Joyal, J.:—This is a trial pursuant to Rule 475 of the Federal Court Rules on a case stated by the parties with respect to the imposition of an excise tax on certain transactions involving cost-sharing programs undertaken between the Federal Government and the Government of Manitoba.
The material facts on which the parties have agreed to state their case are briefly but clearly set out in paragraphs 1 to 5 of the stated case as follows:
1. Under The Agricultural and Rural Development Act (A.R.D.A.) R.S.C. Chap. A-4, a Federal Provincial Cost-Sharing Agreement (referred to as the Special Arda Program) was devised to promote economic development in Northern Manitoba, and specifically to aid native persons in the harvesting of natural resources, including fishing and trapping. Pursuant to the Program grants were allotted to individuals. Grants allotted were not paid directly to the designated recipients but instead were applied towards the purchase price of equipment required by the individual in the plying of his trade.
2. During the period commencing the 1st day of July, 1974 to and inclusive of the 31st day of July, 1978, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Manitoba purchased certain sleds and canoes from Lake Winnipeg Boat Works Ltd. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Provnce of Manitoba under the Special A.R.D.A. Program through the Department of Northern Affairs then provided the said goods to Manitoba fishermen who were not at any time for the purpose hereunder either an agent or servant of Her Majesty.
3. The Federal Government has assessed Federal Sales Tax under Section 27 of the Excise Tax Act R.S.C. 1970 Chap, c-10 (sic*) against Lake Winnipeg Boat Works on the above noted goods. The goods sold to the Province are taxable under Section 27 of the said Act subject to any exemption under the Act.
4. The goods have been assessed in the sum of $2,358.11 exclusive of penalty, the Province of Manitoba not having paid the tax at the time of purchase. Penalty has been added to the aforesaid sum pursuant to the Excise Tax Act on a monthly basis and therefore the amount now claimed by the Federal Government as owing stands at $6,091.05.
5. The Federal Government is not proceeding on its claim for tax against Lake Winnipeg Boat Works by virtue of an agreement reached between the Federal Government and the Provincial Government whereby the claim is only being advanced as against the Government of Manitoba.
The facts make it clear that what is involved in the A.R.D.A. program is an economic development scheme to assist native persons in the carrying out of their traditional occupations including fishing and trapping. Under the program, certain amounts of money which might have otherwise been paid to recipients to enable them to buy needed equipment were used instead to buy the sleds and canoes from Lake Winnipeg Boat Works Ltd. This equipment was then turned over to the recipients free and clear. On the sale of this equipment by the manufacturer to the Government of Manitoba, federal sales tax under section 27 of the Excise Tax Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. E-13, was assessed. The question before the Court is whether the Government of Manitoba could qualify for a refund under the provisions of subsection 44(2).
The charging provision in the Excise Tax Act, as contained in section 27, is too lengthy to be recited here in full. In essence, the section imposes a tax of nine per cent (now ten per cent) on the sale price of all goods produced or manufactured in Canada or imported into Canada. In this light, the sale of boats and sleds by the Lake Winnipeg Boat Works to the Government of Manitoba attracts the application of section 27 and a sales tax is payable.
Under subsection 44(2) of the Act, however, a refund may be granted under certain conditions when the sale of goods is to a provincial government. When the conditions outlined in that section are met, a refund of taxes may be granted to the province or to whoever has paid or absorbed the tax.
Subsection 44(2) of the statute appears to be the relevant provision before me. It states:
44 (2) Where goods have been purchased by Her Majesty in right of any province of Canada for any purpose other than
(b) use by any board, commission, railway, public utility, university, manufactory, company or agency owned, controlled or operated by the government of the province or under the authority of the legislature or the lieutenant governor in council; or
(c) use by Her Majesty or by Her agents or servants in connection with the manufacture or production of goods or use for other commercial or mercantile purposes;
a refund of taxes paid under Part III, IV or V may be granted to Her Majesty or to the manufacturer, producer, wholesaler, jobber or other dealer as the case may require.
For the Government of Manitoba to succeed on the facts before me, it is then necessary for the following conditions to be met, namely:
1. that the goods in question were purchased by the Government of Manitoba (44(2)). This condition is not in dispute. It is admitted in paragraph 2 of the stated case;
2. that the goods were not purchased for resale (44(2)(a)). It is admitted by the parties that the goods were not sold to fishermen and trappers but were given to them without charge.
