Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jays Game @ Rogers Centre

This afternoon I spent at Rogers Centre watching the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Colorado Rockies.

I took along, as usual, my digital camera. While at the game I gave the zoom and movie functions of my digital camera. Why the zoom? I sat in the 100 level outfield seats and zoomed in on the batter and took a picture. The pictures, as you can see below, turned out very well even when zoomed in on! And now the pictures & video:



A panorama look at Rogers Center before the game.




Singing of the National Anthems before the game.


Umpires & Coaches meeting at home plate before the game.


The count of Frank Thomas' home runs before the game. Thomas is striving to surpass the 500 home run career homerun mark.

Frank Thomas at the plate in the first inning of the game



The count of Frank Thomas' homerun count after hitting his 498th homerun in the first inning.


It was a great afternoon!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

BUSTED! Hypocrisy thrives at VIVA & YRT

VIVA Driver smoking at Finch Station
Last Saturday I spent the day in Toronto at the Taste of Little Italy and wandering around Toronto's Harbourfront.

I took the TTC Subway northbound to the end of the line at Finch Station. I surfaced to board the VIVA Blue rapid transit in order to make my way back north to Aurora.

I boarded the bus and sat down. I noticed the driver was not on the bus but was outside reading a newspaper. In onehand was a newspaper and in the other was a lit cigarette. I quickly took out my digital camera and zoomed in on the driver holding the newspaper (see picture). I was hoping to get a picture taking a puff but it didn't materialize and the time the bus was going to leave was fast approaching. So I took the picture found in this post.

Why was I taking the picture? The driver was standing near a lamp post with a bright yellow GO Transit "No Smoking on the platforms" sign.

As well, recently York Region Transit (YRT) posted on their website:

A Smoke-Free YRT/VIVA

We would like to remind everyone that smoking is prohibited on all York Region Transit/Viva properties, including vehicles, shelters, bus stops, platforms, terminals and any other pedestrian areas. Smoking on the transit system or at a transit facility carries a fine of $150. Beginning in June, Transit Enforcement officers will be enforcing Section 3.21 of By-law R-1415-2005-028 throughout the YRT/Viva system to keep our services smoke-free.

Thank you for respecting the health and comfort of all YRT/Viva passengers, contractors, and employees.


For more information, please see Regional Municipality of York By-Law No. R-1415-2005-028 available on the
Transit Enforcement page.

So here the driver was, standing next to a No Smoking sign saying smoking is prohibited on the bus platforms under the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA) By-law. Also, the driver is flagrently violating her own transit agency's (YRT's) own By-laws and policies which prohibit smoking on all terminal platforms.

I easily had all the basis covered in terms of the smoking violation being totally obvious to anyone standing in the same spot as the driver. 1. GO Transit (under the GTTA) prohibits smoking at this terminal. 2. YRT/VIVA prohibits smoking at all terminals as well.

So what is the driver thinking? What does this show YRT/VIVA customers in terms of the willingness of YRT/VIVA employees to follow the rules? The answer to the first question I couldn't figure out. The answer to the second question is obvious as YRT/VIVA has banned smoking at all terminals since VIVA's inception. Now this ban has been a farce considering I've seen VIVA drivers smoking at the Newmarket Terminal, Richmond Hill Centre Terminal, and Finch Station numerous times. Further, I've even witnessed a VIVA Supervisor standing next to a VIVA driver while both were smoking at Richmond Hill Centre!!!!

So when I got home on Saturday, I sent the following e-mail to a YRT Transit Inspector that I have dealt with in the past:

On Saturday July 16th at 5:38 P.M. I boarded a northbound VIVA Blue bus (Bus number 5217) at Finch Station. The brown haired female driver was just the other side of the canopy (close to the terminal wall) reading her newspaper and smoking a cigarette.

Also, I've learned from my previous experience in trying to have action taken in terms of VIVA driver conduct, I have included in this e-mail further evidence. The previous experience I'm referring to was earlier this year when a VIVA Orange Driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the Downsview Station stop on the north side of Sheppard Avenue. This experience resulted in the VIVA driver in question claiming he had his seatbelt on and no further action being taken by VIVA as reported by yourself in your phone conversation to me. In this conversation I got the idea that really a complaint needed valid evidence. So, learning from this experience I've attached a photo I took with my digital camera at Finch Station.

