The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I rise to extend congratulations to a fisherman in my district, Mr. George Feltham of Eastport, on being awarded the Romeo LeBlanc Medal for Responsible Fishing.

Mr. Feltham was presented with this award by the Right Hon. Romeo LeBlanc during a recent ceremony in Ottawa. This award was presented in recognition of Mr. Feltham's exceptional contribution to Canada's commercial fisheries. I want to point out that this medal is the highest distinction given to one of four Canadian fisherpersons receiving the first National Awards for Responsible Fishing.

Mr. Feltham is indeed to be commended for his responsible fishing practices and professional conduct. He exemplifies the image of a professional fish harvester, and the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has greatly benefitted from his dedication to rebuilding, conserving and protecting our Province's fish resources. Mr. Feltham is specifically known for his leadership in demonstrating the importance and value of fisheries conservation and has worked diligently in conserving lobster resources in the Eastport area. I referred to that experimentation on the Eastport peninsula in my first member's statement in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The member's time is up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. LUSH: Thank you.

I just want to conclude by extending congratulations to Mr. Feltham and wish him all the best in his future efforts in the fishing industry of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: I am sorry that I didn't know the member elect was going to be in the gallery today, but I wonder if I might, on behalf of all people in the House - now that the member is elected, I'm sure nobody from either side would object to welcoming the newly elected member for Trinity North, Mr. Ross Wiseman, to the gallery.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: I am sure Mr. Wiseman will appreciate why I didn't give him a standing ovation, but I do in a most sincere way congratulate him on his victory and welcome him to the House of Assembly and, in the not too distant future, welcome him in taking his seat in the House and participating in the debate about the issues that face the Province and, in particular, participating in the debate about the issues that face the District of Trinity North.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, certainly, as I did on the night of the election, I wish to congratulate Mr. Wiseman on his election in Trinity North and to welcome his visit as member elect in the Speaker's gallery. I look forward to seeing him here in the House for full debate on the issues facing this Province and his own district.

Statements by Ministers

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware, every year the health and community services boards around the Province plan for summer hospital bed closures. Based on past years, it is anticipated that between the months of May and September, up to one quarter of the beds in our Province's health facilities may close in order to facilitate vacation periods for physicians, nurses, other health professionals and support staff.

Just as in any organization, staff look forward to time off from work to spend with their family and friends. This is also a priority in the health profession. However, managing staff vacations with the needs of patients who are ill is a real balancing act. This is an unavoidable situation in a profession which serves to take care of people in hospital, nursing home or other clinical settings.

The health and well-being of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will remain the number one priority during all summer bed closures throughout the Province. So while routine surgeries and hospital admissions will be scaled back in favour of staff vacation time, this will not occur where the medical needs of the people are compromised.

As always, there will be difficulty in managing leave in specialty areas like critical care units. That is because only a small portion of our health professionals become trained to work in those specialty areas.

In regions where there is a shortage of particular health professionals, arranging vacation time may also be more difficult. This problem is faced by all other provinces across Canada, and in most instances stems from national shortages in some health professions and trades.

In this Province, we have taken action to manage our human resources well. We have set up an Integrated Health Human Resource Planning Committee which is made up of representatives of government, the boards, associations and employee groups. Sub-committees are doing work to ensure we in this Province are least affected by national shortages and other negative trends. This could mean many things, from evaluating our current education programs to looking at scopes of practice.

We have also made key investments as it relates to health human resources. In 1999, we created 125 new permanent nursing positions and we converted up to 540 casual nursing positions to permanent status. We also provided additional support staff to assist. Government has set aside money for incentive programs for physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, such as signing bonuses and bursary programs. Money is also allotted to hire nurse practitioner program graduates, and we will spend more to hire new salaried physicians.

In addition, government agreed in February to a classification review of the nursing occupation, including the licenced practical nurse classification, and the social worker classification. The purpose of the review is to ensure current classifications properly reflect the complexity of the work employees perform in today's environment. This reflects the changing nature of many health care related professions which is evident by classification reviews already underway for such classes as physiotherapists, pharmacists and dieticians represented by the Association of Allied Health Professionals.

Arranging vacation for the thousands of people who work in our health system is no easy task. However, I am assured that our regional boards will do their best to maximize the number of staff who do receive a vacation, while balancing this with an adequate number of bed closures so as not to interfere with the urgent and emergent needs of patients. Government will continue to work closely with boards to monitor the situation to ensure that health services to the public are maintained throughout the summer.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is nice to know now that summer vacation is between May and September. The previous minister stood in this House a year ago and announced closures in April - there were sixty closures from the fall to April - and said these are normal summer closures occurring there. I am glad the minister has vacations now beginning in May as opposed to beginning in June. I might add, you said last year in April when you announced twenty bed closures here in this House -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SULLIVAN: There were twenty bed closures announced, the minister said.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Oh sure, her memory is short. Read Hansard, I say to the member.

We had sixty bed closures occur last year before May 1. We had 120-some beds closed last June. We were told they would all open in the fall. They did not open. They never opened. They closed more before Christmas. They closed beds since Christmas. There have been over 1,000 bed closures in this Province in the last ten years, and people are out there waiting to get surgery. They tell us emergency cases will not be hurt. I spoke with a person recently who had cancer surgery cancelled six times. A lady who had breast cancer, waiting to have a mammogram, has six months to wait, she told me just this past week. What are they going to do when they shut down more services during the summer months? It is a little late.

The minister talks about converting 540 casuals to permanent. There were people working casual; they were working casual, more than the regular number of hours. It did not put any new manpower in the system by converting casuals to permanent because they were getting as much work as they wanted anyway.

An opportunity arose here a year ago to do something with the shortage here. They closed the barn door after it was too late. A year later, I say to the minister. Yes, minister, this year is too late. It is too late now to close the barn door, I say to the minister. You had an opportunity when you where here in the House over a year ago to do something about it and you did absolutely nothing about it except scorn at the nurses who sat here in the gallery. They are not coming back. After the RNs are written, we can tell you again, you can't even recruit half the nurses who are graduating this year, I might say to the minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.


AN HON. MEMBER: No leave.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Everybody agrees that during the summer months there will be some bed closures; however, we don't want to see this - as was done last year - used as an excuse to have permanent bed closures, beds that will never open again without ever any proper planning, announcement, or public discussion of these events.

There is some mention here of attempts being made to reclassify healthcare professionals, and I don't have any problem with that. The problem was that when the nurses were on strike, when there was an opportunity to negotiate and resolve a healthcare crisis and nursing shortage before it was created, this government did nothing and, in fact, enhanced and created the crisis by refusing to acknowledge the problems with the healthcare profession, in the nursing profession, and the need to retain and to attract nurses and other healthcare professionals. We are now trying to pick up the pieces of this government's mess last April when it ordered nurses back to work and refused to accept binding arbitration.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the President of Treasury Board.

MS THISTLE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today and advise the members of this House that government has chosen the Royal Bank of Canada as its main banker.

In December of last year, I announced that government would be seeking proposals from financial institutions to provide banking services to the provincial government. The agreement with our current banker, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, expires May 31, 2000. All Schedule I banks in the Province were sent a Request for Proposals.

Government received proposals from four banks - the Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC, Bank of Montreal, and Bank of Nova Scotia.

Following a review of the proposals, officials of both the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Department of Finance carried out an evaluation process. The evaluation determined that the Royal Bank of Canada was the preferred bank.

Mr. Speaker, government has enjoyed a good relationship with CIBC over the past fifteen years and on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I am pleased to express our appreciation for the service they provided.

Government looks forward to its new partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada. Officials of Treasury Board Secretariat and the Department of Finance are now working to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The agreement with the Royal Bank of Canada becomes effective June 1, 2000.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to inform this House today that the Royal Bank of Canada will be providing Visa and debit card acceptance services, and the Bank of Montreal will provide MasterCard acceptance services to government effective June 1. There was also a formal call for proposals to provide this service.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

I thank the minister for a copy of her release earlier. I would like to congratulate the Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal, of course, in receiving the government contract. Hopefully, the intent of this change was to save the taxpayers of the Province some money.

It is good to see the government learning from their past mistakes regarding tendering and proposal calls. It said here that the Department of Finance and Treasury Board did an evaluation of the proposals. Hopefully we won't see another lawsuit, as we have seen so many times in the past, and the present lawsuits against this Administration with respect to their public tendering and poor proposal calls. Hopefully it will pay off, but time will tell.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It certainly is appropriate that we should evaluate and change banking services from time to time; however, there is no indication here as to why one was preferred over the other, what advantages they are worth to the Province, whether they are cheaper or whether they are more expensive, or whether there were different advantages.

I wonder if the minister could explain to the people, in a future Ministerial Statement at some other time, why it was that this particular relationship was preferred to that of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce or any other bidders.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

MR. K. AYLWARD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take this opportunity to announce to the House that May 7-13 has been proclaimed as Nation Forestry Week across Canada. Since the early 1920's a week has been set aside each year to bring special attention to promoting greater public awareness about Canada's forests.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the reason we are doing it a week early is to give everybody an opportunity to think about it for an extra week.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, it would do good for some people to think about forestry a lot more.

The theme for National Forest Week 2000 is Canada's Forests, Learning from the Past, Building for the Future. As we continue to move forward towards the twenty-first century, it is important that everyone with a vested interest in our forest resource use their knowledge and contribute to the formulation of a responsible and effective management plan which focuses on sustaining our valuable forest resources for the future.

The fact is the forests of this Province have a profound affect on the lives of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. The forest industry is a social and economic backbone of over eighty communities and creates over 10,000 jobs every year. In 1999, sales from the Province's pulp and paper mills reached approximately $600 million GDP and saw their products being shipped to more than forty countries worldwide. During the same period, sales of forest products from Newfoundland and Labrador sawmills reached approximately $40 million. Modernization and the development of new market opportunities have also lead to the creation of new jobs, particularly in the value-added wood products industry. The forest industry is presently the third largest contributing sector to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador behind the fishing and mining sectors.

Our forests also provide a playground for an array of outdoor enthusiasts which include everyone from moose hunters to cross-country skiers. Our forest ecosystem is also home to a variety of wildlife - the best managed moose populations in North America - which depend on a healthy environment for their existence.

Through public education and a promotion of sound forest management practices we can make people more aware of the true value of our forests and communicate the need to manage them in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner.

In an effort to promote understanding and cooperation with respect to the protection, responsible use and development of our forest resources, the Newfoundland Forest Service, in conjunction with the Newfoundland and Labrador Forest Protection Association, will be providing the general public with an opportunity to learn more about the forests of our Province. Informative forestry related activities including tours of woodland areas, Newfoundland Forest Service facilities, along with other hands-on exercises, will be available to school groups and the general public at forestry offices throughout the Province. That is the reason why we are going a week early, to give the schools their notice.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, I also would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the men and women who dedicate their careers in effectively managing the forests of this Province. It is a result of this commitment that Newfoundland and Labrador is now considered to be a forerunner in this country with respect to knowledge and expertise within the forest industry.

We are also tabling a copy of the kit being distributed to the schools.

Since this minister has not received a question from the Opposition in two sessions of the House of Assembly on forest activity, I look forward to seeing more of that, too.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Windsor-Springdale.

MR. HUNTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, welcome the opportunity to welcome the National Forest Week, and I thank the minister for forwarding a copy of his statement.

The second part of the theme is Building for the Future. I think it is important that we recognize the importance of silviculture in our Province and I encourage the minister on doing more to enhance our silviculture program, and also recognize the importance of sustaining our forest resources, and to involve all the stakeholders of our forest resource and have a balanced approach to our forest resources.

If the minister would like me to ask questions on forestry, I think I am quite willing and quite capable of asking a lot of questions pertaining to the forestry industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, pertaining to all the stakeholders who deserve and are expecting the department to have a balanced approach to our forest resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HUNTER: Mr. Speaker, when we look at the big stakeholders and the small stakeholders we see that these stakeholders are not all being treated fairly and equally. I say to the minister, if you want questions on the forestry, I can come up with lots of questions, and I am sure in the days to come I will have good questions on the forestry. Maybe we will get something done pertaining to the sustainability of our forest resources, the jobs and all the stakeholders in our forestry.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is -


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is interesting that the minister's very fine words here are very interesting and informative, except that they leave out - as did the statement by the Opposition - the most significant issue having to do with our shared forest in the Province today, and that is the Main River. It is an area we don't know enough about, the 250-year-old-plus boreal forest where an environmental impact statement was done fifteen years ago which has deficiencies as long as your arm, where we have not adequately studied this, and yet we are on the verge of having a war of words in Corner Brook that demands the cutting of the last boreal old growth forest in North America. I think backed up behind these fine words should be some recognition of forestry as a shared resource for all of our people, the stakeholders who are directly involved in earning a living from the forest and the fibre, plus the rest of us who are earning a living -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: - and living in the environment of which our forest is a very important part.

Oral Questions

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Lately, Mr. Speaker, the Ministers of Work, Services and Transportation and Tourism, Culture and Recreation have been praising the federal government and Marine Atlantic for leasing a high speed catamaran type ferry to operate in the Gulf as an interim measure. Surely the ministers and Cabinet are being kept up to date with respect to Marine Atlantic's plans for a ferry service. We know, for example, that Marine Atlantic's board are now negotiating to buy an old British ferry, the Stena Challenger, which we also understand does not have enough cabins to meet passenger demands on the Gulf as it now stands.

In terms of what will happen after the interim measure that Marine Atlantic is taking, that the ferry that Marine Atlantic's Board of Directors are looking towards, which it now looks like they are going to purchase outright, does this type of ferry meet the provincial government's own criteria for a new permanent addition to the ferry service for the twenty-first century? Will this new ferry not only meet the government's criteria, but will it also position this Province to take advantage economically not only of tourism trade, but to enhance our economy generally throughout the Province?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I think the general public has been informed of what Marine Atlantic is going to do with regards to this summer's schedule. I don't know if they announced the name of the ship but everybody else seems to know it, that it is the Max Mols. It is a ship from Denmark. I believe it is a catamaran. It is a ship that was built in 1998. It is an aluminum type catamaran craft, similar to the other types, wide-bodied hulls that they have, say for instance, in operation from Yarmouth to Bar Harbour.

The question with regards to if it is satisfactory to the Province, well, as far as I am concerned for this summer, on the Gulf itself, it is a fast ferry. They are telling me that they had no choice to put it in, they couldn't get anything else. What we wanted, and in our report, was we wanted something that could go on the Argentia run that had enough cabins to accommodate people on the so-called night ferry on the Argentia run. They do not have that. They tell us they could not get it, it was not available. So at this stage and at this point they would have to take this vessel and then put something else in place for the fall.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, that was not the question of what going to take place in the interim, during the interim measure in terms of the catamaran vessel that has been hired with its foreign crew. That is not the question I asked.

The question I asked is: Does the provincial government have its own criteria for the more permanent solution that Marine Atlantic is now contemplating? It is widely known that Marine Atlantic's Board of Directors are in negotiations to purchase an older British type ferry called the Stena Challenger. We also know, minister, that the capacity for cabins on that vessel does not meet what the need will be as a permanent solution. So I am asking you directly not what is happening this summer - we understand that, it is an interim measure put in place by Marine Atlantic and the board - but what I am asking about is the permanent solution that Marine Atlantic is contemplating in terms of the Stena Challenger that they are negotiating to purchase. Does that meet the provincial government's criteria for a permanent solution that will enhance the Gulf ferry service, that will provide not only the opportunity to enhance tourism but to provide the opportunity to enhance our economy as well?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Does that ferry meet your own criteria, minister? Yes or no.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I am only aware of what is going to happen this summer with the new vessel that is going to go on the Gulf this summer. I have been hearing reports that they have been talking about the Stena Challenger, that she is a ropax vessel and they may have something new on that in the fall because of the extension of their contract. Apparently, she wasn't ready. They are looking at it.

If that vessel is the one that they are talking about, my understanding is there is another 25 per cent to 30 per cent capacity on that vessel, if she is a ropax. They were thinking about rescheduling. I don't know, that is hypothetical. I don't know what they are doing.

Our response to that would be: We had it in our report that was done last spring that we wanted something there that would take the place, especially on the Argentia run, with regards to the long, fourteen- to sixteen-hour run on the Argentia-North Sydney run.

