Elsipogtog regroups as chief ponders new anti-fracking leadership
Others are discussing what the protest tells us about Canada's relations with its First Nations.
First, some key points about the legality of the police action:
Op-Ed: Heavy-handed response to the Elsipogtog blockade in New Brunswick
By Peter Raaymakers
Perhaps it can be seen as an extension of the Canadian “pioneer” spirit mentioned by Governor General David Johnston in the most recent speech from the throne. That spirit, according to the current government, pushed settlers to build “an independent country where none would have otherwise existed.”
Of course, Canada wasn’t depopulated when settlers arrived here from Europe. Our country’s wealth and prosperity has been built through the persistent and usually violent removal of First Nations from their traditional lands in order to make room for resource development—and, as we saw Thursday, that’s as true today as it was centuries ago.
Given this reality, SWN Resources’ exploration permits aren’t legitimate. Nor was the court injunction criminalizing the blockade, and the police action was ridiculously illegitimate, not to mention unjust, unreasonable in its heavy-handedness, and terribly bad public relations for the RCMP.
In the above-mentioned Supreme Court case, the federal government was encouraged to negotiate with all First Nations in Canada in order to resolve the many outstanding issues and fulfill its treaty obligations. The negotiation process takes a lot of time, but that’s the point. It’s designed to be a meaningful engagement to avoid violent confrontation and find a mutually acceptable solution to these complex issues. If we hope to avoid more destructive events like that which took place on Thursday in New Brunswick, negotiation is the only way forward.
So essentially, if you drink water, then fracking is an issue you should be concerned with.
Digging deeper into the relationship between First Nations communities and the government--which should be a nation-to-nation relationship--Indigenous rights activists contend that the territory in question was never ceded to Canada.
It also should be noted that, “ever since 2010, when New Brunswick handed out 1.4 million hectares of land--one-seventh of the province--to shale gas exploration, opposition had been mounting.”
Next, some points on the framing done by the mainstream media, which generally protects corporate interests and the status quo:
After Police Assault on Unarmed Crowd 34 Tribal Chiefs Meet in New Brunswick
Corporate media coverage creates ignorance, which enables violence
All this points to one thing: the way that Canada's corporate media discusses Indigenous protests is fundamentally broken.