On June 30th 2020, MCK elected officials were served with a request for information. The request was also served to a few key administrators who would hold the requested information.
On July 14 2020, we received a document containing a partial response in the name of the following MCK councilors: Victor Bonspille, Valerie Bonspille and Bruce Montour. The pertinent documentation is included below.
Serge Otsi SImon, Patricia Meilleur, John Cannatonquin and Garry Carbonnell chose to ignore an official request for information served on them personally by concerned community members. They have now taken a position in which they OFFICIALLY REFUSED to be accountable and transparent to community members seeking to be informed on matters of importance.
As it concerns the information requested regarding GnR recycling, we have received no official answer.
As it concerns the information requested regarding to the ERU financial information, we received the following:
A request for information prepared by a quorum of councilors regarding ERU finances. The request was made because the quorum of councilors have reasons to believe that certain individuals including elected officials of MCK are collecting two salaries. One from their regular employment and one from ERU.
The quorum received a general financial report concerning the ERU. In this document it indicates that between April and May, our community received $727,692.31. From Indigenous Services Canada, we received $533,752.31 there is another amount of $193,940 marked as ACT, this amount is for the Access Control Team but no source is identified for this portion of the revenue. Despite the $727,692.31, the ERU has expended, as per this document, $1,095,690.32. An overage of more than $350,000 in the first two months of the pandemic.
- $176,000 toward social assistance.
- $51,100 toward computer equipment for education. Although we are not opposed to enhancing our schools perhaps further details would be appropriate to explain the large expenditure.
- $8,905 toward jackets for ERU members. Really?
- $311,040 toward ACT salaries despite the revenue source of $193,940.
- $306,000 toward salaries for 103 MCK employees and contract workers. With regard to this amount, why are MCK employees being paid with funds received for COVID-19 assistance? These funds would be already budgeted in the regular yearly funding. The amount however does not reflect a full salary to 103 employees. Further explanation is required with regard to this expenditure. Some rumors indicate a pay increase for those working during the pandemic but this is not confirmed and several MCK employees have indicated not having received such an increase.
The final two pages are a letter from a law firm sent on behalf of the Health Center and ERU to Serge Simon and MCK. Note that Serge Simon and Patricia Meilleur are elected council members and are part of ERU. The letter is a cease and desist letter pertaining to asking for salary information concerning ERU employees. It states that the ERU has mandated the Health Center to manage their financial aspects.
- Why is KHC being mandated to manage finances, they are not an accounting firm?
- MCK employees are assigned to manage finances but are working under the umbrella of the KHC and no longer accountable to MCK? Or the community? Why?
- ERU is an entity of its own, a non political body as mentioned many times yet the “Vice chief” and “Grand chief” sit at the top of the management board. Is this something the community is comfortable with?
- Representatives of KHC and ERU have also been served with this request for information yet have failed to respond as separate entities. Why? Is there no accountability to our own people and community? Are the people comfortable with this?
- Lawyers being paid with community funds to silence pertinent requests from concerned elected officials. Is this a responsible and reasonable administration of public funds?
With regard to expenditures relating to outside consultants, MCK has failed to provide answers.
With regard to the retro pay to MCK elected officials, MCK has failed to provide answers.
With regard to the Land claim loan exceeding $1 million, MCK has failed to provide answers.
With regard to the Land claim process, MCK has failed to provide answers. It is noted that in a recent media interview, Serge Otsi Simon has said that he was not allowed to provide information because it was confidential. He has however failed to provided any supporting evidence to this claim or to support the reasoning behind his open participation in such a secret process. The mayor of Oka has supplied more information to his citizens regarding this process then we have received to date from this administration. Simon also stated that once the process is complete, he would FLOOD the community with information. Does this seem like a fair and equitable process? Do our people feel comfortable being flooded all at once with information with a likely deadline to make such a tremendously critical decision?
With regard to providing pertinent BCRs in order to respect the request and support answers, Victor Bonspille explained that the documents are under lock and key with the council clerk, Christine Meilleur and are not accessible. Despite the fact that all BCRs should be made public and produced upon request.
As a community, we are now presented with, despite the efforts of a few elected councilors, a clear failure on the part of this MCK administration to carry out their responsibilities as established in the Custom Electoral Code.
- They have FAILED to exercise their duties with honesty, impartiality, fairness and openness in the interest of ALL Mohawks of Kanehsata:ke.
- They have FAILED to be accountable to the people of Kanehsata:ke by failing to report to the final authority, the people.
- They have not only FAILED to allow but IMPEDED Kanehsatakero:non in carrying out their responsibility of assuring proper governance.
- They have left, at the very least, an appearance of unethical and unacceptable conduct and management practices.
Please take time to read and inform yourselves on these and other topics. Start discussions with family, friends, other community members. Discuss what you would like to see, discuss your thoughts and be open to those of others around you. Share your thoughts with us.
It is our belief that a meeting of the people is drastically needed and hope that when the time comes, we can have a strong turnout to start moving toward a better future for our children, grand children and beyond.
Skennen tanon Nia:wen.
Here are the pertinent documents contained in the response.