Spence hunger strike: FN Chiefs contemplate Canada-wide “economic disruptions”

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Spence hunger strike: FN Chiefs contemplate Canada-wide “economic disruptions”

by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive | January 01, 2013

“Economic impacts are imminent if there is no response.”

Idle No More Ottawa Rideau Centre Dec 30 2012 (3)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.

POLL: Is Chief Theresa Spence your 2012 newsmaker of the year?

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.


Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist, progressive political blogger, and activist. He’s the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive blog.
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4 comments on “Spence hunger strike: FN Chiefs contemplate Canada-wide “economic disruptions”
  1. Richard, that is incorrect. The British lost India as a result of the massive destruction they experienced a result of World War 2, at the end of which they were faced with armed mutiny from Indian soldiers and sailors, along with a strong anti-colonial resistance which was not simply pacifist and following Gandhi, who was in reality a collaborator with the British.

  2. Glad you reiterated the Peaceful aspect of Chief Spences message. Now is not the time, I believe, for a macho threatening approach. Our police in Canada are armed to the teeth now and trained in para military tactics and only look bad if we remain peaceful.

    • Right on, Susan. Canada under Stephen Harper is a different creature altogether. I recall my moment of awakening on November 23, 2011, when the Ottawa Police send more than 150 police officers to evict us from Confederation Park. Eight of us Occupied Ottawa activists, unarmed and passively resisting. They came just after 2am.

      Furthermore, the Harper government now supports torture as a way to gather intelligence. Potential targets will include Canadians. The Conservatives new anti-terrorism strategy labels Canadians dedicated to causes such as animal rights, environmentalism and anti-capitalism “issue-based terrorists”, implacable adversaries to be monitored and battled.

      Finally, now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment officers on Parliament Hill carry the rapid-and-accurate-fire Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns as “secondary weapons” to their standard-issue semi-automatic 9mm pistols.

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