How we treat women
May 24, 2019 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Worker camps make it possible to build infrastructure in remote locations in Canada. Is it worth the human cost? (cw: sexual assault)

Gibson and others stress that camp dwellers typically arrive not knowing anyone in the region; they have no connection with the people or place, nor an understanding of the cultural relationship binding the two. Qajaq Robinson, a commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), says her team has looked more closely at the issue over the course of the inquiry’s mandate, noting that there’s a sense of “freedom from accountability” among transient workers. “How you treat the land,” she says, “reflects how you treat women.”

posted by poffin boffin (10 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
No. Not only is it not worth it because of the oppression of women, the last thing the planet needs is for Man to go into areas we haven't touched yet and start fucking touching shit.

Jobs offered to the transient workforce pay well, but the high wages fuel demand that strains local services and raises the cost of living. Rents in Fort St. John are higher than any other part of the province except Vancouver.
this is a interesting point that I don't see being brought up too often. My city, my real city, is mostly black, mostly poor. But on top of that we have a transient population of military. We have the largest naval base in the world. The military population isn't quite as transient as the people in the article, but the effects here are tangible. Our rents are also extremely high compared to similar cities. When the majority of middle class in your area are only going to be here 4 years or so, local government has no obligation to long term plans. A huge section of the city has been on development lockdown for decades as a poor and cruel effort to stamp out the gambling, sex work, and drugs that come with port cities. The result has led to multiple neighborhoods living in food deserts, no money being poured into public schools, and the destruction of the tourist industry that used to bring money to that part of the city.
posted by FirstMateKate at 12:03 PM on May 24 [11 favorites]

I've worked in three such camps, all of them "officially" dry, although guys still drank at two of them, just not openly, and those two were toxic cesspits. The third one was organized and professional and peaceful, and for the most part guys just watched TV or played ping pong or used the gym in the evenings. There are so many problems with these camps and how they are (or more accurately, aren't) regulated/managed, and it does not shock me in the slightest to hear them connected to increased incidents of sexual violence, and to violence more generally.

They are high-stress environments for everybody. There aren't any excuses, but the worst of the camps I saw were recipes for problems because they did almost nothing to mitigate the boredom, isolation, and intense stress of working long hours (as much as 16 hours a day sometimes for as long as 90 days without a day off, although my personal record was 35 days) in dangerous conditions. I don't know what the solution is, but something desperately needs to be done.
posted by Fish Sauce at 12:05 PM on May 24 [15 favorites]

Thank you for posting this.

I was particularly interested in the part about GBA+ which is a government tool used for analyzing the impact of proposed policies on women and minority communities since I have used it myself. Unfortunately, it's just a framework for doing the analysis and the depth and usefulness of the analysis is really a function of the departments and public servants carrying out the work and the willingness of the government of the day to care about the result. It is possible to use GBA+ to draw very high level attention to potential negative impacts and just as possible to use it to sweep them under the rug.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:07 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]

Kate Beaton worked in a mining camp near Fort McMurray for a while, and drew a comic about her time there.
posted by zamboni at 1:43 PM on May 24 [23 favorites]

Kate Beaton worked in a mining camp near Fort McMurray for a while, and drew a comic about her time there.
posted by zamboni at 4:43 PM on May 24 [+] [!]

Wow there is dust in my office now how did it get here this is a cryi-i mean health hazard
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:06 PM on May 24 [1 favorite]

What is the price differential for Ethically generated utilities - I mean... Fair Trade coffee is a real thing... How much more would you pay for less rape in your electrical bill? I really hadn't considered it in the past, but - holy shit.

The companies hiring these (likely) subcontractors are responsible for their supplier sourcing of raw materials - we wouldn't accept it if the oil company involved slowly squeezing blue whales through something akin to a giant spaghetti maker. (This is not a thing.) Why should these companies accept the clear mistreatment support communities for the 'benefit' of their workers? Is it not in the best interest for a combination of legislation and civil action to refocus companies on the ethical behavior of their suppliers - especially their labor suppliers?
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:20 PM on May 24 [6 favorites]

See every mining / oil / construction town ever, and the entire states of Alaska, Louisiana, and much of Texas, including their 'death of wives from domestic violence' rates.

In college, I remember leading a study group about a group of indi genous folks in Ecuador who saw this coming. So they seized the assets of the Canadian gold mining company, burned down the mining camp, and shipped the equipment back to the company.

Naturally, the state of Ecuador was trying to prosecute the entire Mountain Valley on eco-terrorism charges
posted by eustatic at 8:17 AM on May 25

Another Kate Beaton comic, when her sister got a job there.
posted by ckape at 10:36 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Kate Beaton worked in a mining camp near Fort McMurray for a while, and drew a comic about her time there.
posted by zamboni at 1:43 PM on May 24

It s totally true about the anti bird cannons. People think wind turbines kill birds, they have no idea about the scores of oil and gas waste pits across Texas and Louisiana. If only we could get cannons at these sites, someone has to be living there, to complain, and who wants to live next to these waste pits? Only native people have it in them, or lack the options, to stay
posted by eustatic at 2:56 PM on May 25

« Older Make Way for Ducklings, 2019   |   ♪♫♬ I gave my love a lizard / that had some bones... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments