The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that requires leaders of the Onion Lake Cree Nation to publish financial info containing salaries of the band’s chief and council.
The original ruling came down from the Court of Queen’s Bench in June of 2017, but was appealed by officials with the band.
Court proceedings against the First Nation were launched by the Canadian Tax Payers Federation, in partnership with Charmaine Stick, a band member.
“I’ve spent years fighting for transparency and this victory has me dancing with my kids,” said Stick. “Traditions of transparency are rooted in natural laws that apply to every leader and every level of government in every culture. This appeal court ruling empowers grassroots people in First Nations communities to hold their leaders accountable.”
“Charmaine is going to get to the truth and she’s going to share it with her community,” said Todd MacKay, the CTF’s prairie director. “This ruling reinforces the rights of people in First Nations to hold their leaders accountable.”
Most First Nations publish their info routinely, as it is required under The First Nations Financial Transparency Act, however, the federal government stopped enforcing the act in 2015.
Onion Lake officials must adhere with the ruling, even if they decide to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
(PHOTO: Onion Lake Cree Nation logo. Photo courtesy of eas.ualberta.ca)