The attached photo shows the driver in question reading a Toronto Sun newspaper in her right hand and a lit cigarette in her left hand. Please note the benches behind her and the reflection in the window above of the VIVA Blue bus I was on. This shows she was in fact in on the Finch Station Platform.

This photo shows the driver is in contravention of this posting on the YRT website (see: http://www.yrt.ca/whatsnew.asp#smokefree ):

"We would like to remind everyone that smoking is prohibited on all York Region Transit/Viva properties, including vehicles, shelters, bus stops, platforms, terminals and any other pedestrian areas. Smoking on the transit system or at a transit facility carries a fine of $150. Beginning in June, Transit Enforcement officers will be enforcing Section 3.21 of By-law R-1415-2005-028 throughout the YRT/Viva system to keep our services smoke-free."

As well as the No Smoking By-law of the GO Transit (GTTA By-law 2 section 89 posted here: http://www.gotransit.com/public/aboutgo/tariff&bylaws/bylaw2restated.pdf ) which, as per the by-law, the no smoking signs are indicated on the platforms with large bright yellow plastic signs as well as white circular stickers.


With this above picture showing the evidence this particular driver has contravened the policy of YRT/VIVA (only a policy as this occurance took place in the City of Toronto) as well as the By-Laws of the GTTA which are in effect on GO Property (which Finch Station is), please ensure this matter is corrected.

I await your response in terms of the YRT/Viva's response to the above noted matter.
Also, please be advised this is not the first occurrence of a VIVA driver or supervisor I have seen contravening the YRT/VIVA By-Law at Finch Terminal, Richmond Hill Centre, or Newmarket Terminal. I trust YRT/VIVA will be ensuring its own employees face the same penalties under the Region of York's by-laws. Otherwise, I find it pretty hypocritical of YRT/VIVA in telling customers, in bold letters, on YRT's website that: "smoking is prohibited on all York Region Transit/Viva properties" and indicating there is a $150 fine and then agency will then do nothing when one of VIVA's own employees is caught in contravention.


Thanks in advance for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Michael Suddard


First some notes: In reference to the VIVA Orange incident, I witnessed the driver not wearing his seatbelt and running the red light at the intersection of Allen Road & Sheppard Avenue West. I reported it to the same YRT Transit Inspector. The response from the Transit Inspector was that the VIVA Driver totally denied he ran the red light or was not wearing his seatbelt. There was nothing the Transit Inspector could do. Thus, I was sure to get to not repeat this in reporting the 'smoking driver'.

On Wednesday night I received a phone call back from the YRT Transit Inspector I sent the e-mail to. The Inspector thanked me for sending an e-mail drawing his attention to the situation. He said he forwarded my e-mail, minus my name, to the VEOLIA Driver's supervsisor. VEOLIA is the private consortium who operates the VIVA system on behalf of the Region of York.

The VEOLIA Supervisor had a meeting with the driver, Andrea on the issue presenting the e-mail. Andrea responded, according to the YRT Transit Inspector, that she "may have been smoking on the platform." The VEOLIA Supervisor then showed her the picture. The Supervisor said this was picture shows she blatently was smoking. The driver had the complaint and picture filed in her personal file according to the YRT Transit Inspector. The driver was also warned that she had blatently broken the law as well as YRT and VIVA policy.

The YRT Transit inspector was impressed with my research and presentation of the evidence. Also, he said this was on of the fastest responses that he has received from VEOLIA Management in response to a YRT/VIVA customer complaint against one VEOLIA's drivers. Usually, the YRT Transit Inspector pointed out, VEOLIA usually takes a full week to respond to driver complaints. Why a week? That is what the contract between YRT and VEOLIA states the complaints have to be addressed. In the this case the YRT Transit Inspector launched the investigation on Monday after receiving my e-mail. He had a response on Wednesday and contacted me Wednesday night. This response time also impressed me because, as we all know, government operations usually take forever to address questions and concerns of customers/taxpayers.

