon. member at the time and up until now, Mr. Speaker, there has been absolutely nothing done with it. Oh, I shouldn't say that, there has been a study done, but that seems to be the problem, Mr. Speaker, with most of our problems in rural Newfoundland today, that everything seems to be studied to death instead of getting some action in solving the problem, we seem to have to do all kinds of studies and all kinds of engineering work before we actually get at the bones of it and go on to do what needs to be done.

Here is an area, Mr. Speaker, in my district today, right in the Town of Bonavista, a town with a population of 5,000 people, one of the biggest towns on the Northeast Coast, if not the biggest, and trying to prepare themselves for 1997 celebrations, trying to beautify the town. In fact I understand there may even be a Royal visit there.

This pond right in the middle of the community, Mr. Speaker, is polluted. It is suggested that children do not go out and play in the area. It is suggested that pets not be allowed outside. It is suggested that vegetables not be grown in the immediate area, a pond completely polluted and existing right in the middle of this community. I know the minister is aware of it and I hope he will provide funding this year in order to solve that problem.

There were problems solved last year up at the golf course in Terra Nova where we witnessed $600,000 of public money being spent to put a sewer line to the Terra Nova resort, a privately owned operation, so I do not think it is too much to ask $750,000 to be put forward in the town of Bonavista to clean up an area that has been identified, because of the effluent from a water waste tank, a sewer treatment plant, flowing out into the pond untreated. I think when we see government dollars being spent to support private enterprise, that is what it was, $600,000 put to support a private enterprise in Port Blandford, and then you see the residents of other communities having to do without, I think that is shameful.

I say that to the minister without any reservation, and he knows exactly what I am talking about.

AN HON. MEMBER: Why do you not address a few others we have wasted money on?

MR. FITZGERALD: There are probably all kind of things that you have wasted money on, and you would know them much better than I do, I say to the minister, but here is a prime example where the same number of dollars could have been spent to serve a much greater need but it was seen fit to do it another way. Here again it is lack of consultation.

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I do not know what you are talking about? They supported what?

AN HON. MEMBER: (inaudible) supported derogatory comments (inaudible)

MR. FITZGERALD: It is not derogatory comments, it is the truth, but if you want to consider them derogatory then you put whatever spin on it you want, but that is the truth of it, Mr. Speaker. The need is there. The minister knows the need. The Minister of Environment knows the need. The Minister of Health knows the need, and now I ask the minister if he would respond and put forward the necessary dollars to clean up that particular pond?

Route 235, I cannot sit down unless I bring forward the problems with Route 235 that I so often brought to the floor of this House of Assembly. Many, many times I have stood here and talked about the condition of this particular highway leading down through the beautiful Bonavista Peninsula. It is a route that branches off in Southern Bay and leads into Bonavista.

The school children have paraded, they have held public meetings, they have written the minister, and they have come here and sat in the galleries and pleaded with them to provide a decent road that they could drive over and that their bus could go over, so that they could go to school, learn and study like normal people do. It is a situation where this particular road is so bad and has deteriorated to such a condition that those school children cannot have their breakfast in the morning because they know what will happen when they arrive at their school.

The bus owners there have pleaded with the minister, pleaded with government and Cabinet members, to put the appropriate funds forward to try and make some improvements to this particular road. They are not asking that you go down, upgrade, and pave the whole Route 235. In fact they have been very considerate. What they are asking is that somebody make a beginning. Do a kilometre this year and a kilometre another year. Once they know something is being done, and somebody recognizes there is a problem, they know there will be an end to it somewhere. They know that someday it will be completed, but here again nothing seems to happen. Everybody recognizes the need. You talk to the local Department of Works, Services and Transportation supervisor there, the local engineers, and they will tell you it is at the top of their priority list, but it never seems to get funded, a prime example again, I suppose, of this government's commitment to rural Newfoundland, and if you don't maintain the roadways, and you don't maintain some infrastructure, than I don't know how you ever expect to get industry, or how you ever expect to get people to come out -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave; the hon. member does not have leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: Just a minute to finish up?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member doesn't have leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is doing more damage to his town than he is doing good, so the best thing he can do is sit down.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like the comments of the minister noted.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: Threats, threats, threats.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased today to stand in my place and say a few words about the Budget.

Making choices, that is what life is all about, making choices; and, strangely enough, that is what this document here is all about, Making Choices for a Better Tomorrow, Pre-Budget Consultation Document on our Fiscal Position and Choices. That is what the Minister of Finance went around this Province, put this out before the Budget, and asked people basically to make recommendations and to consult with the people of the Province.

