By CRA to Recognize Tax Exemption Step in Right Direction

Ottawa – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo acknowledged the recognition of commercial fishing rights in Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia as a step in the right direction toward a new relationship between First Nations and Canada based on rights recognition and mutual respect.

“I commend the leadership and dedication of the Eskasoni First Nation for asserting their rights to the lands and waters,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “This decision is an important step that helps highlight a shift in thinking that is required to achieve real change. Rights recognition is essential as we move forward. It is the basis of the original treaty relationship between First Nations and the Crown and is essential, particularly in a time when economic development of our natural resources has the potential to help First Nations thrive.”

The move by Canada Revenue Agency to exempt tax on income earned from commercial communal fisheries comes after almost five years of negotiations between Eskasoni First Nation Chief and Council, band members and Crane Cove Seafoods. It is a reversal of a prior policy that taxed Eskasoni fishers on income earned.

“This is a good step in the right direction toward recognizing Aboriginal and Treaty rights and helping to fulfill the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision that Mi’kmaq have the right to catch and sell fish to provide a moderate livelihood for their families,” said AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine. “The 1999 Marshall decision is an important one, and we will continue to advocate for all Mi’kmaq communities to have these rights recognized and respected in ways that our peoples and communities can continue to grow and succeed.”

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

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