Friday, August 11, 2006

McGuinty chooses chaos over (court) order – again

What with jihadists hiding explosives in PowerAde and Dippity Do containers, and the imminent possibility of World War III – or the Second Coming, take your pick – it is easy to lose sight of the fact that Dalton McGuinty has turned out to be an even more pathetic premier than could have been anticipated by the most die-hard Harrisite.

But, as was said in Death of a Salesman, “attention must be paid,” even to the Willie Lomans of the world.

The tally of election promises broken by the Guinster (or “S***head” as my old boss used to describe him) and his Fiberal brothers and sisters is somewhere north of 50. Having failed to fill the purported $23-billion “gap” between what Ontario taxpayers pay to the federal government and what the federal government hands McGuinty to blow, he is now trying to tee up the federal Conservatives to take the fall for his own failure to deliver on his health care promises, despite having been in office nearly three years and implementing the largest personal income tax increase in Ontario history (another broken promise, by the way) – an increase that he said was to pay for his health care promises.

But nowhere is Premier Pinocchio’s craven nature more evident than in his government’s hot-potato-style handling of the native occupation in Caledonia. After the OPP failed in their initial attempt to clear the occupation in the spring, protests and blockades have lingered, with violence and tension ebbing and flowing, and the non-native community’s frustration growing, as they wonder what they did to deserve being abandoned to a Hobbesian nightmare (other than live in a Tory riding).

Frustrated that his original Order, that natives leave the site, had still not been enforced, a month or so ago the presiding judge called all parties on the carpet to explain themselves. Then a few days ago Judge David Marshall ordered the government to stop negotiating until his original Order had been satisfied.

Of course, the government could have thought to stop negotiations themselves until the natives obeyed the Order. And they had an excellent basis on which to do so: the government has now purchased the disputed land from a private developer. The smart negotiating move would have been to ask the natives to show similar good faith by ending their occupation.

But that would have made too much sense. And instead of welcoming the judge’s latest order as a welcome spine donation, which provides them with the legal cover to demand that natives obey the law, the Fiberals are appealing the judge’s Order so that they will be free to continue negotiating with scofflaws.

In an open letter yesterday to McGuinty, PC Leader John Tory astutely points out that the only time anything constructive occurred on this file was a brief moment when the Fiberal government had the cojones to demand something in exchange for something:

I would remind you that the last time we saw any real progress in this dispute was when your government briefly stepped away from the negotiating table and said it wouldn’t return unless a particular set of conditions were met. You said at that time “we are no longer prepared to continue negotiations until two important conditions are met: First of all, the barricades must come down, and they must stay down; and secondly, we are asking the leadership to co-operate in any way with the Ontario Provincial Police so that they might apprehend the individuals involved.”

(The remainder of Tory’s letter is below. It will likely be posted at the Ontario PC Party website shortly.)

Clearly, McGuilty’s crew is paralyzed by the fear that death or serious injury will occur if the original Order is enforced and any attempt is made to remove the natives before they’re good and ready. More importantly, the natives know this, and are acting accordingly.

There is often an attendant risk when police enforce any warrant or order. But that is a risk that police officers knowingly and willingly assume. And society demands that this risk be assumed, because order depends partly on the expectation that open defiance of the law will be stopped, then punished. When that expectation breaks down, you get Caledonia. And possibly you get more of them.

As a non-lawyer, it seems to me on the face of it that the government may well have a good argument, that a judge has no business telling them whether or not they can negotiate with a native group. But as a Conservative, it will be amusing to watch the Charter party argue against what might be loosely termed “judicial activism.”


August 10, 2006

Hon. Dalton McGuinty
Premier
Main Legislative Building
Room 281, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1


Re: Restoring the Rule of Law in Caledonia

Dear Premier McGuinty:

I write you today to urge you to use the time provided by the decision to appeal Justice Marshall’s recent court ruling to achieve a restoration of the rule of law in Caledonia and to better protect the safety of people on all sides of the dispute. I think all of us would agree that the incidents which have been taking place up to and including recent nights are not acceptable in our province. I have repeatedly stressed, as you have, the need for calm, but calm can only prevail when civility and the rule of law prevail.

This situation has gone on for months and in my view, it is reaching another crisis point. I believe it is a fundamental role of your office to uphold and promote respect for the rule of law across Ontario and that is why I am asking you today to adopt a more pro-active approach which can both help restore the rule of law and continue us along the path to a long-term resolution. The rule of law is still being ignored in Caledonia and I urge you today to use the period of suspended negotiations to address these issues of lawlessness so that negotiations can ultimately resume within a more orderly environment.

