[Attawapiskat] Leaders out of their mines – Toronto Sun Editorial (February 8, 2013)


With little else to do in Attawapiskat, and with no leadership worth noting, it is no surprise that a bunch of residents from that frozen ghetto would bite the hand that feeds them with a blockade of the ice road to the De Beers diamond mine.

It is just one more example in a long list of why unmanageable and unsustainable reserves like Attawapiskat should be shut down.

After all, De Beers has only deposited around $300 million into the band council’s coffers over five years – that’s $60 million per annum, or $50,000 per resident per year – so there’s no sense letting that good deed go unpunished, now is there?

So block the road.And who cares if 100 of the 500 employees at that mine are actually Cree workers from Attawapiskat? Let them eat frozen cake. And, most of all, why allow them to be examples to others when the federal government, via the taxpayer, will continue pumping in the cash to all and sundry with disappointing results.

And, while we’re at it, why not give a big raise to whatever lawyer the band hired to make its deal with De Beers? Why? Because De Beers purportedly signed what amounts to a non-disclosure clause with Chief Theresa Spence’s crew to not reveal what any of that $300 million is for, or how it is spent.

That’s one humdinger of a rider.

But look who was behind the since-suspended blockade at De Beers. It was none other than Danny Metatawabin, the media spokesman who figuratively spoon-fed Spence her surprisingly nutritious fish soup while she was in Ottawa conning the media with a “hunger strike” routine.

According to reports, he’s the band’s co-ordinator of the Attawapiskat Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) with De Beers, and chose the week of Spence’s return as the moment to complain about certain layoffs and hiring practices at the mine.

So they bit the hand that any First Nations band in the country would love to have stroking its back.

Imagine: $300 million, with no questions asked, and a 100 well-paying jobs to boot.

Yet they throw up a blockade. How hopeless is that?

For the original version of this editorial, please go to the Toronto Sun website: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/02/08/leaders-out-of-their-mines