Tag Archives: Alexandra Savilo

By: Alexandra Savilo

Located in the Kenora district of Northern Ontario, the aboriginal reserve of Attawapiskat has received a great deal of press attention since 2011. For on October 28th of that year, the First Nations leadership declared a state of emergency in response to health and safety concerns that would result from dropping temperatures as winter was approaching and the reserve suffered from inadequate housing.[1] Additionally, Attawapiskat residents also endured an evacuation during flood conditions in May 2009 as well as the closing of their sole elementary school due to toxic fumes that had seeped into the ground underneath the school from a 1978 diesel spill.[2] Yet the main topic that was and is billeted in the Canadian media is the housing crisis in Attawapiskat. Of the hundreds of articles that have been written on the subject, many writers beg the question: why did this happen? While some potential theses have proposed underfunding, others posit mismanagement of funds. Yet, the common thread that connects most articles is a general lack of knowledge of how First Nations reserves operate in a budgetary way.

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What this essay aims to espouse, therefore, is an in-depth analysis of the housing crisis. Beginning with an examination of important government treaties and legislation, this essay will determine how much power rests within the government of Canada at either the federal or provincial level vis-à-vis how much power the Attawapiskat First Nations leadership has over its own territory. Afterwards, the essay will investigate the audit made by Deloitte for Attawapiskat in 2012 and determine its findings to understand how much onus was put onto the First Nations leadership, third party management and/or co-management. Finally, this essay will examine the media’s reaction to the housing crisis and audit to determine how founded the above theses are and how the media propels the crisis in Attawapiskat. After developing thoroughly the above arguments, the essay aims to conclude that Attawapiskat is located in a catch-22. While it is currently inconclusive to fully convict the First Nations band of mismanagement, it is equally as inconclusive to accuse the government of Canada of underfunding due to an inordinate lack of documentation that will likely remain hidden with reason.

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By: Alexandra Savilo

This morning when I got up I had other plans than to watch the Olympics. I had seen the Opening Ceremonies two nights previously, and apparently enough of a fire had not ignited within me to continue watching. In my head I kept repeating, “I’m not an athlete, I’ll follow the headlines though to keep up conversation with others”. Waiting for my mother to finish checking her emails before I could pop in a new episode of West Wing (I’m really behind, don’t judge), I flipped through the channels to find the end of women’s cycling and the end of women’s synchronised diving.

In a mere matter of seconds I was sucked in more than any vacuum cleaner can suck dirt off a floor. I’ve heard that many found the Opening Ceremonies pale in comparison to Beijing’s and that the games aren’t all that important. And I’ve heard time, and time again their reasons why. That the games are politicised, that they artificially and negatively affect the local economy, that they are exorbitant in every sense of the word.

But to me, when I saw Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel diving off the three-metre springboard this morning I was captivated. One of these girls is my age. Jennifer Abel has lived, breathed and been fed ambition and determination with her cereal every morning. She has worked her dream till no water was left in the sponge. She has entered the highest competition of her sport and is competing with people from all over the world who have been working equally as hard to fulfil their passions and goals.

When I hear that the games are politicised, I scoff. Of course they are, they always have been. Because to me politics is interchangeable with identity. A national identity cannot exist without politics. If politics, as defined by the dictionary means “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area” and national identity means a “person’s sense of belonging to a state or nation via symbols, culture, history, etc” then to me it seems like a clean and easy fit that the Olympics is both.

To explain it a bit more clearly, let me put it this way: sport is important to many, if not, most countries. It brings together people of all walks of life to work together, cheer together, and deal with issues together. It’s one thing to like a sport and another to say “I’m a basketball fan” or “I’m a Habs girl”. You begin to identify yourself, to define yourself by those qualities and others can relate, associate with you better knowing it. And I find that one of the main reasons why is because people take the time to understand the sport, the players, the way things work. People may find the politics behind federal and provincial government at times overwhelming, bureaucratic and at times stupidly complicated, but sport seems to be a basic and extremely strong bond which can easily tie a great many people. It’s something people know hard work will prove to success, and it’s something that can easily be counted on. The Olympics, held every four years, is this national identity held at a global level. It is the hard work of millions to work together and reward those who have spent every waking moment of their lives pursuing their dreams. Some of our jobs don’t give us gold medals, sometimes, all we get is a salary. And there is something to be said where hundreds of thousands put their salaries, their rewards together to cheer a 20 year old and a 31 year old dream team of swimmers who have worked themselves to the bone to represent themselves, their dreams, their nation to the world. They may not have brought home the gold, but they brought home the spirit, and revive it bit by bit every time we play.

And that, is why, I will always love the Olympics.

Congratulations to Emilie Heymans and Jennifer Abel, Canadian bronze medal winners of the three-metre springboard synchronised dive. May the true north remain strong and free.

As early as 2007, Prime Minister Harper has made clear to Canada that he intends to maintain the sovereignty of our Arctic North[1] Influenced by the melting Northwest Passage, movements towards improved infrastructure and military presence have become a more prominent project in Canada’s north since 2008.[2] What is interesting to note is that the …

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