OFFICE OF THE
Statement by Liberal Leader Bob Rae on Chief Theresa Spence
OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today in response to Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence ending her hunger strike:
I am encouraged that Chief Theresa Spence has decided to end her hunger strike.
Chief Spence and those who have joined her fast have helped bring about substantial change, but their cause - however just - should not endanger their lives or their health.
Liberals join with Canadians across the country who are deeply committed to carrying on the fight for justice, dignity and reconciliation, and we salute Chief Spence's courage.
The commitments we are making flow logically from the work of the Charlottetown and Kelowna Accords, numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions, and our commitments as a country made when we signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
They represent the strongly held values of the Liberal Party of Canada.
On behalf of our Parliamentary Caucus, I would like to express our party’s continued resolve to work inside and outside Parliament - on a nation-to-nation basis - to address the gross inequalities facing First Nations, from the disparity in education outcomes and poor health to the lack of clean running water and safe housing.
Hunger strike made point: Madahbee
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee commends Chief Theresa Spence and Elders Raymond Robinson and Jean Sock for their valiant efforts to bring attention to the broken treaty relationship between the Crown and First Nations.
Chief Spence’s ended her fast after 44 days in a teepee on Victoria Island, just upstream from Parliament Hill.
“We applaud the efforts of the hunger strikers and their helpers; they brought awareness to our issues on a global level,” says Madahbee.
In 2010 the Harper government made Canada a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
“The declaration states Indigenous people have the right to participate in decision‐making in matters which would affect our rights,” says Madahbee “First Nations were never consulted with on Bill C‐45, the Omnibus bill... never.”
“We will continue to advance the fight to implement our treaties", said the Grand Council Chief. “We will direct our words and actions against attempts by this government to ram unlawful legislation down the throats of all Canadians. First Nations have never been defeated in battle in this country and we won’t start now."
“The Anishinabek have developed the tools to restore our own jurisdiction. We’re just waiting for our treaty partner to sit with us at the table.”
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949.
The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people.
The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.