The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, on a point of privilege.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. minister is standing on a point of privilege. The Chair has recognized the hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I stand today to offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies to the hon. Member for St. John's West.

I acknowledge the inappropriateness of my comments that I made in the House yesterday. To say the least, they were reprehensible. It was stupid, it was rude, it was insensitive, and it was derogatory. I want to say quite honestly that I apologize to her and every single person I may have offended by making the comments.

I have the highest respect for the Member for St. John's West and for all of my colleagues in this House. It was no attempt on my part to ridicule this member. I think the member is extremely competent.

I was so proud three years ago to be elected to a House that had the largest number of women elected for the first time, to this House of Assembly. Not only that, to be appointed to a Cabinet with the largest number ever of women sitting in the Cabinet. It has been an honour for me to serve with them.

I have a daughter, I have a wife who works as a nurse and has been working for thirty-one years, I have sisters, and I am sure my dead mother would be ashamed of me today for doing such a thing. I feel ashamed.

I have tried on a number of occasions since yesterday afternoon to reach the hon. member, and I say quite honestly she was working last night. The last time I called her was 1:15 p.m. today, and I did not get her. I wanted to do this personally to her before I did it in the House, but I called - I think it was eight times - and I did not succeed in getting her. I really feel bad about that too.

Mr. Speaker, I apologized publicly this morning on the media, I apologized publicly a few moments ago with one television station here, and I can only hope that this hon. member can accept my sincere apology at this particular point in time. My remarks, as I said, were rude and in poor taste. I know the member has every reason to be outraged by such irresponsible and destructive remarks that I made in this House yesterday. I can only say that I hope I can live long enough to be forgiven for the comments that I made to this hon. member across the way.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's West, is she speaking to the point that the hon. minister raised?

MS S. OSBORNE: (Inaudible) privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has just heard a point of privilege. Is there no -

MS S. OSBORNE: (Inaudible).


Certainly the point that the hon. minister has raised is really not a point of privilege. The hon. minister was rising, I guess, to clarify some statements but it certainly wasn't a point of privilege.

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

MR. SPEAKER: A point of order, the hon. the Member for Bonavista North.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I believe that there are other people on this side of the House who might like to speak to that first point of privilege.

MR. SPEAKER: That is what the Chair was asking, if there was... There was no point of privilege.

Order, please!

The hon. the Member for St. John's West, I believe, is raising a point of privilege.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Actions speak louder than words, and the member's respect and sincerity were demonstrated by who spoke first here today in this House.

I rise today with respect to the comments made by the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs in this House yesterday afternoon. I found the statement personally degrading. It is unacceptable to all women in the Province and to all men who do not accept this behaviour and find this statement reprehensible and disgusting.

Since I was elected to this House a year-and-a-half ago, I have never found an attitude like this to have arisen in my own caucus. I find it unbelievable that the Premier and the members of the caucus on the other side of the House, both men and women, would find this behaviour acceptable.

I came to this House on my own merit. I bring to this House a great deal of depth and experience as a woman, as someone involved in politics for many years, and as an involved person in the community. I feel I should not have to make any apologies to anyone as a woman representing my constituents in this hon. House of Assembly.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS BETTNEY: Mr. Speaker, I speak to the previous two points of privilege, if I can have that indulgence as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and as a woman who is a Member of this House of Assembly, and on behalf, in a sense, of all women in the Province today.

I say in response to the member's comments of a few moments ago that I speak for all members in the House, and for Government, when we say that the comments, as the minister himself has said, are unacceptable. They are completely hurtful to women who have heard them, and that I personally, and I know my colleagues, have found these comments offend us.

I have met with the minister this morning, we have talked this morning, and I have told him that I have found these comments to be so hurtful in this way. I think the minister, by his very comments, has shown a deeper appreciation, a deeper understanding, of the power of the spoken word to really influence and cause harm, and the real weight of responsibility we all bear in the positions we hold when we utter words, when we make comments, and when we make statements, to ensure that we are being constructive and that we are really making progress on the things we think are important here. I think perhaps Minister Reid has learned this lesson in the last twenty hours more strongly than in any other way any of us could.

As the minister I feel a responsibility to speak to the larger issue here, which is the issue of the equality of women and the respect for women, and also the respect we hold as a society for women in all facets of society, whether they work within the home or work outside of the home, in venues such as this - in the House of Assembly -, in leadership positions, in business, or in taking care of our children and taking care of our elderly, and all of those other facets in which women contribute to society.

I do believe Minister Reid when he says to me, and to all of us, that he sincerely regrets having made the comments he made. I am perhaps most disappointed and saddened, in a certain respect, because I believe these comments are not representative, and in fact are contradictory to the kind of progress and the kind of initiatives we have made as a government to advance the equality of women in this Province.

I recall one particular initiative - and I speak to this personally, because it so much influences my reaction to this whole unfortunate incident - and that is last year, when we were faced with a dilemma of trying to provide continuing support to the women's centres in this Province with the occurrence of federal funding about to disappear on April 1. I went to my colleagues after having come to the Health Forum, which many of us attended, and said: We have to find a way to continue to support the work that women do in women's centres around this Province because they are important in trying to address issues of women's equality.

At that time, as many members would realize, we were faced with some considerable financial difficulties and it was not easy to find the financial resources. I have to say that one minister, Minister Reid, voluntarily offered to find, within the Housing Corporation, a portion of the funding that could go towards this women's centre.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS BETTNEY: If the members opposite feel I have overstepped my time I will conclude.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MS BETTNEY: I have worked with Minister Reid for the past three years. I know he has supported initiatives which have contributed to women's equality. I know we have a ways to go in terms of our own society and changing attitudes around showing respect and treating women equally, but I also know we have to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

So, on behalf of all members on this side of the House today, I say that I hope that the Member for St. John's West can find it within her to accept this apology, that we can learn from this unfortunate incident, and that we can move forward more determined to ensure that in all ways in which we act and speak we promote and ensure the full equality of women in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I stand to speak to the point of privilege, and to acknowledge the role that the Member for St. John's West certainly plays in this House, as an equal member to everybody in this House. In the past two years we have debated legislation dealing with equality, we have amended the human rights code to include the sexual orientation of gays and lesbians, and we have passed significant legislation with respect to school reform to ensure that every child is equal under the eyes of this Legislature, irrespective of religion.

I think the comments were most unfortunate yesterday, and there is absolutely no excuse for what was articulated here yesterday by a minister of the Crown.

I finally want to say on behalf of the caucus that we as individual members have an obligation in this House to stand on those principles, to set an example for the remainder of society. We do fall down, but we have an obligation nonetheless to stand on these things. It is, I guess, the pursuit of this that we must be ever mindful of, not only in our actions but in also in our words.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today on this point of privilege with a great deal of disappointment in the actions of the minister. It was a personal attack, yes, and we have had personalization of political issues in this House in the last number of days. That may be a function of the way politics has been played in this House in the last number of days. This particular instance was one which went beyond a personal attack and was an attack on a whole group of people.

My party and I have fought for many years for equality for women. In fact, I proposed a number of years ago a radical proposal that would ensure an equal number of men and women served in this House of Assembly. I would say, perhaps until we actually get that, it will be possible for this kind of remark to occur, because despite people's attempt to be civilized when they are speaking on the record, sometimes their baser instincts come out.

This was not only an attack on women sitting in the House. This has nothing to do with the Member for St. John's West. The Member for St. John's West, as any member, male or female, has the right to sit and argue in this House and represent their constituents. This was an attack on women in general, and not only women who are in the House, but women who are in the kitchen, women who actually do the work of raising families in this Province and in this country.

It is not merely a question of whether or not this member is or is not capable of serving as a Member of the House of Assembly. This is a question of whether or not the role of women in our society is to be treated with equal respect.

So it is more than just a personal slip of the tongue in a moment of heated debate, and it stands for more than that. It is all very well to say, as the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women does, that the minister in other respects has performed a service in the interest of the advancement of the cause of women. As I say, I share some of the respect that the member has for the abilities of the minister in this House and in political life, but I am deeply disappointed and deeply embarrassed, as a member of this House, to have this kind of comment go on.

I have to go a little bit further, Mr. Speaker. It is not enough, I don't think, to condemn these remarks or to apologize. There must be some consequence, and I would call upon the Premier to advise this House what form of discipline the caucus or Cabinet will place on this member for having insulted and acted in a sexually harassing and derogatory manner towards women in this House of Assembly.

