After a year of holding back support funding at the Attawapiskat First Nations, the Conservative government sent a single transfer of $136,132 to the band office for the work of the third-party manager. The amount covers his time managing the community between December 2011 and April 2012.
The payment comes after the Federal Court ruled that Ottawa’s appointment of a third-party manager was “unreasonable in all circumstances.” However the government made sure to point out that the reimbursement was not linked to the court ruling, stating it was made in the public interest. The trial judge for the case, Justice Michael Phelan, wrote in the ruling, “The problem seems to have been a lack of understanding of the Attawapiskat First Nations’ actual needs and an intention on the part of officials to be seen to be doing something.”
The third-party manager was appointed after the housing state of emergency was declared October 2011. On the day he arrived, manager Jacques Marion was kicked out the community, and a message was sent to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister that Attawapiskat would not be paying for his services. The contract for the third-party manager for his work was determined without any consultation with the First Nation, despite being the ones expected to pay for the services. Band manager Wayne Turner said his office was surprised to receive the cheque last December because there was no mention of a reimbursement during the trial.