Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Prime Minister Stephen Harper Should Meet Chief Theresa Spence

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Prime Minister Stephen Harper Should Meet Chief Theresa Spence

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Prime Minister Stephen Harper should meet Chief Theresa Spence

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Dec. 27:

Basic human concern for a person in extreme distress would compel some leaders into action. But not Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Recognition of the historic injustice committed against native peoples could move some to reach out. And shame over the dire conditions that prevail on so many reserves might push other leaders to bend. Not Harper.

None of those factors have been reason enough for him to stir from Parliament Hill and take a short walk to Victoria Island, in the middle of the Ottawa River. That's where Chief Theresa Spence, of hard-pressed Attawapiskat, has been on a hunger strike that started Dec. 11 over the plight of aboriginal communities.

She's demanding to see Harper face-to-face to express her concerns, and says she's willing to die to make her point. Her hunger strike has dove-tailed with the Idle No More movement protesting unfair and unilateral actions by the Harper government, including a watering down of environmental protections and new rules forcing greater financial disclosure on reserves and their leaders.

Thousands have demonstrated in communities across Canada deploying a variety of tactics, including holding flash mob dances and blocking rail lines. None have been more compelling than Spence, consuming only water, fish broth and tea as she waits for the leader of this country to hear her plea. …

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