Monday, April 10, 2017

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Request National Chief Bellegarde to Press for Urgent End to Federal Third Party Management in Their Community

Press Release

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/April 10, 2017) The Chief of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake announced today that a letter was sent to AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde requesting that the National Chief support their call for an immediate end to Third Party Management (TPM) and an immediate return control of the community’s financial and program administration back to the Chief and Council. The Barriere Lake Chief also wants to the National Chief to communicate his support for the Barriere Lake position to the INAC Minister and the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs.

Chief Casey Ratt said “The federal government’s TPM has controlled all aspects of our community's program and services since 2006. There is no accountability to our people. Canada has made our system of governance almost irrelevant since many decisions are made by the TPM without any consultation with us taken together. These events have increased our hardship and poverty. We had to ask ourselves why the Government of Canada would take control away from our people, impose a TPM which actually made our lives worse. There is no exit strategy. Canada and TPM did nothing to work with us to build a bridge out of this situation. They seemed happy to let us go on forever.”

Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General added “We always hear that First Nations must be accountable and transparent. Then how come Canada and TPM get away without being accountable and transparent to our people? Our TPM gets paid $550,000 a year to administer our poverty. Nothing in the TPM contract measures our quality of life or if the delivery of services actually improves under TPM. There is nothing to link TPM to positive outcomes for our community. It has nothing to do with improving our living conditions or the lives of our people. It has everything to do with the federal government keeping us in a state of dependency and arrested development. We have no role in developing TPM terms of reference. Each year the contract only requires the TPM to administer the current year's program and services. So, past debts are left unattended our deficit has grown not diminished under TPM.”

Chief Casey Ratt wrote today to the AFN National Chief, to specifically request: 
As there is no good reason to keep us in Third Party Management and we have the capacity to resume control of our financial and program administration we are calling on you to communicate your support for our position on the immediate end of Third Party Management in our community and the return of administrative control to our Chief and Council to INAC Minister Bennett and the Members of the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs during your appearance on April 11, 2017.

We are also calling on you to press Minister Bennett into an urgent face-to-face meeting with a delegation from our First Nation. We are prepared to come to Ottawa if necessary.

We also ask that you suggest to the Standing Committee that they recommend to the Auditor-General to conduct a study of the federal Default Prevention & Management Policy and use our First Nation’s situation as a case study. 
 In December 2015, the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly directed the AFN National Chief and AFN Executive Committee to:
support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in calling on the Government of Canada to participate in a reconciliation process with Barriere Lake Chief and Council, beginning with a return of administrative control over programs and services to the Barriere Lake Chief and Council.
Chief Casey Ratt concluded by stating “it is now time for the AFN National Chief to show his support for our First Nation by acting on our reasonable requests to press Minister Bennett to direct her officials to immediately end Third Party Management. Our people will not wait until for the INAC-AFN Fiscal Relations process concludes sometime next year.”


 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