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January 18th, 2013 (11:15 AM).
Guide of Darkness
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Temple of Light
Well, Idle No More was actually about Navigable Waters Protection Act as a number of said waters cross through indigenous territory at some point. The movement has kind of ballooned a bit now into a native rights movement and the original founder of Idle No More isn't too fond of her movement (which was largely environmental and focused on the waterways) being piggybacked upon and the message muddied.
So, with that said there's a lot of different aspects to this movement. On the environmental protection of the waterways, I'm mixed. I'm not fond of the perceived reduction in environmental protection, but at the same time... it's more like a reduction in the Federal government's jurisdiction. The same waterways are still under the authority of the Provincial and Municipal governments and they can sort things out with the First Nations people as needed. It could be seen more as a reduction in levels of redundancy, focusing primarily on waterways that cross provincial borders. Whether that is beneficial or not is debateable. I'm not sure myself. Plus, the Federal government uploaded protection of some additional parkland onto its jurisdiction, which kinda puts a hamper into a broad-brushed "they don't care about the environment" argument.
The bigger issue, I think, even if it isn't what the movement was intended to be about, is the state of the native reservations and territory. They simply aren't acceptable. We wouldn't tolerate it for anyone else in this country. They aren't livable. What's up for debate is the potential solution. I don't think more money from the levels of government would work. They do get a lot as it is. The audit of Attawapiskat alone should make that clearly apparent. The problem isn't money, it is management and oversight. Inadequate policies and practices within these communities that prevent necessary infrastructure from being built and resources from reaching people. That's what needs to be improved. Send in project managers and knowledgeable, experienced people in city-building to get this on track.
And then there's the Chief Spence aspect. She was all for the media coverage when she stared her hunger strike... until the audit came out. Then she was against media coverage. She also doesn't seem to have a full understanding of who she should be talking to and why. Prime Minister, sure. The Governor General and the Queen though? No. (First of why would you have both the Governor General and the Queen present when the Governor General acts on behalf of the Queen?) And threatening not to meet with the Prime Minister unless the other said parties are present, just shows real arrogance on her part (and she didn't show up at a meeting of the Prime Minister and 100 other First Nations chiefs). The Governor General, if he were to partake in a meeting, legally can only act as a listener. He does not have the authority to discuss issues or negotiate. The issue resides with Parliament and the Courts, not the Sovereign. So, she can wait all she wants but she's simply doing herself and her cause a disservice.
For the protests, in addition to the blockages there were some peaceful demonstrations. I have no problem with those. But the transit blockages could potentially have an economic impact (no matter how brief or recoverable) on both Canada and the United States and should not be tolerated in such a situation. However, the blockages were very temporary and more of an inconvenience to traffic than trade, so I don't think it as large a problem. But, I don't think you should be inconveniencing people either and holding people hostage.
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