‘Keep The Accountability’

    “Once all is said and done, there’s an awful lot of money, aimed at improving the collective lives of ‘First Nations’ people, that’s being eaten up by high-paid and self-righteous leadership.”

    “Our leadership has no need for huge payouts while their people struggle to get by. And it’s especially angering when they take the money and still talk about honoring our traditions. 

    “So why not open the books on band management? Why not allow Canadians and their own people to see how much they are paid, how much they ring up on expenses, and how the fiscal dollars directed toward the community are divided and spent?”

ERBLKeepTheAccountability800x800“Is Ottawa’s promised ‘nation-to-nation’ relationship with ‘indigenous peoples’ mainly about protecting the power of ‘First Nation’ leaders and ignoring the interests of the grassroots?  

“The first sign in that direction occurred in December, when the Trudeau government announced it was taking teeth out of the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’, a piece of legislation that provides basic local financial data to ‘First Nation’ Band members. The government lifted sanctions and stopped court actions against ‘First Nations’ communities that weren’t complying with the ‘Transparency Act’. 

“Where this goes is anyone’s guess, but let’s hope the Liberals (and the NDP) do not fall back into their pattern of supporting chiefs against their members.  

“Some ‘First Nation’ leaders are no doubt pleased that the Liberals are back at the helm. They are likely delighted at the prospect of a resurrection of the failed billion-dollar ‘Kelowna Accord’, and aboriginal education dollars being provided without meaningful education reform legislation. 

“Some of these leaders are very good at dividing their own people against much-needed reforms, by wrapping themselves in the mantle of ‘self-government’ rhetoric, and opposition to “colonialism”. 

“But when Band expenses were revealed, those same leaders faced criticism. Band members reacted in surprise and outrage when they learned of instances of exorbitant salaries going to their leaders. 

“Self-government is great, but not when it is used as a smokescreen. Fighting against the “colonial powers” can often be a convenient distraction from problems of internal governance on reserves…

“Like any politicians, ‘First Nation’ leaders don’t want to lose power. Gordon Gibson, policy analyst and author of “A New Look At Canadian Indian Policy”, has noted that reserves have “small governments with large powers” that may intimidate and control members. Like any government, they also do not want to air their dirty laundry. 

“But airing that laundry is often the best way to confront problems… 

“It’s time the Liberals, and all federal parties, adopted a grassroots ‘First Nations’ agenda that includes wide discussion with Band members about the quality of their governance and services. They should not just be consulting Band chiefs and ‘First Nation’ organizations. 

“A former Liberal government under Paul Martin made the mistake of listening too much to the chiefs alone, to the detriment of ‘First Nation’ communities. When the Chretien Liberals had introduced the far-reaching ‘First Nations’ Governance Act’ — a bill promising effective Band electoral and financial reform — the chiefs and the ‘Assembly of ‘First Nations’ (A’FN’) balked at the bill. When Martin took the helm, he killed the bill…

“When the Conservatives later tried to introduce legislation to repeal an exemption preventing ‘First Nations’ from accessing the ‘Canadian Human Rights Act’ against their own Band governments, the opposition parties — after ‘sensing’ furious opposition from the A’FN’ — used their committee power to kill the bill. The government eventually passed a watered-down version of the bill, but continued to encounter opposition intransigence along the way. 

“If the Liberals truly want to respect the ‘indigenous community’, they should ensure grassroots people are included intimately in this new ‘nation-to-nation’ relationship.” 

–‘First Nation’ financial details must not be hidden’,
Joseph Quesnel, Troy Media, January 10, 2016  

http://www.troymedia.com/2016/01/08/first-nation-financial-details-must-not-be-hidden/  

http://www.troymedia.com/2016/01/03/liberals-reward-chiefs-first-nations-bands-at-expense-of-members/  accountability1“Charmaine Stick {known on ERBL pages as ‘Bencharm Lee Stanleystick’} takes care of six kids. She also reads financial documents, to keep an eye on her local government because “what else would she do at home all day?” But she can’t find out how much her band chief is paid. Her chief cites ‘treaty rights’ as a reason to avoid transparency, but she says accountability to the community is an essential part of ‘First Nations’ culture. 

