Caledonia convoy set to roll today

By Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
(May 2, 2007)

Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer is going to push for more aid from the Ontario government for Caledonia residents when she appears at Queen's Park today as part of a protest focusing on the 14-month native occupation.

Trainer will also seek to have the Liberal government clear people off the disputed land and have the provincial police returned as the service that responds to calls on the 6th Line, which borders the Argyle Street South land. Six Nations police handles calls on the road as part of an agreement with the natives, who claim the property is still Six Nations land. Negotiations to settle the dispute are ongoing.

"We still have the occupation," said Trainer, who's taking part early today in a slow-moving convoy of about 50 Canadian flag-decked cars on some of southern Ontario's busiest highways.

"Everyone agrees it's a land claim. It's the occupation that is a problem. We just can't go through another summer like we have. The people just can't handle that. Get the police back on the 6th Line and clear the site."

She said there needs to be more compensation because businesses and residents are still "hurting big time. Why should they have to suffer this way? It's just not appropriate."

More than 100 people are expected to ride in the convoy between Caledonia and Queen's Park. It is leaving Caledonia at 9 a.m. and plans to arrive at Queen's Park at 11:30 a.m. A rally and news conference will follow.

The protest was organized by R2R (Resident2Resident) and a member warns this will not be the last to bring pressure on the government to settle the dispute.

"We realize this one thing is not going to do this and governments need to be reminded," Valerie Vanderwyk said.

Government officials have said they will not meet the protesters. Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay said yesterday that he doesn't have time to meet with the protesters.