43 days and for what? Theresa Spence and the status quo

The chief’s approach cheapened the Idle No More movement, writes Martin Patriquin


Fred Chartrand/CP

So Theresa Spence has decided to ingest solid foods once again, thus ending a six-week “hunger strike” that began as anything but and ended in the manner of far too many vanity projects: dragged out past its prime, with Spence struggling to keep the focus on her, her demands, her narrative. She surely didn’t do this purely out of vanity. After all, the more we talk about Spence’s supposed sacrifices over the past 43 days, the less likely we are to remember her various over-indulgences over the past six years. To wit: a litany of questionable finances under her leadership, brand new houses sitting idle in the midst of a housing crisis, a dictator’s instinct and ability to remove pesky reporters from her reserveand a not insignificant number within her own community wishing she would just cut it out.

But her liquid-only fast didn’t just cheapen the legitimacy of some of her demands; it cheapened the movement with which she was most associated. Idle No More was started as a grassroots, largely leaderless campaign that sprung from the Conservative government’s omnibus approach to legislating changes to environmental laws. To be sure, Spence’s 13-point declaration—which, in a galling bit of egoism, thanks Spence’s own “self-sacrifice and spiritual courage”—calls for the undoing of these omnibus bills. The declaration also demands “Nation-to-Nation” negotiations on treaties, as well as resource revenue sharing and the implementation of a “National Public Commission of Inquiry on Violence Against Indigenous Women of all ages.”

Noble goals, all. Yet there was a convenient omission from the list of Spence’s kitchen-sink demands. The Idle No More movement wasn’t just about hoisting a middle finger at the Conservative government; that same finger was to be pointed, as the Globe’s Joe Friesen recently pointed out, at “the traditional First Nations leadership—the chiefs and band council system‚ which is often described as male-dominated.” It’s not hard to see why, say, a comprehensive look at the band council system wasn’t number 14 on Spence’s list. Part of the Idle No More movement is an attack on the status quo and, having been in various governmental positions for most of her career, Spence is very much the status quo.

What have we seen of Idle No More with Spence as its de facto face? A meeting with Stephen Harper bookended by infighting amongst various chiefs, an aggressive power struggle within the AFN, and the constant will-she-or-won’t-she question of Spence’s own continuing hunger strike.

In short, a dance of the aboriginal government status quo, rather than a challenge to it. Pity.


43 days and for what? Theresa Spence and the status quo

  1. Theresa Spence is the definition of a narcissist.

    • The Indian Act should be repealed, the asian influence in the Americas was predated by European influence;

      In 1998 Dr. Michael Brown and colleagues found
      European/Caucasoid mitochondrial DNA markers in Indian tribes, mainly
      concentrated in the Great Lakes region of North America. Mitochondrial
      DNA allows researchers to determine dates that the groups mixed with
      each other. What they found was that European/Caucasoid DNA made it to
      the Americas between 12,000 and 36,000 years ago. Additionally,
      researchers investigating Human Lymphocyte Antigen (HLA’s) have found
      these markers in Peruvian Paracas Mummies, and American Indians in
      Northeastern America. These markers are now understrood to have arrived
      in the Americas “in antiquity.”

      • Theresa Spence herself has Caucasian lineage as do most North American Status Indians, some have quite a lot. If we all married Status Indians and kept the chain going in a few generations we’d all be status Indians.

        • hahaha not really. If you knew the system very well then you wouldn’t have said that. I’m guessing your white lmao. If you married a status man or women.. Kim can be a girls and guys name? Anyway his name or her.. w.e. was on the birth certificate your kid would be half status. Know the facts before you open your mouth.

  2. Always trust the good judgement of Canadians. Thinking people knew from the beginning that Spence was a fraud—even on this site the only poster supporting Spence`s actions was the constant troll whose motives and sound mind are questionable.

    So if there is limited public support for this latest attempt by Natives to bring positive attention to their condition, what can they do next time to get support ?

    —if a hunger strike is to be part of the protest, try to find someone less than 200 pounds.

    —start the protest in the Spring—we might have global warming, but it`s still cold like crazy in a teepee on an island in the Ottawa river.

    —choose a credible Native leader to be the media darling—-there`s many successful competent Chiefs out there who are actually helping their people.

    —tell the visiting Chiefs to leave their egos and headdress at home. We know you are like us—you eat at MacDonalds, like to golf, and have no intention of invading your neighbour`s camp. And get united. Atleo is a good man. Let him work with Harper.

    • Good post Andrew.

      You say that `even on this site the only poster supporting Spence`s actions was the constant troll whose motives and sound mind are questionable.`

      I agree with that and add to that by changing `troll`in to `trolls`as there were a few.

      And yes, the more troll support Chief Spence received, the more ludicrous and unreasonable her demands and behaviour became. Much better to leave such ridiculous behaviours for what they are – unanswered.

      It seems to me that a lot of the comment boards in action lately have been flooded with downright silly posts and remarks. Hundreds and hundreds of unreasonable postings are doing the rounds on comment boards these days. And I have noticed that as soon as such silly postings get a response out of reasonable people, such silly postings will only increase.

      It seems therefore wise to me, and perhaps to you as well, that it would be best to give those silly mindless postings no response at all. Let them be for what they are. And hopefully, sooner rather than later, such silly postings will then become isolated and to be laughed at rather than become part of the conversation at large.

      Just an idea which might work if we all have the same intent at heart, namely to be more serious within these discussions.

      • Oh please please… I completely give you permission not to reply to or read any of my posts. Your inability to self assess is simply astonishing.

        • Didn`t know you considered yourself to be one of the silly trolls. Your opinions are strange at times but not troll-like. :)

          • Don’t try to butter me up. I may not be impervious to flattery but i know obtuse when i read it.

          • Read your own posts do you

          • Ha Ha …i luv a guy who never fails to pass up the most obvious snark.

          • Do you have any idea how absolutely silly you come across? Troll this troll that! Grow up and just because someone doesn’t share the same opinions as you does not make them a troll.

          • I think people look silly when they respond without reading the postings in question.

            Please let me know where I have said that when someone doesn`t share the same opinions as mine that it makes them a troll………..

