| Add Your Ad ! |





| Add Your Ad ! |




































Add Your Ad !



Add Your Ad !
Thank you for visiting Turtle Island Native Network
Thank you for visiting Turtle Island Native Network
Click Here to Read Details of the Crisis at Ipperwash Park and the Death of Dudley George and the Subsequent Public Inquiry
JUSTICE
for
Dudley George

"In my view, the most important urgent priority is for the federal government to return the former army camp
to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation immediately
with an apology and appropriate compensation."
Commissioner Sidney Linden

"I think the most important recommendation in this report is that we all try to work together."
Sam George

"We apologize for the events that led to the loss of life and we deeply regret the death of Dudley George."
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay.

"It's a good report. The findings are clear. The recommendations are clear."
AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine

"I join the George Family and other concerned parties in welcoming the constructive Inquiry findings and recommendations. . ."
Grand Rapids First Nation Chief Ovide Mercredi, former AFN National Chief

"This is an excellent report and a great start to improving the relationship between First Nation people, governments, and all Ontarians,
but what we need now is action by all parties to implement the recommendations
the provincial and federal governments and First Nation leaders."
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy

"The life of Dudley George will live on and we hope the implementation of this inquiry report's recommendations
will at last bring about the justice he sought for his community and for all Aboriginal Peoples."
Metis Nation of Ontario President Tony Belcourt

"I am pleased that 12 year's worth of false and politically motivated accusations were rejected
by Mr. Justice Linden in his report."
Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris.

"The death of Dudley George is a tragedy, the report will contribute to the healing process."
O.P.P. Commissioner Julian Fantino

The Final Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry
was made public in Forest, Ontario
May 31st, 2007
- - - - - - -
Background . . .
Dudley George's Family and Community
The Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation
6247 Indian Lane
R.R. #2
Forest, Ontario
NON 1JO
(519) 786-2125 Telephone
(519) 786-2108 Fax
1-(877) 787-5213 Toll Free
- - - - - - -
Click Here to Read Details of the Crisis at Ipperwash Park and the Death of Dudley George and the Subsequent Public Inquiry
"Politics and Demands for a Public Inquiry
Into the Death of Dudley George"

by Lynnette R Dubois- Taylor
Policy Coordinator
October 1, 2002

In Canada Are Aboriginal Lives Worth Less?
this is a .pdf file
Top Level Document Helps Opposition
Point Accusing Finger at Ontario Government

Support for inquiry
this is a .pdf file

Thursday 27 September 2001
Ontario Legislature debates a motion calling for a public inquiry

The House met at 1000.
Prayers.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS

IPPERWASH PROVINCIAL PARK

Mr Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): I move that the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, on behalf of the people of Ontario, calls on the federal government to immediately hold a federal inquiry into the events that led to the tragic death of unarmed aboriginal protester Dudley George, so that despite the continuing refusal of the Harris government to call a public inquiry, Ontarians may finally know the truth about what happened at Ipperwash Provincial Park on, as the resolution reads, September 6, 2001, clearly referring to 1995.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Mr Kormos moves ballot item number 19 and, according to the standing orders, has 10 minutes to lead off and will be followed by debate in rotation.

Mr Kormos: This matter has been not only before this Legislature but before the people of Ontario, before the people of Canada and, quite frankly, has been a matter of concern internationally now for six years and some weeks: September 6, 1995, an unarmed aboriginal Canadian engaging in a peaceful protest -- acknowledged. The information that has trickled, at times haemorrhaged, into the public domain indicates, by virtue of a CSIS informant, one Jim Moses, present in Ipperwash park, that not only was Dudley George unarmed but that the authorities knew he was unarmed. In fact, during the criminal trial of the OPP officer convicted of the negligence which was in effect the homicide of Dudley George, the presiding judge found as a fact that Dudley George was unarmed and that the police knew that he was unarmed.

Critical in the debate since September 6, 1995, has been the growing concern and the incredible wealth of evidence that indicates that this government, the Harris government, so soon after their election to power, played a very specific role, a political role, which constituted interference and constituted direction of the OPP which resulted in the homicide, the death, of Dudley George, an unarmed aboriginal Canadian engaging in a peaceful protest around a piece of land which again, it's become clearer and clearer to the point where it's beyond any doubt, was historic territorial and burial land of aboriginal people and one which again it becomes increasingly difficult to deny is a piece of land that they had every right -- morally, legally and ethically -- to be present on by way of occupation, by way of protest.

This House has heard repeated calls from both opposition parties for a public inquiry into the role of this government -- the Premier, the Attorney General of the day, other members of cabinet, including and added to that a backbencher from that community, all of whom are named in a civil action filed by the George family. Let's make one thing perfectly clear: the George family has made it clear from day one that the civil action is all about trying to determine the facts surrounding this event at Ipperwash park. The George family has made it very clear and there's simply no contest to the proposition that that civil action will end tomorrow should there be the calling of a public inquiry into the events surrounding the murder of Dudley George.

