Idle No More protestors march outside MP’s levee
By Jennifer Bowman
About 40 protestors marched through Bracebridge on their way to MP Tony Clement's levee where they held a silent vigil outside, marching in circles to the beat of a drum to support indigenous sovereignty and protection of land and water.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
January 16, 2013
MUSKOKA - Idle No More protestors marched to the beat of a drum outside MP Tony Clement’s annual levee on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Clement and MPP Norm Miller socialized with well-wishers and listened to people’s concerns inside the Rotary Centre for Youth in Bracebridge during their annual New Year’s get-together while a group of about 40 people marched in circles to a drum beat outside.
The protestors walked from the Bracebridge United Church through town to the Rotary centre where they held a silent vigil broken several times by calls to “Idle No More,” showing their support for indigenous sovereignty and protection of land and water. Some came in for refreshments and a chat with the MP after the vigil was over.
Idle No More is a grassroots movement which sees government bills such as C-45 as a threat to Indigenous Sovereignty and the vision of protecting water, air, land, and all creation for future generations. Its stated goal is to educate and revitalize indigenous peoples through awareness and empowerment.
Bracebridge was one of many protest locations for the Idle No More movement across Canada and around the world, drawing people from Huntsville to Barrie. Most were not of aboriginal descent, but wanted to show their support for the native population.
Kevin Logie, a minister at the Bracebridge United Church and one of the organizers, said they’re hoping to call people’s attention to how things are not OK in terms of the relations with the native peoples, the care of the environment and bills that have been passed that take away regulations of the waterways.
“It’s about concern about, first and foremost, relations with aboriginal peoples, but also concern for how we care for creation,” Logie said.
Inside the Rotary centre, MP Tony Clement said he’s pushing to work with First Nations leaders to provide more training and jobs for upcoming projects.
Clement, who was with the prime minister during the meeting with the First Nations chiefs on Friday co-chairing a panel on economic development, said the country has about $650-billion worth of natural resources development projects coming up for consideration over the next 20 years which could generate up to 1.6-million new jobs.
“A lot of these projects are in areas where there are reserves and First Nations individuals located nearby,” he said. “So I think one of the things I’m really pushing for is to work with First Nations leadership to harness the potential of those projects to create employment to train young First Nations people, to start up new First Nations businesses that can offer services and be part of those projects.”
He said the projects need to be environmentally sensitive with no long-lasting damage to our environment, but didn’t specify how that would be ensured.
Pam Mulligan, a Bracebridge resident, is hoping the protest will draw attention locally and inform people of what’s going on.
“We as everyday Canadians need to stand up and be counted and say it’s gone on long enough, let’s make some changes here. That’s why I’m here,” she said. “I’m appalled and embarrassed, and it’s just time to change.”
Idle No More organizers are planning an Idle No More World Day of Action on Jan. 28 to coincide with the day Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons.
Logie said currently they don’t have any protest plans for that day.
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