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The issue of taxes and aborigional Canadians

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Chris, Mar 8, 2002.

  1. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    I thought for sure this should provoke some interesting debate. Should Aboriginal Canadians pay tax or not if they live off of a reservation? According to an Alberta judge, they dont.

    Alberta First Nations tax ruling shocks taxpayer federation
    Last Updated Fri, 08 Mar 2002 8:04:25
    CALGARY - A federal taxpayer organization warned a court decision affecting thousands of First Nations people in Alberta will create racial friction and administrative chaos.

    INDEPTH: Aboriginal Canadians

    Celebrating the decision
    On Thursday, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that First Nations living under an agreement known as Treaty 8 do not have to pay any tax. According to the ruling, treaty negotiations held over 100 years ago led the aboriginals to believe they would never be taxed.

    The decision includes those living outside of reserves and could result in backpayments of tens of thousands of dollars to some individuals.

    FROM Mar 7, 2002: Court ruling exempts some aboriginals from taxes

    The decision shocked some in the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. John Carpay, Alberta director for the organization, argued against special treatment for First Nations.
    He insists the logic of the ruling is flawed.

    "If you next door neighbour doesn't have to pay tax because of his racial ancestry, that' s appalling," said Carpay. "It's repulsive. It's a step backwards."

    Carpay says it will only widen the existing racial divide and cause confusion within the tax collection system.

    "Welcome to taxpayer apartheid," Carpay said. "This should be a wakeup call for Canadians to sit up and take notice of aboriginal policy and court decisions on aboriginal policy."

    For First Nations, however, the decision sparked spontaneous celebrations.

    James Badger

    Calling it a "great day to be a treaty Indian", James Badger, an advisor to the grand chiefs of Treaty 8, refutes Badger's comments. He says the decision was fair and long-deserved.

    "The only ones I suggest are creating this racial divide are the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. They have tried from the start to make this a race-based case, which it is not," said Badger.

    Badger says he has been saving receipts from restaurants and stores in order to be reimbursed for the GST, sales and income taxes he's been paying.

    But both Badger and Carpay believe the case is not over and expect the decision will be appealed.
  2. 416

    416 TRIBE Member

    If they've got the agrements in hand, then they shouldn't have to pay.

    All sorts of treaties where signed from conquest till now. They're the reason tribes didn't wipe us off the face of the continent when we first arrived. It was assumed that we'd keep our word. It's really nice to see a couple of them gettin honoured once in a while.
  3. graham

    graham Well-Known TRIBEr

    I say tax them to the gills
  4. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    Dont get me wrong, I agree, I do.

    But for arguements sake, who is we? We as in the conquorers, I mean that wasnt me, etc. Where talking events that were hundreds of years ago, I guess the question that comes to mind is when do "we" stop paying?
  5. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    sorry for the spelling conquerors!!
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Sorry but if you benfit from the roads, schools, or hospitals you should have to pay tax end of story.
  7. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    we stop paying when the last one of us is dead. We're going to be paying for the acts of our previous generations as long as we exist. And as long as we're seen as being guilty of the problems facing other groups there is going to be racism resentment and anger.

    Which came first the chicken or the egg.
  8. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member


    How can anyone claim this case is not about race? The tax exemptions are restricted to "status Indians", and how does one prove their "status"? By providing evidence of their racial ancestry.

    I do not necessarily agree with ANY tax exemptions, even for those aboriginals living on reserves, but I can still acknowledge some merit to the argument. Reserves were set up as a jurisdictional measure ... a way to set aside traditional lands for natives to live according to their traditional culture.

    Much like how Quebec's legal system does not follow the same Common Law foundation as the rest of Canada, in order to preserve their French heritage.

    Native LAND claims and treaties have always been about LAND. Therefore, if you no longer live on these prescribed reserves, you should relinquish all claims. Period.
  9. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Yup unfortunatley the legal system in Canada requires the victim to fight for there rights, not the other way around. So th3e Natives have there rights because they were victimized and cheated. In pretty much every era of our country some provincial government or the federal government has screwed these people again.

    now any loop hole that appears is exploited. Seems pretty tit for tat to me.

    Self government! No other choice these people need to run there own affairs on there own territories. But join or society and you should play by our rules.
  10. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    If the premise of taxes is to provide funds for public investments such as schools, hospitals, social programs etc. Then why should one segment of the population not contribute?
  11. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Because that segmented once held all the land that all the schools hospitals and roads are built on. because that group of people instead of constantly fighting the colonizers instead fought with them and helped us form this nation. They have special rights and privilages because they negotiated them in exchange for peace. Our fore fathers figured they would die out or intigrate into there mother culture.

    Well assimilation doesn't work in real life, and we're bound morally and finacially to the agrements our fore fathers made and probably never meant to keep.

    is it about race, yeah in one way. But I'd rather say its about respecting our culture.
  12. labRat

    labRat TRIBE Member

    as long as they're huffin' our gas and drinking our listerine/aqua velva then they should be paying our taxes.
  13. 416

    416 TRIBE Member

    That's a really good question. I've thought about it lots and lots cause it really gets to the heart of this entire argument. Namely, blame and responsibility.

    In my mind, "we" are the people who thrive in the current culture. Some dudes a couple hundred years ago set this system up at the expense of the Native's culture, and we live high on the hog as a result.

    It totally reminds me of the whole reperations for slavery dealy that's goin on the states. A couple hundred years of one group of people living in misery, then they get emancipated (?) and everything is supposed to be cool after that? Not only did the "master" profit directly from the slaves labour, the "master's" entire familty, friends and culture profited. So in my mind, it seems right that the people who are still benifiting from that disgusting system (almost everyone in the US) should chip in to make a some sort of attempt at amends to every person who's suffering can be linked to that system (almost every darky in the US).

    Same situation here. Not only did the original conlonizers of Canada profit from snagging land of the Natives, but we continue to profit, and they continue to suffer.

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. That doesn't sit well with me.

    I know the idea of "it's all ancient history, just forget about it and move on" is a very attractive one, but don't let yourself forget that you live in a culture that only thrives today because it cheated and took deliberate steps to wipe out another culture.
  14. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member

    Well ...

    I think aboriginals still pay fuel taxes. ;)
  15. Rosey

    Rosey TRIBE Member

    the 'we didn't make any treaties with them, it was the original settlers' is the fucking lamest excuse ever.

    if one of your grandparents made an agreement that was supposed to be binding forever. say the agreement was that their family could have the land they needed to make a farm and a home, if they met certain conditions. would you honour it? if you could, of course! what if you were adopted or it was an inlaw? would you honour it then? you damn well better! the same arguement goes for this country, the people who founded it, and the people who came to it later.

    i don't know enough about the land claims to really argue them, but the 'it wasn't my ancestors who made the agreement' arguement is completely invaldid and dishonourable.
  16. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    I so knew someone was going to say this, OUCH!!!!!
  17. The Kid

    The Kid TRIBE Member

    I'm sure you meant this as a joke, but it's in really bad taste.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with aboriginals being exempt from taxes whether or not they live on a reserve. Take a look at some of the social problems facing many aboriginal communities; lack of health care and education, depression, addiction and alcoholism, etc., etc.

    Is it really such a big deal for them to not pay taxes? I don't think so. *shrug*
  18. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member


    Aboriginals in North America are not the first people in the history of the world to be conquered. Should Catholics in Northern Ireland be exempt from British taxes because their land was stolen and their religion supressed? The British also conquered Scotland. Should the Scots be exempt from tax? What about the Basques in Spain? What about Quebec in Canada?

