Debates of the Senate  
3rd Session, 40th Parliament,Volume 147, Issue 47.
  Wednesday, July 7, 2010
2010 Aboriginal Governance Index
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize and honour the Ochapowace First Nation of Saskatchewan, as they top the list of the fourth annual Aboriginal Governance Index conducted by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. The Ochapowace First Nation achieved a score of 77.2 per cent, besting a total of 78 Prairie First Nations that participated in the study.

Joseph Quesnel, the policy analyst who conducted the index, stated that the Ochapowace First Nation earned the top distinction due to their outstanding band leadership, which made specific goals for the community. The vision of the band leadership and the community was to double the per capita income on reserve by 2014 and they are making considerable strides toward achieving this goal.

The Ochapowace First Nation is located outside of Broadview in eastern Saskatchewan, and has a membership of 1,382. Of the top 10 First Nations, eight were from Saskatchewan: Muscowpetung First Nation; Saulteaux First Nation; Wahpeton Dakota Nation; Little Pine First Nation; Yellow Quill First Nation; Carry the Kettle First Nation; and Mosquito, Grizzly Bear's Head, Lean Man First Nation.

The index rates First Nations on elections, administration, human rights, transparency and the economy to determine what constitutes good governance. First Nations from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba participated in the study. Across the three provinces, theFrontier Centre for Public Policy indicated that overall, there is a significant continuation in the confidence in election systems. This is a significant improvement over previous years.

The index report also went on to stress that more First Nations members trust their election systems. There is greater confidence that the elections are fair and that their votes are being counted. The index is an ambitious project that promotes accountability, transparency and the dissemination of best practices by evaluating the quality of governance institutions in Prairie First Nations.

The index relies on opinion surveys to gather residents' perceptions of their band's government and ranks each participating band on the basis of these surveys. This year's project used approximately 5,000 surveys to evaluate 78 bands spread across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Honourable senators, I hope you will join me in congratulating and recognizing the Ochapowace First Nation and the other Saskatchewan First Nations that placed in the top 10 with respect to good governance.