Sometimes, caricatures draw themselves. It’s hard to imagine a better caricature of martyrdom in action than Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. Her ongoing charade on behalf of, well, exactly what, is not entirely clear. (I guess she’d make that abundantly clear only once she’s corralled, for her projected “several week” meeting, the Prime Minister and the Governor-General.)
Normally, you’d think there is a note of temporal urgency when someone is on a declared “hunger strike”. But, as with most things ‘Theresa”, things are not what they seem. Turns out, she’s not really foregoing nutrition; she’s “subsisting” on “fish broth, vitamins and herbal tea”, a description so vague it might well include Manhattan-style clam chowder.
For a woman who’s been ‘fasting’ for a month, her appearance before the cameras last Friday showed no indications of undernourishment whatsoever. (She appeared to be reliant more on a downcast, mournful demeanor to send her message of extreme deprivation, than to any perceptible loss of body mass.)
Spence is basking in the glow of both celebrity and the endorsement of no less than that smiling idiot, our former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who calls her an “inspiration” to all Canadians.
As Finance Minister, Martin would not likely have found Spence’s financial management on behalf of her band, “inspirational” – of the over $100M. provided between 2005 and 2011 by the federal government to the band, about 80% could not be accounted for in a conventional accounting sense. It’s possible that Spence, knowing an audit would summon up an uncomfortable question or two, decided the best defence was a good offence.
At the moment, she is relatively immune to answering uncomfortable questions relating to finance for the band. But, what happens when another couple of months pass, not having met with either the P.M. or A.G., and Spence remains apparently none the worse for wear from her ordeal? Will there be some legitimate questions to be answered?