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to rise today and make some comments on the point of privilege that has been raised by the hon. Member for St. John's West, and comments made by others in the House.

First of all I would say to the hon. member that I understand how she is feeling, the hurt that she is feeling, and the violation of comments like that, not only in this House but outside this House as well. Women all across this Province are feeling what she is feeling today.

I also want to say to the hon. minister that I know he is regretful of the comments he made yesterday, and I have heard his apologies. However, it does not always lessen the impact that such statements have on women in society. While this is not about politics or it is not about political parties it is, however, about respect, and about diplomacy, and the level of regard we should hold for each other in this House, in this Province, and in society as a whole. We only have to look around the House today and see the disparity of female representation in Newfoundland and Labrador that is representative here.

While, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe for one minute that one comment can affect someone's ideas of women and their ability, I do believe that comments such as the one that was made go a long way to solidify already prevalent ideas people have about women in our society everywhere in this country. As representatives of the people I think we have to set an example, we have to lead by example, and I would not want this House to reflect any principles other than that. Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will take the point that the hon. member has raised under advisement, look at the comments that have been made, and will render a decision in the near future.

Statements by Ministers

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

My purpose in addressing the House today is to inform hon. members that the United Nations has declared 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons. The UN's reason for doing so is to recognize that the world's population is aging and that these demographic changes hold a social, economic and spiritual significance. The UN also hopes to foster an international awareness of the importance of older persons' role in our society and the need for intergenerational respect and support.

The International Year will have many positive impacts on older persons, in particular, and society in general. It is expected that the International Year of Older Persons will: increase recognition of seniors' contributions to their families, communities and country; reduce fear of aging by dispelling myths and strengthening realistic images of aging; promote healthy, active aging amongst all sectors of Canadian society; encourage concrete advancements in policy, legislation and service provision; stimulate growth and support for new aging-related products, technology, services and industries; foster intergenerational harmony; and recognize, most importantly, the tremendous contributions of our older population.

I am pleased to advise my hon. colleagues that Newfoundland and Labrador will be a full participant in these celebrations, along with the rest of Canada. Dr. Ian Rusted is our representative on the Canadian Coordinating Committee for the International Year, and Mr. John Murphy is heading up the Provincial Coordinating Committee. This Committee is made up of older persons from across our Province who will play a key role in mobilizing fellow seniors, communities and the voluntary and private sectors to celebrate this significant event.

The International Year of Older Persons aims to accomplish this through a series of national, regional and local initiatives. At the national level, emphasis is being placed on the development of a Senior Citizens' Bill of Rights, while, provincially, we will be focusing our attention on a major revision to the Neglected Adults Act, as well as the establishment of a provincial Seniors' Advisory Council. Both initiatives represent long term, legacy projects for the International Year, and both will benefit from the wisdom and counsel of older persons.

Government further demonstrates its commitment to older persons through the establishment of an Interdepartmental Planning Committee for the International Year of Older Persons. This Committee will coordinate an internal review, and revision, where necessary, of all government policies and programs which affect seniors. This is a major commitment on the part of government to be more responsive to our senior citizens and to be well prepared to meet the needs of our rapidly aging and increasingly diverse older population.

In commemorating the International Year there will be numerous celebrations and healthy aging projects throughout the Province. The most notable of these will be a Seniors' Expo/Health Fair to be held in various regions of the Province. These events will provide information to older persons on healthy active living and will address major seniors' issues and concerns, as chosen by older persons themselves. There will also be a time at these events, of course, for the seniors to share fun and friendship, and to view the various services and products that are available for older persons in our Province.

I should also mention that the Provincial Coordinating Committee is in the process of developing a Calendar of Events which will be outlining the various IYOP celebrations and activities that are being planned locally, regionally, and provincially. We intend to update this Calendar on an ongoing basis throughout the year and will post it on our Web page in January. Our role primarily, as government, is one of facilitation based on the expressed needs and wishes of our senior population, as it should be.

We must also, however, promote awareness of the specific needs of older adults at this time and show leadership in finding creative solutions to the issues which they are facing. I invite everyone to share in the celebrations of the International Year of Older Persons. A variety of promotional material is available through my department and can be obtained from there, including pins and brochures.

I urge hon. members to collaboratively embark on a course of action which will acknowledge and celebrate the tangible legacy that we have received from our senior population over the years. Let us move forward together, toward the International Year of Older Persons, our 50th anniversary of Confederation with Canada, and towards Soiree '99, with dignity, respect and honour across all ages and sectors of society.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly join in the recognition of 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons. I think it is very important that we recognize the contributions of older people and the role that they play in our society today.

It is fine to do one thing and join in celebrations and applaud all the things that are happening. The only true recognition of seniors today is the value we place on them by what we do, not by the lip service we pay. Today we are seeing seniors, probably more than at any other time in our history, being subjected to very difficult circumstances in our Province. I know a constituent of mine who is very active in the senior's movement, wrote on the Senior Citizens' Bill of Rights, wrote to the minister, and so on. I spoke with him several times. There was no concrete action, no movement forward. I say there are senior citizens today who cannot get the medication they need, basically. They cannot get the medication because the Province has not approved certain medications.

We have lineups for people to get into nursing homes. We have underfunded homes for the special care here. We have people in hospitals today, seniors, as I speak today, in intensive care here in the city. I was called before I came to the House today. There is a person who has been eight weeks in intensive care, and jackhammers are going on underneath them, with the windows closed, and no ventilation put in to accommodate people. Very sick people with very serious problems.

That is the type of service we should be paying. Actual results are what we want, not lip service in joining some celebration, to turn around the next day and not do anything at all other than talk about it. That is how seniors will judge how effective a government is in dealing with their concerns. We have seen pensioners come out here in the lobby of this building. We have been on this issue for the past two years, I might add. I raised it two years ago and we have hammered on issues for people who are living below a normal standard here. It is falling on deaf ears.

There are the types of things we want to see for seniors here. When this government starts doing that and stops paying lip service to it and gets concrete results, then I will stand and applaud. I say we really take this seriously.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wish to join with the minister and with the Opposition House Leader in recognizing the International Year of Older Persons commencing in 1999.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I wonder if I could just interrupt the member for one minute.

The Chair, I guess, was negligent in not doing this, overlooked it, and apologizes. We have in the gallery today forty-five senior high school Canadian Law students at the Queen Elizabeth Regional High School, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Fred Wood. I would like to welcome them on behalf of all members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: As well, we have in the Speaker's gallery today a delegation of Royal Canadian Legion Members made up of Mr. Chuck Murphy, the Dominion President; Mr. Duane Daley, Dominion Secretary; Mr. James Davis, Provincial President; Mr. Charles Piercey and Mr. James Kennedy, Provincial Members. I would like to welcome them to the Speaker's gallery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: I will start again, with the indulgence of the Chair.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize, along with the minister and the Opposition House Leader, the International Year of Older Persons commencing in 1999.

As it is an international year we should, perhaps, reflect on Canada's position in an international community, which was recently criticized by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations, indicating serious problems in this country as to how we look after people who are in a difficult economic circumstance. This includes a tremendous number of older persons, including those who have not reached the age where they are receiving an old age pension.

We have, as the Opposition House Leader has said, a lot of neglect of the problems of older people. Not the least of whom are the retired civil servants of this very government who, I think, this government could welcome in the International Year of Older Persons by addressing the serious needs of government retirees, particularly those at the lower income salary, to have their serious, legitimate expectations for an increase in their pensions recognized by this government, addressed by this government, and commencing in 1999. They could be able as well to enjoy the International Year of Older Persons.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

It is now 2:31 p.m. It is Private Members' Day. Unless we have agreement to extend the time into the private members' time, we would have to get to Oral Questions now.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We would certainly consent to the minister. I think there is one more statement to give, and appropriate responses in the time frame. Also, we would also like leave to present one petition today to come out of private members, and allow a full thirty minute question period.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the minister is on a point of order?

MR. FUREY: Agreed, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FUREY: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, there have been some media reports that government is about to implement a Conservation Stamp. I take it that these reports result from a press release put out by the Citizens Outdoor Rights Alliance, or CORA as they are known.

In its release, CORA alleges that the stamps have been printed, corporate sponsorship is in place, and a $10 fee will be charged.

