Calnan said he was approaching Powless as a good neighbour and asking him to do his part to end the conflict. But Powless wasn't impressed. "We can't eat the fish, we can't breathe the air and we can't drink the water," Powless said. "As a good neighbour, I'm kindly asking you not to s---on my kitchen table." ... "But no one can get financing from the banks," Calnan said. "Bankers are not willing to provide financing because of all the conflict. This (conflict) is driving investment away." "Really," Powless said. "Well, if that's the case, then I'm doing the right thing. I'm halfway there."
BRANTFORD A city councillor's bid to end the conflict between Six Nations and Brantford was met with disdain on Friday. "I hope when the media write this up they will say that he was belittled and humiliated here," Steve Powless said after speaking with Coun. James Calnan. "If he wants to get on his soapbox he should do it somewhere else, not on my land." Powless, of the Six Nations Men's Fire Council, listened and spoke with Calnan when the city councillor approached him at his new home, a teepee across from the King and Benton construction site. He had been living in a teepee at the site of the Hampton Inn project in the city's northwest business park. However, he was arrested on the weekend and charged with mischief and breach of a court order. Powless was released on bail on Tuesday and, as part of the conditions of his release, he was ordered to stay at least 1,500 metres from several construction sites including those on Fen Ridge Court. King and Benton's $500-million Oak Park Road project was not included in the bail conditions. On Friday, the councillor visited Powless as part of an initiative to confront those who, Calnan believes, are standing in the way of peace and prosperity. Calnan, who had invited the media to attend the meeting, asked Powless to explain his actions and said that the current conflict can only lead to more turmoil in both communities. Development, Calnan told him, benefits both communities because it generates jobs for people, enabling them to feed and support their families. Calnan said he was approaching Powless as a good neighbour and asking him to do his part to end the conflict. But Powless wasn't impressed. "We can't eat the fish, we can't breathe the air and we can't drink the water," Powless said. "As a good neighbour, I'm kindly asking you not to s---on my kitchen table." Instead of developing land, Powless said businesses should move into existing buildings that are now vacant. "But no one can get financing from the banks," Calnan said. "Bankers are not willing to provide financing because of all the conflict. This (conflict) is driving investment away." "Really," Powless said. "Well, if that's the case, then I'm doing the right thing. I'm halfway there." Besides, Powless added, the jobs that will be created by development will only pay $10 an hour. People cannot support families on that, he said. All development does, is proliferate greed, he added. But Calnan again suggested that people in both communities will suffer if they can't find a way to work together and development comes to a halt. Calnan's suggestion that the people of the Six Nations are suffering because of the conflict and will go hungry didn't sway Powless either. He asked Calnan if he had been down to the Six Nations recently. The people at Six Nations, he said, are doing fine and look very well-fed, Powless said. Powless then started to explain how the people of Six Nations have a long history of helping white people. "We took pity on you when ... ." Powless said. "But we took pity on you, too," Calnan said. "When, when have you ever taken pity on us?" Powless said, adding that native people have been lied to far too many times over the years. Native people have been the victims of too much lying and conniving, he said. At that point, Powless walked away from the meeting with Calnan. The verbal sparring ut(?)... Powless left the area to speak with others and stand beside a campfire. Calnan explain that development is needed to ensure that both communities prosper and that development must be done in a way that protects the environment. He also talk about how both communities including the Six Nations will suffer if development isn't allowed to move forward. "Look, (Powless) went to jail," Calnan said. "And I'll go to jail again," Powless retorted from a distance. Calnan speak to others at the site, some of whom gave him credit for at least coming to see and speak to them. Protests at construction sites and the city's response have been a controversial topic in most circles and Calnan has been at the centre of the storm on at least a couple of occasions. At one point, all Brantford city councillors supported seeking an injunction that would bar native protests at construction sites in the city. However, Calnan, to the consternation of some of his council colleagues, broke ranks and began publicly questioning the strategy. He then suggested that development be frozen on city lands under claim by Six Nations.
Copyright © 2008 Brantford Expositor
© 2008 Brantford Expositor