At first I thought I was my eyes were deceiving me when information about a chief from a tiny First Nation in British Columbia made nearly $1 million surfaced.
Even $100,000 seems too much for a chief who manages less than 100 people.
But, it is true.
We have a million dollar chief in Canada.
According to available information, this chief is the highest paid politician in the country.
Ron Giesbrecht is the chief of the 80-member Kwikwetlem First Nation in beautiful and bountiful British Columbia.
Yes, this chief makes more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the chief justice or any other provincial premier.
To put it simply, this is unacceptable and the federal government has to act and act fast.
Giesbrecht earned a salary of $91,239 tax free last year.
The chief raked in a further $16.574 in expenses.
This is equivalent of $1.6 million for someone who pays tax on income.
A spokesman from the Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt was reported saying:
“The reported salary of the chief is very troubling and his community members deserve an explanation.”
Canadian taxpayers also need an explanation and they like to know how many other chiefs make such outrageous salaries.
This chief’s salary came to light as part of the federal government’s new First Nation Financial Transparency Act.
Only a handful of chiefs have released details of the money they make.
Why are Canadians not getting proper information about salaries and what is Ottawa doing about this?
Reports suggest the million dollar chief is also the chief economic development officer.
As a chief, Giesbrecht is supposed to promote his community and make sure this First Nation has jobs and economic development.
He has been chief for the past five years.
This chief is very active.
His interests are listed as fishing, aboriginal culture, golfing, photography and sitting on the beach.
The band’s most recent financial statement reveal that it had net financial assets of $8.8 million, up from $2,7 million , largely as a result of an $8.2 million payment from British Columbia earmarked for economic development.
A spokesman from British Columbia said that the $8.2 million was payment as part of an economic benefit agreement related to land sales.
The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation said it has found several other cases where chiefs and councilors are making well over six figures.
There are more than 600 First Nations across the country.
Less than 100 First Nations have posted on the Aboriginal Affairs site so far.