This Legislature knows full well the initial -- the seminal -- evidence which started to generate concerns and which took the concerns of people in the opposition parties and people across this province and country from the level of mere suspicion to the point of genuine, legitimate conclusions and inference about the role that the Premier and his members took in the death of Dudley George, with revelations by way of notes made by people present at the conversations and at the meetings between the Premier, other members of his caucus, his cabinet included, and policing authorities: the now infamous "Get the [expletive] Indians out of the park"; the repeated contradictions on the part of the Premier as he's subjected in question period: one day acknowledging one thing, the next day denying it, one day admitting his presence somewhere and his meeting with somebody, the next day denying it; and now of course the understanding that the Premier's conduct is being driven by the insurers of the government, who are dictating his response here in the House and his determinations, as Premier of this province, as to whether or not a public inquiry should be held, I put to you.

This morning in the Toronto Star, journalists Peter Edwards and Harold Levy reveal yet more, and, I tell you, this is as shocking as any of the evidence that has been put forward to the people of this province. It's as shocking as any of the evidence that's been put forward to date because we learned today -- and I submit to you that the evidence is conclusive, that there is no dispute about it, that there can be no debate about the facts as presented in the revelations by Peter Edwards and Harold Levy in the Toronto Star this morning. Again, they obtained their evidence by the review of documents filed in the court during the course of the civil trial by the George family. It's a civil trial that I tell you has been frustrated day after day after day by the pettifoggery of the government's lawyers and by the legal machinations and legal manoeuvring which are designed to protect the Premier and the other persons named in that civil suit and not designed in any way, shape or form to bring forward the facts as they actually are or to bring forward the truth; it's designed to suppress the truth. Let's make that perfectly clear. Let's understand that. I understand that.

That's the role of defence lawyers. And the Premier and his cabinet and his backbencher have very good defence lawyers, courtesy of the taxpayers of the province. I understand that as well. This is a civil action. It's an adversarial process. It's designed so that the plaintiff, using the laws that exist, has to establish certain facts and, in the adversarial nature of it, the defendants -- the Premier and some of his cabinet members and his backbencher -- are entitled to use that law to suppress those facts. It's the nature of a civil trial; it's the adversarial system. That's why this doesn't belong in the civil court.

Johnstone Roberts, a great jurist here in the province of Ontario -- he really was -- someone who befriended me many years ago, now passed away. He was an excellent judge and was acknowledged as such. One of the first things he told me as a very young lawyer, when I began practising law -- he took me aside in a very avuncular way and admonished me to remember that in the court system, justice has nothing to do with the truth. This is a judge telling me this, a very experienced judge.

He said that's the problem with the civil process here. It's not necessarily designed to draw the truth to the surface. It's an adversarial system guided by long-standing and traditional rules. I understand those rules; I believe most other people do as well. But we've also got to understand that this isn't a forum where one determines facts in an open and forthright way and in a non-adversarial way.

What did we learn this morning as a result of the inquiries by Peter Edwards and Harold Levy into the recent filings in the civil action -- again, an incredibly shocking event. We learned there was a sanitizing, a cleansing, a very significant editing of police officers' notes that were presented by way of disclosure, as the law compels it, in the criminal trials of some of the people charged around the Ipperwash incident. The sanitization consisted of the deletion of the very handwritten statement by that police officer about political interference, heat from the political side.

I tell you that this omission in the typewritten notes was no matter of inadvertence. When you read the handwritten notes and compare them to the transcript that was prepared, it is impossible to conclude that this was mere inadvertence or oversight on the part of some typist or clerical worker. This was a clear effort that amounts, in my view, to obstruction of justice by somebody at a very significant stage in the process in the course of these events to protect the Premier and his government from the strong and clear allegation of political interference that resulted in the death of Dudley George.

The Acting Speaker: The member's time has expired. Further debate?

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): I rise today to speak against this resolution. This resolution is based on a false premise. It is based on the premise that the only way to get to the truth of what happened is through a public inquiry. I disagree with that premise.

We already have a place to get to the truth, not just the truth of what happened at Ipperwash, but the truth of what happened in any case where parties disagree. That place is our courts. Members opposite seem not to have faith in our judicial system. They seem not to trust our independent, respected, impartial judges. But I do.

What issue would be considered by an inquiry? What question would the commission be asked to answer? It's this: Who is responsible for the death of Dudley George? That would be the issue at an inquiry. That's the question the commission would answer. However, that very issue, that very question, is already going to be determined in court. The courts are already dealing with the issue of who's responsible for this tragic death.

The courts have been dealing with this question in two places: first, a criminal case and, second, a civil law suit. The first case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. An officer was convicted of criminal negligence causing death. In other words, the court found someone criminally responsible for the death of Dudley George. You say you want an inquiry to find out who is responsible for the death of Dudley George? Well, the criminal courts have already convicted somebody for that very act.

