Archive for May 19, 2007

 UPDATE: 06/12/07  Since the time of this post, we have learned that the shooting took place at an illegal smoke shop just outside of Caledonia. The incident started on DCE where the OPP observed but failed to stop an armed Native screaming death threats, but the actual shooting itself took place off of Douglas Creeks Estates. Someone was kind enough to point out to me that this story is incorrect as in fact the Native did not fire any shots on DCE. He proceeded to a smoke shop just outside of town where he blew a hole through someones arm with an AK-47 which is a prohibited weapon in Canada. The story below remains as posted when I received it.

Gunshots rang out yesterday at the site of a simmering native land dispute in Caledonia, leaving one person hurt and another under arrest.

Ontario Provincial Police released few details about the shooting, but a local citizens’ group believed it happened in a cut-rate cigarette shop that opened on disputed land native protesters have occupied since February 2006.

Caledonia is bracing for a weekend of unrest: On last year’s Victoria Day weekend, native protesters rammed a vehicle into a transformer, cutting power to large swaths of Norfolk and Haldimand counties for 36 hours.

Others are especially tense about the upcoming national native day of protest June 29.

The publisher of the Grand River Sachem, a Caledonia newspaper, says more squatters are camping on the land and residents are growing more and more upset with the perceived inaction of Premier Dalton McGuinty.

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Plans to pave paradise or, in this case a church parking lot, were put on hold yesterday because of a disagreement with native protesters.Tensions were fraught after a digger and dump truck arrived at the Caledonia Baptist Church, which is directly next to Douglas Creek Estates, a property native protesters have occupied for more than a year.

Work was stopped and talks continued throughout the day — the construction equipment sat idly in the parking lot. Several OPP cars, and a handful of native protesters were on the church property for most of the day. Then the contractor packed up and left.

Last year, the May long weekend brought civil unrest, as natives and non-natives stood toe-to-toe on a barricaded highway. Then a transformer fire put the town in darkness.

Read the full story here

TORONTO —
Ontario’s top cop refused to comment yesterday on allegations he was involved in spying on a close friend of the head of the
Toronto police services board while he served on the force.

Asked about the allegations during an event highlighting the Ontario Provincial Police’s traffic safety program, Commissioner Julian Fantino said he would respond to questions concerning traffic safety enforcement and nothing else.

“That’s why we’re here, so those are the only answers that I’m going to give, so I would ask for you to respect that,” he said.

Read the full story here

Much more about the ongoing claim of deplorable actions by Fantino at www.caledoniawakeupcall.com

Tensions were high yesterday afternoon as about a dozen native protesters blocked construction vehicles from leaving or entering the driveway of a Caledonia church.

Then, when an unknowing truck driver proceeded to deliver his load of stone onto the contested site, the conflict escalated.

“It was a lot of cursing and swearing at first, directed at us,” Rev. W. Blake Eady, pastor of Caledonia Baptist Church, said. “That definitely raised the temperature of the situation.”

Yesterday, the contractors and the natives were still negotiating to allow the remaining vehicles to leave for the weekend.

Read the full story here

A smoke shop that was the site of a shooting Thursday afternoon was set up without Six Nations band council or Confederacy approval. Six Nations media say the hut on the site was set up last week by Jeff Henhawk without approval from the Six Nations band council. The council rents the land to a Six Nations farmer, but Henhawk is a supporter of the traditional Confederacy and believes he does not need permission from the council to set up his cigarette hut.

An Ohsweken man faces a charge of attempted murder stemming from the incident at the shop at Highway 6 and 5th Line, between Caledonia and the hamlet of Willow Grove.

Read the full story here

Police increased their presence in Caledonia, Ont. on Friday as tensions ran high in the community that has been gripped by a native land claim dispute for more than a year.

Construction on a church parking lot adjacent to the disputed land was the scene for several tense moments. A police source told CTV News that members of the Six Nations Confederacy confronted the construction crew on Friday.

Threats of vandalism on the church were allegedly made causing officers from the Ontario Provincial Police to respond to the scene.  A nearby school was temporarily locked down as a precaution.

Friday’s incident is the latest in a long series of skirmishes, tense moments and violence since members of the Six Nations began protests and their occupation of a housing development in February 2006.

Read the full story here  Much more at www.caledoniawakeupcall.com

Ontario’s top cop refused to comment yesterday on allegations he was involved in spying on a close friend of the head of the Toronto police services board while he served on the force.

Asked about the allegations during an event highlighting the Ontario Provincial Police’s traffic safety program, Commissioner Julian Fantino said he would respond to questions concerning traffic safety enforcement and nothing else.

Read the full story here

May 18, 2007

Hi Toby here,

Given recent developments, I would like to reiterate my position and PC Leader John Tory’s position with regard to rule of law. My column attached has run in area newspapers.

A democratic society means one law for all

My vision for Ontario has always been that if you work hard, and if you play by the rules, you will be rewarded with success.  Simply put, there should be equal opportunity for all in Ontario. 

However, disrespect for the law is a cancer that cannot be allowed to spread. 

One of the most fundamental principles of free and democratic society is the principle of having one law for everybody.  No one should be beneath the law; no one should be above the law; and no one should be beyond the law.

First, it is unacceptable for anybody to be below the law.  We must protect the disenfranchised and vulnerable portions of our population, with the goal of ensuring they are protected under the same law as everyone else, and that they have equitable access to justice and police protection.

Secondly, nobody is above the law.  No matter the grievance or dispute, all of our laws apply to all of us, equally, and at all times.

The miscarriage of justice that has gone on at Caledonia for 15 months has torn apart the community, placed police officers in an untenable situation, and left people on all sides fearful.  But this issue is more than about Caledonia.  A month ago, we saw yet another protest at Deseronto shut down the mail rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

The fact is, First Nations people in Ontario have longstanding concerns, and all levels of government must do a better job of listening and responding to them in a timely manner.  Government must be a better friend to Aboriginal people in this province.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the rule of law must prevail, especially when people have claims and especially when they are frustrated.  Regardless of the situation – be it political unrest, a labour dispute, or any other issue – nobody is above the law.

A Premier must be prepared to pursue new measures to ensure all parties comply with the rule of law.  Standing by and allowing land occupations and railway blockades that defy court injunctions cannot be an option.

Political direction to the police is unacceptable in a democracy.  In the absence of violence, we must always look first to non-confrontation.  There are plenty of tools government can use to uphold the law, including the courts.  As well, government can and must pursue civil remedies against those who lead protests that cross that line between free speech and disregard for public safety and the rule of law. 

Thirdly, nobody is beyond the law.  The growth of organized crime, white collar crime, and gang culture in Ontario is unacceptable.  These operations cost the public millions of dollars in the form of policing costs – not to mention human costs – as well as damaged and stolen property, violence, and intimidation.  The signal should not be sent to organized criminals, gangsters, and white collar criminals that some people are beyond the law, and government is ready to turn a blind eye.

Nobody is below the law.  Nobody is above the law.  And nobody is beyond the law.  Nobody can be forgotten, and nobody gets to opt-out.  By insisting on one law for all, we can create a fairer, safer, and more equitable society for all of us.

It comes down to leadership.

Thank you Mr Barrett for including me as a recipient. Your efforts in this struggle mean a great deal to us all.