Thursday, February 28, 2013

Societal Watchdogs

As citizens within a democratic society we live in a state of illusion believing that our basic rights are protected. True we have constitutional right to choose our government, the right to free speech and assembly, even the right to defend ourselves once accused of an offence. These are to be considered the most basic rights and freedoms under the umbrella of a free society. At the same time we believe that there are in existence regulatory bodies, watchdogs if you wish, who provide an important opportunity to air out grievances before a third party adjudicator.

For a long time Canadians scoffed at the American system of what we called 'dollar value justice', that at the slightest provocation anyone would sue anyone in the US. Here in Canada we think we are more civilized and maybe that is the reason for the numerous guardians of society. We have the Office of the Ombudsman, who likes to call himself Ontario's Watchdog. Parliament supposedly has an Integrity Commissioner and an Ethics Committee, the police have various local disciplinary boards and the Ontario Commission on Police Services and Office of the Independent Police Review Director. Our doctors have the College of Physicians and Surgeons Ontario and our lawyers the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Away from the more official sphere of society there is the Ontario Press Council which claims to defend principles to inspire trust. The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), not only produces licenses but also regulates conduct over our airwaves which can be assaulted through television and radio. There is even the Commission of Complaints for Telecommunication Suppliers which oversees the issues of the private sector relating to the telecommunication industry.

These watchdogs exist in various shapes and sizes, different breeds, with and without catchy slogans. Yet upon examination they all seem to share one common trait, that is, each is made up of people from the related field that they supposedly oversee. Doctors oversee doctors, lawyers oversee complaints about lawyers, police investigate issues against police, and so it goes on. It is argued that if one does not understand specific procedure then one cannot provide a fair adjudication of a complaint. This is where the illusion, the smoke and mirrors really begins.

Interaction and experience with these various watchdogs presents a rather frightening reality. The Ontario Press Council starts off the roll call, and yes it has a catchy slogan, the OPC claims to be “Defending principles to inspire public trust.” What principles are they defending and in what way? Can anyone at the Press Council in fact believe in this goo?

The Ontario Press Council was founded in 1972 as a voluntary media adjudication body which investigates complaints about newspapers in Ontario, Canada. As of 2009 it claimed to have 228 newspapers as members, in July 2011, Sun Media withdrew its membership taking out 27 of its newspapers. Although its mission statement, “The Ontario Press Council upholds acceptable journalistic and ethical standards on behalf of the public and press alike while defending the democratic rights of free speech and freedom of the press,” sounds impressive yet as a voluntary organization it has no real powers.

In August 2012, the Press Council was presented with a situation relating to Bullet News Niagara, an online news source and Niagara this Week, a Niagara regional community newspaper owned by Metroland Media. Mayorgate covered the issues in some detail in an article called, Is news media obligated to present the truth?

Attempts were made to find a solution with both media organizations. Peter Conradi as the publisher of Bullet News Niagara had tried to defend his online publication, though Mr. Conradi's credibility relating to this situation somewhat less than strong with a history of proven deceit. In 2006 Peter Conradi was the city editor at The Standard newspaper in St. Catharines Ontario. A front page story in late June of 2006 written by reporter Matthew Van Dongen featuring a local developer Nino Donatelli had been published with photographs. That article was intentionally deceitful of the public and the photographs were cropped with the intent to portray an image greatly removed from fact. Many would of heard the term that a photograph never lies or that its worth a thousand words, that front page of The Standard was a screaming banshee liar. At the time the whole deceit of the front page and more was brought to the attention of the Press Council. The Ontario Press Council conducted a review and instructed The Standard to 'redress' the issue, but by then the site in question had everything removed by developer Nino Donatelli.

The Standard front page published the photograph which was intentionally misleading of the facts.

This is an original photograph taken by Alexander Davidoff which shows the mountains of contaminated soil to be enormous and approximately 15ft. and higher.

The photograph in The Standard was intentionally cropped to suit the story, not the truth. This fact was confirmed by the original reporter in an interview on August 24th 2007. 
Original photograph taken early June 2006, by Alexander Davidoff
Peter Conradi as the city editor at The Standard had photographs cropped to suit the story! The truth mattered little and an interview with the reporter Matthew Van Dongen, recorded at the time, confirmed this fact. When asked why did the photos published in the article provide an image that was an absolute lie, Matthew Van Dongen said that the “photos were cropped by the editor to suit the story.” That recording is made available here for anyone wishing to hear it for themselves.

