March 22, 2010                     HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS                 Vol. XLVI    No. 1

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Please be seated.

Mr. Speaker, the Justices of the Supreme Court have arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit the Justices of the Supreme Court.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, His Honour the Lieutenant Governor has arrived.

MR. SPEAKER: Admit His Honour the Lieutenant Governor.


Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair.

His Honour the Lieutenant Governor takes the Chair.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor that all present please be seated.


Remembering Cougar Flight 491

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Newfoundland and Labrador is a seafaring Province with a long, proud history of reliance on ocean industries. The mighty North Atlantic Ocean that has sustained Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for centuries has also broken our hearts more times than we can count. Last year, on March 12, in the dreadful crash of Cougar Flight 491, the North Atlantic claimed seventeen precious lives: Thomas Anwyll, Peter Breen, Gary Corbett, Captain Matthew Davis, Wade Drake, Wade Duggan, Corey Eddy, Keith Escott, Colin Henley, First Officer Timothy Lanouette, Ken MacRae, Allison Maher, Gregory Morris, Derrick Mullowney, Burch Nash, John Pelley and Paul Pike. Only one individual, as we all remember, Robert Decker, was pulled to safety from our icy waters. Last April, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board appointed the Honourable Robert Wells to serve as Commissioner of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are confident – particularly in light of Commissioner Wells' early recommendations – that he will take a thorough and comprehensive approach to safety in the offshore. My Government will form a committee that includes representatives of the families to identify an appropriate action to memorialize their loved ones.

Reporting Progress

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Newfoundland and Labrador has come a very long way since My Government was first elected to office in 2003. Beginning on day one, in a determined effort to weather the immediate financial crisis and chart a responsible course toward long-term self-reliance, My Government demonstrated real leadership by taking decisive action. Since then, it has taken a responsible approach to spending. It has streamlined programs to make the most of every public dollar. It has cut red tape and business taxes to get employers growing and hiring. It has given generous raises to public sector workers and tax breaks to everyone in the Province. It has cut income taxes and increased benefits for seniors and families. It has led the country in measures to reduce poverty and enhancements to student aid. It has invested unprecedented amounts in infrastructure, making dramatic improvements in roads and highways, wharves and bridges, ferries and terminals, schools and hospitals, long-term care centres, public housing and municipal infrastructure. And most of these investments – in fact, an overwhelming 80 per cent – have been in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: My Government has invested in industries and enterprises offering brighter futures to thousands: agriculture and aquaculture, fisheries and forestry, mining and energy, manufacturing and innovation, tourism and culture. It has renegotiated the Atlantic Accord for a gain of $2 billion. It has negotiated higher royalties from offshore oil and equity stakes in offshore projects worth tens of billions of dollars and unlike anything the Province has achieved before. It has secured underfunded pension plans, turned around the fiscal decline and achieved impressive and important upgrades of the Province's credit rating. As a result of strong leadership and a clear vision, young and old together are celebrating the achievement of "have" status for the first time since Confederation, and we are seeing the tide turn on years of decline as our population continues to grow. All this and more My Government has done through the strong and steadfast leadership of My Premier and his team, and through the unwavering co-operation of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador - and we are glad to see the Premier back in action again and looking as well as he does today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: This record of achievement is fuelling the fires of optimism and hope that are burning brightly throughout Newfoundland and Labrador today, and this is something of which all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should be proud.

No province has weathered the global recession with greater confidence and strength than ours. While retail sales across the country dropped by 3 per cent last year, in Newfoundland and Labrador sales rose by 2.6 per cent; and across the Province last year, despite the global recession, labour income grew by 4.2 per cent. No province is better prepared to seize the opportunities ahead than Newfoundland and Labrador. How far we have come in so short a time. With My Government at the helm, our Province is moving forward with incredible momentum and unshakeable optimism into a new era of self-reliance full of the kinds of opportunities for which generations of our people have long strived.

Caring For Our Children

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: There is no gift more precious than a child, and no duty more important than advancing the best interests of our children through the choices we make. My Government since 2003 has been focused on creating a family-friendly environment where people can establish a lifelong foothold; where families can thrive; where children can chase their dreams, seize golden opportunities and realize their greatest potential. There is no greater legacy My Government is building for our Province's children than the renewed sense of pride and confidence that they, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, are feeling as we become masters of our own destiny.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: In classrooms and homes across our Province, a new attitude is taking hold, full of hope in the dream of a wonderful future for young people right here at home. This year's plan of action builds with confidence on the extraordinary progress Newfoundland and Labrador has achieved since 2003. My Government is committed to ensuring our children remain our number one priority.

Last year, My Government announced the creation of a new department of Child, Youth and Family Services and made the protection and well-being of our children and youth its top priority. The new department will be better organized to support the frontline workers who protect our most vulnerable children, and the system will be more accountable. Under the department's direct management, the monitoring and auditing of programs will be stronger and children will be better served. The new department will revitalize our child protection system from the ground up and get back to the basics of solid case management and service delivery. The foundation for this change will be a new Child, Youth and Family Services Act to guide future policies and program development. The department will develop and deploy innovative solutions to address the shortage of foster homes with the long-term goal of creating a full continuum of appropriate placement options for at-risk children and youth. Already, My Government has strengthened the front line of child protection services by adding 223 positions since 2006 including ninety social worker positions and a range of other positions to support frontline work.

The new department will be proceeding with the development of a ten-year Early Learning and Child Care Strategy. This will be coordinated with the Department of Education as it begins consultations this year with parents and others on a draft Early Childhood Learning framework.

My Government in its first Speech from the Throne lamented that "Newfoundland and Labrador's level of child poverty is the highest in the country", and committed "to facilitate a progressive reduction in Newfoundland and Labrador's rate of poverty until we achieve the lowest rate of poverty in the country". Six years later, My Government's first Progress Report on its Poverty Reduction Strategy demonstrates that Newfoundland and Labrador has made significant strides in that direction. Our Province has moved from having one of the highest poverty rates in the country to the third lowest. We are well along in the journey to become the Province with the lowest poverty rates in the country. National antipoverty leaders have applauded My Government's leadership in fighting poverty and have described our Poverty Reduction Strategy as a model for the entire country. My Government will move forward this year to release and consult with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians on its second Poverty Reduction Strategy Action Plan, partnering with communities and families to create opportunities to share in our Province's prosperity.

Many women in our Province are particularly vulnerable because of the violence they suffer. My Government has helped to change attitudes through its "Respect Women" campaign and will continue to work to make violence against women as unacceptable as any other violent crime. My Government will also continue to support shelters where women and children can escape violence in their homes.

Discrimination is another wrong from which individuals young and old should be protected. The Human Rights Code is one of the most important Acts of our Legislature, affording protection from discrimination by governments and the private sector. This year, My Government will bring forward a strengthened Human Rights Code to reflect the recommendations and values of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Strengthening the Local Economy

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians young and old are united in their determination to see our Province grow to achieve its full potential as a place of prosperity, self-reliance and opportunity for all. When the global financial crisis hit a year ago, My Government responded swiftly and powerfully with an unprecedented program of stimulus measures in a concerted effort to keep our people working, to keep our businesses growing and to keep our economy moving forward with confidence and strength. Weeks before last year's Budget was brought down, My Premier announced an unparalleled increase in infrastructure spending to $800 million in the 2009-2010 fiscal year and a plan to grow infrastructure spending to more than $4 billion over the next several years. As My Government rolled out one project after another under this aggressive Infrastructure Strategy, public confidence surged, employers across the Province rolled up their sleeves to ready tenders and, in short order, workers across the Province had their shovels in the ground. By year's end, we had let tenders for $1.3 billion worth of projects. Not only has this massive stimulus program fuelled economic activity throughout our Province, but it has also prepared our communities to take the lead in seizing growth opportunities as the world rebounds from the downturn. This is not a time to slow down but a time to move forward. My Government will continue to fuel the fires of economic stimulus in the year ahead with its unprecedented infrastructure spending program. This approach is the right approach, not only for the short term but for our long-term future.

Through steadfast cooperation linking communities and workers, businesses and unions and the provincial government, central Newfoundland is weathering the closure of the century-old paper mill at Grand Falls-Windsor and its associated operations. My Government's response has been swift, comprehensive and effective. In December of 2008, My First Minister stated clearly that we cannot as a Government allow a company that no longer operates in this Province to reap the benefit of our resources. We will not give away our land, timber, and water resources to a company that does not continue to honour its historic commitments on industrial development related to our timber resources. Through the passage of Bill 75 on December 16, 2008, My Government revoked land, timber and water rights from Abitibi and returned these natural resources to their rightful owners, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Severance pay, training assistance, employment programs and economic diversification initiatives have demonstrated My Government's unwavering determination to ensure that the central region moves forward – just as the Stephenville region is doing – to a new era of growth and prosperity firmly established on an array of enterprises across many sectors. The task will take time, but through the continuing partnership uniting people throughout the central region, we will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

In Corner Brook, My Government is working cooperatively with all stakeholders to ensure the pulp and paper mill has a bright and prosperous future. The city of Corner Brook and the surrounding region will always be one of our Province's powerhouses of economic activity and a proud leader in each of the many sectors in which the local economy is diversified.

From our larger regions to our smaller rural communities, My Government is focused on pursuing every promising opportunity for new growth and jobs. Through the Rural Secretariat, My Government will continue to work closely with citizens and stakeholder groups to develop new approaches to regional collaborative governance.

Rural communities have thrived over the centuries under the leadership of strong individuals backed by tireless volunteers. Understanding the value of municipal service, My Minister led a successful "MakeYourMarkNL" campaign which, last year, increased the number of candidates seeking municipal office. My Government is proud of those who have stepped up to serve on their municipal councils, and is ready to work with them and Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador to strengthen local government and improve local infrastructure and services, including access to clean drinking water.

On ball fields, in fire departments, in our hospitals and in many other ways, tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians contribute to their communities and Province each year as volunteers, and we applaud them. In April, My Government will present the inaugural U Rock Volunteer Award to individuals thirty and under and to youth-run and youth-serving organizations that make a real difference in our Province.

Widening Access

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: As a result of My Government's unprecedented investments – I hope I don't sound too boastful when I say that – the people of Labrador this year celebrated the historic completion of Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway at long last linking Southern Labrador to Labrador West. It is eager to continue work to improve and maintain the quality of this artery in the years to come. My Government was also excited to announce the establishment of a winter ferry link across the Strait of Belle Isle, connecting Southern Labrador to the Island during the months of ice. My Government will continue to work with the Federal Government to ensure it does an effective job of meeting its constitutional obligation to provide appropriate, reliable ferry services between the Island and the Maritimes at reasonable, highway-equivalent costs to all users.

My Government has invested significantly in transportation infrastructure and services within the Province, including roads, highways and provincial ferry services. No less vital to our economic strength than land- and sea-based transportation services is air access. My Government will take the lead in implementing a new five-year strategy to improve air services in all regions of the Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: My Government will continue to take full advantage of opportunities to streamline operations and improve services through electronic service delivery. The Province will continue to support BizPaL, an online Business Regulatory Information Service launched in 2009. Other such electronic service delivery projects in the pipeline include an online deeds registration project, which will allow authorized users to securely enter deeds registrations online; online access to applications for birth, marriage and death certificates and electrical permits; and student loan payments.

Raising Our Level of Expertise

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: With a bold new attitude of confidence in our ability to capitalize on opportunities and take control of our future, My Government is determined to advance the Province's expertise in the discipline of capital investment management. To this end, it has invested resources to research the investment of large pools of capital, such as pension funds. My Government is exploring options that will support the development of professional investment expertise in areas such as portfolio management - I wish I could have had some of that advice a year or two ago. This research and evaluation will lead to the development of a framework that will guide our Province in building the level of investment capacity required to manage our own wealth over the next seven years.

