The House met at 9:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our routine proceedings, the Chair would like to take the opportunity to welcome to the gallery today sixty students from Grades V and VI, and they are students at St. Mary's Elementary in the District of St. John's South. They are accompanied by their teachers Mr. Eric Hiscock, Ms Barbara Rouse, and Ms Millie Hayley.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, we have forty Grade X students from St. Michael's High School in the District of Conception Bay East & Bell Island, accompanied by their teachers Ms Ida Marrie and Ms Tina Forde.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: I would also like to draw the attention of all members to our guests in the Speaker's gallery today. They are two students, Angela Thomas and Jason Wiseman, along with their teacher Lyndon Williams, and Whytie Horlick. They are from Musgravetown High School in the District of Terra Nova. Both students, along with their lead technology teacher, Lyndon Williams, will be departing from St. John's later today to travel to London, England, for the official re-opening of Canada House in London, England.

The students and the teachers will showcase for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the technological capacity in Canadian schools. Musgravetown High School was selected to represent Canadian schools due to their innovative use and application of the Internet.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: One particular noteworthy initiative is the recent development and delivery of an on-line Global Issues course, developed for Industry Canada's SchoolNet.

To commemorate this event, a celebration will be held concurrently at the Musgravetown School. A direct communication link - audio and video - via the Internet will be established between Musgravetown High School and Her Majesty at Canada House.


Statements by Ministers

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

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, as members of the House will recall, government committed in the Throne Speech of March 18 to provide the ground search and rescue units in this Province with the resources they need to carry out their duties. On March 23, 1998, government announced a $50,000 grant would be provided to the Newfoundland and Labrador Ground Search and Rescue Association. The Association is made up of twenty-seven teams throughout the Province.

Government also committed to give these volunteers the recognition they deserve as they play a very critical role in our society when it comes to locating missing citizens.

Mr. Speaker, on a personal note, I should like to say that there are a couple of groups in my own district and there can be no doubt they do tremendous work. The knowledge of local people of the area is very valuable in searching for local people, and they certainly do excellent work.

I would to acknowledge Mr. Harry Blackmore, the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association, and some members of his team who are in the gallery with us today.

I am pleased to advise the House that the Ground Search and Rescue Association will now have a direct link to the Department of Justice. They will have a voice within government, and we will be listening very closely to what they have to say, Mr. Speaker.

The Ground Search and Rescue Association has a very close working relationship with both police forces in the Province. We have every confidence that the volunteer searchers along with the police forces provide the best circumstances for finding missing people as quickly as possible.

That is why the Department of Justice is very interested in working with the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association to assist them in their preparations, so they can carry out the searches when called upon to do so.

We look forward to working together with them in the future and sincerely hope they will continue to have such an impressive success rate of locating missing people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I note at the beginning of my comment that the Ground Search and Rescue Association has been successful because I notice the Premier is in his seat this morning, Your Honour.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

All hon. members know that it is considered unparliamentary, and it is unparliamentary, to make reference to members who may be absent from the House. Again, I caution the hon. Member for St. John's East.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, members on this side of the House do acknowledge and recognize the very great work which is done in this Province by the Ground Search and Rescue Association. The spirit of voluntarism is alive and well in this Province, and it is shown and demonstrated in great ways by this particular Association. We welcome them to the House of Assembly this morning.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I welcome the opportunity to thank, on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the Ground Search and Rescue teams who do such excellent work.

Mr. Speaker, when someone is missing - a family member, a child, a father, or a Member of the House of Assembly perhaps - it is very great comfort to know that there are competent, well-trained and dedicated people who are knowledgeable of our Province, who are willing to engage in the long hours, the time and energy it takes, to find someone who is missing, and we thank them for their work.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the member's time is up.


Oral Questions


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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Approximately a year and a half ago, I stood in the House and asked the Premier about the development of non-utility generators in the Province - NUGS essentially. I asked about the privatization of rivers and the Premier rejected, out of hand at that point in time, that the privatization of rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador for private development, for non-utility generation, was not, I guess, a policy approach by his government.

I would like to ask him today: What is the government's policy with respect to non-utility generation, or NUGS, of power in the Province? And, is the government committed to public development of our rivers if it is necessary, or is he committed to handing the power of our own rivers over to private developers? What is the policy of government?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well, because he has been a critic for this policy area for some time, that there is currently a policy in place that allows proposals to come forward, and there is a policy process being followed. But he also knows that nobody on this side of the House believes that you go out and develop rivers just for the sake of tapping whatever hydro potential is there.

One of the reasons this government has worked so hard - we take such satisfaction, having been successful in bringing together another proposal with the Province of Quebec for the development of the Churchill River power systems - is that we want to make available for use in Labrador, and for use in Newfoundland, new hydroelectric power potential.

Mr. Speaker, if we can do that we are not forced to look at every small hydro development on the Island, we are not forced to look at every river; and, given a choice between the needs of both industry and the public of Newfoundland and Labrador for hydroelectricity, given a choice between sourcing it from small rivers or sourcing it from the Churchill River power developments, we will take the Churchill River power developments every time.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has refused to answer the question. If we want to talk about the Lower Churchill development, then we can talk about it, but the question I asked the Premier today is: Why is government moving forward on the Island portion of the Province with handing over rivers in this Province to private developers for energy? Is that the policy approach that is taking place and is the Premier saying that is not the government's policy? Is that what the Premier is saying?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the House will note, and indeed the people of the Province will note, that the Leader of the Opposition does not want to talk about the Churchill River power development. It has been months since the deal was announced and the Leader of the Opposition is still uncomfortably perched on a fence. I can tell the Leader of the Opposition it is better to be standing on either side of the fence than to continue to sit on the fence because it is not good for your posture or health.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the reality is - and the Leader of the Opposition is an intelligent man and he knows this - the reality is, we are striving hard to bring the Churchill River power developments to reality; we are striving hard to promote - and we did so again this week in Houston, Texas - offshore gas development. We have nineteen trillion cubic feet to be developed, because we want other sources of electricity for this Province, other than tapping into small rivers. If we can keep all of our small rivers for the use of our citizens, both as a recreational resource and as an environmentally protected area, that is what we are going to do on this side of the House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: What the people of the Province are coming to realize, Mr. Speaker, is that whenever a question is asked of this Premier he never answers it.

Now, with respect to the Lower Churchill Development: Is the Premier - if he wants to talk about it, I will ask him one question on it - is the Premier telling me today that the final negotiations are completed, that the deal is ready between the provinces, because if it is and he lays it on the table, I will give him a quick answer. Otherwise, if he expects this Leader to sign a blank cheque for that Leader, he can forget it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, here we go. We have the Board of Trade of St. John's, the Board of Trade in Labrador, we have all of the construction associations, we have the labour unions, we have the engineering society, we have all of the former chairmen of Hydro, all of the former presidents of Hydro, we have every last, living, breathing, thinking citizen of Newfoundland and Labrador saying: Let us get on with Churchill River power developments; and we have the Leader of the Opposition saying: I am going to think about it some more.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition really stops to think about it, he will recognize that these developments are positive for our Province and these developments remove from us the obligation, Mr. Speaker, to look at other sources of power that we do not necessarily want to tap into.

Let me say to the Leader of the Opposition, as a matter of principle, I believe we should avoid, Mr. Speaker, if it is possible at all, tapping into smaller river developments by going for these large projects which give us long-term, stable electrical rates for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

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

For the record let me say, as a matter of principle this leader does not believe in turning over rivers to private developers.

Now I will ask the Premier again: Why is government pursuing the private development, handing over 6 megawatts - we will ask a specific question on a specific river - why is government pursuing handing over development of the North West River to a private developer? Why would not Hydro develop that river, if it was necessary to do so?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, government has not made any such decision.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, two years ago government, the Cabinet, not Hydro, called for proposals for private development of the rivers. So government, in fact, does have the power to make the decision, Premier.

Let me ask you this: Do you understand that, when it comes to private development of rivers, essentially what we are doing is handing over regulated monopolies to private interests. Would it not be better in the public interest if Hydro themselves were to develop that river, if it was necessary?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Now, Mr. Speaker, let the record show that the Leader of the Opposition is making a case not, as I have pointed out, to avoid developing these rivers if it is at all possible. Our policy is to find power sources somewhere else other than developing these small rivers. That is not the problem for the Leader of the Opposition. He wants to develop the river. He wants the river developed but he wants Hydro to do it rather than a private sector operator to do it.

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you, for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, they don't care whether it is Hydro or a private sector operator. They want these rivers maintained the way they are and that is what we are going to try to do, avoid developing them at all.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: The Premier is still not answering the question. He still will not answer any question. My suggestion to the Premier is that he may shoot another poll to the people of the Province, like the other polls on how he runs his government, and ask them do they believe in the privatization of our rivers; because he will find that they do not.

Let me ask him directly: Does he support North West River being developed by private hands; yes or no, Premier?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't support, unless it is necessary, a single tree being cut. I don't support, unless it is necessary, a single fish being caught. Mr. Speaker, I don't support, unless it is necessary, a single river being developed. We do all of these things to pursue the best public policy interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition said, a moment ago, that there is a public policy process in place that ultimately will come to the Cabinet for a decision. The Cabinet has made no such decision. No decision has been taken to develop the North West River.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I suggest the Premier talk to some of his ministers, especially the Minister of Environment. I mean, the North West River is about that far away from being developed. All I have asked the Premier is: Does he support, as the Leader of the Government and Leader of the Liberal Party, the development of North West River by private developers? Does he support handing over our rivers in this Province, which are owned by the people of the Province, to private hands; yes or no, Premier?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition - and I have to assume that it is totally -


MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: I am trying to answer his question, but his colleagues really don't want to hear the answer, obviously.

I have to assume it is inadvertent on the part of the Leader of the Opposition -

MR. J. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jack Byrne won't allow me to speak, and I am trying to answer -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. Premier that, in this House, it is the practice to refer to hon. members by the district that they represent.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for that timely reminder not to identify the Member for Cape St. Francis by his name.

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition said, a moment ago, that the process or the decision to proceed with the development of the North West River - and he held up his thumb and index finger - is about an inch away. Mr. Speaker, that simply is not true. Ultimately, this question will be dealt with in Cabinet and in a Cabinet meeting it will be discussed. There is no decision, there has been no decision, to develop this river.

I go back to the earlier comments of the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition, basically, is saying to the House: It is fine to develop all of the rivers of Newfoundland and Labrador as long as Hydro does it. Mr. Speaker, I don't think the river feels any better about its development, whether it is Hydro or a private sector operator. Either it is necessary or it is not necessary. If we can avoid developing our rivers we will.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has not answered the question. Let me ask him again.

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

Again I have to remind hon. members that repetition of questions, according to Beauchesne, is not permitted.

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

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

I would like to ask the Premier this question: Is it government policy to develop the rivers in this Province, to turn them over to what are called non-utility generators, private development? Is that the policy of the government? Or is it the policy of the government that any hydro development, if deemed necessary, should be done by its own Crown corporation? What is government policy with respect to the development of rivers in this Province, Premier?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the current policy is well known, it's a matter of public information. There is no mystery about it. I don't know what the Leader of the Opposition is talking about. There is a public policy process out there. There is an invitation which has been issued by Hydro. That is being addressed. Ultimately the matter comes back to the Cabinet. Now, the Leader of the Opposition surely knows that. At an appropriate time, when the matter is referred to Cabinet, we will deal with it. If the Leader of the Opposition is not aware of that process, I offer to have him fully briefed on the entire public policy process. Mr. Speaker, we know very well how the system works.

The question I put to the Leader of the Opposition is: Why does he insist that it's okay to develop all of the rivers if they are developed by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro versus somebody else? I say to the Leader of the Opposition, we should work very hard to avoid developing these small hydro resources, and the way to do that is to develop the Churchill River power system. The whole Province is still waiting to find out whether or not the Leader of the Opposition has a position on this. Everybody else in society has looked at it and has made a comment. The Leader of the Opposition remains silent on this important public policy question.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Premier as well. We have to take advantage of this situation this morning.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, recently an All Party Committee of the House of Assembly made two trips to Ottawa to find out some answers on what a new post-TAGS program would look like. The Premier recently made a pilgrimage across this country preparing for his next life, and I understand that he also met with the chairman of the ad hoc committee of the federal Cabinet, and I also understand that he met with the Prime Minister.

I would like to ask the Premier today: What assurances he can give 20,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that there will be a post-TAGS program, and that there will be funding put in place for those people who opt to move out of that industry to make that transition?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the member is right, I did arrange for an All Party Committee to be received in Ottawa. He is right that I did meet with the Prime Minister. He is right, I did meet with the chairman of the Cabinet committee. He is right, I did talk to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He is right, I did talk to the Minister of Human Resources Development. He is right, I did talk to the Newfoundland representative in the federal Cabinet. He is right, I did talk to at least half a dozen other federal ministers over the last two weeks, many times, to support the effort to have a post-TAGS program, and I can tell him I'm satisfied there absolutely will be a post-TAGS program.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER TOBIN: Later this morning I'm meeting with the hon. Fred Mifflin, Newfoundland's representative in the federal Cabinet, to be briefed on the latest developments with respect to the Cabinet committee.

I want to thank the member, and thank others in this House, on all sides, who I think have done good work in an effort, led by the Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Development and Rural Renewal, to bring the message of the need of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to other parties in Parliament. I thank them all for a job well done.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A couple of items that we put forward as an All Party Committee of the House of Assembly were licence buy-back, early retirement, economic diversification, plus others.

