The federal government is taking its revenge on the people of Attawapiskat after receiving a big black eye from the courts over its imposition of a third-party manager on the James Bay First Nation late last year.

The day after a Federal Court judge ruled the appointment was “unreasonable”, federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan refused to sign off on a housing loan for the community from the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Attawapiskat gained national attention last winter for its severe housing crisis. The loan would have led to the construction of 30 badly needed homes.

The community had applied for support to build houses under CMHC’s non-profit, on-reserve housing program, which provides loans to First Nations to construct or rehabilitate rental units. The loans are insured under the National Housing Act and must be guaranteed by the minister.

Acting Chief Christine Kataquapit noted that the CMHC’s August 2 letter said Attawapiskat’s application for funding was being rejected because of the inability to obtain a ministerial loan guarantee for the planned housing project.

“We were disappointed to receive the letter that we were not selected because we are still scrounging around for housing units for our members and there’s a shortfall,” Kataquapit said.

Asked if she thought Duncan’s refusal to provide a loan guarantee for Attawapiskat had anything to do with the court decision, Kataquapit said, “I listened to the news where they were saying that Duncan said (the federal government) was disappointed that Attawapiskat won.”