What is known about Chief Spence

… very little—which suits her supporters and critics just fine

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Reuters

Until a few weeks ago Theresa Spence was the chief of a remote, impoverished reserve called Attawapiskat. At 49, Spence had a history in child care work, and briefly made headlines last year when her community faced a housing crisis as winter beckoned. Beyond these few details, though, little was known, which ultimately didn’t matter when the hunger-striking chief emerged slowly from her teepee on an island in the middle of the Ottawa River, tired and somewhat stooped, to deliver a shocking statement to the outside world about how far she was prepared to take her protest: “I’ll die for my people.”

Spence’s protest on Victoria Island has galvanized activists, scored points with opposition politicians, not to mention a pair of former prime ministers, and forced Aboriginal issues into the headlines almost every day since she stopped eating on Dec. 11.

But the woman widely credited by supporters and critics alike for securing a meeting between the government and Aboriginal leaders—a gathering set to take place Friday—remains, for the most part, a mystery. Few outside those immediately close to her know much about her past, and her record as Attawapiskat’s chief is spotty. In the absence of a clearer picture of her background, flaws and accomplishments, this has allowed supporters and critics to read what they want into her personal history to support their positions in the passionate, often inflamed debate over Canada’s relationship with its Aboriginals. She’s praised by those agitating for change under the Idle No More banner as something of a spiritual leader, a fearless campaigner who has stared down a hostile federal government, while her critics deride Spence as an incompetent administrator who has used her hunger strike to deflect attention from financial mismanagement on her reserve.

Most of what is known of Spence can be traced to the intense media coverage of the tiny reserve she administers. She was elected chief of the Attawapiskat band on Aug. 27, 2010, after stints as deputy chief, councillor, a member of the local development corporation, and manager of local daycare. Few could find Attawapiskat on a map before Oct. 28, 2011. That was the day Spence called on the Ontario government to declare a state of emergency in her community of 1,800—a plea that prompted dozens of reporters to helicopter in from southern locales. Deplorable housing had made the reserve virtually unlivable for many of its residents, Spence said at the time. “We’re in a Third World situation. It’s not improving, so it’s time for both [federal and provincial] governments to recognize and work with us,” she said. NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents the area, didn’t mince words: “If something doesn’t happen, someone will die.”

The federal government did step in, of course. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan ordered two dozen modular homes to Attawapiskat, along with a third-party manager to ensure funds were properly administered. Spence fought the move, arguing the band could manage its own spending, and by the time Duncan announced he was “very pleased” with the results and withdrew the outside manager last April, the band had already challenged him in court—a case the band won. But for the most part, this round of the standoff between Spence and Ottawa played out away from the cameras. That would soon change.

The rapid spread of Idle No More, starting in early December, provided an opportunity for Spence to once again grab the spotlight. The movement, kicked off by four Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan, was ostensibly over the federal government’s omnibus budget legislation Bill C-45, and its changes to rules governing environmental assessments of waterways and the leasing of Aboriginal lands, but by the time a Day of Action was declared for Dec. 10, its goals had grown amorphous. On that day, Spence told reporters on Parliament Hill she would not wait a day longer for federal action in Attawapiskat and was resorting to desperate measures. The next day, she began her hunger strike.

The chief’s month without food has been defined as much by the flurry of activity and comments made outside Spence’s teepee as anything she’s done within. As if by script, stories have abounded of people travelling from afar to meet Spence—one couple from Cape Breton drove through a crippling snowstorm for a mere 20-minute audience. Carolyn Buffalo, a former chief of Montana First Nation in Alberta, has even compared Spence to Mahatma Gandhi.

Spence’s ordeal presented too valuable an opportunity for critics of Stephen Harper’s government to pass up. She’s counted among her visitors a pair of Liberal leadership candidates, Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau, and a long list of NDP MPs that’s perhaps most notable for the absence of leader Thomas Mulcair. She also found former prime ministers Joe Clark and Paul Martin at her door. Over the Christmas holidays, she even lured a taste of Hollywood star power when actor Adam Beach, who once starred in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers and now fronts CBC’s Arctic Air, spent some time in Spence’s teepee.

