Attawapiskat 2

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MegB
Attawapiskat 2

Continued from here.

 

Boom Boom wrote:

Headline on CBC Newsworld just now: 

NDP MP: Government trying to provoke confrontation in Attawapiskat

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Chissassibi and Wemindji First Nations on the James Bay coast of Quebec have also declared states of emergency, as they have been without power for more than 24 hours, and it is cold up there. Quebec Hydro is working on the problem, but Band members told CBC they believe the transmission lines have been burnt out.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

It seems to me that after reading everything in sight, that the government is determined to treat a humanitarian crisis more like a financial crisis - which it is, because First Nations are horrifically underfunded - but for goodness sakes, deal with the humanitarian crisis first!!!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's worth remembering that then Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien proposed way back in the 1969 White Paper to abolish the Indian Act. The appropriately named White Paper was criticized and rejected by Harold Cardinal's Red Paper and The Unjust Society because doing so would strip FN, Métis and Inuit of any special distinction in the eyes of the Crown.

Quote:
In spite of all government attempts to convince Indians to accept the white paper, their efforts will fail, because Indians understand that the path outlined by the Department of Indian Affairs through its mouthpiece, the Honourable Mr. Chrétien, leads directly to cultural genocide. We will not walk this path.

—Harold Cardinal, The Unjust Society

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Grand Chief Stan Louttit on CBC P&P just now: "If the government doesn't sit down with us to help deal with the problems we face, we are considering civil obedience"  - debate just starting.

Attawapiskat leader threatens civil disobedience

excerpt:

A regional chief who represents Attawapiskat says that a number of his counterparts in other First Nations are prepared to engage in civil disobedience over Ottawa's handling of a housing crisis in the northern Ontario community.

"There's people who are ready to stand up and be counted... to stand up and do civil disobedience so that we are heard," Stan Louttit told Evan Solomon on CBC-TV's Power & Politics.

"If the minister does not want to work with us, you may see that sooner than later," said Louttit, who presides over the Mushkegowuk Council, which represents Attawapiskat and six other First Nations.

And: they've called for the UN to investigate.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This could get interesting:

Chiefs rally around Attawapiskat as call issued for oil pipeline blockade in three provinces

I wonder if tar sands and pipelines investors will now pull out because of potential conflicts with First Nations.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Send army to Attawapiskat, NDP urges

Son of a gun. I thought Harper would send in the military to enforce third party rule; but Turmel instead wants the Army to help out the community. Good move.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

On CBC: Duncan offers evacuation plan to Attawapiskat residents

 

ETA: Rickford will discuss the offer on P&P in one minute.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Bloddy hell. The government is saying their emergency plan is contingent on Chief and Council working with their third party manager!

CDN_FORCES

Boom Boom wrote:

Send army to Attawapiskat, NDP urges

Son of a gun. I thought Harper would send in the military to enforce third party rule; but Turmel instead wants the Army to help out the community. Good move.

 

It wouldn't be the first time the CF was used to assist a northern native community. Does anyone here remember Kashechewan? I flew one of the missions to bring in a water purification unit back in late 2005.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yup. I lived in a community just below James Bay, and a lot of my friends were from Kash, Wemindji, Moosonee, and Moose Factory Island, and I've been kept abreast of things happening up north. I visited Moose Factory and Moosonee.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

Send army to Attawapiskat, NDP urges

Son of a gun. I thought Harper would send in the military to enforce third party rule; but Turmel instead wants the Army to help out the community. Good move.

Good move?

This is Turmel, fresh from welcoming home the Libya heroes?

Has it occurred to Turmel that an invitation to send in the military ought to come from the First Nations and their representatives - or not at all?

This is the same Turmel who invited Harper to come and see for himself - and when he wouldn't, she wants the army? To do, precisely, what??

I guess all the competent advisors are hired out to the leadership campaigns.

Is it possible to politely ask Turmel to leave the leadership now and hand it over to, like, anyone else?

 

Bärlüer

Unionist wrote:

Has it occurred to Turmel that an invitation to send in the military ought to come from the First Nations and their representatives - or not at all?

I really hoped that such an appeal by the communities had been made... but it seems that is not the case.

[img]http://www.runemasterstudios.com/graemlins/images/banghead.gif[/img]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I was exasperated to see this headline this morning. Call in the army to save a First Nations settlement? Doesn't this ring any wanting bells? It appears that the NDP is using the currency this event has garnered in the Canadian mainstream media for electoral advantage, rather than for the advantage of the Attawapiskat people. They have completely abandoned any anti-colonialist lens in favour for a "solution" palatable to middle class Canada. I fail to see how this is substantively different from Stephen Harper's solution.

