Chief says transparency act “another colonial control tool”

“On Thursday it was revealed Chief Ron Giesbrecht of Kwikwetlem First Nation in Coquitlam, B.C., was paid $914,219 tax-free for the last fiscal year… We know this because the new First Nations Financial Transparency Act deadline has just passed for salaries to be reported to the government.”

The above quote is from the Toronto Sun August 1st editorial “Chief’s pay insult to all”.

It took long enough, but now the legislation requiring the publication of Chief’s “salaries” is beginning to bear fruit. Chief Ron Giesbrecht’s near $1 million dollars total income from band funds is not likely to be the only jaw-dropping example of band funds going towards exhorbitant salaries rather than being used to improve the atrocious living conditions of many band members throughout Canada.

A great deal of credit should go to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and to MP Kelly Block for her initiative in putting forward a private member’s bill on the issue. Such bills rarely succeed in becoming law.

The first report on the issue that I posted about was the National Post article “Ottawa looking to open up natives’ books” published in October, 2010. Startling abuses were outlined as the reason why MP Kelly Block introduced her private members’ bill “calling for all First Nation bands to make public the salaries of chiefs and councillors.”

The Chiefs vigorously resisted the proposed legislation, and Liberal Party critic Todd Russell said the bill “insinuates that all chiefs are corrupt”.

It was a long hard battle, and the bill and its provisions must now be enforced and the resulting information acted on.

Jeff Goodall.

See “Chief’s pay insult to all” here.

See “Ottawa looking to open up natives’ books” here.

See also “National Post editorial board: Racism on a native reserve” supporting Ms. Block’s initiative here.

See my “First Nations Issues” category here.

See those salaries that have been filed here.  (Search by Band name).

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