Carcross latest to provide pay figures

Chief Mark Wedge of Carcross/Tagish First Nations earns $105,750 per year. The information was emailed to the News this week, along with all the staff salaries. The release marks a reversal for the First Nations.

Chief Mark Wedge of Carcross/Tagish First Nations earns $105,750 per year.

The information was emailed to the News this week, along with all the staff salaries.

The release marks a reversal for the First Nations. In November, Wedge refused to provide the figure, saying it was only available to members of his community.

But recently, a Carcross/Tagish First Nations citizen provided the News with an incorrect figure. Faced with that, Wedge gave the green light for his staff to provide the correct one.

In disclosing his pay, Wedge joins a group of four other First Nation chiefs who have volunteered their salaries.

Chief Math’ieya Alatini of the Kluane First Nation makes $82,000.

Chief Liard McMillan of the Liard First Nation makes $69,550.

Chief Peter Johnston of the Teslin Tlingit Council makes $70,000.

And Chief Simon Mervyn with the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun takes home $85,000.

This leaves the salaries of seven self-governing First Nation chiefs and two non self-governing First Nation chiefs still unknown.

Another holdout is Ruth Massie, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations.

“I don’t see the purpose of the exercise,” she said, declining to say what she’s paid.

It is more important to look at what a chief in a small, tight-knit and usually isolated First Nation community is responsible for, she said.

“When you’re a leader in a community, you’re on call 24/7 and you have the responsibility of being a role model for your First Nation and for your community and your citizens.”

The question of transparency around chiefs’ wages in Canada started in November after the Canadian Taxpayer Federation released a report about wages on reserves. It found about 50 on-reserve politicians made more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In Atlantic Canada, one on-reserve politician made $978,468 tax-free in 2008-09.

The federation has since created www.ReserveTransparency.ca, which tracks all of the information regarding wages they have received from all of Canada’s reserves. It also provides information about how citizens can lobby leaders for this information.

Of the Yukon chiefs who have disclosed their salary, none make more than Premier Dennis Fentie, who was paid $134,903 in 2010.

Yet many made more than Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway, who is paid $77,000 a year.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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