Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
2 Tuesday August 25 2015 POLITICS FIRST NATIONS NEWS BRIEFS Man arrested charged in relation to Yellowknife arsons YellowknifeRCMPhavelaidchargesinconnectionwithan arsononOttoDriveinYellowknifeandanattemptedarson nearCopperSkyCondominiumsbothofwhichtookplace onAug.18.JohnnyJuniorMartin18hasbeenchargedwith twocountsofarsonandtwocountsofbreachingthecondi- tions of his undertaking. Police have also issued an arrest warrant for a second male Steven Tsetta 22 who RCMP allege was also involved in both cases. Both investigations are continuing with the cooperation of the Fire Marshall. Jackfish plant fire damages mobile generator unit A mobile generator at Northwest Territories Power Corp.s NTPC Jacksh plant sustained damage from a re the evening of Aug. 17. The re is believed to have been ignited in a mobile unit located in a trailer adjacent to the plant according to a press release from NTPC. An investigation into the re is being led by the NWT Fire Marshall. No one was injured during the incident and no power outage occurred. NTCL barge runs aground near Fort Simpson Northern Transport Co. Ltd. barge became grounded near FortSimpsononJuly27onitswaybackfromanorthernde- livery. A company spokesperson claimed the bottom of the barge was punctured and that no gasoline escaped during thewreckbutreportsfromtheCanadianCoastGuardCCG state that a small amount of gasoline was in fact leaked. BoththeCCGandTransportCanadaTChavesaidtheydid not nd out about the incident until Aug. 5. TC will be con- ductingacomplianceinspectionintotheshippingcompany. www.rmwb.cachampions CITIZEN RECOGNITION PROGRAM 2015 Do you know an outstanding resident who deserves recognition by Mayor and Regional Council Wood Buffalo residents are invited to nominate fellow individuals or groups for their contributions to improve the community. Nominations are open until September 30 2015. Forms are available online and at your local municipal contact office. Visit www.rmwb.cachampions Athabasca Chipewyan one of five First Nations in court defending non-compliance with FNFTA By MEAGAN WOHLBERG Lawyers for the govern- ment of Canada were in Fed- eral Court in Saskatoon last week in an attempt to force ve First Nations to fall in line with new legislation demanding they make their nancial information avail- able to the public. TheAthabascaChipewyan Onion Lake Ochapowace Sawridge and Thunderchild First Nations are protesting the First Nations Financial Transparency Act FNFTA known as Bill C-27 which requires that First Nations post their leaders salaries and audited nancial state- ments online. The law was put in place to ensure that First Nation band members have access to the information they re- quire and deserve about basic nancial management prac- tices of their Chief and Coun- cil and to empower them to ensure band revenues are being used for their benet according to Aboriginal Af- fairs and Northern Develop- ment Minister Bernard Val- court. It applies the same principles of transparency and accountability to First Nations governments that already exist for other gov- ernments in Canada. ButlawyersfortheFirstNa- tionsarguedlastweekthatthe lawdiscriminatesagainstFirst Nations violates treaty rights and was put in place without proper consultation. They also said publishing the con- solidatednancialstatements wouldputtheFirstNationsat an economic disadvantage by making that information public for competitors to see. This isnt taxpayers moneythisisIndianmoney saidthelawyerforOnionLake. The First Nations want to be able to provide the infor- mation to their communities privately. When asked by the judge if the nancial state- ments would be provided if they did not have to be pub- lished online the lawyers said yes. All five First Nations re- quested a stay while the con- stitutionalityofthelegislation is decided in a separate case launched through the Fed- eral Court. TheFirstNationshavebeen blockedfromaccessingines- sentialfundingfromthefed- eralgovernmentsincetheyvio- lated the deadline for posting informationundertheFNFTA. For t he A t h a b a s c a Chipewyan First Nation ACFN its nothing new. The band hasnt signed contribu- tion agreements with Canada since 2012 due to disagree- ments over the terms of the fundingwhichwouldprevent theFirstNationfromopposing certain legislation changes. While ACFN receives in- direct funding for essential services it has not accepted funding for band administra- tion including salaries from the federal government since 2011.Thatspartofthereason why the First Nation is refus- ingtomakeitsnancialinfor- mationpublic.ACFNsleader- shipalreadypostsitsnances onlinefortheirmembersand argues thats good enough. We have run our ofces and provided many services to our members with our own revenues. We are proud of the fact that we provide full disclosures on our adminis- tration and businesses to the members of our First Nation but we refuse to accept that Canadacan demandaccount- ability from us when we get no accountability from this government ACFN Chief Allan Adam wrote in a state- ment earlier this year. Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus was in Saskatoon to support the First Nations in court. He called the law un- constitutionalandaninvasion ofprivacyandquestionedwhy the bill was approved without being reviewed by the federal department of Justice. Its clear that the monies are not taxpayers money theyre not part of the public purse as First Nations have always said. Theyre what you callIndianmoniesthatcome fromaconsolidatedfundand the Treasury Board then al- locates them and they go to the department of Indian Af- fairs and are supposed to go directly to our people Eras- mus told the Journal. The First Nations have madeitreallyclearthattheyre quite opento presenting their nancial statements to the federal government and their own membership but theyre opposed to putting it online. Erasmus said there was legal precedent set in 1988 that such nancial informa- tionisprivateandcondential and not to be seen outside of a First Nations membership. He wants to see the constitu- tional challenge of FNFTA dealt with rst before forc- ing First Nations to comply. Though many other First Nations in Canada have not compliedwithFNFTAtheve incourtlastweekaretheonly to explicitly state that they do not intend to comply with the new legislation. Court cases are also pending against the Liard First Nation in Yukon Roseau River Anishinabe in Manitoba and Barriere Lake Algonquins in Quebec. Wedidaquickcalculation and theres roughly 250 First Nationsthathaventcomplied thisscalyearErasmussaid. This is really conservative butifeachofthemhaveatleast 200000owingtothemthen that amounts to 2 billion. Canada is withholding this scal year possibly 2 billion fromFirstNationsthatwould normally have them operate in a meaningful way. Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus speaks with media outside the FNFTA hearings in Saskatchewan last week which he attended to support the First Nation defendants. He said the legislation is unconstitutional and violates condentiality. PhotoKellyMaloneCKOM