Monday, October 24, 2016 2:42:07 EDT PM
Many others also made their way to the planned demonstration on Parliament Hill. TEK elders Raymond Owl, of Sagamok Anishinabek First Nation, and Willie Pine from Mississauga First Nation (MFN), founders of the group, hoped to have their voices heard by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. PMRA is the regulatory body re-evaluating the use of glyphosate, the chemical most used in aerial spraying.
Director General Jason Flint of the PMRA attended the demonstration and listened to speeches made by elders and others in support of banning aerial spraying. PMRA will make a decision on its use by March of 2017.
Another group involved in the decision-making process is the Pest Management Advisory Council (PMAC), a multi-stakeholder providing guidance or advice to Health Canada regarding pest management regulations and policies.
Annual PMAC meetings take place in February each year, one month before the March deadline for a Health Canada decision by the PMRA on the use of glyphosate.
In an email from Flint, on Sept. 29, he invited Owl to attend the PMAC the AGM February 2017 to express the group’s concerns. After consulting with other TEK elders, Owl declined the offer.
However, at the demonstration in Ottawa, Flint responded positively to a request by the elders “to make your acquaintance face to face, nation to nation.”
Flint attended the demonstration and on behalf of Health Minister Jane Philpott listening to many speeches by supporters of TEK.
Speakers at the demonstration included: Carol Hughes, MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, Charlie Angus MP, Raymond Owl, Willie Pine, Deputy Chief Glenn Hare, Issac Murdoch from Serpent River First Nation and many others.
Flint was presented with an ash basket for Philpott and asked to be the “carrier” of the basket made by elder Irene Makedskin of Sagamok. Accepting the gift, Flint said, “I honourably accept this responsibility.”
The group returned to their homes along the North Shore. According to Owl, TEK is expecting a response from Health Canada to their demands to stop aerial spraying in a week or so.