Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Police and Government as Enablers at Six Nations Protests

Just because some Six Nations group believes a particular cause is just does not make it so.  Similarly, just because one believes they are in the right can only be assessed in light of the laws of the land.  We live in the country of Canada, Province of Ontario.  While some at Six Nations may believe that they are exempt from these laws because they are a sovereign people, this belief does not give them a permit to behave as if they belong to an autonomous body and flaunt the laws that govern all within the country - unless they perhaps begin to refuse to accept any money from Canadian taxpayers.  If I believe that I, for example, have some God given right to not pay taxes, and act according, I should expect that the weight of the law will come down on me.  I will have the right to challenge it in Court, but the burden of proof is on my shoulders.  While by law Six Nations members have some entrenched rights with respect to not paying certain taxes, it is incumbent on them to pay those that they are not exempted from paying.  By in large, however, we are all bound by the civil and criminal laws that were made to protect us from harm and facilitate the concept of "peace, order and good Government" which applies as an byproduct of the laws and legal system that evolved from British Common Law.

The events of 28 February 2006 were probably amongst the most dramatic and devastating ever witnessed in this part of Canada, although the crisis at Kanesatake (Oka) in Quebec were in another league due to the level of physical violence and use of an arsenal of weapons.

In 2006 the OPP did not even protect their own officers or other first responders or reporters but stood immobile while Six Nations members zoomed around on ATVs thumbing their noses at one and all. It is not my intention to go over the many many examples of this behaviour on the part of the OPP. A book set to be released by Gary McHale on 9 November 2013 will provide a lot more information. It is entitled, Victory in the No Go Zone: Winning the Fight Against Two - Tiered Policing, Toronto, Freedom Press. I am eager to hear what he has to say. While McHale may be a polarising influence (as some politicians and others have asserted), he and a few others are the only ones to actively pursue the failure of the OPP to do their duty and keep this important issue in the public spotlight. Please read the book by Christie Blatchford discussed in an earlier blog for a better understanding of the abuse of local residents and the role of the OPP and the Government.

To be fair, the OPP did initially attempt to conduct themselves as upholders of the law in Ontario, and their early actions speak loudly at their resolve to carry out their duties, as can be seen to some degree in the video here. In fact, though, they were out of their element. They were outnumbered, outmanoeuvred, and ultimately embarrassed by the increasing throngs that swarmed in from nearby Six Nations to protect members from arrest. Without using strong force, and then almost inevitably being accused of "police brutality", they were beat. They left with their tail between their legs, something that to this day engenders pride in members of the Six Nations. See, Douglas Creek Reclamation: A Pictorial History, Turtle Island News, 2007 ( for a very graphic look at what happened in the early days of the "Caledonia crisis".

Despite the numerous protests or actions orchestrated by citizens of Caledonia and local residents since 2006, nothing changes.  Attempts have been made to challenge the "right" of Six Nations make claims and demands that have no support in fact - or if they do, the facts have not been presented so that all could evaluate them.  Citizens have tried to, for example, place a Canadian flag on the barricades to the former DCE property, to request an apology from Six Nations, to walk on lands that on survey are public, to protest code violations on shops established on "reclaimed" lands, to rally to assert the rights of "regular" Canadian citizens to protest, to test the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to question "racist" policing, and so on - all largely to no avail. 

The protests in the area continued, and the local residents could obtain no respite from the constant harassment now being orchestrated from the DCE, which became kind of a launching pad for insurrection.  In 2008 more blockades and more protests, and more Government and OPP inaction.  See here.

Mess with Six Nations on any of these issues and you will face an angry nest of wasps, asserting their "rights", frequently propped up by their radical leftist White radical "supporters".  Imagine a situation where at any time the Six Nations wishes to disrupt the lives of tax paying citizens of Haldimand or Brant Counties, they appear to have free rein to do so.  This was most recently (17 October 2013) shown in the gathering of 150 from the Reserve to shut down Highway 6 south of Caledonia to protest a matter happening in the Province of New Brunswick.  Just as has happened time and time again (witnessed by my own eyes), each time those whose role it is to serve and protect in Haldimand County, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have abrogated their responsibility.  I have been told by officers that their role is as "peacekeeper".  Meanwhile the OPP threaten anyone they think may not be Six Nations with arrest if their orders are not obeyed.  Officers of the Aboriginal Negotiating Team will, if available, stand in the way of a direct face to face confrontation.  In the distance, members of the Six Nations laugh (again I have witnessed this over and over) - they know that the OPP will not protect the citizens, but will simply attempt to keep the local citizens from coming anywhere near the location of the protest.  The right of local citizens to protest is not respected, the right of Six Nations to protest (even if the protest is highly disruptive) is protected by the OPP.  Two tiered policing.  It is a sick joke to any who have watched this in motion.  So the old expression from the movie, "Star Wars" takes on a new significance.  "May the Force be with you" - well as long as the Force is not the OPP.

