Thursday, January 24, 2013

CHIEF THERESA SPENCE - Canada's Martyr or Something Else?


Mayorgate's article Chief Theresa Spence Feasts on Misconceptions provided serious questions surrounding the situation at the Attawapiskat Reserve and in particular Chief Spence herself. The volume of material that required examination was too extensive for one sitting. Chief Spence has decided to continue on with her 'fast' that has no purpose nor real direction, she has become a spectacle of absurdity for media to play with.

Spence began her 'hunger strike' with demands of a meeting with the Prime Minister and Governor General in relation to the conditions of what she called inequality towards the people of the First Nations. Claims of historic and traditional connections to Mother Earth by the people of the First Nations brought from Spence condemnation of Bill C-45 demanding it to be repealed. There were other issues brought as ingredients to the mixing pot and as the 'hunger strike' went on more and more were added. One major point remained loud and clear Chief Spence was the beacon and saint of the IDLE NO MORE protest movement. Without Chief Spence and the publicity of her 'selfless' act for her people it is arguable whether the IDLE NO MORE movement would of been able to raise such apparent support from outside the Chief's teepee on Victoria Island. Photographs of adoring supporters from Australia, England, South America and more have adorned media as a result of Chief Spence. Even here in Canada IDLE NO MORE put the story out on front pages of the Women of IDLE NO MORE. Chief Theresa Spence's photograph was larger than the three others combined.

The Attawapiskat campaign has been extremely well orchestrated and manipulation of the media perfectly conducted. Yet poverty and horror truly exists in Attawapiskat and people are suffering under horrendous conditions. We as Canadians cannot be blind to that fact and as Canadians we need to get past the fear of labels, ask the right questions and demand the answers. A small portion of the Attawapiskat population are not suffering and this small group has everything.

It is time for Chief Theresa Spence and others at Attawapiskat to answer the questions under the threat of perjury. It is time to end this farce which Spence has played for public consumption. Documents have been made publicly available that prove Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, the Band Council and others are aware of the Trust Account and its $10 million. How is Chief Spence, Canada's 'Mother Theresa' able to keep a straight face and answer the simple question. Why has Spence and the Band Council allowed their own people to suffer and at the same time sit on this pile of cash? Since Spence refuses to answer these questions then answers must come on their own. Without the suffering there are no photographs, without the images of horrendous poverty media manipulation is not possible. Can it be that 'Mother Theresa' has used her own people to manoeuvre the internal political move to replace National Chief Shawn Atleo?

Manitoba Grand Chief Nepinak and Chief Spence continue to demand a meeting with Prime Minister Harper and the Governor General even though it has been established that the Governor General has no legal place in any such meeting. Both Chief Spence and Chief Nepinak have refused to make any comment regarding the documentation made public in relation to the Attawapiskat Trust and in particular the investments held. Chief Nepinak and the IDLE NO MORE movement want to portray themselves as warriors for Mother Earth. Loud public condemnation of Bill C45 has been one of the movement's platforms. IDLE NO MORE's own website claims “...upcoming legislation not only affects our First Nations people but the rest of Canada's citizens, lands and waters.” Yet the Attawapiskat Trust invests in oil, gas, and pipelines! Investments in foreign companies such as China Mobile and Halliburton Co. have somehow become invisible. Hypocrisy appears to be the chief excuse for Nepinak and Spence.

Examination of 'Attawapiskat Consolidated Financial Statements' raises more alarming questions for Chief Theresa Spence, her common-law partner Clayton Kennedy and the Band Council to answer. MP Charlie Angus still refuses to answer the question as to how much did he really know about the situation at Attawapiskat and how as an elected member of Canadian government he could ignore the truth.

Mayorgate raised the question in its article, 'Chief Theresa Spence Feasts on Misconceptions' regarding the massive wages and employee benefits expenses, in the 2011 and 2010 Consolidated Statement that totalled over a whopping $21million. Remember that Attawapiskat only has a on-reserve population of less than 2000 people. How can this be explained? The figure for 2010 alone was $9,810,586! A 'Schedule B of Attawapiskat First Nation Consolidated Schedule of Salaries, Honouraria and Travel Expenditures Year Ended March 31st 2010' was available for examination as posted. Wages and employee benefits for years 2009 and 2008 total $21,245,049, bringing a four year total from 2008 to 2011 at a huge $42,489,191, program delivery expenditure for the four years top $50million and administration at over $41million. One cannot lose track of the fact that Attawapiskat is only a reserve with a population of under 2000 people!

