TORONTO, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - A rally at Queen's Park yesterday turned to the streets, as hundreds of First Nations people blocked downtown city streets to show their opposition to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). "Today is just the beginning," says Grand Chief Randall Phillips of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, representing eight First Nation communities across Ontario. "We have put the Federal and Provincial governments on notice that we are prepared to fight the imposition of the HST on First Nations."
The harmonized sales tax (HST) will deny 133 First Nations in Ontario their Treaty and Aboriginal right to tax exemption. The HST was introduced in the provincial legislature on November 16th, 2009 and is scheduled to be tabled in the federal parliament next week in Ottawa.
If passed by both levels of government, the HST will combine the provincial sales tax (PST) with the federal goods and services tax (GST). The 13 per cent HST will add to the cost of many goods and services not previously taxed which will impact both First Nation and non-First Nation communities.
"The fact of the matter is that First Nations people are the most impoverished and economically challenged people in the country," says Grand Chief Phillips. "We have families out there who struggle every day to feed their children. The governments of Ontario and Canada don't have to live with those types of challenges. They sit in their offices and make decisions while our families at home go without. The truth is," he says, "our people have to deal with the realities of the HST, but MPP's and MP's only have to look at it on paper."
Deputy Grand Chief Chris McCormick stated, "We have never given the authority for another government to impose taxes on us, our treaties do not allow for another Nation to tax us."
Grand Chief Phillips went on to say that First Nations across Ontario will continue to express their opposition to the HST over the coming weeks until both levels of government acknowledge and recognize First Nations tax immunity as guaranteed by the Treaties and Aboriginal Rights.
SOURCE ASSOCIATION OF IROQUOIS & ALLIED INDIANS
For further information: For further information: Sherry Huff, Communications Coordinator, Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, (519) 434-2761