Thousands of First Nations people and their supporters attended a rally on Parliament Hill yesterday to protest the Harmonized Sales Tax on Canada’s First Nations.

“We’re bringing attention to the federal government and to the Canadian public that again, (the government has) failed to honour the treaties,” said Angus Toulouse, Ontario regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations.

“We want the federal government to sit down and honour the treaties and honour the point-of sale exemption that all of these people have been exercising since they were born.”

The federal government has failed to consult with the First Nations people, said Toulouse.

“You need to sit down with us ... At least we have the province now, sitting down with us and agreeing with us in terms of wanting to ensure the point-of-sale exemption continues. And what we have is the federal government not ready and willing to sit down with the First Nations leadership, which is why the First Nations community has come to Ottawa to raise the attention of the federal government.”

Toulouse believes there will be more rallies leading up to the HST taking effect on July 1.

Toulouse said that those who attended yesterday were glad to see the support from other communities.

NDP Leader Jack Layton, along with other NDP members, came to show his support.

“Let’s be clear what this HST is all about — giving money to some of the biggest, most profitable corporations operating in our country here,” he said.

“They don’t need the help. And that’s going to put an unjust and unfair tax on and burden (people) all across Canada.”

“We’re tired of being insulted by government,” said Chief Shining Turtle from Whitefish River First Nations on Manitoulin Island.

“We have to stand up for our people because no one else wants to. That’s why we’re here.”

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