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OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis on Idle No More criticism (video)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013   by: Staff

Commissioner Chris Lewis addresses criticism regarding the OPP's handling of recent Idle No More rallies and protests across the province.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
KGK 1/16/2013 10:22:38 AM Report

Title should read "Top Cop cops out"
highway1 1/16/2013 10:25:23 AM Report

Thank you to the OPP, City Police and the APS for your professionalism and common sense.
You are doing an excellent job in a difficult situation.
NB113 1/16/2013 10:35:27 AM Report

Time to start boycotting native businesses ie GR Bingo, Batchewana Bingo, Rankin Arena.
golfnuttt 1/16/2013 10:41:33 AM Report

hmmm incidents will continue to be investigated AFTER the event...... another double standard, if I get pulled over for speeding will I be released pending an investigation..... I think not.
phesoj 1/16/2013 10:41:42 AM Report

The OPP have been put between a rock and a hard place. As highway1 put it they are acting with professionalism and common sense and are doing an excellent job in a difficult situation. The same cannot be be said about the FN tactics.
Jchevs 1/16/2013 10:42:40 AM Report

People can be ignorant and quick to judge, but have they took the time to research the facts before pointing the finger?
legend16 1/16/2013 10:43:40 AM Report

I like NB113's post. Funny how all the business are bingo halls and smoke shops. LOL
golfnuttt 1/16/2013 10:48:51 AM Report

NB113 I could not agree more. I have yet to spend a penny at the new golf golf course. I would rather support local businesses that pay taxes to support the services we require, and who do not hold me hostage on my commute to work to support my family.
BlackHelix 1/16/2013 10:57:01 AM Report

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

i.e. You're to stupid to understand.

OPP Strategies

Step 1. Allow all first nations to do whatever they want - up to and including disruption of highway traffic

Step 2. Ignore all court rulings. After all, legal citations are more of a rule of thumb right?

Step 3. Make a public announcement that explains nothing more than it's too difficult to explain.

lookingsoon 1/16/2013 11:01:11 AM Report

Good job OPP, and for the people who want to protest the Garden River and Batchewana businesses, feel free to do your part that you feel necessary. Keep it peaceful like the First Nation people have been doing. I for one appreciate the movement because of all the consequences it's going to cause especially from the environmental part. I would prefer protected lakes and water ways to continue to fish etc. I don't want to see the bushes taken down for tar-sands, pipe lines or new industries so I continue to hunt. I don't play bingo but I doubt little to no one will boycott because its their "play time" and they enjoy it. I don't golf either but it's probably cheaper in Garden River

There is going to be lots of hwy closures/slow I am not ignorant to the fact that these are going to happen regardless of what anything thinks and I hope that the govt opens their eyes.

I am not native and i Support INM!!!
Christina216 1/16/2013 11:03:30 AM Report

to many people smoke to many play hockey and to many play bingo...people cant afford to buy smokes in town at 10+/ i cant see antone boycotting theses businesses
golfnuttt 1/16/2013 11:03:33 AM Report

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

Try explaining it to us, but use small words and speak slowly please. Apparently the Ontario public are morons according to the OPP Commissioner.
BTW We have lots of time while we are "idling" on the highway and creating greeenhouse gas.
sledneck440 1/16/2013 11:05:29 AM Report

The thing i dont understand is how do these first nations get all the time off work to protest?
blueshoes 1/16/2013 11:05:43 AM Report

sinikka 1/16/2013 11:10:22 AM Report

i see by the comments in the past few weeks that canadians as a whole do not support this idle no more movement. What this movement has done is make usually passive canadians more opinionated about natives in general. You may call some comments racist but the opp response or lack of response in itself is racist. The natives want your support yet they continue to use the everyday canadian as pawns. There will never be a unified country as long as one group is allowed to hold the rest of the country ransom. Perhaps roadblocks should be put up by those that oppose this movement. Stop people from frequenting native bingo halls, native casinos , etc and give them a taste of their own medicine. When the opp intervenes then you will see that there is and always will be double standards in this country.
Support81 1/16/2013 11:15:11 AM Report

Yes I think we should start blocking them ^
lookingsoon 1/16/2013 11:18:59 AM Report

If people want to roadblock they need to go through the same processes these First Nations go threw. They have meetings with the OPP, city police, media and a few others to let them know what their plan is and why they are doing it, how long it will be. Usually the media would put out a notification so people know what to expect. I know there is one planned for Friday 8 am - 8 pm.
lookingsoon 1/16/2013 11:19:00 AM Report

