This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Salaries Reflecting Responsibility Entitlements

"We’re in shock because honestly, we’re living in third-world conditions."
"We have to pay for water and bring in potable water to drink. With that kind of money you could run water down here, provide high-speed Internet, natural gas … Without an audit, or somebody pushing to open the books, it’ll just go on and on."
"It’s definitely in the lower ranks [band membership total]. Honestly we don’t have anything here. We’re trying to survive month to month."
Darren Dolan, 53, Semiahmoo resident, band member 
Semiahmoo First Nation members ‘in shock’ over officials’ high salariesDarren Dolan, a Semiahmoo resident and band member, reaches for a water bottle in the kitchen of his house on the reserve as his girl friend Debbie Anderson cooks dinner. Dolan pays for water to be trucked in for washing, laundry and showers and also buys bottled water for drinking and cooking. Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

Mr. Dolan's problem is that he has recently discovered that his band, with its fewer than one hundred members located in Surrey, British Columbia, has paid the chief of the band and one councillor close to $460,00 in the fiscal year for 2013-14. What the chief's salary is has not been divulged to the band as a matter of clarity and honesty and affirmation of the value that the band council has in the opinion of the band members, however.

The financial details of band expenses were filed on-line in compliance with a new federal requirement that all bands be up-front and open about their expenses. It is, after all, public money obtained through taxes that fund all of the bands Such salaries are tax-free. So Chief Willard Cook's $267,309 salary makes him one of the highest-remunerated politician in the land. For administering the affairs of less than a hundred people. Nice work if you get can get. And Chief Cook got it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the other hand, chief of the Canadian parliament, earns an annual salary of $327,400 and the emphasis here should be on 'earns', in administering the affairs of the country impacting on the well-being of some 36-million Canadians. And the premier of the province where the Semiahmoo First Nation is situated, earns a salary of $193,582, for administering the affairs of the entire province.

Chief Cook's gold-minted salary enabled him to buy a house for $850,000, located outside the reserve, on acreage of its own. The property is now valued at $1.05-million. And band member Mr. Dolan deplores the fact that band members live in conditions, as he put it of 'semi-squalor'. He and his cousin are now pushing for an audit to reveal intake and output for the band. Despite making enquiries for years, they have never had a response from the band council.

Financial statements filed by the Semiahmoo with the federal government indicate the band had revenues of $4.88-million in the 2013-14 fiscal year. There was a $3.09-million surplus in the kitty. The revenue, for the most part came courtesy of the government of British Columbia, providing the lions-share of $3.33-million to the band's coffers.

Semiahmoo chief receives annual salary of nearly $270,000Councillor Joanne Charles and Chief Willard Cook of the Semiahmoo First Nation were paid salaries totalling nearly $460,000 in the 2013-14 fiscal year.  Photograph by: Ian Lindsay , PNG

Band councillor Joanne Charles brought home a salary of $187,138. There is a second councillor, Roxanne Charles, who was paid $4,725 in salary. The largest expense tabled was $838,824 for administration. The next was $136,499 listed for economic initiative, $133,197 for community programs, $90,277 for health, $43,298 for education and $224,807 for resources spending.

That surplus could be very useful in upgrading living conditions for band members, as delineated by reserve member Darren Dolan.

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