The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin the routine proceedings, the Chair would like to recognize today twenty students and staff from the Wolsingham School in Northern England. They are accompanied by John Maddison, Vice-Principal, and they are here in St. John's as part of a Travel and Tourism Program of the United Kingdom.

Also attending with them are seventeen students from the Tourism and Training Institute in St. John's, accompanied by their teacher Hilda Pollard-Milly. Also accompanying the group is Tracy Puddester from Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, we have in the gallery today thirty-two Grade X students from Gonzaga High School in the District of St. John's East, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Tom McGrath.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


Statements by Ministers


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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I have today written all federal cabinet ministers and all the Members of Parliament from Atlantic Canada and Quebec to impress upon them the importance of a TAGS replacement program and the urgency of an appropriate response from the Government of Canada.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!


MR. TULK: Again.

Mr. Speaker, let me just say that the Member for Bonavista South made the quip just now: `Why don't you go do it?' I wish we could, Mr. Speaker, and I tell him that we will keep after the federal government until they exercise their responsibility.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture informed this House on March 23, the Province intends to remain cooperative in providing advice on the appropriate structure for a replacement program, but we must impress upon the federal government its responsibility for the resolution of the crisis created in Newfoundland and Labrador, and indeed in Atlantic Canada as a whole, as the result of the groundfish collapse.

Mr. Speaker, simply put, families and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador are in crisis. Independent, objective reviews of the impacts of the groundfish closures, including the Harrigan Report and the Commons Standing Committee Report, have clearly demonstrated and documented the enormous impacts on rural areas of the Province in particular. Out-migration and erosion of the tax base is threatening the survival of many of our rural communities.

I might add, Mr. Speaker, that the Department of HRD has recently completed its own in-house study which shows that indeed there is a substantive response required from the federal government as well.

Clearly, the post-TAGS challenge is a federal responsibility. It is equally clear, as documented by Harrigan and the Standing Committee in The House of Commons, that the post-TAGS problem is of extraordinary dimension that cannot be adequately addressed through normal programming.

TAGS is also critically important to the provincial economy as a whole - not just to those people directly affected by the moratorium . In relative terms the lost employment is equivalent to the loss: in Nova Scotia of an industry nearly double the size of the defence industry; in Ontario of an industry twice the size of the automobile industry; in Alberta of the entire oil and gas industry; or in British Columbia of the entire forest industry.

Mr. Speaker, A new multi-faceted program is needed to address the post-TAGS challenge. The old program did not work and this in not the fault of the individuals or communities affected. The Province will continue to press the federal government to discharge its responsibility and will be a strong advocate on behalf of those affected by the moratorium.

Mr. Speaker, this is a national problem impacting all of Atlantic Canada - not just a Newfoundland and Labrador issue. People are becoming very anxious as the termination of TAGS gets nearer and as more and more people exhaust their benefits. It is our view that the federal government needs to act sooner rather than later in finalizing and announcing a post-TAGS initiative. It is not in the interest of anyone to wait until the expiry of the existing program in August before details on a new program are revealed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not know why the Government House leader is trying to outclass the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, because this is exactly the private member's resolution that he has brought forward, I say to the Government House Leader.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, the TAGS recipients in Newfoundland and Labrador are sick and tired of having to go out and tell their story; they are sick and tired of being studied; they are sick and tired of the minister standing up here and saying: We are going to write a letter to Mr. Harrigan, or we are going to write a letter to Mr. Peddigrew.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: I plead with the minister, Mr. Speaker: Do something to help those thousands of people out there. When you are going to formulate a program, do not only allow the FFAW and the UFCW, and some government bureaucrats; include the people themselves. Those are the people who know, I say to the Government House Leader.

Mr. Speaker, those people, those thousands of Newfoundlanders, first were told by the Premier of the day that their income would be safe until May, 1999. Then it was rolled back, because instead of 27,000 people being eligible for the program there were 40,000. So, because the federal government made a mistake, they came forward and said: Now we are going to take a year's pay away from you. You will not be good until May of 1999; you will be good until May of 1998. Now it is August of 1998.

People need to know. This program has now been in effect since 1992.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


MR. FITZGERALD: The scientists whom you depend upon for your advice have told you many times that the fishery will not come back to the stage whereby those people will be allowed to go fishing again.

We are down to the wire, and I say to the minister: Get on with it, and allow those people to live with some kind of a life so that they can support their families.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi have leave?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You cannot emphasize too much, or no one in this House can emphasize too much, the urgent and critical need for the fishers and the plant workers, and those who depend upon the fishery in this Province, to have a replacement program for TAGS. It is almost already too late to stop the insecurity that occurs in families throughout this Province over the replacement of TAGS; and not only the replacement of TAGS, but those workers who are being lost off the TAGS program every single month.

Mr. Speaker, the idea of writing a letter to Members of Parliament and Senators and other people - no harm done. Will it do any good? I do not know.

The representatives of fishery organizations across the Atlantic are in Ottawa today: The Fishermen's Union, Earle McCurdy, the Maritime Fishermen's Union, the Eastern Fishermen's Federation, the CAW and the Alliance Despêcheurs Proffessionnels de Quebec, are all in Ottawa today to press the case. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, it needs, in addition to letter writing of the minister, in addition to what will be, I presume, a unanimous vote of this House this afternoon, a delegation from this House to go to Ottawa to further press the case -

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

MR. HARRIS: - to ensure that everyone in Ottawa knows that this is an issue of national importance, and that we require the government to take its responsibility seriously to the people of this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

I would like to inform the people of the Province that the recent outbreak of salmonella food poisoning has been traced to contaminated cheese in Schneider Lunchmate products. This confirms the suspicions of the public health officials in this Province as outlined in the notice to the public we distributed on March 27, 1998. As a result, J. M. Schneider Inc. of Kitchener, Ontario, announced yesterday a recall of four of their lunch products. The organization is advising customers not to eat some of their snack products due to possible Salmonella contamination of a cheese ingredient. I would also like to remind consumers, at this time, that products with an expired "Best Before" date should not be consumed.

The recall list includes Schneider: Lunchmate Chicken Soft Taco; Lunchmate Beef Taco; Lunchmate Two Cheese Pizza and Lunchmate Big Combo Beef Taco.

Any of these products with a "Best Before" date between April 1 and May 17, 1998 should not be eaten. Mr. Speaker, this is of particular concern to us, as many children consume these items for their lunches in schools.

Recent cases of Salmonella infection have been identified in all provinces across the country. During March there have been twenty-seven cases of Salmonella infection identified throughout this Province. Symptoms of Salmonella infection are flu-like including a sudden onset of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and sometimes vomiting. Sickness may set in from six to seventy-two hours after consuming a contaminated food. Salmonella is the most common cause of "food poisoning" and can cause very serious illnesses. Food contaminated with this bacterium does not look, smell or taste spoiled. Consumers experiencing symptoms should contact their doctor. As well, Mr. Speaker, we encourage the good practice of hand-washing.

J. M. Schneider Inc. has given notice that these products listed should be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund. A consumer information line has been set up by that company to respond to concerns about the recall with a 1-800 number. The number is 1-800-221-2985.

We expect that cases may continue to surface in the Province over the next few days in people who have already consumed contaminated products. We want to ensure that health inspectors will be monitoring retail outlets in the Province today to ensure that all remaining recall products are taken off the shelf.

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to provide updated information to the public as soon as it becomes available.

I want to offer my congratulations to the staff at the public health laboratory here in St. John's, as well as members of the Department of Health, for their quick action on this particular issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister, I, too, have great confidence in the medical ability of the people employed there, and I am delighted they have found it fairly quickly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I hope the minister does not take that as an endorsement of my confidence in her. Especially, I say to the minister, too, for the benefit of those people who may, over the next few days, become sick and so on, the Department of Health and Community Services will pursue every avenue to ensure that it gets out to the public and that proper communication is there, and is continued. Because, along with, as was referred to, people who have already been infected, there are other people who may have eaten a product and, over the next while, may become infected with it.

We would certainly hope that the department will ensure there are very strong communications out there to the public so that we can deal with this problem as expeditiously as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Oral Questions


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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Obviously, the recent Budget by government, by their own admission, was predicated on the assumption that a post-TAGS era would include some sort of post-TAGS program. I would like to ask the Premier today: What proposals have been made to the federal government by his government with respect to the post-TAGS era, and what can we, and the people of the Province and those affected, look forward to after the TAGS program has ended?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if I could just -

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

MR. TULK: If I could just inform the hon. gentleman. It is a very important question, just what kind of proposal we put forward.

First of all, we set out, as we have told hon. members in this House before, to establish that indeed it was the responsibility of the federal government, and to try to make sure the federal government is aware, and that we believe it is their responsibility to put in place a program, that they are responsible for the mismanagement. Successive federal governments across this century have been responsible for the mismanagement of that resource. The second thing we tried to make them aware of was that regular programming will not take care of this situation, that it is a crisis that demands extraordinary means.

We have also put forward to them that there are several components of a program. Income support is necessary for many people who were formerly involved in the fishing industry, in fish harvesting and fish processing. The other thing, if I could just outline it, is that we have told them it will be necessary for them to enter into negotiations on a new retirement program. We have also said to them that it is necessary for them to enter into licence buy-backs, and to enter into looking at an option such as an economic diversification program, so that we can expand the economy of our communities. We have been told that half the people in the fishing industry need to come out of the fishing industry, particularly in the harvesting sector and so on.

So, those are the kinds of proposals and discussions that we have been having, both at an official level and a government level, with the federal government.

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

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

I want to make it clear that the questions I am asking with respect to this program today are not done from a partisanship point of view, because of the importance of this to all of us in the Province, especially those who are impacted. It is critical. If anything is required today it is that this Legislature, all of us together, act in unison to strengthen the hand of government to make sure that any program whatsoever that is coming is done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: I think it is important, as well, to find out what has been done to date. We are getting mixed messages. I know the minister is getting mixed messages. We have heard one thing from the federal minister, Peddigrew and we have heard another thing from our own provincial minister. Certainly The Globe and Mail has not helped, and the Premier has done his part in putting them in their place.

The minister talked about economic diversification. Could he elaborate on what he means in terms of economic diversification? Will it involve community driven groups, will it involve those people who are impacted by the program, will it involve the economic zones, or will it involve all of the above?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I will not give the short answer because the hon. gentleman, I suspect, is sincere, and I agree with him that we have to be unanimous in our efforts here in this House to ensure that indeed the people of Newfoundland are represented and represented well. That is a non-partisan effort, and I would hope that today's debate, while it will focus the attention on this issue, will be a non-partisan debate and will be very, very factual. I believe and hope that that will be the case.

Mr. Speaker, in terms of what we have said in terms of economic diversification, there are many areas in this Province, and there are many ideas that are being put forward by a group of people who serve on the Regional Economic Development Boards in the Province that can create numerous opportunities for employment. Let me just give you some of the new ideas that have come up. There are new ideas coming forward every day in aquaculture, in which many of our people who were formerly involved in the fishing industry would be very interested, and it would be very appropriate for them to take part in.

There is a possibility of developing in this Province a dimension stone industry. There is a possibility of developing a peat industry in this Province. Those ideas are not mine. They are ideas that are coming forward from some eighteen meetings and the twenty Regional Economic Development Boards that exist around the Province, and I could go on. There is a list which I would be glad to supply to hon. members and the hon. gentleman. As a matter of fact, I would be only too happy to supply to him the priorities that those people have put forward, the 100 priorities that they gave us that they want to act on immediately this year.

So in terms of economic diversification I say that there is quite -I would not make fun, if I were the hon. gentleman, at Sam's Butcher Shop in Goose Bay. Let me say to him that that is a very good project that was undertaken by a gentleman in Goose Bay. He has done very, very well, and thanks to his minister up there, he finally got some caribou to put through that place.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: So do not belittle those kinds of things because he will create four, five or six jobs and that is the type of industry that we have developed in places like Baie Verte and in places like Labrador.

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me get back to the serious question of what his leader asked: How are we hoping to involve the people in this Province in those kinds of diversification programs? Obviously, the mechanism is in place. It was put in place over a number of years by a group of people called the Regional Economic Development Boards, which, by the way - let me just tell the hon. gentleman some of the things that are happening.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Municipalities on Saturday - I spoke to both them and a group of REDBs from around the Province to see how they can come together to create economic opportunities in the rural areas of this Province. I want to say to him that ours is a community base, yes. We want to go out and through those REDBs get people's ideas and let those ideas flow from people. I say to him, there is room for all kinds of economic diversification in this Province as a result of that process.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, obviously people directly, who are impacted by the loss of the TAGS program and the question mark that surrounds what the future may hold, are very concerned. As the minister knows, government knows and the Premier knows, people have been dropped from the program - people who were on maternity leave or people who were on workers' compensation. Those people who have been dropped, for a variety of reasons, have they been included in terms of the proposals to the federal government in what a post-TAGS Newfoundland and Labrador would like, those people who have been specifically dropped?

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

MR. TULK: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I want to say to the hon. gentleman, I am impressed, and all of us are, by the feelings, and the insecurities that are being felt by a number of people in this Province.

For example, last week I met with a group - I believe it was from the Member for Bonavista South's district - and I have to say that if you go to those meetings you cannot help but feel for the plight of those people - people who have been employed in a year round plant in Catalina, who had fished all year round, who had been in a processing plant all year round because Catalina was a deep sea plant. You cannot help but feel for the lowering of income that they got on TAGS, and now the fact that they are coming off TAGS, that is even worse. The steps gradually get worse. So you cannot help but feel for those people and the truth of the matter is that we have made their plight known to the federal government and we would hope that if all those people do not come back on TAGS - and as Mr. Harrigan said, I think we should keep this in mind: that there is no way that one size fits all. I think we have to look at the cases that are there and through a process hopefully of economic diversification, help our people.

I want to make one other point, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Harrigan made - and I know we are almost getting into a speech here - but one other point that Mr. Harrigan made was this: that the Newfoundland people want to work. That was, I think, probably one of the most important points he could have made.

AN HON. MEMBER: That is no secret.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TULK: It is no secret to me. I say to the hon. gentleman that for many people in Central Canada it may have been a secret but it is no secret to me. It is no secret for anyone, and Mr. Harrigan made that point. We would hope, that through a program that the federal government puts in place to help us pick ourselves up and get us on our feet, active measures, that we can somehow take care of the needs of all the people who have been affected by this economic crisis.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Just a couple of more questions. Mr. Speaker, I asked initially what proposals have been made and the minister responsible elaborated on the characteristics or the features of what a post-TAGS program should look like.

