October 23, 1997
The following statement was issued today by
Beaton Tulk, Government House Leader:
I feel it is necessary to clarify for the people
of Newfoundland and Labrador, certain discrepancies which may
exist in public reports regarding the opening of the House of
Assembly. The Government of this Province would like to assure
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that the House of Assembly will
be open for the length of time required for the Opposition to do
its job of holding the Government accountable.
In fact, this past spring sitting, and the
sitting last fall were busy, productive sessions. In the spring
the House sat for 28 days, and in the fall, 24 days. In fact,
whenever there was a need to open the House we have done so in a
A large number of items were addressed during
these sessions, resulting in the passage of 49 bills and
amendments in 1996 and a further 15 bills and amendments thus far
in 1997. This is a performance on par with other sessions. As
with past practice, it has been the traditional pattern to open
the House of Assembly in November. In 1996, 1994, 1993 and 1992,
the Fall sitting began in November.
I would also like to remind the public that many
important issues are also addressed outside the sittings of the
House of Assembly. This has been a busy year all around
Newfoundland and Labrador. The Cabot 500 Celebrations have given
us the opportunity to turn our province into an important tourist
destination. I feel we have succeeded. At the same time our
growing offshore oil and gas industry is taking off, with first
oil just weeks away. We have dealt with issues of Voisey's Bay
delays, Aboriginal Land Claims, and of course, the vital issue of
education reform, for which the House was re-opened. As well, the
ministers are all working hard on a daily basis to make the
revitalization of rural Newfoundland and Labrador a priority.
So with all of these issues in the forefront,
government is working toward compiling a full agenda for the fall
sitting of the legislature and we will be making both the agenda
and the date of the opening of the House public within the next
week. I want to assure the Opposition and the people they will be
given the time expected in any democratic environment to examine
all the issues and ask the relevant questions.
Contact: Mr. Tulk's office, (709) 729-4729.