Mr. Speaker, last weekend I visited Cecilia Begg of the KI6, the imprisoned leaders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug. The five men are in a Thunder Bay jail and she is in a Kenora jail.
Cecilia is peaceful and brave and feels that this protest is integral to her role as a mother and grandmother and as a steward for future generations. She believes her community must have a decision making capacity in its traditional territory.
Chief Morris said: “We want the right to say yes or no to development. That's what the treaty relationship is all about. We're seeking to correct that“.
Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation stated: “This nation to nation relationship has become completely inequitable. There is no benefit for first nations in these federal budgets. That is inequitable. We too want a positive future. Our ancestors did not sign treaties to have their children and grandchildren live as dependants and in dire poverty”.
The federal government is neglecting its role in the duty to consult. The government cannot off-load it to third parties.
I was honoured to meet Cecilia Begg, who said: “I'm not alone. I have the prayers of the people with me”.