Further, the YRT Transit Inspector said he was quite impressed with my work on this issue. He said the picture was quite clear. I pointed out it was obvious she was on the platform in the picture as you can see the advertising on the platform (poster behind the driver), the bench (back right of the driver) and the reflection of the bus in the terminal window. The Transit Inspector said he knows that advertisement well as it is just outside the VIVA Blue bus spot at the Terminal and around just outside the bathroom entrance for the bus drivers.

Just before we hung up, the YRT Transit Inspector thanked me again for the good work on this issue and said to feel free to contact him again, especially in incidents like this.

Last night, I went to bed feeling I finally had improved the lives of fellow York Region Transit and VIVA passengers by forcing YRT and VIVA to own up to their own hypocrisy. Because, as we all know, "Do as I say and not as I do" doesn't provide good optics most of the time.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Airing out the Laundry

The clothesline, a simple line of either rope, wire or something similar that is string like. The clotheslines can either be the traditional wire and pulley or in the 'tree format.'

When I was younger, I always loved seeing our families sheets being hung from the back yard's tree clothesline. I used to run through the sheets feeling the cotton run past my skin. I was careful, after the first few mishaps, to avoid the middle supporting pole ('the trunk') of the tree clothesline. But running into that pole was the least of my worries, my mother's wrath of after I messed up the clean sheets she had worked so hard to launder, was much worse.

Seeing the neighbours string their laundry out on the pulley stile of clothesline was fascinating. The screech of the pulley would signify the laundry was about to be strung out. I used to watch for the clothes and sheets to move out into view. First there was the screech, then a pause, then another screech, then a pause, then screech and there it was the first sheets came into view! For some reason watching the neighbour's laundry moving across their backyard on the line was mesmerizing.

But apparently not everyone finds clotheslines to be that exciting. In today's Toronto Star Ideas section, a story on the debate raging over clotheslines today in the town of Aurora and the province of Ontario brings this response from one lady:

"I don't want to see people's dirty laundry," says the woman, who didn't want to be identified. "We can't be told what to do."

The article further mentions that this lady believes clothe lines look junky and thus bring down property values.

However, others point that stringing your clothes out to dry in your backyard helps to reduce power consumption by not having to run your clothes dryer as much. Reducing power consumption is considered to be good for the environment because it means coal fired power plants and other fossil fueled electrical generating stations do not to need to run as much. The government of Ontario seems to support reducing consumption of power considering their funding to the "Flick Off" campaign aimed at reducing power consumed by lighting. In most neighbourhoods, like my parent's neighbourhood, putting your clothes out to dry in the backyard breezes is not a problem.

This is not always the case. Aurora Mayor, Phyllis Morris, has taken on the task of advocating for those in subdivisions who are not allowed to string their clothes out to dry. Apparently there are subdivision agreements that the developer has the new homeowner signs. Part of the subdivision agreement between the developer and the new homeowner in some subdivisions prevents the erection and use of clotheslines.

Seventy year old Robert Cook of Aurora brought this problem to the attention of Aurora council recently figuring only a local bylaw would solve the problem of not being able to use clotheslines in some subdivisions. Apparently it is not up to the municipality, but up to the province. So Aurora Mayor Morris took up the fight with the provincial government of Ontario which included a petition being submitted to the Ontario legislature. As well the Town of Aurora's Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the right for people to use clotheslines. The Mayor of Aurora wants the province to make the use of clotheslines legal no matter what subdivision agreements say.

The Aurora Mayor's fight with the province of this issue has brought national attention. Ms. Morris pointed out, in last week's Toronto Star article, that she has been hearing from across the country:

"I'm hearing from New Brunswick, from Calgary, from Vancouver. People feel that if you need legislation in order to hang a string and two hooks in your backyard, something is wrong."

A national interest in this issue over clotheslines. added with an impending Ontario provincial election in October of this year, would make one think this issue would be quickly dealt with a convenient photo op by the current Liberal Premier and Environment Minister. That is not the case.

