Oily heritage stunts
Drill beyond the historical hype on the Franklin Expedition search.
Author: Billy Patterson
Too much has already been said about the recent archeological discovery of relics from the so-called Franklin Expedition by the Harper government. Parks Canada teamed up with the military, Shell Oil Corporation, and other partners to use high-tech surveying technology to search for two settler vessels missing for 170 years.
Notwithstanding the controversial legacy this expedition had with the local Inuit Indigenous population, with rumors that expedition members abused local women like Columbus did, Harper just had one of our public departments waste millions of dollars meant to preserve our dwindling wild areas on doing free geological Arctic surveying for oil companies and their old-boy stock owners. I fear this Franklin expedition has little to do with understanding our national cultural heritage. Rather, it is much more likely a ‘heritage moment’ stunt for oil company profits and the militarized backup for those future quarterly profits.
Canada’s disproportionately high contributions to climate change under Harper and our petro-dollar economy begin to make sense when you see how much Harper’s corporate friends’ stock-options stand to benefit from melting all that Arctic ice and exploiting ‘our’ natural resources as fast as possible. The only other time we see Harper this happy up north is overseeing the increasingly regular military drills in regards to Arctic sovereignty. A not-too-distant future worry is these geo-political boundary tensions evolve and escalate with Russia, the United States, Norway, or even Denmark (via Greenland) over these natural resources.
Let’s consider this data in the context of the new growing age of metadata. I am reminded of the wireless tracking and cellphone addiction coming soon to Grasslands National Park as well as Banff. This does nothing for, if not harm, the animals like the dwindling sage grouse that is very sensitive to unnatural frequencies. But it does allow Canadian authorities a meta-data gathering capability akin to a police state’s throughout some of the last few wild and quiet regions of our nation.
Didn’t Canada buy itself from the Hudson’s Bay Company anyways? What’s the relevance of two British explorers seeking the Northwest Passage? Aren’t the modern oil companies already threatening a pipeline and tanker route this new direction? Or does this issue go deeper into our allegiance with the British Crown itself? Let’s ignore the overwhelming influence of oil companies in our present government and go back to the historical context of these British explorers. Canada is technically a British colony. Our elected politicians, RCMP, CSIS, and new Canadian immigrants all swear an oath of fealty to the British crown. If anything, Harper should be apologizing to the Inuit for what the British have done to their lands since that expedition.
I’m sure whatever plan Harper does come up with next for the North of Canada will also include lots of ‘jobs’ for the local Inuit in the oil companies that are threatening their culture through anthropocentric-accelerated climate change. This will condemn generations to the toxic contamination of air and water for short-term quarterly profits. In other words, it’s business as usual in Canada.