APTN National News
The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police has taken to YouTube to defend his department’s handling of the Idle No More movement in light of criticism thrown at it by the courts and media.
Ontario’s top cop said it’s important to understand the overall strategy and that First Nations hold a lot of the power.
“First Nations have the ability to paralyze this country by shutting down travel and trade routes,” said Chris Lewis in the video posted Tuesday morning. “It is a difficult situation no matter how we view or address it.”
Lewis said there have been more than 60 demonstrations to date under the Idle No More banner and there hasn’t been a report of a single injury to a protestor, member of the public or officer.
The OPP was criticized last week by Ontario Superior Court Justice David Brown after failing to respond to a court injunction in Tyendinaga where a small group of Mohawks shutdown the Via Rail line for seven hours.
Justice Brown also slammed police in Sarnia for not acting on two injunctions he issued to have a blockade removed there. In both cases, the protestors removed the blockade and police refused to move in on them.
In Tyendinaga, the OPP said it was “too dangerous” to respond to the injunction. The protestors said they made the right choice because if they had they would have stayed longer and if they would have tried to make arrests there would have been a fight.
Lewis said arrests will be made after the protests if warranted. Police told Tyendinaga protestors they were under investigation for mischief.
“These concepts and strategies developed from experience, hard work and common sense are difficult and complex to explain to the general public,” said Lewis.