The House met at 1:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Snow): Order, please!

Before we begin our routine proceedings, the Chair would like to welcome to the gallery today twenty Grade 9 students from Leary's Brook School in the District of St. John's North. They are accompanied by teacher, Carolyn Stacey, chaperone, Rick Canning, and bus driver, Don Gough.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Statements by Members

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin-Placentia West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS M. HODDER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this hon. House today to congratulate the nominees and winners of the 2002 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards, which were presented by the Patron of the Awards, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, on April 11.

Mr. Speaker, the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards were first presented in 1997 and are administered by the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Bennington Gate Fiction Award winner was Ed Kavanaugh for The Confessions of Nipper Mooney, published by Killick Press, while the Bruneau Family Children's Literature Award winner was Janet MacNaughton for The Secret Under My Skin, published by Harper Collins publishers.

Finalists for the fiction award included Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark and The Topography of Love by Bernice Morgan, while finalists for the children's literature award included Castles in The Sea by Larry Jackson; Kevin Major for Eh? To Zed: A Canadian AbeCedarium; and The Dog Next Year by Carmelita McGrath.

As we celebrate the accomplishments of these local authors, I want to commend the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador for their efforts in promoting our Province's finest literary talent and urge all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to experience these fine works.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Barbe.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today I rise to congratulate the Town of Bird Cove of twenty-five years of incorporation. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a celebration in the community.

There have been many noteworthy changes in Bird Cove in the past quarter- century, including the installation of new water and sewer lines, and a Tidy Towns Nomination.

The Town of Bird Cove also took the initiative to create jobs for residents of the community after the cod moratorium devastated both the local and regional economy.

I applaud all members of the council on the active and vocal manner in which they persistently approached government to bring promised jobs to fruition.

The Town of Bird Cove is a good example of a rural community that has faced adversity and is finding innovative ways to move forward.

It is evident that residents take a genuine concern in the quality of life, not only for themselves, but for their neighbours and that is a great inspiration for all communities.

Although many feel volunteerism is a thankless job, the spirt of rural Newfoundland and Labrador perseveres, and residents of communities such as Bird Cove continue to dedicate their time and energy to improving life in their local areas.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank councillors, past and present, for their most valuable service and commitment to the Town of Bird Cove.

Again, I congratulate the Town of Bird Cove on twenty-five years of incorporation.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, Strait Talk: Clear Language News in the Labrador Straits is a community newspaper published once a month by Partners in Learning, a regional literacy group. This project is funded by the Canadian Rural Partnerships Program, the National Literacy Secretariate and the International Grenfell Association. Local partners include the Labrador Straits Development Corporation, the SLDA, and Smart Labrador, amongst other municipalities and development groups.

The purpose behind this paper is to encourage and value literacy practices in the community and family. Strait Talk values and displays the wide variety of literacy practices in the local area, including: histories, expressions of opinions, recipes, stories, and traditional medicine.

Strait Talk is an important communication vehicle. It allows development groups, public health groups, government agencies and the local community to provide information in a clear language format.

Mr. Speaker, recently Partners in Learning were asked to exhibit Strait Talk at a National Rural Conference to demonstrate how this organization has addressed the issues of literacy and communication in rural areas of our country.

I ask all members of this House to join with me in congratulating those involved in making Strait Talk such a huge success.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Placentia & St. Mary's.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MANNING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to attend an awards ceremony at St. Catherine's Academy on Salmonier Line. Every couple of months the school gets together and presents awards to their students. The awards that were presented yesterday under art, environmental awards, awards to the cadet group, awards for poetry, math and most of all, basketball under the sports. It was a true community effort put forward by parents, teachers, staff, coaches, and everybody involved in St. Catherine's Academy.

St. Catherine's Academy's moto is Pursuing Excellence From Here To Eternity. There is no doubt about it, Mr. Speaker, that they pursue excellence in everything they do. It is a credit to the many people who are involved at St. Catherine's Academy, and the opportunity yesterday was to thank these people involved and to spread the excellence around. They did so in fine (inaudible) yesterday.

I want to congratulate St. Catherine's Academy and Mr. Gary Corbett, Principal of St. Catherine's Academy, for a job well done.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay East & Bell Island.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, from 1895 until 1966 over 78 million tons of ore was shipped from the world's largest submarine iron ore mine on Bell Island. The deposit contains an estimated 3.5 billion tons of iron ore and the area of occurrence is approximately 70 square miles, with only 10 square miles having been mined during its operation.

A group of dedicated volunteers on Bell Island have formed a Heritage Society and are offering tours of this historic underground iron ore mine and operating a museum as well. Last year over 15,000 people toured the mine on Bell Island and that was a 20 per cent increase over the year before.

The mine has regular tour hours and they operate from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. daily, from June to September. However, group tours are available by appointment at any time during the year.

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the people of Bell Island, and in particular Mr. Pat Craig, with the IAS Committee, and Gordon Skanes, known as Gordie, who is the Chair of the Heritage Society on Bell Island, for making this part of their unique history accessible to interested individuals and groups.

I would encourage all in the House of Assembly, and indeed across the Province, to visit Bell Island this summer and enjoy a tour of the iron ore mine.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It gives me great pleasure to rise today and inform the House of a special event that took place in Labrador West during the Easter break.

Mr. Speaker, the senior citizens of Labrador West took a trip that people half their age would probably hesitate to go on. On April 3 they went on an overnight excursion to the Miron River Hunting and Fishing Lodge. This may not seem like a big deal until you realize it is located about 100 kilometers in the wildness from towns.

The Iron Ore Company of Canada provided a bus to take them from town to the Ashuanipi River on Wednesday morning. We were waiting there to take them to the Miron River in a completely restored, twelve passenger 1957 Bombardier snowmobile owned by Phil Brake of Labrador City. In the hour and half it took to get to the lodge they had their accordion going and a sing along taking place.

When they arrived at the Miron there was a pot of moose soup waiting for them. We played cards with them all afternoon, had a big roast of caribou and Jiggs' dinner for the evening meal, following which the fun began.

With the accordion going and the fiddle playing, they played, sang and danced the night away. It was indeed a great time for all of them. The next morning it was aboard the snowmobile again and down the trail to the bus.

Mr. Speaker, what makes this story so amazing is the fact that all the seniors are women. Five of them are over the age of eighty. For some of them, it was the first time in their lives on ski-doos.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to read their names into the record of Hansard: Mrs. Louise Mouland, Mrs. Daisy Pelly, Mrs. Myrtle St. Croix, Mrs. Pearl Hicks, Mrs. Myrtle King, Miss Edna Loder, Loder, Mrs. Ella Hoffe, who was accompanied by her daughter Glynis Hynes.

Mr. Speaker, for making this event happen, I would like to thank George Pardy of the Miron River Outfitting Lodge and his wife Mimi, Phil and Cynthia Brake, Nelson and Marjorie Dumaresque, for all their help, and to Cliff Chambers for providing his fiddle talents.

It was a trip the seniors who went will never forget, and listening to their stories -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. COLLINS: By leave, Mr. Speaker, just to finish up?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. COLLINS: - other seniors cannot wait until their turn next year.

Mr. Speaker when the trip began I asked Mrs. Mouland if she was afraid to go that far on a snowmobile and her response was, "Randy, when you get my age you're not afraid of nothing or no one."

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Oral Questions

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My questions today are for the Minister of Fisheries.

Mr. Speaker, foreign fishing fleets continue to destroy fish stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks, and in the past two years the number of documented infractions in the NAFO area have increased dramatically. They are ignoring the rules of their own international regulatory body and are ignoring Canada's declaration of protective custody over some of these stocks, and they are getting away with it. Unfortunately, NAFO was toothless. Canada, our country, is detached and indifferent. It just cannot be bothered. Given this government's silence, I believe that they feel the same.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Fisheries, what action his government has taken to force the federal government to pay attention to this issue. For example, has the minister and his government asked the Prime Minister to discuss these matters with the European press or European leaders on its current tour of leading capitals, or has the minister and his government asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take this issue up with the United Nations?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Obviously the member opposite has been out of town for the last few weeks because this government has not been silent on the issue of foreign overfishing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, in fact, it was only here three weeks ago that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board gave $100,000 to the Department of Fisheries to carry out that campaign. We have been working with FANL, the processors in the Province, and the union, so that we could get a conjoint effort together to work on this issue. I have spoken on numerous occasions with the federal minister. I brought it to the attention of the Atlantic Fisheries Ministers back two weeks ago in P.E.I.

In the meeting on Thursday with FANL and the union, they suggested that the Opposition parties in the House stand behind us, and we act with one unified voice. Obviously, the Leader of the Opposition is more interested in scoring cheap political points than he is with the actual issue, which is one that is very important to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. WILLIAMS: It must be the best kept secret in the Province, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) about cheap political points. This is about important issues to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, just this weekend we found out about a Russian trawler that was loaded with baby redfish, less than the size of my hand, caught on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks - also cod caught, as well, other endangered groundfish species - all of it legal because NAFO does not have any quota or size restrictions on the fish. Our own fishermen, our own Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen, on the other hand -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary.

MR. WILLIAMS: - cannot take undersized redfish because they want to be responsible. They want the fish to grow. They want the fish to reproduce. They want to build an industry.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister: Why is he, in particular, why has this Premier, why has his government, been so quiet while foreign fleets destroy any chance of recovery in that fishery? And why is he so indifferent to the Government of Canada, who are standing by and letting this happen time and time and time again?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Mr. Speaker, we realize that it has been a very serious issue, the issue of foreign overfishing. Maybe one of the past leaders that they had there, the Member from Lewisporte, when he was the Minister of Fisheries, he also fought this issue in Ottawa, Mr. Speaker. We have been doing it since 1989.

I can remember going with Mr. Carter, when he was the Minister of Fisheries, to Ottawa and discussing it with then Minister of Fisheries for Canada, John Crosbie, and we said: Mr. Crosbie, send out the gunboats.

He laughed at us. He actually laughed us. He used to look at Walter Carter and say: Wally, go home boy, you are talking about starting a third world war. Don't be so foolish. He said: Even if I wanted to do it, I could not get it through our External Affairs Minister. He said: Joe Clarke, who is now the leader of the party, said he would never look at it. So, he said, go home; there is nothing we can do about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: As for the silence, Mr. Speaker, as for the silence, again, I would like to know where the hon. member across the floor has been, because this government has not been silent. In fact, the only thing that I have heard from him was a one-liner on Friday afternoon after he returned to the Province saying that this government and the one in Ottawa was inept when it came to foreign overfishing. I can tell you that we are and we have and we will continue to fight against what is happening on the Nose and the Tail of our Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

What did the late Herb Dhaliwal do for this Province? Gave away 1,500 off to Prince Edward Island. What about Brian Tobin? What did Brian Tobin do? At the end of the day we ended up giving more fish to the Spaniards.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: What about George Baker who got muzzled after they bought him off? What happened to him?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. WILLIAMS: Lets not get into politics here, baby, or I tell you, we will go all the way with it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary, I ask him to get to his question.

MR. WILLIAMS: Do you know what we should do, Mr. Speaker? Maybe we should strap some softwood lumber to the backs of these fish, and then we would get some attention.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary, I ask him to get to his question.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAMS: I thought you would like those, Eddie.

Mr. Speaker, the livelihood -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAMS: A very serious matter. A very, very serious matter.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, the livelihood of tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians -

MR. BARRETT: (Inaudible).

MR. WILLIAMS: It is a very serious matter, Percy. I mean, the Minister of Transportation. I wouldn't mind if he would just listen while I ask my question.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WILLIAMS: Mr. Speaker, the livelihood of tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and indeed their families, their communities, and their homes are in jeopardy, because of Canada's reluctance and because of this government's reluctance to protect our important fish stocks from foreign overfishing.

My question is quite simple, Mr. Speaker. Let me ask the Minister of Fisheries: What is he going to do about it? When are you going to show some outrage? When is he going to show some concern? When is he going to show some interest? Or is he just like the Premier, he just simply isn't interested when it comes to fish?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I don't need to sit here, for the hon. member across the floor to tell me about the impact foreign overfishing has had on this Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: I represent a district, Twillingate & Fogo, in the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker, that is dependent, 100 per cent, on the fishery. I know what it is like to have to see houses boarded up, plants closed and communities dying. I also know what it is like on the South Coast of our Province where, in Burgeo today, the plant still remains idle since 1992, in plants like Ramea.

What I am asking the hon. members opposite to do is come on side with us, the union and FANL, along with the NDP in this Province, to conjointly stage a protest against what is happening outside of our 200-mile limit.

Mr. Speaker, we have been working on this since 1989, but we intend to do it in a co-ordinated way with the union, with FANL, and I am sure the Leader of the NDP will come on side. Like I said earlier, this issue is far too serious to play cheap politics with. As long as we stand in this House of Assembly and fight with each other, nobody else in this country is going to listen to us.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. REID: I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member opposite talk to his Tory cousins in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I., and tell them what impact foreign overfishing is having on the economy of this Province -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. REID: - because when I brought it up at the Ministers' Conference in P.E.I. two weeks ago, not one of them spoke to it, Mr. Speaker, not one.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I will remind the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that there has been more out of the MPs in Nova Scotia on this issue than there has been out of this government on this issue.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture also.

The report of the Independent Panel on Access Criteria was released recently. The report singles out the waters off this Province as the only waters where adjacency would not be the guiding principle in allocating fish.

Mr. Speaker, this flies in the face of our stand in the international community, that we should have jurisdiction over the area adjacent to us outside the 200-mile limit. Will the minister ask his federal counterpart how he expects foreign nations to agree with our desire to manage the adjacent Continental Shelf outside 200 if the federal government does not support adjacency inside 200?


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The people of this Province know where we stand with regard to the Panel on Access Criteria that the hon. member mentioned just then.

Mr. Speaker, again, along with the union and FANL and this government, we presented our position to the federal government. Our position was that in order to have - the three main principles for access to fish off our Province were: adjacency, historical dependence, and economic viability.

Mr. Speaker, we believe first and foremost that the adjacency principle is the most important principle for our Province and we will continue to fight - it is only a report; the minister has not accepted it yet - we will continue to fight, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the adjacency principle is the key principle in allocating fish stocks off our coast.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Unfortunately, adjacency has not been the guiding principle in the past. Mr. Speaker, this report identifies Aboriginal rights and interpersonal and interregional equity as principles that take priority over adjacency and historical dependance in allocating fish.

Mr. Speaker, is the minister concerned that acceptance of this could see upwards of 50 million pounds of Northern shrimp off this Province set up as the bargaining chip to be used by the federal government to settle allocation disputes with Aboriginal communities in the Maritimes, Mr. Speaker?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am well aware of what that means for the Province. I am also well aware that if we lose that adjacency principle we could very well lose access to some of the fish stocks that are very important to this Province. But again, Mr. Speaker, I ask the members opposite to come on side with us to fight the federal government on this rather than fighting ourselves while the people in the rest of Canada sit back uninterested or laugh at us.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am glad to see that he has invited us because he said that it was last week or the week before that they had this debate, so finally he is getting around to inviting us to participate.

Mr. Speaker, we do support the principle of adjacency and the Province's stand on it, but we want to hear more vocal on this. This report, Mr. Speaker, is potentially the most dangerous report relating to fisheries allocations to come out of Ottawa in a very long time. It has been almost two weeks since this report came out, yet all we see from the minister is a press release expressing disappointment.

Will the minister condemn this report, Mr. Speaker, stand up to the federal minister and tell him that we are sick of his P.E.I. shrimp deals, we are sick of the reports and we want nothing less than our rightful access to the fish and the waters that we brought into this country in 1949?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. REID: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said earlier, we are working with the union and we are working with FANL. We are working with everyone in the industry because the union and FANL, and every fisherman and every fisherwoman in this Province, every plant worker, knows how important the adjacency principle is to the fishery in this Province. Everyone knows that, Mr. Speaker. If we have not done anything - I gave a presentation on this exact FANL report two weeks ago to the Atlantic ministers in P.E.I. I have written Mr. Thibault . I have called him personally and have spoken with him. I met on Thursday past with FANL and the union again, Mr. Speaker, so that we can go forward with a unified attack or unified approach to this to the federal government. Again, I would ask the members opposite to join with us in this Province, rather attack us.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Since the Legislature opened for the spring sitting I have been pursuing questions related to consultants and the hiring of consultants by various departments in government. Mr. Speaker, the list I have here today reads like a who's who of friends of the Liberal Government. The old adage: ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune' holds true in this sense.

