Information protest creating long traffic backups on Highway 102 through Millbrook

Harry Sullivan
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Early reaction from motorists one of co-operation.

TRURO – With traffic backing up for at least a couple of kilometres in each direction, the initial reaction from motorists being slowed down by an information protest appeared to be that of co-operation.

Idle no more protest

Drivers honked horns and readily accepted pamphlets being handed out by demonstrators as the protest at Exit 13A on Highway 102 through Millbrook got underway Friday morning

The protest was organized by members of the First Nations band in Millbrook and is aimed  at generating attention to the federal government Bill C-45, which proposes to change more than 90 pieces of legislation dealing with issues relating to the environment, the fishery, Employment Insurance, health care and more.

“Let’s show each other a sign of respect,” Millbrook chief Robert Gloade, urged demonstrators during a rally prior to the start of the highway demonstration.

“There will be a lot of people coming here today and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about unity and standing together as brothers and sisters.”

The protest, which is to run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., is planned as a peaceful, information demonstration and participants were strongly encouraged to maintain that sentiment throughout the day, despite what reactions they might encounter from motorists who become frustrated with the traffic delay as both north and southbound traffic is reduced to one lane.

“At the end of the day, this is a win, win situation. No matter what happens I want you all to be very respectful,” Millbrook band member and protest organizer Michael Stephens told the crowd at the beginning of the rally in what he described as a fight for “justice.”

“People will be upset, it will be a long day,” he said. “They’re going to come up here.  They might throw your paper back in your faces. Don’t let that get you worked up. Stay cool, very respectful. … . Be cool out there. No need of coming out with a warrior attitude or acting hard or anything like that.”

Speaking to the Truro Daily News after the protest began, Gloade said he was happy with the way the event started out.

“Things are going very well so far and the objective here is just to get people to start paying more attention to what the government is doing from the top down, as opposed to how they’re controlling the lives of so many people, whether it be from the land, the environment, their jobs and the economy,” he said. “So they should take a little more direct approach to just dealing with people as opposed to telling them what’s in their best interests,” he said of the Conservative government. “And that’s the message here.”

Gloade said the intent of the day’s protest is educate all Canadians to the concerns relating to Bill C-45 in an effort to prevent future generations from having to repeat such demonstrations.

“Be a little more concerned about what happens,” he said. “This movement is not just here, it’s across the country. And this ‘idle no more campaign’ has initiated a lot of interest from coast to coast with First Nations and non-aboriginal people, because it does not only affect us it affects the future generations  of kids to come. And that’s what we’re here to protect, the generations that are not here yet. And that is the main objective here.”



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Recent comments

  • Truro Resident
    December 27, 2012 - 17:33

    Unfortunately I think that First Nations people still get way to much government support. If they live like a white person then they should have to pay for things like a white person. Pay your taxes, get educated in areas that jobs are needed to be filled. Break the cycle. Stop living off tax payers money, stop having "poor, poor me" and look for support to break the cycle. Yes, years ago when assimilated I am sure that they deserved to have been giving land, money ect. But, it is time to look to succeed like every other Canadian: white, non white, french, english, native, are and always have been Canadian, maybe ancestors that were not....but you are. Time to stand up and be Canadian now.

  • Ash
    December 23, 2012 - 04:14

    I am not first nations but I think most of you people are completely ignorant and selfish "Oh no you ruined my holidays, burned my gas and made me a little late". Come on people, a small inconvenience did not ruin your holiday! The 102 runs right through their reserve so blocking one lane of a highway how is that so horrible? Did any of you commenting do your research on Bill C-45? Shame on you all hating on all these people. Do you keep wondering why there's so many crimes, hatred , etc. Because people continue to spread it!!!!!!!

