It’s reads more like the movie script of an old western.
Residents of a small town frustrated by a growing wave of criminal activity in their community, elect a new leader to restore law and order. Backed by the majority of the town’s council, he’s forced to bring in outside help to enforce the law – after all it’s more difficult for local law enforcement to investigate or arrest people they’ve known all their lives. However, he makes sure the new ‘sheriff’ and ‘deputies’ he chooses have similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the locals.
What happens next is predictable to any old movie buff. The law-and-order ‘mayor’ ruffles too many feathers and the house that he and his family call home is burned to the ground. An angry mob forces his new police force to barricade themselves in at the local jail and are only released after some tricky negotiations. That’s where my movie comparison ends. If this were truly a movie script, our hero would eventually chase the ‘bad guys’ out of town and ride off into the sunset.
But in the real world … in Kanesatake, Quebec, Canada, just last week, the ‘bad guys’ were allowed to continue on with their drug production, smuggling and money laundering while Grand Chief James Gabriel and the native police force he hired to enforce the law were run out of town.
And the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada stood by and did almost nothing for fear they’ll be drawn into a nasty political and racially-charged battle. Such cowardly actions are a disservice to the residents of the Kanesatake reserve. As Canadian citizens they deserve the same protection and the right to safety and security enjoyed by the rest of Canadians, no matter where they live. Yet the Kanesatake reserve has been both denied justice and virtually abandoned by the Quebec and federal governments.
This is an issue of upholding the law. That critical point should not be deflected by ongoing debates over self-government, land claims, fishing rights, etc. Government response to this incident should not be any different than had it happened in any town in any province.
Instead, the federal and Quebec governments say they’re quietly making plans to help out the troubled community. Those plans don’t call for backing up democratically-elected Grand Chief Gabriel against thugs and violence. Instead, they’re going to offer “counseling” to the community, undertake “a community healing process” and provide economic development initiatives to help end the reserve’s reliance on illegal activities.
What other Canadian town would be bribed with federal and provincial financial assistance as encouragement to rid itself of crime? It’s an insult to the residents in Kanesatake who elected a chief to rid the community of organized crime and drugs the proper way … through law enforcement.
The federal Liberals and the Quebec government have proven they prefer to save their political skins over fulfilling their duty to govern. They have clearly and submissively permitted violence to triumph over the rule of law.