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What The Attawapiskat Audit, Theresa Spence’s Hunger Strike And ‘Idle No More’ Share In Common

On Saturday, former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin made pilgrimage to visit with Theresa Spence who is now in the fourth week of her diet which she prefers to call a hunger strike. Based on the historical record, it is my understanding that hunger strikes don’t involve taking vitamins, eating fish broth which contains a fair degree of nutrition and have the odd snack throughout the day as Chief Spence has acknowledged doing but diets often do.

After meeting with the Attawapiskat Chief and with his usual lack of timing, Mr. Martin declared her an “inspiration for all Canadians.” One wonders how much of an inspiration to Canadians he feels she is today after release of the Deloitte audit of her financial management on her reserve.

The story of Attawapiskat is now so common place knowledge that it hardly bares repeating. It is a tiny reserve of 300 homes that came into the public eye just over a year ago when the abysmal living conditions on that reserve were revealed to Canadians.

Almost immediately, criticism of the government began.

Opposition parties were outraged and condemned the current Conservative Government although those who had been in previous administrations had done no more during their tenure. The media wrote angst-filled editorials and aired countless overviews and commentary, all of it blaming government.

Then the CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault did a follow up story on Attawapiskat last January and it started to change the narrative for some although not for all. Some continued to wallow in self-delusion to support their own agendas.

It was clear from the CBC report that there was more to the Attawapiskat story than government and the Indian Act. Something was clearly broken at the band level and Chief Theresa Spence who had started the whole ruckus was long on blaming government turned out to be short on answers about her own management.

Former Aboriginal Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, who had to deal with the mismanagement and similar lack of accounting of federal and provincial funds for the Aboriginal University in Saskatchewan, is on the record declaring that the situation in Attawapiskat is not unique.

“There are a good number of them, like Attawapiskat, that it just seems to be difficult to do the basics, and then that raises red flags in the community and for the government,”

Typically, however, despite the fact that it is becoming fairly common knowledge that the problems on Attiwapiskat, like many reserves, has nothing to do with government or the level of funding provided and everything to do with band management, the opposition parties and activists have once again rallied around the flag of hypocrisy.

They have flocked to meet with Chief Spence to voice solidarity with her concerns and to report on her issues and they even now, in the face of this latest audit, struggle to find ways to rationalize and justify what in some circles would be labeled corruption.

Having elevated her to the same stature as Gandhi, it is understandably difficult for them to accept that she has more in common with a Tammany Hall politician than the Mahatma.

If an audit for a non-aboriginal community was released with the scathing details of the Attawapiskat Audit, there would already be a criminal fraud investigation underway. Nobody, progressive or conservative would tolerate this level of gross, willful mismanagement and self-enriching handling of monies entrusted to them.

Some, including Theresa Spence, accuse the government of purposely timing release of the audit to discredit her although I doubt that anyone, let alone the government, could do more to discredit her than she herself has done. The allegation is inaccurate and is itself a specious attempt to distract from the audit’s findings.

There is a legal process which the government must follow in terms of dealing with release of an audit. The first step, once the audit is completed, is to notify all concerned parties and share with them a copy of the audit. They are then given a period of time to study and comment on the audit and it is only after  that period that the Minister will sign it off.

The government must, by law, release the audit to the public within 90 days of the minister signing off.

Chief Spence was provided with a copy of the audit on August 28, 2012 and along with all other concerned parties, given until the middle of October to study and comment on its findings. At that time the Minister did sign it off which started the clock ticking on its public release. I happen to know from my contacts that the legally required drop dead date for release of the audit was January 15, 2013.

If anything, the government delayed the audit’s release until the last possible moment to try and avoid having it become part of the narrative of the latest round of confrontation and protest.

This won’t stop the critics and those who try to deflect the truth, of course. The truth, when it doesn’t suit their purposes, can be quite inconvenient. Just ask NDP MP Charlie Angus who would be apoplectic in his condemnation of a Conservative politician who had been exposed by an audit as scathing as that which has exposed the mismanagement of Theresa Spence.

He has dismissed it as nothing more than sloppy record keeping. Sloppy record keeping? Aside from the excessive amounts she pays herself and her live-in boyfriend, the details of the audit reveal far more than sloppy bookkeeping.

