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McGuinty calls off Caledonia talks

Caledonia protest has 'exhausted' his patience, premier says

Angela Pacienza - Canadian Press
Toronto Star
Jun. 12, 2006. 09:32 PM

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

Ontario’s premier has called off negotiations with aboriginals protesting a development site near Hamilton, saying the group’s increasingly violent actions make it impossible to work together.

“A condition of our being at the table was that public safety would not be compromised,” Dalton McGuinty said in the legislature. "In fact, last Friday it was — without a doubt — compromised.”

“We are no longer prepared to continue negotiations.”

The standoff, which started more than 100 days ago, took a nasty turn Friday after an elderly couple’s car was swarmed and two news cameramen from a Hamilton television station were assaulted.

Police issued warrants for six people on a range of charges including the attempted murder of a police officer, forcible confinement and robbery.

A seventh warrant is pending, police said.

Members of the Six Nations Confederacy — the traditional leadership, rather than the elected council — said they have no plans to surrender the wanted men to police.

Confederacy Chief Allen McNaughton told the Hamilton Spectator any attempt to seize the suspects could spark trouble.

“I don’t think so,” McNaughton said when asked if the suspects might be handed over.

McGuinty said negotiations would resume only when the barricades at the disputed site in Caledonia, Ont., come down, and if aboriginals co-operate with the police investigation into the incidents from the weekend.

Earlier Monday, McGuinty said the violence by the Six Nations protesters has tried his patience.

“We have just about exhausted our goodwill and our patience,” McGuinty said.

Asked what he’ll do if the barricades don’t soon come down, McGuinty simply answered: “We’ll see.”

The protesters started their occupation of the housing development in February, claiming that parcel of land was never ceded by their ancestors.

Negotiations had been underway between McNaughton, former Ontario premier David Peterson, and ex-federal cabinet ministers Barbara McDougall and Jane Stewart.

The federal government supports the freeze in talks.

The next scheduled meeting is Thursday.

David Ramsay, the province’s minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said whether that meeting takes place is up to the protesters.

“It can go ahead Thursday if the barricades come down,” he said.

The Opposition Conservatives, who for weeks have been criticizing McGuinty’s leadership on the dispute, said calling off negotiations is not enough.

“There has to be a deadline by which some action will be taken to make sure those barricades come down,” said Conservative Leader John Tory.

“We just cannot have a flouting of the rule of law going on continuously. It just isn’t acceptable.”

Tensions have been mounting among protesters, local residents and police.

The issue of how governments and police should resolve aboriginal protests falls under the shadow of the deadly 1995 Ipperwash crisis.

A police shooting resulted in the death of First Nations protester Dudley George, and an ongoing inquiry into that incident is investigating what role the government played in directing police.

McGuinty recently responded to Conservative critics, saying their preference would be a show of police force — an apparent reference to how the previous Conservative government under Mike Harris has been accused of mishandling the Ipperwash dispute.

Lawyers for Harris recently warned McGuinty that he’s risking legal action if he makes statements that allege Harris issued direct orders to police at Ipperwash.

At the Ipperwash inquiry, Harris testified that at no time did he direct police actions.

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