Fiscal Decolonization-Indigenous Fiscal Autonomy and Tax Jurisdiction
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This thesis focuses on the relationship between Indigenous fiscal autonomy and self-determination. Indigenous nations’ ability to achieve self-determination is dependent upon their ability to autonomously finance self-government. Unfortunately, Canada’s colonial policies have weakened Indigenous economies and rendered them dependent upon the Crown. Due to Indigenous nations’ lack of fiscal autonomy, Crown policies designed to promote Indigenous self-government have proven inadequate. This thesis argues for using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a blueprint for developing more equitable economic relations. While there are various elements to Crown-Indigenous economic relations, this thesis focuses on the distribution of tax jurisdiction between the federal government and the provinces to the exclusion of Indigenous nations. Taxation is an important factor in wealth creation and distribution that can play an integral role in helping Indigenous nations achieve fiscal autonomy. However, current laws influencing Indigenous taxation rights and exemptions are a continuation of Canada’s colonization project. Therefore, facilitating Indigenous fiscal autonomy requires a reassessment of laws influencing taxation rights and exemptions as they apply to Indigenous nations. This thesis argues for using the principles contained within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a blueprint for developing laws recognizing Indigenous nations inherent right to control tax policy within their jurisdiction. The recognition of Indigenous nations’ inherent right to control tax policy within their jurisdiction can be achieved by (1) exempting from federal and provincial taxation the personal property of members of Indigenous nations, without qualification; and (2) by signing agreements recognizing Indigenous nations’ inherent right to tax corporate profits made on Indigenous lands.