Idle No More in Charlottetown, PEI
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”.
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.