I hear lots of over-the-top comments coming from pro-pipeline people. Usually it comes from people who already work in some capacity in the oil industry. The statements go something like this, “How did you get to the protest? By car?” or “What is your handheld device made of?” or “How do you heat your home?” or “Oil is about jobs, growth, and the economy.”
Those questions are good, but not that good, and here is why:
1) I got to a protest by car because the urban sprawl that has now completely overtaken our unceded Indigenous lands and has been greedily and short-sightedly been built to accommodate visionless developers. The epicentres of our once walkable communities are now so badly subdivided that access to those important communal gathering centers are now swallowed up in the name of colonial ideations of commerce and privatization of common areas.
In addition to that, the oil industry has lobbied your beloved parliamentarians to such a degree that they may as well not even call themselves representatives of you as taxpayers. Yep – they sold you and the rest of us out, and no, you will not be direct beneficiaries of their financial empires.
2) My handheld device? Well, I don’t have one of those anymore. It was a matter of my own sanity really. All those crazy trolls creeping my Facebook page and writing vitriolic and racist statements about Indigenous peoples and our issues were getting old. It is a sickness of our society, and one I can do without.
3) I heat my home with good insulation, that doesn’t have to be renovated in a span of a lifetime, and hopefully it will last much longer than what remains of what I hope will be a long life. But one day we won’t have to worry about heating our homes with anything because you support a toxic, moribund, and declining industry that you only have lazy and backward arguments to back up your views and lifestyles.
Plastic was cool in the ’50s when there were three billion people on the planet, and only one-tenth of the Earth’s population who used these products, and now that there are well over seven billion people on the planet, with that number expected to double in a span of a couple decades, and nearly two-thirds of the planet now using plastics, rubber, and carbon fuels, we need to change the way we think of community, communications, and what we consider ‘home’. Sooner would be better.
4) Jobs, growth, and the economy? Ok, a run down, rat-infested home just sold for $3.5 million dollars in East Vancouver a few months back.
There is nothing weak about the Canadian economy. In fact, salaries are high, the cost of living is also high, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect on the wealthy and prosperous nation that Canada is.
We, as First Nations, will no longer give you permission to exploit what is left of this precious finite gift that is our planet. Are you sure you still want to argue with me about how I got to a protest, or how I communicate, or how I heat my home?
Brandon Gabriel, Kwantlen First Nation