The ocean technology sector in this Province is poised to become a billion-dollar industry by 2015 with more than 6,000 employees, opening doors to careers in offshore energy, life sciences, environmental technologies, aerospace and defence. My Government is taking the lead in working with local stakeholders and international partners to nurture knowledge-based capacity and capture business development opportunities that capitalize on our coastal location and expertise.

Catalyzing research and development in Newfoundland and Labrador is the primary objective of the Province's new Research and Development Corporation, launched by My Government in May 2009 to strengthen the focus, quantity, quality and relevance of R&D undertaken for the long-term economic benefit of the Province. Increased R&D activities will play a major role in driving innovation, creating wealth and increasing economic growth in Newfoundland and Labrador for future generations. R&D is a critical component of a healthy and robust economy, and already, the RDC has launched two new programs to deliver against its mandate.

Research and development has its genesis in a strong and vibrant education system. It is often in the classroom that our Province's children learn to explore their diverse gifts and reach their greatest potential. My Government has demonstrated year after year that children are its number one priority by its record-breaking investments in education. This year, My Government will continue to build on these investments through important initiatives such as the Excellence in Mathematics strategy for our K-12 students; the Futures in Skilled Trades and Technology Program for high school students; the ISSP/Pathways recommendations for our students who require extra support; and the new Teacher Allocation Model extending class-size maximums to the remaining two K-9 grades, namely six and nine.

At the post-secondary level, My Government is proud of the significant investments it has made to enhance the student aid program and ease the burden of debt for graduates. Newfoundland and Labrador is leading the country in student aid reform and improvements to post-secondary accessibility and our Province will be stronger in the years to come because of these investments in students. My Government this year will follow through on its commitment to increase autonomy for Memorial University Corner Brook's Sir Wilfred Grenfell Campus. In November, we were delighted to give a warm Newfoundland and Labrador welcome to Memorial's new president, Dr. Gary Kachanoski, and we would like to echo that welcome here today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Three years ago, My Government released the report of the Skills Task Force it commissioned to prepare for labour force needs and opportunities associated with large-scale development projects on the horizon. Having acted early, it is more prepared than ever to ensure our Province and people capture the opportunities these projects provide. This year, My Government will take further action to implement improvements for apprentices. To advance the participation of women in nontraditional trades, My Government will continue to work with industry partners to develop and support implementation of effective women's employment and business access strategies for large-scale resource development projects. My Government will also continue to support apprenticeship initiatives to strengthen women's access to training and employment in the growing sectors of our economy.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Our Province's goal of sustainable self-reliance means attracting and enabling young people to put down deep roots in our communities. My Government is demonstrating that children and youth are its number one priority by partnering with young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to make ours the province of choice for youth. It recently launched its Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy and designated a Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement to take the lead in putting the strategy into action. It also began to use new tools to promote labour market attachment, including our first provincial job matching site at and a new online human resources toolkit for employers. For the first time, Newfoundland and Labrador is in a position to shape and deliver over $250 million in employment and training programs to link people to opportunities for stable careers.

My Government is striving to make Newfoundland and Labrador a Province where people with disabilities will have access to the same opportunities as others. Having created a Provincial Advisory Council and a Disability Policy Office, My Government is now working across all departments and agencies in collaboration with the wider community to dissolve the barriers to inclusiveness. My Government will listen attentively to these ideas and develop a new provincial Strategy for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: To nurture healthy work environments and promote growth, My Government has also been working to strengthen partnerships among the public sector, the private sector and organized labour. The Strategic Partnership Council has brought forward recommendations for amendments to labour legislation to promote stable, progressive workplace relations by making the framework that governs them more modern and flexible.

Harvesting Bountiful Resources

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: The fisheries sector remains among the most important sectors in our Province. My Government will work with stakeholders to make our fishing sector more competitive, sustainable and self-reliant by continuing to implement the initiatives of the Fishing Industry Renewal Strategy of 2007. This long-term strategy was developed after a high level of consultation with industry and involves a total financial commitment by My Government of up to $140 million. The strategy also identified inherent structural issues that My Government has begun to address proactively in collaboration with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers and the Association of Seafood Producers, demonstrating the power of cooperation to progress this critical industry. These are challenging times in world markets, but My Government remains committed to a strong, sustainable fishing industry, which is the backbone of so many rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Province will continue to lead the development and implementation of a provincial Coastal and Ocean Management Strategy and Policy Framework to address issues such as climate change, aquatic invasive species and the establishment of new Coastal Management Areas.

The Province will also harness the power of fisheries innovation through its continuing work with the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program and the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation. The technology and opportunities program supports research related to the harvesting and processing sectors that will aid the provincial fishing industry as it strives to become more innovative and competitive. The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation plays a significant role in supporting research and development in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and it will bring the expertise, creativity and infrastructure of Memorial University, in particular its Marine Institute, to the challenges and opportunities in the fishing and aquaculture industries.

I will take advantage of this subject to have a drink of water myself.

A sector that has experienced economic growth in recent years and become one of our most exciting industries is the aquaculture industry. Aquaculture has changed the face of many communities and offers great promise to others. Today, there are licensed aquaculture sites from the Northern Peninsula to Placentia Bay, from the Port au Port Peninsula to Notre Dame Bay, Bonavista Bay, Trinity Bay and along the Province's south coast. While the positive impact on the economy of the Connaigre Peninsula, in particular, has been enormous, the south coast holds much more opportunity for expanded salmon aquaculture. Innovation and financial incentive programs have facilitated the rapid growth of the sector, which has experienced a five-fold increase in production value since 2003. Operations in this Province are farming such species as steelhead trout, Atlantic salmon and blue mussels. I noticed they are blue; the mussels I mean. My Government is determined to pursue these opportunities aggressively and responsibly through continuing investments in infrastructure and a steadfast commitment to bio-security to ensure this new industry is sustainable and that our reputation for quality is second to none.

My Government will continue to work with the federal government on cost-shared initiatives to support research and development in the agricultural sector, new farmland development and advanced research and surveillance of important animal diseases for the protection of the agriculture industry and public health.

My Government understands the challenges and opportunities in the forest sector. Our forestry companies must have the ability to compete in a changing global environment to ensure the continued sustainable development of our forest industry. We will continue to work with the industry to enable these companies to improve their businesses by diversifying the products that are developed from our forests and identifying new markets for these products. My Government continues to promote the use of wood pellets as a resource of home heating through our Residential Wood Pellet Rebate Program, an action that is positive from both an industry and an environmental perspective. Moving forward with recommendations from the comprehensive marketing strategy for the Province's forest industry, My Government is going to take the first step towards achieving Environmental Management System certification that will open up broader markets for our forest products in European countries. By ensuring the competitiveness of our producers we will strengthen the entire industry.

Harnessing Energy and Mineral Potential

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: The mines and energy sectors continue to be major drivers of the provincial economy. Combined, they represent the largest source of revenues for the Province.

The mineral sector will continue to grow this year as operations in Labrador West return to pre-downturn levels and first concrete is poured at the Vale Inco nickel processing plant under construction at Long Harbour. The Province's first new iron ore mine in almost fifty years, in Western Labrador near Schefferville, Quebec, has just been released from the environmental assessment process, and a second is now being examined. The railway in Labrador West connecting the Quebec-based Bloom Lake iron ore mine near Labrador City and Wabush to the existing railway is nearing completion. Once the railway line is fully operational, 100 per cent of the line's employees will be Newfoundland and Labrador residents and the railway will be headquartered in Wabush. To advance this key sector, My Government will develop a Mineral Strategy in consultation with stakeholders and the public, reviewing all aspects of mineral policy with a view to maximizing activity and optimizing wealth.

The oil and gas sector will also continue to grow this year as both development and exploration work proceed. In February of this year, My Government along with Nalcor Energy finalized an agreement with its partners in the oil and gas industry for the development of the Hibernia Southern Extension. This project will contribute $13 billion in incremental revenues to the Province over its life.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: In the agreement, the Province also furthered its Energy Plan objectives by achieving an equity position, an enhanced royalty regime and commitments to gender equity and diversity.

Several important exploration programs, both offshore and onshore, will proceed in 2010 on the heels of successful exploration programs in 2009 culminating with the Mizzen discovery in the Flemish Pass Basin. This is really an encouraging step forward, so that we are not just restricted to the basin that has been so good to us so far. In the Laurentian Basin, ConocoPhillips and co-venture partner BHP Billiton commenced their first drilling in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area. In the Orphan Basin, Chevron and its other co-venture partners including ExxonMobil are ready to act on the information they have gathered from their first well and subsequent geoscience data with plans to spud a second deep water well. In the Jeanne D'Arc Basin, north of the White Rose field, Husky Energy is busy exploring in collaboration with Suncor and Statoil. Nalcor has commenced exploratory drilling onshore near Parsons Pond. In the Deer Lake and Bay St. George Basins respectively, Deer Lake Oil and Gas and Vulcan Minerals/Investcan are making their own plans. Seismic acquisition programs are planned this year for the Labrador Shelf, the Sydney Basin and the Laurentian Basin, making this a banner year.

In the electricity sector, My Government continues to advance prospects to develop Lower Churchill power. The Environmental Assessment process continues to proceed for both the generation and transmission projects. Recently, the Public Utilities Board established a water management agreement between Nalcor Energy and Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation. This agreement sets out the water sharing arrangements between the two companies and is critical for the development of the Lower Churchill. This agreement was made possible by amendments that My Government made, with the assistance of the House, to the Electrical Power Control Act and legislation that granted Nalcor Energy water rights to the Lower Churchill River. The Province has also made its case for transmission access through Quebec before that province's "Régie de l'énergie".

I was waiting for applause.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: My fluency is not known to be great in French, as you know.

The Province is awaiting a ruling. My Government also continues to explore other options for transmission and access to markets in eastern Canada and northeast United States.

Also this year, the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation is proceeding with its motion in Québec Superior Court against Hydro-Québec to address inequities in the 1969 Upper Churchill Power Contract pricing.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The current contract, as we all know, is grossly inequitable for CF(L)Co and its shareholders for the next thirty-two years. As a result of the Premier's diligence in reviewing all aspects of this decades-old inequity, the government discovered a new, promising legal option to address on a go-forward basis the gross inequity of this contract. Having informed CF(L)Co, we are optimistic about the potential for resolution. Legal advice indicates that, in the particular context of the Power Contract between CF(L)Co and Hydro-Québec, circumstances have changed in a way that could not have been reasonably foreseen at the time the contract was initiated.

The consequence of these unforeseen circumstances, coupled with the extraordinary length of the contract, has resulted in a gross inequity in the distribution of contractual benefits between Hydro-Québec and CF(L)Co. This unique situation regarding the Power Contract, combined with the obligation under Quebec Civil Law to act in good faith throughout the full term of a contract, obliges Hydro-Québec, upon request, to reopen the contract in order to re-establish the appropriate equilibrium.

