Politics
First Nations leaders blocked from House after budget bill confrontation

Assembly of First Nations Chiefs make their way to Parliament Hill, Dec 4, 2012.

Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY

KRISTY KIRKUP | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA -- Aboriginal leaders were physically blocked from entering the House of Commons Tuesday where they wanted to push for a voice on the government's omnibus budget bill.

Following a rally on Parliament Hill, dozens of aboriginal leaders walked into the Commons and spoke directly to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

Oliver was asked to speak to First Nations by NDP MP Charlie Angus.

"This has got to stop...we are here to deliver a message...there is no consultation," said Wallace Fox, the chief of the Onion Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. "

Fox told Oliver that First Nations leaders feel the feds are not honouring the Crown-First Nations relationship, though Oliver insists there will be further consultation on proposed resource development projects.

"Our government is very respectful of our constitutional obligations," Oliver said.

When Oliver walked away because question period had started, leaders tried to walk into the chamber and guards stepped in their path.

The chiefs, who have gathered in Ottawa for a special meeting of the Assembly of First Nations, are opposed to measures in the budget bill including the move to nix the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The removal of the act will mean that bridges, dams and other projects can get the green light without approval from the feds.

The government's second budget bill is now facing its last leg in the Commons before a majority government ensures its passage.

Opposition parties are outraged over the bill and the government's refusal to amend the legislation, which is more than 400 pages long.

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