This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
A week after being found to be the highest-paid elected official in Canada, Kwikwetlem First Nation Chief Ron Giesbrecht stressed that in his first official statement that he is actually “one of the lowest paid Chiefs in the country.” Although it is true that Mr. Giesbrecht earned only $4,800 as chief of the 82-member Metro Vancouver nation, he also received an $800,000 bonus in 2013-14.
The hefty $800,000 bonus was bestowed due to his service as the band’s economic development officer, i.e. a job that paid him $80,000 a year and a 10% cut of all new “capital projects and business opportunities.” Consequently, Giesbrecht received 10% of an unspecified $8-million deal with the B.C. government. Surprisingly enough, Kwikwetlem members or even Kwikwetlem band councillors were not aware of the deal until last week. Giesbrecht opposed all calls that asked him to step down and professed that the sum came as a surprise to him, too. Mr. Giesbrecht stated that “I did not expect our nation to be as successful as it was, and it means that Kwikwetlem First Nation is in a better position than it has ever been before,” adding that the “bonus structure” had been removed from the job contract last April.
Several Kwikwetlem members convened outside the band office last Friday to call for an independent audit and demand Mr. Giesbrecht’s immediate resignation. However, Mr. Giesbrecht mentioned on Thursday that only four members had requested his resignation and that he retained the support of the “majority of membership.”