Fast forward to 2012, Peter Conradi now publisher of Bullet News Niagara and the issue at hand is intentional deceit published relating to exactly the same property. It is Peter Conradi who on August 22, 2012 states in an email “Please be advised that we will not print personal attacks on individuals and naturally that also goes for libellous statements.” Hmm.

This time out the Press Council supposedly reviewed the details and its executive director had the decision posted on their website. The Ontario Press Council lied and published publicly its lie. So much for defending principles to inspire public trust. In its posted decision the OPC state “Davidoff was offered an opportunity to express his opinions on the subject by both Niagara this Week and Bullet News, but he chose not to do so.” Don McCurdy was contacted and within a few days a revised version published though once again far from fact.

Niagara this Week had not made an offer of any kind they simply ignored the whole thing. Was this lie posted by the Press Council on their own or were they lied to in return by Niagara this Week? When the OPC posted the revised version it was more clear. The original lie was that of the OPC and the revised version a greater one. Copies of correspondence with Niagara this Week prove no opportunity was in fact provided to resolve the issue and the Ontario Press Council found it unnecessary to deal with the truth.

The pomposity of the Ontario Press Council is further evident when viewing its official web page titled 'Where The Ontario Press Council Stands, Journalism of Opinion'. Here the OPC states: Columnists are given wide latitude to express controversial opinions but, when they present what purports to be a statement of fact, they should ensure that it is accurate and, when necessary, provide the source of the information.” The OPC continues down the page with this, “A media organization publishing an unsolicited opinion article should go beyond simply determining that it is not libellous; it should be prepared to accept responsibility jointly with the author for factual errors.” Empty and hypocritical words provided by a club.

In the 'Message From the OPC Chair', Dr. Robert Elgie states, “With the proliferation of social media, independent bloggers and individuals who profess to be journalists, it is extremely important for the public to seek reliable news sources.” It is true that the public needs to believe that what they read is reliable and true. Dr. Elgie does not sound like he has much of a pleasant opinion of bloggers and that is maybe because they are 'independent'. Traditional media align itself with political parties providing in effect nothing more than PR sheets for them. Here in this case two so-called media organizations, one more traditional than the other, provided an article which was based on an absolute lie. Both media organizations breached even what the OPC sets out as their version of ethical acceptable conduct. As the knight in shining armour the Ontario Press Council armed with its slogan in turn publishes publicly a lie to add to those already provided by both media organizations.

The public on the whole has little to no faith in the press, that is simply a fact. An individual who buys a paper will always see 'news' reported more as opinion today with allegiance to one side or the other of the political fence. Dr. Elgie's pomposity may be sated with such a statement as “independent bloggers and individuals who profess to be journalists..,” yet the proof that traditional media is more likely to only “profess to be journalists” is now the likely norm. Whether it is Niagara this Week, Bullet News Niagara, its publisher Peter Conradi, or Marlene Bergsma of The Standard hard undeniable proof has been provided of intentional deceit passed off as news or claimed opinion. And, the Ontario Press Council has simply jumped on top of the pile with a public lie without a public apology.

One down, and more to come. How far do we trust these clubs who purport to be guardians of our society? In a democracy we elect our government and its various representatives. Yet what happens when we catch one of those elected to have committed an act less than honest or dignified? If it was a fish caught in one of our lakes and it was of a size that was less than impressive or had two heads, we have the choice to photograph it for Facebook or throw it back. Do we as a democratic society have the same opportunity with an elected representative? Is there a way to have this individual questioned or are we to shut up and wait till the next election.

An individual could try to approach the media to bring public attention but media seems to always know what is in the public interest to be reported, regardless of Dr. Elgie's high opinion of them. Canada's parliamentary system has a system of Integrity Commissioners and Ethics Committees at the provincial and federal levels. In Ontario the Office of the Integrity Commissioner was created in 1988 with the passing of the Conflict of Interest Act of 1988 later amended as Members Integrity Act in 1994. At least the title sounds impressive, more so than most of the 'watchdogs'.

