In British Columbia (which is on unceded indigenous territory), a conflict is stirring up about the nature of the Canadian economy, colonialism, the addiction of the world to oil, climate change, and who has what right over what land.
In #Canada, (like in #Colombia, although in a very different way), indigenous people are trying to defend their ancestral territories from the expansion of resource extraction projects. These projects are cornerstones of the national government’s energy strategies (to export Tar sands oil to Asian markets); they will also exacerbate climate change, and are a demonstration that displacement as development, and conflicts over land use and settler colonialism are also alive and well in the Global North.
The most acute conflict now is concerning Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline (among many others). A Joint Review Panel (JRP), which was criticized for having members stacked in favour of business, heard from thousands in various communities affected by the project, overwhelmingly in opposition to it. Nevertheless, the panel last month gave a tacit approval for the project, with 209 recommendations. The federal government now has to respond to the panel’s recommendation – however there is no doubting what Ottawa will decide as the government has been pushing for this project for a while now, a part of a strategy to extract $250 billion worth of natural resources in the coming years. The vast majority of these resources are on the ancestral territory of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, who often see little wealth from these projects, but have their lands and traditional way of lives destroyed even further by their environmental effects (for example, not being able to hunt or fish).
The JRP’s report didn’t mention the constitutional land rights of First Nations, which will undoubtedly be the new site of conflict over this project. First Nations have a right to free, prior, and informed consent to projects on their lands or projects which will affect them and in British Columbia (where the pipeline will pass through), indigenous nations never ceded, sold, or gave up any of their territory to the Canadian state or any other government. Seeing as the government is bent on further shifting the Canadian economy to oil and natural resource exports, and diversifying the export market from the US, and First Nations groups are fully within their sovereign rights to reject this project, in the coming months the conflict over pipelines will no doubt escalate.
Government officials are clearly shook over the recent article published by Vancouver’s Georgia Straight concerning potential sabotage against the Enbridge pipeline. That article, reposted on Warrior Publications, was entitled “Activists plot how to block new pipelines in BC.” Although there have been many calls made for civil disobedience, this is one of the first major public discussions about the potential for sabotage actions against pipeline construction.
View original post 683 more words