Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (ANNO)

The committee met twice this week to continue its study of Bill C-27, The First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

On Monday, October 22nd, the Committee heard from representatives from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Patterson Creek Counselling, and the Peguis Accountability Coalition. The discussion focused on how to support and develop good governance in First Nations communities.  The core issues discussed were how to appropriately report travel expenses, remunerations, and business entities owned by First Nations communities.  The witnesses and committee members also discussed the importance of aligning the reporting standards for private enterprises owned by First Nations with the reporting standards of other private businesses within Canada.

On Wednesday October 24, the committee met with the First Nations Financial Management Board (FNMB) and members of Membertou First Nation, the Norway Cree First Nation, and the Sawridge First Nation. The members of the First Nations communities and the FNFMB stressed the need for accountability and transparency to originate with and be developed by First Nations communities, and opposed on principle the unilateral imposition of policies on First Nations by the government.  The FNFMB argues for a means of reporting that gives a complete picture of the financial nature of the First Nations communities rather than solely relying on an audit report. The witnesses demonstrated a positive movement towards greater financial accountability and transparency developing from within First Nations communities.