Taxpayers Federation voices support for grassroots protests at Sweetgrass First Nation
OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) voiced its support today for a protest by grassroots members of the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, demanding answers from the band’s leadership regarding an on-reserve housing project that went hundreds of thousands of dollars overbudget.
“Band members deserve accountability from their leadership,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “And when money is misspent, they are entitled to an explanation.”
An external review conducted by accounting firm MNP found that the $1.78 million, ten-unit housing project ran over budget by $294,775, with variances for some houses as high as 48 per cent over budget.
Wudrick called on both the band’s leadership and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which funded the project, to investigate the matter thoroughly.
“The CMHC needs to know whether its funding was properly used, and band members need to know why they are stuck paying an extra $294,000,” said Wudrick.
The CTF strongly supports efforts by grassroots First Nations members to hold their politicians accountable.
Most recently, the CTF partnered with Onion Lake Cree Nation member Charmaine Stick and won a court order requiring her band leadership to comply with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA) by posting the band’s basic financial statements online. The Trudeau government has refused to enforce the FNFTA since December 2015.
“We stand with First Nations members everywhere who want accountability from their politicians like all other Canadians,” said Wudrick. “We will continue to work with First Nations partners across the country to ensure financial transparency laws are respected.”