It is unclear why the Chiefs of these 44 communities are choosing to withhold this information from their electorate and Canadian taxpayers. It is particularly peculiar that two of these communities, Weenusk First Nation and Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, previously published their audited financial statements and have now reversed course. That brings up the question: why are these 44 Chiefs afraid of an informed electorate?
Last year, an independent study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada based on Statistics Canada figures found that status First Nations children in Ontario -- those who would be affected by these cuts -- have a staggering poverty rate of 40 per cent, compared to 15 per cent for non-Indigenous children.
This latest energy hubbub is not about corporate power and exploitation rights. Rather it's about the rise of native empowerment and the deal that Canada has yet to strike with natives that recognizes that they are power-brokers in shaping project outcomes. Rexton is but a symptom that all is not well, right across the country, in terms of business-as-usual approaches for resource access. There's more to come!
Approximately 150,000 aboriginal children were taken from their families and placed in Canada's residential school system from the late 1800s until the last one closed in 1996. At least 3,000 children -- possibly many more -- never got out of those schools alive. Telling their stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission helps survivors begin to heal.