Two others points about the criminal case bear mention. First, the criminal charge was laid following a full investigation by the special investigations unit -- an arm's-length independent investigation by the SIU. Second, at no time during the criminal proceeding was it ever suggested that political direction was given to the officers on the ground -- no evidence whatsoever.

Now, the civil case. There's a second place where the courts are already dealing with the responsibility for this tragic death. and it's the civil lawsuit. The issue in the civil lawsuit is whether the defendants, including the government, including Mike Harris, are responsible for the death of Dudley George. That's what is being alleged in the civil case. The allegation is that the defendants are liable for this tragic death. That's precisely what an inquiry would consider and it's already being dealt with in court. In fact, one of the specific allegations being made is that the defendants, Harris, Harnick and Runciman, ordered, permitted and/or allowed the tactical response unit of the OPP to utilize force, including deadly force, against the protesters. The defendants deny that allegation. They say it's a false allegation. But the point is that the court is going to decide the truth of that allegation. An independent, impartial court is going to decide that. If you want to get to the truth of these allegations, there's already an independent process in place.

But those calling for the inquiry don't want the truth so much as they want political theatre, a media circus. That's what's really behind the call for an inquiry. Consider some of the arguments advanced by the members opposite:

They want an independent, impartial process. The courts are independent and impartial.

They want it headed by a respected jurist. Our courts are full of respected jurists.

They want full disclosure. The court process includes full disclosure. It's called discovery. Already more than 11,000 documents have been provided to the plaintiff's lawyers.

The next step is for all the parties, including each defendant, to answer questions under oath. They want sworn testimony and findings based on evidence. Well, that's exactly what happens in court.

They want an open, public and transparent proceeding. Our courtrooms are open and public and the process is transparent.

Indeed, the civil action is actually superior to a public inquiry in several ways. A public inquiry can't award compensation, but a trial judge can. A commission of inquiry can't make findings of wrongdoing; the courts can. A public inquiry would mean starting all over. This civil action is already more than five years old and the parties are in the midst of discoveries.

All this is known to the members opposite. They know that a court of law is the best place to seek a fair, independent determination of the truth about who was responsible for the death of Dudley George. But they're less interested in that truth than in political gamesmanship. How unfortunate that they've chosen to deal with a human tragedy in this way.

One final point: fairness to the defendants means that they too are entitled to have their day in court. For more than five years they've faced serious allegations, terrible allegations. Each and every one of them denies the allegations, says they're false. Just this week, the OPP defendants again confirmed that they never, ever received political direction. The defendants want the court to decide these allegations. They're entitled to have the court decide these allegations. They are entitled to their day in court, and I agree.

I am voting against this resolution and I urge all members of this House to do the same.

Ms Caroline Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton): First of all, I will discuss the premise from which the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, Mr Phillips, has consistently been trying to deal with this matter as a way of garnering the truth. That's what this is about. Why is it that this matter of Dudley George incenses us so much? To me it's an issue that deals specifically with social justice. This is an issue about, in my view, a perception that there was a blatant abuse of power. Speaker, I listened when you began the proceedings about, "Help us to uphold power wisely and well." That does not appear to be the case with the issue of Dudley George.

To me, this is a fundamental premise of a democratic province where the police, who enforce the law, must remain independent of those who are lawmakers. We know that. The police must be free to do their job without influence from the lawmakers. That's what is at the bottom of this.

Gerry Phillips is the member in this Legislature who's been seeking to uncover the truth. There is a huge array of evidence that links the Premier and some of his cabinet members to the decision-making that led to the death of Dudley George. There's a great potential to influence, if not directly, indirectly -- it is such a fine line -- by the type of intervention that we find evidence for of the Premier and other elected officials, including an MPP who was at the command post during the events.

We have a history of various levels of government whereby MPs or MPPs have just made a phone call to judges or to a police station and they've resigned, only by making a phone call, because they've appeared to interfere.

In the case of Dudley George, the allegations and some of the evidence indicate that the Premier wanted the natives out, period, any way they could. That is the fundamental error of judgment that was made by the Premier, in my view, if the evidence is found to be so.

On the other hand, these actions were taken by the Ontario Provincial Police, and it is the responsibility of the province to hold an inquiry in this matter. I have to say that I disagree that we should force or that we should ask another level of government to deal with the responsibility that in my view is at the foot of the provincial government. We must have confidence in the ability of this Legislature to get at the truth, and the credibility on this matter hinges on the province holding the inquiry.

There's nothing more sinister, in my view, than authority that acts or appears to act unjustly. This erodes the trust and undermines the credibility of those who are here to uphold the law and the lawmakers, and that is the police and the legislators.

I will conclude with this: in my view, the member for Scarborough-Agincourt has been consistent in asking for an impartial inquiry from the province. The province must take action and the Premier and his cabinet must be held to answer to get at the truth.

Mr Kormos: That's precisely the point. When I hear the canned responses from the government in their effort to distinguish a civil action from a public inquiry -- well, not to distinguish it, a parallel that somehow suggests the paramountcy of a civil action versus a public inquiry -- look, the primary function of a public inquiry is specifically fact-finding. Quite right. It isn't about assessing damages, it's about fact-finding. That's what the people of Ontario want, that's what the people of this country want and that's what people internationally, who have become incredible aware of what happened in Ontario on September 6, 1995, want.

I agree with the proposition that it should have been this province, this government, that called the public inquiry. That would have been the honourable thing for the Premier to do. Honour, however, has not been a particularly strong suit of this government when it comes to this matter -- or, for that matter, many others.

This resolution calls upon the federal government to initiate an inquiry. Howard Hampton, on September 10 of this year, wrote to the minister, Bob Naulte, asking him to do specifically that. The problem is the province won't call an inquiry. Six years later the province stonewalls, the province hides behind its insurers and its lawyers in the civil action and the province does everything it can to delay the civil process. The province, the Premier and his lawyers and his colleagues' lawyers do everything they can to frustrate the plaintiff in this civil action, to make sure that it's as protracted as possible, and they use every available opportunity to try to suppress the plaintiff's claim.

I think the opposition is in accord about the need for an inquiry. The sad and tragic reality is that the province won't call one. We, therefore, ask this Legislature to call upon the federal government, because the coalition that has been supporting this issue and making sure that it's at the forefront of the public view over the course of the last six years recognizes that there's an inherent conflict of interest here: the Premier is being asked to call an inquiry into his own conduct.

The federal government clearly has constitutional obligations to aboriginal people. In fact, a very learned legal opinion was prepared by Bruce Ryder, associate law professor here in the city of Toronto, which examined the case law and examined the constitutional obligations and determined -- I think beyond any doubt if you read the material, that the federal government has -- and in fact has suggested that the ideal scenario, in view of the federal responsibility, this fiduciary responsibility to aboriginal people, would have been a joint call from both the federal government, in view of its jurisdiction, its fiduciary duty to aboriginal people, its responsibility to aboriginal people with respect to their welfare and well-being, that a joint call for an inquiry and a joint inquiry would have been most appropriate.

We have nobody else to turn to. There is, I believe, clear jurisdiction on the part of the federal government, and the law supports this view, that it has the jurisdiction to conduct an inquiry into what happened in Ipperwash. This province, this provincial government, this Premier and his cabinet have shown nothing but disdain for the facts, for the facts as they would be presented in a truthful way in a public inquiry, and has done everything they can to stonewall and frustrate people attempting to conduct the inquiry and to help bring facts forward.

It's for that reason it's imperative that if we're really serious, if we're really concerned about the facts being determined and if we understand as we do that the province is grossly disinclined to call that inquiry -- and that power rests solely in the hands of the government -- we then have to look to the federal government to fulfill its responsibility, not only to Dudley George, but to aboriginal people across this country.

The homicide, the death of Dudley George, has been identified by Amnesty International as possibly being an extra-judicial execution. It has attracted the attention of just and fair-minded people internationally. We can't expect that justice or fair-mindedness from the provincial government. I'm hoping today that this House will lend its support for a call to the federal government to exercise the fair-mindedness, justice and pursuit of the facts that this government denies us.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate.

Hon Chris Stockwell (Minister of Labour): I want to start by saying at the outset that I know I speak on behalf of all members of the government and the House in expressing my sorrow in the untimely death of Dudley George on September 6, 1995, at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

I will say that this is a rather interesting debate. To sit back and see it unfold is difficult at times. First and foremost, these are very serious allegations the members on the opposite side of this House make. The arguments with respect to the federal issue have already been debated and discussed. The federal government has already said they weren't going to get involved. The request to the federal government has already been turned down. I think your leader of the third party wrote to the RCMP this month. The RCMP responded, in writing, saying that, no, they wouldn't be involved either. Those requests were made and those responses have happened.

It's a curious time. It's strange to sit in this place. Substantially, the allegation that's made is that the people on the government side are hiding behind the courts. It's a strange charge. It's a strange allegation. It's strange because I've never heard it before, that the charge is that you're hiding behind the judicial process, you're hiding behind the courts. That's exactly what the member said, that the judiciary that's set in place as a third party, completely unaffected by the government, completely alone and separate, somehow the government has gone around and hidden behind the court system. I guess that's the kind of allegation. I guess we will have to debate that allegation.

I think it's important for us to examine the fundamentals of this case. The fundamentals of this case, as I understand it, are that somehow the OPP received direction from the provincial government with respect to the situation at Ipperwash. That's the nut of the case, as I understand it, in the six years that I've been here hearing the arguments. The nut of the case is that somehow the OPP received some kind of direction from the provincial government in dealing with the Ipperwash situation. As far as we can see, with the crib notes that we've gotten through the process, the only thing that they've attested to is the fact that the government has looked to seek an injunction to have the Indians removed from the park. I think there have been many occasions in the history of this province where governments have done just that, sought injunctions, and as far as I can tell, I don't think anyone is really harbouring that as the crunch or the nut of the case. So we'll move on.