Developing Labrador

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: The Big Land of Labrador continues to benefit from the implementation of the Northern Strategic Plan and an array of related initiatives, including many already highlighted. My Government is releasing the midterm report on the Northern Strategic Plan to document progress on the many commitments to Labrador's people and communities. Recent milestones include the opening of Phase III of the Trans-Labrador Highway and the continued paving of Phase I; the expansion of satellite telephone services on the highway; the introduction of year-round marine service across the Strait of Belle Isle; an agreement on the boundaries of the Mealy Mountain National Park Reserve and an adjoining Eagle River Waterway Provincial Park; continued implementation of the Inuit land claims agreement; the award of a tender for the Labrador West Regional Healthcare Facility; and the new tourism marketing ad themed "Ancient Land", to name just some of the progress benefiting Labradorians.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: My Government is very excited about the initialing of the Tshash Petapen (or New Dawn) Agreement with the Innu Nation in February of 2009. The Agreement marks a new beginning for the Innu of Labrador and their relationship with the Province. Subject to ratification by the Innu people of Labrador, the agreement resolves key issues relating to matters between the Province and the Innu Nation surrounding the Innu Land Claims Agreement, the Lower Churchill Impacts and Benefits Agreement and Innu redress for the Upper Churchill hydroelectric development.

My Government has been especially vigorous in promoting the strategic importance of the Province as a Northern Gateway. As the only Atlantic province with a Northern region, Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to play a pivotal role helping develop new economic growth and international trade opportunities; facilitating oil and natural gas development activities; implementing environmental protection initiatives; assisting with adapting to climate change; and maintaining Canadian sovereignty, as well as a host of other initiatives.

Protecting Our Environment

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have an enduring love of their natural environment. We envision a future in which self-reliance and sustainability go hand-in-hand. By harvesting our natural resources responsibly, we are safeguarding our Province's environment for the benefit of generations to come. In particular, we are determined to ensure that our non-renewable resources fuel a renewable future that endures long after the non-renewable resources are gone.

Through its Climate Change Action Plan, its Energy Plan and other initiatives, My Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to responsible environmental stewardship. The Newfoundland and Labrador Green Fund provides financial aid for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With a goal of further advancing greenhouse gas reduction, promoting energy efficiency and adapting to the impacts of climate change, My Government will release a discussion document and undertake consultations to determine the best approach going forward.

My Government will continue to collaborate with Environment Canada during the upcoming review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to ensure there are provisions in the new federal Act to facilitate enhanced cooperation with provinces in environmental assessments.

Celebrating Our Heritage

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Uncommon Potential, our joint government and industry tourism strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador, and our substantial financial investments in marketing the Province have been wildly effective in celebrating the heritage and beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador and drawing tourists to our communities. The tourism industry contributed almost $850 million to the provincial economy in 2008 and employs approximately 13,000 people - a remarkable figure. The industry is especially important in the rural communities that so many visitors are coming here to experience.

Newfoundland and Labrador took full advantage in Vancouver and Whistler of the opportunity to showcase our cultural strengths before an international audience at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In April, we will celebrate our hospitality and love for music when we host the JUNOS once again before a broadcast audience on five continents potentially exceeding 250 million. Other cultural showcases include the successful CBC Television national series "Republic of Doyle" – and I am sure all members are watching every Wednesday night, a very handsome portrayal of the City of St. John's – which created over 100 full-time local jobs and generated wage totals approaching $10 million, and has just been picked up for a second season.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: It is a very positive step by CBC, if I do say so myself. I am not looking for a starring role, by the way.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Two local films won considerable kudos far from home this year: "Grown Up Movie Star", which screened at the Sundance and Berlin International Film Festivals; and "Crackie", which screened at, among other places, the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2010, we are drawing people to Cupids for the 400th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of the first English colony in what is now Canada. This year, My Government will establish a new Provincial Historic Site in Cupids, the Cupids Cove Plantation Archaeological Site. We look forward to major celebrations at Cupids and spinoff celebrations near and far as the year unfolds.

Advancing Health Care

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Over the last six years, My Government has invested significantly to improve the health care system in our Province and to enhance health care services in all regions. Indeed, our total budget for health care has increased by $1 billion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Some key investments over the past six years total $17.9 million for mental health and addictions services, $112 million for health facilities repairs and maintenance, $281 million to improve health infrastructure throughout the Province and $177.9 million for new health care equipment. Recognizing that health care affects each and every one of us individually, My Government will continue to ensure that our investments are effective in improving the health care system for all who use it. This means continuing to enhance health care services in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and providing services to residents close to home, as My Government has done with new dialysis units and unprecedented infrastructure projects throughout our Province. Through the purchase of new medical equipment, My Government will continue to improve access to services by reducing wait times.

Cancer continues to touch every family in our Province. Having commissioned and learned important lessons from the Cameron Inquiry on Hormone Receptor Testing, My Government will continue to ensure that those suffering from cancer receive modern treatment options, and continue to work to improve the quality of our laboratories and services.

I just note in passing that Madam Justice Cameron is retiring from the bench this year after doing a superb job for us - I think something like twenty-five years - and her report will be long remembered and will long be guiding our health facility development in Newfoundland. She is to be congratulated.

By the end of this month, as mandated by recommendation number 60 of the Cameron Inquiry report, My Minister of Health and Community Services will provide an update to the House of Assembly and the people of the Province on the status of implementation of the recommendations contained in the report. My Government is committed to responding to all of the issues and recommendations made by Madam Justice Cameron. My Government will plan ahead to ensure the Province is prepared to deal with chronic disease while at the same time working to prevent cancer from taking hold.

There are individuals in our Province who suffer from the stigma associated with a mental illness or an addiction. My Government is determined to ensure that those suffering from mental illnesses and addictions have effective treatment options available to them. My Government has committed to build two new treatment facilities, including a residential treatment centre for youth with addictions in Grand Falls-Windsor and a residential treatment centre for youth with complex mental health needs.

My Government knows that an investment in treatment must go hand-in-hand with an investment in prevention. To this end, My Government will continue to promote our Province's Wellness Strategy in communities throughout the Province. Through the Office for Seniors and Aging, My Government will work to ensure our aging population is a healthy population, and will plan ahead by supporting the types of programs and services our seniors will need into the future.

Well Wishes

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: While we are on the theme of wellness, I would just like to express again our collective best wishes to the Premier, who is recovering marvellously from heart surgery. He has an important job to do, and it is heartening to see him return in such short order, rearing to go.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: I am just about at the end; I know you are all sorry to hear that. It is a wonderful Speech from the Throne and I congratulated the real author of it today. It is a marvellous piece of work.

Embracing a Future of Self-reliance

Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: As My Premier has said, the time has come in this Province to be proud of what we have achieved together. Standing tall in the face of adversity; maintaining a united front; saying "no more giveaways"; knowing what we are fighting for: these are the things that now define us as a people. A "have-not" Province no more, we are embracing our newfound status in the Canadian federation: a status that has brought us newfound respect; a status that is well-deserved; a status that will define the next generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as we reach for new heights, strive to accomplish more than ever before, and meet the true potential that has always been here in this Province. We are strong, proud and determined, with confidence and self-assurance anchored deep in the hearts and souls of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians at home and away. Imagine poor little Newfoundland and Labrador standing proud and tall and strong, as a force of change and progress on the national stage, putting to shame the defeatists and finally getting the respect we have always deserved.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Our future is bright with possibilities as we enter a new era of self-determination and self-reliance. This is our time to shine. Better than ever is only the beginning. For Newfoundland and Labrador, the best is yet to come!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

HIS HONOUR THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Assembly: Estimates of expenditure will be laid before you in due course and you will be asked to grant supply to Her Majesty.

I invoke God's blessing upon you as you commence this new Session.

May Divine Providence guide you in your deliberations.

Thank you.

[His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Crosbie, and the Justices of the Supreme Court leave the Chamber]

MR. SPEAKER (Fitzgerald): Order, please!

Please be seated.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act Respecting The Care And Protection Of Children And Youth. (Bill 1)

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. minister have leave to introduce Bill 1?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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

The motion is carried.

Motion, the hon. the Government House Leader to introduce a bill, "An Act Respecting The Care And Protection Of Children And Youth", carried. (Bill 1)

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

MS BURKE: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Natural Resources, that Bill 1, An Act Respecting The Care And Protection Of Children And Youth, be now read a first time.

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that Bill 1 be now read a first time.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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

The motion is carried.

CLERK: A bill, An Act Respecting The Care And Protection Of Children And Youth. (Bill 1)

MR. SPEAKER: Bill 1 has now been read a first time.

When shall Bill 1 be read a second time?

MS BURKE: Tomorrow, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Tomorrow.

On motion, Bill 1 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: His Honour the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to make a Speech to Members of the House of Assembly. I ask that the Speech be now delivered to all hon. members.

[The Pages distribute the Speech to all members.]

MR. SPEAKER: While the Speech is being delivered to hon. members, the Chair would also like to recognize the Member Elect and offer congratulations and welcome him to the House of Assembly: Mr. Paul Davis, representing the District of Topsail.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Davis will take his seat in the House of Assembly when the Elections Act has been met, when the guidelines have been met, and be welcomed after he is officially sworn in to be a member who is duly elected. Congratulations!

The hon. the Member for Lewisporte.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. VERGE: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House of Assembly today among my colleagues and representing the voters of Lewisporte district to speak to the Speech from the Throne. I thank His Honour the Lieutenant Governor for delivering the Speech from the Throne and communicating the positive message on behalf of our government.

I would like to start my remarks by thanking the people of the Lewisporte district for giving me a mandate to represent them as their Member in the House of Assembly; yes, to be their MHA. It is a title I am proud to hold. It is a position I take very seriously and it carries a level of responsibility that I am honoured to be charged with. I want to assure my constituents that I am determined to work diligently for the social and economic development of our district – a district that is the embodiment of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, both in its spirit and in its drive.

Mr. Speaker, our Province is in the midst of an exciting and promising period. It is a rewarding time for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. As a Province, we have persevered and believed in ourselves and in this Island of ours. We knew we had the right stuff. We also knew that one day we would see the benefits of living on our Island in the sea or the Big Land in the North.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are a unique breed. We are people who are proud of where we have come from and of who we are. To be part of this government, a government that is planning and developing a strong and long-term vision for our Province, is inspiring. With the prosperity that comes from the utilization of our resources also comes the responsibility to make wise fiscal decisions. As a government, we gladly take on that responsibility and we take to heart the needs and the wants of our citizens. We have consulted and planned carefully to develop a comprehensive strategy, a strategy that takes a well-rounded approach; a strategy, Mr. Speaker, that looks at the big picture. We are sincerely proud of our achievements thus far, and we anticipate building on the momentum.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have come to expect positive action from this government. We have taken many bold and strategic steps that have proven to be effective and productive. The Province has made significant progress in many areas with this government at the helm. Improvements have been made on all fronts. In my district alone, we have seen investments in municipal infrastructure that have helped improve the quality of life and the health for people living in small towns; small towns like Comfort Cove, Stoneville, Norris Arm, and others. Our government provided funding enabling these towns to develop water system upgrades, because we understand that for communities to be strong and to thrive they need sound municipal infrastructure.

Our government is particularly proud of strategies we have developed in the past two terms - strategies such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Youth Retention Strategy. Our Poverty Reduction Strategy is the envy of jurisdictions across the country. When we pledged to transform Newfoundland and Labrador from a Province with the most poverty to a Province with the least poverty in the next decade, we meant it. Poverty carries significant social and economic cost but by reducing poverty we will improve the quality of life for everyone and we will ensure a strong and a prosperous future for our people.

Our Youth Retention Strategy is another strategy that we are extremely proud of and believe in. With the promising economic outlook, young people can stay in this Province accessing affordable education in world-class facilities and, upon graduation, have many doors open to them. Premier Williams said in his speech at the launch of the youth strategy: If you treat youth like leaders, they will create a place of leadership.

That is what the youth strategy is all about. It is also about building strong and healthy communities where we can flourish and also plan for the next generation.

