Posts Tagged ‘Harmonized Sales Tax’

Canada’s federal government agreed late yesterday not to break 30 years of tradition and oppose a type of sales tax on First Nations, a proposal that had prompted widespread objections (See video above).

The action removes the threat by indigenous communities in Ontario to set up highway blockades on their reserves next week during the G8 and G20 summits, the CBC reports here.

Meanwhile, Ottawa criticized the provincial government’s handling of the issue.

The tax takes effect July 1, but the exemption for tribes won’t be in place until September. The government and First Nations are trying to work out a solution to that dilemma.

Last night’s action doesn’t mean an end to the issue. Aboriginal communities in other provinces want the same treatment, according to the CBC:

    Rick Simon, the Assembly of First Nations’ regional chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, said this week that aboriginal leaders in the Atlantic provinces would use the deal in Ontario to try to get negotiations for their HST exemption started again with Ottawa.

Stay tuned.

Gwen Florio

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Highway blockades will go up Monday in Ontario unless First Nations can work out an agreement with the federal and provincial government in Canada over whether a sales tax will apply to tribes. The tax has been the subject of months of protests by First Nations communities (See video above.)

On the table, Karen Howlett of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes here, is a plan to award aboriginal communities a major break from the “harmonized sales tax,” or HST:

    The deal will save residents of Native communities between $85-million and $120-million in the first year of the HST, according to a new study done by Fred Lazar, an associate economics professor at York University. However, it will also avert a series of protests just as world leaders descend on Ontario for next week’s G8 and G20 summits.

    The protests are set to kick off Monday morning with a blockade of the railway in Batchewana First Nation, a community of 2,400 near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Residents of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, a fly-in community 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, are also planning to participate in the blockade.

Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse says he expects the agreement to be signed tomorrow.

“We’re not quite there yet, but we are making progress,” he tells Howlett. “We’re hoping to have some conclusion to this in the next couple of days.”

First Nations argue that applying the provincial sales tax to them – something that has not been done for 30 years – violates their sovereignty.

Gwen Florio

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The Garden River First Nation in Ontario is looking at charging tolls on the part of the Trans-Canada Highway that passes through its territory near Sault St. Marie along the U.S. border-Canada border.

The possible action comes as retaliation for the Ontario government plans to impose the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), which the tribe says is a violation of its sovereignty.

Garden River recently posted signs along the highway announcing the planned tolls, the Toronto Sun reports here.

“Garden River First Nation is going to continue to do what it needs to do to get government attention in regards to HST,” Chief Lyle Sayers tells the newspaper.

If the tolls are imposed, it will likely be sometime this summer.

Gwen Florio

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The Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways and Garden River First Nation say they’ve got an “action plan” to oppose the Harmonized Sales Tax just approved in Ontario. The tax, which blends provincial and federal taxes, would also apply to First Nations.

First Nations contend it’s illegal for one government to tax another. To show their disapproval, they’re not just talking the talk. They’re walking the walk – right across the border into the United States.

The tribes are asking the 10,000 Native people in the Sault Ste. Marie area and the 220,000 First Nations people across Ontario to join them, saying, here, “We call on you to spend your millions of Christmas dollars in the United States.”

The tribes have set a Christmas shopping trip to the States for Monday, Dec. 21.

”This exercise will serve as demonstration of Batchewana, and Garden River First Nations rights recognized under the Jay Treaty to travel throughout North America without harassment or molestation,” the tribes said in a release.

The tribes recently blocked a highway to protest the tax (see video), and say more such actions are planned.

Added Chief Dean Sayers: “We as a people are sovereign and hence are neither Canada’s Indians nor are we the United States’ Indians.

Gwen Florio

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First Nations stage huge protests in Canada against sales tax
Tribes blocked the Trans-Canada Highway in three places, and First Nations members also rallied in Toronto to protest the “Harmonized Sales Tax,” saying that one nation – in this case, Canada – has no right to tax another, according to the NewsWire. “Today is just the beginning,” says Grand Chief Randall Phillips of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, representing eight First Nation communities across Ontario. “We have put the Federal and Provincial governments on notice that we are prepared to fight the imposition of the HST on First Nations.”

The sacred peak, Opahata I, is also known as Harney Peak (Defenders of the Black Hills photo)

The sacred peak, Opahata I, is also known as Harney Peak (Defenders of the Black Hills photo)

Support for sacred Black Hills site as national monument
The group calling itself Defenders of the Black Hills has endorsed the designation of the roughly 40,000 acres of National Forest System lands as the Okawita Paha National Monument, Indian Country Today reports here.

Within the hills, the sacred peak, Opahata I, also known as Harney Peak, is considered the “center of all that is” to many Native American nation. The surrounding Okawita Paha area, literally “Gathering Place,” also is considered sacred, the newspaper writes. The monument – where activities such as logging and prescribed burns would be off-limits – would be jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Great Sioux Nation.

Morales’ re-election means more pro-indigenous policies in Bolivia
Here’s an interesting story from Bolivia on the re-election of Evo Morales to the presidency. The result is likely to be more pro-indigenous policies in Bolivia, where Morales would not have won without strong support from the country’s indigenous people.

Dawes Rolls prove great tool for Native family research

Whatever you may think about the Dawes Rolls – created to allocate (vastly reduced) amounts of land to tribes – they’ve turned out to be a huge help to people doing geneaological research, according to the Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune Star, here.

Top aide to Navajo president asked to resign
Navajo Nation Vice President Ben Shelly has asked Patrick Sandoval, chief of staff to President Joe Shirley Jr., to resign, the Navajo Times reports here. Shirley, under investigation in connection failed business dealings, has been on administrative leave for six weeks.

Gwen Florio

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