Indian Affairs Chastised Over TLE Conversion Rate

Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 13:53



The federal department of Indian Affairs was on the hot seat during a senate committee hearing last night in Ottawa.


Auditor General Sheila Fraser gave member of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples a status report on how Indian Affairs offices in Saskatchewan and Manitoba were doing in fulfilling their treaty land entitlement obligations.


Fraser said her office found that a lot of improvement had been made in land conversion totals between 2005 and 2006, but that more could be done.


She cited problems with inadequate planning and an absence of targets for land conversions as just some of those problems.


Still, she noted Saskatchewan was doing much better than its neighbour to the east.


Fraser told the committee that in 2005, 58 per cent of areas selected by Saskatchewan bands had been converted to reserve land.


That was in sharp contrast to Manitoba, which had converted just 12 per cent.


Several committee members in attendance voiced their displeasure with the number of problems that were raised.


Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin wondered if general indifference was a problem in some offices.


Fraser replied that constant turnover, both at the ministerial position and in Indian Affairs offices, was part of the problem.


She also said too many offices were focused on procedures, as opposed to common sense results.