Let me ask the minister responsible, the Minister of Industry and Rural Development this question: Why was there no public tender, for example, for Perry and Butland Communications, a contract which this company received in excess of $100,000? Why wasn't it; no public tender called, no issuance of a public tender? Like, for example, the consultant Paratus out of Winnipeg hired to do a cultural study on the Province for $380,000. Why is it that you stand up on your feet and claim to be so open and transparent, but when it comes to rewarding your friends public tender is in the garbage and Liberal friends are on the way through the front door?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I answered, in response to a question from the Opposition House Leader yesterday concerning consultants guidelines, that I would obtain them for him. That is in process. I have requested of the officials of the department that he provide them so that we can table them here in the House, along with all reports and consultant studies that have been requested in regards to that.

I understand the guidelines actually fall under, and are governed by, Treasury Board, and not particularly under this department, but those guidelines apply to -

MR. FITZGERALD: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. PARSONS: Maybe if the members opposite, the Member for Bonavista South, would give me the courtesy of responding. I would appreciate the courtesy of being allowed to respond to your question. If it is important enough to ask, I think it is important enough that the people of this Province deserve an answer.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: In that regard, again, there are guidelines that are established here. Consultancy reports are not subject to the Public Tender Act but there are guidelines that are established, and to my knowledge those guidelines have always been followed, regardless of what the study in the report was. If there is anything to the contrary, it is certainly not a matter that I am aware of.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, if there are guidelines available twenty-four hours later you would think the minister would table them in the House.

The only guideline that is in place for consultants in this Province is: Who supports the governing party? That is the guideline that is required.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: For example, I would like to ask him this question. In documents obtained under freedom of information request, SKD Consulting received in excess of $34,000 from your department. What did SKD Consulting do for your department? Why was there no contract? What was the report that was eventually tabled or given to your department based upon that? Here is the question: Is that particular consulting company still working for government?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I mentioned again yesterday, and I will reconfirm here today, and it was - as the Opposition House Leader states - less than twenty-four hours ago that he made his request, not only for the guidelines -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: While I understand that the guidelines are not necessarily secret information, anybody who wants the guidelines has access to the guidelines, but the request yesterday was to provide to this hon. House a copy of the guidelines plus a copy of any reports that have been issued by my particular department. That is what I have undertaken to provide to this House. That is what I will provide to this House. I do not think twenty-four hours to compile that information is a particularly long time, but again, I give my assurance to this House that as soon as the information is compiled it will be tabled here in this House, and any questions that the Opposition have with respect to any particular contract, we are certainly at liberty then. If you give me notice of the particulars and details of any particular study that you want to know about, I will certainly be more than welcome to provide this House, and the people of this Province, with that information.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, the minister failed to answer the questions. The fact of the matter is that if guidelines are available in the department right now they should be tabled in the House right now. The fact that they are not, Mr. Speaker, is very telling.

Let me ask the Minister of Government Services this question: Was there a public tender called for SKD Consulting which you issued from your department - December, $5,700; January 19, 2002, $11,896 and on February 8, $8,310 - for a total of $25,000 worth of work for three months? Was there a public tender called from your department in paying this consultant? I do not believe there was, but if there wasn't, why wasn't there? And, what is the nature of the consulting work that the consultant is doing for your department?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. NOEL: No, Mr. Speaker, there was no public tender call because it is not required. The consultant was hired in accordance with established regulations, to provide the services which he is now delivering. It is a consultant who has a good reputation in this field; as a matter of fact, the consultant who has been endorsed by the people on the other side, by their employment of the consultant in the past.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I will allow the hon. member one more question.

MR. E. BYRNE: Let me make it clear. What is at stake here is the principle that on one hand this government says they are the most open and transparent government in Newfoundland's history, and on the other hand -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. E. BYRNE: - they go ahead and spend millions and millions of the public's money without public tender. The consultant is not the issue. Your blatant disregard for public finances -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. E. BYRNE: It is better than taking the public finances on your back, I say to the Minister of Human Resources.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, for the sake of brevity, would the minister be inclined, if I provided him a list of his department's own consultants, that he take that tonight, do his homework and report back tomorrow on why this entire list received - the consultants on this list have close associations to your government and your government party, and why you called no public tender for either one of those? Would you like a copy of that?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment first and foremost that I do not have all the intimate details of this matter under discussion. Nor do I -

MR. E. BYRNE: (Inaudible).

MR. PARSONS: Again, if the Opposition House Leader wants the answer to his question, I would expect he would have the courtesy to let me respond.

In the ten or twelve days that I have been here, I have determined a couple of things. First of all, the staff at ITRD are very credible, very responsible, very competent people who have done their level best to give me a level of foundation and knowledge so that I can answer some of these questions, and they have done a good job of that, but unfortunately we have only gotten to the tips of the trees. The department is vast. The information is vast. I have no difficulty with any question that the member opposite might wish to ask me to provide him with the information. I readily admit that I do not have all of this detail on the top of my head to give him. Now, any information that he wishes to give to me, to have me review, by all means.

Again, openness and transparency works two ways. It is coming from this side, and if he wishes to be open and transparent and give me information so that I can check the facts out, I am more than welcome to have it, receive it, and have it properly analyzed and then respond to him. Not a problem.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is for the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods concerning the Newfoundland and Labrador School Milk Foundation.


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

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will begin again. My question is for the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods concerning the Newfoundland and Labrador School Milk Foundation. Recently, two parents in Labrador West have set up a school lunch program. They applied to the school milk program in the Province but were told that, due to transportation restrictions, milk cannot be delivered to Labrador West from the Province but they could get some brochures and other printed material.

As the minister knows, Mr. Speaker, the School Milk Foundation is a valuable program that is promoting health and nutrition, encouraging our children to drink more milk, and increasing the availability and the affordability of milk for our students in the schools. As the government is a partner and provides funding support for this program, I ask the minister: Why aren't school children in Labrador West able to avail of this important program?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

In answer to the hon. gentleman's question, this was an agreement brought in, I think, in 1989-1990, initiated by government and the two processing firms in the Province at the time, namely Brookfield Ice cream and Central Dairies, to institute a school milk program in the Province. It has been a very successful program, there is no question about that. It went from around 150,000 to 200,000 litres when it started in the schools and the consumption now is up to over 900,000; between 900,00 and 1 million litres per year in the schools in the Province.

Transportation always has been a problem with regard to the Labrador part of it, and other areas of the Province, when it started first. Just because it is up to 900,000 or 1 million litres a day and consumption is up in the schools of the Province, and the Province as a whole, it does not mean that it came overnight. It went incrementally. Year after year after year it improved.

The Labrador situation is unique in the fact that it seems like the transportation part of it cannot be overcome because you are even taking the fresh milk market out of Quebec into Labrador West and Goose, and the Goose Bay area. That is tied in with the UHT milk, which is ultra high temperature, being put on the shelves down there.

Getting back to the initial question of the member, I can certainly talk to the processors again to see what their thoughts are on doing something with regard to that, and see if the transportation part of it - especially when you take into consideration the milk costs in Quebec verses Newfoundland come into play with that. I can certainly take that up with them.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Labrador West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I say to the minister that, given the focus of this program is the students and not the milk producers, even though we are thankful for their support, will the minister commit that regardless of where the cow is located, regardless of where that is, that the school children of Labrador West will be entitled to the same subsidy from the government as students in the rest of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Right now I cannot honestly tell where the cow is located, but I can pretty well assure you it is not out to pasture.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious problem, no question about that. I realize that, not only with regard to consumption and what it has to do with production and sales in the Province, it has to do with nutrients. It is a very important thing to get into the schools because what happens is, kids start drinking milk and they do not get into the carbonated beverages and so on. It is a great program, no question.

Transportation is a factor, but getting back to where the cow is located, Mr. Speaker. In Labrador it is coming on big time as an agricultural production. We are looking at the Goose area now with regards to - as you know, in Labrador the soils are very sandy, very susceptible to leaching, they can't hold the nutrients. We are looking at the new production management techniques in that area now with some farmers in the Goose Bay area -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

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

MR. WOODFORD: - and there is a possibility we have even identified the growing of barley and oats in that particular part of the Province. So, it might come into being where there would be some animal production there, and probably some small new production over the years.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. COLLINS: That was very useful information, I say to the minister, but I hope we don't have to wait for farms to take place in Labrador before school children can get subsidized milk.

Again, I ask the minister: Will he commit, because the provincial government pays money into this program, to the students of Labrador West that they will be able to receive milk subsidized by this government the same as other students in the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. WOODFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

As I said from the outset, Mr. Speaker, I will take it upon myself to talk to the producers and the Newfoundland Dairymen's Association to see what can be done in that particular area - there is no question about that - to see what kinds of changes have taken place over the last few years. I am familiar with some of them, but there may be some others. I will talk to the processors and see what it would cost to put milk into a place like Lab West.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has ended.

Notices of Motion

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, when the House prorogued, we left two pieces of legislation on the Order Paper, "An Act Respecting Environmental Protection" and "An Act Respecting The Control And Management Of Water Resources In The Province". We had agreed to give these bills the same status when the House opened, now as it was then. This is what it looks like on paper, Mr. Speaker. To do that, I will read the motion.

I give notice and by leave move, that notwithstanding the provisions of any Standing Orders or practices of the House, the versions of the bills entitled, "An Act Respecting Environmental Protection", Bill 1, and "An Act Respecting The Control And Management Of Water Resources In The Province", Bill 4, which were ready for consideration by the Committee of the Whole House during the Third Session of the Forty-Fourth General Assembly, be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to and reported from the Resource Standing Committee of the House, and that the said bills be ordered to stand on the Order Paper for consideration by this honourable House at the same stage, that is the Committee of the Whole House, during this, the Fourth Session of the Forty-Fourth General Assembly.

MR. SPEAKER: We have all heard the motion put forward by the hon. the Government House Leader.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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



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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

Again, Mr. Speaker, I rise today in Petition time to present yet another petition from another area of my district in Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove area, the Green Bay area, where they have another situation of deplorable road in their area. This is one of the parts of the 900 kilometres of road still left in the Island portion of the Province, not including the parts of the Province in Labrador where there is still also a lot of gravel roads, Mr. Speaker.

In this particular case, this community did have some work done some years ago. As a matter of fact, I do not know exactly, but I think it is somewhere around fifteen years ago that it seen its last bit of pavement. That was in the time of the Peckford Administration when they did start pavement in the community and it started to work out, but there is still over fifteen kilometres of gravel roads that is in a deplorable condition today. As I drive down that road, especially now in the springtime, it is soften up, it is the worst of all. The Member for The Straits refers to it as the winter pavement is gone now. We see everything is melting and they are being reminded again that they still have this much gravel road to drive over.

Parents continuously remind me that school children are getting on those buses and travelling every single day. It is hard enough sometimes to encourage your children to keep interested in school and so on, but when you have to get up and face this every single morning - people in this part of the Province are saying that they are sick and tired, day-after-day, of trying to encourage their children to get on a school bus when they look at these conditions. Even in a good car, if they could afford good vehicles, it is still an uncomfortable ride, and day-after-day they have to put up with this. They are getting sick and tired of it. The last thing they want to do - as one parent said to me, they have to continuously go around with a petition, to get people to sign a petition so that they can get this government to recognize finally that they need to put together a plan; not every year to stand up with a small amount of money that is just not addressing the problems in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. They are being left out again.

We need a plan that is going to finally address the real road crisis that is in this Province that grows year-after-year. Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, I do not know how many times we have to repeat it, and some members have said to me: Oh, you are presenting another petition on roads. Well, Mr. Speaker, I know, not just on this side of the House but also on the other side of the House - I was in Twillingate last weekend and people came up to me and talked about roads in their area. This Province, from the west to the South Coast and the Northeast Coast in Labrador, has a serious problem that is not being addressed. It has been put aside. Every spring this government and this minister stands up with a measly $18 million to $20 million when he knows full well that there are somewhere near $300 million, at least, in requests from all around this Province, from every member, on road work that desperately needs to be done.

Mr. Speaker, they are always asking us for solutions and policy. Well, we believe there should be a long term policy, a plan that will address it, not just year-to-year, but either a five year or a ten year plan, and we have to get support now from the federal government so we can really address this.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Leave, just to conclude? So that the people in this district -

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. SHELLEY: So that these people do not have to do any more petitions and people in Harry's Harbour, Jackson's Cove and Silverdale can finally say: We are going to be able to send our children to school on a paved highway, on something that is comfort, and something that is long overdue.

I support this petition, and I hope the government soon listens to these people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FITZGERALD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand today to present a petition as well, another road petition. It reads: Petition to the House of Assembly. To the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland;

WHEREAS the road on the Bonavista Peninsula from Route 235 through the communities of Open Hall, Red Cliffe and Tickle Cove, is in such a deplorable condition that it damages vehicles and creates great discomfort and safety concerns for children on school buses; and

WHEREAS this road has not been upgraded since it was first paved more than twenty-five years ago, despite serious deterioration;

WHEREFORE your petitioners urge the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to upgrade where necessary and re-pave the seven kilometers of road leading from Route 235 through Open Hall, Red Cliffe, and Tickle Cove.

And as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this is another one of several petitions that I have presented here for this particular section of road. It is seven kilometers leading from Route 235 out to Tickle Cove. The road is in a deplorable condition. I have had the minister, I guess to his credit - although we have not seen much work, but to his credit - I have had the minister down over that section of road twice in the last year. It is a section of road, Mr. Speaker, that last year the people in that particular area were promised that they would see two kilometers of that road paved. They did not want, they did not expect, to get their seven kilometers of road work done and they were happy and satisfied to see a start made. They said: Okay, we will accept two kilometers this year, a couple of kilometers next year, and within the next few years we will have our road paved. They were not selfish people, saying that our road should get seven kilometers this year and forget about everybody else.

Mr. Speaker, the minister went down and promised the people in Open Hall, Red Cliffe and Tickle Cove that two kilometers of road would be paved. Then, all of a sudden, the capital works budget was announced. What did they get, Mr. Speaker? I will tell you what they got. They got 400 meters, less than half a kilometer, of roadway upgraded and paved. Those people living in Open Hall, Red Cliffe and Tickle Cove need and deserve a road to drive over, to allow their school children to travel over, allow the seniors in the community to travel over, and everybody else who lives in those three communities. They deserve a section of road comparable to any other road that exist in this Province. They pay the same price for taxes on gasoline, the same price to insure their vehicles, the same price to register their vehicles, the same price for their driver's licence, Mr. Speaker.

They come in here. A committee representing those three communities have recently come in with me and met with the minister again to put forward their plea to have this section of roadway included in the capital works budget of this coming year. We are still waiting with anticipation to see if we are going to be successful, to have this road upgraded and paved. Mr. Speaker, the people - the children, the school children in this community - travel down to King's Cove to attend school and this, I would suggest, is probably the worst section of road that any bus travels over serving that particular school. It is in deplorable condition. It needs to be upgraded. It has gotten to the point in some cases, Mr. Speaker, that one side of your car is driving on paved road and the other side is driving on gravel road because the edges, the sides of the pavement, the wall of the road, has disappeared and what we have is a gravel section -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. FITZGERALD: - that extends almost in to the middle of that particular roadway.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister to make sure that this section of roadway is included in this year's capital works project budget so that the people in this area can realize some road work.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. ROSS WISEMAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again today in the House to present this petition on behalf of the people in the Clarenville Area. I will just read from the petition, Mr. Speaker. It says:

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced in its 2001-2002 Budget there would be a long-term care facility constructed in Clarenville, and that the Department of Health and Community Services was given $500,000 to commence the engineering and design work; and

WHEREAS in August, 2001, last year, the then acting Minister of Health and Community Services further confirmed, in a letter to the Town of Clarenville, that government was in fact committed to building forty-four long-term care beds in Clarenville and that the design work and the consultants to do the design work would be appointed by September, 2001.

Mr. Speaker, the petition suggests that the then acting Minister of Health and Community Services last August made that commitment. The people of Clarenville were somewhat delighted last week when they found that last year's acting Minister of Health and Community Services is now the permanent Minister of Health and Community Services.

They were really refreshed and reassured by that because they assume now that, given the fact that he was the individual who last year put in writing a commitment to have the consultants appointed by September, 2001, for sure now that same person, that same minister, was now going to live up to his commitment, live up to the word that he gave to the Mayor of Clarenville, live up to what he put in writing last August, and in fact now, immediately, proceed and appoint the consultants to start to do the design work.

