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Band Members call for audit on Roseau River First Nation

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Following the money
Skeptical band members call for audit of $1-M payment
By: Mary Agnes Welch

9/01/2010 1:00 AM | Comments: 45

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Archives- Roseau River Chief Terry Nelson says a $1-million payment from a pipeline company was spent lobbying for oil and gas rights and court expenses.
A special $1-million payment to Treaty One First Nations from a pipeline company has all but disappeared in just over three months, with much of the money going to chiefs and band councillors.

Roseau River Chief Terry Nelson said the cash was spent lobbying for oil and gas rights and fighting the pipeline in court, but some band members are skeptical and want an audit done on the fund and the expenditures.

"As far as I know, that money was supposed to benefit the communities," said Phyllis Sutherland, a Peguis band member who has written repeatedly to Ottawa asking for a forensic audit of her band's finances. "It seems to me it's not benefiting average band members. It's just benefiting the people in control."

According to bank statements covering a three-month period, $1 million was deposited in a Treaty One account on Oct. 22, 2008 by Enbridge, the Calgary-based pipeline company building an oil pipeline through southern Manitoba to the United States. By the end of January 2009, about $180,000 remained.

The seven Treaty One bands, including Peguis, Roseau River, Brokenhead and Long Plain, challenged the Enbridge pipeline and other similar projects in court last year, but lost. As part of the consultations and the legal wrangling, Enbridge agreed to help fund First Nations affected by the pipeline so they could be properly represented. That's what the $1 million was for, said Nelson.

"Before we got the money from Enbridge, we pumped a lot of our own money into Treaty One," said Nelson. "We had to deal with Enbridge -- it's an $800-million company that was going through our land without any benefit to our communities."

Bank statements, along with more than 160 cancelled cheques, show that a large chunk of the $1 million -- almost $300,000 -- was indeed spent on lawyers hired to fight the pipeline project in federal court.

Another $118,000 was spent on honorariums and travel expenses for chiefs, councillors and a handful of band members, some of whom travelled to Washington, D.C., a year ago to lobby the new Obama administration for more control over oil and mineral rights.

According the bank records, the trip cost nearly $60,000.

Lucrative honorariums and travel per diems paid to chiefs and councillors were central to the furor that erupted last month over the hefty salaries paid to Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson and his four councillors.
Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation showed Hudson made $174,230 in the fiscal year ending in March, including $48,200 in unspecified "other remuneration," much of which came from honorariums.

But Hudson made far less than his four councillors, one of whom made $251,000 and charged an additional $59,000 in travel expenses in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

Hudson and band Coun. Darlene Bird were paid a combined $7,500 from the Enbridge fund for travel and honorariums. It's not clear if that money was included in the salary disclosure figures obtained by the CTF.

Nelson was paid about $13,000 in the three- month period from the Enbridge money.

Officials with Enbridge said, for confidentiality reasons, they couldn't discuss exactly what the $1 million was for, but said the company did provide bands with help to level the playing field, as well as separate funds for training and economic development projects.

Critics, including Sutherland and other Peguis members, say the way chiefs, councillors and favoured band members are paid is mired in secrecy and waste.

But Nelson said the leaked bank statements appear to be part of an orchestrated attempt to discredit the chiefs. And he said his salary of $47,000 is paid from Roseau River's development ventures like the gas bar in Rosser.

"I want to be clear I don't get $200,000 in government money," he said.

maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca




Where the $1 million went:

(Oct. 22, 2008 to Jan. 30, 2009)

Honorariums, travel expenses: $118,000

-includes $13,000 to Roseau River Chief Terry Nelson

-includes $59,000 spent on a trip to Washington, D.C., in January 2009

Legal fees: $298,000

Professional fees: $112,000

Security, public relations, video services, and services provided by company named Four Arrows

Disbursements and repayments to bands: $216,000

-includes $50,000 to Highway Six, the gas bar and smoke shop owned by Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation

-includes $4,600 paid to South Beach Casino, operated by Brokenhead

-Salaries: $63,000

approximately three staff members

Other: $12,000



Balance as of Jan 30, 2009: $181,000

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2010 A3


source:http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/following-the-money-81060192.html

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Looks like the Chiefs should have spent a couple of hundred dollars and took a money management course on the reserve. Then again, why should managing money get in the way of good ol' fashioned human greed?

