May 11, 1999               HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS              Vol. XLIV  No. 21

The House met at 2:00 pm.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before beginning our routine proceedings, the Chair would like to welcome to the gallery today thirty-five Grade X Democracy students from Ascension Collegiate, Bay Roberts, in the District of Port de Grave, accompanied by teachers Mr. Ed Wilding, Ms Corinne Ellsworth, and Mr. Donald Sullivan, bus driver.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Before calling our routine proceedings, Statements by Ministers, the Chair would like to rule on a point of order raised by the hon. Member for Cape St. Francis on April 29 respecting comments made by the hon. the Minister of Mines and Energy.

The Chair did review the comments made by the hon. Minister of Mines and Energy. The minister was speculating on an event that had taken place some time earlier. Looking at the comments that were made, the Chair has come to the conclusion that really what is happening here is a matter of a difference of opinion between hon. members as to what happened in a given event that had taken place some time earlier.

The hon. the Member for Twillingate & Fogo.

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday afternoon I made reference to the Leader of the Opposition being out of the House, in jest. I would like to withdraw that statement and apologize for making it because I understand he has very good reason for being out.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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.

Today, we begin the implementation of the first phase of a commitment we made earlier this year when we announced the formation of the Provincial Tobacco Reduction Coalition. I am happy to see some of the Coalition members in the audience today in the galleries.

The Tobacco Reduction Coalition includes representatives of: the Canadian Cancer Society, Newfoundland and Labrador Division; the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association; the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Newfoundland and Labrador; the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmaceutical Association; the Newfoundland and Labrador Health and Community Services Association; the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association; the Department of Education; the Department of Government Services and Lands and my own department, the Department of Health and Community Services.

This is the first action we are taking under the Tobacco Reduction Strategy and in due course the Minister of Justice will announce measures which government will take in terms of legal action against tobacco companies.

Today, we will introduce legislation to amend the Tobacco Control Act for the licensing of wholesale and retail vendors of tobacco products. Unfortunately, access to tobacco products by youth continues to be a problem in spite of the current Tobacco Control Act which forbids selling or giving tobacco to those under nineteen years of age.

With the new amendment, all tobacco vendors will be required to have a licence to sell tobacco. The licence will be free of charge as this is not meant to penalize responsible vendors but rather to deter those who are selling tobacco to our youth.

If a vendor breaks the law by selling tobacco to a youth under nineteen years of age, the license can be suspended. The suspensions can be enforced by inspectors of the Department of Government Services, which makes implementation of this change more efficient and effective. Additionally, since the places where cigarettes are sold are routinely visited by inspectors for other purposes, incorporating this action will be easily achieved.

It will reduce the burden on the provincial courts since it is an administrative action rather than a court action. This action can happen in a more timely manner since it does not require scheduling on a busy court docket. Equally important, the youth will no longer be required to take part in the court process as a witness.

The penalties for a violation range from a first offence when the license is suspended for two months, up to a third violation when the license can be cancelled. In the event that a vendor continues to sell tobacco without a license, the vendor can be charged and subjected to a fine ranging from $500 to $20,000 with each subsequent offence.

Mr. Speaker, the Coalition has been very busy during the last few months and will soon announce the appointment of a program manager. Details of program plans are anticipated in the next few weeks and will include public education initiatives which support this amendment particularly in the area of public support for reducing access to tobacco by youth. This morning the Coalition members met to discuss some of the education initiatives, including the development of mandatory signage to be posted by vendors and information for youth which will explain the role tobacco advertising plays in their decision to smoke.

Our actions today are supportive of the provincial Strategic Social Plan and follow our direction of prevention and early intervention as we seek to educate our youth about the dangers of smoking and send a clear message to vendors who sell tobacco products. It is not illegal for youth to buy tobacco products but it is illegal for vendors to sell tobacco to youth under age nineteen.

Mr. Speaker, we are not making criminals of our children. Instead, we are demanding that vendors act responsibly when they sell a product which can have a devastating impact on the youth of our Province. It is the number one cause of preventable illness such as cancer and heart and lung diseases. Also, it robs society of productive members and families of their loved ones.

It was interesting yesterday to, in fact, hear a representative of the Canadian Manufacturers Retail Association talking about the link between health and smoking, and that smoking causes a list of diseases as long as your arm. I think that is a very important statement to be made by someone selling tobacco.

In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge all the members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tobacco Reduction Coalition for their efforts and support. I encourage all of our citizens to help in this effort. According to the recent drug youth survey, youth continue to smoke at an alarming rate. One in five are daily smokers.

We know that easy access to tobacco contributes to this problem. Youth tell us that it is easy to get cigarettes. Sometimes they buy them singly, or buy the package from a retailer. Sometimes they buy illegal cigarettes, and sometimes others buy cigarettes for them. If we are going to prevent children from taking up tobacco use, we must all work together: the community, the government, our parents and our families.

We are proud to take this step for the health and future of the children of our Province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I certainly, too, welcome members from the Tobacco Reduction Coalition here in this House today. It signifies the importance of prevention as opposed to cure, and trying to deal with the effects that tobacco has on the lives of people here in our Province in particular.

We fully well know, and it is very well documented, and there is medical evidence to show, the strong link not only with cancer, as the minister alluded to, but heart and circulatory diseases - very many lung diseases - associated with circulatory problems are very much the leading cause of the problems here in this country and here in our Province.

Any action to take an aggressive means to deal with it - I have long been an advocator of prevention as opposed to cure, and having aggressive advertising, aggressive education, right down in the earliest ages in our school system. I think we need to be very proactive. We need to spell out to these people, through our various health programs and through our basic science programs, the ill effects of cigarette smoking.

Many people realize when it is too late, people in their teens. It is good to see the Retail Manufacturers Association talk about and particularly acknowledge the concern. It is also important that those companies be held accountable and not go through the back door in selling their product by paying for movie companies, production crews, certain dollar values to have their cigarettes displayed in movies that are exposed to these children. It is cool to drive a car, a convertible, and have a cigarette in your hand.

Back door methods are not going to solve this problem. You have to use the total approach to it. An admission is one thing, doing it and being up front about it is another thing. Until we see those results right across it there, then I will say they have really done their job.

I am pleased to see that we are moving to address the cause of these problems in having to deal with health care professionals trying to combat the effects of tobacco on young people and old people and everybody. Every single person here in this House, I am sure, and in this Province has gone through the tribulations and the grief by having someone in their family afflicted with diseases resulting from this and resulting in death. When you see that it is usually too late to do something about it. So now we have to have an aggressive approach.

I encourage the minister, and the Minister of Education too, to get more aggressive within our school systems to combat this problem so we can all have a safer, happier and healthier life that is free from tobacco and other related products.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I too rise in support of the minister's efforts in this area. Because most young people, by the time they realize, understand and identify the dangers that are related to smoking, are probably hooked and addicted to the extent where they find it very difficult to throw down the use of tobacco. Any effort that is made to restrict the use of tobacco by young people is certainly one to be applauded.

There is also the problem of second-hand smoke which up until a few years ago did not get much attention, but as time went on and more studies were done, the breathing in of second-hand smoke and the dangers and health risks associated with that resulted in it certainly getting lots of attention these days.

I also appreciate the approach where it is illegal to sell rather than buy. I think that is an effort and a direction that is useful to young people.

Again, I would just like to thank the minister for her approach. I hope that this program is very successful.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS FOOTE: Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to release CareerSearch, the most current and comprehensive report of employment outcomes and experiences of post-secondary graduates ever produced in the Province. The report contains the results of a telephone survey of 1996 graduates conducted approximately one year following graduation. The purpose of the initiative is to provide educators, program planners, career counsellors, institution administrators and, most importantly, students and the public with current, relevant information on graduate outcomes.

This report provides information on the actual employment success, initial earnings and satisfaction levels of graduates at the program and institutional level. The information will enable the public to assess the extent to which individual programs at Memorial University - including the Marine Institute -, the College of the North Atlantic and the private colleges generate positive outcomes for graduates.

CareerSearch consists of two documents: one for Memorial University, which includes Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and the Marine Institute, and the other for the College of the North Atlantic and the private colleges in the Province. Each document contains individual program profiles using nine graduate outcome indicators.

This report gives students unparalleled access to current career information, enabling them to make informed decisions. Prospective students may weigh the relative costs and benefits of a program in relation to their own aspirations and expectations.

This compilation of evidence based research will be made available in all high schools and post-secondary institutions across the Province and will be available on government's Internet site. In addition, a series of in-service sessions will be offered to school district personnel and others involved in counselling youth on career decisions.

Mr. Speaker, I present the CareerSearch documents as evidence of this government's continued commitment to accountability for educational performance. It is the latest in a series of initiatives developed by the government to improve the quality and accountability of this Province's education system at both the post-secondary and K-XII levels.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister, of course in ten minutes I did not have an opportunity to really digest all that was there but I did scan through it quickly. I think it is important to note satisfaction levels and what people are finding out in the various programs offered through our private and through our public colleges here, and our university here, in particular.

It is important that we have accountability in education. Hopefully the research and the results here will be used to enhance and improve programming to direct people in the areas where employment prospects are much better and so on to channel our resources where they can be most efficiently used and get the best result.

I did have an opportunity to notice that the most educated people in our Province are the ones that are not staying. That is in the report here. In fact, it makes some reference here on page 7, on Memorial University. The people that have marine diplomas, marine advanced diplomas, bachelor degrees, honours degrees, master's and medical doctors -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Just about ten or fifteen seconds to finish up?

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SULLIVAN: These are the people that are in the 40 per cent range leaving our Province for work, and those that have diplomas and other certificates, a higher percentage are staying.

The point here, Mr. Speaker, is that we have to ensure that the best educated, the dollars we invest in the people for seven, eight and nine years of education, does not get lost as they seek job opportunities in other provinces. We have to be able to have the mechanism in our Province to imply our most skilled and best people that are leaving our Province at an alarming rate.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to welcome the publication of this report. Now I hope it will available to every student who wants to pursue a course. I only wish it was available a couple of years ago when wild promotion, lifestyle advertising of the private colleges was going on without any evidentiary basis for the student to compare. When we finally got the report of the previous minister, Post-Secondary Indicators '98, the wide divergence of incomes and outcomes from education for a private sector versus public college information was finally made available.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: If I may, by leave. Now individuals have access to the actual results from a particular course in a particular college. I hope the minister has enough copies so that any prospective student who wants one can get one.

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are to the Minister of Health and Community Services. In December 1996 the St. John's Nursing Home Board was established. It set a precedent as the only regional board set up to deal exclusively with long-term care. The creation of a single entity was designed to manage six long-term care facilities in the city which have evolved separately, and that integration was supposed to have occurred.

Minister, it is two-and-a-half years since this board was established in December 1996. The board itself has cost her $750,000 a year. Their mandate was two-fold: to maintain and enhance long-term care and to achieve efficiencies through integration. I ask the minister: Will she tell this House what has been achieved after two-and-a-half years? Has an organization analysis been completed and if so, will she release it?

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

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

Over the last number of years all of the various long-term care sectors have been working together under one board. Just recently, a number of those signed a Memorandum of Agreement. As the member opposite knows that whenever you merge organizations, particularly with different cultures and values, there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done.

Each of these organizations have come together under the board and they have been trying to work through the vision and the values and their ethos, as they would describe it, in terms of how they would like to see the new board operate. One of the main reasons why the boards came together was to look at a plan in terms of how you could deliver services across a city. Because, as you know, across the rest of the Province many of our long-term care boards are already in alignment with our community health boards, our institutional boards, and also through a single entry system, whereby people will be able to access nursing homes based on their need and when they appear on the list, and not based on other factors, such as having some sort of an inside source to a (inaudible) facility.

There were a number of various initiatives that were identified as goals for this particular group and they have been working together. It has been a very challenging experience because of the number of various, as I said, cultural and value differences within the organizations, but they continue to work to achieve those goals.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The minister did not indicate an organization analysis was complete. By the way, Minister, I have a copy of an organization analysis of the St. John's Nursing Home Board. It has not been released publicly. The report says that: The ownership and administrative structures of the homes remain unchanged after two-and-a-half years and the St. John's Nursing Home Board has budgetary responsibilities but minimal operational control. It goes on to say: Substantial losses occurred in the fiscal year ending 31 March, 1998 and the fiscal year ending March 31, 1999, and they are expecting a funding shortfall of $1.5 million to $2 million expected in the year 1999-2000.

I ask the minister: Why are those losses occurring when those privately operated nursing homes did not lose money before the government appointed boards took over?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: You know, Mr. Speaker, it is a really interesting question. Because on one hand every day you hear the member opposite standing up talking about the aging population and the demands on the system. We live that every day. We know what the demands are on the system and so do the people that are delivering the care. The actual control did remain with each of the organizations, and that is why we have been working through the board with each of the various organizations to try to reach a memorandum of agreement, many of which have been signed. Part of the process is looking at ways to achieve financial savings through various things, even things like snow clearing, and doing it for the whole group as opposed to each doing their own individual snow clearing arrangements.

There are a number of initiatives going on. Again, I have to say that we are seeing a strain on our system right across, in all sectors. Our institutional sector, if the member knows, is very much linked in a continuum to the long-term care sector as well as the community health sector. Each part has an integral part to play in how the other one functions.

We do have an aging population, but we also know that we have a population that in more and more instances chooses to stay at home. That is why we have one of the best home support programs in the country with respect to twenty-four hour care. We know that other people would choose to go to a personal care home as opposed to a nursing home, meaning Level I and Level II.

Mr. Speaker, the system is changing. There are challenges. We know that we do have an aging population, but we are working with all the factors and recognizing it is an integral part of the institutional as well as the community health sector.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, some of these sites, according to this report, do not meet provincial standards for accommodation and space, as the minister is well aware, outlined in the Agnew Peckham study in 1993.

