Sask. 'Idle No More' bus bound for Ottawa rally
A busload of people concerned about federal legislation affecting the environment is setting out from Regina to join a rally of other 'Idle No More' participants in Ottawa.
The movement is aimed at Bill C-45, an omnibus piece of federal legislation that some say dramatically affects the interests of First Nations without meaningful consultations.
While the cost associated with the 36-hour bus trip was significant — $14,000 — the money was raised in just four days.
The Ottawa rally is set for Friday.
One of the organizers of the trip, Michelle-Rae McKay, said she has been following the 'Idle No More' movement and was spurred to action.
"We have to step up as First Nations people, as Canadian people all across this country and say 'No. No more,'" McKay told CBC News Wednesday, as she stopped at a store in Regina to get supplies for sign-making.
She said donations in support of the trip were in relatively small amounts, but added up quickly.
"Some people [gave] ten bucks, twenty bucks," she said. "They passed around a hat at a meeting [and] we got $143 in change. So it's just one person at a time."
Group is excited
McKay's plan caught the attention of Johannah Angus, who decided to get on board.
"People are really excited," she said. "We're going to make a change and this is a really important thing to us. And we're not just speaking for ourselves, we're speaking for the next generations."
Awareness of the 'Idle No More' campaign has been growing, propelled by the use of social media.
It has included flash mobs, rallies, blockades and hunger strikes.
The campaign was started by four women from Saskatchewan.
Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean and Jessica Gordon were especially upset with provisions of Bill C-45, which reduce number of federally protected waterways.
McAdam and her friends decided to speak out about the legislation, and the broader issues facing First Nations in this country, and be "Idle No More."
They are also organizing a march and rally in Regina on Friday to coincide with other events associated with the movement.
The bus from Regina is planning stops in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, where more people will join the trek.
A caravan of vehicles is also following along to add to the numbers in Ottawa.
With files from CBC's Kent Morrison