Let me ask the minister this: In making those proposals to the federal government, has the Province put any price tag on such a program? For example, are we talking about a program over a four-or-five-year period of $1.9 billion like the old TAGS program? Has the government, in making representations to the federal government, put a price tag on a post-TAGS program that they would like to see?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, just let me say to the hon. gentleman that we feel it is incumbent upon us to put forward the problem. We feel it is incumbent upon us to put forward the components of the program.

I want to say to him that I think it would be kind of silly for us, actually, to put a price tag on it. I do not know how you can put a price tag on what is happening in this Province. I do not think you can. I think what you have to say is: Here is what is necessary, federal government, and we are going to hold you responsible for it. And whatever it takes, if you come forward with a price - not a price, if you come forward with enough funds to take care of the needs of the people of this Province as a result of the mismanagement of both PC and Liberal governments in Ottawa, then that will satisfy us. But if you do not take up those components of the program and come forward, then we will be the first people to tell you.

I say to the hon. gentleman, there are all kinds of rumours floating around, but let me just say to him that there is not a definite price to put on it. We want a solution to the problem, not a price tag.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: The minister is right, there are all sorts of rumours floating around about what the cost of a program is, what is available from the federal government. I do not think it is really incumbent on any of us to talk about rumours of what it might look like. I do not think it will help the cause in the long run. But I think it is important to talk about what the features of it would be.

You said in your statement yourself that the old program did not work, and it was not the fault of people in the Province, or especially those who were impacted by it. In a post-TAGS program, in terms of the administration of that program, what proposals have been made to the federal government that would make a new program work? Are we looking at a program jointly administered by, say, your department and the federal Department of Human Resources Development? Or are we looking at a program that would be administered like the old NCARP for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans? Or, thirdly, are we looking at a program where the federal government acknowledges its responsibility in terms of the funds required, necessary, and in turn then turning that over to the Province so the Province would be able to administer it 100 per cent? Could the Premier or the minister elaborate on that feature of a post-TAGS program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the minister has given a very good description of the range of measures that we would look for in a post-TAGS program. I would hope that the Leader of the Opposition, and all members of the House could agree that the kind of range talked about by the minister represents what we think would be a fairly complete response necessary to deal with the post-TAGS program. Indeed, we would say very strongly to the federal government that to respond to some of these measures but not all of these measures would, in our mind, be a great mistake. We need to deal with capacity, and capacity reduction, but also a variety of measures to assist those who have been affected in the broader economy.

I want to make something very clear that I hope all members would agree with, and that is this: The legal, the constitutional, the moral responsibility now to those who have been displaced from the fishery lies solely, legally, morally, politically, constitutionally, with the Government of Canada. That is where the responsibility lies.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, we have seen in recent days some people making the case - indeed, The Globe and Mail, my favourite newspaper, which is against Hibernia, against TAGS, against the seal hunt, against Churchill Falls; I mean, they want to send us all a one-way bus ticket to Mississauga. But, Mr. Speaker, we have seen the case made: If a mine closes, nobody provides assistance for the miners. This is the great logic at work that says that somehow we are wrong to seek or to expect some assistance for the collapse of the fishery.

A mine is a non-renewable resource, a mine is 100 per cent provincial jurisdiction. The fishery is a renewable resource, it is sustainable, and it is practically the only natural resource which in Canada's Constitution is 100 per cent the jurisdiction of the national government. So I am confident that the Leader of the Opposition, and I say this sincerely, will join me in saying it is not the role of the provincial government to take up the financial obligation of providing the assistance which is so clearly required to those who have been displaced. This is not a burden for the taxpayers of this Province, this is an obligation and a responsibility for Ottawa.

One more word and I will finish. The last time out when we faced this issue, the Government of Canada had an annual deficit of $42 billion and had very little in the way of surplus in the UI account. Today, four years later, there is no deficit, there is a massive surplus in the EI account and if we could afford to act with compassion and responsibility in 1993 with Canada having a $42-billion deficit, by God, we can afford it today when we have a surplus.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: The Premier is right. I mean, the changes in the UI fund which have led to massive surpluses occurred when you were in the federal government, Premier, that shortened the time frame in terms of ability to draw, and heightened the number of weeks required so that you could draw; I understand that, and the surpluses are astronomical in terms of the history of that fund. Clearly, there is money, the federal government has money. If it chooses to act, then it must act unilaterally and it must act in the interest of the country and particularly in the interest of those people who are impacted. I agree with him.

Just one more set of questions. We have talked about licence buy-out, we have talked about income replacement. Let us talk about, for example, early retirement.

As part of a program, has the Province put forward in terms of a feature - and you may or you may not have, that is why I am asking the question - that in terms of early retirement, would we see the age drop from fifty-five to fifty? Would that be a feature that the Province would like to see or, is it too early to tell yet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, with respect to that particular question, I would have to say to the hon. member, it is too early to tell. But I can tell you that the last go 'round - this was an option when I had a different hat and a different job in another place - that I put on the table, which was at that time, taken up not so much by Newfoundlanders; because we have to remember, while we are the largest jurisdiction impacted by the collapse of the fishery, and therefore, the largest jurisdiction taking up the range of measures included in the old Atlantic Groundfish Strategy, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and I would suggest, in any future series of programs, British Columbia would be a player. So the notion that this is a Newfoundland and Labrador problem, is not true. That is the other great `lie', if I may use that word, Mr. Speaker, I do not direct it at any one individual or any one institution but that is the other great `myth' out there, that this is a Newfoundland and Labrador problem.

Mr. Speaker, our distinction simply happens to be that we are the jurisdiction most impacted. We would be quite happy not to have that distinction but we have it; but this is a Canadian problem that impacts Canadians more in Newfoundland than it impacts Canadians anywhere else, and the notion put about in The Globe and Mail that this is a Newfoundland and Labrador problem is false. It is a problem for Canada, for Canada's Government; it affects Canadians and most of those affected live here. But yes, early retirement is a must in my judgement and we would be open to discussing fifty or fifty-five, but of course, that will depend upon the discussions amongst all of the governments affected because it takes the participation with respect to that particular program of provincial governments under the early retirement measures.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: One last question with respect to a post-TAGS era or program that I will put forward to government today because there are other members who would like to certainly have questions for government in other matters.

We all know that a feature of the old program involved training or retraining. We have all heard the horror stories associated with retraining and training. I would like to ask the Premier or the minister: If there is a component of retraining or training in the new TAGS or the new program or the post-era program, will it involve provincial control 100 per cent, because I think that is necessary; and secondly, will it involve in some meaningful way the training of individuals for jobs that are there, not for jobs that are not there?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would be very happy to hear the representation of the Leader of the Opposition that he has just made - I am saying this seriously - with respect to the question of training.

The Leader of the Opposition has offered the view and the opinion that any training component should be 100 per cent, if I have heard him right, under the jurisdiction of the Province. Is that what I heard?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: Yes, and there is an argument to be made there; and the argument, I think, would probably flow along the lines that the last time it was administered by the Department of Human Resources Development, Ottawa, and there were many, many problems - some successes, we would all acknowledge, but many, many problems. Therefore, how could those, arguably, closer to the scene, those of us here in the Province, play a greater role?

I would say today to the Leader of the Opposition, we would be quite open to hearing any suggestions or ideas in that regard, but I would not be prepared to commit today, that the Province would take over the responsibility for co-ordinating, orchestrating, designing and delivering training because there would be, obviously, a very substantial cost associated with that. But this is something, certainly, that I think we should discuss and we should explore.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for The Minister of Environment and Labour. Mr. Speaker, on October of 1997, I wrote a letter to The Minister of Environment and Labour, as well as to The Minister of Health with regard to the smoke stack at the Grace Hospital and the soot/ash problems, as a result of burning Bunker C fuel.

In February of this year, Mr. Speaker, The Minister of Environment responded to my letter advising that the most prominent soot/ash problems occur just after the Bunker C burners are repaired and reinstalled.

When in normal operating mode, he said, there are very little, if any problems with emissions at the facility. Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister if he could explain to us, then, the reason that the residents are experiencing problems on a regular weekly basis. With soot/ash-covered cars, linen soiled while hung on the line, filthy windows, patios, sidings on their homes, not to mention the fact that parents are complaining that when wiping the noses of their children, the tissues are covered with soot.

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

MR LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I cannot answer that particular question today, but what I will do for the member is go back to the officials in the department, the people who monitor the conditions at that particular stack and others, to see if they have the details there to answer that question, and if not, to investigate into monitoring to see what is the problem.

I act on the advice that they give to me, and when I write back, obviously, the minister did not go down to inspect the stack, it was on the advice that was given to him. So what I give to you is what has been given to me, and I have to trust their judgement in that. But I will go back and be vigilant and see what the answer to that question would be.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Speaker, I attended a meeting last night in my district and many of the people who attended that meeting, say that they have been in contact with the Department of Health and Environment, on a regular basis complaining about this now for the last three, four or five years.

In the center of a residential area, in an effort to save money, the government has resorted to burning Bunker C fuel, a dirty fuel that emits dirty emissions, at the risk to people's health, not to mention property damage. I ask the minister if he could tell us if he feels that these savings are worth it when the government has put people's health at risk.

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

MR LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I cannot answer the question that the member just posed. I do not know if they have changed over the last two, three, or four years, since the Liberal Administration have taken over, or if that was the Bunker C that was there for the seventeen years that the former Administration was there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR LANGDON: I would have to go back, Mr. Speaker, to check and see. But I am sure it is not the directive from the Minister of Health to the St. John's Health Care Corporation to buy Bunker C, so that we could pollute and endanger the lives and safety of people who live around the Grace Hospital.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Alright, Mr. Speaker, I ask if the minister can perhaps answer this question. Will the minister tell the House that the government will take responsibility for their actions and reimburse residents for damage to their property, and furthermore, for potential liability for health problems that people may face as a result of the government burning Bunker C fuel?

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

MR LANGDON: No, Mr. Speaker, we will not do that. As I said to you earlier, I will go back to the people in the department and see what the practice has been over the years. But I am sure that as a custodian of workplace safety and the health of the people in the workplace and people in that surrounding, we will do everything that we can, within our jurisdiction and power, to ensure that the people in the area do have good quality air. If there are any problems there, we will monitor, and if there is anything we can do to correct them in co-operation with the Health Sciences, with the board, then we will do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Education, and it concerns some of the 11,000 students who are attending private colleges in this Province. The ninety paralegal students who lost their school yesterday are victims of the government's policy.

I want to ask the minister first off two questions: Will the minister compensate these students who lost their school yesterday by refunding their tuition, which is what happened to the fourteen students who complained in December about the quality of instruction, the availability of equipment, and the quality of the courses they were taking at that institution? Will the minister compensate those students by refunding their tuition? They cannot get it now from the institution.

Can the minister also say what assurance he can give to the 11,000 students across the Province, in some of the sixty-plus other private institutions, that their programs are not susceptible to the same kind of economic problems as were experienced by the paralegal institute?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the question again. Before I answer, however, maybe you would like to seek to put the answer in context, because I know the hon. member will follow up with a supplementary.

As I understand it, and the hon. member can correct me if I am wrong, these two questions are asked in a context - and I am going to answer the two specific questions - from the leader of a party whose policy position is that there should be no private training institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador. I would like that clarified. If that is the case, or if it is not the case, he can let me know, and then I will answer the specific questions.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will just add another question to the two that I just asked. I know this is Question Period and not answer period.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. HARRIS: The minister knows my position on this, because he has heard me on open line saying that not all the courses in all the colleges are bad.

Given the fact that since this issue was first raised in this House there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints about private colleges in this Province brought to the attention of his officials in the public forum and elsewhere, will the minister not agree that a time has come for there to be a full-scale inquiry into the role of private colleges in providing post-secondary education in this Province, and the role of his department in monitoring and controlling that situation?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do understand from comments I have heard made publicly by the hon. member, who is the Leader of the New Democratic Party, that the view of that party is that every post-secondary training option in existence in this Province should be somehow subsidized by the public purse, and that there should not be private training institutions in this Province. That is what I have understood and, again, in asking the next question he might clarify that as being true or not.

I say that because there have been other questions asked by others in the House, old `coppertop' himself, in a party that suggests that they do support private training but are opposed to one or two institutions. That is different.

The issue is this: Would there be compensation for the students involved in this unfortunate closure of an institution yesterday? The answer is no. Because as was suggested yesterday, the work of the Department of Education in being vigilant and being concerned for these students, and the students only, is that every one of them is being offered an opportunity to continue with the full training for which they signed up.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, if that is the circumstance, if a student - in this instance it happens to be training as a paralegal - has contracted with a private training institution to do a paralegal course, and albeit their study is interrupted for two or three days this week, they are being told that by Monday of next week the expectation is that they will continue on and fully complete the training for which they have paid money, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: That has been the role of the government. Why would we or anybody else - or why would members opposite, Mr. Speaker, might be the real question - be suggesting to these students that they should go out and try to get their money back? They are going to get the training that they volunteered for, that they sought out, Mr. Speaker. They sought out this course. No one went to them and said: You should go to become a paralegal. You must train to be a paralegal.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. GRIMES: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

This was a personal choice decision by students made after they investigated the options, and they are going to get every bit of training that they bargaining for and purchased. It will be delivered to them, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.


Orders of the Day
Private Members' Day


MR. SPEAKER: It being Wednesday, I guess we will go -

The hon. the Member for Fogo & Twillingate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I hope they clap that loud when I am finished.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to start debate on a resolution that I hope all Members of the House of Assembly will support, as it is a non-partisan resolution, one that affects all members of the House because it represents the people in all your districts.

The resolution reads:

WHEREAS the recovery of the fishery is slower than expected and foreign quota reallocations are not the solution; and

WHEREAS families and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador are in crisis and independent, objective reviews of the impact of the groundfish closures, including the Harrigan Report and the Baker Report, clearly appreciate the enormous impact on rural areas in our Province; and

WHEREAS a continuation of TAGS, in its current form, is not a solution, and regular programming is unable to address the problem;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly calls upon the federal government to accept its responsibility and put in place a well-structured and substantive response program to replace TAGS which includes: income replacement, economic diversification, employment adjustment, training linked to job opportunities, early retirement options for older workers, and a licence buy-back program.

Mr. Speaker, to understand why I am standing here today, you really need to let me digress and tell you how we got here. Having worked as the Executive Assistant to the provincial Minister of Fisheries from 1989 until 1996, I can speak with some knowledge as to what has brought us here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: On July 2, 1992, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity, whether it be fortunate or unfortunate, to attend a meeting with the then provincial Fisheries Minister, Walter Carter, at the Cabot Building in downtown St. John's, where we met with John Crosbie who, at the time, was the federal Minister of Fisheries. This happened at around two o'clock in the afternoon, and at three o'clock, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Crosbie attended a meeting and went on the air in this Province and announced a two-year moratorium on the Northern cod stocks in this Province. Shortly after that, two more moratoria were introduced, one for the South Coast and one for the West Coast of our Province. Mr. Speaker, he virtually, with the stroke of a pen, closed the fishery which has sustained this Province for 500 years.

Mr. Speaker, while this was a bit of a shock that day, it was no surprise. Fishermen - we have some in the galleries here today - for years prior to that time had complained to the federal government that there was a need to do something, that there was a need to reduce quotas, because they had witnessed low catch rates and fish that were smaller and smaller each year.

Not only did the fishermen warn the federal government, Mr. Speaker, but provincial fisheries ministers, whether they be Tory or Liberal alike, warned the federal government in the late '80s and early '90s. Tom Rideout did it, Walter Carter did it, but it fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Speaker, many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians blame federal scientists for what has happened to our fish stocks, and while I agree to some extent, I do not support it fully. Personally, I do not think scientists were ever given the money or the wherewithal to determine how many fish were in the ocean.

I think those who should shoulder the blame totally for what has happened here are federal politicians, for not having the intestinal fortitude to do what was required of them back in the late '80s and early '90s, and that was to reduce fish quotas -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: - and to drive foreigners off the Nose and Tail of our Grand Banks.

They did not want to cut quotas for two reasons. One was because they did not know what to do with the people who would be displaced in the fishery due to these quota cuts. The other one is that they also paid too much attention to processors, fish companies, large fish companies in this country.

I remember distinctly, Mr. Speaker, a couple of days after Mr. Crosbie called a moratorium, sitting in Mr. Carter's office up here on the parkway, when a Newfoundland processor came in and begged for Walter Carter to go to the federal government and ask them not to close the fishery but to reduce the quota. Because to that fish processor it did not matter if we caught the last fish in the ocean as long as he made a dollar on it. As for foreign overfishing, the federal government did not want to upset foreign countries, afraid that we might not be able to sell wheat or other products to them.

Mr. Speaker, I remember another meeting with the federal Minister of Fisheries of the day, Bernard Valcourt, that great Canadian whom you all remember. When Mr. Carter asked him to reduce the quota on the Northern cod stock, Mr. Valcourt looked at him and said: No, I cannot do it because I do not know what to do with the people I would displace. I am not the minister of fish, I am the minister of people.

Well I ask Bernard Valcourt, where are the people today? I know where Mr. Valcourt is, but here are the people of Newfoundland. Some of them are in the gallery here today, looking at me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: I remember another meeting with Mr. Crosbie, when Walter Carter asked him if he could do something, send out the navy if need be, to drive the foreigners off the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. Mr. Crosbie actually laughed at him. He used to call him Wally. He said: Wally, you are crazy, boy. You will start a Third World War. I cannot do it.

I guarantee you, we left there and went to the Opposition of the day. I guarantee you, when we asked for a commitment that if they were elected - Brian Tobin and Jean Chrétien - if they would send out the gun boats to protect our fishery, and the answer was: Yes, we will do it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: They lived up to that commitment, Mr. Speaker, and we actually fired shots across the bows of foreign boats that we drove off the Nose and Tail of our Grand Banks.

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to stand here today and be political. I am just recounting incidents that I have witnessed in the last two or three years. I am not blaming it on federal Tories. I am blaming it on federal Tories and federal Liberals back in the '80s and early '90s who would not pay attention to what we were saying in this Province.

What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that the federal government had and still holds complete jurisdiction over the fish in our waters. We have no control. The only control that we have, as a Province, is the licensing of fish plants and the inspection of fish plants. If the fish is alive and in the water, it is controlled by the federal Department of Fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, they jealously guarded their responsibility and they managed the fishery so inadequately that we arrive at where we are today. Look at the state we are in today: hundreds of communities and thousands of people thrown out of work, on the streets.

Back in 1992, when Mr. Crosbie signed the moratorium form saying there would be no fishing on the East Coast of Newfoundland, it was just the same, Sir, as if he issued a work-stop order for the people in the thirty-eight towns in my district. And it was not just my district. It was districts from St. John's to St. Anthony, from St. Anthony to Rose Blanche, and from Rose Blanche to Petty Harbour. People say St. John's. People forget that in 1989, 1990, 1991, there was a fish plant on the south side. It employed 400 or 500 people. Where is it today?

I remember when 1,200 people were employed on the Bonavista Peninsula, in Port Union - 1,200 jobs - people who worked year round, who went to work, planned their future, planned their holidays, planned their three weeks off. And with the stoke of a pen these people were told: Go home, we don't need you any more.

In all, Mr. Speaker, some 28,000 Newfoundlanders were thrown out of work in the past few years. Since that time not a lot has changed, except that a number of the people who were put on the income support program that was put forward by the federal government have come off now, and the rest are scheduled to come off between now and August of this year unless something is done.

Mr. Speaker, it is for this reason that I stand today, to encourage the Government of Canada to live up to its responsibility and its obligation to the people of the coastal communities in our Province. It was they who mismanaged the fishery, and it is they who have to be held responsible.

Both the Harrigan and the Baker reports recognize the responsibility and the impact it has had on the rural communities in our Province. It is now time for them to act. But, Mr. Speaker, I don't think for one minute that the simple reallocation of foreign fish quotas is going to be the answer. The simple fact is, the only reason there are foreigners fishing inside the 200-mile limit today is the fish stocks that are in excess of our needs. We don't fish grenadier and silver hack. We don't do it because it is not economically viable for us to do it. So that is not the answer, to take the few grenadier and shove them through the fish plants of Newfoundland. It is not going to help us. We need something more than that, Mr. Speaker. We need the federal government to implement a well structured and comprehensive program to replace TAGS. As I said earlier, this should include income replacement, economic diversification, employment adjustment and training linked to job opportunities, early retirement for older workers, and a licence buy-back program.

Mr. Speaker, I know that there are problems with the current TAGS program. I know that when you say education and training, a lot of people laugh and say that we have enough hairdressers now. But, Mr. Speaker, that is not to say that that education program, that training component, was a total waste of money.

One gentleman in my district used the opportunity to go back to the fisheries college up there on the hill to become a captain. Today he is working as a captain on a boat. I know a girl who left the fish plant and got a degree on this program. She is working today.

I know there are some problems, and a number of people have come to me and asked me to make it known - see if you can make it known - where all this money was spent, who received the most of it, because I think the idea on the mainland is that fisherpeople of this Province took this money and blew it.

I, for one, do not think for a minute that all the money was blown by the fisherpeople of this Province. There are others who received dollars in this as well as the fisherpeople, and maybe we should have a look at a report that states categorically where all this money went.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to sit down now and let some other gentlemen speak. I will close debate later on this afternoon, but before I do - this is a bit of a strange thing to ask, Mr. Speaker, but with the leave of the House I would like to amend my own resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave to amend the resolution?


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. G. REID: I would like to amend the resolution to state, at the end of the resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an all-party committee of the House of Assembly convey this Province's concern to all federal political caucuses in Canada.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The amendment the hon. member made to his resolution is in order.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am happy today to be able to stand and take part in this debate here in the House of Assembly. I commend the Member for Twillingate & Fogo for bringing such an amendment forward. I can assure him he won't have any problem getting support for his private member's resolution on this side of the House, including the amendment.

When I heard the Member for Twillingate & Fogo speak about his involvement in the fishery, how he attended this meeting with the minister and another meeting with the minister, I was reminded of my own involvement in the fishery. My involvement, I say to the Premier, was with a pair of rubber boots on. My involvement, I say to the Premier, was getting up in the morning and going to work at a fish plant. My involvement was going to work in places like Gaultois, Williams Harbour, Black Tickle, Harbour Breton, Charleston, South Dildo. Those were the places where I fed my family, I say to the people opposite. Those were the places where I went to work, and was very proud to be a fish plant worker.

One time if you worked in the fish plant you made paltry wages, you were looked down on, you were somebody who left school. You were a drop-out. The fish plant was the place to go of last resort. It was the place to go when you couldn't find anything else to do. That has all changed. The people working in fish plants today, and the people working in fish plants in 1992, had very good jobs, made very good money. Thanks to the unions, of course, the unions played a big part in it.

The member referred to Port Union. Twelve hundred people went to work in that fish plant. Another 500 worked at the (inaudible) plant there. If you were in that town when the whistle blew at twelve o'clock, you had better get out of the way because people were moving. It was a busy town, it was a vibrant town, and people were happy to have a job. They worked year-round, they planned their holidays, they took their vacations, their families were looked after. You go out there today and you will hear stories of fifty-two businesses that are after closing since 1992.

I relay a story to the Premier, where I went in my district the other day and there was a collection being taken up for the fire department. It was having an annual auction. They called me and asked if I would make a donation. I said: Yes, what I will do is buy $25 worth of gas from the three service stations that are in the community, and you can give it out as a prize, $75.

I went and did it in two service stations. The last one I went into, I put my credit card down. I asked: Can I put $25 worth of gas on my credit card? The owner of the service station looked down at the card and he looked up at me, and he looked down again, and he hung his head and said: No, I'm sorry, I can't do it. I asked: What's wrong? My money no good here? He said: I have been in business since 1967. The banks called me half an hour ago. I am out of here tonight. There will be no gas here after 10:00 tonight. I have been in business since 1967, it is the only job I know. Where do I go the next day?

That is a frightening way to find yourself, somebody who is fifty, fifty-five years old, in business for the past thirty years. He has his house put up as security on his service station. He may not have worked in the fish plant, but his business was directly related to the revenue that was being generated from that particular fish plant.

Those are the stories that are told. The Government House Leader attended the meeting down in Tors Cove when Mr. Baker and his Standing Committee of the House of Commons were there. A gentleman got up and pleaded before the microphone for somebody to listen. People are sick and tired of telling their story. Eugene Harrigan. Somebody from Ottawa came down here and one of the ministers said: It is wonderful to have a minister from Ottawa, a person from Ottawa, come down and listen to our story, because they do not understand.

Premier, how often do those people have to tell their story? How often are we going to belittle those people to come forward and beg Ottawa? And you sit down, Mr. Minister, and say: Today I wrote a letter. Today I wrote a letter.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I commend you for doing that - don't get me wrong, I commend you for doing that - but I do not think it is enough. I think if we have to make a pilgrimage, each one of us here, to go up and meet with Mr. Pettigrew, to go up and meet with Mr. Martin, to meet with the Prime Minister, we have to demand that for the 18,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are presently getting an income from this particular program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I remember NCARP, when that program was first brought about. There was in excess of $1 billion put forward for approximately eighteen months, and then the TAGS program came in May of 1994. The now Premier, the then Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, made the big announcement down at Hotel Newfoundland, $1.9 million over five years. The minister was told at that time that the program was underfunded. He was warned at that time there was not enough money there in order to carry out the program. Mr. Speaker, it was not long after that before people were told, now that there is another program being brought in, now you must apply. You have to apply now to be qualified for a TAGS program. Okay, everybody on NCARP now had to apply.

Some people did not qualify. Because you did not qualify, you were told then you could appeal. So you appealed to the same people who disqualified you in the first place. That was not good enough. The government of the day said: What we are going to do now is hire some people to travel across the Province so that you can come forward and have your appeal heard.

I do not know one person who left those appeals without thinking that they were going to be put back on the program, but finally the same letter came again: I am sorry, you do not qualify.

Then the now Government House Leader, if I recall correctly, and the former Member for Eagle River, made a trip to Ottawa and said: This is not right; we need another appeal. We need a chance for those people to be able to come and try to get on this program again. So they said: Okay, we are going to allow you another appeal. We are going to give you an address with a post office box on it. Nobody knew who was on the appeal board. There was no telephone number, no address; it was a phantom group. You could not appear in person.

That is the way that our fishermen and fish plant workers were treated in order to get on this particular program. That is the way they were treated, Mr. Speaker, and we wonder today why those people are upset.

Then we found out that the government of the day did make a mistake; they did under fund the program. So, what did they do? Now we are going to take a year's pay, we are going to take a year's wages away from you.

How many people would be sitting over there today, or over here, if you were told that you were going to lose next year's salary? How many people would be sitting here today? You would be out there trying to get on CBC Television, and you would be out there trying to get on the radio, in order for somebody to listen and talk about this deed that has been done to you. That is what was done to those people here. A full year's wages were taken from every fish plant worker and every fisherman included in this program in the beginning.

I am a little bit ahead of my story, Mr. Speaker, because when those time frames were passed out, people with long-term attachment to this industry were denied the full five years because somebody had the initiative to go away and try to keep bread and butter and body and soul together for a year when the fishery could not support them. Women off on maternity leave were denied the program for a full year. People on Workers' Compensation and people who were on sick leave were taken off this program, some of them with eighteen, twenty and twenty-five years' attachment to this fishery. And you say that is right?

So what did some of our fish plant workers and our harvesters do? They said: Nobody is listening; we have to protest. We are going to go down on Water Street and occupy the HRD building there.

So a group of them got together and went down and tried to bring their plight to the attention of the decision makers of this country. Then they went and occupied the federal minister's office. What happened to them? You tell me that we are living in a democratic country today when you cannot go out and demonstrate peacefully? They did not go down and take the computers and throw them out the window. They did not go down and break up the furniture. They did not go down there and destroy anything.

AN HON. MEMBER: Maybe that is why they didn't get listened to.

MR. FITZGERALD: Maybe that is what it will take.

They went down, Mr. Speaker, and demonstrated by having a sit-in. They sat peacefully in those offices. The next thing you know, the telephone call was made whereby you have to vacate the premises. We are going to take you out. They were arrested. They were charged. Our own government today charged those people for trying to get something that was rightfully theirs, and we are wondering today what all the excitement is about. We are wondering today, Mr. Speaker, why those people are demonstrating, why they are coming out and having public meetings. There are very good reasons for that, and those are some of them, Mr. Speaker.

Before I run out of time, Mr. Speaker, I too would like to move an amendment to the hon. member's resolution. My amendment will read: To move that the resolution now before the House is amended by adding immediately after the first resolve:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this House of Assembly calls upon the federal government to make provision for and to announce immediately the extension of the current TAGS income replacement program until May of 1999 conclusion date, that was an integral part of the federal government's original commitment to TAGS recipients; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that former TAGS recipients who have long-term attachment to the fisheries, and who have been taken off the program because of illness, injury, maternity leave, or other such reasons, should be immediately reinstated into the current TAGS program and include any programs that might follow.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker -

PREMIER TOBIN: Are you including the NCARP program too?

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I am talking about the current TAGS program. I am talking about the people who have been taken off the current program. This resolution and the resolution that was put forward by the Member for Fogo & Twillingate have nothing to do with the NCARP program, I say to the Premier. It has nothing to do with that whatsoever.

Mr. Speaker, the member also talked about foreign fishing. There has been all kinds of arguments in this House here as to whether George Baker's figures are right or whether the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture's figures are right. There have been all kinds of arguments here as to the quotas that has been allowed foreign fishermen and to the quotas that has been taken from them. Look, I don't know if we can open one fish plant, I don't know if we can open two fish plants, if we can employ twenty people or 200 people, but I say to the government opposite: If we can create one job by stopping foreign fishing, by getting away from this foolishness in saying that we have fish stocks in excess of our needs, if we can create one job then let's do it!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: I say to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo that if roundnose grenadier and argentine are not something that we can fish profitably, then maybe they might be a food stock for something that we can fish profitably. Maybe it might be a food stock. Today with as many people as we have on the TAGS Program, and Unemployment Insurance, I do not think we can afford to have one fish caught inside our 200-mile limit.

MR. EFFORD: How about tuna?

MR. FITZGERALD: Tuna, absolutely, I say to the minister. When you look at tuna being worth approximately $25,000 a fish and, in the last report that was put forward by the Newfoundland Herald, where tuna is sold, parts of the tuna fish is sold in excess of $50 an ounce, Mr. Speaker, over in Japan, then I do not see how we can allow those foreign boats to come here and fish 113 tonnes of tuna on an annual basis, when our own Province here is only allowed to fish 35 tonnes.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: That is disgraceful and it should not be allowed to happen as long as we have people here unemployed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member who moved the motion today. I thought he spoke most eloquently and, in fact, I believe I can say on behalf on many members in this place, it is one of the finest speeches we have heard in this House in a very long time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member who has just spoken for his speech as well. He speaks as somebody who has had, like the mover of the motion, direct participation in the fishery during the course of his life, and I appreciate the passion and commitment that he brings to this cause.

Mr. Speaker, I rise - I did not intend to speak today, but I rise to ask that this House, on this issue, this day, given that it is late, we are now into the spring. We have a program that was set to expire originally this spring - it has been extended, we now know, until August. Who knows, it may be extended to the end of 1999 and if it is - perhaps that is one of the options that is being considered by Ottawa - even if it is extended to the end of 1999, and I do not know if it will, or will not be, it does not solve our problem. It does not provide a longer-term solution. We have to be very careful, and I am a bit nervous that somebody in Ottawa does not hear a declaration - and I know that is not the member's intention, but I am saying to him, I have been to Ottawa -that we do not hear a declaration from the House: extend the Program to 1999 and Ottawa says, "Okay, we will do it," and that is the end of the problem.

Let me say something else that is beginning to concern me a great deal. This notion that if we extend the Program to the end of 1999 and we stop all - not that there is much going on - but we stop all foreign fishing in our waters and give those quotas over to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, then we have solved the problem.

I do not know how many people understand what it is we are talking about when we talk about foreign quotas being caught in Canadian waters. In principle, it sounds perfectly logical to say, give us that fish and we will go fishing ourselves.

What are we talking about, Mr. Speaker? I had the job at one time of looking at some of those so-called quotas and looking at what their value was to Canada, and I also had the job of sitting around the table talking to all of the other NAFO member states, and being at a meeting in Brussels, where we had to get the votes from the NAFO meeting that allowed Canada to walk away with the lion's share of the turbot quota; that allowed Canada to win a resolution to put a moratorium on 3N0 cod; that allowed Canada to win the votes to carry on the moratorium on the flat fish stocks, flounder stocks and cod stocks in our offshore waters.

Mr. Speaker, I remember those debates and those battles very well. I remember who voted for us at those meetings and I remember who voted against us at those meetings. Mr. Speaker, let it be clear, who was in the room. While I was minister, and I believe it is still the case today, Canada's negotiating committee had a representative of the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, we were in the room. The union was in the room, part of the negotiating committee, the industry was in the room, every single meeting on every single issue that took place. It was not a federal negotiator, it was a committee made up of the union, of the Provincial Government, and of the industry from Newfoundland, and elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, and every position taken was taken after seeking the advice, and having the consent, of that negotiating committee.

Mr. Speaker, when we say - and on the surface it appears to be logical - let us kick out the foreigners who are catching silver hake, well, who is catching silver hake? Fishermen know who is catching silver hake off the Scotia shelf, off Nova Scotia. Who is catching it? Cuba is catching it. That is who is catching silver hake. Why are they catching silver hake? Because there is a big quota. I do not remember the numbers anymore, but the last I recall was in the range of 30,000 metric tonnes, which is offered up to Canadian industry, Canadian fishermen, Canadian processors, the vast majority of which nobody wants because there is no price for it.

What do the Cubans do with the silver hake they catch? Do they sell it? No. They take it back to Cuba and they feed some of the poorest people in this hemisphere. They feed themselves with silver hake. That is what they do it. They take it and they use it. It is a socialist society. It has a form of government that we do not agree with. They are amongst the poorest people in this entire hemisphere. They feed themselves. They do not compete with us, they do not enter markets against us, they do not sell a product that we are selling, they do not catch a product that we want to catch, they do not process a product that we want to process. They come in rusty, broken-down boats, under very difficult conditions, and they feed themselves.

Cuba has been with Canada when they were under the gun, when they were being threatened by the big, powerful 300 million, fifteen-country European Union: Don't you dare vote with Canada, they were told, because we are big and we are powerful. I can tell you those meetings got rough. Cuba voted every single time with Canada, and now we are going to say, without thinking it through, to that country: We do not catch the fish, we do not want it, we do not need it, it is of no interest to us, but, by God, you are not going to feed yourselves with it.

Mr. Speaker, I say to you, all I am asking of all the members is think through each of these species. Let us talk about tuna. Tuna is a highly migratory species. What does that mean, "highly migratory species"? It means something that every fisherman can tell you. The various tuna stocks -in this case bluefin tuna, which is what is moving through the waters here of Newfoundland and into Nova Scotia, St. Mary's Bay, St. Margaret's being one of the prime capturing spots, an area called the `Hellhole' being the most prolific spot in Nova Scotia - tuna swim the oceans of the world. It is not a stock like our cod stock which stays roughly on our Continental Shelf, moving in and over the line, available to us only.

Tuna swims the world. It is an incredible animal. It moves around the planet, and for that reason there is an international commission established, of which Canada is a member, which manages internationally the tuna stock. Because you can catch the tuna in Canada, or the United States, or in South America, or somewhere else in the world. Every single member of that international commission has a part of the quota. What the commission does is meet to ensure that during the migration pattern of the tuna, no one country catches more than its share and in the process kills off these fantastic tuna stocks.

They are managed worldwide, the meetings are international, the quotas divided internationally. So when we see a Japanese tuna boat in St. John's - anybody who has been down at the waterfront sees those vessels, they tie up down at the east end of the harbour; they are white boats, they have kind of a flashing bow on them. When you see those boats in the Harbour, they are not catching Canadian quotas, they are catching Japanese quotas. The Japanese will take their quotas in Canadian waters, their share of an international, highly migratory species, or they will take them in somebody else's waters. We are not giving them quota, we are not giving them an ounce, because the fish swims in Canada and it migrates outside of Canada, and they can catch it here or they catch it somewhere else.

Captain Don Whelan, sitting behind me, is nodding his head, because Captain Don Whelan knows what I am talking about. The only issue for us is, are we going to close Canadian waters to the Japanese, who traditionally have taken part of their international quota here at certain times of the year, or not. I can tell you that when it came to the NAFO meetings -

AN HON. MEMBER: We will not get them.

PREMIER TOBIN: We will not get the extra quota, no, we are not entitled to it. All we can do is kick the Japanese out, I suppose, but they are going to catch those same poundage - those same tonnage, somewhere else, and they are entitled to it. Or else we can say it is a free-for-all, every country catch all the tuna they can catch until there is no more tuna.

But we know what will happen if we do that. We are a living experiment from what happens when you do that, we in Canada. So this is an international management system for a highly migratory species.

Mr. Speaker, those are the facts. On tuna and on Japan, Japan has voted with us consistently on every single conservation proposal that Canada brought to the table at NAFO. Every one, on the famous vote, the vote that tipped it in our favour, that gave us the quota, that took away from the European Union the right to catch turbot, the right in the process of catching turbot that had killed the last of the cod stocks, as they were doing with their illegal nets, their illegal liners and their two sets of books and their two sets of logs and their deceitful fishing practices; the country that said: "Enough is enough," and voted with us - the Japanese, they voted with us.

I remember Mr. (Inaudible) who is the Deputy Minister of Russia, who is now the Minister of Fisheries in Russia, promoted just recently by the Yeltsin Government, saying of the fishery in Atlantic Canada, saying of our fishery - it is like a drowning man, he said, and we have to throw a life ring, a life raft, we have to have a moratorium, and I remember the Europeans threatening him. And he is a big bear of a man and he does not threaten very easily.

We need to understand in this House, that in the real game of managing international fisheries, where there are millions of dollars at stake, where Spain, for example, has a massive deep-water, distant water fishing fleet, hungry for fish to keep them going, there is great power and great influence and great persuasion brought to bear to have these other nations of the world vote against Canada.

And it is only because Canada has finally decided that no longer will we trade off the fisheries of Atlantic Canada and the interests of Atlantic Canadians, so we can sell a few more tons of wheat - and yes, the interests of our fishermen are as important as the interests our farmers and our manufacturers in Ontario - it is only because of that that we began to stand up and take a hard line. And, by God, when the time came, we needed friends who understood us and would stand with us around the table, and we had it with the Cubans and we had it with the Japanese.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the House, it is easy to stand here, very popular to stand here, very popular to be in a full hall, in a rural community and to say let us pound out the foreigners, let us beat them into the ground, let us throw them out. Let us get back all our fish, let us take everything they are catching and process it at home. But there is not a single fisherman - now, for the uninformed ear, for the person who lives in the city of Corner Brook or Mount Pearl or St. John's, who lives along the Trans-Canada Highway, would not know a flatfish from a sculpin, it sounds good - but there is not a single plant worker or fisherman who knows anything about this industry who is going to believe that the solution to our problem is recapturing a few pounds of product, in some cases that we either a) do not own, or b) cannot use, and that is going to solve our problem.

Mr. Speaker, it takes political will. I am very proud to stand here today - and, by the way, I am not attacking the member, I just ask us to be careful and work together on this. But if in the process of getting one so-called job, like processing silver hake -and, by the way, there is unused silver hake quota, the member should know, that nobody is using. The quota is there, the science is there, nobody has taken it. So we can take all that we want.

Look, if there is anything that we can utilize, we should utilize. But let us be careful. Let me say this to the members: I have been in Ottawa, I know how they think in Ottawa. I do not want them to believe that giving us species that we do not want, can not use, have never used, or extending this program a few more months is going to solve the problem, because, by God, it will not solve the problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to finish my remarks. This is about political will, Mr. Speaker, this whole issue is about political will, about doing what is right. It is not a debate here in this House. We can have a debate, we can be foolish enough, I suppose, to make one. This is not a fight between Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It is not a fight among Newfoundlanders, Labradorians and the people of Quebec or Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick or between the people of Atlantic Canada and the people of Pacific Canada. That is not what the fight is about. It is not between Liberals and Tories, Mr. Speaker; that is not what it is about nor what it should be about, and we will lose a tremendous opportunity to have our voice heard if we are not able to put aside for a moment, our own political considerations, to rise to the challenge to speak with an effective voice on this issue. This is about will.

This is about whether or not Canada works the way it ought to work, about whether the Federation functions the way it should function. And I do not mind saying today, that in his day, as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans - and we can sit and I can find fault with some of my predecessors and I am sure they can find fault with me, but that is not going to solve anything today. In his day, having to take the terrible decision, the burden of closing down the fishery when it became necessary, we can all argue about what happened before but there is no point today, leave that to the historians.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

PREMIER TOBIN: With leave?


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

PREMIER TOBIN: In his day, Mr. Speaker, when the burden of a terrible decision had to be made, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans of the day, John Crosbie, made that decision, and what a burden we can all imagine it must have been, to be the first in 500 years, to tell a place and a people that their traditional way of life, the very reason for settlement, had come to an end. Just imagine what went through his mind as the full weight of that decision blossomed, the full meaning of it blossomed, exploded, Mr. Speaker, into his consciousness.

Then the minister of the day had to go back and had to put the incredible proposition to his colleagues around the Cabinet table. Given their scope, given their frame of references to what happens, how economies are run, he had to put the incredible proposition to his colleagues around the Cabinet table that not only were we closing the fishery but that Ottawa must take the responsibility, that the national government managed it - the national government mismanaged it, the national government was responsible and the national government had to pay.

Now, he brought in a two-year program, announced it with the hope that in two years our traditional way of life would recover sufficiently, that after two years of assistance people could go back fishing, and everybody who was subject to that program prayed that that was true, that in a couple years they could get back on the water and, Mr. Speaker, that was not easy. That took will, Mr. Speaker, that took a minister sitting around the table with his colleagues at the time and having the will to make the case and to insist that people not avert their eyes from the responsibility they had.

Mr. Speaker, a few years later when that program ran out, we had to make that argument again. You had to make people look at the reality of Atlantic Canada and face up to the responsibility - and I was there at that stage with my colleagues from this Province - the responsibility we had, and face up to our responsibility, and we put in place the second program, $1.9 billion, and it had its problems, there is no question about that, but it put $1.9 billion, $2 billion into the economy of this Province and sustained tens of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada during a very difficult period.

So, Mr. Speaker, again, I say to the seven MPs from Newfoundland, and I say this to them irrespective of their Party or Party stripe, they are our members in the House of Commons. You know, in Ottawa, we do not have, like the U.S. Senate, equal representation, we have representation based on the size of one's population. We have seven out of 300-plus. They have an enormous challenge and, Mr. Speaker, we will not help them in their challenge if we are diverted from the substantive issue; and the substantive issue is this: The Northern Cod stock, the 2J+3kL cod stock, 99 per cent of the spawning biomass of that stock, 99-plus per cent, more than 99 per cent have disappeared and there is absolutely nothing to indicate that any time soon - and, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude in a moment - that that stock is going to recover.

So, Mr. Speaker, the truth is, a solution until next May, 1999 is not a solution. A solution that offers up the possibility of a handful of more jobs theoretically, from recapturing foreign quotas, is not a solution. We need a longer term solution. We need something that helps us to diversify our economy. We need to face the reality that some of our people - and I know the member opposite would agree with this, and we have to say it out loud and not be afraid to say it - some of our people who have traditionally been attached to the fishery are never again, in their lifetimes, based on what we know, going to be attached to the fishery again. We cannot hold out the false hope that anybody who was ever on the water or anybody who ever worked in a fish plant is going to go back to the fish plant or go back to the water, because it is a lie! And the most cruel thing we could say to people - because we do not have the courage to tell them the truth - is to make them believe that we are going to just keep them holding on for a few more years and something will happen. Mr. Speaker, all of the evidence tells us there is something different.

We have an obligation - we, in this House - to not only face up to the truth amongst ourselves, in our own private caucus rooms, but to say it out loud. The truth is, we need to restructure this industry. We need capacity reduction. We need to diversify this economy. We need investment in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and we need it over a sustained period of time or rural Newfoundland and Labrador is going to continue, as it has, to disappear. Who are the 10,000 people that left Newfoundland and Labrador last year and the 8,000 the year before and the out-migration we have seen in record numbers? They are the people who are the fall-out from the collapse of the fishery and have slowly been moved off the assistance programs but, Mr. Speaker, who - in the words of the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal - have one character and quality above all others! They want to work and they are gone to where the work is!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: So, Mr. Speaker, I say to this House - and I conclude. I had no intention of speaking today, Mr. Speaker. I did not think it was my time or place to speak today but I stayed in the House because I was so captured by the words of the Member for Twillingate & Fogo when he spoke and I was so captured by, in particular, the expression of the Member for Bonavista South when he talked about his experience working in a fish plant, that I felt something important was happening today, something very important. I felt that perhaps just for once the voice of the people of the Province, rather than our voices, were being heard and the feelings of the people of the Province, rather than our manoeuvering, political or otherwise, were taking precedence in this place.

Mr. Speaker, all I say to the members of this House is, let us not engage in the game of politics today. We can do it 364 other days of the year. Let us grab the moment -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I believe that all the members have spoken on both sides. Both the Member for Bonavista South and the Member for Twillingate & Fogo have spoken seeking to advance the cause of those who have been dislocated. I am merely making a plea, Mr. Speaker, and I hope it will be answered, today is not the day to write history. Today is the day to try to secure the future for the fishermen and for the fish plant workers of Newfoundland and Labrador who have been displaced, and let us work together in that good cause, Mr. Speaker, today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair would like to take the opportunity now before recognizing any hon. member, to rule that the amendment by the Member for Bonavista South is in order.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, stand to speak and pass my comments on this particular resolution here today. I do not intend to take up too much time on laying the finger of blame for what happened, at all. I think we all have a responsibility in what happened to our fish stocks. I do agree with the Member for Twillingate & Fogo and I agree with Dr. Art May, that it is not the civil servants, the public servants in this country who should be fired for what happened in the fishery - it is the politicians, where the buck stops, that hold responsibility for the fishery being where it is today. And if anything could be done, fire the politicians or recall them or use whatever methods are necessary within our democratic system to put the responsibility for where it lies. It is cheap, political tactics taken by - whether it is by Mr. Baker or whoever else, I do not agree with it. Elected politicians have to accept responsibility, and they might stand and be counted there, and pass it off on some people who are hired and directed and follow instructions of the politicians of the day. It is utter nonsense, it is a pile of baloney, you can call it, and it is hardly worthy of further comment on the issue at all.

We have to look at where we are heading. We know where we have been. We know what foreign overfishing and foreign fishing did, and we know what domestic fishing and domestic overfishing did, and the misreporting of catches, and catching in different areas, the using of liners in nets - all of these things that people did because they had to resort to it, because the people of the day, and the politicians of the day, did not listen to the cries of fishermen for the past fifteen years. Fishermen told me that they came in and they hauled up nets on trawlers and every mesh was full with a two-inch flounder, a two-inch yellowtail, every one, dragging over breeding grounds in the wintertime, uncontrolled access to the fishery. We destroyed the fishery off the shores of our Province, foreigners and domestic people, people who did not listen to the people out there who were only trying to make a living and earn a decent livelihood for their families.

While the Premier indicated the answer is not extended until 1999, and I agree that is not the long-term answer, but that Premier, when he was federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, gave a commitment to the people in this Province under the program that we had a five-year program, and they announced certain funding to that. People made their plans, people borrowed, people mortgaged, and people took on financial responsibilities based on that written letter of commitment. I think a written letter of commitment by an elected representative, by people working for the Government of Canada, should be considered a contract, and they should have to live up to the responsibilities around which people pattern their lives.

We have a responsibility as politicians to do something about that. I appeared before the Standing Committee of the House of Commons in Tors Cove. I made an oral presentation, and followed up with a written presentation. I addressed many of these things. Just preceding me, opening there, was the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal, the Minister of Fisheries, who talked about the history, where we have been and what has happened. I put forth, on behalf of our party, directions we should be proceeding in, where we should be going with a new program. Granted, while the people want TAGS extended until 1999, it does not necessarily mean we should stay with the same program. A replacement program that would serve the same purpose is equally acceptable to these people.

We have seen injustices under this program. We have seen people, and they are in every fishing district in this Province, who spent twenty-five years and more in the fishery who, under Workers' Compensation for one year - yes, for one year they went on Workers' Compensation - are being kicked off the program in May. Nothing against people who spent five full years in fishery. They met the criteria, they should meet the criteria, but someone who spent twenty-five years, the only year out of their life, and now they are kicked off a program, and their family with not one other cent of income to turn to?

That is wrong, and there was nothing in this system to allow for it. I say, the government of the day, the NCARP, provided for that. The NCARP provided historic attachment and allowed opportunities for people who were sick, on maternity leave, workers' compensation, whatever the reason, to stay on the program, but TAGS program did not. The Premier of this Province, as minister, at Hotel Newfoundland on April 20 1994 - and I attended - announced a $1.9 billion program under The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy, or the TAGS program as we know it today.

I said in this House on many occasions, in May 1994: There is not enough money in the program to go beyond three-and-a-half years. You changed the qualifying criteria from NCARP to TAGS. There is going to be an increase in people on the program from 26,000 to 39,000 roughly, and there is not enough dollars to carry it through. We went on and misled people into believing it would be there, and then we cut them short at the appropriate time. There are responsibilities we have to fulfil.

We looked at aspects of training, and it has been referenced on many occasions that the training did not accomplish what it was supposed to do. There were millions of dollars wasted by driving people into training programs. A new program under TAGS and new training, as alluded to here in the resolution, we have supported that and have stated publicly that we must continue to be able to train people.

But we have to be realistic, Mr. Speaker. Seventy-two per cent of the people on TAGS do not have a high school education; 72 per cent. Only one in four of these people are able to go on over the short term and pick up a training program. Others have to go through a more lengthy process of getting the equivalent of a high school education or some other basic training program. Many of these people, Mr. Speaker, are in their forties and fifties. There are people today in their fifties who will probably never get back into a fishing boat or work in a fish plant again.

It is not 100 per cent federal. This Province has participated in programs for early retirement on a 70/30 basis. This Province only needs to spend 30 per cent to participate in retirement programs. They did it for people fifty-five and over. I feel, in light of people in their fifties today with only a Grade VI or Grade VII education, it is either early retirement or a social welfare program for many of these people.

We have to look at our options, the people who have spent forty years working. My father fished from the time he was thirteen until he was seventy-two; fifty-nine years fishing. I grew up in a fishing community, in a fishing boat from the time I could walk. I spent twenty years in the industry myself, and I know a little about the things that the Premier talked about. Yes, foreign quotas and catching of under-utilized species, or species excess to our needs, cannot be done on a social basis, it must be done on an economic basis. If it cannot be done on an economic basis, it will not be done. It is no more than a program that is going to subsidize people to stay home, if that is the case.

There is another twist to foreign fishing, or foreign overfishing, whatever the case may be. That is, besides the directed fisheries that these people are carrying out, there are by-catches, and those by-catches, in many instances, are for species that are under the moratorium, that we cannot catch. We can't even go out and jig a fish for food purposes in this Province, when we are allowing foreigners to take by-catches of thousands of tons of species that there is a moratorium on here in our Province. That, to me, is not an acceptable alternative, to allow that foreign fishing here within the boundaries of our jurisdiction, within the 200-mile limit, and on the Continental Shelf I might add. That is not acceptable.

People debated balancing the social aspect with the health of the stocks. The last three years before the moratorium were three of the best years of inshore fishing in my district in some time. People made a fair amount of money, and there were very large catches from the inshore trap fishery; three of the better years. People couldn't understand why, on July 2, when we were led to believe the fishery would continue that year - the catches were high for the last three years. Harvesters invested heavily, spent tens of thousands of dollars to gear up for an expanded fishery, because we had three great years of the inshore fishery, in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Then, in July, when they were led to believe there would be a fishery, they got hung out to dry. And they had invested tens of thousands of dollars.

What do we do in the process? This provincial government, I might add - and this is a part of the program - are out now sending letters to people, that they are going to turn it over for collection to the Justice Department in five days, on a boat that has been high and dry since 1991, a boat now that is rotted and falling apart. They are going to collect on them. They owe the full amount, they cannot fish, they cannot pursue other species, they haven't got the boat size, they won't allow them to go up to that size, and now they are demanding that they pay up or we will confiscate it. And we will even go so far as telling them: We have the legal right to take it out of your spouse's income, or sell the assets that you have to repay that boat. That is what they are doing.

For people who have been crippled and damaged by a government, whether it is federal or whether it is provincial, there has not been any compassion shown at either level, I might add, for the people who are in this plight today.

In representing a predominantly fishing district, I have been around the fishery my entire life. I have been involved in representing people in 300 cases in appearance before appeal boards. I know what my colleague from Bonavista South talks about. How do you tell a person who is fifty, who lost a cheque two months ago, who has spent twenty-five years in the industry, who broke their leg and missed a year, that now you are gone from the program and your family has no income.

They don't understand why they spent a lifetime in the fishery and now, because someone got injured on the job... I will use one particular instance. An individual who worked for twenty-four years, worked in a fish plant nine weeks, and at the end of that ninth week got injured and did not get back to work for the rest of that year.

Now the criteria under TAGS - and this is an example to illustrate how people have been dropped out. It says if you had six weeks in a year you will qualify if you picked up four on one of those projects they provided for everybody who had six weeks or more. This person had nine weeks, was on Workers' Compensation and could not go to work on a project in the fall, and lost a year on the program with twenty-five years. It is these types of people.

Women on maternity leave missed a summer, the prime time in the fishery, and are now off the program. People who were sick, people who underwent surgery and just missed a portion of the year, did not qualify for that year after twenty-five years. You were not allowed ten weeks out of twenty-five years, to be able to miss, and it was ignored.

The TAGS program did not address it, and I say the NCARP program that preceded that by the previous government did address it. It did allow for those exceptional circumstances. I went to 200 appeals under that NCARP board, and under TAGS almost 100. It was different criteria, there were different tolerance levels. The reason why, from day one, because the government knew that $1.9 billion was not enough. They had to find ways to drive people off the program, and in doing so they drove people off the program who had invested a lifetime into the fishery and devoted their entire working lives. It was to the detriment of a small number of these people that did not get looked at under the program.

We want to see economic development in this new program. We support that, and I have talked about that. I want to see communities like Trepassey, for instance, an area that is devastated... Thirteen per cent of the people in Trepassey today are employed; 13 per cent. A town that had 1,480 people when its plant closed in 1980, today has 700-and-some people; people who beyond August of this year will not have an income. Sixty houses boarded up. Property values declined from $15 million to $10 million this year from the last assessment in a town that is on its knees for economic development opportunities to be able to sustain at least a reasonable way of life for the people in the area.

There are no young people there any more. There are people retired, people without a high school education, in their forties and fifties, who worked at a plant with 700 people in Trepassey. They came from all over the Province to live there, to build houses there, and now there are houses being sold for $3,000, $5,000 and $6,000.

These are some of the hardships under this program, and why it is imperative that a program has to address economic development in areas. It has to address how to deal with the impacts the moratorium has had on the way and the life of people in rural Newfoundland.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: By leave, just to finish up?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, they are some of the items, and my colleagues' too. I will not run over; I have only a few seconds to finish here. They want an opportunity to speak on this topic too.

I want to see this government - and you will get support from us here - put whatever pressure is necessary on the federal government, and here I want to emphasize, on the provincial government, to drive an early retirement. Because it is early retirement or it is a welfare program so that people, after forty years of work, can at least retire with some dignity, I might say, and look at people who have invested a lifetime in the fishery.

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

MS THISTLE: Thank you very much, Mr.Speaker.

I rise today to support my colleague, my seat mate, the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MS THISTLE: Yes, I just noticed that, Mr. House Leader.

Some people in this House today are probably saying: How come this member here, the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans, would be speaking today on a fisheries issue? I want to tell you how this fisheries issue affects the people in my district, the District of Grand Falls - Buchans.

The main industry in my district is pulp and paper. The biggest employer now is actually the health care system, whereas once it was the paper company. But the paper company is the next largest employer. I want to tell you about the effect that the cod moratorium has had on my district.

Most people around the Province think that it is only affecting coastal Newfoundland. Lots of days we get tired of hearing the rhetoric on the open line shows. We hear the same people telling you about their plight, about the TAGS issue, but do you know something? If we were in that situation we would do the exact same thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS THISTLE: I compliment and commend the people who have not given up that fight. Every day they are on the talk shows telling us, trying to drive home the message that they are a hurting society, and people are not listening.

Grand Falls - Windsor, which is the biggest part of my district, has a population of some 16,000 people. Mostly, Grand Falls - Windsor is really a service centre. We provide service to a radius of 75,000 people throughout the region. You know, when the people in the fishing industry do not come into Grand Falls - Windsor, we have a serious problem. Sometimes it is not noticed until we look around in our retail outlets.

I remember going into the mall before Christmas, the Exploits Valley Mall, and there was a jewellery store that had been there for years - I think it was there right from the time the mall opened - and I heard a rumour that it was going to close. Why was it going to close? Because, you know, people only spend money on jewellery when they have disposable income. It is a non-essential item. It is not like gas, groceries, and things like that. You do not go out and buy jewellery if you have to put food on the table first. That jewellery store in Grand Falls - Windsor employed some five or six people, and more at the busy peaks. That is one of the indirect repercussions of the cod moratorium.

Only last week I looked around and there was a building supply firm that had been in our town for probably twenty-five years, closing its doors. The reason why it was closing its doors was because construction, renovations, home improvements, are not taking place around coastal Newfoundland any more. People who are on the TAGS program are afraid to spend their money because they are looking at 1999, and what is going to happen to them.

Then you look at the car dealerships. Every fisherman drives a pick-up, and every fisherman has to have a pick-up when it comes time to go moose hunting in the fall. So, what is happening there today? The fishermen who were coming in to Grand Falls - Windsor buying their new pick-ups every two or three years are hanging on to their pick-ups now and are nursing them along; they are repairing them and hoping that they will get by with them. Also, the fishermen who were coming in to Grand Falls - Windsor to buy a new snow machine, a new outboard motor, new fishing gear, are not coming any more. They are hanging on to their money. There is no need for them to buy fishing gear. There is no need for them to buy rubber suits or rubber boots. These are the kind of things that are indirect for people who are in urban centres, but they are direct because they are affecting us.

