I’m not buying what Chief Spence is selling.
With the damning release of an audit of her reserve’s financial records, partisans of both stripes are working hard to get out their message. The left-leaning Toronto Star makes a plea about babies and bathwater: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1311719--attawapiskat-audit-is-no-excuse-for-denying-native-grievances-editorial
But while one can see merit in the general statement that Canada’s relationship with aboriginals has been troubled from the start, and big improvements are a moral duty, the credibility of Spence’s hunger protest is sunk (if it ever even had any).
The details of the audit paint a picture of either gross incompetence or criminality: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/07/timing-of-attawapiskat-audits-release-is-a-ploy-to-discredit-me-theresa-spence/
A $2.3 million payment in March to an unknown vendor, with incomplete documentation explaining how or why the money was spent?
Listen, many of us could do a better job with our financial records, but few people managing a multi-million dollar business or agency are unable to say WHO received two million bucks from company accounts.
Media outlets are also hitting on the large range of vague demands being made by Idle No More - http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/07/andrew-coyne-idle-no-more-movement-is-a-dispute-between-rival-factions-in-the-aboriginal-community/ - and drawing comparisons to the disparate gripes of Occupy. In essence, what do they want? Are aboriginals a united block, or numerous factions, many with legitimate grievances but more than a few without?
Christie Blatchford is shining a spotlight on what she says is politicized policing – in this case, the failure of Sarnia police to execute a judge’s order, followed by the failure of the OPP to do the same in another circumstance: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/01/07/christie-blatchford-politicized-policing-around-idle-no-more-blockades-puts-rule-of-law-at-risk/
Blatchford wrote a book on this topic about the occupation of Caledonia by aboriginal Canadians. In essence, the laws of Canada no longer mattered, and residents of that community were set adrift by their own government. The ruling Liberals failed to use the police to protect non-Native residents of that town.
On a much smaller scale, Nova Scotians are encountering law-bending. When protesters shut down the Trans-Canada, they were not cleared out by police. Now, before I get on too much of a soap box, the last thing we want are police who don’t think before they act. A good argument could be made that allowing a peaceful protest was far better than cracking down on it and adding heat to what is already a volatile situation (although my inner civil libertarian is outraged by the idea one citizen gets to detain another for even one minute).
Balance is good. But when does it become imbalance? The Nova Scotia highway closure teeters on it. The refusal of police in Ontario to act on a judge’s orders, however, goes way over the edge.
It would be a mistake to assume I have no sympathy for the cause of improving the circumstances of aboriginal Canadians. What I have no sympathy for, though, is apparent idiocy and/or thievery, blindly lashing out at a ruling party when the real problems are vastly more complex than a single administration’s policies, and the apparent willingness of political masters and some police forces to suspend the rights of some Canadians to avoid bigger controversies.