Build a hotel and a business park
His story is worth telling. He took over as chief of the southern Saskatchewan band in 1991, when he was only 23 years old. The band’s books were in bad shape, and his people were on the brink of third-party management. Two decades later, the Whitecap Dakota are in the black. Bear spoke of plans to build a hotel and a business park. His band even operates a golf course. Bear earns a tidy sum, as do the band’s two elected councillors. “We have been able to generate a lot of our own-source revenues, so we can top up salaries and make sure we can be competitive,” he told the aboriginal affairs committee.
Bear said he’s happy to disclose his own salary, and pointed out that he has no say in his own paycheque. “We actually have a chief and council compensation commission in our community that’s made up of our membership,” he says. “They set our salaries; we don’t set our salaries.” Fast forward two years, and now we all know Bear’s salary last year: $129,519, plus $14,860 in benefits. We also know that his two councillors, Frank Royal and Dwayne Eagle, each took home $102,473 (plus benefits).
That’s the story of one band among more than 500 that have sent their books to Ottawa. My colleague, John Geddes, wrote about what it means that every Canadian knows the salary of every chief in the country—and what the numbers really tell us. Here, you can browse the full database of chiefs’ earnings. We list base salary as well as total remuneration, which takes into account additional income, benefits and expenses.* The database is also searchable and sortable.