Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why, in God's name, did it take 60-odd years, a blockaed, a death, and an inquiry....????

The Province of Ontario has finally handed the land comprising the Ipperwash Provincial Park, expropriated in 1942, back to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. It is about bleeding time!

"The origins of the dispute date back to the Second World War. Ottawa expropriated land belonging to the Stony Point band in 1942 under the War Measures Act in order to build a military training facility called Camp Ipperwash.

Ipperwash Provincial Park was created in 1936.Ipperwash Provincial Park was created in 1936.
(CBC)

The military camp is next to Ipperwash Provincial Park, which had been created by the province six years earlier.

The Department of National Defence offered to return most of the land after the war if it could lease the land necessary for the military base, but later withdrew the offer. In 1972, Jean Chr├ętien — who was then the minister of Indian Affairs — suggested that if the land wasn't returned, the band should be offered another piece of land as compensation".

The Conservative Government of Ontario, under the "leadership" of then-Premier Mike Harris, refused to negotiate the claims with the Nation, called in the Ontario Provincial Police and in the ensuing stand-off and police raid, Dudley George, a Native protester was killed.

The inquiry ruling by Justice Sidney Linden stated that the Ontario and Federal governments and Mike Harris were entirely responsible for the events that lead to Dudley George's death.

Mike Harris, despite testimony that he used racist terms and directed the OPP to get the protesters out at any cost, continues to deny any personal instruction or any responsibility whatsoever in the outcome.

Why is it that, time after time, successive Provincial and Federal governments refuse to act responsibly until AFTER a public inquiry and millions of dollars are spent to settle legitimate claims by First Nations?

Obviously, they never learn from their mistakes.

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