The question of safety is often asked in preparedness circles with many people spending lots of time studying ideal places around the world to live out a crisis. It would appear that Canada, according to some sources, ranks quite high as far as peacefulness and safety go. Recently, we ended up the sixth safest country in the world according to websites such as safearound.com and businessinsider.com
Generally speaking, Canada has earned the titles “friendly” and “safe” many times over by many experts but how safe and friendly really are we? Are Canadians truly the peaceful nation everyone says it is? More importantly, what would happen during an economic slowdown or collapse? Would Canadians remain tolerant and forgiving? A much broader question would be; where do we really live?
Many Canadians truly believe that Canada is the greatest place on earth to live. When asked why most reply something to the tune of “Cause you don’t see us killing each other in the streets.” But is this a solid assessment?
In order to be better prepared to deal with catastrophes, let’s take a closer look at what hidden, festering issues we might be facing when dealing with sudden and unexpected changes in our way of life. The best way to begin this assessment is to look at our not too distant past and see if any patterns appear.
Gustafsen Lake 1995
In 1995, a conflict between the RCMP and the native peoples of the Ts’peten (known as Gustafsen Lake B.C.) first nations flared up. It was a month-long standoff which began on August 18 and ended on September 17, 1995. The RCMP operation would end up being the most costly of its kind in Canadian history having involved 400 police officers and support from the Canadian Military (under Operation Wallaby). The predominantly indigenous occupiers believed that the “grazing rights privilege” ranch land on which they stood was both sacred space and part of a larger tract of unseeded Secwepemc / Shuswap territory.
There were many variables which led to the standoff but there are a few events which stand out. Not only is the RCMP on record as lying and breaking their own rules, they also used a mine and fired at unarmed people. During this conflict, it is estimated that over 70 000 rounds of ammunition were fired. A short description of the conflict can be seen here.
Another standoff known as the Caledonia Land dispute took place in 2006. This conflict dates back to 1785 and is still ongoing today. The Caledonia Land dispute came to wide attention in Canada in 2006 when the Six Nations formally reactivated the 1995 litigation against Canada and Ontario. The protesters from the Six Nations on The Grand River began a demonstration to raise awareness about First Native land claims in Ontario. They highlighted their claim to a parcel of land in Caledonia, a community within the single-tier Municipality of Haldimand County, roughly 20 kilometers southwest of Hamilton. Soon after this demonstration, the demonstrators took control of the disputed land. Another brief video about this conflict can be seen here.
Also in Ontario, the Ipperwash crisis took place in 1995. The natives of the Ipperwash reserve were forcibly removed off their land by the Canadian Government after it was decided that their land was to be used by the Military. This conflict lasted since the Second World War and culminated in the shooting of two natives by the Ontario Provincial Police. Another brief rundown on this incident can be viewed here.
The Elsipogtog Crisis was once again a clash between the RCMP and Canada’s native population in New Brunswick. Although none of the above conflicts had what would be considered an extensive media coverage, the media images of this standoff were filled with burning RCMP vehicles and heavily armed officers in military fatigues. The video about this conflict is a little bit longer but we chose it because it was produced by Al-Jazeera. That way we can see what people in foreign countries report and learn about us. As with many of the above conflicts, it would probably be safe to assume that this fight is not over and we will see some additional newsworthy events coming out of that part of Canada again.
Burnt Church 1998
The Burnt Church crisis ended in 2002. It was a four-year conflict between the native population in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and the Fisheries and Oceans. The Natives were fishing out of season and the white population feared that this was going to have a negative effect on the lobster and fish population. The resulting friction brought down the attention of the Provincial government. In this video, we can see a government boat ramming a small fishing vessel.
The probably most famous of all standoffs was the Oka crisis of 1990. That summer the Native Mohawks of the Kanehsatake reserve near the town of Oka were told that a golf course was to be built on their sacred burial ground. In a few days the area was lined with roadblocks, heavily armed Police Officers and eventually the Army stepped in. In this case like many others, the government eventually backed off. This happened because of the nationwide support for the Mohawks. Another short summary of this event can be seen here.
In the book “Time Bomb” Douglas L Bland talks about the not only very likely but, in theory, inevitable confrontation between Canada’s native population and their “settler” counterparts. This book may be a glimpse in to a Canadian future which all preppers should think about.
SHOOTINGS AND MASS MURDER
Ecole Polytechnique 1989
Also known as the Montreal Massacre, the violence at Ecole Polytechnique was Canada’s deadliest mass shooting in recent history. In a planned attack, Marc Lepine entered the school and killed 14 women in 20 minutes before shooting himself. He claimed he was “fighting feminism,” and his suicide note claimed feminists had ruined his life.
