Chiefs reject plan to allow First Nations to collect taxes
- Chiefs reject plan to allow First Nations to collect taxes
Last Updated Mon, 02 Dec 2002 8:27:13
OTTAWA - The Indian Affairs minister will introduce an act in Parliament
on Monday that would allow First Nations to impose taxes and issue bonds.
If it's passed, the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
would give them the same powers to raise money as any other level of
Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault called it the most significant step
forward in economic development in 100 years.
Some native leaders have already rejected the idea of taxing their own
The act would create four new public institutions:
* a finance authority to leverage property taxes, so they can issue
bonds to pay for projects, such as water, road and sewage projects.
* a management board to set standards and train people
* a commission to oversee property tax collection
* an institute to collect statistics on First Nations
Nault said the institutions are the tools First Nations need to
participate in the Canadian economy.
Roberta Jamieson, chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River in
Ontario, said she doesn't see it that way.
"The Government of Canada is asking us, basically, to raises taxes
amongst our own people, on the postage-stamp size of reserves we have
left," said Jamieson.
Jamieson said the 45,000 acres the Six Nations now own is just four per
cent of what they once had. And non-native governments are taxing that
land, she said.
Jamieson said most First Nations leaders have rejected Nault's act and
its new institutions.
"They will cost $25 million to create, to service very few First Nations
in Canada, when we need water, we need sewers, we need housing, we need
education, we need health," she said.
Other critics said the property tax model has already failed for
Canada's cities, so it makes no sense to use the same system for First
Written by CBC News Online staff
VIDEO: Carolyn Dunn reports for CBC TV (Runs 2:12)
AUDIO: Curt Petrovich reports for CBC Radio
* First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Consultation Bill
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