“Ms. Stick lives on Onion Lake ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 4,780 people, that is the biggest oil-producing ‘First Nation’} in Saskatchewan. More than 93% of Canadian ‘First Nations’ have complied with the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’ (‘FN’FTA) and disclosed basic financial information such as the salaries of chiefs and councils. Onion Lake refused to provide this transparency and fought the government in court. Now, Ms. Stick may have a longer wait for answers because of a recent decision made by ‘Indigenous’ and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

    “In keeping with our commitment to a renewed, ‘Nation-to-nation’ relationship, the government of Canada will suspend any court actions against ‘First Nations’ who have not complied with the act”, 

Ms. Bennett said in a written statement…  

“The legislation allowed the government to withhold non-essential funding from unaccountable bands, but Ms. Bennett is now giving up that enforcement mechanism. Ms. Bennett buried her statement on a Friday afternoon before Christmas to avoid tough questions from reporters, for good reason. 

“The Globe and Mail defined the issue early.  

    “The’ FN’FTA is essential for responsible government”, its editorial board wrote last Aug. 19. “The governed always need to know what the governors are up to.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/let-the-sun-shine-in-on-first-nations-finances/article26026186/

    “It is a critical and overdue measure of accountability: in common with other politicians in Canada, aboriginal chiefs cannot properly be accountable to the people they represent if their finances are not open to scrutiny”,

echoed the National Post editorial pages on Sept. 2.

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-respect-aboriginal-rights-keep-the-first-nations-fiscal-transparency-act 

    “The Liberals came to power promising more open, transparent governance”, concluded the Toronto Star’s editorial on Dec. 21. “That should go for Ottawa and ‘First Nations’ alike. No exceptions.”

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/12/21/put-teeth-back-into-first-nations-financial-transparency-act-editorial.html 

“Canada’s media stalwarts are not the only sources of support for ‘First Nations’ accountability. 

    “Transparency is a logical idea”, wrote ‘First Nations’ author Richard Wagamese in ‘First Nations’ Drum’ {See below…}. “Why not show Canadians how well we can manage our own affairs?”

“There are, of course, those opposed to the legislation. 

    “’First Nations’ fully support accountability but ‘Bill C-27’ [‘FN’FTA] is a flawed piece of legislation that does not respect our rights and must be repealed”, said Assembly of ‘First Nations’ National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “[Minister Bennett’s] announcement gives us an opportunity to work together on a better approach where ‘First Nations’ are accountable to their citizens first.” 

“Others have a more blunt opinion. 

    “It’s always about this discrimination and sorry to say, for me it’s racism”, said Chief Wallace Fox of Onion Lake. “It’s discriminatory legislation because no other race is subject to this legislation in Canada except Indian people.” 

“Chief Fox ignores the simple fact that the need for accountability is universal and elected leaders around the world publish their salaries.

“Here’s the simple reality: Ms. Stick doesn’t know how much Chief Fox is getting paid. She is, however, well aware that the average income for people living in Onion Lake is $17,528. Accountable government is critical to improving life for Ms. Stick and her family. 

“As the minister responsible, Ms. Bennett has access to answers that are hidden from Ms. Stick. Notwithstanding Ms. Bennett’s commitment to an improved ‘Nation-to-nation’ relationship, she cannot keep those answers hidden forever. Ms. Stick must not be left waiting in the dark.”  

{For more on Charmaine Stick, known on ERBL pages as ‘Bencharm Lee Stanleystick’:
http://endracebasedlaw.net/chiefs-free-to-steal-again/ –scroll halfway down
…  And https://www.facebook.com/bencharm.stanleystick } 

–‘Don’t force ‘First Nations’ members to wait for financial accountability’,
TODD MACKAY, Toronto Globe and Mail, Jan. 08, 2016
(Todd MacKay is Prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation) 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/dont-force-first-nations-members-to-wait-for-financial-accountability/article28074911/ 

Charmaine Stick hunger strike
Charmaine Stick hunger strike

On a related note:
‘Chief Wallace Fox asked to resign’  

“The Director of ‘Native Justice’ in Onion Lake Cree ‘Nation’ (OLCN) has asked Chief Wallace Fox to resign. 

“According to a letter dated Nov. 3, 2015, obtained by the ‘Meridian Booster’, Janet Trottier, the head of ‘Native Justice Inc.’ {?!}, has asked the council of OLCN to take action in the face of alleged unethical behavior by Fox… 

“Native Justice Inc. is an organization in OLCN, which provides community-based sentencing and corrections, as well as operating pre-release circles aimed at the reintegration of offenders into the community…  

“Trottier outlines the policies under which she says band members can direct their concerns regarding chief and council. According to those policies, any member who believes their council, administrators, or other staff are not following the regulations that govern their behavior can direct their concerns in writing and in person to council. Council then has 15 days to respond to the complaint. 

