What is Chief Theresa Spence up to? Much of the public circus of her “hunger strike” has been forgotten. Chief Spence did threaten to journey to the United Nations, but other than the threat to do so little else has been heard.
Mayorgate published two articles dealing specifically with the issues of the Attawapiskat reserve and with Chief Theresa Spence. Both the articles raised serious questions as to irregularities with financial statements filed on behalf of the Chief and Council. An email was sent to Danny Metatawabin on February 11th, a copy was posted with the article. The email raised two questions for Chief Theresa Spence, though there were many others that required clear answers.
A great deal of time had passed and it appeared that Chief Theresa Spence, and her spokesman Danny Metatawabin had ignored Mayorgate's request. On April 9th, some 58 days later, Danny Metatawabin sent this email, “On behalf of Chief and Council, may we get a copy of the article that you may have published regarding the noted below.”
Danny Metatawabin did not answer the questions raised in the original email to him, nor did Chief Theresa Spence. In fact he ignored the questions and asked for a copy of the article that had been published and read for almost two months.
Chief Theresa Spence decided to bring a public smear against all of Canada in a circus that she called a “hunger strike.” During her “hunger strike,” Chief Theresa Spence regularly visited a local hotel. It is anyone's guess as to what happened in the hotel, as the only ones present were her devoted entourage. Theresa Spence said she was willing to die for her people, but it appeared, as proof was later to be uncovered, she was less willing to spend any money for her people. The Attawapiskat Council and Chief Spence were sitting on a trust account set up by DeBeers at over $10,000,000.00.
World media was used to paint a picture of Canada as a non-caring nation allowing horrid conditions at the Attawapiskat reserve. People gathered in groups carrying signs of support all the way to Australia. At the same time as Chief Spence played the media game, the truth was brushed aside. Much attention was directed at the financial audit conducted on behalf of the federal government. A national protest group of First Nations people sprung up to grab public attention. In addition to Chief Spence, another FN personality appeared, Chief Nepinak not only publicly supported Chief Spence, her “hunger strike,” but he made a public threat against all of Canada and Canadians. Grand Chief Nepinak threatened to bring Canada to its knees with the IDLE NO MORE movement.
It is only in Canada such a public threat can be tolerated against its people. Still Chief Theresa Spence continued with her circus, she continued to be chauffeured to the hotel, and she continued with her demands. Opposition parties saw an opportunity to play politics against PM Harper. At the time Liberal interim leader Bob Rae visited Attawapiskat and declared that it was equivalent to a third world here in Canada. Charlie Angus of the NDP played the media game declaring Chief Spence a hero. All kind of ex-public figures saw an opportunity to have their faces on television screens and front pages once again. Advice and condemnation came from such luminaries as ex-PM Martin (famous for the Gomery Inquiry), ex-PM Mulroney (famous for brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash), and ex-Governor General Jean (famous for something that's to be sure).
Truth was not what anyone was interested in. After all who wants to know that the jungle boy from the circus in fact sits with a GameBoy between shows. Or that the bearded lady has chafed skin on her chin from the glue. When CTV had an opportunity to interview Chief Theresa Spence at the studio, interviewer Kevin Newman spent more time on asking questions about her five daughters. Sun Media's hero of the people Ezra Levant carried on in his usual diplomatic style. In amongst the two extremes reports were beginning to surface which proved how much of a circus the Chief Theresa Spence medicine show really was.
Kevin Libin of the National Post in an email to Mayorgate dated January 29th 2013, said “the public's impression of Spence is not positive at all.” Mr. Libin went on to mention a report by Jonathan Kay where Kay debunked the idea that a “greater majority live in horrendous conditions.” Some facts began to emerge, yet Canada's media avoided to ask the hard questions of Chief Theresa Spence. Was it fear of being labelled racist in what should of been a demand for the truth? Or was it simply fear of everything that relates to First Nations' issues?
