Queen won't intervene in Canada natives row

18th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II will not intervene to try to end a Canadian native chief's hunger strike over extreme poverty on reserves, Buckingham Palace said in a letter released Friday.

The letter is dated January 7 and signed by a spokesperson for the British monarch. It was sent as a reply to concerns raised by a small business owner over growing native unrest in Canada.

"Her Majesty has taken careful note of the concern you express for the welfare of Attawapiskat First Nations Chief Theresa Spence, who is currently on a politically-motivated hunger strike in Canada," it says.

"This is not a matter in which The Queen would intervene.

"As a constitutional sovereign, Her Majesty acts through her personal representative, the governor general, on the advice of her Canadian ministers and, therefore, it is to them that your appeal should be directed."

Spence is nearing the 40th day of her hunger strike, which has become a focal point for an aboriginal rights movement calling for improved living conditions on reserves.

A group of aboriginal women renewed calls on Friday for Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet jointly with Spence to discuss treaty rights.

They said they are "concerned with the dire situation Chief Spence is facing nearing her 40th day of a hunger strike" and asked for talks to be convened soon.

Johnston has previously declined, saying her plight is a political matter that must be taken up with elected officials.

© 2013 AFP

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