I would remind you that the last time we saw any real progress in this dispute was when your government briefly stepped away from the negotiating table and said it wouldn’t return unless a particular set of conditions were met. You said at that time “we are no longer prepared to continue negotiations until two important conditions are met: First of all, the barricades must come down, and they must stay down; and secondly, we are asking the leadership to co-operate in any way with the Ontario Provincial Police so that they might apprehend the individuals involved.”

While I would argue that those very reasonable requirements were not met completely when negotiations were permitted to resume, it was at that time, when you did in fact set out some conditions precedent to negotiations, that the last tangible, visible progress was in fact achieved.

I would repeat my proposal that you immediately get personally involved and call all sides in this dispute into your office. I urge you to tell them as Premier that in order for Ontario to return to the negotiating table and achieve the peaceful resolution we all want to see, you require the following conditions be met by the collective leadership of the Caledonia area:

1. An end to “unscheduled gatherings” on all sides (many of which are taking place in close proximity to the disputed lands) which are increasing tensions and make violence more likely;

2. All participants agree to noise and activity limitations at night for a period of time to allow residents to try to resume living normally;

3. Removal of all barricades, signage of all kinds, etc. on and surrounding the site (this will also help address the fast approaching issue of kids returning to school);

4. The protestors leave the occupied land not later than the time at which negotiations are to resume, with assurances in hand from you, in writing if necessary, that the land in dispute will be held by the Government of Ontario in trust, that there will be no action taken in respect of that land pending the conclusion of the land claims negotiations and that the land will be dealt with in accordance with the ultimate determination of the land claims process, which can hopefully be expedited. Since the governments are parties to the land claims negotiations, it may well be that you would put the land apparently owned by the Ontario Government into the hands of an independent trustee acceptable to all participants in those negotiations.

Together with you, I remain committed to a peaceful resolution of this matter but I also have a very genuine concern about respect for the rule of law and the creation of precedents we will later regret. I am happy to discuss this further with you should you wish to do so and to assist in any reasonable way in the achievement of a peaceful resolution and the restoration of civility and respect for the rule of law in every corner of the Caledonia area.

Sincerely,

John Tory
Leader, Progressive Conservative Party

5 comments:

Joanne (True Blue) said...

“attention must be paid,” even to the Willie Lomans of the world.

Beautiful. Great post, altogether! I will link to it, since I didn't have the whole letter available.

MAW said...

Sounds like a fair plan that could be implemented by August 23rd, the day the four tables of negotiation resume their work to resolve this land claim dispute.

On a happier note, next week the people of Six Nations are holding their annual 'Youth Camp' where a young person of any culture could really learn something about their brothers and sisters of Six Nations.

Subjects to be explored include wampum identification and history, storytelling from the Creation Story and Great Law, where we came from & migration to Grand River, knowing your clan and roles and responsibilities, self discipline techniques, men's roles, women's roles, human and legal rights as well as Peace Power and Righteousness.

The Clan Mothers will also be working within the arts of lacrosse, dingball, rattle and drum making, soapstone carving, painting and drawing, beading, making moccasins and sewing.

All of these areas were the areas in which the youth have shown an interest.

That's a good thing indeed.

Funding for the program is being supported by the elected band council.

Let the nation building begin.

saga said...

Ummm .... They are not leaving their land. What is this ... an ultimatum... lol

you don't get it !

Anonymous said...

You appear to be very skilled at writing fiction. But you seem to have limited knowledge to other cultures, beliefs and understandings. Perhaps you could participate in the Youth Camp as a bias observer. I truly feel that your opinion of the Six Nations people would change. On the other hand if your opinion changed who could write the fiction your so great at writing.

Anonymous said...

Dolton McLiar is certainly the most incompetent leader Ontario has ever had, he surpasses Boob Rae for incompetence - and that's an achievement.

No negotiations should ever have been held with these thugs who are trespassing - that was Dolton's first huge mistake. Anarchist thugs need to be arrested and put in jail, it really is that straight forward - if Canadians still wish to live by the rule of law.

Homeowners everywhere should be the most upset because these thugs are de-valuing everyone's house - not just the houses in Caledonia.

It's surprising that the people of Ontario don't seem to mind taking such a huge hit in their wallets - especially since they pay a lot of tax in order to support aboriginal thug violence in the first place.