LONDON, ON, May 11 /CNW/ - As debate of Bill 186 continued in the
Legislative Assembly, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
(AIAI) continued its wait for Ontario to engage in a constructive
dialogue on the complex issues surrounding First Nations-made tobacco
"It is clear that the right to levy taxes and impose criminal records
takes precedence over the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples in Ontario,"
said Grand Chief Randal Phillips, "Despite the rhetoric of building
partnerships, improving relations and working together to resolve
issues, this new legislation will be the catalyst for continued
The legislation does not address the province's refusal to recognize
products of federally licensed First Nations tobacco manufactures as
'marked' or legal, despite the fact that these firms are in compliance
with strict health, safety and labeling requirements, and are inspected
by federal officials on a regular basis.
During the debate of Bill 186, NDP Critic, Gilles Bisson, expressed
strong concern over the lack of consultation with First Nations on the
legislation. Unfortunately, members of the Liberal caucus gave Mr.
Bisson the same silence that AIAI has received from the Ontario
government on the issue.
In referencing the principles outlined in Ontario's 2005 New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs, Deputy Grand Chief Chris McCormick stated that, "Minister Bentley and
others assured me that a draft document would be circulated to seek
First Nation input on the tobacco issue, but Bill 186 was introduced
into the legislative process without any consultation ."
He added, "It saddens me to see this kind of backtracking on our
relationship after a productive approach to HST. When are we supposed
to believe the government?"
The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians is a provincial
territorial organization mandated to protect, defend and enhance the
Aboriginal and Treaty rights of its eight member First Nations.
SOURCE Association of Iroquois
For further information:
Grand Chief Randall Phillips at email@example.com or 519-434-2761