Just a month ago, the former Minister of Health and Community Services made a comment on CBC Radio, out of Gander, that government would in fact, within a few months, be in a position to proceed and make that appointment. I am asking now, the newly appointed Minister of Health and Community Services, to: number one, reflect on and consider his commitment to the people of the Clarenville Area of last year and follow through with that commitment. I would also ask that the minister look at the commitment made by his former colleague, the former Minister of Health and Community Services, when she said within a few months. So, both now the former minister's few months is now here and should be ready to make the appointment, and the current minister's commitment of last year is some seven or eight months past. So, for sure by now, government should be in a position to follow through with: number one, its commitment from last year's budget; number two, the commitment last August from the then acting minister, who is now the permanent minister, and follow through thirdly with the commitment from the former minister.

Now, that sounds complicated, Mr. Speaker. It probably is, because the people in Trinity North and the people in Bonavista South and the people in Terra Nova and the people in Bellevue district have been talking about this issue for the last fifteen years. This has been a major issue for the people of that area for quite some time.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. ROSS WISEMAN: By leave, Mr. Speaker, just to conclude?

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


MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. ROSS WISEMAN: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would ask that the minister, for once and for all, put this issue to bed. It has been a long-standing issue for the people in that area, and it is about time that this government acted on all its commitments and follow through and make that appointment, that the engineering and design firm go ahead and start the design work to construct a long-term care facility in Clarenville.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr .Speaker.

I, too, rise today to present a petition to this House. Like the Member for Baie Verte and the Member for Bonavista South, it is a petition on roads. It is a petition similar to the one that I presented here in this House last spring from the residents of Conche and many people who also used the Conche road to conduct their business, to travel from Roddickton and surrounding areas into Conche, for teachers who teach in the schools there, wood truck drives, transport truck drivers and the like who travel over twenty-six kilometers, Mr. Speaker, of gravel road every day into and out of Conche.

It is a road, as I said last year, that I have pointed out to the Minister of Transportation, the Member for Bellevue, that was built by logging contractors primarily, a road that is basically no better than a woods road. There are woods roads maintained by the Department of Forestry and Agrifoods in this Province that are in better condition than the Conche highway, the Conche road. I cannot call it a highway. The Conche road. It is in a deplorable condition.

I will read from the petition as it came from the people of Conche, and we had to attach a prayer of the House to it:

We, the undersigned who use Conche road, feel that maintenance and repair of our road is long overdue. With respect to the road conditions elsewhere in Newfoundland, the road conditions we have to endure are deplorable. Therefore, we insist that our road be better maintained and preferably paved.

Mr. Speaker, I think that is very telling, the last couple of words of this petition. It says: ...and preferably paved. That just goes to point out that the people of Conche, and the people who use the Conche road, are so fed up with the road that they have to travel on, that the road is in such poor condition, that right now they would be prepared to accept some upgrading to a Class A gravel road.

Mr Speaker, the petition does not speak to the road conditions in Conche, itself. I talked to a lady and gentleman in Conche yesterday who have to take their vehicle to the garage some time in the next couple of days to get two struts replaced because they are broke. Not that they are worn out, but they are actually broke. That is because of the road conditions that they have to travel over. There is a hole in a place called Sailor Jack's Hill, a hole bigger around than a five-gallon bucket, that goes down through the road. That is an extremely dangerous situation for people who travel over these roads every day. The road, as I said, through Conche, just to travel from one end of the harbour to the other, is a fifteen to twenty minute drive because of the condition of the road. It is to the point where it is pointless, practically, to send a grader out on the road.

Yesterday, the people of Conche and surrounding area -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TAYLOR: By leave, just to conclude?

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

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. SPEAKER: By leave.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The people of Conche and surrounding areas, their frustration reached a point yesterday, and again today, where they have staged a protest on the road; where actually yesterday the grader was on its way to grade the road in Conche and to Conche, and the people actually stopped the grader. They stopped the grader because they really see it as an exercise in futility. The road is gone, it is down to the bedrock and for the amount of resource that has come out of that community over the years - it once was a very prosperous fishing community with a fish plant running there, where there was practically zero unemployment in the summer months, as is the case with many communities in Newfoundland. Mr. Speaker, they got nothing out of it. They got absolutely nothing out of this government since 1949 practically. They are living there at the end of a twenty-six kilometre gravel road that was built primarily by logging contractors. They would like to see this government, as I said to the Minister of Transportation, commit some funds, over the next couple of years, to upgrade their road so that they have something decent and safe to travel on, which is not a great deal to expect and to ask for, I do not suspect.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

Orders of the Day

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, Order 1. We, on this side, eagerly await the peroration of the hon. the Member for Ferryland.

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to say, before I start, the Government House Leader said he is looking forward to my continuation. I just want to remind him that I do have unlimited time, and I say to the hon. member, I intend to use it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, today I want to address a few more topics of much interest, I might add, to the people of this Province relating to this horrendous budget that was brought down by this government. They have the audacity to ask us, in this House, to approve, in general, the budgetary policies of the government. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I, for one, will not be approving the budgetary policies of this government based on the budget that we have seen here in this House.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: The former Minister of Finance, who is the former Minister of Health, provided an opportunity to critique on a couple of occasions, I might add. He told me he is none the worse for his experience. His color has come back again, and he is enjoying his new role as Minister of Mines and Energy. I am not sure the Province is enjoying it very much - not too much at all, I might add - because we have a grave concern that we are going to see a valuable resource in our Province once again sold out, once again given away.

As our leader said yesterday, the nickel back - we might never get our nickel back, I might add, if we see this going out for a period or number of years with nothing proven. The technology is not proven. The technology has only taken place in a laboratory basis, according to the President of Inco. It is only being done in a lab, basically, and there are no assurances that company can give that the hydromet technology is going to work. There is no guarantee it is going to work on the type of ore that is found.

If the President of Inco said that, I cannot see why the Minister of Mines and Energy is saying it is a proven technology when the President of Inco says differently. The President of Inco is saying differently. It is only in the lab stage. I heard and read those words, I say to the minister. The minister should know that the ore in Labrador is not laterite, he should know that. Because what applies: one man's meat is another man's poison. What is suitable for one is not always suitable for another. You cannot apply the same basic chemical procedures to one and apply it to another. I do not have a great knowledge of chemistry, but I do have a limited knowledge of chemistry from my university course in chemistry. Having taught it for twenty years, I learned a little bit along the way but nothing of the level that is certainly required to make appropriate decisions.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Now I say to the minister, to that diversionary tactic there, I will get back in greater detail some other day over the next week or two and deal with the mines and energy issue, but I want to address a few other very pressing issues here in our Province.

When I adjourned debate yesterday on this issue I was talking about the sad state of affairs that is happening in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is the loss of our most valuable resource; and it is not nickel, it is not iron ore, it is not our fish and our forest. The most valuable resource in our Province are the people of our Province. We have seen almost 40,000 people leave our Province just in the last few years; the census from 1996 to 2001. Most people were shocked actually by the vast number of people who have moved out of our Province. I fully anticipate that the numbers will go down because since this government came to power in 1989 - we had 583,000 people. We have lost 70,000 people from our Province since this government came to power in 1989. That is a telling statistic. It is very telling in many, many ways. You look at 70,000 people - add up some of the biggest towns and cities in our Province and you would have to put a lot of them together to get 70,000 people. An erosion of a tax base. An erosion of extra costs incurred by those left behind because we have less people serving those communities; less people to share the burden of taxation; less people to work and provide income to pay for various services in the area.

I want to just touch briefly and have a look at some of the telling statistics. These statistics are not localized to just rural Newfoundland. I mean, how would you define rural Newfoundland? There are many areas of the Province, outside the City of St. John's, that might not be regarded as rural but they have suffered significant setbacks in the past period of time by out-migration from those towns. Some of the towns in particular - and the losses from these are quite telling.

I was reading some information on the losses. I just want to highlight some of the areas in the diverse parts of our Province where population losses are occurring. Really, can anybody tell us where in our Province haven't we lost population? There have been very few areas of our Province that haven't suffered tremendous setbacks. If we just have a quick look at most of this Province, it shows us that here - the Avalon Peninsula, take in my district, for example. Every single town in my district, except one, showed a loss of population. That was one small community, Port Kirwan, that showed an increased from ninety-four to 102. Not exactly what you would call a large community at all, a community that certainly is struggling like all rural Newfoundland communities are struggling.

The loss of population prior to that was significant. Many people have moved out prior to that point, and that is why the population was down to ninety-four people. We look at previous census that were even higher. We are not even getting back close to what it used to be, and will we ever get back to what it used to be? Well, the reason for being for many of these communities was based on the fishery; a fishery that provided a livelihood. Almost every community had a fish plant that people worked there on a regular basis. They received their seasonal employment from that because it was a seasonal type of fishery. Some areas had a year-round fishery. There were offshore plants. Trepassey, for example, in the district. Even in Fermeuse they worked year-round at a fish plant, and other areas on the Burin Peninsula, in particular, were primarily involved in the offshore fishery, because we had a resource. Why don't we have a resource today? Why haven't we got a ground fishery out there today?

Well, in great part because we did not protect the resource we had, and that is why we are seeing communities around, like the community, for example, of Renews, down from 503 to 423 people; Riverhead, St. Mary's Bay, 311 down to 264, 15.1 per cent; St. Mary's 18.2; Peter's River and the Gaskiers and these areas, over 20 per cent loss in population. We move along to other areas, for example. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation tells us about the prosperity out in his district. Well, areas like Southern Harbour have lost population, 7 per cent; Arnold's Cove, over 8 per cent. We have seen Come By Chance, 11.7; Sunnyside, 23 per cent; Norman's Cove, Long Cove, 13.8. The list goes on and on.

I might add, in the Speaker's district, Heart's Desire, a 25 per cent loss in population. That is very, very significant in five years, a 25 per cent loss in population. New Perlican, Hant's Harbour, there is no area untouched by this, right through into Conception Bay, even in the areas that would have fair populations. Take Bay Roberts, for example. The Town of Bay Roberts lost 235 people in the Town of Bay Roberts alone. That is a loss of 4.3 per cent for that town. We have seen in North River, a loss. We move into the Harbour Main-Whitbourne district, we are seeing losses in every single community.

What is happening is telling us something. If we look at the Burin Peninsula, for example, look at Lamaline. It has lost 21 per cent of its people in five years. Look at some of the larger towns: Marystown. Marystown, according to this figure, has lost 834 people; 834 people out of Marystown. That is quite a large number of people to take out of any one community. Madam Speaker, who is in the Chair, that is her district there. That has a telling effect on the local economy.

Why are people going? Why are people leaving? Why is the population going down? Well, I guess there are two reasons: it will go down if the death rate exceeds the birth rate, and I think for the first time that has happened now; and, if more people are moving out of the Province, obviously, than are moving in. These are two logical things that impact on our final population. Why are they moving out? Are people moving out of this Province today because they want to move? Because they like Alberta? Because they enjoy Fort McMurray? Because they enjoy Ontario? Because they enjoy other parts of the country? The answer is, no.

People first and foremost enjoy living in Newfoundland and Labrador, they enjoy being here in our Province. They are leaving for one basic reason. They want to find employment. We have lost, in this Province, tremendous skilled workers, older workers. If you look at the South Coast of the Province, in Marystown in particular, a lot of skilled people, skilled trades who worked at Marystown Shipyard, Cow Head, a lot of other people from all over the Province came to work at the Bull Arm site. We have a tremendous labour force of skills here in our Province who will help build structures in the United States, New York, the World Trade Centre. People have worked on the World Trade Centre from all over this Province, in particular out in Conception Bay Centre and those areas, so we have a lot of skills.

The sad thing that is happening today is that we are losing our young people, our future skilled people, the future people of our Province. We do not have enough young people staying here because they cannot find employment. That is a sad tale. Why haven't we found employment? What is happening with our Province today?

One particular area of concern is, we have neglected to protect the resource of our Province and we have allowed an industry that was the biggest employer in our Province, the biggest employer by far - now, the fishery did not always contribute most of the GDP of our Province in exports. One of the biggest contributors for years to our Province was always in the mining industry, the significant amount of mines. We have a valuable resource beneath the soil in our Province: iron ore from Labrador; we have a giant discovery now in Voisey's Bay; we have had mines in Central Newfoundland, the Central-West part of the Province. We have had them out on the West Coast, South Coast, all over, Bell Island at one point in time. We have seen great potential.

One of the sad things that has happened, that is causing out-migration of people, is our renewable resource. There is no excuse for depletion of renewable resources. We can see non-renewable resources cannot be replenished. The oil off our shores took hundreds of millions of years to form, and we will not see a replenishing of those within hundreds and hundreds of millions of years again, and maybe never.

The resources that we can control, our renewable resources, even in our forests - take in our forests, for example. You can count trees easier than you can count fish. You know the level of production that is needed, you know the inputs into an operation in the newsprint industry, what is needed. You know how many trees are in our Province. You can count them; they are visible things. You can estimate the rate of growth based on how long it takes to grow to maturity. You can determine all these things, and there is no excuse whatsoever; our programs for regeneration, our Silviculture programs, should be keeping pace with the depletion of our forestry resource.

There has to be sensible, sustainable development in our resources and we are responsible, us and us alone, for the forestry industry in our Province, this Province. That is one that we cannot blame on Ottawa and ask Ottawa to take responsibility for, because we are the controllers. We have the power to do that, and sometimes this government has made political decisions at the expense of sustainability of our resources. When you make short-term political decisions, you only help the short term of the people for a very short period but you pay a price down the road. We should never compromise sustainable development for short-term political gains. It does not do anybody any good, and we all pay the price later on.

That brings us to probably one more. Besides the forestry, the resource that is probably most galling to see depleted in our Province is the fishery, because the fishery was our reason for being. It is the reason that people came to our Province and settled on our shores, the reason they salted cod and shipped it back, and they came here mostly in the summertime and then stayed over. There is a colony up in my district, the Colony of Avalon, back in the early 1620s, and it became a very prominent, a very historic, area. That just typifies other communities around this Province that became the early settlements in this Province.

These people built up a legacy for generations and generations that sustained the economy in our Province. In 1949, when we joined Canada in 1949, we joined Canada with money in the bank. Today, it is sad to say, we are approaching a $9 billion deficit. We have amassed a deficit of almost $9 billion since 1949. In fifty-three years we have gone to an extreme. Since 1989, since this government took power, we have amassed a debt of $4 billion in that period of time. We have amassed an additional $4 billion on top of what we already had. We are told that we are going through some of the most prosperous times in our Province. God help us if things get worse, if we are now facing the most prosperous times in our Province's history.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, there are communities all over the Province suffering from the fishery.

Sustainability: Why haven't we done something about it? Well, there are reasons why there are not as many cod out there as there were before. Some of them have been inflicted by our own people. We have had numerous reasons contribute, all in varying proportions, the least of which is the seal population. The seal has contributed to a reduction in the amount of cod.

Other factors were dragging over breeding grounds in the wintertime. It should not happen. I spoke to trawlermen, and people who spent their lives out on the sea, who told me that -

AN HON. MEMBER: You talked to trawler people.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I have talked to trawlermen, I have not talked to any trawler women on this topic. Everyone I spoke to, as I went around in my campaign, who fished out on trawlers, were men. If there were women who fished out there, I have not spoken to them, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. He wants to be a little cute on words.

In fact, I was not aware of the fact at that time, that there were women fishing on trawlers in the Province. Maybe they were, but I am not aware of it. If they are, I am -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) few.

MR. SULLIVAN: Back in the eighties?

AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, there were a few.

MR. SULLIVAN: Okay, I was not aware there were, but the ones I have spoken to in my district told me that they saw flounder. In every little mesh there was a little baby flounder about that size, a little tiny flounder. They fished out of trawlers from the South Coast and they landed in Trepassey. Trepassey is not down on the South Coast of the Province, the south part of the Avalon Peninsula, I might say to the minister, but people earned a living there and made a good living. People working these plants did quite well, built new homes, and things were prosperous, I might add. The fishery got destroyed. Sealing contributed a small part to it, or maybe a big part; it is unknown exactly. It also got contributed by trawling, trawling and dragging over breeding grounds in the wintertime. That had a devastating effect. We have had undersized mesh and liners in fishing gear as fish got smaller. There was dumping and discarding at sea. I have talked to people who observed the practices there. If you only have a quota, you can only bring in so much. You dump the smaller, keep the higher price and bring that in, and you get a better price on it. That was a part of it. Foreign overfishing contributed immensely to it. Not just foreign overfishing in terms of the amount caught, but foreigners using liners in their trawls, dumping the smaller, discarded fish out so they can have a higher priced voyage as a result; fishing in areas where people were not permitted to fish because the stocks were not considered to be as healthy. A host of factors have contributed to the demise of the fishery in our Province.

