Letter - History repeats itself

The Regional

April 7, 2010

The following excerpt is from my letter in the November 28/07 Regional:

"On Saturday December 1, 10:00 a.m. at the "PlankĀ  Road 1 Stop" on Argyle Street South and Highway 6, a protest is scheduled.

Your participation is requested if you believe that:

1) The O.P.P. is responsible for law enforcement.

2) People should respect by-laws pertaining to building permits, vendor permits and trespassing.

3) No honorable person would sell cigarettes to a twelve year old.

4) An illegal smoke shack at the turn-off to Caledonia is not the same as a "Welcome" sign.

5) A criminal act, if allowed to occur, leads to more criminal acts.

The smoke shacks on Haldimand land are a symptom of a larger problem. Getting rid of them won't solve the problem but will be a small step in the right direction. This has nothing to do with rights or land claims. This is about unscrupulous people exploiting the fact the O.P.P. is unwilling to enforce the law."

It's been over two years since that protest. The Plank Road 1 Stop is still dealing in contraband smokes. The three shacks that existed grew to seven, then shrank to five when the county moved against the (non-Indian) property owners where two of the shacks were located. Of the five remaining, one is on Crown land. The other four are on deeded Haldimand County land, subject to the same laws as the rest of the county. The O.P.P. is responsible for enforcing those laws. If it had any intention of doing so, the shacks would have been gone long ago.

I extend an invitation to everyone who disapproves of illegal smoke shacks in Haldimand County. The invitation is not extended to people that approve of them. (History tells me that some will show up anyway. These people need to read "Miss Manners" once in awhile.) The O.P.P. is invited even though I'm unsure where it stands. Ditto for the Mayor and Council. (The economic damage sustained by this county in the last four years has been massive. Governments have no control over the emotions of the players. Government control starts with law enforcement. Perhaps in an election year it would be wise to start demanding law enforcement since appeasement has put us in the crapper!).

This protest is against contraband tobacco and the failure of the O.P.P. to effectively police it. It's not about land claims, treaty rights, etc. If those things bother you, have your own protest. (You needn't invite me.)

There are no legal barriers stopping the O.P.P. from shutting down all the shacks in a matter of minutes. The barriers are political. This means that non-Indian customers are fair game, while the criminals are off limits because of their race. This won't do!

April 11, 2pm, Plank Road 1 Stop, Argyle St. South. If you have a video camera, bring it. We've learned that at these social gatherings responsible people with cameras are more important than uniformed police officers. If you have self control issues, stay home. Your every move could be recorded; behave accordingly.

Doug Fleming