[A-List] NWT budget cuts corporate tax

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at resist.ca
Sun Feb 12 16:54:07 MST 2006

Introductory rant by Macdonald Stainsby.

The article speaks of the "economic promise" of a Mackenzie Valley 
pipeline which has yet to finish hearings or be given tacit approval. 
Evidently, the media no longer feel the need to even entertain what they 
have always known: any real hearings held into such a pipeline run the 
unfathomable risk  of having a repeat of the last such inquiry, that of 
defeat of the pipeline by the combined voices of indigenous nations. 
Today, having created some Indian Act administered governments and 
getting their acquiescence, the "hearings" being led not this time by 
any Federal government body, but primarily by the developers themselves, 
the scope of the hearings is remarkably different.

First, the original Berger Inquiry was able to visit, time open ended, 
every single community in any way effected by the proposed pipeline. Any 
NGO's or other group that formed in the north could gain finance to 
participate. Today, only large, mixed indigenous/non-indigenous 
communities such as  Inuvik, Yellowknife or Hay River are included; an 
Elder who lives in poverty in places such as Tulit'a would have to 
travel on their own dime to attend. To be able to participate in the 
actual hearings, you must gain "intervenor status", basically blocking 
most intiatives from participating, and once involved, the finance that 
would go into "counter presentations" to the proponents of the Mackenzie 
Gas Project would be a mere pittance to that possessed by Imperial Oil 
and their junior partners.

On top of that, the MGP has dumped massive paperwork on the other 
intervenors; they have produced binders upon binders of useless fluffy 
crap that needs to be gone over by someone able to hire a research 
staff. The Northwest territories status of women council, who have 
incredibly useful research of their own they have produced on 
gender-based impacts (the violence of transient workers, unwanted 
children, increased prostitution, raising prices=lowered consumption, 
increased availability of drugs and alcohol to name a few), have 
collapsed against the pressure of the hearings and the amount of work. 
There were even internal disputes leading to resignations over the 
decision for the SWCNWT withdrawal from the proceedings.

To go into a community such as Pehdzeh Kí with an open microphone would 
be far too dangerous. Too many people hae too many questions. Instead of 
years, the consultation will be streamlined as fast as possible, so that 
the gas can be used to make mud into oil, steal massive profits, plunder 
the land and heat the planet.

In the context of all this, it should be noted that Pierre Trudeau's 
Liberal Party intiative of the national energy policy doesn't stretch 
north of the 60th parallel. Below, in places like Alberta, all revenues 
include a 30% piece of the pie that goes to the federal government; norh 
of 60, that number is 4%. This is how Canada has continued to trat the 
north in general, in particular the Northern Nations who are still in 
the majority for two of the three territories. In hat context, what does 
it mean for a "territorial premier" to announce corporate tax 
intiatives? How could this benefit any northerner?

NWT budget cuts corporate tax

YELLOWKNIFE (CP) - Large corporations will pay less tax as the Northwest 
Territories tries to build on the success of its booming diamond 
industry and the economic promise of the Mackenzie Valley natural gas 

Finance Minister Floyd Roland's budget tabled Thursday will cut the 
corporate tax rate to 11.5 per cent from 14 per cent, effective July 1.

He said the move will help the territory compete for business and 
investment with Alberta, its mighty neighbour to the south.

"To encourage businesses and industry to locate and do business here in 
the Northwest Territories, we have to compete on taxes," Roland told the 

"We simply cannot afford to see businesses continue to file their income 
tax outside of the N.W.T in order to avoid higher tax rates."

All other tax rates will remain the same.

The budget forecasts economic growth of 7.6 per cent in 2006-07, down 
from 11 per cent in 2005, but still higher than the national average.

The Bank of Canada is forecasting a rate of 3.1 per cent nationally for 
2006 and 2.1 per cent for 2007.

Roland forecasts a modest surplus of $31 million on his $1.07-billion 

In a direct appeal to Stephen Harper's new Conservative government, 
Roland called for a new deal with Ottawa that would allow the N.W.T. to 
keep more of its resource revenue.

"We urge the new prime minister not to wait, but to seize the 
opportunity to establish a new partnership with Canada's North and take 
action on outstanding issues that stand in the way of tremendous 
progress in our territory," he said.

"What we are asking for is a fair deal."

The N.W.T. gets about three-quarters of its revenue from the federal 
government. But it keeps only 20 cents for every dollar it raises.

Roland urged the federal government to maintain its $500-million 
commitment of support over 10 years to deal with the social and economic 
impacts of the proposed pipeline.

He also wants Ottawa to change the territory's federally imposed 
$300-million borrowing limit so it can improve its capacity to finance debt.

The Western Arctic has enjoyed several years of solid growth, driven in 
part by the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines, which are the third-largest 
producers of gem-quality diamonds in the world.

A third mine near Snap Lake is under construction and a fourth mine is 
in the approval stage.

Public hearings into the proposed $7-billion Mackenzie Valley pipeline 
began last week.

In the budget, spending is up by seven per cent, including $114 million 
for such projects as upgrading the Mackenzie Valley winter road.

There is $6.8 million more for health services, including exercise and 
healthy eating programs in schools.

The budget also includes $4 million for affordable housing in 14 small 
communities and $1 million to promote the N.W.T. as a global tourism 

Sebastien Lavoie, an economist with the TD Bank Financial Group, said 
the corporate tax cut will be welcomed by the business community.

He said the cut sends a message that the N.W.T. is serious about 
competing with other jurisdictions.

Lavoie said the renewed appeal to Ottawa for a resource revenue sharing 
deal shows the territory is willing to face the biggest obstacle to its 
future growth head-on.

"If a deal is reached this year it would certainly act as a stimulus to 
growth in the region," he said from Toronto.

"I think 2006 and 2007 will be pivotal years in terms of whether 
residents of the Northwest Territories will have the key to prosperity."

Macdonald Stainsby
In the contradiction lies the hope
    --Bertholt Brecht.

More information about the A-List mailing list