Somebody has to take responsibility. Somebody has to take responsibility for enforcement. The people who harvested are out trying to make a living and maximize their profit. Governments are elected to protect the resources of provinces. Our Province did not do its job in taking Ottawa to task, because it is the Government of Canada that got access to the rich resources off our shores and the federal government has failed to do something about it.

I made some reference in the House yesterday, I sat in the gallery in the House of Commons on Thursday and I was really disgusted when the Minister of Fisheries stood up in his place in response to a question in reference to cod and American plaice, species under moratorium, and said, they are doing nothing illegal. They are not breaking any laws, and the member knows they are not breaking any laws. He knows they are not breaking the law so he knows the truth when he is saying this.

That is what the Minister of Fisheries said in the House of Commons. That is very galling and it is appalling for people who live outside the confines of Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, who do not realize the price that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have paid for the assault on the main area of their livelihood, and that is the fishery.

To tell us that we have gone through generations when it is not illegal to catch species that are under a moratorium, that it is legal to do that, by other nations, but it is not legal for Canada. There is something wrong with the whole scheme of things. There is something wrong. NAFO is a farce. Canada should pull out of NAFO and unilaterally go out and take control of our jurisdiction. We should set our mark and take our place on the world stage in fighting for resources that have been raped, allowing species to become extinct.

There have been over a million species that have become extinct over the course of history, and there has been new species to be discovered and evolved with time, and we do not want the one that was our livelihood for 500 years to be one of those that becomes extinct. Once species get to a certain level, once they get down to a low level, where they cannot regenerate or produce enough to a level, they get out-competed for the food source. Other species become more dominant. That is the course of evolution. Other species can more easily adapt and survive in the environment, and the species that is lower gets whittled down to where they disappear. That is basically what happens. That is the course, the process of evolution: survival of the fittest. Now the smaller species are cod. Look at the average size of a cod now compared to what it used to be.

I remember back in the 1950s and early 1960s when we went fishing. We grew up around fishing, from the time we were that high, out in a fishing boat, and we saw huge cod that size. You would cuff a whole load of them into a dory and fill a dory with all fish that size. It was a different size of fish than what we see today. There is a reason for it. Fish grow when there is a food source; when you do not kill the spawning ones, when you allow them to reach a certain level.

I did hear George Rose on this morning indicating that some now have gotten to that level where they can become significant, because it is almost exponential when they get to a certain age in spawning, when they just reach the maturity level where they can spawn, but as they get older and older it goes up, almost like an inverse pyramid. If you do not get to that critical level, if you cannot get to that level, then you cannot get the production levels up to a certain point. It is like if someone said to you - I will give you an example. If I give you a penny today, and I doubled that tomorrow, and I doubled that the next day, what would you have at the end of the month? Five point two million dollars. You sit down the first two weeks and you do not have much money, but when you start getting into the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth day, you can see the massive amount that it moves. So, when you get beyond the critical point there - and we are at a critical point, a critical mass in certain species out there right now - if we do not take the strongest action possible.... Fish move. Fish migrate. They have always migrated. Our people, though, have never migrated to the extent they are doing today. Our fish is a migratory species, and if you go out on the Nose and Tail of the Banks and you drain a barrel from one corner, it doesn't matter. If you put the hole in the bottom of one side or the other, you are still draining it. The same thing is happening on the Nose and Tail of the Banks, and our Province hasn't been vocal enough in taking on the federal government. We know it is an area of federal responsibility. It is an area that we passed over quite generously to it when we voted, or supposedly voted, for Confederation. Confederation hasn't served us very well in terms of protecting our resources. We have been used as pawns on the chessboard of international affairs. That is what our fishery has been used as, as a pawn, a pawn to look at trade, to look at other areas, whether it is access to wheat, or whatever it is. We have used that at the expense of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That is pretty sad, when our Province has been used by the bigger parts of this country to achieve the result they want. Then the apathy that is shown by federal ministers and the federal government in addressing those concerns is even more appalling.

That is why, when we look at communities all over our Province, there is not a community in Newfoundland and Labrador today that is not severely affected by the fishery. I might say, St. John's is doing all right. Look, St. John's and Mount Pearl, this area, the same as other central areas, employ a lot of people in the fishery; a lot of people. Supplies for fish plants, from cartons and plastics, to poly that is used in wrapping fish, to containers that are used, to parts for the trucking industry, are all parts, basically, and necessary products that are put on the market. Navigational equipment, whether it is sounders, GPS navigational sounders for locating fish, are today all parts of equipment that are very important in the prosecution of the fishery here in our Province.

Businesses here have felt the effect of the fishery, and the supply industries. Supply industries are mostly in larger urban areas. They have been affected. But none have been affected to the extent of the communities - when you drive around communities today, you can see houses boarded up. Last week I walked around in Renews, and as we walked around Renews, myself and a friend, we counted almost thirty houses in this little community that nobody lives in. If you look at the population of Renews, for example, on this census here, it now has, between Renews and Cappahayden, I assume, because it is under the one town, only four hundred and twenty-some people.

In Trepassey there are probably fifty or sixty more houses than that, two or three times that, shut down, and nobody living there. Many of the houses where there are people today, there are single people living there. Widows are living there, whose families have moved away, whose spouses have passed away, and the only contact is by telephone with their children who are scattered all over the country. In fact, so much so that is what is starting to happen now is, for the first time, not only are the young people moving out, but I am finding out that their parents now, the single parents that are left, are taking up roots and going too. I know people have left because their daughter is in Calgary and their son is living in Edmonton and the rest of the family is in the Alberta area. They are moving. Older people are moving also. They are moving out of our Province. That is contributing to the downsize in population.

I wouldn't be surprised if I was told today that the population of our Province now is down close to the 500,000 mark. If it was 513,000 in the census document a year ago, and there is a downward trend, it has even gone down further. If you look back over the past few years, we had a net loss in 1995-1996 of 7,436 people. Then it went to 8,134 in 1997; then to 9,490 the net loss; in 1999, 5,695; in 2000, 4,263; 2000-2001, 3,541. So, if that is the rate that is still occurring we are going to see our population down less than, probably 510,000 people. A half million people that you can drop into several large cities in this country.

I was in Ottawa last week. Driving in I seen on a sign on the highway: population, 780,000. Seven hundred and eighty thousand people now in the City of Ottawa. We are not two-thirds the size of the City of Ottawa, and there are many Newfoundlanders there, too. Many people had to move there to seek employment, to be able to continue - to be able to provide a living.

MR. MATTHEWS: You are doing a good job, Loyola. (Inaudible) have to leave for a minute.

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy, you may leave if you so wish.

MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you.

MR. SULLIVAN: I won't be offended, I say to the minister, if he leaves.

But there are other towns - and it is not just the areas that I have referred to. There are areas on the South Coast. Out in Port aux Basques, for example, in Channel-Port aux Basques there has been a loss of 600 people; over 606 people. Almost 12 per cent out in the southwest corner. If you go right up through that coast right into Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing, 12.7 per cent, 8.4 per cent respectively they have lost. Rose Blanche and Harbour Le Cou, 18 per cent. I mean they are significant totals. I cannot find an area of this Province where there is not a loss.

I know some towns have shown increases. For example, Paradise is a growing area. The population of Paradise has gone up a reasonable amount because it is a growth area. There is new housing going on in that area. We have seen some other areas there - and the minister representing the area is thanking me. He should be thanking all the people out there who do see an area that is close to the city, a new and growing town; where the mayor is doing a good job there in the town, and the council out there. Now I understand they are even looking at having a plebiscite out to the people there as to whether they would like some form of consolidation of their town with maybe Mount Pearl. Who knows? Maybe they might want to take in the Goulds area. Maybe they might want Southlands in between and put it all into another town. Maybe that might be an option they might be looking at. Who knows? Then maybe the Goulds area might get the attention that it did not get, to date, from the City of St. John's. Maybe it might get that attention. Maybe that is not a bad idea to float out there, and have a look at the feasibility, because if the Goulds area wanted to go with Mount Pearl and Paradise - the Southlands area in between, I understand, has a potential for almost 20,000 people. That is a tremendous area there, and that could solve that problem then. St. John's wouldn't have to worry about the Goulds then.

Southlands is a potential area for Mount Pearl that is a little cramped in its room to expand. In future that could end up and double that area. That certainly might be a reasonable alternative to the options now because the people in the Goulds have basically been told that they are going to have to wait twenty years to get these services. That is basically what the mayor has told them: come back in twenty years time and we will see if we can fix your water and sewer problems then. It was not our problem. That was thrown in by this government, by the way; forced amalgamation on people.

Maybe the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs might even like the concept I just tossed out there. I will just repeat it for his benefit. I said, maybe if Paradise and Mount Pearl decided they would like to join together and form a city, maybe they might be interested in taking in the Goulds area. If they do, it is only logical. The area in between that is Southlands, you cannot leave that in limbo. Maybe that would give them something to entice another 20,000 in potential growth and have a city with tens of thousands of more people.

With Paradise growing, pushing 10,000; Mount Pearl with twenty-some, thirty-some; the Goulds with another sixty-five. We are now pushing 40,000 - potential Southlands. We have the potential of a 60,000-70,000 population city. That would be a fair sized city there, with an opportunity -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I am saying that if the people in those areas were receptive to that. It is a concept that should be pursued and see where it goes. I think that is a logical thing.

MR. MERCER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, it is not. The Liberal Government and resettlement in the 1960s, I say to the Member for Humber East, at all.

It is by consensus of the people. If the people do not want it, the people should not get it. That is unlike the policies of your government that said: you are going to get it whether you like it or not. That was the policy of that government.

We are talking about rural Newfoundland and the population decline. The statistics all over the Province - in every single nook and cranny of this Province we are seeing out-migration. I will admit, some of it would have occurred anyway because of the decrease in the birth rates. Some of it is going to occur, lets face it.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many are in your family, Loyola?

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister is asking, how many are in my family? Twelve children in our family.

AN HON. MEMBER: How many of them (inaudible)?


MR. SULLIVAN: There are twenty-five; an average of two point five. Some of them are still young so we could get the average up to three, who knows. The average could get up close to three, which is a fairly high average. Well, that is one of the reasons but there is another reason for it too. There is another reason why the population is down in rural Newfoundland. One, I will admit, there is an urban shift across the entire country. The City of Winnipeg has 60 per cent of the population of Manitoba. The two main cities in Saskatchewan, for example, have about 40 per cent of the population of Saskatchewan; Regina and Saskatoon. In Alberta we are looking at about half - Alberta's population is up two point - a million.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, they are over half the population in two cities. Here on the Avalon now - we have over half the population on the Avalon which is within driving distance to the City of St. John's. That is going to happen to a certain extent, but it will only happen if the employment opportunities are not there.

People perceive rural Newfoundland as not having a strong future. There are no programs and policies. We have not developed the industries in rural Newfoundland to do it. Granted, every community in Newfoundland cannot have a fish plant or cannot have a business. What we need, within reason, are growth centres in each area where people can commute a reasonable distance to get work. You can propose a reasonable distance. But where is it happening? Tell me where? Point out, from this government's policy, where all those centres are and where the people are coming in around that (inaudible). It is not happening. It is in theory. It has not happened in practice. Why hasn't it happened in practice? Maybe the policies are not, as such, that would entice that to happen. You have to plant the seeds and nurture them to get the result. If it does not happen, we do not get the result. We basically have not seen that result happening here in this Province. That is why people are not holding out great hope and why young students in high school today are telling you that they are not intending to come back and live their communities. It is a sad story. It is a sad tale and there are a lot of stories that can be told in rural Newfoundland on that situation.

I made reference to one yesterday. I will not repeat it today but I did make reference to an article I read in the Globe and Mail on March 13. The heading was: Where the Jobs Are - for many go west, still the best advice. That advice, I guess, goes right back to a long time ago. Alfred Lord Tennyson, I believe, uttered that phrase: Go west, young man, go west. Today, in this Province, we are still going west.

If you look at the population - just take the population of various cities in Canada and look at the Newfoundland component that is there. There is a tremendous Newfoundland component in Cambridge, Ontario. Cambridge, Ontario is made up of a combination of three different cities. Gault, Hespler and Preston, I think, were the three that makes up the City of Cambridge. In the Gault area alone there are thousands and thousands and thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Bell Island, in particular, a lot of people moved to that area for work when the mines closed there.

Fort McMurray; a significant percentage of Fort McMurray are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It is estimated at 40 per cent. I have heard the figure 40 per cent but the population is still growing fairly strong. The economy is booming up there. Housing prices are way up. I have heard the figure of 40 per cent, whether that is accurate. I have been told that it is not quite that high by people who are there, but I have heard that figure. I know a tremendous number of people there are Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

When we look at our Province, we find that we are left with a small population. What impact does this small population have? I was making reference yesterday, before I adjourned debate, to something that I just want to get back to. It is an interview that I listened to, and this is a transcript of that interview. I am making reference to the transcript of that.

On March 12 Jeff Gilhooly did an interview with an economist at Memorial University, and this came out after the statistics and looking at our population. What does that mean to our Province, in other words? Tell us, from an economic perspective, what does it mean? The announcer said: Well, we are down to 513,000 people. We are down about 55,000 from 1996 - but I think the net loss was something like 40,000; 39,000-something.

He asked a question to him, and one of the questions was: "When you look at how significant it is, it's averaging about 11,000 people a year, what are the implications from this?" In other words, what impact is it going to have on us as a Province? He said: Well, obviously, "...the more population you have, the more equalization you get." That is one thing. How much equalization do we get for each person? Well, we get about, I think it is about $2,856 roughly. Let's round it off to a nice figure of $3,000. Those people who went out of here in five years, that is a loss right now from five years ago, of $120 million in one year. In one year now, at the peak of that loss, it is $120 million a year. We are showing a deficit, of what, $93 million? That's it right there. That is what we lost just applying that to the last year. I guess it built up from previously. The first year we lost, we will say, $10,000 or $11,000 of that each year. That is what we are losing a year right now. Basically, if you go back to the last five years - if you go back to the last ten or twelve years, we have lost over $70,000. That would be $210 million a year we would have been losing in equalization. That is one impact. The impact is money that the feds are giving us under the equalization component of that. My next topic that I am going to get to is equalization; I want to talk about that. But, that is just one aspect of it.

He says: "There are two reasons why equalization will fall." Two reasons. Basically, one is that you are a smaller population, you get a smaller entitlement; because it is based on the per capita. He said: "On top of that small population implies that the per capita turns for some base, we can pay more of our own way." So, he said, there is a "double whammy. On top of that if you're a company that sells goods and services in the domestic market and that's an important part of your revenue stream..."- selling the goods and services - "...that means you have less people and consequently your market is lower and your ability to raise revenues and earn profits are somewhat lower." Because you have 40,000 less people out there in your market to sell your goods and services. So, that is less profit, less money, less taxes coming into the coffers of government because of that and we are going to be hit doubly hard in what has been passed to us under equalization and the impacts it is going to have on the economy in these other particular areas. So, basically, government is going to get less money.

The person made a reference - he does not know if the Finance Minister "...has incorporated into her budget these new lower numbers before we had them..." if she had them, or whether she may or may not have factored them in but they "...certainly expect that they will have implications long into the future. It's not only the number of people that's leaving is important, it's who's leaving and from where they're leaving." So, who is leaving this Province and from where they are leaving. Here is what the economist said on this: It is not just the number that is leaving, it is who's leaving. With that reference, he said: "...the best and the brightest are leaving and the rest of us are staying." In other words, if we were bright we wouldn't be here. We cannot be too bright, but we will take it at that.

On a serious note, the young people coming out of university and colleges getting their trades want to get work. They want to make a dollar. They want to make a good wage. They want to get out of here. They said, we cannot do it here. They are getting out of here. In fact, I know people who came out of school, did a course and wanted to get into the offshore. It was pretty competitive. My advice to them, and to a lot of people, I said: Look, they are not taking people without experience. If you can go away and get experience in Alberta or elsewhere, come back and get jobs. People went away and toiled out there for a year or two and then came back. There are many of them out working in these fields out there now. A lot them who went away and served their time in Alberta, and worked out there, are back now working here. There are many people who have gone and done this BST course and others. There are so many out there now with the courses waiting and lining up to get jobs; but people have gone away. Many have stayed. Some have settled down, had children, families and decided - they are settled in and are going to stay. Many have come back. People who were more mobile, who probably did not have children and families, decided to come back.