Now to the other part. We must have something in place for the fall for the capacity. We had problems last fall with capacity on the Gulf with the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood and the MV Caribou. Something has to be put in place this fall. We made the federal minister aware of this and we will, again, be making the federal minister aware of this next week. We have to have something in place in the fall to address the capacity problem that we had on the Gulf last fall.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister, in answering the question, has highlighted an important issue. It is clear. I will ask you directly before I get to my next question. Are you involved directly in the selection process of a permanent solution or are you only advising what you want?

I know you went around the Island last year, you produced the report On Deck & Below, but is the provincial government part of the selection group for a new ferry? Does the provincial government - you haven't indicated - have criteria of what this Province needs with respect to a provincial ferry service? If you have that criteria, could you tell us what it is today and why you are not involved in the selection process?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I am not involved in the selection process. The federal minister and Marine Atlantic are responsible for it. I don't go to the federal minister when I am trying to make decisions on the provincial marine division. They do their thing. Marine Atlantic reports to the federal minister, they don't report to this department. There is no direct involvement with the federal minister or Marine Atlantic on what decisions they are going to make for this fall. We have made it quite clear though, as a province, where we stand and what we wanted. Public capacity was the big problem, it has been a problem for the last number of years, and we want that capacity problem addressed.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let's get to the capacity problem. Fifteen years ago, the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood ferry lost $135 million, nearly twice the amount budgeted in this year's federal budget for a new ferry, a permanent ferry. Seventy-five million dollars, I believe they budgeted.

The former minister, or the Minister of Tourism, has recently said that: the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood is nothing but a constitutional cattle boat. That was said by the present Minister of Tourism. I would like to ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation: Are you concerned?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Absolutely. I agree.

What I am also concerned about now is that if we are looking for a permanent solution, if capacity, as all people in the House, have outlined, then what representations have you made to the federal minister with respect to $75 million being allocated for a permanent ferry service? Will that meet the capacity problem as you have outlined in your own report, On Deck & Below?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, yes, the capacity problem is one of our real concerns. It had been in the past, it is today, and hopefully will be remedied for tomorrow.

They have said that they are going to put on this new fast cat for the summer. That will address - if they put the proper scheduling in place - the capacity problem for this summer. If they put the proper scheduling in place for this fall with the MV Caribou, the MV Atlantic Freighter, and the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood in place, they will address the capacity problem for this fall, no question about that, but they must put the proper schedule in place to accommodate it.

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

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

Minister, I will ask the question again. The federal government has allocated $75 million, not to deal with the catamaran or the leasing of this vessel just for this summer period. They have allocated $75 million in the federal budget for the purchase of a new vessel. Are you concerned that $75 million will not meet the problem with capacity, given the fact that the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood was built almost twenty years ago at a cost of $135 million? Will the $75 million allocation go to meeting and exceeding the capacity problem on the Marine Atlantic run, in your view? Yes or no?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, with the addition of the fast cat for this summer, there shouldn't be any problem with capacity provided the proper scheduling is put in place. If they go with the Stena Challenger they are talking about for this fall, and put the proper scheduling in place with fast turnarounds and so on, even with the refits of the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood, Caribou and MV Atlantic Freighter, there shouldn't be any problem with capacity. That is all I can tell the member. If they do that - I don't know what they are thinking about doing. I have no direct input into that. If they do what you say, and if they do what I just outlined, then there shouldn't be any problem whatsoever with capacity this year.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, what we are getting here is a spin about this summer. My line of questions are not about the capacity problem for this summer because they put in place an interim measure to handle it for this summer. My questions are about a more permanent solution for next year, the year after, the year after that, and beyond.

I will ask the minister this: The allocation of money provided in the federal budget of $75 million, are you convinced that when that permanent solution is put in place, when that $75 million is spent to put a new vessel on, will that meet the criteria you have established as minister? Will it meet the criteria that the people in this Province so badly need? And will it meet and exceed the demands and growth in the industry for this Province for this year and the next ten years? Yes or no?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I will say again what I said before. I have said, yes, yes, yes to all of the hon. member's questions. I told him that if they do put the Stena Challenger in place this fall, along with the proper scheduling.... You can put a $200 million or a $400 million vessel there if you like - they can spend $500 million - but if they don't put the proper scheduling in place to accommodate the capacity problem on the Gulf, it is not going to work.

If they put the Stena Challenger that they are talking about putting there, whether it is $75 million or $150 million, and they put the Caribou and the MV Clara and Joseph Smallwood along with the Atlantic Freighter in place under proper scheduling, with fast turnaround, to accommodate the problem we had last fall, then there shouldn't be any problem in the foreseeable future.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

The minister is missing it. The minister is missing the point. He is saying that money doesn't matter. So, do we put the Minister of Fisheries' boat, if we have a good scheduling problem.... If we take his logic, we can put the Minister of Fisheries' boat on the run as long as it is scheduled okay. That is what he is saying.

The problem is this: The money allocated by the federal government will not meet the capacity problem or the criteria of this provincial government to ensure that the service that we have put forward, that the people of this Province demand, will be met. Are you concerned about it, Minister? Yes or no?

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, it just doesn't make sense what the hon. member is getting on with. I don't know if he looked into it. I don't know if the hon. member looked beyond the name of the vessel they are talking about getting this fall. If he did, he would look at the capacity that this vessel has. That vessel alone will provide approximately a 25 per cent increase itself. So even if you took the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood off for two months and put the Stena Challenger on and the Caribou, you will have no problem addressing the capacity problem. If you took the Caribou off, and the Atlantic Freighter at the same time, the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood and the Stena Challenger would be able to accommodate the capacity problem. That is what they told me.

I looked at the capacity requirements that the Stena Challenger has, and as far as I'm concerned if that is the vessel they are talking about and they put the proper scheduling in place, with fast turnaround, especially when the refit takes place on the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood and the Caribou, there should be absolutely no problem.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I want to ask the Minister of Fisheries about the recent Newfoundland Supreme Court decision that prevents the minister from attaching export restrictions to process licenses issued by his department. I would like to ask the minister: How many licenses did he issue, as minister, that these export restrictions might be attached to?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: None, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, is the minister saying that the report carried in The Telegram is false, where a processor in the Province indicated that there were sixteen such processing licenses presently active that could now adhere to the Supreme Court ruling and be allowed to export fish products out of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked me the question: How many did I issue? I re-issued sixteen licenses of retail trade within the Province. Out of those sixteen licenses that are issued and re-issued on an annual basis, I do not have the exact amount but I think three of the sixteen have the export on those licenses.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: So the minister did issue licenses.

Minister, what are the implications of the Supreme Court's decision for the processing sector? Does it mean that the provincial government cannot attach any conditions on the export of unprocessed product? Does it mean, for example, that companies will be able to export semi-processed or raw product, thus eliminating the thousands of jobs that are presently available in the processing sector in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: No, Mr. Speaker, it does not.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I am not reading what the minister is saying. The Supreme Court of

Newfoundland told the minister that he could not attach export restrictions on a license. If the minister cannot attach export restrictions on a license, then I would like for the minister to tell the House today how he can stop unprocessed product from being exported from this Province if he has no say in what the export restrictions are?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquacutlure.

MR. EFFORD: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking a question based on what he read in the local news media. I have not yet received the judge's decision. I have not received a copy of the judge's decision. Until I get a copy and read it, and have the legal advisors of my department advise me on exactly what that decision says, only then will I or anybody be able to make a statement on the judge's decision.

In the case of unprocessed fish, the judge made it very clear that this does not impede my ability, as Minister of Fisheries, in attaching conditions of licenses saying that fish must be processed on the Island of Newfoundland and Labrador and not shipped out to be further processed anywhere else.

All along we have had a condition of license saying that if that species of fish is going directly to the consumer and not to be further processed in any other part of this country or other part of the world it can be shipped directly to the consumer. So the hon. member opposite does not know much about the fish processing or the policies that we have as a government in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are to the Minister of Health and Community Services. Under some health boards in this Province, sick and disabled people who are confined to their homes must pay to have someone come to their home to take blood, while under other boards the service is free. I ask the minister: Why should a disabled woman in Clarenville pay $25 a week to have blood taken in her home when a person here in the City of St. John's can have it taken in their home at no cost?

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

MR. GRIMES: I do not know, Mr. Speaker. I will have to check into it.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Two years ago I raised in this House, on May 4, 5 and 6 - three consecutive days - why they were staring to privatize service here in St. John's. I am glad the minister came back three days later, after denying it, and then changed the policy.

I want to ask the minister: Why are they privatizing essential health care services like this? Why is accessibility being denied by your department to certain services based upon where people live?

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that there is any privatization of health care services going on in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

When a person who is confined to their house here in St. John's and can have someone come in and take blood and it does not cost, and a lady in Clarenville who is disabled and cannot get out of her home has to pay $25 a week to get blood taken, to me that is privatization of blood care services in the Province.

There is already a ten-tiered health care system in this country. Are we now going to have the twelve boards with a twelve-tiered system, I say to the minister, in this Province? I want to ask the minister: Who makes that decision? Is it your department or is it the individual health care boards?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will check into the circumstance that the hon. member raises. I am, though, not aware of any privatization of health care services in Newfoundland and Labrador. I am not about to speculate as to why there may or may not be a charge for some service to be provided in a home in one part of the Province versus someplace else. I an not aware of the details. When I get the details, I will certainly respond in full.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to remind the minister that two years ago, on May 4, 5 and 6 in this House, I raised that issue here when it started in St. John's, and they came back and the minister announced then that the service - first she indicated it was not being done, and on the third day she indicated that now the service basically was going to changed back to what it was.

I want to ask the minister: Who is responsible for those decisions on services that are being provided? Is it you, Minister, or your department, or is that authority given to the twelve different health care boards out around this Province?

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

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There are, throughout the whole of the country, a list of services that are covered under the Canada Health Act in which there are funds transferred to the governments of the provinces and territories from the Government of Canada to help provide for those services and to have them paid for. There are a whole range of services that are completely and totally paid for, 100 per cent, as a result of what is commonly known as the medicare plan in Canada consistently throughout the whole country. There are other services that are not covered by the Canada Health Act are not covered by medicare but in certain provinces, depending upon the ability to pay, they are paid for in some provinces and paid for by the individuals in other provinces.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, my understanding is that there is consistent treatment from board to board with respect to those services that are covered, either because there is money transferred from the Government of Canada or because there is money provided directly from the provincial government above and beyond federal transfers to pay for certain services completely in Newfoundland and Labrador, but I will check fully on the instance that the hon. member raises and report back to the Legislature.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

There is a difference in services provided in the Clarenville area and in the City of St. John's, and other parts of the Province I might add, and not only in the giving of blood. In home support services there are different standards in different parts of the Province.

I want to ask the minister: Will he check and ensure - first of all, if he is not convinced it is happening, it is happening. I can give him the names of individuals who are having to pay for it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I want to ask him: Will he ensure and change that policy so there is equal access to health care services provided in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, equal access for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to health care services has always been the objective of this government. I will certainly gladly accept the information and check into it for the hon. member.

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. Is the minister prepared to acknowledge that the studies done fifteen years ago, in 1986, for the EIS showed very serious deficiencies that were, in fact, identified by officials of the former Department of Environment? And will the minister acknowledge that these deficiencies have been further exemplified by recent comments by scientists who have studied this and have pointed out that serious changes have taken place not only in understanding of ecology but in fact the different notions of how our ecology should be protected since that time?

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

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some time ago the paper mill in Corner Brook submitted a plan to the department. At that particular time, when the plan was submitted, we called for an EPR. That is an Environmental Preview Report. That particular report was prepared by the company and has been submitted to the department and we have until May 13. We have until May 3 for public response to that particular report. Even as we speak there are people who are responding to that particular report but until such time as the report is completed on May 13, I will not speculate on what further action might be done.

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

MR. HARRIS: Mr. Speaker, since the House last met, a number of groups - recreation groups, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, members of the scientific community, the Protected Areas Association, and recently the World Wildlife Fund Canada - have called upon the minister to have a full environmental impact statement on this area before any decision is made which could potentially destroy one of the last, if not the only, boreal forest containing old growth balsam in all of North America. Is the minister prepared to put an end to all of the speculation and say to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper that they wish to engage in logging this area, they have to submit it as part of a five year plan for full scientific and public review?

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

MR. LANGDON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said to the hon. member in my last answer, we have put a process in place. Part of the process that is in place now is an Environmental Preview Report. That has to take time. It has to go through stages. That particular decision will have to be rendered by me, on that report, by May 13. The public, as we speak, up until May 3, can submit, and they are submitting. We are receiving letters from the department but I am not going to speculate as to what that preview would be. We will have to wait until May 13 and then at that particular time, if the option is still available to me, I can look at it then.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recently, the Province's secure custody facilities for young people have come under some scrutiny. People throughout the Province are asking whether young people at these facilities are getting the help they need to deal with the personal issues that probably led to their incarceration in the first place. Dr. Linda Inkpen's report on the Whitbourne Youth Centre several years ago strongly recommended putting more attention and resources into intervention, counselling, rehabilitation and prevention, but we have had good reason on several occasions since then to question whether this government has actually implemented those recommendations as it should have.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Can he tell us what added steps the government has taken to ensure the focus at these secure custody facilities for young people is on counselling and rehabilitation rather than just incarceration?

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Linda Inkpen submitted her report regarding custody of youth in 1996. There were fifty-seven recommendations as part of her report filed at that time. Seventy-five per cent of those recommendations have already been implemented; thirteen are ongoing and will continue to be part of implementation. There is still approximately one recommendation which constitutes 2 per cent of the total recommendations that we have not yet decided on what to do.

I can assure the hon. member, however, that all recommendations, including the suggestion for extra counselling, is of course given a high priority. Government takes very seriously the recommendations of Dr. Inkpen.

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

MR. OTTENHEIMER: What a response, Mr. Speaker. Young people who threaten suicide are crying out for help. When suicides are prevented, these young people are not out of trouble, I say to the minister. It is not enough to lock up troubled young people and monitor them to ensure they do not harm themselves. Their situation calls for something more. I don't care if they have all been met. There is one recommendation, I say to the minister, that indeed has not been met, and it is dealing with the troubled lives of these young people at our youth facility in Whitbourne. What efforts have you made, minister, to find additional counsellors so that young people whose lives are in crisis can get the one-on-one intervention they need to turn their lives around for the better?

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

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly not at liberty to discuss any particular or specific cases that the hon. member might be referring to. I can assure him, however, that we do - as is reasonably permitted, based upon financial resources - have social workers in place at the institutions to provide ongoing assessment and treatment. We do have a psychiatrist from the Waterford Hospital who visits regularly, once the problems have been identified, to provide counselling. Government is being very responsible in the handling these situations and will continue to be.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, this year there is going to be some $12 million spent on provincial road works, so I ask the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation when he is planning on announcing the provincial road work.

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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, the capital works program for the Province has been announced. It was announced in the Budget, some $16 million. As the proper tendering process and the work is done with regards to getting the tenders ready they will be announced as they did last week in some areas, and the week before. There will probably be some this week and next week there will be a few more. It will be the same way we have done it every other year. It will be announced when we are ready.

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

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

I ask the minister what process or criteria is being used to allocate this work, or has the Minister of Fisheries promised it all to Trinity North?


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

MR. WOODFORD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. gentleman that we will use the same system we use every other year. The priority is determined by officials in the department. I don't know what the Minister of Fisheries did, but I know one thing. There were no monies allocated for Trinity North during the campaign from the Department of Works, Services and Transportation.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Question Period has ended.

Notices of Motion

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

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

I know many members in the House have been contacted by constituents relating to an issue, and I want to give notice that tomorrow I will introduce the following private member's resolution for debate.

WHEREAS the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation plays a vital role in television communication in the country;

AND WHEREAS the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provides regional and local television coverage throughout Canada and all provinces;

AND WHEREAS the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation local coverage allows people to see, hear and interact with events within our own community;

AND WHEREAS the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provides a direct link to our culture, our heritage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly unanimously endorse a resolution calling on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to cease immediately any plan to cut local television programming such as the supper hour news cast, Here and Now;

AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that this House of Assembly call upon the federal government to ensure that adequate funding is provided to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to ensure local and regional television programming throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: Let me just say to the hon. gentleman that if I heard him read what I thought I heard him read -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: After we have had a look at the resolution - I haven't seen a copy of it - if what I thought I heard him read is what he did read -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: No, no. I would like to have a look. Bring us the resolution. What I am saying to the hon. gentleman is that we will pass it right now. I have no doubt that I heard it right, but I always like to see what is on paper.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TULK: He is making photocopies?