In September of 2011 the Office of the Integrity Commissioner for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was presented with serious allegations relating to MPP Jim Bradley. The issues revolved around obstruction and misuse of powers something that could be considered unethical and definitely without integrity. It was the response from the Office of the Integrity Commissioner that was somewhat bewildering. It appears that the Integrity Commissioner is not there to receive complaints from the public, in fact he only deals with complaints by ministers against other ministers. The letter from the Integrity Inquiries Coordinator Ian Stedman did not bother to assist a member of the voting public in any way at all, it simply said 'don't bother us you fool'. No advice was provided where one may be able to go to be heard or who would investigate such serious allegations regarding an elected member of our democratic government.

So far now we are stuck with that smelly thing at the end of the winning vote, next logical step would be the Office of the Ombudsman. Here once again a catchy slogan, one cannot miss it even as one steps out of the elevator. On the wall facing the elevator doors is a promise “Ontario's Watchdog,” probably made with fingers crossed.

The Office of the Ombudsman was established in Ontario in March 1975 its powers and authorities are set out in the Ombudsman Act. They include the power to enter any government premises to gather evidence, and the power to compel witnesses to give evidence. The act also requires individuals as well as government officials and employees to cooperate with the Ombudsman's investigations (Wikipedia – Ontario Ombudsman). All of this sounds impressive. Reforms have resulted in areas such as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, compensation of crime victims, Legal Aid and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, all after investigations and recommendations by the Ombudsman. Still the powers and jurisdiction of Ontario's Watchdog are limited.

Ontario's Ombudsman has no authority over lawyers or doctors (both have their own private clubs) nor does the Ombudsman have any real authority over municipalities, other than look into complaints regarding closed door meetings. Most importantly the Ombudsman has no authority to investigate any complaints or issues relating to the Ontario Cabinet or its elected ministers.

On July 3rd 2012 a request for an investigation was presented to the Office of the Ombudsman. This request revolved around the issue of a Minister of Environment who had instructed two separate directors of the ministry to alter details of official reports filed on record by the ministry under the Environmental Bill of Rights and presented at the legislature. No part of this allegation, in two separate stages was frivolous or without clear undeniable evidence. There was no illusion that the minister in question would in fact be investigated that is simply not possible after all in our democracy. Yet two individual senior employees, public servants, had no shelter from the truth. Well that was the foolish illusion at the time.

A Maggie DiDomizio was assigned the case file for investigation and DiDomizio ensured that Minister of Environment Jim Bradley and his two directors, Lisa Feldman and Bill Bardswick, were permitted to do as they pleased. Official reports placed on record, even presented at the legislature by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario appeared to matter no more than used bathroom tissue to Maggie DiDomizio of the Ombudsman's Office.

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller confirmed in an interview at Queen's Park that this was a serious issue and would warrant an investigation by his colleague Andre Marin, in particular if the alterations changed the complexity of the original reports. Changes made by Directors Feldman and Bardswick completely altered the circumstances of the original reports, and each of the directors had confirmed that they were acting upon the request of Minister Jim Bradley.

True the Ombudsman has no real authority in many areas particularly that of the Cabinet and its ministers. Yet this was an opportunity for Andre Marin to help protect our Environmental Bill of Rights. He chose instead what appears to be political safety over truth or fact. A letter was sent to Andre Marin in an attempt to find a solution, Marin ignored it without any response.

With a budget of $10.75 million for 2011-2012 and employing some 85 staff, the Office of the Ombudsman who likes to see himself as Ontario's Watchdog, in fact is only a toothless mutt. The situation with Minsiter Jim Bradley and his directors, Feldman and Bardswick, is not the only example of the watchdog's dentures dropping. His OMLET (a catchy little acronym) – the Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team – specializing in investigations of closed door meeting complaints also proved its lack of will to act. The Regional Municipality of Niagara faced two such complaints in succession and only received a little public wrist slap.

Although Andre Marin lays claim to have instigated dramatic reforms in areas such as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and others, more often it is an excuse why his office can do nothing that is received as a response to a plea for help.

One might think of the Office of the Auditor General as an alternative on the side of the public, but it would be disappointment again. Here the Auditor General shows some mixed signals and leaves only a question mark as a footprint.

