11 2 3 IPPERWASH PUBLIC INQUIRY 4 5 6 7 ******************** 8 9 10 BEFORE: THE HONOURABLE JUSTICE SIDNEY LINDEN, 11 COMMISSIONER 12 13 14 15 16 Held at: Forest Community Centre 17 Kimball Hall 18 Forest, Ontario 19 20 21 ******************** 22 23 24 April 1st, 2005 25
21 Appearances 2 Derry Millar ) Commission Counsel 3 Susan Vella ) (np) 4 Donald Worme, Q. C ) 5 Katherine Hensel ) 6 Jodi-Lynn Waddilove ) (np) 7 8 Murray Klippenstein ) The Estate of Dudley 9 Vilko Zbogar ) (np) George and George 10 Andrew Orkin ) Family Group 11 Basil Alexander ) Student-at-Law 12 13 Peter Rosenthal ) Aazhoodena and George 14 Jackie Esmonde ) Family Group 15 16 Anthony Ross ) (np) Residents of 17 Kevin Scullion ) Aazhoodena (Army Camp) 18 Colleen Johnson ) Kettle Point & Stony 19 Jonathon George ) (np) Point First Nation 20 21 Kim Twohig ) (np) Government of Ontario 22 Walter Myrka ) 23 Sue Freeborn ) (np) 24 Maureen Smith ) (np) 25 Lynette D'Souza ) (np)
31 APPEARANCES (cont'd) 2 Janet Clermont ) Municipality of 3 David Nash ) (np) Lambton Shores 4 5 Peter Downard ) The Honourable Michael 6 Bill Hourigan ) (np) Harris 7 Jennifer McAleer ) 8 9 Ian Smith ) (Np) Robert Runciman 10 Alice Mrozek ) (np) 11 Harvey Stosberg ) (np) Charles Harnick 12 Jacqueline Horvat ) (np) 13 Douglas Sulman, Q.C. ) Marcel Beaubien 14 Trevor Hinnegan ) (np) 15 16 Mark Sandler ) (np) Ontario Provincial 17 Andrea Tuck-Jackson ) Ontario Provincial Police 18 Leslie Kaufman ) (np) 19 20 Ian Roland ) (np) Ontario Provincial 21 Karen Jones ) Police Association & 22 Debra Newell ) (np) K. Deane 23 Ian McGilp ) (np) 24 Annie Leeks ) (np) 25
41 APPEARANCES (cont'd) 2 3 Julian Falconer ) Aboriginal Legal 4 Brian Eyolfson ) Services of Toronto 5 Julian Roy ) (np) 6 Clem Nabigon ) (np) 7 Adriel Weaver ) (np) Student-at-Law 8 9 Al J.C. O'Marra ) (np) Office of the Chief 10 Robert Ash, Q.C. ) (np) Coroner 11 12 William Horton ) Chiefs of Ontario 13 Matthew Horner ) 14 Kathleen Lickers ) (Np) 15 16 Mark Frederick ) (np) Christopher Hodgson 17 Craig Mills ) 18 19 David Roebuck ) (Np) Debbie Hutton 20 Anna Perschy ) (np) 21 Melissa Panjer ) (np) 22 Danya Cohen-Nehemia ) 23 24 25
51 TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 Page 3 Exhibits 6 4 5 OVIDE MERCREDI, Resumed 6 Continued Examination-in-Chief by Mr. Donald Worme 8 7 Cross-Examination by Mr. Andrew Orkin 64 8 Cross-Examination by Mr. Peter Rosenthal 80 9 Cross-Examination by Mr. William Horton 90 10 Cross-Examination by Mr. Julian Falconer 106 11 Cross-Examination by Ms. Andrea Tuck-Jackson 138 12 Cross-Examination by Ms. Karen Jones 158 13 Cross-Examination by Mr. Peter Downard 185 14 Re-Cross-Examination by Mr. Andrew Orkin 187 15 16 BENJAMIN WAYNE POUGET, Sworn 17 Examination-in-Chief by Mr. Derry Millar 190 18 19 20 Certificate of Transcript 217 21 22 23 24 25
61 EXHIBITS 2 No. Description Page 3 P-310 Document Number 1011697 August 01/95, 4 Toronto Globe and Mail "Ottawa Defends 5 Abandoning Base to Aboriginal Occupiers" 169 6 P-311 Document Number 1001486 September 07/95 7 Ottawa Citizens article "Militants Hurt 8 Aboriginals Across Canada, Mercredi 9 Warns" 179 10 P-312 Document Number 9000567 September 07/95 11 London Free Press Article "Mercredi Fears 12 Indian Cause Has Been Hurt" 180 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
71 --- Upon commencing at 9:03 a.m. 2 3 THE REGISTRAR: This Public Inquiry is 4 now in session. The Honourable Mr. Justice Linden 5 presiding. Please be seated. 6 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Good 7 morning. Good morning. 8 MR. DERRY MILLAR: Good morning, 9 Commissioner. Before we start back with Mr. Mercredi, I 10 wanted to simply explain to My Friends what they will 11 have found on their tables this morning. We've 12 distributed three (3) documents. 13 The first one is a one (1) page sheet that 14 has number 1 and number 2 on it, and number 1 has the 15 number Exhibit 277. These were the labels from the 16 videotapes from which we made the two (2) DVDs. I 17 anticipate we'll hear that the labels were written by Mr. 18 Ben Pouget. 19 The second set of documents is -- or it's 20 a three (3) page document. And it's a -- they're 21 extracts from a DayTimer that Mr. Pouget had that -- and 22 I've extracted the -- the pages from September 4th 23 through to October 15th, and -- for that time period, and 24 provided it to My Friends. 25 The third document is a larger copy of
81 certain maps drawn by Mr. Pouget. These maps already 2 appear in the database as part of Inquiry Document Number 3 2003822 and, as well, 3000380. These -- these documents 4 are in colour in the original. And I have here with me 5 this morning, for anyone who would like to look at it at 6 the break, for the original colour notes. 7 So I just wanted to make those comments, 8 we will be getting to Mr. Pouget, hopefully, later today. 9 Thank you. 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 11 MR. DONALD WORME: Good morning, 12 Commissioner. 13 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Good 14 morning, Mr. Worme. 15 16 OVIDE MERCREDI, Resumed: 17 18 CONTINUED EXAMINATION-IN-CHIEF BY MR. DONALD WORME. 19 Q: Good morning, Mr. Mercredi. 20 A: Good morning. 21 Q: Pardon me just for a second. 22 23 (BRIEF PAUSE) 24 25 Q: When we had left off yesterday, Mr.
91 Mercredi, we had been hearing you talk about a conference 2 call that you had convened on the 7th of September 1995 3 together with your executive, that appears in these 4 Proceedings and has been marked as an Exhibit 252 and 5 it's found at Tab 10 of the document in front of you. 6 Again, it's Inquiry Document 9000268. And 7 you were confirming for us, Mr. Mercredi, that part of 8 the objective of this particular meeting was to come up 9 with a strategy. And I believe that you were telling us 10 that indeed there was a two (2) part strategy that was 11 arrived at by your group. 12 I wonder if we can maybe just start there 13 and if you could tell us then and take it from there. 14 A: Well, it's impossible for one (1) 15 individual to do all things. So we had -- we had to take 16 the situation that was there as it presented itself, 17 which means that we have to recognize that certain people 18 needed a kind of assistance that could be provided by 19 Elders, but not necessarily assistance that the National 20 Chief can give them. 21 And this is where the role of Bruce Elijah 22 and Bob Antone was directed so that they could spend some 23 time with the people experiencing the most trauma as a 24 result of the death of Dudley George. 25 My role was more to be in contact with the
101 political side of the event which means to try to engage 2 the governments and try -- in dealing with this issue 3 together with Chief Tom Bressette who was the recognized 4 Chief of his community. 5 You can see that in my conversations here 6 with the executive, I asked that question of Chief 7 Bressette whether I should actually go and meet with the 8 Premier as soon as possible. And his response was, come 9 here first, you know, to his community which is -- 10 Q: You were -- you were prepared -- I'm 11 sorry, to meet with Premier Harris at that time? 12 A: It doesn't mean that a meeting was in 13 place but that would have been my strategy would have 14 been to try to secure the meeting and engage him at the 15 outset in terms of political resolution of the dispute. 16 Q: You then indicate to Chief Bressette 17 that you would be prepared to attend out to the -- to his 18 community? That is to the Kettle and Stony Point First 19 Nation? 20 A: Yeah. I indicated right there and 21 then that I would do that, come directly to his 22 community, which is in fact what I did. 23 Q: I think that in the minutes it 24 actually indicates that you would be there at a 25 particular time the following day, which I take it then
111 would be the 8th of September 1995? 2 A: It would have been -- I thought it 3 would have been that same day of the conference call. I 4 -- I don't think I would have waited another day. 5 Q: So you arrived -- you arrived that 6 afternoon? The afternoon of the 7th of September? 7 A: Yes. 8 Q: And I wonder if you could just go 9 from there, Mr. Mercredi, and tell us what happened? 10 A: I -- I believe I landed in -- in 11 London, Ontario. I think Chief Bressette picked me up. 12 I think this is what happened. And then we came directly 13 to a location where there was many people present. A lot 14 of the people from the community were there. 15 And, as I said yesterday, there was quite 16 a few other First Nations people there that had come to 17 be supportive from the surrounding area, so it was a 18 packed house when -- when -- by the time we arrived. 19 And my -- my recollection of that event 20 was it was an opportunity for the leaders present to 21 provide words of support to the family that had just lost 22 a -- a loved one, but also a chance for the leaders to 23 express their thoughts on the event which was, in fact, 24 done and for them to provide assurances that they would 25 be there to support the people in dealing with -- with
121 their issues or -- or with their problems. 2 I, myself, spoke there and -- as -- as did 3 other Chiefs who were present. 4 Q: And when you say, "spoke there," Mr. 5 Mercredi, what was the location at -- of this event where 6 these words were being exchanged or provided? 7 A: I don't recall where that was, it was 8 inside a building, I remember, but I'm not sure exactly 9 where it was. 10 Q: At the Kettle and Stony Point First 11 Nation? 12 A: I don't remember the location. 13 Q: Fine. You had provided a number of 14 comments as well to various media outlets. I want to 15 draw your attention to -- turn your attention to Tab 13, 16 there's a news article from the Windsor Star. 17 Oh, pardon me, before we go there, perhaps 18 we can go to Tab Number 7, a news article dated September 19 the 7th, '95 bearing Inquiry Document Number 9000567. 20 It's a news article, the headline reads: 21 "Mercredi Fears Indian Cause Has been 22 Hurt." 23 And do you see that, sir? 24 A: Yes, I do. 25 Q: And it seems that, at least the news
131 headline has connected your comments to the standoffs 2 that you had just told us about that you had arrived at 3 from British Columbia, namely the Gustafson Lake matter, 4 and tied together with the incident at Ipperwash. And 5 the comment suggests that it may undo the gains 6 Aboriginal people have made. 7 Do you recognize those comments, Mr. 8 Mercredi? 9 A: Yeah, these comments were made in the 10 context of Gustafson. These are -- not -- not comments 11 directed at the incident in -- in Ipperwash. 12 Clearly -- I mean I have no control of 13 what the Press will do with my comments and how they 14 will, you know, tie them up with new events; that's one 15 (1) of the risks of being a political is that when you do 16 make statements -- public statements -- that you have no 17 control of how they're utilized by the Press. 18 I would not have, at this point in time, 19 made any comments, like I say, about Ipperwash. And, in 20 fact, knowing what occurred, the knowledge that I have 21 now, at no time will I say that now, right? 22 So -- but, these were directed to my 23 observations involving the incident in Gustafson. My 24 comments about the RCMP and -- and the role that they 25 were playing there were as a result of the process that
141 we had worked on together. 2 And I want to tell you that it wasn't easy 3 to -- to persuade them to develop that process for -- for 4 peace making either, that was a setup -- it had -- it 5 took me quite a while and a few angry moments before the 6 -- before that was concluded. 7 Like, negotiations were tough because you 8 know, when the police have a strategy, that strategy 9 takes a life of its own and it takes incredible pressure 10 to -- to divert them from -- from a plan that they've set 11 into place. 12 And I experienced that in -- in Gustafson 13 as we experienced that in Oka as well, and subsequently 14 in Ipperwash I saw evidence of that as well. And clearly 15 it was present when I dealt with the conflict in -- in -- 16 Burnt Church. 17 Like, extremely difficult as an Aboriginal 18 leader to persuade people in power, particularly those 19 engaged in implementing a plan, to reconsider the plan 20 that they have put into place in the interest of -- of 21 public safety or the interest of finding conflict 22 resolution. 23 When I said here -- and I -- I 24 deliberately said what I did here, I did not say this 25 just to -- to one (1) single reporter, I made this at a
151 press conference. I dedicated a press conference to 2 alert my people in Gustafson that we cannot support the 3 use of arms for the purpose of -- of securing our 4 objectives as Aboriginal people for the recognition of 5 our rights. 6 And so it's in that context, you have to 7 understand, it's in that context that I -- I would have 8 formulated this idea that it is counterproductive for our 9 people to use violence as a means to an end, and that it 10 would be -- would be better for us to use, if we're going 11 to be confrontational or if we're going to be involved in 12 direct action; to do all those things in -- in a context 13 of non-violence, which was always my consistent message 14 when I was the National Chief. 15 Q: And -- and just in the middle of that 16 article, Mr. Mercredi, under the headline, "Ipperwash," 17 if I can just read those two (2) paragraphs, it reads: 18 "In Ontario, a renegade group of 19 Aboriginals have taken over Ipperwash 20 Army Base and a nearby provincial park. 21 Neither group has the support of local 22 Chiefs or of Mercredi." 23 Now, I recognize that that is not 24 attributed as a direct quote to you but I do want to give 25 you an opportunity to speak to that if you -- if you
161 wish. 2 A: Like I said, when it comes to direct 3 action on the part of our people, I never discouraged 4 direct action. The only thing I discouraged was the use 5 of force or violence on our part in -- when we get 6 involved in direct action. 7 And while I -- I may have been informed 8 about the -- the separate views present in -- in the 9 context of the land issue here, I would not have 10 deliberately condemned one (1) group. I would not have 11 done that, that would have been inconsistent with -- with 12 my own values as a leader. So it's not something I would 13 have said, that the people occupying the Park did not 14 have my support. 15 Q: Mr. Mercredi, part of the objective 16 that you had told us about of the executive meeting you 17 had convened earlier that day, on the 7th of September, 18 was to facilitate the access to the Army Base of Bruce 19 Elijah and Bob Antone. 20 And I think you've told us that you were 21 successful in that? 22 A: I know that when we concluded the 23 press -- I mean the executive meeting called jointly with 24 the leaders from Ontario, that the decision was made that 25 Gord would go there in advance of myself and that he
171 would go directly to the Park or -- I'm not sure what the 2 terminology is, whether it's Park or -- or Army Camp, but 3 one (1) of those locations where -- where the people were 4 gathered, you know, the ones who experienced the -- the 5 incident the night before. 6 And so his role was to -- was to stay in 7 touch with that community, to work with that community, 8 to deal with the issues facing that community. And I 9 came with -- with the role of dealing with Chief 10 Bressette and the police and the government. So that was 11 essentially the division of labour between myself and -- 12 and Chief Peters. 13 Q: And did you have a chance to meet 14 with either Chief Peters or Mr. Antone or Mr. Elijah upon 15 your arrival on the afternoon of September the 7th? 16 A: Well, they would have been present at 17 the gathering and then -- and then, subsequent to that, 18 we did have a meeting with Inspector Coles and some of 19 the senior -- I don't know what the terminology is but 20 the senior officers, his commanders. And present at that 21 meeting were some of the Aboriginal police officers. 22 And -- and the purpose of that meeting was 23 -- was to engage in -- in a discussion about the 24 aftermath, like, What are we going to do now, what steps 25 are we going to take now to -- to try to resolve this
181 without any further injury to -- to individuals or -- or 2 without any further loss of property. 3 That was the -- the -- the idea behind 4 that and it was set up informally, there was no real 5 structure to it in a sense that no one took the lead 6 role. But it was fairly informal and it began with an 7 expression of sympathy on the part of Inspector Coles 8 about the death of Dudley George but -- and then the 9 meeting ensued from that. 10 Q: I believe his title was, Chief 11 Inspect -- pardon me, Chief Superintendent at that time. 12 A: He was a big man, anyway. 13 Q: But, in any event, he also was 14 accompanied by some Aboriginal officers -- police 15 officers, from the OPP? 16 A: Yeah, there -- there was, yeah. The 17 Aboriginal police officers who were there, I thought -- 18 my impression of them was that they had a very valuable 19 role to play in dispute resolution and they were quite 20 prepared to engage in that process themselves. And I -- 21 I -- and some of them were steeped in -- in culture, I 22 remember, I mean traditional ways. 23 And I remember we -- we -- we had the 24 smudge ceremony as part of that event and it was, in my 25 view, a useful thing to do in light of the circumstances
191 of the previous -- the previous day. 2 And because sometimes when you have these 3 -- these situations emerge, you -- you need a calming 4 effect and -- and people don't always provide that 5 themselves. So that, you know, like -- but a ceremony 6 can have that impact and it was useful for that purpose, 7 so that people could talk more in -- in -- in a calmer 8 more rational level. 9 And -- and my -- my recollection of the 10 meeting is that it -- it -- it -- it began with a fair 11 amount of tension in the air. And you can imagine why 12 that would be because that's obviously where -- where the 13 feelings would start and then when you meet that you 14 would come there with those -- those feelings. 15 And -- but we were there with -- for a 16 purpose and that's to find a way -- a way out of the 17 conflict that would not result in further injury, as I 18 said, or further loss of property. 19 Q: And was that way found? Was there a 20 -- a strategy or was there a plan that was developed as a 21 result of this initial meeting? 22 A: Well, clearly it -- it resulted in 23 giving a message to the police that they would have to 24 obviously revise their plan, the original plan, and that 25 their plan could no longer be implemented as it had
201 pretty much been expended by that time, and that a new 2 approach was required in terms of improving their 3 relationships with the community. 4 But also it was understood, I think 5 clearly, by everyone present that their visibility would 6 be -- would -- would not be welcome in the Aboriginal 7 community, and that as much as possible, their presence 8 should be diminished. And I think that is clearly a, you 9 know, a wise thing to do every -- anytime situations like 10 this emerge or -- or arise. 11 Q: Was there any discussion, Mr. 12 Mercredi, in -- in your recollection at that initial 13 meeting about the preservation of the scene where the 14 incident had occurred? 15 A: There was many issues discussed; that 16 would have been one (1) of them. And the idea of the 17 internal investigation of -- of the incident, that -- 18 that was an issue that was -- that was discussed. 19 We also -- we also talked about the 20 concerns of the cottagers and, you know, the real 21 concerns of the people close to the Park, the concerns 22 about their public safety and we dealt with those issues. 23 In fact, those were issues that were directly addressed 24 by both Bruce Elijah and Gord Peters and they were in a 25 better position to deal with those issues than I was,
211 because I'm not directly involved at that -- at that site 2 as they were. 3 So, they undertook -- they undertook, at 4 that meeting, to visit as many of the cottagers as 5 possible to allay their fears and to assure them that -- 6 that their safety was not a question. 7 And this is something that was not asked 8 of them to do by the police. This is part of the process 9 that they had engaged in. This is an internal thing that 10 -- an internal decision that was made, not at the urging 11 of the OPP and certainly not at their request. It's 12 something that we did internally, but also a decision 13 that was not opposed by the OPP brass, the top brass who 14 were there. 15 I -- I myself in -- in retrospect have a 16 great deal of admiration I think for -- for the role 17 played there by Chief Gord Peters and Bruce Elijah and 18 Mr. Antone. 19 They had the most difficult role in terms 20 of this conflict. While dealing with the government is 21 not easy, I mean in relative terms my role was -- was 22 much easier than theirs. 23 Q: Okay. One (1) of those roles I think 24 you had told us about was to attempt to maintain a focus 25 about this as a political issue.
221 A: You know, this is -- this is not just 2 a matter of philosophy or approach in the part of a 3 leader. This is -- this is really a question of being 4 practical. You know, being realistic, that whenever 5 issues between us and the state or between us and Canada 6 result in confrontation, that it's not only the cooler 7 head should prevail. 8 But governments should -- should already 9 have a policy in place to deal with these matters. Not 10 as law and order issues or rule -- rule of law matters, 11 but issues of political questions that need to be 12 resolved involving leaderships on the part of the 13 Aboriginal community but also on the part of the province 14 or -- or Canada. 15 But, you know, whoever's engaged in the 16 conflict, whichever government's involved. See I 17 formulated this idea, if I -- if I may, when I'm at the 18 Gustafson because with respect to Oka there -- there was 19 dialogue with government. 20 Like I was involved in meetings with the 21 SQ and I was involved in meetings with appointed 22 ministers of the Crown, like Flora McDonald who was a 23 Conservative minister of the Crown. So I was engaging 24 pretty high level discussions to try to deal with that 25 situation in Oka.
231 And, but in Gustafson, I came to face to 2 face with an opposition that I didn't expect from the NDP 3 government. And that was from Premier Dosanjh, who 4 clearly didn't understand the nature of my intervention 5 or my purpose, but obviously disliked it as well and made 6 it very clear in his public statements that I should 7 leave this to the police to deal with. 8 And effectively he saw me as someone not 9 intervening for a good reason but someone coming, I 10 assume, in his mind, to muddy the waters. And he thought 11 it would be better if I was not around. And he made that 12 point quite clearly in the public and -- and never made 13 himself available to meet with me or any of the 14 leadership. 15 And in light of that, if there is no 16 political role in conflict resolution, that leaves the 17 Aboriginal leaders to deal with the police. And the 18 police are political masters. And the police they can't, 19 you know, they can't make the decisions that are 20 sometimes required because those decisions have to be 21 made by politicians. 22 So the police are placed in these awkward 23 roles of -- of trying to enforce the law that they may 24 not necessarily believe in themselves where they see a 25 grey area. Because when it comes to Aboriginal issues,
241 certain police officers, at a certain level in the 2 organization, are informed about our rights. 3 And they know that it's not a clear case 4 of -- of us being illegals, of us being against the law 5 or criminals that sometimes when it involves rights there 6 is a grey area that they are prepared to recognize. And 7 it -- it places them in an awkward place of trying to 8 enforce the law. 9 And that's what I'm saying that that's 10 where the politicians have to be involved. And in the 11 absence of the political -- of their involvement, then 12 Aboriginal leaders have no option but to deal with the -- 13 with the law enforcement agencies that are there, which 14 is -- which is what, in fact, I did not only in -- in 15 Ipperwash, but again in -- in -- Burnt Church. 16 Because in Burnt Church we established a 17 process with the RCMP, but they were not in control of 18 the situation. In Burnt Church, like, every -- every 19 situation is unique and in Burnt Church the, you know, 20 the real -- the real danger was from the DFO officers, 21 not the RCMP and the antics and the methods of DFO 22 officers, but we had no process with them. 23 We had a -- a dialogue, communications and 24 an understanding with the RCMP that we would work 25 together towards conflict resolution, but that commitment
251 was not there on the part of DFO. So that was more 2 complicated because you're -- you're dealing with two (2) 3 official agents of the Crown with authority to enforce 4 the law and if one (1) is working with you and the other 5 one isn't, then obviously conflict resolution is made 6 more -- more -- more difficult; less likely to achieve. 7 So, that's, I think, unique with respect to Burnt Church. 8 Q: And you had set up a line of 9 communication, I take it, through this meeting with Chief 10 Superintendent Coles at this meeting of September the 7th 11 along with his -- along with the officers that attended 12 with him. 13 You were -- first of all, can you recall 14 where that meeting took place? 15 A: I don't recall the -- where it was. 16 Q: Okay. Perhaps I can draw your 17 attention to Tab Number 13 in your document binder, it's 18 Inquiry Document 2001766. I believe it is -- it -- it 19 looks to me like the second page continued from page A-1. 20 It reads -- the headline at the top of the 21 page simply reads, "Natives," and in the middle of the 22 second column it would suggest that -- that you flew into 23 Sarnia at 3:30 p.m., arrived at the Kettle and Stony 24 Point Band Office a half hour later and immediately went 25 to a meeting with Stoney Point leaders and provincial and
261 native representatives. 2 I take it that's the, what I'm going to 3 call a rally, that you had first attended to upon 4 arriving? 5 A: Yeah, that's it; that's -- yeah, I 6 think that's it. 7 Q: And then if we can go over to the 8 next column towards the bottom right under the heading, 9 "Native Want -- Natives Want Inquiry," it reads: 10 "Mercredi left the rally at 7:00 p.m. 11 and began meeting with OPP 12 Superintendent Chris Cole at a hotel in 13 Grand Bend. He said the Natives will 14 call for an Inquiry and conduct their 15 own." 16 Does that assist you, sir, in -- in 17 recalling where the meeting took place first of all and-- 18 A: Yeah, I guess if that's what the 19 report says, that's probably where it was. I -- I know 20 it was not in the same meeting as the -- as the -- where 21 -- where the rally was. It wasn't the same -- it wasn't 22 at the same location. We had to drive to this next place 23 for our meeting. 24 Q: You had talked about the police in 25 your -- in your testimony as having political masters,
271 was there any inquiries made in that meeting with Chief 2 Superintendent Coles in that respect? 3 A: You know, there were statements made, 4 I mean, there were statements made about rumours that 5 people had heard about political direction and -- and 6 that was discussed. 7 Q: Was there any -- can you tell us what 8 the outcome of that discussion was, the nature of that 9 discussion, firstly? 10 A: Well, all I remember from that is 11 that it was -- it was not confirmed that there was any 12 political role, but -- that's all I remember from there. 13 Q: In the Gustafson Lake incident you 14 indicated that your attempts to meet with Premier Dosanjh 15 were rebuffed by him, is that -- is that what I 16 understand? 17 A: Yes, yes. 18 Q: And you had indicated earlier that 19 you had inquired of Chief Tom Bressette whether you 20 should go ahead and meet with the Premier of Ontario, 21 Premier Harris, and he had asked you to come to the 22 community first, which you did. 23 Did you receive any subsequent direction 24 insofar as meeting with Premier Harris from there? 25 A: Well, it was understood by -- by all
281 of us that that political meeting was essential, that we 2 needed that political-level meeting. So that efforts 3 were made to secure that and we were not successful in -- 4 in convincing the Premier's office to provide us with -- 5 with that meeting. 6 That's why we had to take this drastic 7 step of -- of telling the -- the public that if he will 8 not meet with us, if he -- if he will not come to us, 9 then we'll go to him. And that, if necessary, that I 10 would occupy, you know, his office until he met with me, 11 that I would go to his place of work and I'd sit there 12 until he met with me. 13 Q: Okay. Now, we'll come to that in a 14 moment. Can you tell us when these overtures were made 15 to the Premier's office? 16 A: I don't -- like -- like I said 17 yesterday, like, the National Chief doesn't do 18 everything, that we have staff that make calls on our 19 behalf. And I don't remember how many calls were made 20 but efforts were made to -- just to obtain that meeting, 21 and those efforts were not successful. 22 Q: If I can have you turn to Tab number 23 12, it is the news article entitled "Natives blame" -- 24 pardon me, "Natives/Police trade blame," and it's dated 25 September 8, '95, Inquiry Document Number 2001765. And
291 it's speaks about you addressing the people at the Army 2 Camp. And you're quoting as indicating that: 3 "It is not necessary for anyone else to 4 die here. Whatever grievance we have 5 with the Canadian government can be 6 resolved in a peaceful way." 7 A: Yeah, that would be consistent with 8 the approach that -- that I would have taken. But 9 clearly, you see, for that -- for that strategy to work, 10 it requires on the -- on the part of the government an 11 equal commitment to that strategy. So that's why it 12 became quite necessary to meet with the Premier so that 13 he would engage in -- in a process towards that end as 14 well. And that was my, in fact, my objective. 15 And quite -- quite apart, there are 16 political objectives. When you -- when you represent 17 your people, you clearly have political objectives. And 18 one (1) -- one (1) of them is to -- is to expose to the 19 public, the Ontario public, how ridiculous it is for a 20 senior political leader of the province to refuse to meet 21 with the leader of -- of the First Nations that wants to 22 bring peace to a conflict. 23 Q: And, indeed, your very next -- 24 A: And the -- and the only way in which 25 you're going to be able to -- to make that apparent to --
301 to the general public is to be prepared to your own 2 people, which I'm always prepared to do, at least at that 3 time when I was their Chief, to say to them, We, you 4 know, we have to find peaceful resolution here. 5 Like, it's not necessary for -- for 6 further injury to occur to anyone and that -- because you 7 can't -- you can't double-minded about these things. You 8 have to either believe in non-violence for -- for your 9 people and -- and non-violence for the other people as 10 well. You can't just believe in non-violence just for 11 one (1) -- one (1) camp. 12 Q: And it would appear at that time, on 13 the 8th of September, you had indicated or at least are 14 reported as saying that: 15 "Ontario Premier Mike Harris has 16 refused to meet with him to address the 17 dispute." 18 So I take it by the 8th of September that 19 -- that overture had already been made to that office? 20 A: Yes. 21 Q: Just before I leave this -- this 22 area, Mr. Mercredi, at the meeting of the 7th of 23 September with Chief Superintendent Coles and others, I 24 take it that the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation was 25 represented there?
