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2013-01-18 at 17:43

Bailed out

By Jeff Labine,
FASD FactsDrinking Alcohol at any time during pregnancy could affect the normal development of the

The cash strapped Gull Bay First Nation will be receive more than a million dollars in aid from the federal government.

Chief Wilfred King and Gull Bay's band council met with officials from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Friday to discuss the community's financial struggles.

Financial problems, believed by King to be caused by mismanagement by the previous chief and council, forced many social services within the community to be shut down including emergency services and the school.

Aboriginal Affairs will provide nearly $1 million to get those essential services back up and running. The federal government will also provide $240,000 from Health Canada.

King said he’s happy with the results.

“The community will be up and running Monday morning,” he said. “These are funds that were being held back and monies that were earmarked for Gull Bay First Nation. We’ve agreed to come up with an menial plan. We’re in the process of getting the community back in order.”

When King was elected as chief in 2002, the community was under third-party management. King said he brought the community out of debt and away from third-party management two years ago.

King returned to the First Nation after winning the election Sunday and found that only $80,000 was left in the First Nation’s coffers. But even that amount was diminished as $45,000 worth of cheques were recently cashed.

Officials with Aboriginal Affairs had asked for the audit report on the community’s finances between 2011 and 2012.

So far, that report hasn’t been completed.

King said they filed audit reports every year except for the period when he was out of office. Aboriginal Affairs officials agreed to forego the audit but King said they will still be providing one.

Gwendoline King, a band councillor with the community, supported King’s move to declare a state of emergency. Making that move will start the ball rolling on getting those essential services back, she said.
“It’s pretty sad how the previous council managed the community,” she said.

“They hurt a lot of people in the community. It’s pretty bad in our community. There’s no school, there’s no health services. It’s pretty bad. We have no employees and all the councillors have taken responsibility for all the small areas.”


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lance says:
This is a good message, waste all your money...but thats ok, the good ole government will bail you out as our deficit continues to soar
1/18/2013 6:18:06 PM
realitycheck411 says:
I'm not sure what more can be said from this story.

Had this been a specific ministry under provincial oversight, it would be scrutinized. If it were a federal department, an MP would be submitting his/her letter of resignation. Yet here we are, two local First Nation communities showing a complete disregard for financing that it has everyone asking, "what is going on?"
The reality is that a culture of ignorance has been established to the point it has become a norm.
Who is to blame? Locally we see it all the time, but in Ottawa, it is an "out of sight, out of mind" issue. By simply allocating funds, without oversight, the government itself has sustained this culture of ignorance.
Maybe the Idle No Movement along with the media reports of First Nation communities taking little accountability for the vast sum of monies allocated to them will prevent stories like Gull Bay repeating themselves.
1/18/2013 6:29:07 PM
jonthunder says:
This is a very compassionate action by the government of Canada; and it is good to see that the First Nation leadership says it is appreciated. Now, there should be a 4 or 5 year audit to see what happened and all parties understand what is needed to prevent a repeat outcome. Hopefully, the new Council will work to put in place a better form of governance that has not been there and is desperately needed for the citizens.
1/18/2013 6:30:46 PM
young&concerned says:
Chief Wilfred King, who previously served as Gull Bay's chief for eight years, said the community was financially sound when he left in 2010.
Why did he leave his position in 2010 if he was doing such great job? Did the community elected a new chief in 2010 because they were financially sound and doing well? It sounds like Chief Wilfred King wasn't doing his job in running the community into the ground so they brought in someone to do so!
1/18/2013 6:59:03 PM
Wolfie says:
Or maybe he lost the election because his opponent ran on a platform of spending lots of money on things they couldn't afford, and "bought votes". Who knows.