The economist said: "...the best and the brightest are leaving and the rest of us are staying." He goes on to say, "So the people who are in a position to come up with new ideas and have the energy and the idealism to put those ideas into action are the ones who are going elsewhere." Here is what we are losing, we are losing the brain thrust for the future in this Province. He said, "These are the ones that add to the productive capacity of the economy and they're leaving." They are the least ones we can afford to have going, ones that are going to add to the productive capacity of our Province. That is certainly very important.

He went on to say, "...on top of that not only are we losing them but we're losing them from rural Newfoundland which is the worse possible place to lose them from because that population's been shrinking for a good period of time and entrepreneurs in those areas need population in order to support their businesses." That is why we are seeing in rural Newfoundland today - when some communities, I recall, had five grocery stores, today there is only one.

If you drive from here to Trepassey, and take a two hour drive, once you get outside the Goulds, past Bay Bulls, Witless Bay, how many gas stations do you think are from Trepassey down to here? When you leave Trepassey you have to drive to Cappahayden - which is open basically during the business hours of a garage. You have one in Fermeuse, none in Ferryland, Calvert, Aquaforte any more, Renews gone. You have to go to Cape Broyle. So there is only one that is open from 7 o'clock in the morning to around 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock in the night between Trepassey and Cape Broyle - and a second one that is open during the daytime hours at least. At one time there were at least ten more in that area.

How many grocery stores? The community that I live in, there were five or six stores at one time; there is one. The community of Renews; I can remember when there were three or four just in recent history. There is one right now. These little stores are shutting down. Why? Why are they shutting down? Just what the economist tells us, that one of the worst places to lose these young people is in rural Newfoundland because business in those areas are losing their customer base and they are losing revenue. These jobs are disappearing, and the independent person who made a living out of their store cannot do that anymore now. They cannot do it. They are just being gobbled up by a larger - or as their kids move out they just do not continue the business anymore. That is what has happened in many areas. That is sad when we look at those statistics.

It went on to say: ...the reason the unemployment rate is not as any much, or reason it's falling or not rising to the extent it might have is because people who would otherwise be unemployed have left - in other words, the reason the unemployment rate is not as high as it used to be is because people are leaving - and as they leave they shrink the size of the labour force and the number of people who would otherwise be unemployed, and correspondingly the unemployment rate is going to be affected.

Just look at the people who are on unemployment, the people who want to work year round, who only could get several months and they go on unemployment, and they decide: I cannot make it on unemployment, I am getting out of the Province, so they go out of the Province. These people are not in the workforce. They are unemployed, so that drives up our unemployment rate. Our unemployment rate goes down when these people leave because they are going out for work. If they have work they are not leaving, unless they want to move on to a better paying job, but most people who have work at a steady job are not the ones who necessarily leave. It is the ones who do not have work who are the ones that leave. That is what the economist mentioned. It is another very important point.

What happens now when people leave? When people leave, you have to take the debt of our Province, or the GDP, whatever way you could look at the debt, the per capita debt, you could look at the GDP of our Province and you could say: Look, our GDP per capita is going up. The GDP is going up per capita because the population is going down, and that is going to drive the GDP up.

If 120 people out on the rig at one time can be responsible for putting 150,000 barrels of oil through, and they put it up to 200,000 and 120 are responsible for 200,000 barrels, our GDP goes up but the number of people involved in driving that up does not increase, so the per capita GDP increases. We are seeing an increase and that gives you a false picture.

He goes on to say the same basic thing there that I just said. I sort of capsulated some of the things and the references made here in this statement. He said: When we're losing population - and it affects numbers here in the provincial Treasury - it has implications for the provincial Treasury, it has implications for the provision of public services in urban and rural areas of our Province. As the population falls, it said, you may be able to cut back some expenditures but there is a certain threshold.

That is what we are seeing in education now, I say to my colleague. What happens when our school system lost, this past year - what, 4,000? How many students, I ask our critic? In the vicinity, we will say, of 4,000 students. What happens? If the 4,000 of them came from eight schools only, and the eight schools disappeared, obviously taking teachers out of those schools would not have changed the education programs. But, where did these students come from? One or two came from a Grade 7 classroom, probably, up in Ferryland. Another two came from a Grade 6 classroom, probably, out in Fogo, and somewhere else in Port aux Basques, St. John's, and all over. You still need a principal. If the school has 500 students or 480, they still need a principal. They still need an assistant principal. They still have to have certain basic programs. If your music class had twenty-four and now it has twenty-three, you still need a music teacher. No class out there, basically, has the big numbers pulled out of them. They are all being picked here and there as the enrollment goes down, and you still need the teachers. If you have to take the teachers out of the system, you have to take them out somewhere. If you are going to take them out, the government is saying: Look we have less students, we do not need teachers; but, teachers should be geared to programs. What do you consider an adequate program? How many populations are in areas? You can get some economies in numbers in larger areas, but in rural areas you cannot get all of those economies at all and therefore that has a big effect.

Our leader, yesterday, raised a question. He talked about jobs out there, and layoffs. This question, I know, we have asked. We have asked this during the Budget discussions and lock-up. Our leader indicated that there are about 1,000 jobs going to be gone from the public service. That is not what we are being told. I think the point we were trying to make is: Look, tell us the truth. Don't tell us one thing and something else happens. If you are going to take 400 or 500 jobs out of health care, tell us you are going to take it out of health care and let the people know. Do not profess to be something else.

The 5 per cent salary cut in our Budget equates to 300 jobs in the public service. Whether you lay off 300 people or 300 people retire and there are 300 less jobs, there are 300 jobs gone however you cut it. There are 300 less jobs.

In teaching there are over 200, over 200 positions in teaching being taken out of the Province this year and the minister referred to that, actually, in our Budget. About 208, I believe, in that vicinity, teachers are being taken out of our system.

When you add all that up, it adds up to about 1,000. You are looking at about 1,000 less people working in our Province. That also has an impact. What do you think is going to happen with less people working in our system? If they retire, fine, they could stay here. What happens if they do not? What happens to the teachers that get laid off? Do you think they are going to stay around here? Are they going to go on elsewhere? We are finding that there is a great demand for teachers in other parts of this country, a great demand. There are parts of this Province where we cannot fill teaching positions.

I just heard recently that they are going to try to assist in Labrador with the board by taking over the housing for teachers in that area there, or take it over from the board so that at least government will be responsible for the housing and it is not a burden that the board would have. Those types of things would help bring in teachers and help keep debt down on boards in that area. So it is a provincial responsibility to look at providing education. If some boards are encumbered with greater expenses than others, I think we have to look at: the same treatment for everybody is an equity in treatment. You know, in some areas you have to do more proportionate things to get equity into the situation. That is an example of what could very well, on the surface, to me - it looks like what is happening here.

I was going through my - I don't know how this one got in here. This is an editorial, a little off the topic now, The Western Star, April 5, 2002: No minister again for Corner Brook.

Mr. Speaker, passing a smile there, maybe I will just comment. The editorial says: Premier Roger Grimes made some minor adjustments in his Cabinet Thursday but his biggest oversight the first time he chose his ministers wasn't corrected.

In other words, the Premier made the same mistake twice. The editorial says: Premier Grimes managed last year to become the first Premier in more than fifty year as a Province, not to include a portfolio for a member from either of the Corner Brook districts. The Premier has continued that shortcoming in this week's mini shuffle.

I didn't write this, by the way. This is an editorial: The second-largest community in the Province still doesn't have a voice at the Cabinet table.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is what it said. It is an editorial. I will table this, if they want it.

The Premier downplayed the decision last year by saying there are plenty of Cabinets ministers from surrounding areas who can speak for the city and bring the city's issues to the table. There are lots of them around the Corner Brook area. Humber East doesn't have one, Humber West doesn't have one, Bay of Islands doesn't have one. Humber Valley is the closest, I think. So the Humber Valley minister is the minister for Corner Brook.

What this article says is, that did not wash then and it is not washing now, basically. It said: The Premier made the changes mainly because of the resignation of the former Industry, Trade and Rural Development Minister, Beaton Tulk, and it was an ideal opportunity to either put an MHA from the city in that department or to move one of his more senior ministers into that slot and replace them with one of the two Liberal MHAs who represent Corner Brook. It seems an odd message to be sending to the voters in the region. It is not sending a very good message.

It said: The Leader of the Opposition recently has a seat here and the Premier seems to be saying he has a little interest in consolidating support in the other seats that he does hold. In other words, he does not seem to be interested.

It states here: The two Liberal MHAs, Bob Mercer and Eddie Joyce, must wonder what opinion the Premier has in their abilities. He has twice passed on choosing either of them to sit at the Cabinet table and represent the constituents where real decisions of government are made.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who wrote that? Did Danny write that, Loyola?

MR. SULLIVAN: No, that is an editorial in The Western Star, April 5, Friday.

MR. REID: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, you will have to call The Western Star and see who writes their editorials, I say to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture there, to see who writes that. Now that was just a stray paper in my notes. I felt I wanted to cover all the bases.

The next topic I want to look at in little detail is equalization, because that is a very important topic, a very, very important one. If you just look at the Budget here and look at what equalization means, you can see that when our Province is going to receive $1,158,015,000 in equalization, a significant portion, a big chunk, almost one-third, in the 30 per cent range of all of the revenues in our Province are coming in under equalization. You can see why it is so important. I wanted to just talk about equalization and what this Province has done since the new Premier has come in, in the past year, or lack thereof, I might add, of what he has done.

Article 36.(2) of the 1982 Constitutional Act states - here is what the Constitution of our country states - "Parliament and the Government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public service at reasonably comparable levels of taxation." That is what is in the 1982 Constitution Act, Article 36.(2)

Have we received sufficient equalization to allow us to provide reasonable levels of public services at reasonable levels of taxation, basically? Do we do that? Well, yesterday I talked about taxation and I said that we are the second or third highest taxed personal income tax of any province in this country, in each of the three categories. Even in the lowest category, I made reference yesterday, and I will just find that paper that points out basically where we are in the scheme of things federally. The lowest tax bracket in our Province is $29,590; and in that bracket, if you compare the taxes across the country, there are only two provinces taxed higher, and only one other province taxed higher in the other levels. That is Quebec.

Quebec is the only one, basically, that is ahead of us in all counts in levels of taxation. There is no comparison to what Quebec gets in equalization. They are the biggest recipient of equalization by far in the entire country, the biggest recipient of that. So, I think it is very important that we give this equalization the utmost consideration. I have mentioned that equalization is $1.1 billion of public money, that is a tremendous amount of money, I might add.

What determines equalization? To my knowledge there are at least thirty-three. In one magazine I read there, the Atlantic Report, I think, under Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, referred to thirty-seven categories, but any new categories under equalization now, I understand, there is 100 per cent clawback on any new categories. That was my understanding. In fact, I was informed of that.

For example, we would be wondering what impact offshore oil is going to have on revenues that we get under equalization. Well, for every dollar, we are losing 70 per cent. There are numerous different categories of oil, for example, and I am just looking at some of the fuel ones, some of the oil ones. We have new oil revenues as one category. We have old oil revenues, heavy oil, mined oil, domestically sold natural gas, exported natural gas. We have other oil and gas revenues. We have several different categories of oil and gas. There are thirty-three listed here, I see, that make up the equalization formula, and each one is factored in how we are performing. It follows a certain standard in calculating how.

In fact, I might add, the Atlantic Accord has indicated that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians shall be the principal, the primary, beneficiaries of our offshore oil. How can we be the primary beneficiaries if Ottawa is taking, basically, when you look at benefits, nine times as much as we are going to get? How can we be the major beneficiaries? It is up to the Government of Canada.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Atlantic Accord (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: It is up to this government, of which that member over there is shouting out. It is up to this government and the Government of Canada to see that a fair share is given on those resources. It is about time this government fought for our right cause under the Atlantic Accord, because the Atlantic Accord has gypped us.

Since last February, I might add, Mr. Speaker, I have gone through and did six different news releases on this topic addressing some of these concerns and raising issues on lack of response by this government. On February 28 of last year, I have indicated that Ottawa is offering a lame excuse for not adjusting the equalization formula. When the equalization cap was introduced in this Province and across the country under equalization, it was done without consultation of the provinces. I want to touch on a few of these particular points there.

When Ottawa enforced the equalization cap back in the 1980s, it did so without consultation of the provinces. When Ottawa slashed transfer payments under a new Canada Health and Social Transfer, it did so without the consent of the provinces. Now, the federal government is telling us that we cannot change the equalization formula because we have to get provincial consent to do it. They did not need provincial consent. There is nothing in the Constitution Act in any way that holds the provincial governments a party to the provision of equalization. That is a sole responsibility of the federal government, and the federal government has to own up to their responsibility. In fact, they put the cap on unilaterally and they can take it off unilaterally. They did that last fall, or the fall before last, when there was a federal election coming up. They wanted to do something to lure the voters into voting for them, and they said we will lift the cap on equalization. They lifted it. We got $38 million and they put it right back on again. That is what happened. They lifted it during an election. Did they get the consent of the provinces to lift it? No. Did they get the consent when he put it on in the beginning? No. So, why do we have to get consent in 2004? Do we need consent? We do not need consent. It can be done unilaterally. It is a copout, it is a lame duck excuse from Ottawa, and it is wrong and we should be kicking up a stink and holding them responsible to it.

I have addressed that in a release on February 8, 2001. Just a little while later, on March 15 - and you can go to the Net and get the releases there. We post them all there, so anybody who would like to read them, we keep them up to date. I just went back to the file - I knew I had raised it on several occasions - to see just how many times. I was surprised that on six occasions in that period of time, since becoming critic, I have raised and commented on this particular issue in the form of a release. I have probably commented on it many more times outside a release, in questions in the House and otherwise; but just on that many occasions.

In fact, I have indicated in the release on March 15 that Premier Grimes has failed to get the federal Liberals to honour their fall election promise, to reduce or eliminate resource clawbacks. They came down here - Paul Martin was out in Stephenville, I believe - and people gave indications to this Province, and Brian Tobin and Premier Chrétien gave us the impression, that there was going to be elimination of resource clawbacks from equalization payments prior to that election. They led us to believe that. They lifted a cap on equalization, and what happened? Nothing happened. The election was over, they got a majority government, and they just ignored us in the process.

In fact, I raised the matter in the Legislature in March, on Thursday, one day after the Premier went to Ottawa and met on this particular matter. In the House, I asked the Premier to tell us how much the clawback is going to be reduced in the next fiscal year. He couldn't tell me because there was going to be no reduction. He failed. It was an election ploy to suck us in and vote for them, and when the election was over: We never said that. It was not even a part of the issue. The same basic thing, they weren't ready to admit what happened.

In March, I raised the issue again, on March 20. I raised it in the Legislature here in the House also, in a statement there, that the Prime Minister had, indeed, committed. If anyone remembers - I am not sure where it was, if it was Stephenville or somewhere in the Province. He had committed to changing the clawback provision on the federal equalization program, and told us it was going to happen.

MR. NOEL: Where were you guys when we were trying to change the Canadian Constitution during Meech Lake? You didn't support us then. We were trying to get some real changes -

MR. SULLIVAN: What is the Minister of Government Services and Lands rambling about? Sure, there was nobody here then. I wasn't even in politics then. Not one person I see around me was here then. What do you want us to do? Take action and do something before we ever get elected into the House? Ah, the minister is talking through his hat over there. He is dreaming in technicolor, Mr. Speaker. He doesn't know what he is talking about. He was an accomplice to Clyde Wells when he put this Province at the brink of breaking up the country. That is where that minister was, I can tell you. That is where he was, and a part of the process that committed to bringing it to the Legislature of this Province and fell back on his word. You ran away with cap in hand at his side and participated in those processes. That is what the minister did. He broke his commitment.

MR. NOEL: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER (Mercer): Order, please!