This analysis here on page 13, prepared by the board, by the way, acknowledged that resident rooms, washrooms, bathing facilities, dining, lounge space, often limited choice, impinge on privacy, dignity and accessibility and do not foster independence and individuality. In addition, they inhibit imagination, creativity, and vision for improving the quality of health care in the future.

I just want to ask the minister: What does the minister propose to do to eliminate those impediments to a proper quality of care?

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

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

We are very aware of the need to maintain fire and life safety standards and also maintaining national standards. In fact, we know we have to put in place a number of initiatives to continue - and we do it on a continual basis - to do the types of changes we need to maintain fire and life safety and national standards. We also are working very closely with the boards to look at putting in place a process - over a period of time, in anticipation of the needs of our society with an aging population -, of putting in place a long-term strategy to look at doing a number of things. One is to upgrade our publicly funded long-term care sector, and we are also working with the private sector to look at achieving their role in terms of providing that kind of care.

There has been ongoing discussion about maintaining standards. We do have in place a committee and we are also looking with all of the boards to put in place a long-term strategy on how we can upgrade. Because the reality is many of our nursing homes were built in a time where we had a number of beds in a room. For example, more than three beds. We know that that is less desirable, and we are trying to function within our financial means as well as trying to meet the needs of the public. Together, Mr. Speaker, we are working with the publicly funded system to address those needs, but we are also working with the private sector so that they can help achieve some of our needs, particularly through the personal care home sector as it relates to Level I and Level II care.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister, you have known these things since the 1980s, since the 1990s, in the Agnew Peckham study, in study after study, and your own appointed board here responsible to the minister has acknowledged that it does not meet the standards today and it has not been addressed.

The Province has been trying to transfer governance from those private operators, private owners, to government controlled and operated boards. Has the minister looked at attaining efficiency by coordinating such services as financial services, the human resources, education and training, et cetera, and those services, by coordinating these and allowing various religious owners of those homes to continue providing service and resident care? Has that been an option that has been looked at?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows that. What do you think the boards are? Is this another attack on the boards? Are you gearing up to attack another board? Is this what this is all about?

Because, I just got through saying and explaining that we did not purchase, outright, the various facilities. We try on this side of the House to work with people to achieve some consensus around how we do things. When you bring together a group of individual organizations with different cultures, different values and different ethos, it takes time. The whole purpose, if the member listened to my previous answer, of doing this was to achieve financial savings, to bring together administrative savings in the best possible way.

I am not going to say we have been shoving it down their throats. We have been trying to work with them as best we can. I know they prefer to do things differently - get rid of the boards, get rid of the CEOs, get rid of everyone, as far as I know - but we try to work with the system.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS J.M. AYLWARD: That is how we have been working all along. I will say again, the board has been working. We have being working with a number of organizations from different cultural, religious and value sets, who have been delivering care, quality care, in our Province for a long time. We will continue to work with them to try to continue to deliver that care in the best way, but everyone who sits around that table is committed to achieving savings both financially and through the administrative structure. That is what they are doing there.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I hit a nerve with the minister. She knows that she is the impediment to this deal taking place. People will tell you that.

Every nursing home in this Province, I say to the minister, outside St. John's, is under the operation of the respective regional health boards -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I had a job to hear myself, with the Premier...

Every nursing home in this Province, outside the City of St. John's, is under the respective health boards, with one exception - the Pentecostal Home in Clarke's Beach. I want to ask the minister: Why is every other home outside the city, in this Province, put under the health boards and not this one?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, you can call it what you like but the board is together under one board to deliver health services.

The member opposite says: I have hit a nerve with the minister. You know something? There are all kinds of phobias out there. There is fear of open spaces, agoraphobia, but I do not know what the fear of the Minister of Health is called - something phobia - because, when you answer a questions and give the information, he has no other response but to come back and say: I have hit a nerve.

The facts are the facts. We are working with this board to achieve the care in the city; and, because we have chosen to do it somewhat differently in St. John's, does that mean that it isn't right, it isn't appropriate? Does that mean we should have shoved another approach at this board?

Mr. Speaker, each board and each community has a way of working. In some situations the boards have worked together under one collaborative group, like here in the city. In other ways they have aligned themselves with other boards. But the bottom line is the delivery of care, and that is what is happening at that board as well.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister, you cannot have it on one hand in the City of St. John's and apply another standard outside to a certain area.

Nursing homes are not funded in this city by government on the level of care, but they are funded on historical reasons. Why, Minister, are you allowing the government owned Hoyles-Escasoni to receive 46 per cent of the funding when it contains less than 38 per cent of the beds - and many unoccupied, I might add. Are you deliberately forcing those privately run nursing homes now, since the boards started, to show a loss for the first time to justify taking control of them?

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

MS J.M. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. On one hand he is standing up asking me one day to put a dialysis unit somewhere where there are probably three patients because of the specific needs of that particular area, and then he tells me on the other hand that you have to treat everyone the same. One size does not fit all, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) maiden question (inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Well, it just got a maiden minister, I say to the Minister of Fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal. The minister knows that rural Newfoundland is hurting today, like never before. The minister knows, I venture to say, that there are more boarded-up houses in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today than at any time since Confederation.

Those who can afford to move out of the rural parts of this Province have gone. Those who cannot afford to move are looking at their next move. Now the Premier can toot away; that is the fact and that is the reality out there. Those who cannot afford to move are looking at their next move, whether or not that is a move to the welfare lines.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal is this: For some time, the people out in rural Newfoundland and Labrador have been told that there is post-TAGS funding coming from both levels of government. I want to ask the minister today whether or not he can tell the House if that funding is in place - the second phase. Is it in place? How much is it going to be, and who is going to control it?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me thank the hon. gentlemen for his question. Yes, we are aware of most of the facts that the hon. gentlemen laid out, that there have been some difficulties in rural Newfoundland. There have been some difficulties caused by a groundfish moratorium which saw some 40,000 people get out of work in this Province, but that happened in 1992.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who was in office?

MR. TULK: I think it was a federal government that was in office. I could say, I suppose, if I wanted to stand up - I am tempted to say what caused that problem.

Mr. Speaker, rural Newfoundland has had two real problems. It has had a groundfish moratorium, but let me say to the hon. gentlemen that there is a bigger problem throughout this Province entirely, and that was the inefficient and the wasteful spending of past governments, including the one that he was in.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the next lot of people in rural Newfoundland that join the U-Haul brigade out of Port aux Basques will be delighted with the minister's answer.

I want to ask the minister this: With this new lot of post-TAGS funding - the minister did not answer the question: Is it in place, and when is it coming? But let us assume it is coming; everybody says there is a certain pot of money out there in post- TAGS - can the minister tell this House what economic strategy is going to be deployed to utilize that funding, and to what areas of the economy is the funding going to be directed?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me say to the hon. gentlemen, let me be completely realistic with him. This side of the House does not portray the negative side of what is happening in this Province, that the hon. gentlemen does. We are not down in the mouth. There are some good things happening in Newfoundland.

Let me say to the hon. gentlemen, let me answer his question about TAGS. The people we will consult with, whom we have been consulting with on TAGS, that the federal government has been consulting with - both the provincial Liberal government and the federal Liberal government - are the people who we have said: Alright, we want you to be partners with us in developing rural Newfoundland, namely the Regional Economic Development Boards and the municipalities in this Province.

Who is going to control it? Let me say to him, there are four levels. There is a federal level, a provincial level, a municipal level and a developmental level. All four are involved as partners in the use of this $81 million, which we are proud to have put in place in rural Newfoundland to help develop rural Newfoundland. We are targeting those funds at rural Newfoundland.

I want to say to the hon. gentlemen that I hope we do not waste it like some of the past governments in this Province have done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, to the people out there in rural Newfoundland today who are waiting to hear announcements on this funding, will the minister tell the House what time frame is anticipated for the release of this funding, for the approval of projects, and for work to get under way in rural Newfoundland today for people who are facing welfare lines? They are phoning every day. What is the minister and the government going to tell them?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I find this line of questioning from the hon. gentlemen incredible in that he stands up and asks what we are doing, when I have just laid out to him what we are doing.

Let me say to him that the post-TAGS job creation program - what have we done? We have been advised, for example, by HRDC that they allocated some $40 million in 1998-1999 and that there is already some $6 million in the current fiscal year allocated under the post-TAGS program; that there are some 673 projects which were approved in 1998-1999 employing some 7,421 people.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many people are working now? (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: The hon. gentleman, if he would sit back and listen I will tell him.

Mr. Speaker, the division between the $6 million budget for the job creation program and the $13 million set aside for labour adjustment markets have been - let me say to the hon. gentleman, that kind of practice and the kind of work carried on by this government has led to the highest GDP growth in this country. It has led to the drop in unemployment, seasonally adjusted like we have not seen in a number of years. We are projected to lead -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER TOBIN: Total jobs went up. Labour participation also went up.

MR. TULK: The total jobs went up. The total labour participation, which is a sign - I say to the hon. gentleman, labour participation is a sign of a recovering economy, of a growing economy, and that is what is happening in this Province.

Mr. Speaker, yes, we are working with the federal government to get those projects in place and, let me say to the hon. gentleman, that soon will be better than it is today.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, I just want to ask the minister this, on behalf of the people out there in rural Newfoundland who are waiting to hear: How many jobs will be created this spring as a result of this latest funding? Will those jobs be EI insurable?

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, let me just say to the hon. gentleman that how many jobs will be created this spring is a matter of what we can get in place as fast as we can, and it is a matter of work that has to be carried on between the federal and provincial governments. Let me assure the hon. gentleman that we will spend the money wisely. There will be no middle-distance fleets built out of it. There will be no middle-distance fleets that will cost this Province $24 million built out of it - on which we are still paying $4.5 million a year in interest. There will be none of that, let me tell the hon. gentleman. There will be none of that from this side of the House. There will be none of that waste of money which has led to the kind of situation that we find ourselves in today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs. In April, 1997, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation entered into an agreement to consolidate the management and administration of social housing programs previously administered by both corporations. We now see less money in provincial grants to the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and properties are being sold off by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. Therefore, there are less revenues for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing to spend on the social housing program.

What impact, I ask the minister, will these actions have on the rental rates in the short term and in particular the long term for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing clients? In fact, won't the minister admit that increases are in the not-too-distant future?

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

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

Yes, it is true that we did take over about 4,000 units from the federal agency, Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. We have integrated them into our NLHC management system. We have responsibility for them, but along with that came a substantial stream of federal money commencing with the devolution and going forward, I think, into the year 2038.

So we are in no circumstance or in no way in a cash crunch as a result of taking over the housing stock. As a matter of fact, what it has done for us, it has given us greater flexibility to do things in a more cost-efficient way and deliver more programs and services to people out there. As an example, in the provincial home repair program, whereas once we were constrained by some federal regulations as to how we could deliver that program, today it is solely ours to deliver and we do it in a more efficient, a more cost-effective manner, and we deliver actually more services for less money to more people as a result of the devolution that we have gotten involved in.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I say to the minister, that is not the answer I got yesterday when you admitted to increases in the not-too-distant future in the Estimate Committee meetings.

With respect to agreement signed in April of 1997, with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, there were two options: to maintain the status quo or accept the new agreement. I ask the same question as the Auditor General was asking in her report this past winter. Why did government and Newfoundland and Labrador Housing accept this new agreement with a projected deficiency of $6.9 million to $26.9 million, and why was a proper and adequate analysis not done of the two options before they signed the agreement?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The hon. member either has a serious lapse of memory or he does not know the questions he asked in Committee yesterday morning. He did not ask me any questions with respect to rental increases, and I did not indicate that there were any rental increases in the offing. The rental increases that were put in place a year or more ago are there, they have been announced, they are in place and everybody is aware of them. I frankly have no recollection of a question yesterday morning in Committee with respect to rate increases. You did say that you had some questions that you were going to ask in the House for greater clarity, and I suppose for greater exposure in terms of your -


MR. MATTHEWS: Well, I would be happy, I say, to do so.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the more substantive part of his question, as to why we got involved in the devolution of social housing from Central Mortgage and Housing to the Province to manage, simply put, with great respect for the questions being raised by the Auditor General, we did it because we believed it was the right thing to do in the interest of the clients that we serve and in the interest of the stock that we manage. We believe that management can be executed better by one agency as opposed to two.

While the federal government had 4,000 units and we had about 8,000 units, now we have the works. We do a better job in administering it, I say quite modestly, than was being done heretofore, we are getting greater value for our dollar, and we think it is a good experience. We think we have done the right thing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I ask the minister: Why was the final agreement signed with no provision for the $6.6 million required for modernization and improvements identified by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation staff prior to the official signing? Why were the over 4,000 houses not inspected prior to the signing? Won't this affect the rate for the clients for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing in the future? That was pointed out by the Auditor General, by the way.

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I think the best way I can answer that question is to offer the hon. member an opportunity to come over and talk to the people at the Housing Corporation and in my department and have a fuller explanation as to the nuances of the devolution process.

The devolution process took place after a lot of discussion. There are a lot of issues involved in it. At the end of the day, let me say that, with great respect to the Auditor General who raised those questions, I would assume quite appropriately in her judgement, at the end of the day the devolution of the CMHC federal housing stock to the Province, laid against the revenue stream that we have achieved as a result of taking over that responsibility, was an appropriate thing to do. It was a good move on behalf of the social service and other clients that we manage and provide good shelter for in the Province.

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

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are also for the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation regarding the Gulf ferry service in this Province. There has been an ongoing debate in recent years, but the truth is that it goes back since Confederation. Here we are in the fiftieth year of this Province talking about our link to our country. Some people refer to it as our Trans-Canada.

I would like to ask the minister: What representations have you made with your department to your federal counterparts on the upgrading of this service in recent times?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, we have made a lot of representation to the federal government with respect to issues surrounding the gulf ferry service. The Gulf ferry service, as you know, is managed by Marine Atlantic, the federal agency which today have responsibility for that. We have continuous dialogue with them, and on occasion directly with the minister. As a matter of fact, I can share with the hon. member that I met with the chairperson of Marine Atlantic just two weeks ago to discuss some issues. I have a meeting in Ottawa on Friday morning with the federal minister to address some issues that we are discussing as between Marine Atlantic and ourselves with respect to that service.

