#IdleNoMore and the fight for democracy - Macleans.ca

#IdleNoMore and the fight for democracy


Wab Kinew explains the Idle No More protests.

2. #IdleNoMore is about the Environment

Idle No More started in part because of outrage that Bill C-45 reduced the number of federally protected waterways. The environment continues to be a regular topic at Idle No More protests. Dr. Pam Palmater, one of the leading voices in the Idle No More conversation, argues this is indigenous environmentalism is significant since the crown has a duty to consult with Aboriginal people before natural resource projects proceed. She says, “First Nations are Canadians’ last, best hope of protecting the land, water, sky and plants and animals for their future generations as well.”

1. #IdleNoMore is about Democracy

Democracy thrives when well-informed people are engaged and make their voices heard. Idle No More started with four young lawyers trying to inform the people in their communities about an issue they were passionate about. Now many people are engaged. Even more information is being shared, and even more voices are being heard. There is no one leader or “list of demands” attributable to Idle No More. While this may seem chaotic, this is what democracy is all about. Democracy is messy. Democracy is loud. Democracy is about hearing a wide ranges of voices and trying to build a path forward among them. It is not about shutting off debate or trying to rush things in through the back door.


#IdleNoMore and the fight for democracy

  1. I remember watching some students get shot and killed during an anti war demonstration in California. That was a long time ago, and maybe too long ago. Not much seems to change unless people are willing to die for their cause, You can march all you like it seems, and the authorities will always press until someone gets hurt or killed. I’m not talking about a pointless riot, I am talking about a demonstration that at some point could turn into a riot, a riot with a point. My point here is that it actually takes a native community to put the final blow against a government without borders. In other words, the white community wasn’t listened to, but more so ignored. Have we lost our effectiveness? Will it take a death to make our point? The #IdleNoMore movement is extremely important, in that it reveals how hopeless all the previous demonstrations have become, and now we must rely on some untested movement to make a point. That’s a lot of responsibility, for a single effort, and it is very fragile at best. If we really are all in this together, we need to be viewed as a single entity otherwise the Corporations and governments will ultimately split and coerce their way for their own resolve. There is danger in the air, and the native community just woke up.