If the Minister of Government Services and Lands wishes to rise on a point of order, he may do so. Otherwise, perhaps he would keep his tones more tempered.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That sort of tells the minister he has to stop yapping over there. He has to stop yapping. Maybe he should start clapping instead of yapping. When a dog starts yapping, you give him a bone, you feed him and he keeps quiet, but that minister will not get up on his feet.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get to Labrador next, don't worry. The Member for Torngat Mountains, I will get to Labrador next on the transportation initiative. I will get to that. I will say, Mr. Speaker, if they want to speak and they want some leave, I will sit down on my time to let them talk. I will let them do that, if they want to do it. They do not want to do that. They do not want to stand up and go on the public record. They want to yap in the backbenches around here and talk and interfere with me.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: They don't have the gumption to put what they want to say on the public record here in the House. That is what they want to do. They just want to interfere. As I said, I have unlimited time on this and I intend to use it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Don't you all remember just last March, when the Premier went away to Ottawa, and he was going to fix this equalization? He was going away with cap in hand, he was going to come back with a bill of goods for us. He came back and said the Prime Minister agreed to it. Does everybody remember that? The Prime Minister agreed. That is what the Premier said. The Prime Minister came out and said: I did not agree. Can you imagine, two people going to the same meeting and coming back with two different versions. In fact, the Prime Minister's bodyguard, the guy who deflects criticism, Brian Tobin at the time, agreed with the Prime Minister, and the Premier had to come back here with his tail between his legs because the Prime Minister and Brian Tobin said he was wrong, he did not understand, he misinterpreted what was said in the meeting. The Premier did not understand what the Prime Minister was telling him in that meeting.

We can see the commitment and the integrity of purpose that the federal Liberal government has given to us. We have taken it hook, line and sinker. They promise you something in an election and do not deliver. They promise you and then do not deliver. Then, the Premier goes up to get his equalization and says: Oh, no, that is not what we said. The Premier interprets one thing, the Prime Minister something different altogether.

Back on May 25, I addressed it again. I said that our Province's ability to maintain a level of public services is rapidly eroding. The reason it is rapidly eroding is because we are not able to be able to meet the ongoing services because of the federal government's failure to live up to its commitments. It promises you something in an election and takes it back after.

Had the Liberal government gotten a minority government, they would not have changed their mind. They got a majority government and became so arrogant again, and said: we are not going to live up to that commitment we gave you. The Prime Minister gave that commitment.

Then the Government of Canada is trying to tell us, trying to make us gullible enough to believe that we need provinces to come together and consent to make changes in the equalization formula. Where in the Constitution of this country, where in that article 36(2), does it indicate it is a compromising feature of that article? Nowhere whatsoever. The only ones responsible for equalization, to ensure it, is the federal government, and them alone. It is their ultimate responsibility and their sole responsibility to address this equalization. They took charge when they put the cap on equalization. What happens if they did not have to put the cap on equalization? We got $38 million in one year. Can you imagine after twenty years what we would have gotten? Just on the cap on equalization. That is not counting other provisions and so on that I will look at in a few minutes.

Again, I had addressed this on August 13. I had indicated that Stephen Dion, the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, was on the CBC Morning Show on August 10. I heard him. He said: Provinces like Newfoundland - here is what Stéphane Dion said about us: Newfoundland needs better tax regimes, rather than more money from the federal government. Industry Minister, Brian Tobin's statement on the same show, he said: It is not a matter for Ottawa alone to determine the future of equalization. He said: equalization is an agreement between the national government and all the provinces. That is wrong. Brian Tobin was wrong. Stéphane Dion was wrong. They do not understand that the Constitution of Canada, with the provision for equalization, is not an agreement between provinces and the federal government, it is built in to the Constitution. The federal government's sole, ultimate, and only responsibility under that provision is to us, not as a party with us, with an agreement on that particular clause.

Brian Tobin jumps in on the side of Stéphane Dion, on an open-line show here, and gives us the impression that says it is a matter for provinces to work out. That is wrong. Equalization is an agreement between a national government and all provinces. Therefore, when you contemplate - and here is what Brian Tobin said: It is not a matter for Ottawa alone to determine the future of equalization. Tobin said: Equalization is an agreement between the national government and all the provinces. Therefore, when you contemplate a change in the system you have to have a dialogue that involves, not just one or two provinces and the national government, but all the provinces of Canada. Those comments by Mr. Dion and Mr. Tobin indicates that those two powerful ministers are very ill-informed about the equalization program.

AN HON. MEMBER: Right on.

MR. SULLIVAN: That's right.

First, they do not seem to understand, I might add - and the minister is agreeing with me. He is agreeing with me that they are wrong. They do not seem to understand that equalization is a federal program. It does not involve expenditures by the provinces of Canada under this program. It involves expenditures by the federal government alone. That is what it involves expenditures by. How is it an agreement between federal and provincial governments?

Brian Tobin and Stéphane Dion, on Open Line, on August 10, told us a big one. They told us a big falsehood on that program, if that is the case. Granted, they do not know everything but they think they do and they are acting as if they do when really they do not, and that is the problem. Now we are going to try to send two more representatives up to Ottawa to sing the same tune and play the same fiddle.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Who said I was ever with him?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I said you are going to try to send up.

Secondly, I said the federal government is obligated, under section 36(2) of the Constitution, to provide funding to ensure - and here is what it must ensure - that all provinces can provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. That is what it is supposed to provide. That, I might add, is not what it is providing. That is not what is happening.

Another point I would like to make, and I made this in a news release on August 13, is that the federal government has changed the program significantly without consulting or obtaining consent of any of the provinces. In fact, two of the changes in recent years that reduced revenues to our Province were made unilaterally by the federal government. Here are some of the reasons why. Do you think all the provinces - Newfoundland and Labrador - agreed to changing from a ten-province standard to a five-province standard? This change from a ten-province standard to a five-province standard has cost us millions of dollars. In fact, here is how many millions it has cost us in an estimate done - I received a copy when I was in Ottawa last week.

Our Province, since 1995 to 2002, has lost - just based on the ten-province versus the five-province standard - $626 million by operating under a five-province standard as opposed to a ten-province standard. That is what it has cost us in equalization just since 1995 to this last fiscal year, not counting this year. That is an enormous amount of money, $626 million. That is not counting what I alluded to earlier, the cap on equalization. The cap on equalization was $38 million the year they lifted it. So what was it over all these other years? Hundreds of millions of dollars. We have lost in excess of $1 billion because of the cap on equalization, and this particular provision here from the ten-province to the five-province standard.

The five-province standard was not changed with the consent of all provinces and it can go back to a ten-province standard without the consent. I do not care what Brian Tobin says, he is wrong. Stéphane Dion is wrong, and misunderstanding what is in this because it is for their own benefit. They are skewing it to get the result they want. They are completely wrong. They are trying to sell a bill of goods and our Province is paying the price. Where are we on this issue? We go up to Ottawa and the Premier comes back and tells us something that was not said in the meeting. The Prime Minister says: No, that is not what was said. And Brian Tobin says, no. Here is the Premier of the Province, he can't even interpret what the Prime Minister tells him. That is the spokesperson we have for trying to get our fair share out of Ottawa. Listen, what we want out of Ottawa is an opportunity to allow the economy to grow; not to be taking back money from non-renewable resources. Leave us alone and let us grow. Let us use the money to prosper and grow our economy. We do not want handouts. That is not our goal, but we have a constitution that provides a provision that we can have a federation. If you have a federation, there has to be a certain equality and a certain sharing in a federation. Otherwise, what is the purpose of having one? And $626 million - this was done by a committee and I received the information just last week. Six hundred and twenty-six million is the breakdown, just over that six year period. That is an enormous amount of money. One hundred million dollars a year approximately that we are losing now from the five to a ten-province standard.

What do you mean, from a five to a ten-province standard? Well, what they did when they established that standard, when they went from ten, they said: Well, Alberta is doing so well. They are on one end of the scale. We will throw them out of it and we will throw the Atlantic Provinces out to sort of balance it and we will take basically the other provinces out of the picture. When you look at the standards, we should be back - the five-province standard, if it ever was useful at a time, has outlived it usefulness. We should have a ten-province standard and we do not need the federal Liberals to buy time until 2004 to use as an excuse that we will get the provinces together and we will change it. It can be done right now. It was done without consent. It was done unilaterally by the federal government and it can go back to what it was by the federal government, and we do not need provincial participation, number one.

We do not need provincial participation in the cap. The cap was put on in 1982 and it has severely limited us in our ability to get our fair share and reduce disparities across the country. When you only have a fixed amount of money to spread - as the gap gets wider and wider you cannot use the money to reduce those disparities because there is a fixed pot of money and it has to be shared out.

Another very important question to that now is: Where do we fit in now to the picture? Has the government factored this into their Estimates? British Columbia and the softwood lumber dispute - it is now going to make British Columbia a recipient for the first time. They just came back this year and received some equalization. They were always one of the three provinces that was a contributor, not a recipient, of equalization. Now we are down to two: Ontario and Alberta.

Have we factored that share, of a fixed pot of money with a cap, to share a bigger chunk next year with British Columbia than they did this year? We are going to have to do that because British Columbia just came into that category as a have-not just recently. They are a big province with over 3 million people. The third biggest province in the country, British Columbia, and now they are going to be participating in that pot of fixed money. That is going to have a detrimental affect on our Province and on what we receive from Ottawa in that process.

Mr. Speaker, we have not received our fair share from equalization.

I just want to ask the Government House Leader - if he was paying attention - is it necessary to have a private member's resolution read into the record? A private member's resolution needs to be announced. Is it okay to have leave just to do that? It will only take a minute.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the member have leave to read into the records the private member's resolution?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for The Straits & White Bay North.

MR. TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to give notice that tomorrow I will move the following private member's resolution:

WHEREAS the federal fisheries Independent Panel on Access Criteria is proposing that Aboriginal rights and regional equity replace adjacency as the primary consideration in allocating fishing quotas; and

WHEREAS acceptance of these recommendations would further reduce Newfoundlanders and Labradorians access to the marine resources that they brought into Confederation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this hon. House inform the Government of Canada that it is unalterably opposed to any limitation of the principle of adjacency in allocating fishing quotas;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we will resist by any appropriate means, by all appropriate means, any decision of the federal government to allocate quotas to fishing interests that would not qualify for allocations under the principle of adjacency.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MATTHEWS: You are up again.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am back again.

I was hoping to have a longer resolution there, I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy, but let him say it; it will not deter me from trying to reach my goal. As Abraham Lincoln said: I have slipped but I have not fallen. So, I am back.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I can hardly think of a better person to quote than Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is immortalized in his rightful place in history, I might add. I wouldn't want to take anything to detract from the significance of that, and the importance of Abraham Lincoln's contribution to the world.

MR. NOEL: Don't worry about that. You're no Abraham Lincoln. Not yet.

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I can tell that to the minister in no uncertain terms.

Mr. Speaker, I will get back to the task at hand, which is on equalization. I was saying, before I took a brief break for the presentation of that resolution -

MR. MATTHEWS: A brief break (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, a very brief break, I say to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

MR. MATTHEWS: I hate going out and coming in and not getting the full gist of what you are saying. (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, I have great concern whether he would get the full gist of it if he was in here. I would have great concerns, whether he was in or out. Being a former Minister of Finance, I am not sure whether the damage that he has done to this Province is irreparable. I am trying to determine that. I am in the process of determining that. The jury, I might tell him, is still out on that one.

I was making the point: Who ever gave the federal government the opinion that the provinces of this country must be participants in making the decision to give equalization? That is enshrined in article 36.(2) of the Constitution. In fact, it is just the complete opposite - I will just get back to the point - the complete opposite of what the federal government is saying is the case.

Mr. Speaker, if you need to consult the provinces and get approval to change it from a five-province standard to a ten-province standard, wouldn't you have needed the consent of the provinces to change it from ten to the five in the first place? They did not get the consent of the provinces to change it from ten to five. They didn't need it then, so why are they saying now they need it since? The Constitution did not change. It is exactly the same. They interrupt it to their own benefit. That is what they are doing. They are interrupting to suit themselves, and that is wrong. That is wrong and we are paying the price.

Did they consult the provinces when they decided to cap equalization? The answer is, no. They did not need to consult when they capped it; why do they need to consult when they remove it? You do not. What happened prior to the last federal election in 2002? They lifted the cap and brought legislation to lift the cap for one year. So, they did it unilaterally themselves and they can lift it unilaterally themselves again, now, permanently lift it from there. They change it to suit themselves, and that is wrong. That is making us look silly, and sillier for Brian Tobin to stand up, or Stéphane Dion, or whoever the spokesperson is, and try to convince us any differently. They must think we are stupid here in our Province. We are not going to take that; we are not going to accept that.

Mr. Speaker, they had a conference in Victoria, I think that was last August. When the federal government does not want to change the program, I might add, they simply ignore it. At their conference last August, I think their conference was in Victoria - when they had it a year ago it was in Winnipeg - the Premiers at that conference, the Premiers' Conference, unanimously asked the federal government to remove the cap on equalization and to consider returning to a ten-province standard. Both requests were immediately rejected by the federal government. If they needed provincial consent, they got it. Still, they would not do it. That really shoots out any argument whatsoever. It is still pretty clear in the Constitution anyway, as if we did not already know it.

Newfoundland and Labrador has the lowest levels of personal income in this country. We charge among the highest levels of personal income tax. Do you think it is fair in a country where we pride ourselves on equality, a country where the constitution tells us that Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts should be able to provide comparable levels of service at comparable levels of taxation, and we have the worst level of service, the lowest, and we have the highest level of taxation? There is something wrong; we cannot provide that. We cannot provide that because we are not able to do it. If our economy does grow on our resources, they claw it back.

We are frustrated, we are handicapped, in being able to accomplish. We are hamstrung because the federal government is not living up to its commitment. In fact, I think they are breaking the constitution of our country, and maybe that is a challenge to this government to take it to court to challenge it, the constitutionality of what this government is doing. How can anyone tell me that we are living up to the constitution of comparable levels of public services at comparable levels of taxation when we are one of the highest taxed provinces in the country and we have the lowest level of basic services? It is not happening, and equalization is not doing its job. The pot of equalization is not getting shared to our benefit and that is a very sad and unfortunate thing.

I am sure the Minister of Finance would be very familiar with this one. I made a statement back in December. They said: The government signed on to a bad deal on transfer payments on the basis of an assurance that it would get a better deal on equalization. That is an assurance that now appears to be very unreliable.

The Telegram reported this on December 11, I say to the Minister of Finance, and here is what The Telegram said: Aylward says provinces like Newfoundland signed on to the Canada Health and Social Transfer deal to pump new money into social programs on a per capita basis because they were assured of improvements to the equalization program, but the Budget provided no such commitment.

So, the Minister of Finance over there, who delivered the Budget, is telling us that they signed that deal on CHST because the minister was assured - she said they were assured - the government would get a deal on equalization. That is what that minister said and reported in The Telegram on December 11.

I would like to hear from the minister when she gets an opportunity to speak, if that is the case, because apparently that is not what the federal government said happened. Somebody is not telling the truth, and the whole truth, on this particular issue. Somebody is not telling any truth on this issue. Who that is, we can leave to the imagination of the person who wants to draw that conclusion. That is what the minister said.

The minister also indicated in a CBC interview on that Tuesday of that week that the Premier's decision to sign the agreement on transfers was contingent - it was contingent - on getting a better deal on equalization. She told that to CBC. I would like to know, and I asked that and I did not get any answers, I would like to know from the minister who gave those assurances to the minister or the Premier. Who told the Premier that, if you sign this deal now - you all get together as one happy family and sign this deal - and we will do something about equalization. The minister said that, that the Premier was told that. Was the Premier misled? Or was the minister wrong in what she is doing? Or is the minister telling us the whole truth on this issue? I want to ask him - and I asked this question, I think, in the House - was it the federal Minister of Finance who gave the assurances to the minister? Was it the federal Cabinet minister, our federal Cabinet minister, Tobin? Was it the Prime Minister who give those assurances on that particular issue? Apparently it was not. If they were, I would like to know, what were these assurances? If they were not given assurances, here is what the Premier did - and the minister.

We entered into an agreement that binds Newfoundland and Labrador to a five-year agreement that leaves this Province at a very significant disadvantage. In other words, they were told something by the federal government. They took it hook, line and sinker, and signed a five-year deal, and then the federal government reneged on their commitment. That is one option. The other option is that they never gave the commitment, they signed it anyway, and told us they did. That is the other scenario. I am not so sure which one to believe. I am more inclined to believe that they never got that commitment, that they signed it anyway and pretended that they got that commitment, basically. The minister said it, but she could not tell us who gave it. They could not tell us who gave the commitment. If someone gives you a commitment, a commitment when you sign a five-year deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars and you are given a commitment, and you cannot tell us who gave it. You cannot stand up and tell us who gave it? There is something wrong.