I ask the Premier: Your predecessor, Mr. Wells, wouldn't take part in a retirement age of fifty for those people with a long-term attachment to the fishery. Do you, Premier, accept fifty as a reasonable age for fishers and fish plant workers to be able to retire from this particular industry, taking into consideration their long-term attachment to this industry?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I'm prepared to go below age fifty-five in such a program. Indeed, I suggested exactly that when I was the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans back in 1993, as the member may well know. We have indicated to the federal government our willingness to participate with them in an early retirement program along the lines as has been done in the past. We will have to wait and see the outcome of the federal deliberations.

We would certainly hope that they would be flexible in the approach to early retirement. There are some cases of people who have spent a lifetime, some of them going back to their teens, in the fishery or in a fish plant, and who at the age lower than fifty-five find in the fishery, you are in a fish plant, and who at an age lower than fifty-five find themselves in a very difficult circumstance. We think that ought to be looked at, but obviously that is not unilateral in our power. I suggested, as the member may well know, when I was a federal minister, exactly that kind of approach.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Premier, 2,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians saw their last TAGS cheque go in the mail two days ago; 2,000 real people like you and me. I ask the Premier: What assurances he can give to those 2,000 families out there today that they will be included in a new post-TAGS program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER TOBIN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I cannot give an assurance that the 2,000 people who have received, as the member has just pointed out, their last TAGS cheque will be included formally in a post-TAGS program. What I can assure the member, and what I can assure those families, is that I have raised the circumstance of these families. By the way, the number, Mr. Speaker, is closer to 4,000 between now and August; 2,000 in the last few days, the member is right, but there will be several thousand more for a total of 4,000 by August.

Mr. Speaker, I have reached the plight of these families directly with the Prime Minister and directly with the other ministers in Ottawa who have to take this decision. There have been some indications in the last week or so, particular comments by the federal minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Fred Mifflin, that this group is going to be looked at as well for special programming. Mr. Speaker, I await the outcome of the deliberations in Ottawa.

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minster of Human Resources and Employment.

Recently we have had many high school students in the building, in the offices of the MHAs, the ministers and department officials. These students are also being placed elsewhere throughout the Province.

Human Resources and Development Canada has just announced the cancellation of the funding that makes the Youth Internship Program possible. That means the cancellation of many internship opportunities, newer and less established ones, and it undermines the plans for internships in new areas in biotechnology, aquaculture and international trade.

Has the provincial government yet decided to step in and increase support for this very worthwhile program when the federal government steps out?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Minister for Human Resources and Employment.

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, this program which provided funding for the co-op program, as many people know it, is one which has been funded exclusively by the federal government in past years and has operated through the schools and primarily through the Department of Education.

Along with the Minister of Education, we have been working to try and get the federal government to look for other sources of revenue that they could put into this program. We recognize the value of the co-operative program to our students in our high schools. I know, from comments earlier in the House and elsewhere by the Minister of Education, that we are doing everything within our power at this time, to try and get the additional funding that is required to reinstate or continue this program.

Ultimately, it is a federal government program that was addressed through the high school students to try and provide them with experience with work, and we will certainly try to ensure that that can continue.

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

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

My question is for the Minister of Health. The minister will be familiar with the most common neurological disease effecting young adults in Canada; multiple sclerosis. She would be aware that there are promising drugs that can significantly slow the process of this disease and give people their lives back, but the drugs cost between $13,000 and $18,000 a year.

Why has the minister decided that the Province will not cover the cost of these drugs when they can vastly improve the lives of people who cannot otherwise hope to afford them?

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

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

As the member opposite may know, we spend about $50 million a year on our provincial drug program, and under our formulary, which is the list, we house a number of drugs which are able to be provided. Every year thousands of new drugs come into the market. Betaseron, I believe, is the one to which he is the one he is referring. There are hundreds and thousands of other drugs put on the market every year. What we have made a decision to do, as have many other provinces in this country, is that because our money is limited, because we have been activity lobbying to the - that many other provinces in this country is that because our money is limited, because we have been actively lobbying to the federal government for more money for these programs as well as many others, we have made a decision that we would use evidence-based decision making and that would be supported by strong clinical trials and evidence that the ability to put this drug on the formulary would, in fact, be both cost effective and also be supported by clinical evidence.

Mr. Speaker, right now we are looking at any number of drugs. I receive hundreds of letters in the course of a month being asked to put any number of drugs on our formulary for coverage. So that is the process we use and the process is comprised of a group of clinical experts, mostly of physicians that have expertise in that area to make those decisions and recommendations to government.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health and Community Services referred to evidence-based decisions with respect to this. She certainly did not apply that last week with respect to the questions asked by the Member for Ferryland.

Minister, have you considered the fact that spending the money up-front to pay for these drugs may actually save our health care system, our social system and our economy many times that investment, since the people helped by the drugs will be able to function without costly disabilities and medical aliments?

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

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

I don't want, at any time, to minimize the impact of introducing any new therapies or drugs for anyone who is suffering from any sort of disease. But what we have to do, with our limited monies and the fact that we are making decisions every day, is to have the evidence to support the clinical trials usage and the money to put there. As has been pointed out, when a drug that will be introduced will cost approximately $20,000 per year per person we have to be very clear that: (a) we have the money to do it, so that we don't have to take other drugs off our formulary; and (b) we have the clinical evidence to support that decision.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, some of the prescribed treatments for MS are Copaxone, at $13,000 a year; Betaseron, $17,000; and Rebif at $18,000. How does the minister suggest MS patients pay for these drugs? What do you say to the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians steering into the darkness of multiple sclerosis and asking you, as minister, for help?

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

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

As I have previously said, I can understand a person's willingness and desire to try drugs that come on the market, but if you are listening, every day you hear about new drugs for fertility, new drugs for virility, you hear of new drugs for anti-cancer treatments and new drugs for people who are suffering from alzheimers. Mr. Speaker, the point I am trying to make - and I think it is a responsible one - is that we do understand the desire for many people to take drugs once they come on the market. But because we have a limited amount of money to provide for new drugs - we put $50 million into our formulary. We have put new money into the formulary to be able to sustain the growing cost of the drugs we currently have that are listed on our formulary. We have to be sure that the evidence is provided clinically and that we have enough money in our system so that we don't have to take other drugs off our formulary in order to provide other people with an opportunity to have other drugs.

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 Industry, Trade and Technology, just for the purposes of an update. The deadline has passed on the MAI agreement and I am wondering if the minister is aware whether or not talks are proceeding on the MAI agreement between Canada and the other countries and if she can give us an update on that?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, I am sure as the hon. member is aware, talks were taking place in Paris on the MAI. At this point in time, those talks have been put on hold for six months, not to say that they will not happen within the six month time frame, but at this point in time this Province does not have a position on the MAI because there is no definitive document from which we can draw a position on, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: Based on the talks that are taking place on the MAI agreement, I ask the minister, based on what is in place right now, what areas of that agreement do you feel are beneficial to the Province, to industry in the Province, to our environment and so on?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, let me say that because this is very much a work in progress, if anyone were to look at the number of pages that exist in the MAI document there are so many ifs, ands or buts and so many footnotes to what is happening, Mr. Speaker. We know that as far as health is concerned, as far as the environment is concerned, as far as the fishery is concerned, that we have assurances from the federal minister, who is negotiating on behalf of the country, that those areas will be protected. If not, Mr. Speaker, this Province would not be interested in participating in any form of MAI.

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

MR. T. OSBORNE: I ask the minister - if I can read clearly from her answer that she has no concerns with the MAI - if you do: Could you outline to the House what your concerns are - what areas concerning the environment, health, industry, our resources - where you do have concerns with what is in place at this time?

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the MAI is very much a work in progress. We have, as trade ministers throughout this country, met and looked at the document, and because there is no definitive position on any of these areas, and because we have the assurance from the hon. Sergio Marchi that nothing will happen with respect to the MAI as it impacts on health, education, fishery, natural resources, without consulting with the provinces, I feel confident that we can rest assured that nothing will be signed without our consent.

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

MR. FRENCH: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question this morning is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

Minister, quite some time ago, in March, you were in the Town of Conception Bay South and conducted a meeting with all the stakeholders involved in the T'Railway. On that particular night you promised the people in the room that you would have a decision by the end of March.

We are now into May and I am still receiving calls as to what that decision will be or should be. I think the case was made very clear to you that night. There was actually a poll done - which should make the minister very happy - by the same company that polls for the Liberal government, which clearly showed a multi-purpose use for the T'Railway in Conception Bay South. I ask the minister today: Have you now reached your decision, and can you tell the House exactly what that decision is?

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

MS KELLY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to inform the House and the hon. member that the decision has not been made in the time frame that we thought we would be able to make it because we were waiting for the Town of Paradise, who appointed a committee. They did this, and I think it was shortly after the Easter break that we received their information.

Some of the information led us to believe that from a multi-use point of view the community was very supportive of it, providing all of the appropriate safety measures were taken. We have since then been costing out the safety measures that would need to be put in place from the end of the Grand Concourse to the end of CBS because I think you know, as you are the member for part of that area, it takes in a long area of the T'Railway.

I have recently received a fax, that it would be about $400,000 to put all of the safety barriers and the signage and the appropriate things in place. Actually, I have a paper here in front of me from a group that is willing to look at working with us - one of the stakeholder groups doing this - and I will be meeting with them later today to discuss this.

So as we figure out, if we can get the appropriate safety measures put in place then I will be making a final decision on this. I assume we are just days away from doing it, but it depends on what happens when I continue to meet with these groups who have an interest in the trail being totally multi-use. But I need to point out, it is extremely important for everyone to understand that multi-use means: No motor vehicles, no trucks or cars. When we say multi-use, we mean hikers, snowmobilers and ATVers.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for Oral Questions has elapsed.


Notices of Motion


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

MS S. OSBORNE: I would like to put forward the following resolution:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced its intention to prevent social assistance recipients from enjoying the full advantage of the National Child Benefit in addition to their meagre social assistance; and

WHEREAS the government's decision to use this clawed back funding for employment incentives and family resource centres, while important for many people, those receiving social assistance are clearly receiving inadequate benefits on which to support their families properly;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that this House urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to change its current policy to ensure that children living in families on social assistance receive an increase in benefits equal to the National Child Benefit.




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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to present a petition given me by my constituents in my district. The petition reads: To the hon. House of Assembly, we ask the House of Assembly to accept the following prayer:

We, the undersigned residents of Harry's Harbour, in the District of Baie Verte, do hereby petition the House of Assembly to upgrade and pave roads in the area. Deplorable and unfit conditions of the road to Harry's Harbour makes travelling to and from school unsafe for schoolchildren as well as jeopardizes the safety of the travelling public, and betrays the lack of commitment to rural areas of our Province.

Mr. Speaker, I will start with the last line first. People in rural Newfoundland today are starting to ask the question of commitment to rural Newfoundland. People in this particular community of Harry's Harbour feel the same way. I do say to the minister here today that the commitment in the Budget this year of some $16 million, which is really $12 million for the Province in provincial paving, is not enough. It is not enough of a commitment to rural Newfoundland and Labrador in things like pavement, where they expect to ride over a half-decent road. That is all they are asking.

The community of Harry's Harbour saw some pavement years ago and there are still some fifteen to twenty kilometres - I think it is seventeen kilometres exactly - still unpaved. They have been waiting a long time and I think it is long overdue. I think the minister should consider this to be a priority of a gravel road.

Also, there is the point made by the people in the district that they have schoolchildren. It is not even so bad that if they had their own school in their community they wouldn't have to travel. Parents say to me: Even if I had to travel it, and the kids didn't, on these buses. They are not luxury buses, these school buses. You are talking about small children in the back of those, in which I have driven myself, to sit in the back of those buses, how bad it is for schoolchildren.

I implore the minister to give some serious consideration to these roads that are unpaved still. I still raise the point again, and I have said it many times over, about double-lane highways in certain parts of the Province, like in Gander, proposed for, and Grand Falls and Pasadena. Which is, yes, something to move on into the future, but at the same time the priority should be given, I think, to roads that have not even been paved yet. They are still, since Confederation, waiting for a paved road. That is not a lot to be asking.

Not only that, the people of Harry's Harbour understand they are not going to get their complete paving from that program right away. They are not asking for that. They are reasonable, sensible people who are asking for their share, that people who live in rural Newfoundland can get a share of some paving to show there is some commitment to finish that down the road.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking the minister to give them some serious consideration and consider them as a priority as a community that should be done. It is still one of those communities out there.

I know there are gravel roads, and the Member for Twillingate & Fogo raised it about roads in his district. I say to the member there also, and to the minister, that all of these roads should be given some serious consideration and priority, and that people in this day and age, when we see so many technological advances, and we see so much money being spent on other things that a lot of people would question are necessary, that priority be given to this, because it is a time in rural Newfoundland when people look to see something like pavement or water and sewer, the necessities. They are not something extravagant or anything. They are necessities. When people see that, they see something concrete.

Believe it or not, it is like even more than the old days. It is (inaudible) people down to believe that there is something tangible, something physical that they can see, that the government has not forgotten them, that rural Newfoundland and Labrador is still surviving. They will be there for many years.

Yes, there are problems in a lot of communities, but in the community of Harry's Harbour they plan to be there for a long time yet to come. They have a long tradition in that area and believe they will be living there for years to come. They believe it is time for them to get some recognition by government to say: Yes, we are committed to rural Newfoundland, and that a necessity such as a road paving should be done.

I support them wholeheartedly in this petition. I have done this many times in the House over and over, as the minister well knows here today, and the Premier knows, and all members know. I have presented and asked for a priority to be given to these roads that are still unpaved since Confederation.

