Saturday, December 20, 2014

URGENT CALL FOR SUPPORT: Punishment for Failure to Submit to First Nations Financial Transparency Act?

Indian Affairs Push Algonquin Families of Barriere Lake to the Brink of Starvation, Food and Cash Needed 

For the last three months, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has refused to issue social assistance cheques to 15 Algonquin families at Barriere Lake. This has affected between 50-60 people, including 25 children. Aboriginal Affairs is aware of the situation, but has failed to intervene.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake are questioning whether the band’s non-compliance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act is behind this brutal denial of social assistance funds.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake have not submitted the consolidated financial statements required by the Transparency Act in protest of the band’s lack of control over band spending. As punishment for non-compliance, the Chief and a member of Council have not been paid for their work since November 27, 2014.

Barriere Lake has been under “Third Party Management” since 2006, which authorizes external accountants hired by Aboriginal Affairs to take over discretion of band finances and spending.

As winter sets in and the Christmas season is upon us, it is extremely difficult for these families and for the band’s governing body to survive without any other source of income. We are calling communities near and far to provide immediate support for Barriere Lake in this time of need.

What is needed?

Needed: Flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, rice, tomato soup, canned whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, cereals, eggs, porridge, macaroni, pasta, pasta sauce, white bread, chicken and beef broth, white beans, canned beans, margarine, potatoes (at least 200 pounds), pancake mix, syrup, dried peas, mac and cheese. Any other canned goods and dry goods that are common consumables and non-perishable.

If you are in Ottawa, please bring contributions to First United Church at 347 Richmond Road between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM, December 21 - 27. Before delivering any contributions, please call the church at 613-­232­-1016 or if there is no answer call 613­729-­2647 to let them know you are coming. Please take the goods to the back of the Church off Madison Ave (one block north of Richmond).

If you are not in Ottawa, it is best to donate funds for the families to purchase needed items. Please donate generously through PayPal:

You can also send the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, a strong message through his website:

Insist that (1) all social assistance payments – including back payments – are made immediately, and that the Department will work with the Chief and Council to ensure that no further payments are withheld; and (2) that the Federal Government meet Barriere Lake’s following demands, regarding the Transparency Act:

  • Chief and Council must be free to appoint a fully qualified auditor of their own choosing;
  • Chief and Council must have a decisive say over what is included in the audit;
  • A fair and transparent dispute resolution process must be initiated to deal with the transactions that the Third Party Manager and Aboriginal Affairs have undertaken to date without the band’s involvement or approval.