TORONTO – A coalition has been formed against the Harper Government’s Bill C-10 (an act to criminalize Native tobacco). The coalition is currently comprised of a variety of groups which have long taken positions in support of indigenous rights and sovereignty. Signatories to a statement released on the http://billc10.ca/ website include the Law Union of Ontario, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, the BASICS Community News Organization, the Two Row Society, and the First Nations Solidarity Working Group of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903.
As the statement notes, “Bill C-10 will impact communities, families and workers. By attacking the First Nations tobacco trade, many people will lose their livelihoods, contributing to further destitution and dislocation. Such effects will hurt Indigenous families, especially women, forcing many out of decent jobs, out of their communities, and into the streets of Canadian cities where the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women is already at epidemic proportions. Such outcomes are unconscionable. On top of these outcomes, this new law violates principles of international, domestic, and treaty law.”
The group has come up with a document outlining why they are opposed to Bill C 10 and are asking for all organizations and businesses – native and non-native – to come together and work against Bill C-10.
According to Steve Da Silva, an organizer with the campaign, “we need to make a stand together to uphold treaty rights and the Two Row Wampum. Native and non-Native people share many interests and the aim of our coalition is to link together people from many different organizations and movements who are under attack from the Harper government to stop this Bill from becoming law.”
Included in the organizing against Bill C-10 is a video which has been produced to draw attention to the plight of the Onkwehon:we people concerning the attack on the tobacco trade. The video was professionally produced on the Six Nations territory of the Grand River by Hitch Media Productions. The video profiles people from a variety of indigenous and non-indigenous communities speaking about the effects of Bill C-10. The video can be accessed by going to the website www.killbillc-10.com.
The next meeting of the Coalition will be on Sunday April 29th at the Sour Springs Plaza on Second Line at 1pm. All organizations and businesses which have endorsed the Coalition statement are entitled to attend the meeting and help shape the growing opposition to Bill C-10. For more information or to have your group join the coalition, email email@example.com or call 519-445-9252.