So what are the people left with as alternatives? Very little in fact as far as irregularities with our elected representatives, we do indeed have to simply shut up and wait for the next election. There are other 'watchdogs' such as the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services and Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which investigates complaints relating to our various police departments and individual police officers. Our lawyers have a regulatory body of their own called the Law Society of Upper Canada and our doctors the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. A case which exemplifies these 'clubs' was that of a doctor who had wilfully lied to the public. We all have heard of the Oath of Hippocrates and believe that if there are few in society who we can trust, surely our doctors we must.

In the Niagara Region its chief medical officer Doctor Valerie Jaeger who lied to the public. Dr. Jaeger is not only the region's chief medical officer she is also a practising family physician. The proof of Dr. Jaeger's lies conclusive and undeniable. In its decision the College of Physicians and Surgeons decided they had no authority over the matter. It was irrelevant to the College that Dr. Jaeger was a licensed practising family physician. Their get out of jail card was that she was a government official. In their decision the College did not clear Dr. Jaeger of the intentional lies, or deny the fact she was a practising family doctor. All the College said was that she was a government official in the employ of the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Therefore it was quite acceptable for Dr. Valerie Jaeger to lie! No wonder the elected representatives can get away with just about anything.

Our private sector has its own watchdogs such as the CRTC which slapped the wrist of Sun TV's Ezra Levant for his public insult relating to the executive of the Chiquita Brands International, Inc. Telecommunications service providers have an authority called the Commissioner of Complaints for Telecommunication Services. The CCTS is currently investigating a situation of overcharging, customer abuse and harassment by Bell Canada. This Commissioner is a legislated body made up of telecommunication providers such as Bell Canada, Rogers and many more. Funding for the CCTS is in fact provided by its members, so it is going to be interesting to see what indeed will be the decision brought forward.

After examining these 'watchdogs' it is hard to still believe we have any real chance in hell when as members of the public we need help. Perhaps it is time we put aside the snide remarks about our southern cousins and their propensity to sue just about anyone. Our basic principles of democracy are still there in a way, yet Canada has become truly a dollar value justice society, denying that fact only allows the huge wheels of bureaucracies to roll over one's tax paying body.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

PM Harper speaks, Bob Rae and Danny Matatawabin remain silent

Throughout the 44 days of the Chief Theresa Spence public fraud against our nation we were shown that opposition politics cares very little for truth. Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae and NDP Charlie Angus had their own motivations as they become willing partners in the biggest lie Canada has yet faced.

Chief Theresa Spence ended her 'hunger' strike and disappeared it was claimed that she needed some 'me' time, even though her outward physical appearance had little change at the end of the 'hunger' strike to when she began it. Bob Rae whipped up the Declaration of Commitment, a document worth less in reality than used bathroom tissue. Attempts were made to contact Bob Rae by Mayorgate for comment, he refused to acknowledge as expected. Mayorgate also sent more than one email to Chief Spence's spokesperson Danny Metatawabin, both Spence and Metatawabin ignored all attempts for comment. Prime Minister Harper was sent a letter and he took the time to respond via his Executive Correspondence Unit. True the response was somewhat guarded and diplomatic in its reference to First Nations issues. Still time was taken to respond, on the other hand both Bob Rae and Chief Theresa Spence ran like cowards from the difficult questions raised for their comment.

The evidence provided in the articles published on Mayorgate is undeniable and demands action. No Canadian whether in the corporate or private sectors would be able to remain free from consequence if caught committing such blatant fraud of public money. Several individuals had tried to divert attention away from the intentional fraud of Chief Theresa Spence by convoluting the issue of where the money originates for First Nations. Issues of trust accounts and payments for highways and more had been brought up. It was claimed that as Canadians we pay for the use and development of this nation foot by foot to the First Nations. Not one individual dared to comment on Chief Spence. The reality was simple, Chief Theresa Spence, her common-law partner Clayton Kennedy and members of the Attawapiskat Band Council had committed criminal fraud - clear and undeniable evidence exists of that fact.

One individual claimed that the First Nations people have different laws than the rest of Canada. No Canadian is above the law is the only response to that statement. Charlie Angus ran around with his guitar singing the praises of his hero Chief Spence, now for whatever reason he is silent. Bob Rae knew the truth and had in fact seen it for himself yet he was willing to diminish our nation and each one of us for simple political gamesmanship and a lie.

We thank the Prime Minister's Office for their response, but make it clear that if the Prime Minister does not treat Chief Theresa Spence and others in Attawapiskat responsible for this fraud equally as any Canadian then he has let all of Canada down. When the First Nations people bang their drums demanding equality and fair treatment their sound is empty and hollow. It is fear of acting against any First Nation that stops clear and decisive action against Chief Spence, and that is not equality.

True First Nations issues are complex and require that the decision process is clear of opinion or emotion. At the same time it is clear that absolute and responsible accountability must be demanded in return. Chief Theresa Spence and others have used the public stage in a farce to take attention away from the truth. Fear was a weapon used against anyone willing to question Spence and the Attawapiskat situation. The fear of being labelled racist or anti-First Nations, historical references to horror schools and the treatment of First Nations children. All of this has taken attention away from the truth.

As Fox Mulder's anthem twangs in the air, “the truth is out there,” on the ground a question remains who has the courage to face it?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Has Opposition politics sunk to a new low in Canada?

What motivated Interim Federal Liberal Party Leader Bob Rae, his shadow Aboriginal Affairs critic Carolyn Bennett to become what now seems co-conspirators with Chief Spence. The Federal NDP representative Charlie Angus has his guitar strapped on his back singing the woes of Attawapiskat, as if he was a minstrel of days gone past, for some time. For some degree on the surface it was understandable as Attawapiskat is within the boundaries of Charlie Angus's riding and he is part of the official opposition party. But what can explain the apparent intentional deceit that the opposition became a part of.

Chief Theresa Spence had not only deceived all of Canada but the whole world with her act. Her deception was clear and intentional, her motivation still under question. Undeniable evidence had been examined and published in two articles on Mayorgate which proves massive premeditated misappropriation of public money at the Attawapiskat Reserve. Chief Spence and her supporters had labelled the Deloitte audit conducted on behalf of the federal government as a smear campaign to discredit Chief Spence. The fact is that Chief Theresa Spence had no credibility whatsoever, not as a chief nor as a pretending activist who claimed she was willing to die for her people. Chief Spence is a fraud who has many questions to answer and who has run from those questions constantly. It is on the evidence provided that such a comment is made.

There is much conjecture on what motivated Chief Theresa Spence to play out her spectacle of a so-called hunger strike for the world to gaze upon. A greater question now rests why some of the elected representatives of our government became willing accomplices to the fraud. Chief Spence could not of found such public attention without the manipulation of media. Still it was not enough, not without the very public rantings of opposition politicians in front of reporters and even through social media.

Opposition politics within a democratic government presents a balance to the government with debate and even objection to actions planned for implementation. After all when an election is held and there is more than one party listed on the ballot sheet there must be a runner-up in the end. When on the other hand the government controls both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament the opposition can do very little but make noise. Nothing is really off limits; scandal, accusation even personal attacks are merely a politician's weapons. Still as elected Members of Parliament a certain code of ethics must be demanded. It would be impossible to claim that Charlie Angus, Bob Rae and Carolyn Bennett are stupid or completely ignorant. Equally to believe that either one of these experienced politicians is naive or physically impaired of vision is difficult to accept. So what can explain their motivation for what now clearly appears to be intentional deceit of the Canadian people?

Chief Theresa Spence was facing a more than embarrassing situation regarding the finances of the Attawapiskat First Nations Reserve. Tens of millions of dollars are missing with no real explanation or documentation. In addition to her concerns about the audit Chief Theresa Spence was fully aware of tens of millions of dollars that were claimed in annual financial statements by the Attawapiskat Band were nothing more than fraud, theft of public money. The Attawapiskat Reserve is governed by a small select few who control the money, its intentional misappropriation and the greater majority suffer. Spence and her handlers decided to present Canada a horror scenario to weaken the hearts of the masses.

Canada became the victim of a planned manipulation with images of derelict houses and innocent people living in horrific conditions. Media was happy to play along with such images and stories on the evening news. Chief Spence a softly spoken woman would be a less likely target for the sensitive Canadian media as the CTV interview was to prove later.

Amnesty International issued their public statement on Aboriginal Communities December 8th 2011, Chief Spence did her round of public appearances for the media and the state of emergency was declared by Spence October 28th 2011. On December 17th 2011 Bob Rae with Carolyn Bennett in tow arrived at Attawapiskat for his personal tour. This visit was filmed for the record and upon his departure Bob Rae said that what he saw was Canada's third world. Bob Rae said “these are our fellow citizens...” was Rae and Bennett wilfully and intentionally blind to the truth, or did the truth simply not matter?

