Iqaluit mayor wants land tax exemption on churches removed over residential schools

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — Iqaluit's mayor says he plans to make a motion to remove a land tax exemption for churches in Nunavut's capital city.

Kenny Bell says he decided to do so after the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan announced yesterday that 751 unmarked graves had been detected at its former residential school, which was run by the Catholic Church.

As in many other parts of Canada, religious institutions in Iqaluit are not required to pay taxes on the land they occupy.

Money from land taxes is used to pay for municipal services including road clearing and maintenance.

Bell is also encouraging municipalities across the country to remove their land tax exemptions for churches and says the Catholic Church should apologize for its role in residential schools.

Bell says he hasn't heard from any of the city's churches and plans to make the motion at the next city council meeting on July 13.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021

The Canadian Press

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