Just days after our Queen’s Park news conference -‘Ending Race-Based Policing: The Caledonia Act,’ – where we were joined by speakers from the pro-Israel Never Again Group and the International Free Press Society, MPP Toby Barrett has issued a call for strong action re the Caledonia occupation, and praised our efforts and ideas for reaching a resolution…
“Barrett credits Gary Mchale and CANACE for keeping the issue alive in the media and in the limelight, suggesting a lot of McHale’s ideas have been ‘pretty good’.” They include having more oversight from the Ontario Ombudsman with respect to the OPP and more protection for whistleblowers in the Police service.
- CD98.9 Radio FM, Feb 14/12: Toby Barrett says native occupation of former DCE lands must end
It was Toby Barrett who made the Queen’s Park Media Studio available for our news conference, as he has done in the past. He also spoke in Gary McHale’s inaugural March for Freedom on Oct 15/06. (photos, R and top)
You can read the Caledonia Act recommendations here:
- CANACE/Caledonia Victims Project recommendations: ‘The Caledonia Act’ [PDF, 4p]
Barrett also has a strongly worded article about the Douglas Creek Estates occupation and the violence in Caledonia on his website…
‘Occupy Caledonia will be six years February 28’
By MPP Toby Barrett
On February 28, 2006, Dawn Smith and Janie Jamieson blocked the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia. Six years later, the scars of the resulting mayhem remain, continuing to seed division in the community and to block home building, commercial and industrial development.
The subdivision – festooned with warrior flags, still occupied by militants, featuring a burnt-out tractor trailer and hydro tower barricade – sits undeveloped and untouchable, as do nearby yet-be-wired hydro towers, as a reminder of mistakes made and perpetuated.
It has been six years of lost economic opportunity across Haldimand, Brantford, and Brant as businesses, homeowners and investments continue to be scared away by threat of confrontation and violence. Haldimand County, home to the fastest-growing town in Canada up until six years ago, has now lost 650 residents in part to dismal economic conditions locally and the erosion of justice, rule of law and democratic process.
Regrettably the apparent tolerance of those in authority for chaos and intimidation, up and down the former Grand River Tract, has resulted in mistrust and loss of confidence in our institutions of policing, justice and governance.
One email I’ve received captures what many continue to tell me they are feeling: “This erosion of our long held beliefs in justice, fairness, equality under the laws among our other supposed Canadian tenets has me deeply troubled.”
Last month’s sentencing of Richard Smoke in the beating of Caledonia’s Sam Gualtieri has reignited much of the debate of two-tier justice that has been a mantra for six years.
22-year-old Smoke had been sentenced to time-served – amounting to less than 2 years – for his conviction of aggravated assault, in the 2007 beating of Gualtieri, a home builder. At the time, now-Opposition Leader Tim Hudak went to Caledonia’s Sterling Street to call for action. Hudak also wrote the Attorney-General urging him to appeal the Smoke sentence, describing the attack on Gualtieri as “vicious” and “just a notch below culpable homicide”. The sentence was not appealed.
Over six years, John Tory, Tim Hudak and I have been appraising the Legislature of the $116 million Niagara to Middleport hydro project standing wireless and useless, stalled by intimidation.
The concern remains that government may completely cave and legally hand over the subdivision to militants in spite of federal statements that there is no valid land claim. Militants remain onsite and Ontario residents are prevented from setting foot on land purchased with their tax dollars, thus some feel a handover of sorts has already taken place. After all with a stroke of a pen both Ipperwash Provincial Park and the Burtch property were transferred with zero public consultation.
Opposition Leader Tim Hudak understands the impact of any possible official handover of DCE to Six Nations on families in Caledonia stating succinctly, “The Ontario PC Caucus opposes this move. We believe it is the wrong thing to do.”
Six years of chaos, unanswered questions and little action speak to the need to move on Opposition calls for an inquiry, and recommendations for action, into the handling of events in Caledonia by government, the police and the courts. If not, the mistrust and lack of confidence in our cherished institutions will remain.
- MPP Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk, Feb 14/12: Occupy Caledonia will be six years February 28
Thank you Toby Barrett
This is the first time that Mr. Barrett has publicly complimented our work to the media, and we hope it is a sign of good things to come. And thank you again for making the Queen’s Park Media Studio available.
- 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
- VoiceofCanada, Feb 13/12: Stuart Laughton, Never Again Group speech at Caledonia Act news conference: Individuals are the ultimate minorities
- Hamilton Spectator op-ed, by Gary Gerofsky, Jan 27/11: Countering ‘demonization’ of Israel (Never Again Group)
- International Free Press Society (Canada): IFPSCanada.com
- VoiceofCanada, Feb 13/12: Mary Lou Ambrogio, International Free Press Society ‘connects the dots’ w/speech at Queen’s Park Caledonia Act news conference
- HelplessByBlatchford project feature: ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares‘