A consolidated financial statement is explained by as: “The combined financial statements of a parent company and its subsidiaries.” These financial statements were all prepared by Ross, Pope & Co. of Timmins, Ontario, a registered and licensed accounting firm. An email had been sent to Ross, Pope & Co. to find clarification on two nagging questions.

Each of the Consolidated Statements of Financial Activities and Accumulated Surplus should provide a separate schedule which lists the individual salaries, honouraria and travel expenses. There is a 'Schedule F' for year ending March 31 2008 and one for 2010, but no separate schedules are posted for years 2011 or 2009.

Schedule for year ending March 31 2008 lists the salaries of Elected Officials, Unelected Officials, Education Authority and Administration. In theory this should be everyone who were on the payroll of Attawapiskat with a declared wages and employee benefits total on the Consolidated Financial Statement to be $10,274,859. Now the questions begin. Adding all the totals for year 2008 the figure only comes to $1,001,230. How is this possible? The declared total on the consolidated statement is for $10,274,859? That is a difference of $9,273,629! Mathematics is taking a strange turn to the extreme side of ridiculous now. The total declared in the consolidated financial statement did say “wages and employee benefits” after all, so are we to take the missing nine million plus dollars as “benefits packages”? The individual list of names only shows 47 employees who received salaries, honouraria, travel expenses and other remuneration. What are the individual “employee benefits” here and how does one get a job like this?

Still dealing with the year ended March 31 2008, it has been asked, what is Program Delivery, 2008's total for this anomaly is $11,828,831! 'Schedule F' lists only three names under administration, yet the consolidated financial statement has a total of $3,077,413. When you simply do the math, the total of salaries comes to $168,281. That's a shortfall from the declared total of $2,909,132. Maybe copy paper and paperclips are extremely expensive to deliver to Attawapiskat? Nothing makes any sense at all!!

When you take a look at the 2010 totals, the 2009 schedules are missing for some reason. Total declared on the consolidated statement for wages and employee benefits is $9,810,586, yet as one adds all the individual amounts listed on 'Schedule B the Consolidated Schedule of Salaries, Honouraria and Travel Expenditures' it only amounts to $980,391. Unlike the 'Schedule F' from year 2008 here there are only 39 names with a shortfall from the declared overall total from the Consolidated Statement of $8,830,195! For 2010 Administration has only two names and a declared expenditure of $4,464,292 and Program Delivery is $12,227,270.

What is considered as Administration in any business, club or organization, or for that matter even personal finances? In effect the administration simply involves the meticulous organizing of paperwork, some scheduling maybe, liaison with suppliers and/or contractors. For 2010 two people are listed, John B. Nakogee who supposedly only worked 4 months and was paid $29,730, plus $1,384 in travel expenses for a total of $31,114. In addition to John B. Nakogee there was Brian Nakogee who worked 12 months and was paid $58,138 plus $2,466 for travel expenses bringing his total to $60,604, bringing in the wages for Administration to $91,718. Granted copy paper, pens, paper clips, phones and computers (oh true they are part of the office but we need to be creative now or how else can the massive amount be justified) maybe even personal hygiene supplies for the office are all necessities. Maybe adding all of these supplies needed to administer the massive operation of Attawapiskat, can be stretched to $908,282 making it with the salaries a total of a cool million dollars? Done! Then where did the remaining $3,364,292 go???

In 2008 Administration had the boys John and Brian partnered with Dorothy. Here we had Dorothy Hookimaw work only 7 months and paid $30,460 plus travel expenses of $3,326 for a total of $33,786. Now the boys John and Brian had the reverse of 2010, in 2008 Brian Nakogee worked only 5 months for $18,586 with no travel expenses (obviously he slept in the office for the duration) and John Nakogee worked for 12 months and was paid $83,698, (John is worth more than Brian for 12 months work for some reason) plus travel expenses of $32,209 for a total of $115,907. According to Wikipedia the total area of Attawapiskat is a monstrous 1.19km2 or 0.46 square miles. Where did this pencil pusher travel for such 'travel expenses'? Still the total salaries for administration came to $168,279, the usual for supplies and sundries to bring it to a cool million dollars and in 2008 we had a shortfall of $2,077,413! We have no idea if John and Brian were joined by anyone like Dorothy or the Easter Bunny in 2009 and 2011 as those schedules are missing, but using the same formula letting the administration have a cool million each year, again 2009 has a shortfall of $3,198,987, and 2011 has $2,290,047. For the four years 2008 through to 2011 a total of $10,930,739 is not explained even allowing for the creative accounting. Will Chief Theresa Spence explain finally, stop her lies and talk of warehouses full of documentation?