In my district just this past year we announced several seniors' housing developments because we know how important the well-being of our seniors is to all of us. We ensured that seniors in the District of Lewisporte would have access to comfortable and affordable housing. In August, we opened an eighteen-unit seniors' complex that provides below-market rentals to seniors who are seeking housing.

Just last month, Mr. Speaker, we announced another ten units of affordable housing for seniors in Lewisporte. Our country is seeing a growing and an aging population and it is the responsibility of government to provide more housing opportunities for this group.

There will be more demands placed on health care as our demographic gets older. The Williams government has taken a targeted approach towards health care in this Province, an approach that has been practical and effective. Through planning and consultation we are working with stakeholders to identify the real issues and to deal with them, enabling health workers and patients to have the best health system.

Our government is willing to listen to the people, and they have shown that they are open and accountable. After much debate last year, a decision was made to build a new health facility in Lewisporte; a facility that will cost approximately $30 million; a facility that will better serve the people's needs in my district. The people told us what they wanted and we listened, because we understand that health care is complicated and there are many diverse issues. There are no quick fixes, Mr. Speaker. There are no easy solutions, but we know we can deliver the best health care to the people in this Province.

Our government's investment in health care is unprecedented. The budget allocation of $2.6 billion represents one-third of all spending in this Province. We have committed to building new health facilities and to buying new equipment so that our health care does not lapse, and we are committed to making similar investments in other infrastructure areas. The infrastructure investments we have made and continue to make have positively impacted the economic forecast of this Province.

The can-do attitude of this government has improved our climate. Our Premier knew that investments in infrastructure would promote economic growth and it would help us to weather a global financial crisis, which we have done, and we are coming out ahead, Mr. Speaker. Our Premier has the vision to know that keeping the momentum going and investing in this Province is the right direction to take. Strategic investments in programs and services will improve the lives of all residents living in our Province. By investing today we are ensuring a stronger economy for tomorrow. The investments in roads, hospitals, schools and long-term care facilities, they are all paying off. My district has received funding for improvements to roads and bridges in Campbellton, Norris Arm, Horwood, Lewisporte, and in other towns. This investment has made travel safer and it has also provided needed employment.

Last summer, Mr. Speaker, the Town of Lewisporte received funding assistance from the Department of Tourism to assist us in hosting and promoting a highly successful conference and boat show. That event brought many visitors to the area and we received a great deal of positive media coverage. This will surely have a positive effect on tourism for the District of Lewisporte in the coming years as it has helped to get the word out that we have one of the most scenic and unspoiled bays in the northern hemisphere. You are welcome to bring your boat there, Mr. Speaker.

Coming out of the successful event last summer, our district is excited about the possibilities before us, including the business opportunities that exist. It is also interesting to note, tourism numbers were up all over the Province this past year. This is incredible, when you consider the economic turmoil that has been occurring throughout Canada and the rest of the world. It is obvious more and more people want to visit Newfoundland and Labrador.

I am confident our government will continue to guide this Province in the direction creating a positive future for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We can be assured that our government will continue to develop the people's resources in a responsible manner while always, always, fighting for the best deal possible. We will work to attract investors, train skilled workers, provide affordable education in rural and urban areas and also promote our Province as a place to come and a place to invest. This government is committed to the people of this Province. We are committed to making Newfoundland and Labrador the best place to live, the best place to stay, and the best place to raise your family.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand here as part of this government. I proudly move, on behalf of my constituents in Lewisporte district, that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Bay of Islands.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LODER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

On behalf of the people of the beautiful District of Bay of Islands, it is indeed an honour to rise amongst my colleagues to second the motion that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I wish to thank His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, for his Speech today. This year's Throne Speech highlights many of the positive initiatives underway in this Province, as well as the need for continued investment, particularly in our children, our infrastructure and our health care system. Globally, the economic downturn has produced many challenges, and Newfoundland and Labrador has certainly not been immune to its impact. As a result of this government's prudent fiscal management, however, we have gotten through it relatively well compared to some other provinces. This sound approach is very much appreciated and endorsed by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as demonstrated by the people's overwhelming approval rating of this government and our Premier in independent public opinion polls, and we can proudly boast that Newfoundland and Labrador has the most popular Premier in this country today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. LODER: Under the strong leadership of Premier Williams, this Province has continued to grow and prosper despite some economic bumps in the road. While this government has demonstrated sound fiscal practices to help ensure a bright future for individuals, families, communities and the Province, it has not been done on the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Inherent in this prosperity we are enjoying comes a need to upgrade and expand our infrastructure, our roads, our schools, our health care facilities, our water and sewer services, and our recreational facilities. Despite this time of economic uncertainty and prudent spending, the people of the Province have continued to benefit from unprecedented spending in areas such as infrastructure, health care and education.

Mr. Speaker, Budget 2009 provided a careful plan that continued to strengthen our economy while protecting important services and programs that our people need and deserve. It contained significant economic stimulus, including targeted expenditures and economic development, infrastructure, health, education, poverty reduction and, of course, the environment.

Mr. Speaker, despite projected deficits over the next couple of years, this government recognizes that stimulus is necessary and that a sound infrastructure system provides the building blocks for a strong, self-reliant economy. Our education and health care facilities, our transportation, justice, municipal housing infrastructures provide vital services to our people, and not only sustain communities but enable them to grow. From an infrastructure perspective, this Province has come a long way since 2003, and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can see and enjoy many tangible improvements today.

Mr. Speaker, our government has been and continues to be aggressive in its infrastructure strategy. Last year alone, we saw an unprecedented infrastructure investment of over $800 million. This is more than a 50 per cent increase over the previous year's investment. Areas throughout Newfoundland and Labrador have all benefited from these investments, and the Bay of Islands district is no exception. This year, to date, there has been approximately $2.5 million invested in road upgrades in the district; as well, an additional $385,000 spent to repair Gillams Brook bridge.

The Town of Gillams also has a tender that is being presently reviewed for a new intake for its water system. The Town of MacIver's is working on their water and sewer system as well. Funding was also announced for the water and sewer project for Humber Arm South, Frenchman's Cove. The Town of Cox's Cove has paved their main streets. There are more than fifty new short-term jobs created as a result of Community Enhancement Employment grants. In 2009, the Corner Brook Regional High School underwent an extensive $18 million redevelopment. Examples of infrastructure improvements such as this can be found throughout the Province, especially in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, government is continuing its commitment to improving health care services for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. A record $2.6 billion was allocated in Budget 2009 for health and community services within the Province. Most people have either had first-hand experience or have known someone who has had cancer infiltrate their lives. Indeed, it is a horrible disease; however, early detection of all types of cancer is the best strategy for improving survival and increasing the quality of life for those living with cancer.

Consequently, this government has invested heavily in cancer treatment and prevention in recent years. For example, the government has invested $10.9 million for twelve digital mammography units for communities across the Province; $10.6 million for the construction of bunkers and the purchase of two new radiation machines for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Treatment Centre; and another further $17.2 million for new medical equipment, such as an MRI and CT scanners, to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases. These investments are in addition to two new cancer centres in Central Newfoundland and the expansion of the cervical cancer screening program Province-wide.

As well, our government just recently announced a new provincial screening program for colorectal cancer, which is the third most common cancer for men and women nationally and provincially. An investment, Mr. Speaker, of $240,000 will be allocated under Budget 2010 to begin implementing the program, which is a part of a $4.3 million commitment over three years.

Other investments that have direct benefits for the residents of the Bay of Islands are: a new hospital in Corner Brook; a new 236 bed long-term care home in Corner Brook at a cost of $68.5 million; a new eye care centre in Corner Brook at a cost of $300,000; and the expansion, Mr. Speaker, of the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program, with several new drugs having been added to the formulary. There is no doubt that each of these incentives will directly benefit the residents of the Bay of Islands as well as many surrounding communities on our Province's West Coast.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that all hon. members here today will agree that the most important resource in our great Province is our young people. Our youth are our future and we must continue to make significant investments in our children and services required to assist and support them. Budget 2009, Mr. Speaker, included an investment of $8.5 million for increased support and resources to the child, youth and family services system in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a result of this investment, we saw the creation of a new department responsible for child, youth and family services within the Province.

Based upon recommendations made by the Auditor General, our children and youth are areas of renewed focus for our government. In my district, Mr. Speaker, a new non-profit organization has been established to assist the youth of the Bay of Islands area. Community Youth Network exists to help youth between the ages of ten and eighteen who are living in or at risk of poverty through a variety of initiatives.

Budget 2009 invested $1 million, Mr. Speaker, to begin planning for the residential treatment facility for youth with addictions and a treatment centre for youth with complex mental health needs. This will be of a significant benefit for youth throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. As a parent and a grandparent myself, I am proud to be a part of a government that is taking such a strong approach in protecting and advancing the will of our Province's children.

Mr. Speaker, another blessing in our lives is this beautiful place we call home. Newfoundland and Labrador is known for its picturesque rugged beauty and this is especially true of the Bay of Islands district. I suppose I am a little bit biased when I make that comment, but I think it is true.

Last year, Mr. Speaker, the Outer Bay of Islands Enhancement Committee sought to improve three hiking trails which linked to a series of attractions near Lark Harbour and York Harbour. This was made possible by an investment by this government of more than $30,000 which helped to enhance the hiking and exploration venue. In turn, this increased the potential of new business opportunities among local entrepreneurs and tourism operators.

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador has overwhelming potential in its renewable and non-renewable resources, its human resources, tourism appeal, and new business and attraction opportunities. I have no doubt that our future will continue to be bright and prosperous under continued careful management and strong leadership.

Once again, it is a privilege to represent the people of the Bay of Islands and it is a great honour to second the motion that a Select Committee be appointed to draft an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MS JONES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to respond to today's Speech from the Throne.

I would also like to thank His Honour the Lieutenant Governor for delivering today's Throne Speech, and my colleagues, the Member for Lewisporte and the Member for Bay of Islands, for moving and seconding the Speech. I would also like to welcome all distinguished guests who have joined us today in the House of Assembly.

I want to recognize the one year anniversary of the tragic Cougar helicopter crash that just recently passed. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy, and the events of March 12, 2009, will forever be etched in the minds of the people of this Province.

Mr. Speaker, Throne Speeches typically outline government's agenda. I have heard many such Speeches over the years, and this one echoes many that have been presented in this Legislature in the past. These documents are riddled with commitments that hint at the direction that government intends to take over the next twelve months as they put forward their agenda.

While the language of the Throne Speech looks positive, it is often the initiatives of the Budget that will tell the true story of whether government is prepared to meet those commitments to our people. After reviewing last year's Throne Speech, it is clear this government has failed the people when dealing with its stated agenda. Many issues mentioned in last year's Throne Speech remain empty promises today. No other topic illustrates the empty words of last year's Speech better than government's stated commitment to improve health care and implement the Cameron recommendations.

The Speech stated, and I quote, Mr. Speaker, "…we have learned from those mistakes and are prepared to move forward in light of the recommendations that we have been given. My Government is committed to raising to a much higher standard the quality of laboratory work that is central to effective diagnosis and treatment of our Province's patients."

Yes, Mr. Speaker, it all sounded good and reassuring a year ago, but a year later we can all feel the emptiness of that commitment as we have been rocked by another health care crisis. It has been over a year since Justice Cameron brought down her report, and the fact these recommendations have not been implemented speaks to an unfocused government, one where the real needs of people have just not been important.

