Shuswap deserve the truth



Editors note: This letter to the editor was received prior to the results of the Shuswap Bands November 7th election, in which Paul Sam was not re-elected.

Dear Editor:

I read with, sadness and dismay, the article in last weeks Pioneer highlighting the disproportionate earnings of Chief Paul Sam and Councillor Alice Sam of the Shuswap Indian Band. Unfortunately, I cannot say I was completely surprised, surprised by the extent of the abuse of power and control, yes, but not by the fact that the abuse is occurring. And without the enactment of Bill C-27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, we wouldnt be engaged in this discussion. Speculation would continue respecting the salaries of Band Council and senior staff, as it has for the past few decades, but with no access to audited financial information, it would continue to be quite simply rumour. This now is a new era.

Chief Sams tax-free 2014 earnings are $202,413 (as were Councillor Sams), add approximately 40 per cent to that to account for the lack of taxation and his earnings are in the neighbourhood of $280,000. To put it in perspective, Mayor Greg Robertson from the City of Vancouver earned $154,347 before taxes.

Kinbasket Development Corporations CEO, Dean Martin (Chief Sam and Councillor Sams son) who earned $1.6 million from 2011 through 2013 (2014 as yet unreported) rationalizes these salaries as these guys run $75,000,000 worth of assets. I would be very curious to see an enumerated list of these assets and how they are incorporated into the Shuswap Bands financial documents. Not being privy to this information, I would have to surmise that these assets include land, buildings and infrastructure operated and managed by local businesses. True, these assets do generate substantial tax revenue for the Band, but I dont imagine there is a lot of running to be done.

As to Mr. Martins assertion that the Shuswap Band is one of the richest bands. Again, are there financial documents to substantiate this claim or is he just playing fast and loose with unquantifiable generalizations? If indeed there is evidence to validate this claim, now would be the time to lay it on the table to dissipate the mounting anxiety and distrust.

I challenge Mr. Martin, as Chief Sams apparent spokesperson, to hold a public meeting and provide a complete financial accounting to the Shuswap Band membership. If the facts are as he states, there is no reason not to report to the membership. They deserve strong leadership, fairness and accountability.

Dawn Chabot Attorp

Invermere

Just Posted

RCMP Report

Some of the more notable files from Columbia Valley RCMP week of August 12-18th

Rossland council urges minister to kill Jumbo Glacier Resort project

Mayor writes letter panning ski resort on environmental, legal, and economic grounds

Legend of the book bike

Book fairy hands out books to lucky recipients who spot her

Summer Snack Program helps local kids in need of a good lunch

Summit Youth Centre is giving tasty, nutritious lunches and snacks to Columbia Valley kids.

Bounding into the great outdoors

Playwest Mountain Experience takes hikers into the wilderness.

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read