Grand chief doubts PM’s sincerity in offering meeting to hunger-striking Theresa Spence
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs speaks to CTV News on Jan. 5.
Published Saturday, January 5, 2013 5:27PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, January 5, 2013 5:35PM CST
The Idle No More movement continued to show strength Saturday with demonstrations interrupting travel at several Canadian border crossings.
Demonstrations took place across Canada, including at the Canada-United States border in Emerson.
The demonstrations come just a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced he would meet with First Nations leaders next week.
Harper agreed to meet with the First Nations leaders, including Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who had been on a hunger-strike for several weeks.
Spence said she would remain on her hunger-strike until her Jan. 11 meeting with Harper.
Manitoba’s Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said he remains skeptical about Harper’s intentions.
"I think that there's a wide gulf in between Mr. Harper's objectives and the objectives of First Nations leadership,” said Nepinak. “I look at the gesture as little more than an exercise in political expedience. It's intended I think to maintain the status quo as well as to maintain the power structures that be.”
At next week’s meeting, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will be pushing for an increased share of resources developed in the province, Nepinak said.
But, he added, “I think it's no reason to become overly optimistic.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks from the podium at Ford Motor plant in Oakville Ont. on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence speaks with CTV News during the third week of her hunger strike, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012.
From right to left, NDP MP Charlie Angus, Grand Chief Stan Louttit, Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and a representative of Theresa Spence hold a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 4, 2012.