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2012-12-21 at 16:25

Idle No More

By Jeff Labine,
ENERGY 103 104Play Minute to Win it at 7:20 weekdays mornings with Kaile Jaggard and WIN! on your station for 80’s 90’s and Now…Energy 103 104 Click Here!

Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence isn’t alone in her fight against the federal government.


Hundreds braved the cold and gathered at Prince Arthur’s Landing’s spirit garden for the city’s own Idle No More protest Friday. Many carried signs that read “Assimilation is Racism," “Harper It’s not you it’s us. Just kidding it’s you,” and “Stop Harper. Save Canada.”
The protest was part of a national campaign to protest Bill C-45.

Many vocalized their support for Spence who has been on a hunger strike for 11 days in an effort to force a meeting with the prime minister.

Mona Karen Neekan sat and watched as protesters spoke about the damages the Bill C-45 will do to First Nation rights. The grandmother said she’s never seen a moment like this before.

“We stand as one,” she said.

“Living conditions need to be improved. The federal government is trying to wipe us out. That’s basically what they are trying to do. I have children. I have grandchildren and I am thinking of them. I’m not going to be here forever. What is my future generation going to be left with? That’s why I am here.”

Sharon Johnson also attended the rally. She had heard about the first protest outside of the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development office on Fort William First Nation earlier this month and wanted to know more about the issues.

She said she want to come to learn, listen and educate herself.

“I’m still learning what’s going on like the big picture,” she said.

“We’ve been doing the Full Moon Memory Walk for missing and murdered women since 2005 so I do my part that way. I was told that the grassroots movement was going to get the most attention so I just do my part.”
Natalie Legarde, an organizer of the event, said the omnibus bill waters down treaty rights and if passed could devastate First Nations.

“It will pretty much lead to First Nations being converted into real estate and sold off,” she said.

“A lot of the treaty rights are attached to that land. Our way of life will be gone. It just paves the way for foreign investment to come in and exploit the lands.”

She believed that the Idle No More movement has picked up steam as more and larger national media outlets begin to recognize and provide news coverage to the cause.  But despite the attention, the government has not agreed to the meeting.

She said Harper would rather comment on the NHL than mention Spence.

“It’s not the government’s style or fashion to be seen as recognizing Indians in anyway,” she said.

“This movement will keep on organizing and drawing more attention to the public. Hopefully, we can gather public support and stop the legislation.”

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno also showed his support at a media conference held at the Victoria Inn that same day. He and other First Nation representatives, including Fort William First Nation chief Peter Collins, voiced opposition to the federal government's bill.

He said they are waiting to see what happens with Spence, but suspect the chiefs would need to meet to discuss future plans. Yesno has heard rumours of possible blockages and roadblocks, but the main point he stressed was that they wanted to get their message across to people.

“We want to be as respectful as we can be,” he said. “We’re calling on the general public to get on board because there’s some pieces of the legislation that doesn’t just impact First Nations.

Yesno said he was glad that the grassroots initiative of Idle No More has taken off and community leaders are showing their support by being a part of it.

He added that they are all worried about the health of Spence as she continues her hunger strike but leaders are prepared for the extreme case if the worse should happen.

Yesno said at the moment they aren’t ready to speak about those plans.




