Glooscap residents take on overpaid band council

After learning their band chief and councillors make more than Nova Scotia's premier, residents of the Glooscap First Nation are taking action.

Residents of the Glooscap First Nation are taking action, after learning their band chief and councillors make more than Nova Scotia's premier.

A second petition was being circulated on the reserve Friday, near Hantsport, N.S., requesting a special meeting with band politicians over the hefty salaries they are being paid.

A first petition attempt was thrown out after one of the councillors claimed at least one woman had been coerced into signing.

Sherie Francis, one of the residents behind the effort, says that claim is false.

"We're living in a dictatorship if they're not going to follow their own rules and their own laws.  I don't know how to force them.  I would assume the politicians are supposed to do what you've asked of them," Francis said.

It was revealed this week, Chief Shirley Clarke earned nearly $250,000 in 2008 and 2009. One councillor took in $978,000, two others earned more than $200,000.

The band has a population of 304.

CBC News approached Coun. Michael Halliday for an interview Friday. He had numerous vehicles on his property, including a limo. He threatened to have the reporter removed by police.

Clarke was not home Friday and did not return calls from the CBC.

Residents say the salary revelation is difficult to take when there are people living on the reserve who are collecting welfare and struggling to get by day to day.

"Why does one person deserve so much money in a small community where everybody is trying to get money?," questioned Donnie Wilson. "You know everybody's poor up here. Why does one person have a million dollar ranch that they own?"

Francis claims Halliday threatened to fire her from her job at a band-operated store if she continued to talk to the media.

"My kids should not believe that this is OK for anyone who is in power gets to do whatever they want and there's nothing they can do about it. And I can't stand by that and let my children think that that is what happens," said Francis.

She plans on delivering the petition as soon as she gets enough signatures. This time she said it will be hand-delivered to the band chief.