Tuesday, 25 December 2012

An unmerry Christmas for Attawapiskat?

Stephen Harper (Top)

Hunger striking Chief Theresa Spence (Bottom)

Image Sources

The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh (Top)
Obtained from The National Post

Obtained from CBC (Bottom)
Correction: 10:30 AM, Dec. 25, 2012 version of this post mislabelled the photos. It has since (2:30 PM, Dec. 25, 2012) been corrected. 

Last year the horrible infrastructure and social crises afflicting First Nations communities came to the forefront with the Attawapiskat story. There was a high quality story from the CBC on the crisis:

What decisive, constructive action did the Harper CONs take to address this? They ordered Attawapiskat to give $1,300 a day to a consultant! Where some people see a crisis, others see an opportunity for corporate welfare, eh?

Aboriginal rights issues gained resonance, the Idle No More Movement continues to develop, and Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence demands a meeting with the Prime Minister and other government leaders. Twelve days into the Chief's hunger strike, what does Prime Minister Harper do? He's had quite a bit of time to organize a meeting or talk with the Chief about a meeting, after all.

Well, Stephen Harper arranges a cribbage playing photo op.

The Harper Government has failed miserably when it comes to aboriginal rights. Spending $3 million to avoid equitably funding First Nations child welfare services is apparently a higher priority than actually funding it. This Harper Government needlessly quarrels with First Nations over the Kapyong Barracks, rather than properly consult with them (which doesn't necessarily mean an "urban reserve" end result). Spitting in the face of Attawapiskat First Nation and choosing flashy photo ops over meaningful discussion is yet more salting of the wounds in Federal Government-First Nations relations (which the Harper CONs are doing a lot to deepen). The Harper CONs have long since lost the moral authority to govern.

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