            And after you realize that I have never said such a thing, we could discuss the contents of my original post if you like to. I`m always interested what others have to say as long as something is being said.

        • They sound like plantation owners….you do not.

          • The plantation owners I know are all wishing they’d picked their own cotton.

      • I’m not being facetious, but I have been wondering for a while now, what is exactly a troll in the blogging world?

        • Someone who’s opinion you disagree with.

        • It refers to someone who replies simply to instigate a response for their own entertainment, and not to pass on any real information, opinion, or knowledge. And apparently they are very successful here!

    • Assumption being that idlenomore chose Spence or the other way round. Do you ever tire of getting it wrong? And who the hell are you to tell them to leave behind any of their cultural regalia? The arrogance of older white men like you never ceases to amaze. It is quite simply none of your business if they choose to turn up in a three piece suit or in war paint.

      • Who DID choose Spence? Or did she put herself there? I don’t know, do you?

        • I don’t understand your question. As far as i know she made the decision to go to Ottawa on hunger/ fast herself.

        • spence chose herself and the media followed like idle sheep……the thought that this “poor woman” was willing “to die for her people” was just so juicy for the lame media

      • It`s like you`re from another galaxy and find it impossible to comprehend the written word. I did not mention idle nor do I believe they will have any real influence or even be talked about in one year.

        My point was that the this latest attempt by Natives to get public support has been a complete failure and like Patriquin I believe that Spence is the main reason. I, like most Canadians would like to see all Natives improve their lot in life, and I agree with Francien above that Harper is determined to help.

        The bit about the headdress is more symbolic in the sense that I think that it is way past time that Natives moved beyond the old nostalgia and moved into the 21st century—what`s the past got them—locked up on a frozen Reserve abusing themselves with drugs and alcohol and coming out every few years to entertain the world at the Olympics.

        I say, drop the headdress, drop the attitude, drop the frozen protests, make a deal with Harper—It`s their best chance.

        If in 20 years we look back and see no progress on the living conditions of Natives it will not be on Harper`s conscience who wants to pull the people into the prosperity of the 21st century—it will be the fault of Rae and Martin and Justin and their supporters who seem determined to keep Natives back in the 17th century by simply shoveling more funds onto reserves to be misused by the likes of Spence.

        • well said

          • Yes it is well said by Andrew.

            My father who died @ 92 worked for Indian Affairs and told me over 40 years ago (late 60’s) that while the individual Indians were good people the Reservations and Indian Act would prevent the improvement of most of them and their living conditions would never really change because of the corruption and welfare (handouts).
            The fact is that my dad a good Trudeau Liberal saw the inner workings of the whole Indian System and saw how broken it was 40+ years ago.
            It is still broken and will be broken in 20+ years unless the Indian Act/Reservations are abandoned and the bands and tribes join Canada as Canadians working, paying taxes and going to school as other Canadians do.

        • Natives didn’t live in reserves, in the 17th century, nor did they get federal funding.

          Also: Why should Natives have to adopt our lifestyle, our economic system, our ways of dressing, etc.? That’s generally called imperialism. What you just expressed is the same ideology that spawned residential schools.

          I do agree, though, that it seems like Spence’s protest didn’t pan out the way she’d hoped, and I agree with the article. But the neo-colonialist BS in your post has got to go.

          • How`s that keeping their old lifestyle, their old economic system, and the handout system of existence been working out so far—not so good. Tons of funding gone to Native affairs and what do we have—desperate families living in squalor on frozen reserves.

            You accuse me of neo-colonialism, but I want the Native community to let go of the handout life—be an independent, prosperous part of the country. It is your thinking that will keep them locked up in abusive narrow Reserves, and the more handouts they receive the less independent they will be.

          • Hand out life styles!!!…we have been systematically pilfering their land claims and taking with out asking, and paying them in welfare and a few paltry jobs since the country came about.

          • I can’t afford Skidoos, 4x4s or a Caddy but I work and pay my way

          • Are you suggesting skidoos. 4x4s and Caddies are affordable on welfare? In most remote reserves up to 60+% of the population is out of work.

          • Who’s we?

          • I would have thought that was self evident.

          • Can you change history? They lived as a stone age society. Look around the world what happened elsewhere – Mexico, South America,Pacific Islands – where the conquerors were ruthless.People adjust, adapt, or perish.But never live side by side forever.You can call it imperialism or whatever, but in the end it is a progress.

          • Indeed. My ancestors were occupied by the Roman Empire. A ruthless bunch that made the British look like apple pie.

          • Exactly. And how about the Norman conquest? And not counting the Vikings, Saxons and who knows else.

          • Natives adopted the wheel, the clock, the dollar, the internal combustion engine, electricity, etc. just like all other Canadians. Even Chief Spence stayed in a hotel. If she wants to wear a head dress, no problemo. Just don’t be so self righteous about it.

          • JoeC;
            Natives HAVE adopted our economic system to the tune of $$billions of handouts per year!!
            I think we agree!!
            They can dress and live their life style on their own dime…that’s OK!

        • “So if there is limited public support for this latest attempt by Natives to bring positive attention to their condition, what can they do next time to get support ?”
          Perhaps your inability to say clearly what you mean is the problem? Following this statement you list off a bunch of insulting, patronizing conditions/suggestions for gaining public support. It is pretty clear to me you were connecting the dots between Spence and the wider Aboriginal community – which in this instance is idleomore. Don’t blame me for your lack of clarity. It inevitably leads to the kind of bizarre assumptions and conditions you place on another cultural group, and what constitutes acceptable behaviours before you are satisfied they are worth listening to.

          I say…i say…listen to yourself. You don’t have any say in the matter. You just can’t see that maybe you shouldn’t be telling them what to think, wear, protest or be at all, can you. News flash Andrew…we aren’t the Dominion of Canada any more. Matters of culture are simply not yours to define.

          • Oh I could be like you and Paul Martin and others and sit around and throw bull$hit around the campfire, then sign some flowery agreement, then continue to do the same things that has been keeping the Native population dependent for centuries now.

