April 30, 2008

Michael Bryant, MY MP, you represent PEOPLE not corporations!!

There is nothing lawless about these demonstrations.

Ontario is involved in CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

and creating political prisoners.

Compelling reasons to keep negotiating

Posted 3 hours ago

Six Nations people have been negotiating with the federal and provincial governments for two years over a land claim at Caledonia.

Tyendinaga Mohawks have occupied a quarry at Deseronto for more than a year as part of another land claim.

And last year, people of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation took over land near Sharbot Lake, protesting a proposed uranium mining operation. That protest resulted in the jailing of Bob Lovelace.

There are common themes running through all three situations:

they are contentious developments that are opposed by the local natives, and sometimes their non-native supporters;

natives accusing the provincial government of not negotiating with them in a timely manner;

protests spilling over onto public roads;

arrests by OPP officers often involving violent clashes;

Ontario Provincial Police telling the public they will deal only with the public disturbances, not the land-claim issue;

the provincial government saying it will deal only with the land claims, not the disturbances.

The manner in which the province and the provincial police have been dealing with these situations is guided by one crucial lesson: the fatal shooting of native protester Dudley George in 1995 by an OPP officer during the Ipperwash standoff.

This is a good thing. We don't want any more deaths or bloody confrontations. But this also places a greater onus on native groups to be responsible.

Last week, Tyendinaga Mohawks erected a blockade on a busy highway. Police moved in and took it down peacefully.

On Friday afternoon, protest leader Shawn Brant was arrested and charged with various crimes not related to the blockade. A group of his supporters moved in, smashing a police cruiser's window and injuring two officers.

By Friday night, Six Nations Mohawks had thrown up a blockade at a highway interchange near Caledonia in support of Shawn Brant.

Brant and the Tyendinaga protesters, meantime, were essentially disowned by the band council. "There must be an end to road blockades, violence, and any conduct that has the potential to further inflame the situation," said Chief Donald Maracle.

Confused? Many Ontarians are frustrated with these eruptions of lawlessness, but also with the lack of progress in land claims talks.

The opposition Conservatives this week pressed Michael Bryant, the province's aboriginal affairs minister, to cut off all talks until the barriers in Caledonia were removed. Bryant replied: "

If there is not negotiation taking place and the parties aren't talking, then how on Earth would progress be made?"
Recently, Bryant said negotiations were on again.

It is precisely Bryant's job to keep all sides at the table. The reasons for urgent action are compelling: heightening native and non-native tensions; violent clashes between police and natives; radical native groups hijacking the agenda from legitimate representatives; and good people like Bob Lovelace being detained for peacefully standing his ground.

Article ID# 1006938

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