We’ve all heard about how horrible the conditions on Attiwapiskat are.
The northern Ontario reserve dominated the news last fall with stories of people living in shanty huts as winter approached. There was plenty of finger pointing and blame, most of the media and the opposition said the blame should lie squarely and wholly at Ottawa’s doorstep.
Some went so far as to claim the Harper government didn’t care because essentially they are racist and don’t like first nations.
As is often the case, the paper trail points elsewhere.
David Akin has a story out showing that the reserve leadership in Attawapiskat demanded new housing but wouldn’t fill out the forms to get that housing.
But documents obtained under federal access to information laws paint a picture of a band and council that has consistently failed to provide the necessary paperwork to support millions of dollars in federal assistance already sent to the reserve.
“Reporting remains a challenge for the Attawapiskat (band). Financial and other reports are consistently late,” wrote a bureaucrat from the aboriginal affairs department in a November memo.
As of last November, Spence and her band council had not filed a community infrastructure and housing annual report, nor had it filed a community-based housing plan.
Another document — a certificate of completion for capital projects — was “deemed unobtainable” by federal bureaucrats.
Saying paperwork was not filled out may sound like an insignificant thing when people are living in shacks but if you claim the feds should be giving you housing and they won’t then the paper trail becomes hugely significant. Housing money was available if they would only fill out the right forms.
This is a band that is bad at managing money but good at pointing the finger.
Watch the video at the link to also hear about how Debeers, the diamond company has sent hundreds of millions to the reserve of 1,800 people and conditions have not inproved.