            And I really don`t care what kind of racist crap you throw my way. It is wrong to continue to foster the belief that simply pouring more money into Reserves will change anything. And really, if you guys are not going to be of any help with this problem, at least get out of the way.

          • Actually natives have been far less dependent then they are now, as little as 50 years ago. There was a lot more labour work around back then,[canneries and so forth] and believe it or not they like to work too.
            I didn’t throw any racist crap your way bud, you jumped into it with your size 15 boots.
            As for the Kelowna accord, i’ll post you some facts on it when i have the time. Reading is good for the mind they tell me.

          • I worked as a journalist on a reserve some years ago.
            There are many ambitious people there. Personal native friends include two lawyers, a high steel worker and a nurse among others. But there are too many young and old bucks sitting around just waiting for the next government handout so many of them can go out at night, get drunk, and raise a little hell.
            And the biggest number people coming before the courts in my community were off the reserve.
            Police find hundreds of stolen cars in the bush on reserves, stripped of parts for chop shops.
            Yes, we need to start somehow encouraging the young ones to stay in school. Perhaps if the government exercised more contol over how government grants were used, the needs of the majority on the reserves would be better met.

          • Yeah i agree. Education is the key. Lots of the kids on my reserve just hated being in school. I really think that the drying up of a lot of old time labour work for whatever reason has been a disaster for these guys.Any community anywhere is vulnerable to social ills and criminality under similar conditions. Our solution would be to move away. They don’t want to. It’s that simple.
            Up until sometime in the 80s almost all the population on our reserve was able to find work in the canneries or logging, or fishing directly. Then the technology changed, the companies let the canneries die and the community went into long tern decline. I don’t know what the answer to this is. I’m not against productivity gains per say, or the right for business to change, but it devastated those coastal communities. They received just about zero help in transitioning and of course the education level was generally low, but the talent level high. I can understand completely their desire to not be at the mercy of outside forcs to that degree again – which of course for them means control over or a big say in what happens to resources in their territory.

    • Spence was spending most of her time in a hotel, not her tent…a little like Occupy when their tents were empty at night. As for “media darling”, blame the stupid media for all their fawning…the rest of us were not impressed by that fraudster spence

      • Why were you there? how would you no what she was doing? all you are doing is spreading more bs rummer’s.

        • ‘rummers’ ???

        • Exactly, and this article is biased. it only showed one side of this story. Did the writer include quotes from Theresa Spence? No! If you look in to some pictures of the Idle No More, there is a boy holding a sign: Theresa Spence is my hero. Look at a different perspective, and then you will be able to see more things.

          • If that little boy considers Chief Spence his hero, he should probably set his sights a little higher.

    • Good Andrew;

      I live in Ottawa and I was there. The hotel is about a mile away and Chief spence went there everyday. Over the 35 or so days she lost little or no weight and the worst thing she has done has mis-represented and mis-appropriated 100’s $$millions of money meant for band members and all the children in Attawapiskat.

      Charges should be brought against her and her associates for stealing from her people and Canadian Taxpayers; wouldn’t any other Canadian be charged?

  3. So … the media wants a focus for their story templates … but not
    That focus , cuz it’s too, er, icky. But INM is cute and colourful but
    golly gee, it has no focus. It ain’t easy.

    • Yeah, well you know, they want a cute young bod in fringe leather and a thong….parkas aren’t glamourous…..but no feathers – looks too Tonto-ish….and most of all they should kiss-up to Harper….oh and good weather. You’d never know natives survived for thousands of years in cold weather.

  4. The PM did not give in to Chief Spence`s demands. Good for Canada and good for the Native community as well.

    The PM and the CPC government understand that not all Native communities have the same needs or demands. Therefore the implemented changes under the Harper government have been incremental because there could be no other way to move forward.

    Chief Spence and the INM movement do not want to acknowledge those facts. That it in itself will undermine the movement. The INM movement is trying to find an overarching solution befitting all Native peoples because the movement is in the understanding that all Native peoples have the same needs and demands. That is not the case.

    It is the PM who understands completely that the needs and demands vary so much. And it has been the CPC government which has taken the correct approach over the past years. If such would be acknowledged by the media, most of these Native problems could be solved.

    • Excellent post! You hit the nail on the head. That would explain why some are unhappy with bill C-38 and C-45. The government said they put in 5000 consultation hours, which resulted in those bills. I am sure the bands that sugested those things are happy

      • what the chiefs are really upset about is Bill C27, that requires them to open their books and show how the millions are being spent.

    • You really are a fool. It is precisely the other way around. The changes in the omnibus bills attempt to push a one size fits all model on FNs. The PM understands their needs so completely that he felt it necessary to bull doze not one but two bills through the house with little or no consultation even for Parliament, let alone FNs. You have outdone yourself this time FV. I should post this for you over at the #ildlenomore website, or on APTN, so they can all have a big belly laugh.

      • Please do. Please present my view whenever you are talking to either the INM participants or any other Native group or individual. You may find their reaction to my opinions to be telling.

        How do you think anything gets done on the Native file in this country………Do you really think that any government or any PM could find consensus amongst the Native peoples…….So what is a PM or government to do……..stop some Native communities from advancing because other Natives don`t see it the same way……………..

        There may be some ignorant Natives who will have a big belly laugh when reading this kind of post, while others like Pam Palmater may throw a hissy fit instead. But some Natives will agree with me, no matter how you think about it.

        • You still managed to miss my point entirely…hint it is about bills 38/45 and consultation.
          And no i have no problem with the PM advancing issues piece meal and as each FN is ready. That’ not where he seems to be going. The plan seems to be only to work with those FNs who are willing and able to sign on to his fee simple, private property solutions. Since all FNs are neither ready or willing to sign on there will be more fireworks to come if he continues to insist on his one size fits all, let’s get ahead plan.

          • What part of bills 38 or 45 are you talking about……“fee simple, private property solutions“ …………show me which part of 38 or 45 says that………

            Secondly: if you are referring to the leasing out of traditional lands to third party, then, no, PM Harper is not telling anyone to fit on one size. In fact, it is entirely up to the Native communities themselves. Now there is a choice, whereas before there wasn`t. You must be against choice, I suppose. But that is your problem, not a Native one.

