Conservatives support illegal occupation in Sharbot Lake

2inch_voc_logo-url.jpgIn ‘Sharbot Lake occupation falling apart, I provided links to various news items regarding the punishment handed out against those who conducted an illegal occupation that blocked the development of a uranium mine by Frontenac Ventures.

Well, it seems that MPP Randy Hillier, former president of the Lanark Landowners Association, thinks the occupiers got a raw deal. He and federal MP Scott Reid issued a media release saying that Robert Lovelace’s punishment was ‘cruel and unusual.’

question-mark_cartoon.jpegThey are starting to receive some calls and emails from people who are not too happy about criticism of a judge who has so far provided Ontarians with the only hope that the law will ever again be enforced against natives who disrupt society with illegal occupations.

My email to Hillier and Reid is below. You can send your thoughts to these addresses:

Randy Hillier, MPP
Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington
Queen’s Park Office: 416.325.2244   fax: 416.325.2166 
Constituency Office: 613.267.8239   fax: 613.267.7398

Scott Reid, MP
Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington
Parliament Hill: 613.947.2277    fax: 613.947.2278
Constituency Office (Napanee): 613.354.1948  fax: 613.354.0924
Tollfree: 1.866.929.0092

VoC letter to
MPP Randy Hillier and MP Scott Reid

cc: John Tory, leader of Ontario PC Party 

Feb 26, 2008

Re: your media release criticizing Justice Douglas Cunningham for enforcing law against illegal occupation

Dear Msrs. Hillier and Reid:

Billions of dollars of investment and hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario are being affected by illegal occupations, and you want to give the perpetrators a slap on the wrist because they haven’t used violence? Are you deliberately trying to undermine John Tory, the PC Party and the hopes of all people traumatized by landclaim lawlessness?

In light of Mr. Hillier’s experience as president of the Lanark Landowners Association, I wonder: if it were a farmer’s field that was occupied for months on end, and the farmer had to spend $500,000 on legal fees to get the occupiers from interfering with his livelihood, would he be condemning the courts for finally enforcing the law?

I have spent the last 18 months of my life working to give a voice to those people in Caledonia who have been affected by landclaim lawlessness. People like a 15 year old girl without policing who has to take drugs and go to counselling because she is afraid in her home thanks to OPP who have been told by occupiers they can’t patrol her street.

People like Sam Gualtieri who was almost murdered by native thugs during a ‘peaceful occupation’ of a development in Caledonia inside the house he was building for his daughter.

Your support for this illegal occupation is a slap in the face to every victim of landclaim lawlessness in Ontario. What is truly bringing the administration of justice into disrepute is the failure to enforce the law, aided and abetted by those who make excuses for the lawbreakers.

Since you seem to be justifying Lovelace’s actions based on his lack of violence as was used in Caledonia, I wonder if we could count on your participation, via a news release or personal appearance, in support of our next protest against the lawlessness and lack of law enforcement in Caledonia?

I will be in touch.


Mark Vandermaas



4 responses to “Conservatives support illegal occupation in Sharbot Lake

  1. I have one thing to ask of all your readers. Do not take the comments you read here as fact. Do your own research and formulate your own opinions. The occupation of the Ardoch and Shabot Algonquins of the site on Hwy 509 was a peaceful one where the First Nations people were reacting to a request by settlers in the area to help stop exploration for uranium along the Mississippi watershed. The Canadian Government is to blame here for allowing claim staking to occur under an antiquated mining act which has not been updated to meet todays environmental climate. How would you feel if you purchased 100 acres of beautiful boreal forest, built your retirement home and settled in to enjoy your sunset years, only to awake one morning to a mining company ravishing your land without and notice or permission. That is exactly what happened to spark the occupation of the property being used as a base for Frontenac Ventures. Maybe you would like to see them claim 33000 acres of wonderful cottage country and turn it into an open pit uranium mine, polluting the air for hundreds of miles, poisoning the water table and dislodging cottagers, land owners and wildlife, but we sure don’t. It is the duty of the Algonquin people to protect the land. Not just for us but for all, now and for the generations yet to come. I implore you all to take the time to research this fully. Do not be led down the path of intolerance and racism by a few who have not taken the time to understand the full story and it’s far reaching impact on all Ontarians.

    VoC REPLY (UPDATED): I was going to invest some time in responding to your comment, but you undermined the credibility of your whole argument when you resorted to name calling. Disagreeing with those who use occupations to ignore court orders and subvert the rule of law does not make one ‘intolerant’ and/or ‘racist.’ Have you taken time to understand Caledonia? If you’re calling me a racist, it’s obvious that you haven’t read anything on VoC to – as you put it – take “the time to understand the full story and its far reaching impact on all Ontarians.” Mark

    Note: Brian was kind enough to write back to apologize for giving me the impression he thought I was a racist. Please see his comment below and my reply. Mark

  2. My sincerest apologies if I made it sound as if you were intolerant of racist. Nor did I intend to suggest you are leading people down that path. It certainly was not my intention. I was merely trying to impress upon your readers to also do their own research and take each occupation on a case by case basis. Perhaps my choice of words was not correct to get my point across to people to resist the temptation to formulate opinions without all the information. As a point of interest for yourself, this is my first visit to VoC and only the beginning of my research into Caledonia.

    Again I offer my apology for my choice of words if they caused you to believe they were directed at you personally and I do welcome your response to my initial letter as you planned on doing originally.

    If you are interested you might Google “The Frontenac Uranium Standoff” and read some of the archived articles which date back to the beginning of the occupation and the events which led up to it.

