November 21, 1997         HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLIII  No. 35

The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!


Statements by Ministers


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide members of this House with a description of the Collective Enterprise Development Program, a new business assistance program that my department launched this October in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Co-operatives.

The Collective Enterprise Development Program is a micro-lending program that offers small business loans. Its unique feature is that the program encourages the creation of small groups of people interested in exploring and establishing new business ventures. The groups then act as a sounding board for the business plans prepared by individual members, and are ultimately responsible for approving each member's loans.

The Collective Enterprise Development Program loans are provided by commercial lenders, typically banks or credit unions. They are not government grants or gifts. If any member of the group falls behind with their payments, the borrowing privileges of the entire group are suspended. This is why this kind of program is also known as peer lending or circle lending. Where this approach has been used in other countries, loan repayments have been close to 100 per cent. Once a person is judged ready by the group to start a business, they can, under this program, secure their first loan of $500 from a local bank or credit union. Upon its repayment, successive loans are available up to a maximum of $5,000.

The Department of Development and Rural Renewal and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Co-operatives have each contributed $500,000 to the cost of setting up this program. This funding acts principally to provide loan guarantees to the commercial funding institutions and to provide expert business advice to the lending circles through local co-ordinators that will be guided by the Federation of Co-operatives.

I believe this program is ideal for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. First, it is a program in which people help each other, and we have a long history of mutual help. Secondly, this program builds on the strengths and skills of a community by sharing skills among group members. Few entrepreneurs have all the skills necessary to start a business. This program ensures that we tap into community strengths. Thirdly, the Collective Enterprise Development Program builds on people's interests, on the things people are good at, and because the businesses operate in a co-operative rather than a competitive manner, it encourages the growth of complimentary businesses which, in turn, helps build strong community and regional economies. Does the hon. gentleman understand that?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, read it again.

MR. TULK: The Collective Enterprise Development Program is a useful addition to our small business support programs. Many existing business assistance programs assume some familiarity with business concepts. This program is particularly helpful for people with limited business knowledge. I am also pleased, Mr. Speaker, that my department has been able to partner with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Co-operatives on this program. This program is a co-operative process that relies on effective partnering between community-based organizations and government, something in which the Federation are experts. The Federation has a long history of co-operative effort and I think it is only fitting that they should be the delivery agents for this program.

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Development and Rural Renewal, I am confident that this program will be an effective economic development tool for rural Newfoundland and Labrador. This program will help to foster entrepreneurship and new business start-ups throughout the Province. It will result in new jobs being created in communities through all areas of the Province. The program in its pilot form has already attracted over sixty people and is expected to have 100 participants by next January, creating 100 new businesses. It is an innovative and flexible approach to the need for business development in rural areas and it will help my department meet its prime objective, Mr. Speaker, which is the development and renewal of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, The minister is having a lot of trouble with his press statement. A couple of days ago he had to read the Member for Bonavista South's press statement, today he had trouble reading his own.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, I will say this very quickly, that small business, I believe, is going to be the key to this Province's recovery, especially small businesses in rural Newfoundland in particular at this stage. Because this is a step in the right direction, I will say that. I will say it is a step in the right direction but only a small step. The truth is, a lot of these people in this Province as they watched the programs over the last few nights, the brain drain they call it or whatever, the good entrepreneurs with good ideas that come in everyday with business plans and ideas to go forward and like they have said to me on many occasions: Why don't you roll out the red carpet for a change instead of the red tape? That is what happens in this Province, the good ideas go out of this Province to other provinces, as we saw in Alberta the other night.

So, Mr. Speaker, the advice to the minister and the government is step this up tenfold so we can get on with reviving rural Newfoundland through small business and through small business initiatives.


Oral Questions


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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Health.

A greater emphasis today is placed on prevention by all those involved in the health care field. Now, I know the minister has mentioned that on numerous occasions.

I ask the minister is she aware of any increase in infection rate in hospitals in our city?

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

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

We have infection control nurses and departments in all of our hospitals. I do not carry the data of the day to day infection rate, but I could certainly provide information, as could my colleague obtain from the community health boards and through the institutional boards on the rates of infection in the Province.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would consider it a responsibility of the Minister of Health to know if there are changes in infection rates and what is happening in that very important area.

I spoke with a person last week who underwent surgery earlier this month and was sent home and who is back in hospital now for over two weeks and eight people out, discharged around the same time, seven are back in now again because of infections that have developed. There is a revolving door policy in place at hospitals today.

I ask the minister, does the minister realize that sending people home too early is counterproductive and actually costs tax payers millions of dollars annually in health care costs?

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

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

As I will say again in response to my colleagues preamble, infection rates change on a day to day basis and I am sure as my colleague knows, hospitals certainly have a higher rate of infection than anyone's home would, so it makes perfect sense to move people out of hospital and into their home or into their community health, as soon as possible for a number of reasons. Most people would prefer to recuperate in their own home.

As my colleague also knows, we have improved with our drug programs and also with the other services available. We provide extensive coverage for antibiotic treatment. Physicians prescribe those as needed, and we have follow-up in our communities.

There will always be infections, and certainly it is a concern we all have with the over-use sometimes of prescribing of antibiotics. We will always have infections, but I have to say that I think our physicians and our nurses are doing a fine job. I compliment the work they are doing in early diagnosis, prevention, and early intervention, and I stand by the fine work that is being done by our health care providers.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister is not telling us anything new. I think they are doing a tremendous job under the stresses put on them by this minister and this government.

Newfoundland and Labrador is recognized as having the highest readmission rate of any province in the country. While many people are being released from hospital shortly after their surgery, many of them needing several dressing changes per day, we have not seen sufficient community health nurses put in place to ensure there is an appropriate follow-up to prevent this infection, I say to the minister.

When is the minister going to stop paying lip service and provide real assistance to the resources in the field of community health?

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

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

All across this country we have been focusing on a program of early intervention and prevention - part of that whole program across the country - and, as my colleague knows, services within our health care system are covered mostly in the institutional sector as outlined under the Canada Health Act.

We have said in this House many times about our commitment to community development and resources, and that is why over the last number of years we have injected separate money into our community health budgets to try to bring them up to speed. For example, in the western region alone last year we injected almost a million dollars to increase the amount of home support available for people in that particular region.

In addition we have provided, over the last four years specifically, separate injections of money into the community to help develop; and I would say when you have a health care system, a publicly-funded system, that is based on institutional care, it is taking every province in this country awhile to build up their community resources, and to build them up to a point where we are able to deliver the type of services we want in the community.

It is a transitional period. We have been working to do that, and we are certainly no further behind and, in fact, ahead of some of our Atlantic Canadian Provinces in this area.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is good to have people move out of hospitals early, but it is important out in the community that we have the people to care for them. I fully support that if we have the resources out there; but, Minister, you are moving them out and you are not putting the resources in place to do it.

In cost-effectiveness within the system, I ask the minister: Why are there vacant nursing positions now in hospitals, when casuals are out working full-time, when nurses are being called back to work double-time on weekends and extra shifts, being paid double, because there is no one available to work those shifts? It is going on every single week. Does the minister consider this to be efficient use of health care dollars?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First of all I would like to say, as all of our administrators and many of our nurses would admit, that there will always be a use of casual nurses and casual workers in our system. It is a function, as I try to answer the question, of how we deliver health services in our Province.

In addition to that, we always have traditionally, as long as I've been involved in the system and long before, areas where we have shortages of expertise. Since casual positions have been made permanent in terms of seniority, ability to compete for jobs, there is certainly more interest in applying for permanent jobs. The budgets that are in the system are delivered by both delivering casual services and by delivering full-time services. We have given a commitment through the Health Forum with the nurses and with the other groups to look in collective agreements that are upcoming on how we are going to deal with the issue of casual nurses.

I'm sure my colleague would have heard me speak about that many times, both in the House and in the media, and I'm sure he can attest to that, if he asked the many participants of the Health Forum, that the use of casual workers was one that was raised and that we agreed that we would look at when we got into the collective bargaining process, not into the House of Assembly.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: No, not a speech, Mr. Speaker, a response to a preamble prior to the question.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. She missed the point of my question. It wasn't about casual nurses, I say to the minister, after a lengthy answer. I wasn't invited into the Forum, and people who complained weren't invited. Some managed to get invited later. It was a closed -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: - door conference. (Inaudible) hand-selected people by the minister.

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

The hon. member is on the supplementary.

MR. SULLIVAN: I ask the minister again, I said: In view of the fact that casuals are working full-time hours, in view of the fact that full-time people are being called back on weekends to work double-time, get paid double-time, in addition to their full shifts, why are there unfilled positions?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: It is a question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, more time wasted. Mr. Speaker, this is not a time for debate. It is a time to put supplementary questions and have them over with.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had the question asked just about when they interrupted me. I will start again. Why are there unfilled full time positions in hospitals today when casuals are working full hours, when full time nurses are called back to be paid double overtime on weekends? Does the minister consider this to be efficient use of health care dollars?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I would first like to comment on the preamble that my colleague referred to prior to his question about the participants of the forum. In fact, it wasn't a hand-picked forum, Mr. Speaker, it was a forum representative - every single health provider is represented in this Province in addition to consumers, in addition to people who have access to the system and require access. So, Mr. Speaker, the participants were all there, including government officials, including the people who make the decisions around the Cabinet Table.

In response to the question, Mr. Speaker, as long as I can remember and anyone in the health care system can remember, in many of our speciality areas there has always been the need to provide call- back services. I know that particularly in the health care corporation, with the transition of all the organizations under one corporation, Mr. Speaker, there is an effort to try to minimize the number of casuals. The chief executive officer of that particular institution, Mr. Speaker, has said -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to conclude her answer.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: The chief executive officer, Mr. Speaker, of that particular organization has said they have a goal in mind to reduce the number of casuals. Once they are able to identify the full number of permanent positions so that no worker is disadvantaged in their ability to apply.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is like extracting teeth. I asked the minister a simple question, is it efficient to have positions not filled? I know the situation with casuals. It has been talked about before. Is it efficient use of taxpayer dollars to have full time people back at double time with casuals working full time when there are unfilled positions there? Yes, I know I asked the minister, is it efficient use of dollars?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, when the need arises for extra staff or staff to be called back in speciality areas I have full confidence in the management and in the delegation of the appropriate people to work in those positions, Mr. Speaker. I do not keep a schedule of every shift that is covered by nurses and support workers in the Province. I have to count on the boards and on the people who are managing the hospital to deliver services. Again, I say, Mr. Speaker, the role of the government is not to do the direct work of the health care system but to oversee it through the use of the boards.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Finance.

On Monday, November 17, I asked the Minister of Finance a question regarding the Retail Sales Tax legislation on used vehicles. The minister said it would have to be monitored and fair. I agree with that, but the problem is that this proposed system is going to be grossly unfair and unjust. Shouldn't the minister and the government be proactive in dealing with the offenders of the present system? And, basically, does the minister agree that punishing the innocent for the guilty is morally wrong? Deal with the problem.

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In response to the hon. member's question, everybody feels that any form of taxation is less morally preferable to some other form of dispensation, but the issue concerning the taxation, the sale between private individuals, has not been finalized by government. It was raised by someone in the media. It was raised in this House. We, as government, have not announced the details of our policy. What I have said in general terms is that government is examining whether it should, in the case of individual sales between private individuals, weigh that against the red book value.

We are looking at different things. The red book proposes two values. For example, it proposes a wholesale value and a retail value. There is a considerable difference between 16 per cent, in some cases, to 35 per cent, and I can cite examples for the hon. member.

What we are also looking at is a form of additional appeal or assessment, depending on if the individual disputes the amount of the red book value being an appropriate and fair value for the sale of those vehicles, and that is one level of appeal one might have to a group of appraisers, for example, around the Province.

These are issues with which we are still dealing. In due course, when government comes to a final determination of policy, we will make it known to the House and to hon. members, as well as the public.

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

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would say the minister would make a great used car salesman.

Mr. Speaker, the other day the minister talked about an appeal system. Will the minister confirm that if a seller or a buyer disagrees with the book value then a special appraisal will be required, and that appraisal will have to come form either a licensed appraiser or a new car dealership? Therefore there would be two extra costs if a person wants to sell a car, the unjust tax, of course, and the appraisal fee. And will the red book value tax be required to be paid up front under the appeal system - or black book, or blue book, or pink book, whatever?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank the hon. member for his compliment, first of all. I suggest it is probably easier to sell used cars in the Province than it is to sell Tory principles.

Having listened to his question, however -


MR. DICKS: I am sorry. I said, it's easier to sell used cars than Tory principles, the critical difference being that at least a used car exists.

Acknowledging the difficult task my friend across the House has, yes, government is concerned. There are legitimate sales. We are not questioning that in all cases the red book value would apply, but I would say many people are coming to conclusions about even seeing what government will implement.

First of all, the red book value - and we are looking at imposing the wholesale as opposed to the retail value, and there is considerable difference. I suggest to my friend that he wait until we make the details known. We are still examining it. There are parts of the policy which still concern me. I want to ensure that if it is implemented it will be seen as fair to all taxpayers of the Province, as does the hon. member himself.

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

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

I say to the minister, at least we have principles to sell, not like the crowd over there.

Mr. Speaker, under the present system, a tax administrator often questions the purchase price compared to the book value; the sworn affidavit system was dropped a number of years ago. Will the minister reconsider this new, unjust, unfair, morally wrong rip-off tax system, and look at an affidavit system and, will he table in the House, the study -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I am asking a question, lighten up, take your time, watch your blood pressure.

Will the minister table in the House the study he referred to the other day, with regard to the fraudulent sales?

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

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

First of all, with respect to the member's comments, he said, at least they have principles to sell. We, on the other hand, do not sell any principles; we stand by ours, Mr. Speaker.

In answer to his question, Mr. Speaker, we stand by ours, they are not for sale. In any event, Mr. Speaker, yes I will, I will table the study that we did. I do not have it with me this morning. I will table it for you on Monday or maybe later this morning.

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


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

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions this morning are for the Minister of Education on the important issue of air quality in our schools.

The minister has studied schools in the Province, Mr. Speaker, at random, and has had an opportunity to analyze the reports of air quality of certain other schools.

I ask the minister: Which schools were studied, what were the results of the air-quality studies, Mr. Speaker, and like the previous minister, who indicated that he would table, will this minister table the comprehensive list of schools which were studied and the results of those tests?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad that the Opposition has finally discovered that over two years ago we commissioned a study of some schools in Newfoundland and Labrador and, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to explain a little bit of the background and development of the issue because, in the early 1990s, in I think it was 1992 or 1993, there was a circumstance where, there was a fungus in a school in the Gander Bay area where, in fact, every corrective measure failed to the point that the school had to be closed and a new school built because the air quality was so bad, it actually put at risk the health of the students, the teachers, the other workers in the school system.

Because of that, Mr. Speaker, and the fact that in other isolated instances in the Province, we occasionally heard complaints that children in particular, the students most notably, and sometimes the teachers and other workers in the system as well, would have headaches or their allergies or asthma would be aggravated in some circumstances, the Department of Education requested that a random study be done, and this was requested in 1995.

Some fifty-five schools were tested in all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not know the details of the individual schools but the important part, Mr. Speaker, and I am glad that the Opposition has finally realized it - and this was done two years ago; the fact of the matter is, when we received the report, we immediately forwarded the information to each of the school boards that had had a facility tested so that they would be aware of the results -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. the minister to conclude his answer quickly.

MR. GRIMES: - and they could start taking action with respect to the matter if they thought it was serious or if there was any possibility of a health risk to the people who were in the school, primarily the students, the teachers and the other workers.


MR. GRIMES: So it is a matter, Mr. Speaker, that is largely in progress.

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

The hon. the Member for St. John's East, a supplementary.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Mr. Speaker, I do not need a history lesson on the topic. I will ask my question again.

Will the hon. minister table the list of those schools in this Province which have been tested with respect to the issue of air quality and will he also table the results of those tests?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, again, to continue where I left off the last time, the information was sent to all of the school boards that had had a school tested and the important part is this: that the people who are genuinely concerned about the air quality in the buildings have the information and are dealing with it.

I know, Mr. Speaker, that the member opposite sometimes is genuinely concerned and sometimes pretends to be concerned about other issues, but in this instance, rather than go into a process of tabling information in the House and so on, the information has been given directly, a year-and-a-half ago, to the people who are already doing further testing. They have done some corrections in some schools. They are taking interim measures. There has been $2.5 million put in the budget this year for major mechanical interventions in schools and renovations and repairs, and all of the action that is necessary -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - with respect to this item is being done –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

MR. GRIMES: - through the school boards. It will not be -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - expedited in any way -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - Mr. Speaker, by putting information -

MR. SPEAKER: I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

MR. GRIMES: - on the Table in this Legislature.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind hon. members that answers to questions should be as brief as possible, should deal with the matter raised and, of course, should not provoke debate. Questions should not repeat questions already asked, although this does not mean that other questions cannot be raised on the same point of order.

The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable that on such a fundamental issue of the health and well-being of our students and teachers who work in our schools on a daily basis that the minister refuses to let the public of this Province know the situation today as it exists in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OTTENHEIMER: It is unbelievable that the minister can be so cavalier in an answer that he will not let the people of this Province know. I will ask him a much more direct question, Mr. Speaker. Were any schools found to be in urgent need of repair, and if so, if he refuses to table the information, will he answer the question: Which schools were in urgent need of repair, and could he tell us this morning?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

With respect to the information and a suggestion by the - again, the pretence of one of the leadership candidates opposite suggesting again that he is so concerned about this issue, and trying to suggest that I am cavalier by indicating that I do not see any purpose to be served by putting a report on the Table of the Legislature a year-and-a-half after it has been in the hands of the school board officials who are already acting on the report.

Because the member opposite, the Opposition education critic, has finally discovered, a year-and-a-half too late, that there is an issue that the government and the school boards have been very concerned about, are working with and are dealing with on a daily basis with respect to air quality. The sham and the scam and the sorry state to get up and suggest that there might be something wrong here, because a year-and-a-half later he finds out that there was a study. He wants a report put on the - the people who need to deal with this and are genuinely concerned about the students and the teachers and the workers in the schools have the report. They have had it for over a year. They are dealing with it.

With respect to the issue of the urgent schools - and here is again the innuendo to suggest that there might be some circumstances out there where the health of the students and the teachers and the workers are at risk. The reality is this. The report showed, and the report is a completely public document –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - that has been in the hands -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - of people for over a year, the report showed that -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - none of the schools -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - were in urgent - where there was any real risk to the students and the teachers.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The only concern I have on the issue of leadership is the leadership of the Ministry of Education of this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. OTTENHEIMER: In the identification of concerns and problems, Mr. Speaker, as they relate to the schools in this Province, has the minister done the honourable thing and has he informed the people who are directly affected of the risks they are taking? Have they been directly informed of the risk? I speak of the teachers, the students, and their parents. Have they been informed of the risk directly?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, again, with respect to the matter raised, if I were the Leader of the Opposition I would not be - I am sure while he tapped on his desk as the candidate behind him asked the question, I do not think he will be applauding him in March. There is not much doubt about that.

The other issues. Again, the difficulty with the line of questioning that I was dealing with in my last answer. The hon. member is trying to suggest that there are people at risk in the schools. That is the whole difficulty with the nature and approach to this particular study. The study was done, it was a serious issue, it remains a serious issue. All of the people who need to know who are charged with the responsibility for running and managing the system, to make sure that everybody in the schools of Newfoundland and Labrador are safe and are not at risk, have been aware of the circumstance for over a year, there is no risk and nobody should be suggesting that students, teachers or other workers in the school system are at risk in any of our buildings because it does not exist. When there is a suggestion that there might be a health risk, further testing is done and immediate measures are taken in the schools. There are no students, teachers or workers in the school system -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to complete his answer.

MR. GRIMES: - at risk in Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's West.

MS S. OSBORNE: My questions are for the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

Will the minister confirm if it is her department's policy to claw back the shelter component of their student loans from social assistance recipients who are in post-secondary schools and will she tell us when this policy came into effect and why the department was so late notifying students? I have copies here of people who received the letter with the postmark after they had gotten their cheque. Is she aware that some students, especially students beyond their first year of post-secondary, unaware of the change in policy and after receiving incorrect advice from the schools, went ahead and spent some of the student loan money on essentials like food and are now being asked to repay that money to her department?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for asking a question which will provide me with an opportunity to provide some background on this particular policy on student aid.

The department's policy with respect to the Student Aid Program is that where student parents who are clients, receive student aid, they have to consider the food and shelter component which is included as non-allowable income. What that means is when students draw down student aid, any student in the Province, they are receiving with their student aid, a portion of expenses for food and shelter. Where students who are receiving social assistance wish to continue to receive social assistance, which in effect is food and shelter, we have asked those students to return to the department, a portion of the food and shelter component that was returned in their student load. As a matter of fact, for the majority of single parents, what this means is that they are able to continue then, on their social assistance, which in fact provides approximately three times the benefits that would be included in their student aid. So, there is a major advantage to single parents.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude her answer quickly, please.

MS BETTNEY: I was only able to answer one of the hon. member's questions. I believe that there were about four, so I will (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I just want to remind hon. members and hon. ministers in particular, that during Question Period, if in addressing a question it requires a lengthy answer, he or she may require it to be placed on the order paper, if a question requires a lengthy answer, I ask the ministers to do that.

The hon. the Member for St. John's West, a supplementary.

MS S. OSBORNE: I appreciate this concept of this student loan and the shelter component, however because there were some errors or some miscalculations in the timing of getting the letters out to these recipients, their shelter component is now spent and what I am asking, rather then clawing it back all at once, giving these single parents and otherwise parents with small children, fifty dollars a month for food because of the departments policy to claw it back all at once, what I am asking the minister now is to instrument this in the form of an overpayment. These students are not trying to get out of paying back this money that they owe. Rather then putting -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Would you please put this claw back in the form of an overpayment to ease the hardship on the recipients?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, the situation with clients who are coming forward who in particular, for some reason, did not return the subsidy and still wish to receive social assistance, we are dealing with each one of those cases on an individual basis.

In the majority of cases we are able to make accommodation where the students are able to return the amount over a longer period of time than simply an immediate repayment at the time. That depends, of course, on the amount of time that is remaining in the term to start with because for students who are then returning to their course of study in the next semester, they would still have an additional problem if that return amount, the refund amount, were spread over the continuing term but the actions of the department in this case, Mr. Speaker, are to try and work on an individual basis to meet the requirements of the students in this regard.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has ended.


Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees


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

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, I have Special Warrants to table - six copies of five Special Warrants. The first, relating to the Legislature, Mr. Speaker, is in the amount $1,800,000 to provide funds for the referendum on educational reform; the next is for the Executive Council, a Special Warrant in the amount of $300,000 to provide funds for the operating costs of the Voisey's Bay office; Works, Services and Transportation, a Special Warrant of $35,334,000 to provide funds for the Labrador ferry services which was $15,334,000 and the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway at $20 million; Municipal and Provincial Affairs, a Special Warrant of $6,500,000 to provide funds for an extension to the existing Canada-Newfoundland Infrastructure Agreement; the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, a Special Warrant in the amount of $7,800,000 to provide funds to facilitate divesture of the Newfoundland Farm Products Corporation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.




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

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

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in my place to present a petition on behalf of a number of individuals who are very strongly opposed to the proposed new tax that is going to be unjustly implemented by the Minister of Finance in the near future with respect to the retail sales tax on used vehicles. The wording of the petition is as follows - I would like to read it out for the Minister of Education's purposes because he is always questioning the wording of the petitions. It goes like this - a petition to the House of Assembly:

To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREAS the Provincial Government has stated it will introduce legislation to tax the sale of used vehicles based on their book value and not on the sale price; and

WHEREAS Newfoundlanders should not pay taxes on an amount of money they did not pay; and

WHEREAS we believe taxes should be paid only once, when the vehicle is purchased new;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador not to proceed with legislation that would tax the sale of used vehicles based on the book value, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Actually, Mr. Speaker, this all came to light last week when there was an article in The Evening Telegram referring to this new proposed tax. Now, I had known of this proposed tax increase, and I was prepared to bring it up in the House of Assembly but The Evening Telegram got the jump on me this time around. Actually, I asked questions in the House of Assembly on Monday of the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance confirmed that they are looking at changing the retail sales tax legislation to require people to pay taxes on the book value of used vehicles. Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister tries to rationalize or justify this by saying that there is a number of sales in the Province, as much as two-thirds I believe, that the price for vehicles being sold or the bill of sale comes in for two-thirds less than the actual book value. Mr. Speaker, that may very well be the case, that some individuals do sell their vehicles and give a bill of sale for less than the amount of money that the purchaser paid, that may be the case but my problem with it and the people's problem out there is that now this Administration is going to try to punish the innocent for the guilty, to ask people to pay taxes on money they did not spend. There is nothing, by any stretch of the imagination that the minister can rationalize or justify for innocent people to pay money to the government for money they did not spend.

This Province, from what I understand, Mr. Speaker, has the highest tax rate of any other Province. The people in this Province are paying more money in taxes - the consumer is the most highly taxed consumer, in other words, Mr. Speaker, than any other consumer in the country. It is absolutely ridiculous for this Administration to even consider putting tax legislation in place to have people pay a tax on money they did not spend.

Mr. Speaker, I have received a number of calls on this issue. There have been other issues in the past that upset people. The deal where they were going to try to privatize Newfoundland Hydro. I got a number of calls on that. On education reform I got a few calls, not a lot. This issue seems to really have people fed up with this Administration. I can tell you right here and now that this Administration is becoming too arrogant. It thinks it can do whatever it wants to do and get away with it.

The minister, in answering questions today, got up and talked about this crowd over here, or the Tories, having to sell our principles. At least we have principles out there to sell. That Administration, the longer they are in power, almost daily now, they are getting worse and worse. They are not listening to the people of this Province. It is a fatal mistake for any administration, not to listen to the concerns and the will of the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There was an article the other day in the paper about the ministers not being accessible. I cannot say that, personally speaking, because if I call the minister, I will give credit where credit is due, they do get back to me personally. The article was referring to the public trying to get in contact with the Premier and the various ministers on that side of the House. There seems to be some problem in that regard. Again, I say, I personally do not have that problem. I usually get a response, and the ministers normally do get back to me, thankfully. I appreciate that.

The government of the day has to listen to the people of this Province. In 1995-1996 the Budget came down and it said it had no tax increases. What it did have were three full pages of licence fees and permit increases. Some went up doubled and tripled and what have you. In 1996-1997 I think there were six full pages of licence fees and permit increases, but it did not have any tax increases. The people -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. J. BYRNE: They are being nickelled and dimed to death.

By leave, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TULK: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Government House Leader refuses leave, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to support the petition so capably put forward by my friend and colleague here.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Once again, we see this government bringing about an uncaring tax to once again levy a hardship on the poorest people of this Province. It is not a point, Mr. Speaker, of people going out and ripping off government. I don't believe Newfoundlanders do that. I think Newfoundlanders are the most honest people in this country. It is a point where people go out and they buy second-hand cars because they cannot afford a new one.

If the government wants to raise taxes on the sale of vehicles, then let them charge 20 per cent on automobiles like the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation buys. Let them charge 30 per cent on a car like the Minister of Justice or the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board buys, not a second-hand car where somebody goes out and pays $700 or $800 for a car.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) a second-hand car.

MR. FITZGERALD: You do not, or you do?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: You probably do, I say to the member, and I drive them as well. The reason I drive them is because I cannot afford to buy a new car. That is the shame of it. When the whole tax regime is implemented we should look at taxing those who can afford to pay, not those who can least afford to pay. That is what has happened here with this particular tax.

If I am going out to buy a second-hand car, as I usually do, and if I can reach an agreement between myself and the seller of that vehicle, then what is government, or who is the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, to say: You have to pay more taxes because I deem that that purchase was worth more than you paid for it? Who gives the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board that authority? Who gives the Cabinet that authority? There should be some trust here between the government of the day and the people they represent.

Somebody writes out a bill of sale, in most cases it is like an affidavit, it is witnessed by somebody - and it should be witnessed. If there is any doubt there that Newfoundlanders are practising fraud or they are telling lies, I say to people opposite, go out and have them sign an affidavit. Have them take an oath and bring it in, and let the Minister of Finance accept that, but it is wrong and it is shameful for this government to go out and levy a tax on a product for more than that individual paid for it.

If they want to raise money, like I said, tax the higher-priced items. If the Government House Leader wants to buy a fur coat, slap a 30 per cent tax on it if it is over $500. If I am to buy a suit of clothes and it is over $300, slap a 30 per cent tax on it, but do not put a tax on something that is $100 - a $100 suit or $110 suit - and then go back to the minister, because this is what it could lead to, or the minister come back at you then and say we are going to tax you for $300 because that is the cost of suits. That is probably taking it a little bit far, but that is what we are giving this minister the authority to do.

Minister, I call upon you to look at what you are pursuing to do here. Look at the hurt that you are going to bring about on Newfoundlanders, those who can least afford it. Try to have a heart, and immediately lower the tax on second-hand vehicles, as is done in most other provinces, rather than have them pay taxes on dollars that they do not even spend.

