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Local FN group planning to blockade QE2 in support of Idle No More
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 6:19PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2013 10:03AM MST
Idle No More-related demonstrations nation-wide are showing no signs of letting up – and now a local First Nation has come forward with plans to join in a national day of protest, and block off one of the major highways into the city.
Chief Calvin Bruneau of the Papaschase First Nation said his community plans on blocking the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway near Gateway Park, just south of the city in support of the Idle No More movement.
“We’re blocking traffic, and if there’s truckers hauling products in, that’s slowing the economy down a bit – that’s what was called for,” Bruneau said in a phone interview with CTV News Tuesday.
The blockade will join a number of planned demonstrations across the country.
Idle No More protests have sprung up throughout the country in recent weeks, against the federal government’s omnibus budget Bill C-45.
That bill changes resource and land use policies, and according to First Nations members, it also weakens constitutional treaties.
However, while some First Nations members threatened to block off Highway 63 – the Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation said that demonstration won’t take place Wednesday.
The former head of Suncor hopes that never happens.
“I would just say back off, have a civil conversation and let’s talk about what the risks really are,” Rick George said. “What the economic tradeoffs are.”
While demonstrations might be disruptive to some, Mayor Stephen Mandel said he sympathizes with First Nations communities, and said their demonstrations need to be met with understanding.
“I think we need to listen to the challenge they face, and be a supportive and understanding community,” Mandel said.
Members of the Papaschase First Nation plan to block the QE2 at about 1 p.m. Wednesday.
With files from Ashley Molnar