Idle No More protest blocks Boxing Day traffic
Supporters of the Idle No More campaign took to the streets in downtown Vancouver on Boxing Day. December 26, 2012. (CTV)
CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012 5:10PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2012 5:12PM PST
One of Vancouver’s busiest shopping streets was temporarily closed on Boxing Day as supporters of the national Idle No More campaign took to the streets.
Protesters marched on Burrard and Robson Streets, blocking traffic and Boxing Day shoppers briefly. Wednesday’s march was part of a larger campaign that saw similar protests at shopping malls and streets across the country.
Protesters say they are opposing changes to the federal Indian Act and Bill C-45. They say the bill eliminates treaty and aboriginal rights set out in the Constitution, as well as weakening protections of lakes and streams that affect First Nations communities.
The Idle No More movement, and a subsequent, ongoing rail blockade in Sarnia, Ont., was sparked by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. Spence has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11, and is seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the government’s relationship with First Nations.
The Conservatives say they are taking strong action to address aboriginal concerns. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said in a letter Tuesday that he has offered to meet with Spence, but she has been unresponsive.