Raymond Robinson launches second hunger strike

Tease the day: This time, the Manitoba elder won’t consume any liquids


Ryan Remiorz/CP

Raymond Robinson played a supporting role in one of the biggest headlining events of 2013. Robinson, the Cross Lake First Nation Grand Elder, sat with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence on Ottawa’s Victoria Island, subsisting only on fish broth and water—the famous strike that turned liquid diet into a household phrase in Canada. Now, Robinson’s committing to new strike action, based on a different conflict with the feds. And he says this time, he’s “going all out”: no liquids or solid food until the government backs down from changes to aboriginal funding formulas.

For his part, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is taking a similar line to his predecessor, John Duncan, during Spence’s protest. He’ll meet with Robinson to discuss the issues. Valcourt’s spokesman, Jason MacDonald, didn’t mince words: “Real progress means working together, not threatening one another,” he said.

So here we are again. Spence’s protest on Victoria Island escalated, slowly but surely, until she routinely made headlines simply by walking out of a tee-pee. Robinson, like Spence, says he’s “ready to die” for the cause. Are people still listening?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Alberta’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil sands. The National Post fronts the pleas of innocence from the family of Aaron Yoon, a suspected collaborator with two Canadians who allegedly participated in an Algerian hostage-taking. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a Senate report recommending better monitoring of prescription drugs. The Ottawa Citizen leads with two government scientists who allegedly attempted to smuggle brucella bacteria into China. iPolitics fronts Canada’s shortage of truck driversCBC.ca leads with the husband of a Canadian senator moving $1.7 million into offshore accounts. National Newswatch showcases a Toronto Star story that reports 48 per cent of Canadians think Justin Trudeau is qualified to be prime minister.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Robocalls. Elections Canada probably has a strong case against former Conservative campaigner Michael Sona, says a leading lawyer who suggests plenty of evidence is likely still not public. 2. Hunger strike. Manitoba First Nations elder Raymond Robinson is embarking on a full hunger strike—no liquids—as a protest against government changes to funding agreements.
3. Obesity. Chronic heartburn caused in part by obesity is contributing to a long-term increase in the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma—cancer that forms in the esophagus. 4. U.S. ambassador. Bruce Heyman, a Chicago-based fundraiser for U.S. President Barack Obama, is apparently a leading contender to become the next ambassador to Canada.

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Raymond Robinson launches second hunger strike

  1. Raymond Robinson is just grumpy that Spence got all the attention last time around. Who’s taking these people seriously when they’re “hunger striking” every 3 months? Oh right, lame stream media, that’s who.

  2. Like far too many of the indian leadership, this guy seems more interested in promoting sovereignty for reserves and the power and status of the chiefs rather than the well being and interests of the ordinary indians living under the dubious tutelage of those chiefs.

  3. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  4. “Valcourt’s spokesman, Jason MacDonald, didn’t mince words: “Real progress means working together, not threatening one another,” he said.”

    That’s pretty rich, coming from a government that doesn’t do consultation.

  5. How can you say the Robocall and Sona stories will be missed! Maher/MacGregor are making sure that story is staying in the news forever. It’s their baby, their legacy. They’ll write a book about it and they think it will make them famous.

    • If you can write Maher/MacGregor and know that readers know who you mean … then they already are famous.

      • I’ve never heard of them…

  6. A fool leading fools to a foolish conclusion Lets hope this guy dies for a cause and then we can get on with important stuff

  7. The amount of criticism that Robinson, and other Aboriginal leaders, receive for their actions is phenomenal. Most Canadians don’t understand the depth of the issues that these leaders and their predecessors have been trying to address for decades, and its about time that we get educated. The Indian Act is a piece of legislation derived from an imported governance structure, whose purpose at its inception was to “life the burden of indigeneity from the shoulders of aboriginal peoples”. Ever since then, leaders have tried to solve fundamental issues within this broken structure, and it has proved to be more of a challenge than it should be. Our country was founded on relations between white settlers and aboriginal people. This country would not EXIST had it not been for aboriginal peoples’ knowledge of the land and climate, and how to survive in it. How did the settlers repay these people? By committing cultural genocide through a residential school system, cramming them into tiny reserve communities that have long since exhausted their capacity and by blaming aboriginal peoples for economic underdevelopment in these communities. Comparing aboriginal peoples to immigrants who should be “grateful for what Canada has given them” is nothing more than a category error. The fact that Robinson is doing something… ANYTHING to change this crippled system that boarders violation of human rights is nothing but commendable.

  8. Elder Robinson stated, ‘‘First Nations are being blackmailed into signing their rights away.” What would you call all the blockades on Hwys, Train Tracks Etc. ”They are asking us to give up our waters our lands our resources and even our Inherent Aboriginal Treaty Rights’’. You also want the treaty’s changed every other you too as long as it benefits your side. ”First Nations peoples have a right to clean water, hydro education, proper health care, the right to have a voice on what takes place within their territories, among other basic human rights that others members of society are privileged to have and take for granted”. What are you denied Proper Health Care Nope you get Health Care, Glasses, False Teeth, He makes is sound like Indians are run off the step of Hospitals, Need clean water how about you dig a well like farmers do and pay for!!! Need Hydro pay for the extra poles like everyone else DOES!!!!! For some reason Indians remind of little kids always with their hand out Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. All these hunger strikes and other BS is just another way of getting money out of the Gov. Grow up and try to live like everyone else

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