The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.
HOW does a remote native community of 2,000 people that receives $18 million a year in federal funds alone — $90 million in total since 2006 — wind up in such a wretched state? Attawapiskat on the James Bay coast is not alone among reserves in poverty, but it’s housing conditions are top of mind across Canada as winter sets in. Large families living in shacks and tents is a national disgrace.
Uninformed critics blame the band council without knowing the details. Those details will shed light where it belongs, but everyone must wait for that information before coming to conclusions.
Others say the Harper government is blaming the victim, so to speak, for taking control of local spending out of the band’s hands and ordering an audit. This examination of spending will look at where it comes from as well as where it goes. The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development department will thus be under as much scrutiny as the band itself. This alone may prove to be the most illuminating aspect of the audit, for it could shed light on a system of bureaucracy that First Nations have long complained is too complicated and restrictive. Continue Reading →