Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ezra Levant's Attawapiskat smear gets destroyed

James Murray, Editorial, Net News Ledger:

The northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat is not a Piñata. Yet the attacks on the people of Attawapiskat continue. The federal Conservatives pulled the third party manager, and did not offer up any real answers as to why they did so. The federal government did not present any evidence of financial misdeeds to a judge in the court case they just lost.

Sadly the faux anger has not stopped. When you are hosting a ‘political red meat feast’ for your supporters, asking them if they want some facts to put on top of their meat takes too much time. The attacks and the misinformation that some pundits seem determined to spread continue. 

Sun Media personality Ezra Levant, for example, has been using the community of Attawapiskat as political red meat to throw to his ravenous audience on ‘The Source’ on Sun News and in his column in the Sun newspapers.

In an editorial published in the Sun newspaper chain, Levant opines, “Last fall, the Attawapiskat Indian reserve declared a state of emergency. Despite $90 million poured into the reserve over five years by the federal government — into a town with fewer than 500 families — there were dozens of band members living in shanties and shacks, and even some families in tents.

The facts that Attawapiskat receives funding that covers healthcare, education, roads, and all other services as a part of that money was overlooked. 

If my calculator is right, that works out to $9000 per resident per year. 

Consider that in Ontario the province spends $14,000 per student on education. One might start thinking that the kids in Attawapiskat are getting burnt by the federal government.

Consider that housing is something that falls under the responsibilities of the Federal Government, and then mix in the cost of shipping anything to Attawapiskat and the reality is the money isn’t the amounts needed.

If Toronto were to receive $9,000 per person per year in government funding, likely the results would be similar.

The fact that Attawapiskat was already in the process of ordering the mobile homes that several weeks later the government manager in fact ordered is completely ignored. That the Chief and Council were already presenting solutions that the Government delayed is not the kind of red meat that feeds a hungry feeding frenzy of conservatives.

The fact that the Conservatives pulled their third party manager and didn’t present a single piece of evidence in court that pointed to any financial impropriety is not mentioned. That would likely burn the political red meat to a crisp. In my opinion, that would likely weaken the rant.

If the facts are not working, start yelling louder!

Levant writes, “Except that, right in the middle of this so-called state of emergency, when people were in leaky houses and tents, the Attawapiskat Indian band — with three chiefs and 18 band councillors on the payroll — made an important financial decision.

To pour a little hard cold reality into the mix, the money for the Olympia Ice Resurfacer was raised in community bingos, and other fund-raisers. It was the residents and parents of the young people who stepped up and did for themselves. Just like hockey moms and dads, soccer moms and dad, and all parents and relatives support their young people. 

Sorry to burn the red meat – but the Chief and Council were not a part of that decision. It was the parents.

Continue reading here.

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