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UPDATE: Barlow speaks at Idle No More rally on Parliament Hill

Maude Barlow speaks at Idle No More on Parliament Hill

Maude Barlow speaks at Idle No More on Parliament Hill

CBC reports this hour, “An estimated 300 Idle No More demonstrators have gathered during a heavy snowfall on Parliament Hill today. The crowd of Ottawa activists — many chanting to a drum beat — assembled in a show of solidarity for indigenous people’s land and rights, and a push for reform on federal government policy toward aboriginal people.” The Globe and Mail adds, “First Nations protesters chanted, danced and waved placards and banners on the snowy pavement in front of the Parliament Buildings on Monday as MPs returned to work after their six-week winter break.”

In her speech at today’s rally, Idle No More co-founder Nina Was’te thanked the Council of Canadians and Common Causes for their support of Idle No More. Later, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow expressed solidarity with Idle No More and announced the founding of Common Causes, a new assembly of social movements dedicated to defending democracy, the environment, and human rights.

Rabble.ca reports, “Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow announced the formation of a new organization called Common Causes. Their goal is to created a strategic, coordinated plan amongst the various movements with the ultimate goal of replacing the Conservative government in the next election. ‘We come from all walks of life and all over the country,’ said Barlow. ‘And we’ve decided not to be fighting in our silos any more but to be fighting together.’ Barlow called Stephen Harper the most right-wing, anti-democratic Prime Minister in Canadian history. ‘He’s dismantling public services and social justice,’ she said. ‘He’s taking the federal government out of medicare, attacking workers, women, refugees and the poor and gutting our environmental laws.’ And he rammed through Bill C-38 and Bill C-45. ‘The worst pieces of legislation in Canadian history,’ said Barlow. ‘Well Stephen Harper, you have awakened a sleeping giant.'”

The Globe and Mail article notes, “A simple message from one unidentified Algonquin grandmother on the Hill … pleaded with the Harper government to reinstate environmental protections for Canada’s waterways that were removed in the last omnibus budget bill. ‘We need water to live,’ she said. ‘And we have to make sure that this message gets to the people that are sitting in this (House of Commons).’” But a CBC report this afternoon, almost in reply, notes, “Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan said there is no way the government will back down on the group’s demand that it make changes to environmental oversight in the bills.”

Photo by Common Causes and Brent Patterson.

CBC, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/01/28/parliament-hill-ottawa-setup.html
Globe and Mail/ Canadian Press, http://www.windsorstar.com/news/First+Nations+advocates+protests+legislation+maintain/7882422/story.html