Now, I have read this book and, strangely enough, it is all bluff and no stuff; I think we have heard that a few times before. Consultation - we might have had some consultation. We had the appearance of consultation, but we certainly didn't have the people of the Province listened to.

Mr. Speaker, in this document it says: Since transfer payments from the federal government will continue to be restrained, there are three measures we can use to address the shortfall: increase taxes - but the Minister of Finance said there is no increase in taxes in the Budget; we soon found out different than that - we can reduce spending or increase borrowing, one or the other, all three, or any combination of it. Obviously, we have all three in this Budget.

It says: Some things to consider, the burden of taxation in our Province is already high. Should taxes be increased to pay for our service? If so, which taxes and by how much?

Mr. Speaker, as we know, in the Budget Speech the Minister of Finance stood on his feet and said there were no tax increases. Now, there are a lot of hidden indirect taxes in this Budget; we know that now. MHAs in this House of Assembly are getting calls every day with respect to this Budget.

For example, in the Budget itself we have fees and licences, Mr. Speaker, the increases. Under Government Services and Lands itself we have the increase in the processing fees for birth certificates. It is costing people money now to have people born in this Province. Marriage licences, from $10 to $20. One of the members opposite made a comment earlier that maybe we should charge more to require people to get married. That is up to one's own opinion. Increase the driver road test fee from $15 to $50. That is a 3.4-something increase. It says increase the driver's learner's permit from $15 to $30. That is one fee, that is -

AN HON. MEMBER: What is that?

MR. J. BYRNE: Increase the driver's learner's permit fee from $15 to $30. I could almost agree with that one because a driver's permit is a very important step, particularly in a young person's life, at around seventeen, eighteen years old. They should understand that what they are getting for this fee takes on a lot of responsibility, Mr. Speaker, so I could probably live with that one.

Increased application fees for Crown land from $50 to $100. I remember years ago I worked with the department of Crown lands for seven years. I left that in 1983 and started my own business. As I mentioned, Crown land fees, the application fees, the permits, permits to occupy, leases, the rates per year, the Crown land grant -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: As I said, the fees or licence and the permits to occupy, the Crown land leases, the Crown land grants and what have you, have all doubled, tripled, over the years, Mr. Speaker. I remember when I was there and Section 134(b) of the Crown lands act was approved. People who were occupying Crown land I think it was for twenty years prior to January 1977, or 1978, somewhere around that time, if they could prove that they owned the land they could get a grant under Section 134(b).

I don't want to get into the Crown lands new policy yet, the private assessment yet; I'm going to speak on that later on. I am going to continue on with these fees. The no increase in tax fees, Mr. Speaker, from the Budget.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Now, you have to understand the question. Are you asking for a permit to occupy for a remote cottage, a lease on a Crown land or a lease on a residential, a grant?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: A lease on a Crown land for a cottage? Is that what you are asking? Now, it cost $75 per year at the present time.

AN HON. MEMBER: What is it going to cost?

MR. J. BYRNE: What is it going to cost?

MR. FUREY: That is what you are trying to find out.

MR. J. BYRNE: That is what we are trying to find out. That is why I am asking questions on it. The minister tabled a response today in the House of Assembly to a question I asked yesterday, and I repeated the question today and he could not answer it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I could tell you that all right. Would you really like to know?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes I would.

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, for most people in the Province, I would assume, the rates now for a summer cottage for a one acre lot is around $800 plus GST, but for you, I would say it would probably cost double that. I would think, and most people would charge that. Now, if you came to me, I would not be able to do it for you. I would do it for twice the rate probably. The minister is trying to distract me, that is great, I have no problem with that.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, they increased the fee - now here is one - increased the fee for preparation of property title from $150 to $200. Now, Mr. Speaker, preparation of a document, if you have a lease now in the Department of Crown Lands for a summer cottage, they take that lease and convert it to a grant. So basically they transfer it from one document to another document. They can do it through computers, they can do it through photocopying or what have you and they are charging $200 for that. That, to me, is almost as bad as a member of the public going into any government office and asking for a photocopy of something and paying fifty cents for a photocopy; after paying all kinds of taxes in the Province, Mr. Speaker, this is almost as bad as that.

