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Chuck Strahl: Opposition is spinning native misfortune for partisan gain – National Post

by NationTalk on January 20, 2012666 Views

Chuck Strahl: Opposition is spinning native misfortune for partisan gain

National Post Jan 19, 2012
By Chuck Strahl

In 2007, when I was minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, a story broke that the department had “misappropriated” $82-million intended for survivors of residential schools. Worse yet, the story suggested, this money (known as the Common Experience Payment) was earmarked for elderly survivors. The minister and his minions had taken funds designated for the most vulnerable members of aboriginal society. “This is a travesty on a monumental scale if the Conservatives think they can use the Indian residential schools trust fund as a kitty to dip into for purposes completely unrelated,” declared New Democrat MP Pat Martin.

We scrambled in my office, trying to find the source of the story, only to discover that the opposition had simply misread the financial statements: The money had not only been set aside for survivors as promised, but we had paid it out early to elderly First Nations people so they would be amongst the first to receive the funds. The opposition had simply looked up the wrong numbers in the wrong year.

Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/01/19/chuck-strahl-opposition-is-spinning-native-misfortune-for-partisan-gain/

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