A new day is dawning, the media conglomerates tell us this morning. We are told how, during yesterday's meeting with some -- but not all -- of the chiefs, the prime minister vowed to focus on aboriginal issues. Andrew Coyne tells us that Shawn Atleo has been "courageous to meet with Harper as his constituency revolts." And yet -- after attending last night's meeting with the Governor-General -- Theresa Spence has decided to continue her hunger strike. Somebody's missing something.
As Michael Harris wrote last week:
Surely the press, steeped in the tradition of standing up against injustice and tyranny, wouldn’t allow the state to turn its big guns on a single, middle-aged aboriginal woman from a Third World reserve right here in Canada, said to have a Grade Seven or Grade Eight education?
Sadly, crusading has never been the rage in newsrooms. It is less so now, thanks to a corporate death grip on vast swaths of this profession. As Lewis Lapham put it, “The big media identify themselves with wealth and privilege and the wisdom in office. They preserve the myths that society deems precious … By telling their audience what they assume they already know, the news media reflect what the society wants to believe about itself.”
When the PMO leaked the Attawapiskat audit, our big papers were all over the story -- even though, as Harris points out, most of the "malfeasance" occurred before Spence was elected chief. Moreover, the auditor reported, things had improved over Spence's tenure.
No, aboriginals are simply incompetent, lazy goldbricks: "When Indians weren’t sniffing glue, getting stoned or sobering up in the drunk tank, they were taking the public for a ride." Just who is taking the public for a ride?
But if a lack of paperwork is a crime, then what can be said of the government’s fifty-million dollar downpayment on Tony Clement’s re-election in Muskoka?
Didn’t the government itself say that it didn’t have time to pass legislation to authorize significant parts of the G8/20 spending? And where was the due diligence in selecting a new fighter jet that will cost $30 billion more to acquire and operate than the Harper government admitted? And was it really worth $45,000 of public money to send the PM to a Yankees game? Just missing paperwork, nothing more.
Why is Spence still starving herself? Well, there was a passing reference to the fact that the government made no commitment to re-examine its gutting of environmental legislation, which sparked the Idle No More movement in the first place. The media movers and shakers still have not learned the lesson which Jack Layton said he learned early in his dealings with Mr. Harper: You can't take him at his word.
Theresa Spence knows what Jack Layton was talking about.