311 A: I don't remember if there was a -- an 2 appointed leader from that group at that meeting. All I 3 recall is that Gord Peters, and I think, Elijah, Bruce 4 Elijah, I'm not even -- I don't remember if even Antone 5 was there but I know Bruce Elijah was there. 6 Q: I'm sorry, I may not have been clear. 7 I was talking about the Kettle and Stony Point First 8 Nation, the Band Council. 9 A: Were they there? 10 Q: Yeah. 11 A: Yes, they were, yes. 12 Q: All right. And then I was going to 13 ask you secondly, whether or not there was 14 representatives there from the Stony Point group, as I 15 think they had been called. 16 A: No, that's the group I'm referring 17 to. They -- they didn't -- they had trust in -- in Bruce 18 Elijah and Gord Peters to -- to be at that meeting. 19 Q: And just to your recollection, sir, 20 was there anybody from among that group, that is to say 21 the Stony Point group that had put themselves forward, at 22 least to you, or anyone in your presence, as being in a 23 leadership capacity from amongst that group? 24 A: At that time, no. And -- no. 25 Q: Can you tell us what -- what you did
321 following this -- following this then, Mr. Mercredi? 2 After the meeting of -- of September the 7th with Chief 3 Superintendent Coles? 4 A: I probably went to bed. I was 5 probably pretty tired by then. And I don't recall any of 6 the meetings, but Tom Bressette and I had met to talk 7 about how we're going to draw attention to the Premier 8 and how we might get the Premier to -- to -- you know, to 9 reconsider his position not to meet with us. 10 And how we might engage in discussions 11 with him. So that's when we developed a strategy. It 12 was very quiet and we didn't really inform that many 13 people, and -- and as a result, he and I left very early 14 in the morning to travel to Queens Park. 15 And the only thing that we did to make 16 sure that there was attention given to this trip that we 17 took was we alerted some media outlets that we were on 18 our way there. And so that they could -- they could 19 follow the story to see where it goes with respect to the 20 goal of meeting with the Premier. And -- 21 Q: Just before you move on, sir, do you 22 recall the date that this would have occurred when you 23 travelled to Queens Park? 24 A: I don't remember the date but -- I 25 don't recall the date.
331 Q: We were told, sir, that the funeral 2 of Dudley George occurred on the 11th of September. 3 A: Hmm hmm. 4 Q: Would -- first of all, did you attend 5 that event? That funeral? 6 A: Yes, I did. 7 Q: And would the trek to Queens Park 8 with yourself and Chief Tom Bressette have occurred after 9 that or before that? 10 A: I don't recall the -- the sequence 11 there. 12 Q: Can I refer you to Tab Number 20 in 13 your binder? And that is Inquiry Document 12000191. 14 There appears to be a news article dated the 12th of 15 September. And the gist of the -- of the article has 16 yourself heading to Toronto to demand a meeting with 17 Premier Harris to discuss the crisis at Ipperwash. 18 A: What date is that? 19 Q: I believe this is the 12th of 20 September I'm told. I don't see an indication on the 21 document itself. 22 A: I think -- I think whatever date it 23 was it would probably coincide with public statements I 24 would have made at that time, following the meeting. 25 Q: All right.
341 A: And I -- I know the Premier made a 2 press release, I think, at that same time and so the date 3 of his press release would indicate the date of my 4 meeting with him. 5 Q: In terms of your attempt, and I -- 6 and I recognize that there are others from among your 7 staff and within the organization that you headed that 8 would have taken on some of the administrative duties, 9 but do you recall whether or not yourself personally had 10 made any calls to the Premier's office? 11 A: I don't recall making calls myself, 12 no. 13 Q: And do you have any idea, sir, how 14 many calls might have been made on your behalf? 15 A: I wouldn't know that either. 16 Q: If I can refer you, sir, to Tab 17 number 14, it's Inquiry Document 12000079, which is an 18 official transcript of Premier Harris's comments to the 19 media from September the 8th of 1995. And at page 2 of 20 that -- pardon me, at page 3 of that -- of that 21 transcript, it's a transcript of the Premier's comments 22 on the Ipperwash situation, dated Friday, September the 23 8th. 24 And if we go to the second page of that 25 portion of this transcript, the question was put to the -
351 - to the then Premier: 2 "Have you talked personally with Mr. 3 Mercredi about this? If so, what was 4 the conversation about?" 5 And the response is indicated as: 6 "No. Mr. Mercredi, to the best of my 7 knowledge, never called my office. He 8 has had officials call on his behalf to 9 ask for a meeting and we've indicated 10 there would be no meeting or 11 negotiations or discussions with me on 12 the Ipperwash situation. This is not 13 the role for any politicians now is a 14 matter of an illegal occupation and a 15 role for the police. But by the same 16 token, we obviously -- our ministers, 17 our office, and myself, we're prepared 18 to discuss any concerns." 19 And I take it this is the response that 20 you were referring to, Mr. Mercredi, in -- in terms of 21 your attempts to meet with the Premier? 22 A: Yeah. His opposition to a meeting 23 was clear. 24 Q: And I'm going to suggest to you that 25 it was on -- on the 12th of September that yourself,
361 together with Tom Bressette and perhaps others, that is 2 Chief Tom Bressette, attended to Queens Park, to the 3 Premier's office? 4 A: As I said, you know, the -- the date 5 when the -- when the papers reported my comments and the 6 -- the Premier's press release, that would be the date I 7 met with him. 8 Q: All right. Can you tell us then 9 about that event, having attended at the Premier's office 10 and what happened? 11 A: Well, there was three (3) of us 12 altogether that -- that went to Queens Park. Chief Tom 13 Bressette and I travelled together by car from here and 14 we met Charles Fox there, one (1) of the Ontario leaders. 15 And when we arrived there, we did a little scrum, what 16 they call a scrum, with the press that were present and 17 reiterated my -- my request for a meeting with the 18 Premier. 19 I should maybe clarify something here, 20 that, in my experience as the National Chief, I -- I 21 learned very quickly that Canadian politicians also talk 22 to each other through the media. They may not always 23 correspond or telephone each other but they talk to each 24 through the media. And that I had learned this quickly 25 during the Charlottetown Accord negotiations.
371 And it -- it happens today. Like, you -- 2 if you pay attention to the media you'll -- you'll every 3 now and then hear a premier talking to someone, you know, 4 like a way of communicating and by using the, you know, 5 the media. 6 So, I learned how to do that myself and I 7 used the -- I used the -- the word's not, "used", I guess 8 I utilized the availability of the media to communicate 9 my intentions to government in regard to this issue and 10 that is my willingness to -- to meet with the Premier. 11 And so when we arrived at the steps that's 12 what I did, I reiterated my -- my call for a meeting. 13 And -- and we were met at the door by an official of -- 14 of -- of the Premier's office, and we were escorted into 15 the building and we were given a room to -- to rest and 16 we waited for some time. 17 And we waited -- I -- I don't know exactly 18 how long we -- we waited, but we -- we did wait long 19 enough for me to lie down on the floor and rest for a 20 bit, you know? I had enough time to do that. 21 Q: All right. And did you -- did you 22 get a meeting? 23 A: Yes. He came with one (1) of his 24 ministers and a young lady, I don't recall her name, but 25 obviously one (1) of -- one (1) of his attaches, I would
381 say, that was with him. 2 Q: And the minister that was with him, 3 do you recall who that person was? 4 A: I -- I don't remember the -- who the 5 other minister was. 6 Q: But he was identified to you as a 7 minister? 8 A: He was clearly a minister, yes, I 9 remember that. 10 Q: And can you tell us what happened at 11 this meeting? 12 A: Well, most of the discussion was led 13 by -- by Tom Bressette, because he is the elected Chief 14 of his community and these are issues facing and 15 confronting his people. So he took the lead role in -- 16 in -- in the discussion with the Premier. 17 And so he -- he raised the issue of the 18 Park and questioned the, you know, the terminology of the 19 illegal occupation of the Park. And I, myself, would 20 have dealt with more the -- the issue of resolving the 21 conflict in -- in -- in -- in a peaceful manner and 22 trying to get the cooperation of the government to that 23 end. 24 We also talked about the idea of -- that - 25 - I'm not sure which of -- which of us raised this issue
391 now; it may have been Tom, it may have been Charles, it 2 could have been me, about the -- our -- our suspicions 3 about an internal investigation and -- and our -- our 4 desire for a Public Inquiry. And, in fact, I think I did 5 report on that to -- to the Press. 6 My impression of that meeting was -- was - 7 - was -- would have been what I said in the media was 8 that the Premier -- the Premier, himself, was not 9 adverse to the idea of a Public Inquiry; that was what I 10 reported, you know. If I said it, it's probably what I 11 sensed or felt at the meeting. 12 Q: Okay. AS a result of this meeting 13 were there any -- any results that -- that you can tell 14 us about? 15 A: Well, we didn't -- we didn't get the 16 -- the -- what my -- my hope was -- was -- was a 17 commitment on the part of the Premier to -- to -- to 18 engage his government in discussions with us towards 19 dealing with the issue of the Park. 20 We weren't expecting him to, at that 21 point, to provide the -- the ultimate solution, but we 22 were expecting him to engage in a process towards that 23 end, but I think Tom Bressette was quite adamant about 24 ensuring that -- that the -- the Provincial Government 25 turns over that land to, you know, to his people. And
401 I'm not sure, you know if the Premier understood our 2 intent because we're certainly not trying to -- to push 3 him into a corner or get him to commit to return the land 4 right there and then. 5 We knew that this would take negotiations 6 and further dialogue and discussion. 7 Q: All right. Just insofar as who was 8 at this meeting I'm going to ask you to turn to Tab 9 Number 24 if you would please, Mr. Mercredi, and that is 10 found at Inquiry Document Number 1003853. 11 It's a Globe and Mail article dated 12 September the 13th, 1995 entitled, "Harris, Mercredi Meet 13 On Ipperwash Issue." And if you go just to the bottom of 14 the first column into the top of the second column, it 15 reports that you had met with the Premier for thirty (30) 16 minutes and continued the meeting for a further half hour 17 with Charles Harnick, Ontario's Attorney General. 18 Does that assist you, sir, in recalling 19 who it was that you would have met with? 20 A: Yeah. It would have been, as I said, 21 another minister, so if the report is it was -- it was 22 him then it's him. 23 Q: And you're reported as indicating at 24 the bottom of that second column, Mr. Mercredi, that the 25 meeting was successful to the extent that it opened the
411 first lines of communication. 2 A: Yeah. It's always important to put a 3 positive, you know, face to meetings in situations like 4 this. And I thought the meeting -- it was -- it was not 5 confrontational. The meeting was -- it wasn't 6 confrontational at all. 7 And -- but the issues were tough 8 nonetheless. Like the issues are tough when you deal 9 with someone's death on the hands of the police. And 10 when people are fearful about what more could happen if 11 steps are not taken to minimize the role of the police in 12 the vicinity. So those are pretty tough issues. 13 Q: And just at the end of the third 14 column, Mr. Mercredi, you have reported Mr. Harris said - 15 - then Premier Harris, as indicating he was not adverse 16 to the idea of looking at an independent inquiry into the 17 shooting as you've just told us here, provided that the 18 report by the Ontario Government, Special Investigations 19 Unit is completed. 20 Do you recall that as being a pre- 21 condition? 22 A: You know, the meeting happened such a 23 long time, like it's hard for me to recall the exact 24 exchange. But like I said, all I can remember is that we 25 did talk about the -- the -- our concerns about the
421 adequacy of internal investigations. And our -- and our 2 interest in public inquiry. 3 Q: Beyond this, Mr. Mercredi, did you 4 have any other dealings, either directly or indirectly, 5 with the Premier's office 6 A: Well, beyond this the -- the Federal 7 Government intervened, right? So the actions of the 8 Federal Government were extremely useful and the decision 9 on the part of Ron Irwin, the Minister of Indian Affairs 10 at that time, to engage his government in constructive 11 action, played an important role in -- in dealing with 12 the -- with the conflict itself, right. 13 So our attention would have turned to 14 that. In fact, our attention turned to that. Because 15 our objective was clearly to engage the -- both levels of 16 government but when the Federal Government indicated that 17 they were quite prepared to assist in terms of trying to 18 resolve the land question involving the Park, we took the 19 opportunity. 20 Q: And did you have direct dealings with 21 any federal officials? Whether Minister Irwin or any of 22 his subordinates? 23 A: I'm not exactly sure of the details 24 in terms of the sequence of events and -- and how we came 25 up with that agreement that was signed.
431 And I'm not exactly sure who would have 2 been engaged in my office negotiating the provisions. 3 But I know for a fact that Tom's office would have been 4 directly involved and his people would have been directly 5 involved in -- in the drafting or at least the input into 6 the drafting of that agreement. 7 Q: If I can refer you, sir, to Tab 8 Number 22 in your document binder and that appears at 9 Inquiry Document Number 1009054. It is a -- appears to 10 be a two (2) page document entitled, "Memorandum of 11 Understanding between the Federal Government's Department 12 of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Chippewas of 13 Kettle and Stony Point First Nation." 14 And it goes on to -- to detail an 15 agreement that evidently was reached on the enumerated 16 seven (7) points, and it bears the signatures on the 17 following page. Certainly your signature is there, all 18 on the 13th of September 1995. 19 That would be the agreement that you were 20 part of negotiating, Mr. Mercredi? 21 A: Yeah, that -- that would have been 22 the agreement that I signed. And whether I was directly 23 involved in negotiating provisions, I don't recall that. 24 But in reading it, I see some of the -- the basic issues 25 that I -- I was familiar with in my discussions with Tom.
441 And, for example, there's references here to the idea of 2 environmental cleanup of the property, which was, I 3 gather, an important issue to the community. 4 And so, clearly, the government was quite 5 willing to -- to try and be helpful, the Federal 6 Government was. Because there was, if I recall 7 correctly, a -- an issue that the community had raised 8 before, to no satisfaction, in their dealings with the 9 Federal Government. 10 So the fact that it was expressed here on 11 the part of the Federal Government, that they're 12 committed to working on a mutually satisfactory 13 environmental cleanup of the property, indicates to me 14 that they were -- they were trying to find ways to 15 accommodate, you know, the -- the demands that are being 16 made -- being made by -- by the people themselves. 17 Q: Mr. Commissioner, I'm not sure if 18 this particular document is or is not an exhibit at this 19 point. We're just checking on that -- on that now. 20 21 (BRIEF PAUSE) 22 23 Q: And just lastly, with respect to this 24 particular agreement, Mr. Mercredi, do you know whether 25 or not all of the terms of this agreement have in fact
451 been implemented? 2 A: No. I -- I have not been in the 3 office of National Chiefs since 1997. So I wouldn't 4 know, you know, what the outcome of this agreement would 5 be. But I can tell you that it's impact, I can talk 6 about it's impact at the time though, which I think is 7 very important, and which highlights the essence of my 8 argument why political leaders have to be involved in 9 finding resolution. 10 Because when this -- when this -- when the 11 federal government indicated the desire to -- to be 12 helpful in this matter, it was -- it was extremely useful 13 in terms of making people feel more -- more confident 14 about -- about the future of their community. And that 15 here was a government coming forward with a -- with a 16 commitment to try to resolve that land question that they 17 were facing. 18 And this was extremely important news and 19 it certainly cleared the path, you know, to go beyond the 20 conflict. This -- so that the focus changed to -- to the 21 land question, that the attention was no longer the 22 conflict itself, that this agreement was -- was a way of 23 -- it was like a path forward, so people could redirect 24 their attention on the steps forward and not dwell too 25 much on -- on the incident at hand.
461 So I -- I remember Ron Irwin coming with 2 Elijah Harper -- and, I mean, I'm sure Elijah must have 3 had a -- a nice hand in this thing too. And -- and I -- 4 I remember the, you know, how -- how relieved I felt 5 myself, and I'm not even from the community. But you can 6 imagine how -- how the leadership must have felt and -- 7 and the relaxation of the atmosphere. 8 This is important that if there -- when 9 there's tension in the air and a government does 10 something positive like this, it -- it clearly relaxes 11 the atmosphere and people can then redirect their 12 attention on -- on the issue itself and -- and engage 13 themselves in -- in this process with the Federal 14 Government. 15 And in the meantime, if -- if there is a 16 reluctant party as was the case involving the Province of 17 Ontario, then at least you have a process with one (1) of 18 the governments and then you proceed with that and 19 hopefully the other side will -- will engage in something 20 constructive further down the road, right. But you're -- 21 you're not trapped by them anymore, you're not controlled 22 by them anymore because you have now a process with -- 23 with another government. 24 Q: All right. For the record, Mr. 25 Commissioner, the document that I had referred to earlier
471 is marked as Exhibit P-46. 2 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 3 4 CONTINUED BY MR. DONALD WORME: 5 Q: Did you have any further involvement, 6 Mr. Mercredi beyond this in -- in this matter that -- 7 that you can recall for us today and tell us about? 8 A: Part of the role of the National 9 Chief is -- is to -- is to get involved in issues like 10 this, but ongoing responsibility -- ongoing 11 responsibility would -- would rest with the Regional 12 Vice-Chief, which -- which would have been Gord Peters. 13 So, any further involvement between the Province would -- 14 would have engaged his office, the Chiefs of Ontario 15 office. 16 I, myself, in terms of any further ongoing 17 activities on this -- on -- on this case, they -- they -- 18 they would have been sporadic, if any. In fact, my 19 involvement was no longer with the official part of the - 20 - of the issue at hand, like, in other words, dealing 21 with the governments. 22 My involvement was now working with Sam 23 and his family, primarily with Sam in dealing with the 24 issues that they faced and helping -- trying -- trying to 25 be helpful in terms of giving them an opportunity to
481 attend a national meeting of the Chiefs for his family to 2 -- to relate to the Chiefs what had happened and how they 3 lost their -- their -- their relative, their brother, 4 Dudley George. 5 And then at the same time to seek 6 financial assistance to try to raise money for the court 7 case, because they were getting involved in a civil -- 8 civil matter. 9 And these are poor people with no funding. 10 So obviously, you know, it's tough for them to -- to -- 11 to launch a civil suit against the government that is 12 well resourced. 13 So we try to be helpful in -- in that 14 regard and whenever -- whenever Sam called me to -- to 15 try to be of assistance to him I -- I always responded in 16 a positive way and -- but other than that, I would not 17 have been engaged in any official discussions with the 18 government. 19 I would not have been involved in 20 negotiating any of these provisions of the Memorandum of 21 Agreement, that would have been deferred to the -- to -- 22 to -- to the parties involved in that land question; that 23 means the people of Stoney and -- and Chief Bressette and 24 Sam's family and the Chiefs of Ontario Office would have 25 been involved as a facilitator.
491 Q: And I take it, Mr. Mercredi, that in 2 your capacity as National Chief following this event, 3 given your involvement in it, given the experience -- 4 your own personal experience that you have been good 5 enough to share with us yesterday morning -- pardon me, 6 yesterday afternoon, and together with the considerable 7 experience that you had acquired in the course of dealing 8 with other crisis situations, is there anything that you 9 can tell us here about the response and the impact of 10 these events from the -- from the Ipperwash incident on 11 First Nations across the country and, indeed, on 12 Canadians generally, from your -- again, from your 13 perspective as the -- as the National Chief? 14 A: Well, public opinion is -- is shaped 15 by -- by the media to -- to a large extent in this 16 country and the media have a very powerful influence in 17 terms of what knowledge is given to the public. 18 And our people have not been that 19 effective in getting our message to the Canadian people. 20 Our voice is sometimes filtered by the reporters or by 21 the media itself. And our -- our statements could also 22 be misinterpreted or reinterpreted by -- by the editorial 23 board of these papers in terms of their own perspective, 24 right. 25 And that's why when I was the National
501 Chief, as much as I was able to do this, I tried to have 2 live interviews on television or in radio. Because 3 through live interviews no one can misrepresent what you 4 said. What you said is what you said, right. And what 5 people heard is what you said. 6 So it's very important I think for -- for 7 the people who are communicating what they call the news 8 to be informed about our people; to be extremely informed 9 about who we are as a people, what our goals are and -- 10 and -- not to -- not to report on -- on their own 11 perspective but to actually express what we're saying, 12 right. 13 And that -- that is not an easy task, I 14 gather, because obviously this is something maybe the 15 school of journalism needs to look at besides -- besides 16 the reporters themselves. But I think we need to work 17 more on public education. 18 Myself, I think we need to have a new -- a 19 new dialogue with the -- with the public, not just for 20 the government, and that our leaders have to begin paying 21 more attention to -- to their neighbours, like spending 22 more time informing the public and -- and civil leaders, 23 like civic leaders, senior people in -- in governments, 24 senior people in police associations and -- and become 25 more -- good neighbours, so to speak.
511 Like people have to meet more regularly 2 and develop an understanding and try to come up with a 3 better approach to conflict when conflict arises. And 4 conflicts do inform the public, as well, that something 5 is not well and something is not right in this country. 6 So conflict is, and sometimes the only 7 time that we can get to inform the public about our 8 issues, which is unfortunate because in -- in -- in 9 between conflict there's hardly any news, right. 10 But there is still a lot of activity in 11 our communities and our people still face a lot of issues 12 and problems; some internal, some dealing with 13 governments. And that there are some very positive 14 developments in all our communities where people are 15 trying to elevate their -- their social economic 16 conditions and address their long standing disputes with 17 the governments. 18 And those are stories that need to be 19 conveyed to the public so that they don't see us only as 20 irritants or agitators, you know. Because sometimes the 21 only time they -- they get a chance to get to know us is 22 when they read about us involving a conflict like 23 Ipperwash or Gustafson or Burnt Church, right. 24 You -- you don't get to know people 25 through conflict, that's the last place to look to
521 understand people. You don't understand the police 2 through conflict, and you obviously don't understand 3 Aboriginal people through conflict. 4 Like, conflict is not a good place for 5 understanding, is the point I make, right. So the best 6 time to understand each other as good neighbours, I 7 think, is when there is no conflict. And that's when 8 there should be concerted dialogue and -- and our leaders 9 have to take that lead role. 10 I think we can't put the onus on the other 11 side all the time, right; that we have to take some 12 responsibility to inform and advise people in authority 13 what our goals and desires and aspirations are. 14 If, for example, many times I will 15 encounter an average -- what they call the average 16 Canadian. I don't know why he's so average, maybe his 17 income is, I don't know, but they call him the average 18 Canadian. And I might see him at the airport or 19 somewhere and -- and they'd say, Chief Mercredi, why do 20 you people want self-government. 21 And, I mean, that's an important question 22 and it takes a lot of time to explain, like, you can't do 23 it in a few minutes, right, because it has historical 24 context to it. 25 Like, for one (1) thing, they have to
531 understand that the reason we want our own self- 2 government is because for the past century we have been 3 governed under the Indian Act by the Federal Government, 4 and they haven't done a very good about it. But how do 5 you, you know, engage them in that? 6 And so, obviously, the point I'm making is 7 that these issues of -- of government are important to 8 our people. And -- and because they're important to our 9 people, they're important to the rest of the country, 10 right. And our neighbours have to see us in a different 11 context, not as troublemakers but people who are trying 12 to build a better life for themselves and they want to 13 use self-government as a -- as a vehicle towards that 14 end. 15 And that if they -- I think if they 16 understood more clearly the issue of the Indian Act, a 17 lot -- a lot of the general public -- and, in fact, if I 18 may say, this -- this could be -- like, a -- a course -- 19 a course offered to social workers and police officers 20 and so on. 21 Because if they understood the historical 22 impact of the Indian Act, they would then understand some 23 of our sentiments as a people, they would better 24 understand our perspective, and they would then -- they 25 wouldn't be so critical about our strong arguments on it.
541 They would understand why we are so 2 forceful about these issues, because if they experienced 3 the same thing, like any people who have experienced 4 trauma or -- or difficulties in their past, as the Jewish 5 people did, will make sure that that experience doesn't 6 re-occur, that it never re-occurs, right. 7 And -- and they will take the steps to 8 make sure that people are aware about their feelings 9 about those incidents, and that the public becomes more 10 informed through -- through the education of -- of those 11 moments in their history. 12 So that is, by way of example, saying to 13 you that we have to do the same. Like, people need to 14 know how the Indian Act was imposed on our people as a 15 way of dispelling our -- our self-determination as a 16 people. 17 The Indian Act was -- was a vehicle for 18 destroying our self-governments, our traditional forms of 19 government. The Indian Act was to displace the 20 confederacy of the Iroquois people, the -- the longhouses 21 in -- involved in the First Nations people in -- in 22 British Columbia, the coastal First Nations, the 23 traditional hereditary governments of the Crees and the 24 Ojibways. 25 I mean, the -- the whole purpose of the
551 Indian Act was to -- to superimpose upon the self ruling 2 people another structure of government that, in time, 3 would displace the traditional forms of self-government 4 that our people had, prior to the imposition of the 5 Indian Act. 6 And I think, you know, the -- the 7 treaties that we have with the Crown, these inform 8 Canadians the nature of our relationship with the 9 country. And, you know, the treaties are not just about 10 hunting rights or fishing rights. This is about 11 relationships. 12 It -- it's about what -- what some people 13 refer to as a covenant chain. It's all about, you know, 14 nation to nation, government to government. And that 15 this perception is still very much part of our psyche as 16 Aboriginal people. It's not something that is going to 17 go away, right, any more than Quebec's sovereignty is 18 going to disappear. 19 Like, it's in that context people have to 20 look at to try to reach an understanding about what 21 shapes us as a people, what's the grounding that we have 22 and why sometimes we say things we -- that we do. Like, 23 why -- why is it that we don't want to be seen as equal? 24 Well, we want to be seen as equal, but 25 there's two (2) concepts of equality, right? One (1) is
561 individual equality. We want individual equality. We 2 don't want to be discriminated against in terms of public 3 services and we certainly don't want to be, you know, 4 second-class citizens within the political legal system 5 of Canada. 6 But there is a -- there is a second 7 equality and it's the equality of collectivities, the -- 8 the equality of nations. Like, self-determination is a - 9 - is a -- is a collective right. Canadians have used 10 that to create their parliaments and their legislatures 11 and so on, but our people also have that right that has 12 been, to some extent, contained by the Indian Act. 13 But -- but our aspirations are to -- are 14 to overcome the Indian Act and to give full expression to 15 that collective right of self-determination, see? So, in 16 that sense, when -- when people say to us we are 17 Canadians, well, what does that mean when -- when an 18 official of the Crown says that to you, or a police 19 officer says that to you, what does it mean? 20 It generally means, join us, assimilate 21 fully, that's what it generally means because it doesn't 22 mean equality in the sense of the collective rights of 23 our people, right? 24 And I think this discourse between us and 25 Canadians needs to -- needs to start again. And, like,
571 for example, in my community right now -- may I speak 2 about my community right now -- about drug issues in my 3 community? 4 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: I don't 5 think anybody would stop you right now. 6 THE WITNESS: Okay. Thank you. Well, 7 that's the first time. 8 Anyway, I was going to say, we have -- we 9 have -- in our community, we have issues with young 10 people and drugs. Our community sees this as a -- as a 11 community problem, right? But it's a problem that can't 12 be resolved without the assistance of the police; we have 13 the RCMP in our community. 14 So, there has to be this relationship 15 established between our leadership and the RCMP officers, 16 right. It's critical for -- for maintaining not just 17 peaceful relations between us, but maintaining 18 what people call law and order in our communities. Our 19 people want law and order in our communities. Without 20 the police, they're not going to be able to achieve that. 21 22 So, they -- they have to work together 23 with the -- with the police in my community dealing with 24 the drug issue, right, that's the only way in which the - 25 - the issue will be dealt with in, you know, to a
581 satisfactory conclusion. 2 And that's what I mean that when people -- 3 all -- all the young officers in Grand Rapids are total 4 strangers to me, like, I've never met them. And insofar 5 as they are concerned maybe Aboriginal people are -- are 6 sort of strangers to them as well, but they will learn 7 who we are. Like, they won't learn if we don't engage 8 them, right? 9 They're not going to learn about us if -- 10 if we dismiss them. Like, the only ways they're -- 11 they're going to really learn about us is if we work with 12 them. But -- but the converse is true, like they can't 13 isolate themselves from our community either, they have 14 to engage our community as well; they have to be part of 15 the community, right? 16 And it's that relationship that we have to 17 build. And that's why I've always supported, when I was 18 the National Chief, the -- the Aboriginal -- the National 19 Aboriginal Police Associations -- the Association. I 20 know that, in the end, policing has to be done by our 21 people -- by our people, right? 22 And this is essential for doing policing 23 our way, which is somewhat different sometimes than the 24 general society. 25 Like -- like because of our grounding that
591 the culture gives us, our perspective about justice is 2 somewhat different. We're not so much into law and 3 order, you know, like punitive law and order. We're into 4 more like peace -- peaceful law and order, like, 5 peacekeepers; that approach. 6 Restorative -- what -- what the academics 7 call restorative justice. What we call being sensitive 8 to humans, right; that same idea. Like, I think we have 9 been trapped by the Indian Act for so long that we have 10 in effect suppressed ourselves. 11 Like we say the white people have 12 suppressed us. But in reality we have suppressed 13 ourselves because we have allowed the Indian Act into our 14 lives. 15 I don't know what relevance this has to 16 you, Your Honour, but it may have some in terms of at 17 least appreciating that there is such a thing as the 18 Aboriginal perspective in Canada and it's an outstanding, 19 you know, outstanding in more than one (1) way. It's an 20 outstanding perspective that needs to still find its 21 place in the country. 22 Q: I appreciate those comments, Mr. 23 Mercredi. 24 I think, Mr. Commissioner, that those are 25 all the questions that I have in examination-in-chief and
601 perhaps this might be a good time to -- 2 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: It will be 3 but just before we do it I would like to get a sense of-- 4 MR. DONALD WORME: I was going to ask 5 that as well. 6 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: -- how many 7 -- how many of the parties may wish to ask Chief Mercredi 8 some questions. As you appreciate, Chief Mercredi, each 9 of the parties have an opportunity, if they choose, to 10 ask questions. 11 Who expects to question Chief Mercredi? 12 Let's see -- let's get a rough idea of how long do you 13 expect. 14 Yes, Mr. Orkin...? 15 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: Half to three-quarters 16 (3/4) of an hour. 17 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And Mr. 18 Rosenthal...? 19 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: Fifteen (15) to 20 twenty (20) minutes. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And Mr. 22 Horton...? 23 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: About fifteen (15) 24 minutes, sir. 25 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And --
611 MS. COLLEEN JOHNSON: Good morning, 2 Commissioner. My name is Colleen Johnson. I will be 3 replacing William Henderson, and possibly ten (10) 4 minutes. 5 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 6 very much. 7 Mr. Falconer...? 8 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Fifteen (15) to 9 twenty (20) minutes, Mr. Commissioner. 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 11 very much. 12 Ms. Tuck-Jackson...? 13 MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: About twenty 14 (20) minutes, sir. 15 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Ms. 16 Jones...? 17 MS. KAREN JONES: About ten (10) minutes. 18 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Mr. 19 Downard...? 20 MR. PETER DOWNARD: Reserve fifteen (15) 21 minutes. 22 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And -- 23 MS. DANA COHEN-NEHEMIA: Just one (1) or 24 two (2) minutes. 25 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you
621 very much. So you can get an idea of what you're -- what 2 you're facing, Chief Mercredi. We'll take a break now 3 and come back. We should be able to complete it this 4 afternoon. 5 Thank you very much. 6 THE WITNESS: Thank you. 7 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry will recess 8 for fifteen minutes. 9 10 --- Upon recessing at 10:29 a.m. 11 --- Upon resuming at 10:57 a.m. 12 13 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry is now 14 resumed. Please be seated. 15 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Mr. Orkin, I 16 understand that Chief Mercredi is your client. 17 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: That's correct. 18 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And you have 19 some supplementary matters that you wish to bring out 20 before cross-examination begins. And in that way -- we 21 did this, I think, once before with Mr. Rosenthal. 22 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: That's correct. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And it's -- 24 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: There's a precedent. 25 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: -- and I
631 guess it was Mr. Roland's idea, and it seems to have 2 worked, rather than wait and then other counsel may not 3 have an opportunity to cross-examine on matters that you 4 bring out. 5 So I would ask you to do that now but I 6 would ask you not to go over and bring out matters that 7 have already been dealt with, if that's possible, just to 8 bring out any new or additional matters that have not 9 been dealt with in this supplementary part. 10 And then you, of course, have your right 11 to ask questions, as other counsel do, at the end. 12 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: That's correct, Mr. 13 Commissioner. 14 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Is that all 15 right? 16 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: If -- if I could 17 characterize what we're doing is perhaps adding a level 18 of specificity to areas that have not been addressed in 19 that specificity but will -- I'll take your caution. 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Let's take 21 it and see where we get to. 22 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: Yes. Thank you. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you, 24 Mr. Orkin. 25
641 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. ANDREW ORKIN: 2 Q: Mr. Mercredi, as you know, I'm Andrew 3 Orkin. I'm co-counsel to the Dudley George Estate and 4 the Sam George Family Group. 5 We've heard evidence that the Chippewas of 6 this area entered into a treaty in 1828 in which 7 accommodations were made between the Chippewas and the 8 Crown with respect to approximately 2 million acres of 9 land, of traditional lands, and in -- in which certain 10 portions of those traditional lands were reserved for 11 them, including the lands that later became Ipperwash 12 Provincial Park, for their exclusive occupation and use 13 forever. 14 You mentioned yesterday that you were 15 legal counsel for the Chiefs of Manitoba during the 16 period of the early 1980's, when the Constitution of 17 Canada was amended, to include a separate part 18 recognizing and affirming distinct constitutional 19 protection for treaty rights; is -- is that correct? 20 A: That's correct, yes. 21 Q: Is it fair to say that this was a -- 22 a fundamental change in the constitutional make-up of 23 Canada? 24 A: Well, prior to -- prior to 25 repatriation, the nature and the scope of our -- of our
651 rights were defined by the courts within the context of 2 the -- the existing federal-provincial jurisdictions and 3 authority. 4 Since Section 35, that perspective has 5 altered because now the courts are looking at our rights 6 not from the perspective of how they fit into the 7 existing political system or legal system, but they look 8 at the source of the right and the nature and the scope 9 of that right in contemporary times. 10 So in that sense it has provided our 11 people with more opportunity to advance their rights in 12 the courts. 13 Q: And the -- the affirmation and 14 constitutional protection of treaty rights is -- is 15 essential component of that -- of that change? 16 A: Well, we tried, during the 17 Charlottetown Accord, to reform the country in a very 18 fundamental way. One was to have the Constitution 19 amended to recognize our self-government as one (1) of 20 the three (3) orders of government in the country, not as 21 a third level but as a distinct order of government 22 within the country. 23 And -- but the other important provision 24 had to do with historical grievances about the -- the 25 non-respect of treaties on the part of the Crown.
661 Just to give you an idea, Your Honour, in 2 -- in my province we had outstanding treaty entitlement. 3 A century after the treaty was made, we still didn't get 4 all our land designated as reserves. It wasn't even set 5 aside for us. It -- it was just forgotten, I guess. 6 So it was important for us to have a 7 constitutional provision that contained an instruction, I 8 guess, to the politicians and to the courts on how to 9 interpret treaty rights. 10 And so part of the Charlottetown was to 11 try to amend the -- the supreme law in that way by adding 12 a provision that would require the courts and -- and the 13 governments to respect the treaties in a manner more 14 clearly -- as understood by the -- by the First Nation 15 signatories of those treaties. 16 Q: And you're saying that this -- this 17 effort in the 1980's in which you were constitutional 18 counsel to -- to amend the Constitution of Canada to 19 include treaty rights and -- and -- and enshrine and 20 protect them was -- was the result of a massive effort 21 across the country by First Nations peoples and their 22 leaders in which they engaged because they believed that 23 these treaties, some of which were -- were, as you put 24 it, more than a hundred years old, were still relevant 25 and important today?
671 A: The treaties are -- are relevant in 2 people's lives, not because of the -- the reservations 3 emerged from there, but because their right -- rights to 4 a livelihood stem from there. 5 For example, in most communities across 6 the country, there is the hunting right to -- to fish -- 7 I mean the right to fish and the hunting rights and the 8 right to trap as per treaty -- as per the treaties that 9 were signed by the Crown. 10 Our people exercise those livelihood 11 matters on a daily basis, so that the treaty is 12 understood by them -- it's a living document for them. 13 Q: In addition to the specific treaty of 14 1928 that I mentioned between the -- I'm sorry, 1828 -- 15 that I mentioned, an expert witness testified in -- in 16 this Inquiry context regarding something she called the 17 "Covenant Chain," which you've referred to as well 18 between the Crown and the Chippewas. 19 As an Aboriginal leader and citizen and 20 lawyer, is there anything you could tell the Commissioner 21 that would assist him in -- in further understanding this 22 concept, the Covenant Chain concept? 23 A: I think in terms of our efforts for 24 recognition as a people, as -- as a distinct people in 25 Canada, this -- this part -- this part of our history is
681 the least understood by Canadians and -- and by 2 governments. 3 See, the tendency -- the tendency within 4 Canada is -- is to assume that Canada cannot be 5 perfected, that -- that it is completely sovereign and -- 6 on all matters, we're all citizens including Aboriginal 7 people. 8 But we come with a different perspective 9 and that is, we never surrendered our self-determination 10 as a people and that the -- the Covenant Chain is about 11 that, our -- our freedom as a people. 12 But also, it's about our relationship to - 13 - to the land. It's about our territories as a people, 14 I'm sure you've heard witnesses talking about territory 15 in your time as the Commissioner. 16 They are referring to a belief that we 17 have based on our -- our history and our -- our oral 18 understanding of that history that we have a right to our 19 own space as a people, that -- that is not suppressed by 20 the larger society. Like -- like, it's a belief that 21 says we don't have to fit in to your legal and political 22 system, we can co-exist, see? 23 The idea of the Covenant Chain is that, 24 the co-existence of separate peoples, but it doesn't mean 25 separate, unequal, as the blacks were treated, you know,
691 in the southern States. It's -- it's none of those 2 things. It's not apartheid. 3 It -- it is about two (2) distinct nations 4 coming to an understanding about how they're going to co- 5 exist and throughout our history in our -- in our 6 relations with Canada, you -- you know, there -- there 7 would have historical moments to try to arrive at that 8 understanding and the Covenant Chain, as reflected by the 9 Two Row Wampums and other instruments like that would be 10 one (1) way of providing evidence through that Covenant 11 Chain. 12 The number -- the pre-confederation 13 treaties were also a symbol of that, a recognition of the 14 distinct people concept of -- but still trying to co- 15 exist without arriving at a position of being the same. 16 And more recently I shouldn't say 17 recently, but pre-confed -- post-confederation, like 18 after 1867, all the numbered treaties are about the 19 covenant chain. 20 I don't want to take up too much of your 21 time, Your Honour, but these -- these matters are 22 considered by some Elders across the country as sacred 23 instruments of relationships with Canada. 24 And if I may, just very quickly, tell you 25 a story that -- to highlight the importance of these to
701 our communities. 2 I attended a -- the commemoration of 3 Treaty 6 in Frog Lake. I believe it was in the mid 4 '90's. I forget the exact year, but they have the 5 original stem of the pipe that was used to -- to 6 commemorate -- I mean to conclude the Treaty in their 7 way. 8 The official conclusion of the Treaty was 9 signatures, which they also provided. But the Aboriginal 10 people, the First Nations people also had their way of 11 giving a stamp of approval, you know, to the Treaty which 12 was the pipe ceremony. 13 And they lost the stone of the pipe but 14 they retained -- they were able to keep the stem of the 15 pipe which they would bring out every so many years to 16 commemorate the Treaty. And -- and that event would 17 bring in all the -- all their people together. 18 And the important part about this story is 19 this. When the -- when they unravelled it and they pray 20 to the Creator, they sought the intervention the Creator 21 in getting what they referred to as their Little Brother, 22 meaning the -- the white society to come to terms with -- 23 with their obligations into the Treaty so that to appeal 24 to the Creator for the -- for white society to honour the 25 Treaty.
711 So I think like in terms of covenant chain 2 we -- we -- it is one of those what I refer to 3 outstanding questions between us and Canada. Like the -- 4 the journey has not concluded yet. We tried through the 5 Charlottetown Accord to give this new vision of the 6 country that would be based on those concepts. But we 7 did not succeed because the referendum was not 8 successful. 9 But it doesn't mean that the goal is dead. 10 The goal is very much alive, I think, to restore that 11 understanding of -- of relationships between us and the 12 rest of the country. 13 Q: To get specific about some of the -- 14 and to return to the -- to the Ipperwash context arising 15 out of these rights and the covenant chains, this Inquiry 16 has heard testimony that Dudley stated spiritedly on one 17 (1) or more occasions, This is our land, with reference 18 to the reserve treaty lands at Stoney Point. 19 In light of the fact that Mr. George is 20 unfortunately and obviously not here to tell us himself, 21 is there anything that -- that you could tell the 22 Commissioner that might assist him in -- in understanding 23 the significance of an Aboriginal demonstrator who was 24 trying after decades of -- of governmental inaction to 25 bring about the return of his people's lands and saying,
721 this is our land? 2 A: That's not unusual. I mean it's 3 commonplace for people to say this is our land, because 4 this is our land. Like, for example when it comes to 5 Treaty Number 5 which is the treaty that my ancestors 6 signed, under that Treaty we have rights that can be 7 exercised only if we have access to the land.s 8 Like, you can't hunt on the reservation. 9 The reservations are very small and tiny pieces of land. 10 So the right -- the Treaty rights can only begin full 11 expression in the entire territory of our Treaty. 12 So that's why when I was growing up I -- I 13 know from my Elders -- the Elders who -- who I grew up 14 with would say, in my presence, (NATIVE LANGUAGE SPOKEN), 15 This is our land. (NATIVE LANGUAGE SPOKEN). This is 16 still all our land, see. 17 And they would wave like this and they 18 didn't mean just the reservation, they didn't mean just 19 the reservation, so it is not uncommon for our people to 20 assert this is our land, right? 21 And, in fact, if you look at the -- the 22 official Canadian song, it does say, "Our home and native 23 land." That's pretty good -- that's pretty good 24 authority to say this is our -- 25 Q: Thank you. We've heard evidence, Mr.
731 Mercredi, that Premier Harris stated in the immediate 2 aftermath of the shooting of Dudley George that the 3 Stoney Point occupiers were illegal. 4 Based on your experience again, as an 5 Aboriginal citizen and leader, is there anything you can 6 tell the Commissioner that would assist him in 7 understanding the, or further understanding the political 8 meanings to First Nations people of -- of a statement 9 such as this? 10 A: Yeah, well, again, that would not be 11 unusual to hear that from an official of government or a 12 politician from the Crown. He would not have been the 13 first or the last to say it, right? This would have been 14 based on -- on -- on their own official records, whatever 15 official records they have and it would be based on their 16 own understanding of their country. 17 If -- if I learned anything as the 18 National Chief and that is, when I dealt with these 19 Premiers and -- and the Prime Ministers, they had an 20 abiding -- I would say -- an abiding faith in -- in -- in 21 their -- in their role as leaders of their country. I 22 saw that in -- in negotiations at Charlottetown so I -- I 23 learned to appreciate their perspective, but that is 24 their perspective, right? 25 And then their -- their resource of the
741 Aboriginal perspective, which is when we assert rights to 2 territories or to -- or to resources, we don't think 3 we're being illegal. We don't see ourselves as 4 criminals, we see ourselves as champions for our people, 5 champions for our rights. I'm -- I'm pretty sure that's 6 how Dudley George would have perceived himself, like, 7 that he's fighting for the return of their land. 8 And I mean, when -- when you are faced 9 with injustice, like the wrongful taking of your land, 10 the passing of the years does not make the wrongful 11 taking less easy for you to accept, nor does it make it 12 right. The passage of time does not give stolen land a 13 different character, it's still stolen land, right? 14 So, like, for example, we have a treaty to 15 -- to hunt migratory birds. In 1929, without our 16 consent, without -- without our participation, the 17 Federal Government signed a treaty with the Americans -- 18 an international treaty -- for the protection of 19 migratory birds, which was subsequently made into a law, 20 The Migratory Birds Convention Act. 21 And when they started imposing that law, 22 you know, in -- in Cree territory in Manitoba, our people 23 said, No, this is not what we agreed to. You -- you 24 know, we agreed that we could hunt migratory birds. 25 There's no season here, it's -- it's a right to hunt
751 migratory birds. 2 But -- but as far as the province and the 3 Federal Government were concerned they had imposed these 4 criteria for the exercise of their right, so in effect, 5 they were rewriting the treaty after the fact. And our 6 people didn't -- didn't go along with that, so they 7 continued hunting, even though, you know, they would -- 8 they would be prevented from doing it. 9 They would persist in doing it because 10 that's the essence of the treaty. They weren't prepared 11 to abandon the -- the -- you know, the essence of the 12 treaty. 13 Q: The evidence led at this Inquiry has 14 shown that a large number of riot police and tactical 15 units or unit were deployed at Ipperwash in response to a 16 few dozen First Nations people who had occupied the 17 Provincial Park that wasn't really in use at the time. 18 Again, based on your experience as a -- as 19 a First Nations leader and citizen, in your view, could 20 you assist us in understanding the significance of the 21 use of force by Canadian governments when First Nations 22 demonstrators occupied treaty lands that were taken from 23 them but which they still believe is their land? 24 A: Well, you -- you grow up with certain 25 understandings, right, you -- you've got certain ideals.
761 And since you're asking my -- my response as -- as one 2 (1) person, I always thought that it would be possible to 3 reform the country in -- in a way in which it would be -- 4 it would be made easier for our people to -- to coexist 5 within that country. 6 But I never thought that I would see the 7 use of force as a way of exacting political will on the 8 of Canada, as they did in Oka. The incident in Oka left 9 a permanent imprint in the psychology of our people that 10 the State, namely Canada, will be quite prepared to use 11 force to -- to exact compliance in terms of their 12 positions on -- on matters that we don't agree on, right? 13 So that is not a very positive or -- 14 message to convey to any Aboriginal children in the 15 country, much less, you know, the Elders or -- or to the 16 leaders. But, nonetheless, that's the message. It's 17 there. 18 So my concern when I saw what happened in 19 Gustafson with the presence of the RCMP there, was unless 20 -- unless steps were taken to say to Canada, This is 21 wrong, you can't deal with us in this manner, that it 22 might become a precedent, that other governments might do 23 that. 24 And so when the Ontario government did the 25 same thing, then my paranoia, like, we all get our
771 moments, made me wonder if this is in fact the strategy 2 on the part of governments as a way of -- of giving a 3 signal to the Indian people that, You better behave 4 yourself, or, You better conduct yourselves in a certain 5 way. 6 I mean, you can't help but come to that, 7 you know, wondering because that's not part of the ideal 8 that you have to begin with. And you know that these 9 issues are real, that they're not made up by our people, 10 they're not false, and we don't do it to be 11 controversial. And when we assert our statements with 12 respect to our positions, we're not trying to be 13 militant, we're trying to be assertive about our 14 position. 15 So the -- the use of -- the use of force 16 is totally inappropriate in dealing with political 17 matters between us and Canada. 18 Q: Mr. Mercredi, could you tell us 19 perhaps which individuals or leaders have had the 20 greatest influence on you in developing your approach to 21 -- to First Nations leadership and advocacy in -- of the 22 course of your lifetime? 23 A: I would say my parents would be one 24 (1) in terms of the values that they believe in, and that 25 is to treat all people with respect; and they didn't say
781 just Cree people, they said all people with respect. 2 And I recall one (1) time during the 3 Charlottetown Accord I might have got a little carried 4 away, which can happen, and I may have said some angry 5 words. She called me that day, I'll tell you, she called 6 me that day to tell me, you know, that's not the way to 7 deal with the issue. 8 So I -- I would say the parents had great 9 influence and in the -- but I'm also a student of 10 history. Like a self taught -- I won't say academic, but 11 a self taught student. 12 And I studied political movements before I 13 became a political leader. I -- I studied about the 14 black liberation movements in Africa on my own not -- not 15 at university and -- and I read about some leaders like 16 Mahatma Ghandi. And that's where the concept of de- 17 colonization was best understood by reading his 18 autobiography, but also all these other prints about him. 19 And I -- I admired his perspective 20 immensely about how you crea -- how you cause justice 21 from injustice, right; that -- that the way in which to 22 proceed is not an eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth; it 23 wasn't that approach. 24 But you still have to stand up though. 25 Like, you don't lie over and let people walk over you.
