County of Wetaskiwin council balks at $5,000 aboriginal course

Councilors concerned about $800 per person charge for certain courses

County of Wetaskiwin council discussed attending a native cultural awareness course during their general meeting Nov. 6.

The issue was presented to councilors by CAO Rod Hawken. “On October 17th, 2018 an email was received from Clayton Desjarlais, Mawandonan Consulting advising he is hosting a two-day workshop on November 28-29, 2018 at the Wingate Inn, Fireside Restaurant Meeting Room (in) Edmonton.

“The November 28th, 2018 session will be on ‘Consulting and Engaging Aboriginal People’ and the registration fee is $450 plus GST.

“The November 29th, 2018 session will be on ‘Negotiating a Consultation Agreement’ and the registration fee is $800 plus GST. Both sessions start 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and have a registration deadline date of November 23rd, 2018.”

Hawken has taken courses with Desjarlais before and recommends them. “Mawandonan Consulting has helped many organizations understand the dynamics of creating a good working relationships with the Aboriginal communities, understanding the Aboriginal culture, and engagement strategies by using a combination of informative transference and interactive dialogue,” stated the agenda memo.

“Rod Hawken, CAO participated in the ‘Consulting and Engaging Aboriginal People’ workshop hosted by Mr. Desjarlais earlier in the year and recommended attendance at the November 28th, 2018 session that was very informative and provided an excellent history of First Nations.”

Hawken noted during the meeting that the County of Wetaskiwin has applied for a blanket ceremony.

He expanded on Desjarlais’s programs. He said the one session gives an understanding on how things progress from day 1.

Councilor Josh Bishop said he supports consultation with First Nations, but said the courses are very expensive; if all councilors attended the second course, the registration would exceed $5,000 just for County of Wetaskiwin councilors for one day.

Councilor Bill Krahn noted he is familiar with a First Nations person who is very knowledgeable about their history and culture. He suggested contacting this person before the municipality commits thousands of dollars.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers echoed Bishop’s concerns, stating she wouldn’t support attending a workshop that cost the taxpayers over $5,000.

Councilor Ken Adair suggested contacting Desjarlais to see if he could present the course in Wetaskiwin to reduce costs.

Councilors elected to accept the report for information only.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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