Theresa Spence, living it up

Are those video screens in the headrests of Theresa Spence’s SUV? Is that her SUV?

The photo caption of Fred Chartrand’s photo on the National Post reads: “Attawapiskat First Nations Chief Theresa Spence leaves Victoria Island as she continues her hunger strike in Ottawa, Wednesday January 9, 2013.”

Not only this, but we’ve learned that Spence has been staying in hotels during her stay in Ottawa.

And that “hunger strike”? We all now know that it consists of fish broth, herbal tea, and whatever else Spence consumes in her teepee on Victoria Island, in the comfort of an SUV, or in her hotel room.

Other observers have fairly pointed out that she has not lost much weight for being on a hunger strike for about 30 days. I’m not for fat-shaming any person, but the hunger strike is the central news claim and it appears that this claim, and the threat to herself, are false.

The alleged hunger strike is to show that Spence is adamant about having a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When the Prime Minister agreed to such a meeting, she backed off and moved the goal posts, asking for the Governor General to attend as well. When the Governor General re-iterated his non-administrative role in government, the #Idlenomore movement dug in their heels and threatened to call the whole meeting off. Spence even petitioned the Queen.

The Spence news event happened during the news vacuum that usually happens between mid-December through late January when the House of Commons isn’t sitting. It also comes during a time that ramps up to the release of a Deloitte audit of Attawapiskat. The audit’s last possible day of release was to be January 16th, however it was unveiled this week. It was quite damning of the administration of funds at the Attawapiskat First Nation. Over 80% of the money was unaccounted for and/or lacked supporting documentation. According to the audit, some unnamed contractor made over $300,000 for one unknown job. Who was this contractor? One named contractor is Spence’s boyfriend who is paid over $850 a day to manage the town’s expenses. He’s doing a bang-up job, isn’t he?

Since Spence must have known the quality of the Attawapiskat books, was this hunger strike a ploy to gain political capital ahead of the audit’s release?

Would we tolerate such accounting in any other municipality in Canada? In other cases such as this, the RCMP would be investigating.

Is #Idlenomore a political movement that is supposed to highlight poverty on reserves, one that calls for self-determination, self-governance, and independence from Ottawa? Why then is Theresa Spence living large on Ottawa’s dollar while her people freeze in inadequate housing?

News crews have now been evicted from Victoria Island and one from Global News was even removed from Attawapiskat.

As Canadians, we demand accountability and transparency from our elected officials. Why wouldn’t we demand the same from First Nations politicians?

Grand Chief David Harper of the Okimakanak First Nation described Theresa Spence as their very own “Mother Theresa”. I don’t remember reading reports of the Calcutta nun rolling on 20″ rims.

UPDATE: That SUV Spence is riding in? It’s a Hummer H2 (confirmed by @ggottawa). Fred Chartrand (the photographer) replies to my inquiry: “it is definitely the big, full tint Hummer!”

UPDATE: Here’s a little infographic I whipped up for my Facebook page.



28 thoughts on “Theresa Spence, living it up”

  1. It’s also odd how we keep hearing about the Chief in Manitoba who’s on a Hunger Strike in solidarity with Spence, yet I’m not aware of a single journalist who’s actually gone to see him. Is a hunger strike only news-worthy if it happens in Ottawa, or did Spence realize that to pull off this PR coup she’d need to bring the “story” to them, because they might have been a bit more critical of her situation if they were to be spending weeks up north on her reserve?

    The whole thing has unravelled to the point where it seems to be nothing more than the Occupy movement of last year turning this into an anti-Harper, anti-Capitalism thing, and we all know where that’ll end up. Now that the school’s are back in session, all the privileged suburban lefties will go back to their studies, and this whole thing will blow over by the end of next week.

  2. Unfortunately for Canadians, the AFN is completely behind Spence,according to Shawn Atleo. The AFN knows very well that they have to stop investigations into almost ALL Chiefs and Band Councils,as corruption is rampant on Reserves. They also know that the best defence is a good offence,and that the liberal media will support them completely.

    Spence has done the right thing,and I wonder what advice she’d getting from the AFN or their lawyers on procedure. She is going to win,she is NOT going to be prosecuted,and it’s doubtful she’ll even have to resign as Chief.

    Political correctness rules in Canada,and there is little any government can do about it.

  3. The reason Spence is smiling in the photo is that she’s just screwed Canada royally and the media helped her. Even better, now she realises that she won’t go to jail even as she climbs into her expensive chariot and laughs at the rubes who are lining her nest with gold.

    Sorry, this one is a bit of a repetition from a previous post, but the basis remains the same. The Fn say they want to repeal of the Indian Act – great. Our Constititution states that “every person is equal before the law” Nice concept, but not at all true when Judges are instructed that some people shouldn’t be sent to jail and one gets free education and special consideration because of one’s race. Simply put ,we have to amend the Constitution and disolve race based “aborigninal rights” as opposed and negating the premise of a democratic state.

