Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts on the political circus around Attawapiskat

Sometimes you have to laugh, or cry. Today I did a bit of both.

Minister Duncan's (aka Minister Dum-dum's)performance and lack of knowledge about his file meant his press secretary had to rescue him from a press conference. Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic Carolyn Bennett said he was in so far over his head that she “almost felt sorry for the Minister who seemed “unable to act, unable to make a decision.”

CTV veteran reporter Craig Oliver said the Minister looked like he was “at the end of his rope.” He went on to say the Minister’s aides were interrupting, and whispering answers in his ears. Check out APTN’s report here.

Perhaps this is another occasion where Mr. Duncan can blame NDPer Charlie Angus for not whispering the answers in his ear.

But this scenario calls for more than just pointing fingers at the Conservatives.

The Liberal Party – in defending Attawapiskat looks absolutely two-faced. Today in Question Period Bob Rae questioned why the government allowed Attawapiskat to go under 3rd Party Management when the Auditor General pointed out as early as 2003 that the system was expensive and problematic. Wideye and I happened to catch it together and we nearly fell over laughing. Really Mr. Rae - you just found the 2003 report now?

I guess the Liberals were too busy to read it whilst they were in power, and steam-rolling First Nations communities with Third Party Managers. Now that the Liberals are the third party and have a little more time on their hands they finally got around to it.

Hey Mr. Rae the Liberals also put a 2 % cap on First Nations education. To quote NDP Charlie Angus (who is quickly becoming my favourite politician ever) “I wouldn’t want you to get caught flat-footed.”

Just saying.



Daves Markets said...

Certainly no party is blameless, this has been a travesty for far too long.

Troy said...

I still can't fathom Harper's reaction to the crisis, immediately placing the blame onto the chief and council, when he had clear and unfettered access to the budget and reports, and so had the oppurtunity to play Canadian Ambassader to the First Nations people of Canada.
I could be cynical, and speculate perhaps Harper and Duncan saw this as an oppurtunity for vote getting from the extreme far-right, but it's gotten out of hand, with calls for the forced assimilation of the band, ala a revival of policies that made residential schools possible.
It seems these two didn't understand how lives were, and still are on the line, when they first bothered to pay attention to what was actually happening.
They also seemed to underestimate the chief and council of the band, trying to discredit it, but faced the humiliation of having their third party management turfed by the band as soon as they arrived in the town.
Now, they probably sense all eyes in Indian Country are watching this government's every move, and they feel they can't afford another misstep, because it's all heating up, much as tempers began to flare at Ipperwash and Oka.
This is a government with a very tenuos hold on a majority, and with the Occupy Protests gaining further momentum, it might begin to seem to the less-able of Harper's inner circle that this could be a trigger for further and more forceful opposition to the government's policies.
There's been enough of a pushback by the band and its supporters that the media and its agents are asking Harper and Duncan questions about their claims versus the bands. The band has answered every question, and despite the governments dogs at the Sun and CanWest chains doing their best to advance the government's lines, it's beginning to derail, because everything Harper and Duncan have done has only entrenched the chief and council, which has found support and allies from all over Canada. Certainly, there are trolls and racists trying to drown out the conversation, but it's happening. People are learning, even if just a little, how much different life on a reserve is compared to life in the white community.
Perhaps, if one were capable, this could become an opportunity for true healing and reconciliation, but perhaps, with this government, it may pass by without notice, to the detriment the relationship of Canada and its First Nations.

Ward of the State said...

Dave. Thank you for posting to our humble blog. The Liberal Party was really always the Aboriginal Party. So many of us were told they were the best party to deal with. But I think they have lost, and deservedly, that automatic vote so many used to give. The question is - would the untried and untested NDP keep the many promises they make now if they were to come to power?

Ward of the State said...

Sayunsa: Thank you for posting to our humble blog. I think Harper's reaction to the crisis is just the way the government always reacts. Usually it goes unoticed by media, and therefore unoticed by Canada.

I think if they went wrong anywhere, it was in underestimating how well Charlie Angus could defend the community from spin. Certianly there are those who choose to believe - despite evidence - that there has never been an audit etc. That's because they want to. But for Canadians who truly want to understand Charlie has done a good job.

Your right that his base will not only support his actions, but think he is not going far enough.

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