Grand Falls - Windsor is a business community. Right now, in School District No. 5, we have a declining enrollment of 650 students. So, what is that doing to us? These are 650 students less in our system, so schools are closing and these 650 kids do not need to buy any clothes for next fall in Grand Falls - Windsor. They do need to buy anything because they are on the mainland somewhere.

A couple weeks ago, I went up to visit in the senior citizens' home. I was going along shaking hands, it was an official opening. I was saying: Okay, Mr. Smith - for instance - where are you from, and Mrs. Healey and Mrs. Quirk, or whoever. Do you know something? The majority of people in that senior citizens' home were not from Grand Falls - Windsor, they were from all over Newfoundland. It is a domino effect that is being created here. Seniors are afraid they cannot access the services that are out in rural Newfoundland any more. They are coming into Grand Falls - Windsor which might be good for our economy. We are becoming a senior citizens' haven and that is great. We welcome them with open arms. But, it is also destructive to their own communities. They are not there as taxpayers any more, they are not there as consumers any more, they are not there as leaders in their communities and they are not there as families any more. All these things are important, and it is showing up in the larger centres.

Also, in Grand Falls - Windsor, we have about six private training schools in addition to our College of the North Atlantic. When we do not have people coming in from coastal communities around us, who will sit in the seats of those colleges? Who will sit in the seats there, who will be out to our restaurants, who will be out to our movie theatre, who will skate on our stadium ice and who will go to the Arts and Culture Centre? Who will do all these things if we do not have people coming in from coastal communities to actually purchase and be consumers of the things that we have to offer?

Somebody said the other day: We depend on each other all over this Province; and we do. Our geography is so sparse, people are moving, you know, all over our Province. It is dense. When you look at this, sometimes there is rivalry between towns. Take for instance the Gander Airport. The Gander Airport is not an issue for Gander. The Gander Airport is an issue for all of Central Newfoundland, the entire Central Newfoundland. If we do not have an airport in Gander, we cannot get people to come into Grand Falls - Windsor to do business or we cannot get them to come into Springdale.

Just last week I heard that some of the services of the airlines are going to be cut back in Gander. Starting, I think, May 1, there will be a flight coming from Gander in the morning at 6:00 a.m.. Do you know what that means to me as the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans? That means that I have to get up out of bed at 3:00 a.m. in the morning to try to catch a flight in Gander to come out here and do business. What does that mean to someone down on the South Coast or someone in Springdale? I mean, we have to rally around each other, we have to support each other and say: This is not a Gander issue, this is a Central Newfoundland issue, and get together and support each other. So, what is happening in coastal communities around all of Newfoundland and Labrador affects every one of us.

I want to tell you about another industry that might be affected, that we are not thinking about today, and that is insurance companies. Who will be out there looking after the property that's left around rural Newfoundland? Who will insure it, if there isn't a fire department down there to protect it? Insurance companies are going to fold. Why would you want a property appraisal company if there are no properties to appraise?

We have two businesses like that now in Grand Falls-Windsor, property appraisals. What is that going to do to a company like that, if people are not going to be looking to renovate their homes and want to borrow new money, or even buy new properties? Everything has an affect on what is happening in rural Newfoundland.

I ask the question: Should the Government of Canada be responsible for this issue? I would have to say, yes, they should be responsible, and they should own up to that responsibility.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS THISTLE: This is a moral, social, and financial issue. It is tearing the lifeline out of our Province, it is tearing the guts out of rural Newfoundland, and we have to do something as an entire House of Assembly here today. We have to get behind this resolution, we have to support it 100 per cent. We can do nothing less. Whatever comes out of this resolution, it has to be meaningful. It has to be meaningful in the sense that there is some future for rural Newfoundland, there is some future for the people who are affected by it.

To say that there were useless training courses in the past, yes, some of them were useless. I would be the first to admit that, and I'm sure there are many around the Province who would say that. I think we have learned from that. Whatever comes out of this resolution here today, if it means we have to send a delegation to Ottawa, let's do it. If it means we have to take members from all sides of the House, put them together, and let us as a group represent what people are saying around this Province, let's do it.

I will tell you one thing, time is of the essence today. This is April 1 and it's no joke, let me tell you. We have to do something, and I would urge all members, in closing, to support this resolution. Let's get it off the back burner, let's get it on the front burner, let's get action and let's get it done.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I am delighted today to be able to rise on this particular motion put forward by the Member for Twillingate & Fogo. It's not only timely - and the Premier alluded to it earlier, about maybe it's not a historical day, but I think it may be a historical day. We don't have to have a major press conference or anything to have a historical day. The motion put forward by this member today is something we have been talking about in this House for years, and also in the House of Commons in Ottawa. I think it is timely, and I think it is important, that we (inaudible) this today.

The Member for Grand Falls - Buchans made a good point before she sat down, about procrastinating on this any longer. If there is one issue in this House of Assembly, in the short time I've been here, that we can all go forward together on with a solid message to Ottawa, it's this. I don't care how many times you point the fingers around and talk about scientists and overfishing or whatever; the blame lies back up there in Ottawa where the root of the problem started over many parties over many years.

The people who are paying for that are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; not because they lost their job. I don't even want to hear people talking about the fishermen in Newfoundland who lost their jobs. It's not a job they took from us. If it was a job we would take our pink slip and our ROE and go get unemployment. They did worse than that, Mr. Speaker, something that is unforgivable, something that everybody in this House of Assembly has to take with passion, and say in one voice. With all due respect to the letter that was mentioned earlier by the Government House Leader, yes, that's another avenue to take, to write a letter. It's another avenue to make a phone call. It's another avenue to make a motion here today.

Mr. Speaker, in one collective voice, this entire Province, represented by this Legislature, every party and every member in this House of Assembly, has to give one straight message to Ottawa, that it was not a job that you took away from this Province, it wasn't the economic failure that we see around the Province now as an effect of the fishery collapsing, it was a history, a way of life in this Province that has been changed forever.

Mr. Speaker, anybody who comes from the rural districts - I know the urban members also frequent the rural communities. I come from a district of thirty-three communities with populations of from twenty-five to 600 or 700 people. I go there on a regular basis, Mr. Speaker. Every time I go back to my district - I feel as comfortable on the front of the stage in Fleur de Lys as I do in this House of Assembly, or down in Ming's Bight, or down on a stage in La Scie, or out in Little Bay Islands where I go very often. The Minister of Justice goes there often.

Mr. Speaker, when you sit around in those places and talk to those people, it not a job they are telling you they have lost. When you sit down with a skipper at the head of the wharf and he looks at his boat tipped over, it is not a job he is talking about losing. He looks at pictures around him of family that have gone, because pictures are all that are left. That is what this is all about, Mr. Speaker, it is not about a job.

When I hear people talking about a job, how a fisherman lost his job, we are not even touching the surface. If you talked to those people who have been in those outports for years and love where they live - there was a time, Mr. Speaker, when I left the town I grew up in, in Baie Verte. I left when I was seventeen. Like many of us, I did my high school and left Baie Verte. I went to Labrador City and worked in construction and whatever I could get my hands on. I finally ended up back in university. I used to always thing at that age, Mr. Speaker: I will never live back in Baie Verte again, that is too small a place. Then I would say to myself: How can people live down in Fleur de Lys? How can people live down in Ming's Bight?

Mr. Speaker, do you know the funny part about all that? If you go right around the world, you will always come back to the same thing. You have people in St. John's now who say: How can you live out in Baie Verte? Then you go up to Toronto and you have people up there saying: How can you live down in Newfoundland? Then you to go New York and you find people saying: How can you live up in Toronto, up in Canada? Then the whole things comes around again.

I was in Nippers Harbour about three weeks ago at a Firemen's Ball. A lady said: You are still living in the district? I said: Yes, I am still living in the district. She said: Well, you are in St. John's a lot. I see you on t.v. I said: No, no, I am still living in Baie Verte. I am only in St. John's when I have to be, when the House is open or there is a meeting or something. I am only in there when I have to be. She said: I can't see how people can live in St. John's. So, Mr. Speaker, we went full circle, from somebody in New York wondering how somebody can live in Canada, to somebody in Nippers Harbour wondering how somebody can live in St. John's.

The bottom line is this: It is relative to where you are. That lady and that family, for years and years, grew up in that beautiful little community of Nippers Harbour. They own their own home. There is no crime there. If somebody is having a problem up the road, somebody else helps out. That is the beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker. That is what it is all about.

That is why, when I listened to people here today talking about this, when the Premier got up and so on, and I talked to some fishermen outside after the Premier had spoken, you know it is not the job. They are not even thinking about the job and the money that the fishery brings in. What they are talking about mostly is their way of life; a community stage, a small parish hall. You cannot put a price tag on that. Even in Question Period today -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) there is no price tag on it.

MR. SHELLEY: Well, I agree. If there was ever a true song in Newfoundland it is: There is no price tag on the door in Newfoundland; and Labrador. I have to keep throwing that in, because Garfield Warren reminded us about that, Mr. Speaker.

I can honestly say this, that when we talk about this, and when we do get together with this all-party committee, or whoever it is, whatever way we want to tackle it - and we should do it immediately - there won't be any problem, I don't think, with the committee being together.

My message today, Mr. Speaker, as I say my few words in this historical debate, is that when we get ready to go to Ottawa, whoever it going - and I hope I am one of them - there is going to be straight across the table, the Prime Minister of this Country, the Minister of Fisheries and whoever is making the decisions. We are not going to talk to bureaucrats. We are going to go up and we are going to talk to the people who are going to make the decisions. Whoever is in that group will have to be saying to those people across the table, that this was not a job that was lost in Newfoundland, this was a history and a tradition of a proud Province, the most unique - never mind Quebec. This is the most unique province in Canada. Everybody across Canada will tell you the same thing, including, by the way, people in Quebec. People in Quebec even say the same thing. Newfoundland and Labrador is the most unique province in Canada. We have a way of life and a people that cannot compare to anybody else around.

The most travelled people in the world - you can go from here to Vancouver, you can go to New York City, and you will find Newfoundlanders. If you find a Newfoundlander you will find somebody in New York City who will say: Boy, those Newfoundlanders are some workers, or they are really kind people; but you always have that uniqueness.

So when we go with a message to Ottawa about what the next TAGS program is going to be, we are not going to go up there telling them to replace our jobs back in Newfoundland. We are going to go back and tell them that we want to sustain a way of life here in Newfoundland and Labrador that we are proud of. It is not about a cheque or a dollar sign. They ruined a way of life in this Province by mismanagement, whether they are Tory or Liberal. So, Mr. Speaker, whatever the party stripe, we have to go there with that solid message, as all of us, as a group representing - we are lucky that we are going to be the ones representing this entire population of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have to go with that message, that we are not here to beg for dollars like we did before with ENCARP and TAGS. We are not going up to beg for dollars. We are going up to tell them, to put them in their place, whatever the government of the day is; that you have ruined a way of life, a tradition of Newfoundland and Labrador that is not seen anywhere else in this country.

So we are not going up to beg for the dollars for the second TAGS program. We are going to tell them that it is the mismanagement of this government, the government in Ottawa and the government from years past, that have changed this Province probably forever; and that is why it is historical. That is why I agree with the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans when she says: We cannot procrastinate any longer. We have waited too long. There are people - I am telling you now and I know that other rural members are getting it. I get it every time I go a community. The people look at me and they are not worried if I am Tory or Liberal or whatever stripe I am, they are saying: Get a message in there that the twenty-five people living down in Purbeck's Cove like where they live. We have fished all our lives. We have raised families and we are going to stay here. We are not going to be resettled. We like where we live.

So they said: Get the message back in there that we are going to remain living here. They took away a way of life of ours and they have to replace it, or help replace it, or at least help us stay where we are. That is the message that has to go to Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is appropriate today that the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans actually got up, and I will make this point on it. I am glad that she did up. I commend her for getting up because she lives in a community where the pulp and paper industry supplies the town, in essence. Mr. Speaker, she made a good point today, but the truth is that the Grand Falls, the Ganders and all those places, they go as rural Newfoundland and Labrador goes. That is what we have to remember in Newfoundland and Labrador. As Newfoundland goes, so goes rural Newfoundland and Labrador. That is how we connect. Everybody does not think that 300 people out -

MR. TULK: Sure, there is nothing in this Province that would normally be considered urban anyway. St. John's is just a big outport.

MR. SHELLEY: Well, some people seem to beg to differ. That is what it is, a big outport. I agree with that, Mr. Speaker, because it would not survive without it. I agree with the minister on that. That is one we will agree on.

But it is true, those little communities of Ming's Bight and Fleur de Lys in my district, or Cartwright and L'Anse au Clair, all those communities all together, that is what makes this Province tick. It is not the downtown Delta here because it is a twelve story building. That is what makes it tick, Mr. Speaker.

I will scale it down a bit further. Baie Verte is in the centre of the Baie Verte Peninsula. There are very few fishermen. There are a few there but not many. Twenty-one communities surround that town and when the fishery went down in Coachmans and Fleur de Lys and so on, Mr. Speaker, Baie Verte went down. It's the same thing with this Province.

MR. TULK: Let me tell you something. (Inaudible) the biggest fishing district in Newfoundland was St. John's South.

MR. SHELLEY: Well there are fishermen in St. John's South and I am sure the Member for St. John's South is going to fill you in on that in a little while.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to end with a couple of things. I know there are a few more members today who want to get up and speak. I think it is an historic debate. That is why I wanted to get up today, especially representing a district like I do, a rural district.

I want to make a couple of more points, Mr Speaker. First of all, $1.9 billion over four years - well it was supposed to be five years but over four years, for the TAGS. Mr. Speaker, I agree with what the Premier said here today. In 1993 we committed $1.9 billion to a TAGS program. Just a little while ago we had a standing ovation up in the House of Commons, a balanced budget. Don't forget where the budget was balanced. It was balanced on the backs of, especially Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. So don't forget that. Don't tap them on the back. We were the ones who did that.

The second thing, Mr. Speaker: They are in a better fiscal state today then they were in 1993. I will make this point, the changes to UI in the last four years, what Ottawa dragged back in UI - it makes our argument better when we go to Ottawa - almost exactly what they dragged back in UI changes in Newfoundland and Labrador, $1.9 billion over four years, is exactly what they took out of the UI system over four years. In other words, Mr. Speaker, the great benefit they gave to Newfoundland and Labrador, the $1.9 billion - here we go, a big program for Newfoundland and Labrador - the truth is that while they were giving us this, they were taking the money out of our other pocket.

AN HON. MEMBER: It probably never cost them a cent.

