Attawapiskat Chief Spence won't attend Friday's meeting if GG sticks to planned no-show

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence will not attend Friday’s “working meeting” between the prime minister and First Nations leaders if the governor general sticks to his decision not to attend.

APTN National News
OTTAWA–Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence will not attend Friday’s “working meeting” between the prime minister and First Nations leaders if the governor general sticks to his decision not to attend.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston’s office said Tuesday he would not be attending the meeting.

“The governor general will not attend Friday’s meeting because it consists of a working meeting with government on public policy issues,” said spokeswoman Julie Rocheleau in an emailed statement.

Spence’s spokesman Danny Metatawabin said the chief, who has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11 consuming only fish broth, medicine tea and water, wouldn’t attend the meeting if Johnston didn’t show.

“If he is not going to be there Theresa is not going to the meeting,” said Metatawabin. “We are going to take it day by day.”

Metatawabin said they’ve relayed their position to Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.

“We are going to have to take it day by day at this point to see if somehow he could be there,” he said.

Last Friday, shortly after the Prime Minister’s Office announced Harper’s meeting with chiefs, Spence told reporters she would be attending.

Atleo is scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday.

Spence has said she won’t end her hunger strike until she’s satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. She’s made the governor general’s involvement as one of the core prerequisites for ending the hunger strike.

Spence has lost 22 lbs since and her life partner Clayton Kennedy said she has been increasingly weak in the last few days and has complained about pains caused by her stomach contracting from lack of solid food.

Spence and her supporters have also felt besieged following the release of an audit into Attawapiskat’s finances between 2005 and 2011. Kennedy told APTN National News Monday that the audit shows financial controls improved since Spence became chief.

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76 thoughts on “Attawapiskat Chief Spence won't attend Friday's meeting if GG sticks to planned no-show

  1. A National Indian Act class action lawsuit starting with IA artificalized status Indian identity definiton is in immediate order plus the glaring reality of IA defined status Indians being wards of the govt under the IA opressive colonial law system.

  2. Shawn Atleo decides what chiefs are to attend. Perhaps Chief Atleo did NOT include Chief Spence. It is his meeting. Anyone think that Spence is not attending because she was not invited. The GG is just a face saving strategy.

  3. I was under the assumption her “hunger strike” was so she could force a meeting with Harper, she’s got that and it isn’t good enough? Theresa Spence is an embarrassment to me as an Aboriginal

  4. I think the GG just gave Chief Spence an excuse not to attend. Anyone responsible for such a scathing audit would want to go into hiding.

  5. She lacks integrity and has lost all moral authority. The results of the audit show her lack of competence at best. Who knows what else was hidden by the mess? She’s on a diet strike, not a hunger strike, and she’s using it to raise money for herself. She’s being paid to work right now and is neglecting her job. The First Nations have some very good cases against government actions and policies – Theresa Spence is detracting from their legitimacy.

  6. Who wants to bet Chief Spence is paying herself perdiem and other expenses for this charade. Millions missing? Such a distraction from the real issues! It’s the natives who support her that are the problem. Nobody rock the canoe, we got a good thing going here!

    1. You mean You have a good thing going here where you can live and work on stolen lands without any thought or appreciation for those who died so that you can live in this Country.

      1. Your response is known as a “straw man fallacy”, but you are in great company with all the other supporters of Chief Spends. You must be related to her, or benefit in some way, otherwise why disagree? It is a fact that on all reserves, your last name is more important than your abilities. That said… Where did the money go, again? I’ve been to Attawapiskat… Have you?

  7. This lady is losing credibility daily — when the politicians call her bluff by saying ok, let’s meet up and you can articulate exactly what it is you want, she finds another reason to stamp her feet like a little kid who is not getting their way and say nope, not going to the meeting. She is getting what she initially asked for — a face to face with the PM.