In every case, her political guests have been deferential, despite their lack of any real knowledge about her background and circumstances. Veteran Liberal MP John McCallum joined a group of Liberal and NDP colleagues who met the chief on Dec. 30. When he walked out of the teepee, reporters asked what his message was to Spence. “We come in solidarity and in support,” he said. “We don’t tell her what to do.”

There have been critical questions put to her visitors—was her protest an attempt to blackmail the Prime Minister? Was it really wise to sacrifice her own health?—but opposition politicians and the rest of her supporters have continued to treat her as beyond reproach.

For this reason, Spence has proved a powerful and elusive target for the Harper government throughout her hunger strike. On the one hand, he couldn’t grant a meeting directly between himself and Spence—though she later backed away from that demand and instead called for a meeting between the Prime Minister, the Governor General and Aboriginal leaders. Even this posed a problem, because of the precedent it set for copycats. On the other hand, what if Spence actually followed through on her threat, and died in her teepee?

Harper’s way out emerged when Shawn Atleo, the Assembly of First Nations national chief, called for a meeting of his own with Harper for the end of January, the anniversary of last year’s Crown-First Nations gathering. Harper, who was at the Ford plant in Oakville, Ont., for an auto funding announcement, agreed to the meeting and while moving up the date, he presented it as a follow-up meeting without making any mention of Attawapiskat’s chief.

To Spence’s supporters, the very fact she was able to force Harper to attend any meeting with Aboriginal leaders has been framed as a victory, though she has refrained from calling it that herself. Instead, Spence has vowed to continue her hunger strike until it is clear what the outcome of Friday’s meeting will have been.

But Harper’s reversal on the issue also brought with it an opportunity Spence’s critics were waiting for—and they have quickly moved to fill in the gaps in her narrative. Some have bluntly questioned the threat posed by Spence’s hunger strike, with the National Post’s Barbara Kay calling her survival on fish broth more a “detox diet” that wouldn’t do much to harm her health. More crucial to Spence’s continued influence, critics have painted her at best as a native leader overwhelmed by her job’s demands, while raising serious questions about her decision to hire her partner, Clayton Kennedy, to be Attawapisakt’s co-manager. Ironically, the social media tools like Twitter that enabled the Idle No More movement to spread so quickly have also proved potentially lethal to her reputation. A year-old CBC report resurfaced online just days before the meeting with Harper in which Spence appears both evasive and defensive when probed about brand new houses sitting empty on her reserve while donated supplies piled up in storage. By the time the results of a damning audit into Attawapiskat’s books were leaked to journalists earlier this week, showing the band had not properly accounted for millions of dollars in federal spending dating back to 2005, it was Spence’s critics who were claiming victory.

Even after the meeting between Harper and Aboriginal leaders—as well as Spence if she chooses to attend—wraps up, it’s a safe bet the Attawapiskat chief will remain Idle No More’s most divisive figure. How she fares in the weeks to come is unclear. That her biography remains mostly blank after so much scrutiny means the meeting could define her time in the national spotlight. Whether it’s as revered heroine or forgotten hunger striker, though, depends largely on forces beyond her control.




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What is known about Chief Spence

  1. This article tries to glorify an incompetent, deceitful fool. To complain your reserve is treated like a third world country the whole time you’re absconding with all the money just like a third world dictator would do is laughable. To follow that up by barring media from speaking to the free citizens living on your reserve just continues on that path.

    Let’s get another fact straight, the audit on band expenditure was NOT leaked, it was released in response to an access to information request from the CBC, EXACTLY how the access to information program works. The ONLY reason she began this “hunger” strike was to create a diversion from the report she knew was about to be released (as part of an Access to Information request, the involved parties are contacted at the beginning and completely informed of the request and the impending release).

    As an aside, if you really want to protest through a hunger strike and “die for your people” you need to take a page out of Bobby Sands book. That’s what committed people who believe in their message do. A healthy, modified diet does NOT make a hunger strike.

