Maverick councillor calls peace rally
Posted By CHERYL BAUSLAUGH, EXPOSITOR STAFFAll they are saying is give peace a chance.
Coun. James Calnan and artist Jan Vanderstelt are organizing a rally in Harmony Square this weekend to push for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Six Nations and the city.
"It's not so much a peace rally as a rallying cry for those who want peace," Calnan said.
He said people attending the Brantford Rocks concert on Saturday and the Telephone City Car Show on Sunday also will be asked to sign a peace petition started by Vanderstelt last month. The petition, which calls for mutual understanding and a speedy, respectful resolution to the current conflict, has already garnered more than 2,500 signatures.
"We hope people will sign it to show they really believe in good relations with our neighbours," Calnan said.
Vanderstelt started the petition at the end of May and has collected signatures from both natives and non-natives.
"It's about evenly split," the city businessman said. "We want to draw signatures and support from everyone interested in settling this situation peacefully."
GOING TO PARLIAMENT
Vanderstelt said Brant MP Lloyd St. Amand has agreed to present the petition at the first sitting of Parliament in September.
Calnan said he's had "a lot of positive feedback" from the public since he had a change of heart over the city's handling of the native land dispute. The Ward 4 councillor voted in favour of council's decision to seek a court injunction barring native protests in the city.
But Calnan now believes the injunction will inflame an already tense situation.
A native protester was arrested last week after a protest turned violent (??? See "Media slammed...") at the construction site of Kingspan Insulation's warehouse and head office on Fen Ridge Court.
Calnan believes the city should take a different tack and is bringing a resolution to council in August. He's suggesting that the city look at freezing development on lands under claim in the city. In return, Six Nations would agree to file no further land claims within city limits.
"That's where the discussion could start," he said. "I would rather negotiate a treaty than go to war."