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Activist Communique: Photos from Toronto's Idle No More demonstrations

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Idle No More, a call made earlier this month by a group of Indigenous women, held two rallies today in Toronto.

At the root of Idle No More is a request for,” acts of solidarity against governments and industries that use legislation and disregard free, prior and informed consent to further their agendas in the name of profit and progress, ignoring the natural law to live as one with Mother Earth.”

The first rally began at 11:30 am as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) began its three day meeting in Toronto December 10 – 12, 2012. The Monday rally also falls on this year’s Human Rights Day. Ezra Levant came down to speak to demonstrators for his Sun TV show, harassing activists by demanding the secrets to the supposed conspiracy that all tar sands activists are paid protesters.

The rally drew to light that CAPP and the oil companies its represent, according to Indigenous and environmental allies, have been responsible for intense lobbying pressure in Ottawa for decades to remove legislation that protects First Nations, environmental and water rights in Canada in the name of the economy. At lunch that day, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was hosting delegates to an expensive lobbyist lunch of Canada’s premiers.

According to the call out, “As we all know, the government and numerous corporations have been disrespecting and ignoring basic human rights through policies, legislation and industry activities for profit. The government and industries have been failing to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. They have also been ignoring and pacifying the need to be responsible and live as one with Mother Earth.

The Harper government assisted CAPP last week with the passing of Bill C-45, with changes to issues around indigenous, treaty, and constitutional rights. This was done without any consultation with Indigenous leadership.”

The rally at 11:30 am demonstrated in front of the Sheraton Hotel before briefly marching through the financial district, to then join up with the 2nd rally of the day for Idle No More; this time at 1:00 pm at Queen’s Park.

“I read recently on the CAPP webpage a comment about the Toronto conference and it read ‘Get your piece of the $117 billion dollar pie’. This is a blatant example of how CAPP ignores the concerns of communities by putting money first.

As a grassroots member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation standing in support of the litigation my nation is involved in, I choose to not be ignorant of the mass destruction of Mother Earth for financial gain. I have an obligation to my children and future generations and litigation like the lawsuit launched by BCFN will ultimately protect basic human rights to have clean air and water.

Without the grassroots mobilizations, lawsuits like the Beaver Lake Cree’s would not be possible. I stand in solidarity with the grassroots people across Turtle Island!” said Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, and Indigenous Environmental Network and Sierra Club Prairie Chapter Alberta TarSands Organizer

For photos of the rally, please click here.

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