PM, GG given 72 hours to respond to Attawapiskat Chief Spence's request or 'mass demonstrations' will unfold: aide



APTN National News
OTTAWA–Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence won’t end her hunger strike until a requested treaty meeting begins and she expects a response from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston within 72 hours, aides say.

Spence met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Charlie Angus, among others, Thursday and stated she won’t give up her hunger strike on just a commitment from Harper and Johnston to meet with First Nations leadership on the treaties.

“She is tired of the broken promises, she wants to see the actual meeting,” said Danny Metatawabin, one of Spence’s closest aides.

Spence also expects a response to her request from the prime minister and the governor general within 72 hours. If the deadline passes, mass demonstrations will unfold across the country, said Metatawabin.

“There will be mass demonstrations,” he said.

During the meeting, Atleo was told that the meeting to discuss the treaties should happen sooner than the Jan. 24 date Atleo offered in an invitation letter sent to Harper and Johnston on Jan 1.

First Nations chiefs are planning to meet on Jan. 24 in Saskatchewan to discuss the treaties, but Spence’s aides say that date is too far off with the chief’s health failing as her hunger strike continues.

“It is too far for Theresa, Raymond (Robinson) and Emil Bell,” said Matatawabin, referring to two elders who are on a hunger strike along with Spence.

Spence began her hunger strike on Dec. 11. Spence has said she doesn’t need to be present at the meeting.

Metatawabin said Atleo was told to include the 72 hour deadline in his Jan. 1 letter to Harper and Johnston.

There was no mention of a deadline in Atleo’s letter.

A spokeswoman for the governor general said the office received Atleo’s letter and will respond in “due course.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said they would also respond to Atleo’s letter in “due course.” The PMO said in a statement that the “government remains willing to work with the First Nations leadership to deliver better outcomes for First Nations communities.”

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