by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a public policy think tank based in Ottawa, released two reports Wednesday, both of which concluded that aboriginal groups in Canada have a tremendous amount of influence over the future direction of the country. One of the reports, written by Douglas Bland, concluded that the combination of poor social conditions in Canada’s aboriginal populations and the country’s incredibly weak industrial infrastructure point toward a successful “violent” uprising being “feasible” in the near future.
Bland concludes that attacks on Canada’s industrial infrastructure would have significant impact. The report states that Canada’s railways, electricity lines and transportation routes are poorly defended and vulnerable to sabotage, as is the country’s economy itself. John Ivison of the National Post reports that “[i]n the event of an insurgency, the Canadian economy could be shut down in weeks. The 2012 CP Rail strike cost an estimated $540-million a week, as it hit industries including coal, grain, potash, nickel, lumber and autos. Some First Nations leaders like Terry Nelson in Manitoba have already concluded that a covert operation involving burning cars on every railway line would be impossible to stop.” This is compounded by the fact that Canada’s security forces are very limited and that the government has shown a reluctance to confront aboriginal protesters.
The report also highlighted worsening economic and social conditions of aboriginal populations which could lead to such attacks. Ivison reports that “Mr. Bland’s paper reels off some particularly damning statistics: a homicide rate of 8.8/100,000 compared with 1.3/100,000 in the non-aboriginal population; a stratospheric incarceration rate that means 80% of prisoners in Alberta are aboriginal (out of 11% of the population); a high school graduation rate of 24% of 15 to 24-year-olds, compared with 84% in the non-native population; a 40% youth unemployment rate and on and on.” He also states that, “by 2017, 42% of First Nations population on the Prairies will be under 30 — many disadvantaged, poorly educated, unemployed and angry.”
The other think tank report, written by Ken Coates and Brian Lee Crowley, suggests aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians will find a way to work together on natural resource development. Many, including Ivison, find this less likely, as the majority of aboriginal groups tend to oppose resource extraction and deforestation, and have a history of actively resisting such activities, especially on the native and often sacred lands that industries have been targeting in recent years. Movements like Idle No More have shown a desire for “peaceful” revolution, but being willing to work together with natural resource extraction industries is a different story.