‘Higher expectations’ set as legislature heads into 2nd year, MLA says

Fall sitting expected to deal with seven bills plus possible tax on liquor sales

David Joanasie, house leader and minister of community and government services, says the fall session of the legislative assembly will see seven bills come to the table. (File photo)

By Meral Jamal

Nunavut’s legislative assembly will reconvene for its fall sitting Wednesday, with seven money and government bills on the agenda.

The sitting runs from Oct. 26 to Nov. 10, and is beginning a day earlier than originally planned because of changes that had been made to airline flight schedules, assembly Speaker Tony Akoak said in a news release.

David Joanasie, house leader and minister of community and government services, said seven bills will be introduced during the fall sitting.

The three money bills that would affect government spending or taxation will be tabled:

  • Bill 8: Supplementary Appropriation Capital Act 2022-2023;
  • Bill 9: Write-off of Assets and Debts Act 2021-2022;
  • Bill 10: Capital Appropriation Act 2023-2024.

Joanasie said his department is tabling two of the four government bills — pieces of legislation that are part of the government’s agenda. They are:

  • Bill 12: An act to amend the Commissioner’s Land Act;
  • Bill 14: An act amend the northern employees benefits services pension plan.

The two other government bills being put forth include the Miscellaneous Statute Amendments Act from the Justice Department, and an Act to Amend the Limitations of Actions Act, the Legal Questions Act and to repeal and replace the Interprovincial Subpoenas Act.

The assembly will also consider the Liquor Tax Act, a bill leftover from the spring sitting. If passed, it will put a tax on all alcohol sold and consumed in the territory, meaning Nunavummiut would pay a tax on alcohol as a percentage of a product’s retail price.

“This bill is in the hands of the standing committee on legislation,” Joanasie said of the Liquor Tax Act. “Whether or not it’s passed or assented to in this fall sitting, we’ll have to see.”

Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said Bill 4, the Liquor Tax Act, potential legislation related to remote work, and improving capacity for elder care within Nunavut are issues he hopes the assembly discusses in this sitting.

“We are one of the last jurisdictions in Canada that doesn’t have a tax on liquor products,” said Hickes, a former cabinet minister who has sat as a regular member since the 2021 election.

“We’re always trying to run other revenue streams in our limited opportunities, so I think it’s something that needs to be explored.”

For Hickes, the fall sitting is important because it is occurring one year after the new territorial government was elected.

“I’ve always said it takes most people a good six months to a year to get their head wrapped around what’s within their responsibility,” he said. “Now that we’re a year in, I think expectations are going to be a little bit higher.

“There are higher expectations for this sitting compared to previous sittings, because ministers in the cabinet have had time to learn their portfolios and hopefully have a good base knowledge so that they can answer questions that are posed to them by the public and regular members and then to keep them informed of what the government is doing.”

 

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by B&W Customer on

    So the GN already makes a massive profit from the beer and wine store. The recent plebiscite for the brewery did not pass. The GN will continue to be the only merchant in Iqaluit that sells alcohol or consumption at home. Now they want to add an additional tax? For what? Just another cash grab

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    • Posted by YCO on

      So they can use this during the next campaign to get back into office. I mean let’s face it, half of them only got in because their friends and family voted them in, they lack credibility and common sense.

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