Idle No More
By: Tessa Lavallee
To: Mr. Kirkpatrick
Date: May 7th
In this 1500 word essay I thought that I would talk about what has been one of the top talks in Canada for the last couple of months, Idle No More. Idle No More is an ongoing protest movement originating among the Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprising the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent, internationally. It has consisted of a number of political actions worldwide, inspired in part by the liquid diet hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and further coordinated via social media. I want to make the people aware of what is happening. I want them to realize what the Aboriginal people are doing to help and how others can also help.
A reaction to alleged legislative abuses of indigenous treaty rights by the current federal government, the movement takes particular issue with the recent omnibus bill Bill C-45. After the May 2, 2011 Canadian Federal election, the federal government led by Stephen Harper proposed a number of omnibus bills introducing numerous legislative changes. While omnibus bills had been presented to parliament by previous governments, the perceived ideological nature of the changes proposed in Bill C-45 played to fears of a right-wing agenda held by the Conservatives, particularly concerning the removal of the term "absolute surrender" in Section 208, among others. A number of these measures drew fire from environmental and First Nations groups. In particular, Bill C-45 overhauled the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) of 1882, renaming it the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The NWPA had mandated an extensive approval and consultation process before construction of any kind could take place in or around any water which could in principle be navigated by any kind of floating craft. Under the new NPA, the approval process would only be required for development around one of a vastly circumscribed list of waterways set by the Minister of Transportation. Many of the newly deregulated waterways passed through traditional First Nations land. While the NWPA had originally been intended to facilitate actual navigation, the ubiquity of waterways in the Canadian wilderness has given it the effect of strong environmental legislation by presenting a significant barrier to industrial development, especially to projects such as pipelines which crossed many rivers. The government had by this time been engaged for some years in a campaign for approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, a proposal to build a pipeline for bitumen condensate connecting the Athabasca tar sands with the Pacific Ocean, facilitating unprocessed bitumen exports to China. Many bills affecting First Nations people have failed to be passed. Numerous attempts to introduce bills have failed due to their low priority for past federal governments, eventually dying on the order paper without being debated or passed. In 1996 Bill C-79, the Indian Act Optional Modification Act died on the order paper. In 2002, Bill C-7, the First Nations Governance Act, attempted to reform reserve administration. It died in 2003. In 2008, there was Bill C-47, the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, to redress inequity in the treatment of women. That one died on the order paper three times and is returned before Parliament, now called Bill S-2.The cancellation of the recent Kelowna Accords by the current federal government was seen as a betrayal by natives. Further background to this is the feeling that the federal government has repeatedly acted in bad faith with Aboriginal people's interests, and have violated treaties when it suited them. The feeling that the traditional tactics of negotiating with the federal government have become meaningless has caused support for new tactics. The use of flash mobs performing round dances in shopping malls became a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document