Here we are, still in the same situation in Attawapiskat – Gilles Bisson MPP


Gilles BissonQUEEN’S PARK – Leader’s Ledger – Here we are, still in the same situation in Attawapiskat. We still have people who are living in tents. We still have people living in backyard sheds. And what we’ve got is that the federal government has decided to point the finger at the community and say it’s their fault.

I just want, for the record, to refute some of what the federal government is saying, because I think it needs to be said. The federal government is trying to make the argument that somehow or other they’ve given this community some $80 million and somehow the $80 million has been misspent.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The federal government is playing fast with the numbers. What they’re essentially saying is, “Over a five-year period, we give you an annual budget as a community to run your water, run your sewer and do all the things you’ve got to do to run the community,” and they’ve totalled the money and said, “Look how bad they are: They’ve got $80 million and somehow they’ve misspent the money.”

Well, nothing could be further from the truth, and I’ll tell you why. The federal government, through the Department of Indian Affairs, has to audit every dollar that’s spent from that community and others, and the audit is passed, signed and accepted by the federal government. But what makes this even more bizarre, that community is under co-management. The federal government has imposed a co-management model on the community of Attawapiskat, which means to say that any dollars they spend have to be signed off and agreed by the co-manager, which means to say that the federal government is at the table when it comes to making all the expenditures.

So I just say to the federal government: Stop playing loose. We’ve got people living in backyard tents, we’ve got people living in backyard sheds, and when you start trying to blame the victims for what they find themselves in, it’s a dark day in Canada.

Gilles Bisson MPP

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