This is page numbers 5877 - 5944 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 report.

Topics

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Approximately 25 years.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Now, the intention is that it hasn't been raised in 25 years, but now we're going to raise it, apparently three times over the next three years. I am wondering if the Minister can provide some kind of justification for this phasing-in approach? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Well, I'd like to deal first with the issue of the $500,000 of which I spoke of and which was referenced earlier. It's not as though this will all come from Yellowknife; land transfer in Fort Smith or Hay River would likely also be effected. We didn't want to have a revenue shock, if I can put it that way, on the consumers who would be paying this, so that is why it was decided that a most reasonable approach would be to phase it in over time. As I say, the rates had not been changed in approximately 25 years, maybe slightly more, slightly less, but it has been a long time with no change.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Vanthuyne.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5941

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Respectfully, we looked at this a couple of years ago when it was being proposed, essentially, as a land transfer tax, and it was at the time proposed that it could possibly bring in somewhere in the neighbourhood of about $3.1 million. I think we understood at that time that about 70 percent of that would have been coming from the Yellowknife market. I appreciate that there are certainly other market communities that are going to be affected by this, but I am a little bit troubled that we are using a phased-in approach. I mean, I don't understand why the department would just have gone to increase the fee to the extent that they thought it was necessary right out of the gate. If you buy a house, you buy a house every five, maybe 10 years. You're not buying a house every single year, so it is not as though there is going to be a shock factor. People are going to buy a house maybe this year. You won't see them buy one for another 10 years. Whether you put the all-in $500,000 now or not doesn't really matter.

The bigger concern is that this type of administration is something that we expect as taxpayers and as residents to be paid through general taxation and payroll-type taxes. When we start picking off little areas of administration where we think we need to add additional fees, then that's when people start to get upset.

Sin taxes and the like are a little bit different because there are often reasons behind those for wanting to change society's behaviour on a particular, usually problematic, or some kind of instance where we need to change society's behaviour so that we can reduce harm to society. In this case, this is housing. You continue to say that we advocate for affordable housing, and we have to undertake initiatives to find ways to make it cheaper to have families buy and reside in homes, and yet here we are again, going to find a way to increase the costs of acquiring housing.

I am still not convinced that this isn't anything more than the government's original plan as it related to gaining their costs and revenue difference to get to the $150 million mark from the onset of this government. I think that, because there was clearly not any public acceptance to the original land transfer tax that would have resulted in $3.1 million a year being generated, this now has been the approach in which we're going to deal with this.

I think that the constituents I represent will have a difficulty with this. They certainly will be letting me know about the increase to the cost of living when I start knocking on their doors in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chair, I can't find myself supporting this particular clause at this point in time. Thank you.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

Louis Sebert Thebacha

I see from my notes that the fees became effective in 1994, so it is approximately 25 years. Yes, this is an increase in fees, but it is nowhere near the land transfer tax that was contemplated earlier. I think this is a reasonable compromise. It is a fairly low increase over a period of three years, and clearly, if you are buying a more expensive house, you pay more fees. I think that is fair. I think this is, as I say, a reasonable compromise. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Clause 7, Mr. Beaulieu.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a question for the Minister. I am wondering why at this point, in market communities at this point, the market has gone down a bit. I think in Yellowknife you can witness that. There are the properties that were, they were trying to sell some properties. You just look at all the realtors' sites and there has been a huge drop in the market. In Yellowknife, there has been a drop in the market, a significant drop in the market, which, of course, affects everything. The market value of people's properties gives them the ability to borrow, gives them the ability to participate in the economy. Just as the market is kind of going down and has been going down for a couple of years, a few years, I would say, this additional tax is added to it.

I would like to ask the Minister, he wasn't the Minister, I think, when things were going up sharply: what type of advice did he get from the government at this point to put this type of fee in just when the market is on a downturn? Thank you.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Of course, if the value of your house is a lower amount, then the fees are lower, too. A fee on a $300,000 house is higher than it would be on a $250,000 house. If you bought at $300,000 and paid a fee then and then someone else buys the house or you buy another house at $250,000, you are going to pay less than you would have. The point is the fees are based on the value of the property or the size of the mortgage. If the market is in decline, we will be collecting fewer fees. Thank you.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Mr. Beaulieu.

Committee Motion 161-18(3): Standing Committee on Social Development Report on the Review of Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act and Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act - Government Response to Recommendations, Carried
Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 5942

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This also applies to a refinancing. Now, if you are not switching houses, but the market value of your house is down, now in addition to having less ability to take money out of the market, there is this fee. I was wondering if the Minister has looked at the frequency of that type of transaction as opposed to just looking at the buy-and-sell transaction where many people go to use their houses for equity in order to purchase other things, buy other things around that are needed, that may not be, or even maybe renovating their own homes. When the unit is refinanced, there is a fee paid in there. What type of impact is that having directly on the people who are refinancing their homes?