            Hint: if you listen carefully and if you are capable of observing beyond the surface, you will have noticed that the protest has long since moved on: it is no longer about consultation – it is now about consent and approval by Natives on all legislation involving Native rights – which in essence could be on anything.

            Just notice the shifting of words over the past few weeks and days. And if you are smart you will keep an open ear to the shifting of words coming up, because their demands will change because the Natives have different demands and needs.

          • Nothing new or sinister.The FNs have been arguing they have a right to both consultation and consent for ever. Where have been sleeping – under a rock? As for the rest of your post – lets just say it’s full of the usual distortions, misinformation, conflation, ilogic and simple absence of facts that has become your hall mark by now.

          • So no answer from you on that `fee simple, private property solutions“ – you could not find it in bill 38 and 45……..Hey, I`m cool with that.

            Question: why do you feel the need to start accusing me of being illogical, doing distortions and the like when it is you yourself who does not have and answer to your own objections stated……..

            If you are frustrated by not being able to carry your own argument, why do you feel the need to place such shortcomings onto others………………………..

            You are certainly not a troll. It seems that you are just not capable of carrying your argument. Strange.

          • Because…I never said they were in those bills. But anyone who has been paying any attention to Aboriginal issues knows they are part of the conflict. The reason i am short with you is because you are quite simply so badly informed. And even when you have the facts you frequently manage [in my not so humble opinion] to pin the tail of the donkey on the ass of the moose. It would be quite funny under other circumstances.

          • Really, I`m trying to pin the donkey`s tail on the ass of the moose………really, when it was you who talked about C38 and 45 and upon my reply post, started including the fee simple, private property solutions…………………something not under discussion between our posts.

            Suddenly you start inserting other supposedly grievances when you can`t explain the grievances in regards to bills 38 and 45.

            We understand that the movement has many, many grievances, and THAT is the underlying problem and THAT is the weakness inherent in the INM movement and THAT is my point and has been my point all along.

            Hey, if you want to discuss fee simple and private property issues, let`s start such a debate but don`t use them as a supplement for your shortcomings in finishing the debate on bills 38 and 45.

          • Apparently there were consultations with many FN’s bands who were happy with the right to lease their lands. Obviously there will NEVER be complete consensus on this issue. Those bands that don’t want to lease their land are not compelled to. Those that want to, have the option to do so.

          • Apparently?!?! That doesn’t cut it. You’re just regurgitating govt TPS. Please direct me to one decent article that argues there has been wide consultation.
            No, as i understand the legislative changes all the bands will have to comply with the reduced majority votes. The choice to lease/surrender land will only come after that. That is the worry, that a small number of business friendly members will be able to push these changes without full consent. And so far i can’t find any decent articles that allay these fears

          • Much better to hold all of the Native communities back. Much better to let none of them advance.

          • Nice straw man…no one is saying that. It’s their choice…it’s that simple. A lot of them are saying the omnibus bills restrict that choice.

          • A lot of them are saying so many things. That is the problem and that is my point. Again, why should PM Harper or any other leader of this country want to hold back those who want to go ahead. Should the ones who are against some of the changes be in charge of what others want implemented to get ahead…..

            You are starting to understand how difficult it is for PM Harper to do anything useful without being severely criticized by the other side not wanting to have others move ahead. The problem is to be found within the divisiveness amongst Native communities in their demands and needs.

            Keep an eye on Pam Palmater. She understands all too well that the IMN movement is in trouble precisely because there is no one solution possible. And so she announced yesterday that the INM movement will get help from America. Can you believe it, being so desperate as to now start calling in the American front to help a Canadian Native cause. And who was saying that PM Harper is or was a pseudo American……………………oh, the irony is so apparent.

          • You are as bad as Emily. Don’t ever read the newspapers? There have been interviews with chiefs who have wanted to lease their land and are happy with this development. In fact, several bands have already signed an agreement with the government to do so. As for your assertion that “less majority votes will be needed in the community to participate”, exactly how much say are the members of bands getting now about the way the chiefs and band councils are running their communities into the ground? You admit that it is common in isolated northern communities to have incompetent people running things like this is an acceptable thing. You point fingers and say people are making assumptions but you don’t even follow the progressive chiefs and grand chiefs and what they have to say about the prospect of leasing out land that they aren’t utilizing and that is sitting making them no money. Full consent???? Do you think the people who live under Ms. Spence’s reign gave full consent for her to mismanage their finances and PLEASE don’t tell me about making assumptions because nobody with any management skills leaves people living in a tent and buys a zamboni when there are six brand new houses sitting empty.

          • The community fund raised for the zamboni. See how easy it is to make the wrong assumptions? And no I can’t get the national papers up here. Where’s the link to a decent article about wide consultation on leasing? This is a claim the govt made that I have not seen substantiated anywhere; neither it seems have you. Before this bill full majority consent was required by law. Please do some research before you fling around govt TPs

          • Whether it was a “community fund raiser” that paid for the zamboni or cash out of the band’s bank account is irrelevant. Who would buy a zamboni when they have people freezing in tents in winter and six empty brand new houses that need finishing? Wouldn’t you use the community fund raiser to finish the houses and get those people out of the tents and into the houses? As it was, the ice rink wasn’t operational. That was reported in the news because the rec centre was shut down due to maintenance issues. It didn’t re-open until the third party manager got there and arranged to get the maintenance looked after. You can continue to “spin” it, but it doesn’t fly. As for your not reading the papers…you don’t have to “get them up there”….they are all online. The articles of the interviews with FN’s people who support the right to lease the land are online in those newspapers.
            Something I have noticed about you is your unwillingness to believe and research anything that disagrees with your preconceived belief or your ‘memory’ of how things happened. Even when I gave you the name of the FN man who carried his children out into the freezing cold and lost them there you didn’t look it up but continued to express your belief that they “followed him out the door”. I am sorry. Then I gave you Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come’s name and information regarding his opinion that the GG’s presence is unnecessary in negotiations and you want me to provide you with the location of the interviews. Maybe before accusing me of using govt talking points, you could do some of your own research. You obviously have the internet.

