Standing Buffalo First Nation
Chief Redman Needs to Pack It In
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Get out the hook because it’s time to pull another chief from office.
We’re talking about the Standing Buffalo First Nation, a community of less than 500 people located not far from Regina. Incredibly, the chief from the small community made more than Prime Minister Harper in 2011-12.
Yes, you read that right. Chief Redman received $174,862 from the band in 2011-12, and another $19,875 from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc. The latter two are also publicly funded organizations whose boards Redman sits on automatically as a representative for his community.
In other words, we’re talking a whopping $194,737 tax-free. If you use Ernst and Young’s personal income tax calculator you’ll see that’s the equivalent of about $317,583 for someone living off reserve and paying taxes.
By comparison, Prime Minister Harper made $315,462 in 2011-12. Of course he serves around 34 million more people than Chief Redman does though.
Sadly, there are stories coming out of Chief Redman’s community about a ‘lack’ of money for education, addiction treatment programs and resources to help combat the community’s youth suicide problem.
Unfortanately, Redman wasn’t the only one dinging taxpayers and band members; the whole council was in on it. Each of Redman’s full-time council colleagues made more than Premier Brad Wall in 2011-12. Their tax-free pay ranged from $120,161 to $148,503. For someone living off reserve and paying income taxes, that range is equivalent to approximately $185,000 to 235,000.
But it gets worse. Consider this gem in the band’s audit report conducted by MNP:
”Currently, members of Chief and Council and staff are indebted to the First Nation for over $260,000 ($190,000 in 2011). These amounts receivable from Chief and Council and staff are contributing to the bank indebtedness on which the First Nation is paying interest each month.”
According to one band member, some council members have allegedly been helping themselves to some pretty sizeable cash advances and not repaying the funds.
The audit also includes this tidbit:
“During our audit testing it was found that expenditures made to individuals for distribution to others did not have the supporting documentation required to ensure the funds were distributed properly. The individuals receiving the cash is [sic] at risk to allegations of improper usage of the funds.”
Fortunately there’s a bit of good news in all of this chicanery.
This issue only came to light because a lady named Stella Isnana was elected to council not too long ago. Shocked by the egregious manner in which public funds were being thrown about, Stella appealed to the community’s senate; a body made up of local elders.
Elder Marita Crant, chair of the senate tried to meet with the chief and council to hear their side of the situation. However, as the chief and council refused to meet, Crant impeached the whole lot; with the exception of Stella.
Now all the community needs to do is figure out a way of getting the band’s chequebook and keys to the band office out of the chief’s hands—he isn’t going away without a fight. He even tried suggesting to one media outlet this is just “politics.”
Yes, it’s politics alright Mr. Redman. But the thing is, you’re apparently terrible at it.
You’ve ripped off taxpayers and even your own band members.
It’s time to hand in the keys and chequebook chief. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Colin Craig is the Prairie Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation