Let’s Not Be Idle Any More

Idle No More protesters are asking the Federal Court for a review of Omnibus Bills C-38 and C-45, passed by the Conservative government, that make detrimental changes to the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act.  Bill C-45 spurred the Idle No More movement, since the obliteration of the Navigable Waters Protection Act removes environmental protection for over a million lakes and rivers, opening the door for resource exploitation, pipelines and tar sands development –often on Native lands.

Tar-sands-collage

Tar Sands

The Idle No More movement is therefore also in solidarity with the anti-Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands activists, as this dirty energy source pollutes and devastates First Nations reserve lands (not to mention the entire planet).  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta has been speaking about the negative health effects of the tar sands for years, but the recent environmental report published in the New York Times and here (Oil sands development polluting Alberta lakes) proves them to be correct.  The contaminants are not ‘naturally occurring’, as they were told by tar sands developers.

The UN has issued statements urging the Canadian government to engage in dialogue with First Nations groups that respects the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  “The Declaration states that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their distinct identities and cultures as a basis of their development and place in the world, to pursue their own destinies under conditions of equality, and to have secure rights over lands and resources, with due regard for their traditional patterns of use and occupancy”, writes the UN News Centre.  Mr James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, said “I will continue to monitor developments as I hold out hope that the 11 January meeting will prompt meaningful and restorative action by the Government and First Nations leadership.”

Special Rapporteur James Anaya

Special Rapporteur James Anaya

Today at York University, students gathered inside and out to take part in a flash mob supporting the Idle No More movement.

idlenomore

York University, Toronto

Idle No More has been gaining traction across Canada, the U.S., and the globe.
Tomorrow, January 11th, is an international day of action!  In Toronto, there will be a candlelight vigil and march starting in Queen’s Park at 8pm.  Here is an interactive map and listing of Idle No More events planned near you: Map of January 11th Idle No More Events.  Events are being planned all over North America, and in Europe and Australia as well.

IMG_2363

It’s time we united our struggles — workers, students, First Nations, etc.  At stake is government responsibility to the people, social justice and equality, and respect for the environment.  We need to take serious steps to protect our lands and waters from seemingly inevitable appropriation and sale at the hands of corporate-government partnerships.  We deserve both social and environmental justice, and in those aims, we are all necessarily involved in the same struggle.

For more information on Idle no More, see: Idle No More: Native Civil Rights, Global Environment, Politics of Canada Largest US Trade Partner

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