This is all totally false. Government has not approved the introduction of a Conservation Stamp, has not approved a fee of $10, and has not printed any stamps. Had CORA checked with the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods that is exactly what they would have been told.

It is this type of irresponsible behaviour that has clouded and confused the debate on important matters relating to the use of outdoor resources.

In recent years, several groups have encouraged government to consider the introduction of a Conservation Stamp. In fact, in late 1996 the then-minister responsible for wildlife, the hon. Beaton Tulk, indicated publicly that government would examine the issue. Government has examined the issue, but has not made a final decision in this regard. Furthermore, government will not make a final decision before receiving the report of the MHA's Committee on Outdoor Resources which recently undertook extensive consultations throughout the Province.

Mr. Speaker, government has not approved a conservation stamp and, for the record, is not considering the introduction of a trout licence.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I thank the minister for his statement. In reading this statement, the minister leaves no doubt that the government has not approved a conservation stamp and, just for the record, is not considering the introduction of a trout licence. He is not saying that they are not considering the introduction of a conservation stamp.

MR. FUREY: I am saying it.

MR. FITZGERALD: No, you are not saying it. In the last paragraph you are saying uncategorically that you are not approving licences, but you are not saying that you are not going to consider approving a conservation stamp.

There are many concerns out there today related to the use of our outdoor resources. The government members opposite just travelled around the Province and heard loud and clear that people are very concerned because they can see an extra money grab coming out of the use of some of the things that Newfoundlanders hold dear, the right to go out and catch a few trout, or to be able to go and fish their favourite river. They feel, with the one licence that government has issued, that payment is enough. They do not want to be burdened with the cost of every person who has to go and use a particular stream, or particular river, having to go and purchase a stamp and then buy another licence. It is a great concern and I say to the minister opposite: Consult with the people first. Do not implement a stamp, because it is not something that the majority of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want to see brought about in this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, does the hon. member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The reason that these issues keep coming up is because this government has given nothing but double-talk on the whole issue of their policy towards the outdoors. If they definitely did not intend to privatize the outdoors - the rivers of this Province - they would have introduced legislation saying so some time ago.

A further example of the double-talk was the minister today referring to a Liberal caucus committee as a committee of MHAs. It is not a committee of MHAs of this House. It is a Liberal caucus committee, not a committee of this whole House. That is the kind of double-talk that the people of this Province have been getting and that is why they do not trust them.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Presenting Reports by Standing and Special Committees.

Notices of Motion.

Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, if I may have leave for a second.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. FUREY: We are reverting now to Question Period first.

MR. SPEAKER: I am sorry, yes, Question Period. The Chair was thinking it was 3:30 p.m. I knew there would be somebody on the Opposition side raise this. I did not think it would be the Minister of Mines and Energy.

We will now revert to Oral Questions.

Oral Questions

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let it be known that the Minister of Mines and Energy came quickly to the defence of the Leader of the Opposition. I just want to say a public thank you to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

However, the questions that I want to ask today are related to Integrated Poultry Limited. Several weeks ago I issued a statement - two months ago, actually - that it was my understanding the company was in need of more assistance from the public Treasury. At that time, the provincial minister said he was flabbergasted, the people involved in the company said, `Mr. Byrne has no idea what he is talking about', but the chickens have come home to roost.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: The reality is that there is a definite need - or a request has been made - for more provincial government assistance. It was confirmed yesterday that IPL has asked the Province to release some of its security on company assets so it can raise money to cover capital expenditures.

In view of the fact that the minister is not here, can the acting minister elaborate to the House, and through the House to the people of the Province, on IPL's current position: what they have asked the Province for in addition to what was included in the privatization of farm products already; and what, if any, decision government has made to that request?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. The Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods is away on her Majesty's business, but I can confirm for the House that IPL has made a proposition to the government seeking - I am trying to remember the numbers and I would rather not make them public if they are not correct. I will say this: that they have sought assistance from the government; they have put a proposal forward. Government is reviewing the proposal, but there are certain other components to this proposal that must be met.

For example, IPL has to commit with a certain amount of new cash. I think the Farm Credit Corporation is being sought after for a certain amount to make up the total package, but I would caution the member that it is difficult to talk about this company that is young and trying to nurture themselves into existence with all of these jobs and the components that are involved in it. It is very difficult to talk publicly about it until we have a chance to privately assess their proposal and government come to some decision with respect to it.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Minister, this is all about public accountability for the taxpayers' money, something that has been sorely lacking, I suspect. I would put forward from the minister on this issue, and the government on this issue, taxpayers have a right to know why and how their money is being spent, pure and simple.

I would like to ask the minister today: What information can you provide to the people of the Province, the taxpayers of the Province, on the financial situation? And what specific factors have led it to this point, where it is today? Government obviously (inaudible) that this would be a one-time only sort of option; the faith that was given in terms of the company, that this would not be necessarily required. How much of this information is the minister prepared to provide to the taxpayers who are being asked to foot yet another bill?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to put this in context. The former farm products facilities, that were a Crown corporation of government, just in the last four years government spent $29.8 million in subsidies, just in the last four years. On average, since we have owned this facility, we have spent something in the order of $7 million to $8 million per year.

So it was government's intention, under our privatization policy, to move back out and let the private sector go in. It was IPL, the chicken farmers themselves, who brought together this integrated proposal, who came forward with their cash through the - I think it was the grain freight subsidy cash-out that the federal government paid them. They put their cash in. They put some bankable money in. The government, who would have had to pay $8 million again this year and next year and the year after in subsidies, thought it was a wise move to let them take this proposition. It is a young, new proposition.

Government has heard them. We have heard what they have had to say. We have put up some guarantees. We have put up some grants, but I don't think - and maybe the former minister can tell me - it goes beyond what we would have subsidized to date. So they have come to us - the integrated farmers. The farmers from all over Newfoundland who own this facility have come to us and said: Here is our financial circumstance. Here is the situation we find ourselves in. We are going to seek recourse from the banks. We are going to seek recourse from the Federal Farm Credit Commission, and we are asking the Province to come in by way of further equity and relief on the security position.

I can say to the hon. Leader of the Opposition, when we do have the proposal analyzed fully -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. FUREY: - when we have made a decision, of course we will let the public know how much public money has gone into this facility.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I don't know if I should apologize for asking questions to the minister or not. The reality is, we are talking about public accountability again, Minister. I would like to ask you this question: Has the government completed any assessment of the potential exposure to the Province of various courses of action for helping IPL? What are the implications of relinquishing security on our investment in the company, the implications of doing that? How exposed is the Cabinet and the minister willing to allow their investment in IPL to become?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I don't have all the financial details on the very specific questions that the hon. Leader of the Opposition has asked today, but when the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods comes back tomorrow I will undertake to get the detailed answers to those questions.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Again I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that this about accountability for money that individual Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers have paid into the provincial Treasury. How much more are we exposed? What is the amount of equity that is required above and beyond what we have already given, for example? What aspects of our assets are we going to relinquish? Are we relinquishing, for example, parts of the lien that we have on quotas? Are we relinquishing parts of the lien that we have on capital equipment, on buildings, et cetera?

Minister, it is well known that the government, as you have indicated, gave property, loan money and guaranteed loans to the tune of, I think, about $22 million or $23 million. So as you define `some money,' `some money' must be defined clearly. Twenty-two million dollars or $23 million is what we are talking about to date.

I would like to ask the minister: What accountability measures have been put in place to ensure a free flow of information and a rigorous accounting of how the taxpayers' money and resources that the taxpayers have put in are being used during this transition phase?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I should tell the House that to close these facilities down, both facilities on the West and East Coasts, to pay out severance, sick pay and holiday pay, and to deal with all of the matters that would be required under the collective agreements, would cost the government something in the order of $30 million.

The hon. member asks what systems are in place. There is a former Assistant Deputy Minister down there, Mr. Sid Blundon, who is a chartered accountant, who is working for that group right now. The Deputy Minister and the Assistant Deputy Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods deal with them all the time. I can tell the hon. member that if he wants this business to go bankrupt, all he has to do is keep saying what he is saying publicly, so that the banks won't give them a fair hearing, the farm credit won't give them a fair hearing, nobody will give them a fair hearing. If you want it to go down the road to bankruptcy, you are doing a good jobs sending it there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is a sad day in the House of Assembly when you cannot stand up and ask questions about where $23 million of taxpayers' money is going without being accused of causing bankruptcy.