MR. SHELLEY: That is exactly right, the TAGS program has not cost this government in Ottawa one red cent, because what they gave us in TAGS to appease everybody, they dragged it back in UI. We are building a case for when we go to Ottawa, that they didn't do us any favours.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not quite, (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Close to it? Okay. I don't have the stats in front of me, but all I know, Mr. Speaker, is with the changes to EI and the drag back they did in Ottawa, they didn't do us any favours, let me tell you. What we have to remind them of when we go up there - and I will end with this, with what I started with.

MR. TULK: By the way, (inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Fair enough. We will go, boy. If there was ever one committee, Mr. Speaker, in this House of Assembly that we can get together with - I want to commend the member for bringing this motion forward - if there was ever one committee that we have to go in unison to Ottawa with, and not to beg for the dollar, but to say, you ruined the way of life in this Province, and we want what's fair to Newfoundland and Labrador, then that is the message we have to bring to them. We have to remind them. I think that's a strong point for our case, the changes to EI over these past years.

When we needed it most in this Province, when the fishery was collapsing and everything, they changed the safety net. That's what they did, pulled the rug out from under us. We are going to remind them about that when we visit Ottawa, and remind them that this Province has a long-lasting tradition of fending for itself and coming through on that. We have to remind Ottawa of that when we bring that message, solid, to the people in Ottawa. We will do that, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, it's normal that we go back and forth across this House. So that some other member on this side won't stand up, I think it's important that we hear from all parties in this House. The Leader of the NDP, I think, would like to stand and put himself on the record as to where he stands on this issue. I would like to yield my turn for him to do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the hon. House Leader for his gracious giving up of his time in this debate.

This issue that is now before the House, the issue of the continuation and replacement of a TAGS program with another suitable and appropriate program for fishery workers in this Province, is a most significant issue for a number of reasons. The primary thing we are talking about here today, that we are demanding from the Government of Canada, is about dignity and respect. We are demanding there be given to the fishing people of this Province the dignity and respect they deserve.

It has been a struggle, Mr. Speaker. Other members have spoken about the long history of 500 years over which we have worked in the fishery in this Province, and this is lost as a result of the moratorium. That 500 years hasn't been 500 years in which the people who are in the fishing boats, the people who are catching the fish, or making the fish on the shore, or cutting them in plants and processing it in later years, it wasn't 500 years when these people who were actually doing the work were treated with respect. In fact, there were a couple of serious attempts over the years to get the kind of respect and the place in society that fishermen, plant workers and people in the fishing industry deserve.

I am thinking back, Mr. Speaker, to the FPI. I am thinking back first of all to Sir William Coaker, who started the Fishermen's Protective Union, who created the town of Port Union, who back in the early part of this century gave fishermen the dignity and respect they deserve by forming their own organization, by having a political wing, by taking their place in this House of Assembly, thirteen or fourteen strong, by playing a role in government in the years of the First World War. Demonstrating that fishermen who produced the profit, the fishermen who were the workers producing the wealth, ought to have had a say in the government of this Province and in making the rules and the creation of the society.

Through the Fishermen's Protective Union, they as a group started trading companies, had factories, a newspaper; probably one of the first organizations to be involved in rural electrification in Newfoundland and Labrador. They created -

MR. TULK: Who is that?

MR. HARRIS: The Fishermen's Protective Union.

They created, Mr. Speaker, a respect for fishermen and fishing people in this Province that they had never had before. Somehow, Mr. Speaker, after the demise of democracy in Newfoundland in the early 30s, the downtrodden people of Newfoundland affected by the depression, perhaps more than any other places, with the loss of democracy there was also the loss of respect, I think, for the primary producers of this Province in the fishing industry.

After Confederation, Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada did not take seriously the fishing industry in this Province. I remember reading one time about the reaction of the Government of Canada, of the then fisheries minister, his name was Sinclair. James Sinclair was the Minister of Fisheries in the early 50s. After a Royal Commission on the fishery of Newfoundland reported and made numerous recommendations about the restructuring and the development of the fisheries and the fishing communities in this Province, he wrote on top of a memo: No extraordinary programs, no extraordinary services, no special programs, normal services only.

MR. TULK: Who was that?

MR. HARRIS: The Minister of Fisheries of Canada, the hon. James Sinclair, in the early 50s. That was the beginning, Mr. Speaker, of the response and attitude of the Government of Canada to the fisheries in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, it took another fifteen to twenty years before the fishermen and plant workers of this Province started to get some respect, and that was when they banded together and formed, first of all, the Northern Fishermen's Union up in Port au Choix; and very shortly afterwards, the FFAW, the fishermen's union.

The Member for Bonavista South mentioned Burgeo, the struggle in Burgeo for respect for fishermen. They had to go on strike, Mr. Speaker, and the response of the then fish merchant of the day, Mr. Spencer Lake, was that he had a lot of respect for the fishermen, they were very nice people, but they could not govern themselves, they could not run their own affairs. That was the attitude of the fish merchants in this Province as late as the early 70s, Mr. Speaker.

The fishermen's union fought and struggled and worked to create respect for the fishermen, the plant workers and, Mr. Speaker, they did play a significant role in getting the kind of wages that the Member for Bonavista South talked about, developed the importance of the fishing industry, treated their fishing captains and fishermen in the boats as a professional class of people in this Province, deserving of proper wages, deserving to be able to look after their families and trying to end the practice - I think every government in this Province has some responsibility for it and I suppose we, as a people, at one time tolerated low incomes in the fishery.

We tolerated the use of the fishery as the employer of last resort and that caused problems too. If you could not get a job, go in a fishing boat. Everybody should have the right to fish. Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not the way to develop a fishery and an industry that has respect for the people who are in it, who have an opportunity to ensure that people in that fishery are able to create a livelihood for themselves.

This fight today is the same part of that fight for respect and recognition of the importance of the fishery worker, that they should be treated the same way as any other significant, full-scale industry would be treated by government; whether it be the car factories of Central Canada or the wheat farmers of Western Canada. The fishery workers of this Province ought to be treated the same way.

Other people have talked about the significance of the dollars involved, and I think that is a clear indication of the size of the problem. The amount of money involved that has had to be replaced by the TAGS program is significant, and the effects on the economy are significant as well.

That is certainly a very, very, strong reason why all members of this House ought to take this issue seriously, regardless of how many fishing people are in their own communities. There is an effect on the entire economy, as the Member for Grand Falls - Buchans has stated.

In this Province, of course, the disaster in the fishery has affected us more than anyone else because, as Mr. Harrigan points out in his report, the level of employment in this Province is lower than anywhere else in the country. They use an interesting statistic. I have never heard this one used before, but I think it is a very valid one because it takes into account the so-called participation rate in the economy. The ratio of employed people to population in this Province is about 40 per cent. The Canadian average would be 58 per cent, so we are almost 20 points below the Canadian average in the percentage of our population that is gainfully employed.

So you take a population at income levels that we have in this Province, and you take that statistic and say, in Newfoundland - this is before the moratorium, before the effects of TAGS - if you take Newfoundland as being 20 per cent behind in terms of employment, you can see how the 27,000 people and incomes that were dependent upon NCARP and TAGS, what a role they play in our economy not only for their own families, obviously, but for the rest of us in the economy.

Mr. Speaker, we have talked about emigration from Newfoundland, migration out of the Province. We are losing workers, we are losing families. Mr. Harrigan points out that of the people who leave, the thousands of people who are leaving communities in Newfoundland, sometimes as many as 30 per cent of some communities, 80 per cent of those leaving are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have no objection to a young Newfoundlander who is off to seek an education or, as we found out the other day, 40 per cent of graduates from Memorial leave the Province after graduation. I have no real objection to that, if they are going off to better themselves and maybe come back later. In fact, we found out that half of that 40 per cent are, in fact, going to get graduate degrees, going to law schools, or masters degree programs, or professional schools elsewhere in the country. It is a terrific opportunity that we have as part of Canada to get a good education, to get experience in another province or another country. That is one of the values of being a part of Canada. But we should not be shipping our children and our young people out wholesale, Mr. Speaker, because there are too few opportunities for them here to participate in our own economy.

Mr. Speaker, when we replace the TAGS program we have to place a very, very, high degree of emphasis on community economic development as an alternative. We have to ensure that communities have some say in how the monies associated with the new program will be used within their communities. There needs to be income support; there needs to be a recognition of the attachment to the fishery by the fishermen and plant workers; there needs to be recognition that these communities have to have alternatives, because clearly not every - not only not every, but a vast number of people will not be able to participate fully in TAGS.

Let us stay away from the foreign fleet issue, Mr. Speaker. I think that really is a diversion or a red herring, to use a phrase in the fishery. We have to concentrate solely on one single issue here today and that is the demand, the demand by every single party, every single person in this House, that the federal government take its responsibility seriously and implement a program that recognizes their responsibility and provides the dignity and respect that fishery workers in this Province need and should have from the Government of Canada, just as they have it from the Government and the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank the Member for Twillingate & Fogo for bringing forward this resolution, and also for recognizing that St. John's South had a very special part to play in the fishing industry in this Province. He mentioned that there was the NatSea fishing plant on the Southside Road which employed in excess of 400 people.

The Government House Leader also alluded the fact that St. John's South was perhaps the largest fishing outport in all of Newfoundland. I would like to thank him for recognizing that because, Mr. Speaker, last year I stood in this House to speak on behalf of and support the TAGS recipients in this Province, and in particular in my district, when they had a demonstration out in our lobby. The Minister of Fisheries stood in his place and mocked the St. John's member for standing and speaking on the fishery. What does a St. John's member know about the fishery? St. John's South had a very integral part to play in the fishing industry in our Province, I can tell you that.

Mr. Speaker, part of the problem that we are seeing as a result of the collapse of the fishing industry is the out-migration of our young people, the out-migration of fishing people from our Province. The Globe & Mail, on March 26, says that there are people from Newfoundland leaving in record numbers; that in the third quarter of 1997, 3,l28 people left Newfoundland for destinations elsewhere. They say that is double the average quarterly decline in 1996. Why, we ask? Why was there a record number in the third quarter of 1996? The answer is probably quite simple: because some to the fisherpeople in this Province are getting worried. Their TAGS benefits are coming to a close and they do not know where to turn. They do not know what to do.

One person that comes to mind right now, Mr. Speaker, is a young man who lives in my district, whose TAGS benefits were running short. He has a mortgage, a family to feed, a car payment. He didn't know where to turn, so he left for Alberta. That man's name, to put a name to the face, is Barry Delaney. That is one person who comes to mind.

It is sad for every member of this House when we have to think of young people, or anybody for that matter, leaving this Province in order to feed their family, in order to pay their mortgage. That is something that should not happen, Mr. Speaker.

This is an national issue. The collapse of the fishery in Newfoundland is an national issue. We saw late last year the tragedy that happened in Quebec and in Ontario with the ice storms, and the federal government came to the aid of those people. In fact, Newfoundlanders went to the aid of those people in that disaster. Newfoundland Power sent crews up, Newfoundland Telephone sent crews up, and Newfoundlanders volunteered to go up.

The previous year, when they flooding in Manitoba, the federal government went to the aid of those people. It was a national disaster. My brother, for one, volunteered his time and went up. He paid his own way, as did many Newfoundlanders, to help the people in Manitoba.

I ask: What is the difference with the fishing industry in Newfoundland and the collapse of the fishing industry here in this Province? That is a national disaster, and part of the reason for that was the mismanagement by the federal government.

When we look at the disaster in Manitoba, and when we look at the disaster in Quebec and Ontario, they were considered acts of God, natural disasters. Yet the federal government saw that through to the end to make sure those people were not left in the lurch. Yet today, when there is an national disaster right here in our Province, the federal government is going to leave these people in a lurch. These people are fighting for the extension of their TAGS benefits, fighting for help to create industry in this Province, fighting for an alternative. Many of the people on TAGS would much rather be fishing or working in an industry, working anywhere as opposed to being on TAGS. But in a Province where the unemployment rate is high, they have to depend on TAGS, unless the federal government can come up with something better.

Mr. Speaker, there is no difference in the disaster that happened in Manitoba or in Quebec or in Ontario, and the one that is happening here in Newfoundland, other than the fact that the fisheries collapse was a result of mismanagement by the federal government. So, they have to play a very large role in correcting that disaster, in seeing that the people who are on TAGS are looked after, in buying out licences, in early retirement and in finding alternative employment.

There is a lady from my district who sat in the galleries today. Her and another three or four women from the community of Shea Heights created their own employment. They started an open-air market, all TAGS recipients, but they took the initiative to sit down with government officials, to sit down with HRDC, and start an open-air market.

Now, I ask why the federal government has not taken the initiative themselves to go to TAGS recipients and say: Look, let's help you start up a business, let's help you to do something so that there is life after TAGS? Again, the federal government failed miserably in creating something for the TAGS recipients, in creating something for the fisherpeople in this Province who are left in the lurch. The mere thought, Mr. Speaker, of letting TAGS run out, and cutting TAGS off early, is shameful on behalf of the federal government.

I have a letter here that was sent to me by a senator in Ottawa, and she goes on to explain that it is the federal government that is at fault for miscalculating the number of people that would have to go on TAGS. The federal government gave a written contract to the TAGS recipients saying that they would receive TAGS for five years. Some of those people went out and purchased cars. Now, the federal government are leaving them in the lurch, by cutting them off a year early, by having those people perhaps lose their vehicles because they are unable to make the payments, because the federal government withdrew their TAGS benefits. It is mismanagement on behalf of the federal government, from start to finish, and well prior to TAGS ever being implemented, the mismanagement of our stocks.

While I agree with some of the comments the Premier had made, that some of the species that are being fished by foreign countries are of no benefit to Newfoundlanders, some of them are and we have to look at those, species by species, to see what we can utilize, how we can put fish plant workers and fisherpeople in our Province back to work, as opposed to allowing foreigners to take our precious stocks.

We have a sealing industry here and we are unable to catch the quotas, yet they are eating cod and caplin, and the cod themselves are eating caplin. Mr. Speaker, if there is an extension to the TAGS program, we have to look at historical involvement, as opposed to taking it over a five-year period. Because there were many people who, because they were injured on the job and went on Workers' Compensation, or because they were home on maternity leave, were cut short, were not given the full benefits of TAGS.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Just a minute to clue up, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave?


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Okay, just a few minutes to clue up.

My advice to the federal government is that they look at historical involvement when they come up with another TAGS program, so that the people who have been involved in the fishing industry in this Province for decades are not cut short because they were on Workers' Compensation or because they were home on maternity leave, Mr. Speaker. We have to look at historical involvement in this particular case.

With that, I thank the Government House Leader for allowing me a couple of extra minutes to clue up, and I will allow somebody on the government side to speak.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main - Whitbourne.

