Minister calls Caledonia militia a 'dumb idea'
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:44AM EDT
TORONTO - The Ontario government is slamming plans to form a militia in the southwestern town of Caledonia to protect local residents at the scene of a long-running aboriginal dispute.
A local activist, Doug Fleming, says he plans to form an unarmed militia to make sure the law is enforced in the town near Hamilton and protect property owners from trespassers.
Minister of Community Safety Rick Bartolucci calls it a "dumb idea" and says Caledonia residents should allow the Ontario provincial police to do their job.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid says it's a "shameful attempt" to divide a town that has seen violence erupt between local residents and aboriginal protesters.
Duguid says he understands that residents are frustrated because negotiations aimed at resolving the land claim dispute have dragged on for so long, but says he's pushing Ottawa to speed up a resolution.
The dispute has erupted in several violent clashes between homeowners and the native protesters occupying a 40-hectare tract of land on the outskirts of the town, which began in 2006.