Minister, it is as simple as this. Whether we agree or not on whether we should pursue and continue to subsidize even to more of an extent that we have already, if we agree or not, the reality is that you and I and every member in this House have an obligation to be accountable for how we spend taxpayers' dollars. That is the thrust of the question today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Has the company approached the government for an increase in its loan guarantee? Again, this is public information, asking about public accountability, for the accounting of taxpayers' dollars, Mr. Speaker. Has the company approached government for an increase in its loan guarantee or any other loan guarantee since the first guarantee was provided? Has government taken any action or made any decision on this request or others?

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, my former comments were just to ask him to consider -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I just ask members to be careful with their statements. There are 300 men and women whose jobs depend upon this, and we are trying our best to be sensitive. We have now received a formal proposal. I don't think it would be prudent to talk about that proposal at this juncture until we have assessed it completely, until we have written in certain guarantees we would require, until we have put conditions, precedent, in place to secure our overall position. I can't stand here and talk publicly about that, Mr. Speaker. I think it would be imprudent, unwise and unfair to the company and to the workers who work at this facility.

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

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

My questions today are for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. Mr. Minister, there is a large amount of money spent on the Provincial Home Repair Program and the Urgent Repair Program by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. This work is done by various private contractors for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. Can the minister inform the House of the criteria used in awarding the work to these private contractors?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Yes, Mr. Speaker. When an assessment is done on a property and the contract has been signed with the owner of the property, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing then tells the owner of the property it is their responsibility to secure a contractor, or someone to do the work. Newfoundland and Labrador Housing has absolutely nothing to do with finding contractors, and the contractor is sought out, found and hired by the resident.

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

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

Will the minister inform the House of the private contractors doing this work, and give the breakdown of the number of jobs or contracts each company has received, the dollar value of each job or contract, the location of each job or contract that was given, the address of each company receiving these jobs -


MR. J. BYRNE: - for both the private owners and the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing units?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, he asked me to provide that much information. I only have to say that I will have to read Hansard tomorrow to get the exact questions. I will repeat, that these contractors do not work for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. They work for you, if you get a RRAP grant, or for whoever it is. They do not work for Newfoundland Labrador and Housing and they are not selected.

I say quite honestly that in answer to the question, because it was part of it, and instead of answering it later on, I want to say to my hon. colleague for St. John's South that the question he brought up in the House yesterday on the RRAP program, which is related to what the hon. gentlemen was talking about, this gentlemen he talked about yesterday in the House was reassessed some weeks ago and has been approved. He is in the process now of having the work done.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. J. BYRNE: I say to the minister that the question I am asking is not only for the private home owners through Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, but also the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing units themselves. I am sure Newfoundland and Labrador Housing must hire people to do their work for them.

Also, in the interests of transparency and accountability, will the minister table all information I requested today within the next forty-eight hours in this House?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I know one of the biggest contractors that does work - and when I say work, I mean maintenance work around St. John's - is a contractor from the hon. member's district. He does some good work, I must say.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is not the only one!

MR. A. REID: He is not the only one, no. I do not know who they are. I would imagine that in and around the St. John's area there are St. John's contractors, that in and around our area - I am hoping that there are, they better be - people from out my way. I am assuming that in Mount Pearl there -

MR. J. BYRNE: Table the information (inaudible).

MR. A. REID: I will table the information, but I don't know if I can do in forty-eight hours. Not only will I table the information, I will table the information that the hon. member sitting behind asked for yesterday. I say here is an information package I gave every member of the House for all the criteria for the new RRAP program in the Province that was given out to every member of this House on June 4. I will table that.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. A. REID: I will also table, Mr. Speaker, the Provincial Home Repair Program -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister -

MR. A. REID: - recommendations, and I will also (inaudible) the RRAP recommendations -

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

MR. A. REID: - without any hesitation. You have it all now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I welcome the minister back from her flu. I want to say to the minister that health care in our Province - the minister says that we are not in a crisis, we are in transition. I am glad the Premier yesterday agreed with me. He said: The system cannot sustain itself. I want to ask the minister questions with reference to emergency departments here in the city. She has made statements on that very recently.

They are under great stress, I say to the minister. In spite of efforts made to reorganize St. Clare's to accommodate more people under restructuring that has been done, you still have to open the Grace Hospital from 8:00 a.m to midnight. On top of that, I might add, the problem has now become so acute that at the Health Science Centre on nine out of ten days, on average, there are stretchers lined up in the corridors, up to eight to ten at a time. It is a laughingstock in there now. They are calling it another ward, the corridors at the emergency department.

I want to ask the minister this too. In light of the fact that she has closed another twenty new beds - another twenty beds closed this fall, very recently, I ask her - we are seeing ambulances being shuffled around now from one emergency department to another. I ask the minister if she considers it appropriate to have a person admitted to an emergency department, seen by a physician there, and then shuffled off to another emergency department and seen by another physician before an appropriate diagnosis has been made?

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

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

For as long as I have been involved in the health care system, over twenty years, ambulances have frequently done exactly what the member just referred to. Mr. Speaker, when you have a province the size of ours, about 550,000, we do not have the same specialists in every facility. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we coordinated services under health care, so that instead of having two separate machines - one for children, one for adults - having a bit of a speciality in each facility, now we try to coordinate our services under the program management facilities that are offered particularly in the St. John's area, to which I presume he is referring. In fact, Mr. Speaker, it is quite common.

For example, if an ambulance arrives at St. Clare's and a person arrives in that ambulance with a head injury, yes, they most certainly would likely be transferred to the Health Sciences Centre. If a person from an outside place is brought in an ambulance to another facility where the speciality is in another site, yes, it is quite possible that that specialist working out of another centre would have to see that patient there.

As long as I can ever remember, including ambulance runs I have done myself, there are many times when you would have to go to another facility to get the proper diagnosis based on the type of injury sustained. Because of the type of province we have, because of the specialities that we are able to provide in certain facilities, yes, Mr. Speaker.

Now, in response to the preamble -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) preamble.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

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

I know I can respond to a preamble when it is made before the question. I think it is important to note that we have been very, very careful, very clear in our request to the federal government for more money. Mr. Speaker, myself and the Premier have said time and time again, we desperately need more money to put into our health care system. We are managing, and every day is a challenge. I am the first to admit it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude her answer.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am finishing up.

We will continue to lobby the federal government for more money to put into our health care system.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to take her seat.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is not what is customarily being done, I say to the minister. You had better get up-to-date on the facts. I have spoken to medical people - I have spoken with nurses, I have spoken with doctors - who have indicated that the reason they are going to emergency and seeing a doctor and being sent is because the hospital they are in has no beds to put them in. That is why they are being sent.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: I will ask the minister a question: Will she confirm that two of the four full-time doctors at the Health Sciences emergency are going to be leaving their full-time positions this month? One, I understand, has been there twenty-six years and another has been there for the past eight years.

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, in our system we always have a lot of people moving about, there is no doubt about that. In fact, if you heard the report - Mr. Speaker, most people stay an average of five years in a job in this country right now and it does not really matter where it is, whether it is in urban or rural areas. The member opposite knows the challenges we have had. The member also knows the challenges the country has had in trying to address the issues of physician services. But the member opposite would also know this year that in addition to the $32 million that we have allocated to the physician services memorandum agreement, we have added a significant amount of new money into the system as is evidenced in the MCP report. So yes, there will be people moving around, people from rural Newfoundland to urban. It is a way of life and -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude her answer.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: - we have yet to meet the real challenges of physician shortages in this country, let alone in this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister would not admit that two full-time doctors who have served there for thirty-four years in total are leaving out of the four full-time.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The reason why? It is easy, the reason why.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) question.

MR. SULLIVAN: If she must ask me a question I will tell her why, and I will tell her why there is a problem there.

I will ask her another question: Will she confirm that the stress levels are so high that it is difficult to get nurses to come in to work with someone who is sick? That they have to call people from the night shift to come in on day shift, and then they spend hours trying to get people to come in and fill the night shift, to get replacements, because they are under so much stress in the emergency department today with 40,000 people at the Health Science, 35,000 at St. Clare's, and before they cut the guts out of the one at the Grace and had to restore some of it again, another 30,000 there.