MR. HARRIS: Why do you have to keep doing it?

MR. SHELLEY: The Leader of the NDP asked me why I have to keep doing it. Because I guess they are not being listened to.

I support the minister, by the way, and his Cabinet colleagues, of saying: Put more money into the provincial roads budget so they can address a very simplistic, straightforward request by people in all parts of the Province who are still travelling over a gravel road.

I know the minister will, as I continue to raise it with him in meetings and in this House of Assembly, over and over, and I will continue to do that for the people in Harry's Harbour, and people anywhere in this Province who have a gravel road to travel over in this day and age. Here we are heading into the millennium, the year 2000, when we are talking about spaceships and people visiting Mars and everything else. I don't think it is to much to ask, that people be allowed to drive over a paved road. I say to the minister, the people of Harry's Harbour do not expect 17 kilometres to be done next week or next year, but they expect to see even a few kilometres, Mr. Speaker, to show that the commitment is there and to show that we are moving in the right direction.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I support them wholeheartedly.

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

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

I rise in my place today to support the petition presented by the Member for Baie Verte, a very conscientious member who is consistently representing his district in this House of Assembly, who is presenting petitions and asking questions. A number of times now I have heard him speak with respect to the condition of the roads in his district. That is part of the responsibility, I suppose, of a member, to try and get road work done in his district, to see that they are brought up to the standard that the other roads are within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. From what I can gather, in discussions with the Member for Baie Verte, there are a good many kilometres of roads in his district that are not yet paved.

He just made a comment, when he was speaking to the petition, that we are sending people to the moon, sending spaceships to Mars, and we cannot get a bit of pavement for some of the roads in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We have a administration here, Mr. Speaker, which says they represent the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, all the districts of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador; except for the Minister of Fisheries, of course, Mr. Speaker, who just has interest in his own district, and any other districts outside his own are foreign to him, although he is a minister of the Crown.

One of the issues the member mentioned with respect to the petition to get some road work done, the road to Harry's harbour I think he said, Mr. Speaker, he mentioned the school children, the buses travelling over these roads which are in hard shape and need paving. We have, I suppose, children, depending on how far they have to go - I think he mentioned fifteen or sixteen kilometres - who are probably sick with the rough ride by the time they get to school in the morning and when they get home in the evening.

There is no need for it in this Province today. If we have proper management of the funds that are available to this Province, Mr. Speaker, we should be able to keep our roads in half decent condition, especially for the children of this Province, for the safety issue.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education is making some comment over there. I am not sure what he is talking about. But, with respect to rural Newfoundland and Labrador, we have to have a commitment from any government, Mr. Speaker.

We see some of the communities losing their schools, and the children are going to bused to other communities. We had an episode up on the Northern Peninsula this past week. People believe they need the schools in their communities. It is the heart of any community; their schools.

We have roads which are in hard shape and we are asking communities to bus their children to other communities, even more so then they have been doing in the past; another reason to have the roads in this Province brought up to standard. There are so many dirt roads here, it is unreal.

Mr. Speaker, in my district, a district so close to St. John's, there are still dirt roads. They are not paved yet. I know of one area down there where there are 5 kilometres not paved.

The Community of Harry's harbour is looking for some road work, Mr. Speaker, and the Member for Baie Verte has been presenting petitions here, a number of them. The Member for Baie Verte is here again today presenting petitions for the people of Harry's Harbour to try and get some work done on the road leading to Harry's harbour. He is very concerned about the condition of the road, as I stated earlier, and he is very concerned about the children driving over the roads to go to school, Mr. Speaker.

I think that the Minister of Works and Services and Transportation should take a serious look at the Budget this year and see if he can squeeze some more money out of the Budget for the people of Harry's Harbour, for the Member for Baie Verte who is acting on behalf of the people in his district all the time here in this House of Assembly; and not only in the House of Assembly, of course, but in his district. He is always and forever travelling the district, going to the different communities. I have had a lot of conversation with him over the past five years and he is certainly one of the better members in this House of Assembly to represent the District of Baie Verte.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just a few words with respect to the petition that was just presented by the hon. the Member for Baie Verte area requesting road work in Harry's Harbour. I acknowledge that there are gravel roads in Harry's Harbour. I acknowledge that there are a lot of gravel roads in the hon. member's district. As a matter of fact, I would think the level of gravel roads in the hon. member's district speaks more eloquently than almost anything else could, as to the ineffectiveness of the previous member or members that have been representing that district over the years.

If I recall, Harry's Harbour has been represented by, if not two, at least one of the Leaders of the Opposition, who was also Premier at the time that he represented that area. I believe the hon. Brain Peckford represented the Harry's Harbour area. He was Premier of the Province for ten years and after ten years of representing that area, that area of the Province has more gravel roads than any other area of the Province. Now if you can figure out what type of representation that is and what type of representation those people were given, I think you will also figure out why it was abundantly clear to the people of the Province that in 1989 it was time to get rid of that administration and replace it with a Liberal government.

As the result of the change of government, I can tell the hon. member and I can tell the people of Harry's Harbour through their member and through the record of Hansard, that we have probably, as a Liberal government, applied more money to gravel roads in the Baie Verte area than any other government in the last twenty or twenty-five years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: I think the hon. member acknowledges that and I think he appreciates it. At least he has told me privately that he does.

In terms of the allocation that we gave that district this year for road work, we gave that district about $1.3 million or $1.4 million out of a $15 million to $16 million Capital Budget. That is a clear indication, Mr. Speaker, that this government recognizes that we need to deal with issues on a priority basis without mixing politics up into the whole issue. Of course, politics is important but politics should not determine what roads are built in the first instance.

I would also say to the people of Harry's Harbour, that I consulted with the hon. member with respect to what roads should be done in his district, and as a result of that consultation we identified two or three projects in his district this year. I can also tell the hon. member that Harry's Harbour was not on the top of his list. So, I defer to the good judgement and the good wisdom of the hon. Member for Baie Verte when it comes to setting priorities in his district and I will continue to take that very pro-active and that very objective view -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to take his seat.

MR. MATTHEWS: - and approach to determining what road work should be done in the future in his district.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to take his seat.

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

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) going to Harry's Harbour.

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible) going to Harry's Harbour, I say to the Member for Windsor - Springdale. You had better stay out of Springdale too from the sound of it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a point of order.

MR. SHELLEY: Mr. Speaker, it is really too bad, you know, because we have been consulting back and forth with the minister; but he cannot mislead this House. I have had many consultations with the minister and he should correct it here in the House and stop playing that silly game when you are talking about people in a community. On consultations with the minister and with his officials, the most previous one there, we did talk about Harry's Harbour several times, Mr. Speaker, I say to the minister. So he is not telling the whole story. Maybe on one consultation meeting, when I talked about other communities -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, that is right, but on some consultations I -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

There is no point of order.

The hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I take great exception to even the suggestion that I am misleading the House. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, I know of no basis for the hon. member to make that allegation. I simply made a number of points: (1) that that particular district was not well served by the previous PC administration; (2) they were represented by premiers of the Province during that same time; (3) when we took power we decided to do things on an objective and fair basis, and as a result we have put a lot of money into that district for road work;, (4) this year we have put $1.3 million or $1.4 million into that district for road work; and (5) I have to say, with great respect to the hon. member who has been very cooperative and very supportive in terms of trying to keep the people of that area reasonably understanding of what we are doing, that Harry's Harbour was not one of the places -

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: I can't speak, Mr. Speaker, for the meetings that were held with Mr. White or the previous minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time is up.

MR. MATTHEWS: All I can say is that Harry's Harbour this year did not make the list.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister's time is up.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present a petition on behalf of constituents in my district. I might say to the minister it is the Goulds bypass. I might add, out of the ones that were circulated I think this is the last one to come in. There may be another. I am rather disappointed that this is coming to an end.

I say to the minister, in my district last year what they did - and he knows full well, I went over and met with him. Talk about roads in Harry's Harbour and other areas! I had to go over and ask him to provide some more asphalt. So a Transportation dump truck and a spreader they rented went around the roads and patched up holes that were a foot deep all over the area. That's what it is, they have been patching roads for the last number of years. The minister knows that quite well; trying to get another 150 tons of asphalt and another 50 tons, and they still haven't got all the potholes covered. That's what is happening. We are covering roads that were done twenty-five and thirty years ago. There are potholes in them so deep that there is damage to vehicles and so on.

This petition was organized by the Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board, or Zone 20 as will call it. They had a meeting of all municipalities in the whole area. They gathered together there and almost every single municipality in the entire district took an active part. They placed petitions within the respective businesses around these communities, and that is why thousands of names have come in on a very well planned initiative by the Irish Loop Regional Economic Development Board. That is the loop that has three leaves on the shamrock, in case he isn't aware of it. I say to the minister, it is a very worthwhile project. The minister has acknowledged that. He has said on public record, he has put it in writing, it is going to be done within the terms of the agreement.

Many other government departments are recognizing the potential in the area, the tens of thousands of tourists who come into the area. It has been acknowledged by the East Coast trail being developed, the Colony of Avalon, the boat tours up in the area. Tens of thousands of people, in fact, are coming to that area each year. We try to make sure that the Department of Works, Services and Transportation can see the merit that the Departments of Development and Rural Renewal, Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and Industry, Trade and Technology, and various other departments are seeing in the area. I just wish the Department of Works, Services and Transportation would give the same priority that other departments are giving to a project that is needed.

When you move tens of thousands of tourists a year - I'm talking about 50,000, 60,000, 70,000 - when you look at the boat tours, the Colony of Avalon and those areas there, you need an appropriate system of transportation in order to have people come back.

It's a shame when people come back from these and talk about the great boat tour or the beautiful work being done, the East Coast trail or the Colony of Avalon, and have to complain about our transportation system and roads that are not fit to drive on. That is the sad reality of it, and that comes up all too often. It's those little things that are very important, I might add.

The prayer of the petition highlights some key things, and I will make reference to a few things in the prayer of the petition that highlight the importance of it. For example, it says here: Whereas significant opportunities for development in the region are contingent on the completion of a Goulds bypass road; whereas the viability of communities and businesses is dependent upon an adequate transportation infrastructure that allows our region access to the opportunities and markets of the capital region; and whereas the growth of our community is closely related to the ability of our citizens to commute and to work within a reasonable time each day over highways that are in good condition.

I might add there are many, many reasons why this project should proceed. I know the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is certainly not tuned into it here. I can hardly hear when he shouts back and forth on this important initiative.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible). I am talking about you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I am not talking about threatening you, I am just talking about your attitude. I am talking about your rotten attitude. That is what I am talking about. A minister of the Crown! A minister of the people!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, this particular project is worthwhile. It is identified, it has been earmarked. The people in the area want to see something happening. There are tremendous developments going on. The problem going through the Goulds area, driving through a main street in the City of St. John's, the longest street in the City of St. John's - people have to drive it every single day travelling back and forth to this city.

It is not an acceptable situation. It should be higher on the priority list. Work should start on it this year and it should be able to be completed within a couple of years, rather than wait until 2003 - two or three extra years, over and above the normal, over a poor road in hazardous condition. There could be many people killed. Many people have been killed on the Goulds highway.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise again today to support the petition put forward by my good friend and colleague from the historic District of Ferryland.

Mr. Speaker, we have now been presenting petitions on this matter for weeks and weeks, and we want to bring to the attention of the minister that it is time for him to start to take some action. A few days ago he indicated, yes, once we complete the Outer Ring Road, the Goulds bypass might then be further up on the priorities of his department.

Mr. Speaker, the people who live in that part of the Province have been told on many, many occasions by this government - and while they refer back to previous times, I would remind them that it is now nearly ten years since they came into office. Therefore, if you are looking back to the previous Administration, you are beginning to look at ancient history.

Mr. Speaker, they have to take responsibility for what has happened in this Province over the last ten years. Ten years ago, the Goulds bypass was talked about. It was a concept that was developed in the 1980s and it is time now to take some action on it. For ten years this government has sat on its posterior. Instead of doing some work and getting some things done, the government has been procrastinating. They have been inactive. They have been a lot of talk and, as the former leader of the Conservative Party said: They have been a lot of fluff and no stuff.

So we say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation that the people in the Goulds area, the people who will be serviced by this road, are saying they have had enough talk and they now want some action, so these petitions have been coming in. They talk about safety issues, and I know that all members would be interested in doing what they can to improve safety on our highways. We have had some terrible tragedies on the Goulds road. It is narrow, it is twisting, it winds through pasture land; there are virtually no opportunities there for safety in terms of pedestrian walkways, or anything like that, so we say it is time to do something with it, to look at it and make sure that this road, the Goulds bypass, moves up on the priorities of the government.

Mr. Speaker, the member as well talked about economic development. I was listening the other day to a presentation made by the developers in Witless Bay and Bay Bulls area on their boat tours. I was so taken with that particular presentation because they gave me some information that I frankly did not know: how many people were taken out last year. In fact, one boat tour operator in Bay Bulls last year took out - well, what would you think the number was, 5,000 people? Last year alone, one operator in the Bay Bulls area took out 45,000 people on a boat tour to see the whales and the icebergs and that kind of thing.