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words to this petition.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South intrigues me with his concept of the way he would apply taxes. I think it is an idea that we should pursue and just push it to its logical conclusion. For example, if a Minister of the Crown is buying a car, he is suggesting he would pay 30 per cent. I would like to pursue that and see whether the hon. member would base that on the fact that a minister is a Minister of Justice, or a Minister of Human Resources and Employment, or would you base it on income?

Then the hon. member talks about if the wife of the Government House Leader were to buy a fur coat, then there should be 30 per cent taxes on it. Now, would the tax be on the fact that an individual is buying a fur coat? What about if the wife of the member were buying a cloth coat that cost more than a fur coat?

The idea that the hon. member is putting forward is somewhat intriguing, but I believe it would be somewhat difficult to enforce. Would I have to carry a card proving that my income is $100,000 and therefore my taxes on a car would be 30 per cent? Or if my income was a mere $10,000 my taxes would be 3 per cent?

It is an intriguing idea, but I do not believe it is really doing justice to the petition that has been presented, to talk about this somewhat unique way of administering the tax system.

No doubt the Minister of Finance and government will certainly take it under consideration, but I believe the answer is going to be that we are not going to follow his advice on that because it is going to be somewhat difficult to administer.


Orders of the Day


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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Order No. 2.

On motion, that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply, Mr. Speaker left the Chair.


Committee of the Whole


CHAIR (Mr. M. Penney): Order, please!

Order No. 2, Committee of Supply, Resolution and Bill No. 28 Respecting the Granting of Supplementary Supply to Her Majesty.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I rise this morning to add a few words of wisdom to Bill 28.

Before I get into that, I would say to the hon. the Minister of Justice, referring back to a response to a petition, that first of all there is one thing I would like to correct. I did not say: The House Leader's wife, I said: The Government House Leader, when I talked about purchasing a coat at the value of a certain price and you would put taxes on it. I am a firm believer -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, I do not want people putting words in my mouth - and the other thing, Mr. Chairman, it has nothing to do with people's income.

MR. TULK: Remember when you (inaudible) `Roger'?

MR. FITZGERALD: Remember when you (inaudible) and she was not very happy with you, and I had to come to your defence, if I recall. So, Mr. Chairman, if somebody wants to go out and buy a high-valued item, then forget what his income is, he will decide whether he can afford it or not. But I think those people -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) buy her one.

MR. FITZGERALD: You probably bought her one afterwards, I would say, in order to get back into her good books again, if not you would be sleeping in another bed, I say to the member opposite. You probably did that night.

Those people, Mr. Chairman, if we are looking for ways to generate revenue and if we are looking at ways of raising taxes then we should look at raising it and getting it from the pockets of those who can most afford it. I have always been a firm believer of that, whether it is my Party's policy or not, that if somebody can afford to pay $500 for a suit of clothes, or $200 for a pair of shoes or $45,000 or $50,000 for a new car, let them pay the taxes on it, let them pay an extra tax on it. If they can afford that luxury they can afford to pay taxes but do not go back -

MR. TULK: `Roger' (inaudible).


MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: You agree? Sure you agree.

- but do not go back and hit the poor little fellow who is out there trying to keep twenty dollars a week aside from his unemployment insurance cheque or his TAGS cheque and say, we are going to charge you now for more than you paid, for any item, whether it is a car, a shirt or a pair of shoes. That is wrong, Mr. Chairman, and we are hitting, once again, the people who are the poorest of the poor of this Province. If we continue to go in that direction to solve the problems of this Province and this country on the backs of the working poor, and on the backs of the unemployed, then I fear, Mr. Chairman, that our lot in life will become much, much worse that it already is today.

Mr. Chairman, when I look at the head of expenditures on Bill 28 and I see Development and Rural Renewal, $10 million, I have to ask: How many jobs are being created through the expenditure of $10 million? What has been done, Mr. Chairman, as we watch Here and Now these past number of nights and we see people leaving this Province, we see mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and grandparents crying publicly, because their families have to leave this Province to find a job. And then the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, gets up here in this House, just yesterday, saying: I do not see what the big deal is with people having to leave this Province. We are only a small Province, so what, if somebody has to go to Alberta to find a job? So what, if somebody has to go to Ontario to find a job?

Mr. Chairman, that is all very well when you come from the lofty perch of government ministers opposite. It is all very well for them to say that because they do not have to leave. When you see people out in rural Newfoundland today, having to bar up their homes - some people have put their whole life savings into it - bar up their homes, turn off the heat, drain the pipes, disconnect the electricity and pack up and take their personal, worldly belongings and put it into a U-Haul and head up to Alberta or head up to Ontario then, to me, Mr. Chairman, that is not a wonderful thing and it is not hard to see why people find it so difficult to leave this Province.

I have had to do that myself and that is probably why I know where I come from this morning; that is why I cannot support the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture when he makes statements like that, because the statements are wrong. There is nothing more difficult than having to close up your house, than having to leave your family and to go yourself to another region of this country in order to get a job.

Some of the people leaving this Province are going with no work experience. For many of them, it is their first job and they are going to be disillusioned very quickly when they find out that the riches of Alberta and the riches of British Columbia are not going to provide them with the twenty-five and the thirty-dollar-an-hour jobs that some people lead them to believe might be waiting for them. They become very disillusioned and most times a lot of them return back in worse financial situations than when they left, I say to members opposite.

One time growing up here in this Province, it was almost part of our upbringing that we had to leave, we all had to go to Toronto. I suppose there is nobody in this House that did not spend some time in Toronto - I doubt if there is. I spent eight years there myself. I went to Toronto back in - let me see, I went to Labrador first and then I left Labrador and went to Toronto - back in 1966, but I went there because I wanted to go, I did not have to go. I quit a job to go. There were some jobs around in those days. You could almost pick up your suitcase, get into your car and go and find a job. You could almost do that right here in this Province, but not anymore. The people who are leaving this Province today, for the most part, are not coming back. They are leaving because they have no other choice. Families are leaving, they are taking their loved ones with them and they are going and they are making new lives in other provinces of this country.

Mr. Chairman, there is one place that it really hits home - I have said this here before and I am going to repeat it - one place it really hits home, and that is when you go to weddings and you hear the messages being sent back to the bride and groom. There is a time in every wedding ceremony when they read out the messages, the messages of congratulations, and members opposite nod their head because they know exactly what I am talking about. One time when those messages were read you would hear the message coming from Buchans, Labrador City, Grand Falls - Windsor, St. John's, Baie Verte, the work centres of Newfoundland. This is where you would hear the messages from. You go now - and every member sitting in this House today will remember it when they hear it, the first thing that will come back to them is: I remember hearing the Member for Bonavista South say that and he is right. Listen now when you go to a wedding. The messages come back now from Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia. This is where people have to go to find a job. And it really strikes home to you. Those are young people, it is not their grandmothers and grandfathers who always lived there, who are sending them the messages, it is people their own age sending them a message from where they have had to go to find work. They cannot afford to come home and visit them. That is what is happening.

When I see that $10 million, I have to question the minister. How many of those people have been allowed to stay here in this Province today by the expense of that $10 million? How many jobs are being created? I am not saying the answers are easy and I am not saying that members over there do not care about it or have no feelings, none of that. It is a problem that we are experiencing and I think we are experiencing it here in this Province moreso than any other province in Canada today. Something has to be done about it. We do not have the magic fixes, we do not have the magical solutions, but there is still a lot of money being spent. There is still a lot of money being wasted that I think could do a lot to help improve the conditions in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. A lot of money is being wasted. And people are not asked anymore, that is the sad part about it. People are not asked anymore, and I suppose, a prime example of that is that big concrete medium that always comes to my mind, going through Grand Falls. Whoever decided to put that there should hang his head in shame. He should hang his head in shame. Nobody in Grand Falls - Windsor, or very few people, wanted it there, very few people. Even the member - I think the member, if she spoke, would probably not say much different from what I am going to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Maybe it was, but it was shameful. You watch and see what is going to happen. I do not know if the member has any statistics of how it has affected business but I know that the businesses were quite concerned in that particular area. I mean, it is almost like you are driving through Mississauga, Ontario, somewhere, this great big concrete medium where we divide one side of businesses from the other side, and the amount of traffic certainly does not warrant it. How many people heard people complaining in this Province because they had to stop at a light in Grand Falls on their way to Corner Brook? I have not heard one. I do not know what the project cost but it was certainly a very expensive project.

MR. RAMSAY: Thirteen million.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thirteen million dollars - that is ridiculous! Can you imagine what you could have done with $1 million of that $13 million, I say to the Member for Burgeo and LaPoile? Can you imagine what you could have done for the people over there if you had $1 million of that $13 million that was wasted in Grand Falls? Now, a few people got a job there for a couple of months and that is the smallness and the pettiness of the whole thing, Mr. Chairman. The few jobs that were put there is small in comparison to the dollars that it cost. There was nothing long-term and it was certainly a waste of money.

The Outer Ring Road right here in this city, $100 million is being spent on an Outer Ring Road here to move people from the Trans-Canada Highway over to the eastern side of the city, $100 million. Now, I can imagine what I could do in my district and every member here, if they had $1 million of that $100 million - and we each could have had $2 million of it. Just imagine what we could have done. The Member for Bellevue, the road going down through Sunnyside, can you imagine how happy they would have been if they could have spent some of that money to do something with that road going down through their town? The road through Lethbridge in my district and the list goes on because we have lots of communities and lots of towns out there that could have spent that money.

AN HON. MEMBER: We could not take the money anyway because Peckford signed a deal for the Outer Ring Road.

MR. FITZGERALD: I do not care who signed a deal, it was wrong. We have to stop placing blame on those individuals and look at what we are doing ourselves and what we have control of, Mr. Speaker. It is ridiculous!

Now the double-lane highway going out to Whitbourne, I have no problem with that. It is a good highway, Mr. Chairman, and hopefully it will be continued. But here again, there had to be an uprising of people. Communities had to speak out, businesses had to speak out to stop them from putting a divided highway there and killing another four or five businesses and laying off hundreds of people right there in the Whitbourne area. It should not happen. This particular highway -

AN HON. MEMBER: It is not going to happen.

MR. FITZGERALD: I hope it does not, I say to the member, and use whatever influence you can in order to convince them not to let it happen.

AN HON. MEMBER: It has been delayed for eight years.

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, I am glad that it has. Somebody said to me the other day: I have not seen any activity on the double-lane highway this year. Normally, over the past number of years, we have seen a few kilometres, ten, twelve. I said: No and I hope you never see anything else there if they are going to put the divided highway past Whitbourne and do something to destroy those businesses and cause lay-offs of the people who are working there. But something has to be done, Mr. Chairman.

AN HON. MEMBER: Well, I have to get the policy (inaudible) changed.

MR. FITZGERALD: Well somebody's policy has to be changed and it is not only his policy that this government is continuing to carry on with, I say to the member. But there is nothing wrong with the divided highway. It is a wonderful highway. It needed to be done. It needs to continue if we can. What we have to do is pay more attention to what is happening in the rural areas today - that is what we have to do.

I go back to the Outer Ring Road here. You can blame that on a cousin of ours up in Ottawa, if you want to, and sobeit. It was still a wrong decision. I get up in the morning and come to work, I am usually here about 7:45 a.m. I usually get in somewhere between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. That is usually the time I get in here. I do not have any problem with traffic. I get into my car and if there are no red lights I would not even have to stop. And if you stop at a light, for the most part there is not a lot of traffic moving. Ten or twelve minutes after that you are probably into some traffic, then there is another break, and then, just before 9:00 a.m., you are into more heavy traffic.

Boys, instead of spending our $100 million to put this giant roadway through the City, why can we not get up a few minutes earlier in the morning? The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is an early riser. His car used to be usually here on the lot when I come in. Ask him. The Leader of the Official Opposition, I can tell you, is not one of the last people in this building in the mornings and he is certainly not one of the first to leave here.

AN HON. MEMBER: He leaves his car here all night.

MR. FITZGERALD: No, he does not leave his car all night.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes he does. I was in here 12:00 last night and (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Many times he drives from down in his home town, down in Ferryland and he does not have any problem. I do not think you have any problem with traffic congestion coming in here in the morning.

MR. SULLIVAN: I can get 80 per cent of the distance in half the time. From the Goulds to here it is a massive problem. From the Goulds out it takes forty-five minutes –

MR. FITZGERALD: What time?

MR. SULLIVAN: Any time after 7:45 in the morning. I have to leave home at 6:30 a.m.

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, because you are coming - here again, it is from 7:45 a.m. to about 8:15 a.m. There is a time there when people are trying to get there at 8:00 a.m. If you adjust it could be ten or fifteen minutes one way or the other. You would not have a big problem. It certainly does not warrant spending $100 million. When I see the $10 million being spent, Mr. Chairman, those are some of the things that I have to ask when I wonder where it is being spent.

Then we see $32,800,000 being spent on Education. I think the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board talked about implementing new programs and talked about - I suppose what did not happen with education reform was where some of this money is probably being spent. Because you had to rehire new teachers or other teachers, you had to give them a recall, you had to open schools and this sort of thing.

Here again, it is money that the Minister of Education - because of the way they carried out their referendum, and because of the way they phrased the question on the referendum, we are costing the taxpayers of this Province another $32,800,000. I can guarantee you that if I had $200,000 of that to spend on the school in Lethbridge or the high school in Musgravetown, where the Member for Terra Nova knows full well what I am talking about, that it would make some vast improvements in the structures of those two particular buildings. The school in Lethbridge is disgraceful. You talk to the school board there in Clarenville and they will tell you it is probably one of the worst schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) mentioned that before?

MR. FITZGERALD: I have mentioned it before. I have mentioned it even before the community and the school was in my district, because I know the school very well, Mr. Speaker. The school was built back in the early 1960s. There has not been a lot done to it. There is a few portables added, and the portables were - I do not know if they were ever upgraded. Like I said the other day, it was a situation where the workers had to crawl up underneath the school in order to alleviate a problem, and nobody would even go up underneath the portable classrooms for fear that they would tumble down on them.

That is where we are educating our children. Then we go out and we say our children cannot compete with other children. We go out and we talk about underachievement. I do not know how children can achieve and compete and go out into the workforce and compete with other people in other places, other students in post-secondary education, and what have you, when we do not provide the proper places to give them an education.

Mr. Chairman, some of this $32 million is being spent on a school in Lethbridge, and other schools around this Province, in order to improve the conditions in which those students find themselves every day. There is nothing wrong with spending that money, and I would encourage the minister to be strong and vibrant and give as much money as he can in order to improve the schools around this Province.

Mr. Chairman, we look at Health, $3,500,000. I have to ask the Minister of Health: How much of this money is being spent on going out and recruiting doctors for rural Newfoundland and Labrador? There was a solution brought forward - I believe it was a solution - I think the minister brought forward a viable solution in which he talked about allowing some foreign doctors, some doctors from other countries, to come here and practice without fully implementing the requirements for the LMCCs which are required now in order to practice here in the Province of Newfoundland. She is going to relax some of the criteria. There is nothing wrong with that, I say to the minister. In fact, I have a hospital in my district, in Bonavista, a ten-bed acute -

MR. EFFORD: You do not have a hospital. The hospital is in the district, you do not own it.

