Long-Term Environmental Protection and Canada's Treaty Obligations the Focus of #Idle No More

Members of the Haisla First Nation march in Kitimat, B.C. and spoke of their opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project.

The grassroots 'Idle No More' movement began in Saskatchewan back in November in response to Bill C-45. Now, 6 weeks later it has grown into a worldwide movement supported by millions of folks -many indigenous, many not. Though their voices speak in many languages, they focus on common concerns. Concerns about the rights granted to First Nations in environmental protection and the guarantees they received from Canada, and other countries, in exchange for the land and resource wealth those land generated.

"Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike has 'humble and achievable' vision" said Joe Clark - a Conservative PM from back when Conservatives were conservatives. Other less well known First Nations leaders like Raymond Robinson, 51, an elder with the Cross Lake First Nation have done the same. “This is about respect for our treaty rights,” Robinson said Monday  “at the same time, about respect for Mother Earth and the land and resources that [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper is taking it upon himself to own and control.”

Treaty obligations and environmental stewardship are wickedly complex issues that each of us sees, like everything else, through the lens of our own worldview. So it's to be expected that people's opinions would differ widely. In these last few weeks there have been thousands of articles written in the media, on Facebook, blogs and twitter. Most social media sites, unfortunately, are silo like in that they sing their song back to 'the choir' who already agree with the viewpoints being expressed. Consequently most of the comments on them are supportive of the sites viewpoints, a few might blast those views but very, very few offer well constructed arguments about the salient issues.

Consequently it might be expected that the comments written on larger mainstream media sites who's articles reach a far wider audience would generate a wider compliment of opinions and a wider scope of debate. But instead those comment sections are filled with personal attacks or prejudice and almost never reasoned debate about the important issues, that Idle No more for instance, is trying to focus attention on.

The Mud Report clearly has its own point of view too. It's author, me, thinks that a deal is a deal, that environmental well-being trumps the well-being of the rich, that Mother Nature's long term health is the only way to guarantee the future health of our children and grandchildren. Living in a small town like Powell River, where everyone is closely connected in many ways, it seems like the comments in our local paper would be a bit more respectful and well reasoned but unfortunately they aren't.