If we believe that to be the case -- and I'm doing my best to understand the opposition's mindset on this. I'm not arguing about whether or not it's a reasonable case or a reasonable argument. What I'm trying to understand is what it is that they believe happened. What is it that they believe took place that would allow such heinous allegations, such serious allegations to be made against members of this government, people I know very well? I guess the bottom line to the whole discussion -- and I look across the floor to the members -- is that somehow somebody directed the OPP directly. I think then you have to go talk to the OPP. You have to talk to the provincial police who were responsible, in charge, at the time. I don't know how else you can do it.

You can look at notes here and there, but you have to go to the people who were on the ground, in charge of making the decisions, and ask them directly. This is the nut of the case.

Ms Di Cocco: What are they going to say?

Hon Mr Stockwell: The member for Sarnia says, "What are they going to say?" That's frightening, because what that intones is that the police will lie. It frightens me that anyone across the floor would believe that in such a serious case like this that's before the courts, under oath, senior police officers would lie. I don't believe that. So I look.

The crux of the claim asserted by the plaintiffs is that Premier Harris and other senior members of the government directed the OPP in their response to the Ipperwash occupation. In short, they allege -- and this is a serious allegation -- that the government's direction led to the death of Dudley George. That's what they allege. That is a very, very serious allegation, one we should not take lightly. If the allegation were on the other side of the House, I would ask for every opportunity for that member to be allowed to prove their innocence, because this is an allegation of death -- nothing short -- an allegation of death.

So we go to the OPP and we ask the OPP, the senior officers in charge of this situation, whether or not they received direction from the provincial government. Their response is, "Quite contrary." It comes from unimpeachable sources, I might add, because I know some of these people personally. Thomas O'Grady, former commissioner of the OPP; John Carson, the inspector and incident commander at Ipperwash; Mark Wright, an acting detective staff sergeant; and Christopher Coles, who served as chief superintendent, have admitted there was no direction, communication or input by the government into the actions of the OPP at Ipperwash. Those four were in charge. Those four have said, "We received no direction from the government."

It seems to me, as a person who stands here and hears the evidence offered up, that these four people in charge at the time would have a very weighted opinion about what happened. I would go to them and say, "Did you receive direction from the government about these allegations that this government in fact caused the death of Dudley George?" The answer is a resounding, unanimous no.

So the question must be asked, who are we serving here? We're serving the people. The courts are a tertiary, third party with no input from the government. What better way to determine the guilt or innocence of someone who has allegedly directed the death of an individual in this province than asking the four OPP officers and taking it through a civil court, with a judiciary that's impartial, unbiased and completely fair? Somehow, the members opposite don't believe in this process. I know of no other. If you're asking us to now get involved in the judiciary and not trust them, it's a very, very dangerous precedent. You've made the allegations, folks. You've let them stand. Allow the courts to hear the evidence and make a decision.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): There is no doubt in most people's minds that this very serious issue is best served by establishing a public inquiry.

I say there were three things that we were told at the time of the shooting death. One was that the First Nations had opened fire and the police had to return fire. Second, there was no burial ground there; there's no reason why they would be there. The third thing was that the Premier said, and I'll quote specifically: "I determined nothing. I gave no direction. I gave no influence on it. We left that entirely to the OPP. I assumed there would be negotiations."

This is what the judge in the trial of the OPP officer said about the charge that the First Nations had opened fire: "I find that Dudley George did not have any firearms on his person when he was shot.... [T]he story of the rifle and muzzle flash was concocted ex post facto in an ill-fated attempt to disguise the fact that an unarmed man had been shot." So it was determined in a court that the First Nations people were not armed.

We were also told at the time of the shooting that there was no burial ground, and then subsequently found out that the province itself, here at Queen's Park, had evidence of a burial ground.

The third thing we were told by the Premier was that it was left entirely to the OPP. This is why we need a public inquiry -- to determine whether or not that was the case.

The Minister of Labour has just given some interesting testimony here which I think will be helpful. We do know from notes that have been provided to us by freedom of information -- and the Premier has acknowledged this, by the way -- that there was a crucial meeting on September 6, the day of the shooting, and it's only recently become known that the Premier was at that meeting, Minister Hodgson was at that meeting, two deputy ministers were at that meeting and two OPP officers were at that meeting. The one note that we have from that meeting says that the Attorney General was instructed by the Premier that he desired removal within 24 hours. That was, I gather from the evidence, what the Premier said; he wanted them out of there within 24 hours.

I have never alleged that the Premier ordered them out by force. What I have alleged is what is in this document: that he did tell them he wanted them out of there within 24 hours. I'm not sure the Minister of Labour has accurately quoted from the affidavits by the senior OPP officers. They're very careful. It's clear in what they say. This was the question they were asked: "You were never directed or pressured by the defendant, Michael D. Harris, or other government defendants or any other member of the government to remove the occupiers from Ipperwash Provincial Park by force prior to the death of Dudley George?" The key words here are "by force."

