Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sandy Bay residents plan Trans-Canada blockade as part of Idle No More

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Residents of Sandy Bay First Nation will block the Trans-Canada Highway near Portage la Prairie today in an effort to highlight problems facing aboriginal people.

Tricia Beaulieu, 25, of Sandy Bay First Nation, the organizer of the event, said vehicles will be parked on the Trans-Canada near Highway 16 to block traffic as part of the Idle No More protest.

Beaulieu, a radio-station receptionist, said she's expecting 200 or more people for what's planned as a seven-hour blockade, beginning at 10 a.m.

"Absolutely nothing" will go by them, she said.

"Not everybody else has a job in Sandy Bay, and it's pretty hard to find work out here because of what's going on with this poverty and everything," said Beaulieu.

She's hoping the federal government takes notice.

"We're kind of in the hole out in Sandy Bay, and they're just trying to put us more in the hole by taking away our rights and stripping us of everything," she said.

The Idle No More movement is happening across Canada as a way to draw attention to what First Nations leaders believe are threats to their aboriginal land and treaty rights.

A rally attracting more than 400 people has already been held at the legislative building.

The RCMP are aware of the planned blockade, said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Miles Hiebert.

He said the RCMP "will work to provide a peaceful and safe resolution."

"... The RCMP respects the right of Canadians to participate in peaceful protest, and will work to ensure the safety of any participants involved in peaceful protest, as well as the safety of motorists using the roadways," said Hiebert, in an email Friday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 A11

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