website launched website launched

Postby Oscar » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:54 pm website launched

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Eight Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner Review Reports critical of Pinehouse Village administration’s lack of transparency; Situation spurs group to launch new website.

FOR RELEASE: June 19, 2016

Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner cites Village for non-compliance

Saskatoon, Sask.—On June 6 and 10, 2016, Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ronald J. Kruzeniski, Q.C., issued eight (8) separate review reports taking the Northern Village of Pinehouse to task for failing to comply with the provincial Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LA FOIP). He has given the Village 30 days to take corrective action or the matter will be referred to the Ministry of Justice (see attached).

Beginning in November 2015, a series of Access to Information requests was submitted to the Northern Village of Pinehouse on a range of issues. Several of them relate to the Village-owned business development corporation, Pinehouse Business North (PBN):
•Two requests for information and supporting documentation about the salary and travel expenses of one Village councilor and two of its employees. (Partial documentation has been provided about the Village councilor.) Review Report 098-2016 [ ... 8-2016.pdf ] and 106-2016 [ ... 6-2016.pdf ].

•Request for PBN Development and PBN Limited Partnership audited financial statements for 2013 and 2014; and quarterly reports for 2015. Review Report 110-2016. [ ... 0-2016.pdf ]

•Request for documentation approving PBN’s not creating audited financial statements for three successive fiscal years, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Review Report 039-2016. [ ... 9-2016.pdf ]

•Request for information about remuneration and travel expenses for the PBN board of directors, 2009-2014. Review Report 036-2016. [ ... 6-2016.pdf ]

•Request for documents authorizing PBN to sponsor the Saskatchewan Party Youth convention in November 2014. Review Report 040-2016. [ ... 0-2016.pdf ]

•Request for documentation to explain a discrepancy of over $3 million between the net income reported for PBN in PBN’s and the Village’s financial statements for 2012. Review Report 056-2016. [ ... 6-2016.pdf ]

•Request for a copy of the Village’s Records Retention and Disposal Schedule and all approvals for destruction of documents according to that Schedule. Review Report 037-2016. [ ... 7-2016.pdf ]

All but one of these requests was denied or ignored by the Pinehouse Village administration, despite the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner actively urging compliance. website launched to share many previously inaccessible public documents

As a result of this stonewalling on the part of the Village administration, the individuals who submitted the series of Access to Information requests have decided to launch the website [ ] . That web site goes live today. Their intent is to share documents previously obtained from the Village, which are not generally accessible to the public. Many of these were obtained as a result of Briarpatch magazine filing a civil law suit against the Village in 2014. [ ... 83889.html ]

“Problems with public accountability and transparency in the Village seem to have begun when the Village leadership started formal negotiations with the uranium and nuclear industry in 2010,” says D’Arcy Hande, spokesperson for the group.

Documents posted on the website show various facets of the secret dealings with the Nuclear Waste Management Corporation [ ... 2010-2013/ ] to locate a nuclear waste depository in the community, and with the Cameco and Areva uranium mining companies to enter into a Collaboration Agreement [ ... agreement/ ] with the Village and Kineepik Metis Local Inc. Millions of dollars have subsequently come in to the community, but many residents question just how that money has been allocated and who really is getting the benefit.

The group plans to share what documents it has already obtained in an attempt to expose administrative irregularities and to explain the difficulties getting access to the public documents that would make municipal administration in Pinehouse more transparent and accountable.

“With millions of dollars at stake, and the Village administration denying or refusing access to public documents, it makes us wonder if records have been mishandled or possibly even destroyed without proper authorization and accountability,” Hande said. “People witnessed Village records being destroyed in burning barrels outside the Village office last summer. Was that done according to proper procedures? We just don’t know.”


Pinehouse Business North

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Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner
[ ... missioner/ ]

Village of Pinehouse
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[ ]
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Re: website launched

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:13 pm

Pinehouse mayor says village has nothing to hide

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Written by Manfred Joehnck Friday, 23 June 2017 11:08

Mayor Mike Natomagan at a New North meeting on June 22. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

The mayor of the northern Saskatchewan community of Pinehouse says the community has nothing to hide about its finances.

