Aboriginal Affairs decries severance pay for chief guilty of sexual assault

Aboriginal Affairs Canada is criticizing severance being paid out to a Saskatchewan First Nation chief convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

CARLYLE, Sask. — Aboriginal Affairs Canada is criticizing severance being paid out to a Saskatchewan First Nation chief convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Terry McArthur of the Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation was sentenced last week to nine months in jail after pleading guilty to inappropriately touching a 16-year-old girl.

McArthur has resigned and will be paid for the remainder of his term plus severance — nearly $48,000.

“Terrance McArthur does not deserve severance pay of any amount, and the idea of severance for a convicted child sex offender is reprehensible,” Erica Meekes, press secretary for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said in an email Tuesday.

“We strongly urge (the band) council to modify their policies and take back the severance pay.”

Officials at the First Nation were not available for comment.

The band council said in a news release Monday that it had agreed to pay McArthur $47,625.

The terms and conditions outlined in the release said McArthur and his family “have been threatened and attacked if he does not resign immediately.”

It also said some of the band members “have viciously slandered” the chief in the media.

“Whereas, Chief Terrance McArthur has been slandered it is now difficult for him to carry out his public duties,” said the release.

Word of the severance bothered several organizations.

Abby Ulmer, a councillor at the Regina Sexual Assault Centre, said a guilty plea saves the victim from having to testify. But the idea of severance sends a strange message.

“I know that people often would see that as a totally separate issue, that because he was chief he’s entitled to severance or this, that or the other thing. But I just think it really sends a confusing message to people, almost like ‘OK, I’ve pleaded guilty to this, but meanwhile I’m going to get a large payout.’

“That just, I think, is very confusing to people because it sounds like even after all this has gone on that he gets a large prize as it were.”

Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation called the severance “pretty absurd,” but not surprising.

He said members of the First Nation are probably upset by the payout, which could come from taxpayers or band-owned businesses.

“We always stress that there’s lots of good communities out there where this type of thing isn’t happening, but certainly when you hear of someone getting a $47,000 severance payment to go and sit in jail, it just makes no sense whatsoever,” Craig said from Winnipeg.

McArthur had refused repeated demands from community members to step down as chief after he pleaded guilty in May.

The chief submitted his resignation July 30, but councillor Gaylene McArthur, who is not related, has said the band held off announcing his resignation on the advice of legal counsel.

McArthur’s lawyer has filed an appeal of the sentence.

— By Jennifer Graham in Regina

Just Posted

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Sylvan Lake council passes 2019 budget

Tax rate increase of 2.74 per cent set for this year

Big-time entertainers to perform in Red Deer during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Musicans announced include Strumbellas, k-os, Brett Kissel

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Bus singer gives voice to Venezuela’s growing diaspora

LIMA, Peru — A year ago, Venezuelan migrant Reymar Perdomo was singing… Continue reading

Most Read