Monday, September 22, 2014
Text Size

First Nations accountability deficit


Calgary Sun

We'd like to call on Chief Ron Giesbrecht to resign. We really would. But there's no point. It's a futile gesture.


Following the salary disclosure deadline of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, Canadians' jaws dropped to learn that Giesbrecht, chief of the Kwikwetlem First Nation in British Columbia, earned $914,219 in the last fiscal year.

We're at least glad to know that amount has been reported. Almost two-thirds of band councils seem to have not complied with the law.

The feds announced last week that bands have until November to comply or will risk losing funding. We support this measure.

Unfortunately, this could harm regular folks on the reserve. But hopefully by that time the regular folks will start demanding why their leadership is so resistant to disclosure.

After learning the news about Giesbrecht, some Kwikwetlem band members went to protest in front of the band council office.

According to media reports, a prepared statement included this: "You're wrong, and you're disrespectful to your elders, you're disrespectful to your nation and it's just a disgrace that you did this to your people."

But in a Thursday press release Giesbrecht said he will not resign. "I am pleased to have support of the majority of membership," it read.

There are 82 members of the band, only half of whom live on the reserve.

Ultimately it's now up to the members to decide if Giesbrecht deserves re-election. But even then, transparency will be a challenge.

According to the Aboriginal affairs department website, Kwikwetlem elections are by "custom". In other words, they take care of it all internally, by their own rules. This is a shame. We hope they opt in to the newly passed First Nations Elections Act, which will give residents some broader checks and balances.

What's clear is that First Nations still have a gaping accountability deficit. This benefits the entrenched powers. The little guy on the reserve has little recourse.

If salaries on many reserves aren't known and elections don't follow strictly enforced rules, then how does any average resident hold their officials to account?

First Nations residents should have the same political rights as everyone in Canada. Sadly, this just isn't the case now.

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 picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


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


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


September 2014
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

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