“Economic impacts are imminent if there is no response.”
APTN National News is reporting that First Nations leaders are contemplating Canada-wide “economic disruptions by the middle of January if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t agree to hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s demand for a treaty meeting”. Chief Spence, who entered Day 21 of her peaceful protest today, is demanding a meeting involving Harper, a representative of the Queen and First Nations leaders to discuss treaty agreements between Canada and First Nations.
So far, Harper has responded with a stubborn wall of silence.
According the APTN News:
During three days of meetings and teleconferences, chiefs from across the country discussed a plan setting Jan. 16 as the day to launch a campaign of indefinite economic disruptions, including railway and highway blockades, according to two chiefs who were involved in the talks who requested anonymity.
“The people are restless, they are saying enough is enough,” said one chief, who was involved in the discussions. “Economic impacts are imminent if there is no response.”
Former prime minister Joe Clark was warned that, in the absence of an “honest conversation”, relations between Canada and First Nations could take a “dangerous direction”. Clark, who was a Tory prime minister from 1979 to 1980, visited Chief Spence last Saturday. He also said he found Spence’s vision “humble and achievable”.
APTN News further reports:
The Tyendinaga Mohawks briefly blockaded a main CN rail line between Toronto and Montreal Sunday, stranding about 2,000 Via Rail passengers. The Mi’kmaq from the Listuguj First Nation, Que., continue to hold a rail blockade on a CN line along with members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation who have shut a CN line in Sarnia, Ont. In British Columbia, the Seton Lake Indian Band ended a rail blockade on Sunday.
Chief Spence has consistently called for dialogue and peaceful solidarity actions.
In the press release issued last Friday, she invited Canadian MPs and Senators to visit her at her teepee on Victoria Island, a short walking distance from Parliament Hill. She also urged her supporters to maintain pressure on Harper through non-violent solidarity ceremonies, events and rallies.
About 20 Senators and Members of Parliament from three of the five federally-elected parties, namely, the official opposition New Democratic Party, Liberal Party of Canada and Parti Quebecois, obliged and met with Spence on Sunday. Harper’s Conservatives spurned invitation.
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- Amnesty International Urges Harper to meet with hunger striker Chief Spence
- Why does it take a hunger strike to gain media attention for Aboriginal issues in Canada?