OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is encouraging Canadians to engage in an informed and helpful discourse on Indigenous Rights and fundamental Canadian values of sustainable development, peace, freedom and equality for all Canadians.
“The Idle No More Movement is an opportunity for people in Canada to join in solidarity on key issues like the protection of water and provision of clean drinking water for all in this country. It is creating awareness of how Prime Minister Stephen Harper is exposing us to a free-for all through the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPA) with China. FIPA undermines sovereignty at all levels and infringes on the treaties with First Nations," said Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich—Gulf Islands and leader of the Green Party of Canada.
The Idle No More Movement is a concerted effort by Indigenous Peoples and Canadians, partly to bring attention to legislation that will erode protection of lakes and rivers and leave us open to foreign investment and control over our natural resources. Peaceful protests are occurring across the country to make people aware of serious issues we are facing with Bill C-45 and FIPA and how these leave natural resources vulnerable to exploitation. Bill C-45 was implemented without any consultation with either Canadians or Indigenous Peoples.
“FIPA was rammed through with no sanctioned debate. There are no immediate mechanisms by which people in Canada can express their desire to have these issues addressed. These protests are the only voice we have to counter the silence in parliament,” said May.
“Bill C-45 is a bill that fails all people in Canada and should never have passed into legislation. It is an illegal infringement on the rights of Indigenous peoples and erodes important environmental protections at a time when we are facing one of the greatest environmental crises in our history. This is the time we should be strengthening our resolve to leave a better planet for our children not a time when we should be rolling back environmental laws,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Anishnabe K’we and Aboriginal Affairs Critic for the Green Party of Canada.
The Green Party calls for peaceful gatherings and increased support to have Bill C-45 repealed and ensure that the Canada-China Investment Treaty is not ratified. The GPC challenges Canadians to rediscover their history and the significance of the international treaties signed with the original nations of Canada, and to work together for the benefit of future generations to rebuild and renew original friendships.
“This is a time for us to begin building a better country and a better future for our children to live in peace on a healthy planet. We need to stand together and demand respect for each other and our ecosystems. Stephen Harper cannot ram through legislation that impacts on Indigenous Peoples rights and lands without consulting them. Canada did sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. Prime Minister Harper needs to abide by that Declaration. He has a duty to consult. He cannot continue to trample on Indigenous Peoples rights,” said Rekmans.
Bill C-45 weakens and erodes the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), the Fisheries Act, and the Species At Risk Act. Bill C-45 also imposes important unilateral changes to the Indian Act which have not been endorsed by Indigenous Peoples.
“First Nations have constitutional rights to be consulted. Canadians also have the right to demand that massive changes in our laws and international relations be at least debated in parliament. People can rightly protest that they were not consulted. Canadians have a duty to protest and demand their right to dissent. This is a program they never voted for. Yet it is being imposed on them regardless. Can we all decide to be Idle No More?” concluded May.
Communications Coordinator, Green Party of Canada