Saturday, 7 December 2013

Why Another "Caledonia 2006" is Unlikely: An Update on the McKenzie Meadows Development

The most recent update as to what is happening re the "controversy" over the McKenzie Meadows Development is found in an article in Turtle Island News, November 27, 2013, p. 3, entitled,  Community voiceless in McKenzie Meadows across from former DCE. 
As noted in an earlier blog posting, there were to be three "community" sessions to discuss the proposed plan negotiated between the representatives of the Elected Band Council, and a developer whose company plans to create a residential development that would begin at McKenzie Road, and the extreme southern part of Caledonia, and over time would reach the part of the land directly opposite the infamous Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonhstaton) site on Argyll Street South.  At the third of three information sessions, according to the above article, Six Nations community members voiced loud opposition to the elected council’s involvement in a new development deal across the street from the former Douglas Creek Estate lands.  But those voices might not matter.

Lonny Bomberry, council’s land and development resources co-ordinator, admitted to the nearly 50 people gathered at the community hall last Thursday night that developers can use the Canadian courts to get an injunction on Six Nations protestors and proceed with their housing subdivision - with or without Six Nations’ approval.
The article continues, with Aaron Detlor, lawyer for the HDI wing of the Hereditary Council, saying that, The band council is always setting themselves up for failure. However the band council did attempt to consult with the hereditary council, but that fell off the rails – because of three deaths that left the confederacy council without meetings for three months.   In the modern world this simply won’t work – if decisions have to be made they need to happen “on schedule”, or some sort of substitute process be put in place. The hereditary council will never change, that is in a sense part of their role, but with the interface against the rest of the world it can create a great deal of frustration in a situation where delays for other reasons have been legion.  It is 2013 not 1813. Silence [from the community] cannot be taken as a yes according to the traditionalists. Well, if people don’t speak up until the last minute what do they expect?  Furthermore, Bomberry insisted that what the community decides is what will happen. He said that the Six Nations ‘holds a hammer” over the development. That may have been true in 2006, but 7 years later, much has changed such that when push comes to shove, we will see how much of a “hammer” Six Nations wields. 

Reading between the lines, it appears that Bomberry may be aware of the “Holmes Report” and of course is cognizant of the Court injunctions in Brantford that have resulted in fines levied against protestors including the HDI in the amount of $325,000 – with the likelihood that the HDI, and / or, its leaders Hazel Hill and Aaron Detlor, will be on the hook for the entire amount (it was elsewhere noted that the others named in the Court action likely do not have to funds to pay their share of the fine).  In addition, the Ontario Superior Court has recently been willing to "show its teeth", and drop the hammer on those who would disrupt legal development.  Perhaps Bomberry is somewhat in denial, or felt compelled to "play to the audience".
Judging by the response of some in the audience, many to most at Six Nations have not grasped the “new reality” as clearly attested to in the "Holmes Report".  The land is not theirs, it was surrendered before 1850, and the new circumstances were accepted by all parties, the land put on title in the Ontario Land Registry system, and it is only recently (long after the Statute of Limitations has expired) that some decided to assert that the documents are wrong, that their ancestors did not really intend to sell the land, and so on – absolutely nothing which could ever be proved in a Court of law or in even any forum which looks at the history versus these new entrenched but erroneous beliefs that much of the Haldimand Tract still comes under Six Nations authority.  As has been noted elsewhere in this blog, on many occasions, this belief cannot be sustained when coming up against the facts of the matter.  In 2006, this perspective of land ownership had not been addressed to the point where the Canadian Government, the Ontario Government, and the Ontario Provincial Police could coordinate their response to the illegal and criminal acts being perpetrated brazenly at DCE.  The OPP was still stinging from the effects of the Ipperwash investigation and their new role as "peacekeepers".  Since that time the OPP has been the butt of anger and frustration and accusations of double standards in policing (racial profiling).  Clearly, with the efforts of Gary McHale (e.g., his 2013 book on the OPP failures), and many others, the OPP will eventually be prodded to "serve and protect" and to blazes with the "peacekeeper" nonsense.  One law for all, no exceptions, this is the only approach that will work.  It may take a different Party in Toronto (it was the Liberals and McGinty who have to bear the burden of responsibility of failing the citizens of Caledonia and surrounds).

I maintain that any attempt by Six Nations to use any “strong arm” tactics as occurred in 2006 will be doomed to failure and will see a totally different response from all parties.  Not only has the Ontario Government validated its Land Registry system, and will stand by it, but any mass movement of people from the Rez will be nipped in the bud at varying locations since the development is “off the beaten path”.  No Highway 6 here, no Argyll Street.  The McKenzie Meadows property does not lend itself to the same terror tactics that were used at the DCE in 2006 where there was an “open door” to the Reserve via 5th and 6th Lines (and Stirling Street before the bridge was torched).
So if the present author is saying that Caledonia 2006 is not going to happen again (or is much less likely anyway), then what is it that is different "this time"? For one thing, the speeding ATVs and other “methods” used to intimidate and terrorize the local people simply would not work in this new setting – and of course Caledonia is fed up with the whole business and it can be virtually guaranteed that any attempt to create another 2006 in that location would result in a much more structured resistance on the part of locals, and with the Canadian Courts willing to step in and order compliance, and levy enforceable fines against the leaders of any insurrection. The times, they have changed.  Any attempt to re-create 2006 will see angry local residents, no longer cowed by labels of racism, and wise to the tactics of the anarchist – Marxist supporters, sure to ensure that only a comedy will play out this time and Six Nations will have egg all over their face.  No back up this time.  If a group of Six Nations agitators is on McKenzie Street they may find an angry Haldimand community hell bent for revenge to contend with.  What if this time the passports issued will not be for Haldimand residents to return to their home, but for the Six Nations members to be permitted to return home via public roads.  Although not possessing a crystal ball, I can see a complete role reversal this time around and could it be possible that the OPP will no longer wish to allow itself to be a door mat for Six Nations agitators, and instead institute an immediate arrest for any offence and to blazes with the Ipperwash Report which only ended up embarrassing the officers who signed an oath to serve and protect – no more being "peacemakers" catering to the whims of the vocal and violent element at Six Nations that seemed to rule the roost last go around.  In taking the pulse of many of the locals, they are itching for an opportunity to ensure that the shoe is on the other foot this time around.  Mark my words, the next time, if there is a next time, we will see a sea of Canadian flags swamping the Mohawk Warrior and supporter (e.g., CAW, CUPE) flags.


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