Now, Mr. Speaker, when we look at the prospects for that kind of economic development - and I see that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is obviously not interested in economic development of that type - we have 45,000 people using a tour operator down there. That is just one. There are two large ones and a number of others that are not quite so large, but they do have great potential.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

I note there is a lot of hoity-toity, highfalutin and condescending language going on between the Member for Baie Verte, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the Minister of Justice -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: - preventing me from presenting my petition on behalf of the people of Ferryland in a coherent manner. Those are the kinds of attitudes that are so prevalent here in the House of Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. H. HODDER: The government obviously is not listening to the wishes of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, so the minister and members react to petitions in a very condescending manner. That shows absolute contempt for ordinary Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. H. HODDER: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to support the petition put forward by my colleague.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I feel I must rise at this historic point in the legislative session and knowledge all of the petitions that have been presented by the hon. Member for Ferryland, inasmuch as he advised me this morning, through his presentation, that this is in fact the last petition he has to present on the Goulds bypass road. I think that is a rather historic moment in this legislative sitting, because he has been repetitiously and rhetorically laying out petitions regarding this particular piece of construction. It gives me an opportunity at this point to say what I have already said on a number of other occasions, that the Goulds bypass piece of road is a priority in terms of being identified under the Roads for Rail Agreement.

It is somewhat an integral part of the Outer Ring Road, and beginning the flow of traffic from the Southern Shore in the Province. I have to say, that piece of road will be done probably sooner rather than later, and probably just as quickly as if we had started it two or three years ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MATTHEWS: Well, yes, I have to say that there are very good people on the Southern Shore who have a different political stripe who have raised that issue with me in other forums.

AN HON. MEMBER: Good Liberals.

MR. MATTHEWS: Good Liberals, yes. Well, there are no other types.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, having said that it is a priority, the Goulds bypass, and having given that assurance in many private meetings to the town councils on the Southern Shore, I do want to acknowledge graciously and humbly, and on behalf of government, the very good work that has been done by their member, the Member for Ferryland, who has doggedly, tirelessly, rhetorically and insistently continued to present petitions on behalf of that particular area and on behalf of that particular road.

If the hon. member achieves nothing else in his political lifetime - and he has achieved many significant points in his career. He was the Leader of the Opposition. The other day when he took his seat as House Leader over on the other side we still, over here, at least, some - the Speaker, I think, or somebody - still wanted to call him the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: I can only say that he must have looked very good to some in that chair, and the time may yet come when he may return to that chair. Because, I can tell you, that side of the House needs all the help it can get and all the leadership it can get.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. MATTHEWS: To the point of the petition, Mr. Speaker, let the hon. member know, the record shows that we on this side of the House believe that notwithstanding the fact that we could not start it this year, he has done a good job in presenting the case. I am sure that the combined and accumulative effect of his efforts will sooner or later see the Outer Ring Road completed and the Goulds bypass completed as well.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MS S. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I have a petition this morning and, much to the chagrin of the people on the other side, I do not feel this is the last one because they keep coming in. It is on Sunday shopping, and it is from people... The hon. the Minister of Fisheries said, in reference to the Goulds bypass road, they should have voted Liberal. These people are from Bay Roberts, Chamberlains, Topsail, Paradise -

MR. EFFORD: You have nothing there from Bay Roberts.

MS S. OSBORNE: Are you allowed to name people?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: Name them.

MS S. OSBORNE: Rideout. Do you want their phone number? It is 786 -

MR. EFFORD: That is Baie Verte.

MS S. OSBORNE: That is not -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS S. OSBORNE: In December when we voted on this, when it was rammed through, we said that it would lead to the erosion of family life, and that is what it is doing.

This weekend we are celebrating Mother's Day. I had a call this week from a woman who works in retail and she said: I had a choice. I could have gone to my son's hockey tournament on May 3 - I could take May 3 off and go to that - or, I could work on Mother's Day. Now, if that is not leading to the erosion of family life, I do not know what is.

There are many mothers affected by this. There was one hon. member who said, when we proposed that as well as Easter Sunday the shops be closed on Mother's Day and Father's Day: I respect my mother every day of the year.

I would suggest that many people respect their mother every day of the year, to the point that they do not want their mother working on Mother's Day for $5.25 an hour in retail.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS S. OSBORNE: It has nothing to do with labour, it has nothing to do with work, it has nothing to do with the day of the week. It has to do with the fact that traditionally Newfoundlanders celebrated, or had a universal day off that they could spend with their families, whether it was at a hockey tournament, whether it was going for a hike, whether it was a picnic, or whether it was just relaxing and having a barbecue. Now, because of the members, because of the government, this day has been eroded. A very significant point of this day being eroded is that mothers will be working on Mother's Day. Not only will mothers be working on Mother's Day, but children will be working on Mother's Day and will be prevented from celebrating traditional Mother's Day celebrations with their mothers. That is thanks to the hon. members on the other side of this House who did not have the foresight to see what this bill would do.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today because I believe there are certain fundamental things that need to be addressed with this petition. Government was in a situation where they did not want to have to deal with it. They were unable to enforce their own legislation. They were incapable, or did not have the will to do it, so they decided to throw everything open. That is basically why we have Sunday shopping.

I do believe, Mr. Speaker, that there should be certain days of the year that are reserved for family, and we should not try to erode the base of the family. There are enough pressures today in society tearing apart families, compared to years ago. I do not think there is anything wrong with an amendment we had here in the House when they introduced legislation to have stores closed on Easter Sunday, in terms of shopping. I supported that. We agreed with it. We knew government was not going to throw all Sundays open at that time when we moved the amendment, so we moved an amendment to at least have them closed on Mother's Day and Father's Day. At least it does highlight the role that these people have played in the family unit - mothers and fathers in particular.

It is kind of difficult, unless you are in the situation or know people in the situation, or families, when young kids today have their mother leaving the household on a Sunday, or on Mother's Day, and go to work in a department store. It is a difficult situation, especially when probably the father may be working during the day and the mother may be on night shift working in these stores, and when their family members are gone. Then, when it comes to a weekend, or at least Sunday, when there is an opportunity to have it off, when they are closed on Sundays, at least it is one day when all family members can be together. It is no wonder there is over a 50 per cent divorce rate across this country today and families are being broken down, because there are so many pressures on the family.

We do not have to go along with the tides because someone else does it, or because there are pressures by major chains to do it, because of political purposes or whatever the case may be, because we don't have the gumption to enforce our own legislation that is there. If there is something wrong with it, you take the action to correct it. I think it is important that we should be trying to build and strengthen the basic ties and the basic principles and values in our society today rather using methods to erode them. So what is wrong with having something unique? Because they do it in Ontario we have to do it here? Because they do it all over the place? What is wrong with being unique? What is wrong with being different? What is wrong with saying Sunday is a day that stores should be closed?

At least it is a day - because I find, and I know to many people around rural Newfoundland, particularly where I grew up, Sunday was a day that you gathered together on a family basis. It was an opportunity to slow down from the regular pace of work. Traditionally, people who fished in fishing communities all their lives, from Monday to Saturday, it did not matter whether you had a disastrous week fishing and things got better on Saturday; they did not fish on Sunday. They did not fish on Sunday. They stayed home. They could work like Trojans from Monday to Saturday, but Sunday was a day they took off and they were at home.

Today we are pushing people out the doors. This legislation, while it may not seem so significant, I can tell you it is adding to the erosion basically of the family unit. People are scattered all over the place on Sunday. It is just like Las Vegas now. Seven days a week - Las Vegas, day or night, Monday or Saturday or Sunday - it is all alike. It does not do much for basic values in basic society, in trying to strengthen them. The strongest unit in our society today, that kept society together, has been the family unit, and that has been eroded.

People have an opportunity. It is not helping the economic base. People have so many dollars in our economy to spend, and if they are going to spend it they have six days a week in which to spend that money. It is not helping the overall revenue base of our Province. It is not really adding to our retail sales. This government this year alone, with Sunday shopping, are predicting retail sales to be no higher than last year.

If you look at the report on the economy presented along with the Budget, there are insignificant changes in retail sales from last year to this year, in spite of Sunday shopping, in spite of a full year in which the HST has been applied. There has been no growth in the retail sales projected by the government in the economy there. So I don't know what the big deal is with having to open up the stores on Sundays. If people want shopping, the stores open in the nighttime. They used to close early but now they can shop in the nighttime. Sometimes you can go right up to midnight shopping. There are lots of opportunities to do shopping. It is not necessary to have it on Sundays. I did not support it at the time. I am still not convinced. I might never be convinced.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, bring it back. That is one thing, I say to the minister. Doing things and reversing them creates a whole new set of problems, and that is something that I am not prepared - I would consider it and look at the options there and then wait, but I would not outright come out and make a statement because sometimes when you turn the clock we have created a monster that we cannot reverse. We have to look at the realities of that. I am not saying I would not either.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I am not saying I would not but I am not saying I would. I would have to look at it. Exactly, I am not saying. I would have to study the effects and the consequences, and look at what might be the best decision to make.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is not. I am speaking on a petition presented by a member. I am speaking personally from my experience on that. I am not the critic representing that area. Petitions presented by individuals represent their views. The Member for St. John's West is presenting on behalf of people who approached her to present it, and I am speaking on it as the Member for Ferryland District and as an individual. I do not agree with it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It is not a policy statement on behalf of our party. We will leave that for the critic or for the leader. If it is on a health matter I will certainly speak on a policy (inaudible) on part of ours, but I do not support it. I did not think it was a good move. I think a government, by not having to exercise their control in legislation -

MR. SPEAKER (Penney): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: - shirk their responsibility by bringing in something that tried to get them off the hook.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Orders of the Day


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

MR. DECKER: Motion 1, Mr. Speaker, which is the Budget Speech. I believe we are debating the non-confidence motion, and I think the Leader of the Opposition adjourned debate.

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

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, our Leader has a few minutes left there, and he would like the opportunity, if he could, when he gets in to finish. I think we are pretty well down to the end of discussion. The Member for St. John's East stood in his place. There are only about thirty minutes in total left to speak; if we could utilize that time?

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

MR. DECKER: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that is acceptable. It is understood that the hon. Leader of the Opposition who adjourned debate is unavailable at this minute. Therefore, the Member for St. John's East is going to speak, and then we will revert and allow the Leader of the Opposition to finish off the speech. That is acceptable, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the Minister of Justice for allowing me to get my remaining few minutes in, as I adjourned debate, I believe, on Tuesday of this week. I thank the minister for his cooperation.

We are towards the end, I guess, of our debate on the non-confidence motion in this Chamber, a motion which has been presented by members on this side of the House, dealing with weaknesses and areas in the Budget presentation which we feel ought to be addressed and ought to be given some element of concentration and address, in the hopes that government members and members opposite will realize that this Budget, which was presented a number of weeks ago in this House, is not the panacea, it is not the remedy to cure all ills, and it is not certainly what is in the interest of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Mr. Speaker, as has been indicated by many members on this side of the House, it is essential that a motion of non-confidence be debated and in due course be voted on, to show the people of this Province that the Budget which has been handed down is one which in many ways neglects the very real problems and very real issues which confront the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I would like to take a few minutes to talk on a few topics which relate in a very direct way to the Budget Debate. I would like to begin with reference to a meeting I attended last night, a seminar on restorative justice. This is a concept which is relatively new in our Province, and it is a concept, of course, which gives alternatives to sentencing, alternatives to incarceration, and alternatives to the traditional types of dispositions which are found in our criminal justice system. However, it is an initiative which requires government's attention and government's recognition that this is a policy and an initiative which can work.

Some of the speakers last night were, in fact, employees of the Department of Justice. For example, we had an individual from Victim Services, an individual from Mediation Services, all of whom presented important and relevant information with respect to the new restorative justice initiative.

This week in the House I questioned the minister on the issue of victim services as it relates to children. We all know that adults in this Province appear to be reasonably dealt with in terms of their needs as it relates to victims of crime. However, there is a gap, and this gap has been acknowledged by the minister in response to questions which were directed to him earlier this week. That gap exists with respect to children, and that gap was acknowledged in discussions that were held last night at the restorative justice initiative seminar.

The problem is that although the Department of Justice has a mandate to deal with victim services, there is no limitation, there is no restriction, on who the victims are. So clearly the mandate is for all people of the Province, regardless of age, regardless of which court they are involved with, whether it is an adult court or a youth court. Victim services, as we find in the description of its mandate, clearly states: victims of crime. That includes adults and children. But yet the resources, the personnel, and quite possibly, Mr. Speaker, the policy of this government, to now - and there may be a change, let's hope there will be - but certainly the direction to this point, is to essentially ignore the needs of some, not all, but some children of this Province.

So clearly there has to be a focus, as I see it, Mr. Speaker, on victim services to include the needs of children who find themselves in very difficult situations, perhaps as victims of crime, perhaps as witnesses in a criminal proceeding, perhaps as an individual who is going through, with another family member, a very difficult court process; but their needs and their concerns ought to be addressed.

I understand, from responses by the minister earlier in the week, that discussions are taking place - perhaps that is the best way to put it - to see what can be done to ensure that the Division of Victim Services is there to meet the demands of not only adults but children as well.

Mr. Speaker, what has been happening, it is my understanding, is that in some cases the resources of the child protection unit are called upon to assist children in dealing with this very real problem. But that, in and of itself, Mr. Speaker, presents another problem, because what the Department of Justice is doing, in fact, is now relying upon the resources and the personnel in a very ad hoc fashion, relying on the resources and the personnel of another department; I might add, Mr. Speaker, a growing department, a department which, in and of itself, only recently received the responsibilities of child protection, namely the Department of Health.

So we had, in a very inconsistent, unorganized, ad hoc fashion, the personnel, the individuals, and the expertise of those individuals, in the child protection unit being called upon in an arbitrary fashion to deal with the needs of victim services as it relates to children. I say, Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough. That does not recognize the very real problem that exists in terms of children who are being exposed to the judicial system.

Mr. Speaker, there is an opportunity at this time for the minister and his department to carry out its mandate, to do what statutorily and legally it is required to do and to meet the needs of the children as it relates to victim services. The reason why it should be done, Mr. Speaker, is very clear in my mind. The reason is very clear because the children today, in seven, eight, ten, twelve, fifteen years are the adults of tomorrow, and if their concerns and if their difficulties throughout this process are not being adequately addressed, obviously it is only a matter of time when their concerns as adults will have to be addressed.

So, let us nip it in the bud, I say to the minister. Mr. Speaker, let us deal with this issue now, let us revisit the issue of victim services as it relates to children, and hopefully, let there be a concerted effort by government, by the Department of Justice in particular, by the Victim Services Division more specifically, to address these problems as it relates to children. It is not enough to say, as the minister said the other day, that most of the children are being dealt with through the resources of the child protection unit. It is not enough to say that.

What is required, is for the minister to be able to stand up - and if he is in a position to stand up and say it, I will congratulate him, I will salute him and I will thank him. But what he has to say, Mr. Speaker, is that all of the children, every single child in this Province, regardless of the victim services office, whether it be in St. John's or the other six or eight that are on the Island portion of the Province - I understand there are two offices in Labrador. But the total ten or twelve offices of victim services in this Province can stand up and say that the children and their needs are being addressed and their concerns are being, in an adequate fashion, looked after.

That is the kind of resolution to this issue that members on this side of the House would like to see, but it requires the political will, it requires the minister to take direct notice of this issue, and to then turn his energies and his efforts into making sure that this statutory requirement is being met by his department.

Mr. Speaker, another issue which arose and which is of interest, I am sure, to perhaps not only the Department of Justice, but also the Department of Human Resources and Employment, and quite possibly the Department of Health and Community Services, is the whole issue of mediation and how the development in our society of mediation is affecting the criminal justice system.

We all know there is a trend to deal with dispute by what is called alternative dispute resolution. It is a growing mechanism, Mr. Speaker, in response to many problems which arise which ordinarily and traditionally, certainly in the past, would end up in a court of law. Alternative dispute resolution is a way to have the parties come together, sit down, usually with an independent mediator, to try and see where there is a difference of opinion, and in the course of that discussion, to try and find a common thread of agreement, and then work with that common thread of agreement to try and expand a mediated agreement, an agreement that parties can live with.

It is never always perfect. The objective of mediation is not to strive for perfection, Mr. Speaker. The objective of mediation is to strive for balance in terms of seeking a resolution that the two parties can live with. We see this trend developing certainly in the family court system. The role of a mediator, a social worker trained in mediation, in unified family court, in my view, is as important and essential as the role of a judge of a unified family court. An experienced and trained mediator who can sit down with a quarrelling husband or wife, a quarrelling mother and father as it relates to custody and access, can be as successful, and in many cases, I would suggest, more successful, than the judge sitting on the bench who must make a decision where a party wins and another party loses.

That is the nature of the adversarial system, where evidence is called, witnesses give what is called viva voce evidence, the law is referred to, and in a response to perhaps a week of evidence and testimony a judge must make a decision: Does the custody of this child or this family's children go with the mother or the father? In that adversarial climate, by necessity, unfortunately, there is a winner and there is a loser.

Now, the alternative, Mr. Speaker, to that approach is the system or the trend known as mediation, where a quarrelling mother and father can sit down, not in a courtroom, but in an office or in a boardroom, or for that matter at Tim Horton's. It makes no difference, as long as there is a trained professional mediator who can sit down and attempt to work out the differences. It does not necessarily mean that that mother and father will ever reconcile. That isn't the objective. That is marriage counselling, that is something else. What a mediator can do is that in the interests of the child, who is really the victim of that separation, that mediator can attempt to find common ground so that that mother can win a little bit, will lose a little bit, that father will win a little bit, will lose a little bit, but on balance that child's interests are taken into account, to afford him or her the best possible resolution of what in essence is a very difficult situation. That is mediation, Mr. Speaker. That is what it's all about.

Last night we talked about mediation of a different type, slightly. It was mediation of a victim and an offender in a criminal justice context. It is an issue and a policy which again I think the department would be well advised to look at very seriously, and it has to do in some sense with the impact of victims and the consequence of criminal activity. Essentially what victim-offender mediation is all about is that in certain crimes, not in all crimes - it would be most difficult, I would suggest, in crimes of extreme violence; most difficult. But, for example, in petty crime, property crime, break and entry, you know, the person who goes away for the weekend, comes home and finds their house has been broken into, that type of crime, there is a possibility, there is a vision I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, whereby mediation between a victim and an offender is a possible way, at the end of the day, to deal with what, in fact, happened, where a trained individual will sit down with the offender and with the victim of that crime, to discuss it and to hopefully, in some way, find some sense of reconciliation to the violation which has taken place.

It is a new concept and, for many people, a very difficult one to even comprehend. But it has, according to some of the research, had some benefits. It has some merit, because rather than the victim of that crime feeling forever bitter towards what has occurred, there is an opportunity to meet that offender head on, to deal with him in the strongest of terms head on, and, I guess, to get off his or her chest the real frustration that has come about as a result of the criminal activity.

Mr. Speaker, a new concept, but one which may go a long way to dealing with the consequences of crime, and to hopefully mediate a difficult situation which has existed. Now, that does not mean that that criminal goes scot free. It does not means that. This is just an initiative which may be taken into account, in addition to, in part, the criminal justice system, but a way of dealing with the consequences of crime as it relates to the relationship between the victim and the offender.

These sorts of initiatives with respect to mediation, whether that mediation be with an employer or an employee, whether it be in matrimonial dispute, or whether it be mediation between an offender and the victim, are new initiatives, but I say to the minister, Mr. Speaker, they are important initiatives. When he is budgeting on behalf of his department for personnel at the Supreme Court of this Province, or at the Unify Family Court of this Province, or at the Provincial Courts of this Province, it is important, in my view, that the minister recognize the concepts of restorative justice, recognize the importance of the role of mediation, recognize the absolute requirement in family law circumstances of the importance of trained individual -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. OTTENHEIMER: who can deal with very difficult situations.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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

I rise to clue up my remarks with respect to the non-confidence motion and to pick up on some of the issues raised this morning.

I noticed this morning in Question Period, under questioning from the Member from Bonavista South with respect to the TAGS issue, with respect to early retirement: What can people come to expect from that? What sort of an agreement will be worked out?

I am convinced, by the Premier's statements, that when we talk about early retirement for those who have a historical attachment or long-term attachment to the industry, there may be some hope. But I am less hopeful, based upon the premier's comments, that for those people who are coming off the program, or who are already off the program or are ending today, those 2,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians - they are not so hopeful.

I listened to a program this morning where a lady from Burgeo was interviewed. In that community, prior to the moratorium being called, there were 3,000 people, and today there are 1,800. There are about sixty-five people being dropped as of today, who will receive their last compensation cheque today as a result of the collapse of the groundfish industry. Now, sixty-five people in Burgeo, she went on to say, is not just sixty-five people. The stores that services those individuals in that community are at stake as well. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the community itself is at stake.

The interviewer asked her specifically: What are your plans, personally?

She indicated that she had been involved in the fishery for some twenty years. Herself and her husband had raised a family and built a life for themselves, a home, all those sorts of normal things that people would do. She said: I don't have any at the moment. Forty-nine or fifty years old - where do I go? What do I do? Retrain? And what type of retraining? Let's say that I do retrain and get skills. I am into a job market where I am competing with people who are twenty-three, twenty-four and twenty-five, who have much better skills and more opportunities available to them. People in Burgeo today are waiting for school to close, a number of families, and when it does they are packing up and moving on.

The importance of a post-TAGS Program is not just for compensation only, not just for income replacement only; the purpose is to provide some initiative. The objective should be for further development, the types of things that people in that community, given half the chance and the opportunity, may be able to create themselves, may be able to attract to the community themselves.

That is one individual out of 2,000. There are 1,999 more stories like that, that are circulating in the Province today. That's only now. What happens in August, is the big question?

I had a call from the Northern Peninsula last night. I talked to a gentleman there who owns a business. He said: The Northern Peninsula is in trouble. He said: We can't fish. Compensation is doubtful. The type of program that is forthcoming is not going to impact or help everybody the way that it used to. He said: Harvesters are replacing men in the logging industry. We can't go in and cut wood and we can't fish. The lobster and crab industry is not providing work for everybody. It is providing some work and a good living for some, but what will happen to the Northern Peninsula?

The debate that is occurring around the school system on the Northern Peninsula today is an example. It is a manifestation of a bigger problem. It is a manifestation of a problem where declining enrolments mean that people are moving out. The numbers of people that are living in the communities on that coast are declining, opportunities are not there and rural communities are in many ways under attack, Mr. Speaker. These are some of the challenges that we face clearly as people of the Province.

The results of what will take place over the next couple of years are largely undetermined and yet to be defined. We still have an opportunity, albeit a small one, to be forward looking, to talk about the natural advantages in the different places that we have that can access employment and create employment. The larger issue is revenue, and how do we generate revenue as a Province to provide the level of service and the type of life that people can come to enjoy. That is where our opportunities exist.

In the upcoming negotiations between the federal government and the provinces, with respect to how the equalization scheme will work, there lie many opportunities. There also lie many threats, but the opportunities exist as well, that possibly an equalization scheme of the future could in fact promote economic development and diversification if certain things are done.

Every Premier since confederation, since the notion of equalization has come into effect, has always talked about the drawbacks to it. That equalization, as we know it, promotes the politics of underdevelopment. That equalization, as we know it, promotes dependency. It doesn't provide and promote economic development. It doesn't provide for a Province to be able to stand on its own feet; and here is why.

Each and every time the Province has been able to get into a significant resource industry, or other industries that bring in extra economic revenues or extra revenues directly - mostly we have been exporting - the Province and the people in this Legislature, no matter what side, have always come down to the fact that, while we have gained it on one hand, we have lost it on the other.

There is an interesting model in Ireland -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: It does not happen. It does not happen, Sir.

MR. SULLIVAN: Have a fund-raiser like they had in Toronto.

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes. How was that one, John? How did that go? How did the big fund-raiser at the King Edward Hotel go?

MR. J. BYRNE: When we had one in Harbour Grace, we asked the Premier to show up and he didn't.

MR. E. BYRNE: The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is not too forthcoming with that fund-raiser, how it went up there. I heard he was handing out barrels of success, about 400 little barrels of success of Hibernia oil to all the people there, all the individuals who were at the big fund-raiser in Toronto.

MR. SULLIVAN: They were all calling him flipper.

MR. E. BYRNE: How was it? A good meal? Was it worth $1,000? Was it?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No, that is not what happened. They paid $1,000 but they did not pay just - we could get into it. I am not sure if we want to get into it. Do you want to get into it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) was there.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, he was not, but I know what happened out there. What was the law office it occurred in? A private board meeting in a board room of one of the offices out there. That night the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture had former members going around with tags on them saying, `former MHA.'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Oh, yes, he was there; guaranteed.

MR. EFFORD: Oh yes, yes, yes.

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, guaranteed. That was the same fellow who just got appointed to - what was the board you appointed him to?

MR. EFFORD: The Appeals Board.

MR. E. BYRNE: The Appeals Board in - pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, you did. How is he doing with it?

MR. J. BYRNE: Did he get to meet the Premier for $1,000?

MR. E. BYRNE: Doing a great job. Yes, the former Member for Eagle River was one of my campaign organizers when I ran for president of the student body at university; one of the top three actually, three of them. Yes, an old friend, sir. Boy, I tell you, he had the Liberal Party moving on campus when he was there, for at least six months anyway. He certainly did.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture does not want to get into his fund-raiser out in Port de Grave. I am not going to get into it with him. I could but I am not. They did not pay $1,000 just to show up and see him. They paid $1,000 - it was promoted as, `A night with the Premier.'

MR. J. BYRNE: He didn't show up, did he?

MR. E. BYRNE: He didn't show up. The Premier couldn't show up.

MR. J. BYRNE: Was anybody upset over that?

MR. E. BYRNE: There were some people very upset from Port de Grave. Yes, I would say half of them would have taken it back if they had known the Premier was not going to be there. It was promoted as a night with the Premier.

MR. SULLIVAN: Danny Dumersque was there, wasn't he, greeting everybody?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


MR. E. BYRNE: What dinner? Just like the dinner he attended recently in Toronto, promoted as, `An intimate evening with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.'

MR. SULLIVAN: They were calling him flipper. He was supposed to be at a TAGS meeting but flipped and went to another one. They were calling him flipper.

MR. E. BYRNE: John, we know you were there. I talked to people who were there, who said you were there, John. Anyway, but how was it?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: He has got you measured up, Sir.

Anyway, we are not going to go on with the Member for Port de Grave.

Did you see the cartoon in today's paper? Have you seen it? Has anyone seen the cartoon in today's paper? It explains it all. There is a car going right over the cliff and the caption reads: Anyone with information about the whereabouts of our missing Premier, please contact the nearest TAGS recipient immediately. Now the Member for Port de Grave -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Honestly, right in the cartoon today. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture probably has the record of the most cartoons in The Evening Telegram. John, do you save them all? Boy, I tell you, is a great keepsake.

MR. SULLIVAN: We are going to get some copies of that taken off.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: Probably, and back on the fight Thursday morning.

MR. SULLIVAN: Whatever department he is in he finds a way to travel.

MR. EFFORD: Why do you think we gave $50,000 (inaudible) search and rescue?

