In Solidarity with #IdleNoMore
Solidarity Against Austerity is a network of community, student, labour, peace, environmental, and anti-poverty activists, which is organizing to stop the austerity agenda of cuts to our public services and attacks on workers’ rights. We have taken to the streets with federal public service workers, with the Quebec student movement, and with Ontario educators. And we will be taking to the streets in solidarity with #IdleNoMore and Chief Theresa Spence, who is now on the 10th day of her hunger strike.
At a G20 meeting in 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the bizarre claim that Canada has “no history of colonialism“. This is all the more absurd, given the increasing slew of legislation his government has aimed at Indigenous peoples that is fostering a very real, present day colonialism. Indigenous peoples have been demanding justice for hundreds of years, only to have new injustices heaped on top of the old ones like salt on open wounds.
As Idle No More activists have pointed out, there is a long list of recent legislation targeting Indigenous peoples, in total disregard for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Canadian government has signed.
Many of these new attacks on Indigenous rights are being done in the name of “austerity”, “fiscal accountability”, and “economic growth”.
The catchphrase of austerity is being used as political cover for implementing a reactionary agenda that undermines human rights and deepens social and economic inequality. The claim that we all have to “tighten our belts” is being used as an excuse for attacks on workers, attacks on free speech, attacks on the environment, attacks on democracy, and attacks on the rights and title of Indigenous peoples. These policies and practices as they pertain to Indigenous people are definitively racist and colonial, contrary to the ridiculous claim of the Prime Minister. Austerity isn’t an economic necessity. It’s a political choice to enrich the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
The Harper government is using the slogan of “financial transparency” against both Indigenous peoples with Bill C-27 and unions with Bill C-377. But these bills aren’t really about money. Their purpose is to demonize and divide groups that the government views as adversaries. These types of legislation are all the more ridiculous given this government was willing to secretly waste $45 billion on F-35s, while claiming it would only cost $9 billion. What kind of financial transparency is that?
Enough is enough. It’s time to stop the attacks on Indigenous rights. It’s time to honour the treaties. It’s time to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples & the government’s constitutional obligations.
We stand in solidarity with Chief Spence and the #IdleNoMore movement and encourage Solidarity Against Austerity members and supporters to take to the streets on December 21 and beyond.
Your struggle is our struggle.