Jan 16th, 2013
The Media Coop has published a piece highlighting the great power of the Canada’s indigenous people in general, and the Idle No More protests in particular, to economically cripple the country by focusing on its infrastructure. Some highlights:
News reports are ablaze with reports of looming Indigenous blockades and economic disruption. As the Idle No More movement explodes into a new territory of political action, it bears to amplify the incredible economic leverage of First Nations today, and how frightened the government and industry are of their capacity to wield it.
RCMP National Security Criminal Investigations have prioritized four critical infrastructure sectors: finance, transportation, energy, and cyber-security.
On January 5 alone, INM protests included five border crossing blockades, bridge blockades, and rail line disruptions spanning the country.
The fact is that critical infrastructure in Canada is at the mercy of Indigenous peoples, who are more rural than Canadians and have access to important arteries for economic flows: transportation corridors, energy sectors, and sites of natural resource extraction.
This vulnerability is deadly to the logistics industry. Logistics is a business science concerned with the management of goods and information through global supply chains. As the World Bank has declared: “A competitive network of global logistics is the backbone of international trade.” For an industry dependent on maintaining open channels for capital circulation, a blockade means massive losses: the trucking industry alone is worth $65 billion and employs more than 260,000 drivers.
In the energy sector, Canada has oil reserves second in the world after Saudi Arabia, though less accessible – 98 per cent of this oil is in Alberta and 95 per cent of it is in the tar sands, where effective Indigenous resistance by Treaty 8 and other First Nations has led to global boycott campaigns and fierce resistance.
In northern BC, the Unist’ot’en Clan, with support from grassroots Wet’suwet’en, have built a community of resistance directly on the GPS co-ordinates of the proposed pipeline route from the Alberta tar sands to the Kitimat port. From this camp they have evicted surveyors working for Pacific Trails Pipeline. Meanwhile, in Ontario, Enbrdige’s Line 9 has been has been opposed by the Oneida, the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, and Aamijiwaang First Nation, who have all vowed to fight the pipeline to protect their lands and waters.
Read the full article here.