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On Attawapiskat and the Failure of the Minister of Northern and Indian Affairs, Mr. John Duncan
Almost a year has passed since I returned from Attawapiskat, Ontario and I am not happy to say that things have gotten worse and not better for the people of that community, within the past year. I have sent countless emails to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Northern and Indian Affairs … they all seem to have vanished into nothingness.
The Minister of Northern and Indian Affairs, Mr. John Duncan claimed within the last two weeks, several times (while talking to the media) that he was not aware of the grave issues which need to be addressed in Attawapiskat. He was supposedly not aware of the housing tragedy there. He did not know that there are major problems with pluming, sewage, drinking water, etc. It is as if Mr. Duncan landed here from Pluto a few weeks ago.
Since the Northern and Indian Affairs portfolio falls on his lap, I am really dismayed at Mr. Duncan’s approach to the emergency in Attawapiskat: his ignorance or lack of knowledge is indeed troubling. What is he getting paid for? How is it possible that he is not aware of the issues which fall under his supervision? And above all, he had the nerve to blame other politicians for not letting him know of the terrible living conditions of many people in Attawapiskat …
Mr. Duncan’s response to this emergency was mind-boggling. When people are living in tents, outside in minus thirty temperatures, Mr. Duncan decided to send-in an accountant to Attawapiskat. He is of the opinion that there was a mismanagement of money in that community, by the band council. As much as I do think accountability is something that should by no means be overlooked, when there are lives at risk perhaps we can leave accountability on the side for a little while … at least until people are pulled-in from the snow and placed in some decent living arrangements.
I think responding to the emergency regarding the living conditions in Attawapiskat should be answered first, before starting to count pennies. That is what bothered me most about the Minister’s attitude/answer to this issue: he went chasing the trail of money and did not in any way address the immediate problems of the community. Mr. Duncan just does not seem to care about the well-being of some people living in this country. His answer was to send-in a banker who will bill Attawapiskat for thirteen-hundred dollars per day to look at their books … So, instead of helping the community, Mr. John Duncan is milking them of more money they do not have. That to me shows not only incompetence but ill-will and I can only wish John Duncan that his thoughts towards the people of Attawapiskat, will project on himself.
I call for the Canadian Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Mr. John Duncan to step-down/resign from his position within the Federal Government and allow others, who are willing to work at creating a better Canada to do the work that he is unwilling to do. The emergency happening in Attawapiskat (and many other Native Reserves in Canada) is unnecessary and it only came to be, due to the ignorance, incompetence and inability of some people who were relied on by Canadians, to manage our society.