This is page numbers 5453 - 5490 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was assembly.

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Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair. I, too, agree with the motion. I agree with all of the comments from my previous colleagues' statements here. I just wanted to add to this. One of the additional assets that is overlooked by the previous statements is the ability to speak the native language with a lot of the elders and residents in our respective ridings, so that should be recognized, as well. It just makes communication and explanation to a medical assistant or a program assistant that much easier in getting the message of what can be done by our office to the constituents who brought their issues forward. Thank you.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. McNeely. To the motion. Mr. Thompson.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I, too, will be supporting this motion. What we are looking at for a full-time person is about $3,200 a year up, to a family, which is about $5,100 a year, but it comes out of our constituent assistants, or our budgets, which actually are coming out of their help in this, and it is very much needed. We are competing with other jobs that do have benefits that are needed for people to work, and we would like to be able to keep good quality people in place and give them these benefits, as well, so I think this is a good solution to that issue. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Thompson. To the motion.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Question.

Committee Motion 125-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Health and Dental Benefits for Constituency Assistants, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Ms. Green.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 14th, 2019

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this Assembly recommends that the current non-taxable allowances (allowance for expenses and entertainment allowance) become accountable allowances.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Ms. Green. To the motion. Ms. Green.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Chair, last year, the Government of Canada announced that non-taxable allowances paid to politicians would become taxable as of January 1st this year. Currently, all Members are paid an allowance of roughly $7,500 to cover miscellaneous expenses that are not reimbursable from their constituency budgets. MLAs are constantly called upon to provide financial assistance to constituents, attend public events that charge a fee, purchase raffle tickets, and participate in silent auctions, to name a few items. They are often called upon to buy meals or coffee for constituents or to travel within their constituencies, using their personal vehicles. The fact that these allowances are paid without the need for receipts allows Members to provide unique support services to constituents without breaching confidentiality. In order for these allowances to remain non-taxable, they must become reimbursable only by receipt. This defeats the intended purpose of the allowance.

One alternative to this recommendation is to "gross up" the value of the allowance to make it equivalent on an after-tax basis. This would, however, result in additional costs to the public. Mr. Chair, it is my view that, rather than reduce the flexibility that Members currently have or increase costs, the allowances should remain at their existing levels and be taxed. I will therefore not be supporting this motion. I should note that a second non-taxable allowance is provided to out-of-town Members to reimburse them for the costs of travel to and from work while in the capital as well as other miscellaneous costs associated with running a second residence. I understand that the Speaker is seeking confirmation from the Canada Revenue Agency that this allowance will remain non-taxable. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Ms. Green. To the motion? Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I find myself in support, and in support of the previous speaker's comments. I feel that we already do have a particular allowance, called the constituency allowance, that is an accountable allowance. That one has very strict rules and guidelines which we have to follow as it relates to expenditures from that account. However, as it relates to what was the non-taxable allowance, having it remain unaccountable or having it not have to hand in receipts, I feel is the proper way in which to manage this. As the previous speaker alluded to, we have a number of requests to support different charities, festivals, even school recreation programs, sporting and recreation events, certain auctions and various fundraisers. I think that those are, by and large, done on the basis of each individual Member's choices, and those organizations that they choose to support are, by and large, their choices. I think Members could be potentially put into an awkward situation if all of a sudden that expenditure becomes public information. Then, Members could possibly start to feel pressure from other organizations, saying, "Well, if you supported them, why don't you support me?" and that sort of thing. I think that that needs to remain the choice of the Members themselves. For those reasons, I will support the motion. Thank you.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. To the motion? Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. Just to be clear, I support the chair of Caucus' position that we vote against the recommendation, which is what this motion is all about. Right now, these allowances are treated as taxable income. We are now paying taxes on them effective January the 1st. We don't have any choice in that matter. That decision was made for us by Revenue Canada. What the recommendation from the commission was and the motion is is that those allowances now become accountable. I think I've heard from all of the speakers that we don't think that that's a good way to proceed. If that's what you believe in, we should be voting against this recommendation, against the motion. Thanks, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. To the motion?

Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Question.