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Protesters get ultimatum

McGuinty won't talk until barricades near Caledonia come down

Tenille Bonoguore
Globe & Mail
Posted on 13/06/06

[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 Premier Dalton McGuinty has called off all talks with land-claim protesters near Caledonia until barricades on the disputed land are pulled down and those responsible for assaulting an elderly couple and news camera operators are handed over.

Meanwhile, the federal government has agreed to attend a special court hearing on Friday to answer questions from the local judge who originally ordered the protesters off a construction site at the edge of the town, just south of Hamilton.

Mr. McGuinty issued the ultimatum as Ontario Provincial Police waited for the reserve's aboriginal police force to arrest seven people accused of taking part in assaults near the barricade on Friday.

"We have put in place a moratorium on the development lands in question," he told the legislature. "But can I say that a condition of our being at the table was that public safety would not be compromised. In fact, last Friday, it was without a doubt compromised.

"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."

Native protesters have occupied the site since Feb. 28 to stop a 600-house subdivision on land they say was granted to the Six Nations people and never sold.

Former Ontario premier David Peterson has been working since Easter to help calm tensions on the land near the Six Nations reserve. He succeeded in having the main barricade on Highway 6 removed.

He lauded the government's call for the removal of all barricades, saying the province had been extremely conciliatory in responding to the wishes of all parties. But ultimately the issue is not a provincial responsibility, Mr. Peterson said.

"This is a federal issue, and the province has been there faithfully doing its duty and trying to bring peace. "This is a federal issue that requires their full involvement. He [McGuinty] has been very clear in what needs to happen."

On Friday, the judge who originally ordered aboriginal protesters off the 40-hectare building site will direct questions to the federal government.

Mr. Justice T. David Marshall of the Superior Court of Ontario has told the federal government to send a representative to his Cayuga courtroom for the resumption of a hearing into the status of an injunction he imposed this year. The first instalment of the hearing -- convened at the judge's request -- was adjourned on June 2 because there was no federal representative.

Lawyer Lawrence Elliot confirmed yesterday that the Attorney-General will send a representative to the hearing.

"The judge's objective is to do everything he can within his powers to bring a resolution to this," Mr. Elliot said. "There's a lot of factors in the mix."

While the Premier said removing the blockade would be "evidence of goodwill," blockade spokeswoman Janie Jamieson said the protesters had demonstrated that through removing the Highway 6 barricade.

"The reason we're here in the first place is the whole land issue and we haven't even started to resolve that," she said.

With a report by Murray Campbell

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