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Premier says talks will go on now that barricades are down

Canadian Press
Toronto Star
Jun. 14, 2006. 01:00 AM

[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.]

CALEDONIA—Talks to resolve the standoff at Caledonia are to go ahead after Six Nations protestors dismantled barricades near Hamilton yesterday in a move heralded by Ontario's premier as a positive step.

Protestors overnight removed tires and tangled metal that blocked a highway bypass in Caledonia and another barricade on an Ontario rail line, less than 24 hours after Premier Dalton McGuinty suspended talks with the Iroquois confederacy's leaders, citing recent violence. "Given this progress, I see no reason right now why talks will not continue this Thursday (tomorrow) as scheduled," he told the legislature.

Six Nations protestors began occupying a Caledonia housing development Feb. 28, claiming the land was stolen from them more than 200 years ago.

Negotiations with the province were halted Monday after McGuinty said recent incidents, in which an elderly couple's car was swarmed and two news cameramen complained of being assaulted, made it impossible for the sides to work together.

Friday's violent confrontations also saw the theft of classified data from an unmarked U.S. Border Patrol SUV. The information, which identified OPP and U.S. agents and included operational details, had been stolen from the SUV, which had been seized and driven at at an OPP officer.

Warrants for six aboriginal people on charges ranging from attempted murder of a police officer to forcible confinement and robbery were issued.

Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson said suspects would not automatically be surrendered.

No arrests were made as of yesterday afternoon and a warrant for a seventh suspect was said to be pending.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemed to endorse a get-tough approach in the simmering dispute yesterday, saying the "law must be obeyed," the Star's Bruce Campion-Smith reported from Ottawa.

"We are working closely with Ontario. We support the Ontario government's position that the law must be respected and must be enforced," Harper told the Commons yesterday. "We would certainly urge all parties to make sure that the law is respected and that anybody who has committed any acts of violence is properly apprehended."

Harper was replying to a bitter charge from NDP Leader Jack Layton that the federal Conservatives have washed their hands of Caledonia, a "powder keg that is about to blow."

Layton accused Harper and Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice of absenting themselves from involvement in the sometimes violent standoff.

"Where has the federal government been in all of this? It has been missing in action. There is no leadership. There is no plan whatsoever," Layton said in question period.

"At its very root," the claim is a treaty issue so Ottawa has a duty to be more involved, he said.

"We need to see the federal government at the table."

Prentice welcomed the taking down of barricades, calling it encouraging.

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