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Aboriginal leaders to launch national protest in Ottawa today demanding change
Posted December 22nd, 2012 - 3:57 am by from Castellon de la Plana, Spain (Permalink)
Aboriginal leaders to launch national protest in Ottawa today demanding change

By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – 18 hours ago

- Aboriginal leaders are set to march through the streets of Ottawa today after meeting with a chief who is on a hunger-strike.

The leaders are taking part in a national protest march and rally organized by the movement dubbed Idle No More, which opposes the Harper government's omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-45.

On the eve of the protest, Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence repeated her call for a meeting with the prime minister and Canada's governor general.

Spence, who started a hunger strike this month, issued an open letter yesterday to Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

In it, she urges them to embark on a national discussion about the state of poverty among First Nations communities.

Spence says many communities face impoverished conditions, despite assurances from the government that progress is being made to alleviate poverty.

"Land and natural resources continue to be reaped by the federal and provincial governments through taxation of corporate resource companies with little compensation to First Nations for use of our traditional territories," Spence wrote.

"Trilateral discussions and financial action plans must be committed to in order to alleviate the existing state of poverty."

Spence said this week she has been growing weaker after living mainly on water and fish broth since Dec 11.

A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan voiced frustration Thursday at being unable to speak with Spence about her concerns.

"Since she began her hunger strike the minister has expressed his concern for Chief Spence’s health and he has indicated several times his willingness to meet with or talk to her," said Jason MacDonald.

"Unfortunately he has been unable to reach the Chief, and her colleagues have been unwilling or unable to share an alternate phone number where she might be reached."

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and up to five other chiefs are expected to take part in today's march and rally, along with a number of opposition politicians.

There will also be protests in a number of other Canadian cities.

Protests and marches have been held country-wide in recent weeks to demand the Conservative government reverse legislation that First Nations say will affect treaties and traditional land use.

Posted December 22nd, 2012 - 3:57 am by from Castellon de la Plana, Spain (Permalink)
Senator says ‘Idle No More’ hunger strike not a good example for Aboriginal youth


It seems that the default defender of the Harper government with regard to the 'Idle No More' protests is none other than Conservative senator Patrick Brazeau.

Over the past week, the sometimes controversial Aboriginal senator from Quebec has taken to social media to defend the Tories' Bill C-45 and its measures which would impact aboriginal communities and the review process for land and resource development projects.

On Thursday, he went on APTN News, and said that he was a little confused as to what the protests are about.

"Unfortunately we're seeing a lot of push-back [to Bill C-45] but I think a lot of [it] is because a lot of fear mongering and some misinformation...There has been a lot of consultation on this Bill.

There is a movement called 'Idle No More,' I am not quite sure what it’s about. It started with opposition to Bill C-45, now we are hearing things about sovereignty and access to resources and it’s the whole gamut of issues."

Brazeau was also asked to comment about Atawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s now 11-day-long hunger strike.

"People have the right to do what they feel they need to do to gain the attention of different levels of government that they believe in," he said.

"Having said that, I personally don't believe that, in Canada, in 2012 that is the way to go. And I don't really believe that it sets a good example for young Aboriginal youth because...there are many processes in place where people can have their voices heard."

[ Related: ‘Idle No More’ movement grows beyond a single hunger strike ]

In the past Brazeau has broken Conservative party ranks to speak out for Aboriginals. In November, he publicly called on the Harper government to convene a federal public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

But in this case, he seems to be behind his party 100 per cent.

In one of his recent Tweets he even lashed-out at the governance of Attiwapiskat.

Let us not forget Attawapiskat had 18 councillors and paid $80,000 for a Zamboni instead of housing to name a few issues. Is this right?

— SenPatrickBrazeau (@TheBrazman) December 19, 2012

To that NDP MP Charlie Angus wrote this reply on his Facebook page on Friday morning:

"Patrick Brazeau is a fool. He attacks Attawapiskat for fundraising with bingos to buy a zamboni so the kids would have somewhere to play. Meanwhile taxpayers shell out for the house that Brazeau doesn't use and pays this nitwit until he's 75. Talk about sponging off the taxpayer. Why don't you fundraise for your senate perks Brazeau?"


Posted January 13th, 2013 - 2:59 am by from Castellon de la Plana, Spain (Permalink)
Harper-First Nations meeting was only Round One in a long, hard haul

Idle No More: First Nations’ meeting fallout highlights more divisions; what’s next?