Former FSIN Chief supports more transparency

By Nigel Maxwell
October 5, 2010 - 10:20am Updated: October 6, 2010 - 4:37pm

A private member's bill has caught the attention of some aboriginal leaders in Northern Saskatchewan.
The First Nations Financial Transparency Act would essentially force First Nations to disclose financial statements to those living on-reserve.
"I think it is just one step for First Nations government and basically for membership that live on reserves to see another form of transparency," said Rob Clark, the MP for the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.
Lawrence Joseph will run as the NDP candidate for the northern riding in the next election.
He supports the idea of the bill, but said, along with accountability and transparency there must also be fairness.
"When the government transferred money for administration ... with that did not come capacity building, to make sure bands are best equipped to administer public funds .... with that did not come the training component .... and with that did not come the support staff they need."
Joseph said the bill is very important in that riding because "a lot of those band members that are being called to task....I think 23... are in that riding."
Clarke said he has heard from some concerned band members "but each time the matter is looked into to, it turns out the leaders are being transparent and offering general reports."
As for whether he supports the bill, Clarke said he will consider the bill but is open to any proposed changes that may come from the aboriginal affairs committee that he will be sitting on.
The committee will have a chance to discuss and make changes to the bill after second reading.
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