I know virtually nothing about Mr. King, but it's not unheard of for competent politicians to lose elections.
1/19/2013 8:07:38 AM
mudhens33 says:
Good luck to Mr. King in trying to right the wrongs of gull bay. Hopefully and seemingly this money will be spent to improve the community it is going to, and not the bank account of its leaders as previous councils in gull bay and other reserves have seen. As someone who has worked in one of the communities, seeing these things first hand is atrocious.
1/18/2013 7:15:17 PM
razor_burn says:
Hey I lost over five million. Don't know where it went. Can I have a bailout too?
1/18/2013 7:42:43 PM
cm punk says:
Figures. All I can say is WOW.
Why am I not surprised?
1/18/2013 7:50:18 PM
taiser says:
WTH? Oh my aching taxes!!!!????!!!!????

Who's going to get punished for losing the money the first time? What a joke...
1/18/2013 8:06:07 PM
michyj32 says:
I'm sick and tired of everyone assuming it is your tax dollars that pay for everything...and that somehow you have some type of thumb over every aboriginal person in this country!! They have pulled enough resources out of our land over the hundreds of years or cut enough trees down and made trillions...that is where our money comes from so go complain to someone else about your aching tax dollars they are not spent there!!
1/20/2013 7:35:54 PM
barry medawin says:
Idle no more is starting to work! Keep it up!
1/18/2013 8:37:13 PM
lance says:
What point do you have barry?? you are a lil guy who tries to talk big behind a computer
1/19/2013 9:47:22 AM
Monnie says:
Chief Wilfred King and council are on the right track...Number one priority...Education. Without education, and/or educated, our community will be is disarray. Our children require the best education.
1/18/2013 10:29:21 PM
NorthernPride13 says:
Before anyone makes any negative comments about my community get your facts straight, this was susposed to be a good sign but in my eyes and to others it is, most of you's dont know how it is to live on a reserve better yet being a Native Canadian. We are not the only one's the Government bails out and just so you know the Band has to repay back the money, The money is there just to get us started with the essential service.
1/19/2013 12:38:26 AM
dee16 says:
I want more money too, maybe if I spend my money unwisely the government will be so kind to give me more money. That is only if I put myself in this sticky situation....The possibilities are endless...Just like the money will be, right?
1/19/2013 1:37:28 AM
Suecamilla says:
Which government can we ask for financial help? I need to find out soon before I claim bankruptcy... I left bank account in charge with my partner and now the money is gone. What do we do?... The government just laughs at us. It is a disgrace I tell you.
1/19/2013 7:07:25 AM
Meta says:
Great news.
The real story is now the 12 on council including the chief can now get paid. Yes 12 community representatives for the 150 or so on reserve residents .This includes a few that were on council before.
Education , lack of services at just the act to the real agenda

Maybe the story should be job creation for 12 newly elected folks in the region.

The on reserve membership needs help not more political pocket lining!
1/19/2013 7:39:48 AM
Unspoken says:
I am sure when the audit comes back if one ever gets done it will come back clean. I feel for them and think that the government should help but someone needs to pay for putting them in this situation.
1/19/2013 9:02:48 AM
lance says:
barry medawin, what purpose do you serve??
1/19/2013 9:31:43 AM
Listentome says:
Ah...serving a purpose. That is such an intellectual question, it really gets to the core of the very 'being' of a person. It begs the question be turned back to the questioner though does it not. Please lance, share with your adoring readership...'what purpose do you serve'? Surely it is vast and deep purpose, literally bringing purpose to all those in your presence.
1/20/2013 12:07:52 PM
stuck? says:
His purpose is to troll every thread it seems.
1/21/2013 10:54:03 AM
Watchmaker says:
The First Nation has to be first in line to resolve this problem, which is, unfortunately, not isolated to Gull Bay. Unless the FNs step up and recognize that they not only have a role in the problems in their communities (e.g.the full spectrum of social and economic issues including governance structures), they have a very important role to play in resolving them. The federal government needs to take a cold hard look at how INAC operates as well - a prime example of a dysfunctional, overly bureaucratic and wasteful agency that is largely disconnected from the needs of the sector it is mandated to serve. I hope Idle No More will lead to significant changes - not just blockades, service interruptions and resentment...
1/19/2013 10:20:26 AM
Blah blah says:
This is great news, lets start building our multiplex and other major projects, go bankrupt, government will step in and bail us out
1/19/2013 10:50:03 AM
rukiddingme says:
Was there an investigation at all. Did the government have proof on the amount missing or did they take the chiefs word at the amount that he said was missing?
1/19/2013 11:45:50 AM
ssafronuk says:
"Officials with Aboriginal Affairs had asked for the audit report on the community’s finances between 2011 and 2012."

