Monday, September 22, 2014
Text Size

With the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, seeing is believing

Globe editorial

The Globe and Mail

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act has only been law for a year and a half, but it has already shown its worth. Without it, the startlingly disproportionate compensation to Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation in Coquitlam, B.C. would not have come to light.

d there are 47 other registered members off the reserve. His salary as economic development officer is comfortable: $80,000. The big payoff turns out to have come from a highly unusual 10-per-cent bonus on certain band transactions. It wasn’t instituted by the chief, but it wasn’t questioned by him either. The other two councillors say they didn’t even know about it.

The B.C. government had quite properly entered into negotiations with the Kwikwetlem First Nation, apparently for the redevelopment of about 236 hectares of wooded slopes called Burke Mountain. A settlement, extinguishing a claim to aboriginal title on those lands, was reached, in exchange for $8.2-million. Some of the payment was distributed to band members, with each receiving a cheque last month for $10,000. So far, so reasonable.

But Chief Giesbrecht, thanks to that mysterious “Mr. 10 per cent” clause, received an $800,000 as his bonus. Without the disclosure required by the new law, the facts, and the contrast between the band members’ payout and the chief’s windfall, would likely never have come to light.

Bernard Valcourt, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs – who, to his credit, introduced the FNFTA – has observed that 37 per cent of the housing units on the Kwikwetlem reserve are in need of major repair or replacement. The implication is that the nearly $1-million that went to a chief might better have gone to his community. Chief Giesbrecht’s constituents are asking as much.

Some critics, such as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, think the FNFTA is just a smokescreen, an attempt to demonize the chiefs and divert attention away from the Harper government. Perhaps. But native Canadians – who are the main beneficiaries of the legislation – can use all of its new information about their communities’ finances as they see fit. It’s empowering, full stop. They can hold their chiefs to account, while still criticizing Ottawa on other matters. The two tracks aren’t in conflict.

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