Let’s hold First Nations and unions more accountable

Surely First Nations and union leaders should be held to the same standards as other Canadians

Let’s hold First Nations and unions more accountableAsk a thief why he robs banks and he will often reply because that is where the money is. Most of us are not thieves, but we live in a materialistic society where the desirability of wealth and its trappings are constantly around us. Since earning money takes time and our efforts are not rewarded…

First Nation financial details must not be hidden

If the Trudeau government has any respect for indigenous peoples, it will restore the financial transparency act

First Nation financial details must not be hiddenIs Ottawa’s promised nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples mainly about protecting the power of First Nation leaders and ignoring the interests of the grassroots? The first sign in that direction occurred in December, when the Trudeau government announced it was taking teeth out of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, a piece of legislation that provides basic local…

Liberals reward chiefs, First Nations bands at expense of members

The Trudeau government is giving a pass to bands for their lack of financial transparency

Liberals reward chiefs, First Nations bands at expense of membersThe federal government recently chose to lift sanctions and restore salaries for the 43 First Nation chiefs that were not complying with the First Nations Transparency Act and withholding basic financial information from their members and the Canadian public. The First Nations Transparency Act requires chiefs to publicly release the band’s audited financial statements as…

First Nations leadership does matter

Selecting the first indigenous minister of Indigenous Affairs is about raising expectations of all indigenous peoples

First Nations leadership does matterElecting the first African American to the presidency has not meant black Americans have magically become more prosperous or that racial tensions have disappeared. But blacks in the U.S. say it meant something to elect a black president. Canadians should think the same way about selecting the first indigenous minister of Indigenous Affairs – when…

First Nations education funding comparable to public school funding

So why do less than 40% of students on First Nations reserves graduate?

First Nations education funding comparable to public school fundingFirst Nations education is a hot topic. With graduation rates on First Nations reserves below 40 per cent (compared to graduation rates above 80 per cent for all other Canadian students), the issue deserves ample attention from Canadians and the newly elected federal government. Unfortunately, discussions about First Nations education often solely focus on funding…

Canada’s courts create uncertainty on aboriginal rights

Court decisions are undermining the certainty dividend that is supposed to attach to modern land claims agreements

Canada’s courts create uncertainty on aboriginal rightsBy Malcolm Lavoie University of Alberta and Dwight Newman University of Saskatchewan The past year has seen a lot of Canadians paying attention to aboriginal land rights. From opposition by aboriginal groups to proposed pipeline developments in their traditional territories, to a recent declaration of aboriginal title in British Columbia, to ongoing disputes over modern…

Assembly of First Nations not only path to improving Indigenous lives

The next government should start to think of working with new partners and allies

Assembly of First Nations not only path to improving Indigenous livesWho said that the road to Aboriginal reform must go through the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)? No matter which party wins, the next government is not obliged to work only with the AFN to pass legislation benefiting on-reserve First Nations people. The Conservatives sought to build consensus for legislation with AFN’s National Chief Shawn…

Time for First Nations to embrace citizenship

First Nations need not give up their status to become citizens

Time for First Nations to embrace citizenshipWhen the Canadian Parliament ratified the Nisga’a Final Agreement – a modern treaty granting substantial powers of self-government to a B.C. First Nation – a Nisga’a leader observed that the Nisga’a representatives in the public gallery stood and sang O Canada. Perhaps for those standing in the public gallery, there was no feeling that one…

Truth and Reconciliation report riddled with clichés and factual errors

Truth and Reconciliation report riddled with clichés and factual errorsNo Stampeding for this cowboy last weekend. I spent it reading the 382 pages (including 1,210 notes) of the report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), called “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.” The central chapter of the Truth and Reconciliation report, “The History,” was crucial. It looks like a scholarly discussion of…

Canadians are very generous to Canada’s Aboriginal people

A few facts about native funding in Canada

Canadians are very generous to Canada’s Aboriginal peopleThinking hard about history can be a useful exercise if incorrect assumptions are reformed. This was one goal of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s report on residential schools, which, in early June, published a 388-page summary of its forthcoming final report. Others have already debated some assumptions in the report – healthy, given that history…