Posted By CHRISTINA BLIZZARD, SUN MEDIAA lot of nonsense is being spouted about Julian Fantino, wiretaps, the closure of Highway 401 and the blockade of the main east-west rail line between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal during last year's aboriginal "Day of Action."
Activist Shawn Brant and his lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, came to Queen's Park on Tuesday to decry the tactics of the OPP commissioner during the standoff.
Shawn Brant represents no one. He is not an elected official. He is not on the band council of the Mohawk reserve near Tyendinaga reserve near Deseronto. The band chief did not support his blockades last year.
He is a cabinet maker by trade, but a pain to the OPP, and even elected native politicians. But, he argues, he does have "a mandate" from people on the reserve.
"It's the Long House," he said. "We are a traditional people and I am told to speak on behalf of the community."
But, apparently, if Shawn Brant has a hissy fit one morning and decides to throw the entire eastern part of the province into disarray, the rest of us are expected to simply smile and take it.
We no longer have the rule of law.We do have rule of law in Canada, but our governments ignore it. g
We have the Law According to Shawn Brant."Mohawk people have cultural differences, historical differences, and we also have our own constitution," Brant said when asked if he is above the law.
"One of those compels us that when we can't drink the water, we have to do something about it. I am not sure whether that puts us above the law.
"We never imagined in our wildest dreams that we would have to go out and shut down the 401 and the trains in order to get people to hear our message."
Where to start?
First, if shutting down rail lines and the 401 was all about getting out a message about bad water, it failed miserably.
I'm tempted to say he needs a media coach, but Brant is an astute, media-savvy communicator. I suspect he knew very well what closing rail lines and roads would do.
It alienated thousands of people. If this was about fostering sympathy, it failed miserably.Support for settlement of native treaties and rights went up 10% because of that Day of Action. More than 75% of Canadians want government action to respect Aboriginal Rights. The few right wing extremists who like the BLIZZARD have no 'sympathy' for anyone but themselves and their pocketbooks. Hey BLIZZARD! ... What did you glowingly write about native rights BEFORE you were "alienated"?! The Blizzardites have their own laws ... 'Canada stole the land. Canada is rich from plundering native resources. Canada ignores the law and human decency. Too bad losers. Call a press conference.'
One commentator suggested Fantino deserves a medal.
A medal? When the top police officer in Ontario uses the force of his office to bully anyone, even a renegade Mohawk protester now facing nine criminal charges, it is an abuse of his office. And when his force dispenses with the requirement to go before the court to authorize wiretaps, he is responsible.
A medal? Fantino's conduct is far below the level to be expected of Ontario's top police officer.
We allocate police unprecedented powers of arrest and detention. We let them use firearms to do their job. In exchange, we expect much of them. Sometimes they let us down. Fantino let us down.