On National Aboriginal Day, the leader of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs yesterday voiced his continued opposition to the HST, but said there are no plans yet to step up protests like in Ontario.

Some aboriginals in the northern part of that province yesterday blockaded a train to protest the harmonized sales tax that start July 1.

“Many aboriginal people in B.C. are among the poorest of the poor. There are a lot of families with single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet as it is,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

“The HST would exacerbate an already impossible position,” he added.

Members of the Batchewana First Nation impeded the railroad between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury yesterday morning. Ontario First Nations people will receive an HST exemption starting in September, but the tax is slated to come into effect July 1, and so should the exemption, the Batchewana contend.

While not completely ruling out the possibility of a protest in B.C., Phillip said many of this province’s indigenous groups are exploring legal options in seeking a repeal of the harmonized tax, and the question of sovereignty is central to their argument. He also met with Bill Vander Zalm and Chris Delaney, the leaders of the anti-HST campaign, three weeks ago.

“We take the position in B.C. that we’re sovereign indigenous nations, and nations don’t tax other nations.”

with files from the canadian press

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