    Thanks for taking time to consider my comments.

    VoC REPLY: Hi Brian. I do appreciate your apology. It takes a ‘big’ person to make one. I don’t have much use for greedy corporations who destroy the environment any more than you do. I also fully confess that I don’t even know that much about Sharbot Lake, so I appreciate you taking the time to pass on some resources that will help readers understand it.

    Let me explain why I take ‘joy’ in the fact that the Sharbot Lake occupation has been dealt firmly with by the courts. From my perspective, the Sharbot Lake occupution/issue is important only so far as it represents a continuance of the use of illegal occupations as a form of protest. The fact that it hasn’t been violent does not give me a lot of comfort given that every other occupation that I know of personally – Brantford, Hagersville, Ipperwash, and Caledonia – have either involved violence or the threat of violence. In Caledonia, court orders have been ignored and people have been hurt, some badly. The people of Ipperwash suffered for a decade from native crime and violence that has never been even acknowledged. In fact, the Ipperwash Inquiry deliberately suppressed all evidence of it.

    The ’causes’ or ‘justifications’ of occupations and their associated lawlessness are of no real concern to me. I don’t care if the Frontenac protest was ‘justified’ any more than I care if the Six Nations claims are justified. Both are irrelevant to me so far as the issue of preventing violence against innocents is concerned. My position is that disputes should be dealt with in the courts, not with lawlessness. Sociologists and historians can research and debate the causes of the violence; I only want to stop the violence – in the same way I want a police officer to stop someone from beating my father’s head in (i.e. Sam Gualtieri) instead of considering the criminals ‘reasons’ for doing so because of his race or historical grievances.

    You may think I am opposed to civil disobedience as a means of protest. Nothing could be further from the truth. The courts have recognized that a healthy democracy allows for the passion and debate caused when people are prepared to risk everything they have to draw attention to injustice. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself wrote of this. It is his words and beliefs in confronting injustice that guides us as we work to end the injustices in Caledonia.

    “In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16/63

    Note that Dr. King makes the point that if one wishes to use civil disobedience, one must do so “lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.”

    If Sharbot Lake was first occupation I had heard of, and violence was not being used against innocents while the OPP watched (as occurred in Caledonia), it probably wouldn’t register on my radar. Unfortunately, I have spent the last 18 months of my life trying to stop the violence, crime and intimidation of innocents in Caledonia who have been completely and utterly abandoned by their government and their police, just as the innocent residents of Ipperwash were abandoned.

    If Caledonia was a peaceful protest where the occupiers ‘lovingly’ accepted the penalties that the law was willing to impose, I would never have gotten involved. My only interest is stopping the violence and civil rights violations. Caledonia is on the verge of anarchy because the police conduct blatant race-based policing while they and the Liberal government justify it via a tragically-flawed and fundamentally flawed inquiry that deliberately suppressed evidence.

    We have been arrested for simply trying to put a Canadian flag on a public utility pole because native thugs didn’t want it there. I and two of my fellow activists have been physically assaulted by native thugs as have residents and police. We are forced to lay our own charges for many of the assaults, including some on behalf of police officers who have specific or tacit orders not to arrest natives for crimes that would have non-natives in handcuffs right away. Meanwhile, Julian Fantino falsely blamed us for the violence and interfered in the investigation by making a public pronouncement of our guilt before any investigation had begun. In Caledonia, the occupied area is known (just as it still is in Ipperwash) as the ‘homefree zone’ because OPP will not pursue native criminals onto it.

    For us, Sharbot Lake represents the very first time that native lawlessness has been confronted and turned back. I served on a peacekeeping mission in the Middle East and I have driven through the Gaza strip where there is civil war because there is no rule of law. How much would Iraq and the U.S. pay for the rule of law? Perhaps, for you, the decision of the court means that you will have a uranium mine in your neighbourhood. For us, it represents hope that the rule of law – the very foundation of our democracy – will be preserved before we fall into the abyss of anarchy. I am pleased that Sharbot Lake was peaceful; perhaps we are turning a corner.

    I hope this helps you understand my/our position. I would highly recommend that you download a copy of our CANACE report, ‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations’ if you want to know more about Caledonia and Ipperwash. You can find the link in CALEDONIA VIOLENCE. The page also has a link to info regarding the Dec 01/07 attacks by natives on non-native protesters.

    Thanks for writing and for the apology, Brian. Regards, Mark

  3. Dear Mark,
    It is now the position of Michael Bryant that the Platinex situation should not have resulted in arrests and fines of natives. This is a former Attorney General now undermining publicly the court determination of yet another Judge in Ontario along with Randy Hillier and company.
    I do believe the Liberals are functioning above the law when they are disgracing a Judge in his decision and will probably find a way to overturn his verdict, just as they got rid of the Marshall Injunction. In some situations Justice may not seem to be fair or just. But what are we to do??? The law is the only law we have. I think it is imperative the government stay out of it after a verdict is in. Oddly the government never interferes with the ridiculous sentences of pedophiles, rapists, or gang members. Perhaps we all need to set these guys as a precedent and all the criminals can go to them and claim unjust verdicts. We would save a whole lot of money by eliminating the courts that Bryant and Hillier find so repulsive.


  4. Steve Smith

    An open pit mine near Sharbot Lake in the Missippi Watershed?Does anyone here understand the relationship between Cancer and the radioactive decay endproducts of Uranium mining, especially with open pit mining(Ask me!:)?This is insanity!The National Post gives a very slanted view of this issue!