AN HON. MEMBER: Ask for a break.

MR. TULK: I wonder if we could take a break while they are gone for photocopies and come back, and pass the motion right now?

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

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

I appreciate the commentary because I know this is an important issue. The Minister of Tourism has been out talking about it, members of our Assembly have been out talking about it. If what is contained in the wording is acceptable, in terms of just passing it like that, I think it is important for some debate to occur on it.

This is important. We have been in situations in this Legislature, in my seven years here, where we have moved expeditiously on some matters that have come before the House. In some cases it has paid off, in other cases we have had to come back and correct things. However, if the wording is acceptable we are prepared to pass it. Maybe we can put up one speaker each if that is fine with the Government House Leader.

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

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest to the hon. gentlemen that indeed, yes, that if he wants to take five minutes to introduce his motion I think we would have the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, since he has been leading the charge on that, speak for five minutes. Then put the resolution. I would like, though, if I could - and I always like to do this because I don't like to make those kind of mistakes - if we could take a two minute break.

AN HON. MEMBER: Take a five minute break.

MR. TULK: Take a five minutes break, Mr. Speaker, just for us to read the resolution. I don't think there is any problem with it at all whatsoever.

MR. SPEAKER: The House is recessed for five minutes.


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

So the agreement is that we have three speakers for about five to six minutes?

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition will conclude the debate at the end, after the other speakers.

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: It is an agreement.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

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

During the Easter break for the House of Assembly it became very apparent that federally the federal treasury board, if my understanding is correct, has demanded from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation nationally significant cost savings which eventually, and can only, mean a reduction in services to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation regionally.

It is also very apparent that what we see that could happen - the president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Rabinovitch, was in town recently, publicly made some statements, met with the employees of Canadian Broadcasting Company, but made no promises and could give no commitments to the possible reduction in the service.

What are we talking about in terms of reduction of services? What is really and effectively on the table? What is effectively on the table is that regional programming from the CBC's point of view in this Province will be gone. One of the most listened to, best watched, and highest rating programs not just in the Province but in the country is effectively on the chopping block.

Historically, look at how the CBC has played a vital and critical role in the development of our Province educationally, culturally and historically, in linking parts of this Province at a time in the last fifty years that did not know other parts of this Province; in introducing history, the history of the Great Northern Peninsula to the history of the Southwest Coast. We look only at one program that used to be that is now not any more when we talk about Land and Sea, for example.

There is a significant concern within the public itself. Now we have agreed to keep our comments timely and on point today. This is an unusual mood which, I think, reflects the spirit of all members of the House and how important this issue is that we debate it and that all members of this House unanimously - all of us - send a message loud and clear not only from the Official Opposition benches and from the Leader of the New Democratic Party, but from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and all of its ministers, on what regional programming means to this Province.

Newfoundland and Labrador has undergone significant change in the last fifty years. I look at some of governments' policies - both Liberal and Progressive Conservative policies when both parties have been given the privilege and the opportunity by the people of the Province to be government - in terms of the role that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has played in sometimes being the advocate for the concern of the average person in this Province, the person who gets up every morning to eke out a living to remain here, to be proud of our roots, our history of who we are, and what we have become.

I look at the Fogo Island situation with respect to resettlement and the role that CBC played in bringing forward the voices and concerns of a region of our Province at time in our history in the 1960s when most people in the Province were vaguely, if at all, familiar with the concerns of the people in that region.

On a very practical level, when you look at the concentration of ownership that is occurring in the Province's media today, it is even more critical in terms of radio, in terms of newspapers, in terms of TV. This is a significant issue. One of the biggest reasons, I think, outside of the history that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has played in the Province and giving us the opportunity to showcase ourselves to the rest of the country and to ourselves, but in recent times, certainly within the last five to seven years, the concentration of ownership in the media is becoming a bigger concern each and every day.

It is important to maintain balance in reporting. I don't know if there is any member in this House who has always agreed or felt that the stories they have seen about what has taken place in this Legislature or about the Province generally -

MR. TULK: Nobody except me.

MR. E. BYRNE: I know that is not true, I say to the Government House Leader.

I don't know if there is any member of this House who can say unequivocally that they have agreed with every broadcast or every assessment reporters have done. There is no one who can disagree with how important it is to maintain regional programming, to maintaining a balance in terms of ownership within the Province in terms of media outlets, to ensure that at least there are a variety and a significant number of points of view.

What is at stake as well, more importantly, is that it seems in the last decade there has been a sustained and concentrated effort federally to start to dismantle the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its regional entities. I look at CBC radio, for example, and the role it plays across the country in terms of connecting the more rural parts of our country, not only to themselves, but for us to know what is taking place with farmers in Saskatchewan, to give us the ability to see what is taking place with fishermen and salmon stocks in British Columbia, to see what is occurring with respect to the fishing stocks in the rest of Atlantic Canada, to see what is occurring nationally, and to give that regional focus that is so critical.

If we do not take the time to debate and support this motion, what effectively are we saying if we don't send that strong unanimous message from this Legislature? We are saying that the slant that evidently could come because of the reductions the federal government are demanding from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - and that as a result of that, if the regional programs are cut to the extent that they could be, and it looks like they will be - if we don't put up a fight from this Assembly, that we accept any slant that the federal news will give us. All we will see in supper hour programming news is not news that is happening locally, not news that is happening on the West Coast, Southwest Coast, in Labrador, on the Avalon Peninsula, on the Burin Peninsula, or on the Northeast Coast. We will accept the type of news that we will get that effectively will be about what is happening in mainland Canada. There may be a regional broadcast from Halifax where probably, out of a half-an-hour broadcast, there may be a five or seven minute segment set out for Newfoundland and Labrador, and there may be a five and seven minute segment set out for P.E.I. Frankly, that is not good enough.

I appreciate the comments that the Minister of Tourism has made already publicly. I think it is critical, absolutely necessary, for all of us to stand behind this resolution today to debate it, pass it unanimously, and move on it. I appreciate the Government House Leader, on behalf of his colleagues in the House, putting aside what is the normal agenda for Monday afternoon debate, which is the motion of non-confidence, which we are about to clue up given the time constraint that we have.

For those people in the gallery, this type of resolution is normally set for Wednesdays, Private Members' Day. I think it reflects the spirit of all members in the House that we have basically given leave to deal with this very important issue, in an emergency way, without it going any further, so that on the first day that the House of Assembly is open it sends a strong, unequivocal and clear message both to the federal government and to CBC nationally, but more importantly, to the people in this Province who have come to depend and rely upon the news and regional programming that is so critical to the state of who we are.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take this opportunity to join in the debate on this resolution put before the House quite properly on the first opportunity of us coming back from our Easter break to outline to the Government of Canada, in a forceful and hopefully unanimous way, the importance of the decisions being made on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with respect to regional coverage in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We have seen, in the last number of months, as a result of budgetary action by the Government of Canada, by decisions of the CRTC, and by the response of the national executive of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, that the end result of these actions will see a dramatic reduction in the service to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, a large chunk of CBC's budget in Newfoundland and Labrador will be gone.

Now, we have already suffered very severe cutbacks in this Province from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. They have come disproportionately. I have not done the analysis but those who have, have told me that we have suffered disproportionately to other parts of Canada in terms of the reductions in service, the reductions in budget, the reductions in staff and the reductions in programming capability.

The importance of CBC Newfoundland and Labrador cannot be underestimated because of the role that it has played in making us better known to each other, simply put, not only on an ongoing basis but on a day-to-day basis; because, although there is competition in the news market for television, they cannot adequately cover the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. They do not have the resources to provide the coverage that is needed for Coastal Labrador, Northern Labrador, Western Labrador, the West Coast, the Northeast Coast, and all other places - the South Coast - all over this Province where important things are happening, where issues are developing, where the needs of the people of this Province to have access to the rest of us are being met right now by the CBC but cannot be met by anybody else.

I was discussing this very issue with some people from the private broadcasting world. You might think at first glance that they might be happy to see the competition go, but that is not the point of view that I hear expressed; because if CBC is lessened in its ability to deliver the news and to be a significant part of the news media in this Province, on television in particular, then the need for NTV to spend resources to compete, to be active in covering stories that they might not otherwise cover, will be diminished. So we will see an overall lessening of the ability of people of this Province to know not only what is going on but to allow them to hear from others what they think of what is happening and develop a worthwhile public debate in this Province.

The Leader of the Opposition has mentioned the possible results of major serious cuts. I want to tell you, from my experience, I worked for CBC for about a year and a half back in the mid-1970s, before I went to law school. At that time - back around the spring of 1975, I started - radio and television news worked together, and there was a supper hour broadcast. In that supper hour broadcast - it was a national news broadcast; it started at 6:30 p.m. - there was an eight minute local news segment. That was twenty-five years ago. The stories, when I was a reporter - I was only there as summer relief for six or eight months and then I worked in radio for another year before I went to law school - the stories that you were able to do, if it was the major story of the day you might get a minute and a half, or you might get a minute and forty seconds. Otherwise, you had forty seconds for your story, sixty seconds for your story, or ninety seconds for your story. If it was the major, major story of the day, you might get a minute and a half or close to two minutes. So you had a very small window to broadcast news, to develop stories, to go into issues and to let things be considered news that might not otherwise make it, and that is what we see happening with both NTV and CBC. We see them develop stories that they see of major public interest. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The suppertime program of Here and Now is probably the most watched supper hour program on a per capita basis of any suppertime news package all over Canada within CBC.

NTV is ahead of them for the first half hour of their show. I am talking about within CBC now. Within CBC, the ratings on a per capita basis of the Newfoundland Here and Now suppertime news package exceeds that of Toronto, that of Vancouver, that of Winnipeg, and that of every other place in the country.

It is a tribute to the interest that is being shown by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in what is going on in their Province, in what is happening in all parts of the Province. We are at a pretty crucial time in our history, the turn of the century, fifty years of being a part of Canada, expanding offshore industry, vital issues that have to be debated and discussed, and we have to come to some directions on these issues with a vigorous and vital public debate.

It is very important that these issues be able to be aired within the local community and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and to see not only what is going on in the City of St. John's, but what is going on all over the Province. In order to do that, there has to be the resources at the disposal of the CBC region in order to make that possible.

I think it is imperative that we all get behind this motion. Obviously, I would imagine that copies of Hansard as well as the resolution itself will be transmitted to the Government of Canada, to the minister of communications and the minister responsible for the CBC, and ensure that the concerns of each and every member of this House as expressed in this motion are passed on to the Government of Canada.

We can't let this happen, Mr. Speaker. It, in fact, is an insult to the seriousness with which we take our provincial affairs, our history, our culture, our communication with ourselves, to have this happen by our national broadcaster.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think I can say much more than that, except to say how important this issue is to each and every Newfoundlander and Labradorian. I look forward to hearing the remarks of the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation on this very important issue.

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

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to join this debate today. I thank the hon. the Leader of the Opposition for bringing forward the resolution because it essentially lifts it out of the political realm and out of the partisan sphere and says to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that every party, all of us in this House, substantially agree with the resolution as put forward by the Leader of the Opposition.

It is a good resolution, we support it, and I would ask his Honour - in line with the Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Leader of the Opposition - if he would send it forthwith to the Parliament of Canada on unanimous consent, and I assume there will be unanimous consent.

Mr. Speaker, that is important because the board meeting of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation occurs on May 8. It is at that time that they will be making these decisions. As Mr. Rabinovitsch, himself, has said, they have a $45 million problem and in order to deal with it they are going to examine very closely the workings of CBC English television.

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of points I would like to make on this resolution, and they are these: I can recall going into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation studios on Prince Philip Drive fourteen or fifteen years ago when I was a teacher, a theater teacher, and seeing the place just alive - alive with creativity, technical people moving around. The studios were constantly full. There was a lot of buzz and good, positive energy happening in this place. There really was a lot of good, positive energy happening there. Local productions were being done: Skipper and Company, Reach for the Top. A great many programs were being developed and conducted here in -


MR. FUREY: Codco. There were a lot of shows being done. It was a good, positive place to be. The reason I raise that is because I was there in the studios just last week, meeting with the unions, and talk about a contrast; a contrast in fifteen short years between when I was there with a group of high school students, myself as a teacher, and then going in there the other day as a politician and sitting down and listening to the unions. It was like walking into a morgue, like walking into a funeral parlor. It was empty. There was no buzz. There was no energy. There were no youthful people running around, no technical creativity. The place wasn't full of spark and fun and fire. It was dead. The morale was terrible. I met with the unions, and probably the Leader of the Opposition met with them as well. It was just devastating and terrible.

One of the things that I would say to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and to the people of the Province, is the shameful thing that happened twelve years ago, or about a decade ago, when the cuts first started happening at CBC. It started out as the death of 1,000 cuts, a little cut here, a little cut there, and it was insidious. You couldn't see it but you could sort of feel it if you were in that environment. You couldn't really see it, you couldn't quantify it and you couldn't measure it, but a decade ago they started putting the knife right in. What did they do? They went after the technical, the creative, the spark that really builds a cultural community. They went right in there. Shame on them for doing that, because the studios slowly closed down. Nothing was created. There was no new energy. There was no new technical expertise. The creative genius had bled out of the place, and shame on us for not making more noise, for not standing up, all of us, because here is what happened by shutting those studios down. You see great programs that are award-winning programs, that are fabulous programs, that are developed, written, produced and acted by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, drifted off where? They were built right here in St. John's at the main studios. They drifted off to Halifax.

Twenty-two Minutes, which is an act of genius that we are all very proud of, just won a national comedy award for the best hit program across the country. Where is it produced? It is produced in Halifax. It is produced in a region, not in the Province where it was born, not in the Province where the Newfoundland genius was born. They couldn't produce it here. There was no facility for them to produce it here, and that is shameful.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: Yes, all Newfoundland cast, produced, written, directed, partially, and then acted by Newfoundlanders. That is the real shame, when they took away all of that creative genius, those new young people who were bringing their skills from the technical schools into CBC, all of that technical know-how drifted out across the country. The comic genius that is Codco and Twenty-two Minutes and others drifted out across the country. Nothing is produced, with the exception of one or two shows which are no longer, as the Leader of the Opposition rightly points out, production shows in and of themselves.

You talked about Land and Sea. It used to have its own one-hour program, and it ran and was produced and developed here. They have now clipped it down to half an hour as part of Here and Now, as they go through.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FUREY: That is right.

The Leader of the New Democratic Party correctly says that this is the highest rated supper hour program anywhere in the country. I wish I could collect the revenues or find out - we are trying to analyze this now - what are the revenue streams that come in from advertisers, et cetera, supplemented with the subsidy to see if in fact it even pays for itself? Perhaps it does.

AN HON. MEMBER: Big dollars.

MR. FUREY: Big dollars, I would submit, but you are correct in saying that. When you compare it, I think there are three other jurisdictions in the country - Prince Edward Island and I believe Winnipeg, Manitoba - that have first-rate supper hour shows that are very vastly supported by viewership right throughout those provinces, but Newfoundland and Labrador has the number one hit supper hour show, Here and Now, anywhere in the country. They are looking at cutting that, hacking it, chopping it in half.

There is something else we have to bear in mind. The cultural aspect is important in and of itself, but the economic aspect equally, Mr. Speaker. A lot of people don't realize this, that there are forty-five jobs riding on this, very good paying, well paying jobs, technical people, art direction, cameramen, creative people who are working on the supper hour news. It is just not two people reading the news every night. There is a plethora of people who range in behind that, who are generating this whole production and research, et cetera. Those jobs could be on the chopping block.

The next point I would make is that the Broadcasting Act itself, which is an act of the Parliament of Canada, right inside its own preamble it talks about CBC's mandate being to reflect the regions to themselves, and every single province and territory has a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Now, with the cutting, bleeding and gutting that we have seen over the years, you saw offices close in Corner Brook, in Grand Falls, and stations close in Labrador, and we are left essentially now with a headquartered CBC in St. John's with some stringer reporters around the Island. Well, if they take all away and they just give us a couple of reports that are fit in, in what they call windows, into a national network program, a couple of stories maybe into this program, I would submit to the House of Assembly that offends the Broadcasting Act which talks about its mandate right in the preamble that each region must be reflected unto itself and of itself right in the act.