So our representation is ongoing. We are making best efforts to ensure a couple of things. Number one, that that service is continuously upgraded to a level that will be acceptable generally to the travelling public, and that it would be provided at a cost that is not prohibitive in the bigger picture to both commercial traffic and individuals who want to travel; and, number two, that the service will be provided with the best possible and highest quality level of boats and crews.

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

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

I am glad to hear the minister is off to Ottawa again to keep in touch with his federal counterparts on this. I will be specific in the next one.

The Atlantic Freighter, which is some twenty or twenty-one years old - the minister can confirm what age it is exactly - but I was told even if it was new it would not be adequate. We have had concerns raised by truckers, tourist groups and people in general in this Province. I would like to ask the minister: Has that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, it has. As a matter of fact, the Premier is exactly right. Tourism is up. Therefore if the ferry service was inadequate before it is certainly going to be inadequate now if we have the increased numbers.

My question to the minister, specifically on the Atlantic Freighter, is: What representation has been made on the Atlantic Freighter and a replacement for that inadequate vessel?

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you for the question, because it gives us an opportunity to say what has been said by many of us on this side of the House at every opportunity we get. That is, contrary to what the hon. member would like to pontificate with respect to the economy of the Province, there is an increased demand for service on the Gulf.

We are maxed out in terms of particularly commercial traffic, the road traffic. The trucking traffic that comes into the Province, as a result of economic activity in the Province, has increased substantially. As a result of that, you are right, the Atlantic Freighter is outdated, substantially. It has a short shelf life left, or ocean life left, whatever they call it in the business, water life left, and sails life left. We have been in discussion, as has the board of directors of Marine Atlantic, with the federal minister with respect to a replacement for that boat.

I mentioned that I met with the Chair of Marine Atlantic a couple of weeks ago. We very specifically talked about a replacement for the Atlantic Freighter. They have some ideas at Marine Atlantic as to what they would like to see done. I do not want to get into their business plans at this point, but they have some very good ideas as to what they think should be done to replace that vessel, and in the process increase the capacity of the service to address the traffic needs currently, and we anticipate will continue to increase.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has ended.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

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

MR. McLEAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As directed by Section 56(1) of the Automobile Insurance Act, I table in the House today the annual report of the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities for the period April 1, 1998 to March 31, 1999.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill, entitled "An Act Respecting Municipalities," Bill 14.

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to Questions for which Notice has been Given.

The hon. the Minister of Finance and Justice.

MR. DICKS: Mr. Speaker, with leave of the House, I wonder if we might to revert to Notices of Motion?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is asking for leave to revert to Notices of Motion.


MR. SPEAKER: Notices of Motion.

MR. DICKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I give notice that I will on tomorrow move that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider certain resolutions for the granting of Interim Supply to Her Majesty for the fiscal year 1998-1999.

Thank you.


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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to present a petition. The petition reads:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland:

WHEREAS Route 235 from Birchy Cove to Bonavista has not been upgraded since it was paved approximately twenty-five years ago, and;

WHEREAS this section of Route 235 is in such a terrible condition that vehicles are being damaged, including the school buses serving schools in the area, and schoolchildren are finding their daily trips over the road very difficult;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to upgrade and pave the 5 kilometres of Route 235 from Birchy Cove to Bonavista.

Mr. Speaker, this is a different petition. It is brought forward here every day. Petitions are arriving in my office every day, I say to the Speaker, as well as letters. I think the acting Minister of Works, Services and Transportation will confirm that his office is receiving letters on a daily basis, receiving faxes on a daily basis, from people who live in the area of Birchy Cove, Newmans Cove, Upper, Middle and Lower Amherst Cove.

Many of those letters are coming from students. Many of those letters are being sent by students who have to travel over this five kilometres of road every day to go to school in Bonavista, to attend Discovery Collegiate and Matthew Elementary. The schoolchildren themselves have taken the lead on those petitions. They have taken the lead on trying to get their road upgraded and recapped to a degree of satisfaction where their parents can travel over the road to do their business in Bonavista, to visit the health centres in Bonavista, and so they themselves can get aboard the school bus and travel the five kilometres from Birchy Cove to Bonavista with some degree of comfort.

Mr. Speaker, there have been several meetings held in this particular area talking about the need and addressing the need to get this section of roadway upgraded and recapped. They have looked at all kinds of different things that they could do in order to bring government's attention to the need to have this five kilometres of roadway upgraded and paved. They talked about blocking the road. They talked about a letter-writing campaign, and they talked about petitions. They all agreed - each and every one of them, unanimously - at the three meetings that I attended, that they would not do anything to obstruct traffic travelling over the roadway. They thought it was irresponsible.

They agreed that they would not deprive schoolchildren the right to go to school. They said, we have to be responsible about this. As bad as we need the road upgraded, we have to be responsible. What we will do, Mr. Member, is send you petitions. We will write the minister. We will stand on the highway in its worst place and hand out letters and ask if people travelling the roadway would be kind enough to put them in the mail and send them to the minister's attention. This is the kind of protest that they have decided to carry out.

They are not asking for a two-lane highway, a double-lane highway. They are not asking that they put a concrete medium through their town, as they have done in other places. All they are asking is that the present existing roadway be upgraded enough to accommodate the traffic that is travelling on this road on a daily basis, to be able to travel with some degree of comfort and safety. Not too much to expect, I say to members opposite, not too much to expect in the year 1999, for one of the main roadways leading into the Town of Bonavista.

Mr. Speaker, there are many roads in the same area that I am talking about, that are probably even in worse condition than the road that I am referring to here, but they are not as busy. The people living in those communities going out to Upper Amherst Cove, Lower Amherst Cove, Birchy Cove, have said: We realize there is not a lot of money; we realize the government has only brought forward $16 million for capital works this year.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: What we will do is, we will put our own roads to one side and concentrate our efforts into trying to get this section of roadway upgraded and paved.

In fact, Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: By leave, Mr. Speaker?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave to present a petition.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have it noted that the Member for Bellevue withdrew leave from the students in Matthew Elementary and Discovery Collegiate -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to take his seat.

MR. FITZGERALD: - for presenting their petition in the House of Assembly.

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

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

I say to the Member for Bellevue, if you have something to say, stand on your feet and say it.

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to stand in my place and present a petition on behalf of a number of individuals from the Town of Pouch Cove - seniors, I would think, most of them. I have run this petition by the Clerk and the Government House Leader. It is certainly in acceptable language and acceptable format.

Just to read the petition:

WHEREAS the average wage of pensioners in Newfoundland and Labrador is barely $11,400, considerably below the poverty line; and

WHEREAS pensioners have not had an increase to their pensions since 1989; and

WHEREAS the cost of living continues to increase, further eroding the purchasing power of the pensioners' pension in excess of 20 per cent; and

WHEREAS the pensioners have done their share in helping to reduce the provincial and federal deficits; and

WHEREAS previous governments have traditionally granted pensioners increases to their pensions consistent with increases to wages of other government employees, both direct and indirect;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, do implore government to carry out the fair, just and compensate act of implementing the following immediately: That pensioners' pensions be indexed annually according to the cost of living and/or that pensioners receive the same increase to their pensions as that provided in the collective agreement of public service workers.

I certainly support this petition. I have signed the petition, of course, as we are supposed to do when you present a petition in the House of Assembly. I support the petition.

The pensioners who have signed this petition make a very good case. Prior to 1989, as far as I understand, when the civil servants within the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador received an increase it was traditionally given to the pensioners. Rightly so. Since 1989, they have not had an increase.

Last fall we saw demonstrations here at Confederation Building with many, many pensioners coming forward and trying to, I suppose, convince the government to give them an increase because since ten years they have not had an increase.

We have seen the cost of living go up quite an amount over the past ten years. We have seen the electricity rates increasing over the past ten years, of course. We have not seen that go down. We have seen food costs increase, fuel increase, and what have you.

The spending power of the pensioners over the past ten years has decreased by a large amount. I believe, and I think members on this side of the House believe, that the pensioners deserve an increase in their pensions. They have paid their dues. Of anybody in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the pensioners have paid their dues.

From what I understand when the information was floating around, many, many pensioners are at the borderline, I suppose, poverty level and below. Some pensioners are getting -


MR. J. BYRNE: Below, well below the poverty line. Of anyone in the Province, I suppose, it is a disgrace to see our seniors having to live below the poverty line and scrape for every cent they can get to put bread and butter on the table. I brought this up many times in the House of Assembly, the situation in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador where there are people out there who do not know where their next loaf of bread or pound of butter is coming from, and they are pretty basic necessities. We see seniors who have lived their lives, who have supported the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, who have supported the people, who reared their children here, and it is too bad that many of their children have to leave now, today, since 1989.

Again, I think the pensioners in this Province deserve an increase. I think that we have spoken many times in this House of Assembly, as I said, last fall, trying to support the pensioners. Not only that; members on this side of the House have been on this issue for a number of years now but they do not seem to be getting too much sympathy from the government side of the House.

I just want to be on record and say again that I support the petition, have supported them in the past, will continue to support them, as I am sure members on this side of the House will continue to do.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I stand to support this petition. I have supported similar petitions in this House on a number of occasions. This situation is not isolated to the area from which the petitioners have signed. This situation is throughout the entire Province. We have seen pensioners on the West Coast rally to try to gain support from government. We have seen petitioners come to our own Confederation Building and rally to try to get a sympathetic ear from government.

This is perhaps the first time, at least in recent history for certain, that the public service pensioners have not received the same increase that the public service have.

The public service pensioners - many of them living below the poverty line, many of them barely surviving, some of them looking for alternative sources of income to supplement their public service pension, in order to survive - many of the public service pensioners are living in conditions that neither you nor I would want to live in because of the very, very inadequate amount that they are forced to survive on and live on.

While the cost of living has increased substantially in this Province, taxes have increased. The HST is now put on light and heating fuels and so on, so the public service pensioners are forced to pay an ever increasing amount out of their income in order to supply the daily needs, the staples of life, and yet they are not receiving the same increase that the public service are.

We, in this House, have increased our own incomes when the public service have received their increase in pay. On this side of the House both the Official Opposition and the NDP have supported an increase for public service pensioners, but the government side of the House in this Legislature have refused to give the increase to public service pensioners. Unfortunately, I find that appalling. The Members of the House of Assembly on this side of the House find it appalling and, unfortunately for government, many of the people in the Province find it appalling.

I am proud to stand in my place today and support the petition that was put forward by my colleague from Cape St. Francis, and the words of the petitioners.

Thank you.

Orders of the Day

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I would like to call, if I could, Motions 6, 7, and 10.

Motion 6 is Bill 4, "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act". Motion 7 is Bill 10, "An Act To Amend the Denturists Act". Motion 10 is Bill 11, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act".

I would like to call first reading.

MR. SPEAKER: Bills 4, 10 and 11.

Motion, the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Financial Administration Act", carried. (Bill 4)

Motion, the Minister of Health and Community Services to introduce the following bills, carried:

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Tobacco Control Act". (Bill 11)

A bill, "An Act To Amend The Denturists Act". (Bill 10)

On motion, Bills 4, 10 and 11 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, Motion 1, the Budget Speech. Who was up on that yesterday?

AN HON. MEMBER: Sheila (inaudible).

MR. TULK: Sheila adjourned, but she is out.

MR. FITZGERALD: Can I use her ten minutes?

MR. TULK: Can you what?

MR. FITZGERALD: She had ten minutes left.

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

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My colleague wants to know if he can borrow the ten minutes.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: Mr. Speaker, the Member for Bellevue keeps telling me I am rusty. At least I will heave it out; I won't have to read it out, I say to the hon. member. I will heave it out; I won't have to read it out.

Anyway, I want to take a few minutes this afternoon to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: If the member is going to interrupt me, perhaps he should go back to his own seat. That would be out of order, but at least he would be using a little bit of protocol.

I want to take an opportunity this afternoon -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: I have to try to get some cotton wool and put in my ears. They are coming at me from all sides here, Mr. Speaker, front and behind, on both ends, and it is going everywhere.

Anyway, I wanted to take the opportunity today to have a few remarks on the Budget debate. In particular, I want to talk about conditions in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

It is a serious matter that is facing the people of the rural parts of this Province today, a very serious matter. It is a matter that goes beyond partisan politics, I say to the House. It is a matter that somehow or another we all have to try to wrap our minds around and propose solutions. There is something happening fundamental in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today. I cannot speak, obviously, before Confederation, but I have not seen the likes of it since Confederation.

I lived, grew up, and have been active in rural Newfoundland and Labrador for the better part of my life, and there is something happening in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today that I have never seen before. There is an attitude, there is a feeling in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today, that we are seeing the end of an age, that we are seeing the end for dozens and hundreds of communities. It has not being forced by resettlement, it is not being forced by government programs, it is being forced by economic reality. That is the kind of talk that you hear in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today: What am I going to do tomorrow? What is it that I face tomorrow? How am I going to hang on? How am I going to survive? These are the questions that people are asking.

I am more familiar, I suppose, with the Northeast Coast than I am with other rural parts of the Province, but what I see out there today, particularly along the Northeast Coast, is very few regions of the Province that are fortunate enough to have a fish plant that produces something other than groundfish - shellfish, basically, of some sort, crab or shrimp principally. I suppose they might even be some producing some pelagics a little later down the road, but generally speaking there are a number of areas along the Northeast Coast where you have fish plants that have remained viable because they have had the wherewithal and the licensing to be able to take advantage of new markets for new species - not always new species, but some like shrimp is new to a lot of those plants. Crab has been there for some time.

