‘Least resistance’


Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kathleen Wynne criticizes the federal government’s response to the Attawapiskat crisis. And in an interview with APTN, Ms. Wynne says she can’t get Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan to answer her calls.

Minister Duncan ran into NDP MP Charlie Angus yesterday at the CBC offices in Ottawa.

The minister insisted his department did not have “an awareness of what was in the community until a few days after Oct. 28.” But he went on to tell van Dusen that the feds had “people in the community” since April. “I don’t understand,” she interrupted. “You said you didn’t know until Oct 28.” Duncan shot back with: “They did not identify there was an issue — and neither did Charlie Angus, the representative of the area, who is not shy about talking about Attawapiskat.”

If the latter was a dig at Angus’ abundant media availability, then Duncan was repaid in more than equal measure when he attempted to make a break from the interview. Hustled off by handlers —’We gave you the time. We have to go’ — Duncan made it down one stairwell before bumping into the man himself. Angus greeted him with a hearty, “Mr. Duncan! We’ve got an emergency in Attawapiskat. You’ll know now. Just so you don’t get caught flat-footed.”

Full video here.


‘Least resistance’

  1. Is he taking a dig at Angus for trying to represent a community within Angus’ riding?  Really?  The mind boggles.

  2. Angus is having a hay-day with this.  On Canada AM he dissed the interviewer for bringing up the fact that the co-manager of the reserve is the Chief’s common-law spouse.  Funny that an APTN  journo had posted this info on their site two days ago and now it’s gone.

    • The feds appoint the co-manager, so talk to them.

      • Sounds like the Chief appoints the co-manager and the taxpayer dutifully pay who ever is allowed to represent us.

        • ‘The band council and the department agree on a co-manager, who gets signing authority for all accounts containing AAND funding. The band pays for the manager. Under third-party management, all funding goes through a manager appointed by the department to administer it. The manager, whose salary is paid by the band, decides which band staff are required to run its programs and services.’


          • Also……

            ‘Roughly $11 million in debt, the Attawapiskat council has been on financial alert since at least July 2010, when federal officials required it to engage a professional co-manager to monitor spending and accounting procedures.
            The council hired Clayton Kennedy, who admits he is in a romantic relationship with Spence.
            “Yes, I am,” he said Thursday. “There is a conflict-of-interest policy in place.”
            Kennedy said he does not make recommendations to the chief or her deputy but to the council as a whole, and so his personal relationship with Spence should not be a factor’


          • Interesting, so the co-manager has no stroke, just makes ‘recommendations’ to the 3 Chiefs and 19 Councillors.

            One would have thought a co-manager would have some control on spending, but it looks like a rubber stamp job.

          •  @ Wilson
            Well it’s a second level of control, not full take-over.

            There aren’t many financial tools on most reserves…no CPAs, or investment advisors or planning depts….like there are in cities.

    • According to Iverson in the National Post today, there is money in the housing fund for the reserve…so why the sheds and tents?  Also, if you watch a National Geographic video on you-tube from last year about the school crisis in Attawasapitik, the then chief talks about 19 people living in one house but no one is living in a shed or tent….

      • That is why it will be enlightening to see how this whole process works.  The AG pointed out some weak areas in her report which do make sense.  It is always such a hassle to present changes/over-sight when dealing with the FN.   Remember the big kerfuffle with H1N1 and body-bags were included with other medical supplies to the reserves? 

        • Yes, I read this yesterday but if you watch the National Georgraphic video from 2010, you will see that there are actually mobile homes on the reserve…those do not cost $240K each.  The funny thing is that there are a lot of new vehicles, the school although it is made up of portables looks in good shape and the reserve does not look as destitute as the one at Hobema in Alberta….the kids are all dressed in warm clothing.  What the video is about is the band’s fight with the federal government to get a permanent school built.  On the Debeers site, they say they have also been helping the band lobby the government to get a permanent school built.
          Perhaps this is a wake up call to the government to stop hedging on the school.

