CTF Slams Trudeau Government's Abandonment of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act
OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today condemned the Trudeau government’s decision to cease enforcement of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA).
“This government was elected on a promise to improve transparency and accountability, and this decision does exactly the opposite,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “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.”
Wudrick noted that as of today most bands were complying with the law and that only eight out of 581 First Nations had failed to file FNFTA documentation for 2013-14 – a compliance rate of 98.6 per cent. For 2014-15, 38 out of 581 First Nations have not yet complied, for a compliance rate of 93.5 per cent.
“The FNFTA is a critical tool for band members to hold their First Nations politicians to account, in exactly the same way similar laws do for federal, provincial and municipal politicians across Canada,” said Wudrick. “Suspending enforcement of this law is wrong, and completely undermines the very principles this government claims to be advancing.”
Wudrick noted that the importance of the FNFTA is illustrated by cases such as that of Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation, who pocketed $800,000 of band money as part of a band land deal. Kwikwetlem band councillor Marvin Joe even stated “I want the public to know that the membership knew nothing about this. And it if wasn’t for this new transparency act, I don’t think we ever would have known.”
“Without the FNFTA being enforced Mr. Joe along with thousands of other band members will soon be in the dark again,” concluded Wudrick.