Ringing in 2009 with a petition

Comment By Bill Jackson - The Regional

January 7, 2009

Well, it's 2009 and is it any wonder that a petition pertaining to policing issues is front and centre to bring in the new year?

It may seem like people are banging on the same drum, but the petition and the support it receives will hopefully go to show just how far we've come in terms of popular opinion during the past three years.

When the Douglas Creek land dispute started in 2006, many people had different viewpoints and thoughts about what was 'right and wrong' at that time. But by now, everybody has enough information and has had enough time to frame opinions and convictions that are backed up with evidence that is black and white.

Not all people have shown their support for a common cause in the past whether it be at town rallies or smoke shack protests, through letters to the editor or monetary donations to special causes. However a petition allows people to have their say and express their opinion without putting themselves in harm's way, risking a criminal record, or wasting a Saturday. No one is being asked to write a letter and hand themselves out to dry and risk blacklisting. And nobody's asking for money.

Whether or not you agree with native land claims or not, the Ontario Provincial Police and their actions (or some may say inactions) of the past three years, are now brutally transparent. They are hypocritical and have had negative affects far beyond Caledonia. They have affected the courts systems, lifestyle and livelihoods, while affecting us all financially.

There has always been a clear line between land claims and policing in most people's opinion. It's one thing to demand land or compensation and protest to get people's attention. But it's three years later and laws are often broken by native individuals with little or no action on behalf of the police.

And while many innocent bystanders have been beaten, stolen from and assaulted in the past, it seems as though the OPP's Commissioner is in support of some people who are the very ones who helped perpetuate this violence and created an environment to foster it.

There is something seriously wrong up top and we should all want to get to the bottom of it.

It isn't enough to just support the petition that is calling for a public inquiry into the actions of the OPP and its leader. People have to put their name on it.