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I do not own it, I say to the minister.

MR. EFFORD: Then why did you say: I have a hospital in my district?

MR. FITZGERALD: I do not own my district either, but it is something that I cherish. That is why I assume ownership. I assume ownership for everything that I think is good and that is needed.

Mr. Chairman, I have a hospital in my district with ten beds and no doctor - no doctor, I say to the members opposite.

I understand the Member for Baie Verte wants to say a few words to this particular bill before he leaves, so I will sit down to rise again, I say to members opposite.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, I would like to say we have a hospital. We have a Regional Health Centre in Bay Verte that is serving the people of my district, I say to the minister.

Mr. Chairman, I am glad to rise today to have a few minutes on this particular bill. When we talk about money in this Province, I guess everybody is interested in where it is being spent, if it is being spent in the proper places.

I guess my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South, hit the nail on the head. What most of the people around this Province are saying is, yes, we are spending money. People say we do not have enough money. Government uses that line continuously - we do not have the money - but then you look at the priorities and that is when people start to wonder what the Administration is doing.

The best example my colleague used today was the Ring Road, and what is happening here when it comes to transportation initiatives in this Province. It is so funny, because there is no way that you will explain to somebody in a rural district especially - I have talked to people in Grand Falls - and I have used this example before, they are putting double-lane highways through Grand Falls, but here is the hypocrisy of the whole situation. People in Grand Falls and Windsor were actually calling me to say they did not want it. Grand Falls - Windsor is not a metropolitan St. John's or Toronto or anywhere. It is small-town Newfoundland really, some 15,000 people in the area. We have businesses along that highway that did not want the pavement. So here is the hypocrisy and the irony, I guess, of the whole situation. Two hours away, in my district, we have 112 kilometres of unpaved road. In 1997, when we are sending people to the moon, we have that much unpaved road in one small area, and just two hours up the road in Grand Falls - I have people from Grand Falls - Windsor calling me, saying, we do not want the double-lane highway and pavement. It is going to ruin my business. We do not have any massive traffic flows going through Grand Falls. We have not had any traffic jams on the highway coming through Grand Falls - Windsor.

That is what people were saying to me, and business people in that area - I would name some of the businesses if I had talked to them to get their permission earlier today, but I did not - called me to say, `We do not want it.' Then, an hour on the other side of us, on the Baie Verte Peninsula, we have Pasadena; getting ready for a major two-lane highway going through Pasadena. I do not know the population of Pasadena, maybe I can be corrected from the member for Humber East, but I know it is a small town, 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 people. They did not want the pavement.

Then, Mr. Chairman, if you want to go a bit further, go to Corner Brook. You survey Corner Brook and ask the people of Corner Brook how many people wanted that confusing highway that goes by Corner Brook now. I drive by Corner Brook hundreds of time, I live in Baie Verte, but Corner Brook is like a second home to me, I have been there hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. I never had a big problem driving into Corner Brook with massive traffic jams going through Corner Brook, but still Mr. Chairman -, no, you have to have a double lane highway, you are a big metro area and then I suppose the hypocrisy of all the ultimate examples that people in this Province use is $116 million for a ring road in St. John's.

Mr. Chairman, while the House is in session I am in St. John's, otherwise I live in my district. That ring road to me, what I figured out was that, if I leave in the rush hour time as the member for Bonavista South said, the practical logical reason to this is that from now on I can leave during rush hour and I can be into the Confederation Building fifteen minutes early, maybe twenty minutes earlier.

Whoop-de-doo, Mr. Chairman, $116 million, you know what the rural members in this House of Assembly could do with $116 million. Here is what they can do, Mr. Chairman, they could answer the biggest problem facing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians today, that is rural Newfoundland communities are saying, we want the dignity and the satisfaction of having the necessities. The necessities being a paved road and water and sewer.

How can someone on Macks Island, where the Minister of Justice has a home out there and I was out there the summer and we talked to a man there, while the minister was there, a man that said: I counted last winter, 327 white buckets of water I had to carry during the winter months because my line freezes up and we cannot get a new line into my home. That is what it is Mr. Chairman, on Little Bay Islands, a small section of Little Bay Islands that community, a small part of it called Macks Island and that man looked at me this summer and that is what he said: it just makes me sick, he said to see $116 million there and something else under renovations in the Confederation Building or the offices of the MHAs, while he said, I am carrying around white buckets of water.

Now, Mr. Chairman, that is the fundamental question that has to be answered in Newfoundland and Labrador today. Where are the priorities of government and where are they spending those monies because we have to go back, and if you want solutions you have to be criticized, the solution I have said and I have even spoken to the Premier himself on it and to other minsters, the solution to Newfoundland and Labrador is let rural Newfoundland and Labrador know that you are committed to where they live. Let them know that you are committed to where they live. That people are saying to you out there what we saw on television last night and the night before, was people living in small communities of this Province that were happy, that were content.

They did not want a boom, they did not want a mall, they did not want four lane highways, they just wanted to own their own homes, they wanted their children to at least grow up with them. If they left when they finished school that was fine. People of rural Newfoundland have said to me, I do not mind if my child has to leave when he is eighteen or nineteen and go to university and so on. They do not even want that anymore, they know that that is not realistic anymore. What they are saying to me and I know they say it to all rural members here, all we want is to live in our communities, our homes where we grew up, the home that I own, the community that has very little crime, the community that has people coming together, it might be 100 people, it might be 200 people in that community, but the parents are saying, all I want is for a decent drop of water, I want a decent road even, if it is gravel, to be graded properly and I want my children to be able to go through school, through high school. That is all they are asking.

The truth is, people say that there is a very complicated answer to Newfoundland's problem and it is not, it is a simple solution. The simple solution is to show to rural Newfoundlanders that it is okay to live in Petites, Ming's Bight, Flowers Cove, it is okay to live there. All they are asking for is, listen what they are asking for, water and sewer or at least water, they are not even saying sewer anymore. They are saying that they will put in their own septic tank, I have to back track there, Mr. Chairman, it is not even water and sewer, it is a water line. In Macks Island they are saying give me a water line so we can have running water throughout the winter. Give me $5,000. I went to the municipal affairs minister the other day and said, all they is need a bit of insulation so their water line will not freeze. They do not want a double lane, they do not want a mall, they want their water line insulated so that they can have a bit of running water during the winter months.

In Macks Island on Little Bay Islands, the Minister of Justice was there with me this summer.

MR. TULK: Who?

MR. SHELLEY: The Minister of Justice was there with me this summer, he has a place in Little Bay Island, a beautiful, beautiful little community and the minister has been there, in Little Bay Islands, a beautiful place but my point is, not to be critical but I am just saying what rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are saying in those smaller places: Just give us a bit of decency, a bit of dignity and have an insulated water line with running water and you have to send a grader because you cannot afford to pave it, that is enough for us and so our kids can go up to school, up the road instead of being shipped away like they are in Harbour Deep in Grade IX. Can you imagine your child here today, any members who have children in school in Grade IX saying: goodbye we will see you - you are not talking about an eighteen-nineteen-years-old, you are talking about a kid, thirteen, fourteen years old, saying goodbye I will see you at Christmas, going away to go to school.

Mr. Chairman, that is why they are upset and I will go back to the same solution as before and as a matter of fact, in the Statement that the minister started today - and I will say it again because we went a little off track during the Statement - but the truth is, that is the right approach.

MR. TULK: What?

MR. SHELLEY: The rural small businesses in small communities. That is the right approach and I also agree on this and I will be very sincere with the minister on this - that the concept is what I have always believed in, that the solution for Newfoundland and Labrador is within the people of the Province. It is not outside; it is not Voisey's Bay and Hibernia. My God, we all jump up and down and go out when the big guns come into town for the Hibernia announcement or oil is flowing and now there is Voisey's Bay. Yes, I am going to be there too with everybody else lined up, waving our arms in the air, Voisey's Bay is flowing. You know what I am more excited about?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is right. What I really believe and what my heart and soul are into, I am just as excited to go out in Ming's Bight tomorrow and a fellow say to me: Boy I had my ACOA grant, I have a little business started and I am going to hire two people next week. I am just as excited about that, Mr. Chairman, because I am telling you that it was the previous administration and administrations before that - they had election upon election on Hibernia, then it was Voisey's Bay, God knows what is next but for God's sake, when are we going to wake up and say: Small ideas for a small Province involving a lot of people is where the solution is, not in the big, mega projects any more, Mr. Chairman.

So I say talking about rural Newfoundland that it is as simple as this: I love rural Newfoundland, I live there, I have grown up there, I am still living there and it is what makes me tick as a Newfoundlander because that is where I have seen people - and I love going down to Fleur de Lys, Coachman's Cove and standing around talking to these people who live there and get their stories from them and for a while, Mr. Chairman, as a young person growing up, I could not understand that.

When I left my home town when I was seventeen years old to go to work in Labrador City, I could not understand that, I said: I have to get out of that little place, I do not understand why people are living here and I went to Labrador City; I went out West, I came to St. John's -

MR. TULK: When did you leave?

MR. SHELLEY: I left when I was seventeen years old. When I was seventeen, Mr. Chairman - I will say to the minister why I left. I looked around and I saw - although at that time in Baie Verte it was good, mines were opening, there was hiring and firing going on but the job prospects still were not good and I just thought there was something better -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well for one thing, there was not a job for me.

MR. TULK: There wasn't?

MR. SHELLEY: No, there was not a job for me but secondly, Mr. Chairman, like -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Well I do not want to get in too much with the minister but -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: No, no, I will tell the minister, I will tell you outside the House but it is more of a personal thing I guess, coming from a huge family, which I did. I come from a very big family and times were tough and if you wanted to make it you had to get out on your own. So when I was seventeen I got a one-way ticket to Labrador City and I went to work in construction. That is what I did, then I finally ended up back in St. John's going to university and that is just my story but that is one I suppose of thousands of stories in Newfoundland like they say in the naked city.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, sure. We were all told that.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The difference today, and I say to the minister, the difference now when I was fairly young - but at that time, I stayed within the Province, I went to Labrador City to get a job. I could have gone to Corner Brook that year and had a job but that was a different era and we are in another era now, is what we are talking about and the whole theme that the minister missed while he was outside the House -

MR. H. HODDER: Out-migration occurs primarily when the Liberals are in power like Sir Richard Squires in the 1920s and -

MR. SHELLEY: Well anyway, we are not going to get into that now. What we are going to stick on now is the same debate, Mr. Chairman, and I will leave this part of the debate and go on to one more subject for the day, that I believe the rural Newfoundland factor and how rural Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel, that they have to be included in the process and that program is a small step I say to the minister in the right direction because what it does is, it involves solutions within Newfoundlanders to do something for themselves out there. That is what it does. That is the essence of that program, which is good. I applaud it.

Let's quadruple it, let's ten times it. That is a program that the minister and his department really should look at. Give Newfoundlanders small amounts to go and prove what they have done. Like I said yesterday in the House, Mr. Chairman, in Ireland, where they actually of course contract for buildings and give them every opportunity possible, if they have some decent chance at succeeding in a business. Because a lot of us know, through business people and so on, that the smallest of ideas and so on are the ones that work. Don't ever forget that Alexander Graham Bell invented the light-bulb while he was in the dark. That is what it was all about, when thinking one time in the dark. That is the whole idea.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Thomas Edison, yes. He did it in the dark, that's right. The Member for Grand Falls - Buchans. He did it with no noise, I guess.

Mr. Chairman, the point is, let's give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the tools and get out of their way, and take away the red tape. So that when a guy or lady comes into my office or into any of us as members and they have a decent idea, and they are enthusiastic, let's not dampen that enthusiasm by sending them to ten more offices before they finally get an answer: Yes boy, go ahead, start up your little business. That is the key to development in this Province.

There is one other subject I want to touch on today, and this is also a sensitive one to me. I brought it up yesterday with the Minister of Education in the House. I want to say to members in the House on the floor of this House of Assembly today, as a representative of my area, but not only for my area, for any part of the Province, education in the Province, and in particular the students and how they feel now about extra-curricular activities, and how they have always felt. It is dear to me. I'm going to give you the basis why it is dear to me.

Because as a student - and I said this while Premier Wells was in the House - I was not too excited about - and this is no shock to anybody - about science and math and geography and everything else. My excitement in school was knowing that you could go on a trip with the basketball team, or that the drama club was going somewhere, or that... whatever, a science fair was going on. Anybody else that thinks that your student or your child - I have three children now - is running off to school at 9:00 in the morning because he is excited about his math class is living in a dream world. The essence and the heart and soul of an education is a well-rounded education, and that involves children involved in extra-curricular activities. Be it basketball, hockey, science fairs, drama clubs, a youth conference like there was the other day in Corner Brook.

If any of us believe anything else - I don't think we do. I think we all realize that students are what it is all about. I said that to the Premier here in the House. Some people thought I was a bit radical to say it, but I don't think it is. I believe that if I didn't have extra-curricular activities in school, myself, personally, that I would not have finished high school. I would have been a drop-out, I would not be here today. That is my true honest guess, and my own personal views on education.

I love the sports. I went there, and my coaches who, by the way, were teachers and people outside the teaching profession, were some of the main people who moulded, for whatever reason, you can say good or bad, while I was in school. I bet if I asked any Member of the House of Assembly here today, remember a team you were on or a drama you were in, and even the Pages here today, your extra-curricular activities in school. You can talk about a teacher or a coach or somebody who helped you through the system. My coach, as a matter of fact -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) school (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, I don't want to quote what the Member for Bellevue just said, because I tell you what, he would get an awful backlash from people in this Province.


MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, the Member for Bellevue just said that there is too much of that in school and the students are not concentrating on their work. Maybe the member is too old. Because if you go back in school and remember it - I'm not saying everything, but even extra-curricular is anything at lunch time. Intramurals. You didn't like intramurals at lunch time? You didn't like the fact that it was a club organized in school?

AN HON. MEMBER: We did all that (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Those things, Mr. Chairman, keep you interested in school. If you don't believe in that then you are too old, you are after forgetting, boy. I say to the member, I don't forget. I was excited coming to school and when the coach would say: Make sure you are in school now on Friday because we have a trip coming up, and you have to have your marks up. Your marks have to be up. It was a good thing to use.