          • For the research, you might go to the National Post online and type “first nations leasing land” into search. You you will find several interesting interviews with FN’s people about the land leasing.

          • Don’t know why talking to you such an uphill struggle? Maybe cuz you don’t pay enough attention,fact check, or think before you post?
            You started off by insinuating that Spence was herself to blame for buying the zamboni. Now you’ve changed your tune and somehow she has control over or responsibility for what the community decides to fund.raise.for on bingo night. I’m not saying it looks like they don’t have all their priorities in the right order, but that is hardly all down to Spence. The empty housing screw up was as much a bureaucratic/funding screw-up as it was all her fault. But it still doesn’t excuse her. And the third party guy did not get there and arrange everything – the red cross for instance renovated the community hall. The band council refused to deal with the third party guy, and the courts ruled for the govt shouldn’t even have sent the guy in. It was basically collective punishment for embarrassing the govt.

            Which papers carried all these consultation stories? Obviously no one has time to read them all. I’m no different from anyone else in that regard. I look through the major dailies [ GM,NP,Star and OC] as often as i can and some more obscure local papers. I doubt you catch everything either. Your point is lost on me. And you still haven’t given me one link to anything, zilch – so that’s a bit rich. I need no tips on research from someone who backs her opinions with more opinions.

            I’ve been checking into the Coon Come stuff [ checking Aboriginal stories takes up much of my online time] – would you like the link i asked you for?

            I posted an acknowledgement on the kids story but you didn’t check. And my record is open at the click of a mouse. So your wrong there as so frequently are elsewhere. I’m tired or your nit picking, so this is the last time i bother to defend my record against somehow as obtuse as you seem to be. I’m not interested anymore in posting pointless windy you said, i said posts with someone who thinks the only point is to win the argument, and nit pick over every single detail.
            Best we ignore one another from now on.

          • If you get your information only from the press, I guess you will miss everything Harper does.

          • Where else should i look other than the press? Is there some secret communications
            channel that only Conservatives are privy to?

          • Apparently just no one understands you kc…must get lonely up there on your cloud. The sky seems to be blue; snow? white; cold outside? most certainly….now go! unleash your anger

          • I’m perfectly happy up here thanks for your concern.

          • He’s avoiding the smell…

        • This is the same argument the US and Israel have been using against Palestinians for decades. It’s nothing more than a deliberate attempt to block real negotiation.

      • that bill was discussed in paliament, went to at least 9 committees…as for indians, does the gov’t have to ask indians for permission on everything…they were elected with a majority to represent all Canadians

        • What 9 committees would that be please? As for “Indians”, yes they do have constitutionally protected rights…i suggest you read some about them before spouting off.

        • Discussed, committees – that’s hilarious.

  5. The only person she helped out was Harper, a total farce

  6. I doubt anyone truly sympathetic to the plight of natives lost their sympathy, and I am sure the people who disparaged her would find some other aboriginal example to support their worldview.

    • People truly sympathetic to the plight of natives recoil at the manoeuvres being made by the chiefs to enhance their own power, prestige, and cash flow while leaving the fate of the indians on their reserves mired in hopelessness.

      • QED

  7. Today at Power & Politics on CBC, Manitoba elder and Chiefs were complaining about the health care they receive. The health providers look down on them and are disrespectful.The health providers that the governments provide, from how I understood it. My first thought was, if there is such a problem with stuck up nurses, or whatever they are, …do you have young man and women on your reserves that would maybe like to become health service providers,,Maybe it would be an idea to foster that and then have your own people work at those services. There would be a better understanding of the spiritual involved in the healing of the body. Those young trained people will also speak the tribal language. A win win situation

    • That is an awesome idea! So let’s ask those young people to please step forward so we can begin the process.

      • You might get a few but don’t hold your breath. Hunting and fishing are more fun than getting an education.

        • In particular if the government in Ottawa provides money for skidoos, 4x4s etc. And you get some shack to live in (which is not yours)

    • Half those Manitoba chiefs are obese take some responsibility for yourselves

      • A majority of the Con caucus is seriously overweight, from Harper on down – do you really want to go there?

          • So you do want to go there.

      • 58.6% of adult Canadians are overweight. Why would you single out Manitoba Chiefs? What are the reasons for obesity in our society? Check out the links between poverty and overweight. There are many other factors in the obesity/overweight question.

        • After 54 days of a ‘hunger strike’ Theresa Spence is still overweight.
          I think she speaks with big fork tongue. Or bends the truth maybe.
          What a joke!!

          • Only person in history to look better after a hunger strike

      • Their definition of ‘Traditional way of Life’ is a new 4×4, a quad, a huge motor boat all paid for by Canadian Taxpayers.
        No wonder they all seem overweight.

    • It may come as news to you that there still exists [ or did until very recently] reserves where the “white folks”…the people off reserve anyway, who came in to man the clinics, hospitals and police units all had servces[ water, hydro and sewers] when almost all the other band members went without. I’m not making this up. Until the last 30 years or so this wasn’t an uncommon situation on remote reserves. Guess they exhausted the available budget eh!

      • Well they’re unaware that being overweight is a sign of poor nutrition, same as they’re unaware of everything else.

          • Off TOPIC!!!!

          • Give it a break wannabe editor

        • Hmmm…..interesting. Let’s have a qualifier here. When you say that being overweight is a sign of poor nutrition, aren’t you making a HUGE generalization? Not every overweight person is suffering for poor nutrition. The other point I want to make is “poor nutrition” often results from poor food choices, not necessarily a lack of food options. There are many people who would eat junk rather than real food when given the choices. Of course they are nutritionally deficient but that is do to poor choices.

          • Off topic…off topic….OFF TOPIC!!!!

          • Excuse me, BEN. I am responding to Emily’s claim that among those FN who are overweight it is a sign of “poor nutrition”. Your inability to follow the thread, doesn’t make it “off topic”. What Emily is trying to suggest is that these people don’t have access to healthy food. I am challenging her assertions.

          • Again, the supposed health care professional being judgemental.

        • Oops, Emily slipped and made a fool of herself. Speaking of being “unaware”, read “Healthcare insider’s” response to Emily.

