Ottawa – NDP leader Thomas Mulcair called on Prime
Minister Stephen Harper to “act” swiftly, listen to the message from the
Idle No More movement and re-engage with First Nations people to avoid a
potential “personal tragedy” unfolding on Victoria Island in Ottawa
where Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has entered the eighth day of a
Spence has been on a hunger strike to force a meeting between the
prime minister, the governor general and First Nations leaders to
discuss the treaties.
The PMO has indicated it’s unlikely Harper would participate in such a
meeting and Gov. Gen. David Johnston refused to answer questions on the
Mulcair wrote a letter to Harper Tuesday calling on the prime
minister to re-engage with First Nations peoples while the chief from
the impoverished northern Ontario First Nations continues a hunger
strike and protests sweep across the country.
“As you know, Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation has
also embarked on a hunger strike, living in a (teepee) on Anishinabe
traditional territory of Victoria Island in the Ottawa River, barely a
kilometre from Parliament,” wrote Mulcair, who is leader of the Official
Opposition. “I ask that you please act swiftly to avoid a personal
tragedy for Chief Spence.”
Mulcair said in his letter that it was time for the Harper government
to truly commit to “reconciliation.” Mulcair said the prime minister
should take the Idle No More rallies seriously and honour the
commitments he made during last January’s Crown-First Nations gathering.
“From coast to coast to coast, an unprecedented wave of grassroots
action is sweeping across First Nations communities,” wrote Mulcair.
“When you met with First Nations leaders less than a year ago, you
committed your government to working in partnership with First Nations
Canadians. The #IdleNoMore protests are proof that Aboriginal Canadians
are demanding you fulfill that solemn commitment.”