Friday, December 21, 2012

She Has His Number

As Theresa Spence enters the tenth day of her hunger strike -- and as Canada's First Nations put the Harper government on notice that they will be Idle No Longer -- it's becoming clear that Stephen Harper has a big problem -- a problem of his own making. Michael Harris writes:

If you want to know why Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is on a hunger strike, it is because official apologies from on high do not feed families, build houses, install water systems or educate kids. It is because some of the poorest bands in the country have concluded that Stephen Harper has to be put on the spot.

Native peoples have discovered what Quebecers discovered sometime ago. As movie mogul Sam Goldwyn once declared, "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."  The bald truth is that you can't take what Stephen Harper says to the bank. The prime minister apologized to Canada's first nations. But

on the very day that Stephen Harper was apologizing to aboriginals for the unimaginable crimes against them, including the residential school tragedy, Pierre Poilievre was in the studio of an Ottawa radio station lecturing natives on how to live “responsible” lives. Having forgotten the enormity of what has been done to the indigenous people of Canada, the government explains away the shameful mess of native life by ascribing character flaws to the very people who have been damaged.

When last year's housing crisis at Attawapaskat burst into the national media:

Harper purposely and falsely left the impression with Canadians that the Conservatives had given every person in Attawapiskat $50,000. As NDP MP Charlie Angus pointed out at the time, what the PM didn’t say was that the money was spread out over six years. So when the real calculation was done, each resident of Attawapiskat received $8,000 per year — or less than half of what is spent per capita on other Canadians on things like health and education.

As Angus put it, “Harper’s line rang out like a dog whistle to a racist base that believed that those Indians couldn’t be trusted with our money.”

Deep Throat's advice to Woodward and Bernstein applies as much to the Harper government as it did to the Nixon Administration -- follow the money:

If there are people who think band councils in Canada don’t properly account for the expenditure of public monies, what must they think about the Harper government, which still continues to deprive parliamentary officers of basic financial information about departmental cuts from the last budget? What must they think about the Al Capone accounting of the F-35 program? What must they think about G8 and G20 spending that was $900 million higher than any other such meeting on earth?

Chief Spence can be forgiven if she needs the prime minister’s ear for a few moments. How can there be $28 million to market an ancient war and no money to provide clean drinking water for aboriginal communities?

Chief Spence has Stephen Harper's number. She knows exactly how much his word is worth. It's a lesson all Canadians should heed.


ron wilton said...

harper is a prick
in the side of all Canadians
which if not removed
will fester and cripple us

The prick must be removed
in order for the body to heal

The source of the prick
must also be eradicated.

Owen Gray said...

Mordecai Richler would appreciate the double entendre,Ron.

the salamander said...

Aside from a very few bright mainstream journos, many scientists & biologists, artists and a select group of indy bloggers.. we see its the First Nations pointing out the pathological liars, ideologues we have seemingly elected.. in case the rest of the population of Canada cares to care.

I keep waiting, writing, speaking and hoping to see the black swans flying over Sussex Drive and the House of Commons.

The cancerous Harper driven ideology, policy and legislations of shameful omnibus bills needs to be redressed and stamped out. The perpetrators need to be vilified, shamed, taken to court if possible.

How on earth can Canadians accept that a political animal from Ontario.. but now an 'Albertan' can decide that the Government of Canada, its Parliamentary institutions, its environment, its military, its resources, its public services etc etc are an a la carte snack plate for him to choose from and throw anything else in the garbage.

I'm sorry .. I didn't realize that 99% of Canadians were evolving into lapdogs content to be bossed, bitten, robbed and lied to by toxic scumbags

I may have to get off my arse.. start walking to Ottawa.. add my voice and my spirit to those who are seeing what Harper and his fellow pigs are currently getting away with.

Owen Gray said...

2013 could be an interesting year, salamander.

Harper has completely alienated Quebecers. He has alienated the First Nations. He appears to have alienated British Columbians. And I suspect that he's well on his way to losing the support of Maritimers.

After awhile, you'd think he could see the writing on the wall.

Anonymous said...

In BC. Our F.N. People are our unpaid stewards, of the lands, lakes, rivers, streams, forests, woodland wildlife, fish, the sea and the marine life. You have no idea, how much we rely on and respect the F.N. in BC. It's a debt, we can never pay them back for. We support the F.N. in this province, right to the hilt. There are many bands in BC, that are doing wonders for their people. They have had terrible odds to struggle against. But, they are overcoming those odds

The F.N. culture, is the most important culture in Canada. They were in this country first.

Believe you me. We certainly see Harper's cruelty towards the Attawapiskat People.

Provinces must support their F.N.citizens. Support them for, better schools for their children. There is a sad number of F.N. young people, committing suicide. They can't see a better future for themselves. Their schools programs are so terrible, those kids can't even go on to a higher education.

If Chief Spence was doing this in BC? We would have been out there, sitting with her.

The F.N. across Canada, deserve our help, not our hate.

Owen Gray said...

I concur wholeheartedly, Anon.