External resources relating to Canada
While calls to defund the RCMP in the wake of widespread protests against police brutality have left some people incredulous, it’s worth considering a comparatively recent historical precedent.
After the murder of two Somali men by members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment in 1993, the federal government disbanded the unit. A public inquiry revealed widespread racism, brutal hazing rituals and a concerted effort to cover it all up. Defence officials argued a familiar line – a few bad apples – but it was hard to believe when weighed against the damning video and photographic evidence. Rex Murphy summarized it neatly when he said, “We promised them peacekeepers, and, in some cases, we sent them thugs.” Indeed, some of our supposedly elite soldiers were ill-tempered sadists, the unit a dumping ground for discipline cases and white supremacists. Public support for the military plummeted: What kind of Canadian soldiers keep a Confederate flag in their barracks?
The first sound was a snowmobile, somewhere in the distance. Then, with no warning, a dozen RCMP vehicles, including prisoner vans and RCMP-branded Suburbans, roared out of the pre-dawn darkness and stopped just short of the watch camp where Wet’suwet’en land defenders have been resisting a court-ordered evacuation of their northern B.C. lands. Backed up by tactical officers, dog teams, and drones with infrared sensors, dozens of RCMP officers began raiding Wet’suwet’en land defender camps shortly before 5 a.m.
Indigenous protesters in Canada have called a growing police presence near their makeshift checkpoint “an act of war”, as tensions mount over a stalled pipeline project in northern British Columbia.
In defiance of a court order, dozens of protesters have gathered on a logging road nearly 700km (430 miles) north-west of Vancouver, to block the construction of a natural gas pipeline.
The world was stunned when rifle-toting police officers in masks and body armour rolled up in Ferguson, Missouri, in armoured vehicles, to stop the 2014 street protests over the police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.
Following the public backlash, then-president Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting police access to equipment that belonged "on the battlefield".
Fast forward two years to Donald Trump. This week the US President promised to make it legal again for surplus military equipment, including grenade launchers and tanks, to be passed on to law enforcement agencies.
Here in Canada and throughout the Americas, many governments have embraced resource extraction as the key sector to fuel economic growth, neglecting other sectors – or even at their expense. This is creating unprecedented demand for land and other resources, such as water and energy. In Latin America, economic dependency on intensive primary resource extraction has become known as ‘extractivism’.
Increasingly, when Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples, farmers, environmentalists, journalists, and other concerned citizens speak out against this model for economic growth, particular projects and/or their impacts, they become the targets of threats, accusations, and smears that attempt to label and punish them as enemies of the state, opponents of development, delinquents, criminals, and terrorists. In the worst cases, this leads to physical violence and murder.
Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico provide examples of intensified criminalization, where there has been little pause in neoliberal deregulation of the mining sector since the 1990s...
Before September 11, 2001, more than half the border crossings between the United States and Canada were left unguarded at night, with only rubber cones separating the two countries. Since then, that 4,000 mile “point of pride,” as Toronto’s Globe and Mail once dubbed it, has increasingly been replaced by a U.S. homeland security lockdown, although it’s possible that, like Egyptian-American Abdallah Matthews, you haven’t noticed...
The legal cases against Tahoe Resources are being carried out in a larger context of opposition to the Escobal mine. The violence, repression, and criminalization community leaders continue to face is not limited to what transpired on April 27, 2013...