Commentary
Jan 11, 2013

CUPE BC in Solidarity With Idle No More

CUPE BC is honoured to add our voice to the growing chorus of support for the grassroots Idle No More movement. Canadian Union of Public Employees members in BC stand in solidarity with First Nations and aboriginal peoples across Canada in their long fought struggle for justice. 

CUPE BC calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to do the right thing and truly engage in an open and honest dialogue with the first peoples of Canada. We urge Prime Minister Harper to remember the history of colonial oppression that Parliament has rightly apologized for, and to commit to work with First Nations in a respectful process that moves everyone forward.

While Idle No More is a vast, diverse movement that is growing across Canada and around the world, it has a simple demand of our federal government – to sit down and talk and listen.

In the labour movement, we are very familiar with this process. Workers campaigning for decent and safe working conditions have called on their employers to join with them at the bargaining table to work out agreements that ensure the best possible conditions for all. When the employers ignore reasonable demands, workers take to the streets.

Prime Minister Harper’s omnibus Bill-C45, is an action of bad faith. Without the necessary negotiation or consultation, this sweeping legislation fundamentally changes the relationship between First Nations and the government of Canada.  Amendments to the Indian Act open the door to the privatization of massive tracts of unceded territory.  Under the same bill, lakes and rivers are stripped of their protection from destruction.  Harper must have thought Canadians would sit idly by.

No more.

As a union, CUPE holds true to the founding principles of our movement – what we wish for ourselves we wish for all.  “An injury to one is an injury to all.” 

Many First Nations communities subsist in grossly substandard housing without drinkable water, while aboriginal people disproportionately fall victim to violence, homelessness and extreme poverty. As the outrage over this tragic situation grows, so too will workers’ solidarity with this movement. 

CUPE urges all members to rise in support of Idle No More and call on Prime Minister Harper to respect a fair and honest process.

Please visit www.idlenomore.ca to find out how you can get involved.

In solidarity,

Barry O’Neill

President

CUPE BC

COPE 491