Re: Band members ‘disheartened’ by pay, Aug. 19.
If the aspersions regarding the annual income of Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Willard Cook are true, I will be truly saddened by it.
Not all band members have basic fresh running water, or sewer for that matter. I would have thought that Cook would be a responsible leader and make that happen. These basics of life one would expect a true leader to correct without delay, rather than stuff his own pockets.
Are the Semiahmoo people spending their money wisely with professional oversight? Perhaps not. It does seem apparent that this money is not being apportioned to the benefit of all band members.
Developers always have their own gains in mind. Let’s not forget they tried not long ago at a nearby proposal.
This land belongs to the Semiahmoo people, the folks that I grew up with, respect and went to school with.
I, as well, wonder how the City of Surrey has managed to place ‘no parking’ signs on property on Beach Road belonging to the Semiahmoo people. I suspect the city has done nothing more than troll for bylaw parking tickets and ignored required potable water and sanitation issues that seem unevenly apportioned to date.
Make no mistake, the Semiahmoo are resilient people. This federal money was no doubt intended for more than the excessive management salary of two people and in fact must be audited and repaid.
Ron Eves, White Rock
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From my living a stone’s throw from the Semiahmoo Reserve for over 16 years, and after reading about and witnessing firsthand the unconscionable squalor and Third World-like living conditions on the reserve – and now reading about the obscene salaries that band leaders have been paying themselves during this time – it is clear that what is needed is:
1) The establishment of a provincial Indian Reservation Advocate/Ombudsperson office, one for each of Canada’s 10 provinces;
2) Indian reserve governance legislation that would provide mandatory guidance for how Indian reserves in B.C. and across Canada are to be governed and administered;
3) Access-to-information legislation that would apply to all reserves – similar in purpose and in function to B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, guaranteeing reserve residents the right to be provided with copies of their band’s administrative and financial records upon request.
Representatives of the government of B.C. and the federal government should forthrightly indicate if they and their political parties would commit to founding a joint federal/provincial task force or similar body – in which Canada’s natives were liberally represented – for the purpose of reaching mutually agreeable terms for the establishment of the items listed above.
Roderick V. Louis, White Rock