The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.
Jim Foulds is a freelance writer in Thunder Bay. He was the MPP for Port Arthur from 1971 to 1987.
When Canadians first saw the news about Attawapiskat they knew that no matter who is at fault, nobody in Canada should be using a plastic bucket for a toilet and have to dump it outside on a regular basis. Nobody should be calling a shack with mould on the walls home. And nobody in Ontario should be paying $23.50 for six apples and four small bottles of juice.
With little evidence, Prime Minister Stephen Harper charged that the funds that the federal government had transferred to the reserve over several years had been mismanaged. With no consultation he put the band under third party management.
(Earlier this year several flooded towns along the Assiniboine River called for provincial and federal help. Think how the municipalities would have reacted if, immediately after asking for aid, they had been placed under third party management.)
The Harper message to Attawapiskat was clear. Blame the victims; discredit the messenger; and sow doubt in the minds of Canadians.