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Why the 'Idle No More' Movement Is Our Best Chance for Clean Land and Water


World  (tags: environment, ecosystems, native rights, indigenous peoples rights, politics, Idle No More Movement, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', government, humanrights, politics, ethics, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', world, news )

Cal
- 559 days ago - alternet.org
In an urgent pursuit for environmental justice and basic human rights, First Nations gather across North America under the banner of Idle No More.



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Comments

John S. (297)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 4:31 am
Thanks, interesting article.
 

Roxy H. (340)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 4:31 am
ty
 

Carol H. (229)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 4:59 am
noted, thanks Cal
 

Michael Kirkby (83)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 9:46 am
Yes it is but I still want independent audits before we continue to perpetuate the welfare mentality. There is a lot of talent among First Nations and some very intelligent people. We should be introducing measures that will address the actual problems and help them to become self sufficient rather than just blindly throwing money at it. Theresa Spence from Atawapiskat refuses to account for 121 million dollars she has received on behalf of her people and she refuses to allow an independent audit. When a band council works it is one of the finest forms of government. When it doesn't ......
 

Daniel Partlow (189)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 10:26 am
Power to these people!
 

Winn Adams (190)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 12:22 pm
Thanks
 

Muriel Servaege (39)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 12:58 pm
Thank you. I agree with those people and I stand up for them.
 

Christeen Anderson (480)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 1:29 pm
Thank you Idle No More movement. Whatever works.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 1:36 pm
Noted, thanks Cal. Too bad the First Nations don't have at least one good plan and several good people ready to step up to replace some government people and change Canada's resource devouring activities. Michael Kirkby has some interesting info. I didn't read in the article. Perhaps there is or was enough money to prepare the talented and intelligent people among the" Firsts", to be serious challengers and changers.

 

Suzanne L. (152)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 1:48 pm
Bill C-45 reduces federal jurisdiction to 97 lakes, 62 rivers and 3 oceans. The environmental management of all other water bodies will be under municipalities and provinces. It means more local control not injustice or any compromise of human rights.

Following on Michael K's comment, there are many interesting articles and perspectives on Chief Spence and Idle No More. The National Post's article by Mark Milke called "Crunching Attawapiskat's Numbers", compares the budgets of Attawapiskat with a number of other remote, northern Canadians towns that are not reserves. Here are the figures:

Attawapiskat, ON 1,549 people #31.2 million operating funds/budget
Atikokan, ON 3,293 people $8.4 million operating funds/budget
Athabasca. Alta. 2.575 people $5.5 million operating funds/budget
Valemount, BC 1,018 people $3.2 million operating funds/budget

On the Attawapiskat reserve for the year ending 2010 the chief's salary was $51,803. In total, band salaries and expenses were $414,664. In the next fiscal year that jumped by 48% to $615,552.

Despite the annual operating budget Attawapiskat continues to experience poor housing conditions and Chief Spence called a state of emergency 3 times in 3 years. Yet a spokesperson for the federal government stated that by the end of 2012-2013 it will have spent $131 million on the Attawapisakat reserve since 2006, including the construction of 60 new and renovated houses and a new school.

The Attawapiskat bend council was under Third Party Intervention for a part of 2011-12. The band council agreed to a comprehensive audit, covering 2005-2011. A copy of the audit was leaked in January 2013. Auditors found "an average of 81% of files with inadequate supporting documentation and over 60% with no ducmentation to support any payments". The letter delivered to Chief Theresa Spence stated that the audit revealed "no evidence of due diligence on the part of Attawapiskat of funding provided by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for housing projects and Health Canada for health-related projects.

Meanwhile in Atikokan the mayor's annual salargy was $7,713 + $4,268 for travel.

And there is just so much more if you look. Blocking rail lines and roads, mob flashes in malls, hunger strikes, all good theatre and good dodges to draw attention away from real problems. Add misinterpreting legislation to draw in people who have concerns for the environment. Mix with rejecting the meeting with the PM as a "photo op" and insisting to meet with the Governor General (hello! Canada isn't a colony anymore). The drama needs to be retired in lieu of realixm.
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 3:08 pm
Noted, thanks.
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 5:09 pm
Noted. I'm glad to see Idle No More take this stand. I hope they have much success.
 