I will go a step further and say that the CRTC, in its latest ruling, right in the condition of licence, said to CBC: we will give you your television licence for English Canadian television but you must not only adhere to the Broadcasting Act and allow regions to be reflected onto themselves, but we say to you in the licence, do not cut. In fact, beef it up. Add new monies for it. Make sure that you go and produce the kinds of shows that I just talked about, that CBC itself used to produce in a very creative manner right here in Newfoundland and Labrador and export. We used to have variety shows that we exported right across the nation, that got top marks right across the nation.

I would say to you that this is a good resolution. We cannot allow the Corporation, the Board of Directors, and indeed the Government of Canada, to just create a phone-in network television here in St. John's. We cannot allow them to create a storefront which is window dressing and say this is CBC for Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, they came - you will recall this - CBC themselves went across the nation. They held hearings here, and the public came out in full support of production here. They came out in full support of adding the creative element, beefing up those studios, reviving CBC and making it the colourful, wonderful and bright place that it was. The public said that, not just politicians, not just people with self-interest who work at the Corporation, but the general public itself.

I say, in conclusion, they cannot turn their backs on the public. They should not turn their backs on their own act, the Broadcasting Act, and they should not be negligent in the condition of licence given by the CRTC and just walk away from the very reasons that the CRTC put in their licences. That would be criminal and negligent.

I thank hon. members for their indulgence. I think this is a good resolution and I think, if Newfoundlanders and Labradorians ever were to speak up, we can make sure that we save this particular program which is good for this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, if I could have just a brief moment to conclude. I want to thank the Leader of the NDP for adding his voice to the resolution we put forward today. I thank the Minister of Tourism for adding a couple of points that cannot be lost. One, certainly the legislation that enacts the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from the Parliament in terms of its own preamble. It is a mandate to provide regional programming, to reflect what our country is. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation itself is part of the character of what makes people who live in Canada, of what makes Canadians different, and provides for us, I think, the opportunity that we can say to anybody, anywhere, at any time, that we are interested in each other.

Finally, I want to say to the Minister of Tourism as well that, in his remarks related to the CRTC, that the federal Government of Canada - this is and these are and that is the group that we are talking about that has put the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the position that it is now in, without the federal government, in terms of demanding more, in terms of cost savings from them that has put them in the situation where they have no choice. So I urge each and every member of the House, where they can, to exercise their own individual influence outside of the influence of this Legislature, outside of the influence of government, but to exercise our own individual influence wherever we can to ensure that at least at the bare minimum the level of service that we now have is maintained - at the bare minimum.

The minister is correct in terms of what has happened over the last ten years. At one time there were at least 300 people just in this region here, not what was going on in Corner Brook or other parts, but now that is down to about seventy-five. It is shameful to think that the type of not only comic genius but journalistic sorts of people who have come from this Province: Rex Murphy, Harry Brown and others who are playing a crucial and vital role in the country's affairs today from a broadcasting point of view, that, from our perspective, much of what they are doing is being produced elsewhere and that is shameful.

I want to thank, finally, all members and the Government House Leader for giving the indulgence to pre-empt the routine matters of the House for today in dealing with this motion very expeditiously and dealing with it critically, as we all should.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. TULK: I would like to have the record show that it was a unanimous decision of the House.

MR. SPEAKER: All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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

I declare the resolution carried unanimously.

We were on the routine proceedings and were dealing with Notices of Motion. Further Notices of Motion?

Orders of the Day

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

MR. TULK: Motion 1, the Budget Speech.

MR. SPEAKER: Motion 1.

Did the hon. the Member for Harbour Main-Whitbourne adjourn the debate?


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

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, I rise again today to continue debate on the non-confidence motion in this government's Budget which was put forth.

AN HON. MEMBER: What? Non-confidence?

MR. HEDDERSON: Non-confidence, absolutely non-confidence.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEDDERSON: Maybe it is my haircut, too, I don't know; but some people may have been down in the sun and maybe that is the reason they may not be sure of things.

I say to the minister that I have not had confidence in this Budget. The main reason is, of course, in my area of education, that since the mid-1990s I have seen millions of dollars being taken out of the allocation to the K-XII system, savings that were certainly spent elsewhere. We find ourselves now in a position, six or seven years later, where these saving would have gone a long way to solving a lot of the current problems in education, so again I speak from the aspect of non-confidence.

I go back through the 1990s, when educational reform was certainly a buzz word and there were all sorts of expectations that the millions of dollars - and I mean the millions and millions of dollars - that would be saved in school closings, in the lay-off of teachers, in the, I suppose, amalgamation of the different school boards, that these millions and millions of dollars worth of savings would create an opportunity for the government of the day to move forward and to allow this Province's education system to be developed into a state-of-the art delivery system that would certainly not only lead this Province but lead this country in education for many years to come; certainly lead it into the Twenty-First Century.

Alas, the Twenty-First Century has arrived - with a lot of hype, I might add - but our education system has not really entered into the Twenty-First Century. There have been a lot of reports done, there have been a lot of promises made, and this Budget is no different. There were promises that enough money would be allocated to action a report that once again would put the education system back on the rails, but we see that is not true. There was well over $11 million taken out of the K-XII allocation - close to $11 million taken out - that could have been used to bring about the recommendations of the Williams-Sparkes report that would certainly allow the education system of Newfoundland and Labrador to catch up with the so-called school reform that was touted and promised back in the early 1990s, in particular the 1992 report by Dr. Williams.

These reports, I would say to you - which are somewhat too numerous to mention, since the early nineties - have called for initiatives to create, as I have pointed out, an education system that would lead not only the Province but the country into the Twenty-First Century. We had the opportunity, but the opportunity was lost as these reports, for the most part, have simply gathered dust.

The initiatives that certainly were put forth - I referenced the Williams report, I referenced the Canning report in 1996, I referenced the crisis in the classroom by the NLTA, and other reports - clearly stated that the education system of Newfoundland and Labrador was in sad need of reform. Of that, there was no doubt. It called for a sound curriculum, a curriculum that would get away from more, I guess, knowledge-based into a more resource-based curriculum from the Kindergarten to the high school, and this resource-based curriculum would have a sound philosophy, and it wouldn't be simply a philosophy that we had in years gone by that the more knowledge that you could regurgitate, the more facts that you could regurgitate, the smarter you were. This is not the case in our more modern world, in the post-modern world that we find ourselves in right now, because the students of today have to be able to inquire, they have to ask the right questions, they have to know where to find the right answers. So the curriculum has slowly changed, or has required change, but this government has not allowed, I suppose, the delivery to catch up with the philosophy, so the sound curriculum is not there. There is a scramble now to try and catch up, but you can't catch up unless you are prepared to put your money where your mouth is. This is where this Budget falls down.

It is hard to believe that once again some esteemed educators have taken the time to go around this Province, to talk to the different groups who are involved in education, to bring back to this government a blueprint of where we should be going at this particular time, and to find that in that particular year the action is going to require another five-year plan. This five-year plan will bring us up into 2005.

When we look at reform beginning in the late eighties and finishing up five years down the road from where we are right now, that is not the expectation of the people who were very much involved in voting in a referendum where they thought they were voting for a reform, where neighborhood schools, where easy access to schools would be, safe schools, state-of-the-art schools. These were the type of schools and schooling the people expected in 1996 when they voted to revise the denominational system. We are in 2000, halfway through the year you can say, and still the government is dragging its heels. In this Budget we see that the money certainly is not going to be allocated for education.

It is not that we are asking for new money. We are asking, for the K to XII system, for the allocations that have been given to it as near as the last Budget last spring. The $11 million that somehow has been taken out and gone elsewhere would have actioned this five-year plan in perhaps two years. I say to you this is where it should be, that I should not have to be on my feet right here today asking that the government reconsider its allocation of money to the K to XII system. I shouldn't be here. It should already be there. The savings that were gotten as a result of the cutbacks in particular, sixty-eight teachers coming out of the system, these savings would be better used if they were injected into this particular program.

I talked about the curriculum. There are other initiatives that were taken that, again, have not been actioned and it looks like they will not be actioned for at least another three years to five years, if ever. The physical space that our children, the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, endure with regard to their delivery of education leaves a lot to be desired. I have had occasion to visit many schools in this Province and I can tell you that the maintenance on these buildings is terrible, to say the very least.

We are down to less than -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HEDDERSON: Yes. My colleague here is mentioning to me just one particular school, and I can tell you there are many more. There are not exactly falling down but the roofs are leaking, the accessibility for the challenged is not there, the type of space, oftentimes, are cramped classrooms. There are still schools in this Province which have carpet on the floor that has been there for, perhaps, twenty years or thirty years. It is a proven fact that carpets harbor more bacteria, more dirt - and I say dirt - than anything else in a school and they certainly should be removed.

There is a lot I can say about the state of education in this particular Province. We are now into the twenty-first century, not that that makes any difference; it should be no different any year regardless. However, the promises, I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that were made were not kept, and this Budget of the year 2000 does not meet the commitment that this government made back in 1992 to make sure that by the turn of the century our education system would be second to none in the country and indeed in the world.

I am very disappointed to see that money savings certainly have been taken out of the K to XII system and spent elsewhere when indeed, by keeping the level of funding there, at least we could jump ahead, because it is important that we jump ahead, that we move forward, that we don't drag our heels when it comes to the delivery of education. I can't tell you how important it is for us to get the jump in other areas by educating our children in a manner that is most appropriate, in a manner which clearly prepares them for the challenges they are going to meet, and there are many challenges out there. I tell you, there is no better way to prepare our children for the challenges they are going to meet than to give them sound education. We cannot continue to look in the past because there is no doubt that the education system of Newfoundland and Labrador was certainly adequate to address past concerns, but since we have come into the 1990s - and we know we had to shift gears, shift philosophies, and shift in many different areas. The desire was there, the blueprint was there, but the government of the day did not, I say to you, fulfil its commitment to the people of this Province when it came to actioning what should have been done.

I say once again that when I look at the Budget this year - and I am only dealing with the K to XII - there is a sense of disappointment. Given the opportunities, once again, that this government has to make a difference, we are looking at a three- to five-year plan to catch up with what should have been done at this particular period of time.

Our literacy rates have been, I suppose, looked at. I don't know if the standards of literacy have risen or dropped, whichever way you want to look at it, but there is real concern out there in the business world, in the real world, that the students in our schools are not being prepared for the challenges they have been asked to meet. They are very serious challenges.

I say to you that the initiatives are there. They need to be actioned. Early intervention, for example, when we talk about literacy rates, the money that can be saved in the long run by intervening early, and I don't mean in kindergarten to grade XII, I mean pre-kindergarten. We don't have to go very far with regard to finding out, through research, that it is a proven that the earlier the intervention can take place the more successful that intervention is going to be. If we are looking at really getting a handle on drop-out rates, on literacy rates, the best place to start is not after the fact but is to be proactive and to get there prior to the problem mushrooming to such an extent that it cannot be handled.

I would implore, I would ask, that the delivery of education in Newfoundland and Labrador be looked at as a priority, as it should be, but this Budget does not put education into that category. As a matter of fact, as I pointed out as I began, the millions of dollars that has been taken out - and there is something like $80-plus million since 1994 - if these savings had been injected back into the system we would be much further ahead than we ever could hope at this particular time. We have situations out in our schools where buildings need to be refurbished, where resources need to be put in, where the children are not in what we would call a safe environment. The air quality in the schools is certainly another concern. For too long we have ignored the need for good proactive maintenance to make sure that we are ahead and providing a learning environment for our students that, once again, are certainly adequate ones for their learning.

The restructuring that took place, and it did take place, brought us down to something like 340 schools. We are talking about 90,000 students. It behooves me to understand how, with such a drop in population, with such a drop in the number of schools, there are still schools out there, there are still situations out there, that are less than adequate.

We are entering the twenty-first century and we have been assured by this government that this last Williams-Sparkes report will lead the way, that in a couple of years' time everything that should have been actioned in the last decade will indeed be done, but I fear that this is not going to happen. This is where the aspect of accountability must come into the picture. We have to make sure that what is being done in our education system, in the K to XII system, that the people who are doing it, the results that are gotten from it, that there is some degree of accountability. That appears to be a move which is absolutely required, because with the different type of schools that we have, with the geography that we have, we must hold this government accountable to ensure that the delivery of the curriculum into the classrooms is indeed a delivery that is appropriate and effective, because we have to.

As long as I can speak, I will have to continue, if I could, to remind this government how important education is because somehow along the way I suspect that prioritization of education has not occurred, that in many cases it has just been delay after delay. I fear that this Budget indicates to me that there will be yet another delay in the implementation of the necessary recommendations to ensure that all students in this Province are getting the type of education, the delivery of education, that they certainly need.

The teaching has changed tremendously. However, in saying that, it is very unfortunate that many of our, I guess, teachers do not have the opportunity to be professionally in-serviced on a regular basis to keep up with the changing times in education. Because you must be able to change with the times and to, I suppose, roll with the punches because, I tell you, in my twenty-odd years in education I have seen tremendous changes. The students, thank God, have remained the same but the teaching strategies that are used, the relationship between educator now -

MR. SPEAKER (Smith): Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. HEDDERSON: Just in cluing up, Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that the non-confidence in this Budget is there.

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

AN HON. MEMBER: No leave!

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

MR. HEDDERSON: I thank you very much for the time to speak, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words in the debate of non-confidence in the government as to its measures taken to deal with the problems facing the people of this Province. We have a large series of problems that are not properly addressed, not adequately addressed by this government's actions. We have an unemployment rate in rural Newfoundland that is staggering. We have an economy that is so sensitive to the one contract or another coming our way that, for example, we have in Marystown and that area probably the largest industrial workforce on layoff in all of the country on a per capita basis. We see an excellent facility, a group of skilled workers who have developed and proven their skills over many years, now being lost, gone to various other parts of the country to work because they can't get work in the shipyards built and paid for by the people of this Province and turned over to an American company for a dollar in exchange for a promise of development and the promise of work, a promise that has not been fulfilled.

That alone is enough to express non-confidence in this government's ability to manage the assets and affairs of the Province and ensure that we have adequate work for our people. When you look at the Terra Nova project and its building activities in Scotland and in other parts of the world, equipment that could be built and should have been built in Marystown, one shudders at what this government is prepared to do to get oil development going without insisting that we have our fair share of the benefits of that oil resource.

We have seen it with Hibernia, and I guess we can make excuses for Hibernia. It is all very well to take the approach that: You know, the oil resource is finite and is going to be gone and Hibernia is going to see it go. I, too, obviously, am terribly concerned along with many Newfoundlanders to see the kind of royalties that we are actually getting from the Hibernia deal. Some excuses can be made on the basis that this was the first oil project, that there was some doubt as to whether or when it might take place. There was some doubt as to whether it was economical. There was some doubt as to whether the demands of the Government of Newfoundland were too onerous for the oil companies. There was some debate going on about whether or not there were sufficient offshore reserves to justify a full scale offshore oil industry.

All of that doubt is gone. We are now at a second stage of development. The Hibernia project is now the cash cow for Petro-Canada, the cash cow for Murphy Oil Corporation, the cash cow for the partners in Hibernia who are reaping the benefits of high oil prices and want to increase their production capacity in order to further take advantage of the prices while they are high. One can hardly blame them for that, but at the same time I do blame them if they continue, if they insist, if they try to treat this as some sort of marginal resource that they are doing us a favor to exploit, that they are doing us a favor to take off our hands, that they are doing us a favor to leave some crumbs on the table for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in the forms of royalties and some jobs, by forcing on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador some phony international competitive regime.

I don't believe for one minute that what was motivating or what happened in the Terra Nova deal was a pure, without bias, without influence, international competitive regime as to who would get the work for the Terra Nova project. In my view, that did not happen. They resisted doing work in Newfoundland and Labrador. They avoided doing work in Newfoundland and Labrador. They used weasel words in agreements with this government, and I blame this government as much as them.

MR. J. BYRNE: Weasel words.

MR. HARRIS: Adopting weasel words -

MR. J. BYRNE: What do you mean by that?

MR. HARRIS: Weasel words are words that you can weasel out of. These weasel words were used in agreements that were signed by this government on August 5, 1999 - or 1989.

MR. J. BYRNE: Which decade are we talking about?

