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View Diary: Yesterday Idle No More's mass protest rocked Canada from coast to coast (78 comments)

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  •  Blame Ignatieff. (11+ / 0-)

    He decided he wanted Harper to remain more than he wanted himself as PM with Jack Layton as Deputy.

    He Fucked up the Grits permanently and let all this happen.

    •  More than just him (6+ / 0-)

      Some inner circle of the Liberal Party decided Ignatieff was the guy, the next Trudeau, and they engaged in a lot of politicking to get him into Parliament, and then into the leadership.

      He was a poor choice and a poor candidate.

    •  Um, that's perhaps an oversimplified (1+ / 0-)
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      view of this episode of political history. Though I sympathize.

      Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

      by sfinx on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:45 PM PST

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      •  I agree with you (3+ / 0-)
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        Lefty Coaster, skwimmer, ontario

        the whole diary is an over simplified 'good guys versus bad guys" argument.  While I'm sympathetic with the notion of improving the lot of our First Nations people, the fact that is not mentioned in the article is that governments of various parties over the past 6 decades have poured billiions of dollars into First Nations causes, land claims, housing, healthcare etc etc and there is very little to show for it.  The Chief who has been conducting the hunger strike, loosely linked to Idle No More" has been shown by audit to have mismanged and miappropriated over $100 million dollars in federal government aid including appointing her live in boyfriend as band administrator at $100k per year.  Tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to unknown parties. The sad part is that this is a common story across the country.  Leadership of First Nations groups is fragmented, incoherent and unfocused.  The agenda changes day to day.  Yes, the federal government under both Liberals and Conservatives wants to develop energy resources and often this means using some corridor in First Nations territory.  Some of the payments for these arrangements have been astronomical and the state of development in the recipient bands is still third world.  This is a much more complex issue than this diary lets on.  It's easy to jump on this bandwagon because it is so trendy.  But not much will change unless the First Nations peoples themselves take some leadership and accountability for their own people.  Not very politically correct to say these things but after years of a ringside seat and much direct personal involvement, I think it's the truth

        •  I'm always suspect when they attack the messanger (3+ / 0-)
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          Burned, Leftcandid, divineorder

          and avoid their message.

          Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

          by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:05:50 AM PST

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          •  Thanks for your diary! (1+ / 0-)
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            Great diary and sorry I missed it until today.

            Fully agree with you that we need to be suspect when they attack the messenger and avoid the message.

            Harper tried last year to blame Chief Spence for the housing crisis. Her reserve Attawapiskat took the Harper government to federal court, and won. The judge ruled that the appointment of a third-party manager was "unreasonable," that there was no evidence of mismanagement or financial impropriety, and that the core - and unaddressed - issue in Attawapiskat was a lack of funding for housing. Presciently, he added:

            "This judicial review confirms, if such confirmation were needed, that decisions made in the glare of publicity and amidst politically charged debate do not always lead to a reasonable resolution of the relevant issue," Justice Michael Phelan wrote.
            Instead, when there was renewed public debate about the poverty of First Nations and attention again focused on Chief Spence, Harper leaked the audit "amidst politically charged debate." I will respond later to the allegation that prompted your comment, named that Chief Spence "misappropriated over $100 million" dollars and explain what the audit actually said.

            Again, so glad to see your diary!

        •  It sounds to me like (4+ / 0-)

          the Energy companies want to have their way with Canada the same as they have with the U.S. and there just happened to be pro-First Nations law in the way, which they've now gotten rid of.

          Whatever might be going on with First Nations internal politics or your opinion of the chief doing the hunger strike, I'm seeing a pattern here all too familiar.

          Those of us south of your border know all too well what happens to ordinary people, including landowners, when "the federal government under both Liberals and Conservatives wants to develop energy resources."

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:59:56 AM PST

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          •  Well, I don't know what pattern that is (1+ / 0-)
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            This is not a problem that can be solved with an unbalanced approach.  Like I said, this is not bad guys and good guys--it's much more complex than that.  Extracting energy and mineral resources is not exactly a new phenomenon here in Canada and doing so often involves native lands and band leadership have been all too willing to take the big dollars for it.  Not much shows up in terms of living conditions, health, education etc.  There is a growing public impatience with this and it's well founded.  But the crusade goes on

            •  Down here we already have (0+ / 0-)

              an unbalanced approach.

