An economic impact study released April 21 and commissioned by the Chiefs of Ontario says the new HST will negatively impact First Nations in Ontario.
Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse said that the move to implement HST was done without an economic impact analysis to inform First Nations of any financial impacts. The report estimates that First Nations in Ontario will pay anywhere from $85 to $120 million in the first year of HST and that this will continue to increase as incomes and expenditures rise in the future. The HST tax comes into effect July 1 in Ontario.
"For a segment of the population that lives at or below the poverty line and are struggling to build their economies, one wonders if it is really necessary for governments to collect another $100 million annually from the First Nations," Toulouse said.
The federal and provincial governments failed to consult with the First Nations in Ontario prior to the decision to implement HST, Toulouse said.
"They aggressively pushed through legislation at both levels without taking First Nation views, or anyone else's concerns, into consideration...this has been an extraordinarily undemocratic process," he said.
First Nations in Ontario have been meeting with the Ontario government since last summer in hopes of reaching a fair and just solution. But according to Toulouse the federal government has refused to meet with First Nation leaders and have been ignoring the views of First Nations regarding HST.
"I assure you that we will continue to take governments to task when they fail to meet their duties to consult and accommodate the rights of our people. It is incumbent upon us as leaders to protect our people and to fight against the further erosion of our rights," Toulouse said.
I feel a greater sense of hope and optimism these days for the future when I talk to many of our young First Nation people. There are still many hurdles and...