To make matters worse for the Ontario Liberal government, the biggest current international environmental crusader of today has taken interest in this issue. Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore was in Toronto recently at a dinner. Gore spotted a T-Shirt Ms. Morris was holding up and inquired with the Aurora Mayor about it according to a recent Era-Banner story. Mr. Gore was shocked and requested his own t-shirt. So if you see Mr. Gore wearing a t-shirt with the words "Right-to-Dry" on it, blame us Canadians for it.

So what is the response of the Liberal government in Ontario? The Toronto Star reports that:

For now, Queen's Park is hoping the cities will make the first move.

"The government's preferred approach is to work co-operatively with municipalities on this issue," Energy Ministry spokesperson Sylvia Kovesfalvi says.

Typical government inaction seems to be at its best. On one hand the government is encouraging residents to reduce power consumption by turning off lights whenever possible and is now encouraging municipalities to reduce their energy consumption through a new infrastructure program. On the other hand, a simple law change seems to have been buried in other feel good environmental announcements.

Some might scoff and say the provincial government has to study the issue. But Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris would point out that nearly a year ago her pettition on this issue was submitted to the Ontario government. Since last August the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has had time to study the issue. What has resulted from this simple request to look into the issue by a single municipality with a good idea? Nothing so far. Has the Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty come up with anything concrete on this issue in terms of announcing new legislation? Not so far. Has Greg Sorbara, the Liberal's own head election organizer and Aurora's current MPP, formulated this issue into a plank of the party's election platform? Not so far. The Ontario Liberals seem to be dragging their feet on this issue by being absolutely silent despite this being a provincial responsibility.

The upcoming provincial election is the time for Aurora and other municipalities to press this issue. Local candidates and party leaders should be questioned on their views on this subject. The Ontario Liberals already have a poor record on this issue by doing nothing. But what do the Ontario Conservatives and NDP view this issue? The Ontario election campaign is the best time to find this out.

Residents should be encouraged to uses their clothes dryers less and their clotheslines more. Clotheslines reduce the amount of electricity consumed and, thus, greenhouse gases and other pollutants emanating from fossil fueled generating stations. Besides the most obvious positives for the environment, will the governments think of the children? All children should enjoy being a little mischievous by being able to run threw the drying laundry on the line. About the only downside of this issue is the mother's blood pressure when they see some muddy hand prints in the freshly laundered bed sheets. But a little high blood pressure is so little a sacrifice in comparison to saving the environment.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Heritage Day in Richmond Hill

This afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed down to Richmond Hill, Ontario to check out the towns "Heritage Fair." Here I thought their historic downtown Richmond Hill buildings would be open to be toured and maybe a small bazaar on the street. The fair was located on Yonge Street between Major Mackenzie Drive and Crosby Avenue.

Well I was partially right, only St. Matthews United Church (pictured below) was open for historical tours. In fact the church was charging $3.00 for the tour. That I thought was a little much, so I didn't bother entering even though every time I go past the church on the bus I wonder what the inside was like. However, at least the people outside the church were dressed in Victorian style dress.

What other "heritage" was there? Nothing really historical in nature, but there was plenty of bands playing and children singing. Other than that, the Heritage fair looked like Aurora's Street Sale except on a much smaller scale. Vendors were featuring everything from selling jewelry to trying to interest you in day camps and environmentally friendly car rentals. These vendors were not organized very well. In some places the vendors were located along the curb sides while just further up the road the vendors were set up in the middle of the street. At least at the Aurora Street sale all the vendors were along the curbs.

To say the least, I was little dissapointed with Heritage Day in Richmond Hill. But at least it was a nice day to venture out in the sun. Now, here are the pictures....

Richmond Hill United Church

Looking North on Yonge Street from near the M.L. McConaghy Seniors' Centre
Looking North from near the corner of Yonge & Centre Streets.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm Green. I ride YRT/VIVA

On Wednesday of last week while I was transferring buses in the morning on my way to work. While waiting for five minutes for the connection, I visited the customer appreciation day booth for York Region Transit (YRT). A YRT representative gave me a bottle of water, a cookie and a button (like the one pictured in this post). I enjoyed the water and cookie while waiting for the bus.

The button I filed away in my bag before hopping on the next bus. I thought nothing of the button until yesterday (Monday). I read on a circular given with the button that if I was spotted riding YRT or VIVA that I could win an IPOD or a monthly pass. So I placed the button on my bag that I take with me to and from work everyday.

