Today is Boxing Day. It is a beautiful, sunny winter day. I took off my sunglasses so that I could make better eye contact with people. As I expected, the traffic is light on Barrington Street because of the holiday. Only one car drove into the shipyard. I’m glad the workers have the day off to be with their families.
I brought a new sign to my protest, which read “IDLE NO MORE, INVEST IN FIRST NATIONS, NOT WARSHIPS, NO BILL C-45”. I am standing in solidarity with Chief Spence who is on a hunger strike in Ottawa demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister and Governor General to discuss the needs in First Nations communities in Canada. In 2006, the Conservative government cancelled the Kelowna Accord that committed $5 billion to improve education, healthcare and housing for First Nations. This year, the Conservative government has introduced Bill C-45 that will reduce protection to our waterways, reduce opportunities to engage in environmental assessments, and adversely change the Fisheries Act and the Indian Act. Bill C-45 is not good for First Nations and for all Canadians.
I believe that instead of investing in warships, the federal government should be investing in our First Nation communities.
In an hour of standing with my signs, one person waved, another honked and another gave me the finger. Bruce, a long-time member of the Halifax Peace Coalition, showed up at 12:50 p.m. and took a picture of me protesting and then we went for a coffee.
In this holiday season, let us reflect by what is meant when we wish others “peace and goodwill.”