British Columbia

Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht should resign, band councillor says

Some members of a tiny Coquitlam-area First Nation want their chief to resign after damning financial disclosures were published this week.

'We're a national embarrassment right now,' says councillor calling for chief's resignation

Kwikwetlem band members outraged over revelation that chief was compensated over $1M last year 2:18

Some members of a tiny Coquitlam-area First Nation want their chief to resign after damning financial disclosures were published this week.

In filings published under the new First Nations Financial Transparency Act, Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht disclosed he earned an $800,000 bonus last year on top of his salary.

Marvin Joe, who has been head of the 81-member First Nation in the past, says the revelation of that extra compensation has deeply angered many of the band's members.

People wait outside the Kwikwetlem First Nation's administration building on August 2, 2014. Band members and councillors say they want answers after financial filings revealed the chief made close to $1-million last year. (CBC)

"Everybody, even to this point right now, is still infuriated. It's that bad," he told CBC News Friday afternoon.

"We're a national embarrassment right now. Everybody in Canada knows this. Every First Nation knows this. The taxpayers are irate and I don't blame them," Joe said.

In a written statement, Giesbrecht said his contract as the band's chief economic development officer included a bonus, which came to $800,000 because of an $8-million land deal.

But Joe, who is currently serving as a Kwikwetlem band councillor, says he can't understand how anyone could have signed off on what amounts to an almost million-dollar payout to the current chief.

Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation was paid $914,219 in remuneration last year for his role as chief and economic development officer. (Facebook)

"No one member gets that kind of money. There's no way that the band would have approved it — not the membership."

Joe says band members want answers from Giesbrecht, as well as his resignation.

"We weren't aware of this. We do not and would not have approved of it," he said. "It just makes us look so bad."

CBC News could not reach Giesbrecht for comment Friday.

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor