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As former chief sues Assembly of First Nations, minister says Ottawa wonSA国际影视传媒檛 weigh in


The federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations says OttawaSA国际影视传媒檚 role is not to govern the internal accountability of the Assembly of First Nations, as its former chief launches a lawsuit against the advocacy group.

Gary Anandasangaree said in a June 20 interview that the AFN is a trusted, SA国际影视传媒渧alued partnerSA国际影视传媒 for the federal government, and he wouldnSA国际影视传媒檛 weigh in on the legal case.

RoseAnne Archibald, who was ousted from the post as national chief last July and was the first woman to lead the organization, is suing the Assembly of First Nations and its executive for defamation and breach of contract.

In a statement of claim filed this month, Archibald alleged the Assembly of First Nations and its executive engaged in a SA国际影视传媒渘umber of illegal and unlawful stepsSA国际影视传媒 against her, including suspending her as national chief.

After her election, Archibald called for the assembly to hire a forensic accounting firm to review its books.

The suit alleges the executive SA国际影视传媒 which includes current national Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak SA国际影视传媒 then SA国际影视传媒渆mbarked on a campaign to sideline her and ultimately oust her as national chief.SA国际影视传媒

SA国际影视传媒淎s a result of the above conduct, Ms. Archibald suffered damages which include defamation of character, unreimbursed legal fees, loss of income and pain and suffering,SA国际影视传媒 the statement of claim says.

Archibald was suspended in 2021 after she was accused of bullying and harassment, but chiefs reinstated her shortly after on the hopes the assembly could come together.

Her ouster in 2023 followed an independent third-party review that concluded some of ArchibaldSA国际影视传媒檚 behaviour amounted to harassment. It also found she breached internal policies by retaliating against complainants and failing to maintain confidentiality about the matter.

Archibald continues to deny those allegations, and her supporters maintain she was removed from the job for trying to challenge the organizationSA国际影视传媒檚 status quo.

The Assembly of First Nations said it wonSA国际影视传媒檛 comment until the matter is resolved through a legal process.

The organization works as an advocacy body for some 630 First Nations chiefs across Canada, and is largely funded by the federal government, which relies on the AFN for help to consult on bills that will affect First Nations Peoples and communities.

Asked about the forensic audit, Anandasangaree said there are accountability mechanisms built into funding agreements with the federal government, SA国际影视传媒渁nd the AFN is no different.SA国际影视传媒

But the way the federal government approaches its relationship with the assembly is built on the SA国际影视传媒渆lement of trust,SA国际影视传媒 he said.

SA国际影视传媒淭he primary conversation is not about accountability. The primary focus is about the relationship and we are very confident that relationship is strong.SA国际影视传媒

Anandasangaree said previous governments had policies that required First Nations to release audited financial statements about salaries and expenses, saying their entire preoccupation was on accountability.

SA国际影视传媒淲hich really says, SA国际影视传媒榃e donSA国际影视传媒檛 trust our partners, and therefore, every dollar that goes out, we want to make sure that the bar of accountability is so high that it is virtually impossible to meet,SA国际影视传媒橲A国际影视传媒 he said.

SA国际影视传媒淪o in order for us to reset the relationship and go toward true partnership, we do need to trust each other and the processes that we have within our department.SA国际影视传媒

At the AFNSA国际影视传媒檚 upcoming annual general assembly in July, a plenary is scheduled on the draft agenda about the audited financial statements.

Another is scheduled for a March 2022 resolution passed by chiefs that called for an investigation and audit of the Assembly of First NationsSA国际影视传媒 financial and management policies.

That resolution called for a review of the assemblySA国际影视传媒檚 financial policies and practices, to review conflicts of interest with the national chiefSA国际影视传媒檚 office, the executive committee and the secretariat, and to make recommendations to ensure greater transparency and accountability.

It also called for the assembly to hire an independent auditor to review the past 10 years of financial activity, SA国际影视传媒渨ith particular attention to recent AFN salary payouts and contracts,SA国际影视传媒 and to conduct a digital investigation into alleged breaches of communication.

SA国际影视传媒擝y Alessia Passafiume, The Canadian Press



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