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Caledonia talks resume

Barricades blocking traffic are down

James Rusk - with reports from Karen Howlett and Tenille Bonoguore
Globe & Mail
Posted on 14/06/06

[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.]

The provincial government will resume talks tomorrow with native protesters, now that the barricades that blocked road traffic through the Southern Ontario town of Caledonia and along a rail line have come down, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.

The protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve took down the barricades during the early hours of Tuesday morning. By the afternoon, traffic resumed movement on the Highway 6 bypass around the town, Mr. McGuinty said.

The removal was "yet another sign of good faith in the hope that [the province] will finally begin to address the land issue," a spokeswoman for the protesters, Janie Jamieson, said in an interview.

"They need to sit down. We've shown good faith quite a few times already, and we're willing to move ahead."

While the barricades have come down on the highway and railway, the native protesters are still occupying the 40-hectare Douglas Creek site, Ms. Jamieson said.

Mr. McGuinty told the legislature that he saw no reason why the talks could not go ahead, as the barricades are down and as Six Nations police are now co-operating with Ontario Provincial Police to find six protesters who face charges in connection with a melee on Friday.

"I think we've taken some major steps forward," Mr. McGuinty said. "It will go a long way to allow the communities to get the social and economic life back to normal."

Ralph Luimes of the Caledonia Citizens' Alliance welcomed the removal of the barricades. But he cautioned that the hot point is still the land development site where the protesters began their occupation on Feb. 28.

"Our focus continues to be the occupation of the Douglas Creek site from a safety perspective for both [Caledonia and aboriginal] communities," he said.

In the 3 1/2 months since the occupation started, tensions have run high between the people of Caledonia, and violence has erupted on occasion.

During the Friday clash, classified documents containing the names and home telephone numbers of undercover OPP officers were stolen from a U.S. border control car and photocopied before being returned, according to government sources.

Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter told reporters that he does not know if the loss of the documents means that the OPP will have to change officers on the scene at Caledonia.

As well as resuming the talks aimed at resolving the land claims issues, the province is also meeting today with Don and John Henning, whose company owns the land.

Mr. McGuinty said that the government will move as quickly as possible to offer "fair compensation" to the Hennings.

In a related development, a group of Caledonia residents have launched a class-action suit against the county of Haldimand, the OPP and the province, in an attempt to get compensation for the losses suffered as a result of the protest.

John Findley, the Hamilton lawyer who filed the suit, said the occupation changed the perception of Caledonia from "a nice little hideaway" to "an unsafe community."

Local businesses have been hurt as they rely on traffic passing through the town, he said, and property owners have suffered, too.

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