Steelcitygrit [in exile]

Ruminating on all things Canadian and political.

 

Thursday, February 09, 2006

publish me, woman

On the eve of Mike Harris' testimony for the Ipperwash inquiry, this is what a local journalist has to say.

I've posted my (unpublished) response. Are there bigger fish to fry? Yes. But dangerous thinking out of anyone from anywhere is dangerous thinking. Also, she won't publish my rebuttal in her tiny little newspaper and I'm a small, small, petty man.

In last week's paper, an editorial was published concerning the Ipperwash Inquiry. The column concluded that racism played no role in Dudley George's death. Rather, this was our justice system working the way that it ought. If you break the law, "you have to pay."

The piece is correct in one assertion. The prolonged tension at Stony Point carries at its crux a simple need for law and order. However, the actors have been confused.

Let’s revisit the last century of history at Ipperwash with all possible brevity. The Stony Point treaty initially incorporated far more land than it does now. There seems to be a need to be perfectly clear here – land treaties are legal documents. That treaty was a guarantee of ownership in the same way that the deed to a house is a guarantee of ownership. This did not deter the federal government in 1942 from expropriating a significance portion of that land and uprooting its inhabitance in order to establish an army base.

Clifford George tells a poignant story. He returned home in 1945 after distinguished service in the Canadian army – vanquishing the administrators of holocaust in a far distant land. He returned to find that his home was barracks, his backyard a shooting range. Clifford George slept in a ditch on that first night of his homecoming.

The land was taken through the War Measures Act – a temporarily legal transaction. It was to be returned when the act was revoked. Such is the law. By 1995, the year of Dudley’s death, Clifford George was still unable to go home. Years of protracted negotiations had rendered such generous governmental offerings as a 1981 Order in Council that ensured the land would be returned – when “no longer needed for military purposes.” I suppose the Stony Pointers have to appreciate the ceaseless war and military expansion Canada has experienced since the 1980s… right?

The point being made is a simple one. All Dudley George was asking on the day of his death was that the government of this country submits to the rule of law. If our sovereign authority liberally transgresses our legal code for convenience sake, how can we be expected to do otherwise?

As for the question of racism – this is a difficult one. Now that political correctness has itself become politically incorrect, we are no longer allowed to toss these accusations about. Heaven forbid I “play the race card” in 2006 – most seem to feel that that ancient sociological element has been completely bred out of our systems in the past 40 years. I’m not so confident. Nevertheless, Beaubien probably isn’t a racist. Mike “I want the [expletive deleted] Indians out” Harris may well be a poster boy for tolerance.

What can’t be denied is that the Stony Point First Nations were faced with circumstances that White Canada will never face. Ask yourself if you believe Ancaster is at risk of being parceled out of the hands of its legal owners. If another major war effort should be launched, do you believe Army Camp Masonville will become a reality?

Perhaps this should be taken a step further. If your Huron Woods home were taken from you, if the graveyard that houses your grandfather was contaminated with military waste, what would you do? Would the law start to lose its relevance?
I can say without hesitation that I’d want those that have broken the law and stripped me of everything to pay.

3 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

Masonville is as multiculturally diverse a suburb as you will find. It also houses one of the largest (if not the largest) East Indian populations in London. On Thirlmere alone: Jewish, East Indian, Polish, Russian, Chinese, and Korean families. Just saying its not the ultimate definition of "white Canada."

9:52 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

However, I realize that couldn't be more beside the point of your article, which I assure you I didn't miss and which is well put.

9:56 PM  
Blogger SteelCityGrit said...

Fair enough. I had a subdivision included in that particular newspaper's distribution plugged in there initially. Wanted to change it for the sake of a wider audience. Had just finished writing you an email. Masonville was the first community that came into my mind. It's a recognizably not-First Nations community, and politically secure. That's all.

3:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home