July 27, 2010

Canada vulnerable to Native attack?

Risk of aboriginal insurgency

By Douglas BlandCanada's aboriginal people live in a swamp of root causes. According to the Canada Census of 2006, 1.7 million Canadians claim to be aboriginal. Of this total about 750,000 are First Nations and of these about 50 per cent live on one of 2,700 reserves. It is Canada's fastest growing demography, increasing by 45 per cent in the last six years, six times faster than the non-aboriginal population. It is also Canada's youngest population -- half the people are under 24 years of age and 34 per cent of aboriginal children are younger than 14 years. The median age for Canada's non-aboriginal population is 40.

Fewer than 24 per cent of these young people graduate from high school and a large percentage simply do not go to high school. The unemployment rate for young people on reserves runs at over 40 per cent.

More than 40 per cent of houses on reserves require "major repairs" and a high percentage are habitated, uninhabitable "crowded dwellings"--meaning in reality more than 10 people live in a simple three-bedroom building with primitive facilities.

No one needs a military education to understand that Canada's sovereignty is vulnerable because its economy is vulnerable and its economy is vulnerable because its resource-based production and transportation infrastructure (accounting for approximately 20 per cent of Canada's GDP) is undefended and probably indefensible.

Many reserves in the West and in northwestern Ontario sit astride or adjacent to the east-west rail and road lines of communications. On the Prairies, thousands of kilometres of natural gas and oil pipelines carry the oil, petroleum and natural gas that fuels most of the industry in eastern Canada and a good deal of the economy of the midwestern United States and approximately 25 per cent of California's economy. They are all unprotected. The James Bay power-generation facilities in Quebec are particularly vulnerable--insecure hydro-electric transmission lines run from Radisson south for nearly 1,000 kilometres to drive much of Quebec's and America's Atlantic seaboard economies.

There are few ways to redress these vulnerabilities or to substitute other things to diminish the harmful economic consequences of disruptions to critical resource networks. There are today nowhere near the police and military resources needed to protect all the potential infrastructure targets continuously. Canada's "national critical infrastructure" policies are still a work-in-progress.
A few comments on this article on Facebook:Wow. I'm sort of astonished at the levels of fear, trepidation + menace in just this article, let alone the comments that follow.

How about a little more focus on justice for FN people--citizens of Canada--themselves, rather than your precious natural resources? Oh, wait, I forgot--that's the reason these folks were displaced from their homelands in the first place, right? Gah.

So hypocritical how (white) tea-baggers are patriots reclaiming their God-given rights (and even dressed as Indians in the Boston Tea Party) but Natives are insurgents and terrorists when asserting themselves for doing the same.

Typical media hype trying to make us look like savages. ... Fear mongering amongst media seems to be a common theme when it comes to us indigenous people!
Comment:  The Natives are restless? Getting ready to go off the reservation and on the warpath? Look out!

As the commenters surmised, this race-baiting is similar to the race-baiting occurring in the US. For more on the subject, see Sherrod Incident Shows Conservative Tactics, White Conservatives "Angry About Racism," and Why Americans Hate Welfare.

Below:  "Canadian soldier Patrick Cloutier and Saskatchewan native Brad Laroque come face to face in a tense standoff at the Kahnesatake reserve in Oka, Que., Sept. 1, 1990." (Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press Archives)

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