      • If you are really concerned about the living conditions of the innocents on the Reserve, then why are you arguing about the early release of a report that accurately points out the corruption and incompetence that is the cause of these poor living conditions ?

        • Duh…because it came days before its official release and right before the friday meeting…it’s called politics, and it still might backfire as a stupid and unnecessary move if the chiefs decide to not attend. Doubtless you’ll find a way to blame them if that happens.

          • If you would rather wait and see the truth on Saturday rather than on Monday that tells me you are not interested in helping the living conditions on the Reserves—you are so partisan, and you despise Harper so much that you are willing to sacrifice the truth that may help the innocents on the Reserve.
            It is your type of cynical attitude that means the poor leadership in the Native Communities will continue.

          • What a pathetic bit of rationalizing.

          • You have the corner on pathetic—-you are part of the problem.

          • You are either too proud, too stubborn or possibly too thick to simply admit your reasoning was a goofy excuse to explain away a political leak and a non sequitur to boot.

          • The “leak” didn’t have a good effect did it? All it did was make people on the other side of the argument mad. If they had just let the report roll out as it did on monday it would have had the same effect, but without FNs thinking it was an attempt to discredit. How’s the choice looking now genius? Face it, someone in the pmo goofed – or did Harper ok it?

          • It was not the official release date. January 15 or 16th was the absolute deadline “by law” that it could be released. Otherwise the auditing firm is out of compliance and subject to penalties for filing late.

            The audit would have been ready for release much earlier but were likely held back so they didn’t provide needless fuel to the fire.

            The Chief’s peculiar actions, in spite of so much goodwill offered, made it very justifiable, to make public, what now is evident, the hard truths of mismanagement and entitlements.

          • So what! The fact they leaked it two days or so before the public release was dumb and sleazy. Look at all the needless anger it stirred up!

      • CBC claims it was leaked to them…via a “white envelop”

      • It would have been released on Jan. 16th.

      • The report was not leaked. It was published on the government of Canada website. The report was sent to Spence and the government in August 2012. Both parties had until October to comment. Rules state that the report must be published within 90 days of the end of the review period. The 90 days are up on January 15th. Not a leak, just normal procedure.

    • Nick Taylor-Vaisey is just trying to shift the blame for shoddy journalism to targets of convenience.

      “…they have quickly moved to fill in the gaps in her narrative. Some have bluntly questioned the threat posed by Spence’s hunger strike, with the National Post’s Barbara Kay calling her survival on fish broth more a “detox diet” that wouldn’t do much to harm her health.”

      As far as I know, the NP was the first to actually do the journalistic heavy lifting of consulting nutritionists and quoting them. Barbara Kay was well within her grounds as far as columnist/blogger parameters are concerned to use hyperbolic language for a diet whose nutritional volume and density still remain unclear.

      If someone wishes to turn the whole nation on its collective side on the basis of a real threat to health and life itself, the Taylor-Vaiseys have to do more than write ornate jabs at their targets. Those dupes who actually pay for MacLeans might want to reconsider their subscriptions.

      • If it sounded like I dismissed Kay’s criticism out of hand, that’s not what was intended.

    • How about “I’ll diet for my people” . To me, she is a flake and a phony, yet she seems to have power over Atleo…because of her, he has now written to the queen too…at Spence’s insistence. Has anyone figured out what she wants…other then sympathy, attention and deflecting her incompetence

  2. We know this:

    - There is a massive coverup of financial transactions to a legal entity. This constitutes fraud.

    - The conditions on her reserve are the result of the reserve council alone.

    - The members of the band have not been given the necessary resources by the leadership of the band to thrive in a reasonable manner.

    - The entire Idle/Occupy movement is astro-turfed by the left-wing media and academics who have pushed this agenda through all the grade levels and into the post-secondary world. This is how progressive Socialism is able to sustain itself, but latching on like a tick to uninformed minds of the youth.

    - The “takers” are now overtaking the “makers”, so everyone without a conscience that is not from a reserve gets an I.D. card based on the most recent ruling (that must be challenged and thrown out by the Feds) to apply for more Free Stuff.

