MP’s Report from Cathy McLeod

Conservative proposal for transparency and accountability on First Nations Reserves receives support in the House

The passage at Second Reading of Bill C-575 will allow members of First Nations across the country to have enhanced accountability and transparency from their elected officials.

First Nation citizens deserve to know what their leadership receives in salaries and benefits.

This bill, if passed successfully, will be posted on the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada website, with all expenses and salaries of chiefs and councilors.

Bill C-575, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, seeks to make public, on an annual basis, the disclosure of the remuneration and reimbursement of expenses paid to First Nations councillors and chiefs using funds that are provided by the federal government in the form of grants, contributions and allowances.

The bill will now pass to the committee stage for further study.

I am extremely disappointed that the majority of the Opposition, including all members of the NDP, voted against transparency and accountability on First Nations reserves.

First Nations citizens should have the same right as other Canadians to expect local government accountability.

There are many First Nations chiefs and councilors who support this initiative.

Back on December 21, 2010, Tk’emlup Indian Band Chief Shane Gottfriedson said he supported a resolution by the Assembly of First Nations to make public audits, salaries and expenses of its chiefs and band councils.

I wish all First Nations Chiefs were as accountable as Chief Gottfriedson; in his own words, ‘I’m a leader in one of the most progressive communities in Canada and I don’t have a problem with openness and transparency’.