Amnesty international just held a press conference in Vancouver about their new report, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” It looks into the gender, indigenous rights, and energy development in Northeast British Columbia.
That’s our province's oil and gas country, and it’s currently the home of the Site C hydroelectric dam now under construction.
The AI report claims that:
“Resource development has eroded the land base that provides the foundation for First Nations and Métis health and wellness in the region, while influxes of transient workers have driven up local prices and strained the social fabric. Increased rates of violent crime and diminished access to social services have placed Indigenous women and girls at increased risk of harm, while denying them the protections and support they need.”
I’m not going to deny that there are issues surrounding violence against aboriginal women in rural BC.
But for Amnesty International to target the young men who mostly make up the resource workers they talk about is misguided.
RCMP statistics show that 90 percent of First Nation women who are murdered are killed by someone they know, and this is the same rate as it is for non-aboriginal women who are murdered.
But the biggest surprise of the whole event was that two of the most skeptical questions came from a CBC reporter, who asked:
Did Amnesty International have any evidence to back up their claim that it is resource workers (young men in particular) who are committing violence against indigenous women?
Amnesty answered that any time you bring lots of young men into one area, there is bound to be crime.
(But I wonder why they never mention that when discussing the migrant crisis...?)
On this and other aspects of their report, Amnesty International has their facts wrong, and they're demonizing young men who look for work in the resource industries in Northeastern BC.