‘Stop The Fraud!’

 “…we refuse to accept that Canada can demand accountability from us…”

‘Monitoring of billions pledged to aboriginals is lacking’ 

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gone to great lengths to foster a warm relationship with aboriginals. He has promised to fulfil every recommendation of the ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, including an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women which is expected to cost $40 million alone.

“More recently, aboriginals were among the big winners in the government’s first budget. They’ve been promised an extra $8.4 billion over five years for infrastructure, education and training.

“That’s all well and good, but extra injections of taxpayers’ money should be accompanied by oversight, so Canadians can be certain the funds are being properly spent. 

“Sadly, taxpayers can have no such confidence, because the Liberals have stopped enforcing the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’. The legislation was passed by the Conservatives and is credited with shining a light on how millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent.

“Among the biggest supporters of the act, not surprisingly, are band members who often had no idea where money was going and how much many native politicians were paying themselves.

“We are hearing from Band members all across Canada that they are concerned about the Liberal decision not to enforce the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act’,” 

says Cathy McLeod, a B.C. Conservative MP who serves as her party’s aboriginal affairs critic.

“They want to know that the $8.4 billion … will have a real and meaningful impact on their quality of life, and without that important accountability measure, there is no way for Band members {or taxpayers} to ensure the funds are spent properly.”

“It’s the job of government to decide where scarce resources are going to be allocated, but it’s also its responsibility to insist the money is used prudently. The Liberals can’t do that if they don’t require bands to be transparent. Choosing to turn a blind eye to their spending is a politically motivated sop — a lack of oversight that would never be tolerated among any other group of Canadians.

“Calgarians, for instance, are entitled to see how the city divvies up their tax dollars. The same disclosure is present at the provincial and federal levels. Why should aboriginal band members be denied the same transparency? For that matter, why should Canadians as a whole be denied that right when it comes to public spending on reserves?

“It’s all fine and well to put $8 billion towards Indians, but the thing is, there’s no guarantee it will reach what it was meant for,”

said Beverly Brown, a member of B.C.’s Squamish ‘First Nation’.

“The Liberals must ensure full accountability for the billions they are about to spend.”

–‘Monitoring of billions pledged to aboriginals is lacking’,
Calgary Herald Editorial Board, March 31, 2016

http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-monitoring-is-missing  accountability1COMMENT: “I have to disagree with what they have plans on spending this $8 Billion on. They’re talking schools and hospitals on reserves, which will make thing worse! Its promoting segregation!

“I was brought up on a farm, went to school in a small community both native and white. I made native friends and have talked to a couple about this. They now have a school on reserve and were talking to me about it!

“I met and became friends with them in school and grew up with them and if we would not have gone to school together, we would’ve really never gotten to know each other to become friends — in the early years before our friends are really set!

“The existing school on reserve brings their students that are going to go past grade 9 here, but that’s too late ! Most reserves have nurse practitioners, which is more practical then having to find doctors and staff for extra hospitals. Possibly in the far north this would be practical but most i know of already have these set up, and fly out in emergencies. I am hoping this government is not promoting segregation; as Canadians, we need to join together to be as one.”
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“Every other recipient of our tax dollars (federal funding) must account for their spending {Except, of course, the CBC…}. I am tired of living in an apartheid where one group of people get special privileges based on their race.”
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“Watch for the renewables sector try to scoop most of this money on claims of ‘energy democracy’ and ‘big green jobs’ and “Mother Earth” — in fact, just abusing the trust of native people AGAIN and taking both the ‘First Nations’ and the off-reserve Canadian taxpayers to the cleaners. ‘First Nations’ communities ABSOLUTELY need clean, accessible water; suitable housing — many people are living 10-13 people to a house; better help to engage in income earning work — whether retail, small business, trades or health services or corporate/STEM careers, but without supervision much of this money will be swept away to renewable wind/solar companies that are dumping their technology now that sector is in trouble (Bankruptcies – ‘Abengoa’, ‘Solyndra’, ‘SunEdison’; renewables markets down in Europe; green policies being abandoned as they are killing taxpayers, the grid and industry). So — watch out people, don’t be conned.”
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“A law without consequence for non-compliance is a toothless law. As such, soon many ‘First Nations’ people across the country will again be in the dark as to how their elected leaders spend public dollars.”
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“For all practical purposes, this is a repeal of the act, being carried out without actually bothering to give members of Parliament any chance to debate it. It is ironic that a law about transparency is being gutted in such a non-transparent way.” ERBLChiefsFreeToStealAgain600x600‘Statement by the ‘Honourable’ Carolyn Bennett on the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’:

“Today, I directed my Department to cease all discretionary compliance measures related to the ‘First Nations’ Financial Transparency Act’ and to reinstate funding withheld from ‘First Nations’ under these measures.

