By Jeff Parkinson
On December 5, 2007 Haldimand County stated that they would be closing the illegal smoke shack at the corner of Highway 6 and Argyle Street according to a CD98.9 story which can be found here and reads as follows;
“A native run smoke shop at the centre of a clash in Caledonia is going to be shut down. Last weekend two people were injured after a fight broke out as people on both sides of the land dispute argued over who’s land the smoke shop was on. Haldimand County official Don Boyle says the move to close down the smoke shop is to restore “peace and harmony“”
As one of the two people who were injured at the protest they’re talking about, I wonder why Haldimand and Mr. Boyle would lie to the public about such a thing.
Some 2 ½ years later, the County has failed to live up to their statement, and another protest took place on Sunday April 11. People are as tired or more so now than they were in December of 07 of the blight on the community that is these unlawful shacks. People do not wish to continue to have cigarettes sold to children, and protests are likely to continue until such time as the shack is closed.
The above story makes one wonder what sort of deal they thought they had in the works at the time which would result in the closure of that dump, and what happened to prevent it from coming to fruition.
If indeed a plan was in place to shut it down, and someone interfered then the public has a right to know who and why. If not then the public has a right to know why their council lied to them. Either way I won’t be holding my breath for answers.
In an interesting turn of events, there were virtually no Natives out to support the smoke shack at the last rally. We’ve known for awhile that Six Nations official position is that they don’t support them and want to see them removed, but it became clear on the 11th that even the Native extremists no longer support these shacks the way they used to when the pro illegal smoke shack crowd consisted of CUPE members and a couple of children.
The December 2007 statement by Haldimand that they would be closing down the shack was made at a time when things were perceived as volatile, but it’s becoming clear at this stage that the shacks don’t have the support of anyone but a few disillusioned students from Toronto, so what excuse is left for leaving it in business?
It will be very interesting to see how the voters respond to the apparent see no evil, hear no evil strategy of Haldimand Council in the upcoming municipal election.