The “problem” with doing taxes


It can justifiably be said that whenever the end of February rolls around, the standard “sigh” from most individuals is followed by “it’s that time of the year”, and further followed by, in a lot of cases, with a string of words unsuitable for print in a family newspaper. What’s that time, you ask? Why, it’s TAX TIME, folks; time to get out the pen and try to hide as much income from the Canada Revenue Agency as possible, before giving up and actually reporting your income in the manner prescribed.

My first annoyance to this time of the year is that there are still too many individuals who, the moment these ads start popping out about people “quietly resigning” and go rushing to one of the local “Get rich quick” offices purporting to “do your taxes” (usually staffed by someone who has yet to shave for the first time), who will do up your return RIGHT NOW, and THEN get you a healthy rebate that, after service fees you can receive RIGHT NOW.

The “problem” with this approach is that for most people who have bank accounts offering to pay you your rebate NOW, only to be stiffed by a service fee that, when it all boils down to reality that if you have a bank account and follow the process online, you’d probably get your refund in five or six business days without any hold being placed upon your ability to withdraw and use these funds – and pay a lot less for the privilege.

My second annoyance, however, is a lot more serious than that, as it involves people who, realizing that they’re about to fork over a substantive portion of the income they earned last year to the taxman, they look around for a reason to vent – and in the majority of places in Saskatchewan and particularly in major segments of our rural areas, the target of their venting, even rage, ends up being directed at Indigenous peoples.

I have never been impressed with the attitude of a lot of persons with whom I’ve tried to conduct business affairs (i.e.: my purchasing of services). My family lives on a reserve, and since my spouse is “Treaty”, any goods and services done on reserve land are GST and PST exempt when ordered by her. However, thanks to the dog whistle baiting of former and unlamented lost Premier Brad Wall featuring the word “taxpayer”, a lot of people assume that this exemption extends to all such transactions performed by my spouse, including groceries purchased in Prince Albert or elsewhere, and by extension to even that misrepresentation of reality, to any gainful income she might earn if working off reserve land.

What people have to understand in order to get a grasp on reality is that, IF labour by a “Treaty” individual is NOT performed on reserve lands or lands over which an Indigenous community has jurisdiction, they pay the same taxes as do you or I might – even though I live on reserve, for I am NOT “status”.

In statistical terms, this means the following: over 80% of adult age Indigenous people in Canada pay the same taxes, with absolutely NO benefit being accrued by virtue of their Treaty rights and privileges. More to the point, all Indigenous persons, when purchasing anything in a non-reserve environment pay the same GST and PST rates, carbon tax, municipal hospitality tax on hotel stays and entertainment events, restaurant meals and diapers that always seem to go up in price two days before the issuance of GST rebates or Child Tax Credits.

What these fake “rage” venters also seem to miss is that on reserve lands, especially in the north, our commercial establishments are charging anywhere from a 20% to 100% mark-up on goods purchased on site. What’s equally annoying, especially with respect to the Prince Albert area, is that with the “efficiency” of our local police (I’m being facetious here, just in case no one noticed) and the public “housing” of various Indigenous persons being provided by our three local franchises of the Crowbar Hotel chain, the city receives an abnormal number of Indigenous persons coming to town to visit relatives and friends held in these establishments, and while they’re here buy huge amounts of merchandise, especially groceries. Fortunately, since most business in the city are aware of this fact, their racialized rantings respecting Indigenous persons “not having to pay any taxes” have toned down over the last five years, as without them – or if a reserve community finally decided to offer developed commercial properties on their lands, box stores, the real giants of the retail trade, would be conveniently established in places like Muskoday or Sturgeon Lake, and the software “allowing” them to sell merchandise GST and PST exempt would already be installed on their cash registers, and more importantly eventually turning our city into just another ghost town.

These facts, however, don’t seem to be being recorded in the central cranial areas of the assorted Wall-trained race baiters and anyone “allergic” to the colour “brown”; having been introduced to the “soft on crime” notion pedalled by Stephen Harper and now the Sask Party, these knuckle draggers appear to have proliferated in larger measure to the average population.

In yesterday’s Herald, the provincial Human Rights Chief Commissioner, Barry Wilcox, told members of the local Chamber of Commerce that formalized complaints concerning violation of human rights is on a steeply rising incident pathway, with the major targets of such abuse being either Indigenous persons or immigrants. He then suggested that this trend could be reversed were we to make available more services, workshops or educational materials available to the public, noting in the process that “were we to live in a society where everyone respected everybody”, the issue could at least be partially diffused.

Mr. Wilcox has a point, even if it does sound a tad on the “WOKE”ish side. My personal preference would be for the major prevaricators and hatemongers disseminating this form of verbalized assault, such as Ellard Farms unidentified employee “NRZIGS”, be formally charged with a hate crime, because this is just what it is.

The other aspect of racism is that it seems to be increasing in volume in the health-related fields, and this is definitely a trend that has to be stomped on before it gets worse. What “evidence” do I have to support such a fact? Well, let’s play a scenario game wherein you, Mr. White Bread, like me, is the sole provider of income for my family, and my spouse has now been diagnosed with cancer, gone through several operations and chemotherapy, and now needs to see a specialist who will recommend behavioural and dietary treatment so as to keep the disease in remission.

So, you take your spouse to the specialist, wait patiently while the receptionist gets off her phone texting, and places you in the examination room. A few moments later, the specialist walks into the room, and instead of the friendly greeting one might expect from someone relying upon his skills to keep her alive, the first words out of his mouth, angrily spoken, are “Do you pay taxes?”

Without citing names or places of jurisdiction, that is but one of the cases coming up for review by the provincial Human Rights Commission in the next three months.

Personally, I hope the specialist loses his license to practice medicine in Saskatchewan, but with our critical shortage of doctors crisis, he will probably be asked to take “sensitivity training” while continuing to see patients without due negative effect upon his salary.

Yes, the person so abused was “Indigenous” … To which I say, “Thank you, Mr. Wall and you tactless ranting supporters of Gerald Stanley, for your lack of support and understanding of the human condition and sanctity of life – ALL life, and how your pathetic ignorance is forcing people into confronting abusive behaviour through your lack of academic knowledge pertaining to Canada’s taxation laws.”