First Nation Audits
In 2013, the Conservative federal government enacted the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The Act required First Nations to make public their audited consolidated financial statements, as well as the pay and expenses of the Chiefs and Councils. Failure to do so could result in court actions against the Chief and Council, under the Act, or the withholding of Federal payments that were already scheduled. The rationale offered for the legislation was that it would protect First Nations from nepotism and corruption in their elected Councils by forcing them to reveal how they were spending public monies. While that may have been true for some First Nations, many considered the Act an attack on the sovereignty of Indigenous people.
Arguably, the Act was instead primarily motivated by the wildly inaccurate perception in some circles that Indigenous people are being unfairly supported by the government, and wasting the alleged generosity of Canadians. That is factually inaccurate, however, as payments received from the government for the support of First Nations and their members were largely negotiated by treaty. Federal funding of First Nations is a treaty obligation that the Crown must honour, not a gift or an expression of pity.
In 2015, the newly elected Liberal government moved quickly to sideline the Act, and announced that "discretionary compliance measures related to the Act" were stopped. This meant that the Federal government would no longer enforce the legislation, would halt any court actions in progress against First Nations under the Act, and would reinstate any funding that had been stopped because a First Nation had not complied with the Act.
The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation publishes our financial statements and reports, because we believe strongly in transparency in governance. We also believe that it is our own members' right and responsibility to hold our governance to account, and not the role of the Federal government.
The audited consolidated financial statements and a Schedule of Remuneration and Expenses of Chief and Council may be found on the Indigenous Services Canada website.