“Yes there is going to be a highway protest,” Millbrook First Nations chief Robert Gloade said, of plans for Friday’s efforts to speak out against the wide-ranging and hotly contested omnibus bill.
“There is going to be a slowdown of traffic (in both lanes) but there is not going to be a full interruption.”
The protest is expected to begin in the early afternoon but Gloade said he did not immediately know how long it will last. Organizers are also working with the RCMP to ensure the activity is held as safely as possible.
Approximately 130 people met from about 9 p.m. Monday until after 1 a.m. Tuesday at the longhouse in Millbrook to begin planning for Friday’s protest.
Those efforts were continuing in Halifax on Tuesday, said Gloade, who spoke to the Truro Daily News while enroute to a meeting with other First Nations chiefs and legal representatives to plan further strategy.
“This is the first step,” he said.
Gloade said most of Monday’s meeting was primarily about getting the information out about what is contained in the 90 pieces of law dealing with the proposed legislation and how it would affect the majority of the people, including non-aboriginals.
“This is one of the bills that is going through faster then anything else and it doesn’t only affect First Nations people but it affects all Canadians in total,” he said.
“So we want to be able to identify some areas where it is going to have a significant impact, particularly on the environment… .”
Besides environmental issues (both land and water), the wide-ranging bill deals with proposed changes to employment insurance, health care, fishing rights (pertaining to all Canadians) and much more.
Gloade said the “vague” wording contained in the proposed Bill “opens up the door for too many things…” and could potentially lead to future lawsuits if required.
“So they’re moving along too quickly without letting people have a good opportunity to go through it and look at it and see what kind of a direct impact it has on them and if they have any comments or concerns before it gets signed off,” he said.
“What were trying to do is just educate everybody and move it forward before they pass it and before it gets signed so we can try and let people know what it’s all about and how it is going to directly impact the average individual, particularly in our own communities and surrounding communities.”