I think about Comfort Cove, Newstead, for example, in my constituency. Those communities are remaining relatively stable. Valleyfield, in Bonavista North, is another example, I guess. Those communities have remained relatively stable. But, you take all along the Northeast Coast, in between those areas -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: I accept that. The point I am trying to make is that there are some bright spots along the Northeast Coast of this Province, based on fish plants that are still operating, or based on an economy related to fish plants that are still operating, that are operating on species other than the traditional species.

In between that we have a wasteland. We have one community after another that has no hope. In between those areas of prosperity, the odd Comfort Cove and the odd Wesleyville and the odd few other places along the Northeast Coast, there is economic devastation. There is an economic wasteland out there.

The people are looking to government politicians, they are looking to their leaders, for some direction. Many of them, in numbers that we have not seen in recent memory, have left. As I said today, I suspect those who could afford to leave have gone. Those who got a lump sum settlement out of the package, many of them are gone.

I understand there are still some of them who have children in school, waiting for school to close. The numbers had declined in this quarter, by the way - the numbers of out-migration had declined in this quarter - but the numbers, I suspect, are going to pick up again after school closes.

I have been told, for example, that there are thirty families in Burgeo that are waiting to leave Burgeo when school closes. Now, thirty on top of what has gone. I am sure the member knows and he can tell us what kind of effect that is going to have on that rural part of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In other communities, not on the South Coast but on the Northeast Coast, it is just about devastated now. The Baie Verte Peninsula, represented by my friend, the Member for Baie Verte, community after community is virtually depopulated. They have gone. I saw an article on CBC the other day; Ming's Bight has had a tremendous devastation. It used to be a vibrant, prosperous community.

The only community left on the Baie Verte Peninsula now that has some kind of growth or is maintaining its own, is a little community of Wild Cove. Everything else on the Baie Verte Peninsula is economic devastation. The same it goes along the Northeast Coast, except for those few areas where there is a fish plant operating, and that is not enough to cut it any more in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

People are grasping with this fundamental question: What am I going to do? Where do I turn next? What are the answers? Should I stay or should I try to leave now while there is an opportunity and perhaps a few dollars coming?

You know, all of those people out there who worked on projects in January, February and March, the projects are now over. The economic statistics that the Minister of Human Resources quotes to show an improvement in employment numbers, those projects are now done. They are behind us. A lot of those projects, I understand, were not EI insurable, for example. Most of those projects were not EI insurable, so it did not give the people who worked on them for eight, ten, fifteen or twenty weeks, whatever it was, another cushion. It did not increase or enhance their ability to survive and stay alive in their own communities, so those people are now at crunch time. They are calling every day, wanting to know when the next lot of post-TAGS money is coming through, because they have nothing else to look forward to. There is no other way. They have nowhere else to turn. Unfortunately, this mentality - to them, now, a job creation project is reality. It is a part of their life and they are willing - unfortunately or fortunately - to accept it and try to make the best they can out of it.

I suspect what you are going to see when school closes is an increase in people moving with their feet from rural Newfoundland and Labrador. The U-Haul brigade will continue once again. It will be increased over what it was before, and that is devastation to our Province.

You know, there comes a point in time when the piper who is paying the bills - and in this case it is the government. It costs just as much to keep a kilometre of road open to Port Albert for one family as it does for 100 families. There is no difference in the cost to government. There are certain basic services that, if there is one family or 100 left in the community, it costs the government a certain amount to provide that service. It costs a certain amount to provide a basic core education service. It costs a certain amount to provide basic health services.

What is happening in the rural parts of the Province is that there are fewer people to pay the bills. All of this is rolled into one fundamental concept. That is why you are seeing more and more municipalities in rural Newfoundland in trouble. The only bit of a tax base that they have had has disappeared. If it was related to a fish plant or a woods operation or something of that nature, it has disappeared. It is gone. Then they have this debilitating affect of those horrendous out-migration numbers.

So the people left to keep the power on to the water and sewer plant, to keep the waterlines running, the people left to do that are faced with an ever increasing tax burden because there are fewer of them to pay the costs. There are fewer of them to pay the dollars that are required to keep the basic service going. There are fewer of them to contribute to an emergency repair to the water pump when that gives out. There are fewer people to spread over and keep the community alive. Those municipalities have increased their tax burden to the point where they are now facing diminishing returns. They cannot collect the money because it is not there to collect. You can't get blood out of a turnip, as the old saying goes.

When a person is only earning enough to keep body and soul together, barely, then something has to go by the wayside. One of the first things to go by the wayside is the municipal tax bill, because that can be put off. That is not going to starve the family to death. That is not going to keep a lunch out of the lunch box of the student that is going to school. So that will be the first thing to be put off. The devastating results for the community, for the municipality that is there choking to death, economically, is just as important as any other aspect of our life.

All of this comes back to the fundamental problem of the depopulation of rural Newfoundland and Labrador. It has been happening at a rate, over the last three or four years, that we have never seen before in our history. Thirty-five thousand people have gone out of the rural parts of this Province in three years. These are not the Opposition's figures, these are not political `conjurations' that we have dreamed up. These are figures that have been supplied by Statistics Canada and other reputable agencies at both levels of government. Thirty-five thousand people have moved out of rural Newfoundland and Labrador over the last three years.

Can you imagine in your mind's eye what would happen if the whole population of Mount Pearl took off over night? What would happen to the Avalon region if the whole population of Mount Pearl were to disappear over a summer? What would happen to the West Coast region if the whole population of Corner Brook was to be uprooted and spread itself out across Canada over the course of two or three months, over the course of three years, as has happened to these 35,000 people? Do you know what would happen? There would be cries from one end of this Province to the other, there would be howls that would be heard from one end of this country to the other.

Let me go a little further. What would happen if 35,000 people were to be uprooted and moved out of Sarnia, for example, one of the great industrial parts of Ontario. If 35,000 people were to lose their jobs and be forced to migrate out of industrial Ontario in a three-year span, what would happen do you think, Mr. Speaker? There would be howls from one end of this country to the other. CBC Newsworld would be in there like you wouldn't believe. There would be a special parliamentary committee wondering what is happening to the industrial heart of Canada. Yet if you take ten people out of Port Albert, fifty people of out Ming's Bight, one hundred people out of Pacquet, seventy-five people out of Brown's Arm, one hundred people out of Twillingate, seventy-five people out of Little Harbour Deep, and 200 out of St. Anthony, when you do that nobody gives a damn.

Because it is not big enough. It is devastating for those communities affected, but it is not big enough to catch the big picture, to catch the focus of Canada, to catch the attention of those power brokers, whether they be in the Government of Canada or in the national media. It is not big enough. You will get the odd roving reporter who will come along and do a story on fifteen or twenty people moving out of Ming's Bight. You will get the odd local reporter out of Corner Brook who will come along and do a story on the U-Haul brigade out of Pacquet, but you are not getting the real picture. You are not getting the picture of 35,000 people uprooted, moving and leaving over a three-year period. You are not getting the tragedy of the picture, you are not getting the scope of the picture.

If those 35,000 people were to be taken out of one community, one town, whether it be in this Province or some other part of Canada, then the affect of it, the sheer tragedy of it, would have an impact, and it would be an impact that would be focused on by the media and the power brokers of this country. Because it is happening in dribs and drabs, one little drop of blood at a time, another little bit of the lifeline that kept rural Newfoundland and Labrador alive, it means nothing.

Eighty-one million dollars is going to be spent, I understand, over the next three or four years in another program. Eighty-one million dollars is important. People out there who do not have a job today are calling us every day wondering when funding is going to start to flow through that particular program. They are desperate, their EI has run out, they are staring welfare in the face, and all we can do is be coy about it and try to make political hay about it.

There is a tragedy unfolding out in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I believe that every member of this House is aware of it, no matter what side they sit on. It doesn't matter what side of the House they sit on, I believe that every member is aware of what is happening out there. What I find most tragic about it is that if this was happening in some other part of the country to the extent that it is happening here, it would be a national emergency. It would have a national focus, a national spin on it. Losing ten or a dozen today, or fifteen or twenty next month, and another one hundred next month, in hundreds of little communities, those hundreds add up to the thousands. Losing those every few days, every few weeks, every few months, is just not catching the imagination of the country. It is not catching the imagination of the national government. I do not know if this government is really making it a priority in dealing with the national government or not, but this would be a tragedy that would be dealt with in short order, I say to the members of this House, if it were happening in Central Canada. Perhaps that is the way the powers that be want it to unfold.

I have detected for some time that the tolerance and the, I suppose for want of a better word, admiration and respect that was in Central Canada for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians over the first thirty-five or forty years of Confederation have quickly dissipated. They are not there anymore. The respect and admiration for what was the heart and soul of rural Newfoundland and Labrador is not in the corridors of power in this country anymore.

I spent three years recently outside this Province going to university, as everybody knows. The attitude among Central Canadians toward Newfoundlanders I found frightening. They do not want to hear tell of a crisis in the fishery any more. Every time you bring up Newfoundland they talk about the basket case again. The Minster of Intergovernmental Affairs has probably run into it. They say: Here is Newfoundland coming with another billion dollar problem, we cannot ship the money down there fast enough to keep them going. They are not the crowd to get up at 4:00 or 4:30 in the morning and drive two or three hours to go to work, and then drive a couple of hours back in the evening like we have to do up here. We do not want to hear of it any more. We do not want to hear tell of this welfare mentality up here any more. Make it on your own. If you cannot make it on your own, close down rural Newfoundland, forget about reviving the fishery, forget about trying to rebuild any semblance of lifestyle in rural Newfoundland, if it is going to cost us money. We do not want to hear tell of it anymore. We have been fifty years shipping money by the barge load, train load, plane load, and boat load down to Newfoundland and Labrador and we are sick of it.

That is the attitude I have run into in Central Canada. That is the attitude that I have noticed that has changed in this country over my time.

There was a time when that was not the case. There was a time when there was this sharing, when there was this admiration for the work ethic in this Province that other parts of Canada wanted to be part of and wanted a share of. I find that has changed. That attitude permeates the power sources of this country. When an all party committee of this Legislature goes to Ottawa on an issue as important to rural Newfoundland and Labrador as the seal population and six members, I believe, of the government party choose to show up, I think that speaks of the attitude I am talking about. I think they have tuned us out. They have had enough of the moaning, as they call it. They do not want to hear tell of us any more, and consequently they are going to do precious little, in my view, to lead to the revitalization of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

We have in this Province the Department of Development and Rural Renewal whose only reason for existence, in my view, is rural Newfoundland and Labrador. I cannot see any other reason for that department to exist. Hopefully there is some hope. Hopefully the minister and the government will be able to stem and turn around and challenge this attitude towards rural Newfoundland and Labrador that is out there.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: We can. What is going to happen, Mr. Speaker? Did anybody ever stop to consider what is going to happen if we have a revitalization of the groundfish fishery in this Province? What kind of fishery is it going to be? Is it going to be dedicated to a few hundred individuals or even a few thousand, 1,000 or 2,000 individuals, or is it going to be utilized to rebuild and revitalize rural Newfoundland and Labrador? Because the only reason there was in existence hundreds of small rural communities had to do with the groundfish fishery. There was no other reason.

For what other reason would you live in La Scie? For what other reason would you live in Harbour Deep or Twillingate or Port Albert or some of those places along the northeast coast? There are a couple of reasons, and the main one was the fishery. If that is revitalized and built back, but yet all of this out-migration has taken place, all of those licences have been bought back and retired, you have effectively made sure there will never be a rural Newfoundland revived.

That is what you have done. You have cut off the rebuilding and the revitalizing of rural Newfoundland and Labrador by allowing the out-migration to take place, by buying back the licences from the older people as a means of getting them out of it, putting them on an early pension. They can stay home now, they will be there till they die. The young people, the young blood that would have been there to move into that fishery after revitalization, is now gone. They are in British Columbia, they are in Alberta. They are doing other things. They have made commitments, they have invested in homes, they have settled down. They are not coming back. Some of them, the odd one, maybe.

What are they coming back to? They cannot get a fishing licence. That has been cut off. You will never get another, unless you get into this professionalization and move up through the ranks. You have been effectively shut out of the means of making a living in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, even if the scientific advice were tomorrow that we had better be careful of the funks because there are enough fish around to devour the rocks.

If that were the case tomorrow we still would not be able to revitalize the economy of rural Newfoundland and Labrador based on the fishery because it has been cut off. That was the master plan from the beginning. I remember - not as part of government, but I was a member of the Legislature and a member of the Opposition - when the moratorium started. From the beginning the plan was to make sure that the fishery as it existed in Newfoundland and Labrador for 500 years was dead and would never be revived and revitalized again. Because the mentality was: It was inefficient. There was not enough in it for the people who were in it to make a decent living, so the best thing we could do would be to get people out of it. Of course, the moratorium was a great way to get people out of it. You get them out. You buy them out. You get them out by taking back licenses. Once you get them out, they are gone. Once you get them out, the government will never let up on that lever again.

When I look at it in that context, the master plan has worked. If the master plan was to get rid of this old, ineffective, romantic attachment to an industry that could not support the number of people that it was supposed to support, if that was the plan, then it has worked. If that was the plan, they have been successful.

Today, the 35,000 people who have gone out of this Province - not all of them from rural Newfoundland but certainly the vast majority of them - have contributed to making sure the plan succeeds; because back they will not be. What are they going to come back to? There are going to be no new fishing licenses. Therefore, the rural Newfoundland and Labrador that we knew is not going to make it.

That was bad enough - that devastated the rural roots of this Province; it was really devastating to the rural roots of this Province - but, on top of that, you had those new developments in the forest industry.

It has been economic devastation to a lot of communities in Central Newfoundland and the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland, in my constituency, in Windsor-Springdale, in Baie Verte. It has been economic devastation, the introduction of mechanical harvesters.

I am the first one to admit that we cannot take the bucksaw mentality. We cannot say you cannot use power saws, you have to stick to the bucksaw, but there has to be some way to bridge this development from devastation and manage it so that the rural parts of this Province are not depopulated once again.

