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Taxation M.O.U. Signed

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JULY/AUGUST 1994      v23 n06 p03  
Vice-Chief Ernie Cameron Vice-Chief Ernie Cameron, FSIN Executive in charge of taxation; recently announced that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations have reached an understanding with the Government of Canada on the process and the parameters within which they will examine what treaty rights and taxation are all about. The FSIN will be putting forward their position and the Government of Canada will put forward theirs. Then the parties will sit down and have discussions to try to come to some agreement on the taxation issues.

The understanding reached thus far is a milestone in treaty talks and the Vice Chief Cameron applauds the Federal Government for realizing that they have to work to resolve these outstanding issues. Further, he feels that the process will benefit First Nations. "There has to be a documented understanding," says Vice Chief Cameron, "otherwise the governments of Canada will go on unilaterally chipping away at our Treaty Rights." In this case, specifically, taxation issues. As far as the Vice Chief is concerned, the Treaties are binding, but the written texts are vague in places and we have to be able to reach an understanding on the meaning. A mutual agreement on the spirit and intent in those cases, is important.

It is also important that there be a dispute mechanism in place before talks begin, because potentially, the starting points on both sides may be so diverse that agreement might seem impossible, and talks useless. But he remains optimistic that the Government of Canada will take into account the spirit and intent of treaties, as indicated in the Prime Minister's Red Book.

Vice-Chief Cameron goes on to stress that this process is being driven by the First Nations of Saskatchewan through their Taxation Commission, and that no formal position will be put forward without full consultation and consent of the First Nations of Saskatchewan. "That is guaranteed," stated Vice Chief Cameron.