  8. Looks like Spence is trying to find a way of avoiding the meeting. The GG is suppose to be above politics and policy. It makes sense that he does not attend because he has little influence on the outcome. At best he would be an observer.
    Spence is losing support daily and if she refuses to attend the meeting with the PM and the aboriginal leadership the media and many supporters will begin to ignore her.

  9. Dear England and Queen ,
    In Canada there seems to be a beautiful Movement of Indiginous Peoples who are seeking to solve a long standing problem with Treaties and Social Injustices brought about by Government misunderstanding. At present Government Officials are acting badly. Please,if you would peruse above article and look into the matter it would be greatly appreciated, TY

  10. Hopefully she keeps a receipt for the cab and Tim’s coffee for the trip across the street. Otherwise is could appear in the bands financial statement at “other” for a great deal more.
    Pesky things those records.

  11. I believe The Queen should be contacted and send orders for GG to be there.. because the truth Will set us Free.. And while at it..Keep On Keepin On..

  12. This woman is looking for a way out of her predicament. She’s grandstanding. Please stop paying attention to her as she doesn’t know she’s making a fool of herself. 22 lb. loss in 4-5 weeks is the average result of a good diet and you certainly don’t feel weak. Quite the contrary, you feel energized. So Theresa, stop fooling yourself and trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Go home and try to do a better job at what you’re amply compensated for doing badly.

  13. Well, it already appears as if it’s going to be an unproductive meeting. The government doesn’t seem to be sincere about having a dialogue when they add fuel to the fire. The band has already challenged the government to do a forensic audit – hasn’t been done yet. Why not? Is the government afraid of getting egg on its face again?

  14. It would be a mistake to not go to the meeting. If she goes to the meeting and the others show bad manners, it changes from a meeting to an opportunity. Who looks bad to the world, and the world IS watching.

    1. It’s not her decision to attend the meeting, it’s up to the AFN. If she really wanted to help vulnerable aboriginals living in impoverished conditions, she had a chance to do so for over 5 years as deputy chief and then as chief of Attawapiskat.

      If she couldn’t accomplish the task for her own community what says she can be trusted as the voice for all aboriginals as she claims. History has witnessed leaders with much less accomplish much more for their cause and people. Sadly, Chief Spence is not such a leader.

      Last time I checked, those kinds of leaders wouldn’t drive by their own people living in unheated shacks in a cozy Cadillac Escalade with such insolence.

  15. This has to be interpreted in light of recent events. The Harper government “leaked” an audit in an attempt to discredit Chief Spence before the Friday meeting. Chief Spence, now wary of government motives will now not attend Friday’s meeting unless the Governor General is present.

    Clearly it’s the desire on the part of Chief Spence to hold PM Harper and his Government accountable; by having the Queen’s representative witness to what will inevitably be treaty discussions.

    1. That is simply ridiculous. If the government wanted to discredit her, all they had to do was release the audit through normal channels. Legally, this had to be done by Jan. 16th at the very latest as it is. If anything, they were holding it back to avoid a confrontation days before Friday’s meeting. Someone in opposition is much more likely to have leaked the audit to create an unfavourable situation for the Conservatives. As for Spence, she knew of the audit’s findings four months ago, yet still could not answer the simplest of questions regarding it yesterday or account for the missing documents. Simply disgraceful. Stop drinking the misinformed INM Kool-Aid kids!

      1. In any case, it looks like there’s going to be a lot of finger-pointing going on at this upcoming meeting; meaning there won’t be any progress on aboriginal issues at all. That will mean protests will likely continue until summer. Watch and see.

      2. It was not leaked. It was released through normal channels. Audit sent to government and chief Spence in August 2012. All parties had until October to comment. Government MUST release and publish within 90 days. The 90 days are up January 15 2013. No leak. Standard procedure. .

        1. No, it was leaked, and then released that same day after the leak became known and there was no reason to withhold it further.

    2. How about the chief being accountable to the PM and GG by bringing 60 or 80 million dollars worth of receipts with her .Just to show “good Faith” It should be a two way street. IF SHE HAS NOTHING TO HIDE.

