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With one court ruling on its side, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Charmaine Stick, a member of the Onion Lake Cree Nation, are confident the Court of Appeal will also side in their favour, forcing the First Nation to publicly reveal its financial statements.

In June, a lower court ordered the Onion Lake Cree Nation to publicly file its income statements. Instead, the band filed an immediate appeal. That appeal is expected to be heard shortly according to Todd McKay, the prairie director of the Taxpayers Federation.

He says even though the Onion Lake First Nation has never complied with the legislation, he says ignoring a court order would have serious consequences.

“If they don’t it would be a really, really unusual situation, that could potentially put them in contempt of court, which of course is a very serious issue,” he said.

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act is still on the books, but the Liberal government is not enforcing it, promising instead to repeal it, hold more consultations and come up with something better.

McKay says the law is a good one, and there is no need to go back to square one.

“But the reality on the ground is that this has been a huge success, the overwhelming majority of bands have complied with it. Many have said, we have got nothing to hide, if you want to see what we are doing with the money, here it is, no problem,” he said.

The law was introduced by the Harper government. First Nations that did not comply lost federal funding, but since the Liberals have come to power, the law has existed in name only.

No date has been set for the Court of Appeal challenge.