If people want to roadblock they need to go through the same processes these First Nations go threw. They have meetings with the OPP, city police, media and a few others to let them know what their plan is and why they are doing it, how long it will be. Usually the media would put out a notification so people know what to expect. I know there is one planned for Friday 8 am - 8 pm.
lookingsoon 1/16/2013 11:19:48 AM Report

I they don't go through the correct avenues they can be arrested.
frnlak 1/16/2013 11:22:55 AM Report

Protect the enviornment ? Theresa Spence and her gang own one million dollare of stock in the oil sands !!! The Batchewana band has a stake in the Bow Lake wind farm on the north shore of Lake Superior. 30 plus wind turbines and other groups are interested in adding more. Sault Star, January 15, page one and comment page 8 respectively. Enviornmentalists my ass.
Ski-Dude 1/16/2013 11:25:56 AM Report

Oh, ok. I was wondering when exactly we were going to officially loose our spines. Might as well sit back and do nothing. It appears the forces we employ are becoming more accustom to this type of non action. Glad to know they have our backs!
dravo 1/16/2013 11:29:26 AM Report

If you want to win the backing from the country about your so called concern for the country quit pissing us off with stupid road & railway blocks .
Sam The Dog 1/16/2013 11:41:15 AM Report

Mr. Lewis, Your a Cop not a Politician, you were hired not elected. Do your DAM Job.
Tom_Bom 1/16/2013 11:51:58 AM Report

Sorry everyone you'll have to excuse the OPP. They're a little timid unless it comes to busting a peaceful stoner with a gram of weed in their pocket.
Norm 1/16/2013 12:15:12 PM Report

The police don't have a say in these matters. If they did, the innocent people of Caledonia would never of been harrassed by the First Nation blockade in that area. Pretty straight forward stuff.
Norm 1/16/2013 12:21:24 PM Report

Looking, it's not cheaper in Garden River. Beautiful course though. I have fished in that area, course runs pretty much through same area now.
Jossey 1/16/2013 12:25:12 PM Report

There should be one law for all. Special privileges for some will create dissent and greater problems down the road.
Greeky3 1/16/2013 12:57:42 PM Report

Finally a first nations person who says it like it is!

Isn't this a pleasant change?

Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos BC speaking in Northern Alberta :

Speaking to a large aboriginal conference and some of the attendees, including a few who hold high office, have straggled in.

'I can't stand people who are late, he says into the microphone. Indian Time doesn't cut it. '
Some giggle, but no one is quite sure how far he is going to go. Just sit back and listen:

'My first rule for success is Show up on time.'
'My No. 2 rule for success is follow Rule No. 1.'
'If your life sucks, it's because you suck.'
'Quit your sniffling.'
'Join the real world. Go to school, or get a job.'
'Get off of welfare. Get off your butt.'

He pauses, seeming to gauge whether he dare, then does.
'People often say to me, How you doin'? Geez I'm working with Indians what do you think?'
Now they are openly laughing ..... applauding. Clarence Louie is everything that was advertised and more.

'Our ancestors worked for a living, he says. So should you.'

He is, fortunately, aboriginal himself. If someone else stood up and said these things - the white columnist standing there with his mouth open, for example - you'd be seen as a racist. Instead, Chief Clarence Louie is seen, increasingly, as one of the most interesting and innovative native leaders in the country even though he avoids national politics.

He has come here to Fort McMurray because the aboriginal community needs, desperately, to start talking about economic development and what all this multibillion-dollar oil madness might mean, for good and for bad.

Clarence Louie is chief and CEO of the Osoyoos Band in British Columbia's South Okanagan. He is 44 years old, though he looks like he would have been an infant when he began his remarkable 20-year-run as chief.. He took a band that had been declared bankrupt and taken over by Indian Affairs and he has turned in into an inspiration.

In 2000, the band set a goal of becoming self-sufficient in five years. They're there.

The Osoyoos, 432 strong, own, among other things, a vineyard, a winery, a golf course and a tourist resort, and they are partners in the Baldy Mountain ski development. They have more businesses per capita than any other first nation in Canada.

There are not only enough jobs for everyone, there are so many jobs being created that there are now members of 13 other tribal communities working for the Osoyoos. The little band contributes $40-million a year to the area economy.

Chief Louie is tough. He is as proud of the fact that his band fires its own people as well as hires them. He has his mottos posted throughout the Rez. He believes there is no such thing as consensus, that there will always be those who disagree. And, he says, he is milquetoast compared to his own mother when it comes to how today's lazy aboriginal youth, almost exclusively male, should be dealt with.

