The native protest over disputed land-claims in Caledonia has gone on for over 100 days now. The situation has received some but surprisingly little national attention. Caledonia is situated right next to the Six Nations reserve and natives from this community decided to occupy a piece of land under development in protest of how said land was acquired by the government. The most recent incident to make news was an altercation between news media and native protesters. It was claimed that a handful of protesters surrounded a vehicle and began intimidating the riders at which time two CH cameramen began taping the situation. The protesters demanded they hand over the camera. The cameramen refused and the protesters physically attacked them and wrestled the camera away from them. One of the cameramen was sent to hospital. The local concern (that incidentally appears to be underplayed in the national media is that when the protesters attacked the cameramen there were up to 10 or 15 O.P.P. officers in the vicinity who saw the incident but did nothing to intervene. I find this situation somewhat ironic given my previous post. I wonder what Canada’s response would be if a similar protest was staged by the Muslim population in which explicit and violent illegal acts occurred (whether or not those acts represented the whole)? Native issues continue to be Canada’s dirty little secret because it is “only” an internal problem and has not been considered important enough or perhaps dangerous enough to be given more attention. However, the Canadian government continues to be “tolerant” in allowing some flexibility in how and when laws are enforced. The fear of course in this incident is to have another incident like Ipperwash were a native protester was shot and killed.
The question that comes to my mind is how far we can tolerate certain expressions (whether they are social, religious, political, or otherwise) before this toleration inflicts intolerance on other groups. In Caledonia the government’s reluctance to step in decisively has caused property damage, financial loses, broken relationships, and now physical harm. There is a part of me that begins to understand the US position of “American first above all” and the attempted hard-line approach of their immigration issues. But this does not seem right either. Are these simply damnable situations?