Even if "the people" of Attawapiskat called Turmel and asked her to bring in the army, as Unionist says, it is not Nycole Turmel who should be making this plea.

I suppose it's too much to ask Canada's left-wing party to use this disaster as an example of how Canada is a colonialist and as such deeply criminal country and that it's relationship with First Nations people across Turtle Island is in crisis. If we (as the settlers of this land) don't want miserable catastrophes like this to happen, we need to radically renegotiate our relationship with the First Nations of Canada, one that recognizes their right to land and title, that offers true self-determination, and that recognizes Canada's culpability in and takes responsibility for both destroying the means of production and creating a new means of dependancy for remote Aboriginal settlements.

No. Instead: call in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. Well played, Nycole.

 

Unionist

Don't get me wrong. The instant Attawapiskat calls for CF assistance, Canada's response should be: "Ready, aye, ready!" During our ice storm of January 1998, the forces did a decent job clearing fallen trees, visiting remote residences to offer assistance, etc.

But Turmel, or whoever is "advising" her, really should be asked to shut up. It's disgraceful.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Unionist. I am sorry but I just don't get what the issue is here. Look, it is obvious that this  needs to be done in coordination with the commuities and leaders of course, but the CF has expertise here that we could take advatanage of here. It is time to do someting and be proactive in whatever way as possible respectful of the desires of the community. I think Trumel has shown real leadership here, and paints a stark contrast between how we, the "Peace Party", and the Tories see the role of the military.

As an ex serviceman, I absolutely can't understand what the issue is. Help me out here, and I am not being sarcastic, I really don't understand why this is objectioable or questionable. And CDN_FORCES. I should have thought to do this sooner, Thank-you for your service!

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Boom Boom, I think you are right. Good for Turmel.

NDPP

CDN_FORCES wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

Send army to Attawapiskat, NDP urges

Son of a gun. I thought Harper would send in the military to enforce third party rule; but Turmel instead wants the Army to help out the community. Good move.

 

It wouldn't be the first time the CF was used to assist a northern native community. Does anyone here remember Kashechewan? I flew one of the missions to bring in a water purification unit back in late 2005.

NDPP

Nor would it be the first time the NDP called in CF 'to assist a northern native community' either. Here they are hard at work in Bison APCs at Gustafsen Lake in 1995

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQH9MAPdqws

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

The problem is the historical relationship between the Armed Forces or other agents of the state and Canada's First Nations. One, this is not an emergency in the sense of Manitoban floods or Indonesian Earthquakes: this is a protracted and legislated catastrophe enacted by the Canadian government on Aboriginal peoples. And Turmel's solution is to impose another government brain child on a people whose agency and self-determination have been systematically diminished over the past two and a half centuries. The way to really and truly solve Attawapiskat and similar situations across Canada (including the desperate situation of FN living right here in Vancouver's DTES) is to atone and acknowledge this historical fact.

I would hope that Canada's left-wing party lead that charge, in a way befitting Charlie Angus's tremendous work over the past few years. Instead, we have Turmel's ignorant and disgraceful entreaty to the army. I wonder what Angus thinks of Turmel's heartfelt plea?

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

I would hope that Canada's left-wing party lead that charge, in a way befitting Charlie Angus's tremendous work over the past few years. Instead, we have Turmel's ignorant and disgraceful entreaty to the army. I wonder what Angus thinks of Turmel's heartfelt plea?

I was actually wondering exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, he [url=http://charlieangus.ndp.ca/post/ndp-calls-on-pm-to-provide-support-to-at... to support it[/url], unless he's reporting it simply out of loyalty.

If her letter were co-signed - or released in the presence of Spence or Louttit or even Atleo - it would be so very different. But this is an appropriation of First Nation autonomy, every bit as bad (and, for the reasons Catchfire expounds, arguably far worse) than Harper's "3rd party management".

Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe Spence will appear tomorrow to say she asked Turmel to convey the request? Or maybe it's just a golden opportunity to show compassion and support for the troops all in one neat package.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Personally, I prefer to see the military used to respond to humanitarian crises than dropping bombs on brown people.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Well, I guess we will see how this plays out. It seems to me all Turmel was trying to do was get some help to people. This is a catastrophe of the first order. It would seem this should be the first part of the NDP response.

 Inronically, this kind of came at a funny time. I guess I must have been on the same wave length as the leadership who obviously had been thinking about this as well; I am not saying anything other then that I was obviously thinking about the same things as the leadership.

