Yukon sends $25K to Haiti

The Yukon government will donate $25,000 to relief efforts in Haiti after a devastating earthquake ravaged the poor Caribbean nation Tuesday.

The Yukon government will donate $25,000 to relief efforts in Haiti after a devastating earthquake ravaged the poor Caribbean nation Tuesday.

The donation will be made to the Canadian Red Cross, which is helping to rescue survivors and rebuild Haiti’s shattered infrastructure.

Between 45,000 and 50,000 people are dead and nearly 3 million have been hurt or rendered homeless, Reuters reported, quoting figures from the Haitian Red Cross.

“The devastation wrought by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which I understand is the largest in two centuries, has taken a terrible toll on the Haitian people and on the infrastructure in the region,” said Premier Dennis Fentie in a government news release.

“Our hearts go out to them as they come to terms with the damage and havoc caused by this natural disaster.”

The Yukon government also donated money to the Canadian Red Cross after disasters hit the Philippines, Vietnam, the Samoan Islands and the west coast of Indonesia in 2009, says the release.

Yukoners wishing to donate to the organization can call the Canadian Red Cross Donation Inquiries office toll-free at 1-866-291-8979 or visit redcross.ca.

Carmacks arsonist

razes First Nation home

A 42-year-old Carmacks man burned his own house to the ground Wednesday, say police.

The house, which is owned by the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, was engulfed in flames just before 9 p.m., according to an RCMP news release.

Police ascertained the fire was deliberately set, said the release.

But officers won’t say how they reached that conclusion.

“I can’t get into the investigation component of it,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Don Rogers.

Interviews and evidence at the scene led police to conclude the resident set the fire, said police.

The man was found near the fire and arrested. He will be charged with arson.

A second person was believed to be missing, but was soon found in Pelly Crossing.

The man believed to have set the fire was transported to Whitehorse from Carmacks yesterday and is to be charged in a Whitehorse court today.

His name couldn’t be released before a formal court hearing.

The house was completely destroyed and police didn’t have an estimate on the damage Thursday.

A call to the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation was not returned.

Yukon First Nations

strike tax deals

Seven Yukon First Nations have renewed deals with the Yukon government to collect income taxes from people living on settlement lands.

The tax-sharing arrangements, which allow First Nation governments to collect 95 per cent of the income tax collected on settlement lands, expired at the end of last year after being signed 11 years ago.

The Champagne/Aishihik, Selkirk, Tr’ondek Hwech’in, Little Salmon/Carmacks, Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Vuntut Gwitchin and Teslin Tlingit Council First Nations all signed their original agreements with the same 10-year renewal cycle.

In total, these First Nations collect around $1.2 million annually, said assistant deputy minister of Finance Clarke LaPrairie.

The Yukon government collected around $51 million last year in income taxes, said LaPrairie.

The First Nations collect income taxes from anyone living on their settlement lands, whether they’re aboriginal or not.

Another three self-governing First Nations will enter into negotiations with the Yukon when their current deals expire over the next six years.

The only self-governing First Nation without a taxation arrangement, Carcross/Tagish, can’t do so until it has signed a deal with Canada.

Any First Nation must sign a deal with Canada before striking a taxation deal with the Yukon, because all taxes collected on behalf of provinces, territories and First Nations are collected by the Canada Revenue Agency and then redistributed to collecting governments.

The remaining five per cent of income taxes paid on settlement lands will be collected by the Yukon government.

The territory hasn’t surrendered its right to tax on First Nation land and collects the tiny amount to ensure it doesn’t lose that right, said LaPrairie.

“And obviously, you’re receiving services from the Yukon government on First Nation land anyway,” he said.

The Executive Council Office and the Land Claims Implementation Secretariat office led the negotiations on behalf of the government. (James Munson)

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