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Attawapiskat under new management, Conservatives announce



Attawapiskat under new management, Conservatives announce

APTN National News
OTTAWA-
A month after the northern Ontario First Nation community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency triggering the intervention of the Canadian Red Cross, the Conservative government has announced it would be hiring a financial consultant to manage the reserve.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan announced the move during question period Wednesday that exploded over the ongoing housing crisis in Attawapiskat. The Conservative caucus clapped in approval when Duncan said the community would be placed under third-party management.

“On the ground assessment has determined that health and safety issues demand immediate action,” said Duncan. “We are placing the First Nation in third party management. We are also requesting a comprehensive audit.”

With several families living in tents and shacks with no running water as deep winter-like temperatures hit this community on the James Bay Coast, Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency to get immediate help for its residents.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence had been pleading for help from Ottawa and Ontario.

Spence now has no authority over the band’s management.

Since then, The Canadian Red Cross has flown in supplies and Canadians across the country have mostly reacted with shock and compassion.

Fresh off a trip from the community, NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel led off question period with a call for the prime minister to visit the community and see for himself the dire situation facing the residents there.

“You should sleep in a shack with a sleeping bag,” said Turmel, during question period. “You will see that the sleeping bags provided by the Red Cross are not the solution. Where is the action? Where is the leadership?”

Harper brushed off Turmel’s call and said his government would be acting to fix the “management problem” in the community of Attawapiskat.

“This government has invested more than $90 million into this community since coming into office,” said Harper. “We will be announcing additional steps to deal with management problems in this community.”

Duncan made the third party management announcement shortly after this exchange in response to a question from NDP MP Charlie Angus, who has championed Attawapiskat’s cause.

“Their solution is to blame the community,” said Angus. “Why is it when a First Nation community is in distress does this government’s response is in contempt.”

Liberal interim leader Bob Rae also attacked the government for blaming Attawapiskat for its dire condition.

“The government that should be placed under this party management is the government across the aisle,” said Rae. “This government is all hat, no cattle.”

Harper said his government wanted to find out what happened to the money sent to Attawapiskat.

“Unlike the party opposite when it was in government, this government is prepared and determined to ensure results with those funds,” said Harper. “That is why the people of Canada placed the Liberal party under third-party management.”

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  • Anonymous

    nnCanada’s Master Plan at Work, divide and conquer / nonsoup for you attitude. AANDCu2019s 3rd party Intervention policy should not be usednas a tool to punish the First Nation as a whole for the actions of a few. SomenFirst Nations have not had access to Section 95 based loans in years and itu2019snthe Peopleu2019s health and well being that are adversely affected by this policy.nSome of these long-term 3rd partied communities have up to 40% fewer homes thannsimilar size populations and they as a community are suffering with the effectsnof overcrowding including increased and yes even catastrophic health and socialnproblems. The housing departmentu2019s meagre dollars go towards the impossiblenchallenge of trying to maintain a unit that is severely overused and they simplyncannot keep up any longer. First Nations have written numerous letters warningnfunders of the catastrophe that was and is now reality for these communitiesnaffected by AANDCu2019s intervention policy. There must be a better strategyndeveloped in order that the people are no longer placed in these discriminatorynand in-human situations, situations that contravene the universal human rightsnact to adequate shelter and the government must be taken to task on this.nnnMainnstream says why don’t they move away, find a job and quit bitching but theyndon’t do their research before making these types of comments. Relativelynspeaking, First Nations were only very recently allowed to leave thencommunities they were placed at and in some cases they were made to sell treatynrights in order to do so. When these archaic laws changed, the discriminationnwas set in like concrete and First Nations people had to work twice as hard to proventhemselves and even that was not enough. Trust me we lived it, a lot of ournpeople simply gave up and it will take generations to even begin to reverse theneffects of the cultural genocide that happened.nnn