 

“Furthermore, in keeping with our commitment to a renewed, ‘Nation-to-nation’ relationship, the Government of Canada will suspend any court actions against ‘First Nations’ who have not complied with the Act…”

http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1024739
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“On Friday {Dec.11, 2015}, the federal government announced that it would lift sanctions against ‘First Nation’ communities that were not complying with the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act’ (‘FN’TA).

“The Act requires all ‘First Nation’ bands to make their audited financial statements and chief salaries public. Until ‘FN’TA was enacted, ‘First Nation’ governments were the only governments in Canada that did not have to make basic financial information public.

“Further, with an increase in federal transfers to ‘First Nations’ communities, this type of transparency and accountability is needed now more than ever. The federal government alone spends more than $10 billion annually on aboriginal issues, and spending per ‘First Nations’ person in Canada rose more than 880% over the past 60 years. In comparison, spending per person on all Canadians rose by 387%.

“The legislation was created after calls from ‘First Nation’ members across the country who were unable to obtain financial information from their elected leaders. For example, Phyllis Sutherland appeared before Parliament in 2012 testifying that

“requests for information have also been ignored by trustees of [their] treaty land entitlement; and members are subjected to intimidation tactics such as fearmongering, public attacks, and attempts to destroy a person’s credibility”.

“Carolyn Bennett, the new minister for ‘Indigenous’ and Northern Affairs Canada’ (‘I’NAC), appeared on CTV’s ‘Question Period’ on Sunday to highlight the reasons why her government has decided to walk away from the transparency initiative.

“However, some of her statements on the program contradict the advice of her own department.

“For example, the minister stated that “having to disclose the proprietary information of ‘First Nation’ businesses doesn’t work for people” and that it puts them at a disadvantage when competing with other businesses.

“However, ‘I’NAC states on its website that

“the legislation does not require businesses owned by the band to publish their own detailed financial statements. Nor are individual government business entities required to publish detailed financial statements.”

“In other words, band-owned businesses are not required to publish proprietary information, and the same rules that apply to businesses owned by all other levels of government in Canada are applied to ‘First Nations’ under ‘FN’TA.

“Secondly, the minister stated that one of the issues with ‘FN’TA is that it is unreasonable to tell ‘First Nations’ communities that their audited financial statements “should [be] posted on a website for those communities who don’t have internet”. Makes sense.

“However, seems the minister’s department has taken this circumstance into consideration. On its website, ‘I’NAC states that

“in situations where a ‘First Nation’ cannot post on their own website or a ‘First Nation’ organization’s website, they can meet the compliance requirements by asking AANDC to post their audited consolidated financial statements and a schedule of remuneration and expenses on their behalf.”

“To recap, two of the primary reasons the minister cites to walk away from the transparency initiative have already been addressed.”

–‘Minister cites non-reasons to walk away from the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act’,
Ravina Bains, Fraser Institute, December 21, 2015

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/blogs/minister-cites-non-reasons-to-walk-away-from-the-first-nations-transparency-act June30-sun

“Now is the time to rise as ‘First Nation’ leaders and grassroots people and defend who we are as ‘First Nations’ people…”
–Chief Delbert Wapass

“Chiefs at an Assembly of ‘First Nations’ meeting are calling for the aboriginal community to rise up against the federal government’s transparency law that requires them to disclose their salaries online.

“The…government is taking six ‘First Nations’ in Alberta and Saskatchewan to court to force them to comply with the law. It is also withholding “non-essential” funding from almost 50 others that failed to meet the deadline for disclosure.

“The new law requires bands to post audited financial statements, as well as the salaries and expenses of chiefs and councillors, on a public website.

“Delbert Wapass, chief of the Thunderchild ‘First Nation’ in Saskatchewan, represents one of the bands being taken to court. He said…the federal government is using the ‘premise of transparency’ to attack the ‘independence’ of ‘First Nations’…

“Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, head of the ‘Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’, said it’s the federal government that must be held to account. The transparency law is not about accountability, but about “controlling and containing” ‘First Nation’ communities, he said. 

“If you marched in the street during ‘Idle No More’, now is the time to stand up again”, Nepinak said. “We have to hold this government accountable.”

“There is no such thing as “non-essential” funding for ‘First Nation’ communities, he added. ‘First Nations’ are already ‘chronically underfunded’ and will be more so with the federal government’s ‘retribution’, he said.

“Every dime is needed. Hundreds of people in our communities are going to be put to the test.”

“The Athabasca Chipewyan ‘First Nation’, also being taken to court by the federal government, says it plans to continue to defy the law. The Alberta ‘First Nation’ said it hasn’t taken federal funding since 2012 because it would undermine its independence and cripple its ability to oppose “unjust” laws.

“We have run our offices and provided many services to our members with our own revenues”, said Chief Allan Adam in a statement.

