Aug 18/97: Harris subpoenaed in Ipperwash killing


The Hamilton Spectator
Monday, August 18, 1997

Posted by Sandra Mitchell

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Mike Harris has been subpoenaed to testify at a civil suit launched by the family of protester Dudley George, who was shot to death two years ago by police at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

The suit against the Conservative government and Ontario Provincial Police alleges the Tories ordered police to clear George and other aboriginal protesters out of the park which was being occupied during a land-claim dispute.

Attorney General Charles Harnick also received a summons requiring him to appear in court to answer questions about George's death.

Harris brushed off the subpoena Monday saying there's no substance to the allegation he influenced police.

"There's absolutely nothing to it," Harris said, adding the only thing his government said is that it wanted its park back and it sought a civil injunction to ensure that would happen.

"We felt it was an illegal occupation. The Ministry of Natural Resources wanted its park back as soon as possible and we left it to the OPP as to how to proceed."

Maynard Sam George, brother of the dead man, says he hopes the subpoena will help answer some of the family's questions about George's death.

"We believe, and still maintain, the Premier had a part in my brother's death," he said. "These examinations of discovery will allow us to find out exactly what the Premier did.

"We're hoping for the truth, but it seems to be such a big job to get someone to come out and say what really happened."

The government could try to get a special order that would prevent the premier from having to appear.

"It is possible for the government to appeal to a judge for a special order preventing it," said Murray Klippenstein, lawyer for the George family. "And we expect the government might try."

Klippenstein says the family still believes a public inquiry is needed into the shooting and said he will press to have the normally confidential examinations open to the public.

Harnick is scheduled to appear Nov. 19, the premier on Jan. 7, 1998.

The documents also name Lambton Conservative Marcel Beaubien and Thomas O'Grady, head of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane of the provincial force was convicted earlier this year of criminal negligence causing death in the shooting. He has since appealed that conviction.

Opposition parties clamored again Monday for a public inquiry.



The London Free Press
Tuesday, August 19, 1997
Julie Carl - Sarnia Bureau, and Free Press news services

Posted by Sandra Mitchell

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. It may contain biased and distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context.]

If family members of slain native protester Dudley George have their way, Premier Mike Harris will kick off the new year by telling a public courtroom what he knows about the shooting death of their brother.

Five of George's brothers and sisters, who launched a $7-million wrongful death suit against the province and others over George's Sept. 6, 1995 shooting at Ipperwash, have issued summonses for Harris and Attorney General Charles Harnick.

The notices of examination require them to appear for questioning under oath -- Harnick at an examination for discovery on Nov. 19 and Harris on Jan. 7.

This would be the first time an Ontario premier has been questioned under oath in a civil lawsuit, the family's lawyers said.

And while an examination for discovery -- a preliminary portion of a civil lawsuit -- normally is not open to the public, a lawyer for the family said a request will be made to keep the proceedings open. Andrew Orkin said a judge can choose to relax confidentiality in the interests of justice.

RESTRICTED: Co-counsel Murray Klippenstein said a thorough examination for discovery could partially fulfil the role of a judicial inquiry into the shooting.

But such a hearing would be more restricted than an inquiry, and because the matter is a public issue of some international concern, it ought to be the subject of a public inquiry, Klippenstein said.

"If an issue of this gravity cannot obtain a public hearing in any way...we feel that reflects poorly on the Canadian justice system," he said.

Earlier on Monday at Queen's Park, the premier was pressed to call a public inquiry into his own involvement in the George shooting outside Ipperwash Provincial Park.

New evidence emerged last month that suggested Harris was closely tied to events surrounding the George's death.

Harris didn't deny reports Monday that he wanted protesters out of the park and "nothing else" hours before police marched on the site and fired on George.

But he refused an inquiry on the basis that he simply ordered an end to the occupation, leaving police to decide how the protesters would be removed.

"As soon as possible we wanted our park back, that was the government's position," Harris. "How it was to be dealt with was up to the (provincial police)."

Meanwhile, Klippenstein said that although the notices issued to the premier and attorney general compel them to appear for questioning, they could appeal to a judge for a special order preventing it.

But he added there is little precedent for getting out of testifying when called to do so.

"I don't know what I'll do," Harris said when asked about the summons. "Lawyers will deal with it."

Meanwhile, Bill King, a senior Harris aide, was dropped from the suit in a ruling Monday. The suit had sought damages against King, alleging he was negligent in "having advocated the use of force" that led to OPP officer Kenneth Deane shooting George.

Sam George, Dudley's brother, said he is looking forward to Harris and Harnick taking the stand.

"We want to find out their involvement," he said. "I hope there's no legal way for them to wiggle out. They claim they have nothing to hide, then that's all they've got to do. Get up there and tell the truth."

ENTERED PARK: Two days before the shooting, George was among about 25 Stoney Point natives who entered Ipperwash Provincial Park as it closed for the season, protesting the desecration of a burial ground when the province developed the park in the late 1930s.

On Sept. 6 about 40 OPP officers, including an eight-member tactics and rescue unit, marched in formation to the park and confronted the protesters.

George was shot just outside the park.

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