Attawapiskat chief denies accepting Government-appointed manager

Spence contradicts statement released by Aboriginal Affairs minister


The office of the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs issued a statement Sunday wrongfully declaring that the chief of the troubled Attawapiskat First Nation had accepted the government’s imposition of a third-party manager to oversee the community’s expenses. “That’s a lie,” Chief Theresa Spence reportedly told the producer of CTV’s Question Period on Sunday when asked about the statement. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan then appeared on the show suggesting the information his office had released was correct. “The first nation is working with the third-party manager. The third-party manager’s in place. It’s been in, he’s been in place for some time now,” Duncan was quoted as saying in The Globe and Mail. The minister’s statement on Sunday also detailed how the government has pledged to send 22 modular homes to the community of 1,800—seven more than originally promised. The imposition of a third-party manager—who is being paid $1,300-a-day—has been roundly rejected by Attawapiskat’s leadership. Spence wrote in an open letter later on Sunday that “this continued insistence of Third Party Management is causing yet another crisis in our community.” She pointed to the interruption of the band’s cash flow as a major reason for her rejection of the government’s third-party manager.

The Globe and Mail

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Attawapiskat chief denies accepting Government-appointed manager

  1. $90 million in 5 years, where did it go?

  2. Accountability?  That’s unacceptable!  Just keep throwing more money at us.  I know it hasn’t worked in the past, but try throwing even more money.

  3. The white man screwed the indians for 300 years, now Indian councils screw their own. Shame to those that do not take the responsibility to protect their own

  4. The thing that ticks me off is they say 90 million went there, 50k to every man, woman and child, when this is total crap, proposals are sent out to receive government funding, this funding HAS to be spent on said proposed projects, if not then they owe the money back to the government, in the equivalent, then yes it may have been enough to give every one 50k each but that never happened nor was it intended to, it goes to education, payroll, health etc. etc.and yes housing, but it also doesnt give the people of attawapiskat the right to destroy these houses. I live on a reserve and housing is an issue, but not this bad primarily because many are self taught carpenters, if something is broken fix it before it makes the issue worse

  5. The Financial statements for the Band are available online and they tell the story in black and white. This Band is for all intents and purposes insolvent. They have negative cash flow, in fact their current liabilities exceed their current assets by about $2.5 million.

    The Chief and Council were aware of the “problem” but it would seem they waited until the onset of winter to garner sympathy for Members who live in unsuitable housing. Clearly this Chief and Council need “outside” help to straighten out the financial mess they have.

    Where was the NDP MP a year ago? He surely was not in tune with his constituents then, but is now attempting to make political points by blaming the Government. Typical.

    • Where was Angus (NDP MP) 3 years ago, right?

      Well, it turns out he was lobbying the Government to build a school for this community. A community that has been without a school building since 2000, a school that had been promised by 3 successive Ministers.

      But the Conservatives cancelled it, citing funding priorities. (They finally agreed to fund the school, which they announced in May of this year).

      Now, this band has been in co-management for 12 years — meaning that someone that the Government approved had to sign all the cheques. And the auditor general said that 3rd party management doesn’t seem to help.

      The chief declared an emergency at the end of October. Why did it take the news media and the Red Cross showing up to get the government to react, over a month later?
      That is the shameful thing here, and that IS the Government’s fault.

      • So the Chief declared an emergency at the end of October. Was the Council not aware in May or June that these “homes” would not be suitable the next winter?

        Is it the Governments’ fault that the Band is in a financial mess? This Band had an Operating Budget in excess of $30 million. $30 Million for a community with a population of less than 2000 people.

        Forget the politics and follow the money!

        •  $30Mil for 2000 people … that’s $15K per person.
          It costs about $6K/person for health care in Canada. In Ontario, the average amount spent per Student is $11K/year.

          While it’s clear that there was poor planning, or even mismanagement by the band council, they admitted they made a mistake and declared an emergency. The government made a mistake by not responding right away — fine — but instead of admitting it didn’t react fast enough, it tried to deflect by implying the band mismanaged money.

          I think there is clear mismanagement on both the Government and the Band’s part.

      • Just like my household. My co-manager is my spouse and how unbiased is he?

        • Did your bank have to  approve of your spouse before it let him examine every cheque? Does your bank get to change the co-manager if they aren’t happy with your spouse?

          I would say your spouse isn’t unbiased — but that says nothing about integrity or financial responsibility. If the government is approving people it thinks lack in these areas as co-manager, then that in itself is an issue.
          And if they there was a problem, why didn’t they replace the co-manager?

          Now, I’m not saying we should give the band management a skate here, but neither should we do that for the government. There is issues on all sides on the financial side.

          The thing that made me made was no matter whose fault it is, we needed the humanitarian issue addressed. That’s in progress now, and once people are warm, let the finger pointing begin.

          • We cannot accept innocent children being raised in such squalor and to go hungry and be cold.
            I don’t know if the co-manager was known to the Chief before his appointment or not. If he entered into the relationship after his appointment then either he or the Chief did owe a responsibilty to the taxpayers of Canada to notify the Gov’t Department of the ‘conflict of interest”
            There is enough guilt etc. to share with the Natives,Gov’t and Angus.

  6. As a veteran I served in Korea with many young natives guys who proved their worth at every chance. When they returned they were still refused the vote and entering drinking establishments. Then instead of some real soul searching by consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments we attached a name to them “First Nations” .600 plus tribes suddenly became “first” in our country. First is tops give us hand outs for ever .We are like royalty we can demand and the taxpayers will continue to shell out. If we other Canadians live in a depressed area like Newfoundland was at the time we  had to take the bull by the horns to support our family and go work in the oil fields in Alberta. If we are like poor white farmers in Saskatchewan we  have to move our families to B.C and work in mines and Forests. Not the First Nations the government will provide us with housing and welfare.When we gave them their pride back we failed to follow up with what we expect from our citizens. We failed to tell those who were doing extremely well that they might try and provide for their fellow first nations by at least offering some financial help and advice. We now have a segment of our society who expect to be spoon fed from the womb to the tomb. It is time we gave them their pride back with a little tough love.  If they have to move out of their home reserves and get educated to provide for the families so be it..time for a new approach.   The Indian Act and all that goes with it must be replaced. first lets get rid of this first nations designation and just call them what they are Canadians First..   

    • Nah, that doesn’t jive with the special rights for special folks theme that’s all the rage these days. Much of my ancestry is Metis/Cree, but I fail to see how that entitles me to anything. It shouldn’t, and in fact doesn’t, as I am not Treaty 8. I’ve never spent a second worrying about it. By my own observations, up close, it seems that treaty rights affect one in ways that are seldom positive. 

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