Chief Theresa Spence diverted attention away from the real questions by attacking the federal government's financial audit conducted by Deloitte. The real questions lay in the financial statements recorded and presented annually by the Attawapiskat First Nation. As Chief Spence declared, on two separate occasions, a state of emergency, she and the Council had at their disposal millions of dollars. Financial statements for the Attawapiskat Trust brought to light the annual payments by DeBeers of $2million and an accrued balance of some $10million. A Schedule of Equities for the Attawapiskat Trust showed investments in Exxon Mobil Corp, China Mobile Ltd, Enbridge Inc, Pembina Pipeline Corp, and other oil and gas corporations. Chief Spence was banging the drum against Bill C-45 and the whole Mother Earth thing at the same time.
Declaring a state of emergency, showing not only the nation, but the whole world photos of supposed deplorable conditions Chief Spence won massive public reaction on her side. Amnesty International came forward in support and public condemnation of Canada on behalf of Attawapiskat and Chief Theresa Spence. Others joined in such as Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers), KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, and a whole bunch of self-serving ex-politicos. Former Governor General Jean said, “we have a third world in Canada, and it's with our aboriginal peoples.” Now Chief Spence had achieved hero status. No one wanted to know the truth, or was it convenient to ignore it for self-interest?
Even the media ignored the really serious questions. Most of the reports centred around the Deloitte Audit. Chief Spence and her handlers made excuses and then branded the audit as the government's tool to divert attention from what they claimed to be the real issues. Kevin Libin of the National Post in his email of January 29th 2013 said “Her (Spence's) financial mismanagement and misrepresentation has received broad coverage, including in our newspaper...” That was not true. No one asked Chief Theresa Spence questions in relation to the Consolidated Financial Statements filed on record for the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Massive amounts had been declared as expenditures that made no logical sense at all. The Consolidated Statement of Financial Activities and Accumulated Surplus for 2010 showed Wages and Employee benefits under Expenditures as $10,015,528. That figure on the 2011 Consolidated Statement changes to $9,810,586. A list of Elected, Unelected, Education Authority and Administration showed only 39 names with a total coming to only $980,391. A shortfall from the declared amount of $8,830,195 and that has never been questioned or explained. Kevin Libin of the National Post was wrong when he claimed that “her financial mismanagement and misappropriation has received broad coverage, including in our newspaper.”
These massive shortfalls appear also in the 2008 Consolidated Financial Statements. For years 2009 and 2011, the Consolidated Statements as posted have specific information missing and careful examination is not possible. Mayorgate also asked how such reported figures could go without question.
It was not only the media who had ignored what appears to be fraudulent reporting. Prime Minister Harper's government faced public pressure as the media played along with the Spence circus. A financial audit commissioned by the federal government produced serious irregularities, even though Chief Spence and her crew condemned it. Still it was up to the federal government to ensure that equality was enforced in this country. No other individual could commit such intentional acts of financial misappropriation of public money and walk away from any consequences. Prime Minister Stephen Harper sold out the ideals that are equally expected by all Canadians by not taking action in the case of Chief Theresa Spence and the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Was it cowardice on the part of Prime Minister Steven Harper, or was it political expedience? Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan was sacked not long after the much publicized meeting between PM Harper, his working team and representatives of the First Nations. Prime Minister Steven Harper and his government are well known for their hypocrisy on environmental issues. After all Bill C-45 hacked environmental legislation so as to remove any obstacles for energy projects. Canada dumped the Kyoto Accord knowing it could not meet its obligations on greenhouse gas emission targets. Canada, more recently, walked out on international talks on desertification, claiming it was a waste of money. Environment and the sustainability of the future with climate change are not what PM Harper, Environment Minister Peter Kent, and Canada's government care about.
Could PM Harper and his government have made a deal with the First Nations to leave Chief Theresa Spence free from a public judicial enquiry? Chief Spence became a public hero, the media helped to facilitate this, and the truth would be extremely damaging. Hypocrisy is a human trait, transcending all races and faiths. It is not only the playground of our elected officials.
