Wednesday, January 10, 2007

'Marshall Law' in Caledonia
Unfortunately the Ontario Court of Appeal identified Justice Marshall's errors in law too late to prevent the trauma, injury, terror and unfair conviction of 21 peaceful unarmed people sleeping or sitting by by the fire, in a muddy moonscape of a development site with its sacred topsoil scraped off.

Justice T. David Marshall is 'the law' in Haldimand County where the Six Nations Haudenosaunee people are asserting their aboriginal rights. Their claim is for the Haldimand Tract, six miles deep on either side of the Grand River from source (near Orangeville) to mouth (Lake Erie), traditional lands reserved solely for them after the American War of Independence. They are also asserting sovereignty as allies of the Crown, not subjects. They fought with the British against the Americans in 1776, and again in the war of 1812, where they turned them back at the Niagara River. They are allies of the Crown: Allies, and sovereign people.

Jim Prentice, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada referred to the Haldimand Tract as
"... the oldest land claim in Canada", so clearly the government has been aware of the issue for a very long time, since 1841 with the first objection to the 1841 'surrender'. With benefit of knowledge of what happens still today, I know that the government and the Confederacy signed an offer, which the government of Canada still today calls "signing a final agreement", just to befuddle the Canadian population. Just like the unions, the offer goes to the people for ratification and it was voted down, in 1841; but our government still "stands by" this 'final agreement', because that is all Canada has.

The federal government has consistently failed to address the issue in any meaningful way despite letters of concern dating back to 1841, and 29 specific land claims submitted since 1979. Six Nations has been led on a merry dance of filing objections and claims, negotiating ad nauseam without result, finally, frustrated, Six Nations Band Council took the government to court ... for a few years ... then "Now ... let's explore this matter instead ... " ... on and on the dance goes, the government's purpose being
to go nowhere.

So ... with the backing of the
Clan Mothers, who hold the aboriginal title to the land, the some seventh generation leaders of the reclamation have reclaimed the land themselves and finally managed to engage the government in real negotiations, so far ... but they are starting to stall. There was an interruption as negotiations were beginning, though, because Justice T. David Marshall granted the 'owners' and developers of the land an ex parte injunction to remove the Six Nations people from the site. Ex Parte is the term used when there is only one party to the injunction, and thus no opportunity for Six Nations to respond. If they were allowed to respond to an ordinary injunction, they would bring up the issue of the Constitution and Aboriginal Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Human Rights Code, and all those interpretive laws of the land.

Justice Marshall lives in the Haldimand Tract. Justice Marshall, in fact, is a 'landowner' in the Haldimand Tract. The Haudenosaunee people know the laws of the land better than he does. They attended the injunction hearing anyway. They spoke anyway. They told the Judge, through a lawyer, that they were claiming the whole Haldimand Tract and since he was a 'landowner', he was in a conflict of interest and should recuse himself (withdraw). He became very upset, excused himself and left the courtroom for a few minutes. Then he returned and granted the injunction. He did not recuse himself. He told the Haudenosaunee people present that the injunction would be enforced, but they would be given a chance to leave the site. If they did not leave, they would be arrested and summarily convicted - convicted on the spot with no opportunity to defend themselves in court, in violation of their fundamental right to fair procedure, the Court of Appeal commented.

The injunction took effect at 2 p.m., March 29, 2006. Haudenosaunee women and children and men lined the entrance to the reclamation site that day, but the police did not come in. For a month, the people on the site were subjected to helicopters and planes flying over the site, a huge buildup of OPP in town in tactical gear, their activity everywhere, news that hospitals were clearing wards in preparation, multiple ambulances parked strategically nearby, more busloads of police officers, repeated warnings from police that they were "coming in tonight", and many many other psychological tactics, but they did not leave the site.
Judge Marshall got impatient and told police that if they did not remove the Haudenosaunee people from the site, he was calling them back to court to explain publicly why the court's order had not been implemented. The 'owners', Henco partners the Henning brothers, also pressured the OPP through the press to act on their injunction. The Mayor always insisted they must be removed (still does). The OPP brought in more officers, more ambulances, more helicopter flights and the tension in the town was palpable.

Later, the police said things had seemed to be 'ratcheting up' on the site. I was there. April 18, sitting in my car listening to the drumming and singing. The only ratcheting up was done by the OPP. Later they also said "there were some New York license plates" as if that was a reason to attack. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy spans the border.

Under pressure, the OPP enforced Judge Marshall's order, implementing the injunction by attacking suddenly with 150 Tactical officers at 4:45 a.m. on April 20, 2006. One youth and 5 white supporters were given a chance to leave the site, in fact chased off by OPP waving guns at them. The other youth there was dumped out of the hammock where he was sleeping, jumped on hard, and handcuffed. 15 Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters ... young women kicked awake with guns in their faces.

