Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Uh Huh

First Nation chiefs' salaries due to be posted under Transparency Act
Most First Nations have yet to post salaries

"The vast majority of First Nations chiefs and band councils have yet to post their financial statements online under new transparency rules passed by the federal government last year.

Under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, First Nations leaders have 120 days after the first quarter — so, by end of day Tuesday — to make public their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.

As of Monday night, on the eve of the deadline, the government confirmed that 20 First Nations out of more than 600 had their financial statements posted on the government's web site.

First Nations already have to produce their financial statements as part of their funding agreements with the federal government, but this is the first time they are being asked to post the information online.

First Nations without a website can ask larger First Nations organizations to post their financial statements for them.

Under the new rules, the minister in charge must also publish the documents on the department's website.

First Nations who refuse to comply could be subject to a court order or see funds withheld from them."

"The Assembly of First Nations does not support the new legislation.

The AFN regional chief for B.C., Jody Wilson-Raybould, has told Parliament on more than one occasion that many chiefs resent the added measure.

"Chiefs were clear in their assertion that the proposed measures are both heavy-handed and unnecessary and they suggest that First Nation governments are corrupt, our leaders are not transparent and consequently need to be regulated by Ottawa," she said a year before the act became law.

The government has said all along it was First Nations members who approached Ottawa asking for greater transparency "as a result of difficulty obtaining financial information from their elected local officials."

Although there may be a delay between the time First Nations submit their documents to the government and the time they are posted online, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has committed to publishing them "without delay."

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