Deja vu: Lack of information frustrates Ipperwash
We were correct in assuming residents who live at Ipperwash beach were not would be happy with the outcome of the private meeting last Friday with members of Aboriginal Affairs, the municipality and Chief Bressette and that there was really nothing to report in regards to the barricades at Centre Ipperwash- or for that matter any of the underlying issues being faced there.
As expected, the residents are saying the municipality is not doing enough, that the province is not listening and the Chief has unrealistic goals.
The residents here are worried about safety, environment and liability. They have sent copious amounts of letters to all tiers of government and are getting few answers. And that is most certainly the problem.
When the municipality suggests their hands are tied; that it is not their job to teach people what the Charter of Rights dictate or what the Constitution says or even the difference between Treaty and Aboriginal Rights-they are correct. Although these meetings are not public, we can assume there is a lot of talking going on and positions being stated but no decisions made. Don’t forget, we went through meetings like this in the 1990s in regards to the Army base being returned to the First Nation People. Twenty years later that issue is not resolved.
Lambton Shores cannot decide the legality of the natives claim or enforce any decisions made by other levels of government. Those historic education details are part of the bigger picture. If the province is using Aboriginal or Treaty rights as reasons for doing nothing- fine- but tell the people.
Mayor Weber has said more than once, “It is the municipal duty to protect both neighbours in the best interest of Lambton Shores- native and non-native.” The municipality does not need defending, their position is clear- they just happen to be the tier of government that is closest to the people. The tier of government where the subject lands sit. Having said that, the province has a duty as does the federal government, even if they continue to say they don’t have a horse in this race- everyone needs to be at this table.
If a compromise is going to be the solution, that needs to be communicated. If we have learned nothing else regarding being educated on what direction the government is heading in regards to native versus non-native conflict – we have learned that communication can’t be silent if we want to avoid conflict and create co-operation.
Everyone wants a good relations with Kettle Point. But-unilateral action by the band against the citizens makes this difficult for everyone. There are legal avenues to decide land claim issues, they need to be followed. When the final decision comes out law abiding citizens will comply.
The Kettle and Stony Point band is talking to their council. The Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs is talking to both Lambton Shores and Kettle Point. But- no one seems to be talking to the very people who are affected.
And that folks is the rub.