Rules

The House of Assembly sets rules by which Newfoundlanders and Labradorians may petition the House to address a particular matter.

Those rules are outlined on the House of Assembly web site here: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/petitions/default.htm

They are also defined in the Standing Orders of the House here: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/standingorders/standing_orders90-97.pdf

To download a PDF of a petition template, click here: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/petitions/PetitionTemplate.pdf

 

 

 

Petition Dates

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Monday, March 21, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Monday, April 11, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Monday, April 18, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Monday, May 2, 2016
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Monday, May 30, 2016
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Monday, June 6, 2016
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government should be reducing, not increasing, Marine Atlantic ferry rates to drive tourism growth and stimulate the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the province’s federal Members of parliament, the federal government, to reducing marine ferry rates.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

As my colleague just spoke in Question Period, Marine Atlantic rate increase has a great impact on tourism, Mr. Speaker, on the rubber tire traffic, the travelling public of the province who travel outside the province for vacations or just to get off the Island. It’s such a vital link.

It also has an impact on our grocery shelves and many other services we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians expect to receive. By these rate increases, it’s unfair with such a vital link. We do want the government to press the federal Members to get those rates reduced.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This petition is To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have an interest in participating in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the Government of Canada to schedule both preparatory consultations and inquiry sessions in communities in Newfoundland and Labrador in which grieving Aboriginal families live.

Mr. Speaker, as a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, like so many of us, I’ve often been very frustrated at the fact that sometimes Upper Canada seems to think the country stops at Nova Scotia. I think there are a lot of people in this province who had high expectations, given the cozy relationship, this would no longer happen. Mr. Speaker, we see evidence of it continuing to happen today, despite the cozy relationship.

Newfoundland and Labrador has been left off the list of meetings to seek public input on the design and scope of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. We are part of this nation, Mr. Speaker, and our indigenous people are just as important as any other person across this country.

A primary reason for holding this inquiry is to shine a spotlight on the tragedies, the people and the communities that have for far too long been ignored so that justice could be served. It is inexcusable that the schedule of meetings ignores our province where so many of these tragedies have occurred.

Indeed, the oversight is all the more difficult to understand, Mr. Speaker, in light of the fact that the late Loretta Saunders, whose tragic death was the galvanizing event that triggered this inquiry, was an indigenous woman who called Newfoundland and Labrador her home. A significant portion of Newfoundland and Labrador’s people identify as indigenous, and they have an interest and a right to be part of the process of designing and scoping this inquiry.

Many of Canada’s indigenous peoples’ live in rural communities and many of these communities in our province are particularly remote. To be effective, the inquiry must go to places where people live. The people of these rural communities will surely tell you this, and explain why if they are to be given the opportunity to be heard in their communities during the inquiry’s development phase.

Mr. Speaker, our leader has written to Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, expressing disappointment on this matter. As the critic for women’s policy and an MHA who represents many Aboriginal constituents, I express my disappointment as well, and urge the provincial government to call on Ottawa to include Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. K. PARSONS: To the House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating Newfoundland and Labrador when determining the dates of the recreational ground fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to be vocal in calling for the Government of Canada to extend the recreational ground fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote fairness, safety and tourism to our province.

Mr. Speaker, this really goes to the heart of who we are as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We settled here to be able to catch a few fish and that is what we have done for years and years and years. It is very important. It is one of the things that I think I enjoy most in life, going out and being able to catch a cod because it is what we are as people.

I come from a fishing community, grew up all of my life around the fishery. I cut out cod tongues. My father used to fight with me because I wanted to go the cod trap and haul traps with him when I was so young. Just to be around the fishery was important to me. But it is important to so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I know down in Flatrock I have people who come down and want to go out to the fishery. It is something that they really, really enjoy. It is part of who we are.

Again, Mr. Speaker, we look at the way today is and tourism is a very important part of Newfoundland and Labrador. For people to be able to come here and catch a cod is so important. But more so than anything else, Mr. Speaker, I watched several times now when I’d see people go out in small fishing boats and risk their lives because the recreation fishery is based on a three-week fishery. It is unbelievable. People want to go out and catch a cod, they feel it’s their right and anything else, but do you know what? There are times when it is very, very rough.

I know the wind was blowing last year, I watched a boat go out the harbour in Flatrock and I said Oh My God, I hope he don’t go. He did turn around and come back. But we should never be put in that position. We should never be put in a position where people lose their lives to go catch a few cod fish that is our God given right.

I believe we really have to push it to the federal government and make sure that the cod fishery is fair to us here in Newfoundland and Labrador, that the dates are changed, that people have the right to go out and catch the fish when it is a safe time to do so.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A day of firsts, a first question in Question Period and now my first petition in this hon. House.

To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS greater food security ought to be a priority for Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to set targets for improving the food security of Newfoundland and Labrador by promoting the growing in this province of more of the food that we consume.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, food security has to be a high priority for any government. As it was for our government, I’m sure it will be for the new government as well. We all know that we have a province that relies heavily on outside food sources, and we need communities and families in our province to have access to fresh and nutritious foods. Despite the fact that a lot of effort has been made to improve the conditions in this province in that regard, there’s still a lot of work to do.

Many families struggle with the cost of purchasing healthy food. There’s an ever-growing reliance on processed as well as fast foods that are due in part to the rising costs of imported foods. There has been lots of controversy recently about the cost of fruits and produce, for instance.

The drop in value of the Canadian dollar has resulted in the skyrocketing costs of nutritious foods. We also know – and I know Members on both sides of the House would acknowledge – that we have many health challenges in this province; diabetes, heart issues, obesity. The government often has talked about, in recent months, proactive measures. I think all Members of this House have an obligation to our people to actually put those words into action.

We have lots of tradition in this province. When you think about the traditional way of living in Newfoundland and Labrador, we’ve made a living from the land and from the sea. Historically, we’ve grown our own fresh food and we’ve eaten our wild protein from fishing and hunting. We don’t do a lot of that in Mount Pearl, but some of my constituents are taking those activities outside of the geographical confines of the District of Mount Pearl North.

This historical foundation is something that we can capitalize on. I urge the government to put into place a local farm-to-table approach via our agrifoods industry. That will reduce our reliance upon imported foods and fatty fast foods.

I know government has committed in its Throne Speech to a new strategy for agriculture. I look forward to supporting that effort because this is an issue that desperately needs to be further addressed.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I present the following petition:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in the Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, during the previous election and during the last number of years in Conception Bay South, policing has become a big issue to a lot of the citizens. Like I said, in the last election I knocked on a lot of doors and a lot of people have a lot of concerns with the presence of policing in the community.

I met with the town council who have a committee formed to increase policing. I believe, to my last knowledge, they’ve increased the policing by one unit. In saying that, we still don’t have a dedicated office for the District of CBS. A district with a population of 27,000 people, I think it does deserve that attention.

Whether it be extra policing by one unit, two units, three units, my argument has been when you have a community so spread out – if anyone ever travels to CBS, it’s a large geographical area. The people are asking for it. I’ve heard it loud and clear, and I call upon the House to give serious consideration to doing just that.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government promised to provide $280 million for a CETA Innovation Fund to build our province’s fishery into the future;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to be vigilant and vocal in demanding the federal government live up to their commitment of the $280 million in the Fishery Innovation Fund.

Mr. Speaker, this is so important. Today, earlier the minister made a Ministerial Statement where he and the Premier attended the Boston seafood show, and it is important. We realize in Newfoundland and Labrador – I know in my community there are a lot of fishermen who put a lot back in our community, and the fishing industry is so important to all of us. This fund that was promised to us – by the way, the prime minister of Canada in his election promised that this fund would become available and I hope that you’re working hard to make sure the fund does become available because it’s so important.

Mr. Speaker, we’re seeing in the fishery today a cycle, and it’s a cycle that happens in the fishery. The shell fishery, the shrimp, the crab, we’re noticing in the last little while there is a decline in stocks. We’re seeing it as it goes to the fishermen. I spoke to fishermen in my district this weekend and they tell me that their crab allocations are being decreased. It’s important that we have a fund put in place so we’re ready for the groundfish. I really do believe, as a person who was involved in the ground fishery all my life, the cod is coming back and we have to be ready.

The biggest thing with the Innovation Fund is for us to have our plants ready and our people ready to be able to do it because today – I can remember in my younger years you’d go to a fish plant and you would see so many people who could fillet fish and take care of cod and prepare the cod, but today I don’t know if they’re there.

We need to make sure the innovation and the funds are available to make our plants ready and our fish harvesters ready for this fund. So it’s important that we emphasize how important this is to the federal government and this is given to the province.

Thank you – like promised.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS our province’s seniors deserve quality care and assistance when residing in long-term care facilities; and

WHEREAS our province is currently experiencing an escalating shortage of long-term care beds;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to explore all options, including partnerships, to create new long-term care beds in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have committed to a performance-based infrastructure and in our platform prior to November we had talked about last year building P3s, which in my view they are one and the same thing. Whatever model it is we explore, affordable housing is essential. Long-term care beds for seniors are absolutely essential.

Mr. Speaker, as a Member from rural Newfoundland, I often talk to seniors. No one wants to spend the last few years of their lives in an institution. The longer we can keep them at home, the better. For rural residents in particular, the longer we can keep them living in their communities with a view of the water, which most of us do have in our small, rural remote communities, is absolutely essential.

To me, when I, please God, live to be a senior, I don’t want to be living in a cement building where all I can see are the city streets of St. John’s or Grand Falls or Gander. We need affordable housing, Mr. Speaker, we need long-term care beds, and we need them to be in communities. So I certainly encourage government to explore every option possible to make sure rural Newfoundland and Labrador is provided the infrastructure it needs to look after its seniors.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September of 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, for months now, but certainly more so in the last number of weeks, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of calls and emails from constituents in my district who are parents of children about to attend St. Peter’s Primary or who are already attending St. Peter’s Primary. I know the Member for Mount Pearl – Southlands has been receiving similar inquiries and has been advocating on behalf of his constituents as well.

The parents of students who will be attending St. Peter’s in the fall are looking for a clear plan on how full-day kindergarten will be accommodated and what the impact will be. So there are several questions that haven’t been answered yet that parents are hoping will be answered in the weeks ahead.

I want to acknowledge that the Minister of Education has agreed to have a conversation with me about these issues. I hope we’ll be able to get some clarity that we haven’t been able to get from the school board in recent weeks, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker.

We need to know: How will modular classrooms be utilized? How many of them will there be? Are they ordered at this point? What’s the impact going to be on class sizes? There are lots of rumors about that at this point. What’s going to be the impact of team teaching? How many classes will be impacted by team teaching? What grade levels will be impacted? These are the kinds of things that parents are asking about; but, unfortunately, to date, we haven’t been able to get those answers.

Parents are also concerned about the proposed extension. Funding was approved for this extension. Parents are wondering is the extension, in fact, on track for 2017. The contract has not been awarded. The tender has not been called. It should have been by now. Parents are now wondering if there is still a commitment on behalf of school board and government to the extension that is, in fact, desperately needed.

Parents did ask me to bring this matter to the House of Assembly, which I’m doing through this petition today. I look forward to further discussions with both the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the English School District as well.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I present the following petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2015 announced a new school for Witless Bay/Mobile school system; and

WHEREAS the planning design of the new middle school is ongoing;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to ensure that the announced school will be built and will meet the needs of this growing region.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this region of the province from Bay Bulls to Bauline has seen extensive growth in the past number of years. The K to 6 school in Witless Bay has approximately 380 students. Mobile Central High again has a large portion of students. The region itself has seen tremendous growth in terms of young families, people moving into the area, being able to live outside the boundaries of the City of St. John’s, but being close enough to commute back and forth.

With that tremendous growth, we have seen the need for further expansion. In the past number of years, we have seen classrooms being done to St. Bernard’s, as well as portables, to accommodate that increased growth. I know the minister was up to St. Bernard’s a few weeks back to open Education Week and at that time had an opportunity to see the full breadth and scope of St. Bernard’s, the challenges in terms of classrooms and the ability to accommodate students.

He was given a tour by the principal, and I know now has a good understanding. As we move forward in the budget process on behalf of those families, communities and those that attend that institution and moving forward, I impress upon the government on their behalf the importance that we move forward with this very worthwhile initiative.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in determining the dates of the recreational ground fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to be vocal in calling on the Government of Canada to extend the recreational ground fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote fairness, safety and tourism.

Mr. Speaker, I’m going to get up every day that I can because this is so important to so many different people in our province. I talked to Members over on the other side and everywhere you go – people at work even here at the House of Assembly that enjoy getting out for the recreational fishery. We all believe that it’s our God-given right to be able to go on the water and catch a fish. We do realize that the moratorium came in and there was a time that we had to stop fishing. It seems like when you talk to most people – even the fishermen when you talk to them, they feel that the ground fishery is coming back. This is a part of who we are as people.

Safety is a very, very important time. When you look at there’s three weeks in the summertime and a week in September – I’ve been involved in the food fishery since it started and, to tell you the truth, I’d say last year I didn’t get out at all in September; the year before I think I got out once, and the year before that once.

Mr. Speaker, September is a hard time on the water for fisher people. We’re putting people’s safety in front of everything else. I think it’s important that we make sure the federal government realizes how important this is to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s very, very important. Not only is it important – it’s important that people do not risk their lives to catch a few codfish. It’s important that we don’t put people in jeopardy.

I spoke to a gentleman yesterday. He told me that September is the time of year he likes to get his bit of fish to keep for the winter because it’s the best time to do it. We’re putting people on the water when it’s not safe. It’s not fair to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to be doing that.

Also, another big part of this is our tourism industry. Tourism is a very important part of rural Newfoundland and a part of Newfoundland in general. Mr. Speaker, I tell you, when somebody that’s not used to going out and catching a codfish gets the opportunity to go out and catch one, it’s an experience that they hold for the rest of their lives. This can be sold as a huge tourism attraction for the whole province. If you talk to all the tourists in boats and everybody that’s around, it’s a real good idea to be able to promote that they can go out and have their people on the tour boats be able to catch a fish.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the remediation of the Manolis L site is an urgent federal responsibility;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to bring pressure to bear on the federal government to remediate the Manolis L site.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, this is not a new issue; it’s been off the waters of Change Islands and Notre Dame Bay for quite some time. It’s been an issue that the hon. Minister for BTCRD has brought to the floor on many occasions for action. Our former government also lobbied to have this site remediated.

Prime Minister Trudeau has promised to remove the oil from the vessel; he promised this during the campaign stop in the province. The people via petition are now calling for action on this and they want the potential environmental disaster prevented. Is this another promise that people are waiting on? We need action.

Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Terra Nova trestle is an indispensable link in the Newfoundland T’Railway Provincial Park;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to give priority to repairing the Terra Nova trestle when allocating infrastructure funding this year.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the previous government committed to repairing the decking on this trestle, but when the engineers went out to do the repair the abutments were in bad shape. So basically they had to stop the re-decking and more work was required. We have cabins on the other side of this trestle that are going through the river, which is creating a danger. We have tourists who use the T’Railway. Right now you have a barrier set up there – it stops and then you have to travel back a fair distance to get back on the main trail.

It’s a safety concern. Livyers use it, cabin owners, and tourists and locals. So, I respectfully ask for immediate attention to be given to this very serious issue.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS greater food security ought to be a priority for Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to set targets for improving the food security of Newfoundland and Labrador by promoting the growing in this province of more of the food we consume.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador imports 90 per cent of its produce, which means Newfoundlanders and Labradorians aren’t surviving on their own without outside help from national and international agricultural industries. This should be a cause for concern for all of us. We do rely heavily on outside food sources and we need to do more to ensure that our families and communities do have access to fresh and nutritious foods.

I know that for many families the cost of purchasing healthy foods is a real struggle. There is too much of a reliance on processed foods and fast foods. That has something to do with the rising costs of imported foods like fruits and produce.

The current value of the Canadian dollar has also impacted the cost of nutritious foods. This is a complex issue. There is a lot of work to be done. We want to work with government to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to tackle food security in this province.

We have lots of health issues in this province. We’ve heard the government talk about proactive measures, as I mentioned before. We have to be proactive when it comes to tackling food security.

I would encourage government, once again, to put into place a local farm-to-table approach, working with our agrifoods industry and hopefully, ultimately, that will reduce our reliance on imported foods and fatty fast foods as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have an interest in participating in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the Government of Canada to schedule both preparatory consultations and inquiry sessions in communities in Newfoundland and Labrador in which grieving Aboriginal families live.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, it’s certainly an honour for me to rise in this House today to bring forth this petition a second time, and I will continue to bring forth this petition on behalf of the people until we actually see some concrete action.

This is Aboriginal Peoples Week, as has been discussed in the House already today, and I call upon our government to stand strong and united in demanding that the Aboriginal people and communities of our fine province are included in both the preparatory and inquiry sessions, Mr. Speaker, because the preparatory sessions will outline and define the scope of the inquiry that will take place. It’s very important that the voices of the people in communities be heard.

Yes, we acknowledge there were some provision for certain people to travel; we want the voices of every person who wants to be heard to actually have that opportunity. It’s only fair and it’s something they deserve.

Many of Canada’s indigenous peoples live in rural communities, and for us here in Newfoundland ours are particularly remote, and the travel, to be honest, is prohibitive. The expensive travel is prohibitive. So many voices will not be heard unless the inquiry and the people involved with the inquiry and the officials actually travel directly to these communities where the people live. The people of these rural communities will surely tell you this and explain why, if they are given the opportunity to be heard in their communities during the inquiry’s development phase.

Mr. Speaker, our leader has written to Carolyn Bennett, who is the federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, expressing disappointment on this matter. As the critic for Women’s Policy and an MHA who represents many Aboriginal constituents, I express my deep disappointment as well and urge this provincial government to call on Ottawa to include Newfoundland and Labrador.

Our people are just as important as every other Canadian, and it is high time that Upper Canada starts treating us with the respect we deserve. It was touted that a federal-provincial government will yield results with a close working relationship and we’re hoping to see that delivered, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. Member’s time is expired.

MS. PERRY: Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. K. PARSONS: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government promised to provide $280 million for CETA innovation fund to build our province’s fishery into the future;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to be vigilant and vocal in demanding that the federal government live up to its commitment of $280 million for the fisheries innovation fund.

Mr. Speaker, we realize today is the federal government’s budget day. We, on this side of the House, are hoping that this will be part of their budget today that they will announce that $280 million that will help our fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We all realize the importance of the fishery to this province. Right now we can see in the province that the shell fishery, our shrimp and our crab, are on a little bit of a decline and our groundfish is coming back. Mr. Speaker, this fund is set up so that it can help our industry, help our harvesters, help people out there get into the new of type fishery like we had to do when the ground fishery went down.

