Chief Spence: hunger striker no more

Tease the day: Attawapiskat chief resumes eating, releases renewed list of demands

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

FRED CHARTRAND/CP

Theresa Spence can finally go home. The chief of Attawapiskat First Nation, who trundled into the national spotlight a fortnight before Christmas, made passionate pleas to government, refused solid food, found support among thousands and opposition among many others, played some role in forcing a meeting with the prime minister (and the governor general, at least ceremonially), and continued her fight even as prominent supporter after prominent supporter urged her to start eating. Spence made lots of friends and enemies between Dec. 11 and Jan. 24, she raised more awareness than most Canadians over those six weeks, and now it’s over. She leaves a 13-point declaration of demands in her wake, and can look forward to a few weeks where people like me don’t write about her.

What’s her legacy? How will she be remembered? Does she even have any control over that? You tell me.

Obligatory Sun News reference: As you might have heard, Sun News Network hopes to convince the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that it deserves a spot on basic cable. The merits of that request made the rounds on Twitter yesterday, where people made fun of and sometimes defended the fledgling network’s credibility. For your own education, here are a couple of journalists’ opinions: Postmedia’s Andrew Coynex, who doesn’t so much like the idea; and J-Source contributor Justin Ling, who argues the CRTC should grant Sun News Network’s request.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with outgoing Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s final days in office. The National Post fronts outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony to the Senate foreign relations committee about last year’s terrorist attack on an American compound in Benghazi, Libya. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with lengthy processing periods for citizenship applicants in Canada. The Ottawa Citizen leads with uncertainty surrounding Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page‘s ability to formally respond to this year’s federal budget. iPolitics fronts interim Liberal leader Bob Rae’s fundraising trip to southwestern Ontario. CBC.ca leads with the search for three Canadians in Antarctica. National Newswatch showcases a Postmedia story about House of Commons and Senate lawyers, representing the chambers’ respective Speaker’s offices, arguing only Parliament has jurisdiction when it comes to defining Page’s role.


Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. First Nation. A new chief elected at Gull Bay First Nation earlier this month discovered that the community is bankrupt. The feds have stepped in with over $1 million in emergency funding. 2. Quebec corruption. Michele Lalonde testified to the Charbonneau Commission in Montreal that his engineering firm funnelled kickbacks from contacts to political parties.
3. Inmate death. Canada’s corrections investigator is looking into the case of a Saskatoon inmate who died of an apparent heart attack after several calls for help allegedly went unanswered. 4. Carbon monoxide. Sickened workers at an industrial construction plant in northern New Brunswick were exposed to carbon monoxide, the source of which is still unknown.




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Chief Spence: hunger striker no more

  1. Well one thing we discovered is the incredible level of racism there is amongst ‘tolerant, equality-loving, polite’ Canadians.

    I realize much of it arises from the embarrassment and shame of having a Third World in our midst….but villifying the victims wasn’t the way to go.

    • Nice of you to cast a blanket stereotype across an entire people, you racist.

      • I’ve had enough of your Tree Monkey nonsense as well, so your posts are going straight to trash from now on.

    • We who blog on Macleans online also learned that you, EmilyOne are completely bigotted when it comes to Alberta and Albertans. You have no issue with spewing your hatred toward those Canadians and making generalizations about millions of people based solely on where they choose to reside. Further you are completely bigotted about the people who choose to vote conservative. Again you make generalizations about millions of Canadians based on their voting choices that are full of hatred and venom. How is this any different than the people who make generalizations based on race? It is bigotry, pure and simple. You can identify it in others but you have zero insight that it exists in yourself.

      • Not Albertans…..Con Albertans. And that is not racism. Be serious or be gone.

        • Emily, I know you aren’t going to realize this, but you are exactly the same as the people you hate. You just have different targets.

          You think the people you spew venom at deserve it, they think that Natives (and especially their Chiefs) deserve the venom. You would both be better off to realize that venom does nothing to solve problems, but is only done to make yourself feel smug and superior.

          • You guys need a dictionary…..there is a difference between racism and disagreeing with someone.

          • No, you differ on racism. You do not differ on unthinking hate and a toxic attitude that does nothing to elevate debate or change people’s opinions.

          • Thumbs up x1000 Yanni.

          • Again…get a dictionary. Debate, discussion, disagreement is not hate.

            Hate has a specific meaning. Use it.

          • No, but most of the time you don’t bother to debate, discuss or disagree.