791 You still assert your right and but you do it in a 2 principled way, that you -- you don't become the 3 aggressor. Even -- even if it means that you -- you may 4 be injured, to accept that injury. 5 That to me is a -- is a philosophy of -- 6 of great courage, right. And when you look at a -- when 7 you try to translate that into our situation, it made 8 immense sense to me that if -- if we're going to make any 9 progress in terms of our political struggle with Canada, 10 we can't do it -- do it with violence. 11 That the only way we're going to succeed 12 is to follow the example of -- of Martin Luther King with 13 respect to black rights in the United States. And 14 Mahatma Ghandi with respect to the liberation of India 15 from Great Britain. 16 So I -- I try to apply some of those 17 concepts in my own political thought, you know. And as a 18 leader I -- I try to convey that in terms of my dealings 19 with my own community and my own people and especially 20 with a larger society. 21 It made immense sense to me that when you 22 have a -- a people like the Aboriginal people who -- who 23 are less than 3 percent of the population, that this 24 would be the best course of action for them. The most -- 25 the most practical approach to -- to justice would be
801 through non-violence. 2 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: Thank you, Mr. 3 Mercredi. 4 Thank you, Mr. Commissioner and under 5 reserve of an opportunity at the end if that's 6 appropriate, I thank you for this. 7 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you, 8 Mr. Orkin. 9 Mr. Rosenthal...? 10 11 (BRIEF PAUSE) 12 13 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: Thank you. Good 14 morning, Mr. Commissioner. 15 16 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. PETER ROSENTHAL. 17 Q: Good morning, Mr. Mercredi. 18 A: Good morning. 19 Q: My name is Peter Rosenthal. I'm one 20 (1) of the Counsel for a group of Stoney Pointers who are 21 -- under the name Aazhoodena and George Family Group at 22 this Inquiry. 23 A: Okay. 24 Q: I just have a couple of areas to 25 follow up on. You -- you told us yesterday that it made
811 no sense that the police would advance on the Park at 2 night. And you -- you said it made no sense then and it 3 doesn't make any sense even now in retrospect. 4 When Superintendent Coles phoned you at 5 four o'clock in the morning on September 7 or five 6 o'clock whichever it was, what explanation did he give 7 you for having advanced on the Park five (5) hours 8 earlier? 9 A: I don't -- I don't remember if there 10 was an explanation given. He was reporting on what 11 happened and -- but he didn't provide any explanations 12 that I remember anyway. 13 Q: Then -- and then when you met the 14 next day with OPP officers and so on, there must have 15 been discussion as to what they thought they were doing 16 at eleven o'clock at night, advancing on the Park? 17 A: Well, when we had that meeting that I 18 referred to with -- Inspec -- Mr. Coles, I don't know 19 what his official title is. 20 Q: Superintendent Coles? 21 A: Yeah, and some of his people, that 22 issue was discussed. 23 Q: Yes. 24 A: Like, and I -- I don't know if they 25 tried to justify it or not. I mean, how -- how can you
821 justify that point? Because, obviously, they were 2 subdued as well. I mean, they can feel things too, you 3 know, the police. So when something like that happens, 4 it's not something that they -- they get arrogant about. 5 So, I mean, the atmosphere was -- was subdued. 6 Q: Yes. 7 A: Yeah. About -- about their role, it 8 was subdued. 9 Q: Yes. 10 A: I -- I can't say, I mean, that's my 11 observation. I -- I don't recall what they said but I -- 12 I can tell you they were subdued. 13 Q: And you can't give us any assistance 14 as to what explanation they may have given for going 15 there at night rather than waiting for the next day, as 16 you had suggested and others would have suggested? 17 A: Well, they didn't disclose anything 18 to us that I remember, but maybe they'll do it here. 19 Q: What about in the course of any 20 discussions that you had afterward with government 21 officials or anyone, did -- were there any explanations 22 that you can recall as to why going in at night was 23 considered appropriate? 24 A: No, I don't have any more to add than 25 what I said already.
831 Q: Okay. Thank you. Now, Mr. Gord 2 Peters testified here yesterday and he told us that he 3 viewed the government of Premier Harris as anti-Native 4 and also hostile to First Nations -- First Nations 5 rights. 6 Would you share that view of Mr. Peters? 7 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, Mr. 8 Downard...? I don't remember exactly what was said. 9 MR. PETER DOWNARD: Well, I just have -- 10 have the same concern. If -- if we're going to get into 11 the entire record of the Harris government over its two 12 (2) majorities with respect to Native rights, we can do 13 that, but my understanding was that we were to be 14 focussed on -- 15 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes. 16 MR. PETER DOWNARD: -- in a reasonable 17 way, on the terms of inquiry. And My Friend's question 18 goes far beyond the -- the two (2) months of the first 19 Harris government that had in place at the time of the 20 events in question. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes. For 22 now, Mr. Rosenthal, we're trying to be focussed on -- 23 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: Yes, I -- no, I 24 appreciate that, sir. And there was a similar thing that 25 arose yesterday but then, that question was not objected
841 to and was answered by Mr. Peters. 2 3 CONTINUED BY MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: 4 Q: But, in any event, with respect to 5 the negotiations you were involved with with the Harris 6 government about the Ipperwash incident, did you view 7 them as being somewhat anti-Native and hostile to First 8 Nations interests in those negotiations? 9 A: Well, there was a -- a perception 10 that the new government was not as sensitive as the 11 previous government. There was that perception. And 12 that in light of Dudley George's death, that perception 13 was taken further, which would explain Gord Peters' 14 remarks, because that -- that would have been the 15 perception in Ipperwash and -- and possibly in other 16 places as well. But I'm not here to, like, I don't -- I 17 can't, you know, speculate on that. 18 Q: Okay. Now, you told us that at some 19 of the meetings with OPP officers, that you described, 20 there were rumours to the effect of political involvement 21 and the decision to have the police move in that night; 22 is that correct? 23 Now, and you indicated those rumours were 24 discussed at some of the meetings that you had with OPP 25 officers?
851 A: You'll have to repeat the question 2 for me, please. 3 Q: You mentioned that there were rumours 4 floating about, at that time, of possible political 5 involvement in the decision to march on the Park that 6 night by the police; right? 7 A: Yes. 8 Q: Now, I would like to try to explore 9 that as much -- as best as you can recollect. And in 10 particular, were those rumours discussed at some of the 11 meetings that you attended with OPP officers, such as 12 Superintendent Coles? 13 A: That would have been in a meeting 14 with Inspector Coles; that would, like I said, there was 15 a number of issues dealt with, that would have been one 16 (1) of the issues raised at that meeting. 17 Q: So that issue was raised. Do you 18 recall who might have raised the issue or how -- how it 19 was -- 20 A: No, I don't recall now. 21 Q: Can you recall what Superintendent 22 Coles might have contributed to the discussion of that 23 issue? 24 A: Like I said in -- earlier today, that 25 he -- he didn't confirm it.
861 Q: He did not confirm it. But he didn't 2 deny it? 3 A: Didn't deny it, didn't confirm it. 4 Q: I'm sorry? 5 A: He didn't deny it and he didn't 6 confirm it. 7 Q: He didn't deny it and he didn't 8 confirm it. 9 Q: He didn't deny or confirm that 10 rumour? 11 Now, you told us at your meeting with 12 Premier Harris he was accompanied by a minister who we 13 later found out was the Attorney General -- 14 A: Yes, he was. 15 Q: -- and also by a young woman, whose 16 name you forgot, you indicated. 17 A: I'm not very good with names. 18 Q: I'm not either, but sometimes if 19 people suggest it I can remember and I -- I would suggest 20 to you the woman might have been named Deb Hutton, is 21 that possible? 22 A: It may have been, but I -- I can't 23 say for sure. Like, I don't -- 24 Q: That doesn't help to jar your memory? 25 A: No, it doesn't.
871 Q: Thank you. 2 A: She was obviously quite important to 3 the Premier, though. 4 Q: Yes. 5 A: Yeah, otherwise she wouldn't be 6 there. 7 Q: But it was a young woman who 8 accompanied him. It was a young woman. And a third 9 person, in addition to the Attorney General and Premier 10 Harris, was a young woman; is that correct? 11 A: It's quite a while back now, but I 12 know -- I did see a young woman there. I mean my 13 definition of "young" is anybody over twenty-five (25) -- 14 it's -- and under thirty-five (35). 15 Q: Okay. Now, apparently you were told 16 at that meeting with Premier Harris that he was not 17 averse to the idea of looking at the possibility of an 18 independent Public Inquiry, at least after the SIU 19 investigation concluded? 20 A: Yeah, that's what I reported to the 21 Press. 22 Q: Yes. 23 A: I don't report anything unless -- 24 unless that is what happened. 25 Q: Yes. Now, the SIU investigation
881 concluded many years ago, evidently. 2 A: Yes. 3 Q: And were you involved in the 4 intervening time at all in trying to exert pressure on 5 the Harris government to have a Public Inquiry into these 6 events? 7 A: Well, I would have supported the 8 calls that were made by the family for a Public Inquiry, 9 I'm sure, and I did that, yes. 10 Q: And then were you ever able to remind 11 Premier Harris of the fact that he had indicated he was 12 not against that idea in his earlier meeting with you? 13 A: No, I've never had any subsequent 14 meetings with him on the issue itself. So, that 15 opportunity never presented itself. 16 Q: And you were aware of numerous calls 17 for a Public Inquiry over the years of -- of the Harris 18 government from the time that you spoke to him until the 19 end of the Harris government? 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, Mr. 21 Downard...? 22 MR. PETER DOWNARD: We can also get into 23 the politics of calling an Inquiry if -- if that's what 24 is -- is desirable by you, sir, but again, it seems to me 25 that we're opening a very large can of worms, it can cut
891 in a number of political directions and it is not 2 consistent, in -- in my submission, with a -- a 3 reasonable interpretation of the actual terms of 4 reference of this Inquiry. 5 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Except for 6 what he said -- 7 MR. PETER DOWNARD: Right. 8 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: -- where he 9 supported calls for an Inquiry over the years. 10 MR. PETER DOWNARD: I took -- I take no 11 objection to what he said. 12 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: No, that's 13 it, he had no other involvement. 14 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: No, and he answered 15 affirmatively to the question. He was aware of numerous 16 calls -- 17 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes. 18 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: -- and he supported 19 them and that was the question -- 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes. 21 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: -- I wanted 22 answered and I'm now done with my submission. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Got an 24 answer. 25 MR. PETER ROSENTHAL: Thank you very
901 much, sir. 2 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 3 very much, Mr. Rosenthal. 4 We'll now move on. Just a minute, Mr. 5 Ross isn't here and Mr. Scullion has no questions. I 6 think Mr. Henderson or Ms. Johnson would be next and then 7 Mr. Horton, I think. Is that the -- 8 MS. COLLEEN JOHNSON: We have no 9 questions. 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, that's 11 the order, is that all right? 12 MS. COLLEEN JOHNSON: We have no 13 questions. 14 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Oh, that's 15 fine. 16 Then, Mr. Horton...? 17 18 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. WILLIAM HORTON: 19 Q: Mr. Mercredi, I'm Bill Horton, I 20 represent the Chiefs of Ontario at the Inquiry. 21 Sir, you have held the highest political 22 office for First Nations in Canada and we know and we've 23 heard again during this Inquiry that you've worked very 24 hard to promote moderate and non-violent solutions to the 25 issues that your people face.
911 And as you know, one (1) of the mandates 2 of the Commission is to explore non-violent ways of 3 resolving the types of conflicts that took place in this 4 situation. I have a few questions for you about issues 5 that may present challenges in terms of promoting non- 6 violent solutions. 7 We've heard evidence, for example, here at 8 the Inquiry about racial taunts being used by police 9 officers in exchanges with the occupiers. And I expect 10 we will hear more evidence about offensive racial 11 comments that are made by law enforcement officers while 12 they're engaged in performing their duties. 13 Can you comment on how that affects your 14 ability as a leader to promote moderate non-violent 15 solutions among your people? 16 A: My advocacy of non-violence is not 17 directed just to my people, that would be a 18 misunderstanding -- 19 Q: Yes. 20 A: -- and a complete misapplication of 21 my thinking -- 22 Q: Yes. 23 A: -- and my approach when I was 24 National Chief. Like -- 25 Q: Sir, I didn't mean to imply that it
921 was limited to your people, but -- 2 A: Yeah, yeah. Non-violence is a duty 3 of the Crown. It's a -- it's a duty of the Indian 4 leaders. 5 Q: Hmm hmm. 6 A: It's a way of dealing with 7 controversy and conflict between ourselves and the Crown 8 and it's an approach to dealing with contentious issues 9 and there are schools dedicated to teaching people the -- 10 the skills for mediation, but also for conflict 11 resolution, right. 12 I mean, this is part of -- part of the 13 understanding of the larger society that conflict can -- 14 can be resolved and that conflict should, you know, 15 involving peoples is part of society; it happens. Like, 16 I mean, you can't have a society that's solely perfect, 17 there's no -- no -- no bad incidents. There will be, 18 right. 19 Knowing that, we should prepare ourselves 20 for it, right. And the important thing is that if you 21 are dedicated to -- to resolving things through non- 22 violence, as a leader, as an Aboriginal leader, you have 23 to then try to convey that to your own people so that 24 they become -- they embrace that idea, right. 25 Q: Yes.
931 A: Like -- like, my -- my reading of 2 Gandhi and his -- and his role in non-violence, he didn't 3 always succeed, you know, like, there was a lot -- a lot 4 of conflict that resulted in violence before -- before 5 India was given independence by Great Britain. 6 But nonetheless, he conveyed that 7 philosophy for conflict resolution and he would actively 8 encourage his people to do that, right. 9 Q: Hmm hmm. 10 A: But ultimately he had no control over 11 all his people as no one can, right. 12 Q: Hmm hmm. 13 A: So, that means that in the -- in the 14 real world, violence can erupt even in the strategy of 15 non-violence, right. 16 Q: Hmm hmm. 17 A: So, you have to have, in that sense, 18 a plan that takes into account all possibilities, right. 19 Q: Right. 20 A: Now, I want to comment on what I said 21 earlier that my advocacy of non-violence is also directed 22 to the Crown, the governments, right, particularly when 23 it involves the use of force by the State as was 24 evidenced in -- in all the incidents I mentioned in the 25 Inquiry.
941 If the political leaders refuse to engage 2 in dialogue, in effect what they're saying is violence is 3 a solution, that's -- that is the message. 4 Q: Right. 5 A: And this is what irked me the most 6 when I tried to deal with the situation in Gustafson, 7 because the premier there said, This is a police matter. 8 This is for the police to resolve and Chief Mercredi 9 should get out of the way, is effectively what he said. 10 Q: Hmm hmm. 11 A: I'm paraphrasing, but his message was 12 strong. Well, thank God that the RCMP were willing to 13 listen, right, and that we resolved -- we created a 14 process. But the duty is -- is mutual, it's not just 15 First Nations people. And racial -- racial -- 16 Q: No -- yes, and I'm sorry if I -- I 17 made it necessary -- 18 A: And racial -- racial -- 19 Q: -- for you to clarify that, but what 20 I was getting at, sir, is just -- maybe I can recast it 21 in the context of the answer you've just given. 22 I take it you would agree with me that in 23 trying to promote dialogue as opposed to violence, racial 24 taunts by police officers who are on duty is counter- 25 productive to that goal?
951 A: Absolutely. 2 Q: And I take it that -- and we will 3 hear evidence, I believe, about at least one (1) police 4 officer in this situation talking about the -- the use of 5 force or the -- the impending use of force in terms of 6 going to war? 7 A: Hmm hmm. 8 Q: And I take it you would agree with me 9 that that is not an attitude that is conducive to even 10 enforcing the laws in a way that is constructive? 11 A: I would say that's not Canadian. I 12 mean, it shouldn't even happen in this country -- 13 Q: Hmm hmm. Right. 14 A: -- that people entrusted with power, 15 like the police are entrusted with power, would have the 16 licence as individuals to apply that power based on their 17 own biases -- 18 Q: Hmm hmm. 19 A: -- or their own prejudices. I think 20 public servants, like police are public servants, should 21 be very careful in how they use the incredible power that 22 the lawmakers have given them, right. They have a duty 23 of care beyond the duty of care you and I have in terms 24 of peace and harmony. 25 Q: Hmm hmm. Yes.
961 A: Like, the greatest role that the 2 police provides to society is peace and harmony. 3 Q: Hmm hmm. 4 A: The enforcement of law is just an 5 aspect of it, but that's not the essence of policing, 6 right. 7 Q: Hmm hmm. 8 A: So the primary responsibility of a 9 police officer is peace and harmony. And conflict 10 resolution is about peace and harmony. So, I mean, you 11 know how to come there, if you really understand your 12 responsibility as a police officer, you're not going to 13 come there with racial taunts, right. 14 Q: Right. 15 A: You're going to come there with a 16 higher principle, you know, the public interest. 17 Q: Yes. 18 A: And -- and all the great training 19 you've taken will come forward and you will present 20 yourself in an honourable way. You will -- you will 21 create that standard that the police need. 22 Q: Hmm hmm. 23 A: Okay. You will present yourself in a 24 manner that will be respectful -- 25 Q: Hmm hmm.
971 A: -- that will hold up your profession 2 in the highest esteem. And that's what I think a police 3 officer is. 4 Q: Yes. You mentioned about after the 5 fact meeting with Inspector Coles and others, and then 6 you talked about them being subdued and not being 7 arrogant, and so on. Or it was not a situation in which 8 you would expect them to be arrogant. 9 I expect that we're going to hear some 10 evidence about some commemorative items that were 11 actually prepared by someone to commemorate the police 12 action in Camp Ipperwash, involving -- I've never seen 13 one (1) of these but apparently there's a mug with a 14 broken arrow and that sort of thing. 15 Can you comment on that as, in terms of 16 its impact, on the ability to promote the values that 17 you've talked about as a leader? 18 A: Well, it does nothing to restore, you 19 know, it does nothing to restore normal relations between 20 the Aboriginal community and the police. It does the 21 opposite. It -- it creates a -- a greater divide. It 22 reinforces in our minds the suspicions we have about the 23 police and their role, right. And it confirms our 24 observations about their conduct in their lives, right. 25 I -- gees, I don't know if I could -- I
981 don't want to take too much of your time, but. It's not 2 good -- it's not good policing to do that. You know, to 3 -- to commemorate an event in that way is just 4 antagonizing the Aboriginal communities. Like the 5 taunting of its own, it's a provocation that should never 6 be allowed within the police organization. 7 Whoever his superiors are, should have 8 disciplined that act in -- in the most extreme way in 9 order for them to convey the message to -- to their own 10 police organization that that kind of conduct will not be 11 condoned by the police association or -- or by the -- by 12 the line of command in the police organizations. 13 Q: Now, just turning to a slightly 14 different -- I didn't mean to cut you off, sir, but I -- 15 I don't want to take too much time for my own questions 16 either, so. You commented on the fact that the police 17 are, in some respects, under political control and are 18 therefore, to a degree, not entirely responsible for the 19 situations they are sent into. 20 And we've heard some evidence and I expect 21 we will hear more evidence about racist or redneck 22 comments being made by political leaders in connection 23 with this matter. 24 And again, can you comment on the impact 25 that that has on the kinds of values that you have been
991 trying to promote in terms of dialogue with government or 2 in terms of dealing with conflict situations? 3 A: It is -- it is incredible for us to 4 conceive how members of parliament, for example, can be 5 so ignorant about our people. And in some instances 6 flaunting their -- their prejudice about us in the House 7 of Commons, right. 8 It is -- to me it's inconceivable, in a 9 democratic society, that politicians would immerse from 10 society that would convey that kind of an attitude at 11 such a high level of government, right. 12 But then, you know, maybe -- maybe 13 Aboriginal ideas of government are -- are a higher 14 standard then -- then what we see in parliament or in the 15 legislatures, I don't know. 16 But I can -- I can tell you that as a 17 person, as one (1) individual, that my feelings towards 18 those people are not warm generous feelings, okay. I -- 19 I can say that sometimes when they say things about 20 Aboriginal people that are completely based on 21 misinformation or some political bias that they may have 22 or some personal advice they may have, that we dismiss 23 them offhand most times. 24 But sometimes we can't, sometimes we have 25 to respond to them. And we do in fact respond to them.
1001 Q: Hmm hmm. 2 A: But public figures like politicians 3 don't just represent their constituency, you know. It 4 seems to me that they have a higher duty, right. 5 And part of that ought to be I think to be 6 respectful to the Aboriginal society, the Aboriginal 7 people, right. To present them in a respectful and 8 honourable way and not to see them in -- in the manner in 9 which some parties obviously portray us as a burden on 10 the public purse. 11 And -- and then to engage in stereotypical 12 imaging of our people, right. 13 Q: Yes. 14 A: When political leaders do that, they 15 have to appreciate that it's not just the Aboriginal 16 people that are listening, it's the general public. 17 And it's those young people, those young 18 Canadians who are listening. They -- they hear these 19 things that are happening. A politician -- the ideal 20 politician should not convey any form of prejudice from 21 their office. 22 And they should not use their office to 23 engage in -- in battering any particular group in 24 society, see. But these are just beliefs, that's what 25 they are, right.
1011 Q: Right 2 A: But you're asking me what I think. 3 Q: Yes. 4 A: And that's what I'm telling you, what 5 I think -- 6 Q: Yes 7 A: -- that when I do hear that and you 8 do hear that, you sort of wonder, you know, is there any 9 hope for this country. I mean is there any hope at all 10 in that things can change. 11 Q: Right. 12 A: You ought to doubt sometimes that -- 13 that things will be better. 14 Q: That's because -- because 15 occasionally there's the sense that there may be some 16 political opportunism actually involved in those 17 comments. 18 A: Yeah well there's obviously that. 19 Q: Yes. One (1) last area. Sir, at the 20 end of this Inquiry I expect that among the various 21 submissions that people will make, will be one (1) group 22 of submissions that will be along the lines, Well, we 23 were just enforcing the law. 24 And there would be another group of 25 submissions --
1021 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Would you 2 mind if I interrupted you in the middle of your sentence? 3 Apparently we need a short break. 4 MR. DONALD WORME: Maybe just after Mr. 5 Horton finishes, Commissioner. I -- I think this -- this 6 was -- you indicated your last question. 7 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: This was going to be 8 my last question. 9 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Well, I -- I 10 thought you were -- you were sort of signalling me to do 11 it immediately. 12 MR. DONALD WORME: I'm -- I'm sorry, Mr. 13 Commissioner. 14 THE WITNESS: Actually, I could take the 15 break right now. 16 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes. I 17 think, let's come back and finish your last question. 18 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: All right. Thank 19 you. 20 THE WITNESS: Thank you. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Go ahead, 22 Mr. Mercredi. 23 MR. DONALD WORME: Sorry to interrupt, 24 Mr. Horton. 25 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: Not at all, sir.
