Brazeau: Attawapiskat chief's hunger strike doesn't set "good example for young Aboriginal youth"

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APTN National News
OTTAWA–Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau says Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s now 10 day-long hunger strike doesn’t set a “good example for young Aboriginal youth.”

In an interview with APTN National News anchor Michel Hutchinson to be aired in full Thursday evening, Brazeau, who is Algonquin, said he is concerned about Spence’s health, but didn’t think her hunger strike was a good idea.

“Obviously, her health should be first and foremost, top of mind to everyone, including myself,” said Brazeau. “But having said that, I personally don’t believe in Canada, in 2012, that is the way to go and I don’t really believe it sets a good example for young Aboriginal youth.”

Spence is living in a teepee on Victoria Island, which sits in the shadow of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court building. She is demanding a meeting between the prime minister, the governor general and First Nations leaders to discuss the treaties.

Her hunger strike has become intertwined with the Idle No More movement that has spread across the country through flashmob round dances, highway blockades and rallies. A major rally is planned for Ottawa Friday.

Brazeau said he wasn’t sure what Idle No More is about.

“There is a movement called Idle No More, I am not quite sure what it’s about. It started with opposition to Bill C-45, now we are hearing things about sovereignty and access to resources and it’s the whole gamut of issues,” said Brazeau.

Brazeau said people should focus on using the existing democratic “processes” to get the changes they want.

“At the end of the day, people have the right to protest in this country,” said Brazeau. “Having said that, there are a lot of processes in place where people can participate, such as pre-budget consultations, such as having their voices heard when bills are introduced…If people don’t take advantage of our democracy and those processes in place, well that is unfortunate for those who choose not to.”

Brazeau said he hoped the ongoing protests would be “civil.”

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