The First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) honoured a number of Chiefs from New Brunswick First Nations at a ceremony during its quarterly meeting held in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The meeting marked the start of the FNTC’s second year of operations.

Mr. C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner of the FNTC, praised the Chiefs for their leadership. “The Chiefs of New Brunswick, through the Atlantic Policy Congress, have demonstrated unwavering support for the work of the Commission and the Indian Taxation Advisory Board (ITAB). In particular, their resolutions of support for the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act (FSMA) provided us with the momentum necessary to ensure all-party support in Parliament.”Those honoured included Chief Noah Augustine (Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation), who recently negotiated a sales tax agreement for his community with the government of New Brunswick, and Chief Ken Barlow from Indian Island First Nation, who recently requested that Indian Island be added to the FSMA schedule. Also recognized were Chief Jesse Simon (Elsipogtog First Nation), Chief Everett Martin (Eel River Bar First Nation), Chief Paul Tomah (Kingsclear First Nation) and Chief proxy Alan Polchis, Jr. (St. Mary’s First Nation).

The event focused on facilitating private investment on First Nation lands. Keynote speaker, Mr. Ron Derrickson, former Chief of the Westbank First Nation in British Columbia, shared his experiences as Chief, as a land developer and as a successful international entrepreneur. Mr. Derrickson recognized the importance of leadership and challenged First Nation Chiefs to set out a clear economic vision and work with their councils to make decisions that will build investment friendly First Nation economies. He noted the role played by Chief Commissioner Jules in helping to build First Nation economies and reduce dependency.

The Chief Commissioner also recognized the contribution made by Deputy Chief Commissioner, David Paul. Mr. Paul’s efforts were instrumental in earning the support of Atlantic First Nations and federal government officials for the FSMA. Mr. Paul has also maintained a positive working relationship with the provincial government officials of the Atlantic Provinces.Honourable T.J. Burke, Minister of Justice and Consumer Affairs and Attorney General of New Brunswick, Honourable Victor Boudreau, Minister of Finance, and Deputy Minister of the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Mr. Patrick Francis were also in attendance at the dinner ceremony.

Another highlight of the Commission meeting was a presentation made by Mr. Todd Hoskin of the Ulnooweg Development Group Inc. The organization recently completed an Atlantic First Nation Market Demand Study. The report studied innovative approaches for financing First Nation community infrastructure and other developments. The findings and study recommendations were accepted by the APC in January 2008.