            There are many on here that I can discuss, disagree and debate with. What you do with people is not that.

            Instead, what you do is what they explained not to do in the Monty Python skit about arguments, which is abuse and pointless contradiction.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y&noredirect=1

          • No, not when the facts are clear on a matter. I don’t debate facts….they simply are.

            Anybody here can google ‘constitution’, ‘Indian reserves’, ‘Crown land’, ‘First Nations’ and so on for themselves. I’m not a research service.

            Many posters here spend their time trying to argue against fact…..that black is white, that up is down etc. It’s ‘angels on the head of a pin’…..or pilpul.

            I don’t have time for that.

            In fact many posters here spend their time trying to tell ME how to argue to THEIR satisfaction! Ain’t happenin’ baby.

          • Okay, but when you act like a jerk, you won’t get respect. No matter how right or wrong you may be. Even a lot of good, liberal people who agree with you on most issues have left over the years simply because they just couldn’t stand you anymore.

          • Yanni…do you really think people have left this site because of one lone poster, me?

            That if I PERSONALLY don’t post in just the manner and words they would like, they get all miffed and faint dead away?

            Srsly?? I’m that important on here???

            Get a grip, man. [rolls eyes]

          • Don’t worry Emily circulation is up on account of you.

            The MMPI guys are designing a new test based exclusively on your
            meanderings

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Multiphasic_Personality_Inventory

            And the David Suzuki Institute has 50 people following you; all of them convinced you’re a new brand of Fruit Fly and not human at all.

          • Well since you take up 50+% of the posts on this board and since you SCREAM “racist” or “hater” at someone in 40% of those, I’d say you should tear the “hate” page, as well as the “eye rolling” page out of your dictionary and glue them to your dirty face.

    • I think as well that people just don’t realize how constrained the average Native Canadian on reserves is constrained from participating in the economy, and how much that contributes to problems on First Nations reserves.

      If people realized that the problems on reserves of crumbling and substandard infrastructure, official corruption, welfare dependency and drug and alcohol abuse on reserves largely stem from the inability to own property and other artificial barriers to entering the economy.
      They assume for example, that people on reserves can’t look after their houses because they are lazy and ignorant, rather than because the houses weren’t built to code in the first place and they are essentially living as tenants without a landlord.

      • No, they regard native life as some prolonged hunting and fishing trip, and a way to live in a natural paradise.

        Most of them have never been near a reserve.

        • That is true as well, but then that is also true of those that support #Idlenomore on the progressive side. They think largely it is a matter of just throwing more money at the problem, while maintaining the status quo. The status quo though, is killing people.

          We have largely seen eye to eye on this issue, though you don’t seem to be bothered that reform of property rights and other barriers to economic participation aren’t on the agenda of #Idlenomore. So you see hope, whereas I’m generally depressed by the whole thing.

          • Well I’m a firm believer in progress, and retaining the status quo is not an option. Nor do natives want to keep it

            However no one in Canada owns private property….and natives live communally. If we can’t do it for ourselves, we can’t do it for natives….especially if they don’t want it.

            However, being depressed doesn’t solve anything.

          • Yes, we own it fee simple, but we still own the property for all practical purposes. The government finds it very difficult to expropriate property from private citizens that don’t live on reserves.

            As for the living communally, that is as much imposed on Natives by the government as (which you pointed out) as the band council form of government.

            In the end though, you think that the 12 point resolution, if implemented, will bring positive change. I don’t mind the stuff on there, I think they are all good ideas… but it won’t change substandard housing and infrastructure, disparity of funding for education, or poverty.

            They are therefore largely irrelevant until we destroy the pseudo-socialist systems that govern reserves that prohibit private property. I don’t care if existing reserve land is kept as a commons and individual natives are allowed to purchase land adjacent to the reserve and incorporate it into the reserve. I don’t care if existing land is divided up in fee simple, I don’t even care if the bands lease land to individuals while retaining the rights for the band that currently go to the Crown (ie. mineral rights).

            Whatever solution puts private property in the hands of individuals on reserves is fine with me. But until that happens, you will not see an end to poverty on reserves. So they need to add a 13th resolution, or all of this will be for naught.

          • Sorry, I need to correct myself. They currently have a 13 point resolution. They need a 14th point that grants some sort of property rights to individual natives.

          • The govt can expropriate your land at any time….and they set the price.

            Macleans just ran a story awhile ago about a farmer having this happen to him, even though the land had been in his family since the beginning of Canada.

