Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


November 22, 2011

Housing industry jobs and the HST transition

S. Simpson: The housing industry in B.C. generates tens of billions of dollars of economic activity, probably in excess of 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. It's an industry that's critical to our economy, and it's an industry that is in some trouble because of either inaction or ineptness on the part of the Finance Minister and the B.C. Liberals around the HST transition.

The industry is looking for certainty and clear rules on the transition back to the PST. They haven't received that to date. The Urban Development Institute, the Canadian Home Builders Association and the B.C. Real Estate Association have all said it's hurting their industries, with the UDI telling us they're putting 2,000 units on hold with the 8,000 jobs that won't happen because this government can't come up with a set of clear rules.

When is the industry going to get those rules? When is the Minister of Finance going to produce clear rules for the transition back to the PST?

...

The Minister of Finance should listen to the questions that are coming from the Urban Development Institute, from the home builders and the real estate association. They are asking for certainty. They're asking for this government to at least do as much work as to tell them what the rules will be and what they can expect at the end of the day. 

Hon. Speaker, the UDI tells me they can't even write a presale agreement. They don't know what rules they can put in the contract, because this minister can't get it together to make it happen. The government knew they were going to lose the HST referendum before the vote. They ignored it. They've ignored it for months since. They've done nothing.

This industry is hurting. Thousands of jobs are on the line. The Canadian Home Builders Association in a recent report of its members on the HST said that the HST "is choking the ability for builders and renovators to continue as the small business owners that form the backbone of the province." Their members went on to say that it demonstrates "the anxiety and devastation that is becoming a reality in our industry, and the resulting fallout of lost human capital as jobs are lost."

They're not saying: "Change the dates." They're saying: "Just tell people what's going on." Or tell them you don't know what you're doing and you don't know what's going on.

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