Yesterday Canada's First Nations Idle No More movement's Day of Action staged an peaceful uprising all across Canada. Dozens of of main roads and rail routes were peacefully blockaded by predominantly indigenous protesters demonstrating against the current government's unilateral nullification of Fist Nation's Treaty Rights, included in a sweeping budget bill passed last year.
These unilateral changes to First Nations Treaty Rights were made at the behest of Canada's increasingly powerful dirty energy Oil, Coal, and Tar Sands industries, and implemented by Canada's ruling conservative coalition headed by the Conservative Party's Prime Minister Steven Harper. PM Harper has been called Canada's George Bush for his cozy relationship the dirty energy corporations. That cozy relationship was never made more obvious as it was with the blatant favors for Big Energy that were written into the awful Budget Bill. Provisions that in effect took away Canada's First Nations ability to control the way Big Energy corporations could use First Nation Tribal Reserve lands for energy related developments including coal mining, tar sands extraction, oil drilling, and construction of dirty energy pipelines across Fist Nation Reserves.
Idle No More gains momentum in Canada
By Stephanie Whiteside / current.com
The Idle No More movement began with the introduction of a series of bills that affect First Nation peoples and aboriginals. The first to stir outrage was Bill C 45, which includes changes to the Indian Act that would make it easier to lease tribal lands. When organizers for Idle No More attempted to meet with members of Parliament, they were refused entry.
Idle No More is also concerned about any legislation that reduces environmental protections and, according to Idle No More organizers, shows the government's disregard toward First Nation peoples and aboriginals. And the movement is a response to nongovernmental issues as well, including tuberculosis epidemics, high levels of suicide and incarceration, and hundreds of missing aboriginal women.
Idle No More, like Occupy, has grown through committed activists who use social media tools to spread its message and organize its efforts. It also gives a voice to those whose voices go unheard yet who are still deeply affected by the results of legislation. Idle No More has made use of social media to organize and inspire solidarity efforts around the globe. The latest effort was the Day of Action event with a movement in Windsor, Ont. The Day of Action tied up traffic and trade at Canada's biggest border crossing with the U.S., into and out of Detroit. The movement has included other blockades and hunger strikes in protest.
The Budget Bill unilaterally diminished First Nation's sovereignty over their tribal Reserves without any negotiations or agreement from the First Nations peoples they were imposing these unjust changes on.
'Idle No More': Protesters slow down economic activity across Canada
First Nations demonstrators stopped railway traffic lines between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal this afternoon, while others stalled major highways and rail lines in parts of Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario as part of the Idle No More Movement's national day of action.
Protesters also gathered at in Windsor, Ont. near the Ambassador Bridge to Michigan, slowing down traffic to North America's busiest border crossing for several hours, the CBC's Allison Johnson reported.
Activities including rallies, possible blockades and prayer circles were planned across the country Wednesday as part of the grassroots movement calling for more attention to changes that were contained in Bill C-45, the Conservative government's controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affected First Nations communities.
The forces of repression are not sitting idly by. They are trying to spread fear.
Alberta’s top cop upset over tactics by Idle No MoreI think we can expect more authoritarian moves to shut down the use of civil disobedience in upcoming blockades being planned. And many more protests are bing planned.
By Ian Campbell
Denis fears actions like these could lead to rioting and plans to meet with the chiefs of police from Calgary, Edmonton and the RCMP to discuss a plan of action.
He says his office has received several calls from Albertans who want the protests shut down but adds he has to make one thing clear, that’s up to the police.
They’ll sit down face to face Monday to discuss the handling of blockades, ahead of a vow from protestors to shut down Highway 63.
This article comes out of Victoria British Columbia's capital, located about 32 miles West of my home.
Idle No More protests just the beginning, B.C. chief saysThis study caused a national scandal when its damming conclusions were released last year:
By JUDITH LAVOIE
Idle No More protests are the start of a larger movement that will bring together a broad cross-section of First Nations and non-indigenous communities, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president Stewart Phillip predicted Wednesday.
“I think people are starting to connect the dots and understand this is about a humanitarian crisis and crushing poverty in aboriginal communities, but also very much about the environment,” said Phillip, who was in Greater Victoria for the Idle No More demonstration that blocked the Patricia Bay Highway on Wednesday.
The crossover between the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline protests and Idle No More demonstrations show an increasing number of people are trying to defend Canada’s environment in the face of the Harper government’s omnibus bills, Phillip said.
Idle No More Sweeps Canada and Beyond as Aboriginals Say Enough Is Enough
By DAVID P. BALL
Winnipeg, Manitoba, broadcaster and Anishnaabe musician Wab Kinew told Indian Country Today Media Network that Idle No More has grown from a reaction to Bill C-45, to a broader movement.
“Idle No More is definitely about indigenous rights, culture and sovereignty,” he said. “But the ideals that underlie it are ones that matter to all Canadians—they're about rights, freedom, the environment, preserving a positive environment for our children.”
I am in complete solidarity with Idle No More, and its goals to give a voice to Canada's First Nations who have been further marginalized by Canada's Conservative ruling coalition as a favor to its patrons the corporate energy giants.