FOREST – First Nations Leaders in Ontario are disappointed that former Premier Michael Harris’ first day of testimony indicates he is not willing to accept any responsibility for the death of Anthony Dudley George. They also look forward to hearing Mr. Harris’ testimony under cross examination by legal counsel from the George Family and Chiefs of Ontario with an expectation of seeking the truth.
John Beaucage, Grand Council Chief for the 42 member Anishinabek Nation, was critical of Harris’ evidence as the 100th witness in the judicial inquiry into the September 6,1995 shooting death of Dudley George by an Ontario Provincial Police sniper in Ipperwash Park.
“It is incredible that the Premier of Canada’s largest province says the lpperwash crisis was only worth 5-10 minutes of his time prior to attending day-long functions at the Canadian Open Golf Tournament,” said Beaucage. “He says he cannot even remember who called or who attended the critical meeting eleven hours before Dudley’s death that left police with the impression the Premier wanted the Indians out of the park fast. Is this abdication of responsibility or ineptitude?”
“It is hard to achieve justice for Dudley when the person with the most power in the province repeatedly cannot recall important conversations, and denies evidence of colleagues who do remember them,” said Angus Toulouse, Ontario Regional Chief for the Chiefs of Ontario. “We share the George Family’s pain and frustration having to listen to such evasion of the truth about the events that led to Dudley’s death.”
Both leaders attended the Inquiry to show their support for the George Family and pledged their ongoing efforts to fight systemic racism against First Nation citizens.
Grand Council Chief John Beaucage represents the 42 First Nations within Anishinabek Nation territory. The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The UOI is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse leads the office of the Chiefs of Ontario and is elected by the 134 First Nations leaders within the borders of Ontario. The purpose of the Chiefs of Ontario office is to enable the political leadership to discuss regional, provincial and national priorities affecting First Nation people in Ontario and to provide a unified voice on these issues.