Idle No More action in Halifax gets underway.

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Parliament resumes in Ottawa today, after more than a month’s recess, and Idle No More is holding a global day of action which features new allies joining their movement in defence of Indigenous lands and rights. 

“The vision of Idle No More is rooted in the protection of water, air, land and future generations and is guided by Indigenous ways of knowing and the rights of Indigenous sovereignty,” said Idle No More co-founder Nina Wilson. “This movement is about education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples as both knowledge holders and leaders and aims to achieve this through awareness and empowerment of all people.”

In Halifax, a crowd of 200 marched across the MacDonald Bridge, part of an event organized by Idle No More joined in solidarity by Common Causes, a new assembly of social movements “dedicated to defending democracy, the environment and human rights.”

Common Causes is formally launching today with actions in nearly 30 cities and towns across Canada. The new assembly aims to form a new mechanism of mutual support for dozens of civil society organizations: 

In keeping with the values of the significant majority of peoples who reside in Canada, Quebec, and on Indigenous lands, we provide alternatives to the current Conservative government’s agenda. We believe that coordinated action is needed to take a strong stand against this agenda that is changing society in critical areas such as the economy, the environment, labour rights, health care, food safety, education, social programs, culture, civil liberties, peace and poverty.

In Santiago de Chile, more than a dozen organizations meeting at the Peoples’ Summit of Latin American, Caribbean States and Europe issued a new letter of solidarity with Idle No More:

In the past few months Indigenous people across Canada have risen up to reclaim their sovereignty and protect Mother Earth and the water from corporate exploitation. In many cases this is facilitated via free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties that seek to protect investor rights at the expense of communities and the environment. This expression of indignation can been see across all Latin America where diverse original peoples are leading the struggle to protect the earth and their sovereignty, like the Mapuchi People.

We ask the governments of Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe to respect the right of indigenous communities as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

More international solidarity with the Idle No More movement came in the form of a statement of support from dozens of international climate justice organizations

We stand in solidarity with Indigenous Sovereignty and the rights of Indigenous communities to govern and defend their traditional lands, waters and natural resources for the health and wellbeing of present and future generations. As allied activists and grassroots organizations rooted in Indigenous, African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and working class white communities, we support the grassroots leadership of all Indigenous nations opposing colonial governments and the corporate empires they serve. We honor the powerful ways that First Nations communities have survived centuries of colonial oppression and continue to stand tall in opposition to the harm of land and life.  

We honor our Indigenous sisters’ and brothers’ history of resistance to the Canadian government’s racist, exploitative and harmful policies and practices. Standing in solidarity with the Idle No More Movement, we recognize our common commitment to justice, including our resistance to the corporations driving today’s global ecological crisis through extreme energy and resource extraction industries, industrial agriculture, toxic pollution and waste, water privatization, trade liberalization and the commodification of all life.

Today’s global day of action comes after a weekend of discussion by social movement activists from across the country. “There are many processes converging, including Common Causes and the Peoples Social Forum, which just had its founding general assembly this past weekend,” explained Michel Lambert, Executive Director of Alternatives.

“We are building something no political party has done so far — we are creating an opposition that can stop the Harper agenda.”

In Ottawa, today’s rally and march starts at 11:00am with ceremonies at Victoria Island. 

For full coverage of today’s international day of action, follow’s live blog at our new page dedicated to coverage of Common Causes.