By SARAH GREEN AND JACK BOLAND, SUN MEDIA
Fantino met officers at the newly renovated OPP detachment in nearby Cayuga -- the detachment has doubled in size to 130 officers since the native protest began two years ago -- then stopped for coffee at a Caledonia Tim Hortons, just metres from the disputed land. Fantino said his
"Why people would think that their actions today -- their very personal actions today -- would deter me or the OPP from doing our job. That shows a certain amount of desperation," Fantino told the Sun in
"They don't represent the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens who are concerned, yes, but they're not resorting to these kinds of tactics." Residents of
But the OPP has power only to keep the peace in
"The people who say we're not doing our job, that there's a two-tier justice system, I think that's just a way of expressing their own biases and frustrations and I don't accept that," Fantino said. "The reality is we have been doing our job. We can't make magic, we can't invent new authorities and we can't co-opt agendas that are not within our power."
The protest has cost the OPP about $30 million and it has seen 46 officers injured, 54 people "from all sides" arrested and more than 100 criminal charges laid, Fantino said. "I encourage all parties to get on with it, find solutions so we can, at the end of the day, let the community carry on," he said. "They're well entitled to put this behind them. Enough is enough."
About yesterday, 20 protesters carrying placards and Canadian flags walked down Fantino's street in
"He needs to hear them out and hear their concerns," said McHale. "I mean, the people down there want to be able to get up every morning and feel concerned that if they phone the police whether they will or won't show up."
Merlyn Kinrade, 76, who has lived in
"We need you out here, Mr. Fantino, if you are home. Love to talk to you," said Kinrade. "You promised to talk and you haven't so far."
Ray Robitaille, a resident of
"If in fact Mr. Fantino has come out there to talk to residents of our community, then perhaps I feel we've made a small win," Robitaille said. "It may be only a small step."