By MPP Toby Barrett
Next month marks the 15th anniversary of the illegal occupation of Caledonia’s Douglas Creek Estates subdivision, and the consequent 15 years of road blockades, detours, intimidation, and confrontation.
Next month also marks the blockade of the Caledonia bypass one year ago on February 24, in support of the Wet’suwet’en Coastal Gaslink pipeline project – part of the ‘Shut Down Canada’ movement.
As with railroads across Canada, last February also saw the shutdown of the CN line from Caledonia to the Nanticoke Industrial Park. This followed police action to clear the railway blockade at Deseronto, Ontario, enforcing a court injunction on behalf of CN Rail, and following a statement by Prime Minister Trudeau that blockades “must come down and the (court) injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld.”
On July 19, 2020, yet another subdivision, McKenzie Meadows on McKenzie Road, was occupied by force and, as with Douglas Creek Estates, remains occupied to this day.
In response to the reading of a court order to vacate the property and the arrest of some of the occupiers, a round of destruction ensued on August 5. Militants set fire to roads on the south side of town, as well as to the Caledonia bypass. Construction equipment was stolen and torched. Local firefighters were attacked. And, again, the CN railroad was vandalized and shut down.