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.
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.