Government to withhold cash to non-compliant First Nation band in Chilliwack
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.”
The story of chief and council remuneration received prominent coverage in the summer when it was revealed Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation received $800,000 in pay as economic development officer for the band.
No local pay packets for chiefs stirred controversy as most received modest remuneration all things considered.
At the top of the pile, however, and noted by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) was Squiala Chief David Jimmie who was paid $105,910.
Some chiefs receive salaries, some honoraria, and some also serve as employees of the band in an economic development capacity.
When asked about his pay, Jimmie explained he received $12,000 pay as chief of the band, and $91,711 as his full-time salary as CEO for the Squiala whose lands are home to the Eagle Landing shopping area.
More than Jimmie was Shxwha:y Village Chief Tina Sam who was paid $140,124, made up of $47,854 salary, $66,400 council honoraria and $25,870 in expenses.
The average pay of the chiefs in the 14 bands counted by the Times was $55,961.
Some chiefs received token amounts to serve the band, including Skowkale Chief Willy Hall ($11,000) and Yakweakwioose Chief Frank Malloway ($10,200).
As for those First Nations who have so far been non-compliant, Valcourt said there are various levels of punishment.
All those who have not complied, including Popkum, will face basic sanctions: withholding of funding for non-essential services and of new or proposal-based non-essential funding, as well as publishing the names of non-compliant bands on the AANDC website.
“I have directed that sanctions not target essential services that support band members,” Valcourt said in a press release.
As for First Nations that have been publicly defiant of the new law, applications have been made in Federal Court to force them to comply. This applies to a handful of bands in Saskatchewan and Alberta but none in B.C.
When asked why they had not complied and if withholding funds would affect the band, Popkum Chief James Murphy did not reply to an email request to comment.
The government said 529 of 582 First Nations had complied by the deadline of Nov. 26 and some more have complied since then, according to a government spokesperson.
Posted on December 10, 2014, in Indian Act Indians and tagged band council corruption, band councils, First Nations Financial Transparency Act, indian act band councils, Popkum Indian Band. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
WTF?? Are you freakin serious??? “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.” – THAT’S A JOKE, ISN’T IT??? I’d tell them to stuff it, & none of those bands should have complied!! (IMO anyway)!!