Chief Greg Ermine
The Council was elected just over under a year ago now, and they are working with their portfolios, these portfolios are new to most of our councillors and we need your understanding and co-operation as they learn and attend their portfolio work.
- As usual, our government program funding is very limited and we are challenged with delivering programs with what we receive. This results in deficits in some programs.
- Our Council and Community is concerned about our social issues, particularly our problems with drug addictions. As a community, we need to address this together. I want to have a special meeting on this issue in the near future.
- We will be reporting on all of our programs over the last few months to bring you up to date.
- Prince Albert Grand Council F.S.I.N have been dealing with the new Federal legislation and encouraging Bands to develop their own legislation, more particularly as it relates to Education. To this end, we have developed a first draft of an education act and have taken the lead in this area. To date, we have had one community meeting to discuss the draft and we encourage members to participate in this important initiative. We want to make sure that our Treaties are honoured and reflected in our legislation.
- The other areas of legislation that we are developing first drafts of include our own Convention Act, Governance Act, and Financial Management Act. These acts will be tabled with the Band Membership for input and approval.
- If we do not develop our own legislation, then the Federal Government will develop legislation for us and it won’t meet our needs. Alternatively, the Federal Government will offload their responsibilities to the Province. An example of this, Federal Legislation has been tabled in the parliament of Canada.
- First Nations Education Act. If we do not have our own legislation, our Education Program could end up under Provincial jurisdiction.
- The Indian Act is an obstacle and gets in the way of Band Development. We are seriously considering opting into the First Nations Land Management Act so we can manage our own land and revenue generated by those lands.
- I am very pleased that our reserve land base is increasing through our Treaty Land Entitlement. The Minister of Indian Affairs will be signing off the reserve status our shortfall acreage totalling approximately 3,500 acres plus an additional acreage above shortfall. This increases our land base from about 22,000 acres to 26,000 acres.
- As reported last week, our business investments are doing well. For example our investments in Glenmor and Double Diamond are helping us create our own source funding to support our future Band activities and reinvestments as opportunities arise. It is important that we continue to develop our own source fuding as the Federal Government continues to reduce the limited band support and subsidies to First Nations.
- Our investment in Prince Albert Development Corporation will result in a special dividend this year of $420,000. These funds will be used to offset the costs of the Christmas Bonus, as well as for reinvestment purposes.
- We are moving forward with major capital projects including a major upgrade of our West Water Treatment Plants so that the water we consume on the reserve is safer.
- We are doing an upgrade on the East Sewage Lift Station. These two projects will be starting immediately and should be completed in 2014.
- I ask that you be patient with our new Council and work with them.
- We as Council are looking at developing a community newsletter for regular reporting of issues that affect our total membership.