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Elijah Harper, key player in Meech Lake accord, dies at 64

Ex-Manitoba MLA, MP and political maverick died of cardiac failure related to diabetes

Posted: May 17, 2013 9:51 AM CT 

Last Updated: May 17, 2013 7:27 PM CT

Elijah Harper, a former Manitoba MLA and MP who was a key player in defeating the Meech Lake accord, has died at the age of 64.

Harper died early Friday in Ottawa as a result of cardiac failure due to diabetes complications, according to a statement released by his family.

Harper achieved national fame in 1990 by holding an eagle feather as he stood in the Manitoba legislature and refused to support the Meech Lake accord, effectively blocking the constitutional amendment package negotiated to gain Quebec's acceptance of the Constitution Act of 1982.

Harper protested that the proposed accord was negotiated in 1987 without the input of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

The accord required ratification by all 10 provincial legislatures and Parliament, and Harper's action prevented Manitoba from doing so before the deadline. Newfoundland followed by cancelling its free vote in the legislature. 

Family says Harper 'a true leader and visionary'

His wife, Anita Olsen Harper, his children and the family said in the statement that Harper "was a wonderful man, father, partner. He was a true leader and visionary in every sense of the word."

  • Defeating Meech Lake
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The statement added: "He will have a place in Canadian history, forever, for his devotion to public service and uniting his fellow First Nations with pride, determination and resolve.  Elijah will also be remembered for bringing aboriginal and non-aboriginal people together to find a spiritual basis for healing and understanding. We will miss him terribly and love him forever.”...READ FULL AT CBC

It is, in the end, the story of one man and one feather.

The man is there for history to measure. He has a name, an age and an address: Elijah Harper, 41, of Red Sucker Lake, Northern Manitoba. He has a voice to speak for himself, a past that can be traced and on Friday (June 22) he took action on a matter for which he will be forever judged.

At 12:30 p.m. his very soft "No" from the back row of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly brought an end to debate on the Meech Lake Accord. Elijah Harper knows he will be both blamed and cheered for having done what no one else would dare.

The feather is not so easily explained... (Windspeaker, The feather, Elijah Harper and Meech Lake)


Elijah Harper: "He will be remembered and have a place in history forever"


Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba First Nations offered his condolences to the family of Elijah Harper, and reflected on his significance to Indigenous people in Canada:

As a residential school survivor, Elijah spent a large part of his life fighting for the rights of First Nations people of Canada and for the betterment of the human condition around the world while he was a Chief of Red Sucker Lake First Nation, worked with the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, a Member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, a Member of Parliament and as a Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission. As a humber leader, he made Canadian history when he, with eagle feather in hand, said 'No' to the Meech Lake Accord. He felt that the Indigenous people of this country were not being recognized or being allowed to participate in a meaningful way in that constitutional process. (Rabble,
Elijah Harper remembered: 'He will have a place in Canadian history forever')


Greatness is a Gift...He Was Our Gift




Published in National News
Saturday, 27 April 2013 18:17

Idle No More win's Best Democratic Movement

January 22, 2013

Idle No More wins Samara’s Best Democratic Moment of 2012

When Samara started the “Best Moment in Canadian Democracy” contest in 2011, the Arab Spring had just begun. Reflecting on these uprisings in the Middle East, an American in Samara’s community emailed to thank us for this contest, noting it was important to remember to be vigilant and celebrate democracy at home.

“Given what is happening in the Middle East now,” he wrote, “I think your survey results are particularly resonant… thanks for the reminder that democracy is important and for helping celebrate Canada's own democracy.”

We are pleased to provide this opportunity for us to reflect on the best moments in Canadian democracy.

This year, you nominated five worthy candidates – the Quebec Student Movement, Female Premiers, Checks and Balances, the Speaker’s protection of minority voices, and Idle No More -and the votes are in. The winner, with 32% of the vote, is Idle No More.

The Idle No More movement may have begun in 2012, but it, and the demonstrations it’s spurred are thriving in 2013. Protests continue, Chief Theresa Spence continues her hunger strike and blockades are making international news.

The rise of the citizens’ voice through protest is a trend we’ve been seeing in this contest since its inception. In each year since this began a protest of some kind has won the contest: anti-prorogation rallies in 2010, the Occupy Movement in 2011 and now Idle No More in 2012.

These movements began, at least in part, online, or were considerably boosted through their presence in social media. While it’s likely true that an online contest privileges these types of movements, we still see it as a snapshot of what’s capturing the imagination of Canadians.

We hope you have enjoyed taking time to reflect on the best moments in Canada’s democracy last year, and here’s wishing you a democratic 2013!


Congratulations to Ryan Patrice who, as the official winner of our contest, will be awarded a political book of his choice.

Final votes:
Idle No More: 32%
Female Premiers: 20%
Speaker’s ruling: 17%
Quebec Student Movement: 19%
Checks and Balances in Place: 10%


Source retrieved April 28, 2013:

Published in Announcements
Mon, 2013-04-15 14:37ERIKA THORKELSON
Erika Thorkelson's picture

Experimental Lakes Founder David Schindler Says Oliver and Redford Make Canadians "Look Like a Bunch of Absolute Idiots"

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Once upon a time, in the beautiful land of Alberta there were magical machines that could turn sand into oil, that drew the toxins from the land and left the air and water clean and clear. It sounds like a fairy tale, but this is more or less what politicians like Premier Alison Redford and Environment Minister Joe Oliver are selling on their trips to Washington, according to scientist David Schindler.  

The founder and former director of the recently endangered Ontario Experimental Lakes Area was the keynote speaker at Carleton University’s Community Engagement Celebration on Friday. In a speech focusing on the environmental “propaganda war” Canada is facing, he said that believing in clean tar sands development is akin to believing in “magic fairies.”

“Why are people allowed to lie to the public like this? I just don’t understand this. We have to challenge them,” he said. “Obviously the people who used to challenge them, the civil servants, are no longer allowed to...READ COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE


I remember sitting in a meeting in 2011 to listen to the results of an Soil Ingestion Study I was involved in and lead by Dr. Jules Blais of the University of Ottawa. Dr. Schindler and many other key scientists were present during the presentation to review the results of the study.  Anyways, after review of results, I remember, from across the table, an associate of Dr. Schindler's said, "the people need to realize the power of the treaties because it's those treaties that will save the planet" (unquote) ~ Shannon M Houle



Published in Global News
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