Statement made on 10 May 2012 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, Poundmaker Cree Nation, located near Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, holds its elections under a community custom code. Poundmaker has exercised its inherent customary laws for many decades and has never been subject to the Indian Act for selection of its chief and council. Their method worked fine for many decades because it was respected and implemented by the electorate.
Recently, however, there has been resistance to abide by the long-standing custom of disciplining and removing elected officials. There have been ongoing problems of governance with the Poundmaker chief and council and, in July 2011, after a six-year investigation by the RCMP, a total of 46 charges for fraud, theft and breach of trust were laid against nine individuals, including the current chief and several councillors.
My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Band members have made numerous calls to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and written to the minister asking for help to resolve the situation over the past 10 years. With criminal charges laid against the chief and several councillors in July 2011, why did the Regional Director General of AANDC not conduct an assessment of the situation?
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