I speak for not just the students of Elwood today, who I spoke to last night, by the way. I spoke to a young lady by the name of Vanessa -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I spoke to a lady last night by the name of Vanessa Percell, who is the vice-president of Elwood Collegiate. By the way, I know Elwood very well. I played a lot of basketball there in my days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Pardon? She goes to Elwood. I spent a lot of time in Elwood over the years playing basketball and coaching teams and so on. I know it very well. Last night I spoke to her and her parents.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, now the Member for Bellevue is saying - he is going to get in more trouble here today, because he is making - I can't believe - usually he is very smart on things, but today... He said: Now you play volleyball and you can't spell. I coached volleyball teams, and my volleyball and basketball players were the best spellers and the best mathematicians and so on. Because at grade VI and VII when I was coaching them I said: Now yes, guys, you can play basketball and volleyball, but your marks have to stay up, you have to show leadership in the school. You talk about spelling and mathematics. You know what the sports do? It develops the real character. You ask the students who are out there. It shows how much leadership qualities they have. It shows that you can share with people. It shows that you can get involved as a team in a team effort.

I'm really disappointed in the Member for Bellevue today, thinking that spelling is more important to them. Leadership qualities, getting out in life and dealing with people, and showing qualities like that, are much more important. I would put it ahead of spelling any day of the week. As a matter of fact, if you want to get on to spelling, you want to see some of the spelling of the Members in this House of Assembly when you see things come across your desk. That is where you would be surprised. If the Member for Bellevue thinks spelling is more important. The most important thing is that there is a well-rounded student and that he or she enjoys his or her education. That is what they are there for, to enjoy it. The best way to help them enjoy it is to make sure there are extra-curricular activities available.

Ms Vanessa Percell, I talked to her last night, three times as a matter of fact, sent me a letter that the Premier last weekend in Herdman Collegiate at a youth conference stood in front of hundreds of students and said first thing: I have two (inaudible). One, more funding for these youth leadership conferences. I say, Premier, good for you, good job, wonderful job. Secondly, I quote from Vanessa Percell in her letter from Elwood High as she stood there with all these kids. She said - and the Premier also got up and said: You are the leaders, you are our future leaders. You have more energy than Lower Churchill. That is what he said, and he said it again last night, and he is right. He said: You have more energy than the Lower Churchill. He said: You know what? We are going to make sure that you have extra-curricular this year, because we are going to make sure you have the extra substituting days. That is what the Premier said last week in a youth leadership meeting. Go talk to those 500 students who were screaming last night on t.v. cheering the Premier, because that is what he said to them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is good, I say to the minister. All I say, Mr. Chairman, today, and my message is two things. First of all, remember, don't ever lose the thought that the students who are in our schools today love their extra-curricular and it is what makes them a full person. It develops them in sports and drama, in music and so on. They have to have that or otherwise - I'm sending out a warning today - you are going to see an increased drop-out in the schools in our Province if that ever happens, if the extra-curricular is ever taken out of school. That is my prediction.

I want to end off by saying this. The teaching profession again. I salute the teaching profession, especially those who take the time to coach after school, to go away on the weekends and so on. The Member for Twillingate & Fogo did it, and the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal did it. I did it. I don't know if I had a free weekend in my years that I didn't go somewhere with a group of people or - and wore out the cars, and you had your car full, kids going everywhere. I did that, the minister did it.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) way to Corner Brook.

MR. SHELLEY: Is that right? I broke down with a few students a few times too, Mr. Chairman, and I would do it again. Do you know what? There is nothing more. You don't get extra pay. You don't get anything extra. I asked my wife who still coaches now - as a matter of fact, this year I volunteered to, when I can, coach again with the high school team. I said I will do what I can, but there is -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) rewarded for that. They voted for you because of that (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: That is right. Believe it or not, a lot of that continues over. Mr. Chairman, the only thing we have - and the people who did it will understand what I'm about to say -, the biggest reward - there is no money involved. As a matter of fact you lose. You lose on your car, you lose on gas, you lose on everything. The biggest reward is to look at those kids when you have them in a dressing room somewhere when they are heading into a championship game, and they are looking at you, and when the game is over, win or lose - I've had winning situations, I've had losing - and they look at you and say; Sir, thanks a lot, I will never forget it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Chairman, I will tell you now (inaudible) - yes, we won lots, and we lost lots. I've had kids cry. Four years ago, my last year before I entered politics, I took a bunch of kids from St. Pius X school in Baie Verte, which is my old school, and I started to coach them. These kids, for their own reasons, half of them at least were of social assistance recipients and so on. Hard times, like a lot of people around. Never travelled. Half of them weren't to Corner Brook, as far as Corner Brook, up to that point.

I arranged a trip that year because I had a friend of mine living in Oshawa, another teacher of mine. We fund-raised, and we took those kids to Toronto and Oshawa. As long as I live, the days of my teaching, I will never forget that experience of watching those kids get on a plane that they never thought they would get on and land in Toronto and see all that. We went to the SkyDome, we did all that. That teaching moment will never be forgotten by those children. They still talk about it today. They are nineteen, twenty, twenty-one years old now. I see them now, and they keep saying: Sir, I will always remember the trip we did to Toronto. Went to a hockey game, we did it all.

In essence, we have to salute especially the teachers who take the time for extra-curricular activities. We have to remember that students have to have that extra-curricular activity to make them a well-rounded, first-class citizen of this Province. So that they will take that, and as they go into whatever profession they will take those leadership skills and those social skills and bring them over into whatever profession they go on to.

I salute those students. I don't like to see them out of school. I suggest they go back to school, as a matter of fact. I don't want to see them out of school, but you have to get your point across. The students of Elwood have done it very well. The other children have done it in their own different ways, the other different students, and I applaud them for what they are talking about. Because I still remember what it was like to teach and to be a student in that particular situation. I salute the Elwood students. You got your point across well.

Good luck to them all, to all the students in this Province, and I hope we don't have to face this crisis. I hope it is handled by the Minister of Education and the government so that the students don't even have to think about it, so they can go back to their studies and enjoy school like they should, because they are the best days of their lives.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, let me first of all congratulate the member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Were you up?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Let me first of all congratulate the member on what is probably one of the better speeches, one of the better debates, that I have heard in this Legislature in a long, long time. If I were being political this morning, I would say –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: No, no, I know you weren't.

I said, if I were being political this morning I would recommend him for a certain job in the Province, but I am not being political. I think we have to be a bit serious about the issue about which he is talking.

Let me say to him that one of the things that I have always believed myself, as a person who was part of the establishment of the rural development movement in the Province, as a high school teacher and a high school principal, and a principal of the system - we used to call them `co-ordinating principals' when I was around; it is a long time ago - is that one of the problems that we have always had in rural Newfoundland is the delivery of services, getting people past, as he says, the red tape. It has always been a problem. It is there now. You have so many organizations at government level that are funding organization, that try to fund good ideas, but it is a problem that is there.

I think the micro-lending program that we announced this morning - that we announced in October, actually, the $1 million that we put into it is money that will be well spent. I want to say to him that one of the other programs that we also done in the last week-and-a-half is a program with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization for Women Entrepreneurs, in which we have put, between the federal and provincial governments, I think it was $1 million that we put into that as well, to enable women entrepreneurs to get involved in the micro-lending program and indeed to partner across the Province.

I don't think there is anybody in this Legislature who would disagree that there is a large out-migration of people from this Province, that there is a large out-migration of our younger people, that there is a large out-migration of our better educated young people.

The truth is, that has occurred in Newfoundland for some time. It is not a new phenomenon. It is not something that has happened recently. There has always been a large number of people leaving the outports to move to some of our far larger urban centres, and to move to other parts of the country, and indeed to other parts of North America. The problem today is the numbers that are leaving.

Mr. Chairman, nobody can deny that has happened since 1992. As a matter of fact, I believe you could say that July 2, 1992, was a turning point in the history of Newfoundland. I am not saying this to criticize John Crosbie. The truth of the matter is that we found out, we quickly realized - whatever part he had to play in seeing that happen - we started to realize on July 2, 1992, when the NCARP program was put in place, we realized suddenly that our fish stocks were gone, or we started to realize it. I think some of us are now coming to a more definite conclusion in our minds on that.

Of course, when the groundfish fishery in this Province collapsed, the whole economic base and many of our smaller communities went up the spout as well. As a matter of fact, we found that we had some 30,000 people, approximately, who had to have income replacement. Mr. Chairman, that has exasperated the problem in rural Newfoundland like you cannot believe. There has been no economic base in rural Newfoundland since that date. I would say to you that this phenomenon is a turning point in our history.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this government, I have to say to hon. members opposite, we are working. We are trying to find new ways of getting around that red tape. We are trying to find new ways of saying to people - and I would recommend the program that we announced this morning to every member. I tell you what, you should call up the department, get the brochures and distribute them to your constituents, make them aware of it. I suggest to you that if there is a need to put more money into funding that type of organization with the Newfoundland and Labrador Cooperatives, I think we will work extremely hard to find new money to put into that program, if it is all used and it remains the success that it is.

Again I want, as I said, to congratulate the Member for Baie Verte on a speech that I think was very well put together on rural Newfoundland. I want to congratulate him on putting forward a problem that we all know exists. Mr. Chairman, if he has some new ways of delivering financing very quickly - to get around the red tape - to see that rural Newfoundland is revitalized, I want to invite him to put them forward. We are open for suggestions. We have no other desire - other than the Member for Baie Verte has - and that is to increase and build a strong foundation of strong economic base in rural Newfoundland. We are looking at every means of doing that.

For example, one of the constituents of my friend from Windsor - Springdale, as a result of our meeting with them last week - and I must say to the Member for Windsor - Springdale, we had a great meeting down in his district with the Regional Economic Development Board. As a result of that meeting, he came up with an idea which we have to take a look at. It had to do with cutting back or lowering the income tax rate for some of our younger entrepreneurs to get them to stay here, as an enticement for them to stay here. I say to you that we are going to take a look at that. He has written me this morning, I have the letter - I thought I had it here with me but it must be over in my office. He has written me to say I want you to pursue this idea. I want you to research it to see if it makes any sense because if it does than why not put it forward? I am going to do that research because it is a new way of maybe enticing our young people.

Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that if we can get through and slow down that rate of out-migration out of this Province in the next two or three years, if we can slow it down until we steer ourselves into that new economic direction that we are trying to take, then I believe that within the next two or three years we will turn the corner in this Province. I really believe that, that in the next two or three years we will turn the corner and our young people will be here.

Now let me also say that there are young people outside this Province - I have two daughters myself, my son is not yet old enough - but I have two daughters who live outside this Province. They both live in Ottawa. One is a clinical pharmacist and the other one is a software engineer, electrical engineer. Now they are living in Ottawa and are doing very well. I would like to see them home. I would like to be able to go home this afternoon and sit down and have a conversation with them but I can't. I will tell you something, I would sooner for those two girls to be in Ottawa employed - and they are making close to $100,000 a year, doing well. I would much sooner see those two girls in Ottawa making a living than for me to be able to go home this evening and sit down and talk to them because I will tell you they are enjoying life and that's what's important.

I hope too though, Mr. Chairman, that if can create the right climate in this Province, if we can build industries that have the level of skills that require those types of people to come back home to Newfoundland and Labrador, if we can build those types of industries that require those skills, I would hope that many of those people - and it happens, it happens everyday - but I would hope that we can build the type of industries whereby those people can come back and contribute their experience to Newfoundland and Labrador, and to rural Newfoundland and Labrador in particular. Now let's say, as I have just indicated, that it happens.

We now have a person in Bishop's Falls, for example, building those wide recreation vehicles. That person came, I believe, back from B.C. It is going to be on Here & Now about people coming back and contributing to this economy. It is the same thing with the glove factory in Point Leamington. You can go around the Province and find numerous examples where people left this Province, but when the opportunity was presented to them - and that has to be part of our program - they decided: Boy, I am going home and will take my experience, my learning, what I have done. I am going home to Newfoundland and Labrador.

The truth of the matter is, there are very few people - I do not know... it is hard to figure out what makes us tick - but there are very few people who leave Newfoundland, who, if given the opportunity, they will not come back. I tell you, they are very few. There is something in us that says once you are born on this rock - and it is not a rock, I have to stop using that, too. Once you are born in this Province you want to stay here. The strange thing is, I say to the Member for Waterford Valley, that home for somebody who lives, let us say, in Wisconsin is anywhere in the United States almost, but home for a Newfoundlander is in Newfoundland and Labrador - that is where home is.

Mr. Chairman, I believe quite sincerely that if we can move past this stage we are in, and somehow - and I think it is important that we somehow entice as much as we can young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stay here. But I think it is equally important that we try to create the types of industries, using the types of technologies - and we are going through that phase in our history where the skills of our young people are changing. They have changed at a faster rate than have the types of skills that are required in many of our businesses and many of our industries. They are changing their skills at a faster rate than they are becoming available in our economy.

I think if we can get the kinds of technologies that are connected, for example, with offshore oil, if we can build that base here, if we can build the type of base that is needed in the service industry - for example, I will just mention, my daughter is a clinical pharmacist in Ottawa. The truth of the matter is, there is no occupation in Newfoundland called clinical pharmacist, and it requires a few special skills that she picked up. She decided to go that route. We have not reached that degree of, shall I say, sophistication in the Province whereby she could practise that profession anyway.

She could practise pharmacy, but being a clinical pharmacist, I think that the job she does - I tell her she is a pill-pusher, but nevertheless - I think the kind of job she does is what you want. I think you go through the wards with a doctor in a hospital, he diagnoses what is wrong with the patient, and you look at him with your specialized skills and you say: Here is what you should prescribe for that person. I think that is basically the type of job skill, and that is the reason I call her a pill-pusher. In any case, we have not reached that kind of sophistication in many of our industries and many of our businesses.

There are other people here who want to speak. Let me just say to the Member for Baie Verte again that I think this is one of the better speeches that has come from the Opposition. I think it is one of the better speeches that we are going to hear during this session. I think he was sincere in what he said. I think he was. Having said that, let me just say to him that we invite any suggestions he might have. We can stand here and debate politics and fight like the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens over the Stanley Cup, that is part of politics, but in the final analysis, I believe that all of us would want to contribute to the survival of rural Newfoundland and Labrador as we know it.

I believe if we do we can build a quality of life in this Province that we have never had. It is a tremendous task. I want to say that I was in Trois-Rivières, Quebec this summer enjoying an agricultural conference when I had a call from the Premier. He said: `You have to be home by tomorrow.' I asked: `What for?' I figured I was gone, for some reason or another. He said: `I want you to take on the Department of Development and Rural Renewal, and I want you to take on this TAGS program because they are interconnected.'

He asked: `How do you feel about that?' I have to be frank with you about what I said to him. I said: `I am frightened to death. I want to take the challenge, always wanted to take the challenge, but I am frightened to death.' He asked: `Why are you frightened?' I said: `Premier, I think this is the single most undefined job that you could give anyone to do. Because we are going through that change, that if you do not handle it right, we would have, I believe, missed an opportunity. It is a tremendous challenge, as well. It is a tremendous problem because of our geography, because of the way that we are stretched out, and because of a movement - there is a general movement in North America away from rural society to urban society. Our challenge is to try, I believe, to arrest that, turn it around and build a better Newfoundland and Labrador and a better tomorrow.

