Thompson City Council has said that changes need to be made to the Province’s Mining Tax Act.
Council passed a resolution last week asking that the Association of Manitoba Municipalities lobby the Pallister government to amend the Mining Tax Act (MTA) to both increase the percentage of the tax that is allocated to the Mining Community Reserve Fund (MCRF), as well as to clarify the process for mining communities to access those funds.
Councillor Blake Ellis spoke in support of the resolution, saying that the process needs to be clarified. Ellis said that he questions why the MCRF exists if the largest mining community in the province, which is facing a large job loss, can’t access the funds.
Councillor Penny Byer spoke in support, saying that the MTA and MCRF were set up a long time ago, so a review isn’t a bad idea. She added that changing the MTA to clarify the process would go along with the Pallister government’s red tape reduction efforts.
Councillor Ron Matechuk voiced his opposition to the resolution, saying that the City “can’t expect the Province to prop us up when we sign off on bad deals” and that “the wording is quite clear; if we don’t qualify, we don’t qualify”.
The resolution passed by a vote of six-two, with Councillors Matechuk and Wong voting against.
Mayor Dennis Fenske, speaking on City Beat late last week, said that money in the MCRF needs to be accessible to those communities that need it. He added that the Province is unwilling to change the legislation that is currently restricting communities who want to access the fund.