Former military official says poverty and anger in indigenous communities mean conditions for an "insurgency" are ripe.
Living standards for indigenous people on par with "third world" countries, buttressed by a large population of unemployed young men in a "warrior cohort", and easy-to-target economic infrastructure, all mean Canada has conditions for a potential indigenous "insurgency".
That's according to a new report penned by a former Canadian military officer for the MacDonald Laurier Institute, a think-tank supported by corporate executives.
"For many Aboriginal people in Canada, but especially for First Nations women and children, life on-reserve is dreary, dark and dangerous," wrote Douglas Bland in the report, Canada and the first Nations: Cooperation or Conflict? "Social fractionalisation significantly increases the risk of social conflict. The phenomenon provides motives for an insurgency," read the report, issued in May.
Bland refused interview requests from Al Jazeera, but conclusions from the Queen's University professor emeritus and 30-year military veteran have worried the Canadian establishment, especially in light of indigenous-led protests associated with the Idle No More movement, and Canada's increasing dependence on natural resource extraction.
"The Canadian right-wing establishment is seizing on this to justify its own agenda of stricter controls and the continued criminalisation of native people who defend their rights," Taiaiake Alfred, chair of the centre for indigenous governance at the University of Victoria, and one of Canada's most influential aboriginal intellectuals, told Al Jazeera. "The positive elements of Canadian society - progressive values and social justice - are founded on the ongoing injustice of land theft and murder of indigenous people."
In November, Paul Martin, Canada's former prime minister and a business tycoon, echoed Alfred's comments, albeit in a softer tone. "We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power," he said.
We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power
Paul Martin, former prime minister