They ran some yelling, "We are supposed to be able to leave ... we are supposed to leave!" They were told by the Confederacy Council to leave the site in case of police approach. They were chased by police in vehicles and on foot, tackled and brought down hard, men tasered, one young man pulling out three tasers and throwing them back before the fourth finally brought him down. They were beaten if they struggled, and they all did, so some officers also sustained injuries but they all did. They were handcuffed and laid out on the ground, "all pretty beaten up" according to an eye witness, one of the 5 white people chased away who stuck around to witness despite OPP threats.

150 officers arrested 16 people, "all pretty beaten up"
, mostly young parents, some pregnant.

Then they were put into police transport vehicles, taken to the station. Four men were left restrained in a closed van for 4 hours in the unseasonally hot sun. All were processed, finger printed and
summarily convicted of contempt of court. One who gave his own name instead of the Canadian name assigned to his family in the residential schools, was held several days, was beaten, and had to spend a few days in hospital before he could be released.

Meanwhile, tactical OPP had control of the site after 5 a.m., with a few Six Nations people gradually appearing here and there to retrieve things, then a few more, then more and more as hundreds came quietly out of the bush from the back of the site,
led by the women who linked arms and walked the OPP back off the land. A grandmother chased a police woman who retaliated, and the grandmother was taken down and badly bruised with blows from five officers. Then her son and other Haudenosaunee men arrived and the officers fled, the police woman redfaced, grabbing and gripping a highpowered rifle in her hands fiercely as they drove away.

By about 8:30 a.m., the Haudenosaunee Confederacy people of Six Nations had retaken the site. Police ran away so quickly they left prisoner transport and other vehicles behind. At that point, the young men came forward and smashed windows, etc, until officers returned to retrieve the vehicles and until they drove them away. The last officer thought he'd try to tell them to stop, and they had to chase him into the vehicle. That got a lot of press. ;)

This is Marshall Law. This is not the law of Canada. Judge Marshall "erred in law", failed to afford "fair procedure" and failed to implement the proper legal solution. He implemented "force of law" when negotiation is always the legal solution, according to the Supreme Court. He violated basic human rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for not affording due process of law, and aboriginal rights to by not acknowledging the government's authority to negotiate as the legal solution.
Unfortunately the Ontario Court of Appeal identified Justice Marshall's errors in law too late to prevent the trauma, injury, terror and conviction of 21 peaceful unarmed people sleeping or sitting by by the fire, in a muddy moonscape of a development site with its sacred topsoil scraped off.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Aboriginal title/Canada? Greenfield/Brownfield?

Marie and the whiners playing worn out tunes of yesteryear ...

Last year I wondered how I would spend my time in retirement, what cause, what did I WANT to do to 'help'.

The human environment is always a concern. I live in desecrated downtown Hamilton. I love the old areas, the history, the beauty, the hands that have touched the railing. An old building saved from destruction and renewed is a jewel to me!

A big box or big (deadspace) office building replacing an old shopping or residential neighbourhood is Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad Evil or Very Mad

A suburb spraaaaawling all over a former farmer's field, no sidewalks, no trees, no store to walk to for a quart of milk, gotta get in the car and spew some fumes... get a quart of milk ... spew ALOT of fumes ... get to work ... spew some more fumes ... go visit a friend ... my idea of hell! (Mount Hope .... oh GROSS!!!) DEVELOPERS YOU ARE ON MY sh** LIST!

An ugly old industrial site is ... beautiful potential for a cozy new neighbourhood!! clean, green, already on the bus line, sewer line, bicycle friendly, pedestrian friendly, CHILD friendly, people friendly ... etc. etc. ... compact means more green areas left ... you get my drift.

As I was pondering this, Janie and Hazel and a few others took a short walk onto the DCE and changed my year and maybe my life. Wink Maybe all of our lives. Maybe changed the whole country.

Oh ya, did I mention, aboriginal rights ... always a lurking concern of mine too. "Uphold the honour of the Crown" and all that ... PollyannaCanada ... tell the truth ... acknowledge the horrors ... the ripoffs ... DO THE RIGHT THING fercrissakes!

So I am talking to Janie and it's slowly dawning on me ...

Destruction of the greenfields, commuter sprawl ...

This truly is a winning team ... a win-win team, in my books.


That's not a problem! HURRAH!! That's a HUGE VICTORY!!

Mayor Marie and greenfield developers who like the easy money?
You have met your nemesis.
It is the end.
It is over.

It is just NOT the way of the future. Just SOOOOOO 80's ... passe ... lights out ... that's all she wrote ... greenfields are off the development plate ... boundaries are expanding NOWHERE!!


Now stop the whinging and start learning about brownfield and infill development. And start thinking about human development, about why people want to live in Caledonia in the first place. I don't think it's because of sprawl and big box stores.

It is because of that lovely small town downtown.
Focus on filling that with residents and shoppers!

Oh and btw ... Those of us who live in the city are friggen tired of subsidizing the HUGE costs of infrastructure on the greenfields. Who the frig needs 50 miles of pipe and tubes to serve 10 houses?? yeesh!! Tighten it up, put it on a bus line, and share the greenspace that creates.
This is not rocket science.