Documentary: Phyllis and the Chief

It isn't popularity Phyllis Sutherland is after, it's accountability from band leaders.   Photo: Fred Chartrand, CP

It isn't popularity Phyllis Sutherland is after, it's accountability from band leaders. Photo: Fred Chartrand, CP

Listen

Its proper name is the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.  

Bill C-27 became law in March. Some, including the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, heralded it as a good tool to shine a light on First Nations spending.
GlennHudsonCBC200.jpg
The new law requires that First Nations publish financial audits online, including the salaries and travel expenses of all chiefs and councillors; that, plus all the financial details of any business - casino, golf course, or gas station - that the band might run. 

It's the latest piece of legislation that, in the eyes of First Nations, chips away at their autonomy. And more importantly, does it without consultation. 

One of those in favour of the law, was whistle-blower Phyllis Sutherland of the Peguis Band in Manitoba. 

Some see Sutherland as a brave woman with the courage to break ranks, and put issues of overspending and mismanagement on the table. To others, she is a traitor to the First Nations cause, and a political pawn of its enemies.  

Karin Wells's documentary, Phyllis and the Chief, follows Phyllis Sutherland from Parliament Hill, and her testimony before the Standing House Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, to the political standoff on the Peguis reserve, 2 hours north of Winnipeg, where she lives.

This documentary originally aired in in February.

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.