LETTERS: Don’t blame First Nations

Editor:

Re: Band members disheartened by pay, Aug. 19.

Editor:

Re: Band members disheartened by pay, Aug. 19.

There has been much strong criticism of the salaries paid last year to Chief Willard Cook and councillor Joanne Charles of the Semiahmoo First Nation.

There has not been enough information published for such strong criticism to be valid.

The band reportedly had a surplus of about $3.3 million last year, due to a one-time payment by the provincial government of about the same amount. The salaries paid to Cook and Charles last year were probably based on that surplus.

Both have been in their band positions for probably more than 20 years. What were they getting paid during all those years?

It’s been reported that most chiefs and councillors in B.C. are paid in the range of $20,000 to $40,000. I suspect that for most of their time in band government, Cook and Charles were probably paid in the low end of that range.

Is Canada not committed to financing infrastructure and housing on reserves? The Peace Arch News reports that federal payments last year to the Semiahmoo First Nation were only $171,673. That is hardly enough to run a small office. No wonder that the housing and infrastructure are in bad shape.

Under its current leadership, the band has now accumulated a surplus of about $4.3 million. That is not enough to bring infrastructure and housing up to snuff, let alone solve all of the band’s problems. But it is a start.

We could help by pressuring our own government to live up to our commitments, rather than by digging for excuses to blame band members for the problems.

Bill McConnell, Surrey

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey city staff hears restricting recovery homes to six clients won’t cut it

Corporate report notes there are more recovery homes in Surrey than in every other community in B.C. combined

South Surrey’s Historic Stewart Farm to offer guided tours

Outdoor tours to run afternoons Tuesdays through Fridays

Surrey Food Bank opens huge new ‘forever home’ in Newton

New warehouse on 78th Avenue is close to three times the size of the food bank’s old site in Whalley

Semiahmoo Peninsula girls to host Black Lives Matter fundraiser

‘We are doing this because the world is full of systemic racism,’ organizer Sabine Lapointe said

Community fruit harvest program returns to Surrey, White Rock

Sources will send a team to harvest fruit trees, so less goes to waste

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Victoria man dies after skydiving incident on Vancouver Island

34-year-old had made more than 1,000 jumps

BC Wildfire Service to conduct night vision trials for helicopters in South Okanagan

This technology could assist with future firefighting operations

Following incident at sea, fishing lodge says it will reopen despite Haida travel ban

QCL reopens July 10, says president; Haida chief councillor describes ‘dangerous’ boating encounter

Kamloops RCMP officer’s conduct under review after blackface jokes on social media

Meinke’s Instagram is private and it’s unclear when the posts were made

NHL says 35 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 8

Positive rate for the league is just under 6%

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Most Read

l -->