Chief Spence meets the spin cycle - APTN NewsAPTN News

Chief Spence meets the spin cycle

News that not only informs, but inspires.

By Kent Driscoll
APTN National News
Holding a hunger strike in sight of Parliament Hill would set Chief Theresa Spence up for criticism. Indeed, in the last few days, criticism against the Attawapiskat Chief has multiplied. Also multiplied, the degree of inaccuracy of the allegations leveled at her.

On the Sun News Network website, there is a graphic called “Attawapiskat Exposed” listing many allegations about Chief Spence.

Sun News states: “Between the government and the money pouring in from the nearby diamond mine, it works out to $250,000 each family for each year. Tax free. That’s like $400,000 for the rest of us.”

Fact: APTN National News has found most of the money from the diamond mine is locked up in a trust to provide for future generations, and the biggest payment was received when the mine opened. As for the “tax-free” argument, Chelsey Vowell takes a long look at it over here, and things aren’t that simple.

Sun News: “Attawapiskat First nation owns $9 million in stocks from Apple, Disney and Chinese cell phone companies.”

Fact: Attawapiskat’s trust from diamond revenue has 100’s of stocks , not just the brand names they mention. This is standard practice for First Nations and Inuit communities that receive resource revenue. You can only take those rocks out of the ground once, but a trust keeps on providing long This is responsible, good management, and if it wasn’t happening, people would be complaining even more.

SunNews: “The government says that Attawapiskat has received $90 million dollars since 2006.”

Fact:  John Geddes at MacLean’s took on this number very effectively. Less than 5 per cent of that $90 million was designated to be spent on homes, and Geddes says the real number is closer to $4 million for houses since 2006. Federal spending in Attawapiskat in 2010-11 was $15.9 million, $6.6 million of that was for education alone.

Sun News: “$450,000 a month pours into Attawapiskat a month in welfare payments.”

Fact: This figure is misleading . In 2010-11 – according to Ontario Works – 443 households received $3.9 million in welfare, at a rate of $755 a month. That is $334,465 a month, not $450,000. When you live in a very remote community, $755 a month isn’t going to buy very much.

Sun News: “Attawapiskat has 21 full-time politicians for 300 homes”

Fact: Attawapiskat has a chief, a deputy chief, and 12 councilors. Only the chief would be considered full time. Critics are counting every individual who sat on council that year, but  many of the councilors only served short terms. If you add up the man hours, the months served, it works out to 12 councilors.

Sun News: “Chief Theresa Spence’s boyfriend, Clayton Kennedy, earns $850 a day, income tax free.” Sun News also went on air claiming Chief Spence and Kennedy made  $250,000 a year.

Fact: Kennedy is contracted to work 3 weeks out of four, 5 days a week. $850 x 5 days x 3 weeks x 12 months = $153,000 a year. If you count 4 weeks a month (which his contract doesn’t) you only get $204,000.

Sun News is getting most of their information from

We looked at the numbers and they don’t match up to the facts. Why?  You’ll have to ask them.

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13 Responses to “Chief Spence meets the spin cycle”

    Andrea January 5, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Yeah, so?
    She is fighting for our rights.
    Not just for her, but everybody.!

    gerald_john January 5, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    They sure know how to mislead the public by putting false information. Always the greedy trying to get greedier by lies and screwing with everybody after gaining their trust. They still fall for it. People still fall for this bs before finding out the true facts!

    Cree from USA January 5, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    You can see, read, and hear what these news stations, newspapers, and others to alline with the government. Its obvious these producers, editor’s, reporters, and writers are not white because white people operate from a white privilege model.

    • Garry Probic January 5, 2013 at 5:47 am #

      What else can you tell us about “white people”?

  4. Jerome MacNeil Whitford January 5, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    The sun news always trys to mislead everyone Cheif Spence fighting for everyone no matter what color your skin is it’s not about money it’s about our rights and our treaties and save mother earth and water.

