Justin Trudeau Vows To Scrap First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Justin Trudeau has promised to scrap a controversial law forcing First Nations leaders to disclose salaries and band financial statements online and replace it with something more “respectful” if he becomes prime minister in 2015.
Trudeau told The Vancouver Sun the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, passed in 2013 amid complaints from many aboriginal leaders, has been used as a “weapon” against critics of the Stephen Harper government.
“I wouldn’t keep the legislation in place,” Trudeau told the newspaper. “I would work with First Nations to make sure that a proper accountability act that would have disclosed any excesses we see, but is done in a way that is respectful of the First Nation communities.”
The law requires First Nations bands post audited financial statements — including remunerations of chiefs and councillors — on their websites within 120 days of the end of the financial year. Smaller bands without websites can post them to the sites of larger First Nations groups or a site hosted by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
The department is publishing the documents online as they are received from more than 600 First Nations bands. As of Monday afternoon, documents from less than 250 bands were posted, despite a deadline to submit the information by July 29.
After the rules came into effect two weeks ago, it was revealed Kwikwetlem First Nation Chief Ron Giesbrecht received nearly $1 million in remuneration last year for serving as leader and economic development officer of his B.C. band. (Source: Huffington Post)
— kris (@khrismmm) August 14, 2014
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, October 26, 2013
RBG hunt eyed for November
An organized deer hunt at the Royal Botanical Gardens — if it goes ahead — will not be an extension of the annual hunt held by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, says the HCA chair.
Chris Firth-Eagland stressed that while the conservation authority has shared protocol and contact information about their annual Haudenosaunee hunt, the RBG’s program would be “something completely new.”
The RBG wants to control the growing deer population on its land — the plants are threatened — and get the increasingly bold animals to “act like normal deer again,” said Carlo Balistrieri, head of horticulture.
“We are seriously looking at it,” he said. “There is potential for a small pilot this year.”
Last year’s eight-week hunt in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area killed about 37 deer, well below the limit of 80. This year, the hunt will be restricted to archery — no guns allowed.
Firth-Eagland said the HCA has connected RBG staff with Haudenosaunee hunters to discuss the potential program.
Both Dundas Valley and the RBG have an overabundance of deer, according to surveys in recent years. One count by 15 RBG volunteers and staff in February spotted 162 on the north and south shores of Cootes Paradise.
Balistrieri, who prefers the term “controlled harvest” over “hunt,” said they are looking at it as a template because the Haudenosaunee people “share a lot of the ethos in common, and we felt they would be good to talk to.
“They have experience, expertise … they have a lot of the same cares and loves for the land and the plants and animals that we do.”
While Balistrieri was unable to provide specifics on what the RBG hunt would entail, he did say, “I can certainly tell you that we would not be interested in seeing firearms used in any way on the property.”
He also said “there are relatively few areas (within the RBG) where it’s even appropriate to do something like this, were it to happen.”
While he was unable to provide specifics around potential safety concerns at the RBG lands versus the Dundas Valley, he said the RBG area is “actually probably safer.”
The HCA’s Haudenosaunee hunt is expected to begin the third week of November. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
RBG deer cull not open to non-natives (Oct. 26)
The views held by many about hunting and hunters perpetuate stereotypes that make informed decision-making impossible.
A few years ago, I decided to take up hunting because of my concern with factory farming. The barely humane conditions, the antibiotics and steroids concern me. I also wanted to educate my children about how creating a healthy lifestyle can be done without depending on such a crazy industry.
After taking the courses and meeting other hunters, I have learned that this is a community that prides itself on the humane harvest of animals for food. This is a community that takes its role in preserving the natural environment to heart. And hunters generally understand that to waste an animal that has been killed is unethical.
So, to the board at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I say please educate yourselves and you will see that one cultural group does not hold a monopoly on ethical hunting. And, to the cartoonist of the Spec, please continue to enjoy the sight of your chemically and biologically altered food as it trundles by you on the highway towards mass slaughter; but, please spare me your sanctimonious views.
Pheroze Jeejeebhoy, Hamilton
By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Native burger shack re-opens despite closure order
CALEDONIA Public health officials are contemplating further legal action after a burger shack on the community’s outskirts reopened Sunday, serving hundreds of customers.
An employee at the neighbouring One Stop Smoke Shop on Highway 6 said the eatery sold out of burgers, fries and other grub during a traditional dance event.
“We had over 400 people here,” said the worker, who would only identify himself as Jum. “The cops didn’t give us any trouble.”
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit ordered the one-room restaurant to close July 12, after finding it lacked running water and a consistent power source. It also failed to contain a proper hand-washing station for employees.
When the little shack refused to comply, public health officials took the issue to court. Last Monday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a similar order to shut the burger shack down, but by that point it had already stopped serving food.
The restaurant bucked the court order this past weekend when it reopened for Six Nations’ annual pow-wow. But since an injunction has yet to be issued, OPP officers at Sunday’s event lacked the authority to stop it.
“Our job is public safety — to preserve the peace,” said Constable Mark Foster. “We’re better sometimes to step back, observe and then follow up later as we did with other incidents in the Caledonia area.”
Both the burger shack and smoke shop were built on the old portion of the highway at Argyle Street South — an area that is the subject of an unresolved land claim filed with the federal government. (Source: The Hamilton Spectator)
JT stokes the flames of native grievances
According to Justin Trudeau, it’s Stephen Harper’s fault that a group of native leaders is threatening to set up a rival organization to the Assembly of First Nations.
“One of the things that this current Conservative government has done very well, because of its lack of movement on those issues, has been encouraging a splintering and a division within First Nations communities,” the Liberal leader said.
“There is a deliberate attempt to pick and choose whoever is willing to sign on the dotted line first rather than work with all people,” the Liberal leader said.
“It’s obviously in this government’s playbook to try and divide people as much as possible rather than work together.”
Mr. Harper is having a busy summer in terms of being blamed for things. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, while insisting he wasn’t blaming the Tories, held them responsible for the disaster at Lac Megantic in Quebec.
“The Conservatives have failed to protect the public in key areas such as maritime search and rescue, such as food inspection, and such as railway. Because when you start cutting the budgets for railway inspections, you’re not taking care of public protection,” he said in a CBC interview. To CTV, he said the accident was “another case where government is cutting in the wrong area.’”
The didn’t do it, you see, it was just their fault. (Source: The National Post)