Letter: John Duncan MP from P. Arnold
(This letter was originally sent December 7, 2015)
Attn: Mr. John Duncan MP for Vancouver Island North
Former Indian Affairs Minister and Friend of Ipperwash Beach
As a 64 year summer resident of East Ipperwash Beach, I am shocked and appalled that our provincial police force, the OPP, who have a sworn duty to protect the rights and safety of our citizens stood by and watched the flagrant abuse of the laws of our land by Tom Bressette and his cohorts from the Kettle Point Indian Reserve.
I believe that there are three issues at play here:
- Are there two laws in Canada? One for the roughly 1.2 million aboriginal Canadians which as far as I can see is no law at all, and another law for the other 34 million of us. As Bressette and his gang from Kettle Point proceeded to rip down the beach barriers, which no doubt were installed by the Province of Ontario or the Municipality of Lambton Shores, the OPP stood by only to police the non-aboriginals while the natives blatantly broke the law. This is a complete injustice to all of the non-aboriginal people who have called Ipperwash Beach their home for generations. Sooner or later, some level of government has to show some intestinal fortitude and insist that the laws of the land pertain to everybody equally regardless of race. Currently, our justice system embraces systematic and entrenched racism. Please, correct this injustice by reinstalling the barriers and instructing Tom Bressette and his people that if they touch the barriers again, they will be immediately arrested just like the rest of us would be if we ever performed such an act.
- This illegal act is also creating a very dangerous situation. As I mentioned, I have been a summer resident at Ipperwash Beach for 64 years. I remember vividly when Ipperwash Beach was open to traffic until lake levels rose to the point where the waves were lapping on the steps of Cobblestone Lodge in the mid 1970s and it became impossible to drive on the beach. That is when the barriers went up and everybody, native and non-native alike, recognized that this was a much safer way to utilize this beautiful jewel. During the years when the beach was open to traffic, there were many tragic accidents with vehicles striking people. The most shocking incident that I personally witnessed was a small child, about 5 years old, who ran into the traffic chasing a beach ball rolling in the wind. A car struck the child tossing him high into the air. He literally summer-saulted over the top of the car and landed on his back behind the car. Thankfully, he survived the accident but he was badly injured. I also witnessed on a regular basis high speed drag races on the beach at night where at any time a beach walker could be struck and killed. It is just downright dangerous to allow traffic on the beach.
- For generations natives and non-natives have lived side by side at Ipperwash in relative peace and harmony. Cottagers have made every effort to insure that our community has shown respect and consideration for the people of Kettle Point. We have supported their businesses, included them in our community events and tried in every way to maintain a congenial relationship with our native neighbours. I am certain that, if you asked, the vast majority of people on the Kettle Point Reserve simply want peace and good will. This blatantly illegal act by Tom Bressette has neutralized all of the efforts that native and non-native people have made over the years in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Bressette has forced the residents of both communities into an “us and them” mindset. This is a tragic development and one that everyone will regret as time moves on. Please, use your influence as Former Indian Affairs Minister and MP to reverse this terrible mistake before relations between natives and non-natives are permanently damaged.
I thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt attention to this matter.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this published letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion and/or stance of CICA. Accuracy of facts have not been verified by CICA.