Maybe she contradicted. I heard she got her knuckles rapped by the Premier for those statements. Maybe she did. Maybe the Premier did not want anybody to know that he had to swallow hook, line and sinker, an assurance, and then he turned around and he never got that commitment after. Maybe he did not want to own up to that. Maybe that is the reason. So, whatever it is, we got a raw deal. We got $682 million less, from 1996 to 2002, because we are operating under a ten-province standard, or a five as opposed to a ten. We got $38 million, and ten in the hundreds of millions, because of a cap that doesn't allow the wealth of this country to be distributed evenly so that provinces will be able to provide comparable levels of services at comparable levels of taxation. We are the heaviest taxed still. That is another area where this minister and previous ministers didn't live up to their commitment, on taxation of personal income tax. We are the highest, except for one province that is higher taxed that us, and we have a lower level of public services and equalization hasn't treated us well. I think it is time for the Province, the minister, to stand up and be counted on this issue.

I have looked at the commitments, or lack thereof, on equalization. There are numerous other areas that are not addressed appropriately in this Budget, and that we have been sold out on. I certainly am going to comment on some of these particular ones, I might say to the minister. I am going to talk about another issue that goes back several years in this House, when the minister stood in this House - and I was a member here. I was Leader of the Opposition at the time, when this Labrador transportation fund came up. The Labrador transportation issue: I remember the announcement. Premier Tobin went down to Labrador and spent in the hundreds of thousands, a huge big platform and backdrop. People went down to announce the funding for the Trans-Labrador Highway, this Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund. Yes, and I applaud that. I think we should have gotten more, because we didn't get enough to finish the job in the beginning.

I am very, very supportive of getting a Trans-Labrador Highway, not only to serve the people of Labrador, but it should be of national importance, to link us with the rest of the country. We support it, and people on that side of the House support it. They stood up, when legislation came to this House, and the legislation was An Act To Establish The Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund. I asked questions on this prior to the Budget: If they were going to raid that fund and basically deplete it.

We approved in this House - here is what we approved. I would assume the only way you an take money from this, I say to the Government House Leader, is that there would be an act come into the House to rescind or amend this act. In section 8 of that act it says, "The board ...." - that is the board that was set up to administer this fund. That is referenced here. The "board means the board of management established under section 4." Section 4 says, "There shall be established a board of management which shall manage the fund in accordance with this Act."

Here is who "The board shall be composed of, (a) the Secretary of the Treasury Board established under the Financial Administration Act; (b) the Deputy Minister of Finance;" - who these people report to, that minister there - "and (c) not more than 3 persons whom the Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint." In other words, the Cabinet. So there are two that come under that minister's department and three that are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor.

And, "The board shall be responsible for the financial management of the fund and for that purpose shall make the necessary banking and investment arrangements for that fund."

What does it state? Here is what the board may authorize. It says, "The board may authorize that money be paid out of the fund provided the pay-out is for the purpose of...." Here are the only purposes for which money can come out of that Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund, the only reasons it can come out.

I know it does not affect the Member for Torngat so much, but for other members whose districts are represented it certainly has a significant effect.

Here are the reasons for which, or the purposes for which, money shall be taken out of that fund. There are three, "(a) marine freight and passenger services and the maintenance of lands, wharves and related facilities transferred to the province under the terms of the agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in the right of Canada and Her Majesty the Queen in the right of Newfoundland made on March 28, 1997." In other words, only marine freight and passenger services and the maintenance of lands, wharves, and facilities related to what was transferred in that agreement on March 28, 1997. That is one of the purposes there, one, I should say, of three purposes, for which funds can be used.

Second, money out of that fund could be used for, "(b) the construction of the Trans Labrador Highway." That is the second reason.

The third reason money could be taken out is for "(c) other Labrador initiatives related to transportation which the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may approve."

They are the three reasons for which money can come out of that fund.

The minister stood here in this House on Budget day and told us that they are taking $97 million out of that fund after the construction season, this phase of it, and the ferry service this year will almost deplete that fund. I have not seen any legislation tabled in this House. I ask the Government House Leader: Is there legislation going to be tabled in this House that allows the government to legally do what they are doing, taking $97 million out of a fund that is protected by an act of this House giving three reasons for which you can take money out? There would have to be legislation and a bill come to this House to change what they are doing here. There is no authority under the Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund Act to use money for any public purpose other than related to those marine ferry service wharves, related to the agreement that was signed on March 28, 1997.

We supported that, you supported that, and everybody in this House supported that as a proud day for Labrador, a proud day for Labradorians, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in general, because we are now going to see the completion, hopefully, of a Trans-Labrador Highway. That did not happen. This government turned their backs on the people of Labrador on this issue.

I just want to go back a little bit, do a little bit of history, because I raised many questions at the time right here in this very House, and I did not get very many straightforward answers at that time. In November, 1996, in this House, the Minister for Labrador stood in this House and indicated that the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is committed to a vision of a paved Trans-Labrador Highway becoming a reality within ten years. That was in 1996, so ten years from that would be 2006, for a paved Trans-Labrador Highway. This is 2002. This money will not even do between Goose Bay and Cartwright. It is estimated up in the hundreds of millions of dollars, up over $100 million. I do not know the exact amount. It depends upon, I guess, the nature of the structure over the Churchill River, the crossing there, and what it would cost. It is certainly up in the hundreds of millions that it is going to cost to do this, and the funding is not there.

What are we going to do? We raided the fund. Not even enough to complete the highway and we raided the fund. What did they give in return? A commitment that we will spend this $17 million over the next six year; 2010. They were promised a paved one in 2006 and now we cannot even get a dirt road completed before 2010. That is some commitment! The minister said: A paved highway. That is what he said.

I asked subsequent questions, and went through the House. It was like pulling teeth, when I tried to ask the minister. The minister at the time was the current Minister of Tourism, Recreation and Culture. I asked her in this House: Will you tell me, basically - I said: On November 19, the minister gave a statement recognizing that the current highway infrastructure is inadequate and he outlined a ten-year plan to build a much-needed highway from Happy Valley to Goose Bay to Red Bay, and upgrade a portion of the highway. I asked the minister if she could tell this House what the department estimates the total cost of that project would be. That minister, the current Minister of Tourism, the member for Mount Pearl, would not give me the answer or could not tell me. She would not provide an answer telling us what was going to be done.

I said at the time: That money we got is not enough to do the highway in Labrador. It is not enough to do the Goose Bay to Cartwright portion. It was not enough to do that portion. And it was not, but they did not admit it. She either did not know or she would not give the answer. I went back the second time. She was up negotiating with Ottawa to get money, and this was before that agreement. I said: If you are negotiating with Ottawa for money to complete the Trans-Labrador Highway, can you tell me how much you are projecting it is going to cost? She could not tell me, could not or would not tell me. I asked was it $400 million, $600 million, or $700 million and she did not give me an answer. I asked a third time. I went back and asked the question again, and I got no answer.

Then the Premier jumps up in his place and talks about - I asked a question on transportation and he got up and talked about something else completely unrelated to it. A question on transportation and he talks about the Teleos Report. He wants him to read that. What has the Teleos Report got to do with transportation? He ignored it, deflected the issue, because he knew we were not getting the truth. He knew we sold out this Province for about $150 million short of completing a highway for a dirt road, to take over a ferry service that is costing us double what they projected it would cost. The Auditor General Report is testimony to that. It was supposed to cost $11 million, and it is costing over $20-some million. That is why the fund is being depleted. We did not get the truth in the beginning. We got estimates of costs, or lack of controls on those costs, and we never got the true cost in the beginning. The minister would not provide that. They were not very forthright in providing information to me.

We knew all along, from estimates and speaking to companies and engineers, what a ballpark figure to complete that was, but this government would not tell us that. We knew they were not being honest in their dealings on it. It took the minister a year later, before anyone could stand in the House and tell me the same thing that I said a year earlier, before they would confirm it. That is what we call an open and transparent government.

I cannot let it pass without talking about some of the concerns and what is happening in Labrador on this Trans-Labrador Highway.

Government announced this. This is a release from April 3, 1997, and here is what it said, "Just as in the Roads for Rails agreement, we intend to see that every dollar is used to build a Trans Labrador Highway..." - every dollar - "...and to maintain necessary ferry services in Labrador," said Premier Tobin. "This compensation package makes it possible for the province to complete the Labrador West to Happy Valley-Goose Bay section, and a highway between Cartwright and Red Bay. However, it will not complete the link between Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay." Months and months after I asked the question in the House and still they never gave us the money. "The province will provide additional funds to complete that portion of the road."

So, is it news in a budget, we are going to provide funds to complete the rest of the highway? Of course it is not. In 1996, they committed ten years to paving the Trans-Labrador Highway; building and paving it in ten years, by 2006. It did not happen, and still they would not be forthright and give us figures.

I would like to touch on some comments. The federal Member for Labrador who speaks for Labradorians in the House of Commons has been very outspoken on this issue. I have heard him speak on this issue. He did a news release called, Highway Robbery. The Province Has Broken Labrador's Trust, he has indicated.

March 26, "Labrador M.P. Lawrence O'Brien today condemned the provincial government for raiding the Labrador Transportation Fund in order to reduce the provincial deficit." It does not mention in the laws of this Province - and a law of this Province is the Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund Act that was passed and gives three reasons by which we can spend money out of that fund. One of those reasons is not to reduce the provincial deficit. It is solely dedicated to a Trans-Labrador Highway and maintenance of ferry services from the Island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Labrador portion.

He said, "There is no word for this." The words he used - he said, "It's beneath despicable and disgraceful. One more time, the province is looking to a Labrador resource to bail itself out. This time the resource is cold, hard cash that we had to fight like dogs to get in the first place." That is what the member said. He said, "Labrador has contributed very greatly to provincial coffers over the years, and we still do. We get very little in return from provincial revenues, and what we do get is always made contingent on federal cost-sharing, even for things the province pays for entirely on the island. It wasn't Labrador that racked up the provincial debt, but now we're the ones who pay when the credit card bills come in." That is the Member for Labrador.

He said, "This is the biggest sellout since the days of Joey Smallwood. Fifteen years ago we were shut out of the Roads for Rails deal, despite provincial promises that they wouldn't give up the railway without getting a Trans-Labrador Highway in return." But they did not do it. He said, " I worked with my federal and provincial colleagues six years ago to make up for that rip- off and we got a separate transportation agreement for Labrador." He said he worked hard on that deal, this Labrador Transportation Initiative. "Five years ago we got $340-million for ferry and highway transport in Labrador, and a promise that it would be used wisely. A highway was to be completed across Labrador, and marine services in coastal Labrador would be improved to tie in with the new road."

"That money, and the$65- million in interest that it earned, was a Labrador resource. The Province gave solemn promises about what they would do with that money. Millions out of that fund were spent in Labrador on projects that would be funded under general programs on the island, just so that the general money could stretch farther on the island. Millions more were wasted through inefficiency on running the ferry services. The quality of the services deteriorated, like when the Bond spent part of the 2000 session in dry dock."

People of this Province in the government, the member says, made a sacred vow to keep that money separate, and use it for a separate purpose: ferry and highway transportation needs in Labrador. Both of these promises that have been broken. They did that and they proudly proclaimed that they were protecting Labrador interests with a bill that came to this House and became an act and law of this Province, and now, with one swipe of the pen, broke that promise and that vow that they gave to the people of Labrador, when the Minister of Finance brought down this Budget.

He said, "I can only imagine the outrage if the federal government had done the same thing to the province that the provincial government has just done to Labrador. And now there's going to be a Royal Commission into the place of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada? The commissioners and the provincial government ought to take a long hard look in the mirror first."

" It is shameful that the province is trying to pin the blame on the federal government. First of all, the province promised in 1997 that they would use the federal $340-million for Phases I and II, and for operating the ferry services, and that they would fund Phase III from provincial revenue." I just quoted from that, that Brian Tobin said in this House and in a release back in 1997. I just referred to those particular releases.

MR. E. BYRNE: You asked questions on them.

MR. SULLIVAN: I have asked a lot of questions. The then current Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation would not even answer and give the amount of estimates. They were up negotiating with Ottawa on how much money we need and they did not know how much they were looking for. It is little wonder you did not get enough when you did not know what you were looking for. That is probably why we are probably $150 million short in doing the job. That is probably why. If you do not know where you are going, how are you going to know when you get there? They promised that.

Lawrence O'Brien said: No conditions, no ifs, ands, or buts. They kept stating that right up until two years ago. They said they are going to build it when Ottawa coughs up the money. They were lobbying the federal government for a new funding arrangement.

These facts are very sequential there because I followed this since 1996, prior to when negotiations were going on, and on record in this House in December of 1996 and on record again in 1997. He said, in February of this year the federal Member for Labrador said he told the Premier in person - he told him in person - to get a formal proposal on Phase III into the federal government. He said: I told him to give me and my colleagues something to support. I reiterated this with a letter to Premier Grimes and his ministers on March 11 of this year. The delegation from Happy Valley-Goose Bay who were in Ottawa in mid-March pressed the same points on Ministers McLean and Barrett and their departments. It is April now and there is still no proposal.

I am quoting your federal member, Lawrence O'Brien. He said: There is only one page of a powerpoint presentation. I got a more detailed and more professional presentation from the Community of Pinsent Arm, in support of a road to their community, than I have from the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway. I need something to work with. If the Province doles out tens of millions of dollars on the basis of a powerpoint slide show, is it any wonder they are so far in debt that they had to steal from the Labrador Transportation Fund?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: That is what he said. You were elected to protect Newfoundland and Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: You did not protect -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, in this House, supported a bill that I believe unanimously went through this House, to protect the interests by having a separate fund dedicated, a commitment by the Premier, this Cabinet and government, to the people of Labrador. A stroke of a pen, an announcement on Budget day, threw that to the wind. That is what you did. You broke your promise to the people of Labrador. That is what the minister did!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: You know full well you did. You went up with a little slide show in Ottawa and looked for hundreds of millions of dollars.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: A slide show.

MR. SULLIVAN: One that we give to a Grade 3 class. That is what he did. That is what the member for Labrador is saying, what the Liberal member for Labrador is saying. He asked, personally, the Premier, in February, for a proposal. He wrote in April. He told you when you were in Ottawa that he wanted more than a little powerpoint presentation. He wanted a proposal. Are they going to pass out over $100 million on a little slide show?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: He said, Pinsent Arm were more organized and detailed than the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I congratulate the people of Pinsent Arm for the member to say that, because he knows; he saw both.

MR. FITZGERALD: There wasn't much power and (inaudible) points.

MR. SULLIVAN: That's for sure.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I will get to my district in a second. I say to the minister, we went for four years and never got a cent, the road in my district. Lately, we got a few. We have roads -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) proposal from you yet.

MR. SULLIVAN: I have answered every letter you have written me on priorities in my district, I say to you. I have answered that in writing, and I will stand up to be counted on what priorities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: In fact, Minister, just so it is not political, what I do, I contact. So it is not political, when I get the letter, Minister, I contact your staff in the field and ask them which roads are the worst and should be done first. I put that on the letter. That is what I do, I tell you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I will stand on that record.

AN HON. MEMBER: I am waiting for a call from (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I would like to get the million you got in your district last year, in mine, and it would fix a few problems.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I didn't intend to get -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Well, I don't know. I cannot speak about it. I can speak when I am here.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, you will get your chance. I may even give you leave yet. I might give you leave some day next week to get up and speak about it, but it will not be today. I tell you, Minister, it will not be today.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: They are pretty sensitive over this. They were lying down, falling asleep, and now all of a sudden Lawrence O'Brien brings them to their feet because they must feel guilty. Why do you get excited about what someone said? You must feel guilty about it.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: You must feel guilty.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Now, let me finish.

The Labrador member's comments, the person up fighting for Labrador, who did not betray the people of Labrador, like the people here across this House, said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).


AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: I might even do a little powerpoint presentation yet. Who knows? I will get to that.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: What did he do? The honorable thing, and left, resigned.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: You know what to do. He said, Peckford could not do it. He did not have the heart anymore, so he said: I will step out. I will let somebody come in who will do it, who is able to do it, who wants to do. But this government here has thrown in the towel. The only thing is, the final bell has not rung yet. The towel has been thrown into the ring and the bell has not rung, because they have given up the fight to do what is best for Newfoundland and Labrador, I can tell them.