Will the minister admit, that stress cannot go on? Her own Premier admits we have a problem. We cannot sustain it., and she is up telling us there is nothing wrong. Will you admit at least that the doctors are going, that the stress levels are there? That is what I am asking.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, in response to the member's speech, I have to say it is important for the record, I do not think you will find a statement anywhere in Hansard where I have said that we are not in need of support to the system or we are not in need of more money. I have never said that there is never a problem. In fact, I have stood here on numerous occasions and said that this minister and this government are strong supporters of our publicly funded health care system.

Mr. Speaker, in order to sustain that we need more funding into the system. Yes, I will admit clearly today that the front-line workers and the staff of this Province are doing a fabulous job. I said I know they are working under difficult situations, as they are right across, but I will take our publicly funded system any day over what our neighbours down south are doing in a privately funded system.

I stand and support the work of our front-line workers. We are very proud of the work they are doing. Yes, there is a lot of stress in this system and I am the first to admit it. I will also say that over the years there have always been challenges in meeting the needs for finding people working in specialities, and that will continue as we face the shortages not only with physicians but also with nurses.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Waterford Valley.

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education.

A few days ago I asked the minister some questions relative to a commitment made by the Premier earlier this summer relative to the tuition paid by students at the Paralegal Institute and the Career Academy. At that time the Premier said that no student would have to pay tuition twice. I want to know what steps the minister has taken to make sure that students at the Paralegal Institute and the Career Academy will not have to pay their tuition twice?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There are two separate issues. My understanding is that the Premier at no time was involved whatsoever with any students or representatives of students with respect to the Paralegal Training Institute which closed almost a year ago. As a matter of fact, it was almost a year ago to this day that we had the Member for Baie Verte asking questions about the Paralegal Training Institute because there were some meetings being held with -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - some fifteen students, I believe, of that institute who had left the institute because they had complaints. They were trying to get their money back from the owner/operator. The other eighty-five indicated they were completely satisfied with the course work at the Paralegal Training Institute.

With respect to that institute and those students, there was no commitment given by the Premier because he never ever met with them; it was never a discussion point. They did have discussions with me and with the Department of Education.

The involvement of the Premier - which is what the hon. member based his question on - was the fact that he did meet with representatives of the Career Academy students when they were here in the building just a couple of months ago in the late part of the summer.

It was at that point in time, after speaking with me, that the Premier reiterated the commitment -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. GRIMES: - that I had made to the students on behalf of the government; that those students in the Career Academy - because there was no reference whatsoever to the Paralegal Institute; it had already been closed for almost a year - who had paid tuition and whose training had been interrupted would not have to pay tuition a second time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to wind up his answer quickly.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, that commitment has been honoured.

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

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

In one particular case a student did pay twice. In fact, the total cost will be about 31 per cent higher. So the minister is saying that the students of the Paralegal Training Institute have been abandoned by the government, they do not deserve protection from the Ministry, and if they had to pay twice he has no concerns about it at all, and that he won't take any steps to intercede on their behalf?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, with respect again to the Paralegal Training Institute which actually closed almost a year ago now, the students themselves who wanted to continue their training were offered an opportunity to go to another private training institution. I believe most of them went to Keyin Technical, as I understand it and recall the issue. They met with the owner-operator of the new facility. They made their own arrangements to which they all agreed in order to continue their paralegal training.

The government was not asked to be involved with that arrangement, and the government was not involved. All of those students - because there were about eighty-five of them - were readily accommodated. By the way, the issue that is before us is that we have a gentleman in the Province who is trying to sue the government and sue the operators of the receiving school in this case, because of the fact that he claims the receiving school stole their students, and conspired to shut down the Paralegal Training Institute so they could get these eighty-five or one hundred students. That will be argued at some point, maybe, in a court of law.

The fact of the matter is that the students themselves made an arrangement almost a year ago. I do not know why the hon. member is asking questions about that, because it was never, ever an issue that was brought to the government for any particular attention.

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

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

I wanted to ask the minister a question relative to the bonding, and to the judgements that might be coming forward against the bonding companies. I ask the minister what steps he has taken to advise the students, either at the Career Academy or at the Paralegal Training Institute, as to the procedures to follow to have judgements entered against the schools? Is he sharing that information with the student body? What steps is he taking to make sure all students are aware of their legal rights?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Any questions that any of the students have raised with the Department of Education and with the officials responsible for private post-secondary training have been answered, to my knowledge, to the full satisfaction of the students.

The Department of Education, in the twenty years that private training institutions have been in operation - because they did start with the previous government when they were the administration. They established the whole framework and the whole basis on which they operate in Newfoundland and Labrador. The legislation that is before the House now will put the Liberal stamp on it, because it is the first time it has been changed. The legislation that is here now was drafted by a previous administration which I understand, while these individual members weren't in the House, they support that party, and they support the concepts and ideas that were there.

Mr. Speaker, in the whole twenty-year history it has never been an approach for the Department of Education to go out and give legal advise to anybody as to what their rights are on any issue. Any time that any student has asked of any official of the Department of Education what their options are with respect to post-secondary training -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. minister to conclude his answer.

MR. GRIMES: - they have always received a complete and satisfactory answer, to my knowledge.

MR. SPEAKER: Question period has ended.

Presenting Reports by
Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.

MR. A. REID: Mr. Speaker, I was asked to present the Provincial Home Repair Program outline by the hon. Member for Conception Bay South, also the RRAP program outline, and also the complete outline and criteria for the Provincial Home Repair Program. I would like to take those three, please.


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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise today to present yet another petition on behalf of the people of Labrador West, but really this petition is on behalf of everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have presented quite a few of these petitions over the last while and we have more to present. We are going to continue the commitment to present these petitions as long as this issue goes unresolved. As of today, it is unresolved.

I want to mention this. Even with the media and so on, with the questions we have asked in this House of Assembly, with petitions to carry on, it is still very tough on the people of Labrador West to get their message out because, simply put, the media has left it, for now anyway. Hopefully they will come back to it when they realize the significance of this decision to the entire Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I will read the petition again, the bottom lines:

WHEREAS we the residents of Labrador City condemn the provincial government in supporting the Iron Ore Company of Canada's decision to process Labrador resources in Sept-Iles, Quebec;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to reverse this decision immediately and support a policy of secondary processing within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, there are still a lot of unanswered questions today for the people of Labrador West, and indeed anybody in this Province who has been following this particular issue. A lot of questions that the delegation from Labrador West had asked over the last several weeks are still unanswered today. We received a fax yesterday of a list of questions they are waiting for the Premier and the Department of Mines and Energy to respond to that have not been responded to as of yet, questions that should be answered and answers that should be readily available, I would say.

One is on the Hatch report, so that they can talk to officials on that, and also the MetChem Bechtel report. Officials should be there to speak to them on that.

One of the other requests was for a ten-year report on taxes and royalties from the Iron Ore Company of Canada. Because it goes back to the very root of the argument that we have used in this House of Assembly over and over, as the Opposition House Leader has done so many times. We are talking about a company here, the Iron Ore Company of Canada, that has been in this Province for some thirty-six years or thirty-eight years, that has made billions. We could say hundreds of millions, but the truth is the Iron Ore Company of Canada has made billions of dollars from the resource of Labrador West in the last thirty-six years.

Therefore, before we even discussed the details of the Hatch report and the MetChem Bechtel report, the government of the day should have very simply said: You have been here for thirty-six years, you have made billions of dollars on our resource, and if you are going to expand and get bigger and make more profit - that is the line everybody continues to forget so conveniently - if you are going to continue to stay here in this Province, take the resource out of Labrador West, continue to make billions of dollars, the government of the day should have stepped in and said: You have had a very worthwhile venture here for such a long time. If you want to get bigger and if you want to make more profit, you are going to have to do it in this Province or not do it at all.

Nothing made me more sick than the day that the provincial election was called in Quebec, and the premier now, Premier Bouchard, could stand and kick off his campaign to separate Quebec and break up this country, bragging about a resource that was coming from Labrador West to create jobs in his Province.

Everybody in this Province is still confused about the message that this government is sending out, when one day they stand up with fists clenched, and they are going to take on Inco, the mining giant in Voisey's Bay. Everybody stood with the Premier, back to back, and said: We will support you on that stand. We are sick and tired of seeing the resources - the same old story, day after day, year after year - in this Province benefitting somebody else.

It was so strange that here was the Premier standing up to Inco, and the next day turning around and telling the Iron Ore Company of Canada: Go ahead, take it out, create jobs down in Quebec, get bigger, make more profits. It goes on.

Then we had changes to the Mineral Act where the government made another statement, saying: We are going to get tighter on our resources. Why wasn't it retroactive to IOC and Labrador West? That is a question we have to ask. Some people have asked this question: Was Labrador West really used as a pawn in all of this, in the set-up in the beginning? Did the government want to come out and say: Look how tough we are getting, but at the same time they didn't want to scare away all of their investors. They did a good job of that. Now they say to Labrador West: Go ahead, it is fine. If you are going to be tough, you go all the way. There is an old saying, if you are going to be bear, go grizzly.

When it comes to our natural resources we should have stood firm, stood consistent, all the way through. Nobody had a better argument for that than the people of Labrador West, and not just the people of Labrador West but people throughout this Province who say: Here goes another resource again.

I cannot believe that all we can think about now is that - over the next year or so, as this plant is reactivated in Sept-Iles, Quebec, that 200 jobs will be created in that province from a resource from this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: It is not right, it will never be right, and it will never be sold in this Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise once again to support the petitioners from Labrador West on the issue of further development of the pelletizing of Labrador resources in the Province of Quebec.

This is a resource that is very valuable to this Province. It should be more valuable than it is. When we look at the royalty revenues that this Province is getting, we are doing abysmally poorly. We are getting substantial revenues mostly from the income taxes derived from the employees who work there; very substantial jobs for a long period of time, a significant net contributor to the Province's wealth.

That contribution also implies that there is a requirement by this government and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to act in support of the people of Labrador West when they come to them for help. They are talking about something that would not only benefit Labrador West but benefit all of Newfoundland and Labrador. The development of the iron ore resources of Labrador West must be done for the benefit primarily of the people of Labrador but of course for all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

This is not just a desire to expand and build up more of what we have. This is a desire to ensure the survival of what we have. Because we have in Labrador West - through changes and capitalization, mechanization, demographics of the workforce and various other factors - a reduction, over time, in the number of people actually employed in the IOC operations and the Wabush mine operations in Labrador West. We have a decreasing number of opportunities for young people, both in Labrador West and the rest of the Province, to participate in these good paying jobs which provide a decent income higher than the Newfoundland average, and I think higher than the Canadian average for industrial jobs.

We are very pleased to have this work and have these jobs, but we also have to recognize that this is being threatened by the development in Sept-Iles, and the future of Labrador West itself is threatened because of the inability of the expansion to take place there.

Mr. Speaker, I don't see any fundamental difference between what Inco wants to do in terms of using its existing smelter in Thompson, Manitoba, or in Inco to process Labrador resources, than the company IOC North wanting to use its existing facilities in Sept-Iles. There is a very serious parallel and it calls into question as to how sincere this government is going to be when the chips are down, when it finally comes to pass as to where we are going to see development of the Voisey's Bay mineral development.

Mr. Speaker, we have had a commitment from this government. We had a commitment from the Minister of Environment and Labour in leading a march of the people of Labrador West to the gates of IOC. Well, they went as far as the gates and they assured the people of Labrador West that the fix was in, that the job had been done, and there was no way that this project was going to be seen go out of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Well, Mr. Speaker, they have not delivered on that. They have not delivered on even responding to the questions, the legitimate questions of the Labrador West Chamber of Commerce and town council. They have failed to provide the detailed analyses that are required, and they have not responded to the need in this Province to have a policy on mineral development that is not just a series of words on paper but in fact is enforceable and deliverable when it comes down to the reality of ensuring that our resources are developed to the maximum benefit of our people.

I support the petition, Mr. Speaker. I will continue to support the petition. I have other petitions myself to present from Labrador West, and throughout this session I will certainly be continuing to support these petitions and present them on my own.

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

MR. FUREY: I move we go to Private Members' Day, with the Member for Labrador West.

Private Members' Day

MR. SPEAKER: It being Private Members' Day, and it being 3:17 p.m., I will now call on the hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. CANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by just reading the last part of the resolution that I presented yesterday:

WHEREAS the College of the North Atlantic will be severely impacted by changes in the employment insurance regulations and practices being contemplated by the Government of Canada;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this hon. House urge the Government of Canada and its agencies to work with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the College of the North Atlantic to ensure that any and all appropriate federal financial allocations continue for our provincial college system.

Mr. Speaker, why is this important? Our public college was built by sound public policy and public money, both from the Province and the Government of Canada. It has been built because of a dedicated, loyal group of staff across the whole of this Province, who ensures the delivery of good programs to our students. It has also been built by a group of sound, volunteer people who spend their time in a worthy way making sure that people in this Province - our youth - have access to sound, post-secondary education programs within the college.

The new EI legislation eliminates the traditional method of federal government purchases of access to training for individuals as of June 30, 1998. The federal purchase of seats in programs and the block purchase of training will amount to some $9.5 million of purchases from our public college, government to institution - the College of the North Atlantic in this current year. The implications of the proposed changes by the Government of Canada are astounding and staggering.

In addition, the federal government purchased some $4 million worth of direct training - government to government, through the college - and this amount is included in the provincial grant to the college. This $13 million-plus purchase of training is presently guaranteed to our public colleges.

I am sounding the alarm today because the direct purchase ends as of June 30, 1999. It is to be replaced by a system that will provide some measure of funding directly to students through some contrived and perhaps convoluted form of loans and grants, what is known as `skills, loans and grants'. This will reduce 80 per cent of the current federal funding to the provincial college system. I want to repeat that. Eighty per cent of all funds today that go to our public college will be eliminated by this particular program. After it is instituted, students will purchase their training directly, perhaps by some voucher from the public or private colleges.

I have no quarrel with the choice given to students; however, HRDC has indicated that the student will be funded to pay, through some combination of grants and loans, the full cost recovery of the private colleges post tuition.

Quite incredibility, in a move that seems perhaps discriminatory, it intends to provide only the level of support that will pay the College of the North Atlantic its post - much lower and publicized, subsidized, public tuition rate.

Let me just explain that for a second. Currently, the public college would receive some $7,000 to $7,500 for each seat bought by the federal government. After this policy change, 80 per cent of that per seat funding will be gone and the rest of the public of this Province will be expected to subsidize clients of the Government of Canada through the EI fund. This is astounding because there is a sufficient, huge, billions of dollars worth of surplus in the EI fund. Now, they expect the poorest province in our land, the poorest province in Canada to subsidize a reduction that they anticipate of some 80 per cent of current transfers to the public college system.

The government's college, our public college, is the people's college, and as the standard bearer of training in Newfoundland and Labrador now stands to lose millions in revenue; revenue that has been a traditional source of support and reinvestment for our high standards of the public post-secondary training system.

We have benefitted greatly and we should acknowledge that from the investments of the past by the Government of Canada into our public college system. It has helped us sustain, maintain and build a very competent organizational structure that is able to deliver high quality training programs to the students of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, this is huge downloading of responsibility of the Government of Canada and it is going to leave our public college system in want of huge amounts of money from the public of Newfoundland and Labrador. It, in effect, threatens our public college infrastructure in many ways. In addition to reducing the resources available to the public college, this strategy will remove the ability of the college and the Province to plan ahead since it is very difficult to predict the number of students who can be expected to attend.

Our college and much of the access to training has been built on this system of public support of training. We, I believe, will be found wanting a large sum of money to replace this. Also you might consider that the current purchase of seats by the Government of Canada will change to the extent that only those who are EI eligible will be able to benefit from a seat paid for by the federal government. That means that those who are not EI eligible have no access to training. Those who are in the greatest need perhaps will be left out altogether.

Mr. Speaker, I am asking this hon. House to support and endorse this resolution to give the Government of Canada a clear message that this is unacceptable to this House; it is unacceptable to this Province. In fact, it will help remove, reduce, otherwise change in a very negative and profound way, the current public college system that we have enjoyed for such a long period of time. Mr. Speaker, I am a product of that public college system and I stand behind it. I was a member of the apprenticeship board for a very long time and we tried very hard to help build programs. I was a member of the Canadian Steel Trade Employment Congress with the United Steelworkers to build relationships with the college to ensure that the college had the kinds of skills training necessary to fill the needs of today's industry, today's technology. This move by the Government of Canada will harm the public college system.

