Canada is a bad company

Authors: Pasternak Shiri*,
Topics: Canada, Legal Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: canada, jurisdiction, corporate sovereignty, settler colonialism
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 23
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Canada has always relied on corporations to expand its territory – from its earliest days as a British multinational fur company (long before it was a country) - to its current relationship to resource companies today. Taking up Joshua Barkan’s theory of corporate sovereignty (2013), this research talk will examine corporate power in Canada to help us to better understand the particular formation of settler colonialism here today.

Barkan argues that early multinationals secularized and territorially extended Crown sovereignty, while being excepted from the law, or empowered to administer and invent it. They simultaneously regulated places and institutions, such as cities and workforces, playing the role of police through the enforcement of social norms. The problematic he addresses is how the contradictory roles of corporations and Crown sovereignty came to co-exist, and my presentation will examine aspects of this enduring legacy of a “double” structure of power today. My talk will focus on the site-specific case studies of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Crown corporation and analyze Canada’s purchase in the context of the Rupert’s Land purchase over one hundred years earlier.

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