Spending money to sort out the money - Macleans.ca

Spending money to sort out the money


The third-party auditor will cost Attawapiskat about $1,300 per day.

Aboriginal Affairs officials told The Canadian Press they have an agreement to pay Jacques Marion of BDO Canada LLP a total of $180,000 to look after the reserve’s accounts from now until June 30. The money comes from the Attawapiskat First Nation’s budget. That rate over the course of a year would run up to $300,000 and easily pay for at least one nice, solid house, notes Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit.

Conveying a request from the community, the NDP says the military should be used to help get supplies to Attawapiskat. John Duncan is raising the possibility of evacuating those who do not have adequate housing.


Spending money to sort out the money

  1. Harper….Canada’s Herman Cain

  2. “The third-party auditor will cost Attawapiskat about $1,300 per day.”

    A bargain at twice the price.  There’s nothing in the Indian Act, Charter, Constitution, or Royal Proclamation that says Canada needs to provide quarter million dollar homes to Indians on remote reserves, by the way.  Unless you believe that Indians are so useless that they can’t build a log home, and I don’t, then there is no reason to continue doing so.

    • Not allowed to build log cabins

      And yes, their treaties are guaranteed in the constitution.

      • “And yes, their treaties are guaranteed in the constitution.”

        Is a treaty a quarter million dollar house?  No?  Then, please, zip it.  There is nothing in the treaties either that guarantee free quarter million dollar homes.  

        Free tuition, free housing, free this, free that – these entitlements run counter to generally accepted definitions of institutional racism and (neo)colonialism.  They’re getting a sweet deal and they want an even sweeter deal.

        Besides, Indians regularly disregard and abrogate treaties  – the land I am currently on is Douglas Treaty land and Indians simply reject that 150 year old treaty, as they do the $300 million Nisgaa treaty and other treaties.  If Indians see 150 year old treaties as open to negotiation then so be it.

        • There are no ‘free quarter million dollar houses’

          Half the cost is transportation….there is only a gravel runway at Attawapiskat. You can’t drive there.

          And it’s not ‘free’…..it’s payment for the land we all live on.

          If you think it’s such a sweet deal, grab a sleeping bag and go join them in Eden.

          I think it’s only 32 below tonight

          As to BC….


        • It’s unfortunate that people with limited or half-baked knowledge of the history of European/aboriginal relations are so quick to pass judgment from a distance on such affairs.

          You would be doing yourself a favour if you took your own advice to “zip it”.

          • ‘It’s unfortunate that people with limited or half-baked knowledge of yada yada yada…”

            Yep, it is, and that’s why I read so much.  Investing time in reading anything by Tom Flanagan on Indian issues, and doing one’s own research on treaties, and one is at an enormous advantage over the rest of the pack.  

            For me, it started with researching the Rideau Purchase, upon which lies Parliament Hill and which is subject to a pretty lousy land claim by the Algonquins – yet another example of Indians disregarding existing treaties.

          • So you seem to be saying you got a good education but never let it go to your head.

          • Good for you Neil, don’t let them intimidate you!

          • H/Insider

            It isn’t a matter of intimidating at all; it ‘s a matter of NE not knowing what he’s talking about.

        • “What model does the Nisga’a government follow?
          Nisga’a governmental authority is set out in a treaty and is constitutionally protected. The treaty can be changed only with the consent of all three signatories to the treaty-Canada, British Columbia and the Nisga’a government.
          Nisga’a government powers that differ from the Sechelt’s include:
          provision for the creation of a Nisga’a police force the power to set up courts and appoint judges the power to levy direct taxes on Nisga’a citizens only; non-Nisga’a pay taxes directly to the province the power to create a community corrections service
          In addition, only Nisga’a members can vote for the Nisga’a government. The Nisga’a are required to provide “a reasonable opportunity” to non-Nisga’a to make representation to Nisga’a public institutions if the activities “directly and significantly affect them.”
          Nisga’a government powers that are essentially the same as the Sechelt’s include:
          control of education on First Nation lands authority over health services on First Nation lands control of child and family services and adoption First Nation membership ownership of forest resources ”

          Since the treatly can be changed only by mutual consent of the signatories, can we assume you don’t know what you’re talking about?

