Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene nation is pictured in Poznan

Chief objects to posting salaries online

N.W.T. political leader objects to posting chiefs' salaries online

By The Canadian Press

YELLOWKNIFE – A political leader in the Northwest Territories says there are concerns over the federal government’s new law requiring the salaries of First Nations chiefs be posted online.

Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, who is also the Assembly of First Nations’ regional chief for the Northwest Territories, says his people are not opposed to the concept of accountability and transparency.

However, he says the problem is that the federal government’s new legislation is “an imposition” on First Nations’ governments.

The federal government’s legislation required First Nations to submit their financial statements by Tuesday.

However, by Wednesday evening, the website where the public is supposed to be able to access that information had none from any of the 22 First Nations in the Northwest Territories.

Late last week, Bernard Valcourt, minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, issued a release reminding First Nations of the requirements and saying chiefs and councillors “are encouraged to submit the documents as soon as possible.”

Valcourt also noted First Nations were already required to produce annual consolidated financial statements as part of their funding agreements with the federal government; only the requirement to publish them to the Internet is new.

But Erasmus said the new rule “does not support good governance.”

He said in the Northwest Territories, bands have followed their own financial standards, adding that information such as salaries has been shared at community, regional and national meetings.

“The chiefs are committed to being accountable to their people, not to the federal government or the public,” he said. “The funds we receive from Canada are not taxpayers’ money, they are Indian consolidated funds through the treasury board based on our treaty relationship with the Crown.

“The way that the bill is designed puts First Nations financial entities … at a disadvantage because the information requested by AANDC could be potentially sensitive and detrimental to their future business capacities.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation had been pushing for the salaries to be made public since 2009.

Colin Craig, prairie director of the CTF, said people were frustrated by the money being spent on reserves and then not being disclosed.

Just Posted

Evans Road traffic bollards not going anywhere

Chilliwack council turns down school district request for southbound left turns

Opioids, meth, firearms seized at known Chilliwack drug house

Home on Broadway Street raided on Feb. 15 where homicide occurred Jan. 31

GW Graham basketball girls savour Fraser Valley championship

It’s been a long wait for the Grizzlies, who lost the FV title game the last two seasons.

Chilliwack Curling Club holding open house

If you’ve ever wanted to try the sport, the club invites you to take the plunge this weekend.

Chilliwack MLA John Martin says NDP budget will hurt business, punish taxpayers

‘Family-owned businesses will struggle to respond to this’

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Most Read