Questions By Members, 21 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

HST exclusions

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Given that we now have to renegotiate the terms of the HST with the federal government, this presents an opportunity to review which items are currently excluded from the tax and bring them more into line with this government’s current priorities.

Question to the Minister of Finance: Will government take this opportunity to review those items which the province can choose to exclude from the HST?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr. Roach: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That’s a good question. I will take that under advisement and we’ll explore that.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary question.

HST removal from electricity

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Our tax structure creates important price signals to consumers that can affect their behaviour quite profoundly. Right now this government puts the HST on electricity but does not put it on oil. Essentially, in so doing, promoting the use of oil over electricity and other clean energies.

A question to the Minister of Finance: Will this government create a fairer tax regime by removing the HST from electricity, an essential service, and putting clean energy sources on an even footing with fossil fuels?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr. Roach: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Our province now is going through an energy strategy. Those comments that were made by the Leader of the Third Party will be taken into consideration.

As we move closer to a surplus where we’re going to have funds available rather than borrowing funds I think we’ll look at all of those as a way to continue to help work with all Islanders with respect to all taxes, particularly those with respect to energy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your second supplementary.

HST and public consultations

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m delighted that the minister is going to take my comments into account, but I’m only one of 147,000 Islanders. HST affects all Islanders, particularly low-income Islanders, as well as a number of Island businesses, a number of which have been mentioned already by the official opposition.

Given the wide-ranging impact of this tax we should be asking Islanders their thoughts on the HST before making any changes to it. Engagement is, after all, a top priority of this government, or so we’re told.

Will the minister commit to holding public consultations to review the HST before its final implementation in October?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr. Roach: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We travelled across the Island starting in I think it was late January, and we were still travelling the Island in March. The opposition had HST out to the forefront with what they were saying about HST. It was discussed a lot during our budget consultations which were right across PEI. There was open discussion and there were a lot of comments about HST.

As I said a couple times before, Islanders did not want to see frontline services hurt in this province. They wanted to see those services continue across Prince Edward Island, and that was a theme, rather than get to a balanced budget. We have to be flexible so when we took into account what Islanders were saying, when we saw what took place across the province, across Canada, with budgets that were happening in other provinces, I think that we did reach a balanced approach with this Budget and with respect to HST.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

2 Comments

  1. Walter Wilkins 22 April 2016 at 11:23 am

    That it’s called Question Period, not Answer Period, is not just a cliché, it’s a mockery of democracy. Time and time again good questions are tabled, time and time again they’re shrugged off with indifference, responded to with ineptitude, or simply dodged.

    A reasonable interpretation of Mr. Roach’s response to the question he is being asked is that Islanders directly opted for the HST as delivered in the budget. Further to that, we are satisfied. Really? I mean . . .REALLY! Then again, since Mr. Roach didn’t answer the question he was asked, who knows?

    Bevan-Baker’s question is: Will the minister commit to holding public consultations to review the HST before its final implementation in October?

    Roach’s answer is: Well . . .there is no answer, at least to the question that is being asked. If that type of response isn’t a mockery of democracy, what is it?

     
  2. Bill Kays 22 April 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Al ‘the liar’ Roach is the keeper of ALL secrets in the ongoing covering up of a corrupted, PEI Legislature. NOBODY WANTS TO PAY MORE TAX. But if you want to really understand what is happening, you would have to be privy to the LOAN AGREEMENTS made by our current and past governments with our CURRENT BOND HOLDERS. All we ever do is pay interest on the debt. Be honest with the people and tell us how far in debt we are, and the Liberal government’s plan to get us out of debt.

     

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