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Idle No More in Charlottetown, PEI


Idle No More

Yesterday was a “Global Day of Action” for the Idle No More movement.  And Charlottetown, PEI was part of the party!

The Charlottetown event was organized by members of PEI’s First Nations (Mi’kmaw) but was opened to anyone who could attend.  All in all somewhere between 200 and 300 people showed up to listen to passionate speeches from members of the First Nation community as well as local activists and politicians.  We were also fortunate to listen to beautiful traditional songs and even participate in dancing.  I had a wonderful time and was actually interviewed by a report from the CBC.  Maybe my sign had something to do with it: on one side it said “We All Deserve Strong Environmental Regulations” and on the other it said “Climate Change is Simple: We Do Something or We Are Screwed”.

Yours truly with the sign.  Thanks Irene!

Yours truly with the sign. Thanks Irene!

Idle No More Charlottetown.  Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.

Idle No More Charlottetown. Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.

Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.  Yours truly: bald head, black jacket, blue sweatshirt.

Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.

I have to be honest: I do not know enough about Canada’s history, the relationship between Canada’s government and our First Nations people and the Treaties that have been signed in the past (although I’m learning).  However, I went to this event because I share the concern that the latest Omnibus Budget Bill (C-45) is another massive blow against environmental regulations.  It basically finishes the job that bill C-38 began.  More specifically, it, weakens the Navigable Waters Protection Act, leaving only a handful of lakes and rivers protected. In addition, C-45 changes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, removing the requirement for rigorous review of the potential impacts of project.

These weakened regulations, in addition to changes in the Fisheries Act and the Indian Act which are also part of C-45, have a simple purpose: making life easier for the natural resource extraction industry.  The fact that we have to sacrifice our health and the way of life of our fellow First Nation Canadians in order for the oil and gas industry to prosper should only emphasize the fact that this is an unsustainable industry.  That we would also make these sacrifices for the well-being of the industry that is responsible for the potential destruction of our climate is, in my opinion, insane.

The Idle No More movement is a nation-wide attempt at reigning-in such dangerous changes to environmental regulations.  That is why I support them.

Thank you to all the First Nations that are standing up for all of us.

Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.

Thank you to Samantha Lewis for the picture.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Plourde permalink
    2013/01/12 10:43 pm

    What we did to our aboriginals is not so different than what others have done with their first nation and there is nothing to be really proud off. Participating and trying to understand is the first step that all Canadian should take instead of reading the newspaper and the propaganda the governments wants us to believe. Should you want a good book to read to understand a bit more around this centennial issue I suggest that you read The True Spirit And Original Intent of Treaty 7. It is a book written by 7 Elders and Tribal Council with Walter Hilderbrandt, Sarak Carter and Dorothy First Rider. The book was published by McGill-Queen’s Univeersity Press in 1996. (Joce, I will get you a copy…) I read the book myself some years ago and it is revealing, it gives you the understanding from the aboriginal perspective of the treaties signed between some of the first nations the then governments.

    The issue at hand is not an easy one and unfortunately with all of the propaganda from all sides and the natural hatred and mistrust that ensue it is becoming, like some radical wants it the best : divisive, and this is sad.

    Solving the aboriginal issues has never been easy and will most likely become worst before it gets better. But we need to stop pushing the issue to other governments to let it start all over again so it can slip again. The solutions will not be easy to reach and will not satisfy anyone especially the “European descend Canadian”. But we need to make good to our promises and finally try to heal and built bridges and get away from our misguided policy approach.

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