Statement by the National Women’s Liberal Commission on Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More Movement

January 7, 2013

For Immediate Release

January 7, 2013

 Statement by the National Women’s Liberal Commission on Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More Movement

OTTAWA – The National Liberal Women’s Commission this week offered its congratulations to Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat (Cree) First Nation for her success in securing a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and drawing national attention to the issues faced by Canada’s First Nations people. Chief Spence’s steadfast perseverance in the face of a deliberately tuned-out government has captured the hearts of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

As she passes the 28th day of her hunger strike, Chief Spence has been notified that Prime Minister Harper will meet with her and other First Nations Chiefs on January 11.

As Chief Spence has undertaken her peaceful protest, the Idle No More campaign has carried out a parallel rallying cry across the country.  The initial catalyst was Stephen Harper’s second Omnibus Budget Bill (C-45), but an assortment of additional bills passed by the Harper government without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people have spurred pushed Canadians to a tipping point they can no longer ignore.

“This unprecedented movement has motivated and inspired both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, as the lack of housing, inadequate access to health care, months- or years-long boil water advisories, and other issues faced by Indigenous communities, continue to be ignored by the federal government,” said National Women’s Liberal Commission President Mary Pynenburg.

The Liberal Party of Canada’s Aboriginal People’s Commission and Liberal Critic for Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett have been outspoken in their support for the Idle No More movement, meeting with Chief Spence and other leaders even while Conservatives refused.

Today, Canada is witnessing an unprecedented movement, one that has originated at the grassroots levels through the voices and hearts of strong women. This movement continues to grow in numbers and strength, among both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and among both Canadians and the international community.

The National Women’s Liberal Commission stands in solidarity with Idle No More and Chief Spence’s call for action.



Mary Pynenburg, President

National Women’s Liberal Commission