This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Abandoning Attawapiskat - Reality Check

"We're working hard to try to intercept, but some of it is going to get through; you won't get it all."
"Presumptively, kids [are] going without boots, houses [are] going without a fridge full of food."
"We're underfunded, under-resourced. Something's got to give. ... We're so behind right now."
"We do the best we can with what we have. We could do a lot more."
Terry Armstrong, chief, Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service

"We weren't prepared to have so many attempted suicides, so many youth thinking about suicide all in one weekend."
"You've read about all the different problems, the lack of recreation, lack of something to do. It was sad to see the desperation in the children."
"We know where they live [drug dealers]. But gathering evidence to bang on the door, there are so many roadblocks."
"Our officers are all reactive, there's very little time, most of the time, [to be] proactive."
Nishnawbe-Aski police Inspector Eric Cheechoo
Even some of the new homes built around the new elementary school have signs of frustration and despair on the reserve.  In the wake of an epidemic of suicide attempts in Attawapiskat.
JULIE OLIVER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK    Even some of the new homes built around the new elementary school have signs of frustration and despair on the reserve. In the wake of an epidemic of suicide attempts in Attawapiskat.
The reserve system that Canada has far too long depended on whereby the federal government supports isolated tribes living on traditional heritage lands, as a tribute to their past as original inhabitants pre-dating colonization, has outlived itself. People who know nothing about being proudly independent, capable of being resourceful in enabling themselves to have the dignity of independence and the capability of fending for themselves, become intellectually and physically lethargic.

Boredom and laziness lead to hopelessness and dysfunction. Little wonder that within indigenous populations where parents have no employment, are shiftless and without inspiration and vocation turn to alcohol and drugs, ignore their children's needs, leave an emotional vacuum filled by the very destructively addictive habits they see their parents resorting to. That vacuity of purpose and the dissatisfaction derived from purposelessness is what leads to the rash of suicide attempts among First Nations youth.

Complaints of under-funding are largely indications that band councils and their chiefs are too busy mis-allocating funding, in the process failing to administer reserves in a manner beneficial to all its members. The fact that no one owns personal property accounts for disinterest in ordinary ongoing household maintenance, the small ordinary things done to keep a property in livable shape. Little wonder homes on reserves are substandard. Attawapiskat has millions from the DeBeer mining operation on its lands.

When a reserve of several thousand inhabitants has no recreational facilities and programs to give value to the lives of their young, and young people are left to their own self-destructive devices, little wonder that acute emergencies arise. Lack of responsibility leads to a failing society, incapable of fending for itself, irrespective of the funding given to enable them to do so. The paternalistic approach of paying everyone to exist in situ with no effort extended on their part to achieve quality of life is what leads to societal breakdown.

Rev40/Wikipedia   Vehicles crossing the Albany River on the winter road running from Moosonee to Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario.
The winter ice roads connecting Attawapiskat to the outside world beckons drug smugglers and bootleggers with their hidden contraband. Alternately, without the ice road, approach to the isolated town is by plane where drug couriers fly to the local airport, narcotics stuffed in poorly concealed places. Pills are sent into the northern communities by mail, or hidden in clothing or blankets. In Attawapiskat the presence of at least a dozen drug dealers is recognized, the people known to police.

These are people who make the arrangements for drug shipments by plane, car or mail, and distribute them afterward. Residents themselves sell their prescription medications and "live with the pain", to achieve profit to pay for their own addictions, according to Chief Armstrong, familiar with the pain relievers like OxyContin and Percocet, amphetamines and marijuana,  and now fentanyl, representing the most common substances whose presence police are alerted to.

And since the sale of these illicit drugs take place in the isolated north, they are priced at least five times higher than in the urban south. A single OxyContin pill has brought a profit of $400. Who can afford that kind of deadly extravagance? Little wonder there are complaints about the high cost of food, and hungry residents. As for the young people who took part in the recent suicide attempts; police feel the drugs they were using were not bought, but stolen, or discovered lying about in their own homes.

The Nishnawbe-Aski police do what they can manage in efforts to curb the drug trade. A sniffer dog was recently taken along to a postal outlet in Dryden, Ontario in an effort to intercept contraband packages meant for northern fly-in communities. Officers seized: gabapentin pills used to treat neuropathic pain and seizures; "shatter", a derivative of marijuana resembling peanut brittle; marijuana cupcakes and suckers; and alcohol.

There are 132 police officers thinly spread across northern Ontario. Inspector Cheechoo says that 52 more officers could be used to support the front lines and in the creation of specialized investigative units. At the present time, according to Chief Armstrong, he has one drug sergeant and one drug constable on the entire force.

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