About mid day today I got the button jammed on my blue box underneath my desk. I thought about just pulling the button off and throwing it out. I decided against it and merely flatenned out the pin on the back and reattached the button to my bag.

Good thing I did reattach the button. On the bus ride home we stopped off at Promenade Terminal stop and spied a lady in a blue sweatshirt walking towards the bus. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be funny if...." and then my thought came true!

"Does anybody have the 'I'm Green' button?" the blue shirted young lady asked as she got on the bus.

"I do!" I replied.

She handed me a free YRT/VIVA monthly pass and the usual contest agreement promising not to persue legal action against the transit company.

The best part of the day? One of the people who rides the bus with me that very morning was making fun of me for having the button on my bag. Coincidently, she was on the bus with me on the way home when I got handed the free monthly pass of an $85.00 value. To say the least I was a little smug on the rest of the way home on the bus.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ever Wonder?

Have you ever wondered what happenned to a former school mate of yours? I have and today at the Aurora Street Sale I ran into a friend I grew up with.

Gord Demille has always had a drawing pencil in his hand doodling. As we grew up he became quite good at computer graphics, so a computer mouse replaced the pencil. Eventually he took interest in advertising and that was the last I heard of him.

Today I came accross his booth at the Aurora Street Sale. It was well decorated with his framed hand drawn art. Apparently Gord has gone into business for himself as an artist. He does pencil drawings for offices, family rooms, etc. I was pretty impressed with the art displayed at the street sale. Gord had pencil drawings of everything from wovles to bears to the siblings in his family. You can see his art at his website here.

Sometimes its amazing how friends turn out. I would never have thought fifteen years ago Gord would be owning his own artistry business. But nontheless he does!

2007 Aurora Street Sale

Ever year Aurora hosts an annual street sale on Yonge Street through the heart of town.

In fact, in the street sale's innaugeral year in 1996 it held the world's record for being the world's longest street sale. To add more intrique, it has been called, in the past, "The World's Longest Street Sale on the World's Longest Street" because the sale takes place on Yonge Street which holds the record for being the world longest street.

This year, like last year, I took my digital camera on my adventure to check out this years street festival and here is some of what I saw:

Looking south from the corner of Tyler Street at the masses.

Looking South on Yonge Street in Downtown Aurora from the corner of Yonge & Wellington Streets.

Looking North at the street sale from the corner of Yonge Street & Murray Drive

An added feature to this year's street sale! A soap box derby along Cousins Drive!

For even more pictures of this years and last years street sale visit my Aurora photo gallery.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ipperwash Inquiry: A Journalistic Inquiry

On Thursday the findings of the Government of Ontario‘s official Inquiry into the events of the native occupation at Ipperwash Provincial Park during 1995 were released.

Ipperwash Provincial Park is located in southwestern Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron just south of the community of Grand Bend, Ontario. Back in the summer of 1995 tensions were brewing between the Stoney Point Natives and the federal government over a military base. The federal government had been promising to return the military base to native control once the Second World War had ended. However, around fifty years later the Stoney Point Natives were getting antsy. A group of the natives moved into the military base and occupied it. The military, sensing tensions were growing, had smartly moved out of the base smartly beforehand. However, the natives grew even more restless and began eyeing the next door Ipperwash Provincial Park. Labour Day weekend saw the natives move into and occupy the provincial park claiming there were native buriel grounds.
Friday morning the Toronto media published both the usual stories reporting on the inquiry’s findings as well as presenting analysis by their columnists. The Toronto Star‘s Queen’s Park Columnist, Ian Urquhart, blames the Ipperwash Affair almost entirely on then Ontario Premier Mike Harris. Urquhart’s main thesis that: “…[the] pressure from Harris to resolve the matter quickly contributed to the eventual outcome” of the Ipperwash clash. Urquhart goes onto point at that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), because of Harris’ pressure to resolve the native occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park quickly, were thus forced to storm the park and remove the occupying group of natives. This prevented the police from negotiating with the native occupiers like the current provincial Liberal government is doing with the native occupation of Caledonia Ontario.
Ian Urquhart even points out that the Ipperwash Inquiry’s main stinging criticism of Mike Harris by writing: “For good measure, Linden also chooses not to believe Harris’s denial that he ever said, “I want the f—ing Indians out of the park.” Good Measure? Seems Urquhart only adds this little tidbit of information just to throw in some more anti-Mike Harris rhetoric to his column. Basically Urquhart uses this column to rail against the Conservative “law and order approach
On Friday the Toronto Star‘s Friday Editorial is not as scathing as their own columnist Ian Urquhart. The Star’s editorial attempts to answer the question of ‘what went wrong at Ipperwash? The editorial points to the three things as being the reason the whole Ipperwash Provincial Park occupation ended up in a very negative affair:
“…the impatience of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, cultural insensitivity in the Ontario Provincial Police and federal foot-dragging on aboriginal land issues.”