The weird and wonderful does not stop here. So far we have two years 2008 and 2010, with a total of $18,103,824 that is accounted for in salaries, unless that all went for employee benefits. For the missing years of 2009 and 2011 that figure should be approximately another $20million, together with the creative accounting of the folks in administration we are looking at approximately $49,034,563, that has no explanation or reason!

According to an Affidavit signed by Clayton Kennedy, common-law spouse of Chief Theresa Spence, he states:

“Pursuant to the Agreement that I have entered into with the First Nation, my duties as co-manager are as follows:

a) Implement procedures for: the completion of annual audit requirements, achieving month end cut off; the monthly review, analysis and information sharing of financial statements and associated reports; and for a system of accountability.

b) Directly supervise all finance staff, including delegating and following up with Program Managers regarding the Reporting requirements for ANAC (Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada) ENIGB (First Nations & Inuit Health Branch) and CMHC (Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation).”

Analysis please then Mr. Clayton Kennedy: explanation – none! Recommendation – RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) investigation needed immediately!

Still even more to reveal and to question. On the 'Consolidated Statement of Financial Activities and Accumulated Surplus Years Ended March 31', as at December 31 2011, the figures for 2010 show Administration $4,222,240, Program Delivery $11,742,162, and Wages and Employee Benefits at $9,810,586. Look at the 'Consolidated Statement of Financial Activities and Accumulated Surplus Years Ended March 31' at December 31st 2010. Here the amounts for 2010 show Administration $4,364,292, Program Delivery $12, 227,270, and Wages and Employee Benefits at $10,015,528! Is it usual practice to change the reported amounts on statements? Should the experts at Ross, Pope & Co. notice the altered figures, or does it matter to them? Is this the “system of accountability” that Clayton Kennedy swore an affidavit on?

It is without hesitation that Attawapiskat Chief and Council has a great deal to answer for. This is not a smear campaign or a witch hunt as Chief Mother Theresa eluded to. Some of these documents have her signature on them. There are people, Canadian citizens, at Attawapiskat who are living in truly horrendous conditions and they need help. A small band, a select few have clearly taken advantage of the many. And truly it is a small select few.

Examining the declared schedules 'F' and 'B' for 2008 and 2010 listing those paid at Attawapiskat one point becomes clear, it is a family orientated system. Another family style business has had some media coverage in Montreal of late as well. In Attawapiskat simply look at the facts. If you have one of these last names then you are in the club: HOOKIMAW, NAGOGEE, OKIMAW, KOOSTACHIN, KATAQUAPIT, GULL, SHISHEESH or WESLEY. Eight names, thirty-two people control it all it seems. The Band Council has eight Hookimaws, three Koostachins and three Kataquapits. No governing body, no municipal council or governing party allows a husband and wife together in office, not even HOMESENSE the discount retail chain hires a brother and sister for the same store.

Attawapiskat's population with less than 2000 has one third of that population under 19 and an Education Authority Board with anywhere from 16 to 12 members. No more than 600 potential students and at least a dozen board members (2010 Schedule B). What do these 'Board Members' do? Three of the education authority board members are Hookimaw, two Nakogee and two Okimaw. With a wages and employee benefits package expenditure hitting tens of millions of dollars of which more than 80% is unaccounted for, serious questions arise.

Chief Theresa Spence made it a public spectacle demanding not only Canada's attention but that of the whole world. IDLE NO MORE jumped on the Spence bandwagon, without Chief Spence and her farce of a hunger strike it would be impossible for IDLE NO MORE to manipulate such supposed support. The publicity machine was cranked to fever pitch high and the Opposition politicians naturally could not pass such an opportunity. But it is the ex's that are more repulsive with their strutting. As with a divorce one rarely wants the opinion of an 'ex' at best. Chief Mother Theresa found ex-PM Paul Martin (famous for his own sponsorship scandal that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to do nothing about), ex-PM Joe Clark (holding the record for the second shortest term in the throne chair of Ottawa) and without doubt the infamous wisdom of ex-PM Brian Mulroney was the strangest. Ex-PM Brian Mulroney stated that he cannot understand the Conservative government today and its handling of the First Nations issues. Maybe he, ex-PM Brian Mulroney, understood it better when Prime Minister Harper and David Johnston (not GG at the time) helped fix his little problem of brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash.

