Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Text Size

First public disclosure of First Nations salaries show fewer irregularities than expected

By Andy Radia | Canada Politics

ca.news.yahoo.com

Lo and behold, not all aboriginal chiefs and councils are corrupt.

That – admittedly factitious remark – comes following Tuesday's midnight deadline for First Nations' communities to publish their audited financial statements and salary disclosures under the Harper government's new transparency law.

While most of the data hasn't been published yet, an initial analysis suggests that some chiefs and councils are overpaid while some are underpaid. There are some improprieties while most transactions seem to be above-board.

That – surprise surprise – is just like other non-aboriginal governments across the country.

[ Related: Derek Nepinak re-elected Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs' grand chief ]

(See Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell, who just got a salary boost of $19,000. She was already Canada's highest-paid mayor with an annual income of $213,000. And, according to the Toronto Star, she racked-up $186,000 in expenses over three years including an expense for Mandarin lessons ).

Last year, Chief John Thunder, the hereditary chief of the 125-member Buffalo Point First Nation, was paid $116,918 tax free.

As eloquently pointed out by Sun News Network, "his taxable equivalent salary would be $200,000 – or more than $40,000 than what Premier Greg Selinger made in 2013 to lead more than 1.2 million Manitobans."

Moreover, according to the Globe and Mail, Thunder was recently charged with extortion by the RCMP. He sent an email to the Globe justifying his salary.

"I’m the most affordable Chief Executive Officer in Canada, and that does not even count my 31 years of groundbreaking leadership," he said.

There are, however, several examples of bands and councils at the other end of the spectrum.

As explained by the Toronto Star, the "average honoraria of council members at the Moravian of the Thames First Nation in Ontario" is $6,462/year. That community has a population of about 1.250.

And the three councillors in the Siska First Nation in British Columbia earned an average of just over $6,000 for the year.

The push for salary disclosure initially came from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. In 2009, the "citizens' advocacy group" began releasing documents provided to the them showing that Chief and Council on some reserves were earning more than the prime minister of Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations calls that analysis "misleading."

"Everything points to (an attempt) to build on the propaganda that aboriginal governments are dishonest," Ghislain Picard, interim chief of the Assembly of First Nations, told the Toronto Star.

"That’s the thinking that’s out there and that’s what they keep building on."

In an email exchange with Yahoo Canada News, Don Kelly, a spokesperson for the AFN, said that in 2010 "the average salary of a First Nation elected official was between $36,000 and $37,000."

The AFN says that they're all for transparency and accountability but that the Conservative Party's bill "calls for disclosure of information above and beyond that of other governments, including potentially sensitive information about business dealings that could put First Nations businesses at a disadvantage in terms of competitiveness."

Public disclosure is a good thing.

For the most part, it keeps governments and politicians in-check and subject to scrutiny.

And ironically, while the AFN objects to it now, the new rules might could go a long way in extinguishing the myth that some aboriginal leaders are crooked.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins