Raymond Robinson launches second hunger strike

Tease the day: This time, the Manitoba elder won't consume any liquids

Ryan Remiorz/CP

Raymond Robinson played a supporting role in one of the biggest headlining events of 2013. Robinson, the Cross Lake First Nation Grand Elder, sat with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence on Ottawa’s Victoria Island, subsisting only on fish broth and water—the famous strike that turned liquid diet into a household phrase in Canada. Now, Robinson’s committing to new strike action, based on a different conflict with the feds. And he says this time, he’s “going all out”: no liquids or solid food until the government backs down from changes to aboriginal funding formulas.

For his part, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is taking a similar line to his predecessor, John Duncan, during Spence’s protest. He’ll meet with Robinson to discuss the issues. Valcourt’s spokesman, Jason MacDonald, didn’t mince words: “Real progress means working together, not threatening one another,” he said.

So here we are again. Spence’s protest on Victoria Island escalated, slowly but surely, until she routinely made headlines simply by walking out of a tee-pee. Robinson, like Spence, says he’s “ready to die” for the cause. Are people still listening?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Alberta’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil sands. The National Post fronts the pleas of innocence from the family of Aaron Yoon, a suspected collaborator with two Canadians who allegedly participated in an Algerian hostage-taking. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a Senate report recommending better monitoring of prescription drugs. The Ottawa Citizen leads with two government scientists who allegedly attempted to smuggle brucella bacteria into China. iPolitics fronts Canada’s shortage of truck leads with the husband of a Canadian senator moving $1.7 million into offshore accounts. National Newswatch showcases a Toronto Star story that reports 48 per cent of Canadians think Justin Trudeau is qualified to be prime minister.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Robocalls. Elections Canada probably has a strong case against former Conservative campaigner Michael Sona, says a leading lawyer who suggests plenty of evidence is likely still not public. 2. Hunger strike. Manitoba First Nations elder Raymond Robinson is embarking on a full hunger strike—no liquids—as a protest against government changes to funding agreements.
3. Obesity. Chronic heartburn caused in part by obesity is contributing to a long-term increase in the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma—cancer that forms in the esophagus. 4. U.S. ambassador. Bruce Heyman, a Chicago-based fundraiser for U.S. President Barack Obama, is apparently a leading contender to become the next ambassador to Canada.

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