Dr. Dawg

The Pantsafire Chronicles: John Duncan

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Forget Yule logs—yet another Conservative cabinet minister is blazing merrily to put us all in a holiday mood. Well, maybe not the unfortunate people of Attawapiskat, but there you go.

The Harper government is poised to deliver twenty-two modular homes to that part of the world, just in time to keep several families from freezing to death. It took national and international cries of shame even to get that. Perhaps they should have asked for gazebos instead.

In any case, it’s welcome if belated news.

But Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, whose handling of this file can charitably be described as pitifully inept, suggested there was a quid pro quo:

“I am pleased that Chief Spence has acknowledged the necessity of working with our Government, the third party management team, and Emergency Management Ontario to get help to the residents of Attawapiskat,” the minister said.

His trousers immediately burst into flame.

[CTV’s] Question Period’s producer, Nicole Green, immediately called Chief [Theresa] Spence to check the story. Ms. Spence told Ms. Green that she had not agreed to this. “That’s a lie,” she said.

Asked by co-host Craig Oliver about this discrepancy, Mr. Duncan again struggled to answer: “Mm-hmm,” he said.

Make no mistake, the “third-party manager,” whom the Harper government proposed to pay $1300 a day out of Attawapiskat First Nation funds, was a cover for the government’s on-going appeal to popular prejudice. He was sent packing by the band, and good riddance to this modern Indian agent.

Too many Canadians think that money going to First Nations disappears down some kind of rathole. “$90 million spent on those people! Where the hell did it go?”

Once again, may I direct readers’ attention to this excellent piece by blogger âpihtawikosisân, who addresses the question directly, answers it, and provides links—including one to audited annual statements from the band?

The truth is that band councils are and have always been under the thumb of the ministry now known as Aboriginal Affairs, and its small army of bean-counters. In other words, they’ve always been subject to “third-party management,” if at a physical distance.

But here is the even bigger whopper that lifts Minister Duncan into the first rank of the Pantsafire Pantheon:

The Harper government has “an admirable track record” of dealing with problems in Attawapiskat and other communities, he added.

Good grief. If Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan comes to your town, bring marshmallows—and a very long stick to toast them with.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on December 12, 2011 10:56 AM.

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