            Natives live tribally. They live communally….much to our dismay.

            Private property is a western capitalist idea….that is not a universal value.

            And if you live on say….1000 acres of N Manitoba….1000 miles from nowhere…it’s not going to make the slightest difference anyway.

          • That’s simply not true Emily. Before we settlers came Natives had private property, rights to harvest property, territorial boundaries and trade networks that stretched from Northern Quebec and the NWT to Central America. Commerce and property doesn’t arise from falling away from a noble state of nature as the socialist presume, it is natural to the human society no matter what your skin colour and geography is.

            The only reason they live that way is because we force them to live that way. The only reason that the Chiefs and leadership go along with it is a) indoctrination to socialist ideals and b) because it gives them almost limitless power over all people who live on reserves, by controlling access to funds and security.

            I severely doubt that most natives on reserves enjoy not having access to equity. I sincerely doubt that without equity they enjoy not having access to financial services or the ability to gain and transfer wealth from one generation to another. I know this, because most natives eventually have to leave the reserve to have any hope of a better future.

            Simply put, political influence is not a fairer way to distribute resources among the population than markets. You believe that you can have prosperity through political management of communal resources and no private property. I simply can’t believe that because every time it is tried around the world it has led to failure and poverty.

          • No Yanni they didn’t. ‘Private property’ was entirely a foreign concept to them.

            You are off on some Con anti-socialist rant here, instead of discussing the topic.

            Sorry, I’m not interested in discussing Objectivism

            PS Jesus was a socialist.

          • I’m not discussing Objectivism. An Objectivist would say that if you gather up people of superior intellect, innovation and invention and put them on a reserve, (as proven by them being money-making captains of industry naturally) you would end up with a utopia that would be free of useless moochers.

            I say if you put those people of a superior intellect, innovation and invention on a reserve, you would end up with a reserve full of useless moochers.

            Nobody can have prosperity with the economic conditions we have set up on reserves. Nobody. It is monstrously cruel to make them try.

          • An Objectivist would say nothing of the sort. LOL And neither should you.

            Private property is a concept from the Industrial Age…..natives have never HAD an Industrial Age.

            You are talking about your preferred economic system, and your version of prosperity…..which is fine…..but don’t assume it’s everyone’s, because it’s not.

          • No, private property is not a concept from the industrial age. While the natives never had the industrial revolution (no steam power) they certainly had continent-spanning trade networks, agriculture, national and geographic borders, and with all of that a notion of property.

            Why do people have a notion of private property? To trade. Why do people trade? To be able to consume beyond their production possibilities frontier. Why do they do that? To gain wealth. In fact, that’s pretty much the only way to gain it.

            What happens to people who are unable to trade or own property? They are poor, because markets are usually the best way for society to distribute its scarce resources. This is also true if you are a hunter/gatherer or subsistence farmer (hence the fur trade with Europe, which used existing continent spanning Native trade networks quite easily).

          • Now see….this is exactly what I mean. Private property comes from the Industrial Age….in fact you might remember something about ‘enclosures’ and land clearances. You could have googled it yourself. Trade routes are not ‘private property’. You can trade quite easily without ever owning property.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_property

          • Oop, there is nothing in that wikipedia link that says private property began in the industrial revolution. Too bad.

            Of course we know that wills, property boundaries, deeds, cash, trade and financial services of all sorts predate the industrial revolution, so you are obviously more wedded to ideologies about human progress from the first half of the 20th century to care about historical fact. All of those things also existed in First Nations societies as well, because commerce is as natural to human beings as tool use is.

            Now, if you want to redefine private property to try to save face, fine. I would like First Nations to have deeds, cash, trade, and property boundaries held by individuals. Whether you call that private property or not matters little to me.

          • Have some more coffee Yanni.

            ‘Private property emerged as the dominant form of property in the means of production and land during the Industrial Revolution in the early 18th century, displacing feudal property, guilds, cottage industry, and craft production, which were based on ownership of the tools for production by individual laborers or guilds of craftspeople.[3]‘

          • So, you are denying then that there were extensive trade networks, recognized borders, nations and empires, agriculture and private property?

            Cause if you are, you are both ignorant of history and beholden to 1900-1960′s racist ideology. If you catch up on your reading about aboriginal history and archeology, you’ll find that the “new” world was richer, more technologically advanced and more socially complex than we ever gave them credit for.