1031 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Duty calls. 2 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry will recess 3 for five (5) minutes. 4 5 --- Upon recessing at 11:47 a.m. 6 --- Upon resuming at 11:57 a.m. 7 8 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry is now 9 resumed. Please be seated. 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, carry 11 on. 12 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: Okay. Thank you. 13 Thank you, Commissioner. 14 15 CONTINUED BY MR. WILLIAM HORTON: 16 Q: Mr. Mercredi, as I was saying, at the 17 end of this Inquiry we'll hear a lot of different 18 submissions. but I'm sure that two (2) of the 19 submissions we will hear, one (1) will be that this was 20 just a law enforcement activity, we were just enforcing 21 the law. And another submission that's almost certainly 22 going to be made is that these were, certainly in -- in 23 substantial measure, racially motivated actions. 24 And your evidence has made me aware of the 25 possibility that both those submissions may actually be
1041 saying the same thing, which is a bit disturbing. But 2 you've written extensively on the racial content of 3 Canadian law in terms of -- and how law enforcement can 4 be perceived as racist from a First Nation perspective. 5 But what I wanted to get your comment on is just, what 6 would be your comments to the Commissioner about a 7 statement, We were just enforcing the law? 8 A: Well, I -- I have in fact encountered 9 that -- and I have in fact had that dialogue with the 10 RCMP in Burnt Church. This idea of the rule of law which 11 is part of Canadian society is -- is quite an important 12 idea and one that holds the -- the idea together, like, 13 the country together, right. I mean, it's not to be 14 dismissed but on the other hand, the rule of law has to 15 include the rights of the Aboriginal people, their place 16 in society. 17 So when -- when politicians rely on the 18 rule of law and they say, This is a police matter, I said 19 in Burnt Church and I'll repeat it here, What that means 20 for our people is that the police are coming, that's what 21 it means. It's inappropriate, I think, in grey areas, 22 where law -- the law is not settled, to assume that the 23 rule of law is absolute. 24 And this, to me, is a -- a terrible 25 mistake that politicians have made in this country, to --
1051 to rely on the rule of law as justification to use force 2 against the Aboriginal people. Especially when we, on 3 the -- on the other side of the equation, are asserting 4 the rights that we understand belong to us; that we also 5 believe are part of the Constitution of this country; 6 that are recognized under Section 35 of the Constitution 7 that says, The Aboriginal treaty rights of the Aboriginal 8 people are hereby recognized and affirmed. We have every 9 right to assert that -- that is the law, that Canadian 10 law recognizes these rights. We have every right to 11 assert that. 12 So it's in that context, you see, that my 13 -- my debate with the police was, the rule of law also 14 includes the Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights. 15 And you can't just enforce this, whatever 16 you're doing, without respecting those rights as well, 17 right. I mean it's -- it's common sense, isn't it? But I 18 think sometimes what happens is that maybe the 19 governments just don't want to get involved in the 20 dispute, I don't know, you know, what compels them to -- 21 to say this is a police matter. I wish I knew, right. 22 And that's why in the context of 23 Ipperwash, I -- I had the strategy to take the issue back 24 to the Premier; that's why I took it to his house, his -- 25 his government house, in a way making a statement that
1061 this is a political issue. It's not just about his 2 perspective, which was the -- the illegal occupation of 3 the Park, which was his perspective. 4 MR. WILLIAM HORTON: Yes. Okay. Thank 5 you very much, Mr. Mercredi. Thank you, Commissioner. 6 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: I believe 7 that Mr. Falconer is going to question now on behalf of 8 the Aboriginal Legal Services. 9 10 (BRIEF PAUSE) 11 12 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER. 13 Q: Good morning, Mr. Mercredi. 14 A: Good morning. 15 Q: Mr. Mercredi, if I could refer you to 16 Exhibit P-309, which is the transcript of September 6th, 17 1995 between Detective Sergeant Wright and yourself. 18 Page 5 of that transcript please. 19 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: It isn't all 20 that clear on the screen. Are you trying to -- 21 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Yes, thank you. 22 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Oh, there it 23 is; that's much better. 24 25 CONTINUED BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER:
1071 Q: And I want to start with the -- 2 Detective Sergeant Wright states, quote: 3 "I know -- I know exactly who you are, 4 sir. Just want to know what -- if you 5 are their negotiator, you're the 6 spokesman, or what. 7 [You answer] No, I'm not. 8 Wright: You're just -- 9 Mercredi: I'm concerned about Indian 10 people. I represent them wherever they may be." 11 It's fair to say that Detective Sergeant 12 Wright conveyed to you at that time a concern about who 13 exactly you represented; correct? 14 A: It would be fair to say that, yes. 15 Q: And in terms of your experiences with 16 political leaders, Canadian political leaders, mainstream 17 leaders such as Prime Ministers, Premiers, various 18 provinces or other ministers, do you ever recall, in 19 dealing with the minister, of a particular province 20 including a premier asking them which part of the 21 province they act for? 22 A: No. No. I've -- I never questioned 23 their -- their legitimacy to represent the people that 24 they were elected to represent. 25 Q: Would you agree with me that, perhaps
1081 challenging might be too strong a word, but in essence, 2 Detective Sergeant Wright was inquiring into the 3 legitimacy of your representation? 4 A: Yeah. And -- and I think I did make 5 comments to that affect yesterday that as Aboriginal 6 leaders, we -- we often have to justify -- not just our 7 role but who we represent. I've been to standing 8 committees in the House of Commons where certain 9 representatives of political parties would question who I 10 represent. 11 But their motive was not to -- to clarify 12 who I represent. Their intent was to -- to as one -- as 13 one member of parliament once said to me, You're elected 14 by the Chiefs, I'm elected by the people. 15 Like I mean that -- that was his 16 statement. Like I -- he was making that comment to 17 suggest that I don't represent the people I claim to 18 represent because I wasn't elected by them. It happens. 19 Q: And what is your -- is your 20 experience with this -- this issue of resistence to 21 Aboriginal leadership; is there a solution to it? 22 23 (BRIEF PAUSE) 24 25 A: I guess -- I guess there is, but the
1091 first solution is -- is -- is not to challenge the 2 person's role, like, I don't think it's -- it's 3 productive to question a person's role if they are, in 4 fact, the National Chief, right, or -- or the Chief of 5 Kettle or -- or -- or the Grand Chief of Ontario. 6 Like, I think the presumption that should 7 be made -- like the presumption we make that the Premier 8 represents everybody should be made about us as well, 9 like, he is the Premier of the province. 10 And like us, it doesn't mean that all 11 people support him, right? I mean, reality is that 12 premiers get elected with less than the majority of their 13 population. And so the -- the -- the democratic system 14 that we have, such as it is, means that some members of 15 parliament get elected with less than 50 percent of the - 16 - of the vote because there may be more than one (1) with 17 three (3) candidates. 18 So, even they can't claim to represent 19 everybody all the time, you know what I'm saying? So -- 20 but I don't question their -- their right to be members 21 of parliament. They -- they earned that -- they earned 22 that stripe and -- and they're there as members of 23 parliament. 24 So -- so when I arrive there as the 25 National Chief, I don't expect to see questioning from
1101 them about who I am and who I represent, but it did 2 happen; it does happen. 3 Q: At page 3 of the same transcript 4 exhibit, P-309, at page 3 you are advised that the person 5 in charge you would be speaking to would either be 6 Inspector Carson or Inspector Linton. 7 Now, it didn't happen. You didn't hear 8 back until 4:00 in the morning from Chris Coles after the 9 tragic shooting. But you've already indicated what your 10 general motivation was in -- in calling and who you were 11 seeking to speak to. 12 If you had been given access to Inspector 13 Carson, if you, as Grand Chief, had been given access to 14 the leader of the police action at that time, what would 15 you have said to him? 16 A: Well, first of all, my goal would 17 have been to stop them from advancing, that would have 18 been my goal, right? So, what I would have said to them 19 would have been to try to persuade them, you know, like, 20 whatever arguments that would have come to me, I would 21 have used every -- everything I -- that I could, right? 22 Q: And that's -- I'm trying to actually 23 understand -- 24 A: Yeah. 25 Q: -- from the point of view of the
1111 evidence your objective is helpful in that I'm trying to 2 get you to go further and to actually, if you can, 3 explain how you would have tried to achieve that 4 objective. 5 A: Well, the only -- since I don't have 6 any legal mandate to stop anything, I'm not a political 7 boss, I would have to be very persuasive in -- in the 8 arguments that -- that I would have made. But I tried to 9 make one towards the end of my -- my talk with him and 10 that is, I think I said, Wait until tomorrow, something 11 to that effect. 12 Q: At page 4 you say: 13 "What's the rush? Why don't you wait 14 until tomorrow after you've talked to 15 them?" 16 Is that what you're referring to? 17 A: Yeah, "After you talk to them," yeah. 18 Q: But assume for a moment you get 19 access to the leader -- the command leader. In terms of 20 the exchanges, is it fair to say that one (1) of the 21 concerns you would have had was, why the need for 22 immediate action? 23 A: Yes. 24 Q: And you would have tried to have him 25 logically explain why there was a need for immediate
1121 action in darkness; is that right? 2 A: Yes. I would have done the same 3 thing there as I did in -- in -- in Burnt Church. 4 Q: And that's what I'm trying to get at, 5 what's that? 6 A: In Burnt Church, when -- when we -- 7 when we learned that the DFO officers were going to come 8 again to attack the fishermen, I contacted the senior 9 manager for DFO immediately. Do you remember that scene 10 where they rammed that boat, the small boat of Aboriginal 11 fishermen? That happened while I was on the phone with 12 him. 13 I am arguing with this man to stop what 14 they're doing and -- and I'm saying to him, Look this is 15 totally unnecessary and if you don't stop it and if 16 someone dies, we will come after you with every available 17 resource we have. We will take it to court. 18 Like those are just some of the arguments 19 that I would have used, right? But the other thing is I 20 -- I would have -- I would have stayed with this idea 21 that it makes no sense to me as I said earlier, to be 22 advancing in the darkness of night; that is the most 23 dangerous time to -- to enforce the law. 24 And the police when they're faced with 25 these situations, I'm sure would prefer to do it in -- in
1131 broad daylight, right, where safety is easier, their own 2 safety is easier. 3 In addition to that, you know, dialogue is 4 necessary. Like -- to my knowledge, you know, there was 5 real no concerted effort for dialogue here; that things 6 happened so suddenly that when councillor George tried to 7 intervene, he got beaten for it, right? Like, there was 8 no room for dialogue here. 9 This -- this was a planned action to 10 advance which resulted in the death of Dudley George. 11 So, I mean, there would have been no way that I would've 12 known the outcome but -- but I would have impressed on 13 them the importance of respecting my advice. And if they 14 didn't, that I would surely make that a public issue. 15 But as you can see in my discussion with - 16 - with Mr. Wright -- 17 Q: Yes. Detective Sergeant Wright. 18 A: -- like, he said to me, Yeah, 19 something to the effect, I know -- I know exactly who you 20 are. Something like that. I can't see the passage and 21 my eyesight's not that good. 22 Q: Well, I hate to admit it, Mr. 23 Mercredi, but neither is mine. 24 A: Yeah. In any event, you see like he 25 was a little dismissive of me. Like that was the
1141 impression. Like maybe he was dismissive of me for 2 reasons, I don't know. Like only he can answer them. I 3 don't know that. 4 It may well be that by the time I called, 5 the event was finished. I don't know that, right? It 6 may well be when he made reference to, We have a 7 situation here, is what he said, he might have been 8 referring to the situation being finished already. 9 Like I don't know the timing of the events 10 here. I can't speculate on that. So it may well be that 11 by the time I called it was already too late. 12 Q: Stopping there for a minute, I want 13 to understand. I take it at that point, you were 14 prepared to pledge yourself personally as National Chief 15 to establishing that dialogue that was wholly absent? 16 A: See, what I would have done would 17 have been the same thing I did in Gustafson which is to 18 create a process between the police and the -- and the 19 other party, in that case, it was the protesters in 20 Gustafson, in this case it would have been the people in 21 the Park; a process where there would be open lines of 22 communication. And -- and -- but efforts would be made 23 by different people to -- to mediate the dispute between 24 the two. 25 And I would have made the effort myself as
1151 one of the people. Like, when I went to Gustafson, I was 2 not successful as I said in mediating the dispute. But I 3 did succeed in -- in securing the process for ongoing 4 communications and dialogue, right? 5 And that meant other Aboriginal people who 6 were brought in, like Elder -- Chief Looking Horse and 7 others from -- from the Shuswap Nation. 8 And so different people go -- went at 9 different times. And -- and I succeeded in getting the 10 RCMP not to rush with their plan, but to delay it and -- 11 and allow the process to -- to reach a -- a fruition that 12 everybody wanted, which was the end of the conflict. 13 So, I would have tried, I think, to secure 14 a similar process where the understanding was that the 15 police wouldn't move in and that the dialogue would be 16 ensuing and encouraged and supported by the governments, 17 and that in time, the -- the -- there would be an 18 understanding develop. But -- but there can't -- there 19 couldn't have been and there can't be any understanding 20 without effort. There would have to have been some 21 effort. 22 Q: All right. Now, I'm going to move to 23 a slightly different area and ask you about some evidence 24 you gave yesterday, it can be found at page 269 of your 25 transcript from yesterday's proceedings of March 31st,
1161 but in short, you'd indicated that: 2 "From an Aboriginal leader's point of 3 view in -- in confrontations with the 4 police, all leaders will first side 5 with their people, it's a natural 6 tendency. Even if you don't know all 7 the facts, you automatically support 8 your people." 9 Do you remember testifying along those 10 lines? 11 A: Yes. 12 Q: Did I accurately capture what you'd 13 said? 14 A: Yes, you did. 15 Q: Could you assist me somewhat? That - 16 - that tendency to -- as part of your mandate to support 17 your people in those circumstances, could you explain 18 that? 19 A: Yeah, it's -- it's based on history, 20 like our historical relations and experiences with police 21 as Aboriginal people. You know, similar to what the 22 black community knows and experiences when they deal with 23 the police, there is an historical conduct there where -- 24 where situations have arisen in the enforcement of the 25 law, that could have resulted in the death of an
1171 Aboriginal person; that happens. 2 Very recently in Winnipeg a young man was 3 killed by the -- by the Winnipeg police, an Aboriginal 4 young person. And I witnessed there what I said and that 5 is, automatically, all the Chiefs and all the urban 6 leaders condemned the action without all the information 7 being available. 8 And -- and that is natural because our 9 experience is that the media will -- will print what the 10 police are telling them and that the police will convey 11 to them what the police want them to know. But it will 12 be their perspective that need -- that might not always 13 be the full truth, it might be partial truth and it could 14 very well be the end truth, right? 15 And one (1) of my friends was killed by a 16 Winnipeg police officer, his name was J.J. Harper, a very 17 important celebrated case in -- in Manitoba. And that -- 18 that's another example of why Aboriginal people would 19 take sides first with their own people until all the 20 facts are know, right? 21 Like, and when the facts are known, then 22 it's incumbent upon us to -- to stay with the facts. 23 Q: Can I -- can I explore that a little 24 bit, if I may? As an Aboriginal leader -- national 25 Aboriginal leader -- and may I add in -- in -- in your
1181 communities, you continue to be a leader, could you 2 assist me on -- on whether there is any tension, at all, 3 between that obligation to stay with the facts and that - 4 - that tendency to support your people. Is there ever 5 any tension between those two (2) things? 6 A: You know, when it comes to full 7 disclosure about these incidents involving the police, 8 internal investigations will -- will -- will probably 9 expose some of that information. But when -- when -- 10 when a police officer and someone that they're pursuing - 11 - there's only two (2) of them, right, you'll never 12 really know the truth, but a dead man doesn't speak, 13 right? 14 And if the Aboriginal person's the dead 15 man, you're -- you're going to side with that dead man 16 because he's not speaking for himself, right? 17 So, it's in that context that we would 18 always take the side of our people and -- until the truth 19 is found. Like, I mean, like, when I discovered in 20 Gustafson that weapons were present and guns were fired, 21 I condemned that action; I did, because I have to support 22 the facts, right? 23 Q: Now, is that the same as 24 automatically supporting your people no matter what the 25 facts are?
1191 A: No, it's not the same. 2 Q: And was there any tension between 3 that need to stay with the facts and the perception that 4 you might not be supporting your people? 5 A: I don't -- I don't know exactly what 6 you mean by "tension"; that's -- 7 Q: All right. Let me rephrase it. 8 A: Yeah. 9 Q: It's my poor wording, and I 10 apologize. What I'm trying to get at is, as an 11 Aboriginal leader, one wants to be automatically 12 supportive, as you've described. But there will be facts 13 that come to your attention that you need to speak out 14 on, such as what you described at Gustafson Lake. 15 And I'm must trying to understand the 16 dynamic between that -- that presumptive support and the 17 need to stay with the truth. 18 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: I'm not sure 19 where you're going, Mr. Falconer. 20 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: My next question is 21 going to make that apparent. 22 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: It will? 23 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Yes, Mr. 24 Commissioner. 25 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Okay. I'll
1201 keep quiet. 2 3 CONTINUED BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER: 4 Q: I'm trying to understand that 5 dynamic. 6 A: There's always risk involved in 7 leadership, okay? And Aboriginal leaders, sometimes when 8 -- when the facts and the information, the truth is 9 there, they have to stay with that, even if it means 10 reversing their previous role or position on issues. 11 It's not an easy thing to do but if the 12 truth is facing you, you have to do it. I mean, you -- 13 you can't dismiss the truth, right. You have to side 14 with it, even if it means taking some risk with your 15 community. 16 Q: Now, you've had experience with 17 leaders in the OPP; yes? 18 A: Yes. 19 Q: You've had experience with police 20 leaders in the RCMP; yes? 21 A: Yes. 22 Q: And you've had experience with these 23 leaders in highly-charged confrontational situations, 24 among others? 25 A: Yes.
1211 Q: And can you assist me in terms of 2 that dynamic that we've just talked about, the 3 presumptive support of your people, can you assist me 4 with how, if at all, you ever experienced that with 5 police leadership? 6 A: Occasionally. 7 Q: Can you elaborate? 8 A: Involving Burnt Church, I wish I 9 could remember names, Your Honour, but -- a fairly senior 10 RCMP officer played a very important role, in my mind, in 11 terms of giving assurances to the -- to the First Nations 12 people that there was understanding within the RCMP that 13 this matter involving the lobster issue was not one- 14 sided; that it wasn't a clear case of the rule of law 15 being on the side of the -- of the non-Aboriginal 16 fisherman; and that the Aboriginal people had rights. 17 Like, of course, you know, like, they 18 called it the gray area. I mean, they have to do that to 19 protect themselves from their superiors, I -- I assume, I 20 don't know, or their political masters. But I found that 21 extremely helpful in conveying to some of the leaders in 22 the community that we do have some friends on the other 23 side too. Like, it's not a case of us and -- us and 24 them. 25 And there's nothing more dangerous than us
1221 and them in a conflict situation, you know what I'm 2 saying? So it -- if there is sensitivity on the part of 3 -- of the other party of our -- of our rights, it goes a 4 long ways to -- to dispelling, you know, our concerns and 5 maybe our disputes with them. 6 Q: You know, this Commission has heard 7 evidence, some extensive evidence about different issues 8 surrounding guns, allegations about shooting at a 9 helicopter on a different occasion, allegation about a 10 gun on a different occasion. 11 And what I want to ask you is: You faced 12 a challenge at Gustafson Lake, you faced the challenge of 13 having to condemn an action by your own people in 14 recognizing the truth, the facts, that there were guns. 15 What did you perceive as the police 16 leadership responsibility at Ipperwash when it became 17 apparent there weren't guns? What was your perception as 18 their responsibilities? 19 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Excuse me, 20 Mr. Falconer -- 21 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: I can rephrase it. 22 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Stop for a 23 minute. 24 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: I can rephrase it. 25 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Do you want
1231 to rephrase it before the objection or do you want to 2 hear the objection? 3 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: I'm happy to 4 rephrase it. 5 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Do you want 6 to try? 7 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: If My Friend wants 8 to object in any event, I mean, she can do that, but I 9 would suggest that -- 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Well, why 11 don't you try to rephrase it and then we'll see if the 12 objection stands. 13 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Thank you. 14 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Just stay 15 close by, Ms. Tuck-Jackson. 16 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: That doesn't give 17 me a warm and fuzzy feeling, Mr. Commissioner. 18 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Well, go 19 ahead. 20 21 CONTINUED BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER. 22 Q: Mr. Mercredi, I'm seeking to draw out 23 from you, your experience with police leadership in that 24 automatic support, regardless of where the facts take 25 with them. And I'm trying to draw you out on that issue
1241 as it pertains to Ipperwash in your experience with the 2 police leadership. 3 Can you assist me on that? 4 A: Well, I guess a reasonable person, if 5 I can use that terminology? 6 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, of 7 course. Okay. I'm sorry the question is general enough 8 not to be objectionable but I'm not sure how -- 9 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Well, he's -- Mr. 10 Mercredi's answering it -- 11 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Well, he's 12 answering it. 13 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: -- so please go 14 ahead. 15 16 CONTINUED BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER. 17 Q: Yes? 18 A: You know, I guess a reasonable 19 person, regardless of who they represent, you know, in a 20 situation like Ipperwash, if faced with the knowledge 21 that there were no guns, would stay with that truth. 22 And that's what I'm saying, that as an 23 Aboriginal leader, I have a duty to -- to honour the 24 truth. Otherwise I dishonour my people by -- by lying 25 about this, you know, about what's really going on,
1251 right. 2 So I can only speak for -- for my -- my 3 actions in Gustafson, right. And since I saw no evidence 4 of guns or no proof of guns in Ipperwash, there was no 5 action to condemn. 6 Q: One (1) of the things you said in the 7 transcript that's Exhibit P-309, was that: 8 "I'm concerned about Indian people, I 9 represent them wherever they may be." 10 Can you address that in the context of off 11 reserve Aboriginal peoples? 12 A: Yeah. There is a -- there is a 13 national organization called the Congress of Aboriginal 14 People. They -- they claim to represent the urban Indian 15 situation. And they do have chapters across the country. 16 And they do have urban leadership as part of the 17 organization. 18 But at the same time the Assembly of First 19 Nations represents all the First Nations people. And 20 some of these people no longer reside on the reserves 21 because they have migrated to the cities or the towns and 22 villages. 23 But we still claim to represent them as an 24 organization. So their -- their issues and their 25 concerns are still part of our agenda as an organization.
1261 Q: You've described urban leaders, urban 2 Aboriginal community leaders; is that right? 3 A: Yes. 4 Q: And I take it that whereas there may 5 be common denominators in terms of many cultural 6 concerns, I take it there is also very distinctive 7 concerns relative to the urban communities they live in. 8 A: Well, the -- the subject matters 9 would be the same. Like housing issues, education 10 issues, health issues. The differences would come in 11 terms of the jurisdictions that they have -- they have to 12 deal with. 13 The urban population deals primarily with 14 the provinces. And it's because of the offloading on the 15 part of the Federal Government because they make -- they 16 make these unilateral rules between each other for 17 funding purposes. It's totally arbitrary what they do. 18 But nonetheless they have these understandings for fiscal 19 relations issues between themselves as governments. 20 In any event, the urban population -- the 21 First Nations urban population, from my knowledge of it 22 and my experience within it, is it's -- it's more a -- of 23 a -- their organizations are not so based on being Metis, 24 Indian, or Inuit. 25 Their organizations are based on being
1271 urban Native people. So their political bodies in that 2 sense are -- would involve all those Aboriginal peoples. 3 It wouldn't be just purely First Nations political 4 organizations. 5 And their leadership is elected by popular 6 vote. Like they have membership drives in -- for these 7 organizations. 8 But they also have a -- a -- within the 9 cities, the -- the national organization or the 10 provincial organization be present, like the Chiefs of 11 Ontario Offices is in Toronto, right? Nishnawbi-Aski is 12 in Thunder Bay, and so on, and the -- the Manitoba Metis 13 Federation is in Winnipeg, right. 14 So there is the presence of the political 15 organizations in cities as well. And when issues happen, 16 like for example the shooting of that young man by the 17 Winnipeg police, there's immediate collaboration between 18 the urban leaders and the Chiefs organizations and so 19 they hold -- they do things jointly like press 20 conferences in -- in seeking information. 21 Q: Would you agree with me that if you 22 are going to propose recommendations on systemic issues 23 for Aboriginal communities that an important piece of the 24 puzzle is to hear from urban Aboriginal leaders? 25 A: Yes, because their situation is -- is
1281 not identical to -- to -- to the situation of First 2 Nations. The urban environment is -- is somewhat 3 different from a reserve environment, right, if you 4 understand that, Your Honour. But let me explain it this 5 way because I think it's important to -- to give some 6 light to the urban context. 7 For one (1) thing there is no sense of 8 community in -- in the way, say Grand Rapids has a sense 9 of community. And the urban populations are -- are -- 10 are higher in number than most reserves in the country. 11 Like, for example, in the city of Winnipeg, there's some 12 eighty thousand (80,000) Aboriginal people in that city. 13 Q: I'm sorry, the number you -- 14 A: Eighty thousand (80,000). 15 Q: Thank you. 16 A: And -- and they have, over the years, 17 managed, in their discourse with the City, to secure 18 their own place where they could provide services to the 19 urban population. So they have their own network of 20 programs and services that they provide to urban 21 residents that can range anywhere from shelter, but it 22 doesn't include social assistance because that's still 23 provided by the cities. 24 But they do engage in programs for 25 battered women and -- and alcoholics and things of that
1291 nature. I think that they're very competent and very -- 2 very organized to attend to these issues. And -- but 3 they also, as I said, have a -- a feature about them that 4 will not be present in a First Nations organization and 5 that is that they don't organize along tribal lines, I'll 6 say. 7 They don't organize as Crees or they -- 8 they organize -- they don't -- they organize not just as 9 First Nations, but they organize as Metis together in one 10 (1) group. 11 So in -- in that way the -- the -- the 12 urban organizations have a -- have a distinct perspective 13 that needs to be listened to, right, and heard by the 14 governments. And they -- and they do have their own 15 political organization that, in some -- in some cases, 16 the governments acknowledge the urban leadership and I'm 17 not sure how -- how -- how universal that is. 18 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Mr. Commissioner, I 19 have about five (5) minutes left, and I realize I'm over 20 my time and I apologize. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: I'd say use 22 the five (5) minutes, just go ahead and do it. 23 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: Thank you, I 24 appreciate it. 25
1301 CONTINUED BY MR. JULIAN FALCONER: 2 Q: Mr. Mercredi, you referred to this 3 notion of offloading, jurisdictional offloading, and I -- 4 I know Mr. Commissioner's undoubtedly far more educated 5 by now, on it than I am. I can spell obsequious, but 6 it's easier to say. 7 Mr. Mercredi, can you help me on this. 8 Your experience with jurisdictional offloading, first of 9 all, describe it very briefly and then describe how you 10 think, in terms of systemic changes, we can best address 11 it? What's your experience with it, first of all? 12 A: Under the Constitution, when it comes 13 to Indians, and Indian lands, Parliament has exclusive 14 authority. This is a power that they took in -- in 1867. 15 We didn't give them that power, they took the power and 16 pursuant to that, they made the Indian Act. 17 So, historically the Federal Government 18 dealt with the -- with what they call, "the Indians," 19 what we call, "First Nations," now and -- and through 20 that relationship, they had their own programs and 21 services dedicated to -- to that population. 22 But a phenomenon emerged in contemporary 23 times. In the '50's and '60's the migration of our 24 people to the cities began, to the point where they had 25 numbered in the thousands in the cities, where in some
1311 cases half our population would be off the reserve and in 2 the cities or towns and villages across -- across the 3 country. 4 So the result of that phenomenon of -- of 5 migration to the cities by our people, the -- the 6 Municipal Governments and the Provincial Governments 7 began to question who was responsible for -- for 8 providing public services to these people. 9 And since -- since they were under federal 10 jurisdiction the argument on the part of the province is 11 that this is a federal matter. But the Federal 12 Government, I guess, was pretty tight with their money 13 and they didn't agree with that, right. 14 So they decided that, No, this is not 15 going to work so they -- they negotiated about us without 16 us. I mean, they negotiated with -- about us, right. 17 Why would they want to deal with our people in the cities 18 without our involvement. And they made these agreements, 19 like, when it came to health or social services provided 20 by the cities and -- and the towns and so on, that the -- 21 that could be covered by the provinces. 22 Formulas emerged from that. And time 23 frames were established. Like, it used to be one (1) 24 year, it may be six (6) months now of residency and then 25 you become sole provincial responsibility, right. These
1321 are internal decisions of the two (2) levels of 2 government. 3 And so the result of that, of course, is - 4 - is to treat all the Aboriginal people the same. Like, 5 there's no distinction in terms of access to services. 6 Within -- within those understandings, like I mentioned, 7 like, they can -- they can recupe -- the province can 8 recupe some of the funding within a certain time frame, 9 subject to the agreements that they had. 10 But offloading has resulted in creating 11 serious problems, I think, for the urban population. 12 Like, for example, there's only so much money for 13 education that are -- that's given by Indian Affairs to - 14 - to our people, and they also provide money for post- 15 secondary education. 16 So when it comes to distributing those 17 resources, there's inequity in the system. And 18 invariably, the urban-based peoples don't get the same 19 opportunity for -- for pursuing post-secondary education. 20 Because the tendency of any government is 21 to -- is to look at the immediate -- the needs of the 22 immediate population, which is a natural thing to do and 23 not uncommon, right. So the result is a disparity of -- 24 of the application and some of the benefits that flow 25 from the Federal Government.