My idea would be to provide short term assistance in the form of "repair" for lack of a better way to put that, with the idea of a large scale rebuilding initiative starting in the spring; of course doing so after offering assistance to the commuities with the undestanding it would be really "their call" over how this would paly out. But not only for Attawapiskat, but other aborigial commuities as well, using kind of a triage approach from "worst to best", again, so to speak. Of course along the way we need to think how to best get these communities involved, say in apprenticing of community members so that can learn trades, or get other training.

I think this was a great proposal. I just hope it gets the attention it deserves both here, and in the MSM. We built the Dew Line, CFS Alert, Cold Lake Alberta, etc. There is no question the CF is up to this. I know the folks who serve, this is something they would really embrace with gusto if asked and if done in a way where these communities were on equal footing and treated as partners and stakeholders, rather the people to whom we were dictating anything.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Sigh, double post. I am such a dope!

Unionist

Sigh.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Unionist, I never know how to take you. Sigh! Laughing

Catchfire, I don't understand why this is a mistake. Maybe its because I am ex military and know what we can do to help if they want that help. All Turmel seems to be saying is lets get some help to these folks now. What is so bad about that?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I didn't see this in the CBC article, but according to APTN:

The NDP has called on the government to send in the military to construct temporary shelters for residents in the community.

This appears to make a lot of sense, because the 15 modular homes will not arrive until the end of January. The only question is this: did Turmel go over the heads of the leadership, or not?

Unionist

The request has to come from the folks, Arthur. They're sovereign people.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

At any rate, I'm pretty sure I heard Duncan's deputy on P&P say the Cons are sticking with their "plan" but it is contingent on the Band accepting third party management, and I'm sure they're not interested in sending the military because that would upset their "plan" (sending in 15 modular units, evacuation of anyone who wants to leave, setting up the hockey rink and healing lodge as temporary residences, and fixing up the decrepit homes).

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I'm likely wrong, but there's nothing yet to verify that Turmel wasn't acting upon request. I'll wait and see, as I agree that's the ONLY way it should have been mentioned by the NDP.

Fidel

Arthur Cramer wrote:
Catchfire, I don't understand why this is a mistake. Maybe its because I am ex military and know what we can do to help if they want that help. All Turmel seems to be saying is lets get some help to these folks now. What is so bad about that?

And why doesn't Ottawa have civilian agencies to send to places like Attawapiskat in times like this? Why, after decades of neglect and abandonment of Canada's Northern people do they have nothing to respond with? Living in Canada's remote Northern regions is dangerous for a lot of people. Head injuries, for example, are a death sentence for many northerners. There is no civilian infrastructure and what there is is spaced so far apart that people have died of lack of medical attention. They can fly them by air ambulance if FNs and other northerners are lucky enough to get to an medivac base in time. Where days and hours and minutes are crucial to surviving everything from head injuries to hypothermia, Canada's northerners are living in third world conditions, thanks to too many decades of neglect by our so-called federal government pinching pennies to service debt payments to foreign and private sources which is totally unnecessary. $100 billion dollar infrastructure deficits are totally unnecessary in a rich country like Canada.

Ice Storm '98 and Canada's Military I was actually proud of the Canadian military then. My friend was in service then, and he was out there helping PUC guys fix telephone and hydro lines. 46 people died during the ice storm. It could have been worse. People in the Ottawa valley region and parts near have just never had to deal with severe winter weather. They were totally vulnerable. If the military is all we have to respond with, then we can't afford to do SFA as Steve the stooge is doing now from his grand seat in the halls of Harper Government powerlessness. Do something, Steve! Anything more than sweet fuck is in order, and step on it!

Where is Steve the vicious toady when needed? Why, he's down their kissing Uncle Sam's fat ass and ceding Canadians' privacy to the imperial master nation with "border security". Meanwhile there Canadians in Northern Ontario in desperate need. Thanks  again, Steve, Thanks for doing nothing as per usual.  Political Conservatives are well versed in doing and achieving nothing while in phony majority power...lessness. It's time Steve's physician recommended Viagra for him, or something. He's lost the will to even feign powerlessness in convincing fashion.

NDPP

Unionist wrote:

 

If her letter were co-signed - or released in the presence of Spence or Louttit or even Atleo - it would be so very different. But this is an appropriation of First Nation autonomy, every bit as bad (and, for the reasons Catchfire expounds, arguably far worse) than Harper's "3rd party management".

Maybe I'm wrong? Maybe Spence will appear tomorrow to say she asked Turmel to convey the request? Or maybe it's just a golden opportunity to show compassion and support for the troops all in one neat package.

