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October 27, 2017 11:22 pm

MP Doherty Delivers Emotionally Charged Speech in Emergency Debate

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

MP Todd  Doherty’s emotional speech.

Ottawa, ON – “Now is not the time just for talk.”

The words of Cariboo-Prince George Conservative MP Todd Doherty in response to the suicide crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario.

An emergency debate was called last night in the House of Commons after there were 11 suicide attempts Saturday night and a further 13 attempts Monday.

Doherty made an emotional plea to the government to provide the resources available to help deal with the crisis (see video).

Afterwards he acknowledged to 250News sub-standard living conditions also exist on reserves in his own riding.

“They absolutely do. It’s in our own backyard and as community members, as Canadians, we have to do better.

“Sometimes partisan politics need to be put aside and members from all political stripes need to come together to find solutions to give every Canadian an equal opportunity to succeed, the resources to lead healthy lives and to prevent unnecessary loss of life.”


Considering the untold billions poured into native departments, how do reserves get into this state? Where does the money go?

    Mostly because living in a small city drives kids nuts with nothing to do but drugs most of the time. Multiply this by a hundred times for reserves in remote areas. What is worse is if they have no access to drugs or liquor and resort to gasoline, it is very heart breaking but what is the solution? If they performed acts of traditional values in groups like they did 100 years ago things would most likely be different but that is a thing of the past. You can only sit around twiddling your thumbs for so long before cabin fever sets in

    It is no secret that the band councils have grossly mismanaged any funds gotten through the governments and until recently there was zero accountability for the reserves to post how they allocated and spent said money. I can say with a certain amount of certainty that very little is being spent on the well being of those who live on the reserves unless you are a band council member or chief

“Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) was approached by First Nation members across the country asking for greater transparency as a result of difficulty obtaining financial information from their elected local officials. Until now, First Nation governments operating under the Indian Act were the only governments in Canada that did not have a legislated requirement to make basic financial information public.”

Acting on the request of First Nation members across the country, the previous Conservative Government introduced the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, the benefits of which were to:

“help ensure that First Nations have democratic, accountable and transparent governments by requiring in legislation that a First Nation, defined as an Indian band under the Indian Act, prepares annual audited consolidated financial statements and the Schedule of Remuneration and Expenses of their chiefs and councillors, which must then be made public.

This Act therefore:

– ensures that First Nation community members have the information necessary to make informed decisions about their leadership; and

– creates a better environment for private sector investment which could lead to greater economic development opportunities and improve the quality of life for First Nation communities.

Some might argue that this Act would have no value, but it was certainly a step in the right direction for the average First Nations member.

Justin, in his infinite lack of wisdom, got rid of it! After all, the Chiefs and Councils across Canada, the one’s who didn’t want their largesse revealed, helped Justin get elected!

So much for their concern about the average First Nations member!

Go figure!

    As with municipal bylaws such legislation means nothing without putting money into education for those band members in control as well as monitoring and enforcement.

    Laws by themselves in such cases are useless.

    Bang on Hart Guy. Trudeau 2.0 dismantled the only legislation, ever, that provided transparency and accountability in the management of taxpayers’ contributions to first nations. Why? – because the legislation was ‘racist’.

    Every other taxpayer-funded organization in this country, including municipalities, cities, provincial, territorial and federal governments are obliged to report where the dough comes from and where the dough goes.

    Of course the apologists will quickly respond ‘but the evil Harper government wasn’t fully transparent’, as if that’s remotely relevant.

    What we’re talking about here is decades of systemic mismanagement of first nations funds for the benefit of chiefs, band councillors and preferred hangers-on. Billions and billions and billions of dollars over years and years and years. At least the previous government had the political cojones to stand up to what amounts to organized extortion.

    Idiot the Second not only dismantled the legislation he’s also adding more billions to the corrupt, unaccountable system.

You are wrong on at least one point HG, the FNFTA is still alive and well with the financial statments and renumeration of all but a handfull of bands available online. What the Trudeau government did get rid of is withholding of not essential payments for not reporting on time.

ironic that a Conservative would say these words now and while in opposition there was inaction on First Nations healthcare the 10 years they were in power.

    And the legislation prevents suicides such as these how exactly?

Just ask yourself, how long could you take it, staying in isolated Outposts like this ,with no Hope of any Change ever and the Outside World is beamed in via SAT TV everyday , showing you a different World.

