Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Caledonia plus 1 year

One year ago today, the Battle of Douglas Creek began. The occupation (or "reclamation" depending on whose side one is on) continues and tensions in Caledonia remain as tense as ever. There are a few thoughts I have about this:

1) There's too much ill will on both sides. I have long felt that the 28 outstanding land claims of the elected council, which covers most of the Haldimand Tract, should go to mediation or arbitration. It's time to settle this once and for all; whether it's with money, land or a combination of both.

2) We need to know clearly who speaks for each side. No sooner does one try to figure this out than yet another constituency crops up claiming they weren't consulted or they file yet another spurious lawsuit -- not just against the government but against rival factions in the Iroquois community.

3) There must be ways found to allow Six Nations to become more self-sufficient. One of these, I would think, is to develop the land they already have. There is some commercial development there, but the current reserve is literally surrounded by some of the most productive farmland in Canada -- and when one drives on the reserve one would be hard pressed to see anywhere where a shovel of sod has been turned. Seems to me like an opportunity that isn't being exploited.

The issue of native employment also needs addressing. It's not as bad at Six Nations as it may be on other native reserves but there's still a problem. So does the issue of potable water and just trying to be part of society when society wants to marginalize those who were there first.

4) Finally, one has to recognize the issue of urban sprawl. There is a "greenbelt" that surrounds much of the GTA and Hamilton, but it's worth pointing out that Haldimand County is directly south of the limit of this protected area. As population growth continues, there are concerns that people will just leapfrog from one side of the greenbelt to the other. This is certainly a concern at the northern end of the region, where the population of Barrie is expected to triple in the next 25 years.

Down here, one can therefore understand in that light why there is so much agitation and why some feel they have to take back what they think belongs to them before the "white people" move in. Well, unfortunately, the white people have been there for decades and they will continue to move in. Caledonia is already a flash point and one can very well expect Hagersville and Jarvis to be next.

Frankly, I don't know what the solution is. Having outsiders from the OPP doing three days tours of duty from as far away as Hastings or Rainy River certainly isn't.

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1 comment:

Donna Pitcher said...

I would love your opinion on my blog.
I am new at this, but I am enjoying it, I also love to voice my opinions.