Tackling Bill C-10

The majority of Native people are unaware of the seriously flawed document called Bill C-10 making its way through parliament currently.  The Federal Government introduced Bill C-10 in Parliament through Justice Minister Peter MacKay on November 5, 2013.  The Bill was then discussed at the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights on December 3,5,10 and 12, 2013.  The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Criminal Code to include a section on the possession and trafficking of contraband tobacco.  Contraband tobacco is being defined as any tobacco product that does not comply with the relevant federal and provincial statutes.

Importing, stamping, marking, manufacturing, distributing and paying duties and taxes on such product are all regulated by statute.  To further this definition of contraband tobacco, the RCMP considers contraband tobacco to include product to be sold on First Nations’ reserves that has been diverted to the wider market.  At present, there are no specific offences relating to “contraband tobacco” found in the Criminal Code of Canada. The application of this Bill would completely demolish the economic foundation of our sovereign rights as Haudenosaunee people.

The Government of Canada once again played the card of presenting a life changing piece of legislation at the beginning of an important holiday. The fact that this proposed law is entirely racist in its targeting of our people should not be lost.  Canada has decided to tackle what they consider to be a problem because they cannot profit from the Ohnkwenhonh:we developing our economy on a marketable commodity not subject to their system of taxation.

Included in this barrage of nonsense is the language the government uses to describe what they know to be perfectly legal practices among the Onhkwehohn:we.  Efforts being made by the government to associate the practice of cigarette selling with criminal organizations is also asinine. Non-Natives are able to sell tobacco products without the government trying to tie their businesses to organized crime. The Onhkwehonh:we sells tobacco product and suddenly criminal organizations are being associated with tobacco. The deliberate misdirection of the Canadian Government plays nicely into their agenda of marginalizing us and the further destruction of our culture.

The Two Row Times is hosting a public information session on Bill C-10 and the underlying ramifications of its imposition upon Onkwehon:we at 2pm on February 22nd, 2014 at the Six Nations Polytechnic (2160 4th Line, Ohsweken).

If you wish to understand the danger Bill C-10 represents to all of us, please come and be involved. We are now at the crossroads where life will change for all of us.

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