Tag Archives: ShutDownCanada

#ShutdownCanada Halts Traffic At Highways 17 And 6

Protesters with the United Urban Warriors Society took to the highways 17 and 6 intersection during their protests on Feb. 13. Photo by Jessica Brousseau/The Mid-North Monitor/QMI Agency

Protesters with the United Urban Warriors Society took to the highways 17 and 6 intersection during their protests on Feb. 13. Photo by Jessica Brousseau/The Mid-North Monitor/QMI Agency


Members and supporters of the United Urban Warrior Society (UUWS) refuse to be silent as they held another protest and traffic slow down.

Taking to the intersection of highways 17 and 6 on Feb. 13, members were holding their signs high.

With their cries for a national inquiry getting them nothing but rejection after rejection, ralliers were out to have their voice on all matters such as fracking, genocide, and water and land mistreatment heard.

In a national move, #shutdowncanada had Canadians alike taking to social media. A unity on and offline to shut down Canada for a few hours.

In a Facebook comment on the UUWS page, the message of the protest was to “significantly impact the Canadian economy for a day and demand there to be an independent inquiry into the 2,000+ cases of missing or murdered indigenous women.”

Isadore Pangowish, organizer of the UUWS of Manitoulin and the North Shore, said a round table discussion in planned for Feb. 27 regarding an inquiry, but added that is not what they want.

“How all of us First Nation people see it, there is absolutely no need for a round-table talk,” he said. “What we need is just the upper government and (the) Aboriginal minister to come out and tell us ‘We will do an inquiry.’”

Police presence was on the scene for the two hours to assist with the traffic slow down.

OPP Constable Wayne Berthelot said they were there to protect those protesting as well as the motorists travelling through the area.

For five minutes of every hour, the traffic flow through the intersection was stopped as ralliers took to the highway with their signs and their concerns.

With the small amount of time they had, Pangowish spoke to the protesters about why they were taking such action.

“Because of (Stephen) Harper, we are all standing out here. I know for me, I will not be quiet, I will not shut up and I will keep doing what I am doing.”

Another concern for Pangowish is Bill C-51, an Anti-Terrorism Act, which enacts the security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts.

“What we are doing right now, this will be illegal,” said Pangowish.

“They are calling us radicals,” cried one protester.

“Terrorist,” said another.

Ralliers starting calling out “Harper no more” as the stalled traffic lined the highway towards Nairn Centre.

With two minutes left of the slow down, Pangowish told those in attendance that they are the leaders, that they will not give up.

With mixed cries from the crowd, one woman’s voice spoke up saying their treaties need to be honoured, and their payment of $4 a year is not enough to raise her children.

“Four dollars does not cut it anymore.”

Once their time was up, members and supporters of UUWS headed back to the mediums of highways 17 and 6, as traffic continued flowing, honking their horns as they drove past.

Canada rallies to remember missing and murdered aboriginal women

Eighth Annual Women's Memorial March in  Winnipeg  (Photo: Red Power Media)

Eighth Annual Women’s Memorial March in Winnipeg. Feb 14th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)

By Black Powder | Red Power Media

Hundreds of aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered across Canada.

On February 14th annual marches were held across the country to remember the missing and murdered.

Hundreds gathered in Vancouver, Winnipeg and other cities. Over 400 people marched in Toronto in what’s known as the Strawberry Ceremony, named after the fruit which has become a symbol for aboriginal female victims of violence. Many attendees brought strawberries to mark the 10th annual march.

In Montreal thousands marched.

The first women’s memorial march was held in 1991 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman on Powell Street in Vancouver. Her name is not spoken today out of respect for the wishes of her family.

Twenty five years later, the women’s memorial march continues to honour the lives of missing and murdered women.

Betsy Bruyere, an indigenous woman in Vancouver, has attended the marches for more than a decade.

“I was kind of depressed,” she says. “It just doesn’t stop and it looks like it’s getting worse — the situation, the crisis, the invisible war against indigenous women. They’re trying to kill us, I’m pretty sure of it.”

Hundreds marched through downtown Vancouver to support calls for a national inquiry into 1,200 aboriginal women nationwide who have been murdered or are missing.

