Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A councillor in Winnipeg seeks property taxes to fund donations

A Winnipeg city councillor wants property taxes to fund donations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Before each committee meeting, a land acknowledgement is made in Winnipeg City Hall, stating that Winnipeg is on Treaty 1 Territory and the Métis Nation’s ancestral homeland.
  • During tax season, Victoria residents and businesses will be encouraged to donate five or ten percent of their tax bill, or any amount they see fit.
  • Conversations with the Indigenous community, according to Nason, will determine where and how the funds raised will be used.

A land acknowledgment is made before each committee meeting at Winnipeg City Hall, stating that Winnipeg is located on Treaty 1 Territory and the Métis Nation’s traditional homeland.

Now, a city council member wants to transform these words into cash.

“I believe we all have a role to play at the municipal and community levels,” stated Coun. Shawn Nason. “I believe this is just another opportunity to try something new and see what we can come up with.”

Nason has proposed establishing a reconciliation fund. Taxpayers would make voluntary donations via their property tax payments to aid reconciliation efforts with Indigenous communities under his scheme.

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Nason received the idea from Victoria Council, which recently adopted a similar proposal. “It might be housing; it could be as basic as some of our place naming and signs,” Nason said.

“It’s critical in this moment of reconciliation to do something, not just say we acknowledge these areas,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said.

Residents and businesses in Victoria will be urged to donate five or ten percent of their tax bill or any amount they deem fit during tax time. The Songhees and Esquimalt Nations will benefit from the funds.

“The two nations were pushed out to the city’s outskirts so we could reside here,” said Helps. “First and foremost, we’ll explain what a reconciliation contribution is.”

A Winnipeg city councillor wants property taxes to fund donations.-
A Winnipeg city councillor wants property taxes to fund donations. Image from Winnipeg Free Press

Treaty 1 representative Dennis Meeches said the plan is intriguing and has substance now that people are more aware of the history of residential schools.

“I think people here in the city would accept that because of what’s transpired in previous years,” Meeches added.

Nason said that conversations with the Indigenous community would decide where and how the money raised would be utilized.

Nason’s motion is on the schedule for Monday’s East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee meeting. In six months, he wants a report on this from city personnel.

Source: CTV News

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