Bob Rae although only an interim leader still a leader of a massive and powerful political machine. This machine has the experienced manpower to research, examine and even to question documentation. Can Rae claim ignorance to the Financial Statements filed by the Attawapiskat First Nation and many of which carry the signature of Theresa Spence? Even though Amnesty International issued the self righteous statement and Chief Spence passed around the photographs demanding more and more surely the facts did not change. Attawapiskat has a population of less than 2000 and its own declared financial statements simply did not add up. Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett and Charlie Angus did not seem to care for the facts.

In his filmed interview Bob Rae spoke of the horrendous conditions he witnessed at Attawapiskat. Now the question remains what did he really see? Did Bob Rae or Carolyn Bennett visit the homes of Chief Theresa Spence or any of the homes of the 'privileged' families of Attawapiskat? An email recently received from Keven Libin of the National Post stated that reporter Jonathon Day debunked the idea that the “greater majority live in horrendous conditions,” and Kevin Libin went on to say “In fact he (Johnathon Kay) found that contrary to some earlier reports manipulated, I suspect by the administration by Spence herself – most people on the reserve live in fairly decent existences, with only a minority (he estimated 5%) living in those widely publicized hovels (not surprisingly, the band authority would not allow him to take any photographs, perhaps worried it would compromise their media campaign).”

If only an estimated 5% of the population in Attawapiskat live in the highly publicized hovels as stated by the National Post then this raises serious questions regarding Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett and their claims. Bob Rae's highly publicized visit was December 17th 2011. What did Bob Rae really see? Why would he misrepresent the truth to the people of Canada? Why had Bob Rae continued to represent Chief Theresa Spence as a hero of the First Nations people when he had access to the financial statements and evidence of apparent fraud in Attawapiskat of public money on such a huge scale?

Charlie Angus presented his statement in the House of Commons on November 20th 2012 on First Nations Financial Transparency Act. His words were full of emotion and passion laying the blame on the federal government. Angus said, “The Conservatives talk about bands posting numbers. We are talking about budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars that have no accountability mechanisms to the people who should be receiving that accountability: the communities.” How did Charlie Angus hold a straight sanctimonious face making this presentation. Does being in opposition permit deceit?

Charlie Angus has seen the real truth in Attawapiskat just as Bob Rae. Angus has seen the financial statements posted on behalf of the Attawapiskat First Nations and he has sung the public song of Chief Theresa Spence. “Talk about posting numbers,” numbers were posted by the Attawapiskat band and those numbers were a fraud. Does Charlie Angus have an explanation for the band's numbers for 2010, where wages and employee benefits expenditure was posted as $9,810,586 with only 39 employees listed whose salaries totalled a mere $980,391 leaving an unexplained $8,830,195 missing? In 2008 there is a missing $9,273,629 and no documentation is posted for 2011 or 2009 relating to the listed recipients of wages and benefits.

In February 2012 Charlie Angus was in Attawapiskat as the first of 22 new modular homes purchased by the federal government arrived. Angus was making loud noises about the cost of site preparation, he told Postmedia News: “A lot of work has to be done on the ground level, but the band has to front all the money, and all their money is sitting in a desk in Winnipeg.” (Natalie Stechyson Postmedia News Feb.14.2012, Modular homes arrive in Attawapiskat, but remain empty due to delays). Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said that the government had the necessary funds made available for the site preparation work. Still this was not enough Angus was quoted “Make sure everything is done then tally up the numbers at the end of it. It's not rocket science.” (Postmedia News).

There was a great deal of truth in those words that Angus threw around, it truly is not rocket science. Attawapiskat had at their disposal over ten million dollars sitting in a trust account and not “in a desk in Winnipeg.” That seemed not to matter to MP Charlie Angus. As far as the notion to “tally up the numbers at the end of it,” that was done annually in the Attawapiskat Consolidated Financial Statements and those numbers do not make sense. Not exactly rocket science just apparent fraud. None of this seemed to matter to MP Charlie Angus.

