Politically Correct Cowardice
And since government at every level is just sitting back, fearful of upsetting the peace-averse folk labeling themselves Mohawk Warriors, it is the townsfolk of Caledonia that are the sacrificial lambs.
Yes, there's a legitimate grievance that First Nations peoples have with a succession of governments at every level. No, carrying their vendetta of grievance against people who have nothing whatever to do with the issues in question is not the right way to go. It's morally, ethically, and legally indefensible.
To begin with, the businesspeople who developed the Douglas Creek Estates as a suburban expression of the town extension proceeded legally, obtaining all the requisite approvals. In a spirit of good will, expressing the traditional live-and-let-live, and mutual respect evinced between the town of Caledonia and the Six Nations people over a very long time the developers consulted with the Six Nations band council, which raised no objections to the housing project initially.
Once the development began in earnest, as an integral portion of the Official Plan for Haldimand County residential development, protests erupted. And that is when a flood of protesters came on the scene and began to aggressively occupy the development site. Very few of them from the Six Nations reserve. Some of these protesters make protesting a way of life.
While the protest against government for its seeming inability to get on with settling native land claims is a legitimate and sympathetic one, victimizing ordinary people, impeding their legal civil rights does not garner sympathy for the cause.
Going out of their way to express respect for native culture and in sympathy with their fellow Canadians for the logjam in settling land claims, the residents of Caledonia have always enjoyed good relations with their neighbours. In their arguments with the federal and provincial governments, the Six Nations have received unequivocal support from Caledonians.
This is a peculiar way to compliment neighbours on their empathy and support.
In March 2006 the developers obtained a court injunction to have the protesters removed. The local Sheriff's officer, unarmed, presented the court order to the protesters. Who summarily disposed of it, burning it right before the officer, providing a very telegenic display for the cameras. OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface felt that only as a "last resort" would the OPP intervene. That "last resort" opportunity has yet to materialize.
Protesters from outside the region, skilled in cigarette, drug and weapons smuggling, settled in for the duration. Claiming they were there to "defend" native territory. Defence of native territory is inclusive of spontaneous violence and planned chaos. A wooden bridge was burned. Protesters barricaded major roads. A brush fire was set and protesters would not allow firemen to respond.
A van was thrown over a highway bridge. The development site's model home was looted and trashed. All of these infringements of the law were done in plain sight of OPP officers. Town residents, fearful for the safety of their children hardly knew how to respond when local grade schools dismissed their charges early on days of violence. Highway 6 remained blockaded for five weeks, seriously impeding the town's commerce.
Representatives of the province asked for calm. While mysteriously a Hydro One transformer station was set afire, resulting in $1-million in damage, and days of downed power for the town. Officials from various provincial ministries dealt cautiously and carefully with the Six Nations representatives, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council, which has since set up an extortion racket, selling "protection" to local business.
No one appeared ready to work with, consult with, attempt to address the concerns of the townspeople. Negotiations with the Six Nations representations has resulted in nothing at all in terms of solving the dilemma. The Haudenosaunee feel they are not subject to the Canadian legal system; they are a law unto themselves, yet they are incapable of assembling themselves representatively to work out an agreement with the province to end the protest.
Then in July the government of Dalton McGuinty bought the Douglas Creek Estate from the developer for in excess of $12-million, allowing the protesters continued, uncontrolled occupation of the site. This hasn't seemed to placate them. Residents of the town adjacent to the site are nightly entertained by loud noises, gunfire, shouting, heavy machinery, loud music, fireworks and the beating of drums.
Rocks are thrown at houses. Some site houses have been burned, and protesters continue to block the municipal fire department, the OPP and the Ontario Fire Marshall from access. Residents are insulted with racial and derogatory verbal slingshots. They're threatened with physical harm. The Mohawk Warriors dress in camouflage, bandanas over their faces, carrying nail-studded clubs.
The scenario is more reminiscent of terrorist activity in the Middle East than what might be construed as legitimate protests within Canada. The veneer of respectability, or at least hesitant acceptance, with their self-righteous claims to be defenders of those hard done by is offset by the undeniable truth that the protesters represent hard-core thugs.
Every society has them, and they're usually shunned, and when engaged in criminal activities, put away in prison.
It defies reason that the provincial government, let alone the federal authorities, are simply turning a blind eye to these illegal and violent confrontations. That our policing agencies are complicit with fearful, politically-correct government agencies, does no credit to our Canadian way of life, our Constitution-assured freedoms and guarantees of safety and security.
They earn nothing but scorn from the militant protesters, who seem to feel with justification on the record, that they can get away with anything. And there's little doubt that the Six Nations elders would have preferred this situation not to have escalated in the manner in which emotions and hot-tempered intruders have guided it.
No one gains, but the thugs who are having the times of their lives.