Thank you, very much.

CHAIRMAN (Penney): The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

I rise in my place today to say a few words on this bill, once again. Before I get into the bill, though, the Government House Leader was just up and he kind of took the wind out of my sails somewhat because I was going to say a few words concerning the previous two speakers, but now I will have to say a few words with respect to the previous three speakers. Obviously, the speakers are the Member for Bonavista South, the Member for Baie Verte and the Government House Leader who spoke from the heart this morning with respect to what is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador, and rightly so.

Newfoundland and Labrador and the people living in Newfoundland and Labrador today, are in hard times, and it does not only refer to the financial hard times that the people find themselves in, it is for many reasons that all seems to be coming together at this point in our history. I have been watching the same shows, I suppose, that the members spoke about, this past week or so on television, and my heart has gone out to a lot of the people that have to leave this Province because they see no future here in Newfoundland and Labrador; that is a sad state of affairs, Mr. Chairman.

The Government House Leader said that this happened in the past, it seems to happen in the form of a cycle, I suppose, that we have people leaving this Province at different times in our history, but the big problem today, of course, is the fact that we have so many people leaving this Province. The concern I have is not that it is just the brain drain that was referred to in the show on CBC the other night - and, by the way, one of the people highlighted in that show was from Logy Bay, a young guy, Dion Kavanagh, who worked for the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove on summer jobs. I know him well. It is sad to see young men like him having to leave this Province and go away to obtain work. And the big problem here is, it is not likely that they are going to return. They all talk about wanting to return, but that is not likely to happen.

I have to say with all sincerity, that I sincerely hope what the Government House Leader said a few minutes ago, will happen, in that, in the next two to three years, we can turn things around in this Province and stem the tide of the out-migration. I know, to be realistic about it, it is not going to happen overnight, but we need to take action to stem the tide.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is over there mouthing off again. It is too bad he cannot slither back to his chair and say a few words. I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, I will leave the Province immediately after him, probably. So, that is the chance you have of seeing me leave this Province. I will do my best to stick it out here, I can guarantee you that, even if the minister decides he wants to leave Newfoundland and Labrador once he is kicked out of his job over there as minister. Maybe we will do the Province a favour and we will get some people in that chair there that can do the job that he is being paid to do. I would say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, if he is going to speak, try to get his facts straight first before he opens his mouth.

Mr. Chairman, I am trying to be serious here on this issue but, of course, the minister over there is sloughing it off as usual, not taking the situation seriously.

With respect to that, the fishery in this Province. I do not profess to be an expert in the fisheries field in this Province. I know I grew up in Torbay where, when I went onto the - what we call - the big beach in Torbay or over in Tappers Cove and wanted to get a fish, the fish were there for me, I can guarantee you that, and big fish. But maybe what this government should be looking at and the Federal Government of the day, maybe we should be looking at an inshore fishery. The people of this Province survived for 500 years basically on the inshore fishery, Mr. Chairman, and maybe that is something we should be looking at now.

The people in this Province, prior to the past number of years, were pretty well self-sufficient and took care of themselves, especially in rural Newfoundland. In the communities, Mr. Chairman, where one family basically depended upon another, they shared services and shared what wealth they had. The situation we have today, what we have to deal with, of course, is to try to stem the tide of people leaving this Province, because it has a major impact, not only on the families themselves and the turmoil that they feel, but basically the fibre of Newfoundland is leaving.

MR. EFFORD: Have you any idea of the Newfoundland who lived in Ontario in the 1970s? Some 100,000 Newfoundlanders were living in Ontario in the 1970s. Do you have any idea?

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Fisheries is over there sitting in a chair - he is not supposed to be speaking from someone else's chair, for a start, but if he wants to get up after I speak let him get up and say a few words on this issue, this very serious issue that the minister seems to be -

MR. E. BYRNE: The difference is they were going and coming back later.

MR. J. BYRNE: It is very insignificant, Mr. Chairman, his attitude toward this. But as the Member for Kilbride just mentioned, the difference today is that back in the 1970s the people left this Province to go get a job for six months or a year and returned to Newfoundland. They were not taking their families with a complete feeling of dismay that they would not be returning.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: That is the problem today. If the minister would be quiet there now and let me finish my few words on this topic.

I was agreeing with the Government House Leader, his Government House Leader, by the way. I was agreeing with what he had said. I was agreeing with what the previous speaker, the Member for Baie Verte had said and the Government House Leader had agreed with him, that what we have to do is look at this in varied situations to try to come up with ways to stem the tide of the out-migration in this Province. It not only affects the families, Mr. Chairman, it also affects the transfer payments. It affects the tax base that we have in this Province, Mr. Chairman. It will affect the seniors in this Province in a number of years. If we cannot stem the tide or get those people to return, there will not be a tax base. It will affect the working population, how many people we have here to do the job. That will hopefully occur if we turn things around in this Province in the next two to three years, as the Government House Leader hopes will happen, that we all hope will happen, that I am sure every member in this House of Assembly hopes will happen, that we can stem the tide of out-migration in this Province, that we can create some jobs here to keep people here and create even more jobs to draw back the number of people who have left.

What I have been speaking about, Mr. Chairman, is the fact that people are up there now wanting to come back and are hoping to come back. This Administration, basically, have been giving out hope over the past few years. The Premier said we will have a better tomorrow. People are still waiting for it and hopefully we will have a better tomorrow. I am certainly going to work towards that. I have no problem with working towards a better tomorrow, but I will remind the Minister of Fisheries of what the previous Premier said, that he will bring home every mother's son. He said that but he did not produce it, did he? He did not produce that, I say to the Minister of Fisheries. It is all well and good to get up here and talk -

MR. E. BYRNE: `John', he indicated about a rally in your (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes, Sir, he certainly indicated it. It is all well and good to get up and talk and mouth off, as some of the ministers have a tendency to do over there, Mr. Chairman, but let us see the actual concrete product. Let us see what happens, Mr. Chairman.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Now, the Minister of Fisheries is again trying to distract me with a foolish little booklet he has over there that he keeps waving around. You would not know but it was the be all, end all of his arguments - and it is, come to think of it, that is all it is. That has his arguments for everything that is going on in the Province today. How foolish is the man, at all? How foolish is that poor little man from Port de Grave? Now, he is up there talking about millions and millions of dollars being spent every year in the budget and he holds up a little pickle book, Mr. Chairman, a foolish little pickle book that may be costing the people of the Province $20 million, what he is talking about, $20 million and it created 300 jobs for over two years. What has that minister done? He has not created one job, not one job in four, five or six years he has been there. Not many jobs - but I ask you this: How many lawsuits has that government created?

How much is Trans City going to cost the people of this Province? Forty million dollars - Trans City - and not one job created, that is what that minister is promoting. The Murray Premises, another $17 million. Now, we are up $57 million in ten years. What are some of the others? What is the other one, the -


MR. J. BYRNE: Two.

AN HON. MEMBER: Pay equity.

MR. J. BYRNE: Pay equity is another. Newfoundland Hydro, $10; pay equity, $80 million. Now we are up to $140 million, $150 million, and he is over there trying to make an issue with a job creation that was done, that spent $20 million, created 300 jobs for over two years, and they are after spending $160 million and have not created one job. And he is wondering why we are in the mess we are in today. If I were the minister, I would slither out of here, across there and out those doors, and never come back. That is what I would do if I were the minister.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. J. BYRNE: I would ashamed to carry my head in here. The gall of that minister, to open his mouth in this House of Assembly and talk about something in the past - that poor, foolish, little man.

Hopefully, in the next two years - they are talking about turning around the situation in this Province. Hopefully, the people in this Province will see the wisdom of putting this Tory administration over here on that side of the House, and maybe we will see some ideas.

I say to the Government House Leader, you get up here and you try to make some common sense and speak from the heart, but you have a little... I ask you, Mr. Chairman, is the word `twerp' parliamentary?


MR. J. BYRNE: It is not parliamentary, so I cannot call the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture a twerp.


MR. J. BYRNE: Okay, so I will not call the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture a little twerp. I cannot do that. But it is too bad to see a Minister of the Crown in this Administration take the out-migration in this Province so lightly. It is absolutely ridiculous, Mr. Chairman.

Back to the speeches given in this House of Assembly this morning by the previous three speakers, again I would have to say that the Government House Leader spoke from the heart, was quite sincere, and I agree with almost everything that he said about what we have to do. The Member for Baie Verte basically spoke on the same thing.

Last night I went to the high school that my son attends, to speak to the teachers, a PTA meeting. I have a family, I have one child, and what I see is that unless we do turn things around in this Province, he may end up leaving this Province. I am going to do everything I can to encourage him to stay and to get an education in a field where he can apply his skills to help Newfoundland and Labrador in the long haul. I will do that, there is no doubt about it. But I had parents come to me last night in the gymnasium of Gonzaga High School and ask: `Jack, did you see the shows that were on this week?' They said, `I watched it,' - two people, with tears in their eyes. `My son has left.' He said, `I have three children. My oldest son is gone, and my biggest fear is that my next two will end up leaving, too'. I said, `Yes, it is a very serious issue. It is something that has to be dealt with.'

I know that the government of the day considers it to be a very serious situation. We bring it up in the House of Assembly on numerous occasions. I said that to the individual. He said: `Jack, try to make an issue of it. People do not understand the seriousness of the out-migration in this Province today.' It is the turmoil that people feel in their hearts, and watching that show the other night and seeing some of the people hugging and kissing and waving goodbye - we saw tears in their eyes. And I am sure it brought tears to the eyes of many people who watched that show.

The big concern - again, I will get back to it - is the brain drain of the young people being educated in this Province, their education, in a large part, being paid for by the taxpayer. Now, we know that there are situations where they have to have their student loans, and what have you, but there are still certain costs involved with that. It is sad to see that we are educating our young people to move away to Calgary, to B.C., to Toronto, and maybe outside the country altogether, being drawn away from here, and starting up their new families, their young families, outside the Province. One woman said on the show the other night that it is not likely, although she would love to return, it is not likely that she would be able to return certainly in the near future.

Mr. Chairman, what we have to do I suppose, to draw these people back here, one of the concerns that I have is that the consumer in Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the highest taxed consumer in the country, and now we have an administration who is continually bringing in taxes. They say they are not bringing in any taxes in their Budget but they are. Last year, as I said earlier this morning speaking to a petition that, there were six pages of licence fees and permit increases in last year's Budget. The people of the Province are being nickelled and dimed to death and now we have a Minister of Finance, who got up one day in the week and spoke about how well we are doing today in Newfoundland and Labrador and we may not have to have a Budget adjustment this year or a mini-Budget this year, but the fact is, that they are now talking about bringing in an unconscionable, an unfair, and unjust tax.

Here he comes again, Mr. Chairman, the clown from Port de Grave is on (inaudible), the clown from Port de Grave.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I am not speaking today - this is not Question Period.

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, this is not Question Period. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is confused, he thinks he can ask questions over here but Question Period is within the first forty-five minutes of the sitting of the House, and the normal procedure is that the opposition would ask questions to the government ministers, not the reverse. But when you have a minister asking questions of the opposition, of course, we can see that they know they are in trouble. They know in their own minds they are in very serious trouble and I can tell you right here, today, Mr. Chairman, if the Minister of Finance decides to bring in that tax, that unfair, unjust tax, that rip-off tax, on the resale of used vehicles in this Province, that is going to be the death knell for that administration over there. They can think, they can say what they want, they can be as arrogant as they want which is another sign of a government on the downfall, is that they can say what they want but if they bring in that tax, it is the start of a major, big step and the ruination of that administration.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I say to the Government House Leader, the tax, the unfair, unjust, rip-off tax on the resale of used vehicles. To have the people of this Province pay a tax on money they did not spend. I can tell you right here and now, it will be the one to do the job and will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, I say to the Government House Leader and to ministers on that side of the House. So I am willing to do my best, I can guarantee you that to stop it; I will bring up questions in the House of Assembly; I will present petitions in the House of Assembly; I will be on the Open Line Shows and we can see what we can do. It stopped the administration over there from selling Hydro, it required the Minister of Health to re-open the Lakeside Home's kitchen in Gander, and this administration, when the pressure is really on, they back off.

We saw it the other day with the Minister of Human Resources and Employment in making a change to the act with respect to people who are in part-time work in social services who did not get paid, so they are starting to become a bit more sensible but it is sheer panic on that side because they know - I would assume that less than two years into this mandate but they can actually go five years, so I expect it will be a total of five years before they call the next election because the Premier should be able to hold on as long as he can. He will want to hold on as long as he can to the power that, by the way, Mr. Chairman, he is losing.

He is losing and I am hearing rumours already, Mr. Chairman, from people on that side of the House, that they are already trying to pick a new leader over there. Can you imagine, a Premier in power, less than two years, and they are talking about replacing him already? Now, isn't that unreal? Certain names - a Premier, a year-and-a-half in power, they are talking about changing him already, that tells you, Mr. Chairman, what is going on over there on that side of the House. They have no faith in the Premier, they are completely in a panic situation, they are frightened to death that in the next election they will be gone and they are talking about changing already, and the Premier himself, Mr. Chairman, from what I can gather is learning French now.


MR. J. BYRNE: The Premier. I wonder what his motives are in learning French? I expect in the near future that he is going to be out of that chair. When the Prime Minister of the country decides to go, he is going to be on the road, going all over this country. Another point with respect to the Premier, every time, every chance he can -

MR. E. BYRNE: That is a big leap even for you.

MR. J. BYRNE: What did he say?

MR. E. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Tobin was always proficient in French. I wonder did he learn it at the University when he was there. He majored in French I understand. Well, what we will have done, we will ask one of our members in the near future to ask the Premier a question in French. We will see how much he knows then, I say to the Minister of Justice, if he is proficient in it, fluent.

MR. DECKER: I am sure you (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Okay, he will say - I never said me, I say to the Minister of Justice. I never said I would ask the question, I cannot speak French, but I am sure I can speak as much as he can.

Anyway, the Premiers style -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Look blame that on that over there. The Premiers style is to get in front of the camera as much as he can to get national recognition as much as he can, to keep himself in front of the cameras so maybe, if he does decide and when the day comes that he wants to become Prime Minister of the country, he will still have some kind of national profile.

Now, Mr. Chairman, back to Bill no. 28. On Bill no. 28, the minister is requesting $75.7 million and is looking to spend this money on the Consolidated Fund Services, finance, development and rural renewal, education, health and many more, municipal and provincial affairs.