          • Nisga’a ‘Chief Mountain’ will appeal to BC Court of Appeal
            Canadian Constitution Foundation, November 10, 2011

            “Vancouver, BC: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) today announced that its clients Chief Mountain and Mercy Thomas will appeal the October 19th decision of the BC Supreme Court, which declined to set aside the self-government provisions of the Nisga’a Treaty.”
            The BC Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit by Chief Mountain and Mercy Thomas, which claimed that the Nisga’a Treaty set up a third order of government, giving the Nisga’a lawmaking and self-government powers that do not comply with the Canadian constitution.Appealing this decision presents an opportunity for the BC Court of Appeal to deal with the main issues of this case on the merits. On the basis of precedent, Justice Lynn Smith of the BC Supreme Court followed the 2000 judgment of the BC Supreme Court in the Campbell case. In that case, former BC Premier Gordon Campbell and two former BC Attorneys General challenged the Nisga’a Treaty’s approach to aboriginal government as a “recipe for chaos”.http://www.canadianconstitutionfoundation.ca/article.php/270

          • From the same link:
            “CCF Executive Director Chris Schafer said, “The issues raised by this appeal go far beyond the interests of our clients. They stand to impact land developers, resource companies, and ultimately every Canadian. The case further highlights the important role courts must play on behalf of the public when, through political compromise, fundamental rules of the Constitution are ignored”.
            Schafer added, “The Nisga’a treaty creates almost a separate country within Canada, contrary to our Constitution.”

            You claimed: “Indians regularly disregard and abrogate treaties” – this one in particular. The case was brought forward by the CCF on behalf of a minority opinion of two band members. I repeat you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • tl;dr: Some Indians are litigating the Nisgaa treaty years after its signing.  Point being, they’re ignoring the treaty, and it’s hardly the only example of it.

          • “tl;dr: Some Indians are litigating the Nisgaa treaty years after its signing.  Point being, they’re ignoring the treaty, and it’s hardly the only example of it”

            Some indians…with the assitance of the CCF who also think the treaty unfair and or illegal.

            “The point being they’re ignoring the treaty”

            …your point is entirely illogical, verging on the barking mad even.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Treaties

          “Besides, Indians regularly disregard and abrogate treaties  – the land I am currently on is Douglas Treaty land and Indians simply reject that 150 year old treaty, as they do the $300 million Nisgaa treaty and other treaties.  If Indians see 150 year old treaties as open to negotiation then so be it”

          mmmmm, look at what “a sweet deal” they got. Still, a deal is a deal. Douglas and the Brits were way better than what came after. Care to say why they don’t like the DT?

          • “Care to say why they don’t like the (sic) DT?”

            For a $1,300 per diem I’ll explain anything you want!  

            Some bands (I think Esquimalt) don’t believe the Indians who negotiated that series of treaties represented them.  This is similar to the Rideau Purchase, in which some of South Eastern Ontario was “sold” by the Mississaugas, despite the Algonquins claiming some of that land.  Basically they claim the crown negotiated with the wrong group of Indians.

          • Disputed overlapping territorial landclaims are common even today. It still bogs down modern treaty negotiations. How is this evidence of duplicity? I think you’re seeing what you want to see.

          • More chiefs than Indians!

          • And in a number of instances the crown did negotiate with “the wrong group of Indians”.
            And if you are getting the majority of your information from Tom Flanagan, I suggest that you broaden your reading list.

        • “Then, please, zip it”

          Stop that.

    • What – and stop some non-aboriginal contractor from making money – what are you,  some kind of commie pinko?

    • Log home…  like, with logs?  I’ve been reading for days now that the problem with the homes in Attawapiskat relates to their being built on permafrost. 

      Question:  do trees grow strong enough in permafrost areas to build log homes?  Or are you suggesting we should send airplanes loaded with logs so that these people learn how to build log homes on permafrost?

      I thought this nation traditionally had lived in teepees and tents, as nomads.

      • I’m not exactly sure but i think it may not be permafrost around Jamesbay. That info came from Wilson, so consider the source.

        • Numbers of people have said it’s bog.  From what I read the area is bog and permafrost – think marbled – not one homogenous surface.  Either way, moisture causing mold is a problem.  I don’t believe there is any kind of building code being enforced. 

          • Discontinuous permafrost….boggy on top, especially as permafrost is retreating. Houses sink and crack.

          • Ah, thanks. I guess that’s why they don’t seem to have multistory buildings

        • Nevertheless, the problem is mould on the wood.  So, the first logical step would be to build the house of material other than wood, would it not?

          • Mike Holmes claims it can be done so…
            Provincial building codes don’t apply on reserves so there’s a problem right there. And i’m not sure too many reputable builders are lining up for work on reserves – there are lots of stories of rip offs. Just where the federal monitoring is in all this i really don’t know?They micro manage the bands and yet still this happens.
            On the reserve i lived on for instance contractors put new roofing on which was supposed to last 25 years. Turns out the put the 12/15 year stuff on instead – god only knows how well they did it.
            Another thing to consider is how many reserves had water and sewer hook up going way back even to the 50’s 60’s, but only for the white nurses, teachers, Rcmp et al. I could  hardly believe my eyes when i saw[APTN] some band have this still. How is this not racism period?

