Some Idle No More organizers are asking for repercussions for Canadian Senator Patrick Brazeau after he made what some say are inappropriate comments about Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence at a Conservative fundraising event.
Brazeau referred to Spence’s “so-called hunger strike” in addressing about 80 people at a Legion hall in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans, and mocked her physical shape.
“I was sick two weeks ago,” Brazeau said. “I had the flu and I lost five pounds. I look at Miss Spence, when she started her hunger strike, and now?” Brazeau added as a voice in the hall called out, “She’s fatter,” which drew laughter from much of the audience.
Erica Lee, one of the many organizers of the Idle No More movement and the person responsible for managing the Idle No More Facebook page that has more than 90,000 likes, said although she’s not surprised by the senator’s remarks toward Spence, she feels they were inappropriate and there should be consequences.
“It is frustrating, because he is a First Nations senator, and to have a person who you would think understand the issues behind being a First Nations person, to have him make extremely racist and sexist comments towards Theresa Spence, continuously, is very disheartening,” said Lee.
She continued, “His disrespect of women and his fellow indigenous women is extremely reprehensible, just because of the amount of violence that goes on against indigenous women and to the extent to which we’re dehumanized in Canada.”
Lee added she feels Brazeau’s position as a senator should be reviewed, but noted it maybe too late for an apology.
“A public apology would be nice, but I feel he’s made so many controversial remarks like this, that it’s almost pass the point of reparation,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Spence and Brazeau have had public conflict. Last week, a tweet from the @ChiefTheresa account called Brazeau a “typical colonized Indian asshole” in response to his criticism of Idle No More.
Brazeau was also in hot water last year after insulting The Canadian Press reporter Jennifer Ditchburn, saying in a tweet “@jenditchburn while u smile Jen, others suffer. Change the D to a B in your last name and we’re even! Don’t mean it but needs saying.”
Metro tried to reach Brazeau for comment, but phone calls to his constituency office were not returned.
With files from Torstar News Service