Yesterday's National Post contained an illuminating article by lawyer John Findlay ('Sacrificial lambs at the altar of Ipperwash'), regarding a class action suit he is bringing against 'former OPP Comissioner Gwen Boniface, the former Haldimand provincial police detachment commander and the Ontario Government, on behalf of several businesses and property owners in Caledonia'. (Thanks to Just Right or I might have missed it.)
Anyway, it is a comprehensive account of the whole Caledonia story, as well as being a real eye-opener concerning the lame attitudes of government and police as they cower in fear over the ramifications of the Ipperwash inquiry and strip non-natives of money and rights in the process.
But holding Ipperwash up as the Holy Grail on which to base all future native policy is not only disingenuous, it is also unworkable.
- Disengenuous, because as John Findlay pointed out, "The Ipperwash situation was unique. The disputed land at Ipperwash was located on rural land that had been used by the government. At Caledonia, by contrast, the occupation has taken place in a heavily populated area on land that has been in private hands for over 150 years."
- Unworkable because this spineless attitude of backing off no matter what, means that nothing can be built along the Grand River without fear of the project being taken over a dissenting native group, and everyone is well aware there will be no consequences for any law-breakers. This cannot continue in a democracy.
Finally, Mr. Findlay suggests that the real culprits here are the bureaucrats, politicians and police who are unable to "distinguish between the criminals and the responsible members of the native community."
By doing so they have not only disrespected the rights of all Ontario citizens, but have also played a role in promoting racism and stereotyping.
It is unacceptable.