Posted January 17, 2011
When the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) states that it’s not the police’s job to solve disputes between First Nations “communities” and government, whose job is it?
This followed a Superior Court judge who slammed the OPP for not doing enough to stop a Via Rail blockage that stranded passengers the main line between Toronto and Montreal.
This wimpy response to a failure to serve and protect, echoes the actions of the OPP in the infamous Caledonia occupation a few tears back. Then the Six Nations aboriginals blocked roads and defied the police to take control. At the time the Provincial Government under the leadership of Dalton McGuinty, controlled the long-term standoff.
It also is mindful of 2009 in Guelph when urban terrorists occupied the Hanlon Business Park then under development. This was protest to save the rare Jefferson salamander. At least, that was the excuse but the real reason was to disrupt a lawful taxpayer project to build economic strength and create jobs in the city. It was later disclosed that the delay in construction cost the city more than $1 million.
Ironically some of that bunch of anarchists was later convicted of offences in the 2010 G20 meeting in Toronto.
One event in which the Guelph police dropped the ball was when a bus containing invited guests to the sod-turning ceremony at the Hanlon were assaulted with banging on the side of the bus and cursing by a crowd of “activists”. And the police never intervened but videotaped this degrading assault on human dignity.
The OPP are creatures of the Provincial government and report their activities to the Attorney General. Therein lies the problem. The police are not independent but tools of the elected politicians.
All police in Ontario are sworn to uphold the law, to protect the public, and adhere to the Constitution and Charter of Rights. None of those actions of obstruction and taunting of citizens is a right under the Constitution or Charter.
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis has chosen to place his formidable force behind the Charter of Rights. That’s a convenient excuse not to stop unlawful blockages of rail lines, roads and bridges.
It’s one thing to protest and demonstrate. It’s not all right to defy the rule of law with its impact on people and the Canadian economy.
Commissioner, instruct your personnel to stop the blockage of the avenues of our economy.
With members of our own Guelph council supporting the “Idle no More” movement, the issues lie with the Harper government and their mishandling of the legitimate First Nations grievances.
But there is a lot of sturm and drang interlaced in the First Nations protests. If they want to be heard then look inwardly how Canadian taxpayers have spend millions to provide support to the First Nations Canadians with often unsatisfactory outcomes.
When a Reserve chief is paid $274,000 a year, tax free, plus the widespread use of nepotism in the reserve structure to manage a poverty stricken community, there are serious questions to be asked. The question arises where does the money given to various Indian bands and reserves go? A full accounting by a third party is required
The entire question of aboriginal and Metis citizenship in Canada is one that deserves serious dialogue between the Federal government, its provincial and territorial partners and the First Nations.
Nevertheless, the Canadian Police Services must maintain law and order. The thin blue line must serve and protect the rights of all Canadians to work, move and enjoy the freedoms as given under the Constitution and Charter of Rights.
Mr. OPP Commissioner, do your job.