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On Attawapiskat and the Failure of the Minister of Northern and Indian Affairs, Mr. John Duncan

Updated on December 30, 2011

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.


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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I hear You, NorthernONTeacher. You are not the only one who has expressed such concerns and the problem in my opinion is that teachers are afraid to speak out because they can get BCRed ...

      Corruption within the Band Council is a problem on many Reserves.

      I also agree that children deserve much better. Thank You for stopping by and leaving a comment. All the best!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You should ask yourself why would anyone want to be in this situation anymore? You think this is bad...try working in the high school for the Principal...BIG MISTAKE! She is a thief, liar, and a poisonous person who seriously needs medical attention. I prayed for the students of Vezina Secondary, they deserve SO MUCH BETTER !

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for stopping-by Seeker. Indeed there is hardly enough money spent by the Canadian government in rural areas of the country. The fact that there is not even a road to go to Attawapiskat, I think is enough of an example.

      In regards to Mr. Duncan, some people say that his alcohol dependency makes it difficult to do his job. That is why I am of the opinion that he should resign.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for your comment Paradise. The problem of communities such as Attawapiskat (and there are many of them), is that they are extremely remote communities. There are not even roads to go there. One has to fly-in or take a barge in the summer.

      The government ignores them for the most part and people are simply not aware of the living conditions up there. The mass media does not give much play to such stories. It's usually Lindsey Lohan or Michael Jackson's doctor who steal the lime-light ...

      Thank you for your time again. Cheers!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      9 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Well said - and I for one hope that in the very, very near future something gets done - something useful - for these fellow human beings.

      "mis-management of accounts"??? Well if there was, looking at the photos and seeing the living conditions these people are living in, I don't think any appropriated funds was spent on them! The only mis-management that is definately going on is sending in this 'suit with a calculator' costing thousands of dollars. It's a disgrace that in the 21st century our fellow human beings have to live in such atrocious conditions - when there is enough money on this planet three times over to give the poor what they need!

      This was a really great hub for highlighting the plight of these people. They'll be in my heart and my thoughts

      and I do hope for much better things to happen for them very soon. Also I hope that this idiot person called Duncan will do the decent thing by these people or as you suggest, let someone else take over who does care and does have knowledge about these people.

      Hub voted up + awesome!!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      I'm surprised the people haven't risen up in arms to oust this fellow. What a shocking waste of resources, to pay someone an exhorbitant amount to look at the books instead of directing the money to improving the desperate living conditions!


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