I was flabbergasted, amazed and quite shocked at a recent discussion that took place at a CRA Council/Board meeting. A chief suggested that perhaps a request should be made to have the Auditor General of Canada look into the Grand Coun-cil/CRA financial records. I applaud and support those efforts. I mean, after having the Cree people at an annual GCCQ/CRA assembly call for conflict-of-interests guidelines, those being drafted and then consigned to a back room, one would have thought that such a thing would never come to pass.

Imagine opening up the books for public review. All Crees could find out what is being spent on negotiations and the extent of salaried officials collecting such things as negotiating fees, if there is double-dipping, triple-dipping and where’s the beef?

By that I mean everyone would be able to see at a glance exactly where Cree money is going. Another consideration is why would there be questions? Is something wrong at the top?

Of course it follows that this new open policy would extend to the communities themselves. Otherwise this would just be an exercise in threats and power-monger-ing among the leadership. I don’t think they would be so petty as to bring in someone from the outside if this were so.

It would also follow that if something were wrong up there then it would stretch all the way down tothe communities because the chiefs and Council/Board members are from the communities. They are

the ones who decided what happens with the disbursement of GCCQ/CRA monies.

I for one look forward to seeing the Auditor General’s report on the GCCQ/CRA if it comes to pass, and of course the reports on the communities.

But between you and me, some things never come to pass and this one may not as well.

The internal bickerings of the Council/ Board are always there. One community has consistently threatened to leave the GCCQ/CRA if the person didn’t get their way. This, of course, without backing or knowledge of the people from that community.

Personally I feel it is a waste of the Crees’ time and money to use these sorts of threats as a way to get what you want when logical arguments don’t suffice.

Let’s open it all up and let the people decide what they want. Then, of course, it would fall on the leadership to actually carry out mandates. We could start with the conflict-of-interest guidelines and work from there.

Then we could count on a regular auditor’s report and not have to ask for the Auditor General to come in. Such a request shows that the present system in place is not in the interests of the Cree Nation, as a whole, and its continued journey towards true Cree self-government.

The reality is becoming more and more clear that a regional government is needed to fulfill the needs,mandates and expectations of the Cree people.