    - After 40 years of Trudean, Cretien, Mulroney, Martin, the spigot must be turned off and a plan to end this must be made. It can’t be sustained and can’t be left as an open-ended contract, subject to interpretation.

    • I would add that Nick Taylor-Vaisley and/or his colleagues were more than happy to put this unvetted ‘hunger strike’ on the world pedestal without a scintilla of journalistic research.

  3. One thing she’s certainly brought to the fore is the immense amount of racism FN are dealing with.

    What’s even worse is that the media is happy to carry it on.

    • .

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Elmo looks like Dr.Hawking compared to Emily One Whine

        • Racism will distort your vision that way.

          • So will stupidity read your own comments

    • Racism is the card used by those who don’t actually want to discuss the underlying problems – throw out the race card and all discussion will stop. That may have worked in the past, but more and more people are no longer being intimidated by people such as yourself who will NOT address any of the issues raised, but cry racism instead!!!

      So I’m a racist – now how to you plan to explain away the fact that 60% of the transactions in the audit had NO documentation (and the answer is not that its the auditors jobs to get the documentation – that is what the $850/day boyfriend is being paid to do – so either he (and she) are incompetent at their jobs or they are hiding something. Which do you want it to be? Your choice.

      • Except that no one is playing cards….and no one is interested in discussing issues. They are far too busy calling Spence names, and feeling all superior.

        All the audits are online….they are done every year by an accounting firm and approved by the govt.

        This issue is meeting the GG and confirming the treaties, not your gossip on Spence’s personal life.

        They tried to do the same thing to MLK….didn’t work then, won’t work now.

        • comapring this (chief who might be athief) to King is the most absurd thing I have ever heard and is even a stretch for you !!!!!

          • Racism does strange things to your mind.

    • I have great respect for hunter/fisherman, gatherer and alike, and contempt for all those welfare bums, white, brown, yellow, just choose the colour.And I am for the social net, but no freebees. Is that racism?

      • Well I have no particular repect for hunter/gatherers….it was a long ago stage in human development. The point is that we made a deal with the FN….and we’re not keeping up our end of the bargain.

        Welfare is a different matter altogether, and there are more white people on it than anybody else. Like anything else it can be abused, but we voted as a country to give people a helping hand when they need it. It happens to be part of the social net….the same net you also use

        • Long ago may be for you, but for many FN just two generations back. And there are still some who can do it.You probably never worked north of 60.

          Deal with the FN – that resembles American constitution issues and problems how to bring it into 21st century. We can not even change or enforce the Canadian one.Brought by PET from Westminster not many years ago.Good mainly for lawyers.

          • You have confused me with someone else I’m afraid.I have no problem with the FN

  4. I still know very little about Spence and that`s just fine. She is a largely uninteresting woman.

    Listen. there are probably thousands of Native men and women who have a story to tell that I would love to hear. Whether it be an older person reminiscing about how to actually live off the land or a youthful perspective of life on the reserve and the desires to make it work or leave and never come back—-that I will listen to.

    But this woman has nothing—- “I couldn`t get any volunteers to help unpack the donations—I need more money—I want a meeting with the PM—no, make that the GG “. These are the incoherent, rambling, ridiculous statements of a silly adolescent.

    I think the most telling thing about this sad spectacle is the stupid desperation that one sees in the eyes of the Harper-Haters who show up at this woman`s tent—not for any words of wisdom—there is none, but rather in a feeble effort to score some political points against their political opponent.

    • Spence is a dispicable person. She has abandoned her people while “starving” on an island in Ottawa, with daily trips to hotel. Why is she not in Attawapaskat dealing with the sexual abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, suicides. How can this strike possibly help “her people”?

  5. “…this has allowed supporters and critics to read what they want into her personal history”

    ‘scuse me, but the media was reading more into her press-release “hunger strike” than they were willing to document with proper journalism. Spence was little more than my nominal target.

    The problem was you guys, and later Trudeau, Martin, et al.

    And the CBC for sitting on the audit.

    • Scuse me, who was sitting on the audit? The thing was not slated to be released until january, but it was leaked to the CBC the wknd before. Who’s playing games?

      • Yes so it was released in January duh!!!! Spense had the information, knew that it would be released and still choose to do NOTHING to respond to the audit finding expect to accuse everyone of racism. Sorry stealing is not race based!!!

        • It wasn’t a forensic audit. If the govt thinks anything was stolen then they should initiate one. Until then folks like you should moderate their language a bit.

        • Lack of documentation for expenses does not necessairly equal “stealing” – the only thing it proves is poor bookkeeping. You need backup to determine if an expense is legitimate & not having proper backup doesn’t mean the expense is not legitimate.

      • It has been suggested that the government indeed was hoping to delay making the audit public given the current explosive situation. But…

        By Federal Law, the Audit had to be made public by no later than January 15, 2013. The Chief and Council had copies since August and were supposed to sign off by October but delayed. The audit ‘could have been’ made public in early November if it had been finalized. As it was, it could’ve been as early as the end November.

        • Source please…if it’s Ezra don’t bother.

  6. I remember when the US govt tried to sideline Martin Luther King this same way.

    His creds as a minister were questioned, he supposedly slept with a different woman every night…..sometimes, gasp, more than one at a time…..and of course the donated money was said to be spent on such women as well as on wine and song for him and his entourage.

    Didn’t work though. Not even his death stopped the Civil Rights movement. And of course now they have a black president.

    I’m amazed this BS approach is being used again. It doesn’t discredit Spence….it discredits the people who use it. And eventually we’ll end up with a native PM. LOL

    • I couldn’t care less what race my PM is, but if one ends up being native it won’t ever be because of Spence.

      • Yes it will, and others like her. Just like MLK and Rosa Parks and Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby and Al Sharp and many others helped get Obama elected

        • Oh, by her and other thieves? How quaint.

          • Seems you DO care about what race your PM is, and you only want a white one.

          • I just said thief, YOU filled in your own blanks. Racist.

          • Oh I think it’s quite clear who’s the racist here…although I’m sure you don’t like the label.

          • Thanks, but I could care less what racist EmilyOne on the internet labels me.

          • Then stop posting about it. LOL

          • sorry

          • someone has a hard time admitting to being racist, tsk tsk.

          • I think everyone is clear on who the racist is, so bother someone else

          • I know who likes to accuse others of racism every time she disagrees with what the other person says, as if the first one to yell “Racist!” wins.

            In my book, it’s equivalent to playing the Hitler card…

          • Enlighten me on your”everyone” because I never see anything but negative comments for you.

          • It depends on the topic how many positive or negative comments, or ‘thumb votes’ I get.

            At the moment there are a lot of Con racists on here….so they’re not happy with me. LOL

            I never worry about it….others do.

          • The only “thumb votes” you get is from yourself and we all know where your Polling Station is.

          • Managing to fit your two favorite words into one sentence. Ad hominem then laughter. How clever of you!

            RACIST…LOL. EmilyOneNote……. LOL LOL LOL ROFL

          • LOL thmp thmp thmp

          • Even more of your rapier like wit.

          • Sorry Tom, it seemed like the only fair thing to say.

          • didn’t catch that

      • Sorry Odessa, my mistake I was wanting to hammer Emily.

        • No problem. :)

  7. “…throughout her hunger strike.”

    “hunger strike?” You journalists are supposed to reliable sources for Wikipedia’s spotty documentation, not the other way around.

  8. By the time the results of a damning audit into Attawapiskat’s books were leaked to journalists earlier this week, showing the band had not properly accounted for millions of dollars in federal spending dating back to 2005, it was Spence’s critics who were claiming victory.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    This sounds eerily like Tony Clements and the unproperly accounted for $ 50 million spent in Muskoka prior to the G20 summit. Alas due to Conservative obfuscation… the Harper gov’ts critics were unabble to claim victory

  9. Sean just missed adding the fact Spence has banned all media from Attawapiskat, going so far as to have police threaten arrest and escort journalists to the airport. She has isolated Attawapiskat, and, according to the report from Global National ( http://www.globalnews.ca/global+news+crew+threatened+with+arrest+in+attawapiskat/6442784553/story.html ), evidently rules the reserve with an iron fist which has the majority of residents living in fear of saying anything. Such “leadership” should be an affront to First Nations peoples, and, instead of being used as a media poster child, she should be shunned until sanity prevails.