          I guess “Unaware Emily” has a few shortcomings herself.

          • I guess you’re the Jan temp replacing Chucky?

            You guys don’t last very long.

    • Maybe the nurses didn’t recognize that chief as one of the starving martyrs…didn’t bow down before him…his statement was more racist then any nurse might have been…how did Spence manage all that hospital care?

    • Great idea, but once the young people get educated they quickly realize that if they want any kind of a “real” life where they can achieve something that they need to leave the reserve and never come back.

  8. *slow clap*

    Excellent, Mr. Patriquin. By all means, take this all out on Ms. Spence and not those who birthed this media circus. There were two other First Nations people who (topically) appeared as greater adherents to the original #IdleNoMore movement who went on hunger strikes who were relatively ignored while Ms. Spence received national (and international) glory from those who couldn’t see through this veil that you now penetrate?

    Hindsight, as in your case, always is 20/20 though, isn’t it?

    Look to your bored and insipid peers, not Ms. Spence, Mr. Patriquin.

    What of the discarded Kilowna Accord? Would that not have placed us further than we are positioned today with the First Nations? Since we scrapped that, have we not been, in short, dancing the dance of the status quo, instead of challenging it?



  9. Let the forensic audits begin, some chiefs and coucilors will undoubtedly be jailed for fraud, theft, embezzlement, many are already vilified by many in their respective bands, let the chips fall where they may.

    • Sure, let’s have at er. Let’s start with Attawapiskat. And if they show not only bad book keeping or incompetence on the part of Spence, but no real fraud, but instead a litany of shoddy oversight and neglect to keep tabs on the process for a decade or more by INAC, we can be sure that you will step up and acknowledge our part in it, can we? I thought not!

      • Our part?

        Talk about obtuse, dull knife in the drawer, dumb as a sack of hammer heads, you take the leftist cake.

        Spence and her life partner are not as inept as they portray themselves to be.

        “there’s a sucker born every minute”

        Spence’s life partner when informed that an outside manager was coming he said on camera, “that’ll undermine this whole operation”

        Incompetent no, deliberate yes.

        • Obtuse – check
          hackneyed clapped out metaphors – check
          Obligatory political label…Leftist – check
          Ability to read minds of opponents – check
          Ability to quote out of context – check
          Ability to judge without all available evidence – check
          Congratulations, you’ve won our most informed comment of the week award. Claim your prize quickly, there’s a big demand right now.

      • So you would happily accept gross incompetence and call it a day? You would be okay with people in Attawapiskat continuing to live in horrible poverty because the chief can’t manage her way out of paper bag? Wow! You really are sympathetic to the needs of the FN’s people in that community. I hope you are okay with a third-party manager because the way you are blaming the lack of oversight, instead of admitting the real culprit was mismanagement by the band council, chiefs and co-managers, you are obviously in favor of it and my guess is it is coming.

        • You can’t say any of that before there’s a comprehensive forensic audit…it’s all maybe and assumptions, just like the rest of your post.

          • This is really rich given that in another post on this same website you said Ms. Spence was in over her head. I disagree with your assertion that “I can’t say any of what I said until there is an audit”. Anyone who watched Adrienne Arsennault’s interview and tour of the community where Ms. Spence is chief can say that Ms. Spence is guilty of gross mismanagement. You are just denying the obvious because you are unable to face the reality that you actuality posted your opinion that she was incompetent. You have been trying to deny that you said it ever since.

          • That interview seems to be your only source – you keep citing it and not much else.

  10. your problems seems to be that she is a woman, look at the issues instead not her as an individual – when it is a man nobody talk about his weight – right?

    • The issue is a crooked chief spent 96,000 dollars on a Zamboni when her reserve had people living in shacks with no heat or water. Stupidity does not have a gender

      • Nobody credible – not Indian Affairs, not the auditors – has alleged that Spence misspent public funds. You have no basis to accuse her of being “crooked”.

        And the community ran its own fundraiser to replace a worn-out Zamboni. Residents paid for it out of their own pockets, not with money earmarked for housing, schools or any other public purpose.

        • Got an idea many of the residents are on welfare whose pocket did it come out of again

          • What the hell does that matter. Do you have any idea how pitiful welfare is in a place as expensive as Attawapiskat? This means someone must have gone without, or someone else in the community was extra generous. You’re a Conservative. You should be applauding this kind of behaviour. I am.

          • Welfare cases and Spences boy-toy making $850 a day . Open your eyes!

          • My eyes are open bud. I have zero objection to a forensic audit [ and by the way boy-toy says he welcomes one] and if there is fraud then someone must pay in whatever way the law stipulates is appropriate. I do not support hanging someone in effigy just because she is a fat female native who may or may not be incompetent, with a grade 8 or 9 education. It is simply a matter of due process and not just convicting some group in society without all the facts. You will not get all the facts from Ezra no matter how often you or anyone visits his website. He isn’t interested in justice. He’s just interested in promoting Ezra.

          • Levant directed his viewers to the Reserves balance sheets ho is that promoting himself

          • Did he tell the whole story? Did he ask questions? Or did he make a whole bunch of assumptions and cast aspersions to the wind as he frequently does?
            There never was anything wrong with casting a spot light on the bands financial dealings, but that is not the same as turning the exercise into a feeding frenzy. Ezra is at best a showman imo. He even embarrasses main stream Conservatives, leave alone annoys opponents.

        • It is not about being “crooked’, it is about gross mismanagement of the reserve. Who leaves 6 brand new houses near completion for 2 years while people live in tents in the freezing cold. As for a fund raiser to buy a Zamboni, why didn’t she fund raise to complete the houses? Do you realize that the recreation centre wasn’t even operational due to some maintenance issues at the time she purchased the zamboni? It took the third party manager (who she wouldn’t let on the reserve) to get the recreation centre up and running. I suppose you can explain why she couldn’t facilitate the unpacking of heaters, sleeping bags and warm clothes for her people when she employs 18 band council members.

          The people on her reserve deserve better. According to APTN, they were demanding she come home or they were going to remove her from her job.

