Wednesday, 25 June 2014

"Caledonia Blockade is Coming Down"

It was with immense joy that I read an article in the online version of "The Spec" (Hamilton Spectator, 24 June 2014) entitled, Caledonia Blockade is Coming Down (see here).  Oddly, the online edition of our local "Sachem" (see here), while including information about for example the expansion of the Kinsman parking lot in anticipation of the replacement of the 9 span bridge over the Grand River, has not yet included any other information from Monday's meeting of the Haldimand County Council - which was held behind closed doors.  It is also not in the hard copy of the newspaper, published Wednesday (today), perhaps the information about the blockade will be found in next week's edition by which time there may well be a lot more information to include.  The online paper does, however, include an article of 24 June 2014 on the events at the Surrey Street entrance, and the citizen's arrest by Gary McHale, events occurring since 8 June 2014 (see here).

A Blockade of Argyll Street on 16 June 2014:

First I will discuss the online Sachem data, since clearly these events helped precipitate the action by Haldimand County Council on Monday 23 June 2014.

Barricades Moved from the Blockaded Argyll Street to Blockade Surrey Street
The above picture is from the
After recounting the Gary McHale citizen's arrest (discussed in previous blog postings), the reporter describes a key event of the previous Monday, 16th of June 2014 where activists blocked Argyll Street for a short time, then moved the barricade to block Surrey Street.  Shades of Caledonia, April 2006 when such a blockade caused irreparable damage in the relations between residents of Caledonia and Six Nations.  Apparently at the time the Ontario Provincial Police saw this blockade of Surrey Street as a sensible compromise.  As the communications officer noted, it would take the complaint of a citizen for them to act to address the new blockade situation.  It appears that there were no more than a dozen activists (how many Native and how many White "solidarity supporters" is anyone's guess - I wasn't there, and knew nothing of this event).  Apparently the Six Nations Band Council could not be reached for comment.  Since this was the doings of the rival Hereditary Chiefs Council, I am not sure what sort of comment would be forthcoming.
Haldimand County Council Votes to Dismantle the Surrey Street Blockade:
1)  Information from The Hamilton Spectator (Spec) of 24 June 2014, Caledonia Blockade is Coming Down: Mayor Ken Hewitt said the vote took place behind closed doors Monday night. The county will hire a contractor to take apart the barrier — fashioned with metal, concrete and other materials — at Surrey Street in Caledonia. 
The street is a closed road leading into the former estates. "For us, the intent is really to clean up that area, obviously we have to ensure emergency vehicles have access," Hewitt said.  
"It is not the council's intention to "cause any undue stress," to anyone, he added.  Mayor Hewitt further added that, he wants to see the issue resolved, and the land used in a way that brings the community together.
"I don't want to diminish land claims, but those could be going on for many years to come. I'd like to see the land represent something that brings people together."
The county will be asking Ontario Provincial Police to "maintain peace" while the work is going on.
Haldimand OPP Constable Mark Foster said it has been relatively quiet at the site recently, adding that police had not been informed of the council decision.
As to the Six Nations (actually the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council only), Blake Bomberry, a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, said in an emailed statement that the chiefs are "in discussion with Ontario about the Haldimand County decision."
While the site has remained largely peaceful, he acknowledged there have been "issues of mischief recently" that the Haudenosaunee Development Institute has been working with the province to address.
A Six Nations Council spokesperson said the council planned to gather Tuesday night to discuss the issue, and would not be able to comment until Wednesday.

2)  Information from Turtle Island News (TIN) of 25 June 2014, Haldimand council votes to take out Kanonhstaton hydro towers, p.2: The Reserve newspaper adds a few pieces of additional information on the matter.  Apparently the vote of the Haldimand Council was "unanimous".  Furthermore, Mayor Hewitt told TIN that, his council voted to remove the hydro tower at an in-camera meeting Monday night, calling it "an illegal blockade" and saying it is causing a "barrier" between Six Nations and Caledonia.

Furthermore, Hewitt claims the driveway - also known as Surrey Street - is a public road.