    3. There was no leak. The audit was received by the government on December 27th and posted on the internet as soon as the civil servants returned from Christmas vacation. Some journalists figured out how to access it before others. It was always planned to be released in early 2013 and was. The Chief saw it before her so-called hunger strike (really just a minor diet).

    4. The Auditors report is a red herring on so many levels. This is Harper’s modus operandi. He has used the tactic of trying to smear the opposition in every election he has been in. He never stands on his own record, because it is as wobbly as jelly. The report did not say she was dishonest, just poor at keeping records.

      The Harper government operates at a deficit and can’t be trusted to purchase military equipment on budget. Name a provincial government that operates on budget, except Alberta, which is running on resources stolen from First Nations. Who is calling these governments crooked? Did you read the Auditor General’s Report on federal spending? He had many questions for Harper that have gone unanswered.
      The company Harper hired to audit Attawapiskat has a history of colouring their reports anyway the purchaser wants. There pages of indiscretion complaints against them from across USA and Canada. Do you not think Harper saw this report before he named a meeting date?

      Harper has not changed his spots. He just hopes they help him fade into the background instead of being seen for what he is.

    5. Yep….all that in a three hour meeting. I understand from another story that there are 150 Chiefs in Ottawa talking about the meeting on Friday. No wonder nothing gets done. Who actually speaks for the aboriginal community? Surely not 150 Chiefs.

    1. It takes courage to oversee the mismanagement of millions of dollars as deputy chief for 3 years, then sustain and promote the same mismanagement for another 2 years as chief, then go an a diet? I think our definitions of courage are somewhat different.

  16. Chief Spence should not be a no-show at the Friday meeting because her symbolic presence will overshadow everybody else there. She is now an aboriginal icon that represents the suffering of aboriginals under the inequitable treaties.

    Chief Spence is the Joan of Arc for all aboriginals and her sacrifice for all Canadians cannot be stamped out by Harper and his accountants. Be there, Theresa; we want you to be there.

  17. Everyone one who has a negative comment to say about Chief Spence*Remember* she if fighting for your future too regardless your race.

  18. “The Governor General plays a key role in promoting national identity by supporting and promoting Canadian values, diversity, inclusion, culture and heritage….taking part in a variety of events, meeting with Canadians in their communities and discussing issues of local and national concern. He encourages Canadians to build a compassionate society and to work together to create strong and generous communities. By meeting with Canadians during visits, by taking part in community activities, and by listening to the concerns of Canadians,he encourages dialogue, promotes national identity and fosters national unity.” Why not meet with Chief Theresa Spence? His reasons are Not Good Enough.

    1. Because Chief Spence proves herself to be less and less competent and honourable with each passing hour. She’s refused to reply to the scathing audit, and now has ordered all media deported from Attawapiskat under threat of arrest. All FN people should denounce her and her increasingly ridiculous stunts and demands. She is not qualified to meet with the PM or GG.

  19. No no No.. The GG is important for symbolic value and the vis a vis Natives to Crown which GG represents…….. This is another H trick…..Yes Chief stick to your guns. Doing well… make the GG come to you.

  20. In the GG interview his 2 primary functions was to uphold democracy and diplomatic relations. Well democracy and diplomatic relations in this country is what Idle No More stands for. He was appointed by Harper and the Harper government. What ever happened to the term Canadian government? democracy to dictatorship!!

  21. The more this woman speaks, the more people see how impossible it is to deal with her. Sorry to hear she has a stomach ache after all the fish broth, moose soup, and cans of Boost she’s consumed during her “hunger strike.”

  22. GG represents the Crown who the treaties were signed with which was the whole point of the meeting. While it would surprise no one that the GG does not “work” he still serves a function otherwise there is no point of a GG. You can run, but you can’t hide. Might be time to have a new hash tag alongside of idleNomore like #Moreaggitated. Monday might be a good day to blockade entry into every major city in Canada. It would only require 4 highway blockades, 3 in some on very key strategic concourses and a lot of distractions scattered every where else. Just need to hold the forts for 3 hours to get the economic message across.

