To debate policy issues, it is vital that government make data easily accessible to the public. Many government records are published openly, while others can be attained through information requests.
Unfortunately, Nova Scotia keeps poor records for tax exemptions on First Nations reserves. It is the only provincial jurisdiction that does not have – or is unwilling to release – numbers about fuel tax and tobacco tax exemptions.
Government officials cannot even estimate the value of these loopholes. Other credits and exemptions are meticulously costed, with available public information through government websites and public accounts. To inform a better policy discussion, Nova Scotia should do the same for these First Nations data.