Rent a plane, she told him, and fly them all to Iraq. Dump'em off and all the ones who make it back are keepers. Right on, Mom.
The message he has brought here to the Chipewyan, Dene and Cree who live around the oil sands is equally direct: 'Get involved, create jobs and meaningful jobs, not just window dressing for the oil companies.'

'The biggest employer,' he says, 'shouldn't be the band office.'

He also says the time has come to get over it. 'No more whining about 100-year-old failed experiments.' 'No foolishly looking to the Queen to protect rights.'

Louie says aboriginals here and along the Mackenzie Valley should not look at any sharing in development as rocking-chair money but as investment opportunity to create sustainable businesses. He wants them to move beyond entry-level jobs to real jobs they earn all the way to the boardrooms. He wants to see business manners develop: showing up on time, working extra hours. The business lunch, he says, should be drive through, and then right back at it.

'You're going to lose your language and culture faster in poverty than you will in economic development', he says to those who say he is ignoring tradition.

Tough talk, at times shocking talk given the audience, but on this day in this community, they took it and, judging by the response, they loved it.

Eighty per cent like what I have to say, Louie says, twenty per cent don't. I always say to the 20 per cent, 'Get over it.' 'Chances are you're never going to see me again and I'm never going to see you again' 'Get some counseling.'

The first step, he says, is all about leadership. He prides himself on being a stay-home chief who looks after the potholes in his own backyard and wastes no time running around fighting 100-year-old battles.

'The biggest challenge will be how you treat your own people.'

'Blaming government? That time is over.'

66cherokee 1/16/2013 1:14:06 PM Report

OK, if you are stuck in traffic at the bridge, start honking your horn. See how they like that.
Support81 1/16/2013 1:42:04 PM Report

There not making any friends that's for sure only upsetting more and more, peaceful or not
SpongeBob 1/16/2013 1:44:15 PM Report

Might want to get your 2 cents in on this before the sootoday staff removes it. Nice to see a local new agency so vigilantly censoring peoples voices.
Stevie-E 1/16/2013 1:47:27 PM Report

Hey Spongebob,

Some of my comments have been removed as well. Censorship is against our rights. Maybe a complaint from a group of us should be in order?
Left Winger 1/16/2013 1:51:43 PM Report

as long as you keep racial slurs out of your posts or advocating violence you have nothing to fear...
SpongeBob 1/16/2013 1:53:26 PM Report

But that would be considered racist and shrugged off because we are white.

When white people protested economical unfairness with other whites with the Occupy movement, it was shrugged off and they were called useless ,over-entitled,lazy,ect.

Left Winger 1/16/2013 1:53:58 PM Report

apparently legend in their own mind has not visited our neighbors - I see a lot of other businesses operating on the reserves other then just smokes shops and bingo halls, but i guess if you drive around with blinders on you only see what you want to....
cjborg 1/16/2013 1:54:53 PM Report

Chief Lewis: I hope your "keep the peace at any cost" force would at least be kind enough to disperse coffee and donuts, pota-pories (for people with badder problems), and finally, regularly check all the blocked cars for people with medical conditions and can provide emergency exit strategy/routes to clear the way or transport people who develope medical or mental distress to appropriate care facilities.... If not I would think that the you personnally and your "highly paid baby sitters" might (or at least should) be in for some serious litigation problems.

Even though you think the public is too dumb to comprehend your "keep the peace" complexity issue... it would be good for the general public to know what they can expect from their policing tax dollars.. (and please don't give us the "we pay taxes too" crap.)
SpongeBob 1/16/2013 1:57:05 PM Report

@ Leftwinger

Thats difficult since the word rasicm is being ignorantly thrown around as much as the world ignorant is used improperly.

Questions cant be asked because they are "racist". In fact anything that doesnt agree with them is considered "racist" and then deleted or censored later on.
IB-fine 1/16/2013 2:07:56 PM Report

Thanks Greeky3 for telling us about Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band. I Googled him as I had never heard of him and watch a 1/2 hour documentary by CBC on him and his philosophy and actions on running his band. Find it here:

However, with the article above about the OPP handling protest peacefully and with as little police violence as possible I thoroughly support. I'd rather see the OPP keeping both sides safe and calm than the mess that happened in Toronto during the G8 meetings etc.

