by Gary McHale - The Regional
March 11, 2009
Tomorrow Toby Barrett's private member's bill will be debated at Queen's Park. There were several attempts to get changes to it but in the end there remain several major problems. Mr. Barrett's Bill calls for an Inquiry that includes whether people truly own their property.
During Mr. Barrett's press conference at Queen's Park the media asked a very pointed question which was, "What are you going to do if the Inquiry rules you do not own your land." This question was asked to Mr. Hewitt who responded, "If we don't own our land? I have not thought about it, that's a good question." Toby later talked around the issue but never stated what people should do if Barrett's Inquiry rules against the residents.
Does Mr. Barrett have a Plan B if his inquiry, with a McGuinty appointee as Commissioner, rules in favour of the Native Protesters and against residents of Haldimand? Can people appeal Barrett's Inquiry or do they just pack their stuff and move out? I believe Mr. Barrett owes the public a clear answer to this question so I will ask it again.
Mr. Barrett, what should people do if your Inquiry rules residents do not own their property?
At Queen's Park Mr. Barrett stated he had received an eviction notice from some Native group and wanted a 'second opinion' implying that the Inquiry was going to be that second opinion. However, the media wanted to know what he would do if that second opinion ruled against him. I offer the following as multiple 'second opinions' that Mr. Barrett appears to have rejected.
In 2006, Justice Matheson ordered an injunction against Native Protesters directly due the Land Title Deed System (LTDS) which proved that Henco owned the land. Next Judge Marshall issued a court order that any protesters found on DCE were to be arrested, fingerprinted and photographed in support of the Land Ownership by Henco. The Appeals court of Ontario agreed that Judge Marshall's court ruling was still in force up until McGuinty purchased the land. McGuinty's purchasing of DCE provides further proof that Henco legally owned DCE.
It should be noted that this represents three separate levels of courts in Ontario and all agreed with the LTDS and the ownership of DCE by Henco.
Across Ontario courts have been issuing Court Injunctions against Native Protesters - Caledonia, Hagersville, Cayuga, Brantford, Deseronto, Sharbot Lake, Thunder Bay etc. and Native Protesters have been going to jail throughout the Province. In the past three years not one court has ruled against the LTDS or given Native Protesters the right to occupy privately owned land.
Mr. Barrett is well aware of this since he appeared and spoke at our public meeting in Cayuga where we presented our research material entitled, "Legalized Myths of illegal occupations". One of the main points of this material is that Native Protesters do not have 'Colour of Right' to occupy privately owned land
While Politicians question the legal ownership of property, the lawyers argue that Native Protesters have NO RIGHT to occupy private or Government property.
Even under the McGuinty Government in 2006, while Michael Bryant was the Attorney General of Ontario, government lawyers present about 28 case law rulings at the Ipperwash Inquiry which proved Native Protesters cannot occupy land even when there is a land claim filed. Many quotes from these rulings could be provided but here is one.
"Certainly no one can breach the criminal law even to protest a civil wrong committed against them. Only legal means can be used to protest such acts."
The conclusion by McGuinty's Attorney General at the Ipperwash Inquiry was the following:
"There is no jurisprudence, even as it has evolved to date [June 2006], that supports the view that the concept of 'colour of right' entitled the Aazhoodena to act as they did in occupying Ipperwash Provincial Park in September, 1995."
Commissioner Linden of the Ipperwash Inquiry included the following in this final ruling:
[Police] "Discretion may involve whether, when, or how enforcement action is taken to address alleged breaches of the law. This concept is easily misunderstood. It does not mean that anyone is above the law or that police services should have different standards for Aboriginal peoples. Nor does it mean that the rule of law and public order are somehow subservient to Aboriginal interests."
When I presented the evidence for Extortion, Intimidation and Mischief charges against the Montours for their blocking of a development in Cayuga, I had to present evidence directly related to 'Colour of Right'. After I presented the above cases to the court the Crown in Cayuga presented a case from an April 2008 BC Appeal's Court ruling against Native Protesters who blocked a road by stating:
"Such 'self-help' remedies are not condoned anywhere in Canadian law, which includes aboriginal, common, and criminal law, and they undermine the rule of law."
I could write 1000 pages regarding the right of property owners as ruled by the courts in the hundreds of rulings against Native Protesters but I believe this argument is already settled. Therefore, why does Mr. Barrett reject all these 'second opinions' and wants a McGuinty appointed commissioner to determine whether you own your own land.
The Problem in Ontario has nothing to do with the court's understanding and enforcement of the LTDS. It has always been about the OPP refusing to enforce the 'Rule of Law' and that issue isn't addressed in Mr. Barrett's Inquiry.
One final question for Mr. Barrett. Let's say the Inquiry agrees you own your land. How do you get the OPP to enforce your ownership when they continue to refuse to enforce Court Orders?
Let's have an Inquiry into the illegal actions of the OPP and stop trying to score political points against McGuinty that risk the ownership rights of everyone in Ontario.