I ask all members to join with me and send a strong message to the federal government saying that this is in fact not acceptable. It must change. We cannot lose 80 per cent of the current federal funding that we now enjoy to our public college and not have a huge impact by that.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your time and I look forward to listening to other hon. members.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. H. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that we on this side will have a couple of speakers who will speak and we will share some of the time.

I just want to make a few comments. I want to thank the member for bringing forward the resolution because it is an important resolution. I think it is important that this House go on record as being opposed to those particular changes before they become effective. We certainly have had concerns. We have heard comments, rumours and statements made that there will be dramatic changes to the EI program. In fact, I have had questions asked by students who are now registered, particularly those in their first year at the College of the North Atlantic at various sites throughout the Province. They are concerned about whether or not their funding will be available to them next year, and what that means to their families.

Mr. Speaker, we know that if we are to take this kind of money out of our public college system then what has happened to our health care system will be even more so happening to our public college system. Already I have had discussions with teachers who are teaching at the college here in St. John's, and they tell me that they are cut now to the bone. Some of their materials are - rationed is not the right word, but certainly they are very restricted in the amount of instruction materials which they can make readily available to their students.

We have concerns, and certainly we are very concerned about what is happening when you have a federal government dominated by Central Canada. This is what is happening here. It is happening within the federal government, within the Liberal Government. Over 130 seats of their 155 seats or 156 seats come from Central Canada. Therefore, what is happening is the voice of Atlantic Canada is not being heard.

That is why I was very much, not surprised, but disappointed to read in Maclean's Magazine, just the day before yesterday - the magazine which was published on the December 7 - how the federal Government of Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada, seems to have abandoned Atlantic Canada. That is a great concern, when a national party - it does not matter to me which party it is - is dominated by Central Canada interests. It does not matter whether it is the Liberal Party, whether it is the Progressive Conservative Party, whatever party it is, we have to make sure the regions of this country, provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, that are in the regions, have their interests protected.

If we are going to say that we are committed to educating our young people then we have to remove the barriers to post-secondary education. We cannot be putting more barriers in there. We have to find creative ways to remove the barriers that are brought on by distance, brought on by economic circumstances, family situations, and by the lack of the availability of jobs. We could go on and on. When we find the federal government through its various agencies adopting programs which are going to mitigate severely against the best interests of the educational system - that is the post-secondary educational system in Newfoundland and Labrador -, we should be sending the alarms now. I thank the hon. member, because his private member's resolution is indeed very timely.

I again want, in the few minutes I have agreed to speak here, to say that we want to send a message, clearly, to the Central Canadian law makers, those who dominate the Parliament of Canada, that we in Newfoundland and Labrador want to see ways in which we can protect our educational system. Because we have said here that if we are going to look at the ways in which we can stimulate Newfoundland and Labrador in the long term, it has to be through our educational system.

If we are going to go and, shall we say, put up more barriers, then our situation will only get marginally worse. Taking out these millions of dollars, Mr. Speaker, will certainly be of great concern to us on this side of the House. For that reason we are going to be voting unanimously in favour of the member's motion.

MR. CANNING: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Labrador West on a point of order.

MR. CANNING: Yes. I appreciate the words from the hon. member. I just wanted to clarify something. I may have said that this comes into effect June 30, 1999. It is in fact June 30, 1998. I just wanted to clear that up.

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

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

I certainly want to take the opportunity to rise today and make a few comments on this. I will echo what my colleague has already said, that we do support this unanimously, and I commend the Member for Labrador West for bringing this forward.

I just want to branch out to, specifically, the importance of the College of the North Atlantic to rural parts of this Province, outside the City of St. John's and the bigger centres like Corner Brook and so on. To be more specific, not just for that area, but because I know it better, in my own District of Baie Verte. We have a College of the North Atlantic in the community of Baie Verte which services that entire area, all of Green Bay and White Bay. I think the population of the Springdale-Baie Verte area is about 25,000 people.

A lot of the students from all around that area have come to do courses at that College there in Baie Verte. It is what I consider to be a true rural post-secondary school. I cannot say enough of how important it is that people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, especially today - the timing of this could not be better to enhance education in rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. It all ties in to economic conditions and so on of certain families. The fact is that I know people personally who would not be able to afford to pack their things and move to St. John's and go to Memorial University, or to Corner Brook for that matter, but because that college is so close to these communities, I know families firsthand with low incomes that have been able to avail of that particular College there.

Specifically what the member is talking about, of course, is these programs from the Federal Government that allow this to continue. I guess at the end of the day they allow the College to continue, to support the College in its financial efforts to maintain the services for these particular colleges. It is true that the timing could not be better for such a resolution as this. I support it wholeheartedly. I think we all have to do our best efforts to make sure that message is sent to the federal government to continue this.

It is for that specific reason that I rise today, to support the College of the North Atlantic, and specifically the ones that are in rural Newfoundland. Even more specifically - I use it, I guess, to the advantage of my own district where, in the community of Baie Verte, the College of the North Atlantic is - it enables and allows so many people in rural Newfoundland, where we are going through so many changes today, us to encourage our young people to go do some good courses: microcomputers, the ITT program, and environmental courses were offered at this College in Baie Verte, and I fully support that.

We have to do everything in our power - not just with the federal government but with the provincial government - to ensure these colleges are maintained in rural Newfoundland. With my bias of being a rural member I would go on to say it is even more important. Not to take anything away from that, but if one of the private colleges closes here in St. John's there are all kinds of selection. We do not have a selection. The community college in the town of Baie Verte, for example, beside the fact that it allows people to go on and improve their educational, is also the heart and soul of that community. Of course, it even provides work for the people in the area. I guess the most important reason is that they have a good staff there. They provide an education for lower income people who cannot afford to go away and so on.

Those are specific reasons. I think that the plug today should also be given, and that should be kept in mind, is that rural Newfoundland needs those colleges in rural areas so that they can cope with the situation of the day on economics and so on. I fully support the member in that, and I hope those remarks are kept in mind also, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to rise and speak to the resolution put forward by the hon. Member for Labrador West. It is a good resolution and it certainly affects a lot of people in our Province.

When you look at training and education you cannot help but see it as the foundation to the economic and social prosperity of our Province and of our communities, and allowing every or access to people in this Province to that system, allowing them the financial means by which they can participate in these programs and further themselves, further educate themselves, is I think of the utmost importance to the progression of society.

I think that what we have to look at here is the fact that many of the people being displaced from the workforce in our Province these days are going back to school. They are going back, they are furthering their education, they are getting new skills and new training where they can become re-entrants into the workforce, into one capacity or another.

I think it is important that we have the means there to support these people because more often than not they are people who have families, who have spouses, who have small children that are in the day school system, and they need to be able to re-enter in the workforce with the proper skills, and at the same time be able to provide for their families and so on while they are doing it. Therefore, the EI program has allowed such supplementary allowances, such benefits to participants, so that they have been allowed to do that.

In addition, the College of the North Atlantic saw the need to take training programs to people in all parts of our Province. I know in my district in particular, which is a very isolated part of this Province, we have had program based training in education programs, whereby the College has extended it into the communities. It has looked at the population, looked at the industry, and looked at where people need to be training, trained in order to better enter into the workforce, be better capable and qualified to do the job that needed to be done. They have taken those programs and brought them into communities. They have brought them into the environment and the setting whereby they were accommodating to these people. I think the College of the North Atlantic has to be recognized for the kind of work they do in this Province. Not only as an educational institution, but in being accommodating to the people that need to access these programs.

This concerns me greatly, the fact that the federal government is lessening its commitment to funding, training and education dollars to post-secondary institutions in our Province. It concerns me for a number of reasons. Where I live in Labrador we have three Aboriginal organizations, all of which receive funding from the federal government for training and education programs, in order to allow their people and their culture to better adapt in society, and to meet the education and training needs that they require.

This funding program has been in place, and this money has been forthcoming from Ottawa, for the past five to six years, and it has certainly allowed a lot of people - young people, and people with families - to be able to go back to school, to train and be able to get jobs afterwards. This decision being put forward by Ottawa right now, how is it going to affect those programs? Maybe the Member for Labrador West might be able to tell me that in his closing comments, if it at all affects it. It is a concern for me.

I think the other thing we have to realize here is that if we start taking money out of the system and stop challenging funds to these people who want to go back to school, what you are going to see is a drastic decline in enrolment in our institutions. The College of the North Atlantic now can reach out and offer extension programs to communities in all parts of the Province, have program delivery in all areas of the Province. Will they be able to do that and maintain that with changes in the program? I would think not. Therefore we will all suffer at the end of the day.