I'm non-native an support Idle No More and wish that some of the negative commenters here would Google the movement and Bill C45 and see what all the fuss is about. This is another Harper government omnibus bill that not only affects the rights of natives but about 30 other acts and groups of laws and either abolishes keeping our waterways clean and safe for drinking and fishing but also doesn't protect them from say an oil pipeline leak and ruining the river or lake forever.
This act would do away with inspectors of the waterways, whole departments in some ministries, and alot of various other things that one day you'll wake up when some oil spill or derailment happens and say, why isn't the gov't cleaning that up? cause then they won't have to or they won't be able to sue the people who caused it.

Please research some of these things before you make racist comments and about how your time is inconvenienced.

Going to be alot worse if they let someone pollute the waterways and ground water and we all have to buy bottled water to drink, like they do on some reserves now.
Coo1 1/16/2013 2:09:57 PM Report

Greeky3, I enjoyed reading that post and dare I say, that Chief makes some very excellent points.

However, we all need to still be concerned with how this bill will effect our environment : lakes, rivers, forests. This isn't about pulling the Indians up by the rough of the neck. Its about saving our environment from any tom, dick or harry corporation that wants to knock down our forests, dirty our lakes, kill our rivers. The bill takes away the protection for these natural things we all take advantage of as Canadians.


Now about the OPP, good for them. It seems they have finally learned to stay out of it so they don't end up with bad headlines were they come out stinking like SH, because they pepper sprayed some old lady.
sinikka 1/16/2013 2:24:44 PM Report

IB that is your interpretation of the act. Others look at the act as being progressive. You are so naive to believe that these native leaders care about the environment when their their actions are doing direct harm to the environment they claim to protect. How much pollution do thousands of idling vehicles create? Stop trying to dupe canadians , we are slowly waking up . Sometimes when ask for too much you end up losing what you already have.
VEROTIK 1/16/2013 2:34:46 PM Report

Idle Me More! stop wasting my time.
mac2 1/16/2013 2:36:05 PM Report

support idle no more!
Slim Shady 1/16/2013 3:06:56 PM Report

I better comment quick, SooToday will can this commentary as well as the earlier one because comments have offended people.

The OPP are put in a difficult position, I understand that. The province is telling them to uphold the law but hey if they are FN and violate the law they may start another OKA so you'd better not piss them off.

The OPP should not be handling this, they are not trained adequately to do so. This is a Federal problem, we should use the right Tools for the job - THE MILITARY. They won't screw around or use water cannons.
Norm 1/16/2013 3:08:32 PM Report

You have to be aware that Chief Louie did take his reserve from poverty to prosperity., also that his reserve is in the very beautiful vineyards of southern BC. That reserve, like many other businesses outside the reserve, are wealthy in that capacity. I'm a card carrying Metis, also I wish that Soo Today would just screen who they deem racist bloggers. The majority on here aren't racist. There's always the other site, whatever.
Slim Shady 1/16/2013 3:19:56 PM Report

You know what I find ironic? We can travel halfway around the world to places like Iraq and Afghanistan and our Armed Forces can peacefully (most of time) do what needs to get done to restore order and democracy; but we can't do the same here at home?!

Simple.... You break the law or impede a democratic society you are breaking the law regardless of the cause. You need to have you behaviour corrected with the appropriate amount of force required. No more, no less.

As mentioned earlier, just try to block a road under Military control....
Greeky3 1/16/2013 3:22:33 PM Report

Thanks IB Fine The link you sent is very informative
I think that Chief Louis should be Grand Chief over all first nations.
Mato Wakpa 1/16/2013 3:35:29 PM Report

The Idle No More movement gains more support around the world daily. It's bigger then a few people on a news site 'bashing Indians'. Some people are a lost cause and aren't worth reasoning with. You have your views on Natives and nothing will change that. It's ingrained in you and was probably passed down to you from your parents and will quite possibly be passed down to your children. Hopefully they see through that and change that cycle.

Idle No More is bigger than just another 'Indian protest'. Everyone from Nelly Furtado to Blue Rodeo to Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip fame have lent their support to Idle No More. The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) and the National Farmer's Union have expressed their support to the movement as well as countless others. Support has poured in everywhere from the USA to New Zealand. A few negative comments on this board isn't going to deter or stop what is unfolding.

You can continue to sit 'idly' behind your computer screen while everyone else is making a stand. Your negativity doesn't affect anything. This is bigger than you.