I will get back to Mr. O'Brien and his rousing rendition of a lack of commitment to the people of Labrador. Lawrence O'Brien said: Forgive me for being skeptical about the new marine service that is supposed to be put in place for the North Coast, or improvements to marine and air transportation on the South Coast -

AN HON. MEMBER: You are required to table it.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am paraphrasing this. If you want me to table it, I will table it. A private member doesn't have to table what he makes reference or sums up. He doesn't have to table it.


MR. SULLIVAN: We had to get a ruling by the Speaker to get this tabled by the minister. The minister did not even want to table this, and we had to get a ruling by the Speaker to do that.

Lawrence O'Brien said -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Madam Speaker, the Member for Torngat Mountains is really getting excited and noisy and I having a job to hear what is going on here. I ask for some degree of control over these people, a desensitizing, probably, of these on this issue here so they would not get so upset.

He said, "If I was a business owner on the North Coast, or a tour operator in the Straits, or a construction company looking to bid on Phase III, I wouldn't bank on any of these promises until the day the ribbons are cut."

He said, "To try and pin blame on the federal government for the fact that the province is only now living up to its commitment from 1997, well, that is beyond ridiculous. If a road could be built out of provincial promises, we'd have a four-lane autoroute by now." In other words, he said, if a road can be built out of promises put by this government we would have a four-lane autoroute by now.

AN HON. MEMBER: Who said that?

MR. SULLIVAN: That is what Lawrence O'Brien said. The only thing that Labrador is paved with is promises. The very government that said, in 1996, we will have a paved Trans-Labrador Highway by 2006. That is what he said. They will not even have a dirt highway by 2006. On the commitment they gave in this budget, by 2010 they are going to have a dirt road four years after they were going to have a paved road. What promises people give in times to get elected and try to get re-elected, and the people suffer in the process.

He goes on to say, "The province has been wishy and washy about the Trans-Labrador Highway. They have come to the table with their feet dragging, and they always leave their wallet behind. Up until last week, the only ever committed dribs and drabs of provincial money towards the project. Since the project began.." he said "...over 85 per cent of the money that has gone into the Highway has come from federal sources. If the province does go ahead with $100-million for Phase III, they will still have only paid for less than a third of the..." whole Highway overall.


MR. SULLIVAN: The Member for Torngat there is still moving around. He is like a yo-yo. Is he on a string? He up there, then he is there, then he is there. He is in the same spot, but I will tell him, his seat is in the same place that the former Member for Eagle River - before they changed it to Cartwright- L'Anse au Clair - Danny Dumaresque, sat for about three years and never moved, and they have you up in the same seat. Now, I do not know if that is an indication but I can tell the member it is not an omen for a promising future in politics in Newfoundland and Labrador, I would say to the member. It is not promising.

He went on to say that even if they did put money into the highway it is only fulfilling a promise they made five years ago, and they made it look like the budget was a new promise.

In 1997 - I will reference it here - he said we will use provincial money. Now, before I move off this topic, I have to get to another point. The Member for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair was hopping around on Budget Day and trying to tell everybody out there that everybody in Labrador supports this. She almost interrupted an interview with the Member for Labrador West, almost pulled the microphone away from him: Get away from there! The people in Labrador are all behind us, she said. That is what she said. She was so wrapped up in trying to convince people that what is good for the people in Labrador, let them speak for themselves. Let them speak. Here is what one member from Labrador had to say about this. I will relay what one member for Labrador - when the member for Labrador heard about this hopping around all over the place. I know everybody in Labrador were supporting this. He called our Open Line, called this gentleman, the Mayor of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Mayor of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay speaks for somebody, I am sure. He must speak for somebody. The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay area represents a significant part, probably about one-third, I would say, of the population of Labrador.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, Mayor John Hickey of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He said there is a lot of debate going on about the latest fiasco regarding $97 million.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is getting kind of annoyed now because there are people who do not espouse to the same basic commitments.

Here is what Mr. Hickey said: We have a lot of promises from a lot of people, from a lot of politicians. He said: the crime here is that the provincial government has missed, he believes, a key opportunity in Ottawa. Just two weeks ago they were there and met with Minister Collenette. He said: the town made a very powerful presentation to that minister on why that road should be finished. They said to the federal minister: This is not a road for Labrador alone, this is a road for Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Canada. That is good reason. The federal government needs to be told of the importance. It is a road, not just for Labrador. It should have federal funding. That was an important point.

He said: How can the provincial government go back to the federal government with any degree of sincerity and trust, when the money they gave you before, the $340 million, was taken and spent to keep down the provincial debt? How are we going to give you money for Phase III when you broke their trust and commitment? These are the points that they made here.

Here is what Mr. Hickey said -

MR. ANDERSEN: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: The Member for Torngat, can he be silenced there? He seems to be trying to occupy my unlimited time and have a piece of that action here on the floor. But, Mr. Hickey -

AN HON. MEMBER: Start over, Loyola.

MR. SULLIVAN: If you want me to go back to Tuesday when I started -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: No, I was going to do that next week.


MR. SULLIVAN: Some of them, I am telling you, I have great doubts. I can see why the teacher left them in Grade 4 for three years. I can see that.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Hickey went on to say: I can tell you that the vast majority of people that he has talked to do not support this. The vast majority he has talked to do not support that, and I do not see why. He said he wants to make the point clear that he understands the hon. Ernie McLean, the Minister for Labrador, and the MHA for Lake Melville, which is our district here in Central Labrador. He has made comments to the effect that the combined councils of Labrador, which is the entire municipal sector of Labrador, is supporting this. He said: I want to say for the record here this evening that I have just come from a meeting of the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, just minutes ago, and I am telling you that they are not in favour of this. That is what he said.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: He said that he wanted to say to the President of Combined Councils, who was on CBC Labrador Morning Show, that he is not speaking for the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He went on to say that they want pavement from Labrador City right to Red Bay. When that is completed, he said, he will then work on a fixed link between Labrador and the Island portion of our Province. People laughed at the idea when they looked at Prince Edward Island. Now we have an expensive project, but a very vital one, and one that has brought considerable wealth for Prince Edward Island.

When we look at the stats when the population statistics came out, Prince Edward Island was the only Atlantic Province that grew in population. How many think that the fixed link had anything to do with that? I think the fixed link had a lot to do with the growing of the economy of Prince Edward Island. A fixed link to this Island will reap considerable benefits. Our party has said, we need to look at the feasibility of a fixed link. We need to look at it because, while you might scoff now and show short-sightedness, I can tell you in the long term there would be tremendous benefits that would accrue to our Province of Newfoundland and Labrador with a fixed link connecting Labrador.

The logical thing, Mr. Speaker, is to complete the highway first, get the highway completed, get it paved as soon as you can, get the construction done.

MR. BARRETT: Your leader is against that.

MR. SULLIVAN: No. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation is over there, I must say, yapping again with things that are not true. They are not true, what the minister is saying. I will not even repeat something that is not true. I will not even repeat it.


Mr. Hickey said, he will call upon all municipal leaders tonight from Nain to Red Bay to stand up and oppose this and send the government a clear message that we do not want to see funds allocated and targeted for Labrador to be spent on the deficit.

They do not want it spent on the deficit. Why? What reason do you give for stealing the fund? Here is what the minister said. The minister said: Well, it doesn't make sense to have to go out and borrow when we have that money. If it did not make sense in the Budget in March, why did it make sense when you set up the fund in the first place? Minister, you have talked out of both sides of your mouth on two different occasions, and this government. That is what you have done.

If it wasn't good, the right strategy three years ago when the act came in, why is it the right strategy today? Because it suits you because you have a huge hole to fill in the provincial Budget and you want to grab at money wherever you can get it, even at the expense of people in Labrador. That is what you are doing. That is what the minister is doing, and that is not correct. You cannot stand for one thing today and something completely different because it suits you tomorrow. That is not the way to go. You have to stand on something. The saying goes: If you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything.

MR. BARRETT: (Inaudible). Is your time up?

MR. SULLIVAN: The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation wants to know if my time is up. You will find out in the next election. The people will decide that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: The people will decide if my time is up.

MR. BARRETT: You are going to have to keep me out of your district. I was in Petty Harbour last night, boy. You had better -

MR. SULLIVAN: Good. I am glad you were, and I hope you will pave that road down there in Petty Harbour and do something about it.

MR. BARRETT: They invited me down there Saturday night.

MR. SULLIVAN: I hope you will, and I hope you read the letter I wrote to you on it there months and months ago. Maybe you have forgotten about it, after I visited your council and discussed with them their priorities and then sent a letter that you have.

MR. BARRETT: It was only a powerpoint presentation you gave me, wasn't it?

MR. SULLIVAN: Pardon me?

MR. BARRETT: It is a powerpoint presentation you gave me.

MR. SULLIVAN: Powerpoint, because I didn't know you would understand anything more detailed beyond a powerpoint presentation, I say to the minister. You figure Collenette cannot grasp anything beyond that.

MR. BARRETT: If we don't do it, I guess I didn't understand.

MR. SULLIVAN: You get mentioned, too, on the Open Line show, the minister. This is the Mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and he is commenting to George McLaren. He said: You have to put it to rationale why this is of good benefit to the Province, to the country, and this has not been done, George. Percy Barrett can wave all the papers in the House of Assembly he likes, but on those pieces of paper there is no proposal. There is no proposal to the federal government, and that has been confirmed by the minister when I was there, and it has also been confirmed by the MP for Labrador, Lawrence O'Brien. They can wave all these bits of paper - and this is the paper he waved. Of course, a powerpoint presentation.

He went on to say, and these are the last comments on this before I go move on to a new topic. Mr. Hickey closed with saying to, I guess, the listeners, that they are going to stay on this issue. He said, we have fought too hard over the years for this issue. He has been involved with municipal politics for thirteen years, and he said to Labradorians tonight, and municipal leaders in Labrador, that it is time now to send a very clear message. He said, this is about politics. This is about the re-election campaign for Yvonne Jones, Wally Andersen and Ernie McLean. That is what he said. This is what this is all about, and there are no guarantees, absolutely none, that we will ever see the road finished between Cartwright; and, unless the provincial government is prepared to put in legislation, we will not believe it until it happens. That is how he closed, by saying that. He talked on the political angle.

There is more. I made reference to most of Mr. O'Brien's comments. What are we going to do to get completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway? We support it. It is important. It is very important. How do you expect this government to be believed by the people of Labrador when they took an act that they passed in this House, that guarantees a fund, and exchanged it for a promise in a budget over the next six years? How do you take that as a sign of commitment?

They have the audacity to stand in this House and tell the people of Labrador that we are going to take the $100 million, $97 million in a fund that is guaranteed under an act of this Legislature, and change it into a promise over the next six years, and tell you we are doing something for Labrador. That is like telling you, if you have a $97 million trust fund set up for your children, and then someone comes and says: Look, give me that $97 million and I will pay them back. Over the next six years we will give them back the money. Don't sign it, don't put it in writing. We don't put it in writing, we don't sign it. Do you think that is a good deal? Come on.

Give me the $30,000 you have put aside for buying a car, just give it to me so I can go out and buy something and I will pay you that back over the next six years at $5,000 a year. Sounds like a good deal, nothing in writing, and you pass over the cheque. That is crazy. That is what they have done. They have passed over a fund, and we do not have legislation tabled. I say to the House Leader that I did not see any notice, because there would be a notice to rescind the Labrador Transportation Initiative Fund Act. If not, you are breaking the law of the Province. You have to bring that back and amend it, legislation in this House, and then we will have an opportunity for you to stand up and debate the merits of doing that bill. That is the way it has to go. That is the way the law of this Province is, that it has to go, and that is what this act that I have right here states.

MR. MATTHEWS: Loyola, it is time to give it up, my son. My mother has been watching you all evening (inaudible) supper.

MR. SULLIVAN: I will finish my comments. I am delighted the minister said his mother wants to get supper prepared; she watched me all day. That reaffirms that she must be interested in putting it ahead of her other priorities, which would be you.

MS J.M. AYLWARD: She has a lot of other problems (inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: So, the Minister of Finance is saying his mother has a lot of other problems?

MR. MATTHEWS: No, no, no.

MR. SULLIVAN: That is what she said.

I am going to close my comments on this particular Labrador transportation issue. No, I am not on debate on the bill.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I said I have unlimited time. I will say again, I have unlimited time and I do not intend to be accused of not using it.

I will close on this particular topic before I move to another one that could take me a month. The next one is health care.

It says here the boards - that is the board that is set up by that minister over there. Her Deputy Minister is on it, the Secretary of Treasury Board is on it, and three others appointed by the Cabinet are on this board to administer this fund. It says money can come out of this fund only for the following three purposes: Number one, only to use funds for marine freight and passenger service and the maintenance of land, wharves and related facilities that were transferred to the Province under this agreement on March 28, 1997. That is number one. Secondly, it could be used for the construction of the Trans-Labrador Highway. Number three, other Labrador initiatives related to transportation which the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may approve.

Can you tell me if that $97 million being used to plug a hole in our Province's finances is an intended purpose of this act? When the Premier, at the time, went to Labrador he got big, long tractor-trailer flatbeds; he put a big backdrop there; spent hundreds of thousands, I think, at the time, just in total cost. Ministers came in from all over the place, members came in, and they had a big extravaganza there in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to proclaim a Trans-Labrador Highway. A new fund was set up for people in Labrador, and then turn around and tear up the act. That is right, tear up the act; this very act here that is supposed to protect so that people can have a degree of security and trust when government is willing to put its word of mouth on the line in an act in the Legislature.

AN HON. MEMBER: You must be getting tired, Loyola. You are getting real quiet.

MR. SULLIVAN: I am getting quiet, I say to the minister, because she requested it. That is probably why. She said: Please, don't request more special warrants. Don't request anymore special warrants, I say to the minister, because you have broken the law to the tune of almost $100 million since you came into that position. That is a lot of money. That is equivalent to the Labrador Transportation Fund, that is what is it. That minister, on Budget Day, broke the legislation of this Province here the same as if she took this act and tore it up - and the people down there.

Then we had a member for Labrador hopping around like a hen with its head cut off, trying to convince everybody that everybody in Labrador are down there behind this. My, oh my! Where does she think she is living? Does she think she speaks for the people of all Labrador? I would say Danny Dumaresque might be on alert. He might be on alert the next time, I might tell her. You are some lucky Danny Dumaresque was in Florida when the election was called back in 1996 because when he got back, it was kind of late, he got behind the eight ball. You are lucky he was away. Maybe he might be back again.

The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation goes up to Ottawa, sits down, flicks over little slides to show a little PowerPoint presentation, just sit back and say: Now, look - a few little lines and says: Here is what we want for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador over the next while. Can you imagine going up with that? Pinsent Arm had a more detailed one, the member for Labrador said. The Mayor for Happy Valley- Goose Bay was up on April 4 with a presentation and the government (inaudible).

Our critic has asked this question: Under the Roads for Rail Agreement, where are we in the agreement? We asked it last year. I do know but we asked it the year before. All in due course. Can you imagine? They only went up this year. An agreement running out and they only went knocking on Ottawa's door now. Look, connecting Labrador should not have to come out of provincial funds. We should not have to resort to having it come out of provincial funds. Connecting one end of Labrador to another should be a national concern, a national priority.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: Opening up Labrador, right down to the Quebec border connecting the paved road for Red Bay, should be nationally funded because it is a part of linking our national highway system across this country to open up opportunities for growth and prosperity. It will bring growth and prosperity, and that is why Prince Edward Island is the only province in Atlantic Canada that showed an increase in growth and population-wise in this late census. That is why their economy has improved and picked up.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to businesses operating and prospering is transportation. Transportation frustrates even the City of St. John's. That is why there is quicker access with the Outer Ring Road. There are lots of priorities in rural Newfoundland. There are lots of priorities out there that opened up areas to the East End. It allows people to do their business, and make more use of their time; hire more employees because they are not spending as much money on transportation to do other things. They are all part of doing business and reducing your costs.

Transportation is linked. Proximity to resources and transportation, are two of the most significant factors in enabling business to be able to go out and prosper. So, without a proper transportation system - and we have seen around our Province, our transportation system is in shambles, and our roads are in desperate shape in many areas of our Province.

I say to the Government House Leader, if it is getting near the closing time for the day, I will not start my next topic. I will just leave that and hopefully get to it on the next day. I will adjourn debate now for the day and allow the members to go back and enjoy their evenings and so on and be able to get up to date or at least get some briefing notes on what went on on the soaps this afternoon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I move that the debate adjourn.

MR. MATTHEWS: And you can have the rest of the week off too.

MR. E. BYRNE: You wish.

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

MR. LUSH: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House on its rising do adjourn.

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