The other thing that concerns me is this - although it is not necessarily applicable to this particular resolution - is the number of students in our Province right now who are not eligible for EI programs and the EI supplement, but depend upon student loan programs, and the complications that they have in trying to access these student loans. I have dealt with several cases. Cases where students who are scholarship winners are losing money from their student loans programs because of scholarships and whatnot.

I would say that not only is the EI program necessarily going to effect enrolment in the colleges, the revenue that is going to be contributed to these colleges, but there are other aspects of support services for students we should look at as well. Maybe the student loans program is one of them.

I am not going to talk much further, Mr. Speaker, other than to say this is a good resolution. It is a very important resolution, and one that all members in the House and all people in this Province should support. I want to congratulate the Member for Labrador West for bringing it forward at this time so that we can have input and we can start lobbying to see that the money that is necessary stays in the educational system in this Province.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise in support of this motion today presented by the Member for Labrador West. I am glad that the Member for Labrador West, and indeed I presume his colleagues will probably support him, is challenging the Government of Canada on its unemployment insurance policies.

I am only disappointed he did not include the other aspects of the unemployment insurance programs that his federal colleagues have implemented in the last number of years that have drastically effected the plight of people, particularly in this Province, whose money in the EI fund has been stolen from employers and employees, harming those who do not qualify for EI benefits, and the small businesses that these people who would have received these benefits are now unable to patronize.

We know that the federal government changes in EI have taken almost half or more of the people off the unemployment insurance rolls in terms of qualifying for benefits. Less than ten years ago, approximately 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the people who were unemployed qualified for benefits. They met the qualifying requirements. They have changed the requirements. Now a little more than one-third of unemployed people in Canada qualify for UI benefits and we know that this Province depends in particular on seasonal workers in our forests, in our fishery, in our mining industry, in our construction industry, in our road building industry, in many industries in this Province. We depend and need seasonal workers to perform these jobs, and these people need to be available to perform those jobs. So unemployment insurance is a part of the economic life of this Province. Let's fact that fact and not treat the people who only have seasonal work as the problem. They are not problem. Our system, which does not give them full-time employment, is the problem.

There ought to be a policy in this country of full employment. We should put our backs to the wheel. We should redouble and redouble again our efforts to ensure that every Canadian, every Newfoundlander and Labradorian with the ability to work has an opportunity to do so. That is something that ought to be a fundamental right of citizenship.

If we can adopt goals as a government - whether provincially or federally - targets to reduce the deficit year after year, targets to do this and targets to do that, where are the targets to achieve closer and closer goals to full employment? We do not see them because there is no real commitment.

Since we are talking about contributions to the College of the North Atlantic, I am surprised the member did not include in his resolution a recognition that his own government, since 1989, and the two Liberal governments that we have had back to back, have taken more than $25 million a year out of the public college system, right out of the system, cut off at the knees, because this government did not give the priority to the public college system that the students deserve. That is what is going on in this Province and the member's resolution, by talking about the feds, talking about their federal counterparts, their colleagues in Ottawa, and what they might or might not do to the public college system, is ignoring and trying to sidestep what this government is doing to the public education system in this Province by abandoning students to their own devices or in fact into the very expensive - three and four times the cost - private colleges that this government has promoted, licensed, and are now reaping the benefits or reaping the whirlwind from some of the - or at least one of the scallywags who was licensed.

AN HON. MEMBER: Scallywag? What's a scallywag?

MR. HARRIS: I suggest that the hon. member read Hansard. I am sure scallywag has been debated in this House many times, as to whether or not it is parliamentary or unparliamentary language. I am sure if you go back in Hansard you will find it. Whether there is more on that side of the House or this side of the House, it would be difficult to say. I suppose, looking opposite I see a lot more scallywags over there than over here but that just may be a function of numbers.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, to go on from that diversion, I would like to say that there is of course a role for the public college system in this Province. We only have one public college now. There is a role for the public college in delivering programs that they have specifically designed, they have geared up for. They have put the curriculum in place, they have the facilities in place, they have the staff in place, and they have the ability to deliver these high quality, first-rate programs to people who need the training that they give.

Now those are all the elements necessary to provide for the needs of people in this Province, whether they be young people who cannot get a start in the workforce or whether they be an individual who needs training to get a better job, or training to be able to get a full-time job, or a person who has special needs, who needs to have a particular form of training in order to be able to participate in the workforce at all.

All of the elements are there in our public college system except one, and that is the commitment, support and cash to make it happen. Both the provincial government and the federal government are deficient in this area. If they change the policies, if they implement the proposals, they will seriously affect the ability of people of this Province to obtain the kind of training they need.

What kind of training they need is high quality, first-class training provided by people who are professionals in the education field who themselves have the qualifications, education and training to be able to deliver those programs. Where you find that with a guarantee of standards is in the public college system of Newfoundland and Labrador, the College of the North Atlantic.

I do not know why this government does not take upon itself to raise the profile and the importance of education as a Newfoundland and Labrador - and I will call it national, I will be nationalistic for a moment - as a requirement for the survival of Newfoundland and Labrador as a political entity. Our very survival as a political entity depends on us maximizing the educational ability of our students, of our young people, of our people who are perhaps no longer young people - are in the workforce and because they have had an inadequate education, training or background, cannot fully participate.

We have to raise education, whether it be primary, elementary, secondary or post-secondary education and training, to the level of a first principle of government's obligation to its people and to its citizens.

Post-secondary education, as I have said in this House many times before, ought to be a right of citizenship. It ought not to be a commodity; a commodity in the marketplace that is bought, sold and used as a medium of profit for an entrepreneurial activity. It ought to be a public right. In the College of the North Atlantic we have the delivery vehicle for that right.

I am not saying that there should not be any private institutions exist or that nobody should be able to have private training. What I am saying is that post-secondary education, as a public right, ought to be delivered by the government but through the public college system.

Insofar as the member's resolution supports that principle by insisting that the Government of Canada play an appropriate role in supporting financially the students of this Province who need to get education through the public college system, I support it wholeheartedly. I would ask him, I guess, in his closing remarks, what he and his colleagues and his Cabinet over there propose to do with this resolution once we unanimously endorse and pass it. Will they be taking it to Ottawa unmasked? Will they be delivering the message loud and clear? Will they be ensuring that their colleagues in Ottawa are going to act on this resolution? Or is this just a way to pass some time on a Wednesday afternoon in the House of Assembly?

I challenge the member to tell us in his closing remarks what he, his caucus, and his government plan to do next to ensure that a public college system is raised to the pinnacle of activity and its rightful place in the post-secondary education of the citizens of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Labrador West.

MR. CANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it is never a waste of time to stand and listen to the hon. Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi, even if it is a Wednesday afternoon.

I thank members for their support of this resolution. In fact, the public college system is important to us all. It is really a monument to the success of past governments and past members of this House of Assembly. It was a monument to the people who dedicated themselves as staff and board members over the years to ensure that those facilities met the needs of our students.

The College of the North Atlantic - in fact the government, the members of this House, cannot allow the federal government to withdraw 80 per cent of their current funding to the College. That would add up to some $13 million annually, and that would cause a significant drop in the funding available for the College.

This anticipated and contemplated way that the federal government has decided to change their policy is not the Canadian way, and it is certainly not the right way.

I have pretty strong views, too, on many of the other changes that they have made in the EI system. The Member for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi is not the only member who has concerns about how the federal government has changed the EI system.

In closing, I just want to say that within our country one of the big problems is that the Government of Canada oftentimes steps into areas of provincial jurisdiction and then -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. CANNING: No, but in education, and then backs out with the funding and leaves a major hole in the funding that is available to sustain the systems that we have come to appreciate, come to expect, and come to need for the educational value of our students.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I just want to say again that I thank members vert much for their support, and we will ensure that this resolution is carried forward to Ottawa to ensure to impress upon them that they cannot in fact move forward in this plan. They need to ensure that the funding is available to continue the kind of support we need for the College of the North Atlantic.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Are the hon. members ready for the question?

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


MR. SPEAKER: Those against, `nay'.

Motion carried.

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

MR. FUREY: We have agreed to call it 5:00 p.m., Mr. Speaker. There is no need for a motion of adjournment.

MR. SPEAKER: No motion is required for adjournment on any account.

This House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.