          • Hey, a Mike Holmes special in the making!  He can do it for New Orleans . . .

          • Google Mike Holmes and you will see he is already doing a First Nations building project but on a different reserve.

          • H/insider:

            I saw that on APTN thx. 

        • If you look on a “Canada Permafrost” map you will find that 50% of Canada is covererd in permafrost and that the James Bay area has differing classes of permafrost coverage.  At Attawapiskat, the permafrost is classified as “sporadic discontinuous” which means it covers 10 to 50% of the land.  If you research suggestions for building on permafrost.  The first suggestion is do not building on permafrost and if you have to; do a lot of insulating between the building & pipes and the ground so that the heat from the pipes won’t melt the permafrost and cause moisture & mold. They even recommend wrap around porches and trees to provide shade and keep the sun off of the foundation.
          Around the top of James Bay, it is 90% permafrost but you can check the map out online for yourself.

        • It’s discontinuous permafrost, and gets boggy on top

          Permafrost is also retreating with GW.

  3. I was under the impression that Attawapiskat had been under co-management for about a decade. Curious that there has been little to no discussion of the role of the Federal program manager working with Attawapiskat during this period.

  4. What the Canadian taxpayed forked out to the Attawapiskat managers in 2010, to run a community of 2100 people.

    Former Chief … 47,201
    Acting Chief (Spence)…69,579
    Deputy Chief…35,160

    Band Manager…74,806
    Acting Band Manager…12,300
    Tech Service Manager…87,381
    Day Care Manager…45,276
    Socl Ser. Manager…65,812

    plus 19 Councilors 


    • Pathetic wages in the north

    • Wow! Wilson managed to open a spreadsheet.  Congratulations.
      So do you have a point or do you remain pointless?

      • Thanks Thwin!
        Yes, such an ability is beyond the skills required to merely copy/paste a few  cherry picked paragraphs from other journo’s articles.

    • So, clearly they needed at least one person making over 6 figures to fix things???

      • The ones currently taking all our money aren’t quite up to the job now, are they.

        • Not the one’s in Ottawa, no.

          How does a Minister of the Crown, who’s officials have visited the area on numerous occasions, only become aware of a housing crisis precipitated by a sewage flood in 2009, in October of 2011?  This was the THIRD TIME since 2009 that the local community has declared a state of emergency, and only NOW is the Minister realizing that there might be an emergency???

          I swear, only the Tories could get reports of children and elderly Canadians living in unheated shacks and tents, in the arctic, with winter coming, with no indoor plumbing, and a shocking lack of safe water, and send an ACCOUNTANT as their first response, to find out just how the impoverished locals living in tents and defecating in buckets are wasting taxpayer funds.

          • So the waste and corruption on native reserves started the second the Tories came to power? And efforts to provide more accountability to this system have come from other parties, have they? That’s interesting.

          • Actually, you’re more than welcome to point out where in that accord it says more money will lead to the accountability I mentioned. Thanks.

          • I can ask condescending questions too.

            So, taking TWO YEARS to respond to a housing crisis on a federal reserve in the arctic is an acceptable response time? Sending an accountant tasked with maintaining fiscal accountability as your first responder to a scene where Canadian citizens are living in unheated tents and shacks and defecating in buckets is an appropriate response to a crisis?

            Good God, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll live long enough to see the day when the Party that loudly insisted that Canadians demand better of their government stops hiding behind the failures of others, and the shortcomings of the past to excuse their own ineptitude, incompetence, and their utter unwillingness to hold themselves to remotely the same standards that they always insisted that their predecessors should be held to.

            I think we seriously need to send Preston Manning to Ottawa to personally slap Prime Minister Harper and each and every one of his Cabinet Ministers right in the face.

          • You can ask all the condescending questions you want, you still want us all to believe that these problems started the second the Tories came into office, and that there are alternatives out there that would have prevented this from happening.

            In fact, every time the Tories talked about making the system accountable, they’d get shouted down by the usual suspects, including this chief who seems to want to blame everyone else but herself for the fate of her own people.

            And now that the Tories want some financial accountability in this mess, and you’re blasting them for it. Typical.

          • you still want us all to believe that these problems started the second the Tories came into office

            Sure, there have been problems with First Nations self governance forever, and I don’t expect the Tories to have fixed everything in five years, but come on. This particular housing crisis resulted from a sewage flood that happened in 2009. Not only is that TWO YEARS AGO, it’s also three years after the Tories were first elected. OF COURSE this housing crisis didn’t start the second the Tories were elected. It started three years AFTER the Tories were elected.

