Ontario’s police commish responds to Idle No More criticism

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

As Idle No More protesters warn that more chaos is ahead, Ontario’s top police officer has moved to defend his organization for how it has handled a series of demonstrations and blockades across the province.

He said, in essence, “chill, folks. We got this.”

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has been accused recently of failing to control road blocks and disruptions. The Canadian Press reports that OPP elected not to remove protesters from a blockade in Kingston, Ont., even after a Superior Court judge issued an injunction.

OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis went on YouTube today to explain that the appearance of police inaction doesn’t mean police are not in control. He said the OPP is following an established framework on how to handle “aboriginal critical incidents.”

He says:

These concepts and strategies, developed from experience, hard work and common sense, are difficult and complex to explain to the general public.

Oddly, the message was specifically presented on a public forum but directed toward uniformed and civilian members of the OPP. It was almost as if Lewis wanted us to feel as if we were getting secret, internal information, not a video press release.

The video comes as some involved in the Idle No More movement are promising to increase such invasion demonstrations and road blocks.

Ernie Crey, a policy adviser for the Stó:lō Tribal Council in British Columbia, told Yahoo! Canada News that such talk is not helpful to the movement.

It seems Crey thinks a steady hand is needed at the wheel. That seems to be what Lewis is trying to present in his video.