Eighth Annual Women’s Memorial March in Winnipeg. Feb 14th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)

Eighth Annual Women’s Memorial March in Winnipeg. Feb 14th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)

About 300 people gathered at the eighth annual women’s memorial march outside the University of Winnipeg to call attention to missing and murdered indigenous women.

The rally later moved inside the U of W. Bulman Centre, where many listened to speakers.

Among those in attendance for part of the time were Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and Premier Greg Selinger.

Inside the U of W. Bulman Centre, where the aroma of burning sage filled the room, Nahanni Fontaine said “families of victims must continue to put pressure on police and the justice system to find missing women or find those responsible for their deaths,” adding there is a misperception in society that many of the missing and murdered came from families where they weren’t loved and supported.

Eighth Annual Women's Memorial March in Winnipeg  (Photo: Red Power Media)

Mayor Brian Bowman at U of W. Bulman Centre. Feb 14th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)

“There’s concern from families that people are speaking on their behalf” without first consulting them, said Fontaine, special adviser to the province on indigenous women’s issues.

Fontaine said Manitoba should draft the first protocol in Canada on how to engage with families of victims of violence. Fontaine said “it seems odd” to have to put something in writing, “But it’s needed.”

Some rallies across the country included displays of the growing anger and frustration around such issues as an inquiry and the Harper government’s lack of action.

Creeative Native Traverse in Winnipeg, wearing a t-shirt she designed. (Photo: Red Power Media)

Creeative Native Traverse in Winnipeg, wearing a t-shirt she designed. Feb 14th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)

Last May, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reported that 1,017, aboriginal women had been murdered between 1980 and 2012. Another 108 are missing under suspicious circumstances, with some cases dating back to 1952.

Rights groups have long been demanding that law enforcement agencies do more to prevent and solve crimes directed at aboriginal women and girls. They have also started to put increasing pressure on the federal government to open an inquiry into the hundreds of missing or murdered cases.

Demonstrators also held a national day of action on February 13th called #ShutDownCanada, where hundreds of activists used various forms of civil disobedience to temporarily close down major roads, railways and other public infrastructure. The goal was to put pressure on the Harper government and demand an inquiry. In Winnipeg First Nations set up a blockade on portage avenue near the west perimeter highway.

#ShutDownCanada Winnipeg. (Photo: Red Power Media)

#ShutDownCanada Winnipeg, blockade at the west perimeter. Feb 13th, 2015. (Photo: Red Power Media)


Winnipeg Protesters #Shutdown Portage

Protestors shut down Portage Avenue westbound at St. Charles Street including Sandy Banman (right) on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.

Protestors shut down Portage Avenue westbound at St. Charles Street including Sandy Banman (right) on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.


Sandy Banman understands the frustration of the drivers that she and a small group of protesters inconvenienced Friday with their blockade on Portage Avenue near the Perimeter Highway.

But those drivers need to understand where she’s coming from as well.

“We’re asking them just to stop for a few minutes and think and reflect on how we feel to have all of these issues and (what it’s like to) have a nation that’s broken and suffering,” said Banman, one of 10 protestors who — despite the bitter cold — took part in the protest as part of the nationwide #ShutDownCanada series of First Nations protests and blockades. “How it feels to bury your child and how it feels to bury your friends and family members and have people in jail and have all of these kinds of conditions going on.

“If you just stop for a while and think about that. Your inconvenience of 20 or 30 minutes does not compare to this pain our people are suffering.”

The protest shut down the westbound lane of Portage at St. Charles Street, with protestors holding signs blasting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apparent indifference to the plight of First Nations peoples and calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

“We want to bring attention to our missing and murdered indigenous women as well as our children and our missing and murdered men,” said Banman, who knows four missing or murdered women and whose 31-year-old son Carl David Banman went missing in May 2011 before his dead body was found near Morden three weeks later.

In addition to the issue of the missing and murdered, Banman said the protest was intended to bring attention to numerous other concerns facing indigenous people such as poverty and the prison and child and family services systems.

“We’re here to raise awareness about (those issues) and to tell Mr. Harper that the system that is in place is not working and we need a national inquiry into missing and murdered women,” said Banman. “We need to find out how these systemic issues are affecting so many people. Things need to change completely so that we can have a positive and happy lifestyle like the rest of Canadians.”

