Debate on removing PST off construction labour heard Tuesday in Sask. legislature

Members of the Legislative Assembly went back and forth during Tuesday’s question period on a request from NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon for government to remove the provincial sales tax on construction labour.

Wotherspoon believes this is a solution that could stop the economy from being held back during a crucial time when people need to get back to work.

The MLA for Regina Rosemont pointed to a Statistics Canada report released Tuesday which shows Saskatchewan has the worst record in the country when it comes to new building permit numbers.

“We are the only province to see a decline year over year in the value of building permits, which is after years of losses in this industry,” Wotherspoon said.

“We dropped by 12 per cent on this front, and that’s already on top of an already too-low number because the industry has really been hit hard by the Saskatchewan party’s imposition of the PST.”

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said recent announcements, such as Cargill and Viterra construction projects in Regina, show there is incredible investment happening in Saskatchewan.

Harpauer added there is over $2 billion worth of investments that have been announced in recent weeks and that house starts have gone up “incredibly in the last several months.” She suggested this indicates confidence in the province and in the Sask. Party government.

“He may think that’s just a lot of spin, but we view that as investment, economic growth and jobs being created here in the province,” responded Harpauer.

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