Opinion

OUT ON A LIMB: Leftist discontent latches onto any movement it can

The Idle No More Movement seems to be taking up where the Occupy movement of last year left off.

They’re both being criticized as unfocused, nebulous protests that are hard to clearly define what they stand for.

But there is something to them that goes beyond whatever issue they’re trying to push forward in the public agenda. Idle No More is generally about furthering the status of First Nations people in our society on the one hand and the tyranny of omnibus bills in Parliament that try to sneak unpalatable policy by mixing it into a hodge podge of legislative measures.

The Occupy movement was opposed to (according to Wikipedia) “social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the perceived undue influence of corporations on government.” They both attracted broad-based, outside support, including Idle No More, even though it is a First Nations movement.

They’re both attracting like-minded supporters who fall on the lefthand side of the political and social spectrum. Now, the Idle No More movement is probably in danger of being co-opted by this hazy mass of malcontents but that’s better than being ignored.

I’m not going to debate the specifically-Native aspect of Idle. What I’m interested in is the attraction these protests have for that left-of-centre support group that shows up at these protests. I’d put it to you that they have this belief that something is wrong but there’s a sense of powerlessness to change it.

The late NDP leader Jack Layton captured that sentiment with his moving post-mortem letter to Canadians on Aug. 20, 2011 in which he expressed a desire for young Canadians to work for a better world.

Layton believed in their power to  “change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada.

“I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.”

Sounds like Occupy and Idle to me.

Dog days...Meanwhile, it’s interesting that city council has decided to separate the animal control function from the SPCA’s animal shelter role. This is something I drew attention to last September after the impounding of a pit bull by the SPCA. The enforcement role didn’t seem to sit well with them.

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