EDITORIAL: Idle No More stokes the fire

Both sides need to come to the table with a goal of finding tangible solutions to the most serious aboriginal issues

The Idle No More movement continues to pick up steam around Greater Victoria as various groups, including the students who rallied here last weekend, jump on board.

But is all the drumming and chanting doing any good?

A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll done earlier this month found that only four in 10 Canadians is sympathetic to the goals and aims of Idle No More. But the same poll found that fewer than four in 10 Canadians were even familiar with the goals and aims of the movement.

To us, that’s a big disconnect and a sign that supporters aren’t piquing the average citizen’s interest with demonstrations, sit-ins and hunger strikes. That doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of work to do to resolve systemic problems in the relationship between First Nations and government.

Getting key players on both sides to sit down and talk about those issues is a good start.

Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo, who met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Jan. 11, says his organization will pressure the feds to continue working toward improving that relationship.

Atleo and Harper met a year ago in what the Prime Minister’s Office called “a historic meeting.” In optimistic, yet vague fashion, the government titled the meeting Strengthening Our Relationship – Unlocking Our Potential.

No doubt, work has since been done to clarifying agreed-upon goals around governance, access to education, community self-sufficiency and other areas. Idle No More emerged, nonetheless, which makes one question whether Harper and company were paying lip service to First Nations last January.

Despite the seeming disconnect with the majority of Canadians, the grassroots protest movement has restoked the fire in First Nations and is slowly getting non-aboriginals to pay more attention to grassroots aboriginal issues.

But progress won’t come through noisy demonstrations and hunger strikes. It’ll be achieved through First Nations leaders working together with government using a focused, unified, businesslike approach.

Just Posted

Victoria painter splashes some colour on a dreary situation

Six-week long James Bay construction project gives Teresa Waclawik an impromptu canvas

Oak Bay fire latest hire comes from Kelowna

Darren Lee starts as assistant fire chief April 16 after coming from West Kelowna department

B.C. Transit to reduce service for spring

Route changes come in to effect April 9

Man arrested, charged in connection with stabbing at Langford Lanes

Twenty-year-old Austin Bonner has been charged with aggravated assault

Easter Bunny confirms plans to visit Oak Bay

6th Annual Oak Bay Easter Celebration brings Easter Bunny, egg hunt, and fun

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

City of Victoria seeks artists to contribute to upcoming public exhibitions

Submissions for Commercial Alley gallery, bus shelter project due by April 9

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rescued Comox canoer credits those ‘at the right place, at the right time’

James Milne was rescued in a hypothermic state Sunday near Goose Spit

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

Most Read