Chief Spence and the IDLE NO MORE movement banged the drum of protecting Mother Earth. In their rhetoric they spoke of our water, air and land in relation to the butchery of environmental legislation. At the same time as protesting Bill C-45, Chief Spence and the Attawapiskat First Nation made investments into oil, gas and pipelines. The Financial Post carried an article on January 25th 2013 titled First Native Oil Sands Deal. It was a story of the “remarkable career” of Blaine Favel, a former Saskatchewan Indian Chief and the oil industry's only aboriginal CEO. As the chief executive of One Earth Oil & Gas Inc. he had brokered a 50-50 joint venture with the Gift Lake Metis Settlement in the Peace River area of northwest Alberta to develop the Gift Bluesky heavy oil project.
First Nations people used tax payer dollars to fight the planned pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast. As they played out their public attacks, First Nation people were preparing to develop Alberta's oil sands, and rip the Earth for profit.
Chief Theresa Spence chose the public stage to set up her teepee. Spence claimed to be willing to die for the ideals of her people, she then made regular visits to a hotel and had an account opened up in her name for contributions. This account was administered by her common law partner Clayton Kennedy, with no disclosures made public as to how much Chief Spence collected.
Financial Statements are official documents and presented on record. A certified accounting firm prepared these documents and is responsible for the information presented. Ross, Pope & Co. was contacted by Mayorgate with two emails dated January 21st and 23rd regarding the serious irregularities that appear in the Consolidated Financial Statements they prepared for the Attawapiskat First Nations. Ross, Pope & Co. refused to respond to any questions.
Mr. Clayton Kennedy, Chief Theresa Spence's common law partner, swore an affidavit: “I am owner and operator of Moo Shum Enterprises Inc. a consulting company serving First Nations and providing expertise and advice primarily in the areas of finance and management. In addition the services I have provided to the First Nations, I have been employed or retained by several other First Nations since 2000, in relation to finance, project management and administration.”
In his affidavit Clayton Kennedy further states that his duties as co-manager were to, “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.”
Where is the accountability? Ross, Pope & Co. are responsible as a certified and licensed accounting firm to examine all documents before preparing the financial statements. Ross, Pope & Co. have refused to answer any questions. Clayton Kennedy in his own sworn affidavit states he is responsible for the “completion of annual audit requirements” and the “sharing of financial statements.” Clayton Kennedy is Chief Spence's common law partner.
KAIROS, the Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives group which unites churches and religious organizations in faithful action for ecological justice and human rights on January 10th 2013 said, “While the audit does show that some paperwork is lacking, this does not prove fraud or waste...” Will the experts at this collection of churches and religious organizations make the same defensive observation or analysis relating to the millions of dollars unexplained in the Consolidated Financial Statements? Do these financial statements, prepared by a licensed accounting firm, on behalf of Attawapiskat First Nations which prove huge amounts of dollars missing, “prove fraud or waste...” Some of these financial documents placed on record carry the signature of Chief Theresa Spence.
Nothing about Chief Theresa Spence makes sense, not the farce of her 'hunger strike', not the declaration of emergency at Attawapiskat, and not the suffering of a few to be allowed as others benefited from dishonesty. Chief Spence and the Band Council sat on some ten million dollars as they paraded around the news media images of squaller and suffering. How do they explain this? Tens of millions of dollars have disappeared and no questions raised by Prime Minister Steven Harper or his bunch. Media simply played along, and the Opposition sold a little more of their dignity perpetuating further the monstrous lie. In the end it was Canada and Canadians who paid the ultimate price.
Danny Matatawabin received emails from Mayorgate providing an opportunity to explain what had happened. He decided to ignore them for some 58 days. Chief Theresa Spence, Danny Matatawabin and members of the Attawapiskat Band Council all would of read the two articles on Mayorgate. Now on “behalf of the Chief & Council” Danny Matatawabin, makes his strange request, though Danny Matatawabin, Chief Theresa Spence and the Band Council ignored the questions raised.
Mayorgate's response is clear and simple. Questions, very serious questions demand answers, and Chief Theresa Spence, together with her spokesman Danny Metatawabin are given the opportunity to do so again.
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