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Kwikwetlem chief adamant he won't resign 0

By Ada Slivinski, QMI Agency Vancouver

Kwikwetlem First Nation. (TWITTER)

Kwikwetlem First Nation. (TWITTER)

Kwikwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht — who made close to a million dollars last year in his role as both chief and economic development officer of the First Nation — said he will not resign.

Last week, several members of the band held a press conference calling for Giesbrecht to step down after his $914,219 salary was made public under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, which required all band financial statements to be posted online.

In a Thursday press release, Giesbrecht said he has spent the week talking to band members and now has their support to stay on as chief.

“I am pleased to have support of majority of membership,” said Giesbrecht.

However, he said that he is surprised at the economic success of the nation and, as a result, changes are being made to prevent future political leaders from benefiting the way he did.

“We know that as Kwikwetlem’s economic development opportunities continue, it is important to separate the business from the politics and day-to-day running of our nation,” said Giesbrecht. “To do this, we are approaching the end of a process of setting up a separate economic development company. This will have an independent board of directors.”

Giesbrecht is responsible for a band of 82 people, only half of whom live on the reserve. His tax-free income is almost triple that of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He has refused to comment on whether he will return any of his salary to the band.

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