First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA)
December 29, 2015
I am disappointed to learn that the Government will be reinstating transfer payments to band councils that did not publicly disclose the salaries of Chiefs and Band Councillors as was required by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act (FNFTA). The FNFTA is seen as an important measure for indigenous peoples living on reserves to hold their band leadership to account.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennet, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced on December 18th that the Government will be reinstating all funds that were frozen for non-compliance with the FNFTA as well as halting compliance measures that would require bands to post financial information online. Presently, 38 of 581 First Nations bands had yet to file the required financial information. The FNFTA is an important piece of legislation that our Government brought in to ensure that there was accountability and transparency surrounding funding to be used on reserves.
What the Liberals are doing is a step backwards for transparency for all Canadians. Our Conservative government supported this legislation because it is based on the premise that all Canadians deserve accountability and transparency from their leadership. First Nations governments operating under the Indian Act had been the only level of government in Canada that was not obligated to make basic financial information public.
This move by the Liberal government would only leave First Nations people in the dark about how their elected leaders spend public money. Aboriginal people deserve to know where the money in their communities go. After all, this is public funding.