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Harper Government Delivers Greater Accountability and Transparency for First Nation Communities

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Mar 27, 2013) - Today the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, was joined by Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Phyllis Sutherland, member of Manitoba's Peguis First Nation, and Colin Craig, Prairie Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, to announce that Bill C-27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, will be passed into law.

"I am very pleased to announce that the First Nations Financial Transparency Act will receive Royal Assent today," said Minister Valcourt. "The passage of this important legislation into law represents a milestone for those First Nation community members, such as Phyllis Sutherland, who have been calling for greater accountability and transparency. This Act will help deliver more effective, transparent and accountable governments, which will contribute to stronger, more self-sufficient and prosperous communities."

"All Canadians, including First Nations, want and deserve transparency and accountability from their governments," said Kelly Block, MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar. "I am proud of our work with grassroots First Nation members, to have this legislation passed into law so that their communities can benefit from the investment, economic development and greater certainty that accompanies enhanced accountability and transparency."

"Bill C-27 will lead to big changes in accountability and transparency in First Nation communities," said Phyllis Sutherland, member of the Peguis First Nation and president of the Peguis Accountability Coalition. "People at the grassroots level will be able to access information about their community without fear of intimidation or reprisal."

"We pushed for this new law for over three years so we're ecstatic it has passed. We commend the government for acting on concerns raised by taxpayers and whistleblowers living on reserves," said Colin Craig, Prairie Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation. "Plain and simple, this new law will improve accountability and especially help the grassroots hold their elected officials accountable."

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act strengthens transparency and accountability by requiring First Nations to publish the annual audited consolidated financial statements they already prepare, as well as a schedule of chiefs and councillors' salaries and expenses. The accounting standards are in line with other levels of government in Canada.

First Nations will be required to publish their annual audited consolidated financial statements by July 29, 2014. In fact, many First Nation governments are leading the way and already publish financial information online and some already provide detailed reports to their communities.

Citizens in First Nation communities will also benefit from the potential economic opportunities that this new law will bring by creating a better environment for private sector investment building a foundation for long-term prosperity in First Nation communities across the country.

The Harper Government remains focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and their personal financial security.

Frequently Asked Questions- First Nations Financial Transparency Act

This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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