    1. No. The Government of Canada represents and acts on behalf of the Crown. The GG has no governing role, thus no role in any such working meeting. The treaties were not negotiated with the Crown, but with the Government of Canada and its predecessor governments dating back to 1784.

      1. okay.. So …Her Majesty might be able to give a heads up to The Prime Minister ..who then in turn could speake to the GG?
        I happen to live in US but the fact remains that if some one claimed my property I would want a chain of command to be present in the appropriate court to reclaim said property.
        There is so much more to this..

        1. Queen and GG are same role — GG acts on Queen’s behalf when she isn’t in Canada. Pastt GGs donated Stanley Cup (hockey) and Grey Cup (football). Queen is Head of State — in U.S., President is both Chief Executive and Head of State (2 distinct roles, here we separate them).

          If there were a Hitlerian, unConstitutional take-over going on by the Prime Minister the Queen could act and the military (which pledges allegiance to the Queen as Head of State) would remove the Prime Minister. However, nothing of the sort is happening. There are over 600 Chiefs, equivalent to Mayors. There are councils and elected Chiefs above them who meet regularly with Federal Government through Minister of Indian Affairs and less regularly with Prime Minister.

          Spence doesn’t understand the Canadian political system at all. Some of her most vocal supporters are Marxist rabble-rousers (e.g. Pam Parmenter who lost national election in run to be top chief last year so now is trying to overturn the system) who have adopted Occupy rhetoric and illegal methods of blockades and confrontation. But it’s clear the reason for the Spence stunt is the financial mismanagement in Attawapiskat in which an independent audit of random transactions over a multi-year period found gross 80% were undocumented. At least $104M is unaccounted for. Why is a town of 300 homes spending millions on unnamed consultants when they’re complaining about housing repairs (and finished homes sit empty)?

          The homes in Attawapiskat were all built by the federal government and given to their occupants. No rent. No property taxes. The federal government sends millions of dollars there each year for schools, welfare, governance, etc.

          The Department of Indian Affairs is the federal dept responsible for native issues in Canada. The Indian Act puts the Minister of that dept in total charge of decisions. Spence has refused to meet with that Cabinet Minister (John Duncan).

          Canadian natives have the vote and the Attawapiskat local Member of Parliament is Charles Angus, an opposition MP who has done nothing to help with this situation at all.

      2. BS. Does 1869 mean anything to you? The lease agreement was signed with the Crown. The fact that the Crown which still retains possession of the land determined to sublease to Canada Inc. does not invalidate the original agreements. Now if the Crown goes under, well that certain creates the opportunity for the FN to sign new lease agreements with Canada Inc or USA Inc or China Inc. etc. I am leaning more to a lease agreement with the United States of South America.

    1. Herbal tea made by a medicine man or woman. In native culture they have many different medicines that come from mother earth.

  23. Agree with the initial comment. Unless there’s some (empty) symbolism involved in her decision, having the G-G present does nothing with respect to the government’s position. The G-G may represent the Crown in Canada, but his legal authority is severely circumscribed. In other words, he can do nothing as far as policy and legislation are concerned.

    1. Natives are wards of the crown and Native lands are held in trust of the Queen…..the G-G acts on behalf of the Queen and signed and passed bill c-45 on her behalf….so one would think that it would be appropriate for him to be there….that’s just my personal opinion 🙂

  24. Stick to your guns Chief Spence, and everyone else ask yourself, what does this parasite have to do that’s more important than paying some attention to the future of a million Canadians.

  25. The Governor General is a meaningless figurehead. Chief Spence (and all native prople) should realize that the “Great Mother across the sea” is part of a fairy tale. She’s been dead for over a century as well.

    1. If this is so why does the government of Canada still pay even in this past year ten’s of millions of dollars to accommodate the Royal family members when they come to this country, and that’s No fairy tale!! Neither is it, if the GG had not singed these bills like C-45 they wouldn’t be law today. Point blank! the Royal’s and the GG are in up to their necks and now they try to hide, because they know they did wrong.