There also is a similar question asked to them: "Based on your knowledge or information, did Michael D. Harris or any other member of the government -- that they did not have any input into or participate or interfere with in any way the command decisions?"

I believe the evidence is quite clear from the information we've been provided, and that is that the Premier was crystal clear to the OPP: he wanted them out of the park within 24 hours. I'd also say that the OPP -- this is the communication at the command post just hours before the shooting, where two OPP command officers are saying, "Well, that injunction surprises me. They went from that regular type of injunction to the emergency type which, you know, really is not in our favour. We want a little bit more time."

I would say that the affidavits from the senior OPP officers are crystal clear. The government didn't order them to use force and didn't interfere in the command decisions. But I believe the evidence, based on what we have, is equally clear that the Premier made his intentions crystal clear, that he wanted them out of the park within 24 hours. That contradicts what he said here in the Legislature: that he left it entirely up to the OPP, he had no influence and no direction.

Actually, just the other day in the Legislature the Premier said the OPP had no communication with anybody from the government prior to the death of Dudley George. Well, we know that Mr Marcel Beaubien has acknowledged he was at the police command. A member of the Legislature, a member the government, was at the command post four different times before the shooting death. So what's the public to believe in this? This is why we need the public inquiry.

The Minister of Labour today has put on the record some things that I think, when you look at the specific wordings, do not interpret properly the OPP officers' affidavits. I have said forever, let the truth speak on this. There are allegations, there's evidence, there's information that needs an independent, public adjudication. The government, and this distresses me to no end, has said, "Let the civil case handle it." The public should recognize that the civil case is being fought by the George family against the weight of the entire government. The Premier has spent, just defending himself, well over $500,000 against the poor George family. If you had ever tried this in Walkerton -- the public would have an uprising if you told the residents of Walkerton, "If you want to find out what happened there, sue us." The government was forced to do the right thing at Walkerton, which was to have an independent public inquiry to get the facts out. So I resent strongly the Premier forcing the George family, on behalf of the public of Ontario, to try and get at the truth, and the taxpayers are using hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend the Premier, when those dollars should be used in a public inquiry. The evidence, I think, is strong that there was inappropriate behaviour. But I'm very happy to let a public inquiry fully explain to the public what happened.

I have some problems with the specific proposal before us, for three reasons. One is that this is clearly a provincial government responsibility. It was a provincial park, it was the provincial police and it was the government of Ontario that were totally involved in this. It is a provincial government issue.

My second concern about the proposal is that one of the reasons we fought so hard for a public inquiry is that governments have to be held accountable. I do not think it is responsible to divert our attention and try to get some other government to hold this government accountable; this government has to be held accountable.

The third thing is that in the end what I believe we need to do is to have a public inquiry that the public will have total confidence in. I think having a federal inquiry runs the very serious risk that it takes on political overtones of one government going after another government, of one police force, the RCMP, going after the OPP, of a federal government going after a provincial government. I think it sets, frankly, dangerous precedents and, furthermore, would undermine the credibility of the public inquiry.

I will continue to do what I've done all along, and that is to focus on the Premier and the province of Ontario calling a public inquiry. I have not called for Premier Harris's resignation, because I think what we have to do is for the public to give them a forum where all the facts can come out, where they can judge for themselves what happened here. To think that the government says the civil case is the appropriate route is a gross injustice to the issue and to the George family. If we want to do what's right for the George family, it is to call a provincial public inquiry. I'll let the truth speak for itself.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): I stand quite happily here in my place to support the resolution put forth by my friend Peter Kormos from Niagara Centre, and would argue against some of the comments made by the member from Niagara Falls, the Minister of Labour, and I have some disagreement with my friend Mr Phillips in terms of the final remarks he just made.

The member from Niagara Falls says that those calling for an inquiry don't want the truth. That's what he said. Is it possible that everyone from the opposition calling for an inquiry would be asking for such a thing if they weren't interested in the truth? That is what this is all about: getting to the truth. The member from Niagara Falls says that civil action is superior. He then argues that at an inquiry, in terms of the commissioners, the commissioner of the inquiry cannot find claims of wrongdoing. Therefore, he's saying, "Let the civil suit go through its course and let's get to the facts."

But the point is that all we want is justice to be achieved and for the facts to come out. The George family is saying, "We will drop our civil action if the government calls for an inquiry." So my point is if the family is saying, "We want an inquiry and we'll drop the civil action," why wouldn't the government facilitate such a move if, in their view, all they want to do is get to the facts? They don't want to go through this civil action because, as the member from Niagara Centre stated earlier on, a civil action is designed naturally for people to go after each other, and you use your best defence, your best armour and your best tools to defend your case versus the other. As the member from Niagara Centre said, it's very adversarial.

We don't know whether the facts at the end of this are likely to come out one way or the other. It all depends on the case and who makes good arguments and what tools each one uses. In the end, the facts may not be the ones that come out, which is all the family of Dudley George wants, what opposition members are asking for, what aboriginal people are asking for and what other observers of this case are asking for.