People's health continues to be compromised by inaction. One only has to remember the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who is still in critical condition today at the Janeway because his body was toxified by too much cyclosporine. It did not just relate to the fact that the lab equipment was not properly calibrated; it speaks to a much bigger issue. It speaks to the lack of oversight by a ministry that is responsible for this department to ensure that each and every recommendation of the Cameron Inquiry was fully acted upon and integrated into that system. Nothing – and I repeat, Mr. Speaker, nothing – should have been a more important mandate for the current health ministry in the past year. Further, Mr. Speaker, some of the major systemic problems of our health care that were identified over a year ago still plague the health care system and undermine the confidence of people in this vital service. Again, reports and recommendations are fine, but until they are acted upon they cannot cure the ills that they have identified.

Justice Cameron spent close to a year listening to the difficult testimony of witnesses and writing a report that gave this government direction to boost our health care delivery. It was a commendable report, but what is not commendable is that government has not been fierce about ensuring these recommendations become a part of the future delivery of health care.

Another key recommendation of the Cameron report was the necessity for occurrence reports to be filed once problems were identified. This did not happen in the latest health crisis involving cyclosporine; nor has the appropriate health professionals' legislation that would further strengthen their system been brought forward by government, as was committed to.

We have heard many platitudes and much rhetoric from both government and Eastern Health that the system was improved and the mistakes experienced in the breast cancer inquiry would not happen again. We hoped against hope, but it proved fruitless as revelations about our health care these past weeks have been astounding and discouraging. There have not been one or two, but three Ministers of Health over the past year under your government. Supposedly, that is a lot of smarts and intelligence, but each one did not carry out the due diligence to ensure the recommendations of Cameron were followed, implemented and monitored.

As each problem and crisis arose in our health care, these ministers have not taken the responsibility; nor did they feel a sense of accountability. Instead they pointed fingers, quickly condemned and publicly disparaged our health care providers. They did not empower, accept responsibility, provide solutions or take proactive action. They simply ignited the system with their angry and infuriating approach, leaving no further solutions for patients who depend upon our system.

On page 438 of the Cameron report, it states, " was the failure of the Department on behalf of the Minister to exercise due diligence in respect of the information provided that contributed to the Government's lack of appreciation of the problem."

That statement alone should be a lesson to all governments here and on a go-forward basis. Why has it taken so long to get the labs accredited and to ensure the proper training has been provided to laboratory staff, both of which Cameron recommended? Where was the minister, in his oversight role - and government, in their oversight role - to ensure that things were improved and are being improved in our system? Any person tasked with the responsibility of health care in this Province should have made it their number one priority to ensure a major health report that offered solutions to many of the problems – problems that had taken the lives of people in this Province in the past – should have been implemented and been a priority.

Mr. Speaker, if it had been me I would have had an oversight committee next door to my office, and each and every single day requested a progress report on what was happening. We have not seen an oversight committee within government to carry forward on those recommendations; however, Mr. Speaker, we must not forget that it is the public that depends upon their government to do those things.

In the most recent crisis, I want to recall how the minister held a press conference and threatened that heads will roll. Yet, there was no commitment to look at the root of the issue and recognize that there are workload and resource issues that are part of the problem in our health care system, part of a problem that your government refuses to address.

There is another quote I want to point out from last year's Throne Speech, and it says this, "Our health care system cannot function without doctors, nurses and other professionals. My Government is ready to do more, within our means, to make Newfoundland and Labrador even more attractive to health care professionals." This obviously has not happened. Pathologists and other professionals are resigning leadership positions, and morale is at an all-time low in the system because government is not doing the "more" they promised in last year's Throne Speech. Not only is there no agreement with doctors in finalizing their collective agreement, but the minister and the Premier have been engaged in a war of words and have inflamed the environment rather than bring direction to it.

In addition to the problems facing our medical professionals, we have witnessed another year of discontent in how health services are being provided in this Province. It took the resignation of two Cabinet ministers, and two by-elections, to send the message to this government that rural health care in this Province is not there for the cutting!

Government MHAs did not stand up for their constituents, so citizens rose up and fought for themselves. The political pressure worked and these rural communities have maintained services. It is unthinkable that this government was willing to balance their books on the backs of rural Newfoundland and Labrador, proving again that government suffers from disconnect with rural values, rural ways and rural people.

When it comes to resource development, last year's Throne Speech highlighted a category entitled: Weathering Every Storm. In this section, the closure of the mill in Grand Falls-Windsor was highlighted. It stated, "…nothing will weaken our resolve to weather this storm and come out on the other side stronger."

Great words, but displaced workers are certainly not seeing these benefits. As recently reported by CBC, only 163 people have found employment over the last year; hundreds remain unemployed and looking for jobs. We saw this frustration first-hand when several former mill workers climbed the fence to protest the fact that government did not give security jobs to them - a sign of how desperate the need is in that area - once again demonstrating that this government does not understand what is happening on the ground and how former Abitibi workers are indeed struggling.

Government also touted the legislation they brought forward to expropriate the assets of AbitibiBowater; however, we have learned that they are being sued under the North American Free Trade Agreement for $500 million, even though the Premier stated previously that Abitibi had no case. Also, Mr. Speaker, the government accidentally expropriated the mill property through a lack of their own due diligence and are now responsible for maintenance and security costs. We still do not know the cost of environmental liabilities associated with the Abitibi properties, and whether the people of the Province will be left to pay those costs. We will be bringing these issues to government in this legislative sitting and we expect that government will be prepared to address them.

Residents of Grand Falls-Windsor have also lobbied government to have the mill's former power supply from the Exploits River provided for the benefit of the local area. Government has refused to entertain this proposal that would certainly help create additional opportunities for many in that region.

There are many questions and gaps that still exist related to AbitibiBowater a year after the last Throne Speech and we, along with the people of Central Newfoundland and the people of the Province, will look forward to government providing more answers.

There was significant discussion in last year's Throne Speech related to the Lower Churchill development It was stated, and I quote, "Planning to develop our Lower Churchill green energy resource is moving full steam ahead".

Since that time, the Premier has circumnavigated the globe and gotten nowhere with this project. First, there was the intention to put a transmission line through Gros Morne Park, creating a furor in the Province and then dismissing it as nothing but a joke, and then launched a fight, not a negotiation, with the Province of Quebec, over possible transmission –


MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS JONES: - when it was your government who failed to buy power transmission capacity a year earlier when it was available for purchase. Now, the Government of New Brunswick is planning to sell their power utility to Hydro-Quebec with possible implications for our Province.

The federal government has still not provided any loan guarantees to this project and the New Dawn Agreement has yet to be signed by all parties. The environmental assessment process is not complete and we have no confirmed long-term customers for the power. For a project that is full speed ahead, we have seen nothing only a media circus that has been led by the propaganda of government.

Last year's Speech, Mr. Speaker, very briefly - and I add very briefly - referenced the fishing industry, the industry that sustained us for over 500 years, the one that is the heart and soul of Newfoundland and Labrador and still could be the lifeblood of our coastal communities if nurtured properly.

From day one of this Administration, the fisheries have been relegated to the back burner. When you let seven years pass without putting in substantial investment and initiative to the fishing industry, there is only one result and that is disaster, which is why the annual Seafood Industry Year in Review 2009 has confirmed that there was almost a 22 per cent decline in overall value from 2008. It was not surprising from my vantage point, but it is disheartening, Mr. Speaker.

Government takes comfort that the boom in aquaculture has produced record landings and it likes to pass off the industry's challenges as being related to the global recession; however, as a government, they have failed to give leadership to this industry.

At this point, the Memorandum of Understanding process, which was kick-started by another crisis in the fishing industry last year, appears to be a critical tool in moving the industry forward, but the minister is already cautioning the players not to expect too much from his government. I cannot imagine those words being uttered in the oil and energy sector! "Whatever it takes and how much I can give you" is clearly the message that government has sent to both energy and oil in this Province - even running deficits so that we can purchase equity in the oil industry.

However, the fishing industry is not just another sector, Mr. Speaker. It is about our culture, our heritage, the spirit of people, and the very survival of rural communities in this Province. Therefore, the onus is on government to not only work with stakeholders to find solutions, but to also provide investments that will ultimately set the industry on the right course for the future. There is a willingness to commit significant amounts of money for the oil industry and yet the fishery, a renewable resource, is not accorded the same treatment.

Another area of concern to us, Mr. Speaker, is how the provincial government and the federal government have been negligent of their duty to focus on the recovery of our cod. Not even a word of the cod recovery strategy was in this year's seafood report, which is quite troublesome.

Mr. Speaker, in the words of the late Dr. Leslie Harris: What we are dealing with is not just a piddly little fish that keeps half a million people in Newfoundland alive and functioning…. It is one of the greatest wonders of the world, one of the great animal populations, which is part of the most complex ecosystem that has developed and thrives in a very hostile and difficult part of the ocean. It ought to be one of our glories to protect and preserve.

If we are to find new opportunity for our fishery over the next twelve months, the time is now for real action and real commitment to replace the rhetoric. The seafood report should be a wake-up call to government that there will be greater challenges to face than a poor fishing season or two, as coastal communities and towns finally buckle under this ongoing fisheries crisis.

I remind this hon. House that the fishery is a sustainable industry that, if protected, will provide substance to our people long after the oil and gas and minerals have expired, and the rebuilding of our cod stocks is the singular most important legacy that we can leave our children.

The worldwide recession has impacted our Province, Mr. Speaker, despite the rhetoric that we are protected. Oil and mineral prices have been fluctuating, which are creating havoc with our budgetary projections. Diversification and strengthening our renewable resource industries are crucial, especially in our fishing, forestry and agricultural sectors. I hope this is a message that is not lost on government in their agenda for the next twelve months.

There were significant global economic challenges experienced over the past twelve months, which had an impact on our Province and our country. To mitigate the impact, the federal and provincial governments invested significant funds into infrastructure projects which helped displaced workers and struggling industries. We commend government for making these investments, for providing the assistance for infrastructure in these regions when people needed it, but we want to emphasize that the work must proceed and not be continuously delayed as we have seen with projects in the past, such as a new hospital for Labrador City which took five years for government to move forward with infrastructure. For certain, a significant portion of those committed funds were not spent in last year's Budget and will be carried forward into next week's Budget. These will be portrayed as new funds, and we will be scrutinizing to ensure that those commitments are not shelved and that they will be completed in a timely manner to benefit the people of the Province.

We will also be watching to see how government deals with an infrastructure issue that arose in last year's by-election in the District of Terra Nova. In July, government issued a tender for the provision of ferry services on six coastal routes. The problem is that the tender forced bidders to submit bids that would see new vessels built; yet, there was no stipulation in the contract that required these vessels to be built at Newfoundland and Labrador shipyards. This was a direct contradiction to government's Blue Book election commitments and their commitment in last year's Throne Speech to have infrastructure investments made right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a very important issue in shipbuilding areas of our Province and could mean hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars into the local economy. Instead of shipping this money and this work to other parts of North America, we would like a commitment to be made that these projects will be completed right here at home. We have yet to hear that commitment from government.

Just as importantly, Mr. Speaker, what has happened to government's much touted broadband initiative? This ten-year, $200 million plan to put high-speed Internet cable access into every provincial government building, every school, every health care facility, was recently stopped dead in its tracks, not by a press conference but by a quiet little press release from government. Government's investment of $15 million of our tax dollars into a new cable that was to be owned and operated, Mr. Speaker, by a private company was supposed to be an essential first step to creating a new Province-wide network to encourage investment and enable delivery of high-speed Internet access to all regions of the Province. We were all told that this injection of public money into a private asset was critical for its development; however, Mr. Speaker, we know that the company was flipped in the market shortly thereafter and government's commitment to this network has now been shafted. The goal was to stimulate economic and social development by improving the communications capacity of the Province's rural and urban communities. Now that project has been cancelled because the costs are much higher than was anticipated. We are out $15 million, and what investment or what program will government put in place to ensure that the people in this Province can access affordable, reliable and fast Internet services?