3. that the goods were not purchased for use by any board, commission, railway, public utility, university, manufactory, company or agency owned, controlled or operated by the government of the province or under the authority of the legislature or the lieutenant governor in council (44(2)(b) ). Such, by common agreement, is not the situation here.
4. that the goods were not purchased for use by Her Majesty or Her agents or servants in connection with the manufacture or production of goods or use for other commercial or mercantile purposes (44(2)(c) ).
It is in respect of the interpretation of paragraph 44(2)(c) of the statute that there is an issue between the parties.
A preliminary observation which might be made here is that subsection 44(2) speaks of resale and use. In the case of goods purchased for resale, the refund provisions do not apply. In the case of use, however, no monetary consideration need be present. I conclude, therefore, that the free grant of the goods by the Government to its constituents in Northern Manitoba does not per se bring the transaction within the allowable exemption. The test remains: is the use of the canoes and sleds by their owners the kind of use expressed in paragraph 44(2)(c) of the statute?
Obviously Parliament did not contemplate a program in the nature of the one before me where, instead of providing a segment of its population with funds to buy equipment, the Government of Manitoba provides it with the equipment itself. In the event, absent special statutory provisions exempting people of native ancestry from the imposition of sales taxes, such taxes would have been payable had these people purchased the goods themselves.
If on the evidence, therefore, the said goods are used by their recipients for commercial or mercantile purposes, they are in the nature of goods which:
(1) are purchased by the Government;
(2) are not resold;
(3) are not used by Crown agencies, etc.;
(4) are not used in connection with the manufacture or production of goods;
(5) are nevertheless used for mercantile or commercial purposes.
The question before me is therefore narrowed down to an analysis of the intent and meaning of paragraph 44(2)(c) of the statute. This paragraph contains two provisions, the first one relating to “use by Her Majesty or by Her agents or servants in connection with the manufacture or production of goods ...”. This is not the provision with which we are concerned. Even if it might be argued that a canoe is used in the production of fish or a sled is used in the production of animal skins, the goods are not used by Her Majesty or by Her agents or servants and therefore do not fall within that term.
We are thus left with the consideration of the remaining part of paragraph 44(2)(c) namely “... or use for other commercial or mercantile purposes”. An analysis of the words and expressions used here provides us with alternative interpretations:
1. The expression “use for other commercial or mercantile purposes” is read in a disjunctive sense, without reference to the provisions of the text preceding it. In this light, any use of the goods by anyone for commercial or mercantile purposes would fit within the paragraph and the goods would not be subject to the refund provision. If it were assumed that the goods are used by their recipients for purposes of commercial fishing or commercial trapping, such would be in the nature of a commercial use and no refund of the taxes paid would be available.
2. The alternative interpretation would establish a conjunction between use in connection with the manufacture and production of goods and use for other commercial or mercantile purposes. This conjunctive interpretation would result in a finding that whether for manufacturing or production purposes or whether for other commercial or mercantile purposes, the use must be by Her Majesty or Her servants or agents. Any use by other than the persons so specified would not fall within the ambit of the paragraph.
I will readily admit that the choice between these two alternatives is not without difficulty and neither can be preferred without some challenge to its validity. Nevertheless, I find myself adopting a conjunctive interpretation and I will state my reasons therefor.
1. Textual approach to the wording of the paragraph:
(a) The paragraph specifies in its opening words “‘use by Her Majesty or by Her agents or servants”. The rest of the words in the paragraph form one sentence without any qualifying word coming in between to invite a separation between the specified persons in the opening words and the two-pronged use in the remainder of the paragraph.
(b) The construction of the paragraph invites the two types of uses mentioned therein to be read together. If so read, the uses mentioned must be restricted to such uses by Her Majesty or Her agents or servants.
(c) There is, in my view, a conceptual relationship between “manufacture or production” on the one hand and “‘commercial or mercantile” purposes on the other. Indeed, there is most often implied in the processes of manufacturing or producing goods a commercial or mercantile element. The presence of the word “other” in the expression “for other commercial or mercantile purposes” (my emphasis) suggests to me that the manufacture and production of goods have commercial connotations but the paragraph intends to cover commercial or mercantile uses which are not necessarily related to or covered by manufacturing or production operations. Were it otherwise, the word “other” would have been redundant.