It’s very important that the federal government live up to its commitment of the $280 million. We put pressure on them to make it so that rural Newfoundland can survive because that’s the gist of all of this, is making sure that our fishery survives.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the government to work with their counterparts in Ottawa and make sure we get this fund.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Member for the District of Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government should be reducing, not increasing, Marine Atlantic ferry rates to drive tourism growth and stimulate the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the province’s federal Members of Parliament and the federal government to reduce Marine Atlantic ferry rates.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

This is the second time I’ve presented that petition because there are a couple of things that brings it up. I know when we were in government and I was part of that government – I wasn’t an elected official, but I was in the department actually where Marine Atlantic resided.

The governing party now gave us a lot of grief any time anything happened with Marine Atlantic – especially rate increases and whatnot, and fair game. We have Members over there that have made a career out of bashing Marine Atlantic every opportunity they got, anything they’ve done.

On this issue, I just have to say their silence is deafening. There’s not been a murmur; there’s not been a word of any sort. You’re raising rates for tourism. I mean, it’s our lifeline; it’s our grocery store shelves. I’m surprised that there’s no one up over there who actually took it upon themselves to ask their federal cousins why these rates are increased and why not reduce them.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS firefighters, both career and volunteer, are exposed to many hazards in their line of duty; and

WHEREAS firefighters, both career and volunteer, risk their lives and well-being to serve our communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to bring forward workers’ compensation legislation containing a presumptive cancer and cardiac clause for firefighters, both career and volunteer.

Mr. Speaker, this issue has been talked about for many years. I recall debating this issue during my time in local government. As part of the past administration, there was quite a bit of dialogue about this issue as well. During the recent election campaign, our party committed to enacting the legislation that I’m speaking about here today had we been elected and successful in forming government.

We have to acknowledge that our fire and emergency services professions – their health is impacted, no doubt, by the work they do. There was a report in 2013 by the Statutory Review Committee on Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation. It recommended that our province should enact legislation containing a presumptive cancer clause for firefighters. Most provinces already have it, Mr. Speaker.

A full-time career firefighter who serves for a specified period of time and develops a specific form of cancer is presumed to have developed that cancer as a result of having served as a firefighter. Many provinces also have a presumptive clause with respect to a heart injury that a full-time firefighter suffers within 24 hours of attending a fire scene in the performance of his or her duties. The firefighter is presumed to have suffered a work-related injury.

This recognition impacts the firefighter’s ability to receive compensation. Enacting such legislation is the right thing to do. We were committed to doing it and we’re calling upon the new government to do the same.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 11, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in the Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I presented a similar petition a couple of weeks back and I plan on continuing to do so as I have a lot of these petitions from the people in my district, from the Member opposite for Harbour Main and also my colleague, the MHA for Topsail – Paradise.

Right throughout the district there is a huge concern on policing. We have had an increase in the last number of weeks. I know there has been an increase in patrol vehicles. The community of Conception Bay South is the largest town in the province, probably the second largest municipality, and right now we rely upon two, maybe three police vehicles.

As it was well published, last week we had an armed robbery every day. A couple of those happened to be in CBS, and it is not uncommon. It’s a daily occurrence.

During the election it was hammered home to me loud and clear that people have concerns and they don’t feel safe. We don’t have a police presence in the sense – you can’t go find an office. It wasn’t a dedicated office. It was kind of a satellite. That too has since been closed down.

I commend the increase in police patrols. There have been some improvements there but I do lobby the government to give strong consideration to establishing a dedicated office for the Town of CBS. As I said, it’s a fast growing community. The people are asking for it and I am advocating on their behalf.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

It’s certainly an honour and a privilege for me to rise in this hon. House again today and bring forward my petition which I have brought forward on a number of occasions as well, Mr. Speaker.

This petition: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have an interest in participating in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the Government of Canada to schedule both preparatory consultations and inquiry sessions in communities in Newfoundland and Labrador in which grieving Aboriginal families live.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, in my prelude I said I had brought this petition forward to the House now – the House has been open for three weeks and I’m bringing it forward at least on a weekly basis. I will continue to do so until such time as we see results, as we see an announcement from the federal government that says they are actually going to conduct their consultations right here in the communities in Newfoundland and Labrador where people are affected.

We will not quit and we will not sit back and wait idly for them to make a decision. We will continue to apply pressure. We call upon our Members in government, sitting on the government side of this House in Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker, to join with us so that the results can be delivered for the people of our Aboriginal communities.

This petition I have here today – and this being at least the third one, if not the fourth one – has 12 pages of signatures, Mr. Speaker. It’s a very important issue and a very important concern to all persons in Newfoundland and Labrador, not just our indigenous people.

We really want our voices to be heard and we feel strongly. It’s fine to send down a few plane tickets and pay for some hotel rooms to bring some people up to Halifax to ask about what we think the consultation should look like, but it’s not good enough, Mr. Speaker. It’s okay to do that if you’re doing that in conjunction with going to communities, but not in and of itself because it’s not enough.

These communities as a whole are impacted. Men, women, children, grandparents, nieces, nephews, everybody wants to share their views and their concerns about what is happening with murdered and missing Aboriginal persons, Mr. Speaker.

We want these community consultations to take place right here in our province. We want Members of the government opposite to work with their federal cousins and make sure they deliver the results that the people of this province are expecting.

Thank you so much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I’m glad to rise today and present a petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension was announced to the Robert E. Howlett highway on March 25, 2014; and

WHEREAS the environmental assessment, design and engineering of this project is complete; and

WHEREAS continued residential commercial growth has increased traffic on the Southern Avalon;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to continue with this significant piece of infrastructure to enhance and improve traffic to the Southern Avalon.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, over the past 15 to 20 years, certainly on the southern Avalon, we’ve seen tremendous growth in residential development, in terms of commercial development, significant manufacturing and small business operations. Obviously, the fishery along the Southern Shore and the southern Avalon is extremely important.

There’s one major highway to the southern Avalon. With that growth and with the boundary to the City of St. John’s, we’ve seen tremendous growth in regard to the amount of traffic on that highway. That’s why for many years we’ve lobbied to see new infrastructure built, so we could see an extension to the Robert E. Howlett which would bring that traffic and highway up beyond Bay Bulls Big Pond, bringing it down to drop it in at the city limits of Bay Bulls and St. John’s after Middle Pond. As well, it takes that heavy traffic volume out of residential areas as you go through Middle Pond and around Big Pond and those areas which are so important.

I know there’s infrastructure money that the federal government has talked about in the budget. I’ve had discussions with MP O’Regan for the area, very good discussions, exchanged information in regard to his efforts in terms of getting recognition and partnering to get funding to do this. I also have written the provincial Minister of Transportation and Works and actually advised him that this is indeed a worthy project, is shovel ready and shovel worthy.

So we look forward to the coming weeks and months ahead in regard to this piece of infrastructure which is so vital and important to the southern Avalon to continue the economic growth and certainly to continue to meet the transportation needs of that region.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to present this petition on behalf of residents in the Mount Pearl area. To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September 2016.

And is in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve spoken to this issue in the past in this session of the House of Assembly. I’ve also had an opportunity to correspond with the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and I thank him for the response.

There is some more particular information that is needed by parents from the school board to address some specific concerns that still have not been addressed. Overcrowding is the fundamental issue at St. Peter’s Primary. It’s not about staffing. There are great staff and a very engaged school council. It’s not about ratios. The issue is that there isn’t sufficient physical space for the programs that are proposed for September 2016.

The fact that government and the school board have delayed the planned extension that was budgeted for, it now won’t be ready until at least 2018. That means that we have a bad situation for at least two school years. This is an extension that should be fast-tracked.

There is inadequate space for the play-based learning model and teen teaching for full-day kindergarten. Soon there will be no outside play space due to modular classrooms and the eventual construction. The parking issues are atrocious and will only get worse. Students will be eating lunch at their desks for the next two years. We’re concerned about what supervision will be in place over the lunch period for kindergarten classes, particularly the ones with over 27 students in them and there will be at least three of those.

Rezoning the school two years ago was an unfortunate decision that I spoke against at the time. The move to K to 3 has made this situation worse. We need the extension. We need accommodation for outside play space. The parking issues need to be addressed. Some of the supervision issues that are being raised need to be addressed as well.

This is fundamentally about overcrowding. There is more that can be done, and I hope that the school board will take the necessary action.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise again today to present the petition I presented – this is probably the third time now. As I said, I will continue to present it.

It is: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in the Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, those petitions, I have a stack of them. Actually, they were delivered to me right throughout the community. I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today that it stretches from the MHA for Harbour Main right from Seal Cove right down to my colleague for Topsail – Paradise District, right at the beginning of Paradise. The entire district is calling on an increased police presence. As I said yesterday, I made a commitment I would advocate for the residents, and I’m continuing to do that.

Like you say, it’s fine to have a police vehicle – if you live 30 minutes outside of Fort Townshend, you need a dedicated office that people can see, locate it. There has to be something manned. It’s fundamentally flawed in my mind when you’ve got a town the size of CBS that is arguably the largest municipality in the province outside the City of St. John’s, and we’ve got three cars that sometimes they’re called away and you’ve got one vehicle on – we only had two up until about two weeks ago.

We don’t have anywhere to go, there is no office space, and there is no recognition the police force exists. There was a building there at one time with a satellite office. That’s no longer there. I’ve spoken to the town that, I think, would be willing to have conversations with the RNC to provide some sort of office space. It’s an issue within the municipality, it’s an issue I discussed with our town council, and it’s an issue I continue to speak on. I have a lot more petitions to present, Mr. Speaker. It’s something I’m passionate about. Like I said yesterday, I got the message loud and clear from the constituents, and I guess my role in the House of Assembly is to stand and speak on their behalf, which is exactly what I’m doing.

So I once again call upon the government to give some consideration to having a dedicated office with dedicated officers for the Town of CBS. Protection is everything. As we know, armed robberies are happening on a daily basis, and they are happening in CBC probably on a percentage-wise more than anywhere else. Crime, accidents – we have a lot of drugs. It’s a lot of things happening in our society and people don’t feel safe.

If you don’t feel safe, Mr. Speaker, that’s a pretty sad statement. I think increased police presence will give an increased sense of security, and no doubt increasing police presence will give people more sense of security.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It’s certainly an honour and a privilege for me to stand in the House and present this petition today. To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS our province’s seniors deserve quality care and assistance when residing in long-term care facilities; and

WHEREAS our province is currently experiencing an escalating shortage of long-term care beds;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to explore all options, including partnerships to create new long-term care beds in this province.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, we have an aging population in this province. I’m sure all Members of this of this hon. House place great value on our seniors. Our seniors are certainly the reason for being for all of us. They deserve the best of care in their golden years. As a government, we have a responsibility to ensure that we do what we can to ensure these years are as enjoyable as they possibly can be. The government of the day certainly has a responsibility to address this major issue.

I was absolutely shocked, I have to say – I’m digressing a little bit from what I had intended to talk about – when I heard today in the House no denial for the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, but no support whatsoever by government opposite for looking at public-private partnership for seniors’ home care. I find that very disturbing, Mr. Speaker. It makes you wonder where the priorities are and where the people versus profits really fit in the minds of the Members opposite.

Long wait times for long-term care and acute care services remain in our health sector today, and left unchecked these wait times are going to continue to grow, Mr. Speaker. Aggressive action needs to be taken and it needs to be taken now. Our seniors deserve better, far better than what they are receiving from the government of the day.

Newfoundland and Labrador is facing an increase in demand for long-term care and community support services. With the population aging and prevalence of chronic disease and disability increasing, the government must find a way to meet the needs of seniors and their families.

Mr. Speaker, I am at a loss to understand why the government will not consider public-private partnerships because it is in other jurisdictions a very successful model that works without cost to the government. I would venture to say it would save government much more than what it will supposedly make by privatization of many of our services in this province, such as the Liquor Corporation and God knows what else we’re going to hear about on Thursday.

One thing I do like is the commitment to provide a cost-benefit analysis on all of that and we’ll certainly be posing the question for the people of the province –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. PERRY: – what’s in the best interest: partnerships for the people.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 18, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians when determining the dates of the recreational groundfish fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to be vocal in calling the Government of Canada to extend the recreational food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote fairness, safety and tourism in our province.

Mr. Speaker, the fishery is a huge part of our province. It’s a huge part of who we are as a people. This government across the way don’t realize that; they don’t know how important the fishery is to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I talked to a lot of fishermen and fisher people and they tell me that they all agree with the recreational fishery, but it should be done and let the fishermen and the fisher people in this province get out and catch the cod. It should be something that this government is doing to ensure there are markets in place. It’s the one thing that can keep rural Newfoundland alive. Everybody in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and everywhere in Newfoundland understands the importance of the fishery other than the government.

Mr. Speaker, the recreational fishery is important to our communities. I urge the minister to talk to his counterparts. They’re talking about a tag system. Let the people know what’s happening and let the people know where we’re to. Also, let the fishermen know when and schedule for a recreational fishery.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the lifeline of the residents of Bell Island, both socially and economically, is its ferry service;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to confirm that every measure be taken to expedite the modifications to the existing wharf structure, ensuring that Bell Island returns to two-ferry service as soon as possible.

And as in duty bound your petitioners, will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, Bell Island and the people who are serviced by the ferry service there have been reliant on a two-ferry service. We invested, as an administration, over the last number of years millions of dollars to ensure that people would have equitable access to transportation so it would grow the economy.

We’ve moved from a reliance on income support to a commuting service, Mr. Speaker, that 525 people a day travel to the mainland part of the Island and work in the service industry, work in professional services, are health professionals, to ensure their stability and their financial contributions are significant. We’ve been down to one ferry. There’s been no work done on the Portugal Cove side terminal for the last five months. Even though there was a contract let, the breakwater itself – which is another issue around parking – has all the construction equipment there and all the materials ready to go, but nothing has been done.

We’ve been urging the department to work a deal with the contractors to start moving that forward. We have issues around parking, which becomes a safety issue. We have an issue around new ferries coming here and no ability to put them into play because of the fact that wharfs won’t be done.

More importantly, the people of Bell Island are worried about having a two-ferry service that they always had. This administration talks about diversification and their policies about growing tourism. Well, Bell Island’s one of the hottest growing areas for tourism in this province, and you’re stifling that because you’re not moving forward on the contract that was put in place.

So I urge the minister, and I urge him to work with his colleagues to ensure that the contractor gets on site and starts doing the work they were contracted to do.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS our province’s seniors deserve quality care and assistance when residing in long-term care facilities; and

WHEREAS our province is currently experiencing an escalating shortage of long-term care beds;

WHERUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to explore all options including partnerships to create new long-term care beds in this province.

And as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, it’s very difficult for me to stand here this afternoon. We are all very angry in this Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As I stand here and present this petition on behalf the people calling for more long-term care beds to take care of the seniors, Mr. Speaker, who’ve given their entire lives to this province, we face an announcement of another loss of 50 long-term care beds in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The people of this province have certainly been let down by this Liberal government. It is well known that we have an aging population in this province and seniors need to have adequate care facilities.

The announcement today that mass layoffs are coming will do nothing to improve the standard of care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Is this the stronger tomorrow you promised the people? Remember, no layoffs under a Liberal government.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MS. PERRY: Mr. Speaker, I’m getting some heckling from across the way. The person who called last year for double dentures and cut it all out altogether this year, Mr. Speaker.

In our district, we don’t like to lose things. We don’t like to acquire something by losing something else. We lost our dialysis today. We lost our clinic in Hermitage today. We lost services to rural remote communities like Rencontre East, Gaultois, McCallum. These people can’t even get a doctor, Mr. Speaker, now they have to travel even further to get to a doctor. It is absolutely deplorable that you called upon them to vote for you and this is how you treat them. The government has a responsibility to address this major issue – no thoughts whatsoever of honouring the promises they made to the people.

Not one single word came out in the budget on long-term care but they ripped the partnership program that we had in place for 350 long-term care beds. There is a shortage of long-term care beds and the plan to address this would make a massive difference to individuals and their families and it would create a lot of jobs, Mr. Speaker. We need those jobs today more so than ever. Long wait times for long-term care and acute care services remain in our health sector today and left unchecked, these wait times will grow.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. PERRY: Mr. Speaker, is my time concluded?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

MS. PERRY: Okay. Well, I certainly will be back to speak in this House again, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. PERRY: The people of this province deserve better!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I commend the Member for St. John’s East – Quidi Vidi on her speed. She’s very fast and races to her feet quicker than I can some days, Mr. Speaker.

Today’s petition that I’m presenting relates to food security.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS greater food security ought to be a priority for Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to set targets for improving the food security of Newfoundland and Labrador by promoting the growing in this province of more of the food we consume.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this petition is more important now than ever, given the budget that came down last week. The price of food, which in many cases is already at outrageous levels, is now going to go up because of the increase in taxes that this government is placing on fuel.

Labrador communities have seen the Air Foodlift Subsidy being removed. The health of the mind and body is partially a result of the foods that we eat. We get 90 per cent of our vegetables from outside the province. Because of this, we only have enough fresh vegetables for several days if there is a problem with the delivery of food. We also make a lot of fishery food products, but we send 80 per cent of these products outside of the province. This helps people have jobs and businesses make money, but it means there is less food from the fishery for the people in our province.

Our province has a lot of communities that are spread out. Many communities in the province don’t have their own grocery store. This means that people buy food at corner stores or drive to nearby towns to go to grocery stores. For every 10,000 people in our province, there are 14 fast food stores, eight corner stores, four gas stations with stores and three grocery stores. There will be a need now for this more than ever before. With no regard to the health of the people of the province, this government has imposed taxes without any consideration for those affected.

There are fewer farmers and we need more farmers. There’s less land being used for farming. We need to use more of our arable land for farming. Our farmers are getting older and not many young people are becoming farmers. We need to do more to attract new entrants to farming. The cost of buying land and growing food is high. Many of the animal feed and fertilizer used on farms also comes from outside the province.

Mr. Speaker, I’ll conclude by saying there’s a growing interest in food security in Newfoundland and Labrador. The time is right for all sectors to work together to achieve food security and to create a healthier food system.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I, too, present a petition. I’ve presented this before and I will continue on, I guess, on this one as well.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government should be reducing, not increasing, Marine Atlantic ferry rates to drive tourism growth and stimulate the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to press the province’s federal Members of Parliament and the federal government to reduce Marine Atlantic ferry rates.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

As I’ve stated before, Mr. Speaker, Marine Atlantic ferry rates have a distinct impact on every one of us here, whether it’s the grocery shelves, whether you’re travelling or you’re coming in – off the province. Tourism is a big factor. With our rubber-tire traffic, as I said before, it will definitely have an impact.