Now, the minister was looking for the Consolidated Fund Service, $10 million for the Voluntary Departure Program which was put in place last year he said. From what I understand, it was two different programs under way at the same time, but this Voluntary Departure Program, I do not know how voluntary it was really, in the overall scheme of things. Look at the particular details, there were many people who went out that door of the Confederation Building and out the doors of government, losing their jobs or leaving their jobs and they did not consider it to be very voluntary. People at Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, people at different corporations, people in government in different departments, left and they felt that they were being pushed out the door, pressured out the door.

Also, they talked about the education. For education we went $32,000,800.00 They talked about $9 million for the school board debt, $9 million of this $32 million is for the school board debt, for the school boards to go forward. Well, Mr.Chairman, some of the school boards, from what I can gather, are still having problems with finances, from my understanding. I know they are not getting enough financing for the new school that has been promised and approved, I cannot say approved because if it was approved the money would be spent on it. I addressed this the other day when I was up speaking on this bill, the new school for Pouch Cove, Flatrock and Bauline area, which would not only service those three communities, but the whole North East Avalon because we can all talk about a change in the busing system and different high schools in St. John's and the different elementary and junior high schools. So, it is a key school that needs to be constructed to alleviate a lot of the pressure on various schools, to alleviate busing pressures, to save money and we are still working towards that, Mr. Chairman.

Also, for health was $3.5 million, $1 million for doctors bonuses, I suppose, that is the note I made when the minister was speaking the other day and I am not sure if that was to try and attract doctors to rural Newfoundland, which needs to be done. I mean, the Member for Baie Verte was up speaking this morning talking about a community health centre instead of a hospital and there is a great need for doctors in rural Newfoundland. The Minister of Education -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I will not bite, how is that, I say to the member - where is he from?

MR. GRIMES: Sit down Jack, you are not getting any votes for the leadership getting on with that foolishness.

MR. J. BYRNE: The Member for Humber West, is it, is over there now asking me to sit down. I will sit down if the Member for Humber West will get up and speak for twenty minutes on this bill, telling us why he opposes the approval of this bill. Will the Member for Humber West get up and speak for twenty minutes and tell us why he opposes this bill? I am sure he must, the spending of $75 million on stuff he -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) speak for twenty minutes on that.

MR. J. BYRNE: What is that?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: I did not hear you. I cannot comment; I did not hear you. I only speak on things when I know what I am speaking about.

The Minister of Education is over there now and he is confused. That is another minister who is confused. He gets up in Question Period, which is only half-an-hour long, is asked a question, and gets up to give a speech. Now we have time to get up and have a speech, any length of time he wants we will give it to him by leave, no trouble at all, we will get him up and we will let him bore us to death. We will let him bore us to death at any time at all, whenever he wants to get up, as long as it is not in Question Period.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: No, no, his job over there. As long as it is not in Question Period, we will let him up to bore us to death any time.

AN HON. MEMBER: Jack, you are not going to get any leadership votes like that.


Mr. Chairman, we are talking about a financial bill, so I am going to have to talk about this tax again. I have to go back to this tax, because this administration is doing anything they can -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, that is another half hour. Roger, that is another half hour there, look.

MR. GRIMES: For you, you've got that right, it is. Just like everything else you say, it is a complete blank.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I have had a number of meetings with the Minister of Education. I have had a number of meetings with that man over there, and he talks about me up speaking on a blank. Well, I have had meetings with many ministers over on that side. If you want to see a man who's blank, look at his face. Ask him a simple question and you will see blank, blank, blank. That is what blank is all about, that minister over there. If you look up `blank' in the dictionary, you will have a picture of the minister's face - blank - in the dictionary.

AN HON. MEMBER: A point of order, Mr. Chairman; a new poll out. You are last and Roger is number one.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, who has the floor of this House? Those two over there - who are the two clowns on the Muppets?

CHAIR: Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Wink and blink.

AN HON. MEMBER: Dumb and dumber.

MR. J. BYRNE: Wink and blind, dumb and dumber, over there, the two of them, who has the floor? The Member for Cape St. Francis or dumb and dumber, wink and blink, over there?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: By the way, those two over there, they have a habit of talking about polls. Well, I think it was a previous member of the House of Commons who said that polls were good for one thing - two things, actually - cables and dogs.

Mr. Chairman, they have me really concerned and upset and demoralized over here on this side of the House. Those two have me demoralized because they said I am after dropping in the polls. If they only understood what was going on they would not say that, because this man here has deliberately stayed out of the media to try and get my polls down so the pressure wouldn't be on for me to run. That is the whole story, and the pressure is still on. We have ten members on this side of the House, and every one of them are going to be running because we know that the leader of this Party, come the next election, whoever it may be, he or she, will be the next Premier sitting in that chair over there. That is what is going on.

MR. GRIMES: So you don't support your current leader?

MR. J. BYRNE: Pardon me?

MR. GRIMES: You don't support your current leader?

MR. J. BYRNE: I said, `whoever he or she may be'.

MR. GRIMES: You said, `he or she'.

MR. J. BYRNE: He or she.

MR. GRIMES: You are not assuming that it is him. You are not (inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: He or she. I am sure - I am absolutely sure - that man will be running. He is the most dedicated, hard-working, committed, intelligent member sitting in this House of Assembly, especially when you compare him to that side of the House. He will be a major candidate; there is no doubt in my mind. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, I say to him. That is what I have to say about the present leader of this Party, the Tory Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is the most dedicated, committed, hard-working, intelligent individual in this House, next to me. There is no comparison with that side over there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: You have accomplished more than anybody over there, Jack.

MR. WISEMAN: The only one in the history of the Tory Party who went from first to last in three months.

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, I want you to do me a favour. Can you do me a favour? I can take criticism from any member on that side -


CHAIR: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. J. BYRNE: Mr. Chairman, can you do me a favour? I can take criticisms from any member on that side of the House, if they are following the normal procedure and speaking from their chairs but we have a person - I was going to say the legal beagle from Topsail - but I did not mean to say that, that would be a Freudian slip. The hon. Member for Topsail is sitting in the Premier's chair - can you imagine the person who wants to be Premier, least likely to ever sit in that chair and every time I look at that side of the House, if the Premier is not in the Chair he is sitting in the Chair and he is mouthing off from there. If he wants to say something to me, go over there in the back corner where you have your head up against the back wall and talk to me.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Well, that is fact, yes it is and I am glad to hear it and I know it, sir. When I came into this House of Assembly first I was quite concerned about that but the people need to know what is going on on that side of the House and this is the public forum and they are going to hear it, and they are going to hear that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has no concern whatsoever for the out-migration of this Province. That is what they are going to hear from me.

Anyway, Mr. Chairman, I am going to clue up in a very serious fashion and say: Again, I will compliment the Government House Leader on his speech this morning, the Member for Baie Verte and the Member for Bonavista South and the words they said with respect to out-migration in this Province which is a very serious situation we are in today. It is too bad that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture had his way and detracted me from what I was speaking on in the first place and that was out-migration. But, you fight fire with fire, I say to the Government House Leader and that man over there is a little agitator, there is no doubt about that and sometimes he deflects me from my train of thought.

In the meantime, I am going to sit down now and let the Member for Kilbride -

MS J.M. AYLWARD: (Inaudible).

MR. J. BYRNE: Now, the Minister of Health over there, who is not in her chair, whenever she is asked a question, I see her, she has her notes there all the time which are the previous minister's notes and will get herself in trouble by referring to the previous minister's notes all the time. She should get up and give an answer to a question that is asked in this House of Assembly from her own mind or her own intelligence I suppose, I suppose she has some, Mr. Chairman? She must have some, she was elected, so she should get up and give her own answers when she is asked questions. She should not be going back to the previous minister because she must know the trouble that the previous minister was in and was booted out of his seat and she keeps giving the same answers that he gave while he was there, she is going to lose her seat as Minister of Health and may be moved on to Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, and I will ask my leader then if she becomes the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation to move me as critic for Works, Services and Transportation so that I could get some legitimate answers from somebody.

On that, thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Chairman, everything that is said and everything that happens in this House is very, very important, I would be the first one to admit that. Even when we shout across the floor, there is a reason, the catcalls serve a purpose, the speeches are generally if there is a point but, sometimes the level of debate rises just above what it ordinarily is, and I believe earlier this morning we did see the debate in this House reach a level of which we should be proud as members.

I was not in the House but I listened to Member for Baie Verte when he spoke about rural Newfoundland and I thought he made some excellent points and I agree with most of what he said. Following him, my colleague, the Government House Leader also made an excellent speech which referred to rural Newfoundland and I commend my colleague as well and I believe it is good that, notwithstanding all the important things that go on in this House, from time to time we do just step up a notch and we reach a higher plane.

When the Member for Baie Verte was talking, he spoke about rural Newfoundland. Now I represent a rural district and I am proud of it. Some day, when the people of the Straits of White Bay North decide that it is time for me to retire, I plan to go back to Roddickton where I was born, where I raised my family, where I have my house, I plan to go back and I am going to live there.

When we talk about rural Newfoundland we talk about, especially the coastal communities, we are talking about the inshore fishery. The inshore fishery was unique as an industry in North America. Most industries lend themselves to centralization, big factories, big industries, big urban sprawling centres. You can go down to the mega-metropolis, all down through the northeast, the New England states and see a large concentration of people, large factories and large industries.

The industry which employed the majority of Newfoundlanders for years and about probably 35 per cent or 40 per cent up until the early '90s was the fishery and the inshore portion of that fishery lent itself to scattered communities. Remember now, when the fishery started there were no engines in the boats so the poles at the headlands were settled. I can go up near my riding, Hooping Harbour, Williams Port, Little Canada Harbour and Canada Harbour itself, they have all disappeared. They were settled near the headlands so that people could row out in their boats, set their traps, catch the fish and bring it back. Even within the district of Englee, which is still up and going, the headlands, Conche and Croque. If you go to St. Julien's, it has been resettled. Gray Islands, it has been resettled but they all developed as a result of that kind of an industry. Now that kind of an industry disappeared in 1992. Now I am not blaming John Crosbie, if Brian Tobin had been there he would have had to do the same thing. If Chris Decker had been there or John Ottenheimer had been there we would have had to do exactly the same thing, the resource was threatened.

We know, and most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians know, that the inshore fishery, as we knew it, is gone. It is not coming back. The fish might indeed come back, there is no doubt about that and there are indications of that in the gulf especially where the cod are coming back but the inshore fishery, as we knew it, an industry which lent itself to scattered communities all over the coastline, is not coming back. So if you find yourself, as many of my friends and relatives do, living in a community where the industry has drastically changed, in some places disappeared, you have some pretty difficult choices to make. You have to decide what you are going to do with the rest of your life, what you are going to do to provide a livelihood for your family, children and grandchildren. One response is to move.

In my own background, my grandfather was born in Joe Batt's Arm. When there was no work there he moved to Tilt Cove where the mine was operating. When the mine closed he moved to Pacquet where he fished for a while. When the fishery in Pacquet was not to his liking he moved to Hampden where he worked in the early days of Bowaters, he cut wood. He went from there to Sop's Arm where he cut logs for a sawmill. When that sawmill was subsequently sold and moved up to Canada Bay, he and the family moved up there. That is where I was born, in Roddickton. So people have to make these decisions to move and Newfoundlanders, some have to make it and sometimes it is very reluctantly and sometimes it is very sad. I would like to see them when they do move, be able to move at least within Newfoundland and Labrador but we also have to recognize that we are a part of Canada and there is no disgrace about moving from St. John's to Ottawa or from Roddickton to Kitchener. These things are not disgraceful. We should thank God that we are part of this great dominion where you don't have to leave your country in order to look for a job. So moving is one response, Mr. Chairman.

There is another response which you make if you live in some small remote area where the industry has changed. It is not a desirable response. Not very many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are doing it but it is a possibility. One response would be to throw yourself in the arms of government and say now government my industry has disappeared and you look after me. Not very many people are doing that but it is a risk.

There is another response, Mr. Chairman, which many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are making today and that is the response where you recognize that the industry that you once knew is gone and is not coming back as you knew it, and prepare to respond to that reality. Now, that response is taking place all over this Province today. A lot of us fail to recognize it.

In my own riding of St. Anthony, when the fishery was in its heyday, there were times when there were as many as 700 people working on the fish plant in St. Anthony, at its peak. After 1992, gone, 700 jobs were gone.

AN HON. MEMBER: Seven hundred families.

MR. DECKER: That is correct.

Now, for awhile there was NCARP, there was TAGS, and people began to realize: We are going to lose St. Anthony. St. Anthony is going to disappear. Then the people themselves, the Chamber of Commerce - St. Anthony is a large town and they were fortunate to have a Chamber of Commerce. Cook's Harbour does not have a Chamber of Commerce, but St. Anthony does. The town council had an economic development committee put in place, and they said: If we are going to stay, if St. Anthony is not going to die, we have to make sure that there is work here for our people. We have to keep it alive.

You know, Mr. Chairman, it is a fact in biology, especially in marine biology, that when one species moves out another moves in. I made a remark in Roddickton, which calls itself the moose capital of the world, if all of the people of Roddickton were to move out, within a month the moose would move in, a different species, and this is what happens in the fishery. When the cod disappeared in the St. Anthony area, all those thousands of square miles of water, the cod disappeared, for whatever reason, the shrimp moved in. We have a resource of shrimp which is totally unbelievable. So what has happened in St. Anthony?

Through a deal with the federal government, the federal Minister of Fisheries, and through the efforts of the local people, they managed to get access, a harvesting licence, for shrimp. They have entered into a deal with Clearwater Foods. They have entered into a deal with E. J. Green Ltd., and they are negotiating a deal with the local owner of the fish plant up there, Mario Ruffolo, with Chianti, and I am confident that next summer there will be at least 300 people working on that fish plant harvesting shrimp. In addition to that, there will be another 100 or 150 engaged in the harvesting, and among that 100 who do the harvesting are the people in Cook's Harbour.

Last night I watched that portion of the CBC show - I haven't been following it; it is the only one I saw - and I was disappointed at the way Cook's Harbour was portrayed. A couple of years ago my colleague, who was then the Minister of Transportation, and my colleague, the Minister of Tourism, visited Cook's Harbour, and we met with some local people. After we left, the three of us all said, you know, it was one of the most depressing meetings we had been to. The people had told us that Cook's Harbour was gone. The fishery was gone, and Cook's Harbour was going to disappear.

A few months ago I visited Cook's Harbour with my colleague, the new Minister of Works, Services and Transportation - and did they say fifty people were working on the harvesting of shrimp this year?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: They in Cook's Harbour who, the previous year, were defeated, were contemplating moving, saw their town dying, about a year later when my colleague, the present Minister of Works, Services and Transportation went there, it had changed. Because St. Anthony started to harvest this other species that had moved in - one of the best places to land that product is in Cook's Harbour - the community has been revitalized. How any reporter could find, in the community of Cook's Harbour, three or four people who would portray that the town is dying, it beats me. You must have gone in with a preconceived opinion and went around and interviewed enough people until you got enough people to say what you were saying in the first place. It is totally misleading.