              The energy companies get what they want.

              the pattern is:  large conservative coalitions form in government. government finds laws that might get in the way of energy companies doing whatever the hell they want. government takes those laws apart. energy companies proceed to do what they want.

              I'm not just trying to score points in a discussion here; I'm seriously telling you:  you don't want a situation up there like we've got down here. Once business interests end up dominating legal and public discussion, getting any kind of real balance back is extraordinarily hard.

              I understand that some band leaders might well be inclined to jump on the corporate gravy train, just like mainstream white politicians do. That doesn't change my point.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:11:35 AM PST

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        •  Were you in DIAND? We seem to have had similar (0+ / 0-)

          experiences along the way. I was not in DIAND. Have noticed this before as we seem to read and comment on similar diaries. Message me if you wish.

          "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

          by ontario on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:01:10 PM PST

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        •  Facts (1+ / 0-)
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          I do understand that media reports have tried to allege that the "Chief who has been conducting the hunger strike, loosely linked to Idle No More has been shown by audit to have mismanged and miappropriated over $100 million dollars in federal government aid." I was surprised to find that allegation repeated here at DailyKos.

          Here's what I wrote about the audit several days ago:

          Four days before the planned meeting between the government and First Nations leaders, and responding to the growing support for Idle No More and Chief Spence, the Harper government again made a decision "in the glare of publicity and amidst politically charged debate." Canadian media started reporting on a "scathing audit" by Deloitte & Touche allegedly documenting Chief Spence's financial improprieties, and within a few hours the report suddenly appeared on the website of Aboriginal Affairs. In fact, the document had been finalized two and half months earlier (after two five-day trips by a team of five to Attawapiskat early last year and additional time in Ottawa, and ten months of preparation to write 60-pages in English and another 60-pages of the same content in French.)

          The main allegation of the report was that the band had not provided proper documentation and paper trails for its expenses. Anyone familiar with the realities of reserve conditions knows that: "The Deloitte & Touche audit of Attawapiskat is a textbook outcome of the fatal weakness in Canada's current model of First Nations governance, which is coded to fail. There could be hundreds of Attawapiskats."

          The highly respected previous Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, issued her final report to Parliament in 2011 after years of outstanding service. She chose to focus on the intolerable conditions on First Nations reserves, and detailed the conditions which are the true scandal uncovered by the Deloitte audit:

          "Contribution agreements involve a significant reporting burden, especially for small First Nations with limited administrative capacity. Communities often have to use scarce administrative resources to respond to numerous reporting requirements stipulated in their agreements. We followed up on Aboriginal Affairs efforts to reduce the reporting requirements of First Nations and found progress to date to be unsatisfactory..."
          Each First Nation has to file, on average, 160 reports per year to AANDC. As the Auditor General noted in her report:
          The federal government established each First Nation band as an autonomous entity and provides separate program funding to each. Many of these First Nations are small, consisting of communities that often have fewer than 500 residents. There are more than 600 First Nations across Canada. Many of them are hampered by the lack of expertise to meet the administrative requirements for delivering key programs within their reserves. They often do not have the benefit of school boards, health boards, or other regional bodies to support the First Nations as they provide services to community members.
          Instead of addressing capacity-building on reserves and streamlining accounting requirements to focus on the priorities for transparent finances, Harper's response has been to propose legislation requiring even more onerous reporting requirements, including full public financial records for all band-owned businesses, putting them at a clear competitive disadvantage with off-reserve companies. This proposed legislation is one of several opposed by the founders of Idle No More.

          Here are a few additional points regarding this so-called "scathing audit."