“Trottier notes since sending the first letter, no one who was to receive the letter had asked to sit down with her to discuss the issue, or to inform her of what process they would be using to have Fox resign as chief of OLCN. 

“What happened to the basic fundamental values that keep our treaties alive and govern us as indigenous peoples?”

wrote Trottier, after noting the arrest of Fox on Oct. 26, 2015, on two counts of assault, one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose related to the use of a knife and one count of uttering threats to damage property…

“In an interview with the ‘Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’ given before being charged, Fox denied any wrongdoing. 

“What laws then give OLCN Chief and Council authority to equally and fairly serve and protect the people? Is it our traditional and customary laws or is it Indian Act? Or does it become whatever law that accommodates personal interests?” wrote Trottier.

“Trottier also noted statements made by Fox at the band meeting held over Oct. 12, 13, and 14, when he referred to the Indian Act as the only authority that would determine his removal as chief. 

“According to the act, the office of a chief or councillor becomes vacant when the holder of the office is convicted of an indictable offense, dies, or resigns the office, or becomes ineligible to hold office by virtue of the act. 

“Alternatively, the minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs could declare the office-holder unfit to continue in office by reason of his having been convicted of an offence, or by having been absent from three consecutive meetings of the council, without being authorized to do so, or being found guilty, in connection with an election, of corrupt practice, accepting a bribe, dishonesty, or malfeasance. 

“The hope expressed by Trottier in her letter was for council to exercise OLCN convention law by forming an Appeal Tribunal, and if the tribunal finds contravention of convention law, for a removal hearing to take place. The hearing would require a meeting of citizens, and a majority vote by secret ballot for or against the removal of the given chief or councilor. 

    “What more does the present government need to deal with the unethical behavior that Wallace Fox continues to present?” wrote Trottier…” 

–‘Chief Wallace Fox asked to resign’,
James Wood, Lloydminster Meridian Booster, December 11, 2015  

http://www.meridianbooster.com/2015/12/11/chief-wallace-fox-asked-to-resign  

Onion Lake's Chief Wallace Fox (GORD WALDNER-Postmedia Network)
Onion Lake’s Chief Wallace Fox (GORD WALDNER-Postmedia Network)

“The ‘Canadian Tax Foundation’ (CTF) wants band finances to be made public. Why not? These days, self-government has ceased to be a principle and has become a reality for many ‘First Nations’.

“Transparency is a logical idea. Why not show Canadians how well we can manage our own affairs? The whole premise of self-government is built on ‘First Nations’ as capable, proficient governments who are entirely able to confront and control their individual destinies. The CTF proposes an open book that lets Canadians see responsible ‘First Nations’ Governments. 

“It’s not just outsiders who are concerned. Many within reserve communities want to know where and how ‘First Nations’ fiscal money is spent. There are ‘First Nations’ activists who are demanding that their leadership be transparent; to allow all band members to see the books, know the financial goings-on of their own governments. This is a reasonable request. Band populations deserve to know how their lives are being managed and to deprive them creates hierarchy, an elite that was never part of our cultures {?}. 

“The Peguis Band in Manitoba is a prime example. In 2007 to 2008, the chief made $221,642 in tax-free salary. The following fiscal year, he made $174, 230. Those amounts are equal to $383,579 and $295,124 in taxable income – which is more than the Prime Minister makes. On top of that are the expense accounts that allow leaders to travel globally for conferences and events that may or may not affect their dealings at home. Once all is said and done, there’s an awful lot of money aimed at improving the collective lives of ‘First Nations’ people that’s being eaten up by high paid and self-righteous leadership. 

“There was a time in our traditional lives when our leaders weren’t paid. Leaders were chosen for leading principled lives. They were chosen by virtue of their dignity, of selflessness, of a concern for the collective wellbeing of the people, spirituality, empathy, compassion and a quality of courage that allowed them to put the needs of the community ahead of their own. That courage is what made them leaders and it never included greed, self-righteousness or self-aggrandizing behaviors. Sadly, nowadays, too many chiefs and councillors seem to think it’s their due as elected leaders to take home enormous amounts. 

