Idle No More protesters vow not to give up the fight

'If (McLeod) is so gung ho about this bill she should be anxious to answer questions'

Sylvie Paillard / Kamloops Daily News
January 29, 2013 01:00 AM

Neskonlith band members gather for a flash mob in front of the Interior Savings Centre as part of the Canada wide Idle No More day of action on Monday.

It may be a 10-year battle to reverse the Conservative government's omnibus Bill C-45, but some in Kamloops vow to fight no matter how long it takes.

Hundreds of Idle No More protestors rallied at various points across Canada during a day of action on Monday, including Parliament Hill as MPs returned from their winter break.

In Kamloops, the assemblies were smaller but no less determined.

At 6:30 p.m. as Blazers hockey fans streamed into the Interior Savings Centre, about 50 Niskonlith Band members participated in a flash mob out front of the with signs declaring "Idle No More" and "Water is Life."

Meanwhile, about 35 locals gathered at the Smorgasbord Deli on Seventh Avenue to listen to Michelle Good, a Kamloops lawyer whose great great grandfather helped negotiate Treaty 6 in Saskatchewan.

Bill C-45 includes a clause that amends a constitutionally protected right of First Nations, and that will be the basis for a constitutional challenge, said Good.

However that challenge will almost certainly take a decade to get through the legal system, she said.

She implored the crowd to get educated on the 400-plus page omnibus bill and not to relent in their fight.

Good also emailed a strongly worded letter demanding answers from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod.

In response, she received dissatisfying assurances that the bill does not remove environmental protections as well as a thick backgrounder document.

"We shouldn't be trying to prove to them that it's harmful," said Good. "They should be trying to prove to us it's not. They work for us."

Good also wasn't impressed that it took McLeod two weeks to answer her email.

"If (McLeod) is so gung ho about this bill she should be anxious to answer questions," said Good.

She received the response on Monday.

"I'm sorry to hear that you're dissatisfied with our government," replied McLeod along with the backgrounder document.

Good says she will review the document and provide her analysis in the coming days. Meanwhile she implored those gathered not to relent on the pressure.

The crowd eagerly added their contact information to a list circulating the cafÉ so they could get involved.

However one individual said he was perturbed by the lack of young faces in the crowd. A handful of youthful individuals arrived late and left early.

Otherwise the average age appeared to hover around 50 years old.

Good was not discouraged.

There are armies of young people involved, she said, and that's all thanks to social media.

"I've been an activist since I was 18 years old and I am just gobsmacked by Idle No More."

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