"It's an unopened road that is registered with Haldimand County.  It was deemed or felt that we have issues with the signage and the road being closed by someone who is not Haldimand County.  What we'd like is to remove the barricades, clean up the site and start moving towards more of a progressive and positive solution for both communities than to continue to put wedges and barriers between the two communities".

The HCCC continues to maintain that while there are "issues" they are working with the Ontario Government to effect a solution.  However Haldimand County has not contacted the HCCC about the matter, and the HCCC is now in talks with Ontario about the actions of Haldimand County.  However Mayor Hewitt is, attempting to contact Six Nations elected Chief Ava Hill to notify her about their plans Haldimand County will only consult with band council on the issue, said Hewitt, adding that he has no plans to speak with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council before the County's contractors attempt to remove the hydro tower.

Mayor Hewitt added that, While the former Douglas Creek Estates land is provincially owned, Haldimand County maintains ownership of all roads.  The County is obliged to keep all roadways open for access.  Also, Haldimand Council has decided to have the illegal barriers removed and the entrance to the former Douglas Creek Estates land reopened.  The County will seek the assistance of the OPP to maintain peace while a contractor will be hired to perform the work".
Conclusion: This brave move on the part of the Haldimand County Council, unanimous at that, which is the proper decision based on the facts of the matter, speaks well for the leadership of our Mayor Ken Hewitt and his Council in making difficult decisions.  He can continue to stand firm knowing that the facts of ownership of this property are crystal clear (they were stolen from the legal rightful owners by Six Nations activists), and that there will be overwhelming support by his constituents in his quest for justice.  I have worked with the Mayor before and know him to be an honourable person, and expect that he will not cave into inevitable bogus name calling of "racist", "colonialist" and such nonsense by both the SN activists and their White Communist Anarchist union backed supporters (puppeteers).
Blog Credits McHales for the Proposed Removal of the Blockade:
Without a doubt Mark Vandermaas has been among the most dedicated opponents of the illegal occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates, and has been present at most or all protest events.  His blog, "Caledonia Victims Project" (see here) has been of immense help (as have the websites of Gary McHale and Jeff Parkinson) to local residents in keeping us abreast of developments.
In Mark's most recent posting (24 June 2014) he credits both Gary McHale and his wife Christine McHale as being responsible for the Council's decision.  He comes to the conclusion that a letter written by the latter to Premier Kathleen Wynne was what tipped the scales.  With due respect, Premier Wynne has been hyper focused on the Election and is positively giddy about "World Pride Week", which is taking place in Toronto this week.  I am not aware that Premier Wynne, born and raised in Toronto, has any inkling whatsoever about the Caledonia situation.  There is nothing in her actions or words that would lead me to believe that she either cares, or is informed about this subject.  This does not in any way take away from the robust and valued support given to the cause by the McHales.  What is clear is that the HDI was triggered to act (construct the blockade) due to the citizen's arrest of John Garlow by Gary McHale, and a subsequent action by Randy Fleming.  Hence Gary is a key ingredient in the chain of events.
Only Council knows what drove them to make the decision to remove the blockade.  I am also not quite so confident as Mr. Vandermaas about Six Nations just rolling over on this new development.  The occupiers and their supporters may be more than the usual handful that appear during local protests.  The numbers who tacitly support the take over are unknown, and it is not just a few "thugs" who are involved in one way or another.  Six Nations, particularly the Hereditary faction, have a tremendous amount of time, resources and credibility invested in "Kanonhstaton".  I would predict a much rockier course until justice is served, but only time will tell.  If the good name of Six Nations is badly stained by another riot by terrorists, they will likely have to deal with the shame for generations.  A second riot will not ever be forgiven by some of us.  It is a critical time for Six Nations and others who call this area home.  We must all play our cards well - using rational reasoned arguments rooted in the factual evidence.  Those who fly off in some emotional based direction would do a disservice to those of us on both sides who want to see resolution.
I expect that more information will be forthcoming very soon, and will include it in a subsequent posting.
A very encouraged,

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