Band Avoids Lawsuit Over Tax Settlement

Friday, July 09, 2004 at 13:32



In the face of legal action from one of its councillors, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band council has finally decided how it will distribute the band’s multi-million-dollar tax settlement from the province.


In a 6-to-3 vote, the band council has voted to set aside 5 per cent of the settlement for the 8 retailers involved in the claim.


The rest of the money will be divided up on a per capita basis.


The band council was prepared to survey all band members on the issue a couple of weeks ago, but held off after Little Red band councillor John Halkett launched a lawsuit over the matter.


Halkett has agreed to drop the suit following Wednesday’s vote.


But Chief Harry Cook says the threat of a lawsuit didn’t decide the matter — it was the band’s democratic approach.


The band will let each reserve community decide for themselves how they will distribute their share of the rebate — which includes any off-reserve members who claim a home community.


The off-reserve members in Pinehouse and Brabant Lake will also get their own portion of the settlement, and will have the final say on what is done with their share.


As for the band’s remaining off-reserve members who don’t claim a home community, they will receive roughly 15 per cent of the settlement.


Cook says those members and the members in La Ronge will be surveyed before a decision is made on what to do with the money.


The band recently received 3.76 million dollars from the provincial government over taxes illegally collected on-reserve for fuel and tobacco purchases.