MR. E. BYRNE: I hope Hansard records it. I hope Hansard picks that statement up. If it doesn't, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture said: Why do you think we just gave Search and Rescue $50,000? So we could go find the Minister of Mines and Energy. Where he is?

MR. SULLIVAN: He doesn't have the energy to come home.

MR. E. BYRNE: That is what people in his district are asking as well. Where is our member? Where is he?

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not in his district.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, we know that. He is not in his district.

MR. SULLIVAN: Whatever department he is in he finds an excuse to travel.

MR. SHELLEY: He is out in his district, probably.

MR. SULLIVAN: Out in his district, I would say.

MR. E. BYRNE: He had a big budget in ITT, a big travel budget. I was coming across the Parkway one morning and I heard the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology phone in on his cellular phone from Chile, in the back of a cab talking about the vineyards in Chile with the host of an open line program. I could not believe it. And the Chairperson of Marine Atlantic was with him. That was about a couple of months beforehand.

He said: Good morning, Bill. I am calling from Santiago. I am in Chile experiencing some nice Chilean wines which they are noted for, talking about mining, talking about what he was doing down there. Bill said: Where are you now? He said: Boy, technology is so far advanced, I am on my cell phone in the back of a cab in Santiago. Now, that is the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

We thought his travels were going to be somewhat curbed when he became the Minister of Mines and Energy, but apparently not, sir. Do you know where he is, I ask the Minister of Environment and Labour. You should send up the balloons: Where is the Minister of Mines and Energy? I have lots of questions for him. But anyway he is not here. I cannot wait for him to walk back into the House. What a welcome he is going to get. He is a good minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, the Member for Topsail found another vacant seat from a Cabinet Minister. Just yesterday I said: That is not your seat. He said: Boy, I am like any good Liberal, looking for a vacancy. He found one, it is rumoured. From what I understand, the legal beagle for Topsail, when the Minister of Justice retires, will be appointed to that portfolio. That is my understanding. That is why they have put him in as Chairperson of RNC Gun Control Committee.

MR. HARRIS: The only trouble is, he can't wait ten years.

MR. WISEMAN: The difference between you and me, Jack, is I won't be double dipping next year.

MR. HARRIS: Sure, you can hardly single dip.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: The Member for Topsail is absolutely right -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not even the Little Dipper, is he?

MR. E. BYRNE: - he is not going to get the chance to even consider an MHA pension because we have a great candidate for him, let me tell you. So enjoy your time while you are here, enjoy it, one term only.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your candidates.

MR. E. BYRNE: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: Name them.

MR. E. BYRNE: Oh, they are coming. It won't be all of them. It will be one, one candidate coming.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) he is already declared.

MR. E. BYRNE: It may be a her, I say to the member. I would not be convinced now it is a him. I would not be convinced at all. If we could buy him for what he thinks he is worth!

MR. J. BYRNE: Sell him.

AN HON. MEMBER: We could pay off our party debt.

MR. E. BYRNE: Oh yes, we would have enough money to run the provincial election, guaranteed.

Mr. Speaker, I want to return to an initiative that is happening in the Province where we should be spending more money, and that is aquaculture. I had the opportunity to be down in Bay d'Espoir, to look at the operation in Bay d'Espoir, and it is too bad that operation is not closer to the media centre, because the profile that that operation should be getting in the Province - the type of work that they are doing is equal to or greater than the salmon ladder project in Vancouver; no question about it.

The technology employed is unbelievable. I would say if it were here, there would not be a classroom in a fifty to 100-mile radius that that would not be number one on its list to go and see, to show the students the type of technology that is involved and how forward-looking it is. When you look at the types of things that they are doing down there, and you look at New Brunswick aquaculture industry, the natural advantages that we enjoy down there are 100 times greater than New Brunswick's industry. New Brunswick is experiencing some serious environmental problems at the moment as a result of an industry where they didn't really look after it the way they should have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes. Absolutely amazed, the technology that went into it, and how they combined it with the hydro station, and how important that was in terms of the temperature of the water. I was simply amazed at the type of industry that is developing down there. To think that in one small place in rural Newfoundland and Labrador - because if that was not there, there would be no community. That is the heart of the community, and in many ways probably the largest single contributor, outside of probably the MicMac band, but it must be one of the largest, if not the largest, single contributor. Two hundred people involved, two hundred jobs in one small place. It is the type of technology that government should not be standing in the way of but should be promoting even more.

There are significant other opportunities around. Now, it is a complex environment. It is one thing to be able to pull it off and do it, but it is equally important to be able to market it, and that is, I think, where they need more help right now, in terms of the marketing of the product that is second to none, world class. If you look at the steelhead trout, salmon; I was down one day when they were out and threw out the feed. The water came alive. It was incredible, the type of industry that has developed, and how long it has taken. They have walked through it bit by bit, they have walked through it slowly, but they are in a stage where they are ready to gallop, I think.

The type of product they are producing needs no explanation to anybody who has seen it, tasted it. The type of quality control and gene technology, a student in two months being associated down there would learn more about chemistry and physics than in two years in a high school.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Is that right? That is where it has to be. A success story. I am hoping to get down there again before the end of June, actually. It is an area, I think, that every member who hasn't seen it should take the opportunity to go down and see. If you want to be convinced about an industry, about economic growth, that it can happen in Newfoundland and Labrador, go down and see the aquaculture project in Bay d'Espoir. No more, no less.

It is a compliment to the people who are involved, it is a compliment to the people who are making it work, because for many years the people involved were out on a limb themselves, financially and otherwise. The people down there who are running the program now, and running that industry there, are second to none in the world. They could name their job in any aquaculture project in a developing country, in Canada, anywhere at all. They are that proficient, that knowledgeable, of the types of initiatives that they have undertaken, and the education and knowledge involved. Because it very much is a knowledge-based industry, in many ways. Because as an industry it has been driven by the knowledge they have brought to it to produce the product they are producing.

As you said, in one small place in Newfoundland and Labrador, 200 people employed as a result of that project. It is an area on which we should be spending more money. Certainly as one member in the House, any money we put into aquaculture in the long run produces... by dollar, it would have to be $6 or $7 or more, to the local economy, directly and indirectly in spin-offs. The types of services those people require for the industry are truly remarkable.

Before I sit down I would just like to say as well that another area of development we have opportunities for is certainly in the IT sector. Over in what used to be Newfoundland and Labrador Computer Services, I was talking to an individual earlier in the week -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. E. BYRNE: I just want to clue up by saying one thing, Mr. Speaker.

Right now they are looking for fifty IT specialists. If they were available right now they would hire them at competitive salaries. I think it is an area that, while we may have had some success, we have to produce a little bit more success and a little bit more investment.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I believe all of the speakers on the Opposition side of the House who wanted to speak in this debate have spoken. I have spoken on the main motion; I have not spoken on the amendment, or the non-confidence motion. So, while the whip is asking our members to step inside, I will just say a few words on this momentous occasion, Mr. Speaker. It is an historical occasion when anyone would have the audacity to put forward a non-confidence motion on this government.

AN HON. MEMBER: I think we should walk out and (inaudible).

MR. DECKER: I do not where they are coming from.

AN HON. MEMBER: They would be in an awful state then, I guarantee you.

MR. DECKER: I am tempted to ask our members to stay out.


MR. DECKER: I am tempted, Mr. Speaker, to ask our members to leave the House so that we could indeed have this motion carried and then we will be into an election. I would suggest, if that were to happen, the make-up of this House would be a lot different from what it is today, Mr. Speaker. But, you know, I suppose there is only one thing worse than losing an election. That would be to win all the seats in the House. I do not think I would want to sit in the House. It happened in New Brunswick at one time, but I would not want to see that happen.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, having said those few words, and looking around and knowing there are enough members on this side of the House, if they so wish, we can defeat this motion - but that is up to the members themselves. They will decide whether or not we are going to defeat this motion. I would like to tell the members of the House that I personally will be voting against this motion, and I would ask my colleagues to do likewise.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour of the motion, `aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: All those against, `nay'.


MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion defeated.

AN HON. MEMBER: Division.

MR. SPEAKER: Division. Call in the members.




MR. SPEAKER: All members in favour of the motion, signify by standing.

CLERK: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Shelley, Mr. Jack Byrne, Mr. H. Hodder, Mr. T. Osborne, Mr. Ottenheimer, Mr. French, Ms S. Osborne, Mr. Harris.

MR. SPEAKER: All members against the motion please signify by standing.

CLERK: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mr. Flight, the hon. the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, the hon. the Minister of Education, Mr. Lush, Mr. Oldford, the hon. the Minister of Health and Community Services, the hon. the Minister of Human Resources and Employment, the hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour, the hon. the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, the hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, the hon. the Minister of Government Services and Lands, Mr. Noel, Mr. Wiseman, Mr. Andersen, Mr. Canning, Mr. Smith, Mr. Ramsay, Ms M Hodder, Mr. Woodford, Mr. G. Reid, Ms Thistle, Mr. Sparrow.

Mr. Speaker, ten `ayes' and twenty-four `nays.'

MR. SPEAKER: I declare the motion defeated.

We are now ready to revert to debate on the Budget.

The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak on the main motion now before the House. Unfortunately the government members did not take the suggestion of the Member for Twillingate & Fogo and leave the House. They decided they would rather carry on until the people of Newfoundland and Labrador turn against them before they call an election.

This Budget Debate provides an opportunity to raise a lot of issues that are associated with the government's raising an expenditure of revenue. One of the issues that the government made a lot of ballyhoo about in the Budget Speech was the provision of new programs made possible by the claw-back of the Child Tax Benefit.

Mr. Speaker, I want to expose a little bit of a mythology, a spin that the Government of Canada and the government of this Province have been trying to put on the Child Tax Benefit. The Child Tax Benefit was supposedly, according to Paul Martin, designed to target the poor, to help eliminate child poverty. Now, if you were designing a program to help poor children, why would you leave out all the poor children on social assistance? The poorest of the children are on social assistance in this Province. All of them are left out of the program. So if you were designing a program, and claiming and ballyhooing about how this was helping poor children, why have the poorest of those children been denied any benefit whatsoever from this program because they are not able to get the kind of improvement that this Child Tax Benefit would add to the incomes of their families to enable them to be able to increase their living condition?

The Minister of Finance was in the House yesterday agreeing with the proposition that all families, children and people across this country should have access to an equal standard of living. Well, Mr. Speaker, if that is what he agrees with, why is it not represented in the policies of his government and his Budget? Why is he not attacking in a deliberate and effective way the issue of child poverty in this Province, Mr. Speaker? Why does his Budget force people on social assistance to pay back to the government money for living expenses when they are pursuing post-secondary education and borrow it from the banks who have shown their ability to grasp and gather and profit in an enormous and immense way from the people of this country? What are they doing? Passing more money over to the banks, forcing people to borrow money from the banks to pay for their living conditions, for their children's food, for their children's clothing, while they pursue a post-secondary education and having the money clawed back from that student loan into the government coffers. Mr. Speaker, those are the kinds of policies that this government has been pursuing rather than trying to eliminate the poverty and the inequality that exists in this country.

Mr. Speaker, a young Member of Parliament, just the other day, Stéphane Tremblay, I think his name was, a BQ member from the Province of Quebec, was so frustrated by the lack of concern by the Government of Canada about the increasing disparity of poverty and wealth in this country that he took the unusual, and some might say futile, gesture of picking up his seat and putting it on his back and walking out of the Parliament of Canada with his seat on his back. It wasn't a sealskin seat like this one. He took his seat out of the Parliament of Canada and marched back and put it in the back of a pick-up truck and went back to his riding in Quebec. Because he felt, as an individual Member of Parliament, that the role of Parliament in trying to deal with these issues was frustrated by the Government of Canada.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we here in this Province are also frustrated by the Government of Canada and the policies of the Liberal government of Canada, and frustrated by the Liberal policies of this government. Frustrated because they are failing to address the problems of poverty in this country. They are promoting and allowing the expansion of the inequality between the wealthy and the poor. That is what is going on, and there is nothing being done to stop it. In fact, the Government of Canada is further promoting this inequality not only within Canada but throughout the world, by the promotion of the MAI, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I heard the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology this morning saying that everything was all hunky-dory. They were assured that they had been guaranteed that nothing was going to happen to this Province. Well, Mr. Speaker, we are going to have further debate on the MAI in this House because I am going to put together a little motion and bring copies of some of the provisions of the MAI that this minister and this government are going to have to look at seriously. Because it is going to prevent the very kind of policies that were affirmed unanimously in this House just the other day as a result of the motion of the Member for Labrador West: the promotion of Newfoundland processing, further enhancement of products by policy and legislation of the Government of Newfoundland. The Government of Newfoundland is going to be rendered impotent by the MAI if it proceeds the way that the Government of Canada is promoting in Paris, through a former Liberal Cabinet minister who heads the OECD, who heads up the negotiations, who is promoting this trade agreement, the agreement on investment.

Mr. Speaker, that treaty being proposed is a treaty to protect foreign direct investment. That is what that treaty is designed to do, to protect foreign direct investment from any action by a state or government that would interfere with the freedom of that investment, giving that investment a greater power than the citizens of the country in which the investment goes. And any action taken by government, any action taken by this government and its laws, the laws that we have on further processing of mineral resources, laws in relation to forestry stumpage, laws in relation to requirements of investors to meet job targets, all of these will be outlawed and prevented from imposing any obligations on foreign direct investment.

Mr. Speaker, this Budget does not help students in this Province who are seeking post-secondary education, who are forced by this government's policies and by the Minister of Education's policies to pursue a post-secondary education in private colleges which are not meeting standards applicable across the private college sector. They are not meeting standards in terms of the quality of instruction in many cases.

