Analysis of Idle No More Mobilization
[From Warrior Publications]
by Zig Zag
On Dec. 10, 2012, several thousand Native peoples rallied across Canada as part of a national day of action dubbed “Idle No More” (INM). The protests targeted Bill C-45 and the policies of the ruling Conservative Party. In Edmonton, as many as 1,500 turned out, one of the largest. A reported 400 people attended in Calgary and Winnipeg, with anywhere from 100 to 300 participating in Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford, and Vancouver.
What is Bill C-45?
Bill C-45 is an omnibus bill meant to put into law parts of the Conservative Party budget introduced in early 2012. It is also known as the Jobs and Growth Act. Its full bureaucratic title is Bill C-45: A Second Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and Other Measures.
As an omnibus bill it includes changes and revisions to a wide number of federal laws and regulations. These include the Fisheries Act, the Canada Grain Act, changes to MP’s pensions, the handling of hazardous materials, and a new bridge to Windsor, Ont., from Detroit, Michigan. One of the more controversial provisions are proposed changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which remove thousands of lakes and streams from federal protection under that law.
Some of the changes proposed under Bill C-45 have been criticized by environmentalists and Indigenous peoples resisting mining, oil & gas projects, as well as proposed pipelines:
“Together, the changes proposed in the omnibus bill would further weaken Canada’s environmental laws, remove critical federal safeguards, and reduce opportunities for the public to have their say about projects that could threaten the air, water, soil and ecosystems on which all Canadians, and our economy, depend.”
(“Open Letter to MPs regarding Bill C-45,” West Coast Environmental Law, November 21, 2012)
Members of Unis’tot’en camp opposing Pacific Trails Pipeline, November 2012.
For Indigenous peoples in particular, along with the threats to land and water, are proposed changes to the Indian Act including an amendment to change the rules around what kind of meetings or referenda are required to lease reserve lands. The aboriginal affairs minister would also be given authority to call a band meeting or referendum for the purpose of considering an absolute surrender of the band’s territory. Continue reading “Idle No More? Speak for Yourself…”