The most significant findings of the report included:

  • Monies earmarked for housing were redirected to other unidentified purposes or to repay loans
  • Expenditures were authorized without the available funds to cover them
  • Over 80% of all financial transactions lacked proper supporting documentation
  • Over 60% of all financial transactions lacked any documentation whatsoever or even an indication for what purpose the money was used.
  • No time sheets, job descriptions or other supporting documentation or explanation as to their purpose were provided before checks were signed and distributed to various employees.
  • Some minutes of financial meetings were never signed or reproduced in hard copy as required. Some minutes were missing which means there is no record of decisions taken for expenditures.
  • No budgets or financial plans were compiled for the fiscal year to properly plan the management of $34 million. Bookkeeping was incomplete, insufficient and inaccurate. The financial manager responsible for maintaining these records is Chief Spence’s live-in boyfriend who is paid $850/day for basically ignoring the most fundamental principles of financial management.
  • CMHC noted abnormal and accelerated deterioration of the housing stock but the band council did not share this information with Indian and Northern Affairs. The agreements signed by the band, including maintaining an adequate replacement reserve fund to replenish housing as needed, were ignored and money meant for maximizing the life cycle of houses was used for other purposes.

Chief Spence knew the details of this audit back in August of 2012 and it was clear to her that there was going to be serious criticism not only of how she managed Attawapiskat but of how she had deliberately misled the Canadian people when she blamed the government for living conditions on the reserve.

She knew that there were already questions about her driving around town in her Cadiallac Escalade while her people lived in shacks. She knew there were already questions about the huge amount of money she and her boyfriend paid themselves and she knew there was a day of reckoning coming.

And that’s what this is, a reckoning, not the smear campaign she and her declining number of supporters have tried to paint the criticism as being.

It’s called accountability and Chief Theresa Spence is accountable for the money that has been misspent and unaccounted for at Attawapiskat. She is accountable for the misinformation she has fed the media and the Canadian tax payer who trusted what she was telling them.

Idle No More will ignore all of this, of course, and will continue its disorganized and confused program of protests and demands. It too, like the Attawapiskat Audit reveals a major problem with trying to resolve aboriginal issues. There is no agreement among the aboriginal community on what it hopes to achieve or what it wants to negotiate.

Until that is resolved, expecting to achieve anything let alone anything worthwhile is a fool’s errand.

There has been a considerable amount of goodwill in Canada towards the fair settling of aboriginal issues but that goodwill is being squandered and frittered away on pointless and dangerous blockades, corrupt and cynical practices by people like Theresa Spence and the same tired old blame game.

Some, like Pam Palmater Chair of Aboriginal Governance at Ryerson University, have gone so far as to accuse the current government of a deliberate and planned genocide of aboriginal peoples through the legislation they have enacted so let’s have a quick look at that legislation.

  • Bill S-212: The First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill. — An Act providing for the recognition of self-governing First Nations of Canada
  • Bill S-8: The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act: legislation designed to ensure safe and potable water on all reserves
  • Bill S-6: The First Nations Elections Act: a bill designed to provide more stable and effective self-government on First Nations’ reserves.
  • Bill S-2: The Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Right Act: seeks to provide basic rights and protections to individuals on reserves during the relationship, in the event of a relationship breakdown, and on the death of a spouse or common-law partner regarding the family home and other matrimonial interests or rights.

And the one that has really upset folks like Theresa Spence,

  • Bill C-27: The First Nations Financial Transparency Act – An act to support democratic, transparent and accountable First Nation governments by requiring the public disclosure of remuneration and expenses of chiefs and councillors and First Nation’s audited consolidated financial statements.

It’s small wonder that Stephen Harper stands accused of trampling the rights of aboriginal peoples and inflicting genocide when he has moved to try and improve drinking water, provide more democracy and financial transparency by band leaders to the people they represent and moved to try an protect families living on reserves.

It is almost enough to help you understand the need for all those blockades and even Theresa Spence’s hunger diet but only if you’re clueless.

It is all a shell game by people arguing among themselves over the spoils of war. Neither the government nor the Indian Act are the problem and neither are the people of Canada who are constantly being threatened, intimidated and bullied by aboriginal protesters and thugs as they continue to throw billions into the First Nations to achieve far less than intended.

On this one thing, Idle No More and I agree. It is an aboriginal issue and it is time for the aboriginal community to accept that. It is time for First Nations to face up to the division, misinformation, corruption and fuzzy concepts of what it wants before wasting any more time and money trying to negotiate anything with the Canadian government.

As for Theresa Spence, it’s long past time for her to pack her vitamins, her fish broth, her snacks, her demands and her shattered credibility into her Cadillac Escalade and simply go home. She has nothing to say that is of any value to Canadians or even to her own community.

Go home, Theresa. You’ve done enough.

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© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • Normand Leroux

    Teresa Spence needs to resign in view of the auditors findings. Her administration is incompetent at best. Obvious to all is that she and her administration are incompetent at best if not criminal in their managament of band moneys. Maybe the intent of her hunger strike is to steer attention away from her administrations mismanagement. A bit like extortion…? To All Canadian tax payers : ‘IDLE NO MORE’ . START A NEW MOVEMENT CALLED ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ and deny payment for native band extortions!!! Stand together as Canadians and command our government to stop the native extortion of our resources…they should have no more rights than we do!

    • Andrew

      Normand has it exactly right. There needs to be a forensic audit in order to provide a clear understanding as to where the money is. If criminal charges are warranted because of misappropriation of the money provided by the government then those involved should be charged.

  • Arora

    Just something I read recently on these events-

    The results of a Deloitte audit on the state of Attawapiskat were released, which showed that millions were unaccounted for among the $104 million that the reserve received in federal funding from 2005 to 2011.

    If this Audit is about 2005-2011, then this also means that Theresa Spence was NOT the “CHIEF” during the majority TIME Period that the AUDit Questions..This might also therefore mean that she had Little or No Control over funding, or how those funds were spent. Since we are NOw in 2013, And your Article discusses her buying of a new Escalade, and 850 a day for pay for her bf…my next question would be…did they Audit thru all of 2011 or 12…BECAUSE this would be the TIME PERIOD that you must be referring to if you are discussing her bf’s pay scale, or her purchases. NOW..if the Audit as stated..Does NOT INCLUDE 2011 or 2012..the years of her in as CHIEF…then really…the question remains still…is the mismanagement still continuiing that was found in 2005 thru end 2010…or is it 2011end…hmmmmm…more questions…Till I have all the facts…I will just say…many reserves live in poverty in CAN and in the US…some of this is definately because of mismanagement, and no documentation requirements and nepotism behaviors…BUT reserves where ppl have been forced to live for centuries….that are in the middle of NO WHERE..without access to decent housing, regular abundance of jobs, stores, food supplies….These things lead to 3rd world country ways of survival and in the US or Canada..this is NOT acceptable for ANY people to have to live this way!..If the governments are going to send money..they like any other governmental funds..yes they should be accounted for thru proper paperwork..this will lower chances of mismanagement….BUT the Bills you’ve discussed here….there’s more to them then totally helping the indigenous of the country. It’s about the “being able to determine what happens to the Lands on Reserves, and to the water Supplies, and to a persons’ personal property upon their death…Question…how would any of you feel, if…while owning your own home..the government said to you..you own it..but by the way..we’ve decided a mine should open so we’ve found there is minerals in your back yard…the mine company is tearing up our yard..& btw…don’t mind the water in the river behind you..it won’t be there much longer…the mine’s gunna fill it in..it won’t be around….You don’t think this is happening…better re-look at some of the current propositions in your country that have come foward recently. an entire area where Elk heards survive…discussion are in the works, to drain and fill entire Lakes…all for mining…This isn’t about Theresa Spence…she has helped to open eyes, and get ppl together who are fed up in Canada and in the US. This is about being responsible to and for all ways of treating ppl, animals, the lands, the waters…you can only take so much..until..”so much is gone..& can’t ever be replaced….just a point of view

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You are deliberately trying to obscure the facts with semantics. The fact is that Theresa Spence was driving the Escalade a year aog. It is seen in the CBC report on the situation on the reserve. Her boyfriend was brought in to clean up the financial accounting mess at a cost of $850 a day but has done nothing but make it worse. We can argue the this and that forever but the simple reality revealed in both the bands own audited financial statements and the Deloitte audit is that there is a great deal of money not accounted for. You may be more interested in defending the status quo rather then the welfare of the people but I can assure you that most of us are not. If this happened in a non-aboriginal community, there would already be a criminal investigation underway.

      • Arora

        Not obscuring anything…just stating FACTS that you have chosen to leave out. If you choose NOT to Look INTO those Facts..that’s your option. your page..I will respect it..and leave now..thanks for allowing my “other side of the fence view”..as for “a little education is dangerous”…wow…”a little.”…yep…just a little….not sure how to defend your own words, so the need to attack my intelligence seems justified..whatever….thanks for the time and the other side of the fence viewpoints..