Concordia University shooting spree (1992)
In 1992, engineering professor Valery Fabrikant killed four of his colleagues after a pattern of tension and aggression towards fellow teaching staff at Concordia University. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Vernon B.C. killings (1996)
In April 1996, Mark Chahal shot his estranged wife and eight of her relatives at his former home in B.C., before going to a nearby motel and killing himself. His wife had previously told the RCMP she felt threatened by her husband, but police admitted at the time of the attack that nothing was done to investigate her complaint.
Mayerthorpe RCMP killings (2005)
In 2005, James Roszko shot and killed four RCMP officers who part of a seizure of stolen property on his farm near Mayerthorpe, Alta. After a shootout with other officers, Roszko turned the gun on himself and was pronounced dead at the scene. This was the worst multiple-officer killing in Canadian history. Roszko had been operating a marijuana grow-op, which is ironic since as of this writing, the Canadian Government is very close to legalizing it.
Dawson College shooting (2006)
In 2006, Kimveer Gill began shooting outside the entrance to Dawson College and moved inside to the main floor atrium. One person died at the scene, and 19 others were hurt. Eight of them suffered serious injuries. Gill was shot in the arm by police and then shot himself in the head. A suicide note was later found on his body.
Claresholm highway killings (2011)
Ten days before Christmas 2011, Derek Jensen killed three people at the side of an Alberta highway before killing himself. Jensen was reportedly angry with his ex-girlfriend, Tabitha Stepple, who was with her friend and two other men in the car. Stepple and the two men died, but Stepple’s friend survived.
Moncton RCMP shooting (2014)
In June 2014, Justin Bourque shot and killed three Moncton RCMP officers and wounded two others. He was captured after a manhunt and shootout with Mounties, and convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Bourque received the maximum sentence for his crimes — three concurrent life sentences — and will be eligible for parole after 75 years in prison.
This list provides an important glimpse into potential problems we might be faced with in a “grid down” scenario. From the above examples, it is obvious that problems between Canada’s native population and the federal government are ongoing. In Canada, there are many very poor reserves where many truly live in third-world-like conditions. People who have nothing, have nothing to lose and will not be affected very much by the drastically changing socioeconomic climate. During a prolonged state of emergency, old issues concerning sovereignty may resurface and chaos resulting from social breakdown may be seen as an opportunity by some.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
Many people in western society depend on prescription drugs combating mental disorders such as depression. In a social breakdown such as what we currently see in Venezuela, access to needed medicine may be limited if available at all. Patients who functioned fine when their drugs were readily available may be facing sudden cuts and fast and hard withdrawals. These conditions will without a question, be the cause of many resorting to desperate measures. This means getting their hands on what they need regardless of the cost. During shortages of hard drugs and even alcohol or cigarettes, addicts will do whatever they can to get their fix even if that means hurting others and risking their own lives. It is highly likely that law enforcement will not only be overwhelmed by requests for assistance but they themselves will become targets of violent out brakes. Once the perpetrators attack an officer and get their hands on firearms and ammunition, the situation will change completely. Violent shootings as described above will most likely increase and for a time, will present a very serious threat in some parts of the country.
WHAT TO DO
These aspects of disaster preparedness are often overlooked when, especially new preppers, are considering potential scenarios. There is no magic formula which will eliminate all danger, but there are precautions one can consider when building a Disaster Plan (DP).
Your location will be the most important consideration. Large cities will mean higher crime. If you have an alternate location to sit out a disaster, be aware of what is around you. Close proximity to industrial centers, military bases, and nuclear power stations is not a good idea. Infrastructure such as bridges, railways main highways and airports are also not ideal.
If you stay informed, chances are you will be able to leave the city long before everyone else joins the great exodus and roads get clogged up. Know your route intimately. The last thing you need is to find out, at the time it matters most, that the road you have to travel goes through a territory controlled by someone who has decided to set up an ambush and collect “payment” for using “their” route.
It is a myth to think that you can just show up at your “retreat” thinking that the locals will just accept you. Unless you have made plenty of appearances beforehand and know someone from the area, you will be looked on as an “outsider” and probably not trusted.
In the end, Canada very well may be one of the safest places on earth. This status can however, change in an instant. The Canadian population is not special or immune to social problems as this article demonstrates. This means that every Disaster Preparedness Plan must take into account potential problems regardless if they are caused by mindless violence, cultural, political or racial differences