I am glad the Minister of Education is here today. He was not here yesterday when I was talking about the practice that seems very popular in some institutions, of having graduates from a course in a private college be the teachers of the next course. Now, some might say that is great, peer counselling, peer teaching, peer instruction, helping each other. That might be all very well, Mr. Speaker, but if you are charging $10,000 for a two- or three-semester course, you do not expect the people who have just graduated from the course the previous semester to be your teacher, to be your instructor.

When we look at the documentation that the minister finally released after much prying and prodding and many months of harassing - I would admit to harassing the minister's office. I fully admit to having my staff harass the minister's office for copies of this document. In fact, I had to go so far as to issue a Freedom of Information notice to the minister asking not only for the documents but the building blocks, the previous drafts, the ones that they were working on trying to refine. I have not had an answer back yet although the thirty days are up, I say to the minister. The thirty days are up, so he had better come up with an answer some time soon or we will have to have a look at the enforcement provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and see what the next steps are.

Mr. Speaker, what we found out when the documentation was finally revealed was that in the private college system less than 40 per cent - in other words, more than 60 per cent of the instructors have less than a bachelor's degree. That was not true for the public system, and what we see happening when we look at the Budget is that the amount of money available for the College of the North Atlantic for post-secondary education outside of university has been reduced over the past five or six years by now a total of about $25 million - $25 million a year out of the public college system - and this is as a result of a policy which really has not received any public debate until the last six months. Nobody really talked about it. The former Minister of Education, now the Minister of Justice, went on for three or four years renaming the colleges, shuffling them like a deck of cards, changing the headquarters, changing the names, changing the staff. All he talked about were administrative changes; we are making administrative efficiencies. Administrative efficiencies was the order of the day, Mr. Speaker; nothing about policy changes, nothing about shifting and shoving students into the private college system and out of the public system. You did not hear anything about that; no public debate about it. Yet, we find five years later that one-half of the students do not have access to the public college system and are going into the private system.

Literacy, Mr. Speaker: It is very interesting to see the government in this Budget talk about the promotion of literacy; a big effort to convince the public that they have a grave concern about literacy. Yet, Mr. Speaker, what did they do in 1995? Wipe out the ABE programs in the public college system. Dozens and dozens of programs in Adult Basic Education taught by trained personnel who are experts in the field of adult basic education, providing public courses in night classes in the public system throughout this Province, all these programs, Mr. Speaker, wiped out.

What are they being replaced with now? Now we have a great literacy program with a separate task force, and after wiping out the program, we are now going to be taking a priority, supposedly, on literacy.

My understanding, Mr. Speaker, is most of this is being contracted out to the private colleges, which I understand are using it as a form of recruitment for their lucrative programs; lucrative to them, Mr. Speaker. They are using it as a form of recruitment to obtain the ABE students and then sell them a course, sell them a program, because they now have them in the private college system.

We have a serious problem, Mr. Speaker. I am not saying, as the minister likes to say - I guess those who support total public education will be pleased that the minister is indicating that I am in favour of that, and it will probably get me a lot of votes. It will probably get me a lot of votes if the minister keeps up suggesting that the NDP wants only a public system, and no private system for education in this Province. He will probably get me a few votes.

That is not my policy, Mr. Speaker, of the policy of my party. We do not believe that there should be no private post-secondary training offered in this Province. What we believe, Mr. Speaker, is that each and every student ought to have access to the public system because we believe that over time it has proven to be the system with the highest standards, that can deliver better quality courses, that can consistently offer instructors with a high degree of training, education and stability. It does not have the turnover of the private college instructional systems.

I think, Mr. Speaker, it has been demonstrated, time and time again, that what we have going on in some, not all, of the private colleges - we have a very high turnover in instructors. We have instructors who, in many cases, are recent graduates of the program or the course that they are now teaching. That is sort of a throwback.

Mr. Speaker, it reminds me of when I went to university years ago, here in this Province, thirty years ago, as a matter of fact, in 1967, when we had students in first year university who themselves had no university training at all. I remember one student in my first-year university course who, the previous year, had taught Grades IX, X and XI in her school and the year before that she had been in Grade XI. So, she went from Grade XI to teaching Grades IX, X, and XI. That was pretty common in our school system thirty years ago.

The Minister of Education knows that, Mr. Speaker, because he is very familiar with the education system, having spent many years teaching and leading that great organization, the Newfoundland Teachers' Association. In fact, he is on record, Mr. Speaker, as going so far as to shed tears. All he had to offer was blood sweat and tears. He was acting out part of that, Mr. Speaker. The great Churchillian leader of the NTA, who offered his tears for the teachers of this Province, understands the struggle that we have made in the last twenty-five and thirty years in our education system to ensure quality instruction in our school, to ensure that all teachers in all class rooms in this Province, in our primary and elementary system, have university degrees, have teacher training, have education, have instructional methods training before they are teaching in our Province's schools.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, what we see happening in the post-secondary, particularly in the private sector - and I am talking about a trade program where someone is teaching bricklaying or carpentry or a trade that depends less on academic background and more on the skill and ability and trade competence. It does not necessarily require a university degree to be teaching that, although, I will point out, Mr. Speaker, that in the public system those people teaching trades programs were required by the Ministry of Education, required by those colleges, to go and get vocational instructor diplomas from Memorial University, so that in addition to being masters of their own trade that they were teaching, they were also obtaining education and training themselves in instructional methods.

It is not simply a matter, Mr. Speaker, that those who knows how to do something and able to teach it. Quite often, some of the people who are best at doing things are not able to teach it at all. They may be very good at doing it. It is like being a politician, Mr. Speaker. You might be a very good politician but you might not have any ability whatsoever to teach someone else how to be a politician. This is a slur on teachers, so I will not use this one. Someone once said: Those who can do, do, and those who cannot, teach. I have heard that said. I do not believe that is true, but I do believe that just because you know how to do something, does not mean you know how to teach it.

In the public sector system, Mr. Speaker, we have required people teaching trades or teaching any program, to go to the Memorial University or other universities and seek vocational training, so that they can, in fact, have a diploma in vocational education, so that they learn the methods of instruction, they learn how a course can be designed and delivered, they learn how to interact appropriately with students and they learn how to do that which happens in a classroom; not by osmosis, Mr. Speaker, but by proper training at the university levels.

We do not see that happening in the private sector, Mr. Speaker, and it is a great disappointment and tragedy for so many students in this Province, to go to a course which is offered - and they do not necessarily have the ability to discern one program from another, because they are buried in a great deal of marketing and information that is pretty hard to figure out. If they went to the Department of Education they could not get any help at all. All they would be told is: Oh, yes, they have a government approved course in a government approved institution. They are all equal, as far as the minister is concerned, as long as they have the stamp of approval from his department.

So, government is no help to those students. They go to these courses and they find out afterwards, Mr. Speaker, what the situation is. They do not have any access to the job success rate, they do not have any access to the placement rate for their particular program and their particular course, what the job situation for the last graduating class was.

Mr. Speaker, we say: Well, that maybe we should apply that to Memorial University too. I do not necessarily think so, Mr. Speaker. We are looking at two different things. We are looking at a university education on the one hand, which is designed to be academic, which is designed to be not job specific in many cases, even though we see from the minister's own documentation that university graduates obtain jobs with a far higher rate of pay than those graduating from either the public or the private colleges. What we do see as well, Mr. Speaker, is that students who go to take courses in the private colleges often come out with an experience of realizing, after they are finished, when they owe $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, that their course is not appropriate to the job market at all.

I had a student in my office the other day, Mr. Speaker. There were eight students in his class. He had just finished a program in what was called IT, Information Technology, and of his class of eight only two of them were employed. Only two in the class of eight were employed and two of them were teaching the course that they had just graduated from three months before. So, of the eight people taking the course, two of them, one-quarter of them, were employed but they were employed teaching the course that they had just finished. No teacher training - they just finished a course in Information Technology and were hired a month later to teach that course.

What are we doing, Mr. Speaker? We are going back thirty years in education and saying that it is quite all right and appropriate that we should approve, as a government, a course of instruction where you can have teachers teaching that course who don't have any training whatsoever in teaching, who don't have any instruction in how to teach or any diploma or any training in how to teach and don't have any experience in the field. What I am hearing is happening is that some of these colleges are laying off the people who have teacher training. They are laying off the people with teaching degrees, laying off the people who have the ability to teach because they have to pay them more, and they are hiring their recent graduates at a fraction of that cost.

Now, why are they doing that, Mr. Speaker? Well they are doing it because they make more money doing it; plain and simple. They are doing it because it is more profitable to do that than it is to retain teachers and instructors who have some job security, who have some education and training, who perhaps have had a university degree in education or vocational education or could command a higher salary in the market. They are getting rid of them and hiring recent graduates to teach the courses that they just finished. Why? Because they can get away with it, that's why;plain and simple. They can get away with it and they make more money doing that because, Mr. Speaker, they are running businesses. They are running businesses first and educational institutions second, if at all.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that is not an outright condemnation of every post-secondary private institution. Mr. Speaker, if I had to worry about someone being tarred with the wrong brush I would have to shut up and say nothing about this at all, and the great evil that is being committed against thousands of students in this Province would go uncommented on, Mr. Speaker, and unredressed. Well, I can't do that. I have to raise this issue because there are so many students who are being victimized by this system, Mr. Speaker, by the inadequacy and the policies of this government in dealing with this and by the gutting of the public education system that has gone on under the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, led by the Minister of Education and his colleagues in Cabinet and the previous government who allowed this to happen.

Mr. Speaker, what this government has done to post-secondary students is a shame. It's a shame!

Let us talk for a moment about Medicare, Mr. Speaker, about health care in this Province. We have now seen the government play the same role with health care as they are also doing with school boards, giving the school boards the responsibility and try and give them the blame, try and download the blame.

We had the Minister of Health in the House the other day: Oh, we do not know what is going on, Mr. Speaker. You cannot expect me to know everything that goes on in my department. If we spent a billion dollars or we spent lots of money, you cannot expect me to know everything that is going on and what policies we have or anything like that. Then, when she finds out what is going on, she says: Oh, well, it is really not something that is in our control. That was up to the health care boards. The health care boards make these decisions. We are the government. They are in charge of the system, so we will download the blame on them.

AN HON. MEMBER: She appointed them.

MR. HARRIS: She appointed them, oh yes. Whether she appointed or elected them it does not make any difference. We will download the blame on them. We won't give them the money to do the job and we will blame them for not doing the job.

Mr. Speaker, they share the blame with their cousins in Ottawa. I have an article here: `Ottawa slammed for Medicare cuts.' Now, who is doing this, Mr. Speaker? `Provinces need $10 billion to save system.' Who is talking about this, Mr. Speaker? When I look at this article, I say, well, this is very interesting. Here is somebody complaining about the Medicare system who knows something about it. Tom Kent, who helped set up the Canadian Medicare System thirty years ago, is slamming Ottawa for failing to protect the health care system in this country.

So what we have happening, Mr. Speaker - and I remember distinctly the former Minister of Health, I think he was called Dr. Death in that portfolio, -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: No, not you; the former, former Minister of Health. He said, Mr. Speaker, when this was first talked about, the change-over to the CHST, that this spelled the end of Medicare as we know it. Those were the Minister of Justice's words when he was Minister of Health, and I agree with him. But I did not see his government taking up that challenge and fighting with their cousins in Ottawa when this was going on. I did not hear them saying: No, we will not put up with the destruction of Medicare. What do we see happening, Mr. Speaker? They said: well, we will accept this, we will accept this downloading and we will commit further downloading ourselves. What we will do is we will insulate ourselves from the political damage by creating these health care boards and give them the responsibility and give them less and less money as time goes on.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have some talk of potential new programs. We hear about pharmacare, we hear about home care, we hear about federal participation in that; but, Mr. Speaker, that cannot be done. That cannot be done under a system in this country which is becoming increasingly centralized, increasingly fuelled by the kind of documentation that the federal government was getting on within the last week or so, suggesting that we need not have the kind of equality across this country that we were promoting before; that if they do not like it in Newfoundland, if you cannot get a job in Newfoundland, we cannot expect you to live there. Move somewhere else.

Instead, Mr. Speaker, what we have to have is the system fixed, and it is not terribly expensive, Mr. Speaker. It would cost another $6 billion or $7 billion a year in this country, not a great deal of money if Newfoundlanders do what Canadians do -

MR. SPEAKER (Oldford): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

MR. EFFORD: No leave.

MR. HARRIS: - if Newfoundlanders do what Canadians want to do and ensure that we have Medicare as a top priority. We would expect -

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave granted.

MR. HARRIS: We would expect greater emphasis on it by this government.

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

MR. HARRIS: I want to thank hon. members for giving me leave to go on for a few more minutes.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for two things. First of all, for giving the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi a few minutes leave to clue up and make some very good points, Mr. Speaker. I would really like to thank him. It was beyond all of us to believe the other day that he gave forty-five minutes leave to the Member from Cape St. Francis to clue up. I would like to thank him today, and our caucus will be sending a thank-you note to the House Leader to thank the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for forty-five minutes leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: Thank him for the hospitality.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank him for the hospitality, the member says.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: And to thank him for the Member for St. John's South for allowing him to sit in his seat all night and ask questions. He did a super job, and I must commend the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for allowing the Member for Cape St. Francis -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: And the good statements made by the Member for Cape St. Francis, who went on to make very some good points, one of the best speeches I have heard in this House. I guess the truth is that the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture realized he was making good points, and I think he was trying to get advice from the Member for Cape St. Francis. That is why he let him go on for so long, and I would like to thank him for that.

