Skip to main content

So here I thought moving back to Canada from Washington, DC, I would get a little break from politics. That isn't happening and it's thanks to an amazing citizens movement that is taking the country by storm.

The movement is called Idle No More, and it is right now centered around an amazinglystrong-willed First Nations woman named Chief Theresa Spence who is now more than two weeks into a hunger strike. Spence will continue her hunger strike until Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with her to discuss her concerns over recent changes to laws concerning aboriginal rights and environmental protection.

Around Spence are tens-of-thousands of everyday people across the country who are standing up on this Christmas eve, supporting her efforts to oppose what is unarguably  a very hard-right ideological turn for the government of Canada.

The government offered for Spence to meet with the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, which Spence rightly refused as she has every right as a First Nations leader to meet with the Prime Minister. And after all, if the government is willing to offer a meeting to Spence with a senior cabinet minister, there is little reason that the Prime Minister cannot meet with her instead.

For Idle No More and Theresa Spence, the new right-wing agenda being passed into law by Prime Minister Harper is seen as a systematic destruction of indigenous rights. There is a lot of changes in the works, for example Harper's government wants to loosen the process for aboriginals to surrender their land or what little is left anyways. This is an obvious threat to First Nation's traditional ways of life, and likely a huge benefit to resource companies looking to exploit that land.  

This is a troubling proposal given the power and money that resource companies in Canada have, and their history of a willingness to destroy the Great White North for short term profit. One only needs to look at the vast sludgy, toxic lakes that are now a permanent fixture in the country's tar sands projects.

For me, one of the most surprising and blatant attacks in Harper's new agenda is $8 million in new funding to Revenue Canada to audit citizens groups and non-government organizations, with a special eye on environmental groups who oppose the development of Canada's tar sands.

Audits can kill small NGO's or at the least scare them into silence. This is an attempt to silence Canadian civil society and the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting Canada's natural environment for future generations.

As you can see, things are not well in my homeland. While the government that represents me is shameful, I'm at the same time very proud to be Canadian today as I see so many people selflessly standing up and speaking out. But nobody more than Theresa Spence, a woman and a First Nations leader, who is showing the world right now what it is to truly care about the country you call home.

Originally posted to KGrandia on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM PST.

Also republished by Native American Netroots.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site