        • http://abearsrant.com thebear

          I haven’t left out any facts. I have posted both the band’s financial statements and the audit to allow people to draw their own conclusions. What I have written are my conclusions based on those documents. I have also left the link to your site up for the same reason. I don’t agree with you but I appreciated our discussion and you are welcome to drop by for further discussion at any time. Should you write a post that you feel provides broader clarification for non aboriginals to better understand those issues, I would be willing to take a look at it and consider posting it here on my web site provided it isn’t just more of the blame game played by too many on both sides of the issues.

          • Arora

            The Idle No More organizing started because of the “hungerstrike” yes…but Idle No More…is about a lot more than Theresa Spence or the Hunger Strike, it is about the way Federal Governments, continually VIOLATE the TREATIES that they themselves have created and agreed to over centuries. It is about Indigenous People being treated as People, that their RIGHTS -their TREATIES -Their Governments -receive the same rights as other governments of other Nations. Just because these Tribal Governments happen to be ON Lands that are a part of Lands that Connect to US or Canada “soils”…does NOT mean that the US or the CANADIAN Government should have the RIGHTS to just “take away Lands, take away waters, take away minerals…Theresa Spence and her BF and the “paperwork issues”..are ONE Issue..and that issue of Possible Misuse of funds…that is NOT New to Indigenous People or Reserves/Reservations…In some of the Reservations here in the US…to even MENTION misuse of funds, on a rez…can get ppl vioently harmed or worse…and guess what…the FEDS…they don’t investigate those deaths..soo the misuse, the mismanagement the mistreatment of whole “tribes” of ppl…it continues to happen…NOT ON ALL Reservations or Reserves…BUT on Some..and the ppl they are so financially poor and so far out in the middle of nowhere..there is No where to turn for real help or change…If you want to talk about something, that could create changes for the better…..why don’t you look into this, my friend…this isn’t smoke and mirrors..this is facts, and ppl with Idle No More..this is the kind of stuff they are fed up with in both countries…Broken Treaties, Broken Words, Broken Promises, No Hope and seeing no way out…Then bills like the ones in Canada come thru thru the doors, and again..just verify to the Indigenous ppl….”what? are we all invisible? does what matters to us, to our ppl, for our lands…not have any meaning?…what gives Canada’s government or the US government the Right to determine what happens on Indigenous Lands?..If these Lands are supposed to be Lands of Sovereign Nations? There is a good question for you to ponder. Because, I see you are intelligent..ponder it if you will, would like to see your response to this

            • http://abearsrant.com thebear

              Here are two questions for you to ponder. How many sovereign nations do you know of besides the First Nations who claim to be sovereign but who expect another sovereign nation to pick up the financial tab for their sovereignty? How do you expect the government to negotiate settlements when the First Nations can’t come to agreement among themselves about what they want or expect?

              As a point of clarification, Theresa Spence did not start the Idle No More movement. It was started in Saskatchewan by four women. Theresa Spence merely linked herself to it in an attempt to give her demands and action some legitimacy and as a means to try and get ahead of the public release of the Deloitte audit and the criticism she would receive. She has known it was coming since last August.

    • Arora

      I have a background in Bookkeeping, it’s what I’ve done for decades for Contractors. what I can tell you is this…when Contracts are going on, and deadlines have to be met involving “construction”..contractors can be horrible about paperwork..not keeping or getting receipts, losing receipts, not even getting or worse just throwing away receipts…What does this have to do with Reserves…similar things..human beings handling the decision making processes, and no proper checks and balances in place for making sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed…here’s another part of an article from the net..for your viewing ..from the other side of the perspective.

      ***The auditors were called in last year at the height of the Attawapiskat housing crisis when Spence’s declaration of an emergency grabbed Canadians’ attention.

      Released Monday by the Conservative government, the audit does not allege fraudulent activity but says more than 400 of the transactions it reviewed lacked proper — or most of the time, any—supporting paperwork or receipts.

      Page after page of the report shows spending on contracts or services where the vendors are “unknown” or the documentation is questionable or non-existent.

      “An average of 81 per cent of files did not have adequate supporting documents and over 60 per cent had no documentation of the reason for payment,” said the firm. In an Aug. 28 letter to Spence, it called the lack of records “inappropriate for any recipient of public funds.”

      NDP MP Charlie Angus, reached in his northern Ontario riding that includes Attawapiskat, said the audit identified records-keeping problems on the both the federal government’s and the Attawapiskat band council’s sides, but he said “there’s no smoking gun here.”

