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Judge to follow up on unenforced injunctions

Wade Hemsworth
Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 16, 2006)

[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 Superior Court Justice David Marshall will take another run today at asking why two of his injunctions have not been enforced in Caledonia.

Lawyers from the federal government will join those from the province, the Ontario Provincial Police and the developers at Marshall's invitation at a hearing in Cayuga.

He first summoned the key players in the land claim dispute June 1, concerned that the rule of law was under threat because his injunctions were being ignored.

Native representatives were invited but refused to attend. They are not expected today either. Protesters argue that they are subject to their Great Law of Peace, and that Canadian law does not apply to them.

Today's hearing -- and the native refusal to attend -- highlights how perceptions of law and the very concept of law itself are at the heart of the entire conflict.

It began Feb. 28 when a group of native protesters occupied a construction site to assert their claim on the land.

In recent weeks, some natives have refused to provide their names to police, to appear in court, or to acknowledge arrest warrants for protesters wanted in connection with violent incidents a week ago.

The particular issue before the court is why the OPP have not removed the protesters from the site as ordered by the judge. Marshall acknowledged at the beginning of the special hearing two weeks ago that there was concern in the community that the rule of law had been suspended.

The "rule of law" is a short term for the notion that the law itself, in all its forms, is above individuals and governments, and is to be applied fairly and evenly to everyone, regardless of origin, belief or social position.

It means that everyone is subject to a common set of rules that are grounded in a broad moral understanding and set before the public in the form of laws.

Ed McCarthy, a Hagersville lawyer representing the Haldimand Law Association, says concern for the rule of law runs very deep.

"It's been fundamentally violated in Caledonia, and this is why the judge has called this hearing," he said.

McCarthy said the apparent suspension of the rule of law is evident not only in the OPP's non-enforcement of the injunctions, but in their non-enforcement of various sections of the Criminal Code since then.

"The fact that they have allowed these people to take over the subdivision, occupy the houses, set fires, do all sorts of things, intimidate people -- it appears they've been told to take a hands-off attitude toward anything that the natives do," McCarthy said. "You can't draw any other conclusion from it."

McCarthy said that the rule of law does not allow for exemptions.

"We're supposed to all be subject to the law. If we do something in violation of the law, we're all supposed to be dealt with the same, whether we're native or non-native -- whether we're a stranger in this country or a citizen of the country."

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