Former NDP premier and ex-Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh has urged visible minorities to support the aboriginal people's struggle for equality.
He issued the call in a speech today at the Strawberry Hill Library.
Dosanjh said that when he was in federal and provincial politics, he and his colleagues acknowledged there was a "ticking time bomb" if they didn't address aboriginal people's issues.
"That ticking time bomb has now taken the shape of Idle No More," Dosanjh declared. "It's peaceful—and that's absolutely wonderful."
He specifically mentioned poverty, oppression, and depravation in the Downtown Eastside, which is home to many First Nations people. And he noted that Canada is one of the world's most affluent countries.
"I'm not saying we're not mindful of these issues," Dosanjh stated before adding, "I think it's more incumbent on us to look at other minorities and see how...we can actually make their struggle as part of our struggle and vice versa, so that this country's minorities can be treated well and they can be part of the mainstream."
The former premier also pointed out that the roots of the Idle No More movement go back several hundred years.
Dosanjh was one of more than a dozen speakers at the launch of a calendar celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ghadar Party, which was created on the west coast of Canada and the U.S. to try to end the British occupation of India.
The calendar was created by Radio India and the Indo-Canadian Workers' Association.