This is page numbers 659 - 708 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 community.

Topics

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Okay. With my colleague's support here, yes, the Government of the Northwest Territories will be looking at some of those options. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

I didn't really want to put the Deputy Premier on the spot, there. I didn't give her these questions up front, but will the Deputy Premier relay to the rest of the Cabinet the importance of addressing any potential impact to business and determine how we can lessen any impact?

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Diane Thom Inuvik Boot Lake

The Member is asking questions about money and what the government is doing as a result of that, so I would like to just defer the question over to the Minister of Finance.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Deputy Premier. Minister of Finance.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, this is an evolving issue, but I can certainly assure this House and assure the people of the Northwest Territories that the Department of Finance has been looking both at our finances and looking at the impact on the economy here, and has been involved on national calls with the federal Minister of Finance and my colleagues across the country. It's an issue that is being looked at both here and nationally. We've been involved, and I am confident that, as the federal packages are being rolled out, they are being rolled out knowing what the potential situation and impact would be on the economy here in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

The other question I have is: there are some suggestions here on how to help, and one of them is to reduce our small business tax or eliminate it. It's currently sitting at 4 percent, and we'd like to see it down to at least 1 percent or eliminated. There's one option. The other thing we should be looking at, as well, is: we do have businesses out there who do have loans from government lenders, and we could look at the interest rates. We could also look at deferring the payments during this period. The third one is: we have to make sure that any businesses are being paid in a timely manner. They can't be waiting for payments for the work they've done. I'd just like to get a commitment from whoever wants to answer it, I guess, that Cabinet will look at that.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

I think the Member is now stuck with me. Absolutely. As I said in my first response, it is an evolving situation. I think a lot of people are saying that across the territories, across the country, but it's an evolving situation about which all leaders and all politicians and all governments are being very actively engaged. There have been calls between first ministers, calls between other departmental ministers. I know I've had two separate calls with first ministers and ministers across the country, dealing with all varieties of issues, impacted industries, dealing with the health, dealing with emergency preparedness, and Cabinet is engaging every morning on this. There is not only a whole-of-government response, there is a whole-of-governments response.

I appreciate the Member's suggestions. I will certainly commit to taking those and looking at them. I know we have already, at the Department of Finance, started to look at what the impacts could be, modelling different scenarios, in order that we can be able to respond now and now respond after the fact. Yes, I give that assurance and will continue to do that work.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final short supplementary, Member for Hay River South.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Rocky Simpson Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the Minister of Finance for that. I'd just like a commitment from her that she will keep this side of the House updated on the economic side of COVID-19, as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Yes. As I've said, the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be determined depending on what happens with the actual virus and as it evolves, as impacts may not be uniform across the country and they might not be uniform across the Northwest Territories. A lot of the governments across Canada right now are introducing budgets right now or are about to do so, so in some ways, it's good timing. We're at the early stage of our fiscal year; we have a lot of flexibility. We have the flexibility to respond, and we will be able to do that. We will be able to keep this House and all the Members appraised of what we are doing and how we are doing it as we become more aware of what the information is and what the impacts are. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 196-19(2): COVID-19 Economic Cost and Support for Businesses
Oral Questions

Page 667

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Question 197-19(2): Business Investment Program
Oral Questions

March 12th, 2020

Page 667

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My colleague for Hay River seems to be getting some good answers there, and I believe the Minister of Finance has kindly agreed to take questions on behalf of ITI and Infrastructure. My question is: can we remove Wal-Mart from the Business Incentive Program?

Question 197-19(2): Business Investment Program
Oral Questions

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The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister of Finance.

Question 197-19(2): Business Investment Program
Oral Questions

Page 667

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Business Incentive Program is, I expect, going to be part of much larger reviews that are taking place between multiple departments being involved in terms of doing that. I'll take the Member's question forward to the relevant lead on those reviews. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 197-19(2): Business Investment Program
Oral Questions

Page 667

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. The time for oral questions has expired. Item 8, written questions. Item 9, returns to written questions. Item 10, replies to Commissioner's address. Item 11, petitions. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 13, reports of standing and special committees. Item 14, tabling of documents. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.