Mike Natomagan was somewhat surprised and perplexed to learn the province’s privacy commissioner cited the community seven times in his latest report for failing to even respond to freedom of information requests from his office.

Natomagan says he has a limited staff, and it was impossible to meet the complex requests for information within a short period of time. He says there is nothing to hide, and he can’t understand why the community of 1,500 seems to be a target.

Natomagan says the village holds two public meetings a year, where residents can look at the books. He adds there are many more important issues to deal with, including crime and building a local economy.

"The whole community is trying to do something positive," he said. "We are moving up, we are creating our independence to do our own thing, now it’s wrong."

A number of the information requests asked for the finances of the village’s business development corporation, Pinehouse Business North.

The mayor says that information is confidential for competitive reasons. He says he has a legal opinion to back that up.

One of those trying to get that information is freelance journalist, D’Arcy Hande. He lives in Saskatoon, but says there are residents of the community that also want to know what’s going on.

"We know there is weird stuff going on," he said. "But we can’t get documents to substantiate it."

Hande represents a group called, a group Mayor Natomagan has no use for.
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Re: website launched

Postby Oscar » Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:31 am

Pinehouse could be bracing for Ministerial investigation

[ ... estigation ]

by Fraser Needham | Dec 7, 2018

(PHOTO: Mayor Mike Natomagan. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.)

A Saskatoon man says he can’t understand why the government continues to drag its feet on conducting a formal investigation into a small northern community for repeated non compliance with freedom of information requests.

Over the years, D’Arcy Hande has made a number of Access to Information requests to the Village of Pinehouse but with little success.

He has also filed a number of complaints with Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner who has often agreed saying the northern village has not met its legal obligations to provide the public with proper access to its municipal affairs.

In a scathing report released Nov. 19, Information and Privacy Commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski says key members of the Pinehouse municipal government have been actively obstructing access to information requests for years and the government needs to conduct an investigation.

However, now almost three weeks later, Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding still won’t commit to such an investigation in spite of very clear direction from Kruzeniski.

In a Dec. 6 letter to Hande, Kaeding writes he is still in the process of meeting with the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the province has not made a final decision as to what it will do.

Hande says he is starting to believe there may larger forces at play amidst all the delays and feet dragging by the government.

He says it is no secret key members of the Pinehouse municipal government have strong ties to the Saskatchewan Party and he believes someone within government may be helping the northern village prepare for an investigation and this is why Kaeding is trying to buy more time.

“The way the provincial ministry keeps dragging its feet and the way the village administration has responded, the appearance is that the village leadership is being coached by somebody in government, or on behalf of the government, as to how to respond.”

Members of the Pinehouse leadership have been active supporters of the Sask. Party over the years.

MORE: . . . . . .
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Re: website launched

Postby Oscar » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:48 pm

Minister Orders Inspection Of Northern Village Of Pinehouse

[ ... inspection ]

Released on December 10, 2018

Today, Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding responded to concerns raised about the Northern Village of Pinehouse by announcing an immediate inspection of that municipality.

“All citizens of this great province deserve municipal governments that are open, transparent, and meeting the needs of the community represented by their locally-elected councils,” Kaeding said. “After great consideration, I am ordering an independent inspection of the Northern Village of Pinehouse.”

The inspection will focus on the Northern Village of Pinehouse’s practices related to Saskatchewan’s Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (LAFOIP); undertake an overview of the village’s general operations and business activities; and provide a high-level summary of the village’s financial situation and obligations.

Neil Robertson, a lawyer with more than 36 years of experience in municipal law and working with the public sector, will lead the inspection.

Following the inspection, a report will be compiled and delivered to the Minister of Government Relations, and the local council.

That report is expected to be delivered by Friday, March 15, 2019. -30-

For more information, contact:

Dan Palmer
Government Relations
Phone: 306-787-7151
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