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Dozens of Caledonia residents take message to McGuinty at Ontario legislature

Keith Leslie
Canadian Press
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 15:09

[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.]

TORONTO (CP) - Dozens of non-aboriginal residents of Caledonia, Ont., fed up with a months-long standoff between police and Six Nations protesters, took their complaints directly to the provincial government Wednesday, and even secured a brief meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Many residents carried placards criticizing McGuinty, and said they were fed up with living with fear and uncertainty for nearly four months. They also complained about the lack of rule of law in their community, southwest of Hamilton.

"There's no law in Caledonia, it's completely lawless," said Larry Gibson, who was so overcome with emotion he broke down in tears.

"We took it in our own hands to come down here and show them first hand and talk to them about what we need," said Mike Manning, another Caledonia resident.

"We're at the point where safety is at risk now. We have to defend ourselves."

McGuinty met briefly with three of the Caledonia residents who were protesting outside a convention centre where he was speaking, but later said he made no promises.

"I listened, I just heard them out," McGuinty told reporters.

"There was no intention that on the basis of a brief meeting, that I would make specific commitments."

The residents said they were happy to get the meeting with McGuinty, and told him they want the Ontario Provincial Police to start enforcing the law when it comes to dealing with the aboriginal protesters in their community.

Many complained that the OPP failed to respond to violent clashes between residents and aboriginal protesters.

"We've been living in fear and uncertainty with what's happening in town, and we really want the resumption of normalcy in our community so we can get back to living our lives," said Calendonian John Gould.

"We want to have the resumption of peace, the resumption of law and order. We want to go back to being ordinary people."

McGuinty also said he told the residents what steps the government has taken to deal with the Six Nations protesters, who have occupied a housing site in Caledonia since late February, and about its efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

Sandra Watson, whose home backs onto the disputed housing project, said she's tired of living in fear.

"I would like my children to be able to play outside safely," she said. "I'd like to take them to school in the morning and not have to worry about what will happen to them."

Watson was one of many Caledonia parents who said their children have missed a lot of school because their families don't feel it's safe to send their kids to classes.

"I don't understand the lawlessness that's going on," Watson said.

Earlier Wednesday, the OPP announced they had made an arrest in connection with a violent clash in Caledonia on June 4.

Ken Hill, 47, of Ohsweken, Ont., is charged with two counts of assault, and will appear in court next month.

Arrest warrants were also issued for other suspects after an elderly couple's car was swarmed, two television cameramen were assaulted and a stolen vehicle was driven at police.

One person has been arrested in connection with those incidents and warrants are out for four others on charges ranging from robbery to attempted murder of a police officer.

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