December 9, 2011
Just what exactly the fuck is going on here?
The Government of Canada responded to the earthquake in Haiti on January 10, 2010, and the earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, within hours. So why has it taken the federal government a month to respond to the emergency in Attawapiskat?
Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency on October 28, 2011, and yet it wasn’t until November 28 that representatives of the federal government arrived in the community.
A statement made by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, John Duncan, on December 1, 2011 is even more confusing: “On Thursday, November 24, we got an emergency declaration from Attawapiskat and on Monday, November 28, my officials were in the community.” If Theresa Spence declared a state of emergency on October 28, how did it take almost a month for that information to reach Mr. Duncan?
I am also very disturbed to learn that Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency two years ago in March 2009, at which time they were forced to close their elementary and high school, and at which time your government also failed to help.
Furthermore, I’m upset at your attempts to detract from your government’s lack of response by focusing on the $90 million that your government has given to Attawapiskat since 2006 and by insinuating the Attawapiskat government is corrupt.
Some of the few things on the Attawapiskat website are financial reports dating back to 2005, and Theresa Spence states in her press release that “[t]he First Nation has completed all of the necessary reporting requirements of the Department [of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development], including receiving unqualified annual audits for the funds received from the Department for the past six years.” So I’m not sure where your government gets off claiming that you don’t know where the money went.
I won’t go into the $90 million any further, as Chelsea Vowel from Montreal has written an excellent response on her blog, âpihtawikosisân, and I would only be quoting her anyway. I will suggest that you take the time to read what she’s written.
In an interview with Sarah Leavitt, Vowel mentions an issue that I think a lot of people are hoping won’t be forgotten —no matter how many dollar signs you throw around. That many other First Nations communities in Canada are facing the same problems, and that these problems have been an issue for too long already.
It’s time that your government steps up, takes responsibility and helps create a better Canada for First Nations.