MR. HARRIS: Let me get the decades right here.

Weasel words were used about best efforts, about bringing the jobs from Leatherhead, England, the engineering and design jobs, back to Newfoundland as soon as it is practical; another weasel word that turned out to be totally unenforceable by this government or by anybody against the consortium developers.

We see once again this Province being the loser because this government did not stand up strong enough to look after the interests of the people of this Province. Now we have made these arrangements, we have made these contracts, we have made these deals, but we have a new project coming. The Newfoundland Benefits Agreement that was agreed on between this government and the Terra Nova consortium is not something that we expect to see with the White Rose development, so far at least. They are to go before the C-NOPB with their Newfoundland benefits plan. They are to put forth their ideas about what they believe they can accomplish here in this Province in terms of putting together that project and doing what needs to be done. What is left as the role of the people of this Province, aside from those few individuals who are on the Offshore Petroleum Board, who see themselves as regulators of an industry and not political players, because that is not their role? What is the role of the Newfoundland Government? What is the Newfoundland Government going to be doing to ensure that the Newfoundland benefits are satisfactory to the government? How are they doing it? Are they doing this in an open public forum or are they doing it behind closed doors without letting the public know where they stand and what they are prepared to insist on?

We have an alternative being proposed, an alternative to the development of the White Rose field and the neighboring fields, that would see gas coming onshore in this Province very quickly to develop an onshore oil and gas industry. That is the strategy that would see the first beneficiaries of offshore gas in Newfoundland and Labrador being the people of this Province. Only at a later date would we see the gas going on to the rest of North America as part of some intercontinental pipeline system to the markets, but we would see in the interim the development of gas related industry onshore. We would see the potential for the cleanup of the Come By Chance Oil Refinery with clean fuel. We would see the possibilities of a co-generation plant to assist in producing electricity as well as supplying steam heat to the oil refinery.

One of the most significant problems that face the operators of the Come By Chance Oil Refinery is the reliability of power. That problem could be solved. The pollution of the environment in the Come by Chance area could be resolved, practically eliminated, by the use of gas as a fuel to operate the refinery. The co-generation plant itself could generate additional electric resources not only for the Come By Chance Refinery but also for other industrial users.

We would see happen what has happened already in Nova Scotia. We would see paper mills converting to the use of gas as a fuel. We would see the Holyrood generating station convert to the burning of Bunker C and the pumping of sulphur into the atmosphere to the burning of gas in their turbines and producing with efficient burning the final result of combustion being water vapor, water vapor and carbon dioxide, and far less carbon dioxide than is produced by the burning of conventional fossil fuels or even wood. The burning of coal, wood and oil produces far more in the way of pollutants and far more in the way of carbon dioxide than does the burning of gas.

We see a real alternative strategy developing here, a real opportunity for this government to ensure that a strategy that is chosen is the one that benefits the people of this Province the most. There are some significant barriers in the way. We always have this difficulty in the area of resource development of the potential of trading royalties for jobs. We see the potential in this government itself. The Premier himself, in May of 1996, when talking about Inco, talked about the trade-off between royalties and jobs. He wasn't long changing his tune when I took him to account for it in this House of Assembly.

That is one of the problems that we have as a Province, where we are in receipt of significant benefits from the equalization formulas, transfer payments related to the equalization formulas, as a part of Canada.

We have seen, in some of the items under the Inco proposal, where we would lose 112 cents on the dollar from our revenues from the Inco development of Voisey's Bay if we take it in royalties. That is a very significant problem that we have as a part of Confederation. We have to find solutions to that and I don't see them coming from this government. In fact, I don't see any action at all from this government.

We have a group of people who are the victims of a whole, long series of government inaction on their contributions to the pension plan. Public sector employees in this Province, government workers who payed religiously into the pension from their cheques each and every pay period for all of their working lives with government in the expectation that their contributions were being matched by government, in the expectation that when they retired the pension would be there for them, in the expectation that the practice of government increasing the pensions along with public sector increases would be continued. That, Mr. Speaker, went on for years, for decades. Whenever the issue of pensions being negotiated by NAPE and the public sector unions was every brought forward, government said: Not negotiable, not an item for negotiation.

What happened in 1989? The last increase in public sector pensions was granted to the pensioners, and in the last ten years not one cent from this government, not one cent from the Liberal government since 1989 until now to public service pensioners. No wonder they are practically camped outside the lobby, coming every day, put in a position of having to request that this government treat them fairly. That is another item where there is no confidence in this government, and how this government is treating its own public sector workers.

There is a call now, Mr. Speaker, for a co-management of the pension fund, a joint trusteeship allowing employees to have a say in the management of pension funds and pension plans. Some of that goes on in other provinces. It goes on in Ontario with the teachers' pension, it goes on in Newfoundland with MUNFA, the Memorial University Pension Fund, and there is a call now for it to happen with the pension funds of this government. It is an idea that has to be considered, and it has to be seriously considered.

While we are considering that issue, we should also consider another one, and that is the value, the value as an asset, as a tool for development, as a support for investment in this Province, the value of all of our savings in the public pension funds of this Province, whether they be the MUN pension fund, the teachers' pension fund, the public service pension fund. All of these funds - hundreds of millions of dollars, I say to the Minister of Fisheries; more money, I say to the minister, than is in his budget every year - goes into the public service pensions of this Province to be used for investment purposes to provide proper pensions for our retired employees. What happens to that money? Where is it going? What is it being used for? What stocks and bonds in other parts of the world are being supported by our public service pensions? What is happening to our public service pensions? The money that is there, that is being invested for public sector, whether it be for teachers -


MR. HARRIS: We are talking about the pension funds of this Province, the MUN pension fund, the public service pension fund, the teachers' pensions, the Memorial University workers' pensions. All of these pensions, Mr. Speaker, are invested by this government. What are they being used for? If we are going to do a proper job of understanding how our pension system works and how it can be used, we have to start finding ways of using it to support investment in this Province. Just the way the Province of Quebec does. They play a role in supporting industrial development and economic activity in their own province. We have to start figuring out ways of doing that, ensuring that we are spending and investing our public pensions with a view to public purposes and to the purposes of this Province.

These issues are some of the issues that need to be considered and which this government is ignoring. What about health care and home care? I see we have the attention of the Minister of Health. He looked up from his newspaper. On that area, on that front, what are we doing? As a country, we are putting our health care system in crisis on an ongoing and permanent basis. Why are we doing it? There seems to be no rationale unless you look a little further and see who the big players are and what the big money wants.

The big money in this country want to see the health care system in crisis, because they support an alternative to a publicly funded health care system that is consistent with the five principles of the Canada Health Act. They want to see that happen. They want to see the health care system in a crisis because then they can come in and provide the alternative: You have a health care system in crisis, but we have the alternative; we can provide private health care. We can provide private health care for those who can afford it. I think the words they use are: to take the burden off the public system.

That is not the kind of health care system that Tommy Douglas fought for. That is not the health care system that the New Democratic Party fought for all across this country, and that is not the health care system that we alone are fighting for in the House of Commons today when the Liberal Government, supported by the Tories, supported by the Reform Alliance, got together to defeat a motion by Alexa McDonough on March 2 calling for increased support and restoration of the funding for health care, and to fight against the privatization going on in health care.

What we saw happening in that House, we see it happening in Alberta. I saw it happen. I saw it in an article written by the hon. Government House Leader's former lawyer.

MR. TULK: Are you talking about John Crosbie?

MR. HARRIS: John C. Crosbie, PC, O.C., Q.C.

MR. SPEAKER (Mercer): Order, please!

The member's time is up.

MR. HARRIS: By leave to hear what your lawyer had to say?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave?

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave!

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. HARRIS: This is an article by the hon. John C. Crosbie: Medicare and the health care system. It reads: The question is not whether our system should be publicly or privately controlled, but how much of each is needed to save the system.

That is the kind of fence that a number of people are sitting on in this country instead of getting behind and supporting the public care system.

Since my time is up, Mr. Speaker, I will allow somebody else to speak and I will get another opportunity to discuss the level of confidence that this hon. member has in this government in the future.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to say a few words on the non-confidence motion which has been put forward by our members on this side of the House. I suppose, in bringing forward the non-confidence motion, it was a reflection of what people were hearing out and about in their districts. This Budget when it was brought down in March certainly did not have people out dancing in the streets, certainly did not provide much hope to the people who were out there unemployed, or the people who were out there in debt by thousands of dollars for student loans. It did not offer much hope to the person who was without a job and having to leave this Province and go and seek a job in another province in this country.

If it ever reached home to people, if people were kind of confined to their own little districts and not knowing what was happening in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, with the numbers from the other side that were out in the Trinity North by-election, they must have heard it loud and clear. They must have received a message loud and clear of how unhappy people are and how -

AN HON. MEMBER: There was enough of them out there.

MR. FITZGERALD: There was enough of them out there, and I am sure they must have heard it at every door they went to. Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, it struck home to some of them. Because I can tell you that what is happening in rural Newfoundland and Labrador today is not something that we should be very proud about. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador today is probably in worse shape than it has ever been in since Confederation. I can tell you right now that the rural areas of this Province is a power keg about to explode.

When you go out, you talk to people who have been trying to receive funding to access a job in another province. People call me and say: Where can I get money to go and access confirmation of a job up in Alberta? Where do you go and send them? The Department of Social Services at one time provided funding, a mobility allowance, for people to go to work so they could get off the system. HRDC, when it was known as Canada Manpower, at one time provided assistance for people to go and access a job. They are not asking for anybody to give them anything. They are saying: Please, would somebody listen and provide me with funding so that I can go and access a job that I have confirmation of, and I will pay the money back. In a lot of cases those people have to stay home, stay on the system, and not be able to access a job.

The by-election in Trinity North probably gave us all good reason to come back here and take a second look at what we are doing and what people were saying, the decisions that we make here, how far removed we are from the everyday happening. On one door that I knocked at - I have always been a member who fulfilled my obligation to somebody who asked me to do something - one gentleman in the District of Trinity North gave me a letter and he asked me if I would present it to the House of Assembly. It reads:

Hon. member, Roger, would you please try and find out what happened to our donations that were given to Mr. Efford? Note: I am a core fisherman, boat under thirty-five feet, one of the majority of fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador. I have invested in the future fishing industry. Please do not let Mr. Efford destroy us.

The money that he is referring to -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Just sit down and hear all of it. He gave me that. It is a letter that came from the United Fisherpersons of Newfoundland and Labrador and it reads: Dear - and the name was on it - March 9, 1992. It was a plea for money, and the man is asking a simple question: What happened to my money?

I am going to read the letter that was sent out by the chairperson of the United Fisherpersons of Newfoundland and Labrador. It says: Dear Mr. - I will leave the name out, Mr. Speaker. It goes on: As you probably have heard in recent days, I have initiated on behalf of the United Fisherpersons of Newfoundland and Labrador, a major publicity fundraising campaign -

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

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: I just want to ask the hon. gentlemen if he can supply me with ten copies of that letter? I will tell you, one of the most interesting careers in Newfoundland politics has been the Minister of Fisheries. I tell you, I want to keep every little bit of paraphernalia I can, so I would like to have at least ten copies of that.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Bonavista South.

MR. FITZGERALD: Mr. Speaker, I will gladly provide the hon. minister with a copy and I will include with it his proposal for the buffalo ranch as the salvation to the economy of the rural Newfoundland areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. I will include two of them.

Mr. Speaker, the situation at hand - I will start again, because it is an important letter. It was signed by the minister. The minister's handwriting is here. It says: As you probably have heard in recent days, I have initiated, on behalf of the United Fisherpersons of Newfoundland and Labrador, a major publicity fundraising campaign.

This fundraising campaign is the question that this person is asking, what has happened to his fundraising efforts.

Our purpose is to bring attention to the situation on the Grand Banks just outside the 200-mile limit. Foreign boats are drastically overfishing the precious spawning grounds on the Nose and Tail of the Banks. If this practice isn't stopped immediately, the consequences will be disastrous. We must act, and act now, because the fishing industry is and always will be the backbone of our economy and we want to preserve it for your children and their children after them.

We are being told that our cod stocks are declining at a faster rate than we had thought even possible, and we are going to take action. The diplomatic process has proven to be totally ineffective. We have to take on the job ourselves. We need the support of every Newfoundlander and Labradorian, indeed every Canadian, to ensure our success.

A certificate of support - there is a certificate issued as well - has been designed and is being marketed to raise the funds necessary for our efforts. With your help, these certificates will be available to every resident of this Province.

We, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, will lead the way in what I hope becomes a national campaign to claim what is rightfully ours - the Grand Banks fishery.

I would like to thank you in advance, for I am confident that you will become involved through your students in the selling of our certificates and the promotion of our endeavors in your community.

Here is the last paragraph: Remember, as loved our fathers so we loved, where once they stood we stand. Help us save our fishery.

Minister, the gentleman's plea is: What has happened to the funding that you raised as the Chairperson of the United Fisherpersons? This was a request, and I will tell you where it came from. It came from a little community where you were after making a donation of $5,700 for a slipway. This person said: I am not so sure if I paid for part of that slipway or if the money that he raised during his funding efforts when he was the United Chairperson is the money that was brought here today or not. He said: I would like for you to ask the minister what has happened to the donations that the minister raised?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am not making it up. I say to the minister, the handwriting is there. I am not going to put the man's name forward. Although he told me I could, I won't.

Those are the kinds of things that I heard at the door.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) not a Liberal.

MR. FITZGERALD: I don't know what he was. I don't know how he voted, but he was very concerned.

Mr. Speaker, he was very concerned that here was this minister out knocking on doors, making promises, saying: Trust me. He said: How can I trust him? I trusted him with my own money and I don't know what happened to it. That is what I would like to know: What happened to the money that the minister collected when he was the Chairperson of the United Fisherpersons?

I put the plea forward. If the minister wants to answer it, I will give him time. If he doesn't, then we can leave the doubt out there of what happened to the money. I will send him a copy of Hansard so again he will see that I raised the issue in the House of Assembly and at least I have done my part. I will file it now and that will be the end of it; it will never be raised again by me.

Mr. Speaker, it is somebody with a legitimate question. If I paid money and if it went to a certain individual who was going to be carrying out a campaign, I would want to know what happened to it. I would want to know the fruits of it. Maybe there is justification there of how the money was spent. I am sure there is. Maybe it was spent on the certificates that were put out. Maybe there was no money collected. Maybe his donation - and he didn't say how much it was - may have been the only donation received.

MR. EFFORD: Where were you then, Roger? Down working in the fish plant?

MR. FITZGERALD: When this was done?

MR. EFFORD: You weren't attending the meetings.

MR. FITZGERALD: I have to see when it was now;1992. Yes, I was working in the fish plant.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.

MR. FITZGERALD: Absolutely, Sir, working with Fishery Products International, getting up in the morning and putting on a pair of rubber boots and going to work, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) name of that group? United Fisherpersons?

MR. FITZGERALD: United Fisherpersons.

MR. EFFORD: If you put half as much time into saving the fishery as I have over the last fifteen years, probably we wouldn't be as bad off as we are.

MR. FITZGERALD: You don't have to get mad at me, I say to the minister. All I am doing is bringing forward the request that I was asked to do.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Don't get mad at me because somebody is calling you to task about what happened to the money they gave you. Don't get upset with me.

MR. EFFORD: I'm not angry. I'm just telling you the facts.

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, don't get upset with me. I am asking you for the facts of what happened to the man's money. That is what I am asking you. Stand in your place and tell the man what happened to his money. That is all I am asking. I am not the one -

MR. EFFORD: Are you one of the ones who was putting the dory out on the Grand Banks?

MR. FITZGERALD: No, I wasn't one of the ones who towed the dory out on the Grand Banks, I say to the minister.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I was what?

MR. EFFORD: Were you a member of the union?

MR. FITZGERALD: Never, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I was never a member of the Fishermen's Union in my life.

MR. EFFORD: I can hold my head up with anyone in this Province when it comes to working for the fishery (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: I am sorry if I struck a note with you, Minister. I am sorry. All I am doing is asking you a question. If you want to answer it, answer it.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) Question Period.

MR. TULK: The question (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: Well, let's not be too sure about that now. Let's not be too sure because while the minister got up and sloughed it off as: Don't worry about it, it can't happen.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) talking about.

