Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dear Ms. Hajdu, I have just read the news that $1.1 million dollars of public money was wasted to build offices. I understand from the same article that there was a cheaper and faster option of renovation. Why did you choose the more expensive option? While I understand that y'all want a nice place to work in I hope y'all understand that we -the public are paying for all of this. For a stay at home mother like myself I am simply amazed at the lack of fiscal responsibility displayed by this decision. Does the Prime Minister permit this sort of junk? Why didn't the PM's office veto this sort of expense which seems a tad rich to this taxpayer? Or can you as the minister make these decisions all by your lonesome? It's not right. I don't believe the MPs understand that ordinary citizens are fed up to the brim reading this sort of junk. We are simply tired of the waste of our taxpayer dollars. This is not good use of our money. We fired the Harper Team hoping to get less entitlement and waste. We find the situation with the Trudeau Team is just as bad. I note that another minister Mr. Sohi also spent big bucks for no good reason to the tune of almost a million dollars. What the heck is wrong with y'all? Don't you have any sense of the need to be frugal with public dollars? Before reading about your waste of public dollars I read about a First Nations family that died in crappy housing due to the failures of the Liberal Government. Why is it that there is money for luxury offices for the minister and not for poor people? It's shameful. Please read the article about the dead family in the crappy house and then think about the fact that the money used to make the offices for you and your staff could have been better employed in providing housing for First Nations families. Sincerely, Julie Ali


From: Julie Ali <
Date: Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 6:12 PM
Subject: waste of money-------Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu approved a $1.1-million price tag to build a new suite of offices for herself and her staff earlier this year, even though she was told the cost might raise some eyebrows.-----Hajdu chose to have the new offices built instead of renovating a space at the building housing Canadian Heritage, the department that contains the Status of Women Canada agency within its portfolio, the documents indicate. That option would have cost about $400,000, with a much earlier completion date and a location directly across the street, but emails suggest it was never seriously considered.---According to notes from a Jan. 19 telephone call where the issue was discussed, Meena Ballantyne — the head of the agency and essentially the deputy minister — responded: “The minister has a right to have a nice office close to her dept.” On a conference call the next day, Ballantyne pointed out that Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi was also gett
To: Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca, justin trudeau <justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca>, Amarjeet.Sohi@parl.gc.ca


Dear Ms. Hajdu,

I have just read the news that $1.1 million dollars of public money was wasted to build offices.

I understand from the same article that there was  a cheaper and faster option of renovation.

Why did you choose the more expensive option?

While I understand that y'all want a nice place to work in I hope y'all understand that we -the public are paying for all of this.

For a stay at home mother like myself I am simply amazed at the lack of fiscal responsibility displayed by this decision.

Does the Prime Minister permit this sort of junk? Why didn't the PM's office veto this sort of expense which seems a tad rich to this taxpayer? Or can you as the minister make these decisions all by your lonesome?

It's not right.
I don't believe the MPs understand that ordinary citizens are fed up to the brim reading this sort of junk. We are simply tired of the waste of our taxpayer dollars. This is not good use of our money.

We fired the Harper Team hoping to get less entitlement and waste.
We find the situation with the Trudeau Team is just as bad.
I note that another minister Mr. Sohi also spent big bucks for no good reason to the tune of almost a million dollars.
What the heck is wrong with y'all?
Don't you have any sense of the need to be frugal with public dollars?

Before reading about your waste of public dollars I read about a First Nations family that died in crappy housing due to the failures of the Liberal Government. Why is it that there is money for luxury offices for the minister and not for poor people?

It's shameful. 
Please read the article about the dead family in the crappy house and then think about the fact that the money used to make the offices for you and your staff could have been better employed in providing housing for First Nations families.

Sincerely,

Julie Ali



Oneida fire: NDP critic lashes out at federal neglect in wake of house fire that killed native man and four young sons.

