Re: Chief Spence’s award

Re: Chief Spence’s award

Chief Theresa Spence was in Elora-Fergus [the weekend of April 21] to get an Aboriginal Heritage award at the annual Aboriginal Heritage Festival at the Wellington County Museum. A well-deserved award for her leadership in the struggle for decent social conditions in Attawapiskat, and for galvanizing public interest in indigenous issues. The Harper government’s smear campaign against her is repeated in media without critique. Harper does attack ads against every opposition leader and the media make critical comment. But Harper’s, similarly constructed, attacks on their other targets, like Chief Spence, are just lapped up by the media.

In response to the award, the Globe and CTV claimed that, and I quote: “there was next to no documentation for $90 million spent on her watch ….”  That is an utter fabrication and actually amplifies the smears that the Harper government has put out to deflect their accountability for terrible conditions in Attawapiskat. Even Stephen Harper would not say what CTV has said, it crosses the line from myth to utter fiction.

The audit did not say anything like what CTV claims. The financial records of the First Nation have always been available on its web site. Since Spence took over, reporting improved significantly. The federal department (AANDC) was co-manager during most of this time period and so shares equal responsibility. And who is accountable for the department? Harper. This audit was a paper trail audit and did not even look at all the files available. No indication of any misappropriation. The First Nation has been asking for a forensic audit since 2004.

Harper’s claims against Chief Spence are classic attack, mixing incomplete information with innuendo and stereotypes. Then they had their attack dog, Senator Patrick Brazeau go after Spence – that fellow hasn’t worked out so well for them.

The facts do not get out through the media. Our supposed watchdog on government propaganda is just repeating the propaganda. Canada’s media has been hoodwinked by Harper attack-tactics. The media would rather join the ganging up on a leader of an impoverished small community than unearth the facts.


Paul Smith
Guelph, ON