To: Prime Minister Jean Chretien ("Canada"), Premier Glen Clark ("British Columbia"), & Premier Mike Harris ("Ontario") Re: Demand for a Public Inquiry into events at Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash.Democracy Street represents many protesters who were subjected to police violence and political interference from the Prime Minister's Office while voicing opposition to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in November, 1997. While the state's actions during APEC (and later attempts to obstruct a fair hearing) represent a serious breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a denial of basic democratic principles; we recognise that the events at Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash were far more severe and aggressive assaults that, like the APEC demonstration, demand a full and public inquiry.
Pepperspray, strip-searches, police dogs, brief detentions, and simple assaults are nothing compared to the intense violence used by the police in those cases and the ongoing violation of basic civil and political rights of Indigenous peoples. Gustafsen Lake was the largest para-military action in Canadian history and a heinous abuse of force as 77,000 rounds, including hollow point bullets, were fired into a small group of traditional Sundancers occupying unceded Shuswap territory. Armored personnel carriers and land mines were deployed. This police action also violated several international conventions on the use of force, including the Geneva Convention of 1951, of which the Canadian government is a signatory.
The unanswered police murder of peaceful native protester, Dudley George at Ipperwash is a crime which further exposes the uneven application of justice in this country.
Additionally, the government's misuse of power has been followed up by an intentional campaign to prevent the public from learning the truth about these incidents and to smear those involved. The PR campaign during the siege of Gustafsen Lake was lead by RCMP Sgt. Montague who was noted at the time to have said "smear campaigns are our specialty." Montague was also the head of security for the Indonesian delegation at APEC. The continual denial of a public inquiry discredits the government and damages the principles of democracy.
We believe that Indigenous peoples and the public-at-large deserve a fair inquiry into these events and we demand that the politicians responsible be held to account for bringing violence upon the people at Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash and denying their basic civil rights. We support Indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination and stand with them in their struggle against police violence and political interference.
Finally, we urge the Prime Minister and Premiers Clark and Harris to publicly respond to these issues immediately with independent public inquiries.
BC Premier Glen Clark
Ontario Premier Mike Harris
WWW feedback page: http://www.gov.on.ca/MBS/english/premier/reply.html
To support the calls for inquiries into Gustafsen Lake and into the murder of Dudley George at Stoney Point (aka Ipperwash), please visit: