SKYO wrote:http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/chelsea-vo ... 27066.html
Reading the news coverage on Attawapiskat doesn't feel very healthy sometimes. There are so many racist rants and outright ignorant responses that it can bog you down. Where do you even begin, when the people making these comments do not seem to understand even the bare minimum about the subject?
Well, you can try to answer questions with facts. Here are some of those facts, if you're interested.
Half truths from a half breed.
Ms. Vowel is making some very strong arguments for the very changes being brought in by the Harper government at the request of the AFN to allow spending by Bands and leasing of Band lands to generate revenue without having to seek Abo Affairs approval. The same changes that raise the Idle Some More folks to drumming on bridges and rail lines.
Much of the needs for maintaining housing should to be passed from the Band to the Band member living in the house and individual property rights is the way to go with that. Let the Band member take ownership of his house and not relay on others clean up after him.
Ms. Vowel says the $90 million number is being misused. It is not. The recently received audit is clear that the amount is for the term 2005 to 20011.
Ms. Vowel claims that Teresa Spence's salary and personal expenses are questioned. The commentators I have read actually commend her very reasonable expenses and Band salary as Chief. Than the $8000/mo she gets for her daycare has been questioned by Ezra Lavant. The $850/day + expenses Clay Kennedy collects is questioned as is his expenses is questioned. (his contract laughably states "Both parties [the band and Mr. Kennedy] are not aware of any past or present relationship between the First Nation and the Co-Manager that may be thought to be a conflict of interest." The conflict of interest, having Chief Spence and her boyfriend Clay Kennedy handling the purse strings is questioned. Having 21 people on the Band council without job descriptions is questioned.
Ms. Vowel brings up the Auditor Generals comment on the onerous paperwork required by Federal funding agencies that documents expenses may be ignored when submitted. I think the Delloitte audit shows that that documentation is not ignored. It also shows, as Ms. Vowel admits, the documentation is rarely done.
The recent audit is not the first time these issues have been raised. They are raised annually by the Bands own auditors. They repeated told the Band that accounting procedures were not in order, that a budget was not done. As many commentators have noted, the fact the Band produces annual audited financial statements does not mean the their books are in order. Ms. Vowel does not agree.
Ms. Vowel talks of all the services the Band needs to provide for from the Federal funding. She ignores the $1.3 million from Health Canada, and the $4.7 million from the Ontario Government and the $3.4 million from the Casino in Orillia.
The Band also owns Attawapiskat Resources Inc which provides catering services to DeBeers' Victor mine and has joint ventures with the helicopter services, the explosives contractor, the drilling contractor, the security company and others. The Band also owns Attawapiskat Power Inc which provides electricity to the community.
If providing local education is too difficult for all these smaller Bands, maybe the government should step in a provide boarding schools for Native students in some larger centres. I'm sure a caring group like the Catholic Church that is already involved in education could be brought in to manage the schools.
In closing Ms. Vowel makes the same mistake Teresa Spence makes. She compares the Chief of a small Band to the same level as a Provincial Premier or the Prime Minister. She is not. She is the equivalent to the Mayor of a town of 1500 people. (One of her spinners, Danny Metatawabin has compared her to Jesus) Which leads to the one thing Ms. Vowel is correct on. Barrick will not be asking Ms. Spence to join their board.
Is what is meant by the phrase "I'd like to buy a Vowel?'
For all of Chief Spence's grandstanding and demanding to meet with the PM and the GG, even sending a letter to the Queen requesting she order the GG to meet because negotiations date back to pre-confederation, Attawaspiskat did not enter a treaty agreement until 1930.More than eighty years after Confederation.