MR. FITZGERALD: Find out what happens. I am not so sure of what is going to happen. I am not so sure that we are going to - the federal government is already controlling us to the point that they control harvesting and they control the size of boats that fishermen are allowed to use. Now they are about to control the processing industry as well. If we can't go and export - and if you, as the minister, and we, as a Province, can't control the export of fish in this Province, then I say to the minister that we can't control how fish leaves this Province either.

Unemployment levels in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, something has to happen in relationship to unemployment insurance. Today we hear the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs talking about planning a meeting with the federal minister. We hear him talking about the intensity rule and we hear him talk about some other thing that might happen; but out there today what you are going to have - by the minister's actions again, by the actions of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture again - the watering down of the processing industry. In the crab processing industry you are going to have plant workers in this Province today, after July month, accessing unemployment insurance, having to go to the department of social services well in order to top up their EI because of the rules and regulations and the changes in the unemployment insurance program.

It is ridiculous, when you see people having to go to work, only being able to access their eight, ten or twelve weeks work, and have a divisor there where no matter how much you work less than fourteen weeks, you have to divide your income by fourteen. It is ridiculous! If it is option, if there is work out there, they should not even be getting unemployment insurance. If there is work out there, they should not be going to government filling out Employment Insurance forms and receiving an income.

For the people who work on construction, for some of the loggers in the logging industry, for fish plant workers, for people who work at seasonal jobs, the option is not there for them to work sixteen, eighteen or twenty weeks. It is just not there, and we have to reflect the unemployment insurance rules and regulations so that people will be able to be looked after; because isn't that what the unemployment insurance system is all about? That is what you buy insurance for, to protect yourself. You don't go out and buy insurance where you are not going to be looked after. You buy insurance to protect yourself.

Mr. Speaker, here we are with $30 billion in an EI account up in Ottawa. I can see, if this program was cash-strapped and we didn't have any money, and people would be saying: No, we can't go and allow those people to draw Employment Insurance because we don't have the money, we don't have funding for it; but, here we have a program in Ottawa with $30 billion of money that was taken from the pockets of the working poor right across this country. If there is a problem, if the people up in Ontario - because that is who runs the government, I say to the ministers opposite - your cousins up in Ottawa, they are controlled by the 101 MPs from the Province of Ontario. You know that as well as I do.

We saw it in technicolor when we went up there as a committee to meet with some people regarding the post-TAGS program. Of the few people who did show up, one or two of them were from the Province of Ontario and I can tell you that they had no sympathy for what was happening here in Newfoundland and Labrador, no sympathy whatsoever.

Mr. Speaker, those are the people who are running the federal government. If it is such a bad thing, if we are afraid that we are going to break the system again, then the people I talk to, the people who are chronically unemployed, the people who access unemployment insurance on an annual basis, they wouldn't mind paying an extra $2 per week or an extra $3 per week as a deduction from their regular paycheques. They wouldn't mind paying extra because they are chronically unemployed because of the nature of the job that they do and because of their profession. It is not an option for crab plant workers to go to work right now in January and February month. It is not an option for many of our other industries to be able to go to work in the off season.

You hear government talking about the new industry, the new industry that is going to drive the economy, and the industry they put forward is the tourism industry. Well, boys, how long is the tourism industry in this Province? If that is going to be the new vehicle that drives the economy then we had better start making changes to unemployment insurance right now, if we are going to expect to have trained people here, who we can call on year after year in order to support the tourism industry. While it is a help, while it is important, and it is something that we should continue to promote, let's not get carried away with the foolishness of saying that the tourism industry is the new vehicle that is going to drive the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

You look at changes. It was only the other day that I had a letter from some people who operate bed and breakfasts here in the Province. Now the government's cousins again up in Ottawa have changed the Income Tax Act.

AN HON. MEMBER: Doom and gloom.

MR. FITZGERALD: I tell it as I see it, I say to the minister. I am only relating to you the story that has been related to me.

The bed and breakfasts where people were encouraged to open up bed and breakfasts, allow people to come and live within the community and to experience firsthand the family atmosphere, now the government, in their wisdom, is going to say: Look, Mr. Bed and Breakfast Operator, when you file your income tax for this year, all you can claim is the amount of money that you have made on your bed and breakfast. Once it reaches that peak you cannot claim anymore. It has nothing to do with how much money the individual put into it. It has nothing to do with the amount of money it costs them to do advertising, to renovate his home in order to accommodate tourists. It has nothing to do with that. The government of the day, this government's cousin up in Ottawa, have reached out the heavy hand again and said: We are now going to disallow you to have a deduction to operate your bed and breakfast in an amount that is greater than your bed and breakfast made in that particular year.

That is shameful. How can we expect the economy to grow and how can we expect people to get involved in a new industry if we are not going to be there to be able to support them, if we are not going to be there and say to them, Mr. bed and breakfast operator, if you spend $10,000 - and they have to have documentation to show that the money was spent. They have to have verification -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: - that the money was spent properly. If you don't -

MR. EFFORD: No leave!

MR. FITZGERALD: If you can't support those documents -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. FITZGERALD: - then it is disallowed anyway. So, those are the kinds of things that are happening.

MR. EFFORD: No leave!

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

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

It gives me pleasure to follow my colleague for Bonavista South because more than most members in this House, he reflects the questions, the issues and the concerns of people in Bonavista South who talk to him. When they ask him to come forward with a set of questions or concerns, he brings the concerns of the people of this Province that he represents and he does the job that he was paid to do.

Now, the process that we are involved in today - we will get to the Minister of Fisheries in a few moments. If he wants to stand up and talk about why people in this Province should have confidence in his government, we will give him the time to do it but if he wants to sit over there and yap like a puppy dog, continue to do it or do it somewhere else on somebody else's time, I say to the Minister of Fisheries. Do it somewhere else, I say to ‘Captain Highliner' over there. Do it somewhere else on someone else's time. If you want some time to stand up to say why people should have confidence in you and your ability and your government's ability, we will give you all the time necessary, if you want to do that. In other words, sit down and read what you are reading and not interrupt everybody else while we are up speaking in the House of Assembly.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) you don't have (inaudible)!

MR. E. BYRNE: Now, it is like this, Mr. Speaker. It is as simple as that. He talks about not making sense. He talks about he is going to take note on how many times members on this side are not going to make sense. I am going to remind him of this government's record on a couple of development initiatives. We will not go to the buffalo farm because my colleague has already done that, but let's roll the clock back to 1996 and let me ask the Minister of Fisheries the question that the people of the Burin Peninsula are asking. During the campaign then, the Premier of the Province stood up and said there would be a natural gas plant operating in the Burin Peninsula, or if there wasn't that they could take him and the steel plank that he was on and throw him over the wharf.

MR. SULLIVAN: Stratton.

MR. E. BYRNE: Stratton, that is right. A huge press conference called. Ian Stratton, that is the name.

MR. EFFORD: Was that the same time that (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: Now, see? One initiative. Let me ask the Minister of Fisheries: Where is that development on the Burin Peninsula?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: He does not know, I can tell you that, Mr. Speaker, because it was never there.


MR. E. BYRNE: We are getting to all of it. We will save the Lower Churchill for last and Voisey's Bay, particularly after I saw an interesting press release sent out by the Minister of Mines and Energy that came out on the 28th, but we will leave that for a few moments.

So where was the Minister of Fisheries and his booming voice for the people of the Burin Peninsula? Where was he? Where is that development? Let me ask him this question. In his effort and his resolve to continue to fight on behalf of the people, so he says, about the overabundance of seals, where is the support from his Premier?

MR. EFFORD: Where would you be?

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, where is the support from his Premier?

MR. EFFORD: Very strong.

MR. E. BYRNE: Is that right? It's closet strong, because that is only where we are hearing it.

MR. EFFORD: I did not see you out there with a harpoon.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, let me tell you this. No, the problem, I say to the Minister of Fisheries, is that it is because of people out with harpoons that we got in trouble. We have to convey a much stronger message than the one you are conveying, I say to the minister. Where is the support from your Premier for what you are after with respect to the call of the seal fishery? It is not there. When he was federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, at a meeting at the UN, privately and confidentially with a delegation from Canada, it was not going to be raised, he said.

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

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, I don't mind any hon. member standing in this House and making a point, but when he makes a point it should be an accurate one and not misleading this House.

His former colleague, the hon. John Crosbie, stopped the seal hunt. The Premier of this Province, when he was Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, brought back the seal hunt and brought the quota up to 250,000 animals.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MR. EFFORD: There is a big misinterpretation of what the true facts are.

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

MR. E. BYRNE: Where is your Premier in supporting what you want for a tremendous cull?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) stopped the hunt altogether! (Inaudible)!

MR. E. BYRNE: Where is it, minister? It is nowhere to be found, that is where it is. Smoke and mirrors.


MR. E. BYRNE: Three. Talk about non-confidence in a government and why we are putting forward a non-confidence motion today. We want to take the time to reflect on the so-called gross domestic product, the increases that have occurred in the gross domestic product.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, they have. There is no question, but what is interesting is that about seven years ago, nationally, an agreement amongst provinces took place. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs knows full well what I am about to talk about. There were always two stats that were reported: the gross domestic product on the one hand, which reflects, basically, export and the growth of the economy in exports; but a more important statistic which we don't do anymore - there is a good reason for why we don't do it - is called the gross national product. It gives us the ability, if were to continue to track our statistics, in terms of how we are performing in relation to the rest of the country: where we were ten years ago in relation to the country, where we are today in relation to the country.

Mr. Speaker, we have taken the time to do it. As a matter of fact, our economy, while it is performing - the gross domestic product in the increases that we have seen primarily are due to the emergence of a significant shell fish industry, the production of offshore oil and related activity, and primarily due to the small growth in terms of economic jobs that is occurring in the tourism industry.

With respect to how we have done in the last ten years, where we were ten years ago with respect to our economy and how it has grown in relation to the rest of the country, actually the gap has widened.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: It has, I say to the Minister of Fisheries.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Is that right? Can you prove otherwise? You can't, because the facts speak for themselves.

Last year there was a 9.8 difference in terms of the economy of the country and ourselves. There is an 11.4 difference today. How many people are working in the Province today as compared to last year?

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible) the sky is falling.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, the sky is not falling. We have significant opportunities if we take advantage of them properly. The smoke and mirrors, the public relations show that has been taking place in this Province since 1996, is about to come to an end. It is going to.

Let me ask the Minister of Fisheries another question. In Labrador West, when the former Minister of Mines and Energy, who is now the Minister of Tourism, at a conference in Labrador - a Combined Councils meeting - said: We have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to resource management. I say to my colleague for Cape St. Francis that that is what the Minister of Mines and Energy said then. He is now the Minister of Tourism.

When it comes to resource management issues, the pelletizing plant issue, there will be no expansion beyond the borders of this Province. At a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Labrador West the Premier himself, the Lord God Almighty, said to the Chamber of Commerce at a meeting: If North Company think -

MR. EFFORD: You will never fit in his shoes.


MR. E. BYRNE: No, I take a size ten and a half, and he is about a size eight and a half, I say to the minister.

He said to the people in Labrador West: If North Company go to expand or move to expand the pellet plant operation in Sept-Iles, I will be the first one on the plane to their headquarters in Australia.

AN HON. MEMBER: What did he say to the nurses during the elections?

MR. E. BYRNE: One second, we are going to get to all that. You talk about non-confidence. He will be the first one on the plane to the headquarters in Australia. What happened was there was no return ticket, there was no one-way ticket, from the Premier of the Province. People felt betrayed, and had every right to feel betrayed.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, and in the subsequent general election it certainly was borne out in terms of the people's view up there. That is one other thing. We want to talk about non-confidence in the government's ability. Governments today are judged by what they say they are going to do, and actually do they do it? That what the people of the Province judge on. We are smarter today in this Province. It is not like it was twenty-five, thirty, forty or fifty years ago when it took three and four weeks for the news to come out of what happened in this building. Today it is immediate.

I was campaigning in Trinity North with my colleague for Bonavista South and this point hit home. We were in, I believe, Port Rexton, if I am not mistaken, somewhere down in the Trinity area. Someone said: If the Minister of Fisheries thinks he can come down here and buy my vote with a slipway, he can forget it. We are not that stunned any more in Newfoundland and Labrador. I know what is happening in this Province, and more importantly I know what is not happening in my community.

MR. FITZGERALD: He said: Tell the Minister of Fisheries we have radios and televisions now.

MR. E. BYRNE: That is the point I was going to make. He said: Tell the Minister of Fisheries, if he doesn't know already, that we have radios and televisions in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and we know exactly what is happening when it happens like everywhere else.

MR. FITZGERALD: That is what he said. He went down to Little Heart's Ease. He had to find out where he was. He didn't know where he was. (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: He didn't know where he was in Little Heart's Ease. He went down in one community and said: Last week I told you boys I promised you a slipway. This week I am back with the money.

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

MR. SPEAKER (Smith): Order, please!

On a point of order, the hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

MR. EFFORD: Mr. Speaker, when the polls were counted and the final vote came in, everybody in Trinity North knew where John Efford was, and I knew where they were.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. E. BYRNE: There is absolutely no point of order.

That is what he said. My colleague for Bonavista South can confirm it. He said: Last week I promised you the slipway, and this week - and he hauled out the cheque. He said: There it is, I have it right here. The first fellow who met him down there said: Put that back in your pocket and get out of here. Do you think you can buy me? The minister turned around, and do you know what he said to him: What do you want? Do you want the $5,700? It is government money now, not Liberal Party money, but taxpayers' money. He said: Do you want the cheque and the slipway, or a member in Opposition? It took him about five people to find someone to give it to. That is exactly what happened down there. That was on a Thursday. On Saturday morning -

MR. FITZGERALD: He lost votes because of it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lost the election because of it.

MR. E. BYRNE: What is even more (inaudible) is that this Minister of Fisheries is proud of it.

MR. FITZGERALD: Yes, because he is (inaudible)..

MR. SULLIVAN: You should have stayed out of there, John, you would have done better.

MR. E. BYRNE: He was proud of it.

Saturday morning I went down on the same wharf. There were about twelve fishermen there. They just caught some herring, getting ready for the lobster pots, getting some bait. One of them came up at the head of the wharf and said: Mr. Byrne, do you have any money in your pocket for us? I said: Not a cent. He said: Then come on in, because if you had said yes, we would have thrown you out of here like we threw the Minister of Fisheries out of here.

It took him six or seven people to find someone to give the cheque to. That was not all he was up to.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I told it as it was told to me, sir.

MR. EFFORD: (Inaudible). I (inaudible) go down there, I (inaudible) go down to the slipway, and I (inaudible) make promises, but tell the truth about it. Don't go telling them (inaudible) because that is not the truth.

MR. E. BYRNE: I told it exactly as it was, exactly as it was told to me.

MR. EFFORD: You wait between now and the next election, and you will see what (inaudible).

MR. FITZGERALD: How are you going to get that floating dock (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: Hold on, I'm getting to that. This is the big one. This is the Minister of Fisheries now. We talk about non-confidence. (Inaudible), right?

MR. FITZGERALD: He knows so much about marine navigation.

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) cost them an election.


MR. E. BYRNE: Hold on, Loyola.

This is for the Minister of Fisheries. One fisherman in English Harbour goes down and says: Boys, what I see you need here is a floating wharf. There hasn't been a wharf in English Harbour in 500 years. Do you know why? One good southwesterly wind and whatever is down there is gone out the bay. A floating wharf down in English Harbour. They almost laughed him out of the community down there. No wonder we won it. No wonder we won English Harbour.

One fisherman in English Harbour said to me: Mr. Efford would have done a lot better had he come down with some water and sewage money for the community, for a proper drinking water system. He said: Imagine, coming down and telling the people in English Harbour he is going to build a floating wharf in English Harbour when we know at least once month a good southwesterly comes up there, and if it comes look out, because whatever is in the bay is gone. It will be up in the garden, exactly. Now that's the type of activity - and he stands up and wonders why we are introducing a non-confidence motion on the Budget.

I recall being in Milton, a community we lost in the general election by over two to one, but this time we won.

MR. FITZGERALD: Did they win the community where he promised the slipway and where he did the (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: No, they didn't win that one either. I will get to that in a second.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Milton and Georges Brook. Both of them together, I say to the minister. Now you didn't have any impact down there. You stay out of the debate. Leave it between me and the Minister of Fisheries. Milton and Georges Brook, we won the poll.

