Archive for July 5, 2007

Dalton McGuinty may have earned himself a new nickname – “Puff” Daddy.

There is a troubling and growing gap, the province’s Ombudsman charged in his annual report, between what Ontario’s government promises to do and what it delivers.

“It has not escaped the people of Ontario that strongest leadership shown by many key government bureaucracies has been in making puffed-up promises,” Ombudsman Andre Marin said at a Queen’s Park press conference.

When confronted with criticisms, failings or “shabby and incompetent” actions, government ministries, agencies, boards and commissions routinely respond with attempts to “sideline the issue” or proclaim themselves “world class,” an “international leader” or otherwise engage in self-serving hyperbole.

“If government and their agencies believe they can hustle the public, they will be tempted to leave their programs under-resourced and flawed, crossing their fingers that no one will pull back their Wizard-of-Oz curtain and expose the real state of affairs,” Marin said.

That was the case, the Ombudsman found in reviews over the past year, at the province’s Municipal Property Assessment System, which boasted it was a “global leader in property assessment” but actually was “a cutthroat agency with little regard for homeowners.”

Marin said he was tempted to title his annual report “The Year of Overpromising and Underdelivering.”

Ontarians are among the most highly-taxed citizens on the planet and it’s been abundantly clear for a considerable time that we do not get good value for the tax dollars taken from our pockets. nothing is likely to change unless voters, in the lead up to the Oct. 10 provincial election this fall, squawk.

Read the full story here

NOTE:  My attempts to get a comment from McPimpy on this report were unsuccessful, but I was able to obtain an exclusive candid photo.  

Dolton McPimpy

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Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

A peaceful native protest on Friday turned violent after midnight as wooden pallets were set on fire near the bridge and shots were fired into the air, police confirmed.The incident occurred around 12:45 a.m. Saturday while Akwesasne Mohawk Police officers were patrolling around Cornwall Island to ensure all was well, said police Chief Lewis Mitchell.

A handful of protesters threw wooden pallets across the roadway between the tollbooth and the Canadian Customs detachment at the foot of the St. Lawrence Bridge, Mitchell said.

“When police responded, shots were fired into the air,” he explained. “(The gunfire was) not directed at police or houses, but there was about 20 rounds that went off.”At this point, he said, police intervened and seized an AK-47. No one was injured.

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By Derek Nelson, Inside Queen’s Park, as published in Law Times

June 18, 2007

The gaping hole at the policy heart of the Ipperwash inquiry is commissioner Sidney Linden’s refusal to explain how an ordinary Ontarian protects his or her private land against aboriginal seizure.

The province failed to do it for Henco Industries at Caledonia. And for a proposed seniors’ complex in Hagersville. Or a quarry in Deseronto.

Just 12 per cent of Ontario’s land is privately owned, yet an increasing number of aboriginal protests are aimed at seizing such land. Much of the Haldimand Tract, of which the Caledonia and Hagersville lands are part, is privately owned.

The Ontario Provincial Police, the provincial government, and Linden’s report make quite clear that force is not an option in aboriginal land claim disputes.

It is all about “peacekeeping,” about consultation, negotiation, understanding, restraint, respect, and son on. The police are “neutral.”

As Linden said, the “avoidance of violence” is the aim.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, quoted by Linden, put it another way: “We are determined to resolve this in a way that results … in no incident and no compromise in public safety.”

Decoded, what he is really saying is that the government will do anything necessary to avoid a repeat of Ipperwash; that is, the killing of an aboriginal who is breaking the law in pursuit of, to use Linden’s phrase, “aboriginal and treaty rights.”

In the process, the theft of private land, major economic dislocation, and even violence committed by radical aboriginals will be ignored or tolerated. “No incident” acquired strange meanings.

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Blockade shows double standard

Lorne Gunter, National Post

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2007

If my neighbour and I have a dispute over a piece of land we both claim to own, and he currently lives on the parcel in question, but I drive my truck onto it and stand there with a shotgun refusing to let him or anyone else come on, how long before you think police are going to arrest me?

Now say my neighbour and his family have farmed that land for 100 years — or 200 — and they have the title to it, and all I have is a story my mother used to tell about how my great-great-great- grandfather once roamed this same property, but I get out my Hibachi and my homemade flag for the Republic of Lorne, and pitch my tent across the entrance to settle in for a lengthy camp-out.