That is not to say that Attawapiskat does not need more oversight by Ottawa, it clearly does. After chief Spence did the hunger stike there was a investigative report on the conditions at the reserve. A couple of points that I remember was that allocation of new housing was anything but fair and something as simple as a bad word about the chief and band council was enough to get a person put at the bottom of the list.

The other point was the complete lack of accountability in funding construction of infrastructure with projects going millions over budget year after year and nobody attempting to find out why. Some of the companies doing the work were related to those in power.

In seems as this type of thing is still going on, over the last two years the Attawapiskat band have a line item in their accounts receivable titled “Allowance For Doubtful Accounts” with just shy of $9 million wrote off over two years out of a total of $16.7 million total receivables. Not a very good business model when you write off almost 2/3s of receivables.

Not sure what kind of employment is available in such a remote area, DeBeers does have a diamond mine not far away but don’t know if it is still running as I Ekati closed recently.

Perhaps Jean Chretien was correct and at some point a move might be the right option for such isolated communities. Hard to provide services on an ongoing basis and harder still to bring in a bunch of people for the current crisis when even the locals don’t have a place to stay never mind a planefull of social workers.

The change must come from within, meaning at the core of the problem. Throwing more money their way will not change a thing!

    That’s just it. We can build houses, schools, meeting places… But if the people that live there are not willing to bring change to the community nothing will be resolved.

Five (5) years ago Chief Theresa Spence of this same Attawapiskat First Nation, declared an emergency as there was a housing crisis in the community with winter fast approaching. So what was the Harper Government’s response?

“It’s been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation took the extraordinary step of declaring a state of emergency. Since then, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community.”

www .huffingtonpost.ca/charlie-angus/attawapiskat-emergency_b_1104370.html

Thanks to the Red Cross; who provided short term emergency assistance to this First Nation whose members would have frozen to death, while the Harper Government argued with the Ontario government over who was responsible. The Federal Government has the legal responsibility here, by the way. So instead of providing HUMANITATIAN AID to alleviate the housing crisis in Attawapiskat, what did the Harper Government do??? They sent in auditors and a third party manager to find out where the money went. Screw the people, got to save that money… find out what happened to it!!! Eventually they found out due to the expensive cost of flying in and long haul trucking in building materials the cost per housing unit was more than double the cost in southern Ontario. Might want to look up how much their food costs up there as well.

So now we have a Conservative government emotionally pleading that “partisan politics be put aside to help the suicidal youth in this same community”… does a leopard change its spots? To me the Conservative Party’s feigned deep and emotional concern over this “social” issue is actually quite creepy!!!

Rather, I feel much more comfortable with the typical Conservative response like Hart Guys comment at 10:50 AM… worry about the money and ignore the young people committing suicide.

    “worry about the money and ignore the young people committing suicide.”

    You do realize the money provided pays for both health and education services on the reserves. If money is mis spent or wasted then less is available to spend on services that become even more apparent in times of crisis. In 2015 Attawapiskat spent $9.2 million on education and $1.3 Million on health services.

    They also had a $3.4 million annual surplus in 2015…..can you think of a better time to direct some of this surplus into mental health of younger residents?

    Agreed jgault, I like the part at 8:30 of the video where the speech someone wrote for him must of said “sigh here”

    There is nothing partisan about this speech.

    JGalt, you’ve got it wrong! I’m not so much worried about “the money”, I’m much more worried about WHERE “the money” went!

    As a young child, I received a very modest weekly allowance from my parents. If I blew it all at once or very quickly and then approached my parents for more “money”, their response was always and without fail the same! “You need more? What did you do with the allowance that we already gave you?

    Suffice it to say that I don’t EVER remember getting more that what had already been given!

    JGalt, you suggest that I am ignoring the young people committing suicide! With all due respect, I suggest that you get off of you high horse and instead go direct that comment to the Chiefs and Councils that have for far too long been lining their own pockets to the detriment of their own band members!

      Do you think that the driver of an imaginary Chevy Spark EV has made stealthy return? One thing that a Spark EV(not)driver used to do was type out a number followed by it’s numerical equivalent in brackets, not a very common practice.

      Best mind your peas and queues and change your site password;)

    JGalt, you state:

    “Five (5) years ago Chief Theresa Spence of this same Attawapiskat First Nation, declared an emergency as there was a housing crisis in the community with winter fast approaching. So what was the Harper Government’s response?”

    Why don’t you tell us what Chief Theresa Spence, her council and the current council done in the past five (5) years?

