New federal law will force First Nation band politicians to reveal salaries, expenses

A bill requiring First Nations bands to publicly disclose the pay and expenses of their politicians is set to become law, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said during a press conference in Winnipeg.

APTN National News
WINNIPEG–A bill requiring First Nations bands to publicly disclose the pay and expenses of their politicians is set to become law, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said during a press conference in Winnipeg.

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act, also known as Bill C-27, has passed the Senate and will receive Royal Assent sometime Wednesday.

“This legislation recognizes that First Nation members want no less than other Canadians when it comes to knowing how public funds are spent in their communities,” said Valcourt. “They want assurances that their governments manage resources to improve the lives of the people they serve.”

The new law will impact about 580 First Nations under the Indian Act requiring them to publish chief and band councillor salaries and expenses on the Internet.

The law will also require First Nations to publish their annual audited financial statements by July 29, 2014.

AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo blasted the new law, saying it “would not support” accountability and gives “more power to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.”

Atleo said the AFN opposed the bill at every stage because it did little to change the broken relationship between Ottawa and First Nations people.

“We do not support unilateralism that further entrenches us in a system that doesn’t work for our people or Canada,” said Atleo. “The answers lie in our communities and with our citizens, not with more control from Ottawa…Canada needs to listen and to act.”

The genesis of the bill began in October 2010 when Conservative Saskatchewan MP Kelly Block introduced a private member’s bill aimed at increasing the financial transparency of First Nations governments. Block’s bill, however, died after the minority Harper government fell in March 2011.

The Harper government, however, formed a majority following the federal election and in the Speech from the Throne indicated its plans to follow through with the aims of Block’s bill. The current version of the Act was introduced in November 2011.

A report on by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation found that 82 band chiefs and councillors made more than the prime minister’s $317,574 salary in 2008-2009. In Alberta, 47 chiefs and councillors made more than the prime minister that year.

First Nations chiefs passed a resolution in 2010 agreeing to publish their salaries and expenses, but they blasted Block’s original bill, calling it “unnecessary” and “heavy-handed.”

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

7 thoughts on “New federal law will force First Nation band politicians to reveal salaries, expenses

  1. Six Nations of the Grand River has been publically disclosing Honoraria and Travel Expenses of the chief and council since the early 80s. Over the past three years we have held an annual General Council Assembly where we go through the audit and programs and services and future plans etc. Our audit is posted on our website So I don’t know why people are making such a fussover this Bill.

  2. It doesn’t bother me that FN will have transparency, but it does bother me that the media and the government are making this the big issue. Yes, there’s corruption in some bands; but I’m sure there’s no more corruption than in non-native governments. I mean, look at the entire province of Quebec! The mayor of Laval was arrested and that didn’t make huge news like all these “millionaire chiefs” are. You want to complain about the wealth disparity on-reserve, well what about the wealth disparity between EVERY FN member and non-native? I feel like that’s the much bigger issue.

  3. Everytime these people(cANADIAN GOVN’T) throw a law that is totally biased at the Original Peoples- They are at this very time and more than a million instances in the past, theones who are ROBBING and THIEVING the “so-called tax payer dollars”. Look at all the examples of their lying, robbing and raping of all resources ..!!!!! What a joke these so-called “canadians” ARE !!! fROM THE TIME OF THEIR ARRIVAL, they could never play on an FAIR, HONEST and exemplary level-field …NEVER ! if they did they would be the ones that are on the bottom. Their laws protect them from revealing their true colors ….

    I am ready, anytime to go to war against these pukes !!! ….LMFIARTFO juss sayin

    1. we are the sliammon first nations people, of powell river bc, our chief said were doing treaty nomatter what anyone thinks or says, its so corrupted, treaty is a fraud, u know who has money here by their houses, and their toys. we can p[rove many things , but were not aloyud to be heard they block us in every way, and if their was a invetagaing, many people would be in trouble, for how they mismanaged the monies, and decorate themsleves, and forget about the poor, noone has the right to sell our satas, its all about gaines, and in time we will have nothing, because, we wont be able to pay land taxes. and the goverment will in time take away the lands , our rights, our say, everything and all nations will have nothing, they are sucking the people ion, its all greed , people make so much monies off their own people all rights reserved, i dont care who reads this its the truth and all thye anti treaty people need to be heard.

  4. It’s too bad that when Phyllis Sutherland of Peguis First Nation, “the woman who lobbied the federal
    government for more transparency of band finances, was invited to speak
    she was shouted down by a man drumming loudly. He shouted “oppressors”
    and “Nazis” at people attending the news conference which ended
    abruptly. He identified himself only as a resident of “Turtle Island”.”
    Shameful really!

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