      “They’re not saying somebody took the money to go off to Florida,” said Angus. He and others suspected the timing of the audit’s release before Friday’s key meeting with aboriginal leaders, Spence among them, was a cynical move to discredit her.

      highlights I wish to point out here from this-

      1.the Conservative government, the audit does not allege fraudulent activity but says more than 400 of the transactions it reviewed lacked proper — or most of the time, any—supporting paperwork or receipts.

      response-..just what I spoke of at the beginning of this post…receipts…doesn’t mean they don’t exist..just means..may have to be “recollected thru contact with places of purchases…unless done with cash..in which case..impossible to get, unless the purchaser and provider know each other well, and can verify the purchases..which does happen sometimes.

      ***also please notice…the words… “the Conservative government, the audit does not allege fraudulent activity”

      ***government has not accused of Fraudulent activity-yet all over the net ppl are jumpin on a band wagon of “it is”…unless one lives on a Reserve, or has worked on a Reserve or has educated themselves on the workings of how funding works for a Reserve or (US Reservation)…they really are in NO position to Accuse anyone of Fraud NOt without knowing ALL the Facts.

      2. the audit identified records-keeping problems on the both the federal government’s and the Attawapiskat band council’s sides

      **** please again read…RECORD KEEPING PROBLEMS ON BOTH SIDES!…as a bookkeeper this tells me..the requirements for the books by the Funding provider…has it’s OWN ISSUES AS WELL..that ARE BEING IGNORED BY MANY..who are willing to ACCUSE the Indigenous of Squandering Funds…there are ISSUES FOR BOTH SIDES…this is WHY IDLE NO MORE has Come ABOUT…IT is TIME for BOTH SIDES to Correct things that DON’T WORK for the Reserves/Reservations and the People and the Lands.

      • http://abearsrant.com thebear

        Nobody has alleged fraudulent activity at this point but if this lack of documentation occurred off reserve, there would definitely be a forensic audit into whether or not there had been fraud. I have a 40 years of fiance and management experience including reading financial statements, proper bookkeeping procedures and accountability. There is money not accounted for – a lot of money. This has nothing to do with government, contractors or anyone else but the people signing the checks. Like I said you can defend it all you like but at the end of the day, the band’s own financial statements clearly show that virtually as much money was being paid to a few as was being committed to fund programs for the many. Justify it any way you like but that was never what the money was intended for and you and I both know that.

        Theresa Spence has much to answer for and is hardly a credible representative on aboriginal issues. Even many on her reserve and across the First Nations are admitting that. Continuing to defend her and her actions rather than the broader community only further undermines the trust and good will people in Canada have towards resolving First Nations’ issues.

  • Rose Shelton

    P.S. If you are not afraid to engage in meaning ful debate publish the following link and let your readers explore the truth from a first nations viewpoint. http://apihtawikosisan.com/2011/11/30/dealing-with-comments-about-attawapiskat/

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I’m quite happy to let people read your article and draw their own conclusions. It isn’t as important to me that we may disagree on issues as it is that we can disagree and discuss those disagreements with mutual respect.

      It is however, unfortunate that you miss the entire point of the mess at Attawapiskat. It is not about how the system is supposed to work it is about the fact that the system was misused. The audit clearly shows that the Chief and the band council side-stepped process, did not document their expenditures and that has nothing to do with the system.

      You clearly aren’t a stupid person and I would have thought that rather than defending this kind of mismanagement, you would have been more concerned with working to ensure the highest possible integrity in the management of band resources. The criticism being leveled at Theresa Spnece has nothing to do with treaties, government or even aboriginal issues. This is gross negligence at best and possible corruption at worse. That should concern everyone, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike, regardless of what side of the issues we all stand. When almost as much is spent on salaries for a few as is spent on programs for many (as clearly documented in the band’s own financial statements) it is disappointing you aren’t more focused on that inequity.

  • Rich

    Good Analysis: However, what if find a little disingenous is Paul Martin aka Mr. Dithers visiting with Chief Spence and calling her an inspiration; He being a former Prime Minister should be pushing for the accountability on reserves. But then again, he was the one that introduced the 5 billion dollar Kelowna Accord and remove the Reserve accountability for that agreement, thereby caving into the AFN Chiefs. Again this Kelowna Accord was a last minute introduction just before a Federal Election.

    Secondly, it was the NDP during the C45 budget debate used every Parliamentary trick to delay passage of the budget, from filibustering in the house and in committee. Once they realized that , that tactic was not going to work the NDP clearly stated that they would go accross country protesting bill C45. This threat lead to the creation of Idle No More a resurrected Occupy movement with the same people.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Paul Martin has never had a very good sense of timing and if he had any insight at all, he would have understood that interjecting himself into this situation would not do anything to help but would, in fact, only to continue to inflame. But then, Joe Clark did much the same thing with his visit to Theresa Spence which only goes to prove that stupidity can be found on all sides, particularly with former Prime Ministers who were particularly weak and ineffective.

      As for the NDP, well….they’ve never had to govern so they can be forgiven for not understanding the real issues. They’re like teenagers who have never had to earn a pay check, pay a mortgage and support a family. They think they know what life is all about bu they haven’t lived enough life to even begin to understand it.

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  • KFoster

    Nailed it, again! If there is a “legitimate” issue of funding both the Chief and band managment are not helping their cause by not taking reponsibility for the apparent mismanagment nor do they appear to be taking steps to rectify it. After all, you can’t keep coming back to the well for more water if there are leaks in the foundation.

  • The Bear

    Shows the irresponsibility of a govt that just doles out money and doesn’t require proof of where the money was spent.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      You’re wrong about government not caring. They were the ones who called the audit into the mismanagement at Attawapiskt and it was government that passed Bill-C27, the Transparency And Accountability Act that is really what caused all this ruckus. All the other stuff is just smoke and mirrors. The leadership is upset about being held accountable for the money they spend and that they pay themselves but after taking a hard look at Theresa Spence, it’s not hard to understand why it’s necessary.

  • dmorris

    The best indicator of Spence’s entitlement mentality is her purchase of a Cadillac Escalade to parade around the few miles of Rez roads. She could and should have chosen a less expensive vehicle. I wonder if the vehicle was bought with her private funds or Band money.

    On CBC yesterday, Pamela Palmater made fool of herself trying to claim Deloitte Touche based their audit on “supposition”. Ian Lee straightened her out on that. It’s distressing how many useful idiots lose sight of the fact that politicians like Spence are the main reason the Indian people on their Rez’s never get ahead.

    Ezra Levant also mentioned a 1.1 million dollar real estate deal,with NO accounting of what was purchased ,where, or by whom. Levant hypothesized that maybe it was land in Florida. Who knows?

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I suspect there is much more than has been reported so far and it will be interesting to see if the First Nations have the courage of their convictions and investigate her actions in order to protect her people or whether they will continue to shrug their shoulders, stonewall or blame others including the government. They have never understood that it is precisely this kind of thing that undermines everything they are trying to achieve and until they do, these issues will never be resolved no matter how many blockaeds they hold or how often people like Pam Palmater go on CBC to accuse the government of everything.

  • Mary O’Grady

    Well written, only a few comments you refer to Charlie Angus as a Liberal when in fact he is the NDP member for that area, also is the date not wrong, you say the report was given to Spence in August 2011, should that not read 2012

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      You are correct on both counts and I will make the revisions. Sometimes, we are so concerned with editing these articles in regard to ensure we have the legislation and other research included accurately, we miss the most obvious. Thank you for drawing these to my attention and for taking time to read the post. I appreciate both.

  • Peggy

    Well said Bear. Appreciate the time you spent looking into the legislation.

    Yes, ALL the legislation is intended to improve conditions for aboriginal people living on reserves but some, dare I say “unethical” people are insinuating that it is bad.

    People on the left it seems will believe anything as long as it is critical of Harper. People have been used as political pawns but they do not even know they are pawns; they think they are activists.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      +Thank you Peggy. It wasn’t so much work to be honest. It’s all available on government web sites as you already know. It’s unfortunate that more people don’t bother to acquaint themselves with a few facts before they form their opinions. I just saw a tweet stating that Canada owes aboriginals billions. I wonder how many billions we have to pay and commit to before it will ever be enough?

      As for the left’s dislike of Harper, I suppose he will unveil his secret agenda once he has finished keeping his promises, doing what he can to improve the quality of life for people living on First Nations’ reserves and continuing to strengthen the nation’s economy. That plus what he has already achieved including reducing the GST, toughing up immigration legislation, strengthening and clarifying the gay marriage act and passing the tough Environmental Protection Act don’t fool the left. They know that sooner or later, he’s going to undermine the country with more of his bloody pragmatic and common sense and how progressives hate a pragmatic approach to meeting achievable goals and the common sense that goes with that.

      • Peggy

        Bear,
        You are preaching to the choir.
        Peggy

        • http://abearsrant.com thebear

          Not everone is singing along though :-)