Now on top of that we have a 16.5-cent a litre tax added to our gasoline. So not only are the rates at Marine Atlantic increased, but that 16.5 cents will definitely have a detrimental impact on in-province tourism for sure and, no doubt, it will affect the prices on our grocery sales.

One other point to that, as I say about tourism, we have a $13 million tourism budget. A couple of months ago we were told it was going to be increased by a million dollars a year for the next three years, but that never happened.

In closing, I just want to say, you have 16.5 cents a litre on your gas, ferry rates have increased, there is no new money for tourism, which we have a successful tourism campaign, but we can always be better. I do encourage government to press their federal cousins and try to get some relief on the marine ferry rates, because I suspect we will see a big drop in tourism this year.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I guess the Member is not going to vote for the budget because there was no announcement in this year’s budget for it. So that’s good to hear.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, to the House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy as introduced in Budget 2016 unfairly targets the middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy also asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to high income owners;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge this government to immediately stop the introduction of the temporary Deficit Reduction Levy.

Mr. Speaker, we’re hearing from everyone. We’re hearing from people all across this Island, all over the place. I know every message I’m getting on Facebook – I’ve received more messages since this budget came down than I’ve ever received in the last eight years I’ve been in this House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I like to be fair, and fair to people. I think that’s the name of the game, we should all be fair. This levy is so unfair. It’s unfair to the poor people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, when you look at this, here is a person or a family that’s making $25,000 a year and they are expected to pay $300.

AN HON. MEMBER: No way.

MR. K. PARSONS: Yes they are. If you look at your own thing it shows $300. It’s not wrong. That’s what’s wrote here on this.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: People from $25,000 to $36,000 pay $300. It’s right here in your document.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: You’re supposed to sit down when the Speaker stands up

MR. K. PARSONS: I don’t listen to you (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Well, the Speaker is standing, I say to the Member for Cape St. Francis.

I am not going to allow Members of the House to disregard and disrespect the authority of the House. I’ve recognized the Member for Cape St. Francis. I ask for order in the House.

The Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, listen, this is about fairness. It’s about being fair to people.

I’ve received calls and emails from people in all the districts, in the other districts in this province, and they all tell me the same thing; this is so unfair. How can you justify that a person of $25,000 a year is going to pay about 2 per cent of their income, versus a person who’s making $200,000, $300,000 pay 0.18 or 0.15 per cent? It’s just an unfair tax.

I ask the government, I really ask you to think about it, and all the backbenchers and everybody in this House of Assembly are getting emails; you’re getting people’s concern. People are really concerned about this tax. Do the proper thing and cancel it.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 decreased the amount of funding available for health care services; and

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016, Eastern Health has reduced routine breast cancer screening in women aged 40 to 49; and

WHEREAS early detection of cancer results is the best prognosis possible;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to direct Eastern Health to reverse its decision and to ensure that the population-based Breast Screening Program is accessible to women aged 40 to 49.

Mr. Speaker, we’re all very upset with Budget 2016. I go to bed every night and pray that the Members opposite will have the courage to stand up and vote against it and vote with the people of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We just listened to the Member for Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi talk about the direct impact it’s having on people’s lives. People may die as a result of this move, that’s how serious this is.

Early detection of breast cancer makes all the difference in a woman’s survival rate. Many of these women have young children. They all have friends and families who love and care for them. To take such a backwards step when it comes to women’s health is absolutely deplorable, Mr. Speaker. I truly hope that this decision is reversed and reversed in short order.

There’s no price tag we can put on a person’s life. It was their own member opposite, who represents us in Ottawa today, who stood in this House year after year after year, a person who experienced breast cancer herself and lobbied for the breast cancer screening to take place, Mr. Speaker, at the age of 40. We did that. The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the women of this province deserve no less. I would say almost every single day I get an email from women in this who are under the age of 50 and they’re looking for breast cancer screening, or they’ve already been diagnosed.

It’s becoming a problem, and it’s an issue that’s confronting women’s health. Our health, Mr. Speaker, is just as important as anyone else’s in this province. I call upon the Minister of Health and the Members of Executive Council to reverse this budget, many components of it, including this one.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m pleased to have an opportunity to rise and present a petition in the House of Assembly today.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the seniors of our province deserve the greatest level of respect and care; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a responsibility to act in the best interest of our seniors; and

WHEREAS the government has decided to shut down Masonic Park Nursing Home and reduce long-term care beds in the region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reverse its decision and not bring undue hardship upon the residents of Masonic Park and find alternative measures that will allow them to continue to stay at the place they call home.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve spoken a number of times in this House about government and Eastern Health’s planned closure of Masonic Park Nursing Home, and I will continue to raise the issue. It’s one that’s affecting 40 families in my community, in my district, and the impacts go much further than that, Mr. Speaker. There have been several statements made in this House of Assembly that are simply not true, and can’t be supported by any evidence whatsoever.

The minister has stood in this House and said the long-term care facility at Masonic Park is in a state of disrepair. That is simply not true, and there’s no evidence to support that.

Mr. Speaker, the minister certainly said in response to my questions in this House that all residents would be moved down to the Veterans Pavilion at the Miller Centre and all would be well. That’s also not true. In fact, there aren’t a sufficient number of beds at the Veterans Pavilion to accommodate all of the residents at the Masonic Park Nursing Home.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has also said that there are no reductions in long-term care beds as a result of these budget decisions, both at Masonic Park and the Waterford. Again, it’s simply not true.

The minister said today that there’s a higher need and demand for long-term care in the Central Region and Western Region. I would acknowledge that to be true; however, what he didn’t say is that there are over 60 families today in the Eastern Region – 60 individuals who are in need of long-term care beds, in need of placement in long-term care homes. So how can you possibly justify removing 50 beds from the system when there are 60 people today waiting, and the numbers show that there’s going to be increased demand for the next 20 years?

These people are waiting. As a result of people waiting for long-term care beds, they’re occupying hospital beds that they shouldn’t be. That’s resulting in people lying on stretchers in hallways. It’s resulting in people sitting in emergency rooms for longer hours. It’s resulting in cancelled surgeries. It’s just not right. Closing long-term care beds and closing the Masonic Park Nursing Home –

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KENT: – is just not right, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

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

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy, as introduced in Budget 2016, unfairly targets middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to the high-income earners;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to immediately stop the introduction of this temporary Deficit Reduction Levy.

Mr. Speaker, as all MHAs go across this province, I’m sure every district because I – this weekend the talk of my whole district is the budget. People are looking at this levy as being so unfair, especially the lower income and the middle class. It’s unfair because it’s not done in proportion. It’s not done to what they make versus a person with a high income.

If a person is making $60,000 a year they have to pay this much, probably 1 per cent of what they’re making, while somebody who’s making $300,000 or $400,000 has to pay a less percentage of what they’re making. So they’re looking at it as really unfair.

Mr. Speaker, every organization – even the former premier, as was said today, is looking and saying this levy is just unfair. A lot of people are looking at it as too much too fast.

I ask this government to reconsider this. It’s too much of a burden on our people. It’s too much of a burden on the low- and middle-class income earners, the hard-working people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Reconsider this levy. It’s just unfair.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PETTEN: Bad back and all, Mr. Speaker, I beat her. It’s not easy to beat her to her feet.

Mr. Speaker, I bring a petition to the House, I’ve brought it here on numerous occasions and I’ll bring it again today.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve brought this up on numerous occasions. Many of my constituents have very big concerns on policing and police presence in the district. Like I said before, there is nowhere to show the RNC are anywhere near the community, only when a police vehicle passes by. We used to have an office, that was closed I believe last year or the year before.

I’ve spoken to the town, and a lot of residents keep encouraging me to keep the fight going. I think it’s something we could work on to get some presence in the community. It would be great to see a dedicated office with some dedicated officers for my town. I know the residents are calling upon – with the level of crime. The need is there and I’ll keep advocating for them.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We do have time for another petition, very quickly.

The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to present a petition in the 90 seconds remaining.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the seniors of our province deserve the greatest level of respect and care; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a responsibility to act in the best interest of our seniors; and

WHEREAS the government has decided to shut down Masonic Park Nursing Home and reduce long-term care beds in the region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reverse its decision and not bring undue hardship upon the residents of Masonic Park and find alternative measures that will allow them to continue to stay at the place they call home.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I know I literally have a moment here. The issue is not about the state of the building at Masonic Park. In fact the real savings here is going to be about operational savings because we are eliminating 18 jobs from the long-term care system.

It is really unfortunate for families and for residents, and I ask the government once again to reconsider its position.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I bring the following petition to the House of Assembly:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Witless Bay Line is a significant piece of infrastructure; and

WHEREAS the continuation of the Hebron and Long Harbour projects and the commercial and residential growth on our region has increased the volume of traffic on this highway;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to continue to upgrade this significant piece of infrastructure to enhance and improve the flow of traffic to and from the Trans-Canada Highway;

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this piece of highway connects Route 10, the Southern Shore to the Trans-Canada Highway. Over the past number of years, it has certainly become instrumental in regard to just general travel for residents back and forth between the two regions, but certainly from commercial industrial activity and employment. Many residents from my area travel back and forth to Bull Arm, Long Harbour, and even commerce back and forth, even the fishing industry in regard to transportation of various fish species back and forth across that piece of infrastructure.

Over the past number of years the previous administration – we invested somewhere around $1.5 million to the various sections of that piece of highway. It continues to need upgrades, some maintenance work to maintain it, but very heavily used.

From an economic development point of view – and we’ve heard chatter in this House from the government on economic diversification. We haven’t seen a lot of details, but from this piece of infrastructure it’s extremely important. I certainly urge government and the Minister of TW to continue to have a look, do maintenance and continue to build this infrastructure that’s so crucial to the Southern Shore and the access to the Trans-Canada Highway.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating against Newfoundland and Labrador when determining dates for the recreational ground fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to be vocal in calling the Government of Canada to extend the recreational ground fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, promote fairness and safety in tourism in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve presented this petition a number of times. To tell you the truth, I was hoping by the time the 1st of May came along that this would be put to bed and people in the province would know what’s happening with the recreational fishery.

It’s very important, Mr. Speaker, especially in these times of doom and gloom and everything else in our province, that people can look forward to going on the water and it’s safe. That’s the main thing I emphasize every time, is safety, that they don’t be pushed out on weekends when the wind is high and they’re taking chances, and taking chances with their lives.

Also, Mr. Speaker, people are wondering – because a lot of people want to plan holidays and people are coming home. I have a brother that I spoke to last week who said, did you hear anything on the fishery? When is it? Is it going to be the same time? I said I don’t know. People want to know because they plan trips and they plan their vacations around this.

It’s important that we, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, have the opportunity to go out and catch a fish like we’ve always done. It’s important to all Newfoundland, rural and people in around St. John’s. Everybody loves to go out and catch a cod.

I emphasize that these – they brag about their great relationship with their cousins and I know they’re speaking to their cousins in Ottawa. Can they get this done and get it done so the people of Newfoundland can know when this fishery is going to happen.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy, as introduced in Budget 2016, unfairly targets the middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to high-income earners;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately stop the introduction of the temporary Deficit Reduction Levy.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this levy has been a great cause of concern for many in Newfoundland and Labrador. The discussions we’ve had with people since budget day are truly, truly heart wrenching.

Mr. Speaker, I can understand, I think, how someone who’s never done without food or done without heat probably don’t realize the impact that this levy is going to have. As a person who has great experience with hard times, and having come from a rural area that has seen some really hard times, I can assure you for a senior citizen or for a single mother with two or three small children, trying to find $300 is a lot of money. For someone who’s working in the oil industry or making millions of dollars, it’s probably one less supper at Raymonds.

The people we’re talking about don’t even know what it would be like to go inside the door of a place, Mr. Speaker, like Raymonds. We have to live in the real world and the real world for many people in Newfoundland and Labrador is middle to low incomes.

Of everything we’ve seen in the budget – it’s all devastating; it’s all deplorable. None of it is what the people asked for. None of it is what the people voted for. The most upsetting thing of all we’ve seen is the levy.

I really don’t know who they’re listening to, or who they’re taking their advice from. Just last Friday night, a former Liberal premier of this province even suggested the levy be done away with. Listen to the people; go with the higher income tax brackets. I don’t know who they’re listening to. They’re not listening to the Liberals. They’re not listening to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Speaker.

The message is quite clear from every single resident of this province: Stop the levy. It’s absolutely terrible. The economic consequences and the social consequences that we are going to see a result of this budget and, in particular, this levy, are quite dire. Time will prove that this is the worst ever budget ever seen in Newfoundland and Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 2, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. P. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS emergency responders are at greater risk of post-traumatic stress disorder;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to enact legislation containing a presumptive clause with respect to PTSD for people employed in various front-line emergency response professions including firefighters, emergency medical services professionals, police officers, not already covered under the federal legislation.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this week being a week where we acknowledge and we discuss and we understand the importance of mental health and having discussions about mental health, I believe this petition is very timely at this point in time.

MR. JOYCE: (Inaudible.)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. P. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is better understood today than it ever has been before in history. It’s becoming better understood as time goes on. PTSD can affect front-line workers in many ways. It can be an illness and an impact related directly to the jobs they do in protecting the public in their various forms of emergency services that goes unnoticed for many, many years.

I know of a large number of cases where police officers, firefighters, medical emergency responders who, later in their career, are slowly and eventually figuring out that many of the illnesses they’ve endured during their lifetime, many of the experiences and the place they find themselves in that particular day is as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. Being exposed to chaotic and stressful, and quite often fatal circumstances, that quite often could be out of control and which they have to work at to bring under control and to provide those emergency responses.

We know now today, Mr. Speaker, as I said, better than ever before, how broadly and how ranging this is. Under today’s legislation, workers’ compensation has a very narrow view on who can be eligible for coverage under workers’ compensation for PTSD. As a matter of fact, when a person gets diagnosed with PTSD, if they file for workers’ compensation, they’ll be told: Tell me what event caused your illness? What event caused the PTSD?

We also know better than we ever did before that quite often it’s not a single event. It’s an accumulation of events. It’s that continuing mounting pressure and the stress on top of front responders, sometimes after months or years of being exposed to these chaotic situations, as I mentioned, some quite often fatal or multiple fatalities in a situation that it creates the PTSD.

This petition is to encourage our government to enact legislation containing a presumptive clause so that if a person is diagnosed with PTSD it would be presumed that it occurred in the workplace. Because, Mr. Speaker, quite often it is very difficult to prove otherwise but it’s a presumption that happens in other places in Canada under other circumstances. What this petition is doing is asking government to consider doing the same thing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS this Deficit Reduction Levy, as introduced in Budget 2016, unfairly targets the middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to high-income earners;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately stop the introduction of the temporary Deficit Reduction Levy.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. PETTEN: Mr. Speaker, as my colleague just spoke on a petition on the levy, I’d go a different angle with it. The levy, as we all know, has been well documented. It’s been a very unpopular levy. We’ve all been bombarded with emails. We understand the impact it’s on middle-income earners.

When you take that in insolation, people are upset. When you put that in conjunction with the rest of the budget items of your added 15 per cent to your insurance, your income tax, your gas tax, all fee increases, the levy is patently unfair to middle-class earners.

Mr. Speaker, as we have said here, I could bring in a stack of petitions to back up my claim of the people’s view on this levy. People have views. The levy is bad but altogether – the levy is just totally unpopular. It’s the most regressive, unpopular tax I think that’s ever been introduced. When you put it with everything else, this budget, in total, is just unbearable for most people.

I do call upon government to revisit the levy. Actually, as a matter of fact, I think they should revisit a lot, but start with the levy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth;

WHEREAS policy regulations link snow crab harvesting quotas to vessel length; and

WHEREAS many harvesters own fishing vessels of various sizes but because of the policy regulations are restricted to using a smaller vessel, often putting their crews in danger;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to make representation to the federal government to encourage them to change the policy, thus ensuring the safety of those harvesting snow crab.

I believe the minister would agree with this, Mr. Speaker, because what’s happening now today, we have an inshore, midshore and an offshore crab fishery. In a lot of cases the same fishermen are participating in all sectors of this fishery, both inshore – most with inshore and midshore. But the problem is and we have tragedy to show when we see a boat tied to the wharf and it is a 65 footer or 50 footer, and when someone has to go out in a 35-foot boat to harvest crab when they all have a bigger boat at the wharf. Last year, we just saw it in Arnold’s Cove with a crew, with a long liner tied up at the wharf. They had to go out in a smaller boat and people lost their lives.

This is unfortunate; it is very unfortunate. I think all Members in the House of Assembly that are familiar with this fishery – I’m sure the minister is – this policy has to change. Our people are on the water every day and they take their lives in their own hands. It’s a hard fishery. The fishery is done – I spoke to fishermen the other night and they were telling me they leaving at 12 o’clock tonight because there was a window there that the winds are not going to be as high as what they are. They could get out in three days and get back, so they went early because of the window.

Safety is a major issue in any fishery but in the crab fishery when fishermen, harvesters, have boats tied up to the wharf that would make their lives and make their health safer, and we have regulations in place that are forcing them in smaller boats, it’s a huge issue. It’s a huge issue in my district and I’m sure in most of the opposite Members’ districts it is also an issue in theirs.

Mr. Speaker, the policy hasn’t changed. The policy first came in so that we made sure that the inshore fishery was taken care of with the crab and gave them a quota. But today, you’ll see most of the fishermen are involved and harvesters are involved in the midshore, offshore and inshore.

So it’s time for this policy to change. I ask the Minister of Fisheries if he’d get his federal counterparts, talk to them about it because what we saw in Arnold’s Cove last year I hope never happens again. When you see a large vessel tied up at the wharf when they have to use a small vessel.

Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John’s North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENT: Mount Pearl North, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Mount Pearl North, my fault.

MR. KENT: Thank you.

I am rising to raise a petition on behalf of residents of St. John’s and Mount Pearl, actually, today. This petition is signed by residents of St. John’s.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’m glad to have an opportunity to raise concerns on behalf of parents and families of St. Peter’s Primary, both in St. John’s and Mount Pearl once again. I’m pleased to say that recently I did have some discussions with officials from the English School District, and was able to express a number of concerns and make some constructive suggestions on behalf of parents and others in the community as well.