    Edos January 5, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Crime Minister Harper’s Chief of Staff, Aug 2012: OTTAWA – The federal ethics watchdog is considering whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, improperly used his influential position to further the private interests of friends at Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) Mr. Wright is only on “temporary leave” from Onex Corporation and according to a company statement will return “in 18 to 24 months to resume leadership of Aerospace and Defence and Energy verticals” (National Post, September 25, 2010). Presumably this existing arrangement will persuade Mr. Wright to recuse himself from all discussions on the aerospace industry as well as defence and energy policy, which may otherwise create conflicts in at least four departments: Industry, National Defence, Natural Resources and Environment. Mr. Wright’s personal financial interest in these sectors is not insignificant. Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Wright holds 93,957 shares in Onex and 44,024 shares in Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund with a combined estimated market value of about $3.5 million. (Financial Post, September 24, 2010). Still not able to figure out his salary. Makes Spence look like a real low roller.

    Edos January 5, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    These are Harper’s Kennedy. Each probably easily pull in 200,000. He has 18 Kennedy’s which would round it up to about $4M a year or more
    Chief of Staff:
    Principal Secretary: Ray Novak
    Deputy Chief of Staff: Derek Vanstone
    Executive Assistant to the Prime Minister: Jeremy Hunt
    Director of Issues Management: Chris Woodcock
    Director of Appointments: Derek Vanstone
    Director of Tour and Scheduling: Deborah Campbell
    Director of Policy: Rachel Curran
    Director of Strategic Planning: Bill Hawkins
    Director of Stakeholder Relations: Drew Campbell
    Director of Priorities and Planning: Jasmine Igneski
    Director of Communications: Andrew MacDougall
    Director of Strategic Communications: Mike White
    Deputy Director of Communications: Stephen Lecce
    Press Secretary: Carl Vallée & Julie Vaux
    Senior Quebec Advisor: André Bachand
    Staff Director and Advisor to the Chief of Staff and Principal Secretary: Dave Forestell
    Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff: Samuel VanderVeer

    If you have ever worked on a FN you know every Chief and Councillor has the same statutory responsibilities as the Fed Gov; i.e. Chief’s are often the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Health, etc. etc) but for smaller population. # of citizens doesn’t diminish responsibilities. Most work their asses off.

    Edos January 5, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    OTTAWA — The Conservative government won’t say how many of its political staff earn more than $100,000 but it has no problem revealing how many bureaucrats bring home six-figure salaries.

    J SEVER January 5, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    NEWS FLASH: SUN News reports SASQUATCH found alive, but was captured by ALIENS from uranus. haha

    J SEVER January 5, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    SUN NEWS reporters resemble CARTOON CHARACTERS, they are so funny to watch. They crack me up, hard to take them seriously. TOO FUNNY.

  10. Heather Auger January 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Facts people facts! Your damn rights the numbers don’t add up because the person writing it used to work for the National Enquirer. Lol! They’re so used to coming up or believing in bullshit then exaggerating even more. Also I’d like to add Democracy Shemocracy! Ha ha. Couldn’t find anything that rhymed but you have the idea! #idlenomore4

  11. Marc Spooner January 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Article reads 2nd last fact: “If you add up the man hours…” How about just “hours” lose the gendered “Man”; otherwise great article! Thanks for the ammunition against the ignorant and the racist!!! #IAmaSettlerAlly

    Chiefrock January 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    She is doing what she can to help. Her position maybe used against the people as she does in fact work for a BAND COUNCIL that has been forced upon the Nations across these lands. So, in idle no more, a turn for the best or the turn for the worst can in-fact happen and will happen soon. For those reading, sit back and ponder, why in the world are so many Nations across turtle island fighting for Canadian law, yes laws OWNED BY CANADA. Now, think hard now…until it you get that A-HA moment….in Contract law, contracts or agreements(treaties) can be agreed by either express or can be implied. Implied can usually be conduct of the parties. Having pointed this out, So many nations are now agreeing fully Canadian laws are the supreme laws of the lands. Dont think so, well it appears as those this is the case by EVERYONES CONDUCT who is fighting to keep the indian act and so many other acts as is. What are you fighting for exactly ? This idle no more direction, should possibly turn towards the fight of fighting for all the members of their respected nation, to follow tribal laws, the laws that were here FIRST. Now follow or fighting for Canadian law, which is under or lower than tribal law. At least the tribal laws that were in place or should be placed back in effect. Than again, who truly wants to take on the real responsibility of all that work ? Might as well stick with Canada they been doing such a great job so far eh ?