Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Doug Bland's "Time Bomb" and the wounds that keep on bleeding

I bought Bland's book maybe two years ago, but only got around to reading it last weekend. Ya, that internet is a crazy thing. For me personally, as long as my computer was plugged into a wall, I was more easily able to get away from it; shame myself into at least getting away from the computer to get some fresh air.

Then progress bestows upon me a laptop and wi-fi, and before you can say "massive time theft" I can spend untold hours on the laptop IN the fresh air... at the picnic table, on the porch, in a lawnchair a hundred feet away under the shade of the apple tree...

Thanks to "progress," I've got at least three dozen books sitting in the front room waiting to be read.

A brief synopsis; Douglas Bland is raising a warning flag about the possibility of a widespread Indian insurgency that could potentially cripple the Canadian economy in short order. He gives us a Cole's Notes highlight reel of some of the more onerous injustices that have been imposed on Canada's First Nations, and makes a very plausible case for why that will eventually lead to blow-back.

He also provides a detailed roadmap for the "how" of that coming uprising. He correctly points out that there are many bottlenecks in Canada's energy and transportation infrastructure that could be shut down with the most modest of resources. For example, there's one bridge in Northern Ontario that, were it to be rendered inoperative, would effectively shut down 100% of east-west road traffic and 50% of rail traffic. That's just one bridge, and it wouldn't take more than a handful of motivated natives to pull that off.

So what happens when you've got thousands of bridges and tens of thousands of motivated Indians? Read the book. Heck, at times I thought he was writing a handbook for future First Nations Insurgents!

I think the reason the book reads like that is because Bland writes from the perspective of a career Canadian Forces guy who is assessing the prospects of a potential insurgency from a professional perspective. He also gives some tips to the other side on how to minimise the risk of such an insurgency.

These range from the highly laudable "get serious about negotiating with FN people" to the somewhat cynical "divide and conquer" strategy. Yes, the chances of a serious insurrection are reduced when you can block the FNs from forming a unified front against us white folks.

A half hour up the road from where I'm writing this, there's a small reserve where over eighty young native boys were molested by a single priest between the 1950s and the 1980s. When the better part of a generation of young men are crippled by abuse, it should be no surprise that this community struggles with the fallout to this day. These are the wounds that keep on bleeding.

I'm of the mind that we colonials owe a huge debt to our indigenous population. There are times when forward motion seems to be in the winds. As I was reading this book news came out that the federal government had apologised to the Sayisi Dene for their forced relocation from their traditional caribou hunting grounds.

Too little, too late, perhaps, but at least a step in the right direction... but on the same weekend, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had to appeal to his citizens to cease and desist from posting racist anti-native comments on social media following the murder of a young Indian man near Biggar.

What's the future of native-white relations in Canada? I don't know, but I want to hope for the best. Reading this book won't necessarily leave you more or less hopeful, but it will leave you better informed.

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