Despite the fact our extension won’t be ready for this fall or even next fall – it will be ready for September 2018, I’m assured – there are things we can do to make the best of a bad situation over the next couple of years. That’s what I’m calling upon on behalf of my constituents, calling upon government and the school district to do just that.

For instance, we have a situation currently, but this September it gets even worse. We have an overcrowded school in Mount Pearl – significantly overcrowded – where there’s going to be a couple of modular classrooms added, there’s going to be four classes where team teaching is taking place, yet down the road at Mary Queen of the World School – also in Mount Pearl – there will be six empty classrooms in September – six empty classrooms.

So yes, it will cause some disruption, yes, there is a downside to forcing students and families to move and staff to move, but it’s unacceptable that we’re going to have an overcrowded building with modular classrooms and team teaching while down the road we have a building with six empty classrooms as of September. Both great schools, both with great administration and staff, and I believe there is a solution here, Mr. Speaker.

One suggestion that has been endorsed by many parents is creating a French immersion stream at Mary Queen of the World. It would deal with some of the overcapacity issues at St. Peter’s Primary, it would fully utilize that space that’s available, and it would take some of the pressure off St. Peter’s Primary at the same time.

So I think that’s one viable suggestion. If the department or the school district has other suggestions about how to make use of this space and address the overcrowding and space issues at St. Peter’s, then we would welcome those as well.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It’s an honour to stand in this House and present a petition that I received in my office.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 closed the Advanced Education and Skills office in Bonavista; and

WHEREAS the residents of Bonavista and surrounding communities require and deserve an appropriate level of service;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reconsider its decision to close the Bonavista Advanced Education and Skills office.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of sheets here signed by people from various communities in the surrounding area that the Bonavista office served, from Catalina, Little Catalina, Bonavista and the other communities around that.

Daily, we’re getting petitions in from various communities, particularly around the services that have been cut. The AES office is one that is near and dear to people’s hearts because it offers a multitude of services for people, particularly in rural communities. It offers something that is a hand up versus a handout, Mr. Speaker. I mean, we’re talking about employment programs. We’re talking about being the focal point for people who may want to look at the employment skillset that they may need.

They may want to look at what jobs are out there. How do they access those? That’s what our AES offices were very capable of doing. Making that connection, providing the services that people needed.

I had the privilege for 25 years of working in the AES system. I know all around the province the benefits they provide to their citizens. They’re unique, but at the same time they’re uniform. That everybody in this province has access to proper services.

We talked about employment, but we talked about education. We talked about Adult Basic Education. How people who sometimes are reliant on offices like that may need some additional supports and some additional guidance. The ABE program was a key one that partnered with the AES offices. The employment counsellors there, the intake officers, had a direct connection with the community based ABE programs or the college based ones over the years.

Income Support; people who are reliant when they have no other form of income, Income Support is a key component for their survival. It’s very important. There are all kinds of nuances and all kinds of processes to go through to ensure you get what’s adequate enough for your survival and to make sure you do it in an equitable way. If you happen to be able to move forward, you have a process to tell the officers that you’ve made a step forward, you’re no longer in need of Income Support. So that down the road you don’t get hit with this bill because unbeknownst, money kept going into your account.

We talked about housing. In a lot of these communities Newfoundland and Labrador Housing doesn’t have an office. So the AES office is that link between affordable housing and, particularly, subsidized housing in some of these communities. It’s a very important service that was being offered to the people through the AES offices. All eight have similar programs and skillsets by the trained employees who could offer that to individuals.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BRAZIL: There are a multitude of services they offer in the communities, Mr. Speaker.

I want to conclude by saying, every day I will get up and talk about the closure of AES and encourage government to reconsider.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’ll do a petition again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done this petition, but I’ll continue to do it.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in the Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

I’ve presented this petition numerous times because I have a lot of them, Mr. Speaker.

The other day it was brought to my attention – I was going to take a little break from them because I have presented quite often. The hon. the Minister of Justice, I think – I’m not sure, I may be wrong. I thought part of what he said was the petitions that’s been presented, there’s no change in the policing in CBS last year to this year.

He is 100 per cent right. I wasn’t the MHA last year, but I am this year. Last year, the MHA was one of his colleagues who also lobbied for increased police presence. Both sides of the House are in agreement with it. The former MHA was a Liberal MHA advocating for the same thing I am. I am the MHA on record today, not last year, and I will continue to lobby.

It is 27,000 people. I hear this every single day. The amount of crime in CBS – we don’t have a police office up there. We have two cars that float around. We’re being treated like a little municipality where you get a satellite fellow fly through every now and then. We’re the largest municipality in the province, outside of St. John’s, arguably, and all we have are two cars.

I’ll keep presenting these petitions because people actually want more of them. I just want to continue on down the road representing the people because they want more police presence and I’ll continue on.

MR. A. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I ask for leave to respond to the petition if the Members (inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Question Period.

MR. A. PARSONS: You don’t want answers. I was going to give you answers but, sorry, no leave. Okay.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, the minister has all the time to get up, but there’s only a couple minutes left now for me to do a petition that’s important to our people.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I can’t hear.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: Can you ask the minister to be quiet?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: – the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy, as introduced in Budget 2016, unfairly targets the middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to higher income;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to immediately stop the introduction of this temporary levy – as a reduction in the levy.

Mr. Speaker, everywhere you go people are talking about this budget. No matter where you go to anywhere. I know that the people in the province were hoping for better. I know they were hoping for better. What they were promised – and we see it on the ads every day, that people matter. You can’t lead unless you listen.

Well, listen to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I know some ministers think it is nonsense, another minister says it is what it is, but the people of Newfoundland are talking. Every one of the people over there in those districts knows what I’m talking about because they hear it every day too.

While the ministers get up and say we’re getting emails that are positive, read them out here in the House of Assembly. I have them here, look. I have them right here that’s showing what the people of Newfoundland and Labrador think of your levy. I can read them out all day long. They’re from your districts.

Please, I’m asking you on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, to listen to the people that put you in this House of Assembly. You’re just not listening. That’s why you were voted here. Your bosses are the people in the districts.

Ministers, you have districts also, so listen to the people in your districts. This is what they’re telling you. They don’t like the levy. They don’t like the burden you’re putting on them. It’s too much too fast. You’re not listening to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that elected you. Please listen to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and make changes to this ridiculous budget.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

We have time for a very quick petition.

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay East – Bell Island.

MR. BRAZIL: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 introduces over 50 new fees and over 300 other fee increases; and

WHEREAS Budget 2016 asks the people of this province to pay more for decreasing government services; and

WHEREAS the fee increases negatively impact the financial well-being of seniors, youth, families, students and individuals;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse the fee increases as introduced through Budget 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, over 300 fee increases are going to have a dramatic impact on people’s lives here. We’ve talked about not just the levies, we’ve talked about not just the other tax increases, but the fee increases around post-secondary education, about Adult Basic Education, about fees and services for insurance and for other relevant things that drive our economy here. We do implore the government here to review these fees and cut these as quickly as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me in the House this afternoon. I’ll read this petition into the record once again. I’ve received another petition related to Masonic Park Nursing Home and people that are very concerned about its upcoming closure.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the seniors of our province deserve the greatest level of respect and care; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a responsibility to act in the best interests of seniors; and

WHEREAS the government has decided to shut down Masonic Park Nursing Home and reduce long-term beds in the region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reverse its decision and not bring undue hardship upon the residents of Masonic Park and find alternative measures that will allow them to continue to stay at the place they call home.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I know I’ve raised this issue in the House multiple times. I’ve had an opportunity to meet with the minister about the issue, and I thank him for that. I’ve had an opportunity to meet with senior officials at Eastern Health, and I thank them as well. Unfortunately, government has no intention of reversing this decision, and there is still time, Mr. Speaker.

In this day and age, in this region, where we have 60 or 70 people today waiting for long-term care beds who are tying up hospital beds resulting in cancelled surgeries and people lying on stretchers in hallways, and backups in emergency rooms, with all of that happening I don’t see how you can possibly justify reducing the number of long-terms care beds in this region when we have so much demand that is impacting health care for our entire population.

Mr. Speaker, there have also been a number of statements made in response to the concerns that I’ve raised that are simply not true. It’s been said by the minister and government that Masonic Park long-term facility is in a state of disrepair – to use the minister’s words. It’s simply not true.

It also been said that all residents would just simply move down to Veterans Pavilion at the Miller Centre; also not true. There isn’t enough space at the Veterans Pavilion at the Miller Centre to accommodate all of the current residents of Masonic Park long-term care facility.

The minister has also said and government has said we’re not cutting long-term care beds. Well, that’s simply not true. The beds that are going to be utilized at Veterans Pavilion, there are about 30 or so beds that are going to be reopened that haven’t been opened in the last year or so. They are not new beds, but they’re being reopened, fair enough. But the government is closing 50.

Reducing long-term care beds right now when there’s such a demand is ridiculous, Mr. Speaker, and it’s affecting the families and the residents that I represent at Masonic Park Nursing Home. I will continue to fight this decision.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policy regulations link snow crab harvesting quotas to length of vessels; and

WHEREAS many harvesters own fishing vessels of various sizes, but because of policy regulations are restricted to using smaller vessels, often putting their crews at risk and in danger; and

WHEREAS the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to make representation to the federal government to encourage them to change the policy ensuring the safety of those harvesting snow crab.

Mr. Speaker, I did this petition last week and I spoke to the minister afterwards and he was in full agreement with me and he said it is something that we should be doing because it’s a safety issue with –

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) to tell the truth.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

MR. K. PARSONS: No, no you are talking about the wrong thing. I hope he apologizes for that. I’m talking about the size of vessels and snow crab harvesting.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Cape St. Francis.

MR. K. PARSONS: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, this is very important to the fishermen in the province, especially the people involved in the crab fishery. Again, like I explained last week in the crab fishery, there are a lot of different vessel sizes that people use to go catch crab inshore, midshore and offshore. What’s happening and we have seen it in the industry that in the inshore fleet usually a 35-9 size boat is used for that and midshore it’s a little bit larger and the larger ones go out.

What happened last year in this province, we saw a tragedy when people went out to go fish they went out in a 29- or 30-foot boat to catch crab and they capsized and lost their lives, while they had a larger vessel tied up at the wharf. We just have to think about our fishermen and what they go out in every day. We’re in the North Atlantic; it’s very rough and it can change from time to time.

Because of a policy that is done by the federal government, not this government, I’m asking them to lobby their cousins in Ottawa to change this because it’s so important. We’re putting people’s lives in danger. We’re putting fishermen that are going out on the water and working hard – they always look for a time to go out because of the weather we have. We’re here in the North Atlantic and it can get very, very rough.

I, myself, don’t like out on the water when it’s rough, but they’re forced to go out in small boats. There’s a simple solution to a lot of it. The solution is just change the policy so that fishermen can go out in a boat that’s safe to catch what they have to catch.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It’s an honour to present a petition here related to the budget impacts on Beachy Cove Elementary.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 provincial budget impacts adversely and directly the education programs of Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS parents request a one-year delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at our school until September 2017 when at such time the new five to nine middle school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will be open; and

WHEREAS the student population of Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and the growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS parents request the reinstatement of the previous teacher allocation formula for Beachy Cove Elementary for this year and subsequent school years to service the growth in enrolment and be able to provide all students with equal opportunities to enrol in French immersion programming;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocations and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour last night of attending the parent reps public meeting on the issues around education at Beachy Cove, particularly the impact this budget is going to have on them. The hundreds who attended – it got to a point where the fire department had to come and control who could get into the building. It was that many people, that many parents who were concerned in that community about where our education system is going and particularly the impact it’s going to have Beachy Cove.

They’ve talked about the capacity in the school system. A school that was built for 400, added on over the last number of years and now has a capacity of nearly 800 people – or 800 will be enrolled. They had issues around the busing, issues around parking, particularly issues around the teacher allotments. They also had major issues around blending classrooms, extreme issues around that, the number of issues that we had talked about today around teacher training around those areas, how it’s going to work, how the students are going to be selected.

They had some major issues around the French program being dropped, that kids who are on a list would not have an opportunity to get into the advanced French immersion program. No process of who gets into that. Where’s the fairness. Is it picked out of a hat? How is that enhancing our education system?

I might note, and I should note that the parent reps who put this off did an extremely professional job. They had a full PowerPoint where they outline the whole structure of the school system, the allocations of the particular makeup, what issues around blended schools and that would be about. Their issue is they’re not going to let this die, Mr. Speaker, they’re going to be lobbying, and this petition is phase one in their lobbying to ensure the changes take place.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 9, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune need to have access to adequate health care; and

WHEREAS the local clinics in rural areas are the main source of medical assistance for our people; and

WHEREAS the government has reduced funding and closed the Hermitage clinics and downgraded services in the Coast of Bays region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the services to the health care in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, it was a devastating day for us in the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune when we heard news that we were having significant cuts to health care in the region, the closure, complete closure of a clinic in Hermitage.

Mr. Speaker, for any of you who have travelled to my district, you would know that we are geographically very widespread. The weather is such that in the summertime, in the months of June, July and August, it’s nothing unusual to have 40 or 50 days straight of fog and you can’t see two feet in front of you. I’ve experienced that myself.

We have a growth in the aquaculture industry. The roads are narrow roads and there’s a heavy volume of transport traffic on that road. Seniors are nervous driving at the best of times, let alone having to flee across in an ambulance when they haven’t been stabilized at a clinic.

It is absolutely deplorable to see these types of services being downgraded. We have to do everything to reverse it. I am sure that Central Health can take a second look and find other areas of fat besides the front line services. If something has to be cut, trim the things that are non-essential but front line services are absolutely essential.

People coming from McCallum and Gaultois, they land in Hermitage off the ferry. There’s no taxi for them to call to get to Hermitage, so how are they going to get there? If they are a senior or if they are on income support, Mr. Speaker, then that cost falls to government because the cost of that taxi ride or the cost of that ride – once they find someone to bring them, because there is no taxi. So they’re going to have to see if there’s somebody available in the community who can help them when they get off the boat to get to Harbour Breton. It is absolutely outrageous what is happening here.

I implore the minister to go back, take a second look. Ask Central Health to take a second look at where some of the excess fat can be trimmed and restore those services to the front line. We also lost our dialysis, Mr. Speaker, and we lost visitation once a month to Hermitage and McCallum.

I’ll be back to speak about more. We are absolutely devastated and we will not stop until we see these services restored.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Mr. Speaker, I sat down purposely so I could let the lady get up before me, the gentleman that I am.

Mr. Speaker, a petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians when determining the dates of the recreational food fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to be vocal in calling for the Government of Canada to extend the recreational ground fishery to Newfoundland and Labrador to promote fairness, safety and tourism in our province.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, every time we get up here in the House of Assembly and we present petitions, we’re presenting petitions from Newfoundlanders and Labradorians because we want the government to listen to what they’re saying. I really don’t know if they are or not because I know all these petitions that are here presented today are important to the people that we present them for.

I just want to talk a little bit about the fishery because I really don’t know if the federal government is paying attention. I know that right now a lot of people in my area are waiting to see what the quotas are going to be on groundfish. The people in recreation are waiting to see what’s going to happen with the tag system this year that they’re talking about now. I heard this weekend that the tag system is going to cost too much money so they’re going to scrap it.

People want to know what’s on the go. Apparently they’re our cousins in Ottawa that are up there working, all six of them are up there working hard on the fishery for Newfoundland and Labrador. Well, the fishermen don’t think so and people in this province don’t think so because they’re not hearing anything. They need to hear something because it’s getting close; we’ll soon be in the middle of May – especially our fishermen, our fishermen are really concerned with what they’re hearing about quotas this year. They don’t know what the quotas are going to be.

People need to be prepared. A lot of this fishery is done through gillnetting and stuff like this so people have to get their gear ready before they go on the water, get the boats ready and stuff like this.

Again, with our recreational fishery, it’s very important that we let the people know that we’re not going to do what we did in the past. In the past we put people out. My biggest concern over the recreational fishery is when people go out that they have a safe day to be able to go out on the water. It’s so important. We’ve lost lives. Every year we’ve lost lives and lives that should never be lost.

People just want to know that they can go out and they can catch the fish for their families. They can bring it home. Their friends, neighbours, people can get out and catch a few fish, something that we’re all accustomed to, something that makes us who we are as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. It’s so important that this get done, but it’s getting dragged out. Now is the time. People want to know.

I’ve been presenting this petition since we started. I don’t think we’re any further ahead. I’ve talked to people and they really don’t know what’s happening. I call upon the Minister of Fisheries to call on the Premier to talk to your cousins in Ottawa and start thinking about our fishery.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m glad to have an opportunity to rise again today to present another petition to the House of Assembly.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve had some productive discussions recently with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. I was able to bring a number of concerns that have been raised by parents directly to the school board and make some suggestions about possible solutions that could improve upon a bad situation over the next couple of years.

We now know the extension won’t be ready until the fall of 2018. So for the next two schools years, there are things that can be done to make a really bad situation a little better. That’s all we’re asking for. Class sizes are a real concern. Admission into the French immersion kindergarten classes has now been capped. No additional students are being accepted or added for September. There are some minor modifications being made to the existing kindergarten classrooms to allow for a little more space by eliminating cloak rooms; not ideal, but at least some improvements are being made.

We’ve now learned only two modular classrooms can actually be accommodated on the school site. There’s a water line that runs behind the property that does pose a practical challenge in that regard. Additional portables would definitely improve the situation.

Because of the construction that’s upcoming, the playground at the school will be impacted, which is a real concern for parents. We don’t want children trapped in an overcrowded building all day long. When the weather co-operates it’s good for the kids to have a chance to get outside. There is an opportunity, potentially, to move the playground to the other side of the school with the co-operation of the neighbouring church. I’m glad that’s been explored. I’ve asked the school board to make that a priority as well.

Given the complexity of the situation and the overcrowding and the number of students with special needs at St. Peter’s, but mainly due to the overcrowding and the size of the school population, we’ve also asked that consideration be given to the addition of a second vice-principal position at the school which we think would help address some of the concerns that will inevitably arise in the fall as well.

