[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
The Kamloops First Nation Tax, a controversial levy on any goods purchased on the reserve, takes effect Tuesday. Legislation passed earlier this year by the federal government allows the band to tax both natives and non-natives for any tobacco, alcohol and fuel purchased. Ottawa will continue to collect the seven per cent tax and then transfer it back to the band.
Native customers will pay about 10 cents more for cigarettes and see a slight increase in the cost of gasoline and alcohol. For non-native customers, there will be no impact, as the GST is simply going to the band and not the federal government.
Chief Manny Jules said the money collected will go towards education, language development and land claim litigations. Roughly $700,000 will be collected under the new tax.
The tax was scheduled to take effect Aug. 1 but a group of band members opposing the legislation have launched a lawsuit against Jules and the rest of band council. The group, spearheaded by band members Alice McCaleb and Marie Baptiste, alleges band council failed to notify band members on the impending tax and it is therefore illegal. The group also says the tax violates the Indian Act, which affords natives tax-free status.