Mr. Speaker, today is budget day and the people of Bell Island in St. John's East are wondering what the Minister of Finance has in store for them.
For the benefit of my colleagues, let me say that Bell Island once had the largest iron ore mine in the world. It was one of the few places in North America directly involved in World War II, when ore carriers were torpedoed at the dock.
The mine closed in 1966. As a result, the population was considerably reduced. Tourism is now a local growth industry, with tours and theatre groups putting the old submarine mine tunnels to good use once again.
I want to remind the Minister of Finance that small rural communities like Bell Island are still in need of economic development. Bell Island stood on the front lines during one of the darkest periods of our history and I urge the Minister of Finance to remember this when he brings down his budget so that communities like Bell Island can have a secure future as well.