Idle No More and the omnious Omnibus Bill C-45

Columnist Van Andruss says we need to keep the movement going.

The latest omnibus budget bill, C-45, with its changes in the Indian Act and its amendments trashing environmental protections, sparked the Idle No More movement centering on the hunger strike of Theresa Spence.

Since Chief Spence brought her hunger strike to a close, the Idle No More movement seems to have lost momentum. One searches the net in vain for an equal number of ongoing events.

I find the situation eerie. Does this mean that the enormities of Bill C-45 will now collapse into the background of public consciousness, to disappear in the clutter of other questions dismissed by the federal government? After this brief awakening, do we slump back into business-as-usual? Such is my fear.

Bill C-45, you may remember, is a but a modified draft of Bill C-38, the budget bill for 2012, rushed through without noticeable public outcry. To our peril we grant this lack of mindfulness another term.

First Nations people have come alive to the dangers inherent in these two bills, both designed to avoid proper consultation regarding big-scale industrial development on native lands. (Take note that non-natives have not been consulted either!)

For years now, First Nations people have been the main defense (some would say obstacle) against the crazy, limitless schemes of industry, threatening the integrity of our eco-systems. Native people are on the front lines of protest against Bill C-45. Their sorrows, their struggles and their sacrifices are carried out for the sake of native and non-native Canadians like.

It is true there has been opposition in parliament. The persistent reasonableness of the Green Party’s Elizabeth May springs to mind. Yet once again the current winner-take-all system has failed to produce equitable results.

Clearly one of the evils of the present system is the ethic of “solidarity.” Solidarity is anti-democratic. It silences criticism within the party. Under such an ethic, independent judgment is stifled. Surely some neo-conservatives disagree with C-45. Good. So why don’t they speak up? Why don’t we hear from them, loud and clear?

There’s something ironic or plain nuts about the federal government in Canada. According to custom in a nation state, a central government is deemed necessary. It is put in place and supported at vast expense. To the citizen’s grief, it commonly turns around and bullies its constituency, and in the Canadian case, shrinks back and withdraws from  the responsibility to govern.

Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 represent deliberate declarations of irresponsibility – towards the environment, towards indigenous rights, towards the global threat of climate change – not to mention the government’s eagerness to make treaties with foreign nations that infringe on our right to modify environmental regulations when necessary to protect the public interest.

It might seem comical for a Bioregionalist like myself to call for more government. But times have changed. Just as competitive games submit to governance, so must the limitless visions of the oil and mining cartel, who will use up and pollute our rivers, empty our lakes and send mega-tankers of dilbit through Douglas Channel and the tempestuous Hecate Strait.

Corporate development must be governed

I would add that protesting alone does not let you and me off the hook. Not only government needs to make an adjustment to current social and planetary conditions, we too, we-the-people are under the necessity to make changes in our daily habits. I cannot demand an end to the Age of Fossil Fuels and drive around heedless in my Toyota.

The immediate need for Consumer Society to invent a new adaptation, a new lifestyle, is the looming dilemma of the present. We can only wonder how this “inconvenient truth” is to be played out. While good ideas abound, their application in familiar worlds remains obscure.

The simplest answer is, we’ll just have to work it out as best we can. That work is our historic burden. Every age has one. Meanwhile the shadow of Bill C-45 falls over the land. Wisdom prompts us to join with Indigenous people in building up resistance.

Our best hope is to keep adding fuel to the flame of public consciousness.

Van Andruss

Moha, B.C.

Just Posted

Highway 97 has reopened after single-vehicle incident

UPDATE (1:47 p.m.): The highway has reopened. CLEAR - #BCHwy97 at #BegbieSummit… Continue reading

McAbee Fossil Beds site ready to reopen to the public

Site was taken over by the Province and closed to the public in July 2012

Open houses will give residents chance to voice views on new Eco-Depot

TNRD will be answering questions, soliciting feedback about Ashcroft/Cache Creek Eco-Depot

BC Hydro scam targeting local businesses

Scammer claims to be on his way to businesses to cut the power unless payment is made

Ashcroft Village Council highlights

Dog park discussion, grant approval, Canada Day celebrations and more

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read