Oh, and if you haven't visited the golf course in Garden River by now chances are you weren't going to - protests or not. I'm sure they will get along just fine without your business.
Norm 1/16/2013 4:09:06 PM Report

Mato, I said before that most people aren't racist. If someone disagrees with Idle, or any movement for that matter, doesn't necessarily make them a racist. People are allowed to differ in opinions and beliefs. If someone is racist, they would be wise not to advertise that fact by ridiculous comments. Also if they are racist, it'll show up in their everyday behaviour, not just behind a computer screen.
MrJWall 1/16/2013 4:12:47 PM Report

Mr. Lewis is just doing his job! Stop with stupid comments and be proud of this successful Saulite!
KRF91 1/16/2013 7:13:56 PM Report

You idiots copy and pasting random articles need to fall into a ditch and die.
michebuck 1/16/2013 7:57:02 PM Report

are you kidding me?
michebuck 1/16/2013 7:58:17 PM Report

Is this guy for real?
Entity 1/16/2013 8:01:16 PM Report

"I will continue to explain and defend our response in all appropriate ways... and by that I mean I will explain nothing."

michebuck 1/16/2013 8:08:24 PM Report

This guy should think before he talks. Making statements like that only gives these people more power!! When is this country going to put its foot down? What gives these natives the right to block highways and rail ways? Making comments in the media that they will bring this country's economy to its knees.....Use your head. Don't you think that if that happens natives will suffer too. Lets block the railway for a whole day so that companies like Essar and Algoma Tubes cannot get their product to customers and they have to take a financial loss. I wonder when these employees get laid off if they can go to the band office and get some money to pay their bills and feed their families. Natives always seem to play the race card.......that was old 20 years ago. How do you expect people to not be racist when you do everything in your power to make people miserable to get what you...and only you...feel you should get. In my eyes the Canadian government is just as much to blame. They just keep handing out money anytime native people start crying. In the end who suffers????? The non natives!!! The people that have to pay tax!!! Our government needs to give its head a shake before native people suck every penny out that we have!!!
highway1 1/16/2013 8:26:17 PM Report

People are painfully unaware of the facts. Idle no More is about getting the truth out there, but it appears some just don't want to hear it or just won't accept it.
the coach 1/16/2013 8:33:06 PM Report

This is the facts, the poor natives starve because their fellow chiefs keep the funds for themselves. Why would you support a bunch of crooked liars.
j.r.98 1/16/2013 8:40:37 PM Report

A mundane speech and afterward keep a feed going of distracted driving. What?, Why? to yet again get us distracted from the topic at hand
Mr Cloudy 1/17/2013 2:15:36 PM Report


Native issues have involved alot of protests, blockades, armed conflict(provoked)with deaths, sit ins and many other acts of difiance...Idle no more is something different, this is grassroots people(not leadership) saying this one cannot be tolerated, we will not be able to survive and flourish without water, air, land and resourses. This cannot wait, more and more people know whats it like to lose people to cancer...its not a natural occourance...its in our water, food, air and in us...poisons! this move by the government will have huge impact on our life and the lives you help create and nourish...most of the world does not live like us, but coming soon might be just like most of the world...The legislation holds a reason to support "idle no more" and reason to join the movement...this is just getting started, there will be more and more...either normal people who i see everyday stand up and joun or this is going to take longer and longer and many day and hours of this...can it be worse,,,absolutley! Let me ask u this question, if some group of people wanted to destroy your health and possibly your future health of your family, would you not do anything in your power to stop this action? I think most natives have been very patient to let this go this long,,,since last spring its been an issue!!! when the crowds of people have stop protesting in idle no more, then is going to turn to something different...i think. Something that’s going to be ugly, I don’t want that,,,I am Native, I am Canadian and I love our land and who I am if I let this continue to happen? I would be someone who does not know what it is too LOVE. Chief Spence will die for it...and die slowly and painfully at that being slowly starved to death. If she’s worth millions from her peoples demise then I’m sure a Swiss bank account would be a better way since this is where all the crooks put their monies they stole and everyone allows Now there is a difference in acts of defiance,,,"idle no more" it’s not the direction of any First Nation not "national day of action" There are many of these entities that will support in different ways "idle no more" and seems to be getting support! When first nations and others (environmental groups, human rights groups and other groups) support the movement, it’s their own direction and planning. "idle no more" is deemed a peaceful protest at all times. Will not support violence in any way...there are laws, we have laws.
“” join and be informed and there is forms there to ask questions or share information in a good way…not looking to change perspective but want to encourage people who really what to know what’s it all about…this would be a good start…most media is giving what they always have. This one everyone should get it from reliable sources…it’s going to effect a lot of people day after day,,,
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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