Canadian Taxpayers Federation publishes First Nations political salaries

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has posted what it claims are “new jaw-dropping chief and council pay data today that reinforces the CTF’s call for greater transparency of reserve politicians’ pay levels and the need for reform.” (Oddly, as an illustration for the item, they have a picture of anonymous powwow dancers. So that’s what highly-paid politicians drop all their dough on — regalia?)

If you download the “data” (which are actually PDFs of scanned print-outs listing salaries), you can see how difficult it is to quickly and easily match the salary with the Chief/Councillor for a given community, as the band and band numbers are redacted. But it appears CTF did the heavy lifting just in getting these numbers.

So credit where credit is due. These salaries ought to be public.

That said, I suspect the real audience for this exercise is disgruntled non-Aboriginal members of the Federation. Now, if only the CTF posted similarly detailed information as to the sources of its funding, the salaries of its staff, and financial statements listing what they spent their members’ money on, including expenses associated with the meetings and business of its volunteer board. If any/all of that’s in fact on the website somewhere and I just overlooked it, let me know, and I will update this post.

8 thoughts on “Canadian Taxpayers Federation publishes First Nations political salaries

  1. Perhaps we should consider the pensions that public service members get and how much that transfer to in terms of their salaries since Chiefs do not receive a pension for their services. While I believe in openness, I also believe in comparing apples to apples, and ensure we know about the all that goes into making the apples and who pays for growing the apples. So many people are will to cut down our people, whether they are facing living on the street or whether they are our leaders in whatever field they are serving. They, groups and individuals like the CTF, will use whatever they can to pursue their agenda, namely a conservative one that maintains wealth in certain pockets of Canadian, indeed global, society.

  2. Fair point, Michael. A quick Google search using the words threw up lots of reporting about the pension income Members of Parliament receive upon ‘retirement.’ Not surprisingly, perhaps, theirs is regarded as the most generous and secure pension plan in the land. One article includes criticisms from the CTF over a Treasury Board report that disclosed that “Eighty former members — 14 senators and 66 MPs — earned pensions worth more than $70,000” in 2008.

  3. Just by way of comparison, the Winnipeg Free Press reported in June of this year that mayor Sam Katz was paid $122,183 in 2009 including “a 33 per cent tax-free component” to oversee this city of 633,451 (reports the last Census). City councillors “earned between $65,836 and $81,238 in 2009, again with a 33 per cent tax exemption.” Some senior bureaucrats make more than the politicos.

  4. The CTF says it found one chief of a small community in the Maritimes (est. pop. 304) taking in $978,000. That’s gross. No doubt about it – if the CTF is accurate.

    Keep in mind that critics often use the phrase “tax-free salary” and then top up that figure with an equivalent amount WITH tax – often a much higher amount. They don’t do that with others who get tax-free salaries, such as Senators, MPs, and the PM or a number of others who arrange similar salary arrangements. So when they say that someone “earns $68,000 a year tax-free” it should remain at that figure.

    There are a lot of folks out there who recommend that small communities don;t need to pay every single councillor on a band council, especially if the community is cash poor and small in numbers. They advocate that band councillors, except for the head councillor (chief) should be volunteers since they shouldn’t actually administer anything or head up a department or service but should meet to consider policy only. So they’d be compensated for those meetings in some way.

    But I know of a few chiefs who get their salary at home, sit as regional chiefs and get a salary for that, and sit on national committees and get paid for that as well. Which makes one wonder where they find the time to be accountable to their own community?

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