  3. Did no Conservative candidate campaign in the riding? Nobody knocked on the doors in Attawapiskat? Isn’t it deeply disturbing that the government of the day, legally responsible for the current conditions, is blaming the opposition, to whom they never speak, for being aware, and alternately, not being aware of this situation?

    • Deeply disturbing is that  Chief Shawn Atleo didn’t go to Attawapiskat,
      was he not told by one of the 3 Attawapiskat Chiefs that his people were in distress?

    • To bad the losing CPC candidate wasn’t appointed as a liason on permanent campaign with a six figure salary.

  4. Obviously one Mr. T. Clement should represent the riding. If nothing
    else at least they’d have a gazebo.

    • Great idea – he will have all the receipts and it will be under budget, lol!!

      • and it will be entirely inappropriate and miles from where it would be useful.

        • Because buying a Zamboni (out of the education fund) while your people live in shacks with sewage filled basements, is an appropriate use of funding, eh…

          Because building and ice rink, rec center and Inn while your children haven’t had a school for 12 years is appropriate use of funding, eh…

          Because paying out over $3 million a year in salaries to 3 (not one but 3) Chiefs and 19 Councillors and a co-manager (Chiefs common law husband) while your people use pails as a toilet in uninsulated houses, is an appropriate use of funding, eh….

          And a few mentionables:
          -acting Chief (one of the 3) spends $60k+ on travel expenses… in 2 months
          -helicopter rented to fly out hunters
          -where’s the accounting for the $325 million in contracts with Debeers
          for starters

          • But they do have a school….and hockey is phys-ed.  Also pretty much the only form of entertainment in the area.

            The rest you have garbled.

            The band was already under co-management, and dept officials have visited it 10 times in the last year….3 times in Oct alone….with no red flags going up.

            There are about 100 other reserves in the same or worse conditions.

          • Ummm, they don’t have a (elementary?) school, haven’t had for 12 years. It is being built next year.
            red flags….Answer me this: 

            Layton, Angus and Chapstick flew to  Attawapiskat 5 years ago.
            They saw the devastation, wept (and sent the kids sporting equiptment).

            why didn’t the red flags go up then?
            Layton didn’t care? Oh, he cared, big time, as does PMSH.

            the red flags did go up,
            BUT  government is restricted to throwing money at the situation,
            as prescribed by the Chief(s) and Council.

          • The answers have been posted several times now.

            They have a portable for education. Even on the original vid, a girl was mentioned as being in grade 5.

            The people you list aren’t and weren’t the govt….only the federal govt can do something about the situation…..the same situation that exists on a hundred other reserves.

            Warnings and red flags have been going on for years….even the AG did so.

            The federal govt could completely solve the situation…they are not restricted to ‘throwing money at it’……the govt just doesn’t do anything.

          • Maybe no red flags went up because nobody was living in a shed until they called in the NDP and the press.

          • They have been for some time….both there and on other reserves.

            And red flags have been up for years.

            What is wrong with you anyway?

          • Nothing is “wrong” with me…I just am asking questions about why in a documentary done one year ago by National Geographic, the chief did not mention people living in sheds or take the opportunity to show the sheds to the people making the film.  Then you pointed out that “dept officials have visited it 10 times in the last year…3 times in Oct alone…with no red flags going up”…..  I agree that would be odd IF people were living in sheds when the department officials visited and they were made aware of those deplorable living conditions.  However, if they were given the same “tour” of the reservation that National Geographic Canada was given one year ago, they might not have seen anybody living in a shed….
            There is nothing “wrong” with doing some critical thinking and investigative journalism.  Aaron W. should try it some time.

          • Yes there is something ‘wrong’ with you if you are suggesting this is some staged NDP event to embarrass Harper.