      1. The Governor-General signs bills on behalf of the Queen. If people misconstrue and misrepresent the intent and content of bills they can still ask the Queen to withdraw the approval. But they’d have to make a solid case, and they certainly have not. The Constitution, the law of the land, says no one owns property in Canada. It is all Crown land, owned by all Canadians. You can’t make up alternate stories. Some people want to be outlaws. The Friday meeting is about governance; that is not the role of the Governor-General.

        1. You should read the portion of the Canadian constitution where the British monarchy says that they have “treaties” signed with the First Nations of this land and these “treaties” are to be honoured as long as the wind blows and the water flows. for those that don’t understand the English language very well,, that means FOREVER! One other thing. Countries are won by war, No other country, Britain or France had any war with any First Nations for the ownership of this land even thou Britain and France did fight for it. First Nations where the First! peoples of this land even though some chose not to recognise that fact. Canada today as we know it, would not exist if the First Nations of this land would not have signed these ‘treaties’ nor would any of the first European’s survive on this land if it wasn’t for the First Nations people showing these people how to endure and survive in this environment. Don’t ever Ever!! forget that!

          1. Treaties are two-way streets. Just as the British Empire no longer exists, treaties have been broken by all parties in various ways. Canada is now divided into governed provinces and territorities which wasn’t the case when most treaties were signed. No treaties give property rights. Natives should be subject to the same laws in the geographical district in which they live as are all others. Likewise there was no income tax or GST or HST when these treaties were signed but modern governance, roads, law and order and security cost money. There is no rational reason why a native with a special card should not have to pay gas taxes, but that is the case. It’s an artificial paradise. ‘Forever’ may be meaningful to you, but all laws are governed by and interpreted through context. The same as the idea of a river’s drainage basin has evolved, so has the meaning of ‘forever’. There is NO proof whatsoever that the so-called First Nations were the first peoples in North and South America. There were settlements by Vikings. There is evidence that rafts could have delivered settlers, too. We don’t know what evidence has been lost. We do know by DNA analysis that natives in North and South America are all genetically related. And we do know they are here now and there is record of tribes being in certain locations over the past 500+ years. But records before that are practically non-existent beyond oral, anecdotal mythology. We do know that tribes warred and slaughtered one another and that geographics displacement was a survival mechanism. We also know natives were eager to trade for the technologies, tools and unique products brought from Europe. We also know the French heavily slaughtered the native population of today’s Ontario well prior to the Seven Years War in which England won the Colony of Quebec (modern-day southern Ontario and southern Quebec). And we know Tecumseh and other warrior natives died in combat in the War of 1812 as we fought to carve out an Indian homeland in the central U.S. for them (modern-day Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, etc.). It’s time to get rid of the Indian Act, get rid of racial apartheid and for all Canadians to live together in equality.

          2. You should go back and do some more research. Excuse me for using the term ‘British Monarchy’, Pierre Elliott Trudeau brought this constitution home from the British “parliament” in 1982, he didn’t just pull this document of his back pocket in the Canadian parliament after writing it up while sitting in his bathroom on the can and say here this is how it is going to be from now on. The British “parliament” gave Canada it’s own Constitution in 1982 and clearly stated in it that there are provisions in it concerning the First Nations people of this country that are not to be run rough shot over by any Canadian government for as long as the wind blows and the rivers flow. Canada as everything within it and the entire world for that matter has changed over the years and will continue to do so, I believe the word for it is called evolution. Never the less, how Canada had decided to divide it self up has no consequence on the fact these “treaties” do in fact exist and are to be honoured. As for your mentioned ‘taxes’ in 1867 the government could only impose a
            direct taxation such as property taxes and income taxes although they also maintained control over most resource revenues as well and most of the federal government’s revenue came from tariffs on trade with excise taxes making up the rest of the government’s funding. In 1917, a tax on income was introduced as a “temporary measure” to fund the war. The income tax in this country has since become a permanent feature of the Canadian tax system. So as you can see by the previous statement’s this is where your tax system came from, so if you have any quarrel with this system please feel free to address your money hungry government about this problem, it wasn’t the First Nations of this land that did this, it was your governments doing. And as for the Vikings being the First people being here, when the First Europeans arrived on these shores it was no Viking that they had found here, it was First Nations people, your history will clearly tell you this, no matter how you try to deny that fact!

