THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Provincial Police, along with police services across Canada have taken, for the most part a hands off approach to Idle No More protests. Aside from some incidents early on when security guards in shopping malls seemingly over-reacted to Round Dances, there has not been a lot of police presence at Idle No More events.
In Thunder Bay where some are suggesting the relationship between the Thunder Bay Police Service and the Aboriginal community is in dire need of repair, police have been distant observers at Teach In rallies that Idle No More has held in the city. Perhaps taking that approach is part of a policy toward repairing that relationship.
Some have been critical of the approach the OPP have taken. That includes Judge David Brown, a Ontario Superior Court Judge. “Although that principle of the rule of law is simple, at the same time it is fragile. Without Canadians sharing a public expectation of obeying the law, the rule of law will shatter.”
OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis says, “I’d rather be criticized for a decision to not jeopardize, take or lose lives than for taking unnecessary aggressive action that undoubtedly will”.
One lane of the Nipigon Bridge will be blocked on Wednesday as Idle No More Water Walkers cross the bridge. “We want to offer to the people who are passing some information on the bills that Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper should be revoking,” said Chief Arlene Wawia, of the Red Rock Band.