OTTAWA – Carol Hughes delivered a statement filled with harsh criticism for the government’s lack of manners when dealing with Ontario First Nations on the HST.
Citing multiple requests from Chiefs and even the Premier of Ontario, Hughes joined the chorus of those demanding the federal government meet with First Nations and the Province to come to an agreement on the point-of-sale exemption which will be wiped-out when the HST comes into force.

“The Union of Ontario Indians and the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin have been trying for months to meet with the Minister of Finance to discuss the loss of point-of-sale exemptions under the new tax,” said Hughes. “The Premier of Ontario also wants to meet with the Federal Government and First Nations on this issue.”

Hughes explained how staff members for both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs are showing no respect to First Nations leaders.

“Chief Shining Turtle from Whitefish River First Nation has been told, flat-out, to stop contacting the Minister of Finance’s office regarding the HST, Hughes said. “Staffers from the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs have called to tell him to stop sending e-mails. Then, they had the gall to hang up on him.”

“I am shocked that a Chief of a First Nation on a very important matter that will affect the people of my First Nation and other First Nations in Ontario would receive this treatment,” wrote Chief Shining Turtle in a letter to Mrs. Hughes on the subject.

Ontario First Nations are claiming the introduction of the HST and subsequent removal of the point-of-sale exemption triggers a legal obligation for the federal government to enter into consultations. The province has indicated that it is up to the federal government to make the changes First Nations are asking for.