            I don’t, however, for instance, blame the Tories per se for the fact that the community still doesn’t have a proper elementary school ELEVEN YEARS after their old school had to be evacuated. Plenty of Ministers from previous governments dropped the ball on that one (though, it’s true, it wasn’t until the Tories were in power that anyone declared that the ball wouldn’t be picked up, and that the community doesn’t need a proper school). However, this current housing crisis started two years ago, three years after Harper became PM. If the Tories aren’t responsible for this, they’re not responsible for anything (though I do understand that the majority of Tories and their supporters still consider the Liberals to be responsible for everything that the federal government does that isn’t good, so there is that…).

            And for all your talk of accountability, I still think you have your priorities mixed up. Getting Canadian citizens proper shelter to survive the winter, safe drinking water, and proper plumbing is a higher priority to me than fiscal forbearance.

            I say we work on keeping kids and old people from freezing to death, or dying of preventable diseases first, figure out better accounting procedures second. I guess that makes me one of the “usual suspects” you have so much disdain for, but so be it.

  5. I expect the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation to complain vociferously about the pay rate of these 3rd party managers.

      • The Minister refused to address this at the presser yesterday.  He either has nothing to say or isn’t allowed to say anything. 

        • Probably BOTH clueless and censored.

          • At least Prentice and Strahl would have been man enough to face the press.  Might have been spouting talking points but…

      • Finally a good time for the old Reagan joke -‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you’. 

        • LOL….yet Harp now sees it as the solution!

  6. Canada has 600+ Indian reserves, each has an average of 500 residents.  If Indian self government were limited to municipal level services then self-government might be viable, but each reserve needs , out of a pool of maybe 200 working age adults, to find a doctor, a lawyer, public health officer, day care co-ordinator, cops, firemen, economic development officer, etc. etc.  

    It can’t be done.  They’re expected to deliver the combined federal, provincial, and municipal package of services at a professional developed world level and it can’t be done, especially in remote fly-in communities of a few hundred people.

    A blind man facing the wrong way can see it can’t be done.  And yet people, some in this very comment section, want to continue this idiocy.

    • This is a list of indian reserves in Canada which have over 500 people, listed in order of population.


      And natives don’t have self-govt. They have the Indian Act


      Total registered Aboriginal population of Canada as of May 2006 – 1,172,7853
      Total number of Indian bands in Canada as of September 30, 2006 – 6121
      Total number of reserves in Canada – 2,675
      Total land area of reserves in Canada – 2,684,448 hectares2
      Per cent of Canada’s total land that is reserve land – 13 per cent2


      • Note that fewer than a third of reserves (196) have even 500 people, thanks for this link E.

        • Note that there are 1,172,7854 natives

          Not all of them live on reserves ya know.

        • RLY.

          Iroquois Confederacy, a group of First Nations/Native American people that originally consisted of five nations, later six
          Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, the largest First Nation in Canada with a total of 23,770 citizens

    • Harper has had 6 years to improve things.  Things don’t seem to be improving.  He’s big on ‘targeted spending and accountability’ but where is the evidence of this, on the ground.

      • Clearly not enough natives vote; even more clearly not enough vote CPC.

        • Given the complete lack of pandering, I think you’re right. 

  7. What is really clear is that before they put up any more houses, they are going to have to have someone who knows how to build on permafrost do the building or the ones they build will not last any better than the ones that were built previously.

    • Natives from Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan have the solution:

      ‘CAMCO management has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry all throughout Western Canada. CAMCO has multiple contacts throughout the Aboriginal community and employs from the Aboriginal and Mëtis work force to build their access mats’


      In Northeastern BC, near the NWT border, oil/gas companies drill year round, and house hundreds of men and women (camps often run by local bands), with roads open year round (Native crews running the road equiptment)

      There is no reason what so ever that the First Nations in northern Ontario and Quebec couldn’t follow this lead.

      • Ontario and Quebec are not BC

      • They just need to get permission from the Ministry.

      • Typical Uses for CAMCO Mats: Access roads, ice roads and drilling pads over muskeg or unstable ground; Storage sites for pipe, casing or mud pipeline crossings; Temporary tank bases; Camp base substructure; Power line construction; Directional pads and walkways; Helicopter pads; Fuel storage pads

        There is no mention of housing there, or any experience with housing. And stop saying it’s all permafrost up in Attawapiskat – it isn’t.

        My house sits on permafrost without problem. Although the way warming is going up north that may not always be the case.

        Mould can be accounted for with good construction but once you get into the real wet coast it becomes a major challenge.
        I suspect inferior building techniques are at the heart of Atta’s problems – and that has to be partially the fault of the govt in failing to have some kind of building code on reserves.

        • If there not dictated to by a building code, are they even putting in a vapour barrier? 

          • You have to indent INAC separately for VB’s…in triplicate too.