  • Gecko Girl
    December 22, 2012 - 19:12

    I am saddened, and hurt, by the amount of horrible comments I have been subject to reading these last few days. My eyes have been opened further to the amount of racism and ignorance that still exists, even today. How many of these people do I say hello to every morning? How many smile in my face and write these comments? Usually the optimistic one, I feel sickened and beat up this Christmas week. Such ignorance! Do you not read the papers? Do you not take it upon yourselves to educate and pay attention to what is happening in this world of ours? Why can you not see that we do this, not only for ourselves, but for all Canadians?? Your very children will be affected by this! Your grandchildren! These are not just 'Indian' issues, but serious environmental issues as well! Please, I beg of you, take the time to research a little and read about what is at stake here. The Harper Government is not doing any of you any favours. I am simply stunned at the level of ignorance out there. If I were to remove the word "Indian" and substitute "Jew" or perhaps the "N" word, many of you would be, at the most, arrested for hate crimes, and at the least, ostracized around the water cooler at work. Why then, does it make it ok for you to hate what you do not understand? Criticize that which you choose not to educate yourselves about? I am an educated, hard working, proud First Nations female...yes you may start there, it is indeed First Nations, read about it and see why we have chosen that term and I stand up for what I believe in. That change CAN come about when we all stand together. Hate has no place in my home and i will hold my head up in front of you. I pride myself on the fact that I would never, ever comment on any subject without first educating myself about it. Shame on all of you.

    • honker
      December 23, 2012 - 11:12

      Sounds like you are political, Ms Gecko. People besides you also have a right to their opinions, and a right to voice them. It's called freedom. Because they disagree with your pet dogma is something that you will have to get used to, or move to someplace like North Korea where only one opinion is allowed. Of course just make sure your opinion is the same as the Dear Leader's or you will find yourself in prison or worse.

  • Johnny smoke
    December 22, 2012 - 11:10

    shannan - December 21, 2012 at 16:07:45 Just wondering how many times did we pay for that strip of dirt, and is it only non taxpaying natives that are allowed to use it, maintain it, and block it?

  • jr
    December 22, 2012 - 01:06

    Don't understand why we the tax payer have to continue to sponsor on segment of the country. The reserves are mismanaged with rampant fraud. The grape about alway wanting more when they have more then the people who pay taxes. The has come for the converstation of making them equal to all canadians. That encludes playing there own taxes and no more handout.

  • chief wiggam
    December 21, 2012 - 17:21

    actually the safety issue is mute. there was lots of signage and police around to maintain safety.

  • Non Native
    December 21, 2012 - 16:50

    Really people.... It could have been both lanes on both sides but no it was ONE lane .This protest has been on the news and well advertised for at least the last week ! So to all the ones complaining ,you could have taken the old highway so as to avoid it. For the period of time that I was there , I heard nothing but horns blowing constantly in support of the protest .I'm talking 18 wheelers who would lose the most by being slowed down . DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THE PROTEST WAS ABOUT ?

    • honker
      December 23, 2012 - 12:04

      More money, power?

  • DRH
    December 21, 2012 - 16:32

    We all have our own problems - but does delaying hundreds upon hundreds of people do anything? No. Nothing. This protest, like most, will do nothing. The issue is between the government and the First Nations leaders to work out. All this did was annoy and anger people who had places to go, at the busiest and most frustrating time of year.

  • Emily
    December 21, 2012 - 16:24

    An inconvience to you? Wow, I am shocked at today's society. This is clearly a huge deal to every aboriginal, the very least you could do is accept a pamplet. Those people have Christmas in a few days too, and they were probably out there a lot longer than you were driving. Take a few minutes out of your day to stop thinking about yourself and take intrest in your fellow community members.

  • Held up
    December 21, 2012 - 15:52

    Why create awareness by screwing people over on Christmas.. we can't help you. Try directing your protests, not to your neighbors, but to your actual oppressors. We have the same ones you know.. why attack friends???? I love government dissent, but you have no right to block a taxpayer funded highway... all you are doing is ticking people off..not to mention a major safety issue. For people that already agree with you. And at the end of it, not one of us has the ability to affect bill c-45.. actually, no one is talking about C-45, all they are talking about is a certain someone standing out in the middle of the highway when they have stuff to do 4 days before Christmas! WTF

  • Chris Macdonald
    December 21, 2012 - 15:37

    Can you imagine if all special interest groups were to hold information protests in this fashion at the expense of the general public. I also question how other groups would be treated if they sought to hold this type of "information protest". The costs to idling vehicles, missed appointments, products not arriving on time, RCMP wages etc. is a big one that the general public should not be burdened with.

