Idle No More spokesperson calls leak of Attawapiskat audit ‘political’

An Idle No More spokesperson says that a leaked audit critical of the Attawapiskat Band Council appears to be an attempt to smear hunger-striking Chief Theresa Spence.

On Monday, CBC News reported that they had received a leaked audit from Deloitte and Touche — commissioned by the feds — which claims 'there is little or no documentation for millions of dollars spent by the band' between 2005 and 2011.

"In a letter dated Sept. 20, 2012, that was written by Deloitte to Chief Theresa Spence and copied to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, that auditing firm says that of 505 transactions reviewed, more than 400 lacked proper documentation.

The letter says "an average of 81 per cent of files did not have adequate supporting documents and over 60 per cent had no documentation of the reason for payment."

Idle No More spokesperson and Mi'kmaq lawyer Pam Palmater says that in the midst of the ongoing protests and just days before a summit between the Prime Minister and First Nations leaders, this leaked report is more than just a coincidence.

[ Related: Y! Exclusive: Chief to continue strike after PM meeting ]

"This is classic Conservative deflection," she said in an email exchange with Yahoo! Canada News.

"They are desperate now as they can’t control this movement which is getting lots of attention so they will try to attack people that highlight the movement."

Palmater also questions the content of the report noting that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada had co-managers in place in Attawpiskat who were supposed to have reviewed and approved the Band's annual audits.

Regardless, Palmater says that Deloitte's findings are irrelevant to the Idle No More movement.

[ Related: Spence's hunger strike gains Canadian critics ]

"This has absolutely nothing to do with Idle no More. Idle started long before Chief Spence’s hunger strike, and while we stand in solidarity with the reasons why she is hunger-striking, the audit had nothing to do with the reasons why Idle was born i.e.,  Harper’s aggressive legislative agenda that jeopardizes First Nations communities, and the lands and waters we share with Canadians," she said.

"We knew this was coming because government folks and conservative commentators have been trying to link Chief Spence to Idle by calling her the leader of the movement and things like that.

"They were hoping to smear Chief Spence and in so doing smear Idle. However, most Canadians will find it a little more than obvious."

(Reuters photo of hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence)