I was asked yesterday by a teacher (@bryanjack) for my perspective on Bill C27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. A student chose it to write a commentary on and they were looking for another perspective. I don't have that commentary handy at the moment. I thought I would share my thoughts on it for other teachers who might be getting questions from students on it:
One of the things they don't tell you when discussing clarity around First Nations financial accountability, unfortunately, is that First Nations are among the most accountable organizations in the world. Each First Nation is required to undergo a financial audit to show and justify their spending, as well as write numerous reports to show how each dollar is being spent. Much of this is made available online already by the Department of Aboriginal & Northern Affairs. Bills like C27 only really add another cost to the transparency by requiring the Bands to cover the costs of the reporting (at least as I understand it). Further to that, the Media coverage generalizes the idea that all First Nations are corrupt when evidence seems to suggest that the levels of corruption are no different than are found in the municipal, provincial or federal levels of government. This Bill is something that is a political tool designed to play to a political base that feels First Nations are afforded rights they do not deserve, and a means of 'blaming the victim' for their situation when things like education funding, health and housing are controlled by the Federal government.