Margery Coffey (8)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 6:23 pm
Idle No More is hope for a future!
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 7:03 pm
In reading all your comments I hope that the real issues such as the clean water/air and resources developmental issues don't get sidetracked and lost in the song and dance of theater. There are real problems in some of these communities; some of which are governmental for not addressing the issues over the years but increasing the problems by either willfully ignoring them or throwing money at them indiscriminately. The Liberals and Conservatives are both guilty of this over the years since Canada first became a nation. I would surmise that there are many who don't want change; who don't want to take the scary step of being self supportive; self sufficient and having to solve problems in their communities. Also, not every community has the resources of say some of those in B.C. It's easier to drink and drug your troubles away; beat your wife and abuse your kids than actually make the necessary changes. These conditions have to stop. The cycle of violence and destitution has to cease.
There was a very good article in the National Post on the weekend from a doctor who lived and worked among the communities. He laid out a very good plan that both the band councils and the Canadian and provincial governments need to take a look at. No the reservations don't work for First Nations as they were not a people designed for such conditions. The world has changed though and they like us need to adapt; to accept changed and to go forward on a positive and proactive note. There is a pattern of needs and problems emblematic to the overall paradigm but each settlement and reservation needs to be evaluated carefully as to its individual needs too. First Nations has a real chance here to make real change happen and I for one hope they do. This is not what Tecumseh envisioned for his peoples.
 

jo M. (3)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 8:19 pm
Thanks for adding more information, Suzanne. Things are never as clear and simple as they may seem.
 

Cal Mendelsohn (968)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 4:09 am
Sounds like a different and interesting article, Theodore. you should post it on Care2.I'm sure we could learn a lot from it.
 

Mitchell D. (129)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 6:18 pm
You go!
 

Aaron Bouchard (125)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 6:58 pm
Noted thanks
 

Past Member (0)
Friday January 18, 2013, 5:32 pm
"Yes it is but I still want independent audits before we continue to perpetuate the welfare mentality. "

There have been independent audits on a year basis, it is a federal regulations. In fact, the Attawapiskat asked for a forensic audit. Let's look at some facts.

Native communities, such as Attawapiskat, is discriminated against in regard to budgetary allocation. Remember Harper's statement which inflamed everyone last year? Below is Harper's comment:

"This government has spent some $90 million since coming to office just on Attawapiskatt. That's over $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the community."

Well, if Canadians would have bothered to do the math, they would have realized that Harper had just admitted that Canada practices economic discrimination against a demographic population living in native communities. This funding was given over a six year period to a population of approximately 1,500 people. I will break it down to the fiscal year of 2010-2011 and even include provincial budgetary allocation. The federal government gave $17.6 million, while the province allocated $4.4 million for a total of $22 million to a population of 1,549 (2010-2011 population) which grants a little over $14,000 per person. A person living in Toronto is allocated $24,000. Native residents of Attawapiskat receive $10,000 less than people living in non native communties.

An independent audit has been done on an annual basis. Theresa Spence has only been Chief of the Attawapiskat Community since 2010. The Deloitte Touche Report found 407 expenditures which lacked proper documentation between 2005 - 2011. Under Chief Spence's tutelage, only 30 expenditures lacked documentation, a vast improvement over previous years. In fact things went so well that by April of 2012, Minister John Duncan announced "In recognition of the accomplishments that have been achieved in substantially addressing the urgent health and safety needs of affected Attawapiskat residents through the third-party manager, we have notified the Attawapiskat First Nation of the Department’s intent to move the First Nation out of third-party funding agreement management and back to co-management."

There has been no suggestion by Deloitte Touche, nor Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development that there was misappropriation. Their claim is mismanagement, which are two completely different things. If there was mismanagement, then it certainly has to be addressed, but isn't it a tad too convenient to a) order a LIMITED audit, when independent audits for the time period in question, but of course was trucked out when the spotlight is centered on the government. Harper knew certainly knew his audience and that they would jump on the demonization bandwagon. Mismanagement or no mismanagement, native communities are woefully underfunded and done in a discriminatory, inequitable manner.

We also have the "pot(s)" calling the kettle black. Deloitte Touche though has been accused and found guilty of some pretty shady practices. I have a problem with a company who was fined $64,000 by their own professional body, not even to mention KPMG's assessment of Deloitte's audits of Autonomy (when purchased by HP), and of course the $50 million Deloitte agreed to pay over their audits of Adelphia, where they were charged with failing to implement audit procedures designed to detect the illegal acts at Adelphia and improper professional conduct. These are just a few of many misdeeds at Deloitte.”One paying a $50 million dollar fine to the SEC and another of $64,000. Those are only two of them, there is plenty more where that came from. How about Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. 32 Audits in a decade, claims of misappropriation by the Ministry and not one recommendation followed. So, maybe we should wait and see who is corrupt.”

As for the "Harper" government, the created a artificial lakes (right next to real lake, prorogued (twice in a little more than one year), looking foolish by misleading the public about the F-35 debacle and robocalls. That is just a tip of the iceberg.

These are holier than thou duo, Deloitte and the Harper government that have accountants, resources, etc. to properly do the job and we again hold a community that is always putting out fires to get through the day, juggling a pittance of funding to try to get through the day. When everything is falling apart, bursting at the seams, it takes money to deal with emergency situations. Sometimes, survival is more important than accounting.
 
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