Madam Speaker, I am standing to follow up on a question I asked in October, but I think I need to set the stage first in terms of what the actual issue is.
Residents of the city of Kamloops or the city of Kelowna can go online and see what the mayor makes and see the audited reports of the city. Residents of British Columbia or Alberta can do the same thing. That can be done, indeed, across Canada.
Our constituents can go online and see the audited financial statements of the Government of Canada, and they can look at their individual MPs and see how much they make and how much they spend on items such as travel.
Shareholders can actually go online and see a company's information. Companies are responsible for reporting audited statements and have pretty good, robust information available to shareholders.
There was a glaring omission in the transparency rules, and that was that first nations communities did not have the same obligations. When we were the government, we thought that the community members, the band members, deserved the same kind of transparency that all other Canadians expect. That is that the band posts, in a public way, audited financial statements, salaries, and expenses. Again, it is basic transparency.
I want to note that this is not about any part of the government saying that it wants to target specific groups. When this information is posted, they are held accountable. This was truly to allow community band members to hold their councils to account and to have the ability, because I think it is also important, to compare, perhaps, what their chief is making with what some others are making.
We found that we had a very good compliance rate. The measures came in in 2014, and by 2015, we had a compliance rate of over 92%. That is a very solid rate of bands, chiefs, and councils posting their statements and expenses and reporting to their band members.
What was very good about this is that it put aside some of the notions many people had about misuses of the money. Where there were misuses, it became very apparent, because the band members could actually hold their councils to account.
What this minister did was say that it did not matter. Some of the chiefs did not like it, so the government was going to get rid of transparency and not enforce the compliance measures.
It is absolutely appalling that the minister would take such an anti-democratic position and put first nations grassroots communities at such a disadvantage by not providing the transparency that all other Canadians enjoy and expect.