When the national leader of Canada's Green Party, Joan Russow, demanded a public inquiry into the Gustafsen Lake Affair, she received the following response from the Premier of BC (the Green Party's original letter is at the end of this message):
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 15:42:04 -0700
From: "Premier's Correspondence Branch" Premier@gov.bc.ca
Subject: RE: SUPPORT FOR RESOLUTION RELATED TO GUSTAFSON LAKE AND IPPERWASH
I believe the provincial government and Attorney General took the right course of action to end the armed occupation at Gustafsen Lake. Through the patience and persistence of the RCMP, and through the efforts of the Cariboo Tribal Council, of Ovide Mercredi who was then Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and of various other members of the aboriginal community, we were ensured of a peaceful resolution without loss of life. Our policies with regard to situations that threaten public safety are based on common sense: we will never negotiate with those who take up arms to further their cause, and we are not prepared to second guess the RCMP on how they enforce the law.The Gustafsen Lake matter followed the due process of law. There are mechanisms in place for appeals of court decisions, and the RCMP has a public complaints process. I suggest it is through these avenues that any issues arising from Gustafsen Lake should be dealt with.
To: Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Room 309-S Center Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario. K1A OA6 [email email@example.com]
To: Premier Glen Clark
Victoria, B.C. [email firstname.lastname@example.org]
Attention: Mr. Chretien, Mr. Clark,
On behalf of the Green party of Canada I am writing to you to request a full and public inquiry into the events that occurred at Gustafsen Lake BC and Ipperwash Ontario in the summer of 1995.
We support the recent Assembly of First Nations resolution moved by Chief Stewart Philip of the Penticton Indian Band, seconded by Chief Ron Jules of the Adams Lake Band and adopted at the Convention. It reads as follows:
Resolution #19/97We have previously initiated and submitted a petition to parliament on our concern about the violation of the civil and political rights of first nations peoples in Gustafson Lake and Ipperwash.
Subject: Call for an Inquiry into Canadian Government and Police Actions
WHEREAS in both the Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash incidents, the actions of government and police officials in using excessive force against First Nations citizens is unacceptable; and
WHEREAS governments are attempting to prevent the public from learning the truth about these incidents; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Chiefs-in-Assembly support the demand for a full and comprehensive public inquiry into all aspects of the Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash matters; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Assembly of First Nations will take full responsibility for establishing a mechanism to ensure that a public inquiry takes place into the actions of the provincial and federal governments at Gustafsen Lake BC and Ipperwash, Ont.
We look forward to your immediate action in addressing this issue.
Yours very truly
Joan Russow (PhD)
National leader of the Green party of Canada