  • Not Happy
    December 21, 2012 - 15:32

    I agree with "Upset". This is absolutely unacceptable. And I saw Truro MLA Lenore Zann out there with the protesters. Unbelievable. I hope all the thousands of people inconvenienced by this dangerous specatcle take note.

  • What A joke
    December 21, 2012 - 15:29

    Maybe next we will set up a Tim's Drive Thru in the passing lane

  • Lisa
    December 21, 2012 - 15:27

    I think the community of Millbrook did a great job of getting their message across and getting people talking about this bill! Its just too bad that all some people want to do is complain instead of talking about the issues!

  • Mi'kmaw
    December 21, 2012 - 15:24

    To Charlie's comment: It's important to recognize that most cultural groups around the planet were created from the land/territory and people around them over time. I believe human-occupation of each part of territory around the world did have a start time through its history, as humans came from certain regions of the planet and moved out from there over tens of thousands of years (unless you have other beliefs). The "First" human settlement of what we call North America is still researched as to how and when that happened. There is growing support that there were different waves of incomers, not just the Berring Strait at one point of time. Some Indigenous sites in North America are dating much farther/earlier than previous estimates, with older sites south of here, not north. The Indigenous nations of these lands have some very different histories and times of arrival. ..For the Mi'kmaq, per say, however our ancestors' ancestors arrived to what we now call "Nova Scotia", it is currently at a date of at least 11,000 years ago, (perhaps longer/earlier). That's a long time. That's from stone ages, through renaissance times, time for shifting of new people and changes,.. past the time of Egyptian pyramids,.. and onward.. cultural inventions of socio-political structures, etc. The ancestors were here so long that they were part of the ecosystem (how they lived, what they took from the land and how they shifted the biodiversity, and how plants/animals responded to human occupation). The Mi'kmaw culture, society, way of life, etc, informed the land, and the ecosystems also played large roles in the culture that was created, the language of the land. Mi'kmaw culture as the European immigrants of the 1600's found it, was an established culture, with social laws and responsibilities. We were not savage, primitive peoples, but specifically structured. We had alliances and agreements, and struggles with other neighbours. With the coming of the European history here, people seem to forget at how imposed and how still relatively short its been... 400 years compared to 11,000. Also, this is the homeland of Mi'kmaq. Homeland, for the language and customs, and autonomy of voice and decision-making. We have a very bloody and sad colonization history here, where the Mi'kmaq were beaten into a kind of submission. (Read Daniel Paul) But really, our grandparents made Peace and Friendship Agreements, as a last stand in the 1700's, to save the last lives, the last of our culture here. What sad times to remember. But we are still here, our language and our blood, our sense of belonging to this land. We do not need to repeat the mistakes of our European grandparents of brutal assimilation and genocide. We are not an "Indian Problem" as quoted in past centuries, as way to "finally rid" the Indigenous peoples of this land so that we can finally have our way with it. That should not be the intention of Canadians today. Right? We are all still learning how to adjust to the forceful European colonization of North America, Australia, parts of Africa, etc, through the past centuries. But it takes us all to come together and first review the history properly. Remember that English have a homeland - Britain. Francophones have a ancestral homeland - France. And so do most other newer immigrant nations who we now share this wonderful country with. But most have a homeland where the culture, language and autonomy is the majority. Here, it was supposed to be our voice as the majority. There is no other motherland for the Mi'kmaq where we emigrated from (history here so long). The horrific colonization period of the 1600's onward, happened the way it did, and it's actually "recent" for many nations in this country; we still remember. So now we're trying to at least have an equal voice, .. at least.. That voice promised by our grandparents (few generations back further) from the 1700's in Atlantic Canada. And we should honour that, because around the world we are trying to agree that no nation should take over another. The Treaty Rights are about making sure that we, (example here "Mi'kmaq"), still have some territory and authority passed down from our 11,000 years of occupation, on our homeland, to make decisions on when and how to live. And this Bill is a further assassination of those rights. So here, we have another chance to make this right. To make the country together. When terms like "First Nations" is used, it is to recognize the long history of the people, language, customs and culture, before the genocide, before the take-over by force began. And terms like First Nations and Indigenous are terms of respect for that peaceful process. Let's get it right Charlie. You and me. We've spoken.