 

“We are proud of the fact that we provide full disclosures on our administration and businesses to the members of our ‘First Nation’, but we refuse to accept that Canada can demand accountability from us…”

–‘Chiefs call for people to rise up over federal government’s transparency act’,
Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press, December 9, 2014

http://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/chiefs-call-for-people-to-rise-up-over-federal-government-s-transparency-act-1.2140045 EducationWEB{Some} aboriginal leaders call the new rules a breach of their ‘indigenous rights’ and say they are a sideshow designed to distract attention from chronic government underfunding.

“Not only is ‘C-27’ a breach of our historic treaty relationship {How?}, it is a denial of our ‘international right of self-determination’ as indigenous ‘nations’,” 

Western Canadian ‘First Nations’ from Treaties 4, 6 and 7 said in a news release last month.

“In no other place in Canada do such oppressive conditions exist under the coercive force of the federal government than Indian reserves.”

“The Conservative legislation required ‘First Nations’ to post audited financial statements and information about the salaries and expenses of chiefs and councillors on a public website within four months of fiscal year end, March 31, 2014…”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/08/first-nations-financial-transparency-act_n_6290540.html DayOfActionFrom 2013:
“Nearly 40% of all Manitoba ‘First Nations’ have lost control of their finances due to mismanagement, a number that’s the highest in Canada and on the rise…

“The figures from ‘Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’ come in the wake of yet another ‘First Nations’ financial scandal in Manitoba — the grand chief of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization was turfed last week over allegations he misspent thousands of dollars, including at casinos and amusement parks…

“The list of bands in default management includes some of the biggest in the province — Norway House, Garden Hill, Peguis. And it includes bands suffering internal turmoil that frequently make headlines, such as Roseau River and Lake St. Martin, the evacuated community that, even before the 2011 flood, had been largely run by an outside accountant. Lake St. Martin has been in default management for a decade.

“The list also includes all four bands around Island Lake, where hundreds of homes still lack running water and indoor toilets.

“The list even includes Pine Creek, the hometown reserve of the province’s grand chief, Derek Nepinak…

“What that means is nearly $400 million in federal funds is being managed by an army of outside accountants, rather than elected chiefs and councils, though it’s hard to get an exact total. Several bands have yet to file their one-page tally of federal funding from the 2011-12 fiscal year. That is the only public document available detailing each band’s finances, and it’s skimpy…

“Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada won’t say exactly why each band lost control of its finances. That information is secret. But, a general list of “triggers” includes complaints by band members denied services, calls from creditors, bad budgeting and financial management, a deadlocked council and bad-quality reporting to Ottawa.

“Poor governance — from nepotism, to rigged elections, to exorbitant pay for chiefs and band councillors — is the scourge of ‘First Nations’. Stories of such petty corruption are frequent, and further stall the push for self-government, reinforce latent racism and undermine legitimate calls for more equitable funding for things such as education, child welfare and housing.

“For years, chiefs — and even Canada’s auditor general — have criticized the practice of putting bands in default management, calling it paternalistic and ultimately ineffective. Outside accountants can improve the finances and administration of a band, but do little to tackle the underlying problems of poverty, rotting houses, marginal schools and poor health, which often catapulted the band into debt in the first place.

“The cash bands spend on those outside accountants — sometimes as much as $200,000 a year — is money most chiefs argue could be better spent on the basics. And, third-party or co-management does little to improve the skills of band staff and elected officials. It only bolsters the “Indian industry” of consultants, lawyers and accountants, most of whom are non-aboriginal…”

–‘Default management a Band-Aid solution on ‘First Nations’,
Mary Agnes Welch and Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press, 11/9/2013

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/band-aid-solution-231262541.html ERBLElectionPayback-ALicenceToSteal600x600“In a letter to Richard Price in 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote

“whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

“In other words, an informed electorate possesses the knowledge to hold their government accountable.

“Jefferson understood how citizens and power interact. As do Canadian ‘First Nations’ members such as Phyllis Sutherland, who supports the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act. Sutherland, from Peguis ‘First Nation’ in Manitoba, argues that the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act allows

“people at the grassroots level…to access information about their community without fear of intimidation or reprisal”.

“The act requires chiefs to publicly release the band’s audited financial statements, as well as chief and councillors’ salaries, informing ‘First Nations’ members how their band finances are managed and informing Canadian taxpayers how their tax dollars are being spent.

“Some have argued that the ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act requires the disclosure of sensitive information. However, it merely extends to ‘First Nations’ politicians what is required of all other levels of government and politicians in Canada: the disclosure of salaries and financial statements. For example, the ‘Manitoba Municipal Act’ requires the financial statements of municipalities to show

“the amount of compensation, expenses and any other payment made to each person who is a member of the council.”

