Closing the purchasing gap in Nunavik is long overdue, says Inuk Senator Charlie Watt
15 September 2009
OTTAWA – “Taxes in Nunavik are based on the product you purchase once it has reached Nunavik… it hits you right away that residents are paying three to five times more than those living in Southern Canada… given the recession I would say that our dollar is worth about 29 cents right now,” said Senator Charlie Watt. Senator Watt made these comments before the Senate Finance Committee today during hearings on his Private Members Bill S-227.“Putting more money in the pockets of residents of Nunavik makes sense,” said Committee witness Yves Normandin, President of Arctic Consultants Inc.
Mr. Normandin fully supported the Senator’s call for tax relief. Said Mr. Normandin, “We live in a world of access to many means of communication, as a result a lot of the people of Nunavik know what is available on the market and realize what they cannot afford to buy.
Their state of poverty creates social problems, mainly within the young population, and they lose hope of being able to be equal with other Canadian citizens.”
If passed by Parliament, Senator Watt’s Bill would provide personal income tax relief by establishing Nunavik as a special zone under the Northern Residents Deduction and providing up to a $70 daily deduction for Nunavik residents in addition to existing deductions. The legislation will also apply a zero per cent GST rate on the supply of goods and services and would also exempt petroleum fuels purchased in Nunavik from federal excise taxes.
Senate Finance Committee hearings will continue tomorrow. Witnesses appearing will be the Mary Simon, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; University of Laval’s Gérard Duhaime, the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Aboriginal Condition; and Rita Novalinga, General Manager La Fédération des cooperatives du Nouveau-Québec.