By Jennifer O'Brien, Randy Richmond, The London Free Press
Friday, December 16, 2016 9:47:13 EST PM
Firefighters from the Six Nations Fire Department in Brantford assist an Ontario Fire Marshall investigator as they sift through a burned out home on Townline Road following a fire Wednesday that has left a man and four of his children dead at the Oneida settlement, south west of London. (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)
Firefighters from the Six Nations Fire Department in Brantford assist an Ontario Fire Marshall investigator as they sift through a burned out home on Townline Road following a fire Wednesday that has left a man and four of his children dead at the Oneida settlement, south west of London. (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)
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It’s not just bad housing that’s killing Canada’s indigenous people, but also inadequate fire protection, unsafe heating and overcrowding, the NDP’s aboriginal affairs critic charges.
In the wake of a fire that killed a father and four young sons this week in Oneida, southwest of London, MP Charlie Angus put the blame on the federal Liberals Friday for a tragedy he’s says he’s seen too often in Northern Ontario.
“We’re seeing the systemic neglect of the basic safety for indigineous people,” Angus, the Timmins-James Bay MPP, told The London Free Press.
“Meanwhile, little children are dying. People are living in risky and dangerous conditions.”
But the minister in charge of First Nations affairs said the government will address shortfalls left by years of chronic under-funding.
“Our government is committed to closing the unacceptable housing gap for Indigenous people,” Carolyn Bennett, minister of indigenous and northern affairs, said in an emailed statement.
“The wide-reaching need for improved infrastructure — like housing, community centres, and fire protection services — is a result of years of chronic under-funding. Our government knows that more needs to be done.” she said.
Bennett said she’s reached out to Randall Phillips, chief of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, to offer support.
“I was deeply saddened when I heard of the tragic loss of lives — our hearts go out to the community during this difficult time,” her statement said.
Kurt Antone, 43, and four of his children, including an infant boy, died in the mid-day blaze Wednesday that destroyed the wooden, two-storey house in an isolated area of the settlement.
Fire fighters who arrived in bitter cold found the house engulfed in flames, with the band chief saying later they weren't able to go in to save anyone. “It (the house) was just basically kindling,” he said.
Police haven’t confirmed the identities of the children and issued no updates Friday.
Meanwhile, help for the surviving members of the Doxtator Antone family, a mother and four more children, continued to grow, with area First Nations setting up donation stations and London indigenous organizations, including Atlohsa and N’Amerind, collecting items.
“The mom and siblings need all the support and help we can give them,” said Oneida band member Brian Hill.
An Oneida woman who lives in London has organized a food drive at the Dollarama store at 395 Wellington Rd., Saturday afternoon.
“We know the family will be in need for a long time and so many people want to help,” said Amanda Kennedy. “We want to give everyone an opportunity.”
Phillips, the Oneida chief, said at a news conference Thursday the deadly house fire was a “perfect example” of the housing crisis in First Nations communities. Oneida applied for money to upgrade 50 houses but was denied funding by the federal government, he said.
Every year as Christmas approaches, people in First Nations communities turn up their inadequate heating systems in crowded and substandard houses and die, Angus said.
“This is the time of year these terrible accidents and death happen,” Angus said.
The death rate by fire is 10.4 times higher on First Nations communities than for the rest of Canada, with the rate of fires 2.4 times greater, says a 2007 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. study.
That same study found low numbers of smoke detectors and regular inspections of smoke detectors in First Nations communities.
”You have as much chance of winning the lottery as getting a nice house on a reserve,” Angus said.
Statistics back him up. Almost 41 per cent of homes on reserves needed major repair as of 2011, according to federal government figures.
By 2031, Canada’s reserves will be 115,000 units short of housing, and that’s according to a survey that’s 10 years old.
Overall, counting fire protection, energy and electricity systems, roads and bridges and other public works, there’s a $1.7-billion shortfall in what’s needed to bring communities up to standard, the federal government noted in response to queries by Angus in February.
Bennett has said the federal government doesn’t know how many indigenous people die in fires on reserves because it no longer collects such statistics.
The collection of fire data was stopped six years ago to ease the “reporting burden” on First Nations communities, the minister said in written responses to questions recently tabled in Parliament.
The lack of information allows the federal government to further ignore the problem, Angus charged.
Bennett has said her department would work with partners, including the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada, “on new options to address the fire data gaps on reserve.”


Status of Women minister spent $1.1M to have new office built even with quicker, cheaper option available

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press | December 16, 2016 6:19 PM ET
Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu stands in the House of Commons during question period, in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick DoyleMinister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu stands in the House of Commons during question period, in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016.
OTTAWA — Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu approved a $1.1-million price tag to build a new suite of offices for herself and her staff earlier this year, even though she was told the cost might raise some eyebrows.
Hajdu wanted her new office to be in the same building as the rest of the agency — located at 22 Eddy St. in Gatineau, Que., according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act.
Those documents also show that senior management fast-tracked the expensive renovation project to get her there, even before knowing how they would pay for it.
Before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a full-time status of women minister — part of his commitment to gender equality around the cabinet table — there had been no need for an office of that size in the building.
Hajdu chose to have the new offices built instead of renovating a space at the building housing Canadian Heritage, the department that contains the Status of Women Canada agency within its portfolio, the documents indicate.
That option would have cost about $400,000, with a much earlier completion date and a location directly across the street, but emails suggest it was never seriously considered.
Hajdu was also warned that the pricier option might create a political problem for her once the word got out.
“The cost is higher than (the space at Canadian Heritage), and could increase since the estimates at this time are not firm,” said a Jan. 26 memo prepared for Hajdu that detailed the pros and cons of the two options.

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“(This) will likely be subject to public scrutiny and criticism.”
The memo also noted that it’s standard for ministerial and departmental staff to be in the same building; that the cost would be on par with similar ministerial suites; and working in the same space would increase efficiencies.
Still, at least one official involved with the project repeatedly stressed the need to keep the minister in the loop about the costs, because she would be the one Canadians would hold accountable.
According to notes from a Jan. 19 telephone call where the issue was discussed, Meena Ballantyne — the head of the agency and essentially the deputy minister — responded: “The minister has a right to have a nice office close to her dept.”
On a conference call the next day, Ballantyne pointed out that Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi was also getting a new office.
That office ended up costing about $835,000, which had the Conservatives going on the attack against the Liberals this spring.
There were other issues with the project.
Emails show that Hajdu, who got the job on Nov. 4, 2015, wanted to be able to move into the new space by the end of January 2016 at the latest, a timeline that officials feared was unrealistic.
There appeared to be some incredulity on her side too: early in the process, the documents indicate, Hajdu remarked, “It takes less time to build a house.”
The space also had to be redesigned a few times, in part because the plans were drawn up before the chief of staff had even figured out how many people would be working closely with the minister.
The documents also show Status of Women did not have the money to pay for it all, nor did the department know whether it would get any help to do so.
Leonie Roux, a spokeswoman at the agency, wrote in an email that it was important for bureaucrats to be able to work closely with the minister and her staff, as is the case across the federal government. They moved in Aug. 1.
Roux also said Status of Women would cover the $1.1-million cost, but that they were able to get $900,000 of that through the supplementary estimates and it would have no impact on programming or future plans.

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