MR. FITZGERALD: The Mayor of Clarenville was even unhappy with you because you ran across his lawn.

MR. E. BYRNE: Now I was down in Milton and spoke to a good Liberal supporter. Knocked on his door, no Liberal sign up. He said: Boy, I'm a Liberal. I have been a Liberal all my life, but I am not voting Liberal this time. I said: Sir, what is it? Why aren't you voting Liberal this time? Is it because you got bad representation? No. I asked him: Is it because of health care? No. I asked: Is it because of education and the system here? No. Is it because of the road system, promises made that weren't delivered? No. I asked: What was it? He said: A year ago the Minister of Development and Rural Renewal was sitting at my kitchen table. He said I was trying to, at that time, consolidate - he runs a business - some of my outstanding debts, take advantage of some of the lower interest rates.

He said the minister sat down with one of his officials and said: Not to worry, it will be done. He said he hit the kitchen table just like that. Nine months later, he said, where is it? Can't find it. Couldn't find him. Couldn't find that. Couldn't find the commitment. Couldn't find the promise. That is why he never voted Liberal this election. Fact! He said it was going to be done. We left that day with that commitment.

Now, you go down around Little Bonaventure and Old Bonaventure and the spending spree - this is the minister who stood up and talked about Tories in the 1980s spending like drunken sailors, when the facts of the matter show that our debt has risen more in the last ten years under Liberal Administrations than it did in the seventeen while Tories were there. Fact!

The Minister of Fisheries was down in Old Bonaventure. Now what was he going to do down there? There was a new wharf going down in Old Bonaventure. The problem with the Minister of Fisheries was that he didn't understand, fully realize, how influential the Member for Bonavista South is down there, because he has a sterling reputation for doing the work that people asked him to do. When people call him, he calls them back.

MR. FITZGERALD: No promises.

MR. E. BYRNE: He makes no promises other than: I will do my best for you, and what a tremendous reputation he has, not only in his own district, but outside of it.

Down in Old Bonaventure the minister went down, six or seven fishermen on the wharf, and he asked: What do you need here boys? Yes, we will dredge the harbour for you. What else do you need? All federal money.

MR. FITZGERALD: Enough lobsters around here? Do you want more lobsters?

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes. One fellow told me, he said: The only thing the Minister of Fisheries did not promise us during the by-election down in this area was better beer in bigger boxes. That is exactly right. That is what he said.

MR. TULK: You got it wrong.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, I do not.

MR. TULK: You got the saying wrong.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, I don't.

MR. TULK: Yes you do. He got it wrong.

MR. E. BYRNE: No, it was told to me personally.

MR. TULK: No, let me say what the saying (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Go ahead.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible) and it came from - it used to be Bonavista North then in the early 1990s.

MR. E. BYRNE: All I can say to you, minister, is what was told. That was this fishermen saying it, down in Old Bonaventure.

MR. TULK: He had it wrong.

MR. E. BYRNE: The only thing that he didn't try to promise us down here was better beer in bigger boxes.

Now let's go up to Southwest Arm. Talk about non-confidence. What he was up to over there no one will ever know, but it will come out a bit at a time. Then he has the gall to say in the paper -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Of course he is making promises, the by-election is on. They are going to get some wharf down there next week. They think that is the type of approach. That is the attitude. That is the approach. That is the thinking. This is what is important here. That is the thinking that is going on in that minister's head. He believes it works, and it didn't.

I will say this: He got a little bit closer to it and he got a leg up on his rival, the Minister of Health, because he spent his time down there getting delegates while the Minister of Health was somewhere else. So he was endearing himself to the local Liberals with his campaign manager the Minister of Development; no doubt about it.

I had some plans that got off the rails because of your calling the by-election. I didn't mind doing it, either. I did not mind doing it one bit for my candidate.

AN HON. MEMBER: I was looking for you every night up (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, Sir, you would never find me because I don't hang around with the likes of you. I say hello, to pass myself, and how are you doing today?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No it was never meant to be nasty. I say to the Minister of Finance, if it sounded nasty, it was not meant to be nasty.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. E. BYRNE: My time is up? I have an hour, I believe.


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

MR. SULLIVAN: He has an hour, on a non-confidence motion.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I hate to say this but (inaudible) has an hour (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the member may continue.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you.

I didn't mean to sound nasty, Sir. If it came across that way, I want to apologize. It just meant that we socialize in different circles. That is all I meant to say.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I said something that could have been perceived or taken as being nasty and I did not want to do that, because I didn't mean to be.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I want to be sure of that.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: You just told me it was.

MR. TULK: That wasn't the comment that I said was nasty (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: What was?

We talk about non-confidence.

MR. FUREY: (Inaudible) want to be perfectly honest in this House.

MR. E. BYRNE: I normally am.

MR. FUREY: You wouldn't (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: There is nothing wrong with that, absolutely nothing. The Minister of Tourism, a completely different story. His mother and my mother are first cousins; I have no other choice but to hang around with him. I do have a choice with you.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: His mother and my mother are first cousins. His mother was a Bruce and my mother was a Callahan, both from Riverhead, Harbour Grace, first cousins.

MR. FUREY: He has one of the best mothers (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Absolutely. It runs in the family, I say to the minister, when it comes to mothers. On that side of the family it runs-

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) your genes.

MR. E. BYRNE: Absolutely. Exactly.

Mr. Speaker, the point this afternoon when we talk about non-confidence, when is somebody on that side of the House going to have the intestinal fortitude to come to the people of the Province and tell them the truth about what is happening with the Lower Churchill agreement?

Prior to the House closing, for five days running, asked questions on information that we had gotten that we could not get here but we got federally on joint studies conducted by the Province and the federal government -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I am going to get to that. For five days running, the Minister of Mines and Energy kept saying over and over: Well, I don't know what documents the member is referring to - when he knew full well what the documents were because there were his own.

When is somebody in the Cabinet - maybe the Premier or the Minister of Mines and Energy - going to go before the mikes and say: We have gotten a briefing back in 1999 that shows the Lower Churchill agreement is going nowhere.

Bit by bit we are hauling information out, a little bit at a time. I knew in January, instinctively and intuitively, that the Lower Churchill agreement was off, the Memorandum of Understanding or the framework agreement was off the rails when I heard the Premier talk about a natural gas pipeline which, unto itself, is ten to fifteen years away at least from any possible development. You can talk to any executive in the oil industry in Canada and they will tell you that. They have told the Cabinet that. They have told the Minister of Mines and Energy that. They have told the former, former Minister of Mines and Energy, and they have told the former Minister of Mines and Energy, but no one will come forward and tell exactly what the status of those negotiations are.

Friday was even more telling. The now Minister of Mines and Energy sends out a little press release from Newfoundland Information Services. It is so childish. It says: We have now learned that the federal government has released a little more information and documents related to a Freedom of Information request and that my officials are now going to have a look at it. We are going to review it and they are going to brief me. I will be in a position to tell you what is contained in them after that. These are his own documents. The process - everybody knows how it works.

If I send a Freedom of Information request to the Minister of Tourism and it has federal implications, he is obligated - the deputy minister, his deputy - is obligated to inform the federal government of the implications and that we have had a request for information that could have implications on business that you are doing. It happens; that is the process.

The converse is true, that if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I am exactly right. I know I am right, and everybody in this House who has been a minister or former minister knows I am right.

Federally, when a Freedom of Information request is sent to the federal government, before they release it out of federal/provincial relations and the maintenance of good federal/provincial relations, if the information requested federally has any implications provincially then the deputy minister or the Freedom of Information officer indicates to the Province that they have gotten a request to release information that may have an impact on provincial matters.

All of the information that we have sent - the minister and the Premier have had a full briefing, I would say, within days of the letter being sent, or within days of it being received. As a matter of fact, I know it. The only problem is that if I said it I would have to prove it, and in order for me to prove it I would have to put some civil servant, federally, on the line, and I am not going to do that. I am not going to wake up tomorrow morning and look at myself in the mirror knowing that if I did that, that person wouldn't have a job today. Those are the facts of the matter.

Friday, the Minister of Mines and Energy sends out a little release. He knows what I have - documents related to the Lower Churchill negotiations, at least that thick. He knows what I have. The Minister of Health knows exactly what we have.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Absolutely, every bit of it. It confirms a lot.

I was going to go with it today and I said: No way, I am going to wait for the king pin himself to be standing right in front of me before I go with it. I have to wait, but I am going to wait a little longer, and I am going to wait for the Minister of Mines and Energy to be back in the House before I go with it; because it is going show exactly and it proves exactly what is contained in those documents, that what we have been saying is absolutely right and that the big show that has been taking place surrounding the Lower Churchill negotiations, it will be proven that it is only that, a big show.

When it comes to the transmission line, the formula that the federal government has imposed upon this Province will clearly show how convoluted the federal government's thinking within the bureaucracy is. What it will also show is that, by compliance, you have said nothing, that you haven't taken the opportunity publicly to take the hide right off the federal government on this issue. Maybe that is yet to come.

When it comes to the Lower Churchill negotiations, I recall in January, the election last year, when the member then for the Bay of Islands - he was like a member, like everybody else then - respectfully asked, for the people of the Province - because he felt the two issues in the campaign were going to be, and he tried to make it the issue in the campaign but it didn't turn out that way - he respectfully asked, and he wanted to be the person to finish the negotiations on the Lower Churchill. He knew then, when he asked that question, that deal was going nowhere, or that the signs of that deal were there that it was going nowhere.

We talk about why, in the Opposition today, we put forward a motion of non-confidence.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Fifteen or twenty minutes.

How could we forget the prelude, January and February of 1999 before the election, when it became clear that the issues that we, as this Party, talked about up front in terms of health care being the number one priority, about ten days into the campaign when close to $400,000 or $500,000 of Liberal ads were taken and canned because they had to rejig? Who can forget the Thursday and Friday before election day, the Premier of the Province, the Leader of the Liberal Party at the time, going before the mikes and saying: I am on my way to Ottawa. He came back and said: We got more money but I can't tell you how much. All I can tell you is that we are getting it, because that is the federal government's responsibility to announce that in the upcoming budget. Quote, unquote.

Less than a week later, when the federal budget displayed in the House of Commons for everybody, what was the commentary the next day? The then Minister of Finance took strips off the federal government because there was no money for health care. Yet, nine days before, his Premier and his leader said there would be. The then Minister of Health stood up on the same day and said exactly the same thing and what happened? Why was there a change at that time? Because the federal government moved from a needs-based formula to a per capita-based formula. It got so bad that even the Premier of the Province stood up and said publicly in Corner Brook that this was ridiculous, that the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Premier of Quebec were the only two Premiers in the country who were complaining as loud as they were.

So, four days before election day, there was going to be lots of new money. Calm down everybody, calm down nurses, calm down health care workers, it is coming. A week later, the exact opposite happens - and to say no one knew, that people did not know, they were not consulted. Is somebody telling me that the federal Treasury Board or the Minister of Finance in their interprovincial-federal relations did not give someone a heads up that the formula was going to change from a needs-based formula to a per capita/population-based formula? Nonsense. You wonder why a non-confidence motion was put into effect today? But what happened? A day or two after the Premier of the Province said no, that this was ridiculous, down comes old buddy Jean. You will recall it. The members here will recall it.

He came down with official transcripts from Hansard in the federal House of Commons, privately met with the Premier, threw them at him and went: Bang, read it for yourself where Mr. Tobin, a then federal member, in Hansard saying he supported the move away from needs-based - our representative, mind you, at the time, in the federal House of Commons from this Province. Chrétien had to remind him that it was him, Mr. Tobin personally, who supported it. Then, do we remember the famous press conference?

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on.

MR. E. BYRNE: Remember it?


MR. E. BYRNE: The Prime Minister and the whipped Premier, and the Premier saying: Everything is okay now. I have had a chat with the Prime Minister and things are alright.

You wonder why we are in a position, as the Official Opposition today, to put forward a motion of non-confidence. I am going to go on, and I can.

We talk about THMs. We talk about how ministers are handling their departments. When the Government of Nova Scotia discovered, after a study, they had problems with drinking water and THMs, what did they do? They went before the mikes to the people of the Province and told them, and then advised them publicly on what they should do to correct the problem or take to precautions.

MR. FITZGERALD: What did we do?

MR. E BYRNE: Here is what we did locally. First of all, we tried to hide it. Then the story was uncovered through a Freedom of Information request. Then the Opposition, for about a week, the Municipal Affairs critic, the Health critic, the Environment critic, all the departments impacted -

MR. FITZGERALD: We are all fear mongers.

MR. E. BYRNE: We are all fear mongers, yes. The department's own physicians were paraded out one day to take strips off us, public servants, and then the next day found out, guess what? What they said was wrong. They had to come back and apologize to people.

MR. FITZGERALD: The minister could not be found. (Inaudible) phone calls. The media couldn't contact (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No one could be found.

What the government's approach was, simple as this, say nothing. Say we gave it to the municipalities and it is up to them to decide what to do with it.

What bunk, and you wonder why we are putting forward a non-confidence motion. What should have been done -

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

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Environment and Labour, on a point of order.

MR. LANGDON: It is not a matter of looking at it. I don't interject very much but I want to do it on this one because I want to say to you and to everybody in the House, as I said last year before Christmas, that every municipality had their THM counts in their town office. It was sent out by the department. When the CBC wanted to have the THMs, I sent a letter to every council asking them if the CBC could have it and henceforth never have to go back to them again to make sure that this particular information was available. As a result of that, we did that.

Every day, every month, the scores were on the Website from the department and it was there fore people to see. I hid nothing. It was a practice that was done long before I came into the department. I am not sure if it wasn't done when the Opposition Party was in government themselves. I didn't hide anything.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. E. BYRNE: The only problem is that the minister forgot to inform the most important people, and that was the general public, when it came to that issue. Before a press conference he should have listed every community that had THM trouble. He should have said: Here are the precautions that we are suggesting. The government, the Environment Department and the Ministry of Health should have been together jointly on it, saying: Here it is the problem. Don't get excited. Please call the office. Please call the toll free number. None of that was set up.

MR. SULLIVAN: Ed, it was the previous government that changed the acceptable levels in the 1990s. That is why the numbers (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: They did a change. My colleague did tell me, they did change the acceptable levels in the 1990s. That is exactly right, after.

MR. SULLIVAN: What was acceptable prior to that was (inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: You wonder then why we are putting forward a motion of non-confidence.

Let's talk about Gisborne Lake. They came around but they did so kicking and screaming. They accused our colleague, the critic, of fearmongering. I remember when he first asked a question, a full eighteen months before the situation even became newsworthy. The then Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, who is the now Minister of Education, stood up in her place and laughed at him. Eighteen months later, lo and behold, guess what? What he was saying and what we were saying was dead on; supported, no doubt, by one of the leading NAFTA experts in the country by the name of Barry Appleby, who came to this Province. It didn't cost us a cent. He came here on behalf of the issue. We paid for his plane ticket and hotel accommodations. He charged us no consulting fee. This is a fellow who gets $1,000 an hour. He has been lead counsel on every successful NAFTA challenge in the country; lead counsel, $1,000 an hour. He came down here simply because of the work that he and our colleague from St. John's South had done.

What happened after we had the press conference? It took three days -

MR. J. BYRNE: How much?

MR. E. BYRNE: Well, we are not sure of that yet.

- three days, a national law firm out of the country to come back and try to refute us; but what is interesting is that within the Intergovernmental Affairs budget there was an expenditure of $15,000 for a legal opinion out of Washington. Now, a Freedom of Information request has gone in to find out what that legal opinion was, and I am not so sure it is not exactly what we said, but if we get it, who knows? We may be charged $7,500 or $10,000 for information that we should have at our disposal, because government has certainly done to us. They are going to charge me $10,000 to try to get access to information; $10,000. The Official Leader of the Opposition sends in a request for information, gets a reply back from the minister which says: Yes, you can have it but you have to give me a cheque for $10,000 to get it. My, oh my, you talk about non-confidence.

Can any minister stand up in their place and defend the lawsuits that have taken place in this Province, and the compensation that the public Treasury has had to pay out for decisions that the Supreme Court of this Province found criminal? Here is the logic - get a load of the logic now, because I can hear him saying it - the same as the logic they use in the Department of Education. We actually put back 308 teachers into the system this year. They were never not there to put back. What they really were saying is: We could have cut you 408 or whatever, but we are only going to cut you by 108 now. We are going to leave that extra allocation in.