“It’s angering. The majority of their people will never see such money in their entire lives. The new truck, the new house, the boat and motor, the vacations, and the high-priced meals in high-priced restaurants will never be part of their reality. Our leadership has no need for huge payouts while their people struggle to get by. And it’s especially angering when they take the money and still talk about honoring our traditions. 

“So why not open the books on band management? Why not allow Canadians and their own people to see how much they are paid, how much they ring up on expenses, and how the fiscal dollars directed toward the community is divided and spent? Honesty and accountability are traditional principles after all and the notion of self-government implies that a people are mature enough to govern openly.

“There’s no colonialism inherent in accountability. There’s no racism in asking a government to be forthright in its dealings and there is certainly no besmirching of a peoples’ integrity by asking their leadership for honesty.”  

–‘Accountability and Band Finances’, 
Richard Wagamese, ‘First Nations’ Drum, October 9, 2015

http://www.firstnationsdrum.com/2015/10/accountability-and-band-finances/ 'FirstNations'FinancialTransparencyAct“…The statute, which is short and simple, is not onerous. It does not dictate the salaries of chiefs or what bands can spend. But it does enable the members of particular ‘First Nations’ – and the federal government, the source of much of reserves’ revenue – to know more about how native governments are spending their money, including what chiefs and band councillors are paid. The ‘FN’FTA is essential for responsible government. The governed always need to know what the governors are up to…  

“Onion Lake, one of the bands challenging the law, compares itself to a private company that can keep its affairs confidential. But every ‘First Nation’ is a government and must account for itself publicly – to its own public. 

“The federal Liberals and the federal NDP both opposed the ‘FN’FTA. If one of these parties wins the federal election, it would be well advised to reconsider its position, both for its own new government and for the native peoples of Canada. The law is about increasing information and transparency. It’s hard to have too much of either.” 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/let-the-sun-shine-in-on-first-nations-finances/article26026186/
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
“…It is a critical and overdue measure of accountability: in common with other politicians in Canada, aboriginal chiefs cannot properly be accountable to the people they represent if their finances are not open to scrutiny. At the same time, given the funding bands receive out of federal revenues, it is reasonable that the broader Canadian public should be able to see where their money is going, and for what. 

“Yet, notwithstanding these compelling rationales, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants to do away with the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’. Not reform or amend it, but abolish it. To insist on such basic norms of democratic accountability is, he says, “disrespectful.” But is it not more disrespectful to deny aboriginal people access to the same information concerning their leaders that other communities expect as of right? …  

“…Whatever their views on other issues related to aboriginal people, all parties should support the effort to make reserve finances more transparent and maintain the practice of public reporting of politicians’ salaries and expenses.” 

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-respect-aboriginal-rights-keep-the-first-nations-fiscal-transparency-act
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
“…The transparency act requires ‘First Nations’ to publicly disclose their spending, including what chiefs and councillors get by way of pay and expenses. It has shed welcome light since the 2013-2014 fiscal year, when it was first implemented…  

“…The Liberals came to power promising more open, transparent governance. That should go for Ottawa and ‘First Nations’ alike. No exceptions. This risks being a backward step.”  

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/12/21/put-teeth-back-into-first-nations-financial-transparency-act-editorial.html DayOfAction See also:
‘Election Payback – A Licence To Steal?’ (Transparency Act) {December 30, 2015}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/election-payback-a-licence-to-steal/  

‘Chiefs Free To Steal Again’ {October 28, 2015}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/chiefs-free-to-steal-again/  

‘Government Enforcing Transparency Act’ (Liard ‘First Nation’ – Yukon) {August 8, 2015}: https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/659445514157685/?type=3 

‘Aboriginals deserve good financial governance’ {June 28, 2015}: https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/644544398981130/?type=3 

‘Radical Chiefs Reject Accountability’ {December 10, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/570951909673713/?type=1  

‘Crunch Time’ (Accountability Act) {November 27, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/566069840161920/?type=1  

‘Transparency On Reserves – The Cree Development Corporation’ (Lubicon) {September 9, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/536516969783874/?type=1 

‘Chiefs and council salaries now posted online’ (Canadian Taxpayers Federation) {July 31, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/518009254967979/?type=1 red_man_s_greedPost also at:  

https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/713736982061871/?type=3

#‎ENDRACEBASEDLAWCANADA

http://endracebasedlaw.com/petition

mail to: endracebasedlawpetition@gmail.com  

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