Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On doing your homework

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Lawrence Joseph is not happy with the CTF position on urban reserves. In fact, he took some time yesterday at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association annual convention to let delegates know exactly how he felt.

The chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is accusing the Canadian Taxpayers Federation of "spreading lies" about First Nations development and taxation.

Speaking to mayors and councillors at the annual meeting of the SaskatchewanUrban Municipalities Association in Saskatoon on Monday, FSIN chief Lawrence Joseph said recent statements by the taxpayer lobby group about urban reserves are "garbage."

And what are the "lies" the CTF is spreading?
In an article titled Let's Talk Taxes dated Jan. 30, the taxpayers group criticized Piapot First Nation's interest in having an urban reserve in the heart of Regina. The group said it would be unfair competition for other businesses in Regina if the reserve had a gas bar and grocery store operating tax free.

Joseph said the taxpayers federation's stance that urban reserves will undermine municipal tax bases is simply not true.

Did I really say that "urban reserves will undermine municipal tax bases"? Well, let's take a look and see:
As for local services, the city must negotiate a “service agreement” in which the band agrees to pay the municipality an amount equivalent to what they would have paid in property taxes without “reserve” status.

I explicitly said that service agreements can ensure an amount equivalent to property taxes are paid. Although, in the case of the proposed Regina urban reserves, the local school board won't receive it's share of the taxes.

The problem is not the property tax, but all other taxes like provincial and federal corporate taxes, income taxes for employees that live on reserve, as well as the tobacco and fuel taxes that aren't collected.

If Lawrence Joseph is going to call us liars, he better do his homework.


The Beast said...

Just a quick comment about the education tax comment, the federal government gives transfer payments to the provinces for aboriginal education for on reserve children. The province uses this money to educate indians from the reserve. did you know this? and there isn't going to be students coming off this piece of land because it's planning to be used for other things. as for the other taxes your Supreme Court of Canada has concluded that the purpose of this exemption is to preserve the entitlements of status Indians to their reserve lands and to ensure that the use of their property on reserve lands is not jeopardized because of the government's ability to tax.
You're right, Homework does wonders.

Tanis Fiss said...

The federal government gives transfer payments to Indian band councils for eduction, NOT to provinces. Provincial Ministries of Education must invoice Indian band councils for any reserve residing status Indian students that attend provincial schools. Given the provisions of Section 89 of the Indian Act, some provinces have experienced difficulty receiving payment from some Indian bands.

By the way, the Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the tax exemption contained within the Indian Act is linked to the protection of reserve land and property.

The Court has concluded that the purpose of the exemption is to make sure tax does not erode the use of Indian property on reserves.

The Court has indicated that this tax exemption is not intended to remedy the economically disadvantaged position of Aboriginal people in Canada or bring ECONOMIC BENEFITS to them.

Also, the Indian Act is a piece of legislation, it can be amended to abolish the tax exemptions.

Homework is a good thing.

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