Education was also a major theme of last year's Throne Speech, and while some things were very positive, there are still issues related to class sizes, teaching units, ISSP programming, autism services, air quality and mould and infrastructure that have gone unresolved. At the post-secondary level students are struggling to find affordable housing in the region. The committed investment into new university housing at Memorial University has been delayed. A temporary parking lot currently sits where a new residence should be under construction for our students.

At Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, they are still waiting for government to live up to its commitment related to university status for the West Coast college. When government announced its half measures from the college last fall, it sparked another attack from government on professionals in this Province. Instead of having an appropriate discussion and public dialogue on this important issue, government attacked the administration at Sir Wilfred Grenfell for asking questions.

Well, why would they not ask questions? Why would they not look for clarification on whether certain investments would be forthcoming in the future? Because, after all, it was in the 2008 Speech from the Throne that government stated, and I quote, "My Government looks forward to fulfilling our commitment to grant Grenfell College full university status with a separate executive, senate and budget, while maintaining a common Board of Regents to secure a strong partnership between the Grenfell and St. John's campuses." You can certainly understand, Mr. Speaker, why some confusion would exist: another commitment of a Throne Speech by government that was not fulfilled.

You can also understand the confusion of many in this Province when they hear government continuously boasting that the Poverty Reduction Strategy is having a major impact and fewer people in this Province are poor. We heard it in last year's Throne Speech and we heard it in government speeches and news conferences throughout the year; but, Mr. Speaker, the facts speak for themselves. When you look at tangible results, there are some disturbing trends that dispute the rosy picture being portrayed by government. Food Banks Canada reports in their study, "Hunger Count 2009" that this Province has seen a 10 per cent increase in food bank use.

There are over 30,000 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who rely on food banks on a regular basis, many of whom are children. In addition, this Province ranked the highest in terms of food bank usage across the country. We have 6 per cent of our population regularly accessing food from one of the Province's twenty-eight food banks. Not only are these statistics on food bank usage alarming, but government's poverty strategy and its progress report failed to acknowledge that this part of our society exists let alone offer solutions to address it. One of the purest indicators of economic struggles by families is their use of food banks and their struggle to feed themselves.

Related to the demoralizing issue of poverty is the fact that there are groups of people in this Province who are falling through the cracks of our social system and experiencing hardship, poverty and homelessness. We hear from people who have nowhere to live in this city and outside the city. Just recently on a visit to Labrador West there were six families with children living in a shelter who had no available, affordable housing acceptable to them in that community.

Government has benefited significantly over the past several years due to windfall oil revenues. Although our revenues have grown, our challenges have gotten greater. If you do not battle to overcome poverty, social inequities and homelessness when revenues are in surplus, then it will certainly be a test to see what the priorities will be when faced with economic challenges and continued deficits.

We also hear daily from seniors and public sector pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes and choose healthy nutritious foods. Despite our insurmountable wealth over the past six years, the issues of poverty and the financial struggles of public sector pensioners are not taken seriously by government and no action invoked to assist them with dignity and with respect.

The Premier has already indicated that there will be a deficit this year, the second in a row, even though we have more revenues coming to the Province than ever in our history. The provincial budget has doubled since 2003, from approximately $4 billion to $8 billion. We have asked the question of whether this increase in spending is sustainable, and according to the Minister of Finance it is not. Over the past few years this government stated that they would not run deficits. They even contemplated bringing forward legislation that would require balanced budgets. Yet, with high revenues, they are unable to practice fiscal prudence.

What will we be faced with, Mr. Speaker, in the future when oil prices and mineral productions start to drop? How will we sustain the increased spending of your government? There are areas where service delivery can be improved while keeping spending under control, particularly in our health care system and how we care for our seniors. Government needs to start working with private home care operators to look at how beds in public facilities can be freed up for those requiring acute care services so they do not remain in hospitals at extended cost to government.

Providing financial benefits to relatives who provide home care to their loved ones is also an option that should be considered by government and could save significant money to our health care system. There are many options, Mr. Speaker, available to reduce wastage in government, and they should look at those options with a will to provide a better service at a lesser cost.

Economic times will continue to be uncertain over the next twelve months as resource revenues and the Canadian dollar fluctuates, and government will repeatedly use these elements as excuses for inaction. Let's deal with the things we can control! For one thing, there needs to be more civil dialogue with our federal counterparts to ensure funding and assistance is available when required. Our poor federal-provincial relationship has negatively impacted our financial investment from Ottawa, and it is time to set aside differences and get this relationship working in our favour.

We must also remember the importance of diversifying our economy and investing in our renewable resource sectors such as the fishery, forestry and agriculture. We must try harder and with more meaning to address the social inequities in our communities. Find out what hurts families and provide the solutions that will empower this unit. Tap the potential of people, whether they live in rural Newfoundland and Labrador or in our great urban cities.

The Budget will come down next week, and we will again be asking tough questions to ensure priority areas and issues get addressed. It is troubling that this government has the largest revenue capacity of any government in our history, yet they have not succeeded in achieving what our society needs.

As an Opposition, we play a valuable role on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Notwithstanding insufficient resources imposed on us by this government, our team is passionate about our work because we stay connected to the people and we are prepared to stand and champion their issues. Pointing out policy deficiencies and reminding government of their past commitments, as we have done here today, will remain a priority and responsibility for us as an Opposition. We live in a society where varying opinions can result in change and improvement, and we will continue to search for a better way.

Mr. Speaker, there were themes in today's Speech from the Throne that I can only hope will be brought to fruition to improve the lives of people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and we will ensure that happens to the best of our ability and our capacity.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

It is an honour to once again stand and to respond to the Speech from the Throne. I want to thank His Honour the Lieutenant Governor for being with us today and for delivering his Speech, especially for delivering it in the entertaining way in which he did it. I think we are going to miss this Lieutenant Governor when he is no longer there, because of the way in which he does his little asides and keeps us a bit entertained from written speeches. He did it this morning as well.

I welcome the guests who are still with us in the House, and also those who are watching on television and on the Web.

I am happy to join with the Lieutenant Governor and with the Leader of the Official Opposition in recognizing the first anniversary of the crash of the Cougar helicopter Flight 491. I think one of the most important things that has happened this year has been the setting up of the commission - of course, under former Judge Wells - to study this disaster. I was quite pleased myself to be accepted by Mr. Wells to present to the commission, and I think we have to be ready for the recommendations that come from that commission and also from the Transportation Board of Canada to make sure that everything is put in place that can possibly be put in place to ensure that we never again have a disaster of this nature.

With the Lieutenant Governor and the Leader of the Official Opposition, I join in, once again, saying to the families how difficult it is, we know, for them to have had the loss that they have had, and to also say to Mr. Decker that we hope things go well for him in his life in the future.

It is interesting to stand and respond to the Speech. We have a Speech that is on very glossy paper, a Speech that is given in very upbeat language, and a Speech that I think: Wow, what a Province I live in! I love this Province and I am proud of this Province, but I also know that for many people in the Province the reality that is depicted in the Speech that we heard today is not the reality that they live and I think it is my responsibility, as the Leader of the Third official Party in the House and a party in Opposition, to bring some of that reality to the floor, because the reality certainly is not present in the Speech that we heard today.

I am not denying that there are many things this government are doing are good. They are doing many things that have to be done, but they cannot ignore the reality of the lives of many people, a large number of people: people who are on income assistance, seniors who are on pensions that are inadequate, the people who are standing in food bank lines, single parents, people who are living in housing that is inadequate; these are the realities that we have to bring to the floor.

Now I am not going to bring every issue to the floor that I would like to do today, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to the session that we are going to have from now, I hope, until June so that those issues can be brought to the floor. I do want to highlight some of the things that I think were glaring gaps in the Speech that we heard today.

The first one I would like to speak to is the fact that we had a very short piece in the Speech dealing with health. We had a reference to health and to our health care system without any reference to something that I have been bringing to the floor of this House now for at least two years, and that is the omission of any reference to home care. There is one reference to the long-term care facility, but the full care that is required includes both long-term care and home-based care. It is very interesting that the Speech from the Throne did not recognize a report that was done for Eastern Health by Siemens Consulting in which they recommended and said very strongly that if anything is going to be done with regard to patient flow in the health care system that there has to be a fully funded community-based home care program. They speak to that need of home care programs in this Province in several different ways in that report. I have to say that I felt vindicated as a person who has been standing in this House and speaking to the home care needs when I read the Siemens report. It is very, very disappointing to have read that report and to know everything that I know about the needs with regard to home care and to see no reference to home care in the Speech from the Throne.

One of the things that we are still waiting for, that we have been waiting for now for well over a year is the strategy from the Department of Health and Community Services with regard to long-term care and home care. I would have thought, knowing that strategy is supposed to be coming, that there would have been some reference to that in the Speech from the Throne. So, that is the first glaring omission that I see in the Speech from the Throne.

Another thing I want to speak to is the way in which the government, through the Speech from the Throne, tries to dazzle us with dollar signs with regard to what they are doing for health care for example. Much of the money that is referred to in the Speech from the Throne is money that had to be spent, had to be spent on infrastructure. We have to have buildings; we have to have equipment. One of the things that the Speech from the Throne does not do is speak to something that the Minister of Health and Community Services said publicly last week and that is the way in which people's faith has been shaken in our health care system. The minister himself said, with the latest news that came out with regard to testing in one of our labs, that his faith in the system was shaken - his faith was shaken.

Two weeks ago, I stood at the door of a house of an elderly couple and the woman looked at me and she said: Ms Michael, here is one message I would like you to bring to the floor of the House of Assembly. She said: It is my fear of having to have surgery. She is slated to have surgery; she is still waiting for her final date. She said: I have to tell you that I am afraid. Is everything going to be okay? Is testing going to be done correctly? Am I going to get the correct information? She said: I really am afraid to have the surgery but this surgery is absolutely essential for my health and I will be having it. She said: I want you to know how afraid I am and I want you to bring that message. So that is what I am doing here today; I told her I would do it.

We have to make sure that everything can be done to show people that our health care system is working and working well and that they do not have to fear going into our health care system. That is not denying how good the workers are in our health care system. We know we have fantastic people in our health care system. This is not speaking about individual men or women. This is speaking about how the system is working and we have to find all the reasons why the system is not working as well as it should be. We have to explore and get all the answers and how that has to be done - we have information from this report done by Siemens Consulting, we have information on home care that maybe nobody felt was what was going to come out of this study that was done by Siemens consulting on patient flow. This speaks to what I also say here on the floor of the House, of all the pieces that fit together.

So, one cannot look at home care as something out there by itself. Something I have said many times here in this House is that home care is part of health care. I think what Siemens has said in its report, and what it has proven to us, is the degree to which home care is part of health care. We cannot talk about our health care system without looking at having a fully funded – that is their language, it is my language too – community based home care program. That is what they tell us has to happen, and yet, not a word about those needs in this Speech from the Throne.

Another thing I want to speak to with regard to this Speech from the Thorne, I am very glad to see that the government has announced a ten-year strategy for early learning and child care. This is absolutely essential. The need for child care and early childhood education, again, is something that I have been speaking to here in this House. Given the fact that the early childhood education and child care plan expires next week, it is very good to know that the Speech from the Thorne is announcing a strategy. My concern is that it does not take ten years to put the ten-year strategy in place. It has been five years since the federal government reneged on its responsibility in an agreement with the provinces to get into a federal-provincial funding for child care.

