Winnipeg band chief, Diane Kelly
Credits: FILE PHOTO
OTTAWA -- Outraged members of a Newfoundland Innu community are calling for more transparency from their leaders after learning a former chief was raking in more than $600,000 a year.
Paul Rich, former CEO of Innu Development Limited Partnership (IDLP), was paid $658,847 in 2011 and made more than $1-million over the last two years he served as CEO. The IDLP was established to encourage business and developments that would benefit the entire community.
Members of that community - about 1,000 people - are appalled to learn that while many of them suffer from high unemployment, poverty, lack of social services, and sometimes drug and alcohol problems, Rich was living more than comfortably on funds intended to benefit everyone. A protest was held on the weekend outside IDLP office where people demanded more transparency.
Helen Andrews, a protest organizer, told local media she hopes pressure from the community will force leaders to take action.
IDLP is a private, for-profit company that receives no funding from the federal government. A spokesman for the ministry of aboriginal affairs said "IDLP is an independent company" and as such can pay whatever salaries they deem fit.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he wasn't sure "in what capacity one earns $1 million when one already has a full-time job," but said the government has enacted legislation that would disclose the incomes of those who are paid from the public purse - which Rich was not.
Diane Kelly, a band chief in Winnipeg, said she believed "99.9%" of band leadership is "very accountable."
"There have been a number of cases where chiefs from across Canada are getting extreme salaries, but those are usually isolated cases," she said. "But it's true that many of these communities are living in despair."