1331 And these -- and these have been known to 2 exist for some time by both levels of government. And -- 3 but they -- they've systemically, I would say, refused to 4 -- to engage our leaders in -- in creating an 5 understanding on how best to provide the service. 6 For example, child welfare is quite 7 advanced in my province. From the agreements I spoke 8 about, it has moved to provincial legislation that -- 9 that now pretty much gives the authority to our people to 10 run these agencies. 11 And that the mandate that they have over 12 Indian children is not reserve-based, it's the mandate, 13 every child, regardless where the child is, there's no 14 residency requirement. So now we can provide services to 15 Indian children on and off reserve. We have that 16 jurisdiction now, see. 17 But that's unique; that's not -- that's 18 not sort of a -- an enlightened state of the country; 19 that is just a unique experience in that province, right. 20 All -- all other provinces are still at the stage of -- 21 early stages of child welfare, as per agreements. 22 Alberta will have a provision with -- in terms of 23 respecting the culture of the people as part of delivery 24 of the program. 25 But absent those provinces, most child
1341 welfare is delivered through federal money with 2 provincial jurisdiction in terms of child welfare 3 legislation, but exclusively under First Nations 4 management. 5 And -- and historically, in the past ten 6 (10) years, since their inception some fifteen (15) years 7 ago, they were reserve-based agencies. But now, in 8 Manitoba, it's expanding to -- as I indicated. 9 Q: I had one (1) last area to ask you 10 about. You referred to the fact that it was important to 11 the Assembly of First Nations to provide a level of 12 support to Sam George in terms of potential fund raising 13 for access to the courts, et cetera; do you remember 14 testifying about that? 15 A: Yes, I -- I do. 16 Q: Okay. Could you assist me, in your 17 experience as a lawyer on Aboriginal issues and your 18 experience as a National Chief and your ongoing 19 experience with Aboriginal issues; is there an issue of 20 access to justice for Aboriginals? 21 And -- and can you assist me as to your 22 views on the importance of creating an Aboriginal rights 23 fund that would address some of the inequities in the 24 system? 25 A: I think that I -- I still have some
1351 bills that have to be paid. 2 When -- when you represent people with no 3 resources, right, it's difficult for them to find 4 representation without assistance from the State, like by 5 the Province or the Federal Government. So, the 6 emergence of legal aid plans were -- were very helpful at 7 the time when justice was inaccessible to us, because if 8 you can't hire a lawyer, justice is not accessible to 9 you, right? 10 And the reason why the legal aid plans 11 were put into place was because our people were filling 12 up the jails across the country and the politicians 13 realized that this was not the way -- the proper way to 14 deal with lack -- lack of representation in -- in the 15 court system. So, the funds weren't there. 16 Now, legal aid is one (1) way in which you 17 could provide assistance to people, but legal aid is 18 limited to criminal matters and family matters and it 19 doesn't deal with things outside of that scope, right. 20 So, that's why it became painfully obvious that the 21 George Family didn't have the resources to, you know, 22 take on the machinery of government, which is well- 23 resourced to defend itself, right? 24 So, fundraising is part of what we try to 25 do, but fundraising is something that you can't really
1361 rely on in First Nations community too, because how much 2 money are you going to raise from -- from a -- from a 3 poor class of -- in society? I mean, you're not going to 4 raise that much money from people that -- who don't have, 5 you know, high incomes. 6 So, we welcomed the -- the -- the funds 7 that were set up by the Federal Government to deal with 8 test cases under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But 9 there was no equivalent fund for cases under Section 35 10 of the Constitutional Act of Canada. 11 It didn't give the same due regard to our 12 section as they did for the Charter of Rights and 13 Freedoms. And the result is that our people never had 14 the benefit of -- of having a -- a fund -- a set aside 15 fund for the purpose of defending rights. 16 There's a real need for a fund for 17 defending rights and there -- absent that, people will 18 have to try to find a revenue on their own and it's 19 virtually impossible to do that. 20 Q: And would you agree with me that when 21 you said the term, "defending rights," it isn't only 22 issues of land claims, it's Aboriginal rights in general? 23 A: Yeah, not -- not just Charter cases, 24 either, you know, like -- or -- or cases under Section 15 25 on equality provisions, but Aboriginal rights, treaty
1371 rights under Section 35. 2 And there was, like, for example, there is 3 no reference in the Constitution as it is now to the 4 right of self-government, but nonetheless, it is a right 5 that we claim to be recognized in Section 35, right, as a 6 -- as an existing right -- as either an existing 7 Aboriginal right or as an existing treaty right. 8 So, that is, in fact, the basis on which 9 we would -- we would deal with the -- with the case in 10 the courts if one was dealt with in terms of 11 jurisdiction, of our authority as a people. We don't 12 have that capacity to launch the case ourselves. Like, 13 we -- ideally, we should be able to, on occasion, take a 14 case forward for -- for the court to adjudicate on the 15 nature of that right, right? But we don't have that 16 capacity, I mean, we don't have that fiscal capacity. 17 So -- and so we have to wait for the other 18 governments -- invariably, we have to wait for the other 19 governments to recognize our rights, which could be a 20 long wait, because they -- they have not been accustomed 21 to recognizing our rights. 22 Q: Well, I thank you for your time, Mr. 23 Mercredi. 24 And I thank you for your indulgence, Mr. 25 Commissioner.
1381 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 2 very much, Mr. Falconer. 3 We have a couple, two (2) or three (3) yet 4 to go. I'm not sure if we're going to get finished 5 before lunch. Let's keep going. Let's keep going and 6 see how far we get. 7 We're up to Andrea Truck-Jackson, I 8 believe. 9 10 (BRIEF PAUSE) 11 12 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Good 13 afternoon. 14 MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: Good afternoon, 15 sir. 16 17 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: 18 Q: Good afternoon, Mr. Mercredi. 19 A: Good afternoon. 20 Q: My name, sir, is Andrea Tuck-Jackson. 21 I'm going to ask you some questions on behalf of the OPP. 22 A: Okay. 23 Q: As you likely guessed, that's who I 24 act for as I hopped to my feet earlier. 25 I want to begin, sir, if I may, with a
1391 telephone call that you had shortly after 11:30 p.m. on 2 the night of the 6th with Detective Sergeant Wright. I 3 wonder if you could put the transcript in front of you. 4 For the benefit of My Friends, it's Exhibit P-309. 5 And as we see, sir, at the very top of the 6 transcript, you can take it as a given because it's not 7 controversial, that the telephone call takes place at 8 11:31 p.m. that night. And you can also take it, sir, as 9 a given because, again, it's not controversial, that the 10 incident which culminated in the unfortunate shooting 11 concluded not that long after about 11:05 p.m. that 12 night. 13 And I take it, sir, when one reads the 14 transcript and one listens to the call, in combination 15 with the evidence that you've given thus far, at the time 16 you were unaware -- 17 A: Yes. 18 Q: -- that the confrontation had 19 actually occurred? 20 A: That's right, I was not aware. 21 Q: All right. And I'd like to take you 22 in particular, sir, to page 4, if I may. And in 23 particular I want to take you to the comment that a 24 number of My Friends have taken you to, towards the 25 bottom of the page.
1401 You indicate, as reflected in the 2 transcript: 3 "What's the rush? Why -- why don't you 4 wait until tomorrow, after you've 5 talked to them?" 6 And again, sir, what prompted this comment 7 or this question was that you had information through 8 Chief Bressette that there was a rumour or some type of 9 information that the police were going to advance on the 10 Park and in some way challenge the occupiers; that was 11 your understanding at the time? 12 A: That's it, yes. 13 Q: Whether or not it was correct or 14 incorrect, that was your understanding? 15 A: It was my understanding, yes. 16 Q: All right. And I take particular 17 interest, sir, in your question, after you've talked to 18 them. And again I acknowledge that at the time you had 19 very limited information available to you, but I want to 20 clarify the following. 21 I gather, sir, that you were unaware -- 22 and, again, it's -- it's uncontroversial at this point -- 23 that efforts had been made by the OPP and indeed by the 24 very man with whom you were speaking, to actually speak 25 directly with a spokesperson on behalf of those occupying
1411 the Park on both the 5th and the 6th. 2 I gather, sir, at the time you were 3 unaware of that? 4 A: No, I wasn't aware of that, no. 5 Q: All right. 6 A: And he didn't tell me either. 7 Q: I understand. 8 A: Okay. 9 Q: And, in fairness, you hadn't been 10 made aware of that fact by anybody else with whom you had 11 had contact, prior to that point? 12 A: No. 13 Q: Right. And then I trust, sir, that 14 at the time you were also unaware that those attempts by 15 Officer Wright and indeed others to open a line of 16 dialogue had met with a lack of success? 17 A: Dialogue is something that happens 18 over time. 19 Q: I appreciate that. 20 A: It's not something that you do once. 21 So you'll have to tell me a little more about how much he 22 tried and how hard he tried. 23 Q: What I'm interested in knowing, sir, 24 was your state of knowledge at the time you had the 25 conversation.
1421 So, I gather, sir, what you're telling 2 us -- 3 A: Yeah, as I said to you, my knowledge 4 was, I was making a call to stop and prevent the police 5 from moving in, that was my -- I've said that repeatedly. 6 Q: I understand, sir. 7 A: I -- I thought the timing was there, 8 that the opportunity was there and -- and I wanted to 9 convey that to the Commander and he never told me that it 10 was too late. He had the opportunity to tell me that, 11 but he didn't. 12 Q: Perhaps, sir, in his perception it 13 wasn't too late, but we'll allow Officer Wright to answer 14 that question. 15 I trust, then, at the time you were 16 unaware that members of the Stoney Point Group who were 17 occupying the Park had refused to speak with the police. 18 You weren't aware of that at the time? 19 A: Yeah, the same thing happened at 20 Gustafson, the people refused to talk to the police, but 21 I came in and -- and spoke to them. 22 Q: And, as we know, sir -- 23 A: So, I mean, just because they refused 24 to talk at that time, doesn't mean that dialogue cannot 25 be resumed.
1431 Q: Except we also know, sir, through 2 both Chief Bressette and it appears to be acknowledged by 3 you, that when you offered, in August of 1995, to serve 4 as a mediator, that offer was rejected by the occupiers 5 at the Base, right? 6 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, Mr. 7 Scullion...? 8 MR. KEVIN SCULLION: Well, there's two 9 (2) points. It is a different situation, but the 10 evidence isn't clear that there was a refusal by the 11 Residents. There's information from Chief Bressette that 12 he heard from somebody who heard from somebody else, so 13 it's not clear. I object to the phrasing used. 14 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: It's a 15 question of phrasing we have. 16 17 CONTINUED BY MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: 18 Q: Then, I'll -- I'll rephrase it as 19 follows. You've -- you've agreed already, sir, that your 20 overture to mediate differences that related to the 21 occupation of the Base was not followed up on? 22 A: No, otherwise I would have talked to 23 them, wouldn't I? If it was followed up, I would have 24 talked to them. 25 Q: Of course, it's almost saying the
1441 obvious. 2 A: Yeah. 3 Q: And that, I'm going to suggest to you 4 is something that distinguishes -- 5 A: Yeah. 6 Q: -- the situation at Ipperwash from 7 the situation at Gustafson Lake, right? In the sense 8 that your offer to mediate at Gustafson Lake -- 9 A: No, no, no. What happened before the 10 police -- what happened before the police advanced, to 11 come in and deal with the dispute between -- between 12 warring camps on -- on the land question is not the same 13 thing as coming in to talk to them about their relations 14 with an advancing force; that's -- that's what I did in 15 Gustafson, you have to make that distinction, okay? 16 I -- I think you're clear that in -- with 17 respect to my call here, which is what you're asking 18 about, it was in relation to what I understood to be an 19 advancing force, which I considered to be an 20 inappropriate time. And I was trying to prevent it from 21 -- from resulting in what it -- what occurred, right, 22 what ultimately occurred. 23 Q: Sir, I don't want you to 24 misunderstand my question, I'm not critical of your 25 actions in any way.
1451 A: Well, I'm not taking it that way, I'm 2 just clarifying. 3 Q: All right. 4 A: I'm not that sensitive. 5 Q: But the point, sir, I simply wanted 6 to make clear is that when you offered to assist in 7 Gustafson Lake, the occupiers took you up on the offer. 8 A: They did, yes. 9 Q: Thank you. 10 A: Yeah. 11 Q: If I could take you to page -- 12 A: But, understand one (1) thing, 13 though, if I may just this very clear to you, that I was 14 not appealing to the people in the Park, I was appealing 15 to the police. My intervention had nothing to do with 16 the -- with the people in the Park; my intervention was 17 with the police force that was advancing on them, right. 18 I gave them the opportunity to accept me. 19 Q: Sir, I anticipate we're going to hear 20 that the police -- 21 A: Yeah. 22 Q: -- actually welcomed your 23 intervention. And I'm going to get to that in a moment 24 with a conversation that you had several hours later with 25 Chief Superintendent Coles. I'm going to move on if we
1461 can then, sir. 2 If I could take you to page 5 of the 3 transcript and again, my Friend, Mr. Falconer, took you 4 to the passage at the top of the page where Detective 5 Sergeant Wright indicates to you: 6 "I know exactly who you are, sir, I 7 just want to know what if -- are you 8 their negotiator, you're their 9 spokesman or what?" 10 And you've testified both today and 11 yesterday that you took that, sir, as a way or as a 12 question that somehow questioned your legitimacy as a 13 leader; do I have that correct? 14 A: Yes. 15 Q: All right. And I anticipate, sir -- 16 and, again, sorry, just to back up for a moment. And 17 that is something you distinguish from a question that 18 clarifies, in particular, who you spoke for; do I have 19 that correct? 20 A: You'll have to repeat the question to 21 me. 22 Q: You seem to have drawn a distinction 23 between a question to which you do not take offence, 24 which is, Please, I want to clarify whether you're 25 speaking on behalf of X or Y, and I gather from your
1471 evidence that that's not a question to which you would 2 take offence. 3 And that's to be distinguished from a 4 question where you interpret that the questioner is 5 challenging your legitimacy as a leader, as someone as 6 having a valid voice. 7 Is that the distinction you were trying to 8 draw? 9 A: I'm still trying to understand your 10 question, I'm sorry. 11 Q: Okay. 12 A: Make it more simple, like, what's the 13 comparison. 14 Q: Well, that's what I'm trying to 15 establish, sir. You -- you, in your evidence, indicated 16 you took offence to the question that was posed; do I 17 have that correct? 18 A: You mean the -- the statement that he 19 made? 20 Q: Yes. 21 A: Yeah. Like, Who are you? 22 Q: Yes. 23 A: Yeah. 24 Q: But I gather, sir, that if the 25 question --
1481 A: Hmm hmm. 2 Q: -- was not to the effect of, Well who 3 are you to be calling us, but instead, Sir I need to 4 clarify whether you're actually speaking on behalf of the 5 occupiers to whom we've tried to reach out, that is a 6 question to which you would not have taken offence, I 7 gather? 8 A: No, I wouldn't have, no. 9 Q: All right. And I anticipate, sir, 10 that we're going to hear that, again, this particular 11 officer had, over the course of the two (2) preceding 12 days, trying to reach out to speak and find a 13 spokesperson for those occupiers. And I trust again at 14 the time you weren't aware of that? 15 A: No, I wasn't aware of that. 16 Q: All right. If I can, sir, I want to 17 take you to the call that awoke you sometime between 4:00 18 and five o'clock in the morning. 19 A: Okay. 20 Q: And you've told us that it was Chief 21 Superintendent Coles who was on the other -- other end of 22 the line? 23 A: Yes. 24 Q: And he had unfortunate news to 25 convey, that there had been a tragedy?
1491 A: Yes. 2 Q: And I'm going to suggest to you, sir, 3 that by the tone of his voice and the tenor of the 4 comments he had to -- to make to you, it was very clear 5 to you that he regarded it as a tragedy? 6 A: Yes, he did. 7 Q: And what was apparent also, I'm going 8 to suggest to you, in the conversation was that he was 9 reaching out for your help to come into the situation? 10 A: Yes, he did. 11 Q: And I'm going to suggest to you, sir, 12 that it was apparent, as early on as that phone call, 13 that he was interested in opening up a dialogue with the 14 First Nations communities involved in the incident; is 15 that fair? 16 A: Yeah, that's fair. Except why -- why 17 rush into the Park if that's the case? 18 Q: Well, I anticipate -- 19 A: I mean, that's -- that's the question 20 for me. Like, dialogue is not -- is not something that 21 happens in a time frame. Like, you don't -- you don't 22 arbitrarily decide to stop talking. If you want to 23 engage in a dialogue with -- with the other party, you 24 keep it open. You don't shut the door and -- and, as in 25 this case, move your troops in.
1501 Q: You'd agree, sir, that a dialogue is 2 only effective when both parties to the dialogue want to 3 talk? 4 A: You know, I -- I watch the news daily 5 and I see with the situation with Israel and the PLO, you 6 know. It's not similar to this situation but -- but they 7 always result with dialogue, regardless of what happened, 8 they always returned to dialogue, right? It's not 9 something that happens once. It's an ongoing process. 10 Q: That wasn't my question, sir. 11 A: I think it's something that the 12 police have to understand, since you represent the 13 police, that dialogue cannot take place just on their 14 terms. Dialogue is not something that can be dictated by 15 one (1) party. 16 And if one party is reluctant as you say, 17 as you imply, they were reluctant to talk, then you wait 18 for the opportunity for the dialogue to take place. But 19 you just don't wait you send emissaries to go talk to the 20 people, you try to convey this -- you know, the need for 21 a mutual dialogue. 22 I mean you do that; that wasn't done. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Do you have 24 an objection Mr. Falconer? 25 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: I was concerned
1511 that with all due respect that My Friend's speaking over 2 the Witness might slow him down. I was gratified to see 3 it didn't. 4 But, I do -- I've watched it two (2) or 5 three (3) times, so I'm just simply -- I know she's not 6 doing it on purpose, it's part of the dialogue, but I 7 would ask My Friend if she could avoid interrupting the 8 Witness. Thanks. 9 MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: I'm rarely 10 accused of that, Your Honour. 11 MR. JULIAN FALCONER: I'd like to add 12 something, Mr. Commissioner. 13 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Carry on. 14 No, I think you're -- 15 MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: Oh, I see that 16 was what he wanted to add. 17 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Yes, that 18 was it. 19 20 CONTINUED BY MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: 21 Q: I don't disagree, sir, and I 22 anticipate that the senior officers from whom we're going 23 to hear would not disagree that dialogue takes time. But 24 I also trust that you agree that in order for dialogue to 25 work, each party involved has to want it to work.
1521 And I appreciate it's a process over time, 2 but, each party has to want it to work. 3 A: I agree with that. 4 Q: Thank you. I'd like to take you, 5 sir, if I could to the document that's at Tab 10 of the 6 binder in front of you. And for the benefits of My 7 Friends it appears -- excuse me -- it's been marked as 8 Exhibit P-252. 9 10 (BRIEF PAUSE) 11 12 Q: And I'd like to take you, sir, to 13 page 4. And at this particular break in the call, you 14 have broken away from your conference call with the 15 executive, it appears you've taken a call from Chief 16 Superintendent Coles. And you are returning to report on 17 the conversation you'd have with Chief Inspector Coles. 18 And you indicated to us yesterday that one 19 (1) aspect of the conversation that you had with Chief 20 Inspector Coles, at the time -- I'm sorry do you have it 21 in front of you, sir? 22 A: Yes, I do. 23 Q: Okay. Was his seeking advice from 24 you as to how to best handle a situation where people who 25 were clearly in a position of grief and engaged in a
1531 grieving process, were moving towards what is likely the 2 base area -- 3 A: Yes. 4 Q: -- and you very fairly and in a very 5 complementary manner yesterday referred or at least 6 alluded to Mr. Coles as being wise, to the extent that he 7 accepted -- that he sought out your advice. 8 And that he was further wise in the sense 9 that he accepted your advice; would that be fair? 10 A: Yes. 11 Q: And I'm going to suggest to you, sir, 12 that in your dealings with Chief Superintendent Coles, 13 that was a pattern of his conduct, he wanted to reach out 14 to you to seek your advice; would that be fair? 15 A: Yes, that would be fair, yes. 16 Q: And I also see, sir, in the notes of 17 comments that have been attributed to you, at page 4, 18 that you reflect that a concern that had been expressed 19 to you by Chief Superintendent Coles, was the safety and 20 security of the cottagers who were still behind the 21 police lines. 22 And I wanted to clarify, was that 23 something that arose in the telephone call at 5:00 in the 24 morning, or was that something that arose in the 25 telephone call that took you away from the conference
1541 call on the morning of the 7th at 9:00? 2 A: I -- like I don't know specifically 3 when, but, as you say I did report on it, it was his 4 issue that I had to address with the other leaders. And 5 as I -- as I indicated to you we did attend to that 6 concern of his, as well, yeah. 7 Q: Yes. And I wanted to, if I could, 8 pick up on that and link it to something that you 9 testified to yesterday. 10 You spoke that sometimes police are placed 11 by a situation in awkward positions when they have to 12 police in grey areas. 13 A: Hmm hmm. 14 Q: And would it be fair to say, sir, 15 from your experience, when you've had to become involved 16 in situations where there are occupations or an assertion 17 of harvesting rights, for example, that police often find 18 themselves in a situation where they have to reconcile 19 competing interests that are advanced by First Nations 20 people in the immediate area and non-Aboriginal people; 21 you've seen that occur? 22 A: Yes, I have. 23 Q: And would it be fair to say, sir, 24 from your observation and experience, that it's a 25 delicate balance that the police have to somehow strike,
1551 in those very tense situations? 2 A: It's not easy being a police officer. 3 Q: No, it's not. It's not. I 4 anticipate, sir, that we're going to hear from non- 5 Aboriginal members of the Ipperwash community that they 6 were dissatisfied by the efforts of the OPP to -- to 7 police the area and to protect them. And that their 8 perception was that the OPP was showing favouritism to 9 the First Nation members of the community and you're -- 10 you're smiling at me. 11 I trust, sir, from your experience, that 12 is something that you have found to have occurred from 13 time-to-time when you've had to become involved in these 14 kinds of situations? 15 A: Yeah, the -- the -- when the rights 16 of others are affected, like property rights or competing 17 interests in a resource, Canadians who are somehow in -- 18 in -- in controversy with Aboriginal interests will 19 always impress upon their governments to take the hard 20 line, you know, because to them they have to be protected 21 from the Indians, right? 22 I mean that's their perception, that the 23 government's there to protect them. And they -- they can 24 be very critical if they perceive their government as not 25 doing that.
1561 And, like, I -- I witnessed that first- 2 hand in -- in -- in Burnt Church involving the non- 3 Aboriginal fishermen who accused their governments of not 4 respecting, you know, their resource rights and -- and 5 they had to stop those Indians from, you know, depleting 6 the resource, I mean, I witnessed that. 7 I'm not surprised that, you know, the 8 cottagers would -- would take that position, I'm not 9 surprised at all. 10 Q: So, you would agree that that is 11 another example of how the police find themselves in a 12 very difficult position, balancing conflicting interests? 13 A: Yeah, absolutely, yeah, because you 14 see, when -- when -- when the police are called upon to - 15 - to enforce any law, but especially when it -- when it 16 involves competing interests in society, they are placed 17 in a very difficult place, very difficult role. But 18 invariably they side with the majority. 19 See, this is the complaint I have, is that 20 invariably they side with the majority, which is the rule 21 -- what they call the, "rule of law," that they -- they 22 invariably end up enforcing the law that protects white 23 people, but discriminates against the Indian people; 24 that's been my experience. 25 Q: And your perception?
1571 A: And my perception. 2 Q: Thank you, Mr. Mercredi, for your 3 time. 4 A: Thank you. 5 MS. ANDREA TUCK-JACKSON: Mr. 6 Commissioner, those are my questions. 7 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 8 very much. Thank you very much. 9 It's now -- we have not a lot to go, but I 10 think we should adjourn for lunch. 11 Is your original estimate still reasonably 12 accurate, Ms. Jones, I think you estimated ten (10) 13 minutes? 14 MS. KAREN JONES: I think it's more like 15 twenty (20) minutes. 16 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: All right. 17 And Mr. Downard, you estimated fifteen 18 (15) minutes, is it still reasonably accurate? 19 MR. PETER DOWNARD: Yes. 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: And you 21 still have some questions, Ms. Cohen-Nehemia? 22 MS. DANYA COHEN-NEHEMIA: Yes. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: A couple. 24 Okay, then I think we'll take a lunch 25 break now and we should finish early this afternoon.
1581 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry stands 2 adjourned until 2:20. 3 4 --- Upon recessing at 1:05 p.m. 5 --- Upon resuming at 2:22 p.m. 6 7 THE REGISTRAR: This Inquiry has now 8 resumed, please be seated. 9 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Ms. 10 Jones...? 11 MS. KAREN JONES: Mr. Commissioner. 12 13 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS. KAREN JONES: 14 Q: Good afternoon, Mr. Mercredi. 15 A: Good afternoon. 16 Q: My name is Karen Jones, I'm one of 17 the lawyers who represents the Ontario Provincial Police 18 Association. I wanted to start off, Mr. Mercredi, with 19 following up with some of the questions that Mr. Worme 20 asked you yesterday about your role as National Chief -- 21 A: Yes. 22 Q: -- in the 1990's. And I don't have 23 the language exactly right, but, my understanding from 24 what you were saying yesterday was you were making an 25 analogy between the role of the National Chief in an
1591 empty shell, in that it wasn't -- that role wasn't filled 2 by you alone. But, you were there representing the 3 consensus of all the members of your group across Canada. 4 A: I wasn't referring to the role of the 5 National Chief, per se, I was referring to the nature of 6 the organization. 7 Q: Okay -- 8 A: And the way it's structured -- 9 Q: Yeah. 10 A: It doesn't have in his constitution 11 stated objective, it does not derive its mandate from any 12 incorporated legislation. It's a -- it's a constitution 13 that was enacted by the assembly itself, the Chiefs 14 sitting in assembly. 15 And it's written in such a way to make it 16 very clear that the mandate of the organization will be 17 direction, from time to time, by resolutions passed by 18 the Chiefs sitting in assembly. 19 Q: Okay. What I -- what I wanted to see 20 if we could get a bit of a better understanding about Mr. 21 Mercredi, was when you speak as the National Chief, I 22 take it that what you're doing is reflecting the views, 23 for the most part, or generally, of the consensus of the 24 people that you're working with with the Chiefs. 25 And I appreciate that's it's not possible
1601 all the time, because every situation isn't one that 2 either is consensus or there is time to find a consensus, 3 but for the most part -- 4 A: You reflect, you know, the sentiments 5 of the people you represent, you don't necessarily have 6 full agreement with everybody. 7 Q: Sure. 8 A: But you do represent your people and 9 like any Premier that speaks on the issues, they also 10 don't necessarily represent the views of the everyone, 11 right? The same applies to Indian leaders, they may not 12 have the support of all the people that they claim to 13 represent. 14 Q: Sure. And I take it when you were 15 National Chief, you would have been receiving information 16 on an ongoing basis, issues affecting native people 17 across Canada -- 18 A: Yes -- 19 Q: -- and I'm wondering if you could 20 help us understand a little bit about how you would get 21 that information, I take it that there would be -- 22 sometimes there would be information coming from local 23 areas through the Regional Chiefs to you? 24 A: Yeah, well, like the organization has 25 its own research and policy --
1611 Q: Staff -- 2 A: -- capacity, right? 3 Q: Yeah. 4 A: So there are people within the 5 organization that are policy analysts or program 6 analysts, and so they would be able to interpret what's 7 going on in relation with government policy and according 8 to that give me briefing -- briefings. And -- but with 9 respect to issues maybe out in the region, I would rely 10 more on the regional organizations and bodies to provide 11 me with the information. 12 And the Assembly of First Nations while 13 it's made up of Chiefs, is very well connected to all the 14 political bodies across the country that represent Indian 15 groups. And it's -- it would be equivalent to say a 16 local association of the Police Organization providing 17 information to what's happening in one (1) community, as 18 opposed to relying on the centre, you know, to provide 19 all the information. Well, it's the same with the 20 Assembly of First Nations. 21 Q: Okay. And I understand from what you 22 said that in the summer of 1995, I'm sure amongst many 23 other things there were two (2) ongoing issues. One (1) 24 was at Gustafson Lake and one (1) was at Ipperwash. 25 A: Yes.