  10. Time to focus on successful chiefs like Clarence Louie and off nutbars like Spence and Terry Nelson; flakes are not helping the Native movement

  11. Comments here and at cbc.ca are running about 10-1 against Chief Spence and her childish protest. I think the majority of Canadians are fed up with the antics of Aboriginal leaders who just want more money and don’t want to be held accountable for how it’s used.

  12. She be eating dirt, living on the side of the road…not many calories in dirt…

  13. I think she is a fraud. She is on a diet of fish soup (in Asia they pay hundreds of dollars for some kinds) and once she gets a meeting with the PM and is caught for her fraud she hides, sends reserve goons to chase away reporters, and refuses to show to the meeting she wanted. Ridiculous.

  14. You really have to hand it to Harper though : he has played the board brilliantly – who would have thought even 2 weeks ago that he would be the one that ends up being seen as the reasonable, calm but assertive, flexible, consensus seeking and downright diplomatic while the Chief (and I use that term in the loosest possible manner) and IDLE NM come of as being winguts at best and possible corrupt at worst – go figure !!!! To anyone that has hung out on CBC web forums and seen the cascade of thumbs down anything smacking of supporting the PM ever for anything .. go check it out now .. I have never in my life seen so much support for Harper and his approach so far !!!!!! it’s like some sort of parallel universe :) – gotta love it – I wonder if the FN people and their supporters (least wise the IDLNM and Chief Spence ones) realize that by coming off as being winguts they are going to expereince consequences that they aren’t going to like! – hey Emily 1 you out there – I kind of feel sorry for you as I imagine this is probably the worst nightmare that you have ever thought of :)

    • Harper lost, Wayne. Bigtime.

      And he’s now frantically trying to ensure that no one dies on his watch.

      • keep the faith Emily : maybe it will make you feel better – but we compassionate conservatives feel for you and yours!

        • I’ve been a Reform/CA member so I’m aware Cons have no compassion.

          • I used to be a Liberal – I worked for Pierre – I used to be a NDP here in BC worked for Dave barret – Ised to be a werewolf but I am alriiggghhhtttt NOWWWWW!!!! – so what?

      • I’m a dyed-in-the-wool large-L Liberal, and even I can see the country is on Harper’s side with this one. Spending 12 billion bucks a year, year after year, with no accountability and no positive results isn’t going to cut it anymore. People do unfortunately seem mostly mad about the waste of tax money rather than the lack of positive outcomes, but this whole situation can’t continue as it has. I think Spence and INM have seen their methods backfire.

        • Why….because of a bunch of comments on a chatsite? LOL

          Do you not know the Cons have media teams to do just that? It’s a job. They used to do it with Letters To The Editor before the web.

          As to ‘the situation can’t continue’….that’s what Spence has been telling you all this time. It’s what Atleo is also saying.

          • There is a major difference between Spence and Atleo. Atleo is intelligent pragmatic progressive, Spence just incompetent whiner.

          • LOL Atleo agrees with Harper….Spence does not. That’s the source of your ‘opinion’.

          • OK, LOL, hysterically. But it may be other way around – Harper agrees with Atleo. And Spence may be manipulated by special interest people who want just trouble.

          • Harper didn’t even meet Atleo till recently….and your speculation about Spence is absurd.

            Stop looking for plots and secrets and ‘special interests’ and conspiracies….the reserve situation is a mess and has been for ages, and it needs to be fixed.

            Harper had the chance….handed to him on a silver platter….to go into the history books with a huge and terrific legacy.

            But nooooo….he blew it.