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Fcuk do I ever want to be an indian chief or councillor!!! That's where the money is now days.

rosencrentz

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Anyone charged yet with delivering private information, the band's financial records?


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rosencrentz wrote:Anyone charged yet with delivering private information, the band's financial records?

Charged? They should be given a medal!

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Only because everyone hates the aboriginals! lol


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Wrong. ...just what some of them do.

LivingDead

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Why should whistle blowing protection only extend to non-aboriginals.

I'm glad that some of the bands members are asking WTF is going on. Why do we read about all this BS about poor water cant afford to pay hydro/water bills, while the chief and council jet around the world and live in luxury.

It is about time some of them stand up and look inward to fix some of their woe's. That will be the only way things get better, they must change from within first.


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Damn straight.

EdWin

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I'm hoping some positive change comes of this.

grumpy old man

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$144,000 — The taxed-equivalent salary made by Delbert McKay, chief of the 535-member Crane River First Nation near Dauphin, for 2008/09. That doesn’t include roughly $2,000 per month in travel expenses. To put it into perspective, the chief makes more per year than the mayor of Winnipeg to lead a population about 1,300 times smaller. Nice work if you can get it.

Winnipeg Sun

Think how often the chiefs have blamed the white man for their peoples ills. Let's list the salaries of all chiefs and councilors on Manitoba reserves. Then list the deficits each of those reserves are running. Then look at the wait lists for housing on those reserves. And the condition of schools and nursing stations and water treatment plants...

Yet we keep pouring money at these people with seemingly zero administration.

Time to play hardball.


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It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

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And lets hear your solution, while I do agree change is needed .

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No no Pavola. You go first...


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Yes, I really am that Grumpy...

It's their, they're and there; in Canada it's colour, cheque, rumour and zed...

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I'll go.

Put all aboriginals in Quebec and make them seperate. Kill two birds with one stone.

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grumpy old man wrote:No no Pavola. You go first...

Funny when asked to elaborate you always dodge the question and throw it back with some wise ass crack . Stand up for what ever you believe in and lets debate it , for I love to hear other opinions and to hear what people suggest . I have lots of Ideas some good some crap , but I do not think the problem is all their fault as many do here and elsewhere . Yes their system of governance has to change and yes their lack of accountability has to be looked at . But so doe,s our policy of out of sight out of mind towards them .

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I have posted time and time and time and time and time again what I think might help the problem.

Just this once I want to hear your view. You've been running around here this morning sprouting Pavoloisms ad naseum but adding very little in the way of real discussion.

Don't be throwing "wise ass" accusations at others when you're the one stifling debate.


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More wise crack bull sh1t fine
Do away over the next 15 years with tthe present system of funding the researves and the hierarchy they have developed .

See some things I do agree with some of the ideas floated on here , just not the bs put out about the personalities on here by some . It is your turn lets hear it and please show some class and quit the shots at people . Or are they not allowed to disagree with YOU

grumpy old man

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Pavolo wrote:More wise crack bull sh1t fine
You're too hard on yourself pav.

Pavolo wrote:Do away over the next 15 years with tthe present system of funding the researves and the hierarchy they have developed .
This is EXACTLY what I said several posts ago. Ummm, before being challenged to post my ideas.

Wow, great minds DO think alike...

Pavolo wrote:See some things I do agree with some of the ideas floated on here , just not the bs put out about the personalities on here by some . It is your turn lets hear it and please show some class and quit the shots at people . Or are they not allowed to disagree with YOU
What bs? Which personalities?


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Just this once I want to hear your view. You've been running around here this morning sprouting Pavoloisms ad naseum but adding very little in the way of real discussion.

Don't be throwing "wise ass" accusations at others when you're the one stifling debate


Sound familer and it takes leadership to stop it .

EdWin

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JTF wrote:I'll go.

Put all aboriginals in Quebec and make them seperate. Kill two birds with one stone.


Miz point

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great attitude....


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EdWin

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I'm pretty sure he meant it as a joke, MizP, so perhaps lighten up.

Miz point

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Did you notice the $400,000 in legal and accounting fees paid to Jewish lawyers and accountants??


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Miz point

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It's a conspiracy!!!!


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