1621 Q: And I take it that you would have got 2 information about both of those issues on an ongoing 3 basis? 4 A: When I was in Gustafson, I was pretty 5 much preoccupied there. 6 Q: Okay. 7 A: Like that was a very tense situation. 8 Q: Hmm hmm. 9 A: And you really had to pretty much 10 isolate yourself from the normal activities of your 11 office, which is essentially what I did. Like I was gone 12 for close to two (2) weeks, I think. 13 Q: Okay. 14 A: On that situation. 15 And in my absence I didn't really stay 16 abreast with any other issues that were emerging. 17 Q: During the two (2) weeks that you 18 were at Gustafson Lake. 19 A: Yeah, during that time. 20 Q: And I take it from what you've said 21 about coming back to Ottawa and being quite tired around 22 September -- early September, that that period when you 23 were in Gustafson Lake would have been late August, early 24 September? Is that right? About -- does that sound 25 about right?
1631 A: You know I wish I knew the exact time 2 frame to answer you correctly, but I -- I don't really 3 know. 4 Q: Okay. And I take it during the 5 summer of 1995 you would have been asked to comment by 6 the media on both Gustafson Lake and Ipperwash because of 7 your portfolio at the time? 8 A: When was that? 9 Q: In the summer of 1995. 10 A: In the summer? 11 Q: Yeah. 12 A: Okay. 13 Q: Okay. Mr. Mercredi, there's a 14 document that I'd like to hand up to you and for the 15 assistance of the Commission and Counsel, it's Document 16 Number 101169. 17 I understand, Mr. Commissioner that this 18 is pages 12 and 13. There's a bundle of documents at 19 that document number. And I have a copy for you, Mr. 20 Commissioner, and Mr. Mercredi, and Mr. Worme. 21 And I just wanted to give you a minute to 22 look at that, Mr. Mercredi. And what I'm going to ask 23 you some questions about is the 4th or the right-hand 24 column but I'll just give you a minute to read the 25 document first.
1641 (BRIEF PAUSE) 2 3 A: Go ahead. 4 Q: Okay. And this is a Globe and Mail 5 article dated August 1st, 1995. And it appears from the 6 article and we know from the evidence at this Inquiry, 7 Mr. Mercredi, that by this time, that is August 1st, 8 1995, that there had been a takeover by the occupiers of 9 the Base of the built-up area and that the Military had 10 left Camp Ipperwash. 11 And I take it from looking at the 4th 12 column starting at -- actually just to be fair I'll go 13 back a little bit to the 3rd column and we're looking at 14 the second from the bottom where it starts saying "Ovide 15 Mercredi." 16 A: Yes. 17 Q: I take it that as of that point in 18 time you had been involved with the Federal Government or 19 trying to make contact with Mr. Colinett (phonetic) of 20 the Federal Government around the issues of the transfer 21 of the land, environmental cleanup and compensation? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: And you also according to this 24 article it also speaks in that column about you being 25 worried about internal Aboriginal disputes becoming an
1651 excuse for governmental inaction. 2 A: Yes, I see that. 3 Q: Okay. Is -- is this -- when you read 4 this article, is that a fair representation of your views 5 at the time ,and what you would've told this reporter? 6 A: It's still my view that if there's a 7 dispute, an internal dispute 8 Q: Hmm hmm. 9 A: -- involving parties over something 10 that they're claiming as their exclusive privy, whatever 11 it may be, that the governments ought not to use it as an 12 excuse for not dealing with -- with that question -- with 13 that -- with that issue. 14 Because in the past that has been -- when 15 it comes to negotiating, for example, comprehensive 16 claims in British Columbia, when it comes to overlapping 17 issues, the Federal Government has, in the past, taken 18 the position that -- wrongly -- that those parties have 19 to resolve that dispute before progress can be made at 20 the table, see, because if that was the case, it -- it 21 may take a while before progress is made. 22 Q: Sure. If we then go on to the next 23 column, and I'm looking at the third paragraph down, 24 there's a reference there where it says: 25 "But I think it's quite obvious to me
1661 that when you look at all the facts, 2 the government has to deal with Chief 3 Tom Bressette and his people, the 4 Kettle and Stony Point Band." 5 A: Yes. 6 Q: Was that your view at the time and 7 that was the body that the government should be dealing 8 with? 9 A: That's his people. The -- the 10 government has to deal with Tom Bressette and his 11 people. 12 Q: Okay. 13 A: Now -- now I understand I don't know 14 all the information, who these people are. Like, I don't 15 know all the background at this point. 16 Q: Sure. 17 A: So, I'm not aware of the extent of 18 the division, nor am I aware of the nature of that 19 division, I'm -- I'm just aware that there is one. But I 20 do know they still have to deal with Tom Bressette, 21 because he's obviously one (1) of the -- one (1) of the 22 parties to the land -- to the land issue and they cannot 23 not deal with it. They still have to deal with it. 24 Q: Right. It then goes on at the next 25 paragraph to say that Mr. Mercredi said that, Since the
1671 Stoney Pointers have made their point by forcing the 2 Military to leave they, too, should withdraw from the 3 site until the outstanding issues are settled. 4 And I wanted to ask you if that 5 represented your view at the time. 6 A: Well, that's not a quotation, that's 7 -- that's a statement by the reporter. I mean, there's 8 no quote attributed to me there and it's very -- I can't 9 -- I have no recollection of all the details of these 10 discussions that have been reported, so it's difficult 11 for me to verify or refute them. 12 But -- but as a matter of policy, though, 13 it would be -- it would have been my -- my approach on 14 these issues for -- for the government to deal with the 15 party affected, like, in this case, the Chief and council 16 for sure. And as I said, I'm not aware of the -- at that 17 point -- exactly what the details are about the dispute 18 and the division. 19 So -- and that the -- you know, forcing 20 the Military to leave, I remember reading about that in 21 the -- in the -- in the paper at the time and -- but I 22 think they left on their own. I don't think they were 23 forced to leave. 24 Q: Do you -- do you know the details of 25 how the Military left the Base, Mr. Mercredi?
1681 A: No, I don't know the details. 2 Q: Okay. Could it have been that in 3 August of 1995, much closer to the events, that you may 4 well have had more information about that? 5 A: I'm sorry, I don't understand what 6 you said. 7 Q: I said, one (1) of the things -- I 8 mean, one (1) of the things that's very difficult at this 9 Inquiry is the fact that it's taking place ten (10) 10 years, about, after the events. And one (1) of the 11 things, I think, that's often difficult is people at or 12 about the time may have had some information fresher in 13 their minds. 14 A: Yes. 15 Q: And now it's hard to think back about 16 what you knew or what you didn't know or what was 17 happening and the question I'm asking is: You know, does 18 it make some sense to you that if -- if you made 19 statements like that or that was your view in or around 20 August 1995, you might have had more information 21 available to you, then, at the time about the 22 circumstances. 23 A: Like I said earlier, when the facts 24 are presented and the truth is known, then you have to 25 alter your -- your stand on these issues, right, so I
1691 mean, this is what I knew at the time. 2 Q: Okay. Mr. Commissioner, I wonder if 3 we could make this the next exhibit, please? 4 THE REGISTRAR: P-310, Your Honour. 5 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: P-310. 6 7 --- EXHIBIT NO. P-310: Document Number 1011697 8 August 01/95, Toronto Globe 9 and Mail "Ottawa Defends 10 Abandoning Base to Aboriginal 11 Occupiers" 12 13 CONTINUED BY MS. KAREN JONES: 14 Q: And you talked a little bit yesterday 15 to Mr. Worme about your relationship with the media. And 16 I think you mentioned Jack Aubry, as someone who had been 17 a longtime reporter for the Ottawa Citizen -- 18 A: Yes. 19 Q: -- who had been covering Native 20 issues for the Citizen for a long time? 21 A: Yes. 22 Q: I take it that you would have 23 followed his reporting on matters from time to time? 24 A: I seldom read the -- the media. 25 Q: Yeah.
1701 A: I'm -- I'm sorry to say this, but I 2 think that might be the practice of a lot of political 3 leaders -- 4 Q: Sure. 5 A: -- that they don't necessarily read 6 what the reporters are saying about them or what they're 7 relating about the events. I didn't make a practice of - 8 - of going back and -- and seeing what people did. Maybe 9 I should have, maybe I would have corrected a few more 10 reporters in the past, but I didn't do that. 11 So I -- I wouldn't have known how he 12 followed and how he reported on the -- 13 Q: Okay. Mr. Worme had referred you to 14 a -- an article called, "Mercredi fears Indian cause has 15 been hurt," and that's at Tab 7 -- 16 A: Hmm hmm. 17 Q: -- of your book, and he asked you a 18 few questions about that. 19 A: Hmm hmm. 20 Q: And when I looked at that article I 21 thought that there was another newspaper article that may 22 be of some assistance to you in sort of recalling what 23 was going on at that time. 24 And, Mr. Commissioner, I have -- I'm 25 referring to Inquiry Document Number 1001486, and I don't
1711 believe that a copy of that is in Mr. Mercredi's binder. 2 So I have a copy as well for him and for you. 3 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 4 THE WITNESS: Thank you. 5 6 CONTINUED BY MS. KAREN JONES: 7 Q: And again, Mr. Mercredi, I'll just 8 give you a minute to have a look at that. 9 10 (BRIEF PAUSE) 11 12 A: Go ahead. 13 Q: Okay. Now, this is an article from 14 the Ottawa Citizen and it's dated September 7th, 1995. 15 A: Hmm hmm. 16 Q: You'll see in the second paragraph of 17 it, Mr. Mercredi, that it says -- refers to you telling a 18 news conference Wednesday in Ottawa about some 19 information about what it says: 20 "Small breakaway groups are going 21 against the wishes of their bands." 22 And I take it from that that on September 23 the 6th, which was the Wednesday, that you held a press 24 conference in Ottawa and were speaking both about 25 Gustafson Lake and Ipperwash Provincial Park?
1721 A: I think I might have been here on the 2 7th, I'm not sure. 3 Q: It would have been the 6th -- 4 A: Would have been the 6th. 5 Q: -- this is written a day after -- 6 A: Okay. 7 Q: -- I believe. 8 A: Yeah. 9 Q: Sorry, let me just be a little bit 10 more clear than that. September the 7th was a Thursday-- 11 A: Hmm hmm. 12 Q: -- and this refers to a news 13 conference that you gave on a Wednesday, and the only 14 Wednesday that would be pertinent because of the dates of 15 the occupation of the Park would have been September the 16 6th. So I'm going to suggest to you that probably 17 they're referring to September the 6th -- 18 A: Hmm hmm. 19 Q: -- for the date of your news 20 conference. In any event, do you recall giving a news 21 conference in Ottawa about these two (2) issues? 22 A: It's just such a long time ago, I 23 don't -- I had many news conference in my time, so, I 24 mean, it's possible. 25 Q: Okay.
1731 A: Okay. So I won't say I didn't do it. 2 Q: Okay. I take you'd agree it's a 3 little doubtful that Mr. Aubry would have made up your 4 giving a news conference on a Wednesday? 5 A: I wouldn't agree with that because -- 6 Q: No? 7 A: -- I learnt very soon in dealing with 8 the media that you better protect yourself because 9 they'll take your words out of context. 10 Q: Sure. 11 A: And I -- I don't want to name names 12 but if -- if I have to, I will. But one (1) of the first 13 report -- stories that was written about me had to do 14 with First Nations relationships with Quebec. And I was 15 asked by a reporter, would I agree to use the military 16 against the people in Quebec if they wanted to separate 17 from the country. 18 And my response was, Absolutely not. But 19 on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen was the headline 20 saying that Chief Mercredi Endorses Violence or the use 21 of force in the event of separation; something to that 22 effect. 23 And when I called for the retraction from 24 the reporter, he stood by his story. And we had to 25 produce the tape that refuted him. It was fortunate for
1741 me is that my communications officer was alert -- 2 Q: Hmm hmm. 3 A: -- and was with me at that time and 4 recorded the entire interview. Because it took place 5 outside in one (1) of the Algonquin communities in 6 Quebec. So since then, I want you to know this, that 7 even when they attribute quotes to you it doesn't mean 8 the quotes have been made. 9 And it's not to tarnish all the media. 10 But -- so for me, I have always been very careful about 11 what statements I make because I have no control how 12 they're going to be used by -- by the reporters, right, 13 or the -- or how they're going to be printed. 14 So in the end the -- the Ottawa Citizen 15 had to make a public apology to me for printing that 16 story in such a prominent fashion. And the editorial 17 board apologized to me personally and -- and offered me a 18 full interview, two (2) pages in the Ottawa Citizen on 19 the issues that we we're dealing with as First Nations 20 people. 21 Yes, I learned very early -- 22 Q: Hmm hmm. 23 A: -- to be very careful about what I 24 said, right? Because -- 25 Q: I -- I don't -- I understand all
1751 that, Mr. Mercredi. I guess, my question was, and again 2 if you turn back -- if you look at the document I just 3 put before you, when you look at the document at Tab 7, 4 it looks like on September the 7th there were at least 5 two (2) different papers that reported on what you had 6 said about Gustafson Lake and -- 7 A: I'm not denying what I said about 8 Gustafson. I already -- 9 Q: I'm sorry. 10 A: -- verified that. 11 Q: Yeah, yeah. And in -- 12 A: I mean I made that very clear -- 13 Q: Sure. 14 A: -- that the perception then of myself 15 and others was that that kind of a standoff couldn't be 16 supported. 17 Q: Both -- both the article, that's at 18 Tab 7 of your document which is a Canada Press reporter 19 and the document I've just handed to you, look like they 20 indicate that on -- you had given some views or some 21 thoughts about both Ipperwash Provincial Park and 22 Gustafson Lake. Although it looks like you spent much 23 more time talking about Gustafson Lake. 24 A: It may be that the reporter included 25 that.
1761 Q: Hmm hmm. 2 A: And I may have made all these 3 references that I made here to Gustafson. 4 Q: Pardon me? 5 A: That the references that I made here 6 were to Gustafson. 7 Q: Okay. So if we look at the document 8 that I handed to you, the one from the Ottawa Citizen. 9 The first paragraph of it says that: 10 "'The credibility of the Indian 11 movement in Canada is being damaged by 12 the militant dissidents at Gustafson 13 Lake, BC and Ipperwash Provincial 14 Park,' says National Chief." 15 Do you -- is that a statement that you 16 made or a statement that you could have made or a 17 statement that you never made? 18 A: I don't recall making this statement. 19 Q: Okay. 20 A: But I'll say this much. If I did 21 then it was the wrong statement to make in relation to 22 Ipperwash. But clearly in respect to Gustafson, I would 23 stand by that statement. 24 Q: Okay. 25 A: And I still stand by that statement.
1771 Q: Okay. If we go down to the second 2 paragraph and again this is the Ottawa Citizen article 3 that I'm referring to. You'll see that what it says is: 4 "The leader of the Assembly of First 5 Nations, which represents about five 6 hundred thousand (500,000) Indians, 7 told a news conference Wednesday in 8 Ottawa, that the small breakaway groups 9 are going against the wishes of their 10 Band. 11 He said, according to the local 12 leadership, many of the people with the 13 Ipperwash group are strangers including 14 some Americans to the community." 15 Is that something that you recall saying, 16 or you could have said? 17 A: I didn't see that, can you provide me 18 with a copy of that, please, I don't have that. 19 Q: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought I handed up 20 to you the Ottawa Citizen article. 21 A: Is it the same article? 22 Q: Yeah, and if you look at the second 23 paragraph on the left in the first column? 24 25 (BRIEF PAUSE)
1781 A: In the second column? 2 Q: In the first column on the left-hand 3 side in the second paragraph and then the paragraph 4 starts off with, "The Leader of the Assembly of First 5 Nations." 6 A: Yeah, that's what Zach Robery 7 (phonetic) wrote. It's not a quotation. 8 Q: No, no, Mr. -- Mr. Mercredi, I'm 9 sorry if I'm -- my question's confusing. 10 A: Yeah. 11 Q: I'm not saying it is a direct 12 quotation. What I'm asking you is, is that something 13 that you recall saying or something that you could have 14 said? 15 A: I would have said about Ipperwash, 16 yes. 17 Q: Yeah? Okay. 18 A: I don't recall. The point I'm making 19 is that I don't recall doing that in relation to -- to 20 Ipperwash. I would have said it in relation to 21 Gustafson. 22 Q: Okay. Is it possible that you were 23 talking about Ipperwash Park at that press conference? 24 A: As I say, I don't recall the 25 conversation.
1791 Q: Okay. 2 A: Like, I don't recall saying any of 3 these things, but the point I want you to -- to 4 appreciate is this, if I did, then it was wrong. 5 Q: Okay. 6 A: And I would retract it if -- if, in 7 fact, I said that statement. 8 Q: Okay. 9 A: It would have been the wrong thing to 10 say. 11 Q: Okay. 12 A: Okay. 13 Q: That's -- that's fair enough, Mr. 14 Mercredi. One (1) of the things that's really helpful 15 for us is that we not only have the reports, but we have 16 you here and we can hear your views on it and what your 17 views are today. 18 I wonder, Mr. Commissioner, if we could 19 have this Ottawa Citizen article made the next exhibit? 20 THE REGISTRAR: P-311, Your Honour. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: P-311. 22 23 --- EXHIBIT NO. P-311: Document Number 1001486 24 September 07/95 Ottawa 25 Citizens article "Militants
1801 Hurt Aboriginals Across 2 Canada, Mercredi Warns" 3 4 MS. KAREN JONES: And, Mr. Commissioner, 5 I may have missed it, but I don't believe that Mr. Worme 6 had the article at Tab 7 of your brief, that's Document 7 900567, the one entitled, "Mercredi Fears Indian Cause 8 Has Been Hurt." I don't think that was made an exhibit. 9 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Mr. Worme 10 has said he didn't make it an exhibit. 11 MS. KAREN JONES: Yeah. 12 THE REGISTRAR: It is not an exhibit. 13 14 (BRIEF PAUSE) 15 16 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Okay. 17 Should we make that an exhibit now? 18 MS. KAREN JONES: Please, Mr. 19 Commissioner. 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: What number 21 would that one be? 22 THE REGISTRAR: P-312. 23 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: 312. 24 25 --- EXHIBIT NO. P-312: Document Number 9000567
1811 September 07/95 London Free 2 Press Article "Mercredi Fears 3 Indian Cause Has Been Hurt" 4 5 CONTINUED BY MS. KAREN JONES: 6 Q: Mr. Mercredi, the last area I wanted 7 to ask you about was, you made a -- a statement this 8 morning that Councillor George tried to intervene and he 9 was beaten for it, and I wanted to ask you a few 10 questions about that. 11 And first of all, by Councillor George, 12 I'm assuming you're meaning -- you're meaning Mr. Cecil 13 Bernard George? 14 A: Yes. 15 Q: Okay. 16 A: I think he has a nickname -- 17 Q: I'm sorry. 18 A: -- Slippery George or something like 19 that. 20 Q: Yeah, yeah. And first of all, with 21 your statement that he tried to intervene, I wanted to 22 ask you, what do you know about -- 23 A: What I was told -- what I was told by 24 Chief Tom Bressette. 25 Q: Okay. And was that at or about the
1821 time of when you were at the -- 2 A: It was about the time when I made 3 that call to the centre, that's when -- 4 Q: Okay. 5 A: -- he informed me that his councillor 6 had gone there with the intent of intervening. 7 Q: Okay. So, I take it that you don't 8 know exactly what Mr. Cecil Bernard George did or how he 9 did it or when he did it? 10 A: No, I don't really know, no. 11 Q: Okay. And in terms of your comment 12 that he was beaten for it, I take it that also represents 13 your understanding from Chief Bressette's comments to you 14 or in or around the time? 15 A: Yeah, wasn't he beaten for that? 16 Q: One (1) of -- one (1) of the -- 17 A: Didn't he get a beating for going 18 there? 19 Q: One (1) of the -- 20 A: Didn't the -- didn't the -- wasn't 21 there reports about him being beaten by the police? 22 Q: One (1) of the -- 23 A: Wasn't he injured? Those are the 24 facts I'm relying on when I say he was beaten. 25 Q: Okay. One (1) of the things that's
1831 happened at this Inquiry, Mr. Mercredi, is that Mr. Cecil 2 Bernard George has given evidence himself about what he 3 did and when he did it. 4 And one (1) of the things that was clear 5 from his evidence was that he was never touched by the 6 police until he went at a policeman with a metal pole and 7 hit the policeman with the metal pole. 8 A: He was still beaten. I'm not -- I'm 9 not talking about how it happened. I just -- I'm -- 10 Q: You're not talking -- 11 A: -- I'm reporting the fact that he was 12 beaten. 13 Q: Okay. 14 A: Yeah. You're trying to justify a 15 beating. I'm -- I'm just reporting the fact that he was 16 beaten. 17 Q: I'm -- I'm actually asking you about 18 your statement and what it was based on. 19 A: He was beaten; that's my -- 20 Q: And -- 21 A: -- that's my -- I stand by the fact, 22 the fact is that he was beaten. How it happened, I -- I 23 don't know the details. 24 Q: Okay. And -- and what information do 25 you have about when you say he was beaten?
1841 A: The information that I gathered after 2 the event. 3 Q: Okay. And what information did you 4 have? 5 A: Well, talking to Tom Bressette and 6 the people -- 7 Q: Okay. 8 A: -- as to what happened. You know, 9 conversations with Sam and his family and others who were 10 directly involved in the conflict; that's how I -- I 11 learnt that information. 12 Q: Okay. 13 A: Yeah, are you saying that he wasn't 14 beaten; is that your point? 15 Q: I was asking about your statement and 16 what it was based on. 17 A: But you surprise me, you see -- I 18 mean, you confuse me. Like, either he was beaten or he 19 wasn't. Now, was he beaten or not? I don't know. You - 20 - the impression you're giving me is that he wasn't. Was 21 he beaten? Was I wrong in saying that? 22 Q: I think that one (1) of the things 23 that is in issue for the Commission -- 24 A: Yes. Well, you -- 25 Q: -- is to make a determination about--
1851 A: I won't go any farther on it. Thank 2 you. 3 Q: Okay. 4 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: There's lots 5 of evidence of a physical altercation. 6 MS. KAREN JONES: There is a lot of 7 evidence of a physical altercation. There's no doubt 8 about that. 9 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 10 I think Mr. Downard is next. 11 12 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. PETER DOWNARD: 13 Q: Sir, my name is Peter Downard and I 14 appear for the former Ontario Premier, Mike Harris. 15 A: Okay. 16 Q: And I just wanted to ask you one (1) 17 question about the article that -- by Mr. Aubry in the 18 Ottawa Citizen that Ms. Jones was reviewing with you, 19 which I understand is Exhibit 311. 20 Now, if I could just -- and we -- we've 21 heard from you about what -- what you say about the 22 portrayal of this press conference in the media and your 23 concerns in that regard and so on; the -- the points 24 generally are well taken. 25 But in the -- in the second paragraph,
1861 just turning to the sentence which is the last sentence 2 of the second paragraph reading, quote: 3 "He said according to the local 4 leadership, many of the people with the 5 Ipperwash group are strangers, 6 including some Americans, to the 7 community." 8 Unquote. Is it possible that prior to 9 September 7th you had communication with Chief Tom 10 Bressette and that he had conveyed that information to 11 you about the situation at Ipperwash? 12 A: Well, all the information -- all the 13 information that I would have known about the incident 14 would have been based on his representations, yes. 15 Q: And do you recall whether you made 16 this statement at -- at this media conference, sir? 17 A: As I said earlier, I don't recall 18 doing that. 19 Q: Thank you very much, sir. Those are 20 all my questions. 21 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 22 very much. 23 Ms. Cohen-Nehemia...? 24 MS. DANYA COHEN-NEHEMIA: My question was 25 already asked, I have no further questions.
1871 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 2 I think that's it then, right? Do you 3 have any re-examination? No, I think that's it. Oh, I'm 4 sorry, you still have a right to examine. 5 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: Thank you, Mr. 6 Commissioner. I may have the right but I'm going to 7 exercise it very sparingly. 8 9 RE-CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. ANDREW ORKIN: 10 Q: Mr. Mercredi, with respect to the 11 call that you received around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. on the 12 morning after the shooting, during the days before the 13 shooting, and we've heard evidence there was a police 14 build-up prior to the shooting at Ipperwash Park, would 15 you have taken a call from Inspector Coles or from any 16 other senior OPP officer with respect to assisting the 17 Ontario Provincial Police in avoiding the use of force or 18 any violence or loss of life at Ipperwash Park? 19 A: You mean prior to that event? 20 Q: Prior to the shooting, would you have 21 accepted a call -- 22 A: I would have accepted -- 23 Q: -- and -- 24 A: -- that -- that was the purpose of 25 the call, wasn't it? I mean, that's why I called, to try
1881 to be helpful and like, I -- I had learned a lot by then 2 from two (2) previous incidents. 3 And I was aware of such a simple thing 4 called goodwill that can be found. It may not be always 5 present, it may not be at the surface immediately, but it 6 can be found and I was willing to try. 7 Q: And had you received a call in the 8 days prior to the shooting during a police buildup, you 9 would have taken that call? 10 A: I would have taken that call. 11 Q: Thank you. 12 Thank you, Mr. Commissioner. 13 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you, 14 Mr. Orkin. 15 Mr. Worme -- 16 MR. ANDREW ORKIN: Thank you from our 17 party for your testimony. 18 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Do you have 19 any re-examination? 20 MR. DONALD WORME: I do not have any re- 21 examination, Mr. Commissioner, but would take this 22 opportunity to thank Mr. Mercredi for his attendance and 23 for his testimony. 24 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 25 very much for your testimony and for your experience.
