I’d like to introduce you to a powerful movement happening in our neighbor to the north. It’s called Idle No More, and it began as a movement among Canada’s many First Nations groups.
A bill called Bill C-45 was introduced by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper under the legislation category of Jobs and Growth; this so-called jobs and growth includes the expansion of tar sands production on protected lands and waterways. These lands and waterways are primarily on and near First Nations reservations and therefore Bill C-45 violates treaties that were signed between the Canadian government and First Nations leaders over a hundred years ago. What’s more, Prime Minister Harper has refused to discuss the environmental impacts and treaty violations of Bill C-45 with those who oppose it. Theresa Spence, the Chief of the Attawapiskat Nation in Northern Ontario has made an effort to meet with Harper for months to discuss the promises that he’s broken. His harsh refusal induced Spence to endure a hunger strike, which went on for 43 days and just ended as some political progress was made. Her protest has received international attention. A Canadian Parliament Member and representative of Aboriginal Affairs named Jean Crowder remarked on the situation, saying:
“...[I]n January the Prime Minister promised to work with first nations and to consult with them before introducing any policy changes. He broke that promise with unilateral changes to the Indian Act in Bill C-45.
On December 10, grassroots organizers of Idle No More will be gathering outside the constituency office of the Prime Minister, demanding more accountability from the government.
During these education funding negotiations, will the minister commit to a clear, open and honest process?” Source: OpenParliament.Ca