Recently I wrote about the Shawn Brant led occupation of the Skyway bridge from Picton to Prince Edward County, and have had the good fortune to hear from a resident who wants to share her thoughts on the situation in her home town with us. Her insight as a lifelong resident is invaluable and I want to extend my thanks to Vicki Leversedge for having the courage to speak out in this guest editorial.
I was born and raised in Prince Edward County as a farm girl, and plan to remain here always. I am a good law-abiding citizen who pays taxes in this community, and I want to know why the Mohawk Warriors are allowed to get away with the UNLAWFUL blockade of the Skyway Bridge.
The OPP have cordoned off the area, and their response to this situation is that it could take “10 minutes or ten days. Who knows?” This does not satisfy me in the slightest. I have elderly family on the other side of the Bay, and we are quite close. Mobility is not an issue and fortunately neither is health, but when I am needed I am supposed to be only minutes away. That is, unless I have to go through the County and then Belleville first. I take my family responsibilities quite seriously and nothing gets my temper flared faster than someone interfering with that. Would you please explain to me why this allowed to go on?
Putting my situation aside, what about all the people who have to cross that bridge daily for their livelihoods? My father and brother for example. Who is going to be responsible for the excess time and expense that is involved for people to get to work? Would you please explain to me why this allowed to go on?
What about the base fact that, as a Canadian citizen, born and raised, I can no longer go about my daily life as usual? Who are they to take away my right of direct travel across public roads/bridges? Would you please explain to me why this is allowed to go on?
On a much more personal note, my family has been dealing with this farce of a protest for well over a year now. My brother was forced from his home due to the threats he received from Warriors towards his infant son and his at-the-time-wife. My little brother is well known in this situation, and has even been before the courts to testify. Would you please explain to me why this is allowed to go on?
This is also not the first time they have blocked the bridge, and I have to tell you, I HAVE HAD IT! If I pulled the same garbage, I would be arrested on the spot, charged, and jailed. We all know it, and even the OPP admit that that is absolutely the case. So tell me, why have we tied their hands and prevented police officers from doing their jobs?
I cannot express to you the extent of my anger about this in an email. But I can tell you that I am thoroughly disgusted. Beyond that, this is a democratic society where we are all supposed to receive the same rights, be treated equally, and punished equally when the law is broken. Why have I now become a second class citizen in my own country? Would you please explain to me why this is allowed to go on?
For the record, I used to be sympathetic to the First Nations People in their claims. Now, however, the Warriors are making it impossible to see past their garbage and unlawlessness. Now, all I see is red.
I am a Canadian citizen and I am demanding fair and equal treatment. Through court proceedings the Warriors have stated that they do not consider themselves to be Canadians, that they need not follow our law, and that they are free to do as they please.
I understand that they have a unique culture, but the reality is that as Native Indians they are Canadians as well as First Nations. They hold Canadian birth certificates. I do not see anyone denouncing their citizenship when it comes to receiving government sponsored outreach/social/community programs. The Warriors are Canadians of convenience.
As a proud Canadian, that attitude infuriates me as it should everyone else, especially when you consider the state of affairs in many other countries where equal human rights are only the stuff of legends. I have witnessed their lawlessness first hand from an attack on an elderly couple, to blockades, to willful destruction of property, to threats. The list can go on.
They deserve to be arrested and charged. They, like anyone else who breaks the law, need to be put through our judicial system and not given a free pass because of their ethnic ancestry. As someone who is Canadian and mad as hell, would you please explain to me why this is allowed to go on?
I wish I could provide you with a simple answer as to why this is allowed to go on Vicki, but reality tends to be hidden behind a curtain of political smoke and mirrors when it comes to all things Native in our Country. The Mohawk Warriors were allowed to run wild in Oka until a police officer was killed, and again allowed to run wild at Ipperwash for years until Sept 1995 when an attempt was made to finally enforce the law.
As we all now know, this resulted in the death of a terrorist who was pointing a gun at the police, but that fact was covered up for reasons that none of us can begin to explain, and the Natives were not only again allowed to run wild, but have been rewarded with a Provincial Park, and a taxpayer funded monument to Dudley George.
History has continued to repeat itself with the illegal occupation of a housing development in Caledonia which has thus far resulted in the Ontario Government forcing the developer to sell them the land so that they could defeat a court order to have the criminals removed. Since that time the OPP, Attorney General’s office, and the Government of Ontario have worked together to subvert justice and ensure that the occupation is allowed to continue while the rule of law and charter of rights and freedoms are cast aside and innocent victims are terrorized in their homes.
Those who have fought for the return of law and order to Caledonia have been harassed, slandered, physically attacked, and arrested on false charges by the OPP in an effort to silence the voice of anyone who dares to call for equality, and the occupations we’re seeing today are a direct result of that appeasement by anyone with any position of power.
One might think that in a town of 10,000 the people would be taking to the streets to protest the suspension of their rights and freedoms at the hands of Native thugs and weak willed OPP officers and government officials, but apathy has prevailed as time passes and most are now satisfied with ignoring the elephant in the room and pretending to go about their lives as though nothing is wrong.
Fortunately there continues to be a group of dedicated, relentless people who refuse to accept this as the new norm, and who are willing to join us in our battle to restore the rule of law, but as this slow and painful process plays out, the criminals continue to be emboldened by the false sense of security they have been given by the powers that be. I believe our battles in the Court and in the media are taking a toll on the system that has allowed and encouraged this behavior, but it will take time to bring about lasting change and in the meantime innocent victims will be forced to suffer the unnecessary consequences of unnecessary and unacceptable criminal behavior.
The best advice I can offer you is to continue to stand tall in the face of this nightmare and never allow yourself to be silenced as so many other have. Those who fight to take our freedoms from us are beginning to realize that we’re not going to go away, and we’re not going to sit silently while these occupations spread like wildfire across the province.
As the great Winston Churchill once said “A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”