Turned away

by Aaron Wherry

Attawapiskat turned away the third-party manager yesterday. John Duncan’s office expressed its disappointment in a statement last night.

Today, the Third Party Manager was in the community with AANDC officials. When he arrived he was asked to leave by community leadership on behalf of Chief Theresa Spence. The Third Party Manager, Jacques Marion, wished to respect the volatile situation and is currently not in the community. He remains in full control of funding from Aboriginal Affairs to the community and is hoping to work with the community to address urgent needs. It is extremely worrying that the Chief and council are not open to outside assistance. Minister Duncan met with Chief Theresa Spence, and Grand Chief Stan Louttit and reiterated that our government’s priority is to ensure that residents of Attawapiskat have access to safe, warm, and dry shelter. The Minister stressed that all parties should put the needs of the people first. He asked that the Chief and Council work with the Third Party Manager to identify the immediate needs of the community.  Minister Duncan remains committed to this plan of action.

Kathryn Blaze Carlson compares the competing claims.




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Turned away

  1. People in charge of money on reserve turned away Third Party Manager who has been sent to audit their books? 

    Natives acting like they have something to hide will only make others think they have something to hide.

    • Oh, Tony, no no no.  Government acting like there’s nothing wrong with families living in tents with no running water in the northern winter, children breathing black mould, and poor people treated like children because they’re poor – now THAT makes people suspicious! 

      Did you watch the video of this poverty-stricken reserve?  Did you see the sores on the children’s faces?  Did you see their living conditions?  Showcasing all of that, yet you think they’re hiding something?  What, some mansions off in the distance that they return to after the cameras leave?

      • “…now THAT makes people suspicious! ”

        It actually doesn’t make people suspicious at all. Canadians like it apparently because Canada has been operating apartheid system for over a century and there is very little discussion about how racist Canadian Government is. 

        Conditions on reserves have been appalling for decades but we never do anything about it except wring our hands. 

        • If ‘you’ don’t look after yourself and don’t care enough to improve your own living conditions……..would you expect the Government should bring you a new house ?   Something wrong with that kind of thinking.

          • Under our crazy system of governance, I would expect the Government to bring Natives a new home because it’s their responsibility. Canada denies Natives basic property rights and decent educations so I am not at all surprised Natives aren’t building their own homes. 

            “If ‘you’ don’t look after yourself and don’t care enough to improve your own living condition ….. ”

            Oxford Dictionary ~ Learned Helplessness:

            A mental state in which people feel that they have no control over their failures and that failure is inevitable. Learned helplessness often occurs in children who are raised in harsh social environments where success is difficult to achieve. They suffer motivational losses and are very resistant to training.

          • Your comment is ill-informed and facile. The Canadian government is the nation’s largest slum landlord.

            How many tenants do you know who invest major amounts of their own capital to repair their decrepit accommodations?

  2. http://apihtawikosisan.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/dealing-with-comments-about-attawapiskat/

    For the little Tory trolls the real words are getting out there.  In this age it takes more than a advertisement campaign to shut down truth.  Unless actual constructive dialogue takes place and action enabled – CANADIANs will be SHOWN to be racist.  The First Nation loaned the land to the government and has never properly been payed for it.  They did not give up rights to the minerals, not the oil, not the underground aquifers!

  3. This type of power move is not unexpected from the Native Leadership who bear some responsibility for the tragic circumstances in Attawapiskat. They are determined to protect their own turf.

    Now is a time for the general populace of Attawapiskat to show some courage and demand that their leaders do what is best for the people who live there and set aside their selfish motives. One would hope there will be encouragement from the government and those who profess to care about the horrid living conditions for the poor people to choose a new set of leaders who genuinely want to help their people improve their life.

    • I think the linked article is quite superficial, and only scratches the surface of what’s really going on at that reserve.  There is a good investigative article waiting to be written on this.

  4. We’ll probably have the troops in there by Xmas, and Harp will be infamous.

    “Never put a stupid move past a stupid man”

    • And what is it that the troops are going to do, Nostradamus?

      • Show they mean business about a ‘third party manager’

        • Well, I doubt your prediction will come true.  And if and when it fails to come true, I doubt you’ll admit you were wrong.

          • Not a prediction…pay attention

            And lose the chip.

          • “We’ll probably have the troops in there by Xmas, and Harp will be infamous.”

            Now you’re saying that’s not a prediction?

            Wow, you sound like a Harper Government front-bencher.

          • @865444ea1a3aec1b5f1890dd40359673:disqus 

            Do you, by any chance, see the word PROBABLY in there?

            You take bitter-pills before you come on here or what?

            Get a grip on yourself.

  5.  The community has asked for a lifeline, at some cost to its dignity, and the government has thrown it a ledger.
     
    During spring flooding in Manitoba, suppose that instead of sending troops to help shore up dikes along the Assiniboine River, the federal government had instead responded by sending a banker. What do you think the response would have been?

    • So you think the problem with Spring flooding in Manitoba is similar to those in Attawapiskat ?

      • I think that when people need help you respond to the emergency and worry about the audit later. 

        But if the government wants to fixate on financial controls, it should start by resolving its own issues with accountability and controls in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development as identified by the Auditor General in her valedictory report.

        • “I think that when people need help you respond to the emergency and worry about the audit later. ”

          The emergency exists notwithstanding $91M/year in federal aid (works out to something like $70K/family).  Do you think the emergency exists because of lack of funding? If so, how much more do you think is needed to solve it?

          • These numbers have been debunked by people who actually know about things.

          • Presuming you’re one, please enlighten us all as to the real numbers.

          • @GreatWallsofFire:disqus 

            Two things.  

            First, it was never $91 million “a year”, it was $91 million TOTAL federal spending over the five years that the Tories have been in power.

            Second, $91 million is TOTAL FEDERAL SPENDING for the community over those five years, not just aid money to deal with the housing crisis.  Federal funding in a remote reserve covers everything: education, healthcare, roads, sewers… EVERYTHING.   Money actually set aside for housing and infrastructure came to less than $5 million total over those 5 years. This for a community who’s entire elementary school is a set of portables since their elementary school had to be evacuated OVER A DECADE AGO, due to a massive diesel spill that happened in 1979.

            I’m sorry, but if the Minister says he didn’t realize there was a housing crisis until the end of October then the problem is clearly not local.  This housing crisis was sparked by a sewage flood that happened in 2009 for Pete’s sake.  This latest state of emergency declaration by the community is its THIRD state of emergency declaration in the past three years.  Everybody knew, or should have known, that this was a huge problem.

            http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/12/06/starting-to-sort-out-the-attawapiskat-numbers/

          • LKO:

            I stand corrected about the $91M being a five year total, but regardless the annual amount, the issue remains – as highlighted in the Geddes piece you linked to – whether the answer to the problems in that community is to throw even more money at them.

            As for this being the third emergency declared in the last three years, presumably there’s something to be learned from how the first two were dealt with that informs the issue of the proper response to the third, although I suspect the Harper haters won’t like the conclusion.

          • Fair enough @GreatWallsofFire:disqus 

            May I suggest one lesson we’ve already learned from this current handling of the current crisis?  

            When trying to deliver emergency aid to a community in which elderly men and women and small children are sleeping in un-heated tents and shacks, defecating in buckets, and where there hasn’t been a proper elementary school since their last one had to be evacuated OVER A DECADE AGO, don’t have the first person the government sends to “help” be an accountant who’s main role is to ensure that the isolated northern community of impoverished people with no safe drinking water aren’t wasting any taxpayer money.

            These people need a Mike Holmes and a construction crew, not a Sheila Frasier and a team of accountants.  

            When Canadian citizens are facing winter in unheated tents and shacks, without safe drinking water, and with no indoor plumbing, I say we bring in water treatment equipment and build some insulated buildings first, and figure out how to solve long-term structural and financial problems second.  If this were an emergency in Haiti, we’d already have water treatment plants and several safe buildings constructed for the people, and we wouldn’t have sent an accountant in AT ALL.

          • LKO:

            Whether the accountant goes first seems to me an issue that requires an analysis of what happened after emergency one and emergency two.  If the accountant stayed home after those two and we now have the third, I think it’s entirely appropriate to send him in first (although Mike Holmes should possibly be on the same plane).

          • I’ll let you look up the real numbers yourself (hint divide by 5 to get annual funding for all services) but get one thing straight, this isn’t “aid.”
             
            This is federal spending on services such as healthcare and education that it has jurisdiction over in the same way that provinces spend money on health and education where they have jurisdiction. The difference, according to the auditor general’s 2011 report, is that provinces actually have legislated standards and amounts, and local authorities such as school boards and health services boards to maintain the services locally.
             
            The feds aren’t able to measure results, don’t know what standard they should be meeting, and impose a monumental administrative burden on small communities which must apply for annual approval for ongoing services and wait 7 months into the current year before they know how much funding they will receive. The current state of affairs in Attawapiskat is exactly what you’d expect if you tried to solve a long term problem with short term funding (and thinking).
             
            And if you want audits, we got audits! Maybe you and the Minister can spend some time reading through this one by the Auditor General:
             
            http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_201106_04_e_35372.html
             
             

          • It seems to me your response to my question “do you think this emergency exists because of lack of funding” is “yes”.  I, in contrast, think it exists despite the money the feds/provinces pour into the community and that pouring more money into the community may very temporarily alleviate, but will certainly not solve the crisis and won’t even accomplish that modest objective if simply handed over to the same folk under whose leadership and authority the emergency has become manifest.

            As for audits, I do spend a fair bit of time slogging through auditor reports, but don’t recall any such report extolling the prudent fiscal management of anything to do with first nations in this country.

      • What, Manitobans don’t know spring comes?  Why on earth didn’t they get out there and move the lakes and rivers instead of waiting for the government to do something?  Better yet, as its obvious this isn’t suitable land for living on, why doesn’t the population of Manitoba move and become integrated into other provinces’ citizenry?  /sarcasm off

        • “So you think the problem with Spring flooding in Manitoba is similar to those in Attawapiskat ?”

          Apparently so.

  6. ‘…… He remains in full control of funding from Aboriginal Affairs to the community and is hoping to work with the community to address urgent needs….’

    Attawapiskat remains under 3rd party management, from a distance.
    (11 reserves across Canada are under 3rd party mgmt)

    So emergency needs being met and management scrutiny can be done at the same time.
    Quick, someone let Charlie Angus know this is possible!

     
     

    • Except the emergency aid hasn’t arrived yet, but the twit with the box of doughnuts has. How is that at the same time?

    • How does the parachuted-in guy in the next town over simply saying that he’s “hoping to work with the community to address urgent needs” constitute ”emergency needs being met”???  

      The Minister says he only realized there was a housing crisis at the end of October 2011, despite the fact that the event which triggered the crisis happened in 2009, and the community has declared a state of emergency THREE SEPARATE TIMES in the intervening three years.  You’ll forgive me if I’m not persuaded that “emergency needs are being met” simply because the government’s man has arrived, is in the town next door, and is TOTALLY willing to attend a meeting.

      You seem to be taking: “He remains in full control of funding from Aboriginal Affairs to the community” as implying an assurance to the people of Canada that the Third Party Manager is getting emergency funding to the community.  I take it as an assurance from the Tories to the people of Canada that the government’s man won’t allow a single wall to be insulated or home to be built without his personal say-so.

  7. Very interesting tweet from CTVs Danielle H,
    seems the Elders were not consulted in the booting out of Fed manager.
    Perhaps the Elders can fill in those blank spaces re: accounting:

    attawapiskat residents gathering 2nite after elder calls meeting. They say they want 3rd party manager to b allowed back in

    https://twitter.com/#!/DHamamdjian/status/144136096656269313

    h/t Joanne, blogging tory @ Blue Like You

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