The editorial goes onto outline how each played its part and how the inquiry’s findings can lead to better actions by government in response to similar occupations like the Ipperwash affair. Why is the Star editorial correct?  Usually in explosive situations like the native occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park there are several factors that lead to confrontation and not just one, as the Editorial outlines.

The first factor was that the newly elected Conservative government of Mike Harris wanted to solve the situation quickly. So the OPP felt the pressure from the provincial government to solve problem.
However, the pressure posed another problem, the commanders at the Ontario Provincial Police didn't have experience or knowledge of the history and cultural background of the native protesters. This pressure meant the police were being called upon to act quickly and, thus, were unable to bring in native historians and other experts to do some background research in order to establish how to best handle the situation. The OPP forced by haste were unable to even negotiate with the native occupiers of the provincial park and really had no other option but to storm the park. Add into the mix rumours of possible firearm possession by the native occupiers, a perfect storm had begun to brew.
But how did the whole situation become so bad? As the the Toronto Star notes the slowness of the federal government in resolving native land claims is the main problem. Had the federal government set up a process of negotiating the land claims of this particular area of the province, perhaps the natives would have seen some form of progress and an occupation would have been unnecessary. Had the federal government kept their word and vacated the military base voluntarily, perhaps the provincial park may never have been occupied. However, because the federal government failed to both set up land claim negotiations and failed to vacate the military base in a timely fashion, the natives of this area of the province became restless.
Over at the Toronto Sun, Queen’s Park Columnist Christina Blizzard believes the OPP are more to blame. Right off the top of her column she points out the Ipperwash Inquiry dismisses any involvement of the Mike Harris government in ending the dispute. Blizzard believes the lack of communication by the OPP and the cultural insensitivity of the whole Ontario Provincial Police were the main reasons for the Ipperwash occupation ending the way it did.
Is Blizzard right? Perhaps there was no pressure from the Harris government felt by those within the OPP who were in charge of the situation at Ipperwash. Perhaps the Commissioner of the OPP felt the pressure and didn't let the political pressure filter down to those in charge of policing the occupation at Ipperwash Provincial Park. On this basis the real factor in the Ipperwash situation were the officers in charge of the policing situation rushed to solve the problem at Ipperwash. The rush to solve the problem meant they decided to solve the problem instead of taking their time to investigate options into how best solve the situation. This ultimately meant the idea of negotiation was never considered.

The hypothesis that the Conservative government didn't interfere in the Ipperwash fiasco is the basis of the Toronto Sun’s Friday Editorial/Point of View. The editorial tries to ensure the all reasons the Ipperwash Inquiry found for the provincial Conservative government under Mike Harris was not blame are laid out. The attempt to show Mike Harris was not pressuring the OPP in the Ipperwash situation by the editorial is in quite the contrast to the Toronto Star’s Ian Urquhart column mentioned above. Urquhart basically only quotes a very minute section of the report on the involvement of Mike Harris. This is in contrast to the Toronto Sun Editorial that provides a whole paragraph excerpt from the inquiry’s report:
“Although Premier Harris was critical of the police, I do not find he interfered with or gave inappropriate directions to the police at Ipperwash … the premier did not inappropriately direct the OPP on its operations … or enter the law enforcement domain of the police. Although one may disagree with his view, it was legitimate for the Premier to take the position that the First Nations people were illegally occupying the park, and that he wanted them out of Ipperwash as soon as possible. He did not give direction on the manner in which the OPP should enforce the law; how, when and what arrests should be made; tactical decisions; or other actions the police should take to end the occupation … it was not inappropriate for the Premier to direct the Ontario government to seek an injunction (against the occupation) as soon as possible.”

