The Nisga’a Lisims Government is seeking a gag order against its internet technology manager, Andre Cardinal, and says the executive has authorized an independent investigation into the caustic allegations he levelled against senior staff earlier this month.
“The integrity of NLG and its employees have been compromised,” wrote NLG President Eva Clayton in a communique to members of the northern B.C. nation May 25. “Because the integrity of the Nisga’a Nation is in question, and on advice from the Council of Elders to conduct a thorough independent investigation, the NLG Executive unanimously passed a motion to take a special committee to oversee the investigation by an independent investigator with no ties to NLG.”
It’s alleged that Cardinal photographed financial documents from the desk of NLG chief financial officer Terry Holt and copied sensitive emails from other staff through a fake email account. In a lengthy message emailed to members of the Nisga’a Nation, Cardinal also made “malicious” accusations against the NLG and its senior employees “that strike at the heart of our community and our government,” according to a previous May 17 communique from Clayton.
Clayton asked members to delete the message and refrain from speculating on the allegations.
The NLG is not releasing the content of Cardinal’s message and is asking the BC Supreme Court to seal an affidavit in which the message can be read.
Cardinal has been placed on administrative leave while the NLG is also seeking an injunction from the BC Supreme Court to stop him from revealing further information.
The court actions however are not keeping Cardinal quiet. On Facebook Thursday, in what he said is the first of several short articles to come, he alluded to significant power imbalances and nepotism impacting the nation’s democracy in a post explaining the structure and hierarchy of the Nisga’a Lisims Government.
“I want to educate my Nisga’a friends on how their system of government works, its power structure, and how it can be co-opted, robbing the average citizen of participation,” he wrote.
“My personal view of these new treaty systems of government, is that it is preventing Indigenous peoples from thriving on their own lands, because a lack of true transparency and accountability which is the corner stone of a truly functioning democracy.”
None of Cardinal’s accusations have been proven in court.
The Nisga’a Treaty, signed in 1998, is celebrated as B.C.’s first modern day treaty. It went into effect in 2000, giving the new nation autonomy from the federal government and control over their land and resources.