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Southern chiefs work on tax strategy

Saying the provincial government is infringing on First Nations’ jurisdiction over taxation, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization held a summit to discuss a way forward.

The chiefs, who gathered at South Beach Casino at Brokenhead Ojibway Nation on March 9, are concerned with tobacco taxation and taxation generally. Discussions centred on “taxation as a fundamental economic power for communities and self-governance, along with options available to the 34 member First Nations of southern Manitoba through the First Nations Fiscal Management Act,” according to the news release.

“Too often First Nation communities are removed from the economy,” stated Jerry Daniels, the organization’s grand chief.

“By considering all options available to us, we can better determine and create systems that bring economic development, self-sufficiency and prosperity to our communities.”

The organization brought in the national First Nations Tax Commission’s chief commissioner, Manny Jules, who helped in discussions regarding the First Nations Fiscal Management Act. The 2006 Act, intended to enable First Nations to participate more fully in the Canadian economy, established the commission.

The chiefs present drafted three resolutions to forge a path forward.

The first resolution puts the southern chiefs firmly in support of an impending legal challenge to the province’s tobacco tax rebate program by the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

The second resolution will see Daniels set up a taxation committee that will address taxation, as well as outstanding treaty issues with the provincial and federal governments.

According to the third resolution, Daniels will engage governments regarding the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba, with the goal of possibly creating an Anishinaabe and Dakota-led liquor, gaming and cannabis authority.

» The Brandon Sun

Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun