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Entitlement and excess, not empowerment

November 23, 2010
Entitlement and excess, not empowerment

News Release by Senator Patrick Brazeau

Some First Nations politician’s salaries tops PM & Premiers

{OTTAWA, ON November 22, 2010}  New data released by the Canadians Taxpayers Federation on the remuneration of First Nations politicians continues to paint a most troubling picture of the perfect double standard in reserve communities across Canada, according to First Nations citizen Senator Patrick Brazeau.

While many First Nations communities suffer from abject poverty

The figures released today by the CTF provide a litany of entitlement and excess, showing that over two-hundred and twenty reserve politicians were paid more than their respective Provincial premiers in 2008-2009.  Over seven-hundred First Nations leaders received an income equivalent to over $100,000 off-reserve.  One First Nations politician in Atlantic Canada was paid $978,468 tax-free in 2008-2009, equating to about $1.8 million off-reserve.

The lack of accountability provisions in the Indian Act, the federal legislation which governs the reserve system, permits this unmitigated largesse to go virtually unnoticed.   Thankfully, this is changing with the introduction of Conservative MP’s Kelly Block’s Private Member’s Bill C-575.  Under its proposed provisions, First Nations politicians would be required to disclose their salaries, expenses and other remuneration. 

Senator Brazeau said the figures present a picture of alternative realties in which grassroots citizens must deal with poverty and lack of opportunity while some of their politicians are steeped in privilege with no legislative requirement for any means of disclosure to their citizens. 

“It’s imperative that accountability and transparency to community members be legislated.  We have, through the efforts of grassroots band members who have contacted the CTF, a growing body of evidence that demonstrates little if any appetite for proactive disclosure by these politicians. It’s the right thing, the moral thing to do for grassroots First Nations people,” said Senator Brazeau.

Senator Brazeau believes that in addition to passage of Bill C-575, An Act respecting the accountability and enhanced financial transparency of elected officials of First Nations communities, more can and should be done to improve accountability and transparency in Canada’s Aboriginal affairs. 

“Let’s be clear:  real poverty exists in First Nations communities.  There are also many First Nations communities where politicians are working hard and in the very best interests of their citizens.  But in light of this poverty, and in respect for those who are seeking to move their communities forward in good faith, we can no longer turn a blind to these clear and absolute abuses of power.  We need to put people ahead of privilege, added the Senator. 

 

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For more information, please contact:

Office of Senator Patrick Brazeau

(613) 947-4231

brazep@sen.parl.gc.ca

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