Prentice Issues Threat To AFN About Day Of Protest

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 16:01



The Harper government is warning it’s prepared to take tough action against Aboriginal groups who block roads and rail lines as a protest strategy.


The Assembly of First Nations is organizing a national day of protest for June 29th, to show its fury over Ottawa’s inaction in dealing with several hundred land claims.


Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says “blockades are illegal under the Criminal Code”, adding anyone taking part could be sued for “economic harm, intimidation and trespass”.


The country’s top Native chief says he needs help from Canadians to contain growing Aboriginal anger over stolen land and crippling poverty.


AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine says decades of fruitless talks with the federal government have done little to right past wrongs.


Fontaine wants to reach out peacefully to all Canadians but says he can’t stop chiefs who prefer blockades.


Prentice says blockades are not necessary because progress is being made on land claims.


He also fears someone will get hurt.


Prentice says he’s asking all chiefs, and Fontaine in particular, to ensure blockades don’t occur.


(courtesy of The Canadian Press)