NDPP

what 'First Nation autonomy'?  If there was such a thing this wouldn't be happening.

Summer

According to the G&M, the first nations want the military to help:

Quote:

But first-nations leaders have been asking for more help and say the military, unlike Mr. Marion, would be most welcome.

 

Stan Louttit, the grand chief of the Mushkegowuk Council which encompasses seven first nations in Northern Ontario including Attawapiskat, said Wednesday that troops could provide emergency shelters and help transport housing materials to the reserve, which declared a state of emergency a month ago over its deplorable living conditions.

 

“Whenever there is a crisis in any part of Ontario, or Canada, or overseas, what do other countries do? What to neighbours do?” asked Mr. Louttit, who is attending a conference of chiefs from across Canada in Ottawa.

 

“Well they provide emergency help, right?” he said. “And the military come in with their disaster-relief equipment and expertise and help out. And what we’re saying is we’re in a crisis as well, right in the backyard of Canada. And why not? Why can’t they come in and provide some relief?”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/government-offers-to-provid...

6079_Smith_W

@ Summer

Thanks for the article. 

Somehow I think if it were something that would produce positive results, Harper would not let it happen.

 

6079_Smith_W

This armed forces suggestion is being talked about in two threads now.

I realize of course that the prospect is a non-starter, for a number of reasons.

On the other hand, from what I have read and heard one of the major problems is that houses there are build to southern standard, with airtight walls, and other design flaws that have a great potential to fuck up. I heard the same story 25 years ago about northern housing in this province.

One of the commentators on XCcheckup said that the average livespan of houses in FN communities (according to CMHC) is five to eight years. 

Again, no one has invited the armed forces in, and I expect that if they were not wanted they would be turned away the same way the manager was. Since this suggestion of Turmel's is  never going to happen, I'm just thinking about this scenario at a basic level, suspending the whole issues of sovreignty, militarism, and history. 

And you know what? I don't think it would be such a bad idea to see a different approach to water, housing, sanitation and other infrastructure issues than what they have been getting forced on them from Ottawa since day one.  I think a break with the stranglehold the feds have on everything in those communities, by seeing how the military approaches setting up a camp might be an instructive exercise.

(not that I think they have anything to teach, but I doubt they would do things by the book in Minister Duncan's office).

Of course I know we can't see the army as a positive or helpful force in this, but again, since it isn't going to happen, I figured there's no harm in thinking about the differences in approach and how it might play out.

 

Fidel

If it existed, our corrupt stooges in Ottawa would send an appropriate civilian agency to help out in Attawapiskat. It doesn't.

This is what decades of federal neglect of Canada's North looks like. I have some choice words for the long-time stoogeaucracy that would get me suspended right now. The conditions in Canada's norther are a national disgrace. Our corrupt stooges should be ashamed but are not. They need cleaning out of Ottawa.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

edit duplicate post

dacckon dacckon's picture

 

Nycole Turmel's letter wrote:
Moving supplies into this community to alleviate the housing crisis will require an extraordinary level of co-ordination. Given the extreme weather conditions and the fact that the winter road will not be ready for nearly two months, the community is seeking coordinated logistical help. For this reason, they have asked me to convey that they are asking for military support to help in the response.

Our military has played an incredible role at times of other humanitarian crises in Canada. I am sure that you will agree that the conditions facing people in Attawapiskat are dire and likely to get worse as the winter sets in. Therefore I am asking you today to act immediately and target resources, including military resources as requested by the community, towards building adequate housing in Attawapiskat. You will have the full support of the New Democratic Party in this effort.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Fidel has good points in his posts. There should be a civillian relief agency ready to respond to emergencies in the far north. This is way overdue.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Duncan and his deputy seem to feel their response is sufficient - evacuation of those who want to leave; turning a hockey rink and healing lodge into short term shelters; $500,000 for immediate home repairs; 15 modular homes going up the ice highway at the end of January. I don't get why he thinks the military isn't needed. Maybe because the request came from the NDP? Undecided

MegB

Harper doesn't think the military is necessary because he wants the people of Attawapiskat off their traditional lands.  If he evacuates them to, say, a region that doesn't have a big honkin' diamond mine beneath it ...

In the end, the solution has to come from the people of Attawapiskat.  They and they alone know what is needed.  Personally, I think changes to the Indian Act that are actually generated by the people affected by it are needed.  Nearly all of the current amendments to the IA disenfranchise and rob FNs of their sovereignty.

quizzical

Given the reality that Turmel was asked by the people themselves to request military assistance, and she noted that from the very start of her activism, I find this comment below extremely distressing. It is divisive, at best. It also undermines the Appiwapiskat people's movement to get help for themselves. Undercutting those who have been asked to help gives Harper more leverage.