    Essentially, ever since the Magna Carta, the basic and inviolate foundation of a Liberal democratic society is based, legally and morally on one simple fact – “that every person is equal before the law”. Once that simple basic concept has been violated, every society has been rewarded with conflict until it has been resolved or that society’s destruction. It doesn’t matter whether you look at the old South Africa, the more modern conflict with the Allawites running things in Syria, the Serb’s trying to run Kosovo, Ghaddaffi’s tribe running things in Libya, or the Israeli’s trying to run the West Bank.

    The fact is that as long as it was possible to pour billions into the FN and the nedia trotted out the horrible conditions some lived in – while carefully ingoring the massive amounts of money a few were raking in – Canadian’s were content to pour that money in. It was when they began to demand more, and fiscal times were getting a lot harder that Canadians started looking at where the money was going – and in too many cases, the feces hit the rotary air motion device. From, the judicial protection mentioned above, to fisheries, to fiscal mismanagement the FN were protected. (Fontana is being charged for a paltry $13k – Spence has literally millions to answer for- does anyone truly beleive she will be charged, far less go to jail?) While there are certainly instances in the rest of Canada where families have been meshed in politics (Jack Layton/Olivia Chow – Rob & Doug Ford) they have been seperately elected – if any Politician in the ROC ever installed their boyfriend at $850 per day – $200,000 p/y, they would have been crucified and rightly so.

    The Americans regard their Constitution with an almost religous zealotry – yet they have ammended it 27 times. We will eventually have to decide over two elements of our Constitution –
    that which stipulates “every person is equal before the law” or that which given aboriginals special rights based on their race. One way or the other, the Constitution will have to be changed. It would have been far better if the always insipid media had spent more time actually
    analyzing the Constitution that their darling Trudeau rammed through than fawning
    over the fact he had “brought it home”. For such a critical document, a badly flawed one has turned out to be far worse than waiting to get it right.

    And lets not pretend its just the FN either – we have roughly 23% of Francophones in the Country – “where numbers warrant” there should be french language services, yet over
    80% of people in Parliament are Francophone. If you think the FN issue is a hot button topic it is just the tip of the iceberg. For 150 years this country has been run like the regional fifedom of Quebec and southern Ontario – and it has begun to evolve – prior injustices and inequitys are going to be resolved as it matures or it will break up.

    Personally, if you look at South Africa, it is possible to moderize without destruction but it is alway surprising to see how some will attempt to cling to old priviledges and power. Just one more aspect of how we will again be paying for Trudeau for the rest of this century as well.

  4. But that was for $3100 dollars! Clearly he should have walked off with millions. Then the CBC would have worshipped him.

  5. Cable of concious thought, I hate the Canadian media. With the CBC you have to sort through the propaganda and pablum to find the facts, and with Sun, (I don’t watch it a lot but there are times Levant is as entertaining as Peter Mansbridge – just from the other end of the spectrum) you have to dial down the rhetoric to find them. Its a good deal more raw and less polished than the CBC, but SUN actually reports more facts than CBC’s endless discussion “panels” made up of like minded Quebec and Ontario personalities.

    Again, you have to ignore some of the rhetoric, but this blast from Ezra Levant at Spence is pretty accurate – and entertaining:

  6. Ford was NOT taken to court for $3100; he was taken to court for an in-our-face violation of conflict of interest laws. Laws bequeathed to us by Mike Harris, btw. Question to all the Ford supporters – if he was too thick or obstinate to have avoided this very avoidable court case, why didn’t the big right-wing machine just cough up the $3100, reimburse the donors, and bray from the high ground?

    Yes the accounting from Attawapiskat stinks and must be investigated. No, Spence is no darling of the left. It is disappointing that the right-wing opinion-makers are spending more time (as usual) attacking the person and skating over the issues. Lookit – video screens! LivingItUp, amirite?

    And not a trace of hypocrisy, either, when it comes to freeloaders/incompetents (-cough-Oda-cough-Ford-cough-)

  7. Memo to would-be activists: Hunger strikes only work if people love you, ie, Gandhi. If people don’t love you, they simply walk around in your presence eating Poutine and KFC. Mostly, though, conservatives figure this is the latest liberal fad, and like all liberal causes des jour, it will be over if they simply wait it out.

  8. So the same “non-partisan” Stephen Taylor who helped create the blogging tories who prop up the least forthcoming and transparent government in recent history is getting his knickers in a twist over the “troubled dealings” going on in a First Nation. From what I gather the auditors who are receiving $90k per day from the Harper administration didn’t have to go to court to get the information for the audit; information that was leaked to the compliant corporate media I might add.
    Page, who was appointed by the Harper, is in the process of asking the courts to give him the information so he can do his job.
    Stephen do you write this rubbish just to get a rise or are you really that blind to your own and the person you support unconditionally’s failings?

  9. What about my comment is not the truth?

    Even handedness and consistency in dealing with mismanagement of public resources should be expected of the “non-partisan” director of the National Citizens Coalition. Focusing on the most egregious offenders first would also make sense or maybe not in the world of the partisan pundit.