          • If she’s not crooked then “Brian Mouland” shouldn’t call her crooked. “Crooked” has a specific meaning – that she abused her position and/or stole money. She did no such thing.

            If Spence didn’t spend public money on a Zamboni, then “Brian Mouland” shouldn’t say it. It’s simply false.

            As for the rest, a handful of anecdotes does not amount to an understanding of what’s happening an Attawapiskat.

          • It is strange for you to contend that a “handful of anecdotes does not amount to an understanding of what’s happening” at Attawapiskat. Given that people did exactly that when a news crews accompanied the NDP MP to Attawapiskat for a first view of the housing crisis. Isn’t it true that based on a “handful of anecdotes”, many decided that the community was grossly underfunded by the federal government.
            However, when when Adrienne Arsenault and a CBC news crew visit the community and show that there is a lot more to the story, suddenly we can’t begin to understand what is happening in Attawapiskat.
            Of course we won’t get any better understanding now the press is banned from the community. Ms. Spence must be taking cues from Harper.

          • “Given that people did exactly that when…”

            Exactly. People. Not me. I don’t claim to have a deep understanding of what’s happening in Attawapiskat and I’m sick of people who suddenly consider themselves experts demanding that I address Ezra Levant’s latest cherry-picked anecdote.

            How much do you or I know about the maintenance schedule of the Attawapiskat arena, or the third-party manager’s influence over it? And if your anecdote was correct, what would that prove?

            ” I suppose you can explain why she couldn’t facilitate the unpacking of heaters…”

            No, I can’t. And neither can you. Again, what’s the point of demanding I address this, when neither of us understands it in context? And if I find a published rebuttal from Attawapiskat, what then? Will that change your mind about what’s happening there, or will you just throw the next damning-sounding anecdote at me?

            This whole topic has been flooded with this kind of pseudo-logic, and it seems largely to be employed by people determined to blame Spence for the state of the reserve she leads.

          • God help the country if Ezra gets mandatory carriage rights. Although it would be bizarrely ironic if Sun media put conditions on him spouting off cuz they’re now more worried about making money then possibly being an unfiltered conduit for his bilge.

          • Why wouldn’t people use the proof of incompetence to show that Ms. Spence has to take some responsibility for the “state of the reserve she leads” when she was so determined to “blame” everything on someone else, namely the federal government? You are asking like Ms. Spence was an innocent victim who came to the attention of the media through no fault of her own. She courted the media’s attention and made all sorts of accusations about under funding and cruelty on the part of the government. Of course she has come under scrutiny by the media and bloggers. She has not once but twice sought out the celebrity.
            I know you cannot explain why she couldn’t facilitate the unpacking of heaters. I can’t but she tried to. She said she couldn’t get any volunteers. Those were here on words on video. Trying to spin in because it is “not in context”….
            I’ll make you a deal. The next time the Government of Canada does some asinine thing, you remember that “neither of us understands it in context”. Don’t come on here throwing the next damning-sounding anecdote at us. Leave out the psuedo-logic and whatever you do, don’t blame the government for the state this country is in.

          • Your entire comment rests on the premise that you have “proof of incompetence.” I don’t think you have anything like that.

            Remember, she’s only been chief for two years. Who knows what kind of mess she inherited? If you read the audit, it shows a marked improvement in documentation of expenditures after she took power. I think it’s safe to assume that she inherited a community in crisis, would you agree?

            Without an understanding of the crisis she inherited, how do we know how quickly she could turn it around? Could a competent chief fix the problems in two years? Neither of us knows.

            “Trying to spin in because it is “not in context”….”

            I’m cautioning you against leaping to self-serving conclusions. That’s hardly “spin.”

            ” The next time the Government of Canada does some asinine thing…”

            Nice try. How about this: if you find me trying to turn speculation into fact, feel free to call me on it.

          • Brian Mouland will say whatever he wants a straight chief would have done well for her reserve not done well for herself

          • A straight chief would be on the reserve helping her people not having a fake hunger strike

          • Someone challenges your assertion with facts and you haven’t the balls to retract. Today’s brave new Conservatives. I’m mistaken is just for wimps then!

          • And you dont have the balls to accept the fact asking for responsibilty and accountability is not racist!

          • I have never said it was. There done. If others have read that into my posts that’s their problem.[ and maybe my poor communication skills?]

        • Do you have a link for that? All i’ve seen all over the place is the assertion – straight from the lips of Ezra no doubt – that the money for the zamboni was basically embezzled out of TPs.

    • “…when it is a man nobody talk about his weight – right?”
      Tell that to Rob Ford! Anyway, when someone is pretending to be on a hunger strike, “chubiness” and lack of weight loss are of prime importance.

  11. Media perpetuating the meme that Spence and Idle No More are one and the same. They are not related except as to the period in which they arose, and the fact that Idle No More took some inspiration from Spence. Different goals, different focus. This was clear from day one, but media keeps spreading this misinformation and people swallow it. Do we still not recognize this tactic?

    • Different goals – different focus…….indeed. And PM Harper`s incremental solutions so far have given them some choices. It all comes down to choice because on size does not fit all because it cannot fit all – Natives are divided within their demands and needs. If anyone has understood that for some time that would be CPC government.

  12. Guess who paid for her hospital expenses after she ended her hunger strike??????

  13. Now that Spence has ended the “starving for her people” circus could the media now turn their efforts to asking some questions about her audit. The audit showed she spent millions on “real estate” Since the people of Attawapaskat own their land, what “real estate” was purchaed and where..there are no records showing what was purchased and where. Did Spence and her chiefs and band councillors purchase property for their own use…so many questions. Am I the only one that wonders where Canadian tax dollars are being spent and is the media too lazy to ask some questions?

    • Then there’s that $60 million accrued surplus on the books, where’s the money?

    • What’s your source for this?

      • It’s in the last audit, but the time has come for a thorough forensic audit going back at least a decade, bringing in FINTRAC would be a good idea too.

        • Have you read the audit? I have.

          Maybe you could quote the section that says real estate was purchased that can’t be accounted for. Or the one that says Spence purchased real estate for her own use with public funds. Or the section that says there’s $60M in “surplus” funds that can’t be accounted for,

          Funny that I missed all that.

