Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
March 28, 1998
Preston Manning, Canada's official Reform Party opposition leader in the Canadian Parliament says he doesn't think an inquiry into Canada's attacks upon Native peoples at Gustafsen Lake and Stoney Point in the summer of 1995 "would be helpful". Manning was a guest on the CBC Vancouver's Almanac program broadcast on CBC 690 AM at 1:15 PM today.
Manning said "he was not in favour" of another inquiry, preferring instead to "examine root causes" of "land claim problems" with aboriginals. Manning also stated that: "we had members that were intimately involved." He didn't elaborate on this but during the Gustafsen criminal trial it was revealed that Reform MPs were aggressively promoting an armed assault on the besieged Sundance camp. Reform MP Keith Martin has also stated that the Canadian authorities were "completely justified in their actions."
Manning now joins the Liberals, NDP and other political parties that have refused to support a growing domestic and international call for a public inquiry into all aspects of the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history. Of the Canadian political parties, only the Green Party has declared public support for the inquiry.
To Mr. Preston Manning, Leader of the Opposition,
I am writing to ask you to re-consider your position, and to call for an inquiry into the Gustafsen Lake matter. I, along with many others across the world, feel that some sort of investigation is required. Both the NDP in British Columbia, and the Federal Liberals have failed in this regard -- each choosing to blame the other rather than to honestly take responsibility for their actions.
That the RCMP could intentionally mislead the public about what was occuring -- while carrying out what can only be described as a military style operation against Native peoples is unacceptable. As a critic of the "old line" parties, you more than any other leader should be prepared to pursue this issue. As the Leader of the Opposition it is almost incumbent upon you to fulfill this role.
Please consider taking a strong position on this, as it would go a long way to undermining the image of your party as a party of "bigots'.
with thanks to Harry Pilford for text of letter