A few days ago, I received a call from someone speaking on behalf of a local group who are seeking the immediate resignation of Liard First Nation Chief Liard McMillan. In part, they complained that he has not been accountable to band members for either band administration or financial affairs. They wanted to know if I would personally support their position of protest.
I pointed out that I had no right or desire to become involved in any way with their band affairs. Internal policy and management problems are matters only for the band to deal with. However, their right to openly pronounce their grievances or protest any related issues is inherent in our Constitution. It is one that is shared by all Canadians. As a former MLA for the area, now serving as a local citizen’s advocate, I readily agreed with their request.
As I see it, Liard First Nation officials appear to have enveloped their administration, policies and activities in a cloak of absolute secrecy – similar to that of Yukon government officials – and the people who elected them are understandably very upset. These citizens are demanding a full and open accounting of band policies and financial affairs. It is clearly their democratic right and responsibility to do so.
They appear to be making an honest effort at cleaning up what they consider to be an unacceptable administration of internal band affairs. Interestingly, these protesters seem determined to learn all they can about their band’s past and present financial positions. They are well within their rights to do so!
In light of the foregoing, I want to make it clear that I wholeheartedly support those protesters and wish them every success in achieving their stated goals.
Donald E. Taylor