    It's a slippery slope. Like I said, if we've signed treaties, they should be honoured, right or wrong. But I do not think we should wade into the waters of reparations and this idea of writing-off our past guilt with a big cheque.
  19. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Nope its not, but remember your saying that them and all future generations get this. Your not just making a policy decision that last 10 years, your setting policy for 10 generations and then still more. If everytime the natives gave in, they wouldn't exist today. If everytime the natives had a social problem we helped them by throwing money they would never be able to develop there own sustainable society.

    Think about more than just today, think about what happens 50 years from now with some of these decisions. when you deal with politics you have to remeber that a year is nothing its just a year. 200 years from now a year has even less meaning.
  20. AdRiaN

    AdRiaN TRIBE Member

    Social Problems

    One might argue that many of the social problems plaguing native reserves are caused by a cycle of dependence resulting from a lifetime of hand-outs and tax breaks. Therefore, more hand-outs and tax breaks are not the answer.

    Americans have already realized that inner cities do not need bigger welfare cheques, they need to start breaking the cycle of dependence. Our version of the inner city problem, native reserves, could use some of the same medicine.
  21. Chris

    Chris Well-Known TRIBEr

    I think there is a common misconception that All Aboriginal peoples do not pay tax.

    The reality of the situation is:
    "Inuit, Metis, and non-status Indians are required to pay tax.The origin of tax exemption for registered Indians is found under sections 87 and 90 of the Indian Act.Income earned by registered Indians working on reserve for a company, which is situated on reserve, are exempted from federal and provincial income tax.

    Generally, First Nation individuals must pay income tax if they work off reserve or for a company located off reserve whose business is not specifically geared toward Aboriginal people.Depending on the province, some registered Indians do not pay provincial sales tax (In Saskatchewan for example, First Nations living off reserve do not pay provincial sales tax on goods purchased).Registered Indians do not have to pay the GST on goods delivered to the reserve. If the goods are purchased off-reserve and not delivered to the reserve, the GST is payable.It is important to note that many low income Canadians are eligible to receive a GST rebate depending on their level of income. "

    However when these "rights" many times have been tried to be taken away from aboriginals, and have met with determined resistance in the form of blocking roads that cross reservations, or worse threats of leveying taxes to motorists who cross reservations.

    "The Mohawks have threatened to levy tolls on the St. Lawrence Seaway shipping canal, which crosses their territory. They may also begin charging tolls on railway and highway traffic crossing the reserves.

    In 1990, the Mohawks at Kahnawake blocked the Mercier Bridge, a major link between downtown Montreal and the city's suburbs as one end of the bridge is on Mohawk territory. Now moderates on the Kahnawake reserve council are trying to prevent the tax dispute from escalating into a similar standoff, all because of this tax issue."
  22. 416

    416 TRIBE Member

    Re: Reparations

    First of all, we're talking about a specific treaty granting the right to a specific group of Natives and their offspring to never have to pay taxes. It's in the freakin treaty, so we've got to honour it.

    Second of all, I know it's a slippery slope, but I think it's one we need to explore. Someone has to be accountable for this shit. Is there some sort of statute of limitations on genocide and colonialism? And if so, what kind of time span are we talking about here?

    The benifits of colonialism persist, and so does the suffering.

    But hey, there's no easy solution, so let's just forget about it.
  23. Rosey

    Rosey TRIBE Member

    did you know that, in ontario at least, defaulted property cannot be seized on a reserve?

    if you 'buy' a colour tv at a don't-pay-a-cent event and bring it onto the reserve, the company that sold it to you has no legal way of getting it back or making you pay for it.

    obviously the few natives who pull scams like these are giving the majority a bad name.
  24. labRat

    labRat TRIBE Member

    i was being serious, hence the lack of a smiley face. i apologise if you found it offensive.

    <cartman>clown hat, curly hair, winky smiley face</cartman>

  25. graham

    graham Well-Known TRIBEr

    not that it truly relates, but I remember noticing the simple irony of aboriginals fighting to maintain the tradition of slaughtering whales, while opposing the tradition of white-man robbing indians.

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