At that time, in 2005, this government just accepted what the federal government did and it did not take up its responsibility when the federal government let go of its own leadership. There were other provinces that did; provinces like Manitoba, provinces like Quebec. Ontario beefed up its child care. We have been five years since that moment and we are so far behind in having a full child care program and having well thought out early childhood education programs.

I am very happy to know that the strategy is going to be put in place, but I really would urge this government to make sure that that strategy is put together really quickly. That resources are put into making it happen quickly, and I am glad to know that there are going to be consultations but the consultations do not have to keep repeating things that have already happened. I am aware, and the government is aware, of groups in the Province who have been working on this issue for years, who have been spontaneously giving their information to government, spontaneously going to government asking for consultation and giving the information that they have. So let's make sure that not only is a ten-year strategy going to be put in place, but that we will find resources immediately to show that this government is going to make sure it is not ten years before we have a program in place, because again, it is an issue that is continually being brought to me.

In the recent by-election that many of us were involved in, in an area where there are many young families - and I think anybody who took part in that by-election knows how many young families are in the Topsail district. Over and over again at the door I had young parents, late twenties, early thirties, talk to me about the difficulty of child care. I did not count them, I wish I had, but how many doors I went to at 3:00 or 3:30 in the afternoon and the grandparents were the ones who have just come to the house to be there when the bus arrives, to be there to take care of the children. What happens for the parents who have no grandparents? There are some who are lucky enough, but I could not get over the number of grandparents who were making sure that they were there when the children got off the bus in the afternoon. That is the only thing that a lot of the parents have; they are lucky enough to still be living in the area where the parents of one of the parents of the children are, so to be living where one of the sets of grandparents lives. That is not the way it should be. It is wonderful if grandparents can be available, but that is not a child care program. I am delighted that it is there. I am delighted that the strategy is going to be put in place, but we have to have this happen sooner rather than later because we are so far behind when it comes to the issue of child care and early childhood education.

I also had parents speak to me about the fact that they do not think this government understands how, for example, the needs of autistic children – I had at least three sets of parents with autistic children who spoke to me about this, and one mother of a child with Down Syndrome, that the government, they say to me, does not understand the need for early childhood education, because early childhood education would be there for all children and those with special needs would be covered. The need for children, for example, who are autistic, to have all the services that are required that they get when they go into the school system, they need them before that. That the earlier you can have identification of the syndrome, and the earlier you can deal with it, the better it is for the child. There are so many aspects to the early childhood education. I understand how complex putting this strategy together is going to be, if one looks at all the aspects of early childhood education. I think there is so much information out there and so many creative thoughts among the people who have been dealing with this issue, that, as I said, I hope it does not take ten years to put it together.

The other thing that is – again, it is startling because it is never talked about by the government. The government does talk about, and the Speech from the Throne talks about the skills trades' strategy, it talks about training programs, but does not talk about the fact that we still have 15.5 per cent of our people officially unemployed in Newfoundland and Labrador. We all know that that percentage does not include people who are on income assistance. It is talking about people who are employable and people who - some are on EI, some are not, but 15.5 per cent of our people are officially unemployed. We do not see a change in that. We continue to have the highest provincial rate of unemployment. We have to become much more aggressive with regard to training.

One of the examples I think about is when Hibernia was coming onboard and the platform was being built and so much energy was put into getting people trained to be able to take part in the building of the rig. I know there was federal government money. I understand all that which helped that to happen, but we have to become much more aggressive about trying to get unemployment dealt with in this Province. We all know that we are continually being told there are not enough workers to do the work. We are even told that with regard to the building of affordable housing by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing; houses that are not being finished at a certain point, work that is being done on them that is in abeyance, and in abeyance for long periods of time because there are not adequate workers to put it together. What if we put a strategy together for training a whole group of tradespeople who would become involved in the housing industry, and especially with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing? We have to become more creative and more aggressive with regard to putting resources into the training and employment of people in this Province because it is disgraceful that we are still at the highest level when it comes to unemployment in the country. The next closest to us is P.E.I., and even P.E.I. is five points below us at 12 per cent and all the rest of the provinces are under 10 per cent; so another dose of reality. We cannot have Speeches from the Throne that ignore those realities. We have them, we should not have them.

Another thing I wanted to speak about is the comments in the Speech from the Throne with regard to the people in Central Newfoundland, especially in Grand Falls-Windsor. Yes, a lot of things were done; people got severance packages. The government played a role in that, and that is good. One of the things I noticed when I was out there recently - as a matter of fact, just on this weekend. I spoke to some people, a variety of people actually, about how things were going. The reality is if you look at it on the surface everything looks fine. It looks like everything is going okay. There does not seem to be a major impact in the retail sector, except for where one company in particular did a lot of supply for the mill. In the general retail sector things seem to be going okay, things seem to be all right. What was pointed out to me by some people was that the crunch is going to come, not this year but next year, because you have the severance package. People will be going on EI as well, but the crunch is going to come twenty-four months after the closing of the mill. That is when we are going to start seeing everything from people even needing social assistance, right through. That is what has been said to me. I was told about people who are only now feeling the impact. They did not even think about it and we do not talk about it, the fact that when these people left the mill, when the mill closed - yes, they can get severance but something they do not have any more is a workplace health plan. I was told by one gentleman of how embarrassed he felt one day in the pharmacy because he has a health plan, of how embarrassed he felt when a woman in front of him, when her prescription was put in front of her and she saw the cost of it, and he knew the woman, very quietly leaned over and said to the pharmacist: I wonder, could I take half of it now because I can't afford to pay for all of it? So, if I take half of the drugs now, then I will come back when I have the rest of the money and get the rest of my prescription.

That is what is happening and that is going to worsen because right now, as I said, people have their severance packages, they have an income that they are working with, and some are getting some employment, some are getting contracts of different types, but this thing of no longer having a workplace health plan has not hit people. What is going to happen as those workers get older and they do not have the workplace health plan? Well, number one, they are going to be requiring a drug card; that is what is going to happen. The number of people requiring a drug card is going to go up. They are not going to have dental care - and I know, as you get older, we do not need as much dental care, but as you become really elderly, dental care becomes very important. These are things that are not being thought about. We know that while some – I think about 150 or so have gone away and have jobs outside of the Province and a lot of them are coming back and forth, some have moved completely, but a lot are coming back and forth. The majority, some are still in training, but they do not know what jobs they are going to get. We have to speed up - and I know that there is a committee still in place but we cannot underestimate the impact on people. They are not going to come to the committee and talk about what they are going through, they are not, because a lot of them are embarrassed about what they are going through because this is a new reality for them.

There is one more thing that I would like to speak to. As I said, Mr. Speaker, I could take a long time and go through quite a number of things, but I am not going to do that. The next thing I want to speak to – well there are two things actually; one is with regard to Labrador. Again, the Speech from the Throne speaks to everything that has been done in Labrador, all of which should be done. They need everything. They need the roads that are being built. We know they need that. Don't brag about it; they need it and it has to be done.

What really disturbs me is that the Combined Councils of Labrador have an AGM every year and I have been able, a few times now, to go to that AGM. I find it very important to go to the AGM and to be there and to listen and to hear what they have to say and to hear what the realities are in all the different parts of Labrador because the problems for people on the South Coast are not the same problems for the people in Labrador West, are not the same for the people in Happy Valley-Goose Bay or the North Coast. Yet this year, not one minister from government was there at the AGM. The Leader of the Official Opposition and I were both there, but not one minister. Yet, there are two minister who are dedicated to Labrador, and yet neither one was there. They have sessions planned to sit down and speak with ministers and there was no minister, and bureaucrats were at the table.

I will tell you, the members of the councils from the Joint Councils of Labrador were quite blunt with their bureaucrats - the bureaucrats who were supposed to come and be the ones to talk with them - because the bureaucrats could not give them any answers. The bureaucrats could not give them the information they were looking for, so they would look at the bureaucrats and say: Here is the message I want you to bring back to your minister. They want the ministers at the table - and there was a time when the ministers came to the Joint Councils' AGM. There was a time when that happened. Why has that stopped, and especially now when there are two ministers specifically dedicated to Labrador? That is not good enough.

I am also quite disturbed - and I think we all would be - by what happened with the industrial accident in Labrador this past weekend. The accident itself was on Thursday. I am hoping that this government will recognize the need, and I hope the minister will recognize the need – he did not back last fall – but the need for a dedicated air ambulance for Labrador. That Big Land is a pretty big land. It is a pretty big land. It is not good enough with all of the industry that is going on up there and with the distance that people are from hospitals that there is not a dedicated air ambulance for Labrador. I am not talking about changing the status of the air ambulance that is on the Island; I am talking about they need a dedicated air ambulance. We have major industry going on in Labrador and the type of accidents that happen, like the one that happened on Thursday, they are going to happen. They are not going to happen often, please God, but they are going to happen and we have to be able to ensure the workers in Labrador who are working in these major industrial projects that they, if an accident happens - even with all the effort to not have them – that they are going to be able to get the attention they need, that they are going to get it as quickly as possible so that we do not have loss of lives.

We will never know - and I would never make the statement that it is true - whether or not the person who died last Thursday would have died even if an air ambulance had gotten in there in time. We do not know. Even if it had gotten there in an hour-and-a-half, we do not know. His family will never know and that is not good enough. We have to be just as concerned about safety and having services available for workers in industry in all parts of the Province. We had a wake-up call once again with regard to the offshore with Cougar 491, and I would hope that the accident that happened last Thursday in Labrador, the loss of life, not so much the accident but the loss of life, will be a wake-up call with regard to the need of an air ambulance in Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I think I have spoken to the main points that I wanted to speak to. I look forward, Mr. Speaker, to the weeks to come. Next Monday we will hear the Budget from the Throne. We will find out if the Budget is going to reflect some of the goals that are in the Speech from the Throne. There is a lot of highfalutin stuff in that Speech from the Thorne. I am really looking forward to find out what the government, what it is it is planning with regard to improving the air services in the Province. I am really wondering are they going to take over the airlines. I am looking forward to seeing what is going to be in the Budget about that with regard to they are going to come up with a plan and they are going to make sure that air services get improved. So, I would like to see what it is they are going to do.

I am looking forward to seeing the Budget. I am looking forward to seeing how it reflects the goals that are in this Speech from the Throne. I do know that I will have plenty of opportunities to raise many more issues than the ones that I have raised today.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor for having been with us, and once again I thank you for the opportunity to make my comments.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I realize the lateness of the hour and I will try and move through my remarks as quickly as possible.

Fellow Members of the House of Assembly, first of all this afternoon I do want to thank His Honour the Lieutenant Governor for delivering the Throne Speech. I also want to extend my personal thanks to the mover of the motion of the Address in Reply, the Member for Lewisporte, and the seconder, the Member for Bay of Islands. These two individuals are representative of all members of this hon. House who are working hard to represent their constituents as we work together to move Newfoundland and Labrador forward with unstoppable momentum and unshakable optimism into a new era of self-reliance.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: I also want to thank the Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Leader of the Official Opposition for their comments today. I would like to spend about an hour, basically, on a rant to deal with some of the comments that were made by them. I think, quite simply, the difference between us and them is we see this glass as half full and they see it as half empty.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: That is the difference. We are optimists. We are positive thinkers. We believe in a great future for Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are doing everything we possibly can to make sure that happens. That is the difference between an outlook whereby they see the sky as falling all the time and we see a very, very bright future on the horizon.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: On behalf of the Province, I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to our invited guests, some of whom have actually taken their leave due to other commitments. I will not go through the lengthy list, Mr. Speaker, but thank you all very much for being here today.

Before I continue, I would also like to take just a moment to thank all of the people of this Province, and indeed folks across the country as I faced my recent health challenges. The outpouring of genuine support was certainly a great encouragement to me, and reminded me once again of the kindness and compassion of people everywhere.

I also wanted to give special thanks to the Deputy Premier and my Cabinet for their outstanding stewardship of your Province in my absence. What greater testament to the status of women in Newfoundland and Labrador than Minister Dunderdale so capably acting as your Premier while I was away.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: I do not want to encourage the Leader of the Opposition though or the Leader of the New Democratic Party anyway.

His Honour began today by expressing on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians our profound sorrow as we mark the sad anniversary of the loss of seventeen individuals on Cougar Flight 491, and the terrible impact that the tragedy has had on so many others. Over our history there have been countless tragedies due to loss of life at sea, and indeed, there are also work related deaths in other industries, as we have witnessed just this past weekend. It is incumbent upon all of us to never forget these individuals and their families and to ensure that their memories live on and that their lives were not lost in vain. We must learn from tragedy, and we hope that as a result of the recommendations forthcoming from the inquiry commissioner Robert Wells, lessons learned will be applied to save lives in the future.

Mr. Speaker, the start of this new session comes just past the midpoint of our government's second term, and a little over six years since we set out on this journey towards self-reliance. We can measure our progress in tangible ways by reflecting on how far we have come since we were first elected in 2003.

The Throne Speech highlights many examples of progress that I believe explain the overwhelming surge in confidence and optimism among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. This also explains why in a time of worldwide economic turmoil and upheaval, our Province has fared much better than most. We were able to face this financial crisis head on because we had laid the groundwork for success. We made the tough choices and we made the right choices to get our fiscal house in order. It was not easy, and sometimes it was not pretty, but facing obstacles and dealing with unstable fiscal conditions is something that we are quite accustomed to in our Province. In fact, for most of our history we have been carrying a very heavy financial burden, but when our government came into power six and a half years ago we were determined to see this end. We were determined to start managing the finances that we had more responsibly and we were determined to see our revenues grow. Of course, our first major success was finally writing a decade's old inequity by negotiating a new Atlantic Accord with the federal government. That $2 billion cheque marked the tangible end of our mantra, no more giveaways, and we have not looked back since.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: John F. Kennedy once said, and I quote, "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction". Truer words were never spoken, Mr. Speaker. From day one our government has had a clear purpose and we knew the direction in which we needed to take this great Province of ours. We took our vision, we made sure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians understood it and embraced it and we laid out a plan. We charted a sensible course and we fought hard for our successes. We streamlined programs to get the greatest bang for every single taxpayer dollar that we took in. We eliminated wasteful spending, we worked hard to secure improved credit ratings, and we devised a plan to take on and tackle our overwhelming debt.

That fiscal discipline has allowed us to put dollars back into taxpayers' wallets, to cuts to personal income tax and taxes on the employers who create the jobs, all the while improving social programs and spending. We exceeded our target in cutting the kind of needless red tape that frustrates businesses and actually holds business back. Along with tax breaks, this makes us more competitive so we can take on the best in the world and also attract business to our Province as a preferred destination. We fought hard for the revenues the people of this Province deserve from offshore oil and we succeeded by standing strong and by standing together. In the face of Opposition cries to, "take it or leave it", we decided to leave it until we got what we wanted.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: We stood strong in the face of the world's largest corporations, and though the battle was long, the rewards were great. We are now partners with those same companies and we have earned their respect and their admiration in the process.

We shored up the underfunded pension plans that were not only costing taxpayers money, but were threatening pension fund viability. We have made incredible strides in lowering our public debt, which has in turn freed up money that would otherwise go to servicing that debt. Our sound fiscal management has won the confidence of the international bond rating agencies who raised our credit rating even further lowering our cost of debt servicing. We proclaimed a new Transparency and Accountability Act and imposed a level of accountability that had never existed before in the government of this Province. Ours is a government, Mr. Speaker, that is determined not to hide shortcomings or excuse failings, but to work openly and co-operatively with the people we serve in order to make our Province stronger, our economy more sustainable, and our social support network even more reliable for those who depend upon it.

I firmly believe, and we collectively believe, that our approach is the reason that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have such a high degree of trust in the work that we are doing on their behalf. We are laying it on the line, we are telling it as it is, and leaving no stone unturned to make things better than they have ever been before.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: We are continuing to invest in our infrastructure that was neglected for so long. We do so not only because we have an obligation to ensure that our highways and our hospitals and our schools and public infrastructure are both safe and meeting the needs of the people, but also because we have an unwavering confidence in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and our investments send a clear signal to investors that we are standing by these communities for the long haul.

Of course, investing in infrastructure is also good sound economic policy that gets people working and businesses growing and lays the foundation on which others can build a sustainable future. Mr. Speaker, we were investing heavily in infrastructure long before the rest of the world jumped in and jumped on board in response to the recession. I am most proud of the fact that an overwhelming 80 per cent of our investments have been in rural areas and we are already beginning to reap a return on those investments. Amazingly, as Ontario coped with the shock of falling into equalization receiving status, Newfoundland and Labrador marked the year of the global recession by achieving have status for the first time since Confederation. Just imagine that!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Now RBC is predicting that we will lead Canada in growth in 2010. How far have we come, indeed?

This year we will continue to roll out work under our unprecedented infrastructure strategy, a $4 billion and growing multi-year initiative to lay the groundwork for sustainable growth in the years to come in all regions of our Province. We will continue to fuel diversification initiatives in all regions.

Mr. Speaker, in the face of the greatest adversity Central Newfoundland is already rebounding from the loss of the mill and is moving forward to a more broadly based future and we are there every step of the way to work with the people of that region.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: Our government has made unprecedented investments in that region from repatriating resource rights to funding severance for the workers, also unprecedented, and we are completely confident that just as Stephenville did, the central region will get through this with the strength and the dignity and the determination that we are known for as a people.

The Connaigre Peninsula is moving forward as a leader in aquaculture and setting an example for regions throughout the Province. I visited there last summer, the peninsula is booming. As the Throne Speech states, we are committed to growing this industry responsibly with an emphasis on solid infrastructure and a solid commitment to quality and biosecurity.

Mining is a very exciting industry, clearly on the upswing, that is generating even more spinoff economic activity. Successes in our energy industries have highlighted Newfoundland and Labrador on the international map. Agriculture, leading edge technology, and breakthrough research and development in all of these areas and more, we are investing to diversify and grow our economy region by region, initiative by initiative. Small and medium-sized businesses are taking advantage of new opportunities to grow and we are working with them to make the path to growth much easier.

I personally was very impressed in working with the youth on the Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy. These young people who contribute their ideas to student aid reforms and other post-secondary initiatives are our future leaders and there is a level of excitement and enthusiasm among them that is palpable. No wonder the tide is turning on out migration. Young people are truly starting to believe that they can build a future right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: We are investing as never before in the R&D Corporation and other initiatives that are promoting leading edge research and development, harnessing talent at our post-secondary institutions and among technology leaders in the private sector. We have moved forward boldly with our Ocean Technology Strategy and we are at the same time harnessing technology and innovation to change the face of our fishing industry and other sectors as well, building on our strengths and natural advantages in new ways and tapping into a global gold mine of opportunities at the frontier of progress. So we ask, why not here? Why not lead the world from right here? Why not get our own piece of the action? Well, Mr. Speaker, we are starting to do just that, and every step we take is a step higher up that ladder of achievement.

Our tourism marketing has put this Province on the map in a way that no one has ever dreamed possible. We are winning international awards, we are the envy of the country, and we have achieved great things for the tourism operators in the Province. Mr. Speaker, retail sales are promising, employment trends are promising, the housing market continues to be robust, migration trends are proving that the decline is turning around, and this is just the beginning.

This year's Throne Speech and Budget have as one of the main focuses our Province's children. This is not a new focus. From the beginning, we have been motivated by the need to create opportunities and a supportive environment for the next generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Our Poverty Reduction Strategy was the result of our commitment to lower the rate of child poverty from the highest in the country to among the lowest. That was the impetus, and that goal continues to motivate us to keep going even as we are making unprecedented progress.

Some children in our Province have fallen through the cracks of the system. Ours is not the only jurisdiction where that is the case, but this government is not responsible for other jurisdictions. We are responsible for this jurisdiction, and on our watch we are determined to ensure that protecting the best interests of vulnerable children is paramount. That is why, Mr. Speaker, we took seriously the recommendations of the Auditor General and the findings of the Clinical Services Review. We have just established a new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services whose mission is to make the changes needed to protect the best interests of vulnerable children.

Mr. Speaker, we are also determined to continue making headway in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and we have made significant investments in every aspect of health care and we are putting our money where our mouths are, but make no mistake, the interest of patient care is paramount and we have neither the time nor the patience for posturing. We are determined to hold the system, and all who work in it, to a higher standard of excellence, openness and accountability.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: As other jurisdictions in the country encounter their own tragedies, we want them to be able to look at us as a jurisdiction that in fact learned the hard lessons and took the right approach to fix the underlying weaknesses to make the system stronger.

Our investments into diagnostic equipment and insulin pumps for children and new drugs and wait time reductions and so on, these are all evidence of the commitment that we have to ensuring the people of this Province have the health care that they deserve and that they need. While we can never stop looking for ways to improve the system, we can also not forget that there are many, many, many wonderful stories of hope and there are many dedicated and compassionate health care workers who deliver these services to our people every day, making this Province in fact a better place.

So, Mr. Speaker, from health care to education to economic development and beyond, Newfoundland and Labrador is on the move. How can anyone help but feel motivated seeing the progress that we have made and feeling the change in attitude that has gripped this Province? The iron has to be struck when it is hot and in Newfoundland and Labrador that iron has never been hotter.

As the Throne Speech states in its closing moments, and I quote, "…the time has come in this province to be proud of what we have achieved together. Standing tall in the face of adversity; maintaining a united front; saying "no more giveaways"; knowing what we are fighting for: these are the things that now define us as a people" in this great Province. It is with that passion and courage of conviction that we will succeed as a people and as a Province.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WILLIAMS: In closing, Mr. Speaker, William Faulkner once said, and I quote, "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail." Well I believe with all my heart and soul that Newfoundland and Labrador will not merely endure: we will prevail. I look forward to continuing to work with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians right across this Island and the Big Land, because I believe that our brightest moments are yet to come and that that glass is half full and will be full when we are finished.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: It is properly moved and seconded that a Select Committee be struck to draft an Address of Thanks to be presented to the Lieutenant Governor for the Gracious Speech that he delivered here this afternoon to open the present session of the House of Assembly.

Members of the Select Committee will be the hon. the Member for Lewisporte, the hon. the Member for Bay of Islands, and the hon. the Member for the District of Port de Grave.

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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

The motion is carried.

Notices of Motion.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on Supply to consider a resolution for the Granting Of Interim Supply To Her Majesty. (Bill 2)

I further give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Income Tax Act, 2000. (Bill 3)

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

The hon. the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

MR. F. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Amend The Provincial Court Act, 1991. (Bill 4)

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

The hon. the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

MR. FRENCH: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, An Act To Provide Liability Protection On Portions Of Pedestrian Trails. (Bill 5)

MR. SPEAKER: Further notices of motion?

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MS BURKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the hon. Minister of Natural Resources, that the House do now adjourn.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that this House do now adjourn.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


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

This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow, being Tuesday.

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