First Nations fight against financial reporting law raises important questions, Coates tells CBC

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First Nations communities across Canada have legitimate concerns about a federal law that forces them to disclose financial information, Macdonald-Laurier InstKen Coatsitute Senior Fellow Ken Coates told the CBC.

Several First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan have taken their fight against the federal government’s First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which forces First Nations to post financial information such as chiefs’ salaries online, to court.

The case raises a number of important legal questions, says Coates.

For example, he tells CBC, many First Nations need to keep negotiations with natural resource companies secret for business reasons.

“How do you negotiate confidentially with a mining company if whatever you agree has to be explained in full and released to the government?” he asks.

Coates tells CBC that he believes First Nations and the federal government could find common ground on releasing information about chiefs’ salaries.