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Updated: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:39:18 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

B.C. chief Ron Giesbrecht's $1M pay 'very troubling,' minister says



Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetiem First Nation was paid $914,219 in remuneration last year for his role as chief and economic development officer. Facebook

Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetiem First Nation was paid $914,219 in remuneration last year for his role as chief and economic development officer. Facebook

A chief from a small First Nation in B.C. was paid nearly $1 million last year, according to documents disclosed by the band.

Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetiem First Nation is listed as the chief and economic development officer and was paid $914,219 in remuneration and $16,574 in expenses. The documents state remuneration could include salary, wages, commissions and bonuses.

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In a statement, a spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said, "The reported salary of the chief is very troubling and his community members deserve an explanation."

According to a press release on the band's website, "We understand that seeing such a large number for the chief's salary is disconcerting, but for the sake of clarity, we wish to break it down for you."

The statement goes on to say that Giesbrecht's salary as chief and economic development officer was only $84,800, but he received a bonus of $800,000. 

The bonus was a percentage of the profit generated by the economic development officer.

The band says that as of April 1, Giesbrecht signed a new contract and the bonus was removed.

According to the financial documents, the biggest source of revenue for the band was $8,225,000 from the province of British Columbia.

The federation also says many other bands are very frugal and spend little on salaries.

The Kwikwetiem First Nation is a small band in Coquitlam, B.C., with a total of 81 registered members, according to the Aboriginal Affairs website. 

The receptionist at the band told CBC News that no one was available for comment.

The documents disclosing First Nation leadership salaries are a result of the new First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which required bands to post financial statements online earlier this week.

Over 600 First Nations across the country are now required to post financial documents online or they could face a court order or see federal monies withheld. 

Since the deadline on Monday, information for 80 bands has posted on the Aboriginal Affairs site, but it is unclear how many have posted on individual or tribal council websites. 

The documents posted show a wide range of salaries.

Chief John Thunder of the Buffalo Point First Nation in Manitoba reported earnings and benefits of nearly $130,000 in 2013.

On the other hand, eight council members of a First Nation in Ontario earned an average of just over $8,000 per year. 

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