    By the way, in the past week, according to this article, there have been 24 suicide attempts! That’s twenty four (24)! Harper and the Conservatives haven’t been in power for the past 6 months or so! Justin and Co. are in power now, so why are you blaming Harper and the Conservatives for the suicide attempts that are occurring under Justin’s watch?

    Just asking….!

Disband the whole system and allow all aboriginals the sames rights to title and the same freedoms that we all enjoy. They certainly need to be compensated for treaty obligations etc. and that needs to be addressed. Shut down these eyesore reserves, assist the families that leave the reserves like you would immigrants or newcomers. Help with housing, food, finding work, healthcare,etc. Bring them into the general society and lose the top heavy bureaucratic nightmare that governments set up through the years. Reserves are an outdated and lousy solution to a problem that was prevalent 100 years ago.
Like the new prime minister said……..”because it’s 2015″.
It has been proven time and time again over the years that the current system fails the average aboriginal person. You cant keep throwing money at it and expecting changes when it’s an archaic system from 75 to 100 years ago that has never really worked for the average person living in a reserve. The young are extra vulnerable as they have an idea what life is like out here and look at their own lives and see a future that isn’t very bright. With the amount of money being spent on Aboriginal affairs in Canada and the number of people, they should all be rich and living in big houses.

    So well said. Agree 100%

    Reserves are where the natives settled in their traditional territories, they are not some place the “white man” put them to get rid of them. There are 3,100 reserves in Canada, 961 are still inhabited by their members. The rest are still reserves but only used for traditional activities like trapping, hunting, fishing. More than half of first nations people do not live on reserve anymore but that is where their traditional values and land are.

    Most bands own housing within close cities to the reserve and offer them to their members for reduced rent, etc. In Prince George we have a lot of band owned housing.

      But that doesn’t address the fact that there are a lot of folk living in remote , northern towns that are really reserves, that have nothing to offer their inhabitants but ‘traditional’ values of living off the land. Read Canadian history, and literature, (Joseph Boyden), traditional life in the north commonly meant losing half your community to starvation over a winter. Our governments have adopted the idea of keeping our aboriginals in their traditional regions, so, we have an obligation to support them there. It is a broken model. How do you expect a teen that has access to social media reconcile living on the banks of James Bay, with a few hundred of their peers with nothing to do?

I think we just need to do what we’ve always been doing only just with more money and more sincerity. After all, it has been well established if something doesn’t work, if you try it infinite times, it will eventually work. I’m being sarcastic if not obvious.

Now I’m being serious.

Imagine if you’re the kid that doesn’t fit in on the reserve. Not only do you put up with crap at school, but right where you live, and there’s no where you can go to escape it.

At least in a city, you can maybe make friends with some kids at another school, or at least find something to do like sports. But on a reserve, if you’re not in, you are definitely out, and there is no hope.

But nice to see everyone use this kids as a political football – FN leaders especially. PGguy IMHO has nailed it. Time for FN in isolated reserves to join the rest of Canada, and be given at the very least (sarcasm again), the amount of assistance Syrians got to join mainstream society.

But FN are an industry to both the bureaucracy and the FN leadership. No bureaucracy has ever went quietly into the night when threatened.

So Todd Doherty what do you think? Please review the above comments from your base carefully, paying particular attention to the ones that are most liked. Notice anything? Not one of those comments from your base mentions anything about “Aboriginal” “youth” or “suicide”.

These are typical Conservative comments that complain about misused funding and/or blames Chief and Councils. They did not even care to address, or mention, Aboriginal Youth Suicide directly, and it is these that are the standard Conservative comments myself and others are used to.

Your speech on the other hand was anything but from your base. You addressed Aboriginal Youth Suicide directly, mentioning it numerous times with such emotion… it almost seemed like you cared at a human level… not at all like the comments above from your base.

Careful Todd, you are coming across more like a Liberal Lefty or NDPer on this one, you start caring about these people too much and you will lose your base.Next time one would hope you come across more like them, complain about how much money we are spending on these people, and how corrupt their leadership is… got it?

The many problems that are rampant on so many reserves in Canada will never be solved until the entire (forgive me here) Indian Industry is dismantled. Those who profit from this industry will have to leech their income from another source.
As has been said so many times before, throwing more money at these problems is not the solution to the problems.

Mr. Doherty says “we have to hold the government accountable” at 12:36
Well maybe, Todd, but I think that there is no shortage of government funding going to every first nation band in the country, who is accountable within those bands for all the deplorable conditions?
The best thing for the young people stuck on reserve is either to move to the city to see what they have been missing, or stay home and learn the ways of their ancestors from the elders.

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