It was disappointing to see that only 51 per cent supported the Idle No More movement in the last Coast Reporter on-line poll. But considering the media emphasis put on Chief Spence and the divisions within the movement rather than any attempt to describe the issues, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise.
Idle No More has tried to explain their issues, and has tried to make other Canadians understand that these are our issues as well. What other Canadians need to understand is that the Conservative government's bills C-38 and C-45 have made destructive changes to freshwater protection in Canada. The bills destroyed the Fisheries Act and stripped federal government protections for 99 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada. These bills repealed the Canada Environment Act, and under the new rules 3,000 environmental assessments are now cancelled. Many of the resource energy and mining projects that will open up with no environmental oversight will take place on indigenous lands.
These bills made it possible for reserve lands to be leased out without majority community support, and would be able to be signed off by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs before approval from the federal cabinet. There were no meetings or consultations, and the Minister only informed the chiefs on Oct. 22, 2012 that these changes would be made.
Idle No More has many other issues as well, but we should at least stand in solidarity on issues that affect us all.