          • WRONG – ONLY SOCIALISTS FEAR PRIVATE OWNERSHIP

            We do indeed own private property; what we don’t have is a guaranty of property rights in the so-called “Rights and Freedoms” promulgated by the Communist Pierre Trudeau, as part of the patriated Canadian Constitution

            But even Trudeau almost left it in from the Bill of Rights passed by John Diefenbaker. I say almost, because it was in there until Ed Effing Broadbent walked down the street and talked Trudeau into taking it out.
            ————————————-

            Here’s the relevant bit; Diefenbaker’s Paragrah 1(a) from The Canadian Bill of Rights s.c. 1960 c44

            1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

            (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

            (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

            (c) freedom of religion;

            (d) freedom of speech;

            (e) freedom of assembly and association; and

            (f) freedom of the press.

          • Yawn I have the right not to listen to Tree Monkeys….so chatter to yourself. Ciao.

          • “Tree Monkeys” you say, for what, the third time today?

            Avoid redundancy Emily, it’s Rule No 2 around here.

            But once again Emily you’re WRONG and CONFUSED. Now I know you hear things in your head but I can assure you Emily you have never “listened” because I’ve never spoken to you

            I always write to people like you Emily so that I have a record of it.

            Oh by the way Emily, for a people who don’t own property there are an extraordinary number of greedy lawyers attached to each of us, all moving stuff around.

      • What a load of BS, the Indians that I know have all moved off of the reserve to get away from all of the lazy, thieving, drug and alcohol dependent scumbags.

        The Indians that I know work, have jobs, have their kids go to school and have become part of Canadian society.

        • Exactly. They left to have jobs, have their kids go to school, and to take part in the wider commerce of Canadian society. The reason there is so many lazy, thieving, idle and drug and alcohol dependent scumbags is because they live under socialism. Then the people that are tortured by socialism bring all of those problems out of the reserve and it takes a few generations to recover.

          Did you know that the Soviet’s had propoganda campaigns in order to try and convince people on collective farms to get out of bed and do their labour? That’s how powerful taking away incentives to work can be, in that the learned helplessness and depression becomes so powerful that you’d rather be shot by the Bolsheviks than to work for nothing.

          We have essentially forced Natives to live under the same conditions, and then act surprised when we get the same results.

          So if you read it over again, you’ll find that what I’m saying isn’t B.S. at all.

          • We have not forced them to live like socialists, this is what they have learned from the socialist/communist elements in main stream Canadian society.

            Those Indians who have chosen to be responsible for their own destiny prove this.

            Individual responsibility is a concept totally foreign to those on the left.

      • I apprecaite this reader’s apparently genuine attempts to come to grips with parsing situation, although partially I despair at the “the problem is we aren’t right wing enough” conclusion.

        • Private property isn’t about being right wing or left wing. Rational people of the left agree that the problem with our current economic system is that people in the lower classes don’t have enough opportunities to gather personal wealth and bequeath it to their children.

          Communal property without private property has only ever brought poverty. The end. Every economist on every side of the political spectrum agrees that people respond to incentives. Every economist agrees that markets are usually a good way to distribute society’s scarce resources. We have taken both of these basic economic principles away from Natives on reserves.

          The only people that can make it work are those that live under a monastic rule, where through religious devotion they divest themselves of a sense of self and submit to a strict rule while taking a vow of poverty and obedience to a superior. Even then, it helps that you can kick everyone out that isn’t fully on board.

          If I am wrong about the reserves “not being right wing enough” because I believe in private property, what will you do to improve situations under the status quo? Do you think there is a way that communal ownership of property and polticial means of distributing that property can work, even though it has failed in 100% of the cases that it has been tried?

          • That’s an abstract simplistic and higly ideological “solution” to a complex problem. It may or may not have some decent aspects, overall it’s not gonna solve much.

          • Simple? Putting private property in the hands of natives on reserves will be far more complex than anything on the 13 point resolution.

            Again, do you think there is a way for people to be prosperous on the reserve system, with an accountable government, without private property? If so, how? I am prepared to listen, if you provide me with something I haven’t heard before.

            But if you seriously expect me to believe that prosperity can honestly come from communal government control of almost all of the means of production, then I’m going to dismiss you as a monster who puts his ideology above basic empirical evidence.

          • I am prepared to listen, if you provide me with something I haven’t heard before.

            ***

            I feel the EXACTLY same way, but with without the pre-supposed right wing “solutions” heck, I am not even sold on how we define the problem and frame “success”.

