Sales Tax Case Against Indians Hinges on Quebec-Federal Powers
Should Indians, wards of the Dominion Government and not subject to taxation except on whatever property they own outside their reservations, be obliged to obtain the $1 licence required of retailers by the provincial statute which imposes a tax on consumers of tobacco, and the registration certificate prescribed in the Quebec Retail Tax Act? Judge C.E. Guerin was asked this question yesterday afternoon and postponed his answer to February 10, suggesting that opposing counsel supplement their oral arguments with written factums.
The case of Peter Williams, a Caughnawaga Indian charged with violations of these two provincial enactments, was heard yesterday, with consent being entered that the same evidence would serve for the prosecution of similar charges against 15 other Indians. Evidence against Williams, offered by the prosecution, was that two Quebec Revenue Department agents had bought tobacco and an article affected by the Retail Sales Tax Act from the accused, who does not possess the required licence and certificate.
The Indian Act specifically grants Indians a tract of land reserved for them, Joseph Helal, K.C. and Royal Werry, K.C. defence counsel, pointed out, adding that anyone with whom an Indian storekeeper deals is presumed by him to be an Indian. If a white man buys anything from an Indian storekeeper, does not tender the amount of tax and does not declare himself as a non-Indian, there can be no offense against the Indian merchant, they argued, because he is entitled to presume that those dealing with him are Indians. The two government agents had not declared themselves non-Indians, defence counsel recalled.
Inasmuch as their land is reserved for Indians alone, any non-Indian on their land would be a trespasser, the defense pleaded, claiming that this permits Indian merchants to assume that clients coming into their stores are Indians and not trespassers.
If entitled to that assumption, an Indian buying from an Indian merchant is not subject to taxation under the Indian Act, a federal enactment, and the Quebec legislature cannot impose on an Indian merchant, as a condition of his trading or dealing with Indians, the issue of a licence or a certificate, only issued on payment of certain monies, the defence submitted.
Maintaining that Caughnawaga stores are stocked with merchandise their owners cannot dispose of solely to their Indian clients, Frank J.T. O’Reilly, revenue department prosecutor, point out that the statute specifies that the vendor must compute and demand tax, the purchaser not being legally obliged to tender it.
Answering the defence contention that the department’s agents should be classified as trespassers and on the reserve for an improper purpose, Mr. O’Reilly referred to the theory which holds that “agents provocateurs” are neither criminals nor accomplices. Accordingly, prosecution counsel held, the agents were not on the reserve for an improper purpose.
Caughnawaga Indians, by having a provincial highway running through their reserve and catering the the public at large in their retail stores, invite the public to deal with them and the agents cannot be accused of improper purpose, Mr. O’Reilly declared.
The tax mentioned in the statutes is not on the merchant but on the consumer, prosecution counsel stated, adding that he would submit authorities to explain the difference between a tax and an impost. The moment an Indian storekeeper sells tobacco he submits himself to provincial laws, the prosecution concluded.
Earlire in the day, Judge Amedee Monet had refused to hear the Williams case because of the strong letter of protest he received form an Indian chief over his interpretation of the National Selective Service Act as it pertains to Indians. Careful study had resulted in his judgment that under a special federal law giving the governor-general-in-council the right to apply any war measure necessary for the safety of the state, Indians are subject to the mobilization laws.
The Caughnawaga Ploughing Match (1883) | Surnames: Tehoniataronwe, Montour, Jocks, Sky, Phillips, Daillebout, Patton, DeLorimier, Leaf
A GRAND SUCCESS – TWENTY NINE ENTRIES — EXCELLENT WORK — PRESENTING THE PRIZES.
The first ploughing competition ever held in Caughnawaga was looked forward to by the residents with an intense interest, which was not confined to the Indian reserve but spread among the farmers for miles around. The farm of John Tehoniataronwe had been chosen as the scene of the completion, and early on Saturday morning spectators began to arrive in large numbers. It is estimated that between four and five hundred people were on the ground, among them many visitors from the neighbourhood of Chateauguay.
For the first class, over 18 years of age, there were twenty-three entires, a number which few older and more pretentious associations could equal. Each man had to plough a width of twenty four feet by about two acres in length, with a prize ridge in the centre. The competitors drew lots for position, and at the given signal started off, every man appearing to be perfectly at home with the plough. Excellent work was done, indeed some of the farmers present declared it equal to the best they had seen. One of the judges remarked that he had seen some of the best Canadian pressmen do worse work. After over an hour’s examination, in addition to watching the progress of the work, the judges awarded the prizes in this class as follows:-
Class I – 1st prize, $8, Chief Montour; 2nd prize, $5, Matthew Jocks; 3rd prize, $4, Francis Sky; 4th prize, $2, Thomas Phillips. Continue reading
Many Seek Honors (1931) | Surnames: Delisle, Jacobs, Jocks, Johns, Lacombe, Lawrence, Martin, McComber, Paul, Standup, Skye, Williams
Caughnawaga Indian Reserve Name Aldermen Tomorrow
There are 15 candidates seeking aldermanic honors at Caughnawaga Indian reserve, out of which six will be chosen tomorrow morning. Of these six, one will be name mayor or chief of the Indian reserve.
The candidates are John Lacombe, John Skye, John F. Martin, Andrew Delisle, Peter J. Delisle, Peter Jacobs, Peter Williams, Frank P. Johns, Paul Paul, John Lawrence, Angus T. McComber, Angus Standup, John Norton, Joseph Martin and Dominic McComber. These candidates were chosen yesterday afternoon. Continue reading
The Chiefs of the Iroquois Indians held a meeting last Tuesday in their Council house at Caughnawaga. Grand Chief Joseph Williams was elected President of the Council house at Caughnawaga. Grand Chief Joseph Williams was elected President of the Council and Chief P. Murray, Secretary. Both these dignitaries bear a good record, and will no doubt rule with discretion.
Source: The Montreal Daily Witness, May 1st, 1878
Caughnawaga Debates Merits of Three Candidates for Grand Chief’s Post (1941) | Delisle, Diabo, Williams, Woodland
REDSKINS ARE AGOG AS ELECTION NEARS
SON SEEK SUCCESSION
Joe Delisle Opposing Peter Williams and Paul Diabo for Office Vacated by Peter Delisle‘s Death
by Tracy S. Ludington
Feeling is running high today in Caughnawaga as members of six clans hold forth vociferously on the respective merits – and demerits – of three candidates for the post of tribal chief, to fill the shoes of the late Peter Delisle – who died on March 10. Continue reading
White Farmers in Caughnawaga (1880) | Surnames: Beauvais, Delisle, DeLorimier, Jocks, Murray, Williams
Interview with Chief Jocks and others – the question of white labour – the case fairly and fully stated
Yesterday we had an opportunity of meeting three of the prominent Indians from Caughnawaga, namely, Chief Jocks and Messrs. DeLorimier and Francois Delisle from whom we learned something of the difficulties which are prevailing in Caughnawaga, to which frequent references has been made in the newspapers. The following interview with the Chef will give our readers, perhaps, a better understanding of the whole question than they could get in any other way.
Rep.– I understand that the difficulties in connection with white residents n the reservation of Caughnawaga have not been settled?
Chief– They have not.
Rep.- What has given rise to this difficulty? Continue reading