Idle No More supporters staged an information demonstration at Departure Bay Ferry Terminal on Feb. 11 to raise awareness and garner public support from Family Day travellers.
A canoe was symbolically launched at 2 p.m. to signal the beginning of the demonstration and to signify the “presence of the water” in the rally, as stated in a press release. Soon, a 200-person strong wave of demonstrators marched from the rocky boat launch towards the ferry terminal.
“With the new stat holiday, we wanted to take this opportunity to hand out information to help educate the larger public on the issues that are happening,” says Fred Speck of the Gwawaenuk Tribe, one of the organizers of the demonstration. “We are trying to be as focussed as possible and create a peaceful sense of community so we can move forward.”
Speck, who has been instrumental in organizing three local Idle No More demonstrations so far, says that Omnibus bills C-38 and C-35 have impacted all Canadians regardless of their heritage. “These issues have applications on both native and non-native peoples. We are trying to focus our efforts on educating the public—that’s the whole idea of this rally.
“I think that more people are starting to grasp the concept and we are working as hard as we can to try and provide the information as it is quite complex. We are trying to put it in a form that is easier for the public to understand so they can become more involved,” Speck says.
Paul Manly, an activist and member of the Council of Canadians Mid-Island Chapter, was also instrumental in organizing the demonstration. “It’s really about education so that the public is informed as to why people are participating in Idle No More protests,” Manly says.
He explains that the educational pamphlet is written from a non-native perspective to try to show that Idle No More is larger than an indigenous issue. The pamphlet contains a brief two paragraph summary of the implications of both C-38 and C-35 and investor rights trade agreements, which Manly says would allow corporations to sue future governments for policies that interfere with their profit margins.
“It’s a double edged deal that is being done very intentionally and Canadians need to be educated on the matter,” he concludes.