Question Period Highlight – Tax Review and Home Heating

November 20, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP Energy Critic Frank Corbett asked Stephen McNeil about the Laurel Broten tax review.

FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the on-again, off-again affair between the Liberals and charging the HST on electricity began a new chapter yesterday with the release of the Liberal Government’s tax review. As they say, like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives. (Laughter)

So let me take you back, Mr. Speaker. In 2008 we saw the first date when the Liberals voted to put the HST back on energy. Now in 2009 Nova Scotians were shocked and appalled. They were glued to their TV sets for the marriage as the Premier vowed that removing the HST on electricity was bad public policy. Then, lo and behold, in 2013, the breakup . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Can the member skip to the final act, please.

FRANK CORBETT « » : Oh, but Mr. Speaker, love springs eternal. So in 2013, the breakup – the Premier read a resolution in this very House calling on HST to remain off energy for all eternity.

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister through you, were yesterday’s public overtures about putting the HST back on energy just a tease, or in the Spring, will romance be back in the air?

STEPHEN MCNEIL: Me and the honourable member in a romance. I’m not sure that anyone would have ever predicted that. (Laughter)

FRANK CORBETT: Look, I don’t like it any better than you. (Laughter)

STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, after listening to the honourable member, I now know what he did with his time for the last four years.

FRANK CORBETT « » : Let’s get to the altar again, Mr. Speaker. To put it bluntly though, it’s unfair that the Liberal Government is talking about burdening low-income Nova Scotians with a tax grab on their electricity bills while giving the CEO of Emera a tax break.

I want to ask the Premier again, why would his Liberal Government release a report that calls for giving Nova Scotia’s top earners a tax break while taking money out of the pockets of hard-working families?

STEPHEN MCNEIL: The Liberal Government didn’t release a report that suggested that. There’s an independent report done by someone that was commissioned by the province. They’ve gone out and spoken to Nova Scotians. They put the report out. We told the honourable member we would look at it, we’d analyze it