Yet the loudest smear came from the gracious ex-GG herself. Michaelle Jean said on the CBC January 15th, “We have a third world in Canada and its with our aboriginal peoples.” As the GG she spent millions of taxpayer dollars and when approached with a pressing issue by a child her response was equal to that of a queen. This is not the place for 'ex's', to exalt their brilliant wisdom and get one more front page photo before it is too late.

Chief Theresa Spence in December said that she was “willing to die for my people and the First Nations people.” On CTV's Question Period January 20th 2013, host Kevin Newman played the Oprah card, Newman fiddled with the five daughters emotion whilst Attawapiskat and its people burned. To have spent several minutes out of the interview with Chief Mother Theresa asking about her daughters whilst Chief Spence has refused to answer the serious questions asked of her, had brought the whole theatrical farce a new perspective.

It is time for hard questions and a demand for serious answers. Chief Theresa Spence, her handlers like Danny Matatawabin, common-law partner Clayton Kennedy and the Attawapiskat Band Council should have a clear demand placed before them for the facts. Chief Spence may continue to claim that Deloitte smeared them and missed a whole warehouse bursting at the seams. Here many of these documents are signed by Spence herself either as Chief or Councillor. Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are unexplained as to where they went. Try and argue these facts Chief Theresa Spence.

It is time to take care of Canadians at Attawapiskat who are living in horrendous conditions. The First Nations are a proud people and their issues are with the Government of Canada and its representatives. Together they will find a resolution. Now it is time to end the farce of Chief Theresa Spence and demand the truth.

Announcement came on Wednesday the 23rd of January that Chief Theresa Spence was going to end the farce of what she called a fast and fold up her tent. Her demands to meet with the Prime Minister and Governor General failed. Her demands that the government repeal Bill C45 failed. Now a deal was struck and a Declaration of Commitment signed so as Chief Spence would simply go away? No one from the government signed or in any fact acknowledged it. Bob Rae appears to be one of the architects of this declaration who himself will not be the leader of the federal Liberal party.

Chief Spence announced she will be available to the press on the 24th and the winding down of this farce has finally come. No doubt the Declaration of Commitment will be pushed to the media as a victory of some sort. The realities of this declaration and the need for answers from Spence will most likely be set aside.

As Chief Spence announced the end of her hunger/fast action news surfaced of a delegation from the band council of Attawapiskat arriving to lay a clear demand on the saint of all First Nations. Attawapiskat band council had decided to tell Chief Spence to either end her publicity stunt or as she preferred to call her fast, or she would no longer remain Chief of the Attawapiskat reserve. Could it be that Chief Spence or her handlers caught wind of the band council and their intentions. After all such a decision had to be discussed in advance with all members of the band council. Imagine the publicity of an ultimatum such as that to be delivered, or worse the removal of Spence as chief.

Everything Chief Theresa Spence has done has been a calculated manipulation of the truth. Facts and truth had been woven as if through a dream state only to have awoken as something else. The questions remain now that Spence and her merry band head home. Millions of taxpayers' dollars are missing and we now must demand the Prime Minister and the relevant government authorities, especially the RCMP, take action. Ross, Pope & Co. has refused to reply to emails sent asking for clarification, the RCMP should not provide them with such a luxury.

IDLE NO MORE as a movement of protest has now lost its relevance regardless of how they wish to protest this fact. The Declaration of Commitment had no true relevance at its inception through to the signature phase and proud announcement. Chief Theresa Spence is not a hero the facts and evidence prove she is something else. It is now time to find out what she really is.

A final twist and once again the theatrics are being poured syrup thick. Chief Theresa Spence can't attend the press conference because she is in the hospital. Please do not mourn her yet nor praise her, she is only in for observation. Will she be quietly whisked away from her observation – visit – fast back to Attawapiskat? Can we be so fortunate.

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