            Now put your political paranoia away and go back to Square 1

            This whole thing blew up because of a housing CRISIS

            An EMERGENCY

            There are 300 families on the WAITING LIST for houses….so they are living in whatever they can scrape together.

            Govt officials are used to seeing people living in sheds and tents…such conditions exist all over Canada.

          • I see you didn’t watch the National Geographic documentary.  I did not expect that you would.
            I never suggested that this was a “staged NDP event to embarrass Harper”, rather a very smart way for the band to ensure they got their school after being put off by the federal government countless times.  I think it is a brilliant move on their part.  As for your belief that “300 families are on the WAIT LIST for housing” that is incredible for a reserve of on 1700 people.  Given that 600 of those people are children, then 1/2 of the reserve are on the wait list for housing. Hahaha.   You are a true sucker if you believe that.  You are also a true sucker if you believe ANY mother would let her child sleep in a shed with no heat when there is a perfectly good school that this heated sitting there empty each night.  No, Emily, it isn’t me who is so full of hatred or love of a political party that I can’t smell the coffee, it is you.  You can’t even see how smart this is.  This band will get their school and some great new housing and maybe even a year round road to civilization and I say, good on them.  There are too many teenage suicides and thrown away opportunities.  They have found a way to hit the government where it hurts.  Let’s give them the credit they deserve.

          • @57fc79f8528c0aa6c4b4330d53700334:disqus 

            No, some documentary that you saw in 2010 has no relevance in a housing crisis today.

            You don’t have the facts on this because you’re busy being silly on here. But then you don’t want actual facts.

            Honest to gawd….completely ignoring 100 other reserves like this, you see some slick PR move going on in a place that’s been in the news for years.

            As a nurse, and as a human being, you’re pathetic.

            Enjoy your Xmas.

          • Emily, you don’t want to accept any facts.  If 1/2 the reservation – 300 families were on a waiting list for houses…why not order 300 mobile homes at around $100K each (delivered).  For 3 million dollars the housing crisis would be solved.  From the documentary by National Geographic, it was apparent that people on the reserve are living in mobile homes so they obviously are okay for that vicinity and with the winter roads, they can be brought there.  Also, one chief explained in the blog that money was available for housing…Iverson said in the National Post today that there is money in the housing account.  I understand that you just want to see Stephen Harper go down.  I think you want that so bad that see the whole world through a lens that is filtered by your hatred. I hope these people get a new school and decent housing.  I just don’t feel the capacity to hate the way you do..and I actually work in a field with people who are marginalized, actually helping them rather than ranting and raving on the internet from my 5 bedroom Victorian House like you do…..if that makes me a pathetic person than I am proud to be one.

          • Speaking of Tony Clement, How did this country end up with so many lying, cheating manipulative incompetents in charge?

          • To bad the Conservative candidate didn’t get in as he appears to have more financial sense.
            “Greenberg has a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Economics from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University and a Diploma of Business Administration in finance from Algonquin College. He is currently the Branch Manager of Union Securities Ltd. in Timmins. He has owned and operated his own business for the past eleven years selling Canadian and American political memorabilia. Greenberg has helped with a number of not-for-profit organizations.”

          • @Le_o

            Two degrees and work experience. He’s even more qualified than Harper.

          • FPTP

    “There is nothing “wrong” with doing some critical thinking and investigative journalism. ”   I’m with Healthcare Insider on this.  Angus seems awfully smug   “Just so you don’t get caught flat-footed.”
    So how did the northern Manitoba FN declare an emergency from the spring flooding?  Or the FNs who were airlifted out of their reserves because of forest fires this summer?  Duncan keeps stating there is a specific way this is done.
    Kinda handy that both federal NDP MP and provincial NDP MPP were up there making a film that tars the conservatives and provincial liberals.  Then you have provincial liberal Kathleen Wynne dissing Duncan to deflect the fact her government has not spent any of their 13% De Beers royalties in the   Attawapiskat area infrastructure.

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