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Spotted: Your comments as Attawapiskat is put under 3rd-party control

Categories: Canada

si-att-220.jpgThe federal government has announced the remote James Bay community of Attawapiskat will go under third-party management amid a housing crisis.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, who announced the measures in question period Wednesday, told the House of Commons that "urgent health and safety issues" in the northern Ontario community needed immediate action.

The minister has also requested a comprehensive audit to identify how money has been spent in the community and what oversight measures have been taken in the past five years.

CBC audience members responded swiftly to the story, and most were in agreement that some sort of help needed to be provided to Attawapiskat residents as soon as possible.

  • "Whoever this third party manager is, godspeed! Be effective, be fast, do what's right-and do not base any decision on party ideology." - Benjasi.·   
  • "The audit can wait until these Canadians are found proper housing. Pull out all the stops and get this thing fixed matter the cost. And while you're at it, why don't you start looking at the other northern reserves housing situation." - DJ1951.
  • "What a fiasco. I hope those poor people get more help than a sleeping bag." -  number5

Some were quick to express anger with the government over the current conditions in Attawapiskat.

  • "This government...NOT THE RED CROSS...needs to be in that community right now to fix this disaster before they even think of who may be at fault." - symbadawg.
  • "I'd gain a much greater peace of mind knowing these folks had a warm place to sleep than I would knowing some fancy new jets were sitting idle in a hanger somewhere." - Shawn D.
  • "This government should stand up for the native people of Canada instead of providing aids in other countries where other governments/countries are accountable for their own issues. It isn't hard to approach these issues, it's not just one community, it's all first nations in Canada that needs aid such as health care, housing, water , education, etc." -  iNDN12.

However, just as many seemed perplexed about the claim that the government has already spent some $90 million on Attawapiskat since coming to office.

  • "How was that amount of money spent on education? Personally, I don't think it was, but it always sounds good to say education in the same breath as you say spending public monies." - redforever.
  • "ok, like so many people want to know, where did all the money go? and why?" - 1 guys opinion.
  • "I want to know where the tens of millions of dollars went? Was it a case of embezzlement and fraud?" - BrianJ.

The speculation about funds sparked some responses from other CBC community members.

  • "I kind of doubt that people living in tents, with unclean water, with outdoor toilets got 90 million dollars." - davejames.
  • "This works out to ten thousand per year for each citizen on the reserve. Out of that ten thousand, food must be bought, clothing must be purchased, and there are no homes to move into. On top of that, you are expected to create your own drinkable water system to supply your home, employ teachers, and employ social assistance. Then there is electricity, sewage systems etc. How far do you think your ten thousand would go every year? My guess is that you would be living in a shack or tent, as these people have been forced to do." - Mary Lynn M.
  • "[T]his money amounts to about 8000 per person for the year.... Sounds like a lot but when you really break it down it is only enough to barely keep you alive." - Sicskahghee

The majority of people who commented still felt outraged at the situation and urged compassion rather than finger pointing.

  • "What year is it?? 1823???? [T]his is absolutely unforgivable that people - CANADIAN PEOPLE - have to live in these conditions in 2011!!!...A heater and sleeping bag is a great first step. However, the people in Attawapiskat deserve more and should be delivered more than just a bandaid solution. These people are Canadians. Period. I could care less about what colour they are or race. That's irrelevant." -  johnblacknb.
  • "All the politics and blame aside, I hope this will get them on the right path and they put people in the right place to guide them and keep them on that path. However they got into this situation isn't the point right now, it's how we go about caring for people who need our help that we need to concentrate on." - flubbergusted.
  • "These are people first and foremost and that must not be lost in all the finger pointing. There are many Canadians in crisis on First Nations reserves, lets hope this is the beginning of something that should have been addressed a long time ago. Put your fingers back in your pockets and lets get the job done. The children and elders will not survive the winter in their current condition." - Laughing1.
  • "I feel we may have lost sight of the real part of this ... We are talking about children, women, men and Elders. We are talking about people." - Ktopher26.

Thanks for all of your feedback on this story! Feel free to carry on the discussion in the comments section below.

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