Now, they increased the assignment fees for transfer of title from $50 to $100. So now we have $100, $200 and let me see back here, that is $400 just after making the application and to get the title prepared. I was asking the Minister of Government Services and Lands what would be the increase for the lease. Now, if a person has a lease on a Crown -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Four hundred dollars for a piece of paper from Government Services and Lands for a photocopy - $400 for a photocopy.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: You would, yes you would, and we will give you a pretty blunt saw to do it. Now, you have to be careful with a blunt saw because that really could do the job on yourself.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I don't say, I don't think so. I wouldn't put too much money on that if I were you, I say to the - pardon?

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: You are so old, I wouldn't doubt it. How long have you been here? I never did use one of those - you know, where you take two people on, with the stick sticking out of it? What do you call those? No, not the bucksaw.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pit-saw.

MR. J. BYRNE: Pit-saw, I suppose you used those?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, but I have (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: You couldn't get someone on the other side to pull the saw back, couldn't get anybody to pull it with you.

AN HON. MEMBER: It's not across (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: It's up and down, that's right; I know that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) pit-saw.

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, and you should be in a pit. I would say you have been in a few pits in your day.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, preparation of title document for licence to occupy Crown land, to $100. These are major, major increases. Amendments to lease documents to cost $100; increase to fees charged for driver or vehicle record search from $5 to $10 - doubled - not bad. This list goes on and on and on. I could spend hours here, I suppose, speaking on this, but one of the big fees that have been talked about a lot in the Province, and the Leader of the Opposition has brought it up, of course, a number of times, and the critic for health has brought it up, is the increased rates for ambulance fees from $40 up to $75, which was to be a basic price for any time you would call an ambulance.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, it is not accurate, I say to the Government House Leader; it is not accurate.

MR. TULK: What is not accurate?

MR. J. BYRNE: $800.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, $800 plus GST, and double that for you.

MR. TULK: It has gone up now since you got up.

MR. J. BYRNE: Definitely, that is the way it goes.

Mr. Speaker, the ambulance fees again - I have talked to a number of people in my district with respect to the ambulance fees. The ambulance fee increase, from my way of thinking, the biggest impact that would have on the people of this Province is for the senior citizens, because oftentimes senior citizens are the people who are rushed off to hospital more often than your regular run-of-the-mill individual who is healthy.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of other increases here, forest resources and agrifoods. I would say to the Government House Leader: Do you know anything about that department?

MR. TULK: What?

MR. J. BYRNE: The Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

MR. TULK: Not a thing.

MR. J. BYRNE: Not a thing. Well, I am not surprised.

There are increases in licence fees there, an increase in small game and big game licence fees, small game licence increased from $3 to $18. Now, again we have an attack on rural Newfoundland, the rural Newfoundlanders, people who are out there - I have said it a number of times in the House of Assembly, and I will repeat it again: This government really does not understand that that there are people out there in this Province who really don't know where their next pound of butter or loaf of bread is coming from. They don't have the money. And $18 to go down and catch a rabbit or shoot a small bird is a lot of money. These people depend on these. People have birds and rabbits in their deep-freezer over the winter months to feed themselves.

Moose and caribou licences increased from $35 to $40. That isn't bad, I suppose, not too bad. Then again, the people in the Province need this, they depend on the moose, they depend on caribou, to put in their freezer, definitely.

Bear licence increased from $25 to $30. I really don't know a lot about bear hunting, Mr. Speaker. I don't hunt bears. I am not really a hunter anyway, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I would say any increase in fees in this Province in this day and age is too much and it shouldn't be.

Additional revenue sources. Increased domestic and commercial cutting permits, from $11 to $21 - doubled; increased domestic sawmill licence from $25 to $45, Mr. Speaker; increased commercial sawmill licence from $50 to $100 - a 100 per cent increase. Now, this is under the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. The Government House Leader is the minister of that department, and he supports these increases, of course.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) 100 per cent increase?

MR. J. BYRNE: Increased commercial sawmill licences from $50 to $100. Terrible, $100 is a lot of money. Are you going to do anything about it, I ask the Government House Leader? Are you going to try to reverse it?

MR. TULK: It is a terrible choice to have to make.

MR. J. BYRNE: A terrible choice to have to make. But that is about making choices. That is what it is all about, I suppose. That is the answer.

MR. TULK: It is a terrible choice to have to make. (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is now 4:56 p.m. I have a lot of points I want to make and expect I will be on my feet in the very near future with respect to the Budget Debate. Tomorrow is Private Members' Day, so I expect to be back on this on Friday, probably, depending on what the Government House Leader is planning to put forward on Thursday.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to adjourn debate.

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

MR. TULK: Tomorrow we will be, I think, debating the resolution by the Member for Labrador West. Mr. Speaker, I move that this House adjourn until tomorrow, Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.

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