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First Nations cigar seller told to pay $12-million in tax

Evidence showed Hill’s company in one year distributed 15,000,000 cigars, so with a Six Nations’ on-reserve population of 13,000 people, that would mean 1,153 cigars per person.

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A First Nations tobacconist who tried to dodge $12 million in tax has been told by a judge to pay up, said Blackwell’s Reporter.

“The purpose of the Indian Act is to preserve the rights of First Nation persons on the lands they occupy and to ensure that governments’ taxation powers do not impair the use of property on the reserves, not to give First Nation persons a general economic advantage,” wrote the Ontario Divisional Court.

Tobacconist Hill Distributors, of the Grand River First Nation at Ohsweken, Ont. southwest of Toronto, reported sales of $38 million worth of cigars in two years. Cigars are taxed at 57 percent in Ontario.

Owner Barbara Hill refused to cough up $12 million in annual wholesalers’ tax, citing the Indian Act exemption for tobacco sold on reserve for “exclusive use” of residents.

“Ms. Hill is mistaken,” wrote the Court.

Evidence showed Hill’s company in one year distributed 15,000,000 cigars, so with a Six Nations’ on-reserve population of 13,000 people, that would mean 1,153 cigars per person.

“Tax-exempt cigars are entering the taxable market,” wrote the Court.

Tax collectors were “not satisfied the sale of the cigars purchased were for the exclusive use of a First Nation consumer.”

“Ms. Hill states that she only sells to First Nation persons on the Six Nations reserve.”

“The Minister estimates the annual consumption of cigars on the Six Nations reserve to be 569,920 cigars in 2019 and 604,632 cigars in 2020. If these numbers are accurate, a substantial amount of the product Ms. Hill purchases is being sold by on-reserve retailers to off-reserve consumers.”

Hill told the Court she did “not question and is not aware of how, where or to whom her customers sell the tobacco product they purchase from her.” Tax collectors estimated Hill’s company accounted for as much as forty percent of wholesale cigar sales to First Nation retailers in Ontario.

The Federal Court of Appeal in 2017 ruled Indigenous trapping rights did not include a GST exemption. The decision came in the case of a First Nation retailer at Saguenay, Que. with million-dollar sales of fur coats.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Kenney says leadership review now would be ‘grossly irresponsible’

When asked at a Tuesday press conference by the Toronto Star about the Mullan letter, Kenney responded there has been opposition to his health care policy “since Day 1.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney last night rejected any calls for an immediate leadership review of him as “grossly irresponsible.”

Kenney has been under withering attacks for his handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Alberta, which led to the “resignation” Tuesday of Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

A UCP caucus meeting is set for Wednesday and Kenney’s leadership is expected to be the main point of discussion.

Dozens of grassroots UCP constituency associations have joined forces to call for an early leadership review of Kenney. The party currently has one scheduled in late 2022, only six months before the next provincial election.

UCP VP of policy Joel Mullan wrote an open letter in the Western Standard Tuesday called for Kenney to go immediately.

When asked at a Tuesday press conference by the Toronto Star about the Mullan letter, Kenney responded there has been opposition to his health care policy “since Day 1.”

“My responsibility is to look at the reality — not wish it away — and take the necessary steps to protect the health care system,” Kenney said.

“Let’s deal with those things at the right time, after this crisis.”

Kenney was asked if the internal turmoil within the UCP was what led to the resignation of Shandro.

“I am focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID, not politics,” Kenney said.

“We have to protect the health care system to prevent needless deaths — we will not allow politics to distract us.”

Kenney said he knew when he brought in the fourth wave of COVID-19 lockdowns last week and flip-flopped on his promise not to bring in vaccine passports there would be internal grumblings.

He said the COVID-19 cabinet committee has had 12 hours of “respectful” meeting time with the full UCP caucus.

Kenney pointed out the People’s Party of Canada, which ran on an anti-vaccination platform, took 8% of the vote in Alberta in the federal election.

“Let me be blunt, those people likely voted for me in the last provincial election,” Kenney said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney said shuffle was ‘time for a fresh start’

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 29 Albertans died in the last 24 hours from COVID-19, including people who had been doubled-vaxxed, but included many people who hadn’t received any vaccinations at all.

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Tyler Shandro wasn’t fired as health minister, he resigned, says Premier Jason Kenney.

Answering questions after Tuesday’s cabinet shuffle, Kenney said he accepted the resignation from Shandro from the health portfolio.

“Tyler’s dedication to the job has never been questioned. He brought his heart to the job,” Kenney said.

“It’s time for a fresh start.”

Kenney denied the shuffle was done to appease critics in the UCP caucus clamouring for action.

“We are focused on getting through the fourth wave of COVID-19, not politics,” said Kenney.

Kenney promoted Labour Minister Jason Copping to health and put Shandro in his old portfolio in labour.

Kenney said bringing in vaccine passports has had a dramatic effect on the number of people getting vaccinated.

A total of 23,000 people were vaccinated on Monday with 78,000 jabs being given out in the last few days.

A total of 81.4% of people have received at least one vaccine with 72.8% having two jabs.

Since they were made available on Sunday, more than two million Albertans printed out their vaccination passports, Kenney said.

He said Alberta Health Services has expanded the number of ICU beds in the province to 337.

Copping said he was honoured to be named health minister in this “pivotal time.”

He said he has three goals: to increase hospital capacities permanently, educate the unvaccinated on why they should get jabs and to prepare the hospital system for any future waves of COVID.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 29 Albertans had died in the last 24 hours from COVID-19, including people who had been doubled-vaxxed, but included many people who hadn’t received any vaccinations at all.

She said the province had identified 1,500 new cases in the last day from 13,600 tests for an 11.1% positivity rate.

There are 996 people in hospital as of September 21 with COVID, and 222 in ICU.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Jean thinking about Fort Mac by-election run

On Tuesday, Jean posted a picture of himself speaking on a mic with a graphic of the riding.

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Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean is musing whether or not to run in a by-election in Fort McMurray.

On Tuesday, Jean posted a picture of himself speaking on a mike with a graphic of the riding behind him.

“There is a byelection coming soon in my old riding in Fort McMurray. Should I run?” he asks Facebook followers.

“Let me know in the comments. Sign up on my webpage for updates.”

The riding was left vacate recently when UCP MLA Laila Goodridge resigned to run for the federal Conservatives. She easily won the riding capturing 67% of the vote.

Jean was the leader of the original Wildrose and was leader of the Opposition from 2015 to 2017.

He ran for the leadership of the UCP, but lost the race to Jason Kenney.

Jean has been increasingly slamming Kenney from the sidelines over his handling of numerous issues.

He called on Kenney to resign after his infamous Sky Palace dinner.

Jean, called on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to resign in the wake of the Sky Palace Scandal.

“FOR THE GOOD OF THE UCP, FOR THE GOOD OF ALBERTA, IT IS TIME FOR JASON KENNEY TO RESIGN,” Jean wrote in capital letters on his Facebook page.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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