Last night, the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador secured a convincing mandate from the people of the province, winning 31 of 40 seats in the province’s provincial election. In winning a majority government, Liberal Leader, Dwight Ball will become Premier at a time when the province is suffering financially from a collapse in oil prices. Despite the province’s fiscal challenges, retailers are heartened by the new government’s commitment to reverse the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) increase of two percentage points (13%-15%), scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2016. RCC also supported the new government’s campaign commitments to establish a consistent minimum wage formula that is reflective of changes in the cost of living and to help business by cutting red tape.

What RCC Did / Next Steps:

In late 2014, RCC met with the Liberal Leader and successfully advocated for the above noted issues to become part of the Liberal Party’s platform for the 2015 election.

During the election, RCC sent our Retail Election Agenda to all political parties. In this document, we noted issues of importance to the retail sector including the need for tax relief, minimum wage predictability, red tape reduction and environmental stewardship regulations. Mr. Ball responded with a letter stating his Party’s commitment to implementing the promises noted above.

Given that only one month remains until the HST increase is scheduled to go into effect, RCC has questioned the new Liberal government and the provincial Department of Finance as to how such a change can occur. As the HST is administered by the federal government, RCC has been informed that none of the changes to Newfoundland and Labrador’s part of this tax were proclaimed into law, pending the outcome of the province’s election. Premier Elect Ball has stated publicly that in order to reverse the HST increase, he only needs to write a letter to the Federal Department of Finance instructing them not to proclaim the change in the HST. Mr. Ball has promised that once he is sworn in as Newfoundland and Labrador’s thirteenth Premier, one of his first acts will be to send such a letter and ensure the province’s HST remains at 13%.

RCC will update members on the pending actions of the Premier Elect regarding the HST.

Background:

Premier elect, Dwight Ball was a successful pharmacist and entrepreneur before entering politics. He owns several businesses including a number of pharmacies in the province. Given his background as a retailer, Mr. Ball spoke out consistently against the previous government’s decision to increase the HST and of the lack of predictability in minimum wage increases.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Cormier at: [email protected] or 902-422-4144