Harris dimisses calls for Ipperwash inquiry


- posted to sovernet-l on March 4 by Chris Vance

The Globe and Mail

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Mike Harris has brushed aside opposition calls for a public inquiry into the fatal police shooting of an occupier at Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995 despite new evidence contradicting OPP assertions that natives fired the first shots.

At a news conference yesterday, lawyers for the family of slain native protester Anthony Dudley George released leaked documents that say a policeman fired the first shot.

They also released a Sept. 5 ministerial briefing note, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that they say calls into doubt the provincial government's claim that it had no part in the decision to assemble 200 officers to confront 30 to 40 demonstrators who had occupied the park after it had closed for the season on Labour Day, 1995.

In their strongest language so far, the lawyers for the George family accused the government and the Ontario Provincial Police of a cover-up and "a smokescreen" of misinformation.

The documents make it imperative that the government agree to a judicial inquiry because that is the only way to get at the truth of what happened, said Delia Opekokew, the lead lawyer in the family's wrongful-death suit against the province.

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