(d) I would submit that a disjunctive approach would lead to an anomaly whereby a particular statutory provision directed particularly to use by Her Majesty in connection with the manufacture and production of goods would, when applied to commercial or mercantile purposes, be directed generally to everyone. A more proper construction would indicate that for use for commercial or mercantile purposes as well as for use in connection with the manufacture or production of goods, the paragraph refers exclusively to Her Majesty or to Her agents or servants.
2. The Structure of the Statute
I have already admitted that the choice between the alternative interpretations of paragraph 44(2)(c) is a difficult one to make. This is all the more so when the enquiry is limited to the narrow context of the paragraph itself. It will be found helpful, therefore, to take a view of the statute generally and see if the interpretation to which I subscribe is consonant with the substance of the Act as a whole or of the ideas expressed in it.
(a) The statute is a taxing statute and the tax imposed applies to all goods produced and sold in Canada or imported into Canada. Subsection 43(b) provides that with respect to goods imported into Canada by any provincial government, the tax is applicable when such goods are for purposes of:
(ii) use by any board, commission, railway, public utility, university, manufactory, company or agency owned, controlled or operated by the government of the province or under the authority of the legislature or the lieutenant governor in council, or
(iii) use by Her Majesty or by Her agents or servants in connection with the manufacture or production of goods or use for other commercial or mercantile purposes.
(b) It is noted that the wording in the three paragraphs of subsection 43(b) corresponds exactly to the wording found in the three paragraphs of subsection 44(2). Contrary to section 44, however, section 43 is drafted in positive language. Therefore, instead of deciphering what section 44 excludes, we are faced with the concurrent and perhaps easier task of determining what section 43 includes. In that respect, it must necessarily have been the intention of Parliament to impose the tax on provincial government purchases whenever the goods are used by a provincial government in connection with the manufacture or production of other goods or used by such government for commercial or mercantile purposes. It could not have been Parliament’s intention to bring into this section a charging provision on goods used for commercial or mercantile purposes by anyone. Section 27 already provides for a tax payable on all such goods purchased.
(c) Similarly, the legislative intent could not have been to permit a provincial government to traffic in goods by reselling them or using them for manufacturing or production or for other commercial or mercantile purposes. Section 43 is clear that in such circumstances, the tax is payable on government purchases and that tax is not refundable.
(4) Finally, if section 43 can be construed as a charging provision, perhaps a stricter interpretation of its meaning may be applied. I am not suggesting here that taxing statutes in particular invite different interpretation techniques than those applicable to other legislative enactments. E A Driedger in Construction of Statutes, (2nd ed. Toronto: Butterworths, 1983) at page 204 makes the point that taxation statutes are not in a special position and that whatever comment might have been made from time to time by the courts with respect to such statutes apply to any statute. Lord Russell stated as much in A.-G. v. Carlton Bank,  2 Q.B. 158 at 164 when he said:
. . . I know of no authority for saying that a taxing Act is to be construed differently from any other Act. The duty of the court is ... to give effect to the intention of the Legislature as that intention is to be gathered from the language employed having regard to the context in connection with which it is employed.
I am nevertheless able to rely on the principles enunciated in many decisions involving taxing statutes that unless the burden of tax can be supported four-square on the wording of the statute, the tax cannot be imposed, e.g. Partington v. A.-G. (1869), L.R. 4 H.L. 100 at 122 reviewed in The King v. Crabbs,  S.C.R. 523. An adoption of this view leads one to conclude that as section 43 as a whole imposes a tax on goods imported by the Crown and, specifically in paragraph (iii) thereof, when such goods are for purposes or uses by the Crown, it should not be interpreted so as to impose the tax when such use is by other than Her Majesty, Her servants and agents.
3. The French Version of the Statute
By virtue of subsection 8(1) of the Official Languages Act, R.S.C. 1970, Chap. 0-2, the French text of the statute is as authentic and authoritative as the English text. In this instance, unfortunately, the French version of both subparagraph 43(b)(iii) and paragraph 44(2)(c) is not helpful. There is, at least at first blush, an inconsistency between the two versions. The French version of these two paragraphs reads as follows:
43. Les taxes imposées par les Parties III, IV et V s’appliquent
b) aux marchandises importées par Sa Majesté du chef d’une province du Canada, pour l’une des fins suivantes:
(iii) l’utilisation par Sa Majesté ou par ses mandataires ou préposés relativement à la fabrication ou production de marchandises, ou pour d’autres fins commerciales ou mercantiles.
