Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thoughts and questions for Haldimand County political candidates about the future of Caledonia


In a letter to the Spectator, Rick Vanderwyk, candidate for Council in Haldimand County, concluded:
"The resolve of the residents will continue to grow
in calling for an end to the occupation.

For any candidates taking that position, I am interested in knowing how you propose to bring about an end to the occupation.

Six Nations people are very clear that they are not leaving until the title to that land is determined, and not thereafter if it is deemed their title. Thus, we know there will be no peaceful end to the occupation until that time as they will again defend themselves and their right to be on the land. If you propose to end the occupation by force before the title is determined, please explain how? The residents have a right to know how any proposed forcible removal may affect them. I refer you to this consideration of the implications of forcible removal for Caledonia, and for Canada.

http://sixnationssupporter.blogspot.com/2006/10/bring-in-army-we-want-war-note-at-cca.html

I would also like to ask candidates another question:

Of course, right now there is a stay of the court order, so they are not there illegally at present, according to the Attorney General, and thus cannot be legally forcibly removed.
I assume you would abide by this ruling, and by the future ruling of the Provincial Court of Appeals if it is found that the Haudenosaunee are not in contempt? (In that case, there will be no legal basis for removing them.)

I would ask only that you be truthful to the people of Caledonia and Haldimand: Before proclaiming that you will work to forcibly remove the Haudenosaunee people from the land, consider whether forcible removal is even possible, and what the implications are for immediate neighbours as well as for all Canadians in the years to come.

Personally, I do not believe the people of Canada are willing to tolerate another violent intervention in Caledonia. Canadians know we are on the brink of an Indigenous uprising, for valid reasons - because Canada denigrates and tries to dismiss their valid historical rights. Inciting violent intervention will not be looked on favourably by the Canadian people, by the International community nor by history. It will be just another incident in Canada's long history of genocidal policy and practice, another shame.

It is my hope that the upcoming elections will result in a council with a more effective approach to resolving community racism problems referred to by Barbara McDougall in the interview sent previously. These racist responses have been allowed, even encouraged, to develop in the absence of positive community leadership. Indeed, no community leader has seen fit to even reinforce the principles taught to students in school, and thus the community displays behaviour that young people are taught is wrong.

Just because some residents feel desperate ...

... doesn't make it Six Nations' problem. Some people live their lives on the edge of desperation. They just have a new external focus for their anxieties now.

... doesn't make it Canada's problem: Some people need to to take better care of their own mental health.

... doesn't mean Canada should compromise its honour and its future to accommodate a few residents who are prone to distress.

To date, in my opinion (and I have some experience), the response of Caledonia's politicians has been to reflect and escalate the anxiety of their most vulnerable citizens, which benefits no one, rather than addressing it calmly and maturely and effectively.

Note: At a minimum, any threat of forcible removal will result Six Nations securing itself against invasion again - road and rail barricades being put back in place, reinforcement of security personnel on the site, etc - i.e., resumption of the state of affairs just after the police raid as Six Nations secured itself against invasion. These matters, thus, require consideraion of how to achieve the minimum disruption to the minimum number of people, and then measures to address the small number still affected. It is my hope that the compensation for residents announced by Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, Minister of Intergovernmental affairs, will assist.

However, it is sad that no Haldimand officials have sought to address the needs of these vulnerable residents appropriately. Instead, their anxieties have been exacerbated and they have been used as pawns in a political game. This approach has led to a lawless state in certain areas of town, where some residents believe they can accost, harass and assault Six Nations' supporters IN FRONT OF POLICE without being charged.
The responsibility for this lawlessness lies squarely at the feet of local politicians who have not provided leadership or example in civic responsibility and civil behaviour.

John Tory talks loudly about a need for a "more aggressive" approach to resolving the land reclamation. However, each time he says this in the legislature, Dalton McGuinty calls his bluff and asks whether Tory is suggesting forcible removal. Tory says NO, and backs off. Tory is bluffing, he has no solutions and he knows that forcible removal is not a realistic strategy.

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