Idle No More movement looking to reignite its voice

On Wednesday, nearly 150 activists took over Memorial Park for the weekly "Water Wednesday" meeting, which focuses on Canada's water resources. Riley McDermid / Global News

WINNIPEG — After lying low for nearly seven months, Idle No More protesters are revitalizing their movement in Winnipeg and latching onto a local movement.

Nearly 150 activists took over Memorial Park on Wednesday for “Water Wednesday,” a weekly protest focusing on Canada’s water resources that started earlier this summer.

The group said Canada’s resources are being threatened by the proposed Energy East Pipeline project.

If approved, the $12-million project could see up to 1.1 million barrels of oil transported across the country and through Winnipeg each day.

“We feel like it’s not something that we want happening, putting our water at risk, because it’s something that could not be reversed if there were to be a spill,” said activist Michael Champagne.

The proposed pipeline would be built close Winnipeg’s water source, Shoal Lake in Ontario.

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“Everyone who drinks water in Winnipeg should be concerned about this pipeline,” said Champagne.

Idle No More organizers have jumped on board.

“We made the vehicle ‘Water Wednesday,'” said Idle No More organizer Michael Kannon. “Water is our common thread, our common element — it affects us all.”

When Idle No More started last year, it quickly became known for its street blockades and for lacking a clear and concise single focus.

It’s a problem organizers hope they’ve fixed with the movement’s resurgence around water resources.

“First Nations have never been idle; we’ve been working and struggling with this,” said Kannon. “The real change will come when everyone else is idle no more.”

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