Caledonia residents planning convoy to legislature

Updated Mon. Apr. 30 2007 2:19 PM ET

A group of at least 100 Caledonia residents are planning a slow convoy to Queen's Park on Wednesday to protest the ongoing aboriginal occupation.

Dan Roberts, one of the group's organizers, says the protestors will drive below the speed limit from the southern Ontario town to the legislature in Toronto.

Roberts expects it will take them about two hours to drive the 100 kilometres down of one Ontario's busiest highways.

Caledonia residents are frustrated by the negotiations and want the province to speed up talks in the yearlong dispute, says Roberts, who lives near the former housing development site being occupied by Six Nations protestors.

He says all sides should be in negotiation full time, not meeting once every two weeks as they are now.

On the weekend, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino spoke about the Caledonia situation, and said the federal government should be doing more to help resolve aboriginal land claims.

Fantino said the Caledonia and Deseronto conflicts, for example, have put a lot of pressure on OPP resources.

Wednesday's planned protest isn't the first by non-aboriginal residents. Gary McHale, who lives in Richmond Hill, organized a march in Caledonia in January that resulted in a shouting match between 50 non-aboriginals and 100 aboriginals.

McHale, a 44-year-old bookkeeper and website creator, organized a similar rally last fall and again in December. He and another man were arrested for breaking the peace during the second rally.

Some 22 OPP officers have launched a $7.1-million lawsuit against McHale, saying he defamed them on a website he created.

There have been several violent clashes between Six Nations protesters and Caledonia residents since the occupation began in February 2006. The aboriginals say the land was stolen from them by the Crown more than 200 years ago and they will remain on the site until it is returned.