That is like saying to somebody: I was going to ask you for fifty bucks but now I only need forty so you really owe me ten. The logic on the lawsuits, I can hear it now, Liberal logic, really excellent stuff: We were sued for $100 million, but we only paid out $55 million, so we really saved you $45 million. Can you hear it? If you listen closely you can hear it around the Cabinet table.

Now boys, that is the spin. Here is the spin we have to put out. We were sued for $100 million but it only cost $55 million, so we saved the public, really, $45 million. I can hear it. That is the type of nonsense that is going on at the Cabinet level today.

Let's look at the lawsuits first of all -

MR. SULLIVAN: You would buy a nice suit for that.

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, you would buy a suit or two for that.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: You were not there, I say to the Government House Leader, for the lawsuits, not at least the ones so far you were not around the Cabinet table.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: I am talking about the money we have paid out. You were part of a caucus that supported those decisions. You were part of a caucus that stood in this House, as a member, and publicly supported those decisions that were made, so I don't want to hear it.

Can you hear it now? After the fall of Nazi Germany: It wasn't me, I was just following orders. It was somebody else's fault, it was not mine. That is part of another Administration; the same crowd, different head. The Minister of Mines and Energy was the Minister of Justice, he was the Minister of Finance, and now he is the Minister of Mines and Energy, but he had nothing to do with it. All he did was sit on a special committee on how to avoid the Public Tender Act and get around it so that they could give good friends the hospital contracts and what became known as the Trans City affair. He, and the Minister of Tourism - he was the former, former Minister of Mines and Energy, the former Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology - he had nothing to do with it. He only sat on the committee with the Member for Humber West and the former, former, former Minister of Finance, who now is retired and a director of the Bank of Canada, the former Member for Gander. That was the three person committee that looked about for the best way to build these hospitals.

So listen, you do no have to do very much to elevate the Department of Finance. All you have to do is do your job, be honest about it and adhere to the Public Tender Act, and you will be great compared to what we have had in the last four years.

You wonder why we stand up here and put a non-confidence motion beforehand and people over there laugh as if -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Everyone has confidence in us, and why shouldn't they have confidence in us? We have only wasted in excess of $55 or $60 million on them. We could have wasted $100 million. We really saved them $40 million, for God's sake. That is the logic. You wonder why, Mr. Speaker.

MR. FITZGERALD: How about the fish plants and crab processing?

MR. E. BYRNE: I'm going to leave that for you, sir, when we wrap up the Budget debate. You are must more eloquent than I am.

I could go on for a bit more but -

AN HON. MEMBER: Is your voice strained?

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, it really is.

MR. TULK: Can I get you something?

MR. E. BYRNE: I would not take it. I should not say I would not take. I would not be sure. I would have to send it to the Department of Environment to have it tested just to make sure that the toxins would be okay.

MR. TULK: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Certainly, to make sure that the toxin levels are not real high.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes, I am not sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: No, I know it isn't, but it certainly is in his.

MR. TULK: Mine?

MR. E. BYRNE: Yes.

MR. TULK: What (inaudible)?

MR. E. BYRNE: Devilment. He knows. They all know what I am talking about.

Mr. Speaker, it was my pleasure to participate, to use up my time. Each and every opportunity that I can get, or each and every opportunity that I can create, I am going to continue to tell the people of the Province why they should not have confidence in this government. Because the list is that long. We will continue to do it in every way, shape or form that we can take or do on behalf of the people of Province to do our job to hold this government accountable. After all, that is what it is about.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER (Mercer): Is the House ready for the question?

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


MR. SPEAKER: Contrary minded, ‘nay.'


MR. SPEAKER: In my opinion the ‘nays' have it.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, I presume we are going to speak next on the main motion.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am going to speak for twenty minutes, I suppose. I have a few comments on the Budget here and I want to focus on health, on a few particular points. I heard the announcement on how much money was put into health. I do not know where he gets the figure when Estimates only show $31.7 million. That is all that is in the Estimates. I can't see how that is $130- some million. No one has answered that for me yet. I have asked it here before. When you look at Health and Community Services here in the Budget -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I would love for him to tell me. I would even give him time now to stand up and explain- the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance, whoever wants to - how last year we spent $1,212,387,700 and this year we are spending $1,244,165,200. We are actually only spending $31,777,500 more in the Budget, and how news releases and everything else proclaim there is $136 million extra spent on health care. It is not correct. It is not in the Estimates. It is not in what is put forward in the Estimates here by government in their Budget.

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

MR. SULLIVAN: I have an idea what he is going to say and I will give him an opportunity to say it.

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. MATTHEWS: The hon. member is asking a very specific question. He is asking for very specific enlightenment. He wants to know how the figures equate to $136 million. I would say one reference point he could take in validating that figure is the reference point that he takes, and all of his colleagues take, in every Question Period in the House, and that is to read The Telegram. Everything else you say in the House and every question you ask is predicated on the assumption that what you read in The Telegram is correct.

Three days after the Budget there was a cartoon of the minister there, and the cartoon caption was: Minister going to distribute $136 million worth of seal oil capsules. If $136 million is good enough for the cartoonist in The Telegram, I submit that it should be good enough for the hon. member, in as much as they get all their information for everything else they say and do in the House from that very specific and, I would assume - from their perspective - very authoritative source.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yes, KT didn't do justice to the Minister of Finance at all in that. Still, he has avoided my question because they are lacking the answers to be able to explain it. If he knew where it was and how to explain it, but I don't want to tell him their twist on it when I really know what it is.

When in March of this year, when you knew you were going to have extra monies, you dumped millions of dollars into health boards to pay some deficits. Now, when you have to put it in again this year to maintain that same level of service - so they are not counting the money they spent in the last fiscal year that they dumped in at the end. They are counting that new money to allocate to this fiscal year! See, that is what they are doing. That little bit of maneuvering of figures to give the perception we are putting $136 million in when we only put $31.7 million in.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) $136 million of new money (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I know it quite well, I say to the minister. A year ago the same thing happened when we had oodles of money coming down from ‘Uncle Ottawa.' We had to do something to spend it. My God, what are we going to do with all this money?

The same thing happened a year ago. I say to the finance minister that the previous finance minister had a major problem last year: What are going to do with this new found $180 millions we got from Ottawa? We can't have a big surplus here in a budget. We have labour unrest, we have nurses going on strike, we have money. We have to find a way to tuck it all away, pre-pay expenses, do basic with accruals and so on. It all got factored off. That is right. It all got thrown into the previous year's Budget for overruns. I can't see, basically, how $31.7 million, new money into health, is going to be able to give us the same type of service that we have this past year. Because we overran our budgets by $40 million. How can $31.7 new million give us the same service? We will have less service and we are seeing it every single day now. We are seeing it in hospital bed closures. We had sixty bed closures before May of last year. We had 129, I think it was, last June. We had eighteen more closures before Christmas, at the Grace, in medicine. They were going to reopen the Health Sciences. It never happened. More closed and more closed, and in the past two years alone we have had between 130 and 160 beds, around that range - less beds in the system today in the City of St. John's than there were, and we are seeing it all over the Province. It is a very serious situation, I might add, and the problem could have been solved to a degree - the shortage of nurses and other health care professions - by looking at the situation. I said here in the House, and actually the Government House Leader looked over - that might be an idea - when I said here in the House: Look, you are going to have to do a reclassification. He said: Yes, that might be an option. You might have to do that.

Reclassification is not going to solve the problem. I say it now and it will be borne out by this fall, or when the summer comes. Reclassification will move a nurse from an NS-24 to an NS-26, and an NS-26 to an NS-28, and so on up the line. We are looking at about $2,000 per nurse it will amount to in the system. We will need about $10 million for that. It is going to move people (inaudible), but it is not going to solve the problem.

What is happening now is, out of the 159 who are supposed to graduate this year, only about eighty-some are expected to stay here in the Province. That is until they write their RNs in June. After that, when they get their certificate, they are going.

I was at the hospital, visiting someone there, and I spoke with two nurses who came into the room. It was their first day on the job. They are writing their exams in June and they are going to North Carolina. In addition to all of those who have committed, there are people waiting to finish their RNs and get their certification. They are a marketable commodity anywhere in this world.

There were twenty-two people graduated this past two years under a special program - it is an excellent program - under the Nurse Practitioner Program. There were twenty-two graduated to go out in parts of the Province taking on added responsibilities. When one of these went back to work here with the Health Care Corporation, they never got paid as a nurse practitioner, so they went back to the same job they had, after taking a year out to train, and had to pay back their salary. What did that person do? Left. They are working on a platform offshore Nova Scotia now as a nurse practitioner.

There were twenty-two who graduated. They take in about twelve or thirteen a year, or so. It is an excellent program, excellent quality of people, and they are in big demand. They want people offshore. They want nurses and nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are very highly trained nurses - an extra year of training - doing numerous procedures that regular RNs and BNs don't perform.

We are losing valuable people. It is not just nurses and doctors we hear about; there are so many people. Most people don't really value how important a pharmacist is in a hospital system, for example. We have never had, in the last several years, since I have been here in this House, a full complement of pharmacists working in the hospitals here, even in the City of St. John's. They never have the full complement. Why? Look at what they're paying in other provinces to the same people. Much higher. Look at what the retail sector is paying. If you can't stay competitive out in the retail sector, or competitive with other governments in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick - all I am saying is that we can't expect to pay a salary like somebody in the United States, maybe not in Ontario, and maybe not in Alberta and other areas, but we should be able to have a mechanism in place to be able to get parity with a nurse, a pharmacist, whether it is a medical physicist, a radiation therapist, lots of these health care professionals. There are speech language pathologists out there, and all others, and there should be a scale to get parity with Atlantic Canada. That is what I am saying; with Atlantic Canada has to be our goal.

I don't expect to throw millions of dollars. You have to look after the dollars that are here. You have to do it wisely. You can't open up your purse strings to every single union that comes by and says: We want this. That is logic. There has to be a responsible approach to it, but there has to be recognition of their contribution to our system, how dependent our system is on it, and there has to be a value put on those workers. At certain times there have to be extraordinary measures taken to solve problems.

We lost that window of opportunity a little over a year ago. We passed the window of opportunity that we are not going to recover from in the next few years. It is not going to happen. There are only 225 nurses in training per year in this Province. One hundred and fifty-nine are graduating this year. Last year there were only forty-one because of a changeover into the BN program. Out of these, twenty-some of these forty-one had committed to work outside this Province before they ever completed their program. Since then, I spoke with several personally. One, I know, from my district alone, and some of her friends, and other people who graduated, took work outside the Province afterwards.

They were told last spring - and the problem is going to happen again this year - look, there is a nursing shortage. You will have no trouble getting work this summertime replacing people on holidays, but what happened? These people who graduated last year got one shift a week. That is what they got. One shift a week, twelve hours a week, was all they were given. Why? Because they shut down so many hospital beds that they did not need these people to replace people who were on holidays.

One person I spoke with, who had called me in July, said: I can't stay around any longer. I am going to Ottawa. I have a job. On August 8, I have to be up there. That person left and went out of the Province.

There were several more like that, in addition to the twenty-two. I heard the director of the School of Nursing say, on a CBC program one morning: twenty-two have committed already to go outside the Province out of forty-one.

I know several, at least six or seven, who went afterwards, which meant there must have been about thirty who I would be aware of, out of the forty-one, who left the Province. This year, what is wrong when only half your graduating nurses are prepared to stay here? I mean, what is wrong with the system? It is costing money to educate them, money to put in the system. We have a fundamental problem here and we have not yet addressed it. Reclassification is not going to do it. I said before, it is not going to do it. There has to be a plan. I know money doesn't fall out of the sky, but there has to be a choice made as to whether we want to give a certain level of service, and the price attached to getting that level of service; because right now - the statement the minister gave today. I don't, for one moment, think that because we are closing all these beds again this summer, some that never opened since last year, eighteen more closed before Christmas in medicine at the Grace that they were going to open up in the Health Sciences - it never happened. More closed on top of that. Don't think for a moment that people needing urgent surgery are going to get it. They are not going to get it.

This is an example. A lady from the West Coast, in the general Deer Lake area, had to travel - her husband had retired under a TAGS pension, and this happened this last couple of months - had to leave a fundraising effort in her community out on the southern part of the Great Northern Peninsula, not too far from Deer Lake, to send her in here. She was supposed to have surgery. She got in here and it was cancelled, and she went back on a bus again. She went back on a DRL Coachlines bus, back to her community.

This lady came back a second time, two weeks later, to have her surgery and it was cancelled again. She had to come back a third time. The third time she had to come in an ambulance and they removed a thirteen pound cancerous malignant tumor from her body. That person, after she recuperated, was sent back home again and went back to her residence within a fifteen or twenty minute drive to the Deer Lake area, and had to come back to see a specialist to set up treatment. That person came in, and when she came in it was cancelled; and a second time it was cancelled. She had to stay in St. John's, and I think is staying at the hostel now and getting treatment, a person who went through, after having a thirteen pound tumor removed, because there is a shortage.

This Province cannot provide adequate service in cancer treatment. They admitted and said: We are now going to pay for anybody who wants to go to a private clinic in the United States. We will pay the full cost. We will pay for the patient. We will pay for an escort for them. You can leave and go to the United States, and stay there, whether it is weeks or months, and get your treatment, because we cannot provide treatment to you in a safe period of time. That is basically what happened.

That is what is happening today. There is money allocated in this Budget, and an announcement was made here under the Newfoundland Cancer Research and Treatment Foundation in line with the hospitals to do that. That is a privatization of health care. We are paying the bill to go to private clinics in the United States. Why? We did not address it last year. We had a severe shortage. We had people who could not get radiation treatments because we did not have radiation therapists and medical physicists. We were not prepared to pay them enough money.

They went through a reclassification and they looked at that. They have increased it somewhat and I understand there has been some progress made there in that regard, but there are people out there today, waiting and suffering out there, who can't access our health care system.

A lady told me on the phone just last week that she had cancer surgery on her breast a couple of years ago and now she has to get a mammogram. She has been to a doctor and she told me she has to wait six months to get that. It is six months now to get a mammogram. A woman who was a cancer patient, who had surgery. I think it was surgery. I am not sure whether it was a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. I am not sure what specifically it was, but she has to wait six months to get a mammogram. That's not counting -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Basically there are dozens of cases out there that I could relate that I get on a regular week. In a regular week, no less than thirty, forty, sometimes fifty health care calls from every single part, almost, of this Province. I have just listed one particular one.

One other particular one I will mention is the thirteen pound tumor removed. I know another person now - here is another example of one - who told me that their surgery was cancelled in this last three months. A lady whose daughter told me their mother's cancer surgery was cancelled six times in the last three months, and now they are not going to do it. They are going to have to give treatment. They are now going to treat it rather than do surgery, after cancelling it six times. I asked: Why was it cancelled? They said it was cancelled because there were more critical emergency cases that had to be done. Is it advanced to the point now where they cannot do anything for her because cancelling it over the last three months has jeopardized her health? Maybe there is nothing they can do, I don't know. I didn't go into the specific medical questions and (inaudible), but the personal concerns related to it, I must say, are certainly very compelling to show that we are going to be in a lot worse state in this Province this summer than we were last year. The situation is not going to improve with just a reclassification. It alone is not the answer. There has to be a plan put forth to give people who are in the system confidence in the system that this will be resolved; at least the scale system to get us up to parity with Atlantic Canada. If we do not have that to offer people we are not going to be able to solve this problem. We have major concerns in health care.

It being the late hour that it is, I will adjourn debate on this. We will certainly conclude our Budget Debate tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, before adjourning the House I would like to inform members and ministers to take a look at the Order Paper. Tomorrow we should, I believe, unless there is another motion of non-confidence or something, finish the Budget Debate. At that time we will be taking up the Order Paper, and for the legislation ministers should take a look at the Order Paper to see exactly what they have on. Because we will be starting with Order 3 on today's Order Paper and just move down through the list that is before us.

Mr. Speaker, having given that valuable information, I move that the House -


MR. TULK: Mr. Speaker, if we finish that tomorrow I will try to find ten or fifteen more pieces for the next day, Thursday. We could adjourn on Thursday if the hon. gentlemen are so inclined.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, at 1:30 p.m.