By Ntawnis Piapot
APTN National News
WINNIPEG-A new blockade shut down Winnipeg’s busiest artery Wednesday.
Portage Ave., the main route to Western Canada, shut down by Idle No more, and the drivers left idling their cars got angry.
“I’m not any more special than them, they’re not any more special than me. Everyone’s equal,” says one middle-aged driver. “I can’t do something like that, neither can they. Everybody’s got to be treated equal and that kind of stupid stuff should not be allowed by anybody. Plain and simple.”
The man, however, admits he doesn’t know why the people rallying under the Idle No More flag are there.
“No, but it doesn’t matter,” he said.
His wife leans over and adds her opinion.
“We bear the brunt of paying tax money that is allowing them to live in this country and not work,” she says. “We are paying taxes for these roads that they are barricading and not allowing us to use.”
But the demonstrators would say she’s got things turned around, that it’s Aboriginal people that have let Canadians move in for 300 years. Today, they say, they have become second-class citizens on their own land.
“Hopefully people understand and hopefully people start to ask questions. Why? As their government, why? What’s going on? Why is this happening? Why can’t I get to point A to B?” said Idle No More supporter Nathan Felix.
Like most other peaceful blockades, this one will last only a few hours. However, that hasn’t stopped tensions from rising.
A pamphlet with the image of a middle finger and the word “Indian” was handed out at a New Year’s round dance.
Meanwhile, Sun News Network held a contest asking people to use one word to describe Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who is on day 23 of her hunger strike, and win a prize.
Some of the words used, included: fat, oink, garbage, chief two-chins and hippo.
Others couldn’t stick to just one word. One wrote, “Stop sucking Lysol.”
But with round dances and blockades popping up in busy city streets and shopping malls, Idle No More seems to be gaining momentum and some new supporters.
“It’s cold out here, they stand up in this cold out here, try to fight for their rights,” says one man.
“The issues of clean water, proper housing are issues for all Canadians and First Nations are entitled to get these grievances redressed and this silent peaceful, but very important protest is a place where we should be,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE.
With the racism that has started to surface at these rallies, some are wondering just how far the protestors are will to take this movement and if the police will have to get involved.