OTTAWA – First Nations in Ontario will keep their point-of-sale exemption under the Harmonized Sales Tax, thanks to some last minute negotiations and political pressure, says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes.

After being ignored by the provincial and federal governments for almost a year, Ontario First Nations finally negotiated a deal this week.

“This is a great victory for the aboriginal people of Ontario,” Hughes said. “I’ve attended many rallies in support of reinstating the point-of-sale exemption for First Nations people in this province. They have fought valiantly for this right to not have an unjust tax levied against them. It’s unfortunate the HST is coming into effect at all, but at least the government is finally listening to First Nations.”

The original implementation of the HST removed the provincial point-of-sale exemption, causing First Nations to protest while calling for meaningful and respectful negotiations. After weeks of pressure by First Nations leaders and the federal and provincial New Democrats, the federal government finally agreed to the tripartite negotiations that led to an agreement.

"The First Nations in Ontario are pleased that the point of sale exemption will continue to be honoured within the HST,” said Assembly of First Nations Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse. “It was due to the tireless work of many First Nation leaders and citizens and important contributions from the NDP, and NDP MP's like Carol Hughes. Together we were able to make our voice heard."