Stephenville group takes part in Idle No More protest

CBC

A group in Stephenville took part in the Idle No More protests, which occurred all across Canada on Friday opposing a bill recently passed by the federal government which eliminates protected waterways and allows for the sale of reservation land, without consultation.

Many aboriginal and First Nations people are angry with the federal government after Bill C-45 passed.

A group of Mi'kmaq First Nations people in Stephenville want to hear from the federal government about the passing of this bill.

They said it will affect land treaties and a lot of the waterways across Canada.

Mi'kmaq Elder Victor Muise said it is a violation of human rights and First Nation land treaties.

"I had no notice until it was too late, almost Christmas time, until they put these bills through the house," Muise said.

He said that the government had no right to revoke their rights to the land treaties.

"Freedom of Treaties is what we have, and the government of Canada cannot touch our treaties that were signed hundreds of years ago by our Aboriginal people of Canada."

Odelle Pike, organizer of the Stephenville protest, said the passing of this bill will cause problems down the line.

"If we don't have stringent laws to protect our waterways in the future, we will have no good water for all of us and that's the source of our life," Pike said.

According to Ottawa, the changes the bill allows will not cause damage and blames the protests on fear-mongering and misinformation.

"I've been teaching for the past 30 years to bring the culture back on the island," Muise said. “What they are doing with the bills is almost like they done a hundred years ago in the school systems. It’s called cultural genocide."

Protesters in Stephenville have contacted Judy Foote, the MP for the area. Petitions were sent to her office on Friday.

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