A former Tk’emlups band councillor met on Monday with MP Cathy McLeod to discuss Bill C-45, the controversial omnibus legislation that has become a lightning rod for Idle No More protests.
Evelyn Camille described her fact-finding meeting as a positive first step, an assessment not unlike those of Friday’s meeting in Ottawa between national chiefs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“We had a very pleasant confrontation,” said Camille, who fasted last week in support of the ongoing hunger strike by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.
“She feels very strongly for Bill C-35,” Camille added. “I’m sure there are a lot of good points. If only it wasn’t all in one bill.”
The MP offered the activist a condensed version of the bill, which is more than 450 pages in length. Camille intends to pass that on to Tk’emlups band council and to the band’s legal department for further analysis.
McLeod said there appears to be misunderstanding around legislation that applies to leasing of reserve lands. The legislation facilitates leasing of reserve land for the purpose of economic development.
“It concerns me that people believe there are implications to the bill when there are not,” she said. “That particular piece is fairly straightforward. The confusion out there is around a modest, simple change.”
McLeod said the meeting between chiefs and the prime minister on Friday provided a good start for continued discussions around high-priority issues such as treaties and education.
“I always believe that having the conversation moving forward is the best way to move forward.”