Harper Government Introduces Legislation to Ensure Accountability and Transparency for First Nations

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Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Saskatchewan (November 23, 2011) – The Harper Government today announced the introduction the First Nations Financial Transparency Act in Parliament. This legislation, announced by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, is part of the Government's commitment in the 2011 Speech from the Throne to support democratic, transparent and accountable First Nation governments by requiring that chiefs and councillors publish their salaries and expenses.

"Our Government believes First Nations, like all Canadians, deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials," said Minister Duncan. "The bill builds on our Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring First Nations have strong, transparent and accountable governments. It will also lead to decreasing the reporting burden for First Nations."

This bill builds on Kelly Block's bill that was introduced in the last session of Parliament, addressing the issue of financial transparency for First Nation leaders by expanding the scope of the information to be publicly disclosed beyond the salaries and expenses of chiefs and councillors to include a First Nation's audited consolidated financial statements. This financial information would be made available to community members and to the public through publication by the individual First Nations on their website or the website of a Tribal Council or partner organization. In addition, the audited consolidated financial statements and schedule of remuneration would be published on the website of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, when received.

"This legislation helps pave the way to greater private sector investment and economic prosperity for First Nations," said MP Block. "I have heard from aboriginal community members, who have said this information is important and necessary for their communities and I am proud that our government is taking action to deliver results for First Nations."

"This bill will mean more accountability of First Nation leaders to our people," said Chief Darcy Bear, Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation. "Transparent and accountable First Nation governments support a strong environment for investment leading to greater economic development."

Further information on the legislation can be found on the website of the Parliament of Canada. 

Backgrounder – First Nations Financial Transparency Act

Frequently Asked Questions – First Nations Financial Transparency Act

For more information, please contact:

Minister's Office
Moira Wolstenholme
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
819-997-0002
Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
819-953-1160

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