So why would this government, through the benevolence of the member from Niagara Falls -- and presumably he's speaking for the government -- say that the civil action is superior? Why would he benevolently say to the family of Dudley George, "You just don't know what you're asking for. The civil suit is better for you, but you just don't realize it"? Why would they argue that way for this family? If in their opinion, and ours, an inquiry gets to the facts, please, let them do that. It's a matter of the cost of an inquiry or the cost of a civil suit, which is already very, very high. I suspect that an inquiry is likely to be cheaper, if the members are concerned about cost, because that's all they ever talk about in any program that I've ever been on. Michael Coren, with the Tory member, argued that they want to spend more money. I'm saying it's just a question of how you spend it.

If we're asking for an inquiry and everybody else seems to agree except you, something is wrong. The Minister of Labour says that the way to get to this is to ask the officers who were present that day. He says the officers said they weren't politically pressured one way or the other to do anything. But that is clearly contradicted by an article just printed today by Harold Levy, wherein it states that an officer at a commanding post "wrote in his notebook about taking `heat from political side.'"

"Those comments about political `heat' were not included in a summary of the officer's notes presented to defence lawyers representing native protesters charged after the OPP operation...."

So the point is that heat from the political side exists. Stockwell said the other two officers say there is no political heat, but this memo suggests there is.

The point of an inquiry is to get to those facts. That's what we want. That's what the family of Dudley George wants. The government should listen to them, because they will drop the civil suit as soon as it agrees to that. The federal inquiry is something that would get to it, because the province seems to be refusing to do it. The federal involvement here needs to be investigated, I say to Mr Phillips, because they have had a part in this that I think we would like to investigate as well.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth): Let's remind ourselves what this is all about and why this resolution is before us today.

On September 6, 1995, Dudley George was the first indigenous person in this century to be killed in a land rights dispute in Canada. We know -- the evidence is there -- that a treaty was signed in 1827, saying there was a burial site on the park grounds. A memo dated the day Dudley George was killed quotes OPP officer Ron Fox as saying, "Park is their land, and there is a burial site there."

We know now that those people, including Dudley George, were unarmed. That's the background to why we're standing here again today with yet another resolution to force a public inquiry into this matter.

I would say to the government members and also the Liberal members here today, let's be very clear on this: we, the opposition, have been calling for six years now for a public inquiry. The government members who spoke made it clear again today that they're not going there, that they're relying on this civil suit, which is very expensive to the Dudley George family and to the taxpayers of Ontario.

I understand the government has a clear motivation not to call an inquiry. They're not going to call an inquiry. They made that abundantly clear yet again today. Let's review the reason I say this government is not going to call an inquiry, despite that we stand on our feet again and again and again calling for an inquiry. The motivation is there not to call one by the Harris government because, let me remind people, of some of the facts we know.

These are notes taken at interministerial meetings on September 5 and 6, 1995: "D. Hutton -- Premier last night -- OPP only -- maybe MNR -- 'out of park only -- nothing else.'"

"Larry Taman was also there and he was eloquent -- he cautioned about rushing in ... can't interfere with police discretion -- but Premier and Hodgson came out strong."

"Premier is hawkish on this issue -- feels we're being tested on this issue."

"Hutton: Premier will take lead. Take this back to cabinet -- but suspect Premier will be pleased to take lead."

"Deb -- has MNR asked OPP to remove them? -- they could be formally requested to do so -- but how and when they do is up to Premier."

"Deb wants an emergency injunction -- doesn't want to wait two weeks."

"Deb -- but we could be seen as having control over this -- so ministers can't duck if scrummed -- and Premier not adverse to this being a provincial government action."

"MNR stress no negotiations."

"Hutton: Premier is firm that at no time should anybody but OPP, MNR be involved in discussions, despite any offers that might be made by KPs (chief etc) -- get into negotiation, and we don't want that," and on and on and on.

We have the latest comment today: "political heat" was removed from the summary of the police officer's notes given to the defence representing native protesters.

I would say here today it is very clear, and there's a request from the Coalition for a Public Inquiry into Ipperwash. They want a public inquiry. We, the opposition, want a public inquiry. The evidence and information are there to show that the federal government has the responsibility and can call a public inquiry.

I say to everybody here today that if we want to get to the truth of this matter, we must insist that the federal government call a public inquiry now.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Response?

Mr Kormos: The capacity of the federal government to call an inquiry has not been contested in this debate. There's been a tacit acknowledgement that the federal government has the jurisdiction, and indeed it does constitutionally. Subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, gives the federal government jurisdiction in relation to "Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians." This is the clear legal capacity of the federal government to call an inquiry.

Is there a nexus; is there a connection? I tell you there is. Because indeed we know now that before and during the occupation of the park at Ipperwash, the federal government had evidence that showed the validity of the park occupiers' claims. The question is, why didn't the federal government say something publicly? The federal government, the minister, could have averted this whole tragic course of events. Why didn't the federal government say anything publicly? Why didn't it say something to the province? Why didn't it acknowledge the right of those occupiers, those protesters, to be there on their Indian aboriginal land?

We have also learned that the federal government sent military equipment to the OPP, an armoured personnel carrier to be used against the park occupiers, perhaps done extra-legally if not illegally. There is complicity by the federal government in the course of events that led to the death of Dudley George.

That in no way, shape or form relieves the Premier of his responsibility. All the evidence available clearly demonstrates that the Premier involved himself in such a way that prompted the police to do what they did and resulted in the death of innocent, unarmed Dudley George. An inquiry has to be held. At this point it's clear that the federal government has to be called upon to call for it.

The Deputy Speaker: That completes the time available for debating ballot item number 19. The question will be put at 12 o'clock noon.

The division bells rang from 1201 to 1206.

IPPERWASH PROVINCIAL PARK

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Michael A. Brown): Order. Will members please take their seats. Mr Kormos has moved ballot item number 19. All those in favour will stand and remain standing until the Clerk calls their name.

Ayes

Bartolucci, Rick
Bradley, James
Churley, Marilyn
Colle, Mike
Gerretsen, John
Hampton, Howard
Kormos, Peter
Marchese, Rosario
Martel, Shelley

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will stand and remain standing until the Clerk calls their name.

Nays

Agostino, Dominic
Arnott, Ted
Baird, John R.
Barrett, Toby
Bountrogianni, Marie
Boyer, Claudette
Chudleigh, Ted
Clark, Brad
Clement, Tony
Coburn, Brian
Conway, Sean G.
Crozier, Bruce
Cunningham, Dianne
DeFaria, Carl
Di Cocco, Caroline
Dombrowsky, Leona
Duncan, Dwight
Dunlop, Garfield
Ecker, Janet
Elliott, Brenda
Flaherty, Jim
Galt, Doug
Gilchrist, Steve
Gill, Raminder
Gravelle, Michael
Hastings, John
Hoy, Pat
Jackson, Cameron
Johns, Helen
Johnson, Bert
Kennedy, Gerard
Klees, Frank
Lalonde, Jean-Marc
Levac, David
Marland, Margaret
Martiniuk, Gerry
Maves, Bart
Mazzilli, Frank
McMeekin, Ted
Miller, Norm
Molinari, Tina R.
Munro, Julia
Mushinski, Marilyn
O'Toole, John
Ouellette, Jerry J.
Peters, Steve
Phillips, Gerry
Runciman, Robert W.
Ruprecht, Tony
Sampson, Rob
Smitherman, George
Sorbara, Greg
Spina, Joseph
Sterling, Norman W.
Stewart, R. Gary
Stockwell, Chris
Tascona, Joseph N.
Tilson, David
Tsubouchi, David H.
Turnbull, David
Wettlaufer, Wayne
Wilson, Jim
Witmer, Elizabeth
Wood, Bob

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are nine; the nays are 64.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion lost.



Prosecutor presses for Kenneth Deane's dismissal
November 21, 2001

Latest revelations paint chilling picture.
Spark call for Premier's resignation

September 2001

Amnesty International 2001 Report


"Canadian federal and Ontario authorities failed to hold a public inquiry into the death in 1995 of Dudley George, despite calls to do so from the Ombudsman of Ontario, churches, trade unions, relatives of Dudley George, AI, the media, and the UN Human Rights Committee. Dudley George, an indigenous protester, was shot dead by a police marksman during demonstrations at Ipperwash Park. In 1997 an Ontario provincial police officer was tried in connection with the case and given a two-year conditional sentence for ''criminal negligence''. During the trial, the officer testified that he fired his weapon because he believed Dudley George was armed and threatening other officers. However, the judge concluded that the officer had knowingly shot an unarmed man."

Remember Dudley George - Justice for Stoney Point!
September 6, 2001

NDP Leader Vows to Continue the Fight
August 14, 2001

More Charges Against Cop Who Killed Dudley George
by Dan Smoke-Asayenes
July 30, 2001

Justice for Aboriginals - Turning up the Heat
Even the good grey Globe and Mail called for a public inquiry
into the killing of Dudley George

Call for human rights investigation

POLITICAL PRISONER?
Native activist from '95 Ipperwash protest loses appeal
- jailed for 6 months -
CLICK HERE TO READ THE COURT DECISION

Go To Top of the PageClick Here to go to the top of the page

Front Page | Discussion | Education | News | Healing and Wellness
Contact | Resources | Communities | Business | Culture




Legal Notice
Legal Notice . . . All contents are copyright 1998 - 2006 ... No material from this site may be reproduced, modified, republished, transmitted or distributed in any way without the owner's prior approval. All Rights Reserved by Tehaliwaskenhas Bob Kennedy . . . An Aboriginal Owned and Operated Web Site
© All contents are copyright 1998 - 2009
No material from this site may be reproduced, modified, republished,
transmitted or distributed in any way without the owner's prior approval.
All Rights Reserved by Tehaliwaskenhas Bob Kennedy
This is a Native Owned and Operated Web Site