What is enough for Attawapiskat? The millions of dollars that DeBeers Victor Mine has paid does not seem to be. Reports of a blockade of a road leading into the mine February 5th 2013 by residents of Attawapiskat demanding more, proves that. Cry loud enough about housing, have the media carry your song and the federal government buys new homes and even foots the bill for their set-up. Still that is not enough in Attawapiskat. More than $50 million is unaccounted for in two listed expenditures over four years from 2008 to 2011 alone! Millions of dollars have gone up in a puff of smoke with no police investigation and no questions asked. This apparently is not a problem to Bob Rae or Charlie Angus after all it's opposition politics.

Bob Rae decided to take the deceit and farce of Chief Spence together with the IDLE NO MORE movement to a new level with the unveiling of the Declaration of Commitment. Rae's political experience is extensive there is no denying that fact so asking the question as to the real value of that document one does so only with a grin.

The Declaration of Commitment has thirteen points listed but it is number eight which provides some shock to its absurdity. It states: “Ensure that all federal legislation has the free, prior and informed consent of First Nations where inherent and Treaty rights are affected or impacted.”

In essence this point in the declaration demands that the Government of Canada surrender its law making authority to a third party. What government anywhere in the world would surrender its authority or sovereignty? Can the architect of this declaration, Bob Rae explain the motivation behind such a demand. Would Rae if ever there was a possibility to be the Prime Minister agree to this? Don't the people of Canada have any voice in this very serious demand?

It is difficult to understand the purpose of the Declaration of Commitment as a document. The issues surrounding the First Nations are sensitive and complex requiring consultation, cooperation and action. This cooperation must be equal between the First Nations and Canada's Federal Government, in the end it has to benefit the whole country or it will not work. Demands for Crown involvement are simply without sense and only convolute the situation, as the Crown has no legal authority in any legislative discussions. Still point one of the Declaration continues to demand the Crown's involvement.

The final point, number thirteen demands full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – UNDRIP. Amnesty International proved how valuable an outside international body really can be. Together with the Canadian Friends Service Committee – rooted in the Quaker faith and KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives – which unites eleven churches and religious organizations, Amnesty issued their statement December 8th 2011, regarding Attawapiskat. Amnesty's statement said “According to media reports..,” what did Amnesty see for themselves or did they simply use newspaper clippings? If any of these self-righteous groups actually visited Attawapiskat the question remains, what did Chief Theresa Spence let them see?

Still that was not enough for KAIROS and its group of religious followers. On January 10th 2013 a statement issued in support of Chief Spence stated, “While the audit does show that some paperwork is lacking, this does not prove fraud or waste.” Leaving the much criticized Deloitte audit aside and reexamining Attawapiskat's own financial statements fraud is the only answer. Bob Rae knew that, as did Charlie Angus yet they preferred to look the other way, why? The real question to be asked now.

Opposition politics in Canada had taken a dangerous slide down the slope away from any semblance of ethics. Bob Rae knew the truth behind Attawapiskat yet he was willing to fling about terms like “third world” for the media. Those in Attawapiskat who had suffered had done so at the hands of Chief Theresa Spence, the Band's Council and Band Manager. Is it possible for Bob Rae to claim he knew nothing of the facts surrounding the issues of fraud and misappropriation of funds. How can Charlie Angus explain to the people of Canada that Chief Theresa Spence had at her disposal a trust account valued at over ten million dollars yet all she did was blame the federal government for the woes of a few of her own. In fact Chief Theresa Spence had possibly committed the biggest fraud against Canada in our history, with the full support of opposition politics.

During the 'hunger' strike, while visiting hotels Chief Theresa Spence had a bank account opened in her name administered by her common-law partner Clayton Kennedy. Did Bob Rae or the Liberal Party, or Charlie Angus and the NDP provide any donations to Chief Spence's private account? It is time to demand full disclosure of the bank account and bank records of transactions.

Fear of offending First Nations people by demanding the truth is only a tool perpetuated to shelter Chief Theresa Spence from facing the consequences of her actions. Bob Rae and Charlie Angus had taken opposition politics in Canada down to a new level of disgust and each has serious questions to answer. In the end it is our nation that pays the price and it is we the people of Canada who have the right to demand the truth.

Interim Federal Liberal Party leader Bob Rae was contacted by email, providing an opportunity for Mr. Rae to present his comments. There has been no response to date. 

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