A northern Saskatchewan chief says First Nations leaders need to be fully transparent and accountable to their own members.

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Peter Beatty says he is not sure if the general public should be in that mix.

The federal government yesterday said it would not tolerate non-compliance to the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.

The legislation requires First Nations to post their financial statements and band council salaries on the government website.

Beatty says, for the most part, First Nations leaders have already practiced accountability to their own members.

“When the federal government says we need you to be accountable to the general public it becomes debatable at that point,” said the chief. “As far as being accountable to our membership and those who have put us where we are as leaders, I think we have been accountable and transparent.”

So far, 77 per cent of Canadian bands have complied with the legislation.

Beatty says some bands may not actually have the information yet because their auditor has yet to complete the process.

He says there is a difference between First Nations who have the information and are refusing to give it up and those who do not yet have the information.

Ottawa says it would seek legal action for the First Nations who do not comply with the Act.