          Because the band was already under co-management, the actual audit was not of Attawapiskat itself, but an "Audit of the AANDC [the federal ministry] and Attawapiskat First Nation Management Control Framework." As quoted from the audit:

          The scope for this audit was April 1, 2005 to November 30, 2011 and included an examination of the AANDC management control framework for housing and an examination of AANDC’s relationship with other federal funders for housing. The scope included audit procedures performed at AANDC Headquarters and the AANDC Ontario North Regional Office (located in Thunder Bay), which is AANDC’s primary support office for the Attawapiskat First Nation.

          While the roles and responsibilities of other federal funders (i.e. CMHC and Health Canada) were reviewed and these departments were consulted for this audit, only AANDC internal controls were examined and tested as part of the audit scope. Where applicable, observations related to the practices of other federal funders were communicated to their respective senior management.

          The report covered almost seven years, but Chief Spence only had responsibility for the last year and half of the audit period. "[O]f the 409 transactions in Attawapiskat that Deloitte and Touche said lacked proper documentation, only about 30 were conducted on Spence's watch." In fact, it is clear that during her tenure progress was made towards better documentation than in previous administrations, including when last year's third-party manager was the co-manager for the federal ministry.

          Let me be clear. There should be full documentation for band expenses. And it is within the realm of possibility that a proper forensic audit, as Appawapiskat has requested, will uncover actual evidence of financial impropriety during the tenure of Chief Spence, as the government and so many media reports allege. But it's extremely unlikely. The Harper government has spent somewhere in the range of a quarter million dollars (on third-party management, on the Deloitte audit time, travel and per diems, on legal fees for the federal court case, on wasted departmental time) to uncover wrongdoing by Chief Spence, but there is no "smoking gun."

          We should remember what a real "smoking gun" is: the mayor of Canada's largest city Toronto recently found guilty by a judge of "conflict of interest"; the mayor of the second largest city Montreal resigning last year because of his improper relationship with contractors; the RCMP confronting the mayor of London with a public cheque paying for his son's wedding reception. Those examples are real fraud. But I suspect that far more front-page ink was spent on "the public humiliation of the leader of a tiny destitute North Ontario village" than on any of these real scandals.

          Finally, it should be noted that Deloitte earns tens of millions in consulting fees annually from the Harper government. Let's listen instead to a federal judge on the specifics of Attawapiskat and the former auditor general on the challenges faced by many Canadian reserves. (Additional information here, here, here and here.)

        •  What would it look like if First Nations (0+ / 0-)

          turned the table on the Canadian federal government?

    •  I so miss Jack Layton... (5+ / 0-)

      Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul. -- Sam Mockbee ~~~For handmade silver jewelry, click here.~~~

      by Lorinda Pike on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:27:45 PM PST

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    •  I actually wrote Ignatief a lengthy letter (7+ / 0-)

      a few years ago, when his poll standing was almost equal to Harper's. I urged him to ensure he could find common cause with the NDP asap to defeat Harper in the  House and force an election.

      My point to him was this, - you might not win, but if Harper again does not win a majority this time, his party will depose him and your will have performed a great public service in getting rid of him (while losing yourself).

       Instead Iggy waited, his poll standings retreated and H pounced on a moment when he could win a majority, and did.

      Sometimes public servants work an entire career and their field of exepertise (Plague, rescue at sea, whatever) never comes to the fore big time. A scientist may work an entire career without finding a cure to cancer, but is still a success for finding the routes that don't work. A fireman may never have to fight a real inferno. So, I told Iggy that he might never be Prime Minister, but he had a public duty to try and bring Harper down.  

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

      by ontario on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:32:57 PM PST

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    •  is this like in the States (0+ / 0-)

      where we had two senates (NY and WA) swing back to the Republicans b/c "Moderate Democrats" decided to caucus with Republicans instead of Democrats?

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:48:42 AM PST

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      •  Actually, they were lefties who took a bribe (0+ / 0-)

        to side with the Republicans. What happened to the Patterson administration was partly deserved. They almost destroyed democracy in the State.

        I dunno what happened in Washington state though.

        •  Whatever the politicians deserved (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the voters who chose Democratic over Republican control did not deserve to see their votes subverted by a BS tactic.

          And the way I heard it, they were not lefties. But I was just reading reported news both MSM and blogs; if you're on the ground there you probably have a lot more details.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:27:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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