The difference between protesters

Letter - The Regional

August 12, 2009

I see the OPP swiftly arrested and charged protesters at Dump Site 41 which sits immediately atop the pristine Alliston Aquifer in the County of Simcoe. This Aquifer is used as a primary water source by numerous municipalities and also discharges into creeks and rivers which eventually flow into Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, Lake Scugog and Lake Ontario. Many people are somewhat annoyed that the McGuinty Government wants to allow a dump built over top of it given the Aquifer may hold the purest water in all of Canada.

Const. Peter Leon is quoted in a Sun Media report that the OPP recognizes the fundamental rights of all Canadians to freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression and peaceful assembly. But, he added, "persons exercising these rights should be aware that the deliberate blocking of roadways and access to property may result in criminal charges."

"The role of the OPP," is to continue to preserve the peace, maintain public safety and investigate criminal wrongdoing, in accordance with legislated responsibilities and not to resolve land use disputes."

I guess the most important part of that little speech was the "may result in criminal charges." part. the "Police discretion" catchall.

Contrast this with the ongoing (never-ending?) occupation and the periodic threats of violence and intimidation by natives in Caledonia and the blight of smokeshacks on Hwy #6 at the west end of Caledonia. Yes, there was a raid on one of the smokeshacks which required two attempts but this changed absolutely nothing at all. That smokeshack was back in operation within 24 hours and continues to operate now on private land and the status quo was maintained.

All that really happened was a publicity exercise to "prove" two tiered justice does not exist in Caledonia with the token arrest of Powless who was flaunting what passes for "the law" a bit more than anyone else. However, this fools no one in Caldedonia or Haldimand county.

It's obvious that "preserving the peace" is the driving principle here. So far this has been a quiet summer. No burned bridges, no tire fires in the middle of the road, no firemen threatened with death, no road blockades, no further near-fatal attacks on construction workers and no "warrior" standing on top of an overturned truck screaming "we want a war!"

All this is indeed a good thing and from a policing point of view I can see how turning a blind eye to the smokeshacks might be considered a fair trade off to what has gone on in the past but the fact remains if a non native set up a smokeshack, let's say at the corner of Greens Road and Hwy #6 just at the off ramp to the bypass, I can assure the OPP commander that NOBODY believes it would last one day let alone how long many of these native smokeshacks on Hwy #6 at the other end of Caledonia have lasted.

So let's please stop the "official" pretending that two policing standards do not exist in Haldimand County.

Donald R Goodbrand

RR#3 Cayuga