I was at the meeting of the Caledonia Peacemakers last night and while I have certain reservations about what this group could become, I didn't feel that the message presented was inflammatory at all, despite those who always play the race card anytime this issue comes up.
In fact Doug Fleming would actually like to attract native members to his group so that they could work together against lawbreakers, native or otherwise. As far as everyone's fears of citizen arrests go, this group will have failed if they are forced to make even one arrest according to what was said at the meeting, and I agree. Their intention is to put the OPP on the spot to make arrests which over the past three years they have chosen not to.
Contrary to the media's twisted reporting, which in itself is a battle rarely won, I came away feeling that fears of this group "patrolling" our neighborhoods like some kind of “vigilante mob” are totally unfounded. They will be an "on-call" group only, like a volunteer fire department for example, that will only respond if a landowner or resident calls specifically for their help.Prior to any action whatsoever from the Peacemakers, the police will be called and given the option to make the arrest. If they choose to not make the arrest, then and only then will the perpetrator be held and delivered to police, much like a security guard does in all of our area malls and stores. This is nothing new or earth-shattering.
Citizen arrests are made every day in this country without incident in most cases, so the fear mongers are off-base again. Also there will be further meetings and training involved to make sure that when the group is eventually fully activated, everyone will know the appropriate "rules of engagement" and the extent of "reasonable force" for arresting individuals.Hot-heads, people with grudges, and anyone who cannot operate in a fully professional manner will not be invited to join the group. That was made extremely clear at last night's meeting had anyone chosen to attend and listen. Critics who speak out about this while not coming out to actually find out what it was all about should be ignored by everyone. They have no idea what they are talking about.
Unfortunately, a group of hecklers who attended last night refused to listen and instead chose to attack Gary McHale and Doug Fleming about land claims and treaty rights and all kinds of other stuff that had nothing to do with LAW & ORDER, which is what the information meeting was only about. Some people just can't stop themselves from over-politicizing everything that happens in this dispute, misdirecting their attacks on law and order advocates like the CANACE group instead of at the various levels of government where their wrath should be directed.