Sep 29/97: Legislative discussion on Ipperwash inquiry



posted by Sandra Mitchell

SEPT 29, 1997


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): My question is to the Premier. I hope he is as positive and taciturn in his response to my question as he was to the Leader of the Opposition's first question. My question is regarding Ipperwash and the wrongful death of Dudley George.

Earlier today the crown dropped weapons charges against one of the young demonstrators who drove a car at the riot police on the night of September 6, 1995, the night Dudley George was killed. We have known all along that the demonstration at Ipperwash Provincial Park posed no threat to public safety. Even the OPP identified no public risk and told the interministerial committee that at the meeting Deb Hutton, the Premier's executive assistant, attended. On the next day, the OPP buildup occurred, though, and the police used force to try to enter the park. We've been saying that this is an unprecedented buildup that led to a man's death.

Now another outstanding charge is out of the way. This was the last criminal trial arising out of the events on September 6 and it has now been disposed of. There is no reason to stall on a public inquiry. Premier, it's time to call a public inquiry.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the Attorney General -

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Attorney General.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): There are still matters of appeal before the courts, there are civil actions before the courts, and my understanding is that the crown is continuing with three charges that are presently before the courts even though a couple of those charges have been withdrawn.

Mr Wildman: To deal with the minister responsible for native affairs and the Attorney General, the Supreme Court of Canada has given some clear guidelines regarding inquiries so there cannot be any excuse about legal issues pending in this particular situation. In the case of Westray and most recently in the Krever blood inquiry, the Supreme Court clarified the circumstances in which you can have an inquiry even when there are civil and/or criminal investigations outstanding. The Supreme Court ruling on Krever states:

"The ability of an inquiry to investigate, educate and inform Canadians benefits our society. A public inquiry before an impartial and independent commissioner which investigates the cause of tragedy and makes recommendations for change can help to prevent a recurrence of such tragedies in the future."

All the information we have is that the government can now have a public inquiry. What is the government hiding? When are you going to call a public inquiry? Will you follow the Supreme Court ruling?

Hon Mr Harnick: The member has been told before, and I will say again, that no one has precluded an inquiry taking place. No decision has been made about that. When all the criminal matters and the civil matter and the appeals are dealt with and the three outstanding charges are completed, that's something we will consider. Consideration of that has never been precluded.

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