          • What is so right wing about anything I have proposed? Do you honestly believe the right has the monopoly on the observed benefits of owning property and being able to build equity?

            If so, nobody should vote for the left ever again, and the Nordic nations are obviously too right wing for you.

          • Heh.

            “Has only ever brought property. The end.” … “people that can make it work are those that live under a monastic rule”

            One of these things is not like the other..

          • People who live under monasticism live under poverty.

            I also don’t think that the individual members of the first nations are willing to live under monastic conditions.

          • Only poverty if defined by personal possessions. They have all their needs met — food, shelter, community.. by the standards that most people use, it’s hardly poverty.

          • Ask those who find that they can no longer live under monastic conditions whether they feel poor once they leave, because they leave with nothing to show for a decade or two of labour and time.

            There are three things that make monasticism work, and it is their three vows. A vow of poverty, so that they vow to be content with privation. A vow of chastity, because nothing requires you to have personal financial security like having children. Lastly, you need a vow of obedience, which means you submit fully to God and your Abbot (or Mother Superior).

            This is not going to work for the First Nations Reserves. You do not want to give the Chief power over your reserves that an Abbot has over his oblates and brothers. You cannot expect people with families and dreams for the future to live under monastic sparseness on the reserve, and be unable to take any wealth out of the reserve.

            But seriously you guys, you actually still believe in the control of the means of production and that property is theft? That doesn’t make you left wing, that makes you crazy, like someone who refuses to accept evolution. The value of personal private property for liberty of the person, financial security and economic growth has been so profoundly proven that to argue against it is like arguing against reason itself. When you consider just how much suffering and death it has brought to people all over the world, and yes in our own native reserves, it is simply monstrous and cruel.

  2. “I realize much of it arises from the embarrassment and shame of having a Third World in our midst….but villifying the victims wasn’t the way to go.”
    We have a ‘third world’ in our midst because of corrupt band leaders.
    What is actually racist is elevating one ethnicity with special rights – and perpetual payments – based on their ancestry. That is racism.
    At what point have we paid enough for the actions of the British and French monarchs? In 2100 should we still be giving reserve natives a free ride? How about 2200? Does it ever end for you, or should the hand just be out all the time.
    Like most, I found the native protestors to be shockingly ignorant of what they were protesting, and amongst the most vile racists I have ever had the misfortune of hearing. Epithets like ‘settler’, ‘whitey’ and ‘go home’ have been on display with regularity.
    All this to mask Spence’s gross mismanagement, and the other chiefs not wanting the Transparency and Accountability act – really, this is all a smokescreen because they dont want to have to conform to audits. They just want free money and the right to screw their own people over.

    • What is unfortunate, is that they are not reporting what APTN is reporting. That being that Ms. Spence’s band is demanding she return or they will remove her as chief.

      • That doesn’t fit the narrative. After all, it isn’t about doing what is best for Natives. It is about maintaining the status quo and framing everything as being about racists vs. progressives.

      • I’ve been to aptn’s website and cannot find the article you are referencing; could you please link it here? I don’t doubt you; I just want to read it.

    • Good she is ending this hidden feast with a hidden blender and KFC, Big Macs coming in the back door. I was worried about all the weight she has been putting on.

    • Well, poor Spence booked herself into a hospital last night, is still there as of 11am…well how convenient…she will miss the “walking out ceremony” and may miss a later news conference…maybe this is another smoke screen so she won’t have to answer questions about the 104 million that she can’t account for…but she doing fine and has to be gradually introduced to solid food…I’m sure we all await, with bated breath, for more deatails on this fraudster’s health!!

    • Gee…..over 600 ‘corrupt band leaders’ eh? All their fault.

      Not ours for not arresting them. Or ours because it’s our imposed voting system. Just theirs.

      So, if we jail those 600 people…everything will be wonderful, right?

      At what point do the treaties end? When the sun ceases to shine, and the rivers cease to run.

      PS….I’m sorry to hear you needed smelling salts and a fainting couch over ‘settler’ and ‘whitey’. You delicate souls are having a hard time of it, eh?

    • “At what point have we paid enough for the actions of the British and French monarchs?”

      I guess that would be at the point you no longer wish to enjoy the benefits of those monarchs actions.

  3. Well there she goes Big Chief Surf and Turf.

    Back to the Res with the old boyfriend to start burning away at another $100 million or so.

    “We Meet, We Part” – we hope!

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