With all these conflicting points of view from journalists and editorialists of two Toronto dailies, who is right?

The real answer lies with which source do you believe is correct. Personally, the Ipperwash Incident unraveled in a chronological sequence of events:

1. The federal government, who under the Canadian Constitution, looks after native issues failed in peacefully negotiating a land claim swap with the Stoney Point natives for this area of the province since the early 1900s. Lands seem to change hands between both public and private interests quite a bit in this area without input from the natives of the area

2. The federal government failed to close the Ipperwash Military base and return to the land to the Stoney Point natives following the Second World War. The natives were quite patient for over fifty years. However, near the end of the fifty years the native grew restless and saw no end in sight to the military occupying the military base.

3. The natives moved into occupy the military base. The Canadian military, hearing rumours of a possible confrontation over the military base, smartly moved out of the military base weeks before the occupation.

4. A group of the natives occupying the military base started eyeing the adjacent Ipperwash Provincial Park as another piece of land ripe for a native occupation. After all the Ipperwash Provincial Park had always been considered a site of a former native burial ground. With the occupation of the military base next door, the natives could occupy both the military base and provincial park all at once.

5. The OPP wanted to ensure the situation was quickly brought under control. When the natives had moved into the military base it was one thing. But now the natives had moved into Ipperwash Provincial Park, the optics of the situation showed that the provincial police had lost control of the situation. So the OPP wanted to swiftly move into and at least remove the natives from the provincial park portion of the occupation and leave the federal government to deal with the occupation of the military base.

6. There was some pressure felt from the provincial Conservative government. However, this pressure only came in the form of, as the Toronto Sun Editorial quoted from the Inquiry’s report,”…it was legitimate for the Premier to take the position that the First Nations people were illegally occupying the park, and that he wanted them out of Ipperwash as soon as possible.” Thus, the OPP knew the provincial government was moving towards having the occupation declared illegal anyway and action would need to be taken sooner rather than later. Was the pressure coming from the Premier’s Office ordering the OPP to move in right away? No, the Premier, as the inquiry and Sun columnist Christina Blizzard point out, no direct order was given. But there appears to be some indirect pressure from the provincial government for the OPP to solve the situation.

7. The OPP moved in quickly to quell the situation at the Ipperwash Provincial Park. Rumours of the native occupiers with guns meant that heavily armed OPP officers were used. As the OPP moved into Ipperwash Provincial Park one night, a firearm was thought to be observed. This led to the killing of Stoney Point native Dudley George.

8. The Conservative government denied any responsibility in the killing of Dudley George.

9. The Liberal government is elected in 2003 and starts an official public inquiry into the shooting of Dudley George and the occupation at Ipperwash Provincial Park.

This chain of events seems to meet both the Toronto Star‘s editorial beliefs of more than one factor leading to the situation blowing up at Ipperwash Provincial Park, Ian Urquhart’s belief that then Premier Mike Harris had some involvement, the Toronto Sun’s Editorial of little involvement of Mike Harris and Christina Blizzard’s belief that the OPP were the main bunglers of the whole situation. I have used the two Toronto dailies’ analysis of the situation to inform my own opinion on what happened in the fiasco at Ipperwash Provincial Park that ultimately lead to the death of Dudley George.

If one were to only read one publication and not the other, the reader would not see the conflicting analysis of the other publication as to what might have happened. So, sometimes, it pays to read the analysis of one major daily. This is especially the case on major political issues like the Ipperwash Inquiry where partisan sides tend to come out.

The governments of the future need to learn as much from the situation that erupted at Ipperwash, that future land claim disputes are not handled this way. Then possibly the if a situations like the ones that presented themselves at the Ipperwash are not repeated. This would also prevent another report having to be issued that is very similar to the one issued on Thursday.

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