“Stuart Laughton’s short speech is one of the best analyses of legal and social consequences of Ontario government’s policies in Caledonia.”
— Email to VoC by Miroslav Marinov, BlogWrath.com
The feedback for the speech given by Stuart Laughton of the Hamilton-based Never Again Group at the CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project Feb 10/12 Queen’s Park news conference — ‘Ending Race-Based Policing: The Caledonia Act’ — was so positive that VoiceofCanada has decided to print Stuart’s entire speech…
QUEEN’S PARK NEWS CONFERENCE:
‘Ending Race-Based Policing: The Caledonia Act’
Queen’s Park Media Studio, Feb 10/12
My name is Stuart Laughton and I am here on behalf of the Never Again Group, an organization that supports Gary McHale in his group’s fight against racially biased policing in Caledonia, just as he has supported us elsewhere.
The Never Again Group is based in Hamilton—which is very close to Caledonia—and our membership is about 1/2 Jewish. We defend the state of Israel from baseless accusations and we fight anti-Semitism in its various guises. The Never Again Group does not believe that the Ontario government’s directives to police in Caledonia began with ill intentions—and we don’t know anyone who believes that Premier McGuinty is specifically targeting Jews there—but these directives were nevertheless profoundly wrong and dangerous in ways Canadians are only now beginning to appreciate. I want to stress that my group has made no opposition to Natives who make land claims: we only protest the violent manner in which the claims to the Caledonia property are made and the racially skewed responses of the Ontario government.
It is a temptation we all fall into at one time or another to do what feels generous in the short term and to extend consideration to others, especially those perceived to be different from us. A much more challenging stance is to consider what the unintended long-term consequences of such generous instincts might be, and whether these results might still be judged to be good. We see today that one of the unintended consequences of privileging natives on the Caledonia property has been to bar Jews from that property. Gary McHale’s provocative “No Jews Allowed” sign is correct. Does Premier McGuinty now wish he’d chosen the path of one law for all right from the beginning?
Now that we have this unfortunate precedent in Caledonia let’s consider who Ontario’s next Premier might be, and which groups he might favour. Will he turn everything completely around and allow me to assault a native person, arresting the innocent victim of my violence? Will Tamils once again be allowed to walk their families down an expressway, stopping traffic and endangering lives? What if a large Christian activist group “occupies” downtown areas of our cities for weeks on end at great expense and inconvenience to the public, breaking numerous laws with impunity? Why wouldn’t that be permissible under some future premier? Will our next premier instruct police not to enter predominantly Muslim areas of our major cities, and allow microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law to flourish there? The nightmare scenario of parallel, segregated societies where police have lost control is playing out in Europe today. Parts of England—even parts of London—have become No-Go zones that are extremely hostile to non-Muslims.
We also have to consider the effect that racially biased policing has on those Native Canadians, Tamils, Muslims and others who ask for no special favours and want nothing to do with the demands of the more militant members of their community. Who speaks for them? We have to consider the corrosive effects of the government’s directives on the rank and file police officers who can no longer obey their primary instinct—and sworn duty—to arrest the bad guys. Who speaks for them and what has been lost in this process?
The Never Again Group calls on the Ontario Provincial Police and the government of Dalton McGuinty to set the example that Ontario’s citizens expect from them. Equality before the law is an unassailable position that must be part of the election platform of every responsible political party.
There are many ethnic groups in Canada, which is a wonderful thing but wholly irrelevant where the law is concerned—because where the law is concerned we must forget who is a Jew, a Native, a Tamil, a Muslim or an atheist. Our citizenry consists of millions and millions and millions of individuals, and these INDIVIDUALS are the ultimate minorities. Each of us has the right to be treated impartially before the law. That’s what matters. Maybe it’s all that matters.
- Hamilton Spectator op-ed, by Gary Gerofsky, Jan 27/11: Countering ‘demonization’ of Israel (Never Again Group)
- VoiceofCanada, Feb 13/12: Queen’s Park news conference – NGO’s stand with Caledonia activists for release of Caledonia Act recommendations to end racial policing
- CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project recommendations: ‘The Caledonia Act’ [PDF, 4p]
- HelplessByBlatchford project feature: ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares‘