“The importance of this disclosure may be lost on those who do not live on a reserve. But, as aboriginal author Calvin Helin states:

“community members . . . have no practical ability to pursue the kinds of information related to transparency and accountability that all other Canadians take for granted.”

“The ‘First Nations’ Transparency Act attempts to provide an avenue for ‘First Nations’ members to obtain this basic financial information.

“So, does such disclosure have a real-world impact in ‘First Nations’ communities? Members of the Shuswap ‘First Nation’ in British Columbia think so. They recently decided to not re-elect their chief of over 30 years after audited statements, now public, showed excessive spending, unexplained expenses and a chief’s salary in excess of $200,000 a year.

“Elsewhere, in Opaskwayak Cree ‘Nation’ in Manitoba, band members want answers and change after audited statements showed a net increase in debt to $6.2 million from $5 million within one year, all under the leadership of their chief, who is the highest paid chief in Manitoba at $130,000 a year.

“With an increase in federal transfers to ‘First Nations’ communities, this type of transparency and accountability is needed now more than ever. The federal government alone spends more than $10 billion annually on aboriginal issues, and spending per ‘First Nations’ person in Canada rose more than 880% over the past 60 years. In comparison, spending per person on all Canadians rose by 387%.

“Most ‘First Nations’ governments are not akin to Shuswap, and most have also complied with the new legislation: 538 out of 582 ‘First Nations’ have publicly released their salaries and audited financial statements. As for the remaining 44, they will now have funding for non-essential services (such as chief and councillor salaries worth over $24 million) withheld by the federal government.

“It is unclear why the chiefs of these 44 communities are choosing to withhold this information from their electorate and Canadian taxpayers. It is particularly peculiar that two of these communities, Weenusk ‘First Nation’ and Wuskwi Sipihk ‘First Nation’, previously published their audited financial statements and have now reversed course. That begs the question: why are these 44 chiefs afraid of an informed electorate?

“Perhaps because Jefferson — and Phyllis Sutherland — were right about the power of voters to set matters aright, once informed about the facts.”

–‘What are chiefs afraid of?’,
Ravina Bains, Kelowna Daily Courier, December 15, 2014
(Ravina Bains is the associate director of the ‘Centre for Aboriginal Policy Studies’ at the Fraser Institute.)

http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/article_a404b434-8350-11e4-abae-7305c7cc01fd.html Modern-DayCowboysAndIndians‘Voices from Reserves’:

“In the past, I have been threatened and attacked for speaking out and asking questions.”
–Sioux Valley Dakota ‘First Nation’, Manitoba
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“The government is far away and state you have to go through the local INAC office [for information], where they refer you back to the leadership. I have requested copies of the budgets for several years from both INAC and Chief and Council and have never received anything.”
–Whistleblower, Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta
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“’First Nations’ under band custom have difficulties in acquiring accountability from their ‘first nation’ leadership. The department of Indian Affairs washes their hands of the problem every
time.”
–Lac des Mille Lac Alliance Council, Ontario
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“People in my community routinely have trouble getting information from our band council.”
–Peguis ‘First Nation’, Manitoba
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“My Band keeps its members in ignorance, no meetings, no committees and no information on band budgets or expenditures. Keeps them in power and free spending for themselves and their supporters.”
–Waterhen Lake ‘First Nation’, Saskatchewan
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“My Chief and Council of the O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi ‘First Nation’ need to be more accountable and transparent with the funds that the band receives, and, to expend those funds accordingly for efficient and effective delivery of the programs and services that they were entrusted with.”
–O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi ‘First Nation’, Manitoba
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“I am glad to see that there is a band transparency web site being launched, it’s unfortunate that it’s necessary; however that is the sad reality of many ‘First Nations’ Bands these days.”
–Kawacatoose ‘First Nation’ Band Member, Saskatchewan
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“Our community’s politicians need to be accountable. If they have nothing to hide, then they would disclose how they are spending band funds.”
–Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Manitoba

http://www.taxpayer.com/sites/default/files/Voices%20from%20Reserves.pdf ERBLKeepTheAccountability600x600See also:
‘Keep The Accountability!’ {January 11, 2016}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/keep-the-accountability/

‘Election Payback – A Licence To Steal?’ {December 30, 2015}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/election-payback-a-licence-to-steal/

‘Chiefs Free To Steal Again’ {October 28, 2015}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/chiefs-free-to-steal-again/

‘Chiefs In The News: Aug. 2015’ {August 21, 2015}: https://endracebasedlaw.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/chiefs-in-the-news-august-21-2015/

‘Radical Chiefs Reject Accountability’ {Dec.10, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/570951909673713/?type=1

‘Crunch Time’ {Nov.27, 2014}:
https://www.facebook.com/ENDRACEBASEDLAW/photos/a.336196793149227.59519.332982123470694/566069840161920/?type=1
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