How the Indian Act Complicates Pipeline Protests
The Indian Act is a controversial measure, and with the recent Keystone pipeline development in motion, this controversy has only been heightened. The Indian Act has its pros and cons for both Natives and Canadian citizens alike. On one hand, Canadian Citizens are burdened with money given to natives as reparations in addition to having to give up the territory which we were able to establish our institutions on, on the other hand, natives are limited within territory which they feel is rightfully theirs and they are subject to expanding industrial projects which encroach on what territory they have.
This is perhaps the most neutral assessment of the dynamic, but let us be honest, history is not neutral and might makes right. This is something that the First Nations have recognized from the days of the territorial conflicts within their tribal confederations to the Oka Crisis. This is something that Europeans used to understand quite well as well, which is why we warred against the Indians, and which is why the English conquered the French in Quebec and why the French would’ve done the same to the English if they could.
Perhaps it should be asked why the stronger should have to surrender the spoils of war to the weaker? Why should Anglo-Canadians have to respect the rights of groups that were not able to do what was right in order to achieve might? And why should we respect groups that were not able to become mighty in order to further what is right?
The Indian Act, like the Quebec Act of 1777, were both fundamentally a mistake. What they did was allow the chaff of the yoke to steadily gain enough leverage to start aggressively making demands for their own separate culture instead of conforming to the national identity and accepting its terms.
We have forgotten how to weed out the weak.
It is because of this dynamic that we have seen subversives and upstarts like Louis Riel, the FLQ, and again, events like the Oka crisis. They say the slippery slope is a fallacy, but the way the Overton window shifts would seem to disprove this.
Moreover, who are these private entities, many of whom are foreign, that seek to control our resources and territory? Who are these foreign entities that we sell our oil to at a discount while paying top dollar for imported petroleum products?
There is something to be learned from Saudi Aramco (the state owned oil enterprise of the Saudi Arabian nation), Equinor (the state owned oil enterprise of Norway), and Turkmenoil (the state owned enterprise of Turkmenistan) as well as many other countries that nationalize and take advantage of their own oil for themselves in order to generate and distribute wealth. Saudi Arabia has a very high standard of living, especially for an Arab nation. Norway is renowned for having a successful sovereign wealth fund grounded in its oil. And the citizens of Turkmenistan enjoy free gas, water, and electricity due to the wealth the state has accrued from nationalizing the oil industry.
It is due time Canada took advantage of its own resources, nationalizing its oil sector and operating at a large enough scale that:
- It can afford to offer its citizens the best prices
- It could increase the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar
- It could increase state revenues
- We could sell our surplus at an increased yet competitive rate while challenging the trade barriers of other nations
Instead of having the oil revenue go to shareholders in the public exchange, we could be distributing the wealth accrued from our oil in the form of:
- An expanded social welfare and pension system
- A national/citizens dividend
- We could invest the capital generated from oil into more renewable and inelastic assets and distribute the profits from increasing the scale of those.
This would increase the purchasing power of the nation through sound money backed in a productive economy, it would increase economies of scale with natural monopolies, and it could help move towards a model of annual budget surpluses. Moreover, with the labour supply decreasing due to increased welfare, we could also see an increased demand for labour, and increased wages as well.
A model of greater assimilation and greater wealth distribution would probably provide greater incentive for Indians to accept the terms and recognize the superiority of this Anglo Confederation which has amassed the capital and developed the infrastructure to support such a high standard of living. It is this very standard of living that has the French and the Indians vying for control over the territory. It is this very standard of living that attracts the massive influx of immigrants that keep coming into our country each year and if we want to maintain this very standard of living, we need to stop appealing to cultures which seek to tear down its Western, Anglo foundation.
Perhaps Pope Francis was right to refuse to apologize for the residential schools in Canada.
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