Prime Minister Stephen Harper honoured a group of Ontarians with a national community service award Saturday — but a leading activist was vowing to send back her award to show solidarity with the First Nations chief on a high-profile protest.
Maude Barlow, the head of the citizens’ group Council of Canadians, says she plans to send her Diamond Jubilee medal back to the office of Gov. Gen. David Johnston, who oversees the awarding of the copper-silver medals emblazoned with an image of the Queen.
Barlow said her move is in support of a push from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and the wave of Idle No More protests for the Harper government to do more to address the concerns of First Nations.
The medal is a symbol of the ties between the Crown, Ottawa and First Nations that have come apart over unmet demands by Spence to have a working meeting between First Nations leaders and Harper and Johnston all in the same room, she said.
“It represents the relationship of the Crown, and the government and the people. And that broke down badly in the last few weeks — very badly,” Barlow said in a telephone interview Saturday.