Idle No More
At long last, the Canadian street is stirring with indignation at the actions of the present Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper…. and so is the Canadian woodland, the Canadian prairie, and the Canadian mountains. It might even be said that all of Nature is in revolt against the Conservatives.
It would appear that today, December 21, marks the birth date of an indigenous-led movement against the government. It spans the country. Dubbed “Idle No More“, it is also, like the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring (with both of which it is being compared) the child of social media, organising itself in very similar ways.
The grievance that has led to the arousal of First Nations’ indignation from coast to coast to coast is the perception that recently passed legislation in the omnibus Bill C-45 by the Harper government breaks the terms of the treaties and threatens the reserve lands and the tribes with extinguishment, and thus is a disguised and deceitful strategy of dispossession, expropriation, and assimilation.
I believe they are correct in that perception given what we know of the contents of Bill C-45, in fact — the very way so many diverse pieces of legislation have been bundled together as a package to evade parliamentary debate and public scrutiny of the particulars and details of the Bill.
(A side note: when present Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in opposition, he denounced such omnibus bills as undemocratic, and called instead for “transparency & accountability” in government. Apparently, opacity and omnibus bills magically become democratic instruments only when power is attained by Conservatives or by Stephen Harper. Most sane people would call that “hypocrisy” or “the forked-tongue”).
And, really, that is what this indignation is about — the forked-tongue slithering out from the silver throat — which makes the issue of Bill C-45 and the deepening “democratic deficit” a broader issue than the threat it presents only to aboriginal peoples, their lands, and their resources.
It is consistent, however, with the degeneracy of the “democratic era” that the inappropriately misnamed “conservative” would find violating treaty rights allowable and permissible, while insisting on the sanctity of contract and the function of the state to enforce contract rights. Yet, there is no difference between a treaty and a contract whatsoever. It merely takes an Orwellian perversion of language, at which the present “new right” is quite adept, to make “contract” and “treaty” assume radically different meanings.
I believe that Canadians, native and non-native, may have just joined the world revolution.