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AL_NWO says:
It was awesome to see how successful Idle No More has been. Even reaching out internationally. Hope everyone continues to support Chief Spence.
12/21/2012 8:31:57 PM
Pierre says:
How about another movement led by the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers called "Silent No More". Wait..I would have to pay for my trip to parliament hill out of my own pocket????? Wait...I would have to take a day off work without pay to attend a blockade??? Maybe it wouldn't work after all.
12/23/2012 9:53:30 AM
sweetazmaple says:
well my 2 boys went to the one in ottawa and paid there own way ,, there was shuttles from toronto to ottawa yes they took the day off work for this worthy cause there was no governement handout .... there was 10,000 aborginals in ottawa dec 21st ,,,, so make sure you get your facts stright
12/23/2012 4:35:26 PM
TWM says:
Have you any idea what Bill C-45 is about? The enviornmental changes will affect everyone, not just aboriginal people.
12/24/2012 11:23:54 AM
westfortscum says:
There are parliamentary debates that prove otherwise. Debates stating that the environment will not be protected under the NWA but will be protected under a different act. The land and animals are safe from irresponsible environmental companies. The ploy of sensationalism of this topic has gotten way off track. Chief Spence was fed up with the federal gov't because of the BS she had to deal with when she asked for emergency housing for her people. But it has been well over a year and there has only been a couple handfuls of houses built, but they need 70 houses built. If the gov't can help out a city that just got flooded in a few weeks, then why can't the gov't help a reservation in over a year.
12/27/2012 9:41:12 PM
KevinLeGrand says:
Many FN people pay taxes, on and off reserve, and I am sure there are FN members of the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers. Yeah, it sucks to have to take a day off work to stand up for your rights. Talk to the many working FN people that attended these rallies. I know a few, would like to have a word with them, because they would simply love to offer you some good credible education on the subject?
12/24/2012 8:21:14 PM
dynamiter says:
I have yet to see anything specific about this piece of legislation that it causing concern. I know that there was some Navigable water act changes that were long over due for updating. This was federal legislation and the minor watercourses are still protected by the Provincial legislation so a lack of duplication is good. But what specifically in this legislation is bad and why???
12/21/2012 11:12:26 PM
Pierre says:
The First Nations leaders are particularly concerned because the legislation will call for increased transparency and accountability with respect to their band finances. How dare the federal government!!!!
12/22/2012 10:14:43 AM
ram says:
No longer protected are northwestern Ontario rivers like the Kaministiquia, or the Nipigon River, home of the largest speckled trout in the world. ”
12/22/2012 12:07:12 AM
noront says:
Not exactly. These rivers, and every other waterway in Canada, are still protected provincially. All that is being done is saving tax payers dollars by allowing one layer of bureacracy for most waters. The feds still have a say on international water courses. This is long overdue and will save some hard earned tax dollars.
12/22/2012 2:47:31 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
14 miles or more of fantastic trout habitat was obliterated by the construction of the Alexander and Pine Portage Dams. They weren't protected, from the very outset.
12/22/2012 6:29:57 PM
browneagle says:
oh wow some people just don't get it. I don't know what to feel maybe I feel sorry for them.
12/22/2012 6:09:33 AM
Mastermind says:
Members of this action blocked people at Intercity Mall. How dare you infringe on people's free right while forcing your own "free speech" right. Disgusting.
12/22/2012 9:03:04 AM
young&concerned says:
Please people! Please people do not hit agree anymore or this comment will be taken down!
12/22/2012 10:14:55 AM
young&concerned says:
Wow!!!!!! The dishonesty from you people! What the hell was wrong with that lead comment that you took down! Nothing! What happened to fair and honest reporting!
12/22/2012 10:08:25 AM
Pierre says:
I agree!!! The lead comment was bang on. Please re-post
12/22/2012 10:37:00 AM
bkr9812 says:
Yes, tbnewswatch, how about either restoring the lead comment, along with its "agrees", or posting an explanation as to what made that comment inappropriate enough to warrant its removal. It seems kind of suspect otherwise.
12/22/2012 11:29:54 AM
Baor says:
Because you can't say very much of your opinion towards natives in this country....else you be labelled something you are not. They can say we are racist or uneducated about them , or shut down highways, housing developments, or pipelines, but we are not allowed to disagree in print...they are always the victim, but the rest of the country is not.
12/22/2012 2:02:55 PM
neudorfh says:
Good job Thunder Bay! I want a government where people are treated as equals and First Nations agreements are honoured.
12/22/2012 10:34:24 AM
Pierre says:
First Nations are becoming increasingly vocal about their "rights". I want a government that asks "What about your obligations, you made promises too".
12/22/2012 11:40:38 AM
tsb says:
Yeah, their obligation was to care for the land. They can't do that because the government has subverted them.
12/22/2012 4:01:26 PM
Pierre says:
No, they gave up the land and promised "non interference".
12/23/2012 8:58:11 AM
michyj32 says:
yeah Pierre ...have you looked at a treaty agreement? What were the promises?
12/22/2012 7:37:59 PM
Pierre says:
In the treaties, the First Nations promise to not interfere with mining, exploration, forestry etc, etc.
12/23/2012 9:02:10 AM
trent says:
I too would like to see all Canadians treated equal. But that isn't possible while fighting over treaties and agreements made generations ago. No one alive today had anything to do with it. Times change. It's time to start over again with a clean slate.
12/22/2012 4:31:03 PM
Tiredofit says:
Perhaps if they honored to treaties we wouldn't have these issues. Simple concept.
12/24/2012 5:37:40 PM
buddyanon says:
the whole "being accountable" for the finances is the best thing the government has come up with regards to this issue. There is absolutely no reason reserves should be in such disarray with the amount of money the federal government is throwing at them.
12/22/2012 10:44:54 AM
advocate says:
This group is really damaging itself by using Theresa Spence as its leader. She is not exactly the image of ethics.
12/22/2012 11:44:48 AM
udecide says:
I would like to know how many comments DO NOT get posted because they disagree with SOME of the first nation issues and tell it like it is. Great reporting Thunder Bay, afraid to speak the truth. Doubt this gets posted also.
12/22/2012 12:09:45 PM
laurie says:
Your "blockades" on highways have put truckers behind schedule and there are chances these wonderful truckers won't make it home on time for christmas...