There are some communities in my constituency - Stoneville, Baytona, Horwood, for example - where there is nothing else. The only employer, the only economy activity, was forestry. Every one of those harvesters takes away twenty-five jobs, I believe. Every one of them. None of those harvesters -

AN HON. MEMBER: Twenty-four.

MR. RIDEOUT: Twenty four. None of those harvesters talked back to their boss. None of them want down time. None of them require an insurance plan. None of them have to have overtime. No holidays. No vacation pay. As long as you keep the hydraulic fuel in them, the fuel in them, and a skilled operator, they will continue to work and perform for you. But they do not turn one thing into Stoneville where there are twenty-five or thirty houses boarded up. Imagine where they are gone. A lot of those people are gone to PEI to work in the forest industry.

If somebody had told me that ten years ago, I would have laughed at them; leaving rural Newfoundland, where we thought we had all kinds of resource in terms of the forest industry, gone off to little PEI where I did not know there were enough trees to make a bough whiffen, but they are up there. They are gone up there in tens -

AN HON. MEMBER: The bough whiffen.

MR. RIDEOUT: The bough whiffen.

They are gone up there, tens and dozens, hundreds of them up there making their living. That is great; it is great they have a place to go. The thing is, is it not possible to manage the resource here in a way such that you do not have another wave of depopulation overnight? I know we cannot stand in the way of progress - I am not suggesting it - but certainly, heavens, we must be able to manage it.

I have to say that the union representing the workers, Abitibi Consolidated, we met with those people several weeks ago and I really believe that they were going to draw a line in the sand, that they were going to take this issue and fight it to a standstill. They were going to make sure that -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: No, they were not going to stand in the way of progress but they were going to make sure that any further utilization of that particular equipment would be managed. It would not just be allowed to come in ad hoc.

I have to say that I was grossly disappointed when the latest contract was signed and it appears as if the companies got exactly what they wanted. Therefore, it leaves the Province without hardly a leg to stand on, really. If the unions had stood firm, the Province, perhaps, and the minister, could have stood firm or at least given the impression that they were going to do so.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. RIDEOUT: He got a million dollars, he said, boy. (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER (Smith): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. RIDEOUT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Just in concluding, then, I think that we somehow have to move the envelope along here. The people of rural Newfoundland and Labrador are looking to us. They are out there waiting. They want to hear some indication that the few of them who are left perhaps have some reason to stay and some reason to hope, and at the moment they do not have either.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am delighted today to have an opportunity to speak on this Budget. As my colleague from Lewisporte was saying, rural Newfoundland is in bad need of major surgery. It is not the type of surgery that cuts the guts out of rural Newfoundland; it needs an infusion of new opportunities.

He talked about boarded-up houses. Where in this Province can you find a place - take Trepassey for example, 1480 people in the 1991 census. As I went around on a campaign, sixty to seventy houses boarded up. The population now, I am being told by the town, is between 700 and 800. Just take a town that you grew up in and lived in - especially 1,500 people in a town - and take half of them away. It has to be devastating.

What about in terms of trying to collect taxes from people who cannot even afford to pay the basic taxes? What do they do? They have sold their houses - $45,000 bungalows for $3,000, for $6,000. It is unbelievable.

Anybody who wants a place to retire can get a house for $3,000 to $6,000 in Trepassey. You can get a house in Trepassey now. They had a prosperous fish plant, everybody employed, 800 people over two shifts, a full water system, sewer system for the community. It had everything in terms of a bank - which is still there - a supermarket. It had the conveniences not found in most rural outports but found in certain ones that were prosperous in those days; similar to ones we see in other centres around the Province like the Baie Vertes, the Springdales, the Lewisportes, and those areas all over the Province, and Port aux Basques. Some of these still have some activity.

Trepassey has struggled. It has three businesses that have grown up there and they are coming along fairly well, but they are not employing 800 people. One is in the twenty-five, thirty range of consistent employment, produces marine lighting - Mariteam - I am sure you have heard of that.

MR. J. BYRNE: My brother started it. Glamox (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Member for Cape St. Francis informs me that his brother was involved in the starting up of that. It was called Glamox, but I guess the new name is Mariteam Lighting. It is worth your while to go to the structure there and see what is happening. They are fighting to be able to get some industry into Trepassey.

I met with a group on Friday morning there, the management committee, the development corporation in the town, to discuss certain proposals and initiatives. On an ongoing basis people are trying to come to grips with the devastation that has hit them with the close of the fish plant.

In fact, Fishery Products moved out of there. It received $200 to $300 million of money to restructure. The one in Trepassey was destined. The license is now gone, the plant is now gone, and a place that was built on the sea has to open up new opportunities for accessibility by water to be able to revive the community. Like most rural parts of this Province, most industries would have to come from the ocean.

It is interesting that people say today, in this modern age of technology, you can do business anywhere. You can do it in your home, in a rural Newfoundland outport. I can tell you, that is not the case. After 6:00 p.m., start dialling Trepassey - a number in the phone book - and see if you can get through in an hour-and-a-half. See if you can get a household in Trepassey under the 438 exchange in an hour-and-a-half. I have to make calls in Trepassey before 6:00 p.m. Emerald Sod Producers Inc. in St. Shott's, Placentia-St. Mary's, a business, tells me they are handicapped. They have a business of prime quality sod. They cannot get through to the people who want to do be able to do business with them and call them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It is in other parts of the Province. I say to the Member for Twillingate & Fogo, we had meetings with the company. The company, I must say, sent up a VP and other people in the company. I spoke with the president of the company and sat down with people in the area only a little over a week ago, and with the Regional Economic Development Board there, the Irish Loop Board, and other interested businesses and towns to try to address the concerns, to deal with it and to encourage investment there.

You cannot get through and it is around the Province. If you tell somebody down in (inaudible), probably the same thing may be in Terrenceville or St. Bernard's or Grand Le Pierre, and you try to business from -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It is frustrating. When we get out of here in the evening many of us have an armful of phone calls. One night I spent over three hours trying to get through to a guy in Trepassey. It is a little bit easier now, and it is a more costly method. What you have to do now to get through is dial your zero plus the area code plus the number and then punch in your card. You can access it quicker because they have made some accommodations. There are various things we have addressed to try to deal with the frustrations. There are trucking companies, there are construction companies in Trepassey and that area.

Up in my district, farther north in my district, closer to St. John's, the same frustrations occur right up even from the Cape Broyle-Ferryland area. I mean, there is a growing tourism area there in Fermeuse, the marine centre, the three public wharves there under the Port Authority, a fish plant and a wharf there, and hundreds of boats. That is the main tie-up port, marine service centre, in the area and you cannot even get through on a telephone from people from their cell phones and everything. It is downright frustrating, I might add, for people trying to do business.

Then they tell us in rural Newfoundland you can do business. You cannot do business in rural Newfoundland today until a proper communications system and transportation system is put in place to enable us to do that. I must give some credit to the company. I discussed it with them, we sat down with the people. We are hopeful there will be an acceleration of their plans on capital expenditure, because other long distance companies are coming in at cutthroat rates and so on and the competition has driven this to unprecedented levels.

I threw out even a proposal. I said: Maybe if we had that cheap dialling after 8:00 p.m. it might allow some businesses to get that extra hour, hour-and-a-half. At least, we will negate the time change if we are getting hold of somebody in Ontario. At least it would help. Because at 6:00 p.m. when they close in Ontario, or 7:30 p.m. here, we might allow a gap.

These are some of the proposals we put forward, and they agreed to look at encouraging people not to be staying on their phone for two and three hours. It is difficult. People who live in rural areas and deal with rural ridings never have to experience the frustrations of representing rural Newfoundland and the demands on a rural MHA. All of the communities there have major concerns, I can tell you.

Now, every community is not as devastated as Trepassey, I admit it. You cannot get a house in Ferryland to buy or rent and things are going fairly well, there are lots of activities there. There is the colony of Avalon. The Southern Shore Folk Arts Council is developing older buildings there. There is a beautiful area for people to go out and visit and the tourism is going up in record numbers. There are boat tours, and it is closer to a city. Bay Bulls and Witless Bay are as not as affected by it. They have a major fish plant, which employs almost 400 people in Witless Bay. In Bay Bulls the proximity to St. John's and so on makes working in this area - it is sort of becoming a bedroom community, in a sense, for many people, to St. John's.

We need industry and activity, we need a proper road structure. I'm pleased to see this year we are getting at least up to fifteen kilometres of the road paved on the main highway. It is in bad shape, desperately in need of repair. Hopefully, over the next couple of years again another $3 million will come out of John Crosbie's agreement that he delivered to us. Thank God for that, all this money we delivered on roads in this Province. All those divided highways you see makes driving so much easier across the Province. Out in the West Coast of the Province we have seen some affects, although I am not so sure - it sort of puts you away from the Corner Brook area, and it was a beautiful drive through there. Now you see nothing. Still, I am sure accommodations could be made in certain areas that can deal with those particular concerns.

Investment into infrastructure, into roads, transportation, is an investment in the future. On the Outer Ring road many people have said: What a waste of money, $70 million and $80 million. People in rural Newfoundland and Labrador cannot understand why you put $70 million and $80 million in that when you have seven, eight or ten dirt roads in the District of Baie Verte. People wonder.

It is out of a pot of money, I know, under federal money, and the biggest concern with, probably, Baie Verte is that the Province has almost eliminated their provincial roads agreement. There used to be $50 million and now it is $14 million or $15 million. It was only $8 million the year before last. Those is some of the reasons we are hearing. The roads are in desperate shape in many areas of this Province.

Take the Outer Ring road, for example. I think it is important. It opens up the east end of St. John's for development, for housing, for companies to be able to move freely around the area. It does not frustrate business and transportation. People who are depending on a mode of transportation around this city do not want to be lining up at street lights and so on and waiting for twenty minutes to get a delivery across St. John's. It is not productive for business. Lost time is lost money. Wages and other measures have to be taken to try to be able to work under trying times. So the transportation system is integral to a growing economy. You cannot grow without it.

There are many concerns in rural Newfoundland. Thee Minister of Education just tabled in the House today a report. I did not get a chance, and I will over the next little while get a chance, to run through some of these things. It is kind of alarming when the highest skilled people in our Province, almost half the medical doctors here, migrate outside the Province. This is up to last year, I would assume. It is tabled this year but I think it takes in up to 1996 graduates, so I mean this is a little older.

Just look at what is out-migrating now. It is alarming. While I am on that topic, we have some of the best Newfoundlanders and Labradorians graduated, they are specialists in their field, here in this city and around this Province. They are medical specialists who took a pride in this Province. They came back here and practised in this Province. They are the main specialists here in many categories. Now we find that some of these people today, that were the backbone, really, of medicine in this Province, are taking up roots and going.

It is devastating to find that people who are here twelve and fifteen years - medical specialists who are the key in their area, and they were born in Newfoundland and Labrador - saying: We are going to have to go out of this Province. They are saying if they go to Ontario they can put $15,000 extra in their pocket just on provincial income tax alone, not counting the higher salaries and other costs. They have families. They are reaching an age. They do not have a pension to draw. What they make they have to invest in their future and their retirement.

People get concerned as they get up into middle age and close to it. They start to realize they want to have that security there in the long term. We don't have those fears. If we are lucky enough to get elected twice or a few more times we don't have to worry about that end of it. You are going to survive. These people, professionals, invested heavily in their education, took a pride in this Province, and they are going.

That is the biggest fear today and it is not only those doctors. Take the nurses. Forty-seven or forty-eight is the average age of a nurse. We are finding that it is a bit frightening. When young people graduated and left this Province, you said: Well, it will come back to the point where the pendulum will swing back. The pendulum has not swung just away from this Province. It has swung right across the world. There is a Canadian shortage of nurses. We are finding people that are fifteen and twenty years practising, that are the experienced people now and with young families. I spoke with one who said to me, and I was shocked: I have two kids. I am really seriously taking a position in this particular specialist field in nursing that they are doing here in Ontario. I said: What? You are the last I expected to say that. She said: Look what I can be paid extra, look at the extra advantages, the opportunities here. Here we have waited, and what happened?

It is the same with the Memorandum of Understanding. It did not deliver. Doctors are starting to see it is not happening. There is unrest all over the place. A doctor came to see me yesterday, sent a note in, so frustrated. A rural Newfoundland physician, so frustrated. I left here and went out and sat down for twenty minutes just to hear some of the concerns yesterday, and got back again in the House before it closed. It is so desperate now that they are turning to anybody and everybody to try to be heard, and nothing is getting done to address it.

We have a major problem. A lot of it, I might add, is not just more dollars. The minister stood and said: More money for this, more money for that. I am saying that before you determine what additional money you need, start seeing that the money you have is spent and is accountable. Maclean's Magazine said 40 per cent of the dollars in health care, of the $70 million, in this country is inefficiently spent - $30 million inefficiently spent in this country. If you looked at that ratio here in this Province, you would be talking about $300 million to $400 million. Let us say it is only one-quarter of that; let us say $100 million. One hundred million can solve a lot of the ills, I can tell you. It can solve a helluva lot of the problems here in this Province.

We have numerous concerns, and one of the greatest concerns, really, is rural Newfoundland. What are we seeing? We have seen, in other parts of Canada, an urbanization of Canada. We have seen Winnipeg, which now has almost 60 per cent of the population of Manitoba. It has over 600,000 out of a population of over a million. We have Edmonton and Calgary with about 40 per cent of the population of Alberta, and we are seeing it all over the place.

In this Province, we are not getting urbanization because of everybody moving to an urban area here. We are getting urbanization here because we are having a loss of rural Newfoundlanders to other parts of the country. That is what is causing the urbanization of this Province.

While we all realize that every single community cannot have a fish plant, every single community cannot have another thriving business, we need businesses in integral points within areas where people can commute and be able to stay in their communities.

Many industries are up and down, and if we do not look after them and care for them - like happened with the fishery - and do not manage it correctly, we will get problems. It is no different.

