Empires of extraction dominate the centres of political power

Canada has become an empire in its own right and Canadian life has come to be mediated through mineral extraction.

Extraction Empire

Undermining the Systems, States, and Scales of Canada’s Global Resource Empire, 2017—1217

“Extraction is the process and practice that defines Canada, at home and abroad. Of the nearly 20,000 mining projects in the world from Africa to Latin America, more than half are Canadian operated. Not only does the mining economy employ close to 400,000 people in Canada, it contributed $57 billion CAD to Canada's GDP in 2014 alone. Globally, more than 75 percent of the world's mining firms are based in Canada. The scale of these statistics naturally extends the logic of Canada's historical legacy as state, nation, and now as global resource empire. Canada, once a far-flung northern outpost of the British Empire, has become an empire in its own right.”

“This book examines both the historic and contemporary Canadian culture of extraction, with essays, interviews, archival material, and multimedia visualizations. The essayists and interviewees—who include such prominent figures as Naomi Klein and Michael Ignatieff—come from a range of fields, including geography, art, literature, architecture, science, environment, and business. All consider how Canadian life came to be mediated through mineral extraction. When did this empire emerge? How far does it reach? Who gains, who loses? What alternatives exist? On the 150th anniversary of the creation of Canada by Queen Victoria's Declaration of Confederation, it is time for Canada to reexamine and reimagine its imperial role throughout the world, from coast to coast, from one continent to another.”


Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the Earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.

Ores recovered by mining include metals, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, chalk, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay. Mining is required to obtain any material that cannot be grown through agricultural processes, or feasibly created artificially in a laboratory or factory. Mining in a wider sense includes extraction of any non-renewable resource such as petroleum, natural gas, or even water.

Mining of stones and metal has been a human activity since pre-historic times. Modern mining processes involve prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of a proposed mine, extraction of the desired materials, and final reclamation of the land after the mine is closed.

Mining operations usually create a negative environmental impact, both during the mining activity and after the mine has closed. Hence, most of the world's nations have passed regulations to decrease the impact. Work safety has long been a concern as well, and modern practices have significantly improved safety in mines.

Levels of metal recycling are generally low. Unless future end-of-life recycling rates are stepped up, some rare metals may become unavailable for use in a variety of consumer products. Due to the low recycling rates, some landfills now contain higher concentrations of metal than mines themselves.

Extraction of Petroleum

The oil and gas extraction workforce face unique health and safety challenges and is recognized by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as a priority industry sector in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to identify and provide intervention strategies regarding occupational health and safety issues. During 2003–2013, the annual rate of occupational fatalities significantly decreased 36.3%; however, the number of work-related fatalities in the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry increased 27.6%, with a total of 1,189 deaths because the size of the workforce grew during this period. Two-thirds of all worker fatalities were attributed to transportation incidents and contact with objects or equipment. More than 50% of persons fatally injured were employed by companies that service wells. Hazard controls include land transportation safety policies and engineering controls such as automated technologies.

The Canadian Genocide

Papal Law

Canada, the BC Government, the RCMP, and Coastal GasLink are implementing industrial-scale assimilation by imposing band councils as “electoral democracy” to erase claims of Indigenous Rights and Title to sovereign territory.

“Canada is violating international laws around military occupation and the rights of Indigenous people. Right now members of Wet’suwet’en nation are still resisting, facing mass arrest and state violence, to protect their lands from privatization…”

Canada is outsourcing slavery and exploitation to run its extraction economy.

“A Vancouver-based mining company can be sued in Canada for alleged human rights abuses overseas including allegations of modern slavery, Canada’s supreme court has ruled.”

The central issue has always been the land. But Canadians cannot reconcile the fact that they are living on stolen land. Canada, the BC Government, the RCMP, and Coastal GasLink are invading sovereign Wet'suwet'en territory.

In the past, a nation state moved tanks and armies into a neighbouring region to steal their land, which, at first, was appeased, but ultimately triggered a world war.

In Canada, we are much more “civilized.” We steal land by issuing a court injunction.

This is the failure of a so-called “democratic” government to educate its population about its responsibilities to the treaties made with the Indigenous people regarding their generosity to share the land with the settlers. Let’s talk about the Indian Act.

Let’s talk about how Canadian business is a shell game built upon the lie of Crown land. Crown land is stolen land. It is also an international con game, exporting injustice and genocide around the world.

“Deskaheh also served notice to the League in 1923 that ‘a dispute and disturbance of the peace has arisen’ as Ottawa tried to ‘destroy all de jure government of the Six Nations,’ and the RCMP presence on Six Nations land constituted ‘an act of war.’”

“It is this community-level accountability and expectation of progress that is the most important thing that individuals can contribute to—that new cultural norm.”

“It’s about changing our mindsets.”

Canada is in the business of #homelessness.

Canada is involved in an ongoing home invasion, arresting people on their own land, imprisoning them for living on their own territory. It is now illegally squatting on that land, claiming it as their own.

“Some of the people most responsible … for virtually everything you spent your career chronicling have miraculously reinvented themselves in the last many years as the solution to the problems they are still busily causing.”

“Assimilation is an attempt to erase the differences that define group boundaries, such as by teaching the dominant language to a subordinate group or converting the out-group into the dominant religion.”

“Davin was sent to learn about the policy of ‘aggressive civilization’ of Native Americans in the United States, where the idea of separating, educating, and assimilating indigenous children had recently been put into practice.”