ontario news watch

New Brunswick government proposes new economic arrangement with First Nations

FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government announced today it won’t renew its current tax collection agreements with First Nations and is asking chiefs to help create a new economic partnership.

The decision follows a court ruling last month that said the province has an obligation to share with the province’s First Nations carbon tax revenues collected and remitted by on-reserve retailers.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the province won’t appeal that ruling but adds the current tax agreements are outdated and have proven to be unfair.

He says under current agreements, about $44 million will be refunded to First Nations communities this year, and nearly 40 per cent of that money will go to just two per cent of the First Nation population.

Some of the agreements expire this year and others end next year, and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn says the government is committed to working with First Nations on modern economic partnerships.

She says that might include revenue sharing from natural resources or partnerships on issues such as housing and economic development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press