Reprinted from The Ottawa Citizen, Page C-1, Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Anti-GST Cards Burn Retailers
By Janice Manchee

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is warning vendors against individuals, other than status Indians, carrying cards "proving" they don't have to pay the federal goods and services tax.

"We have no idea how many cards are out there," agency spokeswoman Colette Gentes-Hawn said.

"We've had some complaints from vendors. It seems to move around, from New Brunswick to the Prairies to southern Ontario.

"We're concerned that it might be growing."

Ms. Gentes-Hawn said the cards vary from one region to the other. Apparently, individuals and organizations make the cards and sell them to individuals.

The agency says some consumers believe that falsely claiming an exemption is an effective rpotest against the GST. But, in fact, it is the vendors who pay, as they must make up the shortfall.

Cards have been used in Ottawa as recently as this past summer.

Detective Steve Burnie of the Ottawa police fraud section, said there has not been a major problem in the region.

"Some cards have been used," he said.

"They are produced by a frnge-based group with an honest belief that they do not want their taxes used for armaments. They are not criminals."

International Humanity House provides cards that were sold in Ottawa and other areas of the country. On one of the organization's web pages, founder and co-ordinator, Daniel Lavigne says that, according to the Nuremberg Courts, individuals have a right to refuse to support "plans and preparations that are predicated on a will and capacity to commit mass murder."

On another page, he is quoted as sating there are about 14,000 Humanity House card holders in Canada.

Mr. Lavigne could not be reached for comment.

As to the issue of withholding taxes or encouraging others to do so, Detective Burnie says that his is an RCMP matter.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Marsh says they are aware of the cards but have not encountered them in their jurisdiction. The Economic Crime Branch which would determine whether criminal charges are laid for tax evasion, is not planning any action.


To read Dan Lavigne's response to this article click here ...