Thursday, March 23, 2017

Press Release: Algonquins of Barriere Lake Call to End Third Party Management: Paying Government-Imposed Accountants 40 Time Initial Deficit

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Call to End Third Party Management: Paying Government-Imposed Accountants 40 Time Initial Deficit

(Ottawa, Algonquin Territory/March 23, 2017) Today, representatives of the Algonquins of Barriere denounced the federal government for imposing financial management on their band by accountants who earned millions of dollars over the last 10 years paid out of meager band funds.

NDP, M.P. Charlie Angus obtained documents that show that Barriere Lake pays much more than other bands under a federal policy of imposed “third party management” of the bands financial management for essential programs and services.

In 2006, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed third party management (TPM) to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake due to a $83,000 deficit, which has since been paid many times over in government-imposed accountant fees.

While the Third Party Manager Lemieux-Nolet is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from band funds, a community member is living in the basement of a burned out home with his family because not a single new house has been built in the community in 11 years.

Because 10% of the bands funds are diverted into Third Party Management fees money runs dry for basic programs for the community annually. Youth attending colleges in Sudbury and Ottawa are texting band Councillor Norman Matchewan about going hungry day after day and being unable to pay their fees. Medical transportation services are being offered only once a day to and from the isolated community, forcing sick Elders to go to the hospital at 6 AM and return at 9 PM, despite having only a check-up mid-day.

On top of being forced into Third Party Management over 10 years ago with no exit plan, six years ago the federal Minister of Indian Affairs violated the internal autonomy and leadership customs of the band by imposing a “Section 74” order on the community.

Since then, Barriere Lake has been fighting to restore recognition for their customary government – an egalitarian, direct democracy of the people that existed for hundreds of years – that was arbitrarily and coercively replaced with a band council elective system. “Section 74” is a section of the Indian Act that has been rarely used since it was coercively exercised in 1924 over the Six Nations of the Grand River.

“We just want control back over our lives, the Third Party Manager continues to mismanage the programs meant for the benefit of our People by making financial transactions without our involvement or consent, or knowing anything about how our community is organized through our customs,” Chief Casey Ratt said.

Tony Wawatie, Barriere Lake’s Interim Director-General added “The Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs is doing a study on Third Party Management, which will likely be sent to the INAC-AFN Fiscal Relations consultation process and that will take another year. After 10 years our community services are in a mess and People want Third Party Management ended now as the new fiscal year is starting in a week.”


For More Information Contact:

Chief Casey Ratt                                                     Cell: (819) 441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General             Cell: (819) 355-3662
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson             Telephone: (819) 215-0591