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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We Must Stand Together (IDLE NO MORE)

We Must Stand Together!
 By: Christine McFarlane

The Idle No More Movement that began in early October 2012 is more than just a passing movement that had its initial beginnings on facebook. It is about everyone fighting for his or her rights. It is about standing together and righting the wrongs that the Canadian government has put upon us all through their legislative and colonialist practices.

It is about everyone gathering together and standing united on core issues that will affect all Canadians now and in the future. It is about grassroots voices, treaty rights and sovereignty, and about Bill C-45.  Bill C-45 is a 457-page omnibus budget legislation bill (also known as the Jobs and Growth Act) that will make changes to several Canadian laws and enactments that include the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Act.

It will see just 97 of Canada's approximately 32,000 major lakes protected by the stripped down act. The changes it will create to the Fisheries Act and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act will wreak havoc on our ability to maintain a sustainable environment, and have clean water and healthy oceans for all Canadians.

It also exempts companies behind major pipeline and inter-provincial power line projects from needing to prove that they won’t damage or destroy navigable waterways in Canada. Exempting companies from accountability is not only dangerous to First Nations people and their ability to continue a traditional lifestyle of hunting, trapping and fishing, but it will also affect Canada’s waterways and put our water and environment in danger for us and the seven generations behind us.

For First Nations people, the passing of Bill C-45 eliminates treaty rights. It will allow First Nations to lease out/surrender reserve lands based on votes taken at a single meeting, rather than a majority vote from an entire first nation (aka. community consent), eliminate the need for Governor in Council to approve this vote, and changes to approval of Band Councils and Members.

Stephen Harper and his government have blatantly disregarded consultation with First Nations peoples and their leadership in regards to these amendments. These amendments are outlined in our treaty rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In particular, I quote
Article 8 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

"1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture, and

2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d)  any form of forced assimilation or integration;
(e) any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them." [1]

We as Canadians need to stand up to our Prime Minister Stephen Harper and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 

Please, if you haven't already, become as informed as you can about the facts regarding Bill C-45. Take a stand to protect not only your rights, lands, waters and future, but take a stand for everyone!

For further reading please visit the following links:

and another key site to visit is Dr. Pamela Palmater’s (a key organizer in Toronto’s Idle No More movement) blog Indigenous Nationhood which can be viewed at:

[1] United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved January 9, 2013.

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