A number of parents are expressing interest in bringing the school lunch program to St. Peter’s. I recognize that needs to be initiated at a school level. I hope that school officials will be pursuing that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KENT: Mr. Speaker, we’re going to have six vacant classrooms at Mary Queen of the World in the fall. Creating a French immersion stream at Mary Queen of the World would solve this long-term problem. It won’t solve it completely, but it will make a real difference. I hope to have a chance to address more points related to this issue the next time I get to speak.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It’s an honour for me to rise in this House today and present yet another petition from the very concerned residents of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

A petition: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune need to have access to adequate health care; and

WHEREAS the local clinics in rural areas are the main source of medical assistance for our people; and

WHEREAS the government has reduced funding and closed the Hermitage clinics and downgraded services such as dialysis and visitation to remote communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the services to the health care in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to rise in this House every day until we see a reversal of this decision that is devastating rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and, in particular, the Coast of Bays region.

The clinic in Hermitage serves well over 600 people in the immediate area of Hermitage-Sandyville-Seal Cove, as well as an additional several hundred from Gaultois and McCallum, Mr. Speaker, who can only access Hermitage via ferry. The additional drive now to Hermitage, with no taxi service in place, creates a serious issue not just for the residents of the islands, but for residents of Hermitage themselves, many of whom are seniors.

We’re also worried about the downloading of services to Harbour Breton where we’re going to see the loss of two nurses with the closure of the dialysis unit. People will be forced to leave their homes after 20 years lobbying for dialysis, finally achieving it, and then to have it ripped away so quickly. People now, they do not have the option, these patients, of home dialysis. They will have to uproot and move to St. John’s, Mr. Speaker, and in no way, shape or form is that helping rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Again, I ponder – they were mandated by the Liberal government to make $430,000 of cuts at Central Health. With the closure of the dialysis, the closure of the clinics and reduction of visitation to the islands, I think the Coast of Bays region is taking a disproportionate share of that cut from Central Health, and I truly believe there are other expenditures within the board that can be looked at before front-line services are cut, Mr. Speaker. People’s lives are at stake. Seniors, who have taken hit after hit after hit in this budget are getting hit yet again, perhaps in the most vulnerable area where health care is, Mr. Speaker.

This can mean the difference between life or death in some cases, I have no doubt, because of the geography of the area, the treacherous roads of the area and the dangerous weather conditions we have at times – be it fog in the summer or blizzards in the winter. The train is not safe at the best of times, Mr. Speaker, and so we will continue to raise our voices until we see this decision reversed.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the seniors of our province deserve the greatest level of respect and care; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a responsibility to act in the best interest of our seniors; and

WHEREAS the government has decided to shut down Masonic Park Nursing Home and reduce long-term care beds in this region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reverse its decision and not bring undue hardship upon the residents of Masonic Park and find alternative measures that will allow them to continue to stay at the place they call home.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, it’s one thing to bring a petition to the House of Assembly on behalf of your constituents, it’s another thing to stand and be counted when it really matters. I can assure you that in light of how devastating this budget will be for many families in my district I will be voting against the budget.

I’ve raised these concerns time and time again and I will continue to do so.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. KENT: When it comes time to take a stand and vote against this budget because of issues like this, I will be prepared to do so, unlike Members opposite.

The issues at Masonic Park have been exaggerated and misrepresented. The fundamental issue here is that we have a shortage of long-term care beds in this region. It’s impacting health care for all of us. We have people tying up acute care hospital beds at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a month that shouldn’t be there. They should be in long-term care beds.

We need to address this. It’s resulting in cancelled surgeries. It means people are lying on stretchers in hallways. It means that people are sitting in emergency rooms for longer.

Through this budget the Liberal Government is reducing the number of long-term care beds in the region. That’s a fact. Another fact is that the facility at Masonic Park, the long-term care facility, is in good shape. I would argue it’s in better shape than some of the other long-term care homes in the region.

For the minister to suggest that the place is in a state of disrepair, it’s not true. He also said that all residents will be able to move to the Veterans Pavilion down at the Miller Centre, also not true. There aren’t enough beds to accommodate all of them if they choose to go there.

The minister said he is not cutting or reducing beds in this region, also not true. We have great needs in every region of this province when it comes to long-term care. Despite the financial challenges the province faces, this is not a time to be reducing the number of long-term care beds. I will continue to take a stand and oppose this on behalf of the constituents that I represent and constituents across the province as well.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 decreased the amount of funding available for health care services; and

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016, Eastern Health has reduced routine breast cancer screening in women aged 40 to 49; and

WHEREAS early detection of cancer results in the best prognosis possible;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to direct Eastern Health to reverse its decision and to ensure that the population-based breast screening program is accessible to women aged 40 to 49.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve brought this petition to the floor of the House and will continue to bring this petition to the floor of the House until we see a reversal of this decision, not just at Eastern Health but at all the health boards across the entire province because every single life matters. It astounds me.

There was a very strong advocacy and lobby movement for breast cancer screening by Members opposite when they sat in Opposition. One of their former colleagues, a lady I respect very well, who is an MP now in Ottawa, actually lobbied this House quite hard and delivered petition after petition after petition to see breast cancer screening take place. We certainly have great respect and admiration for Yvonne Jones, and we will continue the fight to get breast cancer screening back in our province.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 provincial budget impacts adversely and directly the education program at Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS the parents request a delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at our school until September 2017, when at such time the new five-to-nine middle school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will open; and

WHEREAS the student population at Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and this growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS the parents request the reinstatement of the previous teacher-allocation formula for Beachy Cove Elementary for this year and subsequent school years to service the growth in enrolment and to be able to provide all students with equal opportunities to enroll in the French immersion program;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocation and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to a quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve heard in the media and I’ve noted it here in the House of Assembly through questions I’ve asked and presenting this petition in the past, there’s a real upheaval when it comes to offering proper education to the people of Beachy Cove Elementary.

There has been a backlash by parents, by administrators, by teachers, by the students, by the general population in that community and other communities about what’s happening to our education system with the cuts in this budget.
The parents have particularly looked at the impacts it’s going to have. There are four key areas where they’re going to be regressive in their education process, particularly at Beachy Cove, and that’s around intensive core French ability.

Students who would have jumped into the French immersion but want to go the mainstream English system, knowing when they got to grade five, they could make the decision that grade six they would be into the core French program, but now that has been taken away. We’re having things like a lottery, picking names out of a hat. There’s no justification around those kids who really want to move to it, their previous background in it, any potential they had for what they want to do with the French program itself. None of that has been taken into account. They’ve backed the administrators into a corner.

Administrators sometimes are being seen as being callous in their decision making, but they have no other choice. They’ve been forced by the Department of Education who, in turn, forced the school board to make these choices based on simple issues around cutting teacher allocation to save money without having any vision about where the education system needs to go, or how you invest money or keep it at the level it is.

We’ve had a pretty good education system. No doubt, there’s room for improvement. There’s no doubt that every day we talk about how we can better encourage our education system to be more inclusive, how we can look at better training teachers, how teachers themselves take a better role in their communities and how the communities partner with them also.

Mr. Speaker, I present this on behalf of the people of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s and the school council itself.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

I present this petition: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 introduces over 50 new fees and increases over 300 fees; and

WHEREAS Budget 2016 asks people of this province to pay more for a decrease in government services; and

WHEREAS these fee increases negatively impact the financial well-being of seniors, youth, families, students and individuals;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse these fee increases as introduced through Budget 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, as we hear every day in the House, in the media and whatnot about the levy, that it is no doubt a huge issue. I hear it on a constant basis.

You take everything else into – but if you take it in silos, it’s different. You take it in all total context and you add the levy, the insurance tax, the gas tax, income tax increase – most budgets in past years you’d get a couple of increases and you’d get some fee increases traditionally to generate some more revenue. You’d zero in on a specific sector. This budget, if you said fee increases and everything else remained the same, it’d be kind of tolerable. When you throw the fee increase on top of everything else, it’s a huge burden.

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of seniors in my district who I hear from a lot actually, quite often. They just don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet with any of this budget. Then you’re throwing fees from – every service you require now it’s an increase in the fees. Again, I say people are crying out. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and a lot of others have said the same thing. It’s unheard of; it’s astounding. They’re not getting answers from the government. The ministers are – it seems like everyone is just put everything on mute. People are looking for answers.

I say this every time I get up in the House and I’ll say it again here today that everything in separation don’t look so bad. You put it all together and it’s crippling on the economy, it’s crippling on seniors, low-income, middle-income earners. I really, really, really would wish the hon. Members opposite would start paying attention to the public. Forget about us, they need to start listening to the people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 16, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016 X-ray services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre will be closed after 4 p.m. until 8 a.m.; and

WHEREAS this will mean that anyone needing an X-ray after 4 p.m. will have to travel elsewhere via ambulance; and

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016 laundry services will also be cut resulting in laundry being transferred to St. John’s;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately direct Eastern Health to reverse cuts to X-ray and laundry services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I was contacted by a resident of the Bonavista area who was unable to get a response from his MHA about this petition. So I agreed that I would present a petition on behalf of residents. The residents who are on today’s petition are from communities like: Port Union, Keels, Bonavista, Elliston, Catalina, Spillars Cove, Newmans Cove and a number of other areas on the Bonavista Peninsula as well.

The petition continues to be circulated and I anticipate receiving similar petitions from residents of the Bonavista Peninsula in the days and weeks ahead, and I’ll do my best to bring those to this House of Assembly on behalf of those residents.

I received one letter from a gentleman in the Bonavista area who’s a father. He wrote and he said without X-ray services at the Bonavista hospital, his son probably wouldn’t be with us today. He provides some commentary as well about the impact of cuts to X-ray services and he argues that there isn’t cost savings.

One of the things that the residents of the Bonavista Peninsula would like to see is proof that closing an AES office or reducing X-ray services or making changes to laundry services will actually result in savings. He says with regard to the cost savings, there is none.

One certified X-ray technician position, for the sake of lives, isn’t saving money when I will have to pay for an ambulance, which government subsidizes, a nurse and/or doctor to travel to Clarenville as well, an hour and a half away from Bonavista, which is time enough to determine whether his son lives or not. Upon arrival to the referring hospital, an X-ray technician will have to be called in.

His argument is that there could actually be more costs incurred as a result of these changes. So the residents are looking for answers. They don’t want their health care services eroded. They feel they have been unfairly targeted in this budget when it comes to cuts not only in health care, but in other government departments as well.

In the days and weeks ahead, I look forward to presenting further petitions on behalf of residents of the Bonavista Peninsula who are very concerned about these recent budget cuts.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’d like to present this petition: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 closed the Advanced Education and Skills office in Bonavista; and

WHEREAS the residents of Bonavista and surrounding communities require and deserve an appropriate level of service;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government reconsider its decision to close the Bonavista Advanced Education and Skills office.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to stand in this House and present a number of petitions, particularly around the impact that the closures of the AES offices will have on these communities. A lot of these are remote communities or they’re in isolated areas, or they themselves are the hub for a number of surrounding communities. In Bonavista’s case here, we have people here who have signed from King’s Cove, Plate Cove East, Melrose, Catalina, Bonavista and all the other surrounding community areas there.

I would like to note, too, that along with the Bonavista closure we have the other areas: Baie Verte, for example, Mary’s Harbour, Bell Island, Norris Point, Hopedale, Nain and Twillingate.

As I mentioned at the beginning, all of these are key service, oriented communities that other communities feed into. They are either isolated, that they stand on their own and all the residents use the AES office for a multitude of services. Above and beyond what normally the Advanced Education and Skills would offer, they become the hub for the connector between – if it’s Municipal Affairs, if it’s Health, if it’s Education, if it’s Tourism, Culture, Business Development. Whatever line departments it may be, they serve a very important component to enhancing programs and services for the people there.

I’ve noticed in my own community of Bell Island, and it has a similar process when it comes to Bonavista, that it’s a standalone, yet it can service people in the immediate area. There’s isolation. When you’re in Bonavista to be able to get to your nearest hub, it’s not just down the street. It is not, let’s get a ride with our neighbour. It’s not, well, on the way home from somewhere I’ll pick it up. It doesn’t work that way.

The services there are necessary, and they’ve been there for decades and decades for a reason. It’s helped drive the economy. It’s helped to educate people. It’s helped get people access to services they didn’t know existed. It’s helped the government at different levels, from municipal, provincial and federal to be able to promote the services they have. It’s also been a noted area to engage citizens. Citizens have been able to go there for engagement processes where they’ve been asked to give their opinion on certain programs and services. This has been a very valuable tool to those communities that exist in those particularly isolated areas.

It’s an injustice to be closing those without giving any real thought to the service. I’m confident, and I’ve said it as somebody who worked nearly 30 years for that department, that this will cost the government much more than what they’re going to save on these closures and take away the service to the people of this province.

Mr. Speaker, I present this petition.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune need to have access to adequate health care; and

WHEREAS the local clinics in rural areas are the main source of medical assistance for our people; and

WHEREAS the government has reduced funding and closed the Hermitage clinics and downgraded services throughout the region;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the services to health care in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, as we heard in Question Period today, there’s $30 million just sitting to the side for goodness knows what, when for a million dollars we can keep the health care clinics open in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s absolutely shameful that in this day and age we see a government making these kinds of decisions. It’s certainly very dismaying for rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

In fact, the residents of Hermitage, Seal Cove, Gaultois and McCallum are extremely upset. It’s being portrayed by the government opposite well, oh, it’s just a half an hour drive to the next nearest clinic. But that’s not even accurate. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Hermitage and about an hour’s drive from Seal Cove. It takes an hour and a half by ferry from McCallum to even land in Hermitage or a half an hour by ferry from Gaultois to even land in Hermitage.

At the same time, we’re seeing visitation to my island communities, which have no way in and out other than by ferry from twice a month down to once a month. At the same time as they are closing the clinic and decreasing services, they’re cutting two nurses in the Harbour Breton hospital, sending an additional 1,000 people their way and taking two nurses out of the system, Mr. Speaker.

All of us are at a loss as to how the Department of Health can justify mandating Central Health to make such drastic cuts in rural areas. We strongly feel that this government is being very punitive to rural Newfoundland and Labrador, and we’re very worried about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador with this government at the helm.

Certainly, if you look to my district, with the increase in aquaculture in our area we do have a higher volume of traffic. We have a larger workforce. We have an increased risk, I guess, at the plant which is operating flat out all the time – a wonderful thing – but now if there’s an industrial accident, almost an hour away from a hospital. This can be a matter of life or death, Mr. Speaker, and it is going to be too late after something happens.

In the mayor’s letter that he recently sent to the minister – and I truly hope that the minister responds timely and favourably and grants their request for a meeting to discuss this most serious issue – he asks why we are being looked at as second-class citizens. We deserve health care, just like the rest of the province. We can’t be dismissed just because we live in rural communities. Rural communities, Mr. Speaker, make up over half of this province.

We will continue to fight until this government recognizes rural Newfoundland and Labrador is just as important as anywhere else and we deserve health care.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I applaud my colleague here on the side of me for standing up for people.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. K. PARSONS: To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the federal government cannot justify discriminating against Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in determining the dates of the recreational food fishery;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to be vocal in calling the Government of Canada to extend the recreational food fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote fairness, safety and tourism in our province.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Every week since we started in the House of Assembly, Mr. Speaker, I presented this petition. I’m going to continue to present it. Everywhere I go people are asking the question: Where are we to? I’m sure the Member for St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows hears it every time he comes out, I’m sure the people in St. Anthony, I’m sure the people on the Northern Peninsula, I’m sure the people in Bonavista – we want to know where are Members are and where the Minister of Fisheries is in trying to get this out.

This is about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, about who we are as a people. It’s about a right that we had and our forefathers had for years to go out and catch a fish in safety.

The biggest thing about this whole thing, Mr. Speaker, is the safety aspect of it. The federal government issues three weeks a year to go out in July, then a couple of weeks in September to go out. In September, hardly anybody gets out because it’s too rough to go out there. The people who do go out, they risk their lives every day to go out and catch a few fish.

All we’re asking is for our government to advocate to the federal government, talk to your cousins and ask them if they can put this forward for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a safety issue and we want to see that our fisherman and our people can go out on the water like everybody else in Atlantic Canada and catch a cod.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

This, too, is a petition that has been presented many times, but we have to continue on.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy as introduced in Budget 2016 unfairly targets the middle class; and

WHEREAS the Deficit Reduction Levy asks low-income earners to pay more than their fair share instead of increasing taxes to high-income earners;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately stop the introduction of the temporary Deficit Reduction Levy.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, on a personal note, I’ve joked with a couple Members opposite that the word levy and anything that rhymes with it is becoming a bit more challenging. We’re faced with a situation where you run into on a daily basis – I guess there doesn’t be a day that passes that people don’t discuss it. Their fear, their issue is – and I keep to the basics, the low level; it’s the people on the ground who really matter. They keep saying: Why isn’t anybody listening?

The Third Party has made a private Member’s motion for this week. We all on this side of the House continually, every opportunity we get – I’ve had hundreds of emails, as does most Members in this House. That seems to be the real bone of contention.

I guess to put it in context, what stuck out to me last week, I spoke to a lawyer, a government worker, a teacher and just your regular run of the mill, your average person, every one of those people, no matter what their income levels, from top to bottom, complained about the levy, head tax, cover charge – they used these terms, not me.

I know that Members opposite probably turned the mute button on this issue, and it will come to light as we proceed through this session, but they should stop and – again, I use the words pause and reflect, because this is a huge issue. In addition to everything else in this budget, the levy is – I’ve never seen such a lightning rod for anger in people. It amazes me; it really does amaze me how Members opposite don’t take this more seriously.

I know one Member presented a petition on this exact issue from his constituents, and I applaud the Member for that, but I wish the entire government opposite would take this matter more seriously and listen to the people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016, X-ray services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre will be closed after 4 p.m. until 8 a.m.; and

WHEREAS this will mean that anyone needing an X-ray after 4 p.m. will have to travel elsewhere via ambulance; and

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016, laundry services will also be cut resulting in laundry being transferred to St. John’s;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately direct Eastern Health to reverse cuts to X-ray and laundry services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, we’re hearing from concerned people right across Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve been hearing a lot from people on the Bonavista Peninsula. Today’s petition is signed by residents of Port Union, Bonavista and Catalina. They’re very concerned about cuts, not only to health services but to other services in the region as well.

In fact, there’s a story in the media today featuring a community activist who is so concerned about cuts to the AES office that she used her own vehicles to block the doors of the office. It’s a sign of desperation, Mr. Speaker.

People feel they’re not being heard. They’re not being listened to. They don’t have a voice. So we will do our best to ensure people, no matter where they live in the province, no matter what district they find themselves in, that they do have a voice.

Specifically to the health services, there are many concerns being expressed by residents of the Bonavista Peninsula. One resident wrote me and feels that physicians will no longer want to come here to work, with no diagnostic testing available on evenings and weekends. Locum physicians will also be reluctant to come here during physician shortages.

Nurses are already working tremendous amounts of overtime and extra hours. The lack of X-ray services will result in increased workload with transfers to other facilities, usually double time for travel, increase stress for nurses monitoring patients who do not have a diagnosis. It’s a major patient safety issue. X-rays are used to rule out many different types of potentially life-threatening conditions. This will affect Port Rexton, Trinity, the Southern Bay down to Bonavista.

Mr. Speaker, people have real concerns. They want answers on how any of this will actually save money and they want answers on how it will impact their safety and their lives on the Bonavista Peninsula.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to raise these concerns in the House of Assembly on behalf of those residents.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Today I present a petition to the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS our province’s seniors deserve quality care and assistance when residing in long-term care facilities; and

WHEREAS our province is currently experiencing an escalating shortage of long-term care beds;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to explore all options, including partnerships, to create new long-term care beds in the province.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I guess this is an issue that’s been talked about at great length over the last number of years. Everyone knows long-term care is one of the biggest issues facing our seniors in the province. As we all know, we have an aging population. Seniors have been a great topic of discussion.

The previous government made great strides toward trying to deal with the long-term care shortage in the province by moving forward on some new strategies and creating more long-term care beds; but, as we know, the current government decided to go another route which we’ve yet to see the alternate plan outside of closing Masonic Park.

Mr. Speaker, seniors need our attention. They are asking for us to speak up for them, which is what we’re doing here now. Long-term care is a real issue. Sound bites are great but action is better.

The closure of Masonic Park is – even though a net gain, net loss. We’re being told there was no loss in beds but regardless, the beds that were lost at Masonic Park are still lost through the system.

When you have our hospitals being occupied now by seniors waiting to get into a long-term care home, it is a real issue, Mr. Speaker. I deal with it in my own district. I have several heartbreaking stories of seniors trying to get into homes, trying to get with their spouse. We have a real shortage.

We’re still waiting on the current government to follow through on some of their commitments. As I said before, you live in hope and die in despair, but I hope it is a hopeful thought.

We need to find ways to make progress. Find new innovative ways to deal with the real issue being experienced by real people in this province, Mr. Speaker, and they are seniors.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Bell Island deserve to have access to services that will assist them to gain employment and education; and

WHEREAS these services have provided proven results to the people of our province; and

WHEREAS decisions made in this budget by the current government have removed the Advanced Education and Skills office from Bell Island;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the office of Advanced Education and Skills on Bell Island.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege over my career, for a number of years working in the management field, of going back to Bell Island, my hometown, to work in the AES office.

I think a little bit of history for people when it comes to the importance of the AES office. Coming from a community that was a one-industry town, a very vibrant one, the second largest populace in the province next to St. John’s, and in the ’60s when that all fell apart, obviously, people who were based on a particular skill, a lot of it around labour intensive work, had to concentrate then – if there was no employment in this province at the time. In the mid to late ’60s things weren’t exactly booming in this province. People were stuck there with minimal education levels and minimal ability to gainfully find employment. So they had to rely on Income Support and social services of the day.

That office was integral over the last 40 years of giving people a hand up – and not a hand out – of finding ways to better engage the citizens, give them access to upgrading their education. The Adult Basic Education program – going back 30 years when the college system still existed there, before it was cut by a former Liberal administration – was very important in giving people the ability to get their high school equivalency, but also to get a trade.

Next to CONA at the time, or CNA campus here in St. John’s, Bell Island had the largest campus. Five hundred students would go there every year from all over the province. It gave an opportunity for those who were on Income Support to be assessed and provided services.

As we move forward over the next generations, we found a different way of engaging people. The old days of the make-work projects – the make-work projects were important because it gave people a sense of pride; it gave them an ability to give something back to the community. Most of our communities were enhanced by the investments we did. It also got people into a routine of figuring I’d like to be able to go to another level, either upgrade my education or find some enhancement around employment.

The AES office as we know it now has evolved to a point where it’s a support mechanism for people who come there, single parents who come there, older workers who come there, young people who have struggled in the school system and those who want to get back into the workforce. That process has been used to support people. Taking that away right now is detrimental to rural Newfoundland and Labrador and particularly Bell Island.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. P. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS emergency responders are at greater risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to enact legislation containing a presumptive clause with respect to PTSD for people employed in various front-line emergency response professions including firefighters, emergency medical services professionals and police officers not already covered under federal legislation.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, it’s not my first time getting up in the House on this particular petition that has been presented and provided to me. It’s not, but I think it’s very fitting this week being Police Week. Just today, as we heard about earlier in today’s business, there was a service today to remember and to honour those police and peace officers who have given their lives in the course of their duty.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you over the last six months to a year, I’ve learned more about PTSD than I ever did during 25 years in my policing career. I’ve also learned and become better understanding of how significant the impact can be.

I know there are many, many front-line responders, police officers, emergency medical technicians and firefighters who suffer from PTSD today, and quite often do it quietly. They do it quietly because of the stigma quite often associated with mental health, but they also do it quietly because they are afraid they are going to lose their ability for income.

Under today’s regulations, under workers’ compensation, a first responder or any person who’s diagnosed with PTSD has to provide a particular event that caused the PTSD. The most recent studies show, that’s not usually where PTSD comes from. It usually comes from many, many years of being exposed to chaotic, traumatic and difficult circumstances that over several years, many years, it could be a shorter period of time or a longer period of time, PTSD develops. Under current rules, those people are not eligible for workers’ compensation under rules that exist today.

What this petition is about is creating a presumptive clause. So if a first responder gets diagnosed with PTSD, it would be presume to have been a workplace injury and they won’t have to go to the difficulty of trying to establish it was a workplace injury, when they are not able to do so. When there are most critical and difficult and challenging times in their lives, when the last thing they want to talk about is the trauma they’ve been exposed to during their entire career.

Mr. Speaker, this is a petition we’ll see today. I think it’s fitting during police week while we acknowledge the hard work of police officers and first responders. This is going to be very important. The understanding is growing and the effort and the desire for better legislation is going to continue.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m glad today to rise and put this petition before the House.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS changes to bus routes will impact start up time at St. Bernard’s Elementary and Mobile Central High; and

WHEREAS these changes were put in place with no consultation with school councils or parents; and

WHEREAS this will cause issues for parents, after-school programs and students;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to immediately instruct the English School District to reverse the decision regarding busing and start time for these two schools.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity last night to meet with residents of the area, from Bay Bulls to Bauline, to look at this budget and the repercussions of some of the choices that have been made in regard to our children from the very youngest, from K to grade 12, and for the two schools we have in Mobile from seven to 12 and the K to six in St. Bernard’s. There’s been a lot of outcry in terms of how this was done, the repercussions of it for our families and for our children in regard to start times for our very youngest.

I think we’re going to look at times of 7 o’clock and shortly after of young children waiting at stops for bus pickups, which is very serious in terms of our very youngest. As well, changes in regard to earlier dates that, as a result of the reduction in buses, are going to be resulting in pickups where we have families with kids that the older sibling may take care of the younger.

People commute for work and for their profession. Right now they’re able to access, because of the schedule now, after-school care. I know in Bay Bulls there are after-school programs and in Witless Bay. All of those kids now, their schedules and after-school help – whether that’s involved with academics or schooling or for sports – all of that is now in place.

So this totally disrupts that pattern for students and for families. It really needs to be addressed in terms of why it was done. The parents I met with last night were unclear in terms of what the return was for this and how it’s so disruptive for our children. We know a day that gives children time to access what they need to access in the run of that day is important. That’s strictly tied to busing and their trip to school and back from school.

I’m certainly delighted to be able to present this on behalf of the constituents in that region. I call on government to address this and address it immediately.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS changes to the bus routes impact start times at Holy Trinity Elementary, Cape St. Francis Elementary and Holy Trinity High School; and

WHEREAS these changes were put in place with no consultation with parents, families and against all the recommendations of the school council;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately instruct each school district to reverse its decision regarding busing and start times for these schools.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I attended a silent protest this morning at two schools in my district, and it was amazing. At the high school there were at least 100 high school students there, and they are so upset over this and fear what’s going to happen next year. They’re looking at times they’ll get home in the evenings – Torbay, some students told me this morning, they figure it’s going to be a little bit after 4 p.m. For people in Pouch Cove, Flatrock and Bauline, they figure 4:30, quarter to 5 p.m.

Anyone that’s involved in any after-school activities, that’s very, very serious for these people. Just think about the safety aspect of it all. We’re going to have children get on the bus in the dark. I know it’s done in other parts of the province – the minister said yes, it’s done in other parts. Yes it is, but that doesn’t make it right for the safety part of it. We’re talking Torbay area where traffic is high. Right now, the last study that was done by the Torbay Elementary School showed something like 11,000 cars a day that passes by that school. That’s a very heavy traffic area, and you’re going to expect children from kindergarten to grade six to get on a bus in the dark. Students told me the other night that 56 days a year, they figure, that it’s going to be dark when they get on the bus.

There’s no need of it. There is a solution to it. Right now there are some double bus routes. I witnessed this morning that two buses were there at the door and the students stayed on the bus for 15 minutes before they were allowed to get off. So the buses were there a little earlier this morning in the elementary school. So if these children were allowed to get off a little early, that will give them the time to go take the high school students.

Mr. Speaker, I was presented the other night at a meeting that was held with about 150 people that showed up – and a lot of students, parents, grandparents, and everyone. I was asked by the students of Holy Trinity High School to present a petition to the minister, and I have the petition here today with 480 names of students. If you’re not going to listen to the parents, if you’re not going to listen to the grandparents, please listen to the students, listen to their concerns.

Here’s a petition that I present today with 480 names on it.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: Please, Minister, listen to these students.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The time for speaking has expired.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I have brought similar petitions to this House of Assembly before signed by residents of both Mount Pearl and St. John’s. I’d like to pick up on a couple of the points, specifically, in the petition that have come up recently in the House of Assembly.

Most parents, I won’t say all, obviously, but most parents and most educators believe that the correct thing to do is delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten. I’m disappointed we’re in that position. I’m an advocate for full-day kindergarten. I think most people agree it’s the right thing to do, just not now.

It’s being implemented this year at the expense of the rest of the education system in this province. It’s just not right. There is a better way. A delay is unfortunate, but it would solve some other problems that are now being created in our education system.

The minister has said in this House recently that I should have pushed the previous government to advance the extension for St. Peter’s Primary school. Well, it’s this current administration that has delayed the extension by a year. It was on track for 2017. Now it will be 2018. So we’re talking about two school years where there’s going to be grossly inadequate space at St. Peter’s Primary. A couple of portable classrooms are being added. Unfortunately, there’s no space on the school grounds for more, but the school could actually use four more. So it is a real overcrowding problem.

Meanwhile, down the road, elsewhere in Mount Pearl, at Mary Queen of the World, we have a school that’s going to have six empty classrooms in September. The answer – and I know members of the school council agree because I talk to them, and I talk to them far more often than the Minister of Education. The answer is to create a French immersion stream at Mary Queen of the World and address the zoning issues which would help deal with some of the space issues at St. Peter’s Primary.

Instead, we have a situation where classrooms are going to sit empty in one school, while another one is bursting at the seams. There is a solution. If the school board would listen and if the government would listen and if the Minister of Education would listen, then we could make some progress.

I look forward to speaking to this further, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for the District of Fortune Bay – Cape Lune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune need to have access to adequate health care; and

WHEREAS the local clinics in rural areas are the main source of medical assistance for our people; and

WHEREAS the government has reduced funding and closed the Hermitage clinic and downgraded services in all of the isolated communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the services to health care in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, I’m rising on a regular basis to present this petition in the House because I am in shock at the complete devastation the Liberal government has imposed on rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Be it education, be it libraries, be it health care, the very core principles and fundamentals of a decent quality of life. And the Liberals are ripping it away from rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

One thing I’d like to be able to stand here in the House today and assure the people – 2019, don’t ever forget what has happened with this budget and what has happened to rural Newfoundland, what has happened to education, health care and libraries. I have confidence that successive governments will correct it, Mr. Speaker, if this government doesn’t come to its senses and make some corrective action before the budget passes.

This is absolutely devastating. To look at a rural, remote area like the Coast of Bays, which is geographically isolated, where there is no snow clearing after 6 o’clock in the wintertime – we have to really get to Grand Falls for any type of advanced medical care at all. And to save a life, Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely essential that we have front-line services directly in the communities.

In the absence of that, Mr. Speaker, I dread to think what will happen to our people unnecessarily. I fear gravely that lives will be lost and whatever we can do to reverse this decision must be done. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador deserves better.

One of the things that I heard over and over and over again in the election: people matter. Well, it is time to start showing that people matter, Mr. Speaker. And time for the government to reverse some of these terrible decisions that have been made in Budget 2016.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016 X-ray services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre will be closed after 4 p.m. until 8 a.m.; and

WHEREAS this will mean that anyone needing an X-ray after 4 p.m. will have to travel elsewhere via ambulance; and

WHEREAS as a result of Budget 2016 laundry services will also be cut, resulting in laundry being transferred to St. John’s;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately direct Eastern Health to reverse cuts to X-ray and laundry services at the Bonavista Peninsula Community Health Centre.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the petition I’m presenting today, I continue to receive them from the Bonavista Peninsula. The petition I present today is signed by many residents of Bonavista and Elliston, as well as Birchy Cove. Residents of the Bonavista Peninsula are very concerned about how this budget, as the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune was saying a few minutes ago, is an attack on rural regions and rural communities.

These particular cuts to health care services in the Bonavista region will have a real impact on people. I heard from one parent who is very concerned about the impact it will have on his own family. He believes there will be no cost savings at all. He says one certified X-ray technician position, for the sake of lives, isn’t saying money when I’ll have to pay for an ambulance which government subsidizes, a nurse and/or a doctor to travel to Clarenville as well, an hour and half away from Bonavista, which is time enough to determine whether or not my son lives or not. He goes on to explain why he believes this move will not, in fact, save any money.

So we’ve asked before and we’ll ask again: Is there any proof, is there any evidence to suggest that reducing these services will actually result in cost savings? Even if it does, it still may not be the right thing to do. But residents are saying, show us the proof that these moves will actually result in cost savings.

There’s also a concern being expressed by residents of the Bonavista Peninsula about the availability of physicians. One resident says physicians will no longer want to come here to work with no diagnostic testing available on evenings and weekends. Locum physicians will also be reluctant to come here during physician shortages. Nurses are already working tremendous amounts of overtime and extra hours. The lack of X-ray services will result in increased workload with transfers to other facilities, usually paid at a higher rate for travel, increased stress for nurses monitoring patients that don’t have a diagnosis.

This is a major patient safety issue, Mr. Speaker. X-ray is used as a diagnostic tool to rule out many different types of potentially life-threatening conditions. So this will affect residents all over the Bonavista Peninsula. It’s why hundreds of residents are signing petitions, and it’s why we’ll continue to raise this issue in in the House of Assembly, even if their own MHA won’t.

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Bell Island deserve to have access to services that will assist them to gain employment; and

WHEREAS their services have provided proven results to the people of our province; and

WHEREAS decisions made in this budget by the current government have removed the Advanced Education and Skills office from Bell Island;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the office of Advanced Education and Skills on Bell Island.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve presented this a number of times, but last night I had a gathering to discuss some of the issues on the budget and had a number of citizens who are only now realizing, as the office closed the beginning of May, that these services no longer are at their disposal, that they no longer can avail of those services that they took for granted. They were services that they needed for everyday life, for enhancing their academics, for enhancing their employability, for providing for particular services – some around health care, some around mental health, some around some inclusion processes.

What I might note, too, that it’s not only Bell Island that lost its AES office, it is other remote and isolated communities in this province, particularly in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Baie Verte, for example, again, very reliant, and it’s only the last couple of weeks that I’m getting emails, as the critic, from community members in those respective communities. They, like the residents of Bell Island, are realizing the service is gone. We no longer have access to those types of services that we rely on and we need.

Now they’re sort of saying we’re left in limbo. They’re saying go to your nearest service centre which, in some cases, is hundreds of kilometres away. In some cases, it’s so remote when I go through the list, that it’s almost impossible, unless you own your own plane or in the middle of winter you take your Ski-Doo 300 or 400 kilometres.

Baie Verte is one I’ve gotten numerous emails from people asking, how do we reinstate these services? How do we access the services that we’re always reliant on and need? Bonavista, again – and we’ve noticed a number of cuts in the Bonavista area. This is another obviously devastating issue for people there. How do they avail of those services? Particularly in communities that are very vulnerable when it comes to their economy.

One year it may be up because the fishing industry or mining industry or another manufacturing industry may be very fluent and working very well. The markets may change. There may be devastation in those communities and all of a sudden the one centre they could go to get some supports and some guidance doesn’t exist. Norris Point is another isolated area. Twillingate, another key area that is the hub for all that area, has lost its office.

Let’s talk about Labrador; Hopedale, Nain and Mary’s Harbour. You just can’t go down to the nearest – you can’t walk down the street, get a ride down, go in and get your services, explain your situation to the AES worker and then get the service you need and get guided somewhere else. It doesn’t exist that way. Those services don’t exist.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to put these petitions, not only from my own community and my own district, but the other seven offices that have closed in this province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS libraries promote literacy and provide access to information for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; and

WHEREAS communities in our province depend on libraries to increase their knowledge and further their opportunities; and

WHEREAS the closures of libraries in the District of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune, Newfoundland and Labrador, was a result of the Liberal budget of 2016; and

WHEREAS the residents of this district will now have to travel over an hour to access a library;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse the closure of the libraries in Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, certainly the constituents of my district would support the reinstatement of libraries all across this province because the only place they’re closing is in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Now, imagine that, a Liberal government tearing the life out of rural Newfoundland and Labrador yet again.

Let’s talk about – they say it’s all about regionalization. Let’s talk about – we’re using the context of my district and I’m sure if the Members opposite were able to get up and speak to theirs, they would oppose their decisions. One community out of 22 will be served by their regionalization plan, Mr. Speaker – just one.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policy regulations link snow carb harvesting quotas to vessel length; and

WHEREAS many harvesters own fishing vessels of various sizes but because of the policy regulations are restricted to using a smaller vessel, often putting their crews in danger;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to make representation to the federal government to encourage them to change the policy, thus ensuring the safety of those harvesting snow crab.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

I brought this petition again a couple of times now to the House of Assembly. It’s very important to people who are out on the water. Especially, our fishermen are out in adverse conditions all the time. We know weather changes and some days you can go out in smaller boats and it’s okay, but there are a lot of times and more often that they have to go out in conditions where safety is not there and they can’t go out. Yet, in a lot of enterprises you’ll see that people have different-sized vessels depending on what crab quota they have, whether it’s an inshore quota or it’s an offshore quota or the mid-quota, and it depends on the size of vessel that you can catch these quotas in.

