“My spouse and I have been harassed, my house vandalized and members of our local accountability organization have been intimidated for speaking out,”
CTF, Grassroots & Minister Speak Out on C-27 Politicians
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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), Aboriginal and Northern Development Minister John Duncan and several grassroots band members spoke out today about the need to support bill C-27; legislation that will put chief and council salary information online for all to see.
Once passed, C-27 will ensure band members can access the information anonymously. This will especially help people in small communities where it’s either awkward to ask how much the chief makes or could result in shunning or intimidation just for wanting to see the information.
“We’ve been pushing hard for this legislation for three years so we’re quite pleased the government has responded to our concerns,” said CTF Prairie Director Colin Craig. “The bottom line is every politician in the country – federal, provincial, municipal and Aboriginal politicians, should have to disclose their pay to the public.”
Craig along with band members from the Squamish First Nation (B.C.), the Peguis First Nation (MB), the Tataskweyak Cree Nation (MB) and the Odanak First Nation (QC) met with the Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Development to discuss concerns from a grassroots perspective.
“Bill C-27 is important to grassroots people as it will allow band members access chief and council salaries without fear of threats or reprisals. If First Nations want to govern themself they should be accountable and transparent as all other levels of government who make their salaries accessible for the public,” said Phyllis Sutherland - Peguis Accountability Coalition.“I want accountability for all first nations in Canada. Our politicians need to be held accountable too,” said Solange Garson, a recently elected councilor at Tataskweyak Cree Nation. “Bill C-27 is something a lot of grassroots support. We want transparency like everyone else.”
“My spouse and I have been harassed, my house vandalized and members of our local accountability organization have been intimidated for speaking out,” said Michael Benedict, member of the Coalition of Abenaki Citizens for a Just, Transparent and Accountable Abenaki Government. “Local elected officials were afraid we would empower Abenaki citizens to take a stand against abuse of power, misappropriation of public money and unavailability of information. C-27 will help improve transparency.”
“When grassroots people request financial information from band council they are often threatened with support cuts from the band and are shunned in the community,” said Bev Brown of the Squamish First Nation. “C-27 will help band members because it will allow them to view the material online and anonymously.”
To date the federation has exposed numerous cases of wild politician salaries on reserves and set-up a web site to help band members learn about their right to access information – www.ReserveTransparency.ca. CTF efforts to expose wild salary situations have even helped bands elect accountability-driven politicians such as Janette Peterson, Chief of the Annapolis Valley First Nation in Nova Scotia.
Colin Craig, CTF Prairie Director