ATTAWAPISKAT AUDIT ANOTHER INDICATION OF GOVERNMENT’S BAD FAITH
Winnipeg, MB – Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs spoke out today about the timely release of the Attawapiskat audit. Grand Chief Nepinak's statement is as follows:
The timely release of the leaked audit conducted by Deloitte on the Attawapiskat First Nation by an anonymous source and then posted on the Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada's website is nothing more than a smear campaign against a Chief and a community that are standing up and challenging the power mechanisms in government that continue to try and oppress us. This latest web posting and media release from the government is yet another indication of the bad faith and malicious tactics they use to keep the public misinformed about the realities of Indigenous people living in the Canadian state. It is my observation that this campaign of misinformation incites divisiveness in the Canadian population at a time when we are calling on all Canadians to stand together with us in opposition to the loss of integrity in the democratic institutions that have shaped the Canadian experience. This divisiveness that is being promoted through these types of actions without telling the whole story behind the numbers is fuelling the racism and hatred that is contributing to the violence we see against our people every day in the social media and the streets of the cities and towns across this country.
People tend to think that accounting speaks for itself however accounting and standards applied to First Nations communities are entirely political, arbitrary, and manipulated to meet government objectives of containing and assimilating us while the vast wealth of our ancestral lands is exploited. This federal government's Indigenous termination policies are made practical by hundreds of well-paid Indian Act bureaucrats who are tasked with the implementation of policy through accounting and the imposition of punitive fiscal consequences. The government claims an 'independent audit' was performed. This statement is purely to imply a lack of bias in accounting and audits. This is a falsehood considering a robust speculators economy exists amongst accountants and accounting firms across Canada who know that it is much more lucrative for them to make $15-$20,000 a month on a First Nation community in a co-management or third party management scenario than it is to report a clean audit once a year. The reality is that accountants and firms have an indirect financial incentive to raise quality questions about a First Nations internal accounting standards when they know this might push a community into the very lucrative intervention policy of the department of Indian affairs. The intervention market is monopolized by accounting firms who do both audits and co-management and third party management. The Harper Government and its supporters continue to lambast First Nation Chiefs such as Chief Spence for lack of accountability for dollars received despite the fact that the Attawapiskat First Nation was in co-management and third party situations during the time frame this audit was conducted by Deloitte. The question that needs to be answered is where is the accountability framework for these managers that are chosen by the Harper government to assist these First Nations move towards a path of financial sustainability.
Deloitte is also the same firm that the Harper government has defended over the last few months for the $19.8-million contract, equivalent to $90,000 a day, that was awarded to the company in order to advise Harper on cost-cutting measures to First Nations, the public sector and the environmental programs and services.