Roundup: A damning audit

Things on the Attawapiskat file got even more interesting yesterday with leaks of the independent audit of the band’s finances – the full report going online later in the day on the Aboriginal Affairs website. The gist – there was almost no due diligence with spending on the reserve, little to no documentation, and no way to tell if any of the money has been spent effectively. And remember that Spence’s partner is the band’s co-manager, whose job it is to handle the money. Spence has also known the audit’s results since August 28th, and has refused to comment to the audit firm about it. While it was due to be released no later than the middle of next week, the PM’s spokesperson denied that it had been withheld deliberately. And Spence? Shut out the media from her Victoria Island campsite while her spokesperson said that the audit was wrong and wondered about the timing of the release. Paul Wells notes that of all the leaders, past prime ministers and would-be leaders who’ve visited Spence, Thomas Mulcair was conspicuously absent, which may have turned out to be a prudent thing. Jonathan Kay parses the lessons inherent in that year-old CBC report on Attawapiskat, and applies them to the current situation. John Ivison looks at the audit, and the context of Theresa Spence’s ever-changing goal posts, while Andrew Coyne looks at the tensions in the Aboriginal community between those looking to modernise with incremental advancements the way the current government is proceeding with, and those who consider those advancements “genocide.”

As Idle No More continues to protest the changes to the Navigable Waters Act that were part of Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge, those changes have found big fans in the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, who have been pushing for the changes for years. Two First Nations bands, meanwhile, are taking the government to court over their failure to properly consult on those changes.

The federal government has finally Gazetted proposed anti-spam regulations, and as part of that has nixed the proposal to let ISPs install software on people’s computers without consent. Michael Geist suspects those regulations have also been watered down after intense lobbying by commercial interests. Also on the technology file, Peter Nowak has some suggestions for the long, long overdue “digital strategy” that the government keeps proposing but going nowhere on.

Access to Information documents have revealed that the bureaucrats in Citizenship and Immigration fought a last-minute battle to save refugee healthcare benefits, and it was those efforts that ensured that the benefits for settled refugees were retained, despite Jason Kenney claiming that they were never meant to be cut in the first place.

Letters detailing some of the irregular elections expenses incurred by Peter Penashue have been removed from his Elections Canada file, which they way were placed there “in error.” Curious.

As Harper meets with the head of the African Union about Mali, former diplomat Robert Fowler, who was held there after being kidnapped in Niger, criticises the government for saying they haven’t been asked to assist with the situation in that country when they were indeed asked – by means of a UN Security Council resolution.

New studies have shown that the effects of 50 years of oil sands development are being seen in lakes 90 kilometres away from the mine sites.

Over in the Liberal leadership race, Martha Hall Findlay talks to Canadian University Press about reaching beyond the traditional Liberal base to find support. Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, has raised more money that Thomas Mulcair did in his leadership campaign.

Here is your recap of the reactions of the Attawapiskat audit from last night’s political shows in a special Politics on TV column (regular columns resume when the House returns).

And it appears that Pat Martin is close to reaching an out-of-court settlement with regards to his defamation suit by RackNine. Time will tell is he learned his lesson about speaking injudiciously.