You and your families just might need what the truckers are hauling..

shame on you for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12/22/2012 1:34:05 PM
Bigtime says:
Millions of dollars goes to attawapiskat, 5 years later its in a state of emergency and poverty...If they are legit and having a hard time managing the funds, why did they refuse help from the government to help manage the new funds teresa spence requested?
12/22/2012 1:35:14 PM
ranma says:
Hey tbnewswatch, you might as well close the comments on this story, since you have ALREADY gotten rid of the original comment that had, at last viewing, over 200 agrees. What you afraid the First Nations people are going to complain and moan about THE TRUTH.

As a Metis, this legislation is a blessing. We need transparency to stop the corruption. PERIOD. Why should one group of people be held to a different set of laws than anyone else, just because of the colour of their skin?
12/22/2012 4:22:14 PM
dynamiter says:
Chief Spence and the rest of the band doesnt have housing yet - $90-million Attawapiskat has received from the federal government over the past five years and it has also received millions from De Beers. Debeers has pledged around $30-million over the 12-year life of the $1-billion Victor mine, made up of an initial signing bonus of $1-million and at least $2-million a year since 2005.

And now she is on a hunger strike???
If this legislation makes a move toward clarity of finances and allows band members ( and not just those in the governing circle) to share in these payments - isnt that worthwhile???
12/23/2012 12:47:58 AM
buddyanon says:
the problem is the chiefs have everyone brainwashed into thinking that the government and everyone in Canada is out to get them. When really all the government really wants is to make sure that the money they are giving reserves is actually benefitting the reserve and not buying band members Ferraris.
12/23/2012 8:01:53 AM
redneck .30-40 says:
This website should be totally ashamed of itself for its constant discrimination against white people and the suppression of truth by taking the 1st comment down in this story and many other comments they have censored in other stories pertaining to the aboriginal people.
12/23/2012 7:31:18 AM
Ed itw says:
Stop reporting on Theresa Spence. If she wants to put forth her views let her do so in paid advertising. She has no credibility and is not newsworthy. A Hunger strike put on by a rich band politician makes no sense.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno holds a media conference at the Victoria Inn? How about at least do it out side, perhaps at Fort William FN. He "suspect the chiefs would need to meet to discuss future plans" let me guess, at a nice fancy hotel right, how about hold a meeting in Attawapiskat.
How about Spence moves her hunger strike there also. Starving to death on Victoria Island practically in down town Ottawa is laughable.
12/23/2012 10:33:08 AM
AL_NWO says:
Pretty sad when people come to conclusion when they aren't even speaking facts. Chiefs branwashing natives for one, when it was the youth that stated all this through social media.
12/23/2012 10:34:17 AM
unionbay880 says:
I agree idling wastes gas and polutes the enviornment. I will no longer idle my truck, I will turn it off, I hear your message #idlenomore.
12/23/2012 10:39:56 AM
moi says: one all day!Thanks for the laugh.
12/24/2012 9:17:09 AM
laurie says:
My husband who was delayed over 4 hours at the blockade who like to know who the truckers can send their bill to for their time lost.
12/23/2012 10:48:44 AM
downtownie says:
Talk to any protestor with sign, out of the blue as you walk by and ask them what C-45 is about? They do not know specifics. Bill-45 (2003) was created in reponse to the Westray Mine Disaster and to improve health and safety. What part of the bill are they protesting?
12/23/2012 11:20:10 AM
dynamiter says:
You are correct - my first question still stands - exactly which part of this Act do these protestors object to - specifically - which section, subsection, provisions.

Please please tell me and I might get concerned
12/23/2012 8:39:52 PM
tiredofit says:
I suggest all you "naysayers" who seem so against the First Nations, take the time to learn what it is they are fighting for, these are things that were given to them in treaties, the government continues to fail to live up to what they are obligated to provide them. It's not all about tax free goodies like everyone things.

If your promised something, be it yesterday or 200 years ago, you want what is legally due to you, that's all they want, plain and simple.

Such ignorance in this town is unbelievable, nothing more than a bunch of red necks who feel they are somehow superior to the FN. Makes me sick.

Sure, there are a number of "bad apples" in the First Nations community, but guess what, just as many if not more in the non-FN groups. Welcome to the real world folks.

