I have to agree with your columnist Nick Davies, who wrote last week in his column: “if the cops in Sarnia were anything like the cops in Whistler, they would not hesitate to do the job.” He was referring to the several incidents of occupation by native groups in which police did not react with force to clear the protesters. I, myself, had a chance to witness firsthand the forceful methods of Whistler RCMP detachment when I observed last October an arrest of a smallish native man by a burly RCMP constable in the Olympic Plaza. What I had seen upset me so much that I went to the RCMP offices and filed an official complaint about what officially would be called an excessive use of force, but what in folk terms goes for police brutality. I will describe the details of this incident when I get the results of my complaint.
I am surprised that Mr. Davies would be advocating for the use of hard police force or violence in resolving those occurrences. They were all resolved peacefully. I am also surprised that he has no understanding of what is happening in the world and in Canada with different protests. Does he not know why the RCMP and other Canadian police forces do not enforce the law in these incidents? Given the brutal handling of Canadian native people by various police forces in the past, such as shooting unarmed protesters, mishandling arrested natives, dropping them of in -30 C cold outside city limits to freeze to death etc. The police and the politicians are painfully aware that any mishandled incident can spark a firestorm among more and more united First Nations with extremely dire consequences for Canada. The patience of First Nations is at an end.
Upholding the law is extremely important if we want civilized society to survive. But many times in our history significant changes were achieved by breaking existing laws. This was necessary because rulers or societies at the time did not want to address problems. The tea party members — the original Boston bunch, not the idiots now in Washington — broke the law and sparked the American Revolution, Rosa Parks broke segregation law, Louis Riel is now a hero to many and Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for breaking apartheid laws. Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa broke existing laws. One time “terrorist” Dilma Rousseff is now the president of Brasilia. Maybe one day the FLQ members will be officially declared Quebec heroes. We would like the justice to be blind and applied without exceptions, but the law is in the eyes of beholder and the history is the final judge.
Maybe Mr. Davies has an idea what Whistler RCMP detachment would do if the fast spreading and growing Idle No More movement made Whistler, by blockading Highway 99, a central protest point for the whole B.C. or even Canada. It would surely get a lot of international coverage. Some tourists would think twice before coming to Whistler. Whistler is extremely vulnerable with a single highway access. That is why I do not understand the shortsightedness of the RMOW council, which purely on legalistic grounds decided not to accommodate First Nations interests in the OCP. This can cause serious jeopardy to Whistler. My understanding is that the previous Whistler council members had far more accommodating position. In the past I was very hard on them, but for this crucial issue I wished they were still in office.
Wouldn’t it be better if we had better democracy first and then there would be no need for police to act more forcefully?