Toby Barrett, Caledonia’s Member of Provincial Parliament (Haldimand-Norfolk) today asked the Liberal government if Christie Blatchford’s shocking book ‘Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, And How the Law Failed All of Us’ – which hit bookshelves today – would lead them to finally call a public inquiry into the matter. Barrett’s email is reprinted below.
The Liberals, once again, told the Legislature they were relying on the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry – even though they (and the Opposition) know full well that it never studied the issue of preventing native violence against innocent residents. Please see the notes and resources following Barrett’s email:
From: Barrett, Toby [email@example.com
Sent: Tue 10/26/2010 4:08 PM
Subject: Caledonia update
Re: Christie’s book
Good afternoon Toby here,
Please find below the news release regarding the questions I asked in the Ontario Legislature, as well as the draft Hansard transcript.
For Immediate Release
October 26, 2010
Is Blatchford’s ‘Helpless’ the final word on Caledonia?
Minister shrugs call for public inquiry
Queen’s Park – On the launch of renowned journalist Christie Blatchford’s chronicle of the land occupation in Caledonia, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett asked Premier McGuinty if this book represents the final chapter.
“Her book is titled Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us. “Some questions, Premier: Does this wrap it up? Is this the final say on what happened, on what went wrong down in Caledonia? Premier, now will you get to the bottom of this?”
In true McGuinty fashion, the Premier passed the buck to Attorney General Chris Bentley who ducked the question and took the time to speak about land claims rather than Barrett’s inferred questions about law and order.
In the introduction of the book, Blatchford states, “What the book is really about is the failure of government to govern and to protect all its citizens equally. She also notes, “Over the ensuing four years — and then some, as the occupation continues to this day — the rule of law was utterly decimated.”
“Attorney General, these are serious allegations. Is this the final say? Barrett again queried. “Is this how the record stands? Is this how the record will stand, or will you now call a public inquiry?”
Minister Bentley suggested an inquiry has already been conducted and cited Justice Linden’s Ipperwash Report from 2003. “That inquiry, which took several years and contained many recommendations, is really the starting point for a better, more fruitful approach to the resolution of issues.”
Following question period Barrett said that the Minister is naive in thinking the Ipperwash Report can resolve the Caledonia crisis.
“Here we have a journalist who has penned a thorough account of the anarchy in Caledonia in just a matter of months, and yet we see a government – after four-and-a-half years – nowhere near a starting point for resolution.”
– 30 –
Public inquiry into Caledonia
Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Premier: Christie Blatchford launched her book today, chronicling the sorry saga of the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia. Her book is titled Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us.
Some questions, Premier: Does this wrap it up? Is this the final say on what happened, on what went wrong down in Caledonia? Another question, Premier: Now will you get to the bottom of this?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Attorney General.
Hon. Christopher Bentley: We are working very hard. We’re working very hard with surrounding municipalities and with Six Nations and we’re working to engage the federal government more actively in a resolution of issues that have been around for more than a century.
I want to recognize the hard work that has gone into this already, but I say we need to find a solution for the future. The fact of the matter is, before the events that have given rise to some of my colleague’s questions, people from both communities, from all the communities, lived together, worked together, played together—and they do to this day.
Although it will not be easy to find, there is a resolution here that we’re going to work very hard to uncover.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?
Mr. Toby Barrett: Back to the Premier or the Attorney General: Christie Blatchford in her introduction states, “What [the book] is” really “about is the failure of government to govern and to protect all its citizens equally.” As she states, “Over the ensuing four years—and then some, as the occupation continues to this day—the rule of law was utterly decimated.”
Premier or Attorney General, these are serious allegations. Is this the final say? Is this how the record stands? Is this how the record will stand? Or will you now call a public inquiry? …
(Mr. Toby Barrett)
… Attorney General, these are serious allegations. Is this the final say? Is this how the record stands? Is this how the record will stand, or will you now call a public inquiry?
Hon. Christopher Bentley: My colleague opposite will remember that there was a public inquiry. It was called the Ipperwash inquiry, and it was a result of a terrible tragedy that resulted from a different approach. That inquiry, which took several years and contained many recommendations, is really the starting point for a better, more fruitful approach to the resolution of issues.
Let’s be clear that none of these issues are easy, otherwise they would have been resolved. The land claim issues, which the federal government must resolve, have been around for more than a century—more than a century. There’s no cookie-cutter approach; there’s no cookie-cutter answer.
The Linden inquiry has good advice; we’re following it. We’re working with everybody to find a resolution to this very challenging situation.
NOTE: Toby Barrett is the author of the Feb 11/08 Haldimand Proclamation for Peace, Order and Good Government.
- VoiceofCanada feature: The Barrett Proclamation
About the Ipperwash Inquiry ‘defence’…
Ontario’s use of a biased inquiry that never studied violence against innocent residents in Ipperwash to continually justify the abandonment of Caledonia residents
On March 14/07 Mark Vandermaas, Gary McHale and Ipperwash activist Mary-Lou LaPratte presented the Ipperwash Papers project at a news conference held in the Queens Park Media Studion. The Ipperwash Papers is a collection of more than 400 pages of documents that were never entered into evidence at the Inquiry – documents that show how OPP/DND refusal to enforce the law led to escalating violence that victimized residents in a nearly identical fashion to those in Caledonia, leading eventually to the death of Dudley George.
The Inquiry went to extraordinary lengths to exclude non-native victims from the Inquiry and suppress their evidence. Readers can learn more at these links:
- Regional News series, Feb 18-25/09: McGuinty’s Ipperwash Cover-up: the Caledonia Legacy [PDF, 10p]
- VoiceofCanada feature: The Ipperwash Papers
- The Ipperwash Papers Project official website: www.IpperwashPapers.ca
- Mark Vandermaas presentation to 2010 New Directions in Aboriginal Policy forum, May 05/10: Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation [PDF, 21p]
Sadly, not one MPP has ever risen in the Legislature to denounce the government’s ‘Ipperwash Inquiry’ defence since we first presented the Ipperwash Papers project at Queens Park even though various McGuinty cabinet members through the years have deflected calls for an inquiry and justice by citing the methodologically-flawed recommendations of the inquiry.
One must wonder how we can ever find meaningful solutions while the Opposition continually refuse to expose the terrible truth about the Ipperwash Inquiry?
POSTED BY: Mark Vandermaas, firstname.lastname@example.org