Well-known activist filmmaker and television journalist, Avi Lewis, was in Saskatoon on January 29th to help launch International Development Week activities with a keynote address. The keynote was part of an event hosted by the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation, of which Oxfam Canada is a long-time member.
In the lead-in to the keynote, Michelle Beveridge, Oxfam Canada's Prairies Outreach officer, introduced Avi to the audience. The focus of the keynote was cooperation, engagement and change.
Currently at work with his partner, Naomi Klein, on a new documentary called, "The Message: the (r)evolutionary power of climate change", Avi spoke about the relationship between climate justice and indigenous rights groups. He made special note of the broad engagement and momentum being built around the Saskatchewan-founded Idle No More movement.
Idle No More was created in response to concerns that Bill C-45, an "omnibus" bill introduced by the federal government, will erode indigenous rights and reduce environmental review and protection. The bill, which introduces changes to existing legislation, has been a topic of ongoing concern and protest for First Nations, environmentalists, MPs and others.
International Development Week runs this year from February 3rd to 9th.