“There’s nothing wrong with that. But charity should also be applied equally at home and in Canada, we have impoverished First Nations whose people are treated as third or fourth class citizens —- if they’re lucky enough to be considered at all while millions of dollars in government largess go abroad.”
Ironically, “At the moment it really is a crisis we are facing. . . . We are in a third world situation,” Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence told reporters at Queen’s Park on Friday, says the Toronto Star.
“I think we must do that (evacuate) because they are not in safe environment right now and winter is coming,”it has Spence,” who declared a state of emergency for the community last month, stating.
Last time around, “Local children used to study at the J.R. Nakogee School, built in the 1970s. Then, in 2000, it was permanently closed after a massive diesel leak seriously contaminated the area,” I wrote.
Now, thanks to the Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus, the Huffington Post is also featuring the school.
My original story was headlined Attawapiskat: Canada’s shame. But Charlie’s item asks simply,What if They Declared an Emergency and No One Came?
In one case as many as 27 people are living in a home while up to 90 live in a construction trailer left behind by the diamond mining company De Beers, Canada Inc, Angus writes.
These days, “Conditions are so deplorable at the northern native community of Attawapiskat near James Bay that officials there are urging the province to evacuate the community of more than 2,000 before winter sets in,” says Richard J Brennan in the Toronto Star.
“I often have to remind myself that I am still working in the province of Ontario, ” declares Dr Elizabeth Blackmore, in the Toronto Star. She’s one of 12 family doctors who serve the James Bay coast.
She states overcrowding and lack of hygiene lead to increased infectious diseases, scabies, lice, respiratory problems and acute depression. Substance abuse and suicide often follow.
“From a medical perspective, we see this as an emergency and that something has to be done,” she said.
According to Brennan, “A spokesperson for the provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs said housing on native communities is the responsibility of the federal government, not the province. ‘Ultimately the federal government has some long-standing issues (at Attawapiskat) that need to been addressed by the federal government,’ she said.
Meanwhile,Ottawa has agreed to spend $500,000 to renovate housing in Attawapiskat, “but critics says that isn’t nearly enough to meet the needs,” Brennan’s story says.
Jon Newton, p2pnet