URGENT CALL FOR SUPPORT: Punishment for Failure to Submit to First Nations Financial Transparency Act?

 

Indian Affairs Push Algonquin Families of Barriere Lake to the Brink of Starvation; Food and Cash Needed

 

Photo of forest with sunlight
The Barriere Lake Algonquins live on approximately 17,000 square kms of unceded territory 4 hours north of Ottawa in Quebec.

For the last three months, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has refused to issue social assistance cheques to 15 Algonquin families at Barriere Lake. This has affected between 50-60 people, including 25 children. Aboriginal Affairs is aware of the situation, but has failed to intervene.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake are questioning whether the band’s non-compliance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act is behind this brutal denial of social assistance funds.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake have not submitted the consolidated financial statements required by the Transparency Act in protest of the band’s lack of control over band spending. As punishment for non-compliance, the Chief and a member of Council have not been paid for their work since November 27, 2014.

Barriere Lake has been under “Third Party Management” since 2006, which authorizes external accountants hired by Aboriginal Affairs to take over discretion of band finances and spending.

As winter sets in and the Christmas season is upon us, it is extremely difficult for these families and for the band’s governing body to survive without any other source of income. We are calling communities near and far to provide immediate support for Barriere Lake in this time of need.

 

What is needed?

Needed: Flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, rice, tomato soup, canned whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, cereals, eggs, porridge, macaroni, pasta, pasta sauce, white bread, chicken and beef broth, white beans, canned beans, margarine, potatoes (at least 200 pounds), pancake mix, syrup, dried peas, mac and cheese. Any other canned goods and dry goods that are common consumables and non-perishable.

If you are in Ottawa, please bring contributions to First United Church at 347 Richmond Road between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM, December 21 – 27. Before delivering any contributions, please call the church at 613-­232­-1016 or if there is no answer call 613­729-­2647 to let them know you are coming. Please take the goods to the back of the Church off Madison Ave (one block north of Richmond).

You may still donate funds to the general Barriere Lake Solidarity fund, through PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q22YF238ACE5N

You can also send the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, a strong message through his website: http://www.bernardvalcourtmp.ca/contact/

Insist that (1) all social assistance payments – including back payments – are made immediately, and that the Department will work with the Chief and Council to ensure that no further payments are withheld; and (2) that the Federal Government meet Barriere Lake’s following demands, regarding the Transparency Act:

– Chief and Council must be free to appoint a fully qualified auditor of their own choosing;

– Chief and Council must have a decisive say over what is included in the audit;

– A fair and transparent dispute resolution process must be initiated to deal with the transactions that the Third Party Manager and Aboriginal Affairs have undertaken to date without the band’s involvement or approval.

 

Thank you / Migwetch

 

Truth & Reconciliation Commission proceedings – Live screening in Ottawa March 27-30, 2014

The final public hearing of testimonials from survivors of Canada’s residential schools is being held from this coming Thursday (March 27) through Sunday (March 30).

Live streaming of the Edmonton Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings will be offered at First United Church (347 Richmond Rd. in Ottawa) in the chapel. There will be a host to orient you to what is going on, and provide hot drinks.

Free for all who wish to come and be a caring witness. See schedule below for daily times (all in the afternoons and evenings).

We invite you to come and gather in community as long distance witnesses to the proceedings. Our witness is important. A full schedule of events can be viewed on the www.trc.ca website under events – livestreaming is available to everyone through that website.

  • Opening Ceremony: Thurs March 27th 12-2pm
  • Commissioners Sharing: Fri March 28th 3-5pm
  • Call to Gather: Fri March 28th 6-8pm
    (includes Honorary Witness Ceremony and Expressions of Reconciliation)
  • Commissioners Sharing: Sat, March 29th 11am-2pm & 3-5pm
  • Call to Gather: Sat March 29th 6-8pm
  • Expressions of reconciliation: Sun March 30th 11am-12noon
  • Commissioners Sharing: Sun March 30th 12-2pm, 3-5pm
  • Survivor Birthday Celebration: Sun March 30th 5-5:30pm
  • Closing Ceremony: Sun March 30th 6-8p.m

For more information, email: jhardman@rogers.com

No More Stolen Sisters: Safe Shelters, Safe Housing, Safe Services

** Please forward and read below on three IMPORTANT ways you can support **

Over the past two months a growing group of women residents of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) in Vancouver as well as a coalition of DTES and women-serving organizations have been raising the urgent issue of women’s safety in shelters in the Downtown Eastside. This has come in response to a number of reported sexual assaults in DTES shelters.

