Underfunding Aboriginal Causes

John H. Redekop. Recently some Canadian aboriginals demonstrated in New York demanding more funding by the Harper government. In the October 1 issue of The Times, (“Harper’s NY visit smacks of irony”), Ernie Crey complained about “under-funding on-reserve aboriginal child protection agencies”.

My reading of the public mood is that despite the acknowledged historical mistreatment of many aboriginals, it will be difficult to generate support for greatly increased government funding. Unfortunately, the misuse of government funds on some reserves has negatively impacted the views of many Canadians. My available data, quoted from government records, reveals the following financial realities. Importantly, all funds were received tax free!

* Chief Shirley Clarke of the Glooscap Nation “and her three councillors were each paid more than $200,000 last year [2010] for running a band of only 300 people, fewer than 90 of whom live on the reserve.” “One of those three councillors was paid an additional $728,000 [yes $728,000] for doing other reserve jobs,…”

* Attawapiskat’s band chief, the well-known Theresa Spence, was paid “about $83,000 for overseeing the hamlet of just 1,700 people”. Incredibly, this tiny settlement is governed by 14 paid chiefs and council members; two paid administrators; five paid unelected officials; 12 paid “education authority” officials; and a “daycare manager” paid $45,276. (Vancouver Sun, January 15, 2013)

* In 2010 “160 first nations politicians earned more than their provincial premiers, and…50 chiefs earned as much money in a year as the prime minister’s annual salary of $315,000.” In 2009 “at least 200 [‘native chiefs’] were paid more than their provincial premiers”. In BC 18 earned more than the premier and in Alberta 47!

* “On one reserve of only 304 members in Atlantic Canada, the chief earned a total tax-free income of $243,000” in 2009.

Given the above, it’s no wonder that a 2013 Ipsos Reid poll revealed that “More than four out of five Canadians don’t want more money sent to aboriginal reserves” unless the handling of funds by aboriginal leaders improves.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • meghanncoughlan says:

    If the “public” doesn’t want to fork over more money they could always, I don’t know… get off their land?

  • Frankly says:

    “Unfortunately, the misuse of government funds on some reserves has negatively impacted the views of many Canadians.”

    Are you kidding me? Our Provincial as well as Federal government CONSTANTLY misuse our funds, I’m not even going to begin talking about local municipal leadership …

    I am of the opinion that the only experts on Native issues are the Natives themselves. Leave them be and fund them enough so they can restore their culture. We were sure quick enough to take it all away from them.

    • mittmartin says:

      Right? Because fuck child-protection agencies if some guy in Nova Scotia is making $728,000 a year.

      If only everybody could manage taxpayer funds with the diligence and responsibility of Abbotsford’s community leaders. I think what these people clearly need is a good ol’ fashioned dose of paternalistic white asshole.

      Also, seriously, a church guy complaining about tax-free status? Holy moses.

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