Alberta First Nation board members collected nearly $3M while community lacked running water, audit shows

Alberta First Nation board members collected nearly $3M while community lacked running water, audit shows

TRAPPER’S CABIN IN LUBICON-CLAIMED TERRITORY IN 2009

Credits: FILE PHOTO/Andrew Hanon/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

QMI AGENCY

The Cree Development Corporation — created to provide economic development for the Lubicon Cree community — paid out $2.7 million in four years to board members, including the former band chief, a forensic audit reveals.

The MNP LLP forensic audit into the CDC covers the period March 1, 2006, to February 28, 2012, and found the money was received by five of the corporation’s directors between 2006 and 2009.

“For many years our community has suffered without basic necessities like running water, while a small number of people got rich,” said Billy Joe Laboucan, the recently elected Chief of the Lubicon Lake Band.

“This is a wake-up call that never again should we allow ourselves to be governed in this way.”

An open letter has begun circulating in the community, calling on the former leaders to account for their expenditures and asking the current chief and council to hold restorative justice circles in the community.

“We may never know the full extent of what we have lost as a community financially, but we know what we have lost in trust,” said Laboucan.

“We are hopeful that this will never happen again because our members have seen the truth, they have a voice and they are able to make fully informed decisions. It will take all of us working together to heal and rebuild our community.”

The Lubicon Lake Indian Nation is a small Aboriginal society living in northern Alberta.

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