MR. WHELAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish I could say today that I am delighted to be here speaking on this particular issue. It does not give me any great delight. I wish we did not have this issue to have to speak on. I will say that I feel obligated today to speak up on the plight of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, not only fishermen, but I have seen a lot of devastation in a lot of people's lives. Each and every member of the fishing community here in this Province, their lives were devastated, and there were other people's lives devastated as well.

Today, I certainly want to speak in support of the private member's motion. I also want to bring to the attention of the people of this Province, to this House and to the attention of the politicians in Ottawa the plight of others as well.

Mr. Speaker, I was involved on the fringes of the fishing industry back when the moratorium was introduced. I was one of those people who brought fishermen to the Labrador, brought their supplies to them throughout the summer, brought them and some of their catch back home as well. The year before the moratorium was introduced we crossed the Straits, we went up along by Henley Harbour, along by Battle Harbour, Mary's Harbour, Williams Harbour right on up through the coast, Triangle, Boulter Rock, up through Frenchman's passage, Punchbowl, Black Tickle and all along the coast, ladies and gentlemen. It was a flurry of activity. It was like the frontier, everybody was excited, everybody was busy and there was an income for everybody. There was a certain security there because they knew that they had done this for years and years and they, at that particular time, thought that they were going to do it for generations to come.

There was plenty of fish there that year, Mr. Speaker, especially up around Black Tickle. It seemed like there was no end. You could push yourself off from the wharf in a dory and you could fill your boat in the matter of a few hours, small fish but the fish were there.

The next year we did the same thing, we brought a lot of these fishermen up. We stopped into Belle Isle. They said: No, there is no fish here yet but the biggest bio-mass of fish ever located by a fish-finder was situated just a few miles off and it is on its way in. We went north and came back but the fish still had not come in. On the way back up, still no fish and there has never been any fish since, Mr. Speaker.

Now, there is all kinds of speculation out there as to what happened to the fishery, whether it was offshore draggers or whether it was the temperature of the water. There have been a number of theories. I do not know and I do not think anybody else knows. The next trip, I believe they sent a welfare officer up to the Labrador Coast and every single person that was up there was sent home.

The following year I joined a boat, as captain, with an excellent crew. Everybody was looking forward to the season to come. We waited and waited. I finally got a message from the head office to phone the manager and I did phone. He said: Go back to the boat. Give everybody twenty-four hours notice, put out extra lines, lock the doors, everybody is finished.

Mr. Speaker, I had the very unpleasant task of telling this crew, men and women, that their livelihood was over. I will never forget the look on their faces, I think it has haunted me down through the years, and I suppose I felt that I was part of the process that put these people into a situation that they had never been into before. Because they all looked at one another and asked: What are we going to do now? We could always go fishing, so where are we going to turn?

These people were never on TAGS, they never qualified. I have had the opportunity to enquire from time to time about some of these people - all ambitious, hardworking people. The hunger that they had was the need to work - that was a big part of their life, and it was taken away from them.

I had the occasion to enquire about some of them: `Oh, yes, such and such - he lost his house, you know, and his truck is gone,' and they have never worked since. As I said before, it has haunted me down through the years.

In all this rhetoric that we are talking about today, I certainly agree with all of it. Basically, what we have to look at is economic diversification. All Newfoundlanders, fishermen and people who were attached to the fishery in a certain way, have an opportunity - if it is not already too late for some of them - have an opportunity to be able to revive their spirits, to bring back the joy of living they had before, because I am sure they do not have it now.

I certainly support all that has been said here today. I want to congratulate all the people who spoke. Some spoke more eloquently than others, but everybody got their message across. I want to congratulate the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

I encourage all people to vote in support of the motion.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to cut my comments short because I know there are other people who want to speak and I want to give them the opportunity to be able to do that.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: I think there are a couple of other people to want to take five or ten minutes. I think the hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains and the Member for Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair want to speak, so I wonder if, by leave - I know that the Speaker is obliged to call upon the Member for Twillingate & Fogo to close the debate at this point in time. I believe we have gone a little bit over, actually.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. TULK: By leave, we would like to have those people take ten minutes, five minutes or -

MR. SPEAKER: By leave? Do we have leave?


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to rise and just add, I guess, a few brief words to what has already been said in this debate today. The first thing I say is, when I looked at the Baker Report when I first opened it, I think probably one of the first things that was said in this report is that the federal government had betrayed the communities and the people who were affected by the fishery, and I think that was very much recognized by the committees that travelled around this Province and listened to the views of the people.

But I think that this Province and the people within this Province certainly have to send a strong message to Ottawa on this issue and I think that message should be that, definitely the federal government is part of this problem, that they have contributed to this problem and that they are still controlling the problem and they certainly have a responsibility here to correct it on behalf of the fisherpeople and the fishers in all of Atlantic Canada.

I think that we have seen not only the impacts that have happened in this Province because of the decline in transfer payments, the claw-back to equalization, but for now, the federal government to come into our Province and to tell us that thousands of our people who depend upon this fishery and this industry are going to be out of work, are going to have no income, are going to be unable to support and feed their families is absolutely disgusting.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: And when I say they are part of the problem, I say they also have to share the burden of this problem, the financial burden of this problem that is not only being placed upon this Province or upon this country but is being placed upon the tables of every family who has been affected by this industry, and I do not think that the people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador or anywhere else, who have been affected by this industry in Canada, should have to sit down at their kitchen tables and ponder their financial situations, ponder day after day, where they are going to find employment, how they are going to clothe their children, where the next opportunity or the next job is going to come from. I think the federal government has to bear the brunt of some of this as well and that they have to share in the financial burden and hardship that is being thrust upon people.

When I say that they are still in control, I say they still control the industry. They control the lives of every community and every individual who is partaking in this industry. They control the quotas, the allocations, the licences, they control all aspects, and not only are they reneging on their responsibility to continue with the TAGS Program and to continue with the assistance to these people whose livelihood has been taken away from them, they are also reneging on their responsibility to restructure the fishery of this country.

Right now in my district, in the district of Cartwright - L'Anse au Clair, I have people in communities who are walking the shores, whose plants are closed and whose decks and wharfs are being rotten and decayed year after year. Where are they going to turn? Right now, these people need to be able to partake in other fisheries. While they are on the shore and while they are watching the infrastructure in their communities falling down around them, here we have foreign fleets, we have quotas that are allocated to the offshore, to the multinationals that are sailing up and down the Coast of Labrador, day after day, taking enough shrimp and enough turbot out of the waters and out of the mouths and out of the communities of these people to employ every person to open every plant up and down that coast. So not only are they reneging on their responsibility to pay out support programs but they are reneging on the responsibility that they have as a government to restructure this industry so that it can accrue more benefits to people. I think that is the other point that we have to deliver to Ottawa.

I went through a situation in my district this year with one community, the community of Black Tickle. Eighty-one percent of the people in that community were unemployed. Of that 81 per cent a large proportion of them were on social assistance. The other percentage were unemployed and ineligible for income. How many Black Tickles are we going to have on the Coast of Labrador and in this Province if we do not make changes in restructuring the entire industry? We cannot allow the species to be taken by the multinationals.

I had a person from my district just a week or so ago, a mayor, Mayor Pike from West St. Modeste, who went over to Iceland, walked into a shrimp production facility in Iceland that was processing shrimp from the Coast of Labrador, Mr. Speaker! It is disgusting! Then you talk about taking away income support payments. It is only part of the problem. There is no effort being placed on the restructuring, on bringing quotas inshore, bringing product inshore, ensuring the eligibility of these fishers to access it. It is not being done.

AN HON. MEMBER: No effort by John Efford.

MS JONES: I think, Mr. Speaker, that within the new program that we are asking for from the federal government we have definitely got to have a deep concentration on developing a new economy, in other industries as well as in the fishery and I think there has to be priority there. What we had under the old program - it was laughable. I myself worked within the old program, I know how it impacted the fishers and the plant workers. I worked with them each and every day. I know how they felt being told, you have to go to school or you have to do this or we are going to take the money from you. It was one thing to take their livelihood, it was another thing to threaten them to do things that they were not wanting to do or not able to do in certain circumstances.

I think, if the emphasis had been on industry development, community development, we would have seen a lot more jobs, a lot more economic activity and a lot more benefits accrued to the rural communities of Newfoundland of Labrador. We have to try to change the scope of how they do things, so that the people who are affected are going to benefit.

A number of speakers that were up today talked about how this was a way of life being taken from people. What an injustice it is, and certainly it is. My hon. colleague on this side of the House said earlier that this was a natural disaster - just like the ice storm, just like the flood, just like the other things. And it is a partial natural disaster, but it is also a disaster that has the onus and bearing on the federal government of this country.

AN HON. MEMBER: National.

MS JONES: National - indeed it is a national disaster because we have thousands and thousands of people who are looking and wondering where the next job is coming from, what they are going to do from one day to the next and we need to get some attention from the federal government of this country.

What they are doing is intolerable, Mr. Speaker, it is shameful, and it is an injustice to people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: I do not want to go back into my district next summer, next fall, and endure the same circumstances that I have had to endure this year. I have hundreds of people who have come off this program and there has been nothing for them, nothing, only the social assistance rolls; communities with 80 per cent of the people in the community unemployed. I have communities that have stats that show six people working. How do you build an economy, how do you build a community, when you have nothing to build on to start with? I think the time has come that we draw the line. I think that when Mr. Baker, in his report, said it's time to put the squeeze on the foreign overfishing, well boy, I tell you, it's time to put the squeeze on the multinationals that are taking the product out of this Province, taking the livelihoods of our people, processing it in Iceland and processing it at sea! We are the ones being affected.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: We are the ones who are suffering the consequences. I think there are a couple of messages here that have to go to the federal government. I have to commend the Member for Twillingate & Fogo for bringing this resolution into the House, for seeing it for what it is. I think the unanimous support in this House will show the fishers of Newfoundland and Labrador that we understand the situation they are in, we understand the circumstances they are in, and we are going to do whatever we can to see that it's changed. Right, Government House Leader?

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Do we have an agreement to stop the clock at 5:00 p.m.?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ANDERSEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I feel honoured now that the clock has stopped for me. I will only stand for just a minute or so.

Like a lot of people in Newfoundland and Labrador, I grew up in a fishing boat and fished for many years. The point I want to make today is that over the last year or so I have heard a lot of people talk about life after TAGS. There is something I want to bring forward here today.

Northern Labrador was known as the home of the cod fishery. When the cod fishery began to fail, it failed first in the riding of Torngat Mountains. I am glad the federal government brought in a program called TAGS, because when the TAGS program was brought in, people in my riding who had fished for forty and fifty years were told by the federal government that because the fishery failed in the riding of Torngat Mountains before the moratorium was called, they don't qualify.

For the people who spoke here today and are wondering about life after TAGS, well, I can tell you one thing: We did not have TAGS, and when you look at your communities of 88 per cent welfare and no TAGS, Mr. Speaker, I will remind all the members who spoke, and every one in this House, that I tell you, we went through pure hell.

So, Mr. Speaker, I agree with the speakers who spoke here today. I support the motion put forward by my colleague from Twillingate & Fogo. I compliment all the speakers who spoke. But, Mr. Speaker, again, we were the only riding, we were the only people in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, who were denied a TAGS Program. We know what it is like to go through hell and, Mr. Speaker, I hope that we get the federal government to come back out with the balance of money and that we spend it wisely. Because, Mr. Speaker, I would never want people in the rest of this Province to go through what the people in the riding of Torngat Mountains went through.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. G. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to thank all those who spoke today on this resolution and I would like to commend them, for the most part, for leaving politics out of it. It is very unusual to see forty-eight politicians sitting in the House of Assembly and leaving politics out of a debate, but I would like to commend you for that.

If I made some remarks about Mr. Crosbie earlier that were probably taken to some degree out of context, as the Premier said, it took a lot of guts to do what Mr. Crosbie did in 1992, and that was to close the fishery in this Province. It also took a lot of hard work on his behalf to have the NCARP program put in place. The problem that Mr. Crosbie had in Ottawa was dealing with his colleagues sitting around the Cabinet table, because on numerous occasions he mentioned the fact that with Joe Clark as Minister of External Affairs it was not easy when you talked about sending the navy out. Apparently Mr. Clark did not want to upset, as I said earlier, the Europeans who were buying wheat and other products from Canada.

With respect to the amendments put forward by my colleague, the Member for Bonavista South, while I know where he is coming from with regard to the amendment, I do not think we should tie our hands with a date 1999 because I am afraid that the federal government might just grab that and say, so long, fellows.

With regard to the other part about reinstating those who have fallen through the cracks, I know what he is talking about. I have gone through numerous appeals myself, I know what my colleague, the Member for Torngat Mountains, is talking about when he says, the people in Northern Labrador never did get on the TAGS Program. But I do not think, at this time, we should get bogged down in going to Ottawa with a list. I think what we should do, if the resolution is passed this afternoon, is take that committee to Ottawa and get, first of all, a new Program - get a commitment for a new program, and then we can sit down and iron out the details.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. G. REID: I do not pretend to have the answers to all the problems with regard to the TAGS program, but I would like to quote a couple of sentences from the Harrigan Report which dealt with people on TAGS.

It reads: The primary goal of virtually every TAGS client is to find work. TAGS clients are not people who want government handouts. These are hard-working people who want to work and who would take work if they could find it.

Not all of them will find work right now, Mr. Speaker, and that is the main reason why I put forward that resolution this afternoon.

If you see what we are asking for, I can only hope that the vast majority of those affected by the closure of the fishery in this Province will be looked after.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: There are two amendments to the resolution. We are voting first on the amendment put forward by the hon. the Member for Bonavista South. All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

I declare the amendment defeated.

Amendment 1 by the hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

I declare the amendment carried.

We are now voting on the resolution as amended. All those in favour, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

I declare the resolution, as amended, carried.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible), Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: I did not hear any `nays', so I guess it is unanimous.

MR. TULK: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just before I close, I would like to say to the - the Member for Baie Verte is the Lieutenant, I believe, of the Opposition House Leader, half the House Leader. I want to advise him and the Leader of the NDP -

MR. H. HODDER: He got half my money.

MR. TULK: Yes, he has half your money, `Harvey', we know. We robbed `Harvey' to pay `Paul'.

I would like to advise him and the Leader of the NDP that what I would propose that we do is meet at the earliest opportunity, maybe sometime tomorrow after we get in the House here, to put together who we would want on the Select Committee, the size and who we want on it and plan the strategy to take our concerns - and not only, I might say, Mr. Speaker, the concerns of the people that the Member for Bonavista South put forward today but other concerns as well that are obvious here, to put them together and hopefully put a united front to Ottawa and say here is the type of program that we want. So we will probably get together sometime tomorrow. I will inform hon. members when that is to be.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., at which time I think we will hear from the Member for St. John's Centre, the spokesman on Finance, and we hope that he waxes eloquent for another four days.

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