Reporters turned away from Victoria Island and Chief Spence, threatened with charges in Attawapiskat
The movement that has criticized changes to legislation the federal government has proposed in Bill C-45, better-known as the Idle No More movement, took a while before it became the topic of mainstream political panels and front-page stories. But over the course of the movement and with her well-publicized hunger strike, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence became a “one of the most public and controversial faces” of the protest. On Monday, a third-party audit of Attawapiskat finances was leaked, revealing shoddy bookkeeping. The movement called it a “move to discredit” Spence as news stories questioned where millions of dollars were spent. Relations between the media and Spence took a turn. Journalists were turned away from the site where Spence had been staying on Victoria Island in Ottawa on Monday and Tuesday after the release of the audit and Attawapiskat police threatened to charge Global National correspondent Jennifer Tryon and photojournalist Trevor Owens with trespassing and breaching the peace if they did not leave the reserve on Tuesday. The direction to refuse media access to the reserve reportedly came from Spence herself. On Wednesday, an Attawapiskat spokesperson told Global News he wasn’t sure why the reporters were kicked out and asked them to “patiently wait to get direction from Chief Spence” as to when they could return.