To read the piece of legislation I am referring to please click HERE
This piece of legislation I feel is old and out dated. The particular section that needs attention would be the section concerning tax exemption rights. Just recently, HST was implemented in Ontario. In Ontario, Status Indians are also pst exempted. When HST was first proposed, well in advance to the actual implementation date (July 1, 2010), I did not read or hear about any action from first nation communities; I wrote letter after letter six months before any first nation leader spoke a public word about HST (this also concerns me: lack of initiative on first nations’ leaders part).
Apart from all this, I believe this section HAS to be reconstructed if first nations still want to claim exemptions from ALL purchases. If you read the section, you will notice it does not deal with OFF RESERVE purchases nor does it deal with OFF RESERVE natives. Why is this? The more time that goes on and the more that legislation is created or changed, I believe more than ever that the Indian Act needs to be seriously reconstructed. And not just at last moment.
As part of Canada’s history, first nations need to create a more constructive partnership with the Canadian government if we want to be around for the next century. We also need to be aware of the political and legislative changes on a day to day basis! How do first nations do this one might ask? Well, going to a parliamentary website might help and taking the INITIATIVE to reading proposed bills beginning at their first readings, not beginning at proclamation dates. Starting the fight for change EARLY and not later, like that of the anti-HST campaigns in Ontario. But it just doesn’t stop there and it is not as easy as it seems.
We need to be more politically active and not just for one’s own community’s wants or needs but each and every first nation community both on and off reserve. We need to be a true nation within a nation to survive (and if future first nations want to enjoy the rights past Canadian Aboriginals signed on for)!