          • Harper did not have to meet Atleo to know his views. I never met the guy at all, and for more than a couple of years know what he is up to. Just folowing the FN business and politics.
            And the Kelowna accord –yes – that mysterious “IF” – but it has both positive and negative option.No guaranties. Sorry. You think that Liberals can come up with some magic solutions? Go into the history books….

          • Harp hasn’t paid the slightest attention to FN in all these years.

            Now he’s paying for it.

          • How come some of the problems are addressed in that famous recent omnibus bill? You are pathetic.

          • The natives are opposed to the omnibus bills.

          • Emily 1 you can’t have it both ways. You tell your detractors to stop looking fro plots and conspiracies but you, yourself, claim there is a secret room somewhere full of conservative lackeys madly posting to chat sites

          • Mmm noooo I said nothing about a ‘secret room’. I said Cons post to chatsites in droves….all echoing the HQ talking points.

            Same crowd that used to be big on ‘Letters to the Editor’. Bunches at a time….form letters even.

            I was in the party Alison. You got a secret room now? LOL

          • I liked it when Jack took an interest in Indian youth employment. I heard he used to hire teenage Indian girls for his “clinic.”

            Emly you would know this. Were those girls “Indians” from “India” or was Jack hiring FN Indians for his clinic. You know the one I mean, don’t you?

          • Wrong – how quickly a biased opinion jumps to the wrong conclusion. Do a little research!

          • We’ve all been here all along…Harp started off by dumping Kelowna, and he’s gone downhill ever since.

    • Too true Wayne!

      Harper has played it cool and let the native’s position unravel. Who cares when or how the Attawaspikat financials were released? It remains a damning but INDEPENDENT indictment of a mismanaged reserve. Did Spence actually think we wouldn’t find out?

  15. I don’t know how much it costs for an interior decorator in Ottawa but I’ll bet if you tried to decorate a tipi that way in Toronto it would cost you $50 grand.

    I wonder where she got the money for that.?

  16. Am I the only one who thinks that all involved, media, politicians, Natives, seem to have lost all common sense. It seems only the taxpayer see all this for what it is, a sham.

  17. There are 10,000 ‘Theresa Spences’ in Canada. They are all on Welfare. They live in coops or cheap condos. They get themselves elected to the Condo Board to feel empowered. Once on the board, they will engineer a maintenance contract for a boyfriend or even steal quarters from the laudromat.

  18. The Great Mother from across the sea should instruct the Gov. Gen. to give her a couple of Jenny Craig gift certificates and a six pack and send her packing.No real accounting will ever be required by law its just not the Canadian way.Happy April 30 suckers

  19. The timing of the release of the documents do not discredit Spence….her inability to govern properly, her inability to fiscally manage her band’s money, her nepotism favouring her own family and probably more, are what discredit her. If one wishes to support Spence, prove these accusations wrong or in error. Let’s not shoot the meesanger.

  20. I think jail time would help the cause. They’re burning our tax dollars for their personal gains. The Gov’t (if it had balls) should withhold all funds until every dollar they were given in 2012 is accounted. Then jail the abusers…

  21. Who cares how the message got out. The money has gone to feather nests within the reserve and politics thus leaving the community in fire straits.

    The movement should be renamed #SpendNomore.

    $104 million dollars can’t support 1800 people … give me a break !

  22. I have no sympathy for this woman, she enrages me. But I have met lots of aboriginal Canadians who are suffering because of their incompetent or ill prepared leadership. I support Aboriginal Canadians in feeling the situation is wrong, but they have to start questioning their leadership too. Reserves are not typically great places to live or grow-up in, its hard to live in the same community with the same people, especially when so many people are suffereing from substance abuse and other social ills. You would want to escape but you can’t because you are so ill prepared for the real world where you cannot survive. Maybe one big solution is that we start recognizing that the first nations across Canada are very diverse and need to be dealt with very differently, not with the one brush. For those like the lady above they need a permanent auditor and in other areas they have proven they can administer their own needs successfully.

  23. It appears Mclean’s is a liberal mag. And if the liberals are going to let this fraud off the hook, I want nothing to do with them.

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