"We need to crank this up a notch," said Madahbee. "We need to make sure Minister Flaherty knows how we feel about this illegal tax when his senior staff meet with Chiefs in Ontario officials in Ottawa next Monday."
Anishinabek Nation leaders have been seeking a chance to voice their concerns directly to the federal finance minister since plans were announced in March, 2009 to merge the 8 per cent Ontario Provincial Sales Tax with the 5 per cent federal Goods and Services Tax. The new HST is to be implemented July 1st and will be applied to a broader range of goods and services including gasoline, costs to heat homes with fuel oil or electricity, haircuts, retirement planning fees and funeral expenses.
"We’ve been waiting for this meeting for well over a year – we can’t let Flaherty give us a song and dance about how they can’t continue to recognize First Nations point-of-sale tax exemption," said the Grand Council Chief. He said he was hearing concerns from community members and chiefs that the federal agreement to meet Monday is a stalling tactic to avoid the embarrassment of First Nations protests during the June 25-27 G8 Summit of world leaders in Huntsville.
"If we continue to be illegally taxed we will make sure that the whole world knows that Canada has once again threatened to erode the treaty and inherent rights of First Nations," said Madahbee.
On Monday 300 people participated in a Lake Nipigon protest to support Red Rock First Nation in their demonstration to retain the point-of-sale tax exemption on July 1.
First Nations along the Highway 69 corridor joined together on May 21 to slow down traffic and hand out information on the impacts the proposed HST would have on their citizens, estimated by York University economist Dr. Fred Lazar as high as $100 weekly for each Anishinabek Nation household.
Several First Nations have served notice they will be setting up toll booths this summer to slow traffic on the TransCanada Highway and to block rail traffic through their territories.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.