It was six years ago in June when some of the major disputes and assaults took place at the Caledonia Canadian Tire parking lot on Argyle Street.
On Tuesday, March 13, both Native protesters and Caledonia residents gathered at that same parking lot, but this time it was to hear a message from Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett who called a press conference to discuss the ongoing occupation.
“There’s a concern in Caledonia for six years that the law has been suspended,” said Hudak at the press conference.
Hudak was essentially sending a message to Dalton McGuinty demanding law and order in a town that has been struggling for the past six years.
“We need leadership from the Premier and his ministers that says we actually believe the law in Ontario should be equally enforced for all residents of Ontario.”
Signs that read, “Hudak, will you help Caledonia families?” and “Hudak, where is the leadership?” along with several Mohawk Warrior flags acted as a backdrop for Hudak and Barrett.
Members of Canadian Advocates for Chartered Equality (CANACE) including founder Gary McHale along with Native protestors started to fill the parking lot even before the Ontario PC leader showed up.
Residents were eager to get their questions in to Hudak. Many people asked him if he knew how many Six Nations resident and Caledonia residents have been arrested during land disputes. Others asked Hudak if he thought Commissioner Chris Lewis should be fired.
Hudak simply said he didn’t know how many have been arrested, and he had no response to the Commissioner Lewis question.
In response to a question on what Hudak would do differently as Premier, he said the Premier needed to encourage officers to enforce the law.
“Frontline police officers should have the full support of political leaders to let them properly do their jobs,” said Hudak. “Otherwise, we’re putting them in an impossible situation.”