            I can clearly see that you are not a person who has the ability of actually going out and living off of this land itself or you would not be going threw the lengths you are to discredit the First Nations of this country or even their existence. There is a fight going on right now in this country that is not only about native rights but also the well being of this country as a whole and it’s future concerning such things as the very water you drink and the air that you get to breath. which thanks to this governments actions, the government you are going out of your way to defend, will cause it to be in certain jeopardy for all in this land as well as future First Nations generations and Canadians. I think it is safe to say we won’t see you out on any line taking a stand on these very serious issues to protect them or your very own future or families future yet to be born in this country or your views wouldn’t be what they are. This says a lot about you and who you are.

            By the way just so you know where this tax money you are so concerned about actually goes, During the 2010-11 fiscal year Canada recorded 240 Billion dollars in revenue. Some people seem to think the majority of this money goes to the First Nations. Well here is the break down on it.

            36 Billion goes to elder and pension funds

            53 Billion goes to provincial governments

            33 Billion goes to Federal organizations and employees

            31 Billion goes to Canada’s in-house debt

            20 Billion goes to EI benefits

            26 Billion goes to health programs

            10 Billion goes to research & development

            21 Billion goes to national defense

            10 Billion goes to public safety and emergency preparedness

            7.3 Billion goes to the Canada revenue agency

            10 Billion goes to crown corporations

            6.7 Billion is divided between Health research, programs for public health, veterans health care and First Nations & Aboriginal peoples

            555 Million goes to parliament’s salaries and honorariums, while they capitalize on more funds by way of drilling and raping Canadian land

            So now you know where your tax dollars are going, not to mention that the Dept of Indian affairs has an estimated 5000 employees most of who make six figure salaries plus benefits so in actual fact the First Nations reserves in Canada receive about half of what has been allotted for them. And you have a problem with this? Ya we know who you are!

      2. Read a little history. The GG does nothing without the permission of the Prime Minister. There are occasional exceptions but they are more like a circuit breaker. The GG, like the Queen, NEVER touches policy (Charles I was beheaded for this) as that is the purview of Parliament.

        Don’t get tripped up in the trivia. Gross Domestic Product in this country is more than $1.7 Trillion. A few million spent on bread and circuses to please the mob (as in the time of Julius Caesar).

        The Indian Act is a mess and always has been. This PM won’t touch it because his fundamental belief is that central government is never a good thing. You and I will never convince him otherwise.

        Personally, I believe that native leadership is a mess. I have defended Chief Spence elsewhere as I believe that she is doing a better job than most. She is up against a vicious machine and will not win on the merits of her case. Ghandi won against the same (type of) monster although Mountbatten wasn’t nearly as bright as Harper.

        Three areas for study:

        1) Parliamentary history – for who has the power and why
        2) Ghandi – how to defeat (1) with nonviolence where the occupiers are outnumbered.
        3) Sun Tzu – The Art of War – how not to be defeated by (1)

        Harper’s weak spot is trade. If this can be slowed through nonviolent protest you will affect his tax revenues and that will keep his attention. It doesn’t matter if that provokes police action. Nonviolence can absorb police resources far better than violence.

    2. Her Heirs still rule..And can signify..
      The line of command has to start somewhere.. in meetings of this nature,a discourteous snub, from Ontarios Government surely shouln’t be tolerated

      1. Does she want a meeting or a ceremony? The GG attends ceremonies. The PM attends meetings. Ceremonies have no results.

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