Before comments such as these are made, maybe there should be a bit more investigation done by those who make such negative pronouncements, as they do more harm than good?

 

Unionist wrote:
Don't get me wrong. The instant Attawapiskat ca lls for CF assistance, Canada's response should be: "Ready, aye, ready!" During our ice storm of January 1998, the forces did a decent job clearing fallen trees, visiting remote residences to offer assistance, etc.

But Turmel, or whoever is "advising" her, really should be asked to shut up. It's disgraceful.

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

Given the reality that Turmel was asked by the people themselves to request military assistance,

I know what Turmel said:

Quote:
Turmel told reporters she made the request on behalf of Theresa Spence, the chief of the community that declared a state of emergency due to a housing shortage that had some families living in garden sheds.

What I don't know is why Theresa Spence would convey a request to the government through an opposition leader, rather than directly.

When Shawn Atleo was asked what he thought of Turmel's request to send in the military, [url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/send-troops...'s what he said[/url]:

Quote:

Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said he would agree with a military response but only if that is what Attawapiskat has requested.

“This is about first nations driving solutions forward and I think that is the real essence of the fundamentals of this discussion,” Mr. Atleo said in an interview Wednesday with the CBC. “I would really look to the chiefs, in this case in Attawapiskat and Grand Chief [Stan] Louttit for their leadership about what kinds of responses that they see are required.”

That's my view also. As I said before, if and when the First Nation requests military assistance, our answer should immediately be: "Ready, aye, ready!" That's exactly the kind of public service our military ought to be deployed for - upon invitation only.

So I hope you understand my criticism of Mme Turmel properly. If she wants to be an ally of the Indigenous people, she can do much good. But part of being an ally is not appropriating their voice.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

I don't think Trumel is trying to approrpiate anyone's voice. All she is trying to do is get above the politics and get help to people who need it.

quizzical

Could not agree with you more in respect to being an ally. My issue is when someone is being an ally, in the greater sense of the word, that they should not be undercut by those who have not done their homework.

Nothing in your response to me bolsters your post that I found so distressing. They have requested military assistance. That the media is trying to spin Turmel's actions as being her own when she was aksed to do so, should not IMV be taken up by those who state they are an ally. It does several negative things that  hinder assistance and actually support Harper's government.

Atleo's response confirmed that Turmel was acting correctly given that she was asked to request military assistance.  Media trying to spin it differently can be viewed as the reality that they are agents of the state. And that is not a side that allies should be on, IMV.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I have not seen any confirmation about who has asked Turmel to do anything--a very odd strategy at any rate, as Unionist has pointed out. And this fanfare about how FN leaders are "confirming" that Turmel did the right thing is also wrongheaded. In case the point has been missed, let me be clear: colonialism did this. And it will keep doing it, so long as NDP interim leaders think the best way to effect change in FN communities across Canada is to speak on their behalf.

It's pretty elementary, actually. And it's a disgrace that the NDP has not taken the opportunity to make it clear.

6079_Smith_W

Boom Boom wrote:

Fidel has good points in his posts. There should be a civillian relief agency ready to respond to emergencies in the far north. This is way overdue.

Well that would be the Red Cross, unless there is some need to recreate the wheel. 

One of the items they are bringing up there is apparently portable generators and heaters. Clearly I am not on the ground up there, so I don't claim to the best solution, but wouldn't it make sense to send an electrician instead, and connect some temporary panels into the power lines like they would do at any construction site? 

After all, what do generators run on but gasoline, which has to be shipped in? Again, it seems to be badly-planned, southern solutions that are as wasteful as they are ineffective.

And this distraction about the army? Sorry, but I just have to shake my head about it. 

When they came to help with the Winnipeg Flood in 87 there were people east of town who thought it was part of a secret plot to blow up the floodway and save winnipeg by flooding everything east of there, even though anyone who looked at a topo map could see it was high ground. 

Anyone standing close to the river was just glad to see sandbags getting moved, and dams put in place by real engineers, rather than volunteers.

So Turmel put her foot in her mouth. Seems to me it was through good intent. If people up there want military help, fine; and if they don't, also fine. Beyond that, I don't see why this is an issue.

(edit)

Actually, if this is what she said:

She called on the prime minister to “act immediately and target resources, including military resources as requested by the community, towards building adequate housing.” 

then I really don't see what the problem is.

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Boom Boom, you are right. I think eveyone should relax on this, and be proud that Trumel acted so visibly. Its nice to see some leadership.

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