Aboriginal leaders had a bad day

Tease the day: AFN chiefs and Theresa Spence couldn’t get their messages out


CP/Sean Kilpatrick

A postponed press conference. Mixed messages from a symbolic leader. Unrealistic demands of a meeting with the Prime Minister. Unclear conditions for success. Yesterday, Aboriginal leaders had a bad day. They failed to look or sound confident, by any measure, in advance of a working meeting with Stephen Harper—the details of which are, with 24 hours to go, still unclear. The confusion is perhaps fitting, the inevitable conclusion of the leaderless-by-design Idle No More campaign to champion Aboriginal rights. Even the Assembly of First Nations, the organization usually most willing to meet with the government on its terms, is struggling to maintain its composure. Slowly, newspapers are turning on the Aboriginal movement, focusing less on policy issues and more on the confusion and disarray among Aboriginal ranks. Tomorrow’s meeting could be their last chance—for some time, anyway—to regain momentum.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with uncertainty about whether or not Aboriginal leaders will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper tomorrow. The National Post fronts the “folly” of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Ontario teachers’ planned one-day strike tomorrow. iPolitics fronts a profile of prospective U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. CBC.ca leads with counterfeit Chinese parts in Canada’s new Hercules military aircraft. National Newswatch showcases a Canadian Press investigation of the personal finances of Spence’s partner, Clayton Kennedy.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Veterans. A group of military veterans reached an $887.8-million settlement with the federal government after they complained disability benefits were clawed back. 2. Killer whales. About a dozen killer whales are trapped in the ice of Hudson Bay near the Inuit community of Inukjuak. The mayor’s asked for help from an icebreaker.
3. Natural gas. TransCanada announced its intentions to build a pipeline that would carry B.C. gas to a new facility in Prince Rupert, for export to thirsty Asian markets. 4. Mali. The Globe and Mail’s Campbell Clark says there are plenty of good reasons to send a modest amount of military trainers to Mali, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has “lost the will.”

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Aboriginal leaders had a bad day

  1. ‘Not hardly’ as they say.

    Spence just raised the stakes because she isn’t going to be fobbed off…..and everyone, including the PMO, is scrambling.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Ain’t no buses. 9 months of the year ain’t any roads, neither. Part of the overall problem,

    • She’s already been fobbed off. We now know that not only is she completely incapable of managing her Band, her “partner” isn’t even capable of managing his own personal finances.

      Spence, and anybody who continues to support her is now doing a complete disservice to those who want to actually improve conditions on reserves. But I suspect those who are standing by this fraud are more interested in partisan gain than actually improving anything for anybody.

      • Ahh RickRoll the Troll…mornin’

        PS…Same attempt to discredit was done to MLK…..didn’t stop civil rights movement.

        • Are you equating Spence with MLK?

          • People used to ask ‘Are you equating MLK with Gandhi’?

          • I do not Gandhi had real hunger strikes not Oprah diets

          • LOLOL

          • Look in the mirror did you

          • I take it you want to be added to my ‘ignore’ list?

            Because you’re certainly adding nothing to the conversation beyond high school nyah nyah stuff.

          • You have been on most ignore lists Emily One Note

          • LOL nah….you’re just doing the kid’s nyah nyah stuff.

          • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • Yer doin’ it wrong. It’s ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

          • You just don’t get do you?

          • No, I just don’t get it. Neither, apparently, does the media, the government, the official opposition, large parts of the public (based on some polls), and everyone else.

            It’s just you against everyone else. The inventor of the alternating-current generator versus the world.

          • I’ll make it easy for you. It’s not about Spence; regardless what you, the Media Party, the Government,the Public and the Opposition Parties think.

          • I think the people who started Idle No More would disagree with you there. They wanted to distance themselves from Spence and the other chiefs because it IS about people like Spence who inept at their jobs or corrupt JUST as much as it is about problems with the federal government. Conditions on some of the reserves are abysmal and pretending that it is all the fault of the government and none of the chiefs such as Spence, is completely counterproductive.

          • Everyone including your beloved PM ‘gets it’.

          • I don’t get it and i am a Canadian Citizen

          • Maybe you should have tried the citizenship test.

          • Emily, I cannot believe that YOU do not understand that Clayton Kennedy is going to be fired as the co-manager and Ms. Spence is headed for third-party management.

          • And I can’t believe you’re at least a year behind the times.

        • How much money was MLK demanding for the civil rights movement from the government? Spence’s protest has nothing to do with anybodies rights, it has everything to do with her demanding more money to mismanage.

          • It cost the US govt billions.

            Are you trying to disguise racism with just being cheap?? LOL

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Well whites at the time said he had no cause….that he was just lazy and mooching, and that doing a day’s work was a better idea….

            Same as you’re saying about Spence.

  2. read that spence has raised $32,00 in donations while on her hunger strike…$20,00 has been spent on hotels for her and her supporters, car rental, food But her boyfriend has kept all the receipts…little wonder she decided to “starve” Ottawa…no first class hotels in Attawapaskat. I’m just waiting, in great anticipation, to hear what other demands this fake will come with

    • The money was freely and willing given, not extorted…you’re a broken record.

  3. I’m disgusted by the media in this country. This last week as been nothing but a character assassination on Spence and a misinformation campaign launched by the Media Party to keep the public from being informed and to turn the public against the movement. The leaking of the Audit and the Media Party’s deliberate manipulation of facts and refusal to objectively report about the Audit is so blatant and obvious it makes me throw up in my mouth. What I have just witnessed is an embarrassment to journalism and exposes how corrupt and disgraceful the media in the country is.

