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NEWS: Idle No More protest blocks Hwy 63 to the tar sands

The blockade of Hwy 63 to the tar sands. Photo by Melina Laboucan-Massimo.

The blockade of Hwy 63 to the tar sands. Photo by Melina Laboucan-Massimo.

APTN reports, “About 100 people blocked Hwy. 63 north of Fort McMurray, Alta., this afternoon, the main artery that leads to the tarsands. The chief of Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation says people from more than five First Nations in and around the area took part in bringing traffic to a crawl for over two hours. …The protesters used their bodies to block the road, standing in both lanes with signs bearing the Idle No More banner, and shouting their support for Chief Theresa Spence.”

The National Post notes, “Chief Alan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation joined the blockade Thursday, saying the federal government is clearing the way for development on traditional land. Ottawa’s omnibus budget legislation weakens environmental protection in Canada, Adam says. He says oil sands projects have already sullied rivers and lakes in the area and the budget bill ‘gives the green light to destroy the rest’.”

And CTV adds, “The latest demonstration opposing the federal government’s Bill C-45 took place in the form of a roadblock north of Fort McMurray on Highway 63 on Thursday. Organizers say about 100 people blocked Highway 63 near Fort McMurray Thursday afternoon, in protest of the federal government’s omnibus budget Bill C-45, which changes resource policies and land use. …Demonstrators blocked the road for about two hours. At one point, two lanes of traffic were shut down and police were on scene. …Les Cardinal, one of the organizers for the road block, says First Nations are especially concerned about changes to the Water Protection Act. …’They are leaving all the lakes and rivers open to whoever wants to use the water. They can pollute the water,’ Cardinal said.”

Protests continue to take place across the country, including a major demonstration planned for Parliament Hill tomorrow. The Council of Canadians encourages its members and supporters to be present at it. For more, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18582.