Back to the most recent "action" taken by Six Nations members was to blockade Highway 6 on 17 October 2013.  What role did the OPP play?  Traffic cop.  They set up two checkpoints to divert traffic away from the blockade site, to allow traffic to funnel through Caledonia during rush hour.  What then did they do about the blockade.  Nothing.  Just let it "run its course" - for 6 hours.  So nothing proactive?  No.  After all this is known in OPP parlance as "Cashedonia", renown for the amount of overtime money it can offer (of course at taxpayers expense).

So this brings me to the definition of "enabler".  When used in the medical sense of the term, it typically refers to the husband or wife of a drug addict who "enable" the behaviour, allowing it to continue, by for example calling the workplace to say that their spouse is ill.  Of course this almost certainly means that the dysfunctional behaviour will continue unabated, and will as long as those who should really put their foot down and demand that the person go to treatment, or else, fail to do what is really needed!  It would have been unimaginable in the Canada of my youth to picture something of the following nature happening, where the OPP become enablers, and thus in this case the Six Nations are emboldened (there are generally no consequences).  Like a young child, they have tested the limits, and found that they will be able to get away with just about anything, so the behaviour is bound to escalate.  This is an entirely predictable reaction.  There is also a sense of empowerment, and a realisation that they are in charge.  They call the shots.  The rest of the citizens are forced to just grin and bear it (if that is possible after a certain point).

However the other enabler is the Provincial Government.  They in theory control the OPP.  They could have concluded the obvious, that the flawed Ipperwash Report which recommended that the role of the police in disputes involving Natives change to one of "peacekeeper", makes absolutely no sense given the chaos that resulted at Caledonia in 2006.  What did the McGinty Government of Ontario do - absolutely nothing.  Not a peep was heard from them.  No one came out to see the suffering first hand.  After all it was oh so inconvenient.  Such an out of the way place - not like Toronto where such antics would never be tolerated.  So lets just stick our heads in the sand and pretend there is nothing serious going on.  Business as usual.  Carry on.  No one in Kathleen Wynne's Government (successor to the disgraced McGinty) has set foot in Caledonia - not even the local Member of the Provincial Parliament for the region which includes Haldimand.  I don't recall seeing Diane Findlay even once, ever, in or near Caledonia when her support would have been most welcome.  No one wants another Ipperwash (Ontario) or Oka (Quebec), so Caledonia will be sacrificed.

While the Federal Government has defered to the Provincial Government in handling the "Caledonia crisis", one Conservative Senator has spoken up.  In 2011, Senator Bob Runciman, who had been involved with the Ipperwash Inquiry which ultimately led to the suspension of the Ontario Police Services Act to incorporate a new role for the OPP as "peacekeepers", stated that it was imperative that in inquiry be made into the events of Caledonia and how things went so wrong.  Just in dollars and cents, the Provincial tab for this debacle is over $100 million dollars due to one illegal event, that left the OPP with egg all over their faces.  Something is very wrong, thus an inquiry is called for - see here.

In 2006 the citizens dreamt that due to the severity of the matter the Federal Government would become involved, and if tanks needed to role, so be it.  Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau did this during the FLQ crisis - but that is an action unlikely to be repeated - it was more far-reaching in its consequences than small town Caledonia.  Of course the Federal Government simply deferred to the Provincial Government.  Although an interesting idea, of course it does not make sense to ask that the Crown, via her representative in Canada the Governor General, address the issue and if need be send in the troops even though the local police were powerless, and individual officers had their hands tied behind their backs by virtue of orders from their superiors.  The names of people like Commissioner Julian Fantino will live on in infamy - at least locally.

My point is that the matter needed to be nipped in the bud from the git go, with an assertive response to address the lawlessness that prevailed.  The OPP came close to doing this but backed down.  For the Six Nations perspective see the above noted,  Six Nations at the Crossroads: Douglas Creek Reclamation A Pictorial History.  In history, the result of these actions is always the same.  The opponent will see this as a weakness and "goes for the jugular" and will continue to do so when the "enemy" lacks spine and backs down every time, in this case in their role as "peacekeeper".  Enabler.  Enabler.  No crystal ball needed, the outcome could easily have been predicted by anyone with a knowledge of human behaviour.  The citizens of Caledonia are and will be beat until the OPP cast off their new found role, and return to being the respected "force" they were when I was young.  Some to many of the Six Nations believe that they now have a licence to do as they please, and their leaders typically reinforce this attitude, or say nothing.  Is the Government aware that the true dyed in the wool radicals at Six Nations are slowly but surely drawing more and more previously moderate types into their web?  Surely they, let alone residents of Haldimand County, don't want this to occur.


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