* Aboriginal leaders set to meet prime minister on Friday
* Many of Canada's 1.2 million aboriginals live in poverty
OTTAWA Jan 10 A Canadian native leader said on
Thursday that anger among the country's aboriginals is such that
they could block resource development and bring the economy "to
its knees" unless the Conservative government addresses a series
Native leaders are due to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper
on Friday to discuss the poor living conditions facing many of
Canada's 1.2 million aboriginals.
Activists have already blockaded some rail lines and
threatened to close Canada's borders with the United States in a
campaign they call Idle No More.
"We have had enough. Our young people have had enough. Our
women have had enough ... we have nothing left to lose," said
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak from the province of Manitoba.
Native leaders say they want more federal money and a
greater say over what happens to resources on their land.
"These are demands, not requests ... the Idle No More
movement has the people, it has the people and the numbers that
can bring the Canadian economy to its knees. It can stop Prime
Minister Stephen Harper's resource development plan," Nepinak
"We have the warriors that are standing up now, that are
willing to go that far. So we're not here to make requests,
we're here to demand attention," he said.
Aboriginal bands are unhappy about Enbridge Inc's
plans to build a pipeline from the oil sands of Alberta to the
Pacific province of British Columbia and say they will not allow
the project to go ahead.
Nepinak and other chiefs from Manitoba also said they want
Governor General David Johnston, the official representative of
Queen Elizabeth in Canada, to be present at the meeting with
Harper on Friday. Johnston has already said he will not be
Successive Canadian governments have struggled for decades
to improve the life of aboriginals.
Ottawa spends around C$11 billion ($11.1 billion) a year on
an aboriginal population of 1.2 million, yet living conditions
for many are poor, particularly for those on reserves with high
rates of poverty, addiction, joblessness and suicide.
As part of the Idle No More campaign, protesters blocked a
Canadian National Railway Co line in Sarnia, Ontario,
in late December and early January.