  10. “Laws bequeathed to us by Mike Harris …”
    to bequeath: to dispose of (personal property, especially money) by last will
    I’m sure Mr. Harris would object to the connotation of his demise.

    As for Oda vs Spence: $16 vs $90+ million? No contest.

  11. Although Chief Spence may deserve some of the questioning/barbs aimed her way, I think time would be better spent by my fellow conservatives in pointing out the false premises under which these protests and demonstrations are being held, to wit, that there was NO consultation on C-45.

    Rather than concentrating on Chief Spence and her increasingly dubious credibility, why not point out what changes C-45 actually involves?
    “RMs [Rural Municipalities] ‘ecstatic’ with water law changes opposed by Idle No More …
    the change is the result of a 10-year battle waged by Saskatchewan RMs.
    “We were the leading advocate across Canada on this issue and we got it,” he [SARM president David Marit] said.
    He said it means streams that only run during the spring season no longer come under the Act. And there’s “one less bureaucracy that we have to go through for approvals on either bridge or culvert replacements.”
    Under the old Act, RMs had to submit a project description and plans to Transport Canada, and wait for approval. Some smaller projects and water bodies were exempted under an earlier round of amendments in 2009. …”


It should also be pointed out what some aboriginal chiefs said at this parliamentary committee meeting (Nov. 19, 2012) studying “Clauses 206 to 209 (Indian Act) of Bill C-45, A Second Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures”
    • Clarence T. Jules, Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, First Nations Tax Commission:

    “The proposed amendments to streamline the designation process are a step in the right direction. At the very least, the designation voting requirements should be the same as in other governments in Canada, where the majority support is sufficient. Accordingly, I support the amendments to the Indian Act as contained in Bill C-45.”

    • Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, Member, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board:

    “In conclusion, the national board is supportive of the overall direction taken in Bill C-45, to this extent: first, we agree to the proposed amendment to Bill C-45 to reduce the voting threshold to a simple majority, as has been mentioned. However, the board is of the opinion that the bill should go further and eliminate the need for a second designation vote when changes to the lease or the use of the land are required.”

    • Leona Irons, Executive Director, National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association:

    “In conclusion, as stewards of the land we have the foremost responsibility of ensuring quality land management to promote sustainable growth and prosperity within our communities. We also have the responsibility to provide technical advice and guidance to support improvement on matters related to first nations land management. Therefore, the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association recognizes that the proposed amendments to the act outlined in division 8, clauses 206 to 209 of Bill C-45 have the potential to improve the designation process.”

    Isn’t that evidence of some consultation of relevant parties?

  12. Harris is politically dead in Ontario; “bequeath” seems appropriate.

    So, Spence is culpable for $90 mil, and Oda is responsible for only $16. Really?

  13. privileged suburban lefties

    Get your hate straight -suburbanites are typically right wing; it’s the urban, post-secondary-educated demographic that I think you meant to slag.

  14. If someone ever takes the finances of Ontario seriously and starts paying down their own “fiscal cliff” they might find that Harris was a kitten compared to the hack and slash that will be required. And the neat thing is that when Mr. Dither’s simply downloaded the national debt onto the provinces (which he absolutely should have done) they will find that his action exacerbated the issue.

  15. There are no true full blooded natives , has not been in many years – Just all inbred like the rest of us. Scrap all treaties and reserves , the people that signed the treaties had no idea what the future would bring. Its time to kick the trough out from under the jowls of the special interest groups.

  16. Of course you are correct but it does not meet the I Hate Harper agenda so why would anyone bother reporting the facts. The MSM would much rather pit one side against the other hoping Harper will become a political casualty of the violence they are promoting.

  17. Sooooooooo Gaundhi fasted for 21 days in a photo I saw and is a bag of bones, She fasted for 30 days and looks like she hasn’t dropped a pound, I’m not poking at her weight but if you are going to try, try to look like you are are. I’m tired of these Chiefs and board of directors taking all the money WE GIVE and not taking care of their people, Like really folks I have lived near some reserves and when a 1/4 of the tribe is Rolling High on the Hog, and the others are starving and live in shambles, don’t tell me they don’t know how to manage their money, I think it is the Chiefs who don’t know how to manage the tribes money since they are always rolling in the fancy cars and are generally living in a better home than others. It makes me sick to see these folks not take care of their own, and blame the people of Canada for all their problems, HELLO WAKE UP PEOPLE and get off Canada’s Tit, Other people come to Canada and don’t live off the government all their lives, Try to do your part, I know i have to every day to keep you at home and living off my money every month. I work hard and even harder no a days to afford to keep them in their fancy tax free life style,….. and if you think I’m racist, think twice, I have my native status card and have NEVER used it for anything…… except for when I write these posts!

    Wake Up CANADA and lets stop the non-sense of Native rights, this is getting to be enough!!!!!!!

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