We have been dismayed by the lack of response by all levels of government about the ongoing violence committed against women in the Downtown Eastside. We have been outraged that all four of our correspondences have been ignored. We have been shocked that our delegation to BC Housing in March 2011 was met with a heavy presence of police and we were shut out from any dialogue on this issue. All this suggests to us that BC Housing as well as city and provincial officials do not consider women’s safety a priority within their funded facilities.

Sexual assaults against women in this neighbourhood are normalized as we have seen with the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered women. Women should not have to “choose” between the indignity of homelessness and being warehoused in shelters, and the high-risk of assault associated with both. We will not remain silent or complicit and are continuing a grassroots campaign based on three core demands that we believe can and should be met in a timely manner.

We are calling for:

1) A 24 hours low-barrier women-only (includes all self-identified women) drop-in space and shelter in the Downtown Eastside, ideally on Hastings Street between Main and Jackson. The establishment and operation of this service should be done through an accountable process including a transparent call for tenders and in consultation with community organizations and DTES resident women.

2) Housing for homeless women and children with at least 100 new units to be made available immediately.

3) Clear provincial standards for women’s safety in co-ed shelters to be implemented immediately in all existing and new shelters, including but not limited to:

• Women-only facilities in co-ed shelters with adequate women-only beds and services within those spaces.

• Women staff and training for all staff by women’s organizations experienced in issues of sexual and gender violence. Shelter contractors must demonstrate the ability to ensure safety and security for women shelter users and all staff must be able to demonstrate an understanding of gender inequalities that contribute to violence against women.

We are calling on allied groups, communities, and individuals to support us. Please get involved and spread the word!

For more information email project@dewc.ca or call 604 681 8480 x 234. Website:
http://womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com/

HOW TO SUPPORT

1) PETITION: Please sign our online petition. We are hoping to gather 5000 signatures in two weeks and need your help to make this happen! Link to petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/DTESsafe/petition.html

2) ENDORSE: If you are a member of a women’s group, social justice collective, community centre, union, service organization, or campus group, we request that you please endorse our three demands by emailing hwalia8@gmail.com or calling 778-885-0040.

3) WRITE-IN: We are requesting that everyone to please send an email along the lines of the below to all of the following people in BC Housing, City Council, MLA’s and MP’s.

RE: Safe Housing and Safe Services for Women in the DTES

It has come to my attention that for the past two months a coalition has been raising the urgent issue of women’s safety in shelters in the Downtown Eastside. I have been dismayed by the lack of response by all levels of government about the ongoing violence committed against women in
the Downtown Eastside. Sexual assaults against women in this neighbourhood in particular are normalized and their safety is not considered of highest priority as we have seen with the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered women. This would never be acceptable in any other part of town. I support the call for a 24 hours drop-in space and shelter for women in the Downtown Eastside, housing for homeless women and children, and clear protocols to be established within co-ed shelters.

Sincerely,
(NAME, ADDRESS, CONTACT INFO)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Open Letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson “Women Respond to Sexual Assaults in Downtown Eastside Church Shelter While Shelter and City of Vancouver Ignore Reports”: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6390

Press Release “Women Respond to Comments by Reverend Ric Matthews of First United Church; Reiterate Calls for 24-hour Women’s Shelter and Safe Housing in DTES”: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6496

Press Release “Women’s Action in Downtown Eastside for Women’s Safety” and Open Letter to BC Housing: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/6692

SELECTED MEDIA

Video of press conference: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/video/press-conference-women-respond-sexual-assault-dtes-shelter/6484

Podcast of Vancouver DTES women’s groups shut out of B.C. Housing office: http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/pivot-legal-society/2011/03/vancouver-dtes-womens-groups-shut-out-bc-housing-office

Women rail against violence in shelters: http://www.theprovince.com/news/assault+protest/4488619/story.html

Safe Housing, Safe Shelters and Safe Services for Women: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/vancouver-politics-and-service-provision/6707

More emergency shelter spaces needed for women, Vancouver council hears: http://www.straight.com/article-382418/vancouver/more-emergency-shelter-spaces-needed-women-vancouver-council-hears

Women’s groups outraged over sexual assault comments: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/03/02/bc-first-united-church-sexual-assaults.html

This campaign has been endorsed by:

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, DTES Power of Women Group, WISH Drop-In Centre Society, Walk4Justice, Battered Women’s Support Services, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, PACE Society, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Vancouver Status of Women, Oxfam Canada, No One Is Illegal Vancouver, Vancouver Action, Council of Canadians, Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund, Streams of Justice, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, Carnegie Community Action Project, Purple Thistle Centre, W2 Community Media Arts Society, Life Skills Centre , Ending Violence Association of BC, Portland Hotel Society, Pivot Legal Society, UBC Centre for Race Autobiography Gender and Age studies, Interfaith Institute for Justice, Peace and Social Movements, Women Against Violence Against Women, Aboriginal Front Door