Sure, police negotiators are going to try for a few hours to talk me off the land, but the minute I nod off — or threaten violence — a SWAT team is going to swoop in and cart me off.

But everything changes if I’m native. The laws by which all other Canadians must abide and normal police procedures no longer apply. Even if my neighbour wins an injunction ordering me off, police are going to be told to sit by, day after day, month after month, while I grill up burgers and insist my ancestor never meant to give up the property.

One government or another might even step up and buy out my neighbour, just so the politicians can avoid having to tell me I’m wrong. And all because, for politicians, the rule of law is trumped by political correctness and the cult of victimhood.

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The Regional

To gain some credibility back, Canada needs to either 1, start upholding the laws of the country or 2, start solving native issues with real, constructive solutions. Preferably both.

Take effect for what you will, but when all was said and done last weekend, two things were evident.

First, natives want Canadians to realize their plight and the only way they feel they can do it is by restricting freedoms. They want Canadians to react to their needs such as poverty, poor drinking water and land claims. And help them. But many aboriginals don’t want to abide by Canadian laws.

By the same token, most Canadians want to be free, wherever they go within our great nation. They don’t want to be blocked in, threatened, tormented, or taken advantage of for things they didn’t do, and have no power to help make better.

Read the full story here

NAPANEE, Ont. — Shawn Brant has turned himself in to the Ontario Provincial Police a week after he led Tyendinaga Mohawk demonstrators to blockade railways and roads in eastern Ontario for the National Day of Action.

The lanky 43-year-old arrived at the Napanee OPP station at 10 a.m. on Thursday, as he had promised to do on the weekend. He told waiting media that he was a man of honour, from a people of honour. (Edit: a people of honor perhaps, but a man of honor? please)

Half an hour earlier, a line of cars ferrying Mr. Brant, his lawyer, his wife and supporters, left the quarry that Mohawk protesters have been occupying since March.

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The RCMP has issued a formal apology to a B.C. First Nations community for an incident this week that saw an officer pepper-spray several residents, including children and infants.

Officers and residents struggled after the driver of a pickup truck with several children in the back refused to stop for police.

In a letter to the community, the Sunshine detachment said police had no intention of directly spraying children while trying to control adults as they were making an arrest. police have said the officers were forced to use pepper spray when angry people got too close, adding that a home video shot by the band’s own members proves that.

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The developer of a Hagersville townhouse project that was halted by a native land claim says economic activity in Haldimand has dried up and his industry is scared.

“No one wants to finance anything in Haldimand because of the uncertainty,” Dan Valentini said after an information session on land claims the county held in Cayuga for invited landowners and developers.

Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer, who organized the closed session, said another meeting will be held in a couple of months to update the industry on the status of claims and any negotiations.

Read the full story here

Someone climbed scaffolding at the Church of Our Lady early Monday and left a Mohawk flag atop the north tower.

A compressor at the site was also damaged by turning it on and letting it run dry.

Exterior restoration work is taking place at the church. The flag was removed early yesterday by a construction worker, but the incident puzzled the church’s pastor. “I think they did it because it’s the highest point in the city,” said Father Dennis Noon.

A blue letter ‘A’ with a circle around it, usually a symbol of anarchy, was found spray-painted on the sidewalk outside both the church and Guelph MP Brenda Chamberlain’s constituency office. Chamberlain’s office was also vandalized during the Canada Day weekend.

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CBC News

More than ever last year, casinos were cash cows for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

The First Nations gaming agency, which runs casinos in North Battleford, Prince Albert, Yorkton and on the White Bear First Nation, made a record profit of $48.8 million in the 2006-07 fiscal year. That’s a 21 per cent increase from the year before.

Revenues went up $17 million to $130 million, according to figures SIGA released Wednesday.

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CALGARY (CP) – It’s an idea that has always been out there – the dream of ending the poverty that runs rampant among Canada’s First Nations people by fostering aboriginal economic development.

“I think in the years ahead when people look back at the significant progress that will have been made in the economic development of aboriginal Canadians, they will look back upon today and these announcements as a very significant step forward,” said Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Prentice had just emerged Wednesday from his first meeting with the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board – a body that will advise the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on areas such as investment strategies, business creation, aboriginal involvement in major projects and policy development.