  • chief wiggam
    December 21, 2012 - 15:08

    lady , they were "on the reserve" and you don't know what ruthless is if that what you think about that. (why isn't the daily news printing any of my rebuttals?)

  • stuckintraffic
    December 21, 2012 - 14:57

    Being stuck in traffic with no end in sight, a crying baby in the back seat, I will be one of the people throwing the pamphlet back in their face

  • Aaron
    December 21, 2012 - 14:27

    "if they want to demonstrate go on the reserve"

  • Counterproductive at best
    December 21, 2012 - 14:20

    Fastest way I can think of to get me on the OTHER side of the issue.

  • Ange
    December 21, 2012 - 14:00

    I completely understand the need to stand up for issues regarding such matters, however as someone who regulary tries to protect the environment I can not help but think of the carbon footprint 6+ km of idling cars creates. As someone home for Christmas for a limited period of time, spending over an hour creeping along a highway is not cool. I agree, stand up for your rights, but make sure you go about it in a way that does not negatively impact so many other individuals and the environment.

  • Nan
    December 21, 2012 - 13:39

    Been waiting over an hour and a half for my Daughter n grand baby stuck on a bus late because it can not get through to here :-. Glad the bill is getting some attention but sheesh.

  • Charlie Joseph
    December 21, 2012 - 13:37

    STOP CALLING THEM FIRST NATIONS! Do we call French and British Second or Third Nations? These people had their ancestors emigrate from Asia over the frozen Bering Strait just like my Ancestors emigrate from Europe in the 1600s & 1750s. The media is complicit in this false label and false narrative. Do I, as a descendant of Multiple European peoples get special consideration and lessened tax obligations than more recent immigrant groups, like the Chinese or Pakistanis? Of course not.

  • chief wiggam
    December 21, 2012 - 13:34

    i firmly believe that no matter what the natives do, it would bother you. lol

  • Jim
    December 21, 2012 - 13:27

    Get home once year. coming in from airport into this? You wanted attention and you're getting it. But let me tell you - what ever it is you're against - I am now for it.

  • dee
    December 21, 2012 - 13:18

    I totally agree with this comment ..if they want to demonstrate go on the reserve or Ottawa or the mall and set up a display ..inconvience motorist and families a few days before Christmas is ruthless!!!

    • shannan
      December 21, 2012 - 15:07

      just so you know this highway that they are slowing down runs through their reserve...

  • Upset motorist
    December 21, 2012 - 12:50

    Even though this is a peaceful information protest I firmly believe that if any other group was doing this that the RCMP would be throwing the people off the highway and not helping to control traffic in this way. Ridiculous.

    • Scott
      December 21, 2012 - 13:40

      I believe in people for what ever reason have the right to protest but within the law. I agree with Upset Motorist, if any other group was blocking, reducing a national highway the RCMP would be throwing people in jail.

    • Native Canadian
      December 21, 2012 - 14:08

      We would would be locked up if a group of us tried something like this. Everyone should be treated equally, but this is far from the case in Canada.

    • sonny
      December 21, 2012 - 15:40

      say what u guys want,thats not gonna stop us from doing what we think is right.

  • Ex-Pat Medic
    December 21, 2012 - 11:58

    How ironic the name "Idle No More".... How much additional greenhouse gases were produced by the crawling line of traffic? Also - I noticed the ambulance in article's picture of the line of traffic.... Hope that wasn't a truly sick person who needed to be in Halifax in a hurry... There are better and more constructive ways to make a point. Mine will be to not patronize businesses at the Millbrook Power Centre for awhile.

  • Ann
    December 21, 2012 - 11:53

    I'm so mad they did this on Christmas weekend. I am a young female travelling alone to NB with limited time to see my family and I want to get home safely and off the highway as soon as possible. Not to mention the gas I will be burning idling for an hour. Oh well gasoline is cheap and I have loads of money... Inconsiderate, there are other ways to spread the word without ruining my holiday cheer.