That is why this vote of non-confidence... There were members today - I saw members over there today - considering voting for us in the non-confidence vote because they wanted to go to the polls. They insinuated they would vote for non-confidence so they could go to the polls, because they are very solid, but when the time came -

MR. T. OSBORNE: Another broken promise.

MR. SHELLEY: Another broken promise. They were all threats of: Let's have a non-confidence vote, let's go to the polls, but when it came time to stand on their feet and say: Come on, let's go to the polls, let's drop the writ, they all backed off.

MR. J. BYRNE: They pulled in their horns, didn't they?

MR. SHELLEY: They all backed off. One by one they stood and said: No, no, we cannot go yet. There is too much upheaval in the Province. There is too much unrest. If we go now... The only thing it would do is give the Premier that extra time. He is in a hurry. Have you noticed that whenever the Premier comes back for a short stay, which it is, he is always in a hurry?

He is in a hurry now for the biggest deal, even above and beyond what the Upper Churchill was - the Lower Churchill - the biggest deal probably in the history of this Province ever. He talks about how big it is, about how it is probably the biggest in the world right now, and he says: Let's get it done now.

Imagine what he is asking us. Just think about it. He is asking us to take a stand on the Lower Churchill. He said: Listen now, Opposition and Opposition Leader, myself and Mr. Bouchard - the man who is trying to split up the country - have been going through this deal in detail. For ten months we have been behind closed doors, and we have it ready. You can trust us. It is a good deal.

The Premier of Newfoundland and the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Lucien Bouchard -

MR. HARRIS: (Inaudible) negotiating.

MR. SHELLEY: By the way, that is a good point that the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi raises. On one hand he says we have not negotiated, and on the other hand he says we have, and we have done a good deal, so accept it. Mr. Speaker, I don't know if there is any member of this House of Assembly, when he stops to think about it -

AN HON. MEMBER: Have you seen any (inaudible)?

MR. SHELLEY: I have not seen anything, Mr. Speaker. All I have seen is the Premier of Quebec, the man who is trying to destroy this country, and the Premier saying they have had ten months of meetings and it is fine; believe us, it is good.

Here is a bit of advice for every member in this House of Assembly. So that we are not tarred with that same brush, so that we are not tagged with that thing on our backs saying that another group in the House of Assembly, like the bunch back in whatever year that was when they signed the deal - 1969, was it, when they set the deal on the Upper Churchill? They voted in the House in 1970, 1971. Whatever it was, every member in that House of Assembly to this day has been tagged with that infamous deal, and it will go down in the history of the country - not just Newfoundland and Labrador - of the Upper Churchill deal.

Mr. Speaker, I have said it here before, and our leader has articulated it quite well: You put the negotiated deal on the table and give us lots of time to go through the fine print, because that is where it is. Because remember, in the great book of the former Premier Joseph R. Smallwood, he said, and I remember the quote: We have the best experts in the world in negotiations, the Rothschilds of England. Don't worry about it, there is nobody better than the Rothschilds.

Then they put together the great legal team, and I don't mind saying it, of the former Premier Wells, John Crosbie, and I don't know the rest of the list of them. With all due respect to any of those gentlemen, until a negotiated deal is laid on the table and every member of this House takes it home and studies it themselves, and reads it and gets their own advice on it before they stand in this House to make a deal on the Lower Churchill, then I say caution to every single member in this House.

If it is a good deal, and from everything we can gather all forty-eight of us should sign it, no problem. The concept of developing the Lower Churchill is an excellent concept. Good concepts should be thought out very well. But I am going to guarantee you, like I have done many times in this House, there is at least one member, and I am sure there are more, who will say that until they see the full details and have all the time they need to make the right choice on the Lower Churchill, I certainly won't be voting yes.

Because it is something we have to change our attitudes on in this Province, of not rushing out to jump up on a stage and make premature announcements. Always a big press conference. How many people have come up to me in the last few weeks and said: Another press conference, another good news story. If it is all good news, and if the Premier when he was down in Houston, Texas, making his presentation - which went in the dark for a while, I understood. The Premier was down in Houston, if anybody doesn't know about it, making his big presentation on behalf of the Province and the oil industry, something that is happening because there is oil out there. That is why it is happening. The Premier was about to make his big presentation, had a crowd in the room, had his notes ready, had the screen ready with pictures upon it and so on, of Newfoundland and Labrador, and asked that the lights be turned out. Mr. Speaker, what he did not realize was that it took a while for the lights to come back on and he could not see his notes. So he had to begin his presentation all over again. So sometimes the pomp and pageantry does not pay off. Sometimes the big press conferences with the glamour and glitz and so on does not pay off, Mr. Speaker.

People in this Province, if you go around and talk to people one on one, will say: Yes, we like to hear good news. It is good to be optimistic. But they say: What about the reality? What is the realism to it all? That is what they are starting to ask themselves, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, one of the subjects that I continue to raise here, and it is probably one of the most vital at this time, is rural renewal. The minister responsible for rural renewal is not here today. Sometimes he makes some comments back and forth in the House. Let's be fair about it, and I have said it before, Newfoundland goes - so goes rural Newfoundland and Labrador. In other words, Mr. Speaker, it is what makes it tick.

Mr. O'Flaherty has written some good editorials and a good feature story in The Evening Telegram for some weeks now, talking about comparisons in Ireland, and how in Ireland they have gone to another approach where they get all the parties together first. I mean the labour force, unions, all of those people together in one focused main goal, which is to revive the economy. What they have done in Ireland, Mr. Speaker - and I have been following this for the last two or three years. As a matter of fact, I raised it in this House some three years ago and had an interview with CBC Radio, Jeff Gilhooly, on that particular issue about Ireland and how it goes. If members in this House would study that and see it - I know the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology has done some research on it. In Ireland, Mr. Speaker, they have gone the reverse of what we are doing in Newfoundland and it is working.

Now what they are doing is putting the emphasis on small-town Ireland where they do incentives. If somebody wants to start a small business - they really focus on that, Mr. Speaker - they will go into rural parts of Ireland and the government will do incentives of taxes, they will do incentives on building structures, anything it takes. There is only one criterion they give to the person who comes up with the idea. If a person comes up with a good, solid idea, you say: Get a good business plan in place, and the only criterion for us to support you is that you create jobs. If you create jobs we will help you out. It is as simple as that. That is the concept and it is a concept that is working there, and there is no reason why it should not work in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

The other thing they are doing that we are failing miserably at, Mr. Speaker, is our young people. The young people in this Province are going to be the key to the recovery of this Province. They will be the key to the recovery. Simply put, when you lose the young people, besides the so-called brain drain and everything else, what it does, Mr. Speaker - and anybody will admit to this. The younger people in the Province give you the enthusiasm. They are the ones who are out there with new ideas that are starting to excite people. That is why they are the key, not only for the economic benefit, Mr. Speaker, but for the morale boost.

The more young people that you have around, people just coming out of colleges with good ideas, the more enthusiasm, the more opportunity there is and the more feeling of hope that something will happen. Because if an idea dies, you have another young person coming with another good idea.

Mr. Speaker, the key to the economy's recovery in this Province - and it is no different than any other Province - is that young people are encouraged to stay at home and encouraged to pursue their opportunities. Everything that we can do as a government has to be towards that person staying home and going on to pursue their ideas.

So often, Mr. Speaker - and I have spoken to many members on this and they say the same thing - the biggest shame is when you get a young person who has just finished college or university, decides that he wants to stay in Newfoundland, decides on a business, puts a good business plan together, gets partnerships to invest in his business, whether it is for five people or ten people, has all that work done, has all the intentions of staying in the Province, and then they run in to the bureaucracy, they run into the red tape. Like one of them said to me - and I keep repeating this phrase - he said: What we need is to roll out the red carpet and not the red tape. That is what he said to me.

I spoke to this particular individual from my district. I know that other members get young people that come out of colleges coming in to see them, dropping off resumes. They have good ideas for small business. They start to go through the process, Mr. Speaker, and the real shame is they get turned off. They say: Oh, not another committee to go through, not another load of applications. What they do is they end up slamming it all down, actually throwing their plans in the garbage and going to Port aux Basques or getting on a plane and going to Alberta or Toronto. One of the biggest shames of this Province, Mr. Speaker!

That is what everybody needs to work on. I have heard members on both sides of the House make this same argument before. So, what we have to see is programs in place that are going to be directed towards young people in the Province, to be entrepreneurs, not just to stay in trades, Mr. Speaker.

For example, I had one person who graduated as a millwright and a mechanic - cross training, where they do three trades, millwright, mechanic and welding. It is a good idea. Some of it is done at the college in Baie Verte now and it is done around the Province. So then they have a diversity of trades, so that they can go from one to another. Mr. Speaker, when you take a young person like that, instead of actually going out and working in a mine or working in industry somewhere on his trade, we have had some that had the idea of starting up a small business, of hiring three, four, or five people and working for himself. Because a lot of people are getting that mentality or that attitude, that instead of going out and working for a large corporation or a large company, I would like to be my own boss, be an entrepreneur. Anytime any young person even thinks of that, even has that in his mind, instead of working for the big corporation I want to start my own business, employ five or ten people, we have to do everything possible so that person can go on and succeed in that.

If the young people of the Province have taken the time and the initiative to put together a good business plan, go research things and do all those things properly, we have to make sure they when they come to do the permits and the environmental and all those things, that it is done, especially the environmental. I talked to the Minister of Environment and Labour on this. He knows it and a lot of the other minsters know it too, Mr. Speaker, that by the time you try to get a business going or try to get a new industry going that you can't spend months and months and months going through environmental processes and so on. People are just being asked to be treated fairly. That is what I say to you, Mr. Speaker. So, when that young person decides to make that move we have to do everything to encourage him.

Small business and giving that person an opportunity comes through education. When it comes through education - I have talked to many people at the college in Baie Verte. We had a long discussion one day with some thirty-five students there. We just sat down and had whole discussions about what could help them once they got out of school. One of the biggest things they talked about, Mr. Speaker, was that they would like to continue education if they knew or if they had some kind of assurances so that when they finish they were not going to go out to a corporation or an industry and hear this phrase: Sorry, I can't hire you because you don't have the experience.

Mr. Speaker, the key to the link, that gap, is that the government - and the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal has told me that they are working on something. Now, I don't know how long its going to take and I don't know how far its gone; but to work on something so that that gap is closed, so that when a person comes out of a college or an institution in this Province who is trained, that there is some link, that they can have some kind of connection with the work force, so that there will be a good apprenticeship program, a full apprenticeship program, that links that individual from his training into the work force. When he is going through college, in his last few weeks - I have talked to students who were in their last few weeks of exams and they were not upbeat because they had already gone out and checked out the work force and before they even graduate and do their exams they are being told by the industries and so on: Sorry, we are going to look for experienced people.

I have had students actual tell me that during their final exams they were not upbeat, they were not eager because they have already been told: Forget about it. Even if you get a ninety average and come out of that millwright course, or whatever you are doing: Sorry we can't take you because we need experience. That's a real problem. It is a problem that we should all recognize and something should be done about it.

I don't know, Mr. Speaker, how far they have gone with it. I did ask the minister and he did say in the House that they were looking at a program or something to do that. It is a serious problem because right now we have people in colleges and institutions in this Province ready to write exams next week or the week after, and they are already making plans to go to Alberta and Ontario and everywhere else. Because they have contacted the industry and the industry has said to them: Sorry, but we need experience.

We need an apprenticeship program in this Province that is going to give them a chance. It has to be worked out with the unions and so on. There is a lot of work to be done, but if the intent is there, the political will is there, to answer that question, it's going to make a big improvement in the atmosphere that you find in colleges and institutions today.

It is a real shame and a real loss of investment to this Province, when you think about it, where they are doing loans and so on, and here we have young people ready to graduate with no other intention in mind but to leave the Province, for that simple fact: They have already been told that they aren't going anywhere with it. So a full-fledged apprenticeship program is well needed, but it's needed real soon. It can't be something put off for two and three years.

When the minister returns to the House, that is one of the questions I have for him. It was almost two months ago that I asked him about it. He said: We are working on something there. I don't want to quote him, but to paraphrase, he did say they were working on something. But I haven't heard anything since. We have to find out if they are going somewhere with that.

It was an instructor at the community college in Baie Verte that brought it up, a man by the name of Dave Acherman, when we sat around and talked about it. I thought they made some pretty good points. It would give them a bit of hope and a bit of insurance.

Mr. Speaker, that is one very serious issue that should be addressed. It is something that will boost the economy. It is a missing link in this Province right now. First of all, to turn on the students to do something, and then to also turn them on to saying: I'm going to stay in the Province. I have a chance to get into the workforce. I think that is important for all of us.

I could go on, but again I will thank the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for giving my hon. colleague for Cape St. Francis forty-five minutes leave. He said he will probably consider it again if he will repeat the same speech. I think he would like to hear it again. The Member for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi thanks him for giving leave today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to adjourn debate for the day.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise hon. members that on Monday we will continue with our debate on the Budget. I understand there are a couple of more speakers in the Opposition who want to speak, and maybe some of our own members want to speak. If we finish off the debate on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, whenever, then we will be calling Motion No. 2. We will be asking that the House go into a Committee of the Whole. We will be considering the Consolidated Fund Services, the Executive Council, and the Legislature. If we get all that done on Monday we will have had a good day.

I move that the House would now adjourn until tomorrow, Monday, at 2:00 p.m.

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