          • Where did I mention real estate TJ?

          • It’s in the Deloitte audit, the undocumented real estate purchase and the 60 million surplus.

  14. BULL..now where is our money.

  15. The fact Idle No More zeroed in on the omnibus bills said this wasn’t just a First Nations protest. It was Occupy using First Nations as a shield wall. The movement was nothing but a “get Harper” movement from the start founded by four aboriginal lawyers who were lawyers first and knew they could use the undereducated First Nations to take up the cause as a civil rights movement.

  16. “Idol No More” was a great slogan and good idea. Once Theresa Spence decided on her own to hold her hunger strike (liquids only) ruined any creditability. 40+ days with no solid food, “bullshit”. She hasn’t lost a pound. Maybe she can blame it on the Mcdonalds milkshakes. There are too many reserves in Canada that have no accountability on how the government money is spent. I hear too many stories on how some Chiefs divide the money with relatives and friends ( supposeditely on their council), with little or none gone to their people. To me, that is the real problem. People take notice, Membourtou in Sydney is well run and thriving because it has a council that cares for their people. I guess some are more idle than others!

    • Think Idle No More is like Occupy one car and too many drivers; in Spences case she drove the car into the tree

      • This comment was deleted.

        • Macleans this is a stalker who using my name. He hasnt the guts to use his own name or a another user name. Please ban this waste of life from your site

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Fake Brian Alert,Fake Man Alert,Fake Human Being Alert. Look at the GUTLESS COWARD with the yellow streak running down his back and the front of his pants

          • This comment was deleted.

  17. vajras…. “clear from Day one”??? The INM movement has been nothing but ambiguous and incoherent, at best. And recognize what tactic?

    The tactic of Aboriginal leadership wanting to maintain the status quo?! They have power in their communities and apparently no transparency to it. Those in power don’t want that to change! I would suggest Spence is trying to distract everyone from the corruption in her community with this (hahahahahaha) “hunger strike”. I don’t think a person on the planet was actually concerned this would turn dire! What a joke!

    All the chiefs want nothing to change. They just want more money from the feds. That’s a pretty good explanation for them not coming together in a unified and coherent voice. When the INM movement started (under best of intentions) the chiefs across the country got involved (to much resistance from within the movement) and messed it all up! INTENTIONALLY!!! They don’t want the change. They’re too rich from the status quo!

  18. Uh… all this what-was-the-point discussion is obviating the important issues underlying both the “hunger strike” and #idlenomore. What is the point of dismissing or lionizing Spence? Or of discussing her accomplishments or lack thereof as a chief? The essential point of protest concerned one simple, clearly valid thing: the Harper government’s bullying, patronizing and surreptitious methods of down-regulating environmental protections in the name of economic need (a bald untruth later found to have been dictated to the not-so-honourable Environment and Natural Resource ministers by the oil & gas industry) and the concomitant not-so-thinly veiled bulldozing of supposedly entrenched treaty rights in these same Trojan omnibus bills? Or did I miss something?

    • Environmental regulations are unaffected by Bill C-45, and the supposed treaty rights are, if anything, enhanced by providing more flexibility to bands and reserves.

  19. Her husband gets paid over $800 a day. #enoughsaid

  20. This has been a sham from the very beginning…Her own people live in squalor, yet she and her main squeeze have a 6 figure pay cheque..How in HELL can she look at herself in the mirror? Now her own band council has exerted pressure to call this damned spectacle off.

  21. Like with any call to action, Idle No More has met the same end as all unorganized ego trips taken over by special interests with no clear goal in mind. There’s something clearly wrong with how Indians are treated in this country and the responsibility for most of their hardships falls squarely on the shoulders of their chiefs. Next time you want to launch a call to action, start with the people who don’t forward government funds to the citizens it’s meant to help.

  22. This is total racist c–p. I expected better of Macleans.

  23. Chief Spence is much more than a narcissist.
    She is (and I’m being careful on my choice of words here) a liar (hunger strike), a thief (mis-appropriated millions of $$) and a criminal (mis-represented the people and children of Attawapiskat).
    Criminal charges against Spence and her family/friends should be pressed for justice in this case for Canadians, the taxpayers, the people and children of her reservation and for decency and equality under Canadian Law.
    Anything less is morally wrong!!

  24. The real question is how can the First Nation people be helped? Not the leaders, but the people left behind on the poorly run reserves? They need accountability and not leaders who are only interested in keeping the status quo, so they can keep stealing from their own people.

  25. Good post Andrew. I agree with you. Atleo is the one they elected and he is competent – let the govt. work with him.

  26. I still don’t get it. What exactly is the Idle No More movement about again?

  27. Firstly, plz don’t be offended or anything. However, we are only thinking in our side of the story. i believe most of you who posted a comment is not a First Nation Metis Inuits(FNMI). None of us went through what they experienced. Most people think First Nations are all substances abused?No they are not. They need to get there emotions out. They were send to residential schools to be assimilated to the European culture, they were abused, mentally, physically, or even sexually. They were taught at the residential schools that their culture is ugly and dirty. It’s not a good feeling. Many kids actually believed in it, since it’s their culture that put them in this situation of being mistreated. After they got out of the residential schools, it was no better. Everybody regretted them, the Europeans didn’t accept them because of their ethnic background, their own tribe regretted them too because they did not learn the skills that are useful to the First Nations people, they knew nothing about their very own culture. They can’t do anything, anywhere. No door is open for them. None. That’s why they need things to help them. The government did give them money, but it wasn’t enough. simply NOT enough. That’s why they are protesting. I’m not saying this just for this specific article, but for everyone. To have a better understanding of them. They can be any one of us, but had been through a whole lot more than us.They need our help. They are being misrepresented in stereotypes through many forms of media. They need to be understood, rightfully. We need to treat them with respect, try to understand them. We are all a whole, we live on the same planet, in the same galaxy. Helping others is what a positive global citizen should do. It’s really up to our generation to distinguish and get rid of the stereotypes. Put your feet in their shoe. Understanding them can make us live a better life. Thank you.

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