HST the 'line in the sand'; Madahbee

TORONTO, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee predicts that First Nations will draw a "line in the sand" over the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax that will add 13 cents on the dollar to the cost of most purchases.

"We should have drawn the line when they started to take our land," the Anishinabek Nation leader told an anti-HST rally of about 400 First Nations citizens yesterday on the steps of the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park.

"We should have drawn the line when they started to take our children to residential schools.

"So we're going to draw it now. We have defended this country as allies of the Crown; we are not subjects of the Crown. Our citizens do not have to pay taxes to any other nations."

Madahbee and other First Nations leaders joined New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath in condemning the federal government's plans to harmonize the provincial retail sales tax and the goods and services tax in Ontario and British Columbia. NDP members were the only MPs to vote against enabling legislation that passed in the House of Commons Thursday afternoon.

At about the same time, the rally participants learned of the bill passage in Ottawa, they were told that citizens of Garden River and Batchewana First Nations had erected three blockades on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sault Ste. Marie and that transport trucks were backed up for miles.

"This issue has galvanized First Nations people across this province," said Madahbee noting that it would on the agenda of a special Assembly of First Nations meeting in Ottawa next week. "If our aboriginal and treaty rights continue to be ignored, the other governments could have 130 fires to put out."

The rally was scheduled on the final day of a three-day special assembly of the Chiefs in Ontario attended by representatives of 134 First Nations in the province.

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 41 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

SOURCE Anishinabek Nation

For further information: For further information: Marci Becking, Communications Officer, Union of Ontario Indians, Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290), Cell: (705) 494-0735, E-mail: becmar@anishinabek.ca

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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