"Aboriginal Affairs officials agreed to forego the audit but King said they will still be providing one."

Which is it. Aboriginal Affairs should be getting audits from all reserves receiving tax money. Perhaps if they don't want to show people where the money goes they shouldn't get money at all. Ya I said it!
1/19/2013 12:01:22 PM
tsb says:
Kind of odd how everyone was so excited about Miles Nowegijick in the 2010 election campaign.
1/19/2013 12:20:28 PM
ShineOn says:
The government throws millions of dollars at Firs Nations communities who have no accountants (or accountability, for that matter), then they're surprised when they either a) run out of money or b) don't have proper accounting done on the money that was spent! First Nations people need to demand transparency from their bands and start taking control of their own path towards sovereignty.
1/19/2013 2:22:42 PM
watchful says:
I for one and sick of the bailouts, however, the new chief needs to get emergency operations up and running, and if they are truly going to audit the loss of all the money, then I do hope that if there was anything illegal that at this point charges will be laid. Like many I believe that the structure of the band councils may have to change, if you have to many on council, you have too many pay checks.
I admire him for his outspokeness and will watch to see what happens.
1/19/2013 3:47:54 PM
olive garden says:
i hope there is a investigation on how the money was spent.

1/19/2013 3:57:01 PM
baybrewer says:
Stop spouting half truths. You didn't get GBFN our of 3rd Party by hard work and sound finances. INAC officials put you in Co-management. How many Co-managers did GBFN go thru since 2010?
1/19/2013 4:58:31 PM
notsurprised says:
Not everyone was excited about Nowegijick and it was soon obvious that he wasn't controlling anything. Those of you who live there know exactly what I'm talking about.
1/19/2013 5:10:05 PM
codvx87 says:
Now you're understanding how this works :) It's slippery, I don't understand how the government ignores it
1/19/2013 5:50:09 PM
compassn says:
Careful now people....any criticism what-so-ever will be labeled racist.Let's just close our eyes and pretend we did not read this story.

1/19/2013 8:08:31 PM
Justaguy85 says:
I believe Cheif King knows full well of the implication of declaring bankruptcy. This is just going to increase calls for very public scrutiny of their finances. With the declaration of emergency in this atmosphere right now King knows he will be under the microscope. I truly believe he wants better for his reserve and people and willing to deal with the consequences.
1/19/2013 8:55:29 PM
Ed itw says:
Take the millions and buy a chunk of land in Thunder Bay with sewer,water, garbage pick up etc. ( $10mill spent on a water plant that isn't working would have built a lot of homes!!) Build a subdivision for your people. They can build a community center in the subdivision to allow you a place for your traditional customs and celebrations. Build a work camp out at Gull Bay for those that go out to log during the week or hunt and fish in season. Allow the families to grow up with the full services of a larger city.
1/20/2013 11:18:37 AM
damanisback says:
one million .should burn through that rather quickly one would think no?
1/20/2013 12:58:22 PM
pc says:
I like this man's style. He is not holding a hunger strike demanding things he has no right to.
He stated the problems and some of his solutions.
He wants what every Canadian wants. Living conditions and proper water for his people. Apparently the government sees his words at face value and are willing to lend him the money while getting an audit of the money they cannot find.
Look at the corrupt gov. Ontario has right now so it is not just Indian reserves who have them.
Good luck to you Mr. King.
1/20/2013 1:13:58 PM
DougMyers says:
Mr. King

Sounds like you have an uphill battle ahead of you.

I hope that unlike most politicians, you will ensure that the truth comes out.

Good luck
1/21/2013 10:30:28 AM
stuck? says:
On the positive side... I think it's better that the community receives a bail-out instead of just being left to die and starve(food, utilities, services etc etc not munching starving).
1/21/2013 10:56:56 AM
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