The RCMP is buying its own fleet of armoured vehicles just as a rise in conflicts with Native people has been predicted by Mountie intelligence officers.
The fleet will include two Nyala RG-31 armoured vehicles to be purchased from South Africa, which often used similar vehicles to put down black uprisings in the days of apartheid.
The fleet will cost $8.5 million.
A Mountie spokesman said the RCMP wants the vehicles for crashing barricades and rescue operations. He denied the $8.5-million purchase has anything to do with Native protests.
But Jean La Rose of the Assembly of First Nations was skeptical.
“Rescue from what? These things sink like rocks. I imagine they don’t want them for general all-purpose use, either.”
The vehicles hold 10 troops and three crew, and boast heavier armour than the older models used by Canada’s army. Heavy-calibre automatic cannons and machine guns normally mounted on the vehicles will be removed, the RCMP says.
At the same time, an internal RCMP intelligence report leaked to newspapers predicts Native “unrest” because Canada is ignoring First Nations concerns.
RCMP says “a long string of broken promises” has left Native people frustrated.
The Mounties say Native people believe extreme tactics get results because the government has given in to protesting Native people in the past.
“Confrontations and violent standoffs are likely to increase in the coming years,” says RCMP intelligence.
“Land claims and unresolved treaty issues will be at the root of most incidents, and the federal government’s lukewarm response to the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report, and its proposed amendments to the Indian Act, will exacerbate the situation.”
The RCMP believes British Columbia is in for the worst of the “unrest.”
The report was released to Southam Newspapers after an Action to Information request, but was heavily edited.