In our health care system, there are millions and millions of dollars inefficiently spent. I know dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of gross inefficiencies that are happening in the system today, and I have made reference to these. I made reference to several a couple of weeks ago in a media interview. I pointed out several examples of inefficiencies.

What is happening? We have driven this Province; each of the boards now have been fighting with each other.

I said to the former Minister of Health here in this House: You are spending more money out in locums by having people go all over the place. Why don't you increase their salary and you would not have the problem?

A year after, he gets up in the House and says: We now realize the money we were spending on locums could be used to increase salaries, and it would not cost any extra money. I said: Whoop-de-do! Go back to Hansard a year earlier.

Those types of things - you cannot have boards competing against each other. Boards are out competing against each other in this Province now for recruitment of physicians. One is offering this and one is offering that. They are offering locums to people in Ontario.

I am sure the Government House Leader is fully aware of that, all about rural Newfoundland. Every area is not booming like a certain part of his district.

MR. TULK: What?

MR. SULLIVAN: I said that every area of the Province is not booming like a certain part of your district. It is having, I must say, good times, because a part of his district is dependent on crab and other species. It is on an upswing. The shrimp is growing in numbers and we will go through cycles in the fishing industry. We will see downturns and we will see it swing up again, but what we have to be able to do is to buffer those down times in order to be able to sustain a level of services in rural Newfoundland.

We have to try to maintain the integrity of rural Newfoundland and more has to be done. It seems we are not concerted enough in our efforts to be able to get a result, and to be able to get things done, and to be able to get the result we want.

Even in the House today, on a health matter, I asked the minister a question on nursing homes boards here in this city. Here in this city, the different religious organizations or churches that have been working here to deliver long-term care have done a tremendous job. The Anglican Church, the Sisters of Mercy, the Salvation Army at Glenbrook and Saint Luke's and all over have done commendable jobs with a certain mission statement, a certain sense of values in delivering care here in our Province.

The minister pushes to collapse everything into one. If it is the best thing and if they are in an agreement with it, what is wrong with it, provided we do not do it for the sake of syphoning and saving money out of the system.

She did not apply the same standards to one under the Trinity-Conception Board, allow it to continue, to operate and contain (inaudible) and try a different standard here. There has to be cooperation.

You can combine. I am sure the will is there. She said there is a Memorandum of Understanding signed with some. If the will is there to combine human resources, combine their financial end, combine all of those non-patient care areas, let's consolidate. Let's get efficient. You do not need five accountants if you can get by with one. You do not need management offices in all locations if it can be better utilized in other things. Those efficiencies and so on have to be looked at here. We have to look at patient care.

Their own report says - their own board tells us that we still have not done anything, basically, about care for people. When people go into those nursing homes - and anybody who has to put a family member or a parent in there understands it very well - that is their home. That is their residence. That is where they are going to spend the rest of their life, and you want an opportunity to have them cared for in some comfort, some dignity, ample space for dining, washroom facilities, time to be able to sit down with family when they come to visit, and make life a little more tolerable for these people in the latter stages of their life. These are the types of things we have to look at. They are not stalls to put people in like cattle. They are rooms and facilities to allow people to be able to live the rest of their life with a degree of dignity. That is what these homes are.

The problem is not getting addressed in health care in this Province. We see too much hypocrisy in health care in the Province. We see too much politics in health care, making statements one day.

This government in 1997 - no bones about it, in fact I have it here in Hansard to show; I have the information here in Hansard - in the midst of a federal election, stood in this House, one minister after another, and said: I am delighted the federal government is now going to put $66 million back into health care in this Province.

That is what they said when they were going to cut the floor under Canada Health and Social Transfer down to $11 billion. They decided, we are going to stop it at $12.5 billion, where it is now; we are not going to put it down to $11 billion. We are going to stop it where it is now. So, where is the $66 new million? They did not cut it by $66 million, it is not $66 new million. They sold that and pushed it during the federal election in 1997 to try to save some seats for them. They lost three, hung on by the skin of their teeth in another one or two, and barely survived it.

Then, a few months later, on March 11, 1998, just months after, the Minister of Health had the audacity to write the hon. Allan Rock, Minister of Health, and say to him the following, "I am writing to express my concern about comments attributed to some of your colleagues..."

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Health, the hon. Joan Marie Aylward, the Member for St. John's Centre, wrote the hon. Allan Rock on March 11, 1998, and here is what she said to the hon. Allan Rock. Can you imagine the federal election the previous May and they made Ministerial Statements - the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health got up and made Ministerial Statement after Ministerial Statement - to say there was $66 new million for health care. There was no new million. They were not going to cut the floor down to where they were planning on cutting it. They were going to keep it the same.

Here is what she said. I said to them at that time in the House: Oh, we are not getting the whole truth. They are not going to cut it any further. We have no new dollars, not one extra. What did she say to them then? It is laughable:

"I am writing to express my concern about comments attributed to some of your colleagues implying that Provinces have been provided with more funding for health services. By maintaining the CHST cash floor at the $12.5 billion level, as opposed to the $11 billion, Provinces will not be required to make further devastating cuts to their health care systems that the lower cash floor would have dictated."

In very strong language she went on. "It is unfortunate if this is projected to the public as new funding for health care. ...the message they are transmitting to Canadian places provincial Ministers in a situation where we have no choice but to publicly refute the comments...".

The same thing they sold to us nine months earlier, and she got up and said: We are going to have to tell you it is not true. In other words, you are not telling the truth to the people of Canada when you say that - she said to Allan Rock.

I said the same to the Minister of Health in previous months: You are not telling the truth to the people of the Province when you say that - and she came back and accused Allan Rock of the same thing because it was convenient during an election to say that.

That is the type of hypocrisy we see in health care today and it is shameful. You take something and you spin it the way you want, where it can get the best spin at the convenient time.

Right here, another area in health care, and this is a very damning article, the passing of Newfoundland's EMS; that is the emergency medical service we are talking about: The current minister, Ms Joan-Marie Aylward and her predecessor, have been remiss in failing to take the time and make the effort to see the problem and to stand firm in this resolution.

He goes right after the provincial minister and talks about: We are the only jurisdiction in the industrial world to remain without an EMS legislation. The Newfoundland Government, in their own medical ignorance and with the advice of apparently medical incompetent bureaucrats, has taken virtually every ill-formed step imaginable to avoid accepting or exercising responsibility for their citizens in pre-hospital medical emergencies. This is an article in a national magazine, saying that -

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said it?

MR. SULLIVAN: A well-informed health individual -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, don't worry. I raised it. It was in the media back earlier. Don't get excited.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: In fact, Mr. Speaker, I will table a copy of this. I will even table a copy of this for him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Who? What about it?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: We could not afford one. We could not afford one when I grew up. There were only certain people. We used to have to go down the road to take a look at it.

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to move, seconded by the Member for St. John's South, the following amendment:

That all of the words after the word "that" be struck and replaced with the following: This House acknowledge and condemn the government's failure to manage competently the Province's finances; its failure to live up its duty or its promise to provide adequate direction and funding for social programs such as health and social services; its failure to secure the future of our Province by investing appropriately in education and in students; and its failure to discharge effectively its responsibility to plan for and invest in economic recovery and employment growth in the Province, and particularly in rural areas so desperately in need of development and jobs.

It is my pleasure to move this amendment, seconded by my colleague for St. John's South, and take this government to task especially for standing up on Budget day and proclaiming the best budget in the history of our Province, and then turn around the day after and say: We cannot afford to give you any increases. Going down to the business community the day after: What a robust economy, increased growth in our Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Would you like to check the amendment to see if it is in order?

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. TULK: I think the hon. gentleman just moved -

MR. SULLIVAN: I did, and (inaudible).

MR. TULK: Let me finish.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: Let me finish.

MR. SULLIVAN: No one said it was out of order, so I kept (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I have been recognized. I wonder, would the hon. gentleman sit down and cool off?

I think he just moved that motion of non-confidence that is traditionally moved -


AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, you did.

MR. TULK: I believe that he did. Was that what you moved, a motion of non-confidence? I think that is what he said he moved. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you would take a look at it and see if it is in order. While you are taking a look at it, maybe the hon. gentleman will just cool down.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The motion is in order. It is the standard motion that has been introduced on a number of occasions.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am delighted that it is in order, a non-confidence motion of this government. It is always in order, I say, the way they have been governing this Province, I might add.

AN HON. MEMBER: You get an hour?

MR. J. BYRNE: Yes.

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, don't worry. I will entertain you as long as I possibly can. I heard we have got to be out of here by 5:00 p,.m. There is a committee meeting in here, isn't there?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, indeed I won't. I'm telling you, if the minister would listen to me we would have a nice, good, strong health care system.

AN HON. MEMBER: How much would it cost you, Loyola?

MR. SULLIVAN: First, I have said, if you will listen -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much would it cost (Inaudible)?

MR. SULLIVAN: Are you going to listen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, what did you add up?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: Give us a copy of where you added it up. What item is the biggest? What is the highest item you have added up on what I said? Tell me what it is. You cannot substantiate it? He cannot substantiate what he said. Talk is cheap, I would say.

AN HON. MEMBER: You are living proof of that, that talk is cheap.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, that is it, and nobody knows that better I say, Mr. Speaker, than the Minister of Mines and Energy. He is an expert in that. The man who wept on the steps of Confederation Building on behalf of teachers, and then they came in and they crucified them. He did a disservice, he disowned them. That is why talk is cheap, I would say. If there is ever living proof, I would say, it is the member sitting right there now with the smile knowing he is guilty. He has the look of it, I will say. He is it. He even has the look. The proof is in the pudding.

Ask all his former colleagues around the Province who thought they were sending a saviour into the government. They found out quite quickly he was not a saviour; it was the person who led the crucifixion who they sent in there.


MR. SULLIVAN: I only got to the first page of about 500 pages. I keep getting carried away.

I will tell the Member for Twillingate and Fogo, yes, in health care. I have told -

AN HON. MEMBER: How much?

MR. SULLIVAN: I am getting to it. Just listen. Do not get excited, just relax and listen. Does sitting in that chair get people roused up?

I have mentioned one example in health already. I said this to the minister two years ago, in health, when they were talking about how we have not got money to pay rural doctors. I said the first thing you have to do is add up what you are paying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Wait until I am finished. You are not going to let me finish.

I said add up what you are paying in locums. You will not pay a doctor marginally more to stay in rural, but you will bring in a locum at up to $550 a day. I know they put food in the refrigerator, they give them a place to stay, and pay costs. The minister stood a year later in this House and said: We now are going to announce a bonus structure for doctors - (inaudible) - if they stay two years, and that is a per annum. We have now found that we realize what we are spending on locums we could use to give the bonus without any extra money. That is the same thing I said a year earlier.

In case you have not read the article, Maclean's magazine said 40 per cent -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I will give you examples.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He does not want to hear the answer. I spent over twenty years running a business, and if I ran it like some of the departments are run the business would be bankrupt long ago. That is what I would say. When you are in business you do not have the public bankrolling you -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, sure, get into it if you like. Get into it all you like.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) bankroll (inaudible) Department of Fisheries (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, bring it in, will you, and we will have a look at it. I would be delighted to have a look at it.

I have said, let's look at efficiencies. I am not saying throw money out. I said, let's look at efficiencies in the system. I know and I have said it earlier here today - you probably did not hear me - but I've mentioned several examples of inefficiencies in the system today. You have boards out competing - I will repeat it again, if you did not hear me - against other for recruits. We have everybody fighting.

I will make a statement today that may come to be true. I will say it again. There was an announcement this week that the Health Care Corporation of St. John's - yesterday I commented; it is a very telling statement, and just see if it will come true -, they said: We are now going to convert another 163 casuals to permanent. I applaud them on it. Because what is happening here now, that board is seeing -


MR. SULLIVAN: No, there are no buts. That board is seeing that we are going to have a problem getting nurses when we want them. If we get the jump on other boards - because there are casual nurses working out in Carbonear. I guess that is the home town of the Member for Fogo & Twillingate, in that area, is it? I think so. Or out there anyway. There are casuals working there who also work in here, back and forth. What happens? By the Health Care Corporation getting the jump and getting those 163 in place first, there are not going to be enough of nurses out there to fill other positions or to do casual work in a lot of rural areas who commute in here.

It is a good business strategy to get the jump on other boards. That is going to happen. I really think we are going to be facing a severe crisis even greater then we are facing now. We are not going to be able to get nurses to maintain units out in rural Newfoundland that are down to such a level now they have a job to keep functioning.

Why shouldn't you get out of the starting blocks? Those that get out of the starting blocks first usually end up at the head of the line first, if they get a head start on other people. That may very well happen. We have a problem here every single day.

The minister said yesterday: It is tradition at this time of the year to close down hospital beds. It is not traditional in May 1, it is not traditional in April each year when they were closed. It is not traditional to shut down hospital beds for the summer in April. That is what was announced here two weeks ago. That is not traditional. You normally close them down in late in June and open them again the end of September. Never before have we seen beds shut down in April because there is an unavailability of nurses here to be able to do the job. In April! They shut down another six again this week.

I said it in the House yesterday. A lady's daughter called me yesterday, saying her mother's bed sores were so bad there were deep holes there. The doctor said: Take an ambulance out, the specialist will see you. (Inaudible) cannot admit you, they are closing six more beds. We have no beds.

I spoke with her daughter who took her out. They said they would get an ambulance. They went there and realized how bad it is. They said: You are not getting any care at home? They said: Well, the nurse comes in twice a day. They could not believe it. They could not take that person in to the Health Sciences. She said: We cannot take her home. They had to take her to the Grace Hospital and admit that person because that person, an eighty-year-old lady with Alzheimer's, has to be turned every two hours. She was so sick and needed attention, because there are not enough nurses around to be able to work in hospitals.

Yesterday morning a person with cancer had his surgery cancelled; a person who needed a hysterectomy; another person had other surgeries cancelled yesterday, not because a doctor was not available, or other staff, but because there were no nurses. Nobody to care for these people, and no beds.

That is getting pretty serious. When someone gets diagnosed with cancer it is shocking enough as it is. It is serious enough. Not to say their surgery is cancelled because we allowed a shortage of nurses to occur. Don't think for a moment we are going to fill all of those positions. You are only pipe dreaming if you think you are going to fill positions at $36,000 for a starting salary when they are starting them at $50,000-some somewhere else. It is not going to happen.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I did not even look at the States. I only compared it to Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Will you let me finish? You can get up for a half hour. I do not mind, I just hate cutting into my time. I only have an hour so I hate getting cut into my time.

I am comparing Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia pay their nurses 29 per cent more. Nova Scotia, a stone's throw across the little bay from Port aux Basques. Little Prince Edward Island pays 17 per cent more, and their contract ran out March 1. I am not talking about the United States. In the United States you can walk in and get an MRI. That person who called me today is numb on one side, who is in a business here in town, who cannot get an MRI before the end of August, and who cannot get to work. That is basic.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I ask that rabble-rouser from Fogo & Twillingate - there is something about that seat, that position, that drives people mad. I do not know if it is or not, if it is the seat or the individual. I am not sure but it happened yesterday. It happened again today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I did. I took him seriously, and I hope there will be more tomorrow. I can tell you when fall rolls around, look out.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I don't. Old world fitness. I will spend the first month and one-half jogging off until I fall away to nothing, and then I will try to build up a bit of -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I go to hospitals when I have somebody who I need to visit. I have not been in the hospital (inaudible) in the last three weeks, and probably four times in the last five months. I hope that nobody related to me or anybody at all that I know would have to get sick and have to go to a hospital today. Because, if so, be prepared to bring your family with you.

I will tell the minister, who asked earlier, who wrote that article. I will tell you. I will even give you a copy or whatever, but I will just make a couple of comments and then I will tell you. Because if I tell you first you will say: That person said that? You will be so amazed that this person would write that. He said: The Newfoundland government has long put themselves in Third World status in the realm of EMS, virtually the only jurisdiction - I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy - in the industrial world to remain without any EMS legislation. Shame on the minister.

Imagine. He said: The Newfoundland government in their own medical ignorance and with the advice of apparently medically incompetent bureaucrats - he is even attacking bureaucrats - has taken virtually every ill-formed step imaginable to avoid accepting or exercising responsibility for their citizens in pre-hospital medical emergencies.

Imagine. Here is a statement, I say to the minister. Before I tell you Andrew's last name, here is what he said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No. It's not Andrew, it is Andre. It is the correct name, Andre, but Andy for short. He said: A lack of effective province-wide standards for practitioners, equipment, vehicles, protocols, and an effective provincial training program all contribute - here is something - to a province wide standard of EMS that makes it perilous to be a resident - he said it is perilous to be a resident of this Province, can you imagine that? - and a major deterrent (inaudible) being a visitor to one of Canada's most charming and hospitable provinces.

Can you imagine? Someone said we had the most charming and hospitable province, and it is perilous to go there or to be a resident there because of our emergency system, our medical system.

It said: As if it were not bad enough that Newfoundland politicians shirk their responsibilities for the well-being of their citizens -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I am just quoting Andrew Moffatt. That is who I am quoting, a prominent health writer who has written on the passing of Newfoundland's EMS. I can read the obituary on the Newfoundland EMS. It is in the Canadian Emergency News.

While the minister is here, I do not know if she wants me to get back to what she missed because this is important. In 1997 -


MR. SULLIVAN: I was hoping she would hear me and come back in. Minister, the nice letter you wrote to Allan Rock telling Allan Rock not to be telling people when they were going to drop the floor under the Canada Health and Social Transfer in the election in May 1997, when these ministers stood in this House and read statement after statement - the Ministers of Finance and Health - and said there is $66 new million in the health care. I said: Do not be telling the public something that is not true. They are not going to cut it by $66 million, they are going freeze it at that level.

They ran it and they did news releases and they had statements during the federal election campaign. On March 11, 1998 the Minister of Health wrote the federal minister and said:

"My concern is that the implications of these comments and the message they are transmitting to Canadians places provincial Ministers in a situation where we have no choice but to publicly refute the comments and tell the Canadian people that the situation is not what it appears to be." Further, " is misleading to portray the decision to cease reductions in transfer payments in a manner which implies to Canadians that the Provinces will now have more money available for the health system." She said above, "By maintaining the CHST cash floor at the $12.5 billion, as opposed to the $11 billion," all it will do is it will stop the provinces from making more cuts. That is what she said.

She went on to say that " is unfortunate if this is projected to the public for as new funding for health care." She said we are "...moving closer to a destabilized situation..."

MR. J. BYRNE: Who wrote that?

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Health.


MR. SULLIVAN: Allan Rock, her buddy, the guy who is second in line for the prime ministership of this country. The guy who is second in line, if not third.


MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, fourth in line. He is climbing. His popularity has shown that Allan Rock has got back -

AN HON. MEMBER: He is ahead of Mr. Tobin.

MR. SULLIVAN: You should know more about it. They said: All of them added together would not equal the forerunner. Is that true?

There are so many things I want to say, but I really do not know where to start.

AN HON. MEMBER: Loyola, (inaudible) Doug Moores (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Doug Moores? My (inaudible) is welcome. Anybody who wants my job at any time is welcome to it, I say. He was offered it before and he did not take it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is it. The job would probably drive up your blood pressure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not need a personal trainer. I know what I need to do, I just have to get time to do it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I have to start to stop eating. Is that what you said? How do you start to stop eating? I have to start to stop eating. That is a good start. I started that yesterday, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Imagine the Premier. I looked in Hansard. It was not in Hansard yesterday. No. He said: You big fat bully. It was not even in Hansard.

AN HON. MEMBER: Big fat bluff.

MR. SULLIVAN: Bluff, right. Not bully. He was talking about the Government House Leader when I said to him: What about him? Is he fat? He said: He is a bully, he is not a bluff.

MR. J. BYRNE: He admitted it after.

MR. SULLIVAN: He admitted it, but he said I'm not a big - he left out fat. He said I'm a big bluff. He (inaudible) call me a little one.

Whatever it is, I will be a littler one when the House reconvenes in the fall.

AN HON. MEMBER: Adjourn debate, (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Why? Do you want to go home?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I have five or six folders of stuff here and there is one point I wanted to get to next. Here is the one they love to hear over on this side. I even did some research. I sat here one day and listened to the Minister of Fishery and Aquaculture. I did not get a chance to get up because he adjourned the debate. He talked about debt in the Province. I had done a little research and I waited for the opportune moment. I have it here.

In 1972 when governments changed in this Province - that is a kind of a budget document - if budget documents are accurate there was $1,035,930,000 of debt in 1972 when the former and only Liberal government since Confederation at that time went out of office. Can you imagine? Can anybody calculate for me quickly the interest on $1 billion of debt since 1972, twenty-five years of debt? We have hit 20 per cent rates. Some of the debt was financed over 20 per cent. There is still some of the debt financed at fairly high levels. There are debts in this Province financed -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, but since that the debt reached record levels. There is one point it reached almost 20 per cent. I went back through all the budgets, I saw what it was financed at. In fact, I will tell the member today -

MR. J. BYRNE: Who caused the debt?

MR. SULLIVAN: There was an issue back in 1988 even at 11.25 per cent.


MR. SULLIVAN: That is right. There was over 20 per cent at times. I checked it. The point is that we had to pay the interest on the $1 billion that was there. They inherited it. At 20 per cent of $1 billion, that is $200 million. That $1 billion alone has added between $1 billion and $2 billion more debt on top, just to service that debt alone. Can you imagine?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Now he really wants to get into some specifics. In 1989, when he got elected as the saviour of teachers in this Province, the debt in this Province then was $4.845 billion.

MR. J. BYRNE: What is it now?

MR. SULLIVAN: Last year it was $6.386 billion, but that was last year. I have to tell the truth about this. It was forecast last year - in 1998 it was $5.9823 billion.

MR. TULK: Loyola, why don't you take the figures and show how much it has declined since 1995.

MR. SULLIVAN: Since 1995 it has declined - I have them too, don't worry - I am not going to tell half a truth. Since 1995, one of the reasons it has declined - there are different reasons, yes. You are looking at Crown corporations on total sector debt. Total sector debt has increased now this year because what they have done is, they have taken the unfunded liabilities in teachers and they transferred it on the debt. It depends how you cut it, but the unfunded liability in pension plans is not reflected in the total debt. You have your direct debt, your Crown and other related associations. Actually, the liability in our public sector pension plan and our teachers' pension plan -

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The total debt is slightly less than it was, but it went up last year. It went up from 1997-1998 and then it went down slightly again, but the debt is $1.2 billion higher than it was in 1989 when the government came to power. We had $1 billion debt there since 1972 and the financing on the debt - that is what you want to hear.

MR. J. BYRNE: No, they do not want to hear that.

MR. SULLIVAN: It is all here. If you would like for me to make a copy and have it circulated, that is no problem.

Look at what they did in Ontario. Don't let him near it; look at what they did in Ontario. Mike Harris had to take it from $11 billion down to $1 billion. He eliminated $10 billion, and putting 10,000 nurses back in the system. The Minister of Mines and Energy wants me to attack the NDP now.

All I will say is that the Minister of Mines and Energy has been probably the single biggest contributor to the debt of this Province by being a member of a Cabinet for all those years that has allowed our debt to increase by over $1 billion when he was there, over $1 billion before he took over in 1971-1972. Can you imagine the interest on over $2 billion, on a billion of that for twenty-seven years?

MR. J. BYRNE: He is causing the death of the Province.

MR. SULLIVAN: He is causing the death of the Province, yes, the death of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Listen here, they are going faster than that. They are going faster than that, I can tell you, and the minister just sits there and does nothing; does not even stand and address the problem.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Pardon? I can't hear you. They are not what?

AN HON. MEMBER: They are not renting U-Hauls (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: They are not renting U-Hauls, no.

It is shameful to see, when Nova Scotia - the minister says: Look at what they are paying in the United States. We do not even have to talk about what they are paying in the United States. Just look across the Gulf, just the Atlantic Provinces now. We should be able to pay -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Gulf, G-u-l-f, Gulf.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) gut.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, the Gulf, the Cabot Strait, the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Gulf of Mexico - sorry -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Sometimes, you know, this dialect that came from Ireland does not always get pronounced in the way it was intended to be pronounced. I don't mind taking time to clarify it.

AN HON. MEMBER: What about that letter you got, Loyola?

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, that letter. No, no, the minister heard that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I don't think so. Oh, I have other ones here too. Oh, yes, I have -

MR. J. BYRNE: Oh, that is a good one.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, hang on. I have an hour. Why rush it? You want to save the good wine for last.

What about that report, Minister, that internal report? Are you going to release this publicly?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What? I am that far ahead of you? Has not even gone to the board and I have a copy! It said, January 1999 draft.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lack of respect for boards.

MR. SULLIVAN: Minister, you show a lack of respect for boards. They would have an agreement only for you. They would have an agreement only for you, Minister.

Now, back to Atlantic Canada and nurses, just to look at: Why does Nova Scotia, that has a high per cent of their debt - they are no better off than we are and they have more of their debt in foreign currency than we have. They are more heavily leveraged on the foreign market for debt outside Canada than we are. They pay their nurses, staring off, 29 per cent more than we do.

Lowly Prince Edward Island, in their contract that ran out, the old contract they had was 17 per cent more than us, and 16 per cent more in New Brunswick.

If we cannot compete even with Atlantic Canada, how can we compete with Ontario, Alberta and the rest of the country? We are even losing people to Atlantic Canada. We lost specialists recently to Halifax, New Brunswick and, of course, Ontario and the rest of the country.

The minister used figures here yesterday of how the per capita is increasing. Sure, if the number stays the same, the per capita is going to increase because we are losing people. We have lost 7 per cent of our population in the last several years. If we never hired a nurse, our ratios would increase immensely because of such out-migration.

Here is an interesting thing: Tobin gets private upbraiding from the Prime Minister. Did you see that one, I say to my colleague from Baie Verte?

MR. J. BYRNE: He gets what?

MR. SULLIVAN: He gets a private upbraiding from the Prime Minister: a dressing down by the Prime Minister during a quick car trip has weakened the leadership hopes of Brian Tobin, Newfoundland Premier.

A quick car trip. I heard the Premier instructed the driver to drive faster. Get me to Corner Brook quicker, he said. Get me there quickly.

The man who is being called Jean Chrétien's political son stunned his former Liberal colleagues by initially joining Lucien Bouchard, the Separatist Premier, in denouncing last week's federal Budget as unfair to the less affluent provinces. His criticism was aimed at Paul Martin, the man who is the leadership front-runner for the Primer Minister of Canada.

I read in an article that our own Premier has fallen below the radar screen now, where he is, and they cannot detect him.

Anyway, I was not trying to make that point. That is another issue. The point I was trying to make is that he praised it up -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I was not a front-runner.

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, you were.

MR. SULLIVAN: Indeed I was not. No one picked me to come close, when I lost by three votes. I was the one who was supposed to be -

AN HON. MEMBER: The media was saying you were the front-runner.

MR. SULLIVAN: No way. It was not supposed to be close. It was not going to be a contest. I got an interview with CBC and they said: Why are you in it, are you just in for the race? I said: You will see when it is over, how close it is.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I was not a front-runner. I never started out front. I ran once and I lost by three votes, the only leadership I ran in, and I was not a front-runner. I started so far out of sight behind, you could not see me, I say. That is how close I came.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I cannot speak for that; I was not there. I was never at a political convention in my life until after I got elected. I do not know anything about those conventions.

AN HON. MEMBER: Loyola, are you as far behind as Tobin is now?

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, I do not know. I do know how far he is behind, but he got an upbraiding from the Prime Minister as he drove from the airport. The Premier said: Drive faster; we have to get to Corner Brook.

That is the time he went to the woodshed. This was in (inaudible) and they quoted what he said. I would like to remind you, Mr. Tobin, I have copies of what you said in Hansard. Here they are, Mr. Tobin, read them before you say any more.

He slapped him on the hands in the woodshed. The Premier came back and said: This budget is good for Newfoundland and Labrador. My Minister of Health says it is, and everybody else. We have $40 new million in health care.

What did this little budget show? The Canada Health and Social Transfer - $4.4 million. That is what it was.

On February 7 it was $40 million, and on Budget day it was $4.4 million. That is what happened. The bottom fell out of it - the federal budget - that is what happened. Anyway, that is another issue. We will not get into that one.

The minister forgot to tell us in a release there yesterday, and they would not give me leave to continue and address this issue - I ran out of time - that the number of nurses employed in Prince Edward Island has increased from 1993 to 1998. It has increased in Saskatchewan. It has increased in Alberta and British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. That is only up to 1998, but in 1999 - look at the numbers in 1999 in those provinces. The numbers are starting to increase immensely. Ontario had hired, early this year, back just two months ago, 6,456 already and are on their way to hiring over 10,000 more.

People said they cut it out of the system. They shouldn't have. They realized their mistake. They cut it out of the system, and we are going to put it back again. I do not give them any credit for cutting them out at all. In fact, I condemn them for cutting nurses out.

The minister tries to put a positive spin on something here in this Province. They wouldn't even take the sandbagger for a ride from Deer Lake when the Prime Minister was there. No, they wouldn't even put him in the U-Haul they could have towed behind.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: There are some definitions. I have terminology, too, that describes the Member for Humber East.

Can you imagine, a summon to call his Premier, a guy aspiring to get into Cabinet, saying to the media - I have the copy here - we got sandbagged by the Premier. It is in The Western Star. I have a copy of it. He said he got sandbagged by the Premier. That was not a very good move. It was not a very good move at all.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It struck a nerve this morning. I was very calm and relaxed and all of a sudden she gets up and goes mad. I could not tell if she was blushing, with the colour she had on. I couldn't see any difference in the colour.

Outspoken doctor says he has had enough. When you look at doctors like this: Dr. Chris Randell, a stalwart in the community, down in Bonavista area, he has seen a lot of the problems. A lot of the frustrations are going on, I can tell you, and I am sure the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture might agree with me, a lot of the problems going on are troubles with those appointed boards. They are having differences in settling things. They are not doing an effective job, some of those appointed boards.

I will acknowledge, the minister tries to say: Oh, you are attacking the boards. There are some excellent people on those boards and they do excellent work, some of the people, but there are people on it because of patronage who are not doing a good job and they are not getting the best interests of health care for the people in their area.

In a particular letter I have here, my colleague from Cape St. Francis made reference to, even the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association wrote all of the MHAs. Even the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs acknowledged he received it in his office before he left there to come here but he did not get a chance to read it at the time. I am sure you have all read it since. Headlines like: West Coast prepares for wildcat nurses strike; Health care under stress or in crisis; Province down to a single child oncologist; Nursing shortages lead to bed closures in Newfoundland; Bonavista loses more doctors.

You could add more to it. Burin Peninsula could lose more doctors. Five, possibly six, pathologists going within the month or so here in the City of St. John's; GI specialist going. Every single one of the medical oncologists at the Health Sciences went except - every full-time one left or are going to leave in the near future, every one. The only one that stayed is half research and half-time.

I got a call today from a person who has a family member - they were out west - who has been diagnosed with cancer and is wondering, if they came to this Province, could they get treatment? They have not family where they are, and are left alone to deal with this dreaded disease, wondering if they can get help to come back here. They have no family where they are. Those types of things are telling, very telling, on our health system today.

This letter has an appeal from the President of Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, saying: Find copies of the recent NLMA release. The president's letter on this issue says: Lately, it seems that putting out fires has been the norm for managing our health care system. Putting out fires has been the norm.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did you write that?

MR. SULLIVAN: I did not write it but I believe it. I believe what Dr. Allan McComiskey has said on behalf of the doctors in this Province. I sincerely believe it. Do you believe it, I say to the Member for Humber East? Is this person telling the truth? Is that what you are saying? I don't doubt this at all. He has put forward some of the concerns, in telling us that putting out fires has become the norm for managing our health care system. As partners in the delivery of health care, the NLMA participates in regularly scheduled meetings with the provincial government.

How much - and where is the hospital on Fogo Island going? Where is it going? I stated where it should go and I gave the reasons why. I stated where it should go, the reasons, because people in your government, ministers, have stated publicly, one former minister, a close relative and other people, have said where it should go for centralization. A lot of them have made the statement.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Actually, to be honest with you, it was Chinese food. You got it all wrong.


MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, it was the (inaudible) Chinese food.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Is that what he said?

The deteriorating state of health care is no surprise to physicians. It said, the president's letter: The increasing number of media stories chronical the deteriorating...

The telling point about this is that the minister has the audacity to get up and say: We don't have a crisis. There is nothing wrong in health care. We have challenges in health care. The minister has challenges. I can tell you she has challenges, yes. The minister thinks there is no crisis in health care.

She said today - I heard it on TV yesterday - it is normal. The minister was not here when I said it so I will say it again: It is normal to have bed closures for the summer. When did summer begin in April? When did it begin in January, when you had to shut down - they could not do surgery because of a lack of nurses to man beds in intensive care. When did summer begin in January? The minister must be in another part of the world where summer begins in January. She must be down south, at the other end of the world is she?

AN HON. MEMBER: Australia.

MR. SULLIVAN: She is in Australia; that is where she is. Summertime begins in January. Can you imagine? We are now announcing that beds will be closing for the summer, for the period of January 1 to December 31. Beds will be closing for the summer. When did you hear the likes of this in health care? How can you put a positive twist on bed closures for the summer, that begin in January and continue in April and again in May? My, oh my.

In spite of this, it was not the tune they sang during the election campaign when the premier said: I am glad I have you all convinced. I have to find out what the Premier said. Back on Main Street, Tobin meets the ever-present nurses and tells them the Minister of Health is a nurse, the deputy minister is a nurse, and every night he goes home to a nurse. He tells the nurses they can trust him to handle their concerns over cutbacks to health care. Back on February 8, one day before the election, he told them they could trust him. Nurses can trust me, he said. Would you ask him today, do nurses trust him? That is not what they say there.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that made of paper?

MR. SULLIVAN: That is made of aluminum, tin.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Made in Newfoundland, yes.

I asked where they were made. Someone said one of the relatives of a nurse made them. They are made locally, Newfoundland made. It is not like some of the government promotional advertising made in the U.S. Homemade in Newfoundland. The only thing it does not have on it is: Made right here in Newfoundland. That is what we should have down across it: Manufactured right here in Newfoundland.

MR. J. BYRNE: What does it say?

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not know but I will check it out for you. I am sure a call to anybody with those - Did you want an order for your cars? I probably could give you a number to call.

It says: Mr. Tobin, nurses will remember, Thursday April 1, 1999. Here is what he told them: He tells nurses they can trust him to handle their concerns over cutbacks to health care. His Minister of Health is a nurse, his deputy minister is a nurse, he goes home to a nurse every night. He tells nurses they can trust him.

AN HON. MEMBER: Do you remember Clyde lied (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I do remember the Clyde lied campaign.

Here is what he said on February 6, 1999 - can you imagine, three days before the election? - and this is a quote from the Premier: I have been convinced that the staffing issue needs to be addressed and is one I intend to intervene on personally. You cannot have stressed out people working double shifts, being called back on short notice, burned out, running and operating with the system.

How did he address it? Bill 3, back-to-work legislation, that is how he addressed it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, nurses will remember. What they will remember is the difference in wages between here and little Prince Edward Island with 130,000 people. You can drive across it in a wink and a nod, from one end of Prince Edward Island to another. It is accessible. No wonder they have nurses. We have so many regional disparities in our Province, geography, you have to fly. You can drive all around Prince Edward Island in a few hours. You have to fly to remote areas of the Province. Ask the Member for Torngat Mountains how difficult it is to get to certain parts of this Province. It is very expensive, very difficult, very time consuming. It takes days for the Member for Torngat to travel the district. In Prince Edward Island you can get around in no time flat. It is not the same cost of servicing Prince Edward Island as it is here. You can better economize on your numbers of working personnel because you do not have the geographical isolation we experience.

Then to tell us: We are back with a big cheque from Ottawa. February 6, 1999. The Province stands to get $40 million in extra health care money from the federal government. It comes from a new federal-provincial agreement signed this week.

Then we get a thing called a Budget. Statement two in the Budget: Canada Health and Social Transfer last year, $275,200,000. This year, $279,600,000, which is $4.4 million extra, when on February 6 there was $40 million. Where is the other $35.6 million we were told on February 6? February 9, and this is quoted on the CBC regional news: Tobin back with the money from Ottawa. Tobin is back with money. Tobin is back with $40 million for health care! Vote for us on February 9! Health care is saved!

What happens? In the Budget the Minister of Finance brings to us only $4.4 million extra is under the Canada Health and Social Transfer. Those type of things.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Is that hum I hear coming from the Humber, or where is it coming from?

He said: I now have the money to improve the Province's health care system. Seven hundred and fifty supporters at a rally in Lewisporte last night. Did you get to 750 votes in Lewisporte? How did you get 750 people out to a rally in Lewisporte? I am not sure if they got 750 votes, did they?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No! Who did they have out there? Who did they have out in Lewisporte? They had one up in Ferryland and they had 600 people, it said in the media, come up. How did they get 750 people out in Lewisporte? I bet they announced it was a farewell party for the former member. I say that is what happened, a farewell party for the former member, and they had 750 people out. That is what happened.

He said: The new multi-billion dollar agreement on health care. Can you imagine that? A multi-billion agreement that gives us $4.4 million. What a crock, I would say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: He was what? He said he got a cheque for $40 million. We have a pot of money to give you to fix our problems.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I am not saying he should not have criticised him.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I try to be. The Member for Bellevue does not listen very well. I said: He got an upbraiding from the Prime Minister. I did not say he should not have done it. I said the Prime Minister told him off. I did not say he told the Prime Minister off. That is not what I said. I do agree, it probably should be done the other way around.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I can tell you, you are earning your money today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Are you? Boy, Mats Sundin delivered yesterday.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Now listen here, I know what you told them out in the District of Bellevue. I do not want to get into that. I do not want to make it tough on you. We know what he told them out in Bellevue, don't we, (inaudible)? We know what he told them out in Bellevue.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: They haven't? Why, who put up the signs? Who ran against you?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Listen, I think this is a very appropriate letter to make reference to in this House. This letter is to the Premier of the Province. The Premier has a copy of this. We hope he has seen it. I have a copy. It reads: I am a registered nurse who came to Newfoundland from Ontario in 1972.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Was it? Who read it?

AN HON. MEMBER: Harvey Hodder read it (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I gave Harvey a copy, too.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, can you tell me what page, to save time? What odds. I will go through it again because it is an important letter.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is not, but it is in the area.

I am a registered nurse who came to Newfoundland from Ontario in 1972. I married a widower. We raised his three children as well as a son of our own. I have served on a local school board for fifteen years with no remuneration. I am fifty years old. Money is not a major issue for me personally in this nurses' strike but for others it has come to be.

We expect all of our young nurses to be university graduates. We are graduating well-educated young women and men who are forced to leave home because: (a) we are the lowest paid in Canada.

The minister does not say we are second in per capita in Canada. She does not say we are the lowest paid in Canada. There are no permanent jobs offered to them. Thank God we have had a few since. Now they are all gone and there is no one to fill them. That is the problem, there is nobody to fill them. They are all gone.

Please note that the average age of the registered nurse in Canada is forty-seven years old. I work in a community health centre. In the district we have twelve nurses who work in our area. One nurse is over sixty; five nurses are fifty to sixty; five nurses are forty to fifty; one nurse is thirty to forty years of age.

Within five to ten years this Province will be forced to offer lucrative salaries and job incentives to foreign nurses because we forced our own sons and daughters to leave home. How embarrassing, how shameful.

When I was eighteen years old, she said, I campaigned for the Liberal Party because I believed that we could work toward a just society. But you lawmakers who expect us to respect the letter of the law are the very people who manipulate the law to suit yourselves.

Until yesterday, I believed we had a civilized democracy. I am embarrassed that I was so naive, so stupid for all those years. I know now that I will never vote Liberal again. That is a promise.

Yours sincerely...

I am glad that the next Minister of Health is paying close attention to it. I am glad the next Minister of Health there is paying close attention because the current Minister of Health is not, I might add. I am glad she is.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who is the next minister?

MR. SULLIVAN: The next Minister of Health, sitting next to her, sitting to her left, she will soon get a holiday, I might add.

The Member for Twillingate & Fogo, in health care inefficiencies - and you have asked questions. Alberta, for example, increased their funding, their spending, by 21 per cent. Here is what they are doing in Quebec. Here is an example in Quebec of what they are doing. Quebec are signing agreements that stipulate hospitals must sign agreements in Quebec that stipulate performance objectives.

I wonder if the Government House Leader - I think there are Estimates at 5:00 p.m. Does he want me to go on all evening? I can adjourn debate if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, I will finish what I am saying.

Hospitals in Quebec stipulate performance objectives for their hospitals in terms of access of services. The financial plan for balancing the hospitals' budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, they have accountability. They have to put forth. If the hospitals do not put forth performance objectives and a plan, they do not get the money. They have to have accountability built into the system and that is important. Hospitals have to submit regular reports.

There are Estimates here at 5:00 p.m.

AN HON. MEMBER: You have five minutes left.

MR. SULLIVAN: Four left.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I know. I have lots more to say.

Will I adjourn debate?


MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, Mr. Speaker, I adjourn debate.

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

MR. TULK: How can I get the attention of the Opposition House Leader?

Before me move the adjournment of the House, tomorrow is Private Members' Day and I believe there is only one motion on the order paper from the Opposition. Is that the motion from the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: So I take it that is the one we will be debating.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: Okay.

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

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