12/23/2012 11:37:59 AM
theurso says:
Many of you responding to this article have ventured way beyond the context of the story. You are being discriminatory against both the native population and against all of Canada. You have no idea what is unfolding in this country and you would be wise to wake up and pay attention. We are all victims. For those of you who want transparency to stop the corruption this needs to take place across the board through all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal. You can point your fingers at the reserve bands if it really makes you feel better, that way you don't have to look at yourself as to why you believe in the things you do. We are having our country sold out and destroyed before our very eyes and you want to blame the native population. Our waterways are being removed from environmental protection and it has nothing to do with removing layers of bureaucracy. Wake up!
12/23/2012 12:10:49 PM
dynamiter says:
Read the legislation Urso - what is happening is a great deal of the duplication inherent in the existing navigable waters act ( ie between municipal ( zoning bylaws) provincial ( ie natural resources departments, OMNR in ON, conservation authorites etc ) and federal has been removed. The federal rules are to be where the federal rules should be and the provincial authorities should be the ones to look after protecting their watercourses which they do quite well. I have seen too many supposed "navigable waters act" conditions applied where you would have to drag a canoe 10 miles into the watercourse and paddle for a 1/2 mile and then drag it another 5 miles to get to the next paddleable section. These watercourses needed to be removed and only the federally important ones should be listed - which they probably are with whatever input they received ( and they received input in developing this list).
12/23/2012 8:36:26 PM
moi says:
"Wake Up!" you say....
I already did that at 7 a.m. this morning...
12/24/2012 9:21:23 AM
blue says:
Here is a dated quote from INAC. One wonders why native youth for the most part are not educated.
"Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) funds band councils and First Nation education authorities for the education of children in Kindergarten to Grade 12 who attend schools on reserves or who attend provincially-run schools off reserve.
In 2006-07, the Elementary/Secondary Education Program supported approximately 120,000 students and 515 schools with a budget of $1.2 billion.
The program pays for:
Instructional services in on-reserve schools, operated by the First Nation or by the federal government
The reimbursement to provinces for tuition costs of students who attend provincial schools off-reserve
Support services such as transportation, counseling, accommodation and financial assistance
Approximately 60% of First Nations students are taught on reserve, almost always in schools operated by a band council, another First Nations organization, or a federal school."
12/23/2012 12:27:16 PM
ojibwe flower says:
Wow.......the ignorance displayed does not surprise me....especially for thunder bay. It is time to take your heads out of the sand and check your facts. If you know what what you speak then then perhaps you shouldn't speak. Canada..a supposed leader in the area of human rights recently received a "failing grade" from the UN and amnesty international...mainly in the areas of treatment of indigenous peoples. On an international level Canada is looking pretty ridiculous right about now as it's dirty secrets are coming out of the closet.
12/23/2012 12:35:46 PM
emma171 says:
"If you know what what you speak then then perhaps you shouldn't speak."

Perfect. But to address your comment on Amnesty International, it's a joke. I loved the comments by Kevin O'Leary on "The Lang and O'Leary Exchange" basically saying it was a joke to criticize us for our treatment of aboriginals and compare it to other human rights abuses around the world. I wholeheartedly agree. A lot of natives on our reserve get a massive cash payout when they are 18, get tax breaks, free post-secondary education, and have the right to live, work, and play wherever they want in our country. And we're comparing the treatment of aboriginals to serious human rights abuses around the world. What a joke.
12/24/2012 12:05:33 AM
clasmom says:
I think it is a shame that this is all over the paper again, i was unfortunatly one of those among the Idle No More stop at Intercity Mall and shame on you all. There are protocols and rules and if you refuse to adhear to them then you shouldnt get the time you so think your intiled too. I am sick of reading and seeing movements like these, yes you are intiled to your opinion and beliefs but so am I. The group at the mall was disrespectful to security and police calling them racists and stopping the rally, but think about it like this, if it was any other group who showed up unannouced would they have not been removed immediatly? OF COURSE! Like this road block, mall stop and any other movement your intitled too, think about this community who is effected, these are people you have to face everyday, to get respect you must earn it.
12/24/2012 9:55:01 AM
KevinLeGrand says:
What about all the flash mobs at intercity mall?
12/24/2012 8:14:58 PM
KevinLeGrand says:
I wish this debate was more mature and included actual facts and timely data. To mock a people in distress is inhumane and especially a Chief who has worked hard to earn the respect of her people in Attawapiskat. It's rather saddening sitting here reading comments so callous. It's unfortunate some people are inconvenienced by these desperate measures such as sitting behind a roadblock. Canadians must realize that these communities are inconvenienced on a daily basis by continual platitudes such as the Harper apology with such contrary actions as unilaterally changing many important laws that have a direct impact on these communities as well as off-reserve individuals. In regards to accountability, living in remote communities is costly and many were displaced to these areas.Originally the British forced many communities into what was once thought uninhabitable areas to their seemingly sure demise. Who laughing now, First Nations play a good gambit. Don't hide behind usernames,afraid?
12/24/2012 8:10:45 PM
idler says:
Same old same usually the same old people that are for or against...But this will grow even if it comes to an end regardless...Harperman is in for a long ride.Same goes for Thunder Bay.
12/27/2012 2:10:49 PM
joeh says:
Chief Spence is on a hunger strike for All First Nations across Canada not just her reserve and this bill does not only affect Native Canadians but Canada as a whole.I'm proud to be Native but it would be nice to say I'm a proud Canadian too
12/27/2012 10:59:53 PM
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