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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

Petitioning NCC board for ‘taxation fairness’

The Editor,

Open letter from Chelsea taxpayers to the National Capital Commission board chair, Marc Seaman and directors.

The NCC has refused to pay their independently assessed tax bill in all municipalities that host the Gatineau Park. Chelsea and the MRC des Collines have been resoundingly vindicated in this land valuation dispute by the independent dispute arbitration process set out by the Government of Canada. Still, we wait for the NCC to pay its fair share in our community.

On July 1, the NCC will make a final tax instalment (PILT) for 2021 based on its own analysis of the federal Dispute Advisory Panel findings rather than accepting the recommendations of that panel. Chelsea municipality and its residents have sent complaints about this posturing to Minister [of Public Services and Procurement Anita] Anand, requesting that she intervene and direct the NCC to pay what they have been found to owe, as former CEO Mark Kristmanson stated they would do in 2019. The minister has said that the NCC, in the view of this government, is accountable only to you, the board.

Not paying the assessed taxes in full on July 1 will signal a continued stand-off and could certainly trigger a court battle to protect Chelsea (and other host municipalities) from the cost of the NCC’s decision to not pay their assessed share. The NCC is, and will continue to be flouting Quebec law by refusing to accept the property assessments of the MRC des Collines, the regional government’s legal right and responsibility. A stand-off will also trigger disruption of access to the Gatineau Park. In this way we will hold the NCC accountable.

As representatives of the sole shareholder, the federal Crown, and as the 15 federally appointed board members, you are the beginning and end of governance of the NCC. Apparently only you can influence CEO Tobi Nussbaum and his staff to respect Quebec law and abandon this losing legal strategy at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. On July 1 we will find out if the NCC administration has the oversight in these matters it desperately needs.

In our view, the NCC is currently a bad corporate citizen that owes taxes to every municipality that hosts and services access to the Gatineau Park. It’s time for you, the politically-appointed board, to scrutinize these bad management decisions in the light of the legal precedents established by the Supreme Court of Canada following similar mistakes made by other Crown corporations. We, the signatories, disagree with Minister Anand about her understanding of her accountability as the minister responsible to Parliament for the NCC, but she has made it clear that we need to petition you for taxation fairness.

A petition signed by 600 Canadian taxpayers will be tabled in the House of Commons shortly after we learn how the NCC’s CEO has chosen to move forward in this matter. We hope he selects mutual respect and lawful partnership with the municipalities in the Outaouais and pays the corporation’s assessed fair share.

Signed, concerned Chelsea taxpayers: Judith Allenson, André Renaud, Meriel Beament Bradford, Eric Partington, Jim Bradford, Annik Boutin, Pierre Blanchet, Marcel Chartrand, Francine Noftle, Brendan Denovan.


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