This is old news, but it serves to underline the George W Harper solution to the Attawapiskat pay problem someone else to sort it.
His government wants the Attawapiskat First Nation to fork out around $1,300 a day to BDO (an “accounting and consulting organization with offices throughout the US “even though “the government’s own assessments say the third-party management system is not cost-effective”, says the the Canadian Press.
Aboriginal Affairs officials told the news, agency they’ve committed to paying Jacques Marion of BDO Canada $180,000 to look after the reserve’s accounts from now until June 30.
And the money has to come from the Attawapiskat ’s budget.
“That rate over the course of a year would run up to $300,000 and easily pay for at least one nice, solid house, notes Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit,” says CP, going on:
“The band will soon find itself cutting off educational assistants and aides for special-needs children in order to scrape together the money to pay the consultant, said New Democrat MP Charlie Angus,whose riding includes Attawapiskat.
“What they’ve done is taken $300,000 out of this band’s limited budget for political cover to pay for the mistakes of an incompetent minister,” the story has him, saying.
“They have to shut down programs to pay for this guy.”
Marion’s daily fee is about a month’s salary for educational assistants, he added.
But Harper “brushed aside criticism of the fees and requests from the opposition to cover the costs. Harper told the House of Commons the government is just making sure the band council in Attawapiskat stops mismanaging taxpayers’ money, CP states, adding.
“We’re investing … additional hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency services to make sure people are being taken care of,” he said.
“The people of that community and the wider taxpayers of this country have an absolute right to ensure that that money is being used and being used effectively, and that is what we are doing.”
In a statement Aboriginal Affairs said the appointee has been instructed to put the community’s health and safety first, and to continue financing all building projects that support that aim.
“A recent departmental review of the intervention regime concluded that the third-party management system is not cost-effective, and hurts a band’s ability to govern itself,” states the Canadian Press.
The review points out that third-party managers are not able to use surpluses to pay off debt.
The review also said the arrangement is applied inconsistently across the country, making measurement of success or failure difficult. Some third-party arrangements drag on for up to 10 years, with no evident plan to graduate to a more independent financial arrangement.
The auditor general has also “repeatedly criticized third-party management for not being properly monitored by the government, CP observes”.