Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

MCA and Ontario Sign Agreement-In-Principle To Explore Tobacco Options


January 4, 2018

TORONTO - On December 20, 2017, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Ontario Government signed an agreement-in-principle (AIP) establishing a process to work together toward negotiating a finalized agreement that addresses the regulation of the sale of tobacco in Akwesasne.

For Akwesasne, the AIP is a step toward exercising self-government over tobacco. Ontario has been in discussions with First Nations and through an Ontario tobacco revenue sharing proposal, Akwesasne could receive additional revenue annually from province-wide tobacco sales. The proposal also acknowledges Akwesasne’s ability to sell and regulate its own tobacco sales, in accordance with local laws such as the Akwesasne Tobacco Law.

For Ontario, the AIP and any tobacco agreement that is finalized is a step toward reconciliation and the establishment of positive relationships between the government and First Nations. Ontario recognizes Akwesasne’s (and other First Nations’) right and desire to be self-regulating, and through the AIP they recognize that Akwesasne is committed to establishing mutually agreeable processes for tobacco regulation.

“Ontario is committed to working on a government-to-government basis with First Nations to find a mutually beneficial and sustainable solution to tobacco regulation and revenue-sharing,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation David Zimmer. “Today’s announcement with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is an historic and exciting step in that direction.”

The AIP is a positive step that is intended to outline both parties’ commitment to finding a tobacco system that can be viewed positively by Akwesasne and establishes self-government procedures that meet and exceed Ontario’s requirements.

“The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne looks forward to continuing to work cooperatively with Ontario, to build on our existing relationship, and to continue to find mutually beneficial economic opportunities that can be supported by both Ontario and the Akwesasne community,” said Grand Chief Abram Benedict.

Grand Chief Benedict and Minister Zimmer signed the AIP in Toronto.


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