44. (2) Lorsque des marchandises ont été achetées par Sa Majesté du chef de quelque province du Canada pour toute fin autre que
c) l’utilisation par Sa Majesté ou par ses mandataires ou préposés relativement à la fabrication ou production de marchandises, ou pour d’autres fins commerciales ou mercantiles;
un remboursement de taxes payées en vertu de la Partie III, IV ou V peut être accordé à Sa Majesté ou au fabricant, producteur, marchand en gros, intermédiaire ou autre commerçant, selon le cas.
It will be noted that a comma appears after the word "marchandises” and preceding "ou pour d’autres fins commerciales ou mercantiles” in paragraph (c). According to general rules of grammar and syntax, such a comma would have the effect of separating the two uses mentioned in the statute, making of each of them a separate category unrelated the one from the other. In effect, this comma opens the door to a disjunctive interpretation of the paragraph so that ‘‘use for commercial or mercantile purposes” would apply whether such use were by Her Majesty and Her agents or servants or by anyone else. This in turn would provoke an inquiry as to whether the use of the specific goods, namely canoes and sleds by fishermen and trappers constituted a commercial or mercantile use.
Although a good argument may be made that the French text has a disjunctive character, I am of the opinion that it should not be followed. The comma appears to me to be merely a desire in the French text to be faithful to the English text, a text which, as is obvious, is not representative of clear and lucid draftmanship. In spite of this comma, it is my view that a conjunctive interpretation should prevail.
As a conclusion, the use of goods for commercial or mercantile purposes in- paragraph 44(2)(c) of the Excise Tax Act is limited to such use by Her Majesty or Her servants or agents.
Since the trial of this action, counsel for the parties have agreed upon and have provided me with additional facts relating to the purposes of the A.R.D.A. program in the scheme to provide Northern Manitoba natives with canoes and sleds. Textually, the agreed facts are as follows:
The purpose of the Program was to provide people of native ancestry who were not either agents or servants of the Province and who earned less than $2,000.00 per year, with trapping and fishing equipment to be used for the harvesting of renewable resources for commercial purposes. On occasion the equipment may be utilized by the owners for other non-commercial purposes such as emergency transportation.
In view of the disposition I have taken of the interpretation of paragraph 44(2)(c) of the Excise Tax Act, it is necessary to decide this subsidiary issue. In any event, as I have noted before, such goods, had they been purchased by the users themselves, would have been subject to a sales tax no matter what use to which they might have been put.
I should nevertheless remark that in the matter of any statute, a Court must be wary of interpreting it in a manner which effectively frustrates its object and purpose or the legislator’s intent. By the scheme instituted with respect to the A.R.D.A. program, the sales tax on the goods becomes refundable. Conceivably, Her Majesty in right of the Province of Manitoba could multiply such schemes and embark upon any number of similar programs to provide tax-refundable goods to any number of selected recipients. I am far from suggesting that such was Her Majesty's motive in implementing the A.R.D.A. program, nevertheless the statutory provision is there for the taking.
It must be remembered, however, that qualifying for a refund under paragraph 44(2)(c) is one thing. Obtaining the refund is another. Her Majesty in right of Canada has a discretion in deciding whether or not in a particular case or group of cases a refund may be granted. Indeed, all refund provisions in the Excise Tax Act are at the federal government's discretion, including tax refunds on such goods as are used for sewerage or draining systems (subsection 44(3)); by institutions for the care of the young, the elderly and the handicapped (section 45); for the construction of educational institutions, public libraries and provincially-owned student residences (section 46) and other public or non-profit uses as well.
The federal Crown's discretion in these cases has been affirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal in The Queen v. Stevenson Construction Co. Ltd., et al. (F.C.A.),  C.T.C. 86; 79 D.T.C. 5044. Federal control is always paramount.
In the circumstances, the consequences of the interpretation I give the section of the statute before me should not be any cause of concern.
There shall therefore be judgment dismissing the plaintiff’s action and a declaration that the sales taxes paid on the goods in question qualify for an application for a refund under subsection 44(2) of the Excise Tax Act. The defendant is entitled to costs.
Plaintiffs action dismissed.