WINNIPEG — The Dakota will ignore a temporary injunction to shut down a smoke shop that sells cigarettes in defiance of provincial tobacco tax laws, Canupawakpa Chief Frank Brown said late Wednesday.
“It’s still going to stay open,” he said. “We’re very happy the injunction was granted. That’s exactly what we wanted. We would like to take this issue to the Supreme Court.”
Brown rode to the Law Courts on horseback with other Dakota chiefs Wednesday to protest the province’s right to impose tobacco tax laws on the smoke shop that operates on Canupawakpa land near Pipestone.
The province got its temporary injunction against the Dakota smoke shop late Wednesday after a hearing in the morning.
But the ruling is conditional.
The store gets to stay open, at least for another week, until the province satisfies the court with the proper paperwork.
The court wants the province to file a written promise to pay damages for loss of business to the Dakota, in the event the province ultimately loses a separate case for a permanent injunction against the shop.
The Dakota Canupawakpa and the Dakota Plains Wahpeton First Nations have seen five RCMP raids of the Mohawk cigarettes they sell at the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop since it opened last fall.
Those charges, laid under provincial tobacco tax laws, are slated to be heard in a Brandon court Monday and are separate from the court action for an injunction heard in Winnipeg.
By the end of the day, the Dakota still aren’t satisfied the province has a say in how they do business, the chief said.
Brown, who is the chief spokesman for the smoke shop, said the store is an important symbol of economic independence for his impoverished people.
And he’s using the shop in a bid to get the province and Ottawa to negotiate a treaty that recognizes the Dakota in Canada.
“The Dakota are law-abiding, but we only follow our rules and if we were to follow the province’s rules, there has to be an agreement first to co-exist with the Dakota,” Brown said. He dismissed a suggestion that the dispute could end in an armed conflict: “What’s that going to prove?” he scoffed.
Queen’s Bench Justice Brenda Keyser told a Winnipeg courtroom that the province had satisfied her that a temporary injunction should be granted, but only with an undertaking as to damages.
Under the order, the Dakota will be prevented from selling unlicensed cigarettes in defiance of provincial tobacco tax laws.
In making her ruling, Keyser said she expected the Dakota to ignore her order. “They can still file a statement of defence and take their claims to court,’’ the judge said.
Meanwhile, former Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation chief Terry Nelson said he will work with the Mohawk to flood the city of Winnipeg with cheap Mohawk cigarettes in coming weeks in response to the injunction.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 31, 2012