REGIONAL NEWS THIS WEEK
by Bill Jackson
Some people see flag raising events in Caledonia as disruptions to a quiet town on a Sunday afternoon. Others see them as driving at the root of two-tier justice that has inhibited economic development and inflicted much bigger wounds than anything occurring last Sunday.
Sure, cars took it slow to make sure that they avoided a few dozen people who were standing on the shoulders of Argyle Street South. But while frustration and hostility were in the air, acts of violence and major confrontations did not occur.
After all, why would they? People only wanted to raise a few Canadian flags in Caledonia. In Canada.
Certainly with the events that have played out over the past few years, people can appreciate the whole point of Sunday’s rally. It wasn’t to disrupt the town or even raise flags for that matter, but rather to get the names and numbers of OPP officers who will be privately prosecuted. A group of Canadian activists is trying to take a stand against police who, for one reason or another, do not uphold the laws of Canada equally for everyone despite taking an oath to do just that.
Many people are good at complaining about the problems Haldimand is facing, but they don’t do anything concrete to try and address these problems. Not everyone wants to come out to a flag raising for a variety of reasons, but they shouldn’t criticize those that do.
Politicians complain and criticize, but what have they done to help solve the development problems Haldimand is facing? Has talking to the leaders of Six Nations worked? And if Six Nations protesters do decide to set up a road blockage or protest another development site, will the police do anything to stop it unless there are months of court proceedings and an injunction order?
The big news under planning applications at Haldimand council this week was the development of 16 residential units in Cayuga. This after months of stagnation and three years of major developments being cancelled., Meanwhile Haldimand is attempting to promote development by waiving various fees for developers up front and is grovelling over infrastructure dollars before the Cayuga Arena falls down.
I guess the point here is that different people have different solutions to deal with some of the problems Haldiamnd is facing. What’s proactive and what’s reactive depends on perception.
Brantford Council is attempting to take action through the courts that would disallow native protesters on development sites and force the police to take action against those that disobey. Even there it’s a judge and a crapshoot, but it’s better than writing resolution after resolution calling on other levels of government to fix your woes, while telling people that municipalities’ hands are tied when it comes to land claims, and continuing to appease natives, police and senior levels of government while getting little in return.
It’s not just development that’s at stake.
Things have been calm in Caledonia lately and no one wants to see any lingering frustrations flare up into full blown furor. But given the OPP’s reaction to last Sunday’s event, one can be certain that the same methodology it used back in 2006 will prevail in 2009 if native protesters choose to terrorize the neighborhood again. Some people are still without policing and are living next to a lawless piece of land that’s an eroding eyesore.
People who don’t want to come to a flag raising event is one thing, but those who want to stand by and watch the town and county go to hell in a hand basket while complaining about Canadian flag raisers need to give their head a shake.
The Regional also was kind enough to publish a joint letter by Merlyn Kinrade and me this week demanding an apology from Councillor Sloat for his comments that we were ‘abusing’ the Canadian flag for personal gain (yes, really!):
- VoiceofCanada, June 03/09: Regional News letter: Sloat should apologize
Many thanks to Bill Jackson and and the Regional News for such a strongly worded rebuke to the politicians (and others) who criticize those of us who dare to speak out against the injustices of racial policing in Caledonia/Haldimand. I am profoundly grateful for your words.
As I once wrote about the Regional and Jackson:
From the perspective of someone who has risked my safety, reputation, freedom and financial security to keep native thugs, corrupt police and politicians from destroying everything I value about my country I’ll take one Bill Jackson and The Regional over the Spectator, Expositor, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun and CBC combined.
VoiceofCanada, July 23/08: Ryerson Review of Journalism: McHale & Vandermaas important news sources for Caledonia dispute
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality