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NEWS RELEASE · 8th June 2010
Chris Delaney
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs has joined forces with Bill Vander Zalm in supporting a legal challenge to the HST. On Thursday of last week, the UBCIC passed a motion agreeing to support a challenge to the much hated sales tax, on the grounds that the tax will be applied to aboriginals in BC, and is outside the jurisdiction of both the federal and provincial government.

The motion reads:

“Therefore be it finally resolved that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Council supports the Fight HST campaign in exploring legal options, including a constitutional challenge to the implementation of the HST.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said the HST will devastate native peoples in BC, who are among the poorest people in the province, “The HST will hit our peoples the hardest. They will have to pay it on the majority of their purchases, which are made off reserve. Many First Nations people struggle just to survive, and this tax will severely hurt them.”

Phillip pointed out that not only does the HST appear to contravene Section 92 of the Constitution which grants exclusive authority for provincial sales taxes to the provinces, but it also contravenes aboriginal sovereignty over taxation for natives.

“We are pleased to offer our support to former premier Vander Zalm in his efforts to stop this tax. It is not good for British Columbians, and it is not good for First Nations. We must fight together to defeat it, and send the government a message that they cannot run roughshod over the rights of people, especially those least able to defend themselves,” said Phillip.

Fight HST leader, Bill Vander Zalm, said he is very happy to have the support of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The HST has brought people together in our province in way that we have never seen it before. For the first time, we are all fighting together on the same issue, and that is a power that no government can stop.”

Vander Zalm says he is soliciting funds from associations and organizations to facilitate the legal challenge. He says the legal challenge is independent of the Fight HST Citizen Initiative petition. His plan is to seek an “injunction” against the HST to stop it from proceeding, or to halt its advance while the courts work to determine whether it is legal.

“An injunction would kill the tax on the spot. Our lawyers tell us that a judge may look favourably upon an injunction, since it would take two years for our challenge to go through the courts. In that time the BC Government would have collected over $16,000,000,000 in HST. If it was found to be illegal, it would have to be repaid and that would bankrupt the treasury.”

“By working together, we will show the government that they must listen, and that democracy is not completely dead in BC,” Vander Zalm concluded.