Winnipeg police closed off traffic on Portage all the way up to Buchanan Boulevard from the 11 a.m. start of the protest until about 3:15 p.m.

Similar protests were held in Toronto and Vancouver as well as smaller centres across the country. It was the biggest national First Nations protest since the Idle No More demonstrations of 2012 and 2013.

Protest highlights native women’s plight


By Michael-Allan Marion | Brantford Expositor

A contingent of Six Nations residents and others are expected to converge Friday on Hamilton as one of 22 cities across the country targeted by a movement called #Shut Down Canada.

Operating under the name Shut Down Hamilton, the group led by Kawaowene (John) Garlow is organizing a rally to take place at the intersection of King and Main streets, near Gage Park.

The main aim of the protest is to gather support for a continuing demand that the federal government call an inquiry into the number of murdered and missing aboriginal women. The RCMP has pegged the number at about 1,200.

The organizers are directing the Hamilton action through the Facebook page ShutDownHamilton. The page contains a map of the general area in the city’s east end and instructions on which Hamilton city buses to take for those not coming by automobile.

The protest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Arrangements are being made for a sacred fire to be lit.

The organizers understand that many at the event may not be native.

“Please also be advised that missing and murdered indigenous women is predominantly a native issue and deeply affects native women more than any other group,” viewers are informed.

“We ask that everyone attending respect and honour the lead position of these women in this concern and follow their suggestions as to peaceful and orderly conduct.”

Garlow was not available for comment, but he has a online posting that reads: “Remember the 300 Nigerians went missing. kkkanada (the native term for supremacist Canada) tried to make itself look good by offering money and assistance.

“Meanwhile, the people whom they oppress and try to assimilate ain’t nothing been done and yet the number has grown while no money or assistance has been offered.”

It continues: “It seems the native women of turtle island are looked upon by kkkanda as less than human??..even tho their lives were most likely taken on invaded lands therefor the invader (Canada) should be held responsible so too the rest of you whom calls your self Canadian what is your choice, justice or genocide????”

In Ontario, demonstrations are also planned for Toronto, Sarnia, Niagara Falls and Ottawa. Other places across Canada include Vancouver, Prince George, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Montreal.


#ShutDownCanada: First Nations people plan nationwide protests Friday

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A protester carries a sign down the escalator during an Idle No More round dance to stop racial profiling at City Centre Mall in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Respected aboriginal elder Gary Moostoos was banned from the mall last month. Oxford Properties Group later rescinded the ban and apologized to Moostoos. Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency


Indigenous people are planning events, rallies, boycotts and blockades all across Canada on Friday in what’s gearing up to be the biggest national First Nations protest since Idle More More.

It’s called #ShutDownCanada, and it’s described as a callout “for communities across Canada to blockade their local railway, port or highway” on Friday, Feb. 13.

“Don’t buy, don’t fly, no work and keep the kids home from school. A diversity of tactics is highly recommended!” the national Facebook event page, hosted by In Solidarity with all Land Defenders, reads.

The events aim to tackle a wide variety of issues — the mass incarceration of indigenous people, major resource extraction projects on unceded indigenous lands and the more than 2,000 missing and murdered indigenous women, to name a few.

“Make no mistake that systemic racism and structural violence are connected to the needs of this illegal colonial state to maintain control of the land for exploitation. That is why we must call attention to these issues at the same time,” the Facebook page reads. “It’s all connected.”

Toronto is planning a “peaceful & calm assembly with the purpose of raising public awareness and sharing knowledge with passersby” in Yonge and Dundas Square.

In Vancouver, there are plans to block Port Metro Vancouver locations all across the lower mainland.

Near Sarnia, Ont,, Walpole Island First Nation members are planning to slow down traffic and inform passing motorists about missing and murdered indigenous women.

In Prince George, B.C., organizers are protesting at City Hall and asking supporters to put their wallets away.

“To do this we need to not buy gas, don’t go shopping, in all possible cases don’t go to work. Show the cronies in Ottawa that we are serious and things need to change now.”

Most local event pages on Facebook have hundreds of people vowing to attend, and the national page boasts more than 6,500 participants.