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article imageThink tank describes Canada's 1st nations as threat to oil

By Stephanie Dearing     Aug 13, 2009 in Environment
A report quietly released in mid-July by an independent think-tank, the Canadian Defense Security and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) describes First Nations people as a "threat to the oil industry."
The man who produced the report for the CDFAI, which was sponsored by Nexen Inc., Tom Flanagan, told press, "Most terrorism experts would say Alberta has made itself terribly insecure again by rapidly expanding oil and gas pipelines, and by becoming the number 1 supplier of oil to the United States. We've become a target for global terrorists, who might have an interest in disrupting U. S. oil supplies" Flanagan identified five "threat groups," which include First Nations, Metis, mainstream environmentalists, ecoterrorists and individual saboteurs. In his executive summary to the report, Resource Industries and Security Issues in Northern Alberta Flanagan states, "All except the Métis have at various times used some combination of litigation, blockades, occupations, boycotts, sabotage, and violence against economic development projects which they saw as a threat to environmental values or aboriginal rights. Such incidents will probably continue in the future, as they have in the past. However, extra-legal obstruction is unlikely to become large-scale and widespread unless these various groups make common cause and cooperate with each other. Such cooperation has not happened in the past and seems unlikely in the future because the groups have different social characteristics and conflicting political interests ... A nightmare scenario "would be a linkage between warrior societies and eco-terrorists."
A press release issued by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation at the end of July says they are "appalled and shocked by the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute," Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations said, "It's very disappointing that a study done by the CDFAI, which was sponsored by an oil company, is claiming that we are a high risk threat to the oil industry by assuming scenarios of First Nations acting as eco-terrorists. By accusing First Nations people of "tacit support to illegal activities," the CDFAI want to create fear among Canadians by stereotyping our youth as disaffected and likely to be recruited into imagined "warrior society eco-terrorist groups."" The Athabascan Chipewyan have been actively speaking out against the tar sands industry, saying that the industry is the cause of health problems, such as cancer. The Chipewyan First Nation also sees the development as an infringement on their Treaty Rights, and say that the report authored by Flanagan is "... an unlawful tactic by stating that First Nations are in conflict over traditional territories, thus creating a separation amongst First Nations people who are all signed under the Treaty 8." The release concludes by saying, "With the entire world now aware of the oil sands and the people of Fort Chipewyan with high rates of cancers, the oil industry and Government are diverting the attention away from the health issues that the community is facing similar to what Health Canada did by first disregarding the findings of Dr. John O'Connor and then by pressing charges against him, and did not deal with the real issues of the people of Fort Chipewyan."
Chief Terrance Nelson, a recent candidate in the leadership contest for the Assembly of First nations, is organizing a Run for Human Rights II. The Run will start from Winnipeg on September 3rd, and will conclude 2,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the run is to emphasize the American dependency on Canadian oil, which Nelson says is worth $2 billion a day. Nelson also want to highlight the loss of First Nations rights in the oil industry, which includes a lack of financial compensation. Nelson also wrote to Moody's this past week to draw attention to the US reliance on Canadian oil. Nelson is a controversial figure, and was called "an economic terrorist" by Manitoba's Premier Gary Filmon in 1993. During the AFN campaign, Nelson was characterized as a "firebrand" by the media for his position taken during the AFN leadership contest in advocating for First Nations control of natural resources. Nelson represents the Roseau River Anishinabe First nation in Manitoba.
Nexen Inc. is a "Canadian-based, global energy company growing value responsibly. We are strategically positioned in some of the world's most exciting regions: the North Sea, deep-water Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, offshore West Africa and the Canadian Athabasca oil sands." The CDFAI is not affiliated with the Canadian government. According to their website, CDFAI is "... a charitable, independent, non-partisan, research institute with an emphasis on Canadian Foreign Policy; Defence Policy; and International Aid. We provide Canadians with factual and comprehensive policy analysis to promote their understanding of Canada’s foreign affairs and aid policies and the state of our military preparedness by developing and sponsoring authoritative research and education programs. The institute studies these areas through a full range of national and international applications with an emphasis on their economic, political and social impact on individual Canadians."
A political scientist, Tom Flanagan is also known as "the man behind Stephen Harper," having acted as the Prime Minister's Campaign Manager in the 2004 election.
More about Athabascan chipewyan first, Oil industry, Canada
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