Accountability needed in First Nations issues

Federal government needs to have better auditing mechanisms in place for aboriginal groups

Re: Idle no more stokes the fire (News online, Jan. 29)

Chief Theresa Spence, in calling Canada to account, has shed light on a history of rampant mismanagement of federal funds in many of Canada’s reserves, including her own.

But Canadian taxpayers have become increasingly resolute in their demands for Ottawa to be held accountable for exercising more effective value-for-money control over the disbursement of native affairs funds.

In a current Ipsos Reid poll, 81 per cent of Canadians want more financial accountability, telling Ottawa that no extra money should go to the reserves until the federal government has met its responsibility of putting in place a working auditing mechanism.

Accountability cuts both ways, and there has been scant evidence that successive Canadian governments of “both” political stripes have exercised the required financial due diligence, doling out our tax dollars under the aegis of Canada’s outmoded Indian Act.

Indeed, except for contributing to a deepening aboriginal culture of economic dependence, decades of literally throwing money at the “Native issue,” without appropriate verification, appears to have in fact increased poverty and despair on Canada’s roughly 630 reserves.

Edward Bopp