Arno Kopecky writes in The Tyee that Canada is beginning to feel like Peru; having covered the conflict between Peruvian President Garcia and indigenous peoples there, Kopecky notes the demonizing of First Nations recently by Canadian Prime Minister Harper has the same tone. The problem with that, says Kopecky, is that it paves the way for the Canadian government to trample all over them.
In recent years, especially since the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the natives of the Amazon and the Andes have become well-organized in asserting themselves before international bodies like the UN and OAS. Documenting the callous disregard of North American mining and oil companies in their territories, they have been effective in demanding environmental protections and a voice in the process of development. Now that Canadian corporations are looking toward cannibalizing their own country, the tribal peoples are again in their way.
Taking a page out of the Peruvian manual, the Prime Minister has chosen to attack First Nations that don’t surrender to globalization Canadian style. The problem with that is Harper meets next week with First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo to discuss a new relationship to carry Canada into the future. If that future is one of capitulation or annihilation, it’s hard to see how that can be considered a new beginning.