Alarmist tax watchdog intentionally distorted FNs politico salaries AFN

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first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA-The Canadian Taxpayers Federation “intentionally” manipulated chief and band councillor salaries to make First Nations leaders look bad, the Assembly of First Nations said in an analysis aimed at discrediting information recently released by the tax watchdog group.The AFN took aim at claims by the group that 50 reserve politicians were being paid more than the prime minister and that 160 made more than provincial premiers. The AFN said no reserve politician makes more than the prime minister’s $315, 462 salary and only 21 make more than premiers, mostly in Alberta.“Certainly by focusing on the exceptions, the CTF (Canadian Taxpayers Federation) is intentionally working to create negative impression about First Nation salaries,” said the AFN analysis. “Grand comparisons with the salaries of premiers and the prime minister help to further distort the reality.”The AFN said the CTF’s decision to include revenue sources outside of remuneration, including travel and per diem allocations, distorted the true picture of chief salaries. With those categories excluded and only using salary and honoraria, the AFN said the country’s highest paid reserve politician made $247,000.“Did former (Newfoundland and Labrador) premier Danny Williams’ fortune get calculated into his salary as premier?” said the AFN analysis, titled Straight Goods on First Nations salaries.  “Did revenue from Canada Steamship Lines get calculated into former prime minister Paul martin’s salary? Of course not and it’s not appropriate to do so with First Nations elected officials either.”The CTF could not be immediately reached for comment.The analysis also tried to poke holes in the CTF’s attempt to measure on-reserve salaries by calculating their equivalent taxable amount. By doing this, the CTF concluded that 600 reserve politicians “received an income that is equivalent to over $100,000 off-reserve.” The AFN said on-reserve tax free salaries have their roots in the “original relationship” between First Nations and the Crown under the treaties and is part of the Indian Act.“It is inaccurate and unnecessarily alarmist to calculate First Nations salaries in this way,” said the analysis.The AFN analysis also concluded that the average salary for reserve politicians fell at about $36,845, below the $46, 345 national average in Canada.“It’s important to be clear about what the facts are,” said AFN national Chief Shawn Atleo, who spoke to reporters Tuesday on the first day of the special chiefs assembly at the Hilton Hotel-Casino complex in Gatineau, Que.Atleo also backed a resolution expected to be debated by chiefs as early as Tuesday calling on all reserve politicians to publish their salaries.“The chiefs are clear that we will not be distracted from our focus to transform the lives of people in our communities,” said Atleo. “We will just confront it directly.”last_img

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