by Paul J. Henderson, Chilliwack Times, Dec 10, 2014
A local First Nation band won’t face court action for defying new financial disclosure laws, but the federal government will suspend funding for non-essential programs.
The Popkum Indian Band is the only one in the Times readership area that did not file audited financial statements and band council remuneration figures by Nov. 26, as required by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA).
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Bernard Valcourt said the act was brought in to apply “the same principles of transparency and accountability to First Nation governments that already exist for other governments in Canada.” Read the rest of this entry
Perry Bellegarde wins majority vote on first ballot to replace Shawn Atleo
CBC News, Dec 10, 2014
Saskatchewan’s Perry Bellegarde has been named the new national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. It only took one round of voting for Bellegarde to win, after getting more than 60 per cent of the 464 ballots cast during the event in Winnipeg. “It‘s done now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get some work done,” Bellegarde told the crowd.
And he had messages for both the chiefs who elected him and other Canadians.
“To the people across the great land, I say to you, that the values of fairness and tolerance which Canada exports to the world, is a lie when it comes to our people,” he continued. Read the rest of this entry
Within one year, the reserve’s net debt increased from $5 million to $6.2 million.
By Tiar Wilson, CBC News, Nov 29, 2014
It has taken Tannis Blacksmith 33 years to open her eyes to politics on her reserve, and she has a word for her actions, or lack thereof: Shameful.
As recently as mid-November, Blacksmith discovered the location of the chief and council chambers on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN), where she has lived most of her life.
She found it when she showed up with around 40 fellow band members in protest.
“[I had no idea]…if we were even allowed to go there,” she said. Read the rest of this entry
By Susana Mas, CBC News, Nov 25, 2014
Three Western Treaty First Nations say they will “resist” the federal government’s order to comply with the financial transparency act by tomorrow or risk losing federal funding.
The government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations bands have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors. The grand majority — 498 out of 582 First Nations bands — have complied. Read the rest of this entry
Documents show millions unaccounted for despite lack of housing, education
CBC News, Nov 07, 2014
A member of the new council elected for the small Shuswap First Nation near Invermere, B.C., says excessive spending spurred band members to vote for change.
The reserve has had the same chief for more than three decades, but the band’s finances recently came to light under a new federal law.
“The majority of us are just elated and happy, and we’ve had tears and crying for joy and happiness,” said Barb Coté, who was successful in her bid for re-election. “Finally we have people that will do something for the community for a change.” Read the rest of this entry
Cheques issued by Krissy Jacobs and Glen Newman lead to their removal from band positions
CBC News, Oct 20, 2014
Two officials with the Squamish Nation have now been relieved of their duties after an investigation found problems with how nearly $1.5 million was spent from an emergency fund.
The investigation looked into a series of cheques issued over the past six years from funds set up to help First Nation’s members with emergencies such as rent, travel to funerals, or clothing. Read the rest of this entry
Manitoba First Nations will fight back with blockades and other economic barriers if the federal government follows through with a promise to cut funding from bands who refuse to make their finances public, says a native official.
Only eight of Manitoba’s 63 First Nations have so far filed documents to comply with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The deadline to file the documents was July 29. Read the rest of this entry
‘We’re a national embarrassment right now,’ says councillor calling for chief’s resignation
CBC News, Aug 02, 2014
Some members of a tiny Coquitlam-area First Nation want their chief to resign after damning financial disclosures were published this week.
In filings published under the new First Nations Financial Transparency Act, Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht disclosed he earned an $800,000 bonus last year on top of his salary.
Marvin Joe, who has been head of the 81-member First Nation in the past, says the revelation of that extra compensation has deeply angered many of the band’s members. Read the rest of this entry
By Hayden King, for CBC News, August 2, 2014
This week the federal government’s legislation, The First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA), was made law.
Financial statements and salaries of First Nation council’s were posted on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s website earlier this week. And those councils who refuse to participate will face a court order.
According to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, this is an effort to provide First Nations people with transparency and allow them to hold their elected leaders accountable. In other words, to empower them. Read the rest of this entry