So what I’m saying here is that when a harvester has a large-size boat and it’s safer for them to go out and catch that quota, that’s the boat they should be allowed to use. That’s very important because too often we see our harvesters out on the water taking their lives really and you know their lives are at risk. We’ve seen it in this province where people have had larger boats tied up at the wharf and went out in a smaller vessel to harvest crab and ended up losing their lives. That only happened last year in Arnold’s Cove.

We should be lobbying the federal government every chance we get to change some of these policies because they’re policies that are really putting our people in danger. Any time that we can – safety should be foremost in every job, no matter if it’s onshore or offshore, or on the water or on the land. Safety should always be the foremost thing that we be concerned with. I ask government to lobby their cousins in Ottawa to change this policy.

Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You’re looking mighty fine in that Chair today, I might add as well. A nice new outfit.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. KENT: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to present a petition on behalf of residents of St. John’s and Mount Pearl.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension is urgently needed at St. Peter’s Primary school in Mount Pearl in order to accommodate full-day kindergarten and the growing school population;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to clarify its position and plan so that St. Peter’s Primary and other schools in Newfoundland and Labrador can properly accommodate students when full-day kindergarten commences in September 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the folks that have signed this petition, and many others that I’ve spoken too, and hundreds that I spoke to on the steps of Confederation Building last evening do not believe that full-day kindergarten should proceed in Newfoundland and Labrador in September 2016. There will come a time where it should proceed. Most people I talked to, most reasonable people agree that full-day kindergarten is the right thing to do, but it’s not the right thing to do right now. It’s not the right thing to do at the expense of the K-12 system in our province.

Cuts are being made throughout the K-12 system while more resources are going to be needed to establish full-day kindergarten. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s impacting schools not only in Mount Pearl, but schools throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and there is a better way.

Making cuts to French Immersion programs and Intensive Core French and reducing special services that are desperately needed for our students and are under resourced in our schools as it is, taking teachers out of our schools, these are not the right moves. Increasing class sizes, these are not the right moves.

Some of these moves are being made because government is blindly pursuing its commitment to full-day kindergarten. We all believe that full-day kindergarten is the right thing to do. The previous government committed to bringing it in, but in light of our fiscal situation it can’t proceed right now when you’re going to make all these devastating cuts to schools right across Newfoundland and Labrador. It just doesn’t make sense.

What makes matters even worse in this situation we have with St. Peter’s Primary, we have a school that’s grossly overcrowded and has an inadequate amount of resources provided to it as it is. I’ve made constructive suggestions on behalf of residents about how we can improve the situation, yet down the road we’re going to have another school in my district with six empty classrooms in September with multi-grade classrooms at the same time. It just does not make sense. There is a better way.

I would urge government to reconsider its position on full-day kindergarten and the drastic, devastating cuts they’re making to our K to 12 school system.

Thank you.

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It’s indeed an honour to stand and present this petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 provincial budget impacts adversely and directly the education programs at Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS parents request a delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at our school until September 2018 when at such time the new five to nine school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will be open; and

WHEREAS the student population in Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and this growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS parents request the reinstatement of previous teacher allocation formula for Beachy Cove for this year and subsequent years to service the growth in enrolment to be able to provide all students with equal opportunities to enrol in French immersion programming;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocations and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to a quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

As my colleague from Mount Pearl has stated, delaying all-day kindergarten is a move forward in enhancing and preserving the quality of education we have in our system right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s not to say we don’t support all-day kindergarten, because it was this administration who put it forward. What we’re saying is we need to be better prepared for it and at the time we can’t put it in place at the expense of the existing school system.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at a number of meetings with parents, with students themselves, on the steps of Confederation Building yesterday and have seen the impact the changes to the education system and the cuts to the education system, particularly in this budget, are going to have on administrators, on teachers, on parents, but particularly the students themselves.

The lack of access to certain programs and services within the school system, the lack of access to an educational program they took for granted would be available for them when they were ready to jump into that program. The fact that there are going to be larger classrooms, teachers won’t have the same ability to work with the students on a one-on-one basis. The resources are going to be minimal when it comes to some of our school systems. The overcrowding is going to be a detriment to our school system.

I had the privilege last night to talk to one young student, probably a grade three or four student, who came up and shook my hand and said: Mr. Brazil, can you save our school? I’m glad we’re not at that level about saving schools, but I know to that student, the loss of the education process that he’s been engaged in is like losing his school. He’s going to lose his friends in his classroom. There are certain programs he won’t have access to.

He’s in a classroom that is conducive for 15 students and he’s in with 30. He’s going to have blended classroom settings. It’s going to be confusing for students. It’s going to cause challenges for the administration. It’s going to take away from the time they’re going to be able to have for social recreation and interim engagement and better opportunities for them to be able to actually be more engaged within their school system.

These cuts are obviously detrimental. One way we can address some of these, the immediate ones – it won’t solve all the education issues around this budget but it definitely would address some of the particular needs right now. The cap sizes, the blending of classrooms and the intensive core French being able to do that, by delaying the implementation of the all-day kindergarten process.

I know there are petitions with hundreds, if not thousands, of names out there from schools all over this province asking and begging the Members on that side to revisit that, and the Minister of Education, to do the right thing and put a delay on the implementation of all-day kindergarten.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Further petitions?

The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I present this petition – as I said previously, I have a lot of these so I try to get as many of them presented as I can. It’s dealing with my District of Conception Bay South on policing.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS policing is vital to the protection and service of our province’s communities;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to increase the presence of law enforcement in the Conception Bay South area.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

As I stated, Mr. Speaker, I have presented this similar petition by a lot of our residents numerous times. I’ll continue to do it, as I committed to the residents.

CBS is the largest town in the province. We’re nearing probably 26,000, 27,000 people. As I stated a while back, there has been some increase in police services, extra patrol cars, which has made somewhat of a difference.

I obviously have stated previously too, I mean we don’t have any dedicated office. I’m not looking for a full detachment, but it would be nice to have somewhere people could come, any issues they have, to speak to someone in person, which a lot of our residents are calling out for. There used to be an office there; it’s no longer.

As I say, I’ve stated this numerous times. I guess the most recent thing now that’s going on in the district is there’s a concerned group on traffic speeds, byroad speeds and whatnot, and policing in general. They’re very active. A conversation last week over a lot of policing issues, I said I would present the petition once more.

They’ve reached out to the town. The town has a committee formed. It’s a really simple question – a simple request actually. We have a municipality the size of CBS which is, I would say based on numbers near and outside of St. John’s, probably the largest area. Most times you’re lucky to have two police cars, maybe a third one. There are lots of times the second or third one is called in from neighbouring Mount Pearl or Paradise.

It’s a town that deserves more attention. It’s a growing town. There are various issues. The crime levels have increased; we have a lot of traffic accidents – a serious situation that happened out in CBS. It’s no longer the little bedroom community that it used to be 25, 30 years ago. It’s a very active, growing community and policing is very important. As we all know, it’s vital to all our communities.

I call upon the government to give some strong consideration to increasing policing in CBS.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 30, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the high quality of education is vital to a strong and successful society and should be a priority of the provincial government; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has announced funding reductions to the Department of Education which will result in an increase in class size cap for students in grades four to Level III, as delivered on April 15, 2016; and

WHEREAS these funding reductions will result in a reduction of teacher allocation units at École Mary Queen of Peace School, the introduction of combined classes and a reduction in the provision Intensive Core French instruction at our children’s school; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has decided to proceed with the costly implementation of full-day kindergarten in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to instruct the school boards to delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten until such time as the province’s financial circumstances improve and restore programs, teacher allocations and class size caps to 2014 levels.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners forever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I attended a silent protest, one of the ones that were organized by the school. I spoke to many of the parents at Mary Queen of Peace and all of them are in the same thing. This is a school that has 700 students. It’s a K to12 school. There has been crowding in this school for the past 10 years. Last year it was announced, the first extension to the school.

As you know, in the Northeast Avalon there have been many renovations, upgrades and new schools are getting built, but this is the first time in 10 years that anything has been done. Other than pavement and a few lockers, a bit of capital expenditure on the school. This is devastating to the community. The cuts to education, combined classes, layoffs, and increased, like I said, cap size.

At Mary Queen of Peace they’re going to lose three units – that’s three teachers – resulting in combined classes for grades three and four, and grades five and six. Early French immersion also, 14 children won’t get to take intensive core French. This school doesn’t have a cafeteria. The gym is used half the time so people can have a place to go eat. There is no functioning library. There is no computer lab for the kids, and this is really another kick to that school.

This is a school that’s not represented by my district, but represented by Members opposite me. Parents really are concerned. Actually, Mr. Speaker, as of – there are still petitions out there, but right now there are almost 500 names from the parents of this school; 500 parents who are really concerned. They’re asking the government to listen to their concerns. They’re asking the Minister of Education to listen to their concerns.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. K. PARSONS: I ask government, please listen to the concerns of the parents of this school.

Thank you.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 introduced over 50 new fees and increased over 300 fees; and

WHEREAS Budget 2016 asks the people of this province to pay more for a decrease in government services; and

WHEREAS these fee increases negatively impact the financial well-being of seniors, youth, families, students and individuals;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse fee increases as introduced through Budget 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, we get up in the House and the levy has always been the lightning rod, and we talked about a lot of other factors in the budget, the gas tax, the insurance tax, other programs but we never really speak a lot about the fees. As time goes on, when they all come into full impact – I know if you go, for instance, to a provincial park, you’re still paying last year’s fees. A lot of this stuff hasn’t hit home yet.

We get sometimes sidetracked and it’s the bigger items that people are sometimes focused on, which is fair game. We all do that, but it’s the little fees – and I’ve probably said it here in this House before, it’s death by a thousand cuts. It’s no one big thing, it’s all these – and they’re all hitting people very hard. We’ve talked about schools and other parts of the – a bunch of items, but fees themselves we don’t zero in on them a lot. There are people, as we’re presenting this petition actually, who have great concerns over a lot of these fees.

You go right down; there are pages of them here. You can list them off. A lot of these fee increases have doubled. I’ll say it again, I’ll be on record as saying you add all these fees and everything else, the other impacts of this budget – you put fees on top of everything else, people are already crying out that they’re going to find a struggle. These fee increases are not going to help, like I say.

The budget already impacts most every person in the province in a negative way. Then you’re just adding the fees, it’s equivalent, Mr. Speaker, of putting salt in the wound. I present this petition and I ask government to give it some serious consideration because it is an important issue that sometimes gets lost in the mix.

Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER (Warr): The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present this petition in the House:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS an extension was announced to the Robert E. Howlett Highway on March 25, 2014; and

WHEREAS the environmental assessment, design and engineering of this project is completed; and

WHEREAS continued residential growth and commercial growth has increased traffic on the Southern Avalon;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to continue with this significant piece of infrastructure to enhance and improve traffic to the Southern Avalon.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this highway – for a number of years we’ve looked at increasing the infrastructure requirement. The extension to the Robert E. Howlett would do that. It’s about 9.6 kilometres that were approved in 2014, and I had it moved on through the environmental assessment piece. I think that was released in maybe March 2015. Further on in that year it was accepted by the then minister of Environment.

Unfortunately, in this year’s budget of 2016, this government decided not even to defer this project, but basically to cancel it, take it off the books, which is very difficult news and upsetting news for the people of the Southern Avalon, the whole Southern Avalon. So while this is to enhance traffic, commerce from and to the Southern Shore, it enhances the whole Southern Avalon.

What it does, we have significant, as I said, commerce back and forth through the region, significant residential growth we’ve seen in the past number of years. We see a lot of people commuting back and forth to the city, as well from the manufacturing, fabrication point of view. We’ve seen significant work over the past number of years that, as a government, we’ve invested in as well. You’re looking at Bay Bulls harbour and infrastructure as well to the offshore. So a lot is happening.

It’s very disappointing to the people that this was shelved. There are some concerns with respect to watershed, but that’s not something we can’t mitigate and move forward on. It shouldn’t be a showstopper. Obviously, there is a watershed at Bay Bulls Big Pond.

This project would take traffic further away from that watershed which would seem to support everything in regard to the protection of that watershed. If we need to take some other measures to protect it, we should do that. We call on Transportation and Works and Environment now as well to work collectively to get this back on the radar, to move forward.

There is supposedly federal infrastructure money there that can now be accessed. So let’s get to work, get this done for the people of the Southern Avalon which require it. It should be done. It was announced. Let’s get this back on and get it done.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS a high quality of education is vital to a strong and successful society and should be a priority of the provincial government; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has announced funding reductions to the Department of Education which will result in an increase in the class size cap for students in grades four to Level III, as delivered on April 15, 2016; and

WHEREAS these funding reductions will result in a reduction of teacher allocation units at École Mary Queen of Peace School, the introduction of combined classes and a reduction in the provision of intensive core French instruction at our children’s school; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has decided to proceed with the costly implementation of full-day kindergarten in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to instruct the school boards to delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten until such time as the province’s financial circumstances improve and restore programs, teacher allocations, and class size caps to 2014 levels.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting this petition on behalf of concerned citizens throughout St. John’s, but particularly on behalf of parents at Mary Queen of Peace School. My colleague from the District of Cape St. Francis was going to present this petition today, but unfortunately it’s been ruled that he is not permitted to speak in this House today.

I’ll read a note from one parent who has written to raise concern about this issue: Mary Queen of Peace has over 700 students K to 12. We have been overcrowded for many years, over 10 for sure. We were optimistic last year when we were awarded our first extension. Other schools have had renovations, upgrades, new schools or extensions. Our only capital expenditure for Mary Queen of Peace in the past 10 years has been pavement and lockers – if lockers are even considered a capital expenditure.

Then, on April 15, 2016, our hopes were dashed with the budget. Cuts to education, combined classes, teacher layoffs, increased class-size caps. At Mary Queen of Peace we are losing three units, three teachers, resulting in combined grade three to four English, and grade five to six early French immersion, and also fourteen children won’t get to take intensive core French. We don’t have a cafeteria to sit in. Our gym is split in half every day for every class to share. No library functioning, no computer lab. Kids share one field and split lunch early and late. Why are we being cut when we are growing? We’re too crowded.

These sentiments have been expressed by dozens and dozens of parents. I know the Member for Cape St. Francis wanted to present these concerns today. It’s unfortunate that he can’t, but I am pleased to stand and do so on behalf of parents in the Mary Queen of Peace School catchment area.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition to the House:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS changes to bus routes will impact the start time at St. Bernard’s Elementary and Mobile Central High; and

WHEREAS these changes were put in place with no consultation with school councils or parents; and

WHEREAS this will cause issues for parents, after-school programs and students;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately instruct the English School District to reverse the decision regarding busing and start times for these two schools.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve had a number of meetings, conversations and emails with a number of residents from the Bauline to Bay Bulls area in regard to this budget initiative in regard to downsizing of busing, and what results that have into less number of buses and making the runs much longer and earlier in the morning, especially for our very youngest in our school population. As well, changes to the afternoon schedule which causes implications for the youth in terms of our very youngest being at bus stops much earlier in the morning. As well, for after-school programming that many in this region avail of, whether it’s daycare, whether it’s after-school programs in Witless Bay or Bay Bulls.

The whole structure of families and their ability to function has been thrown into chaos in regard to some of these changes. We’ve made representation to the Eastern School District in trying to work through this, working with parents as well in this region as well as Goulds Elementary for the Goulds region and as well with Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove. I received numerous emails, calls.

So we’re working, trying to get this dealt with in both instances, which is very important to both regions and the people of Ferryland District. This is an initiative of the budget that I think wasn’t well thought out. It’s very difficult in terms of getting a way forward working with the school district, but it’s much needed as we look forward to our children in various schools and making sure that it’s the best environment it possibly can be. That environment starts with the transportation to and from school at appropriate hours and links to the other activities that our youth are involved with, both before school and after school.

I urge the government and the Minister of Education to intervene here; to have this looked at so we can do what’s in the best interests of students and best interests of our families.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

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

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will be presenting the following petition:

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 provincial budget impacts adversely and directly the education program at Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS parents request a delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at our school until September 2017 or later when, at such time, the new five to nine middle school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will be open; and

WHEREAS the student population at Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and this growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS parents request the re-instatement of the previous teacher allocation formula for Beachy Cove Elementary for this year and subsequent school years to service the growth in enrolment and to be able to provide all students with equal opportunity to enroll in French Immersion programs;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocations and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to present this, but as I speak to this one, you see the theme that’s going on in the Opposition with all the petitions that the citizens of this province have been presenting to us. They are around access to literacy, and they are around access to education. We hear about the issues around education that tell you the impact this budget is having. It’s around busing; it’s around access to libraries and basic literacy; it’s around Intensive Core French; it’s around cap sizes, overcrowding, basic access to programs and services by being able to use a gymnasium or cafeteria for basic services. It’s about offering a quality of education that’s not regressive, but it is progressive.

I had the honour of last week being called to Beachy Cove Elementary, and I thought it was a formal meeting with parents or with administration, but it was the opposite. It was the students who wanted to meet with their MHA and present them with their petition. It has over 400 names signed. The passionate story was around the kindergartens who wanted to sign it. So they waited to come in – and you can see the names are printed. It was explained to them what impact this would have on them and each one of these students, particularly the grade fives, wrote about the impact that these cuts are having, particularly around one program that they are facing, the Intensive Core French program that they just assumed would be there.

They weren’t enrolled into French Immersion because as they got older, they’d be ready to do it and they went a different stream – because it was always available. It made sense. It’s part of process to become bilingual. It’s part of it to be more engaged in our Francophone history in this country. But what happened here is we cut it out.

So there are friends here who went through school from day one, their neighbours. There are kids, twins, in the same family, one made it in Intensive Core French through a lottery pick. Do you know how they were notified? And this is the standard process the Department of Education put the school board and the administration in. Different coloured letters, so they knew in advance by the colour of your letter whether or not you got in.

This is the way we are treating our young people. It’s the way we’re promoting education, through a lottery process. It’s a way you can see the citizens here being united for a common front here, that we do a better job in improving our education, not making it regressive.

As you can see, Mr. Speaker, from the notice here, from all of the young students who outlined their concern here, that they have a real stake in education. They want to make sure education moves forward, and we’ve done nothing in this budget.

I would hope tomorrow when we present our private Member’s resolution about delaying all-day kindergarten – very supportive of the process, that we ensure we get some support from the other side to do the right thing for the citizens and the students of this province.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Mount Pearl North.

MR. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 introduces over 50 new fees and increases over 300 fees; and

WHEREAS Budget 2026 asks the people of this province to pay more for a decrease in government services; and

WHEREAS these fee increases negatively impact the financial well-being of seniors, youth, families, students and individuals;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse fee increases as introduced through Budget 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’m presenting this petition on behalf of residents of a number of communities. One of my colleagues had intended to present this petition today but is no longer permitted to speak in the House of Assembly today, so I’m rising on her behalf to present this petition.

People are very concerned about this budget. Today, Members opposite who sit in the government have an opportunity to stand and be counted and speak up for their constituents. This is the big chance. We’ve heard today in Question Period that the budget vote will be happening today. Each and every Member of the Liberal caucus, just like Members of the Opposition caucuses, will have a chance to stand and be counted.

We’ve seen countless government MHAs stand and present petitions on behalf of their constituents who are concerned about the budget. Well, today is your chance. Today is your chance to do the right thing and stand with your constituents instead of with your government that has presented a budget that has upset just about everybody in Newfoundland and Labrador.

These petitioners are concerned about fee increases. It’s important to look at the budget in totality. It’s not just about a fee increase here or a fee increase here, or the levy or the gas tax, or the insurance tax or the drastic cuts to education. You have to look at all of it to understand the full impact it’s going to have on the people of the province and on each of our communities – communities that Members opposite represent as well.

I hope that more Members in this hon. House, Mr. Speaker, will do the right thing today and stand with their constituents. It’s time to stand and be counted.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

(no time for petitions on June 1)

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the people of Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune need to have access to adequate health care; and

WHEREAS the local clinics in rural areas are the main source of medical assistance for our people; and

WHEREAS the government has reduced funding and closed the Hermitage clinics and downgraded services;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the services to health care in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, it’s a very sad, sad day in Hermitage today as their clinic doors are closing. They have been without a doctor for quite some time now, actually. They have been receiving a visit from a nurse practitioner for two days a week, and although a severely compromised service, it has been working well for them, and at least alleviating the seniors from having the burden and expense of trying to find a way to get to Harbour Breton, which is 45 minutes each way, for something as simple as bloodwork and something as complex as concern about having a stroke or sugars dropping, or any kind of physical ailment, Madam Speaker, that would require them to visit the doctor.

We certainly implore that the Minister of Health take it upon himself to encourage Central Health to revisit the decision they have made with respect to downsizing of services. We truly hope that this government revisits its approach overall, because it really seems to be attacking rural Newfoundland and Labrador, pulling services from rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Health care and education are two areas in particular, Madam Speaker, where the people all across this province are equally deserving of adequate health care. Measures such as these certainly downgrade our health and make it very worrisome to live in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

The other issue that we’re experiencing is reduced visitation to our islands and reduced chopper services – another grave concern. We had a very serious incident, actually, in François just two days ago. The chopper they called was in Gander, and they called another one over on the West Coast, Pasadena, neither of whom could get there because of the weather. The chopper in Conne River had to be called, and that chopper is on the chopping block by the Liberal government. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador deserves better.

Thank you very much.

MADAM SPEAKER (Dempster): The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Madam

I’m glad to rise today with this petition and present it to the House.

To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS changes to bus routes will impact the start-up time of Goulds Elementary; and

WHEREAS these changes were put in place with no consultation from school councils or parents;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately instruct the English School District to reverse the decision regarding busing and start times for this school.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Madam Speaker, yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with a concerned parents group from the region of the Goulds and down through Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove with children in the Goulds Elementary, and also discussions with parents related to junior high and the high school in the Goulds region. At that time, certainly very significant concerns in regard to the changes to busing and what it’s going to mean to the delivery of services to school children for the region and our youth.

Actually, the petition I have here has somewhere in the range of probably 400 to 500 signatures. They’re from people from all over the region outlining the concerns they have. Those concerns are quite significant, ranging from everything for having very young children up much earlier in the morning in terms of daylight and darkness, when they’re getting to bus stops, safety of children at that time in the morning, especially the younger children, those definitely from K to 6 and what challenges there are in regard to them and being on that road earlier in the morning; certainly changes and possible changes to courtesy busing. Some kids now can avail of that right now, but if we’re talking about less buses, that’s a challenge. The frustration of the parents is they can’t get any clarity on exactly what that is and what it’s going to mean as we look to the fall and some of the huge challenges that they have.

Daycare, after-school programs now in the Goulds are now available. Achieva is available. You look at the numbers, in terms of cost and extra costs that’s going to be on parents because of that. Right now some of the high school kids will take care of siblings as they get out. With the change, that won’t be possible. That service won’t be there.

Then you’ve got to look at – I had a call from a single mom. The arrangement now works well. What she needs to look at now is possibly getting access to additional daycare because there’s no one to care for her child. What had happened with the current schedule that was allowed.

Another individual had a high school student that cared for their actual child right now after school, but right now that’s all extra cost. What’s happening is that extra cost has been downloaded to parents and families. While they’re suggesting they’re saving over $2 million, all the cost, or a lot of it, is being downloaded to families and parents.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind the hon. Member his time for speaking has expired.

MR. HUTCHINGS: This is a concern. We certainly call on the Minister of Education to step in and deal with this.

Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay East – Bell Island.

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 budget impacts adversely and directly the education programs at Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS parents request a delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at our school until at such time –

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

– the new five to nine middle school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will be open; and

WHEREAS the student population at Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and this growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS parents request the reinstatement of the previous teacher allocation formula for Beachy Cove Elementary for this year and subsequent years to service the growth in enrolment and be able to provide all students with equal opportunity to enrol in the French immersion program;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocations and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to a quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Madam Speaker, yesterday we had a very intensive debate around the impact of implementing all-day kindergarten and particularly, the impact it would have on programs and services.

Beachy Cove Elementary is one of those schools that are directly going to be impacted by implementing all-day kindergarten and the adverse effect that will have on other programs and services. While it’s been echoed by the parents organization, the administration that all-day kindergarten is a positive process and one that will be very beneficial, right now the impact it’s going to have is negative to the students down there.

We had a discussion around some of the other impacts. One of the questions that has to be answered somewhere along the way is – because Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s is a growing community and it’s very engaging. The amenities are growing. So it’s engaging more families to move there from all over this country, from all over the world but particularly, various parts of Newfoundland and Labrador as they move into the Northeast Avalon.

One of the questions, for those students who are already enrolled or will be enrolled next year in an Intensive Core program, because our Intensive Core program for French is going to be at its cap, because we’ve had double the amount of students who wanted to do the program and through a lottery had to be picked, for those who would make it and those who wouldn’t make it. If we have students who, halfway through the year, transfer into that school, what happens then – who have been doing Intensive Core French in another school here in the city or Northeast Avalon, or anywhere in this province. All of a sudden, now, is there a decision made? Do we now have a lottery where we either kick two out, or the ones who have been halfway through a program, tell them they have to change to another program?

So the thought process here, from discussions I had last night with parents not only in my own district, but also in other districts – I know I had some inquiries from residents and parents in the Mount Pearl area. So this is another quandary, it’s another example of how there’s been no planning here, there’s been no explanation of how things should work and how we move this forward.

So, Mr. Speaker, I wanted outline again while there have been some discussion yet, they’re still imploring people here to make the right decisions –

MR. SPEAKER (Osborne): Order, please!

MR. BRAZIL: – and change the all-day kindergarten process.

 

 

 

 

Monday, June 6, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay South.

MR. PETTEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the education of our children is the most important and vital investment that can be made in the success of our children; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should be choosing educational options that will provide all students of our province with a higher standard of education and enhance learning for our youth; and

WHEREAS the government’s decision to make cuts to teachers and to our educational system will have a negative effect on the students;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reverse this decision effectively immediately.

As in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, that’s a portion of the petitions I received from my district, various school groups, addressing their concerns. They come to me and they brought me in ever so many petitions, so I’ve presented a chunk of them here.

Their concerns, I narrowed it into a broader comment, because their concerns are Intensive Core French. It’s the cutback on teachers; the implementation of full-day kindergarten where schools in my district are struggling with capacity issues wondering if they’re going to be ready; multigrade teaching – the full gamut of educational costs and effects to education are being expressed by concerned parents and educators in my district.

Colleagues of mine have presented similar petitions from their districts. So this is not just a certain area, this is across the province that people are speaking out, and they’re speaking out en masse. This is a fairly large group – CBS is a fairly large town, one of the largest towns in the province. So you’re looking at even a larger subsection and this is right from one end to the other, and it includes the Member for Harbour Main’s District, people from her district, and as well as my colleague, Topsail – Paradise.

These cuts, people have a lot of concerns. We get up in the House day after day after day and express those concerns. They seem to be going unanswered or on deaf ears, but people are speaking out. We’re bringing their voice to the House of Assembly, which is never a bad thing to do. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of it is going on deaf ears, but I don’t really believe, regardless if they decide to ignore us, the voice of the people overrules all the rest of our voices.

My one voice here today, Mr. Speaker, is speaking for hundreds in my District of Conception Bay South, so I do call upon government to start paying attention to these individual concerns throughout the province.

Thank you very much.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS for 70 years, the Pouch Cove library has been the centre of the community; and

WHEREAS the Pouch Cove library offers a variety of services in addition to loaning books; and

WHEREAS the services are used by a large portion of the residents of Pouch Cove, many seniors and young families;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to immediately direct the Provincial Information and Library Resources Board to reverse the decision to close the Pouch Cove library.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, the Pouch Cove library is, like the petition says, a central part of the community. The council in Pouch Cove saw the value of the library and for the last number of years has been putting resources into the library for extra hours because they realize that there is so many people in the community using it. They had an after-school program that the town itself gave the money to keep the library going, just to pay for that.

This library is in the municipal building, so they don’t pay any light. They pay no snow clearing. Like I said, it’s in the building, so the town already pays for all this. It is a very small cost but a large cost to the Town of Pouch Cove to continue to keep it going.

I spoke to people in the library area there and they tell me that it’s not only the people, young people, but they find that there are a lot of seniors that come in there and they need some direction. Today, we know that there are a lot of things done online and you can get a lot of information. Seniors want to know how to do this and how things can be done, and they use the library to get this information and to just navigate through the different systems.

The librarian is there all the time to assist. It’s a huge part of this community. There is also a program there for preschoolers, grandparents and parents and they take their children there in the morning to go through a program where they read to the children. This library is one of the more used libraries in the whole province. The community really uses it.

I can’t understand why government are doing this to the province for such a small cost. I urge government, please, to reconsider what you’re doing to rural Newfoundland and these small libraries that are so vital to our communities.

Thank you very much.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: The hon. the Member for Conception Bay East – Bell Island.

MR. BRAZIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the current 2016 provincial budget impacts adversely and directly the education programs of Beachy Cove Elementary in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s; and

WHEREAS parents request a delay in the implementation of full-day kindergarten at the school until September when, at such time, the new five to nine school in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s will be open; and

WHEREAS the student population of Beachy Cove Elementary is growing exponentially and this growth is sustainable into the future; and

WHEREAS parents request the reinstatement of the previous teacher allocation formula for Beachy Cove Elementary for this year and subsequent school years to service the growth in enrolment and to be able to provide all students with equal opportunity to enrol in the French immersion program;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to reinstate the previous teacher allocations and delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten in order to provide the children of Beachy Cove Elementary the right to a quality education.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve presented this on numerous occasions, and had the privilege of a number of parents and some of the students from Beachy Cove being in this House of Assembly and being part of the protests for the I love education process. They continuously outline the fact that this is going to be detrimental to the education process, not only in Beachy Cove Elementary, because they realize they’re speaking for all students in this province.

They’re outlining the concerns that parents have, educators have and former educators have. They’re asking about a number of things here; one, the delay of implementing around issues because of the costing. Being able to use that money to be better invested in reducing the class caps, and ensuring that access to specialized programs, particularly around the intensive French immersion, is part and parcel of it and that, as a result the use of gymnasiums and cafeterias then could be freed up for proper use; also around busing issues and the challenges around that being added.

They’ve even in the discussions – and I’ve had the privilege of talking to some of the people connected to the School Lunch Program and the challenges they’re going to face. So we’re going to impose an added number of students in the school system with an expectation that parents have and the school system have that these kids for lunchtime are taken care of. Now there are no resources for a volunteer organization – and I have to stress that, a volunteer organization – which took a lead in this province over the last decade to ensure students, no matter of their economic situation, had nutritious foods while they’re in school.

We all know, and every bit of research will tell you, that if a kid is hungry in school there are challenges around their education. There are challenges for them because they can’t focus. It makes every sense in the world. As part of that process, we’re encouraging – and the students and the parents at Beachy Cove Elementary are noting that.

There are also a number of issues – and I read a piece in the paper this past weekend from a former superintendent of a school board where he questions the integration of classrooms. He talks about are we now going to base the scoring achievements on the present system where it was a one-grade system or is it going to be changed and lowered. That’s not acceptable here. I’ll have an opportunity to speak to this again in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

A petition to the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS Budget 2016 introduces over 50 new fees and increases over 300 fees; and

WHEREAS Budget 2016 asks the people of this province to pay more for a decrease in government services; and

WHEREAS these fee increases negatively impact the financial well-being of seniors, youth, families, students and individuals;

WHEREUPON, the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to immediately reverse fees and increases as introduced through Budget 2016.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, we just spent 24 hours, nearly, in this House. Last night around 8, we started a debate on the levy which allowed us to talk about all aspects of this devastating budget once again.

What the budget of 2016 – I’ve heard it referred to a lazy budget; I’ve heard it referred to as amateur hour. One thing that we are all certain of, apart from Members opposite I think, Mr. Speaker, is that this budget is going to hurt people in their pocketbooks. It is going to impede the ability of some people to be able to have basic necessities of life such as food and shelter. It’s definitely going to take from the disposable income of families for enjoying activities with their children, for visiting other parts of Newfoundland, any type of disposable income whatsoever.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fortune Bay – Cape La Hune.

MS. PERRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We’re all devastated by the vast number of tax increases in this budget. To look at these fees – and they say, well, you know when we did our consultations, people told us to raise fees. They told us to raise taxes. They didn’t tell you to do all of it all at the one time, Mr. Speaker. They certainly didn’t expect to see the introduction of 50 new fees that never ever existed in this province before.

It’s been a sad few weeks for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador as we all try and grapple with what this budget is going to mean. It’s very unfortunate that government is unwilling to listen to the people of the province who prior to November 30, all they could talk about was how people matter. We see now they mattered for purposes of November 30, but beyond that they don’t seem to matter much anymore, Mr. Speaker.

We want this Liberal government to really reverse its decisions. To restore health care, to restore education and to revisit Budget 2016.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. K. PARSONS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS a high quality of education is vital to a strong and successful society and should be a priority of the provincial government; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has announced funding reductions to the Department of Education which will result in an increase in the class size cap for students in grades four to level III, as delivered on April 15, 2016; and

WHEREAS these funding reductions will result in a reduction of teacher allocation units at École Mary Queen of Peace School, the introduction of combined classes and a reduction in the provision of Intensive Core French instruction at our children’s school; and

WHEREAS the provincial government has decided to proceed with the costly implementation of full-day kindergarten in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge government to instruct the school board to delay the implementation of full-day kindergarten until such time as the province’s financial circumstances improve and restore programs, teacher allocations, and class size caps to 2014 levels.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this is probably going to be the last chance I’ll get to present this petition, but I can just show you that there are over 500 names on this petition. The parents and school council have met with their representatives. I am not their representative. In my district before, I had part of Stavanger Drive, which a lot of students come from, but the Minister of Finance and the Member for Virginia Waters – Pleasantville, those are the two representatives of this school. They’ve met, but it doesn’t seem like – and they’ve also met with the Minister of Education and they’re not getting anywhere. They’re heartbroken really because they’re after doing everything they could possibly do.

This is a school that – and I have to do a correction, too. I was saying, because my notes were saying, it was K to 12, but it’s actually a K to six school. There are 700 students in this school. For the last number of years they’ve seen no major renovations or improvements to the school. The first time last year, in over 10 years they’ve seen an extension.

The parents are very concerned about what’s going to happen because they’re looking at combined classes for grades three and four, and grades five and six. They don’t have a cafeteria. There are no computer labs in the school. They have to split the lunch time because of the students going out.

All I ask is for the minister to listen to the parents and listen to the school council and listen to their concerns. That’s what they’re asking for.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for the District of Ferryland.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise in the House today to present this petition.

To the hon. House of Assembly of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Parliament assembled, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador humbly sheweth:

WHEREAS the Witless Bay Line is a significant piece of infrastructure; and

WHEREAS the continuation of the Hebron and Long Harbour projects and the commercial and residential growth in our region has increased the volume of traffic on this highway;

WHEREUPON the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to urge the government to upgrade this significant piece of infrastructure to enhance and improve the flow of traffic to and from the Trans-Canada Highway.

And as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, this piece of infrastructure from Route 10 to the Trans-Canada Highway, about 20-odd-plus kilometres, over the past number of years through investments we’ve upgraded I’d say about half with significant investment, probably in the range of $2 million. It connects the Southern Shore with the Trans Canada.

With the number of commercial activities that are going on, significant projects, we have a lot of employment from along the Southern Shore that uses this highway to get to their place of employment. As well, we look at things like the fishing industry, the crab industry in particular, the amount of product that’s used – this highway is used back and forth, the flow as well.

So it’s very significant in terms of that and industry – those types of industries, as well from the tourism sector. We see a lot coming east on the Trans-Canada Highway. Certainly whether people come in by boat or just domestic travel coming east turning off and entering the Southern Shore, Route 10, through that means and then going further south along Route 10 to access the many tourism opportunities we have.

It’s a very significant piece of infrastructure. I just was on it the other day. It needs some immediate patch work and that type of thing done. I’ve been in touch with the department and with the depot, both. Hopefully that will get done shortly. We’ve had some vehicles that had some damage done to them, so we need to get that fixed, certainly on a temporary basis, some of the challenges we have but, as well, long term to invest in a very significant piece of infrastructure that’s needed.

I have spoken to the Minister of Transportation on it and continue to work towards enhancing the piece of infrastructure.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[RETURN TO LIST OF PETITION DATES]