1891 Thank you very much. 2 THE WITNESS: Thank you. 3 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: You're 4 finished now and able to leave. 5 THE WITNESS: Miijwetch, "Thank you" in 6 Ojibway. 7 8 (WITNESS STANDS DOWN) 9 10 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you. 11 Okay, we're now up to our next witness. 12 13 (BRIEF PAUSE) 14 15 MR. DERRY MILLAR: The Commission calls 16 Mr. Benjamin Wayne Pouget, please. 17 MR. DERRY MILLAR: And for the benefit of 18 everyone, what we're going to do is follow our usual 19 practice and finish at 3:30 today. 20 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Mr. Millar 21 has twisted my arm. 22 23 (BRIEF PAUSE) 24 25 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Mr.
1901 Pouget. I see you have the eagle feather for the eagle 2 feather oath. Please state your name in full for us 3 please. 4 MR. BENJAMIN POUGET: Benjamin Wayne 5 Pouget. 6 THE REGISTRAR: And speak into the mike 7 please. 8 MR. BENJAMIN POUGET: Benjamin Wayne 9 Pouget. 10 THE REGISTRAR: You can use that hand 11 mike there. 12 MR. DERRY MILLAR: There's a hand mike 13 there. 14 MR. BENJAMIN POUGET: Benjamin Wayne 15 Puget. 16 17 BENJAMIN WAYNE POUGET, Sworn: 18 19 EXAMINATION-IN-CHIEF BY MR. DERRY MILLAR: 20 Q: Mr. Pouget, I understand that you 21 were born on April 5, 1961? 22 A: Yes, I was. 23 Q: And that you're a member of the 24 Sarnia First Nation? 25 A: Yes, I am.
1911 Q: And that your mother is Margaret 2 Lorraine George? 3 A: Yes, at her birth. 4 Q: Pardon me? 5 A: At her birth. 6 Q: At her birth. And your father was 7 Mr. Walter Williams who died in 1968? 8 A: He was murdered in '67. 9 Q: In '67? 10 A: Yes. 11 Q: And I understand that the -- after 12 you were born you lived with your family at the Sarnia 13 First Nation? 14 A: Yes, I did. 15 Q: And then after the death of your 16 father you lived in Detroit, in Harrow, Ontario, 17 Amesburg, Ontario, Windsor, Detroit and then back in 18 Windsor again? 19 A: Yes. 20 Q: And that your mother remarried in 21 1969? 22 A: Yes, that's how -- that's how I have 23 the Pouget name now. 24 Q: And your -- your mother's husband was 25 Mr. Robert Pouget?
1921 A: Yes, Robert Pouget. 2 Q: And he adopted you and your brother 3 and sister? 4 A: Yes. 5 Q: And that is how, as you say, you have 6 the Pouget name? 7 A: Yes. 8 Q: And I understand as well that you 9 have some other siblings, Sandy, who is your sister, your 10 older sister? 11 A: Yes, my mom's firstborn. 12 Q: And then some -- a half brother and a 13 half sister that -- 14 A: Two (2) half brothers. 15 Q: Two (2) half brothers -- 16 A: Yes. 17 Q: Mr. Ben -- 18 A: No. Terry Bressette (phonetic) and 19 Derek Bressette (phonetic). 20 Q: Terry and Derek Bressette? 21 A: Yes. 22 Q: And your sister -- half-sister Julie? 23 A: No, that's my full sister. 24 Q: Okay. 25 A: It was me, Sean (phonetic) and Julie.
1931 Q: Okay. 2 A: And then Derek and Terry, and Sandy 3 was first. 4 Q: And the -- I understand as well that 5 you completed grade 10 at Kennedy Collegiate in Windsor? 6 A: Yes. 7 Q: And then, in 1979 or '80, 1978 or 8 '79, you joined the Canadian Army? 9 A: Yes. 10 Q: And you were in the Army for 11 approximately a year and a half? 12 A: That or about. 13 Q: About that? 14 A: I didn't -- I didn't add it up. 15 Q: And -- 16 A: A short time. 17 Q: And then, after you left the Army, 18 you, for a period of approximately four (4) years, 19 travelled to Northern Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, 20 and you've worked in the oil industry? 21 A: Yes, I did. 22 Q: And then in 1984 you returned to 23 Ontario? 24 A: Yes. 25 Q: And at that point in time you made a
1941 decision to not smoke or drink or take drugs after that 2 time? 3 A: Yeah, the time was up. 4 Q: And you then, after -- in the mid 5 '80's you began working for the International Bakery 6 Company in Windsor and Stiemar Bread in Windsor; is that 7 correct? 8 A: Yes. I also worked for an amusement 9 park, Bobble Island (phonetic), I was security there. 10 Q: In security? 11 A: In that time also. 12 Q: And you worked for the bakeries until 13 you were laid off in the fall of 1993? 14 A: Yes. 15 Q: And although we'll come back to this, 16 in the early part of -- on January 2nd, 1994, you had an 17 injury and broke both your legs and you were off work 18 until June 1996? 19 A: Yes. 20 Q: And since June of 1996 you -- or 21 since 1997 you've worked in casino security -- 22 A: No. I was a -- a dealer in '97 -- 23 Q: Yes. 24 A: -- to '98, and -- at Soaring Eagle 25 Casino in Michigan, and I -- I was a table game
1951 supervisor from 1999 until the present at MGM Grand 2 Casino in Detroit. 3 Q: Oh, so you're a table -- could you 4 explain that again, you're a supervisor of... 5 A: I watch the casino's money. 6 Q: Okay. Thank you. And now, if I 7 could step back in time, your grandmother was Eva George 8 (phonetic)? 9 A: Yes. 10 Q: And your grandmother's brother was 11 Mr. Huron George (phonetic)? 12 A: Yes. 13 Q: And your grandmother and her family 14 lived at Stoney Point? 15 A: Yes. 16 Q: And do you know where at the former 17 Army Camp your -- 18 A: My grandmother, when she explained it 19 to me, she says she lived in the bayou's, it's which -- 20 what we call now is the Inland Lakes. 21 Q: And that -- 22 A: So back there somewhere, I don't know 23 where it is exactly. 24 Q: Back in the northeast portion of the 25 land, the Stoney Point lands?
1961 A: Yes. 2 Q: And when you were growing up did you 3 learn about Stoney Point from your mother -- grandmother? 4 A: I learned it from my grandmother. 5 Q: And can you tell us what your 6 grandmother told you about the land at Stoney Point? 7 A: Well, it came out in 1973 and my 8 grandmother and grandfather were explaining Wounded Knee, 9 and I was asking questions about Wounded Knee. So I was 10 asking my grandfather about Wounded Knee and he told me 11 it was sacred land. 12 And my -- then my grandmother started 13 telling me about Stoney Point and how it was sacred land. 14 So I knew from 1973 that the land was sacred. 15 Q: And your grandfather was telling you 16 about Wounded Knee; I understand that your grandfather 17 came from South Dakota? 18 A: Yes. He's from the Rosebud Indian 19 Reservation in South Dakota. 20 Q: And he told you about the Black Hills 21 and -- 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: -- their meaning to his people? 24 A: Yes. 25 Q: And, at the same time then, your
1971 grandmother told you about Stoney Point? 2 A: Stoney Point, yes. 3 Q: And did your mother talk to you about 4 Stoney Point? 5 A: Well, she only told me what my -- my 6 grandmother, like, already had told me. And, really they 7 didn't talk about it too much, because the Army had the - 8 - the Base, so I didn't really start finding out about 9 it. I started finding about it with my Uncle Ed, whose 10 passed away now, but he -- he loved Stoney Point and he 11 told me about Stoney Point. 12 Q: And your Uncle Ed was Ed George? 13 A: Yes. 14 Q: And he lived at Kettle Point? 15 A: Yes. 16 Q: And I understand, as a child growing 17 up, you would spend your summers at the Sarnia Reserve 18 and at Kettle Point? 19 A: Yes. 20 Q: And I understand you would spend 21 normally a month at the Sarnia First Nation? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: And that was the month of July? 24 A: Yes. 25 Q: And then the month of August you
1981 would spend at Kettle Point? 2 A: Yes. 3 Q: And your cousins were Guy George and 4 John George, who became very good, close friends of 5 yours? 6 A: Yes. Matt Bressette and -- and 7 Maurice Bressette. 8 Q: And Matt Bressette and Maurice 9 Bressette are brothers of Miles Bressette? 10 A: Yes. 11 Q: And -- 12 A: And Mike Cloud and Tim Thomas. We 13 all hung around together. 14 Q: And Guy George and John George are 15 brothers to Carl Tolsma? 16 A: Carl George. 17 Q: Carl George? 18 A: Yes. 19 Q: Yes. And as a child growing up at 20 and spending time at Kettle Point, did you go into Stoney 21 Point -- the Stoney Point lands? 22 A: The Army Base? 23 Q: Yeah. 24 A: Yeah, we used to go on the Army Base. 25 Q: And how often would you go in the
1991 Army Base? 2 A: Any time we could. 3 Q: And where did you go, Mr. Pouget? 4 A: Everywhere. 5 Q: Pardon me? 6 A: Everywhere, they couldn't catch us. 7 Q: And what did you do when you went 8 there? 9 A: Actually, we were just looking for 10 beer and stuff, we weren't really doing anything, just 11 looking around. 12 Q: And did you spend -- do most of that 13 when you were a teenager; is that fair to say? 14 A: Teens -- yeah, we were teenagers. 15 Q: And I understand that the -- in 1990 16 you travelled to Oka? 17 A: Yes. 18 Q: And what did you -- why did you 19 travel to Oka and what did you do when you arrived in 20 Oka? 21 A: Well, I was there just in case they 22 killed an Indian; that's all I was there for. They 23 didn't, so I left. 24 Q: And I take it that you went there to 25 offer your support?
2001 A: Yes. 2 Q: And how long did you spend at Oka? 3 A: Maybe a week. 4 Q: And do you recall when, over the 5 course of the events that took place in Oka? 6 A: It would have been right after the 7 confrontation with the Military. 8 Q: And the -- can you tell us when you 9 first became active with respect to the Army Camp lands? 10 A: I was in Kettle Point May 6th, 1993 11 when they first went in because my cousin John came over 12 to my aunt's in Kettle Point and said, They just went in 13 the Army Base, they just took the Army Base. And I 14 didn't -- I didn't go that day. 15 I was just -- I was in the area and my 16 cousin Guy, he went down and they -- they ended up 17 walking to Ottawa in September and -- and I got really 18 involved with my cousin Guy and he was involved and my 19 cousin John -- John George was -- was involved. 20 Q: And did you visit the Army Camp over 21 the summer 1993? 22 A: Yes, I did. 23 Q: And in the fall of 1993? 24 A: Yes, I did. 25 Q: And did you establish a camp there
2011 and stay overnight or simply visit? 2 A: No, I was just visiting. 3 Q: Okay. And you didn't, as I 4 understand it, participate in the march to Ottawa in 5 1993? 6 A: No, I did not, I was watching the 7 World Series. 8 Q: And at that time -- it was around 9 that time that you were laid off from your job at the 10 International -- 11 A: From the -- yes. 12 Q: And at that time, when you were laid 13 off, you were a salesman with the company? 14 A: Yes. 15 Q: And -- and on January 2nd, 1994, you 16 had an accident whereby you broke both your legs; is that 17 correct? 18 A: Yes, I did. 19 Q: And that was when you fell off the 20 roof of your -- 21 A: Uncle Ed. 22 Q: -- Uncle Ed's house fixing an aerial? 23 A: So I could watch a football game. 24 Q: And as a result of that injury, you 25 were in hospital until the end of April?
2021 A: Yes, I was, one (1) day shy of four 2 (4) months. 3 Q: And as I understand it, as a result 4 of the injury you were -- had limited mobility for a 5 number of years? 6 A: Well, at the time in 1995 I was still 7 walking with two (2) canes. Had a big knee brace on my 8 knee and wearing an ankle brace on my left ankle, I 9 wasn't walking too good. 10 Q: And in 1995 -- in the summer of 1994, 11 did you go into the Army Camp? 12 A: No. I was doing just -- like I had 13 to go therapy everyday. 14 Q: Yes. 15 A: And in the spring of '94 my cousin 16 Guy George was murdered and I was kind of upset about 17 that but I couldn't do anything and I knew that his 18 passion was Stoney Point. And it wasn't until in 19 September of '95 when I took his spot in Stoney Point. 20 Q: And when you say you took his spot at 21 Stoney Point, can you tell us what you mean by that, Mr. 22 Pouget? 23 A: Well, my friend Judas which known me 24 for quite some time or Roderick George known me since we 25 used to work on the boats in Sarnia, he asked me how long
2031 I was going to stay. I said until it's over. He said, 2 Good. So I'm still here. 3 Q: And the -- and I understand you 4 commute to your -- to Detroit for your -- you're 5 presently working in Detroit at the -- 6 A: Every day. Hour and a half every 7 day. 8 Q: -- at the casino -- is in Detroit? 9 A: Yes. 10 Q: And in the summer of 1995 I 11 understand that you were in Toronto; is that correct? 12 A: Yes. Staying at my brother's, Derek 13 Bressette. 14 Q: Pardon me, Derek Bressette? 15 A: Yes. 16 Q: And what were you doing in Toronto. 17 A: I was attending, I think it was an 18 eight (8) week or ten (10) week course or twelve (12) 19 week course at Spirit of the People. 20 Q: And can you tell us what Spirit of 21 the People is? 22 A: Spirit of the People is an 23 organization, a Native organization that deals with 24 prisoners coming right from prison to a halfway house. 25 And how to make the adjustments to prison life to how we
2041 -- how we know life. 2 Q: And the purpose of the course was 3 what; so that you could become involved in assisting 4 people coming out of prison? 5 A: Yes. 6 Q: And the -- did you complete the 7 course? 8 A: Yes, I did. 9 Q: And when in the summer of 1995 did 10 the course end; approximately? 11 A: It would have ended in August some 12 time. 13 Q: And -- 14 A: August 18th. 15 Q: And in the latter part of August I 16 understand that you went to Vancouver? 17 A: Yes, I did. 18 Q: And you went to Vancouver to pick up 19 a car and drive it back? 20 A: To Toronto, yes. 21 Q: And you arrived back in Toronto on -- 22 what day did you arrive? 23 A: September 3rd, it was a Sunday. 24 Q: On a Sunday? And the -- you were 25 saying, I think, when you came back to Toronto on
2051 September 3rd, were you still staying with your brother 2 Derek? 3 A: Yes. I was. 4 Q: And can you tell us a little bit 5 about that -- and it's Derek Bressette, he's your half 6 brother? 7 A: Yes. 8 Q: And what was his involvement in 9 community organizations in Toronto? 10 A: My brother Derek, he worked for -- it 11 was called Petaman Lodge (phonetic). It was a -- it's 12 for people -- it's not a halfway house, it's for drug 13 addiction and it's for Native people and he was a 14 counsellor at Petaman Lodge. And throughout -- well 15 that's what he was doing then. 16 Q: And he was involved with the 17 Anishnaabek Health -- 18 A: Anishnaabek Health, the Indian 19 Centre, all the Native communities in Toronto. So he 20 would know anything that was going to happen, anytime, 21 anywhere in Canada or the United States. 22 Q: And when did you learn about the move 23 into the Provincial Park by the residents of -- 24 A: I would have learned on Monday when 25 the fax came through at the Spirit of the People.
2061 Q: Okay. And during the period in the 2 summer of 1995, when did you learn about the move from 3 the rifle ranges into the barracks area of the Army Camp? 4 A: I would have heard -- I would have 5 heard about it that day at Spirit of the People, by fax. 6 Q: In -- in -- on July 29th? 7 A: Yes. 8 Q: And you say you would have, do you 9 recall hearing about it that day? 10 A: Actually, I read the fax. 11 Q: Okay. And it was a fax from whom? 12 A: It was a fax -- I don't know who it 13 was from, I think it was from Kettle Point, or it might 14 have been another fax from another Native organization 15 faxing Spirit of the People what was going on. 16 Q: So that, is it fair to say that when 17 events took place in the wider community, that people 18 would advise other people of what was going on? 19 A: Yes. 20 Q: And did you travel to the -- the Army 21 Camp at Stoney Point after -- on -- after July 29th? 22 A: No, I did not. 23 Q: And when -- on July -- September 3rd, 24 when you learned about the -- or September 4th, excuse 25 me, you learned about the move into the Provincial Park
2071 what, if anything, did you do; did you go to the 2 Provincial Park on September 4th? 3 A: No, I did not. 4 Q: And on September 4th, you were -- 5 were you still using the two (2) canes to help you get 6 around? 7 A: Well, they were -- I was carrying the 8 canes and sometimes when I got tired I would use them 9 both. 10 Q: And when did you learn about the 11 confrontation with the Ontario Provincial Police and the 12 Occupiers at the Provincial Park? 13 A: I would have learned about that in 14 the middle of the night at my brother Derek's, he got a 15 phone call. 16 Q: And your brother Derek Bressette 17 received a phone call advising him of what? 18 A: Actually, he had a -- like, one (1) 19 of those phones with a fax on it. 20 Q: Yes? 21 A: So, it probably came through the fax 22 and I made arrangements to come to the Camp that day, on 23 the 7th. 24 Q: And what did you learn with -- from 25 the fax on the morning of September 7th?
2081 A: Well, what I read was that Natives 2 were shooting at police out of a car or a bus and I had 3 to find out, you know, and then I found out it wasn't 4 true. 5 Q: And when did you learn that Mr. 6 Dudley George had died? 7 A: It would have been -- I got there at 8 1:00, so it would have been in the morning some time. 9 Q: Okay. And did you know Dudley 10 George, prior to his death? 11 A: I met him in -- in Sarnia on Sarnia 12 Reserve because we live right next right to the Band 13 Office and I used to go over there when I was a kid, but 14 I don't -- I don't remember drinking with him, I may 15 have, because I used to hang around there. 16 Q: But -- and after you left Sarnia 17 Reserve and -- and Mr. Dudley George left Sarnia Reserve, 18 did you, as a teenager or as an adult, did you -- were 19 you friends with -- with Dudley George? 20 A: No, I was not. 21 Q: And when, on -- on September 7th, did 22 you travel to the Army Camp and the Provincial Park? 23 A: Yes, I did. 24 Q: And can you tell us, did you drive 25 yourself or with a group of people? Tell us what
2091 happened. 2 A: I drove myself and everybody was 3 trying to get into the Army Camp. I knew how to get 4 there through the back way and there was about ten (10) 5 cars and nobody could get in, because it was blocked off 6 by the police. But if you go way down and you drive up 7 the dirt road on Army Camp Road, then you can just drive 8 straight -- it's a straight run right in there and that's 9 what we did. 10 The police jumped up out of the ditches 11 and told us to stop and we just kind of gave them an 12 Indian high five (5) on the way by and kept on going. 13 Q: And this is a road off Army Camp 14 Road? 15 A: No, it is Army Camp Road, straight 16 run all the way right into the Army Base, right up to 17 Highway 21. It runs all the way to -- this road out 18 here, Forest. You can catch it straight down -- you can 19 catch Army Camp Road, it runs all the way in. 20 Q: And did -- so, you went in through 21 the main gate? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: Okay. And how long did you stay at 24 the Army Camp on September the 7th? 25 A: On the 7th I stayed approximately
2101 three (3) hours. 2 Q: And what did you do when you were 3 there? 4 A: I was inquiring about what happened. 5 Q: And you inquired of your -- of whom? 6 A: The first person I saw -- well, the 7 first person I saw was Terry Doxtator, who was at Oka in 8 1990; he's one (1) of the negotiators with Bob Antone and 9 Bruce Elijah. 10 Q: And -- 11 A: The second person I saw was Mike 12 Cloud, who informed me what happened. 13 Q: And Mike Cloud was your friend from - 14 - your childhood friend? 15 A: Yes. And he had no problem telling 16 me what happened, what -- what he saw. 17 Q: And Terry Doxtator, as I understand 18 it, was the director of the -- 19 A: Can-American Friendship Centre 20 (phonetic) in Windsor. 21 Q: In Windsor? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: And can you -- was he the director in 24 the mid '90's as well, do you know, Mr. Pouget? 25 A: I don't know if -- I think it was in
2111 -- more in the '80's, like late '80's. 2 Q: And can you tell us what the 3 Friendship Centre, Can-America Friendship Centre was? 4 A: Well, I sat on the board there and it 5 was -- it was an organization for inner-city, you know, 6 actually it was for everybody, kids, Black, White, it 7 didn't matter, anybody could be a member at the Can- 8 American Friendship Centre. And it was a food bank and 9 he was -- he was the director there. 10 Q: And so you -- did you visit the -- 11 the Park on the afternoon of -- on September 7th, when 12 you were there? 13 A: Yes; that's where I met Mike Cloud, 14 on the way down. 15 Q: And what did you do when you went 16 down to the Park? 17 A: I just talked to Mike and he told me 18 what happened, and then I was making arrangements to go 19 back to Toronto. 20 Q: And you went back to Toronto on 21 September 7th? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: And why did you go back to Toronto on 24 September 7th? 25 A: There was going to a rally, which I
2121 knew before I left, there was going to be a rally at 2 Queens Park. And we marched from Queens Park down Yonge 3 Street to the old RCMP building, right downtown Toronto. 4 Q: And so that -- and when was the -- 5 the rally at Queens Park? 6 A: It would have been in the evening. 7 It was starting to get dark and it was kind of misty, 8 rainy that night. 9 Q: And after the rally and the march on 10 the evening of September 7th, did you return to this 11 area? 12 A: Yes. My brother, Derek Bressette, 13 myself, Ted Harper (phonetic) and another gentleman, 14 which I don't know who he was but he jumped in because we 15 had an extra spot, and we came to Sarnia, to my aunt's, 16 and we stayed overnight. And then the next day we 17 returned to the Army Camp. 18 Q: To the Army Camp. And -- 19 A: That would have been on the 8th. 20 Q: On the 8th? 21 A: Yes. 22 Q: And Ted Harper was a relative, he's 23 your cousin? 24 A: Derek Bressette and his other half is 25 Luanna Harper (phonetic), and that's his sister.
2131 Q: Okay, I got you. And Mr. Harper 2 brought a video camera with him, as I understand it? 3 A: Yes. 4 Q: And when you arrived on September 5 8th, what did you do on that day? 6 A: On that day, once again, I seen -- 7 that's when I saw Judas again and I saw Mike Cloud again, 8 and then we went directly to the Park, which I met with 9 Layton Elijah and Buck Doxtator or Isaac Doxtator. 10 Q: Perhaps... 11 12 (BRIEF PAUSE) 13 14 Q: Perhaps before we close for the day-- 15 A: Thank you. 16 Q: -- I could just ask you some 17 questions, Mr. Pouget, and we'll come back and review 18 this again, but I've provided to you a document that's 19 three (3) pages and it's got, on the top of the page, 20 it's, "Things to be done." 21 They're pages from a -- from a diary? 22 A: Yes, what I have right in front of 23 me. 24 Q: And the diary that you have in front 25 of you was the diary you used in 1995?
2141 A: Yes. 2 Q: And the notes that you made on the 3 pages that we have, the ones that we photocopied, are -- 4 when did you make those notes? 5 A: As everything was going on, that or 6 about, within a day, half a day, hours or right then and 7 there. 8 Q: And why were you keeping the notes in 9 this date -- I guess it's a DayTimer? 10 A: Well, I was the only guy that 11 couldn't run, so I just started writing stuff down and 12 putting it places. 13 Q: And when I looked at your diary, the 14 -- the DayTimer, last night, I note that the days and the 15 months previous, you made notes, is it your habit to make 16 notes of things that you -- 17 A: Yes, I take -- I take -- how many 18 times I get pulled over by the police, how many times -- 19 I just write down stuff that -- just keep writing it down 20 just in case if I forget it. 21 Q: And that's your habit? 22 A: Yes. 23 Q: And then another piece of paper that 24 I've handed up to you is a five (5) -- a group of five 25 (5) pieces of paper that are drawings; do you see those?
2151 A: Yes. 2 Q: And those drawings are actually 3 photocopies from the book that's in front of you? 4 A: Yes. 5 Q: And the book -- the three (3) ring 6 binder that -- or the bound book, that loose book that 7 you have, when did you make these drawings? 8 A: I made these after -- it would have 9 been after -- well, it would have been -- I'd had a -- 10 had a -- a rough notebook that I kept everything in -- in 11 order and after October 15th I would have made -- I would 12 have made all of this in colour, but I still had rough 13 notes. 14 Q: Okay. And you made them from the 15 rough notes? 16 A: Yes. 17 Q: And there's one (1) last thing I want 18 to show you... 19 20 (BRIEF PAUSE) 21 22 Q: This is a -- for the benefit of my 23 Friends, these are the labels from two (2) videos that 24 we'll talk about on Monday, but the handwriting on this 25 sheet of paper, can you identify the handwriting?
2161 A: It's all my handwriting. 2 Q: And that handwriting was with respect 3 to videos taken when you were present back in September 4 of 1995? 5 A: Yes. 6 Q: Perhaps, it's 3:28, Commissioner, 7 it's probably a good point to stop. I wanted to just go 8 through some of these things. 9 Now, you have some other notes that we 10 haven't been able to find thus far; is that correct? 11 A: Yes, I have sixty-six (66) pages of a 12 -- a smaller -- about this size -- and the -- the rings 13 are at -- at the top and there's sixty-six (66) pages of 14 notes, which I handed over to Jeff House for Nicholas 15 Cotrelle's trial. 16 And at that time, just before I handed 17 them over, Colin Brown made copies of all sixty-six (66) 18 pages and then I gave my original to Jeff House, so I 19 haven't seen it since. 20 Q: So -- and I understand that Mr. 21 Scullion is trying to track those down for us? 22 MR. KEVIN SCULLION: It's true. 23 THE WITNESS: Well, I was reading my 24 notes and we're just finding out stuff that I forgot, 25 that's why I wrote it down.
2171 2 CONTINUED BY MR. DERRY MILLAR: 3 Q: Okay. Mr. Pouget, we're going to 4 stop now until Monday morning at 10:30 and you'll be able 5 to come back on Monday morning? 6 A: Yes, I will. 7 Q: Thank you very much. 8 A: You're welcome. 9 10 (WITNESS RETIRES) 11 12 COMMISSIONER SIDNEY LINDEN: Thank you 13 very much. We'll adjourn now until Monday morning at 14 10:30. 15 MR. DERRY MILLAR: Thank you, sir. 16 THE REGISTRAR: This Public Inquiry is 17 adjourned until Monday, April the 4th, at 10:30 a.m. 18 19 --- Upon adjourning at 3:31 p.m. 20 21 Certified Correct 22 23 24 ________________________ 25 Dustin Warnock