our beloved cbc let us down

what a careless piece of journalism.

i am skeptical about the cbc’s use of language. i am skeptical about cbc’s intent. you should be, too.

because, in fact, there was an audit of attawapiskat’s finances in 2011, and there was no evidence of mismanagement (source.) then, in 2012 there was a ruling by a federal court that the government acted inappropriately in their response to the audit (specifically, sending in a third-party manager where none was required. telling, isn’t it?).

attawapiskat band office. july 2012.
attawapiskat band office. july 2012.


but the careless piece of journalist that i refer to above is, in fact, true. and that’s the problem: it is only technically true, but without providing the reader any context. the article leans on a repetition of the amount of money, leading readers to believe chief theresa spence pocketed the cash (while watching the ruins of her community fall to further shambles around her). the article is technically true, because there was a lack of solid documentation to indicate where money had been spent. but the cbc would like you to believe that this is an indication of criminal behaviour on the part of chief theresa spence. and it was not. and it was proven not to be the case. (source.)

if it was, there would have been a criminal investigation. this is the way it works when authority figures steal. the use of the money sent to attawaspikat to help them rebuild after publicly declaring a state of emergency. their progress was watched with heartfelt interest by local communities who regularly reported on the use of funds. (source.) (source.) (source.) (source.) (source.) (source.) (source.) with public attention like this, can we really imagine that chief theresa spence decided to pocket millions of dollars?

mobile home in attawapiskat. july 2012.
mobile home in attawapiskat. july 2012.

there are no mansions in attawaspiskat.

in an article published by the globe and mail in august 2012 entitled “ottawa’s response to attawapiskat emergency ‘unreasonable,’ court rules”,  you can read all about how this area had already been investigated. the government was unable to prove financial mismanagement (but i bet they really, really wanted to).

perhaps you are an urbanite, and you can’t imagine what life is like on an extremely remote reserve (i certainly cannot). resources are scarce, any sort of economic infrastructure tends to crumble, and where hope becomes a rare commodity. can you imagine a circumstance where a lack of solid documentation of funds spent is not a crime? here is an article posted by the national post in 2011 on the subject of these funds. i highly encourage you to read it.

a little aside: attawapiskat posts annual financial statements on their site.

so, i offer a conundrum: what does the cbc have to gain by rehashing a resolved issue? by deliberately defaming a woman who would suffer in order to bring light to the suffering she witnesses in her daily life?

the media, even the media you love, will prey on your inability to remember, and your unwillingness to contextualize (this is best done before casting stones). it is important that we remain diligent when reading articles that seek to defame those seeking justice. it is easy to fling our hate toward others when we are made uncomfortable. when our families don’t agree with our politics, for example, or when we feel like we’re being inconvenienced when a commuter train is blocked…. but what about the possibility that making the lives of others better

being the media’s watchperson won’t make you popular, but it will make you wise. there’s still a place for wise people in this crazy world, i think.

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