“Today is a special opportunity for everyone to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions that First Nations people have made in the development of our province and our country,” Premier of New Brunswick David Alward said in his meeting with the First Nations Tax Commission.
The Premier provided welcoming remarks at a meeting of the First Nations Tax Commission held in June 2012 which coincided with National Aboriginal Day activities in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
“This is also a time for reflection on where we need to go with society,” he added on the timing of the FNTC meeting. “…finding the financial wherewithal to be able to develop infrastructure is so important, and I believe FNTC provides tremendous capacities for First Nation peoples to allow for economic development to take place.”
The Premier also recognized the good work done by Deputy Chief Commissioner David Paul. To date, several First Nations in New Brunswick have initiated steps to establish and implement First Nations property taxation under the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act.
The Premier discussed the provision of assessment services with New Brunswick First Nations. “We have the capacity in the province to provide this service. We provide it off the reserve and there is no reason it cannot be done on reserve,” said Premier Alward.
Premier Alward commented on the innovative tax-sharing agreements with New Brunswick First Nations. He said, “New Brunswick is the leader in Canada for tax sharing with First Nations.” He noted the economic opportunities of their revenue-sharing agreements with First Nations in New Brunswick, and expressed optimism about FNTC’s role in helping First Nations build a property tax system that would complement these existing sources of revenue.
“Our agreements are providing significant dollars into the community, which can allow First Nations to set their priorities, whether that is infrastructure, investment economic development, or job creation,” said Alward.
Revenue-sharing agreements between the province of New Brunswick and First Nations have been in place since 1995. Revenues from these agreements include gasoline and motive fuel taxes, tobacco taxes, the provincial portion of the HST, and certain gaming revenues.
Premier Alward was accompanied by MLA’s Mr. Wes MacLean (Victoria-Tobique), Ms. Pam Lynch (Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak), Mr. Troy Lifford (Fredericton-Nashwaaksis) and Mr. Patrick Francis, Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
“Now that I’ve had an opportunity to meet with the FNTC,” said Premier Alward in his concluding remarks, “I have a better understanding of their recommendations and I’m certainly interested in what will take place with the First Nations communities across the province of New Brunswick.”
“I believe FNTC provides tremendous capacities for First Nation peoples to allow for economic development to take place.”