    The only confusion that is being generated here is through the proxy media and the government. With out a doubt one of the worst weeks I have witnessed from our Media Party. Utterly shameful.

    And the Media has the audacity to wonder why they were kicked off the Reserve? F—ing narcissistic mouth breathers. A bunch of clowns.

    • Reporting the audit makes you throw up in your mouth? Because it was reported, or because of the audit’s findings?
      The media is not going to place Spence on a pedestal. Even the non-Conservative parties & MPs like the NDP/Mulcair are distancing themselves from Spence, refusing to meet with her, and not explicitly demanding that Harper meet with her either. This isn’t a character assassination on Spence. She’s been shooting herself in the foot since day one.

      • No, the subjective reporting and the leaking of the Audit makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Learn to read better.

        • So you weren’t upset with the actual contents of the audit? Just so we’re clear.

          • No, apparently it is common on these isolated Reserves and since I have never done any business up there or had to run a Reserve I think it would be ridiculous to form a firm opinion of what really went on. But since the Media decided that nuance wasn’t necessary and allowed for the corruption charge to be levied with no proof of it, the public and myself were not given the luxury.

            Also. Spence has been Chief since 2010 and the report goes back to 2005, the failures discovered by the Audit should be assigned to everyone, especially the Federal Government for allowing it to continue for so long. not just one women (who i think was probably a little out of league).

          • Whatever is wrong with you ? Everybody knows that in a
            community of a few hundred ill-educated people services
            are put out to tender (preferably including a special invitation
            to Lockheed ), compliance is inspected, invoices are received
            and cleared, flowed through the proper committees in HR,
            Finance and Accounting to be paid out nine months later …
            in time, it is to be hoped, for the next shipment of price-inflated
            canned tomatoes …

          • Ms. Spence had a co-manager, Mr. Kennedy to do the accounting. Now they have 30% of the needed documentation instead of the 15% they had prior to Ms. Spence and Mr. Kennedy taking over. Mr. Kennedy is making $850.00 per day for this expertise. During the housing crisis 6 new houses sat empty waiting to be finished on the inside. They had been empty for 2 years, awaiting finishing on the inside. Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Spence bought a Zamboni for $100K instead of finishing the houses…meanwhile, her people were living in tents in the winter and the rec centre wasn’t even in operation due to some maintenance issues. You are saying the media shouldn’t ask her some questions?

          • She was the deputy chief from 2005 to 2010. Did you NOT watch Adrienne Arsenault’s interview with Ms. Spence, Clayton Kennedy and a member of the community? It is on the CBC website. No one knows what went wrong with the money BUT everyone knows that Ms. Spence bought a $100K Zamboni while she had 6 new houses sitting empty for 2 years awaiting completion of inside work. Meanwhile she had people living in tents in the freezing cold. Further she had heaters, sleeping bags and winter coats sitting in boxes because she and her co-manager/life-partner didn’t get them distributed to these people living in tents. This despite the fact that the band council has about 20 people on the payroll. Ms. Spence was waiting for “community volunteers” to show up and do the job.
            The government was lax but Ms. Spence and the chief before her had a co-manager. Ms. Spence’s co-manager became her life partner Mr. Kennedy. You can complain about the media but don’t forget it was Ms. Spence who invited them to the party. She notified them of her housing crisis and then she started her hunger strike, all to draw attention to the fact that her community doesn’t have enough money. You are now mad that the media is investigating her claims.

          • I’m pretty sure Spence’s protest is about the omnibus budget bill that was just passed, not so much about the money.

          • Really, what about the housing crisis last year when she demanded 1 million dollars from the government?

          • It’s ALL about the money.

    • “… character assassination on Spence…”

      I think whatever character she had just committed suicide out of embarrassment… no assassination needed.

  4. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/01/09/pol-oil-gas-industry-letter-to-government-on-environmental-laws.html

    Here’s another story that seems to have been mostly missed Nick. It caught CBC attention for maybe 5 minutes. I have a feeling this is even old news but since they now have the doc thx to ATI this ought to cause quite a stir…it will within the enviro movement and elements of #idlenomore, thats a certainty. I’m surprised AW hasn’t grabbed it yet…give him a nudge will you.

    • How is this ‘story’ even news?

      Different groups always exhort governments to do this or that to improve the operation of the country.

      • I dunno, maybe you should think about it some more?

        • I didn’t think you knew anyway, but I like to see that fact confirmed.

          • Sorry…next time i’ll put in some sarcasm tags ok.

  5. I guess it’s all perspective. I think Aboriginal leaders should be praised for not letting Harper set the agenda for a meeting THEY called. Plus the leaked document from Greenpeace showing the ridiculous amount of influence Big Oil has on Harper’s “environmental policies” backs up exactly why the leaders are not willing to accept Harper’s offer of a what he is trying to turn into a measly photo op. Why isn’t “Big Oil dictating Harper’s legislation” listed under “Stories that will be (mostly) missed”?

  6. Wow 32000…………and 20k spent on legit expenses. 12k in so far undisclosed money. The government screws us 12k about every minute in waste and stupidity. Canada is failing, why are you all so blind. First Nations people are the only people with balls to stand up for the big picture. 90% of Canaduh is ignorant of any real facts. Working off pathetic beer commercial bred nationalism and racial stereotyping. Most cant name a single first nations issue but sure know all the NHL deals points. Get a grip of the important issues, morons.

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