Government Left First Nations Tribe Out In The Cold…Literally

The Federal Court ruled August 1 that when Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan responded to the housing crisis on Attawapiskat First Nations by appointing a third party manager to take over the finances, he was acting unreasonably.

The ruling is a victory for the people of Attawapiskat who were focused on surviving the winter when the Minister decided the first priority should be getting their accounts in order.

The Federal Court judge, Michael Phelan, ruled that the government “invoked a financial management remedy without considering more reasonable, more responsive or less invasive remedies available.”

In the ruling, it states that the officials never mentioned any issues with Band management before appointing Marion. The judge also says that the government has not provided any evidence of mis-spending that the Prime Minister and other Conservatives referred to in Question Period during the crisis.

Phelan also noted in his ruling that the situation in Attawapiskat was an embarrassment.

The people of Attawapiskat were living in third world conditions, living in unheated, uninsulated homes, often over-crowded with no sanitation. Some were living in tents with frigid temperatures approaching with the Northern Ontario winter.

The community declared an emergency situation in November of 2011. It took two weeks after the declaration of emergency for officials from the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to visit the community and assess the situation.


Related Stories:

Winter Arriving Faster Than Help In Attawapiskat

Occupy Protestors Evicted From Tents, First Nations People Forced Into Tents

What Does It Take To Get Kicked Out Of Stephen Harper’s Cabinet?


Photo: bradleygee/flickr


Michael G.
Michael T.4 years ago

Since the book of mormon claims the indigenous peoples of the americas are the lost tribe of Israel and if Mitt is unfit gets elected, do you think he will elevate their status? Or would that be counter to a venture capital president?

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

It's the same 'ol', same ol' in every country the world over. The poor, the people with no power, the native peoples, are always overlooked or purposely degraded, meant to die, to get rid of "the problem."

I was reading an article that spoke to the idea of richness, prosperity, in the sense of what we give each other, our values, as the mark of a rich people, a rich society, not judging richness in gold. I think the human race, at least the "civilized" countries would do well to learn this before their end, because we will end badly living the way we do now.

Dara Still

. I am, both as a Canadian and fellow human being, appalled at the third world living conditions there, and am rightfully outraged at foolish expenditures made upon the peoples behalf by the bands council whilst people are reduced to living in shacks and tents, since there was no money available to assist the 5 families living in a tent with winter fast approaching. I am not going to offer a synopsis of the entire court document – that could have been the job of the author of this piece – but I am in agreement with the courts findings and have to wonder exactly whose critical thinking skills are lazy here. People attack other people when they have nothing worthwhile to say – when they do, they engage in meaningful dialogue ``..``

DaretoCare Still

I did ``look it up " - thank you, and read thru the entire court case as well. The decision to appoint a TPM was indeed unreasonable on all grounds- and the court affirmed this as well as absolving some of the people you are trying to blame as authors of this horrific situation: ”This case started with accusations of political motive and retribution by the federal government, in the person of the Prime Minister, and some cabinet ministers, against the AFN for the public embarrassment the housing situation caused…the court finds that there is no evidence that the Prime Minister or cabinet members engaged in such reprehensible behavior.” (so maybe it’s “people like you” who are what’s wrong with this country?) Making assumptions about people based upon a couple of posts is the height of ignorance, and laziness, and your comments directed at me scream of both. "People like me" are what's wrong with this country? What makes you think that I have anything to do with the oil patch in my province? I stand by my research - and I stand by my words. There are long term ongoing issues in Attawapiskat - 12 years worth, which NO political party has managed to help resolve. This is a shameful situation -and obviously needs a more creative solution than has been offered so far. I am, both as a Canadian and fellow human being, appalled at the third world living conditions there, and am rightfully outraged at foolish expenditures made upon the peoples behal

Past Member 4 years ago

Coreen - Another one who is too lazy to actually apply some critical thinking skills and check the veracity of someone else's words. You must be in the percentage is dragging down the educational ranking of your community.

Roger M.
Past Member 4 years ago

Dear, oh dear. Thanks for the update.

Past Member 4 years ago

"This band received 34 million dollars from the Canadian government in the last year. "

There was not 34 million dollars from the Canadian government thrown at them. According to your pundit Harper, in his words it was $90 million over 5 years.

Past Member 4 years ago

$90 million dollars over a population of 2,000 people over the period of 5 years (conservative range, actually more than 6) works out to $9,000 per annum per person. That is not a cheque received by these people. This is the whole sum of their infrastructure (housing, education, welfare, roads, etc). Under the 2012-13 budget, my nice little white child is allocated $11,189 for education alone in Ontario.

Stephen Harper first made his despicable statement about how he was disappointed in Attawapiskat and the $90 million dollars. I believe the quote was he was "not happy". Then he forced a third party manager on them at their cost which the court has now shown was unnecessary. The final straw is that John Duncan refused to sign the CMHC loan agreement (which the Attawapiskat community has never defaulted on) to punish them.

People like you Dare2CareStill is what is wrong with our country. Alberta, the province that seems to have no problem exploiting every national resources and try to sell it as "ethical oil". Your ideology seems to put animals in front of people and have no problem demonizing and vilifying the victim. In addition, there you go promoting disinformation as per our db Prime Minister. You claim "34 million dollars from the Canadian government". Completely false. A blatant lie.

Past Member 4 years ago

Here is the Math:

Federal funding was $17.6 million, and provincial funding was $4.4 million. The community brings in about $12 million of its own revenue. If you multiply $18 million of the federal money by 5 years. Guess what???? You get the magical number of $90 million. Providing misinformation shows complete ignorance, sheeple mentality and laziness. Look it up, you can find all of this stuff on Government websites.

This is money for everything. Infrastructure, not a cheque. Your children get a lot more from the government then these people get. Get a grip on reality.

Coreen Kerr
Coreen Kerr4 years ago

This is to DaretoCare S. Your comments have totally overwhelmed me I wish that there were more people like u who phrase their thoughts so elequently yet never loose the power of their words. God bless you! You make me proud 2b a Canadian!