The growing distance between the Chiefs of Canada’s First Nations and Ottawa’s Harper Government, continues to enlarge while general non-aboriginal public remains a silent bystander of the worsening situation. These bystanders are unhappy with the threats of aboriginal civil disobedience, along with efforts of Stephen Harper’s government to handle the file.
Result of the latest Angus Reid poll conducted last week showed that 54 per cent of the sample respondents, surveyed from all over Canada earlier this month, have rated the tackling of aboriginal affairs by the Harper government to be very poor. While on the other hand, a recent report exposed that chiefs of First Nations are not trustworthy as well, as they failed to prove their ability to govern. The report explained that the audit of funds handed over to chief of Attawapiskat First Nation, Chief Theresa Spence, completely lacks financial documentation making it highly suspicions and doubtful. This is a major issue in sight of general public, which wants to know the outcome of the more than $10 billion a year spent by the federal government on aboriginal programs.
According to the point of view of non-aboriginal citizen, the hunger strike of Chief Spence since Dec. 11 is probably the worst possible poster child for First Nations governance. The northern Ontario enclave of 1,500 was granted $334,465 in welfare payments during 2010-11. It also pays $70,000 tax free salary of Spence, which is further governed by at least 14 paid chiefs and council members, two paid administration staff, five paid unelected officials and a $45,276 (tax free) “daycare manager,” along with dozen paid “education authority” officials.
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