Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – What is Idle No More? January 14, 2013

EarthMattersTitle_01_13_13_LPM_0561CFN – Whether you get your news on line, in print or from televised news reports, no doubt you have heard about the IDLE NO MORE movement. This is an ongoing, grass roots protest movement originating amongst the Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Supporters of this movement include peoples from all creed and colour and the movement has gained support internationally from all walks of life. This movement has consisted of a number of political actions worldwide inspired by the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence and the public’s reaction to the current government’s perceived disregard for indigenous treaty rights and to the government’s recent passing of the omnibus bill Bill C-45.

In particular, Bill C-45 drew fire from environmentalists and our first nation peoples (according to ) by overhauling “the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) of 1882, renaming it the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The NWPA had mandated an extensive approval and consultation process before construction of any kind could take place in or around any water which could in principle be navigated by any kind of floating craft. Under the new NPA, the approval process would only be required for development around one of a vastly circumscribed list of waterways set by the Minister of Transportation. Many of the newly deregulated waterways passed through traditional First Nations land.”


While the NWPA had originally been intended to facilitate actual navigation, the ubiquity of waterways in the Canadian wilderness has given it the effect of strong environmental legislation by presenting a significant barrier to industrial development of any kind, especially to projects such as oil pipelines which crossed many rivers. The government had by this time been engaged for some years in a campaign for approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, a proposal to build an oil pipeline connecting the Athabasca oil sands with the Pacific Ocean, facilitating oil exports to East Asia.


Further information to this movement is the Vision and Goals of Idle No More as expressed in a January 10, 2013 press release.
-The Vision revolves around Indigenous Ways of Knowing rooted in Indigenous Sovereignty to protect water, air, land and all creation for future generations.-The Conservative government bills beginning with Bill C-45 threaten Treaties and this Indigenous Vision of Sovereignty.-The Goal of the movement is education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples through Awareness and Empowerment. IDLE NO MORE has successfully encouraged knowledge sharing of Indigenous Sovereignty and Environmental Protections.”


One thing that is abhorrently clear to this writer is the passing of this Bill 45 eliminates steps which were in place to insure environmental sustainability for the communities of today and for generations to come.  It is abundantly clear that the people, through gatherings, writings, drumming and prayers are insisting that our elected officials put people and environment before money. “If it is to be, it begins with me.” We can individually begin this positive process forward by asking before making our everyday choices. How does this choice affect our air, water and environment? How does this choice affect our living earth? This is what is needed for us to thrive now and for our children’s children.


Your commentary is always encouraged and welcome below or to

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  1. Thank you for sharing such important information.
    It’s great to see that all is not lost in the face of the negative witch hunt put forth by the Harper government. The more Canadian citizens that are presented with the truth of what is being done with such secrecy and malicious intent, the better prepared we all are for the coming fight to save our country together.

  2. Appreciate you taking the time to comment bella-b. Trusting that a meaningful, respectful and peaceful dialogue will lead us to understanding, mutual respect and eventually unity.

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