Cook's Harbour is not dead. Cook's Harbour is not dying. Cook's Harbour will be there for the next 500 years of celebration of John Cabot's discovery of this Province. It is there because the people recognized that when one industry goes, if you want to keep your town alive, you have to find another industry, Mr. Chairman.

I spoke about St. Anthony earlier, in addition to the shrimp industry in St. Anthony, after the plant was sold to Mario Ruffolo, Chianti, he started manufacturing calamari. Mr. Chairman, I did not have a clue in the world what calamari was, so I asked Mario, I said, ` Mario, what is calamari.' He said, `Calamari is squid, but no one eats squid, but everybody loves calamari' and you know he is right.

MR. E. BYRNE: That is exactly right.

MR. DECKER: All summer, he told myself and the Minister of Fisheries a few days ago, I am not sure of the numbers, I believe he said there was forty, he said forty to fifty people working all summer, doing calamari.

See, Mr. Chairman, then we come into my district, which I think if you listen to the CBC is dying, you go to Roddickton. Roddickton has two large saw mills. This summer there were about 300 people working on the saw mills, from Roddickton, Boyd Arm, Conche, Englee, even from Gander Bay, there were people up there from Gander Bay and Summerford. There are communities all around this Province which are recognizing that when an industry changes, it does not mean that you have to let your community die. There is always another industry.

Then we can go on, some of the illustrations have already been mentioned, the glove factory out in Point Leamington.

MR. TULK: The integrated saw mill.

MR. DECKER: The integrated saw mill and the list goes on and on right now, even as I speak. As my colleague in Development and Rural Renewal will tell you, that there is a group of people from the Great Northern Peninsula and from Western Newfoundland, actually some as far as Clarenville, who are trying to put in place a plan to put a groomed snowmobile trail -

MR. TULK: Now don't you go announcing that.

MR. DECKER: - all up the Northern Peninsula, people are lobbying for it.

A couple of years ago, I met a person who owns some hotels in this Province and he was all tanned up, it was in the middle of winter, I said, `you back from Florida?' No, he said, `I am not back from Florida, I am back from Quebec. I was up in Quebec snowmobiling for two weeks.' Now, to a fellow who lives on the Great Northern Peninsula where there is fifty and sixty inches of snowfall almost every month, why would you have to go to Quebec to snowmobile?

So, it is an industry that the rest of North America, especially the Northern parts of this country are utilizing. It is an industry waiting to happen in Northern Newfoundland and Western Newfoundland.

MR. TULK: You might as well tell them.

MR. DECKER: All those motels, which are busy during the summer months, people coming up to L'Anse-au-Meadows, people coming up to see the Red Paint Culture in Port au Choix, these motels are empty winter time, but a groomed snowmobile trail up that Northern Peninsula would add another ten to fifteen weeks on the hotels. This Mr. Chairman, is happening.

MR. TULK: You are going to be killed.

MR. DECKER: I am not making any official announcement, but I am strongly supporting the people who are putting this forward.

Now, I spoke about how we would respond if you live in a Cook's Harbour or in a Conche or in a Roddickton or in a St. Anthony, but also you know, the government was in exactly the same position. We in government have to recognize and opposition alike, as leaders, as governors of the people of this Province, we have to recognize the fact that the inshore fishery, as we knew it and I always qualify myself, as we knew it and it is not going to come back.

So, here is what we did, what we are doing. We divided the Province into twenty economic development zones. Now, recognize my riding and any riding in the Province you could use as an example, in my riding there are about three distinct areas. There is a St. Anthony area, there is the Roddickton-Englee area, there is the Flowers Cove area. Government said we have to recognize the fact, that it is highly unlikely that if you live in Conche, that all of the people who live in Conche are going to be able to go down to the fish plant and work every day. That is not going to happen anymore. If you live in Cook's Harbour, it is highly unlikely that everybody in Cook's Harbour is going to be able to get a job within two minutes' walk of where you live. We tried to develop in each zone, in each area, several key communities, but the role of government, Chair - and this is why when my friend for Baie Verte was talking, when he spoke about the roads in his district, I can understand what he is saying.

If you live in Cook's Harbour, the role of government is not to move you from Cook's Harbour into St. Anthony or force you to go to Ottawa or whatever. The role of government is to ensure that there is a decent roads system so you can drive to St. Anthony where that new industry is developing, where the shrimp will take off. Into the future it could employ - probably even go back to the 700 eventually, if they get into secondary processing. The role of government is to make sure that we have a road system, that we have access to health care, and that is what we have been doing.

If you were to go into my riding you will see that some years ago, Raleigh, Ship Cove, when we recognized it was impossible for them to walk down to the wharf and work like they used to, they can drive. We have a road system now, where I am proud to say they can drive just as comfortably as you can drive from Kelligrews to St. John's. You can drive into St. Anthony. That is the answer that this government has put forward.

We believe there is a quality of life in Cook's Harbour which for many people, myself included, is superior to the quality of life that you have if you live in a city. I believe that. I believe the quality of rural life is much better. But the quality of rural life is not going to be very good if you can't earn a living and you can't feed your family. The economic zones we have put in place are doing two things. We are developing industries at key locations so that the people who live in the rural areas can get work in these key locations. By developing a decent network of roads, we are allowing the person who lives in Cook's Harbour, who owns his house in Cook's Harbour, whose family before him lived in Cook's Harbour - the only difference between him and his grandfather is that he can drive into St. Anthony and work. Or if you live in Croque, or whatever the case might be, that is the approach we have taken.

I believe what we are seeing now is merely a transition. It is an interim measure. It is a measure where we are readjusting ourselves as a province, and I am not the least bit doubtful. Like my colleague the House Leader, I do find the word "rock" to be somewhat derogatory when you refer to this Province, but you can always add a preface to that word, Mr. Chairman, and you can certainly then, recognize what Newfoundland is. We are not bare as a rock, Mr. Chairman, we are solid, solid as a rock and it is with that characteristic that we are going to adjust to the changing industries that we have, to the changing technology we are going to have and solid as a rock, Mr. Chairman, we are not going to all disappear. Do not pay any attention to the soothsayers. What we are going through now is a transition. Very soon, very soon with the development of the big industries we are looking at, the building of and the development of our local industries (inaudible) -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DECKER: No. I do not want to get back to Question Period but I am sure the hon. member recognizes that from the very day that Sir Humphrey Gilbert took possession of this country or of this Island, from that day on people have been leaving this Province but we had the highest birth rate in the country right up until a few years ago. Today we have the lowest birth rate. The birth rate could always compensate for the 170,000 people who live in the Boston area, for the thousands who go, but what we are in right now, Mr. Chairman, is a transition, it is an interim period. The people themselves in the rural areas have recognized it and they are addressing it. The government of the day with the support of people like the Member for Baie Verte and other opposition members, we have recognized the problem and it is going to be a little rough during this transition but at the end of the day, we will come through sold as the rock that we are, Mr. Chairman.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: (Inaudible) leadership, pay attention to that.

CHAIR: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

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

I think what transpired here this morning is something that we asked for earlier this week. What transpired is a debate about the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

My roots are solid in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I have three sisters and a brother who were born in Riverhead, Harbour Grace. Both my parents are from there; I have many family, aunts, uncles, cousins who are still there, an historic part of the Province and a part of the Province which I refer to and call home.

Mr. Chairman, like the minister, my grandfather worked all over the Province; he worked in Gander, he worked at pulp and paper, he worked at the Labrador fishery, many trips back and forth on the historic KYLE getting himself and my grandmother there, and he is right when he talks about the ability of the people here to move where work is. He is also right when he says that part of the privilege of being associated and living in Canada today, is the opportunity to go anywhere within the nation from here to Victoria if we can find work, if we are qualified for it, and that access to that employment is easy, it is free, and if available we can take advantage of it. Something that has been happening in this Province to its people for hundreds of years. It isn't just something that has occurred.

Mr. Chairman, he is also right when he talks about the Province as being in transition. We are indeed a people in transition. The inshore fishery as we know it will not come back. It served at least for the last twenty-five years as a socio-economic policy of government, where in 1979 - and I'm critical of this - there existed some eighty-odd processing plants in the Province, by 1989 there were 230. The resource could not sustain the amount of effort that was put on it, both by the federal government and by the provincial government.

Even in 1981, I believe, the government of the day called for a year's moratorium on the northern cod allowance then. It was scoffed at, it was laughed at, by everybody in the industry. Then-Premier Peckford called for it. He thought that we should look at it. The FFAW laughed at it. It was proceeding along a line of growth, expansion, higher prices for the cod block on the marketplace, to the point where they out-priced themselves. That is another story.

The minister is also right when he talks about rural communities taking control for themselves. Because there are many success stories. We are - and I think we all have to be cognizant of the fact, as he has indicated, and I will use his term - governors, so to speak, in this place. We cannot develop at all costs an Island mentality. Because sooner or later, if that is the only mentality that we have, or propose to the people who elected us, then we won't be along not 500 years, we won't be here fifty years from now. Because that is the wrong mentality.

Out-migration is a very serious issue, and the Member for St. John's East and the minister just talked about it quickly. Our birth rate, always where it was higher than the national average, and high, compensated. That isn't happening today. The reality is, what do we do? It is a fact of life that today there is more wealth created in the fishery - today, right now, this year - than ever before, even at it's height, in the early 1980s. We had the cod fishery and the northern cod, where cod was king. There is more wealth created in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry today than ever before. FPI is probably one of the greatest success stories of contemporary corporate Newfoundland and Labrador. It went from a catcher of fish products to a processor, an international buyer and processor, and their plants around the Island are a testament to the will of that company. But the role of government is paramount here.

While government has said they put in economic zones, nineteen economic zones that will provide for sort of catchment areas, provide the opportunity for people to travel to and fro in a more expeditious and freer fashion, while that may be important, there are other things that we should be looking at.

While we acknowledge that we are a people in transition, while we acknowledge that the inshore fishery will not come back as it was, and will not sustain the numbers of people that were in it before, while we acknowledge that out-migration is a problem, and while we acknowledge that some communities might not exist as they used to exist, we need to turn our attention on other areas, and we have. How we regulate those areas, how we manage those areas, is of critical importance.

I would like to deal just with the Cabot celebrations first, and the emerging tourism industry. If there is one thing that the Cabot celebrations did for the Province, it is that it focused the international community on this Province like it was never focused before. That focus, the focus on this Province by the international community as a result of the Cabot celebrations, will pay dividends. I agree with that. I support the initiative of that, and I support any other initiatives that will produce the same sorts of results, but when we look at other industries that are emerging in the Province, like the oil and gas industry... The Hibernia project provided a certain amount of jobs, correct. It provided, more importantly than anything - former Premier Wells was right. While he was critical of aspects of the deal, fundamentally he said that it was a foundation, and a solid foundation, for the emerging oil and gas industry.

Mr. Chairman, what infuriates me, as a member of this House, and as a governor of the House, to use the words, is that when government is slack, and government does not provide or manage the potential of that future industry like we should be doing... Yesterday in the House, I asked the Minister of Mines and Energy about some of the recommendations contained in the Terra Nova Assessment Panel's Report. To my knowledge there has been little action on those recommendations, and anybody who has taken the time to look at those recommendations seriously will know that as an independent body that recommended certain actions to government, and the governance of another project called Terra Nova, that if those recommendations were implemented, and the spirit of those recommendations was adhered to, then nobody in this House would have any legitimate beef with the activities associated with that project. There are two trains of thought that govern a project like this and it is about being globally competitive.

In Britain, where there was an emerging industry some years ago, they did not get into the regulatory regimes or the protections involved in the government and proponent's relationship as Norway did and there was good reason for it. Most of the people from Britain who are involved in the industry today will tell you that. Basically because the British people within Britain and the community and society at large had a large industrial base already where they can compete globally, with any firm, with any company, whether it be in engineering, whether it be in fittings and valves, whether it be in terms of construction or fabrication, there existed a solid and broad base of industrial companies that were poised, all ready to take advantage of those opportunities.

In Norway, Mr. Chairman, the converse was true. They demanded certain things from the proponent of their emerging industry thirty years ago. They demanded for skills that did not exist, or the skill shortage that would exist, that could not be taken advantage of by the people in Norway, that people would have to be trained, that technology and technical skills would have to be passed on to the local people. That is not happening here, Mr. Chairman, it is not happening today. They demanded, under the words, `globally competitive', that their fabrication yards, that their local business community be given first priority in order to gain the advantages, in order to gain the skills, in order to broaden their industrial base so they could become a world leader in oil and gas development and construction, and thirty years later, Mr. Chairman, it happened. It took the Norwegians to come over and put the Hibernia site and the Hibernia project on the path to success but thirty years ago they were in the same position this Province is in today, in terms of emerging oil and gas industry.

When we look at the spirit and the principles that are contained in the Atlantic Accord and what was supposed to happen and what is supposed to happen, and we see that it is not happening, then government must look inward and say we have a problem here. How do we correct it without necessarily putting government's long arm into the private market without interfering? How do we put an effective management regime in place to ensure that the people in this Province take advantage of that industry first?

If government fully acknowledges the problems that are taking place in rural Newfoundland, then the onus of responsibility is on everyone, including government, more so on government, I think, because they have been enshrined with the responsibility to govern. If they believe fully, because we are a people in transition and we are moving on, then the onus of responsibility is even greater on government to ensure that emerging industries are taken first advantage of, by the people in this Province - not just employment opportunities, not just industrial opportunities, but opportunities and industries that are emerging here that can poise us to be a world leader.

Why cannot Marystown Shipyard build the hulls that Korea is building right now? That is the question we must ask. Why cannot Marystown Shipyard do the fabrication work that should be going on in this Province that is taking place in Korea and Britain right now? Why cannot BFL Consultants be the engineering firm that is contracted by Petro Canada, and not a British firm? Those are the questions, fundamental, that we must answer, just in terms of this industry and this industry alone. Because if we give Marystown Shipyard the ability to do that and prove its worth, prove its work, then thirty years from now we will be selling our technology to New Mexico, to Ukraine, to Norway, to wherever. That is the position we must get into. I am afraid that at the moment we are not doing that to the greatest extent we can.

Mr. Chairman, it being 11:58 a.m. I will adjourn debate and continue this on Monday. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

CHAIR: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, that the Committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again, Mr. Speaker returned to the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. PENNEY: Mr. Speaker, the Committee of the Whole on Supply have considered the matters to them referred, have directed me to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

On motion, report received and adopted, Committee ordered to sit again on tomorrow.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until Monday at 2:00 p.m.

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