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UPDATE: Council of Canadians on the streets in solidarity with Idle No More

Prince Albert photo by Rick Sawa

Prince Albert photo by Rick Sawa

The Council of Canadians was out on the streets showing its solidarity with Idle No More yesterday.

Board members Rick Sawa (in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan), Anne Levesque (at Auld’s Cove, Nova Scotia) and Paul Manly (at the Snaw-Na-As First Nation near Nanoose, British Columbia) participated in Idle No More actions. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix reports, “About 500 supporters waved banners and chanted for more than an hour through downtown Prince Albert on Friday to protest federal government Bill C-45. The group, including young children, stopped traffic over the lunch hour and held round dances at several busy intersections.” The Canadian Press reports, “Protesters in Nova Scotia held a peaceful demonstration along Highway 102 in the Truro area, causing about eight kilometres of traffic gridlock.”

Aulds Cove photo by Anne Levesque.

Auld’s Cove photo by Anne Levesque.

In addition to hearing about the Inverness County chapter at Auld’s Cove from Anne and seeing the Ottawa chapter on Parliament Hill, I’ve also received notes from Calgary chapter activist Ted Woynillowicz and Penticton chapter activist Wes Kmet about their chapters participating in Idle No More actions. The Penticton Western News reported, “300 gathered in Penticton’s Gyro Park to take part in the Idle No More ‘One Heartbeat across Turtle Island’ rally on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip explained that the federal government’s reaction to the Attawapiskat situation is typical of the eroding relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples.” CBC reports, “In Calgary, Treaty 7 protestors peacefully marched along 16th Avenue N.W. between Edmonton Trail and 14th Street at noon on Friday. About 50 people gathered outside the Siksika office to chant, drum and carry signs.”

Snaw-Na-As photo by Paul Manly.

Snaw-Na-As photo by Paul Manly.

And BC-Yukon organizer Harjap Grewal, Prairies organizer Scott Harris, and national office staff Meera Karunananthan, Emma Lui, Dylan Penner and myself attended the Idle No More protests in Vancouver (with about 100 people according to the Huffington Post), Edmonton (with about 400 people as noted by the Edmonton Journal), and Ottawa (with about 1,000 people according to a Canadian Press report) respectively.

There were likely many other Council of Canadians activists participating in Idle No More protests yesterday – so if you’re not noted above, please let me know, and I’ll update this report!

How have the Harper government and the Governor-General responded? Shamefully. The Canadian Press reports, “Julie Vaux, a spokeswoman for Harper, said the rallies did not change the government’s position. The Conservatives insist they are taking strong action to address aboriginal concerns.” Late last week, Governor-General David Johnston told CBC News, “What we have here is a very complex set of issues that primarily are matters of politics and therefore these are matters for elected governments to determine first and foremost. …My heart goes out to Chief Spence as anyone would in that circumstance, and my greatest wish is that she would be home with her family for Christmas enjoying Christmas as we do with families.” That article highlights that Johnston has used his role to promote the Harper government’s trade agenda abroad.

TAKE ACTION! Take the time this holiday season to send a message to the Prime Minister and Governor-General to demand that they meet with Chief Theresa Spence, now in the 12th day of her hunger strike. The Prime Minister can be reached at and the Governor-General at

For Council of Canadians campaign blogs in support of Idle No More, please see