The committee met twice this week to discuss Bill C-27, an Act to enhance the financial accountability and transparency of First Nations.
On Monday, October 15, the committee heard testimony from the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and senior departmental officials. The opposition discussed the importance of consultation with the First Nations communities concerning Bill C-27. The Minister claimed that the bill is largely a response to calls for change originating with First Nations communities. He said that Bill C-27 seeks to close the gap between all levels and forms of government in terms of financial accountability. According to the Minister, First Nations members should have access to financial information, and this is a right that should belong to all Canadian citizens.
On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Assembly of First Nations, and Darcy M, Bear Chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation community, spoke to the Committee. Chief Bear emphasized that a mechanism such as Bill C-27 is critical to the First Nations communities. However, he did take issue with several issues of wording within the original draft. It was noted that a distinction between “remuneration” and “expenses” needs to be made in the amended draft if the Bill. Jody Wilson-Raybould emphasized that nation- building and legislation needs to come from First Nations communities an imposition on First Nations communities by the government of Canada.