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Several aboriginal parents in a town northwest of Vancouver plan to file a complaint with the RCMP after a community celebration ended in pepper spray use and a confrontation with officers. It all happened Monday night in Sechelt, B.C., after the Sechelt band’s two youth teams won first prize at a soccer tournament in Vancouver.

The parents said it is a community tradition to celebrate with a grand entrance by honking horns. RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said Tuesday police saw 10 youths standing in the back of a pickup truck, and tried to stop the vehicle.

She said when the driver finally stopped, he approached the officers in a hostile manner. In addition, a crowd of 50 to 75 people quickly became confrontational.

“Here they are dealing with a combative suspect who is yet to be handcuffed, yet to be in a controlled environment like the police car,” Linteau said. “Meanwhile they have a crowd obstructing them in their duties and becoming combative themselves.”

Shannon Phillips said she was carrying her baby and tried to intervene on behalf of her husband, Troy Myers, who was the driver of the pickup truck.

“They pepper sprayed him and when I went to say, ‘What are you doing?’ they turned around and pepper sprayed me and Kaden — quite a few times, actually.”

Calvin Craigan, a former chief with the Sechelt band, told CBC Radio Tuesday that band members are “going to have a session with the RCMP” and demand an explanation.

EDIT: NOW.. Before we start reacting to the fact that some people got pepper sprayed here, be sure to read the full story and the many many comments on this incident from Canadian citizens and an RCMP officer.

One sample comment from a witness:

“(The child’s) parents made a decision to bring those kids there and I have to say the people who got pepper-sprayed, including the mother of that particular child, was exhibiting a very confrontational pulling of the (police) member, pushing of the members,” she said. “This is considered a combative behaviour.”

Read the full story and all of the comments here

By Mark Vandermaas – www.VoiceofCanada.ca

Gary McHale asked me to join Haldimand resident Donna Pitcher on the bridge in Dunnville to cover her one-woman protest/plea that the OPP keep the bridge open should native protesters decide to block it as part of their National Day of Action. My job was to gather photo/video evidence of any native actions, and to gather evidence to be used against the OPP should they refuse to enforce the law, or decide to violate the rights of non-native protesters. 

The natives stayed away, but the same can’t be said for the ham-fisted OPP. If it weren’t for them and their silly police state tactics the only story I’d be telling today would be about the awesome people of Dunnville(!) and the sunburn I got while admiring the scenery and wildlife from the middle of their bridge over the Grand River. Fortunately for us, the OPP – once again – just couldn’t resist harassing non-native, law-abiding, peaceful people as if we were the ones threatening Canada’s infrastructure.

The OPP drove by once and stopped to ask when Donna was leaving the bridge. Later, a couple of officers on foot came by for a couple of minutes and then left. At 1:30 they returned just as a small group of about 7 people were standing with us. They informed us that they had been “ordered to request that we leave the bridge.”

Read the full story here Much more at www.VoiceofCanada.ca

Native leaders are always eager to pull the twin levers of unsettled land claims and aboriginal poverty to keep the non-native population feeling guilty, sympathetic and willing to ship billions of dollars a year to natives on reserves.

Clearly, it works. This year, the federal government will spend $7.4 billion on services for the 428,000 people on reserves. When has so much money been spent on so few people for so little result?

The issue of land claims is the most vexatious. Again, we are supposed to feel guilty because we haven’t written cheques quickly enough. And yet, how credible are these claims? Take as an example the Algonquin claim to ownership of pretty much all of Eastern Ontario, including Parliament Hill. It rests on the idea that the ancestors of today’s Algonquins once roamed through this territory, although there was no concept of land ownership in the European sense.

A lawyer representing the Algonquins says a key point in their favour is that some Algonquins in the 19th century charged people for the use of the Ottawa River. Must mean they own it, no? Sure, in the same way that Robin Hood must have owned Sherwood Forest. Toronto lawyer Bob Potts, who represents the “Algonquins,” says any money they receive will help to “maintain their Algonquin-ness.”

Native leaders like to talk about poverty and injustice, but what they really want is money. Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Phil Fontaine says native people were shut out in each of the last two federal budgets. Some shutout. The federal government spends $10.2 billion a year on native people. What he means is there weren’t any new handouts on top of the ones already being dispensed.

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