AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo welcomes federal decision on HST
recognizing Treaty right to tax exemption

OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Today Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo commended First Nation leadership in Ontario for their initiative and persistence in working with provincial and federal governments to ensure point-of-sale exemption is maintained for First Nations in the province.

"I commend the strong leadership of First Nations in Ontario in working together with the provincial and federal governments to maintain point-of-sale tax exemption for First Nations citizens in the province," said National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Yesterday's decision by the provincial and federal governments signals a willingness by the Government of Canada to recognize and respect the agreements and rights outlined in treaties - the original agreements between our nations and the Crown."

First Nations leadership in Ontario have been working with the Government of Ontario on ways to maintain the point-of-sale tax exemption since the Harmonized Sales Tax was announced in March 2009. The federal government joined discussions earlier this month, following the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Ontario government and First Nation leadership in Ontario to maintain the tax exemption.

"We are encouraged by the resolution of this matter accomplished through meaningful engagement and discussions with First Nations regarding our Treaty and Aboriginal rights," said National Chief Atleo. "Dialogue based on mutual respect and recognition is essential as we work together to better ensure similar agreements are maintained and fulfilled across the board. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada committed to endorsing in the Speech from the Throne earlier this year, requires us all to engage in processes of partnership and mutual respect on all matters between First Nations and Canada. It mirrors the relationship expressed in our original treaties and has the potential to reinforce and guide real transformational change in the relationship between First Nations and Canada."

Effective July 1, the HST will combine the provincial and federal sales taxes for a total of 13 per cent tax for Ontarians. Since legislation was introduced last November, the province has announced various exemptions to the tax. The exemption for First Nations is not new, rather an existing right based on the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Crown.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: AFN Communications Officer, Jenna Young at 613-241-6789, ext 401, 613-314-8157 (mobile) or jyoung@afn.ca; AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, Alain Garon at 613-241-6789, ext 382, 613-292-0857 (mobile) or agaron@afn.ca


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