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Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris cleared of responsibility for death at Ipperwash Provincial Park

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Mike Harris

The Ipperwash Public Inquiry was called by the Ontario government to investigate the death of activist Dudley George and the conflict between the Ontario Provincial Police and First Nations protestors at the Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario in 1995. In his final report, released May 31, 2007, Mr. Justice Sidney Linden states "The evidence demonstrated that the Premier and his officials wanted the occupation to end quickly, but there is no evidence to suggest that the Premier or any official in his government was responsible for Mr. George's death." Justice Linden concluded that the response of the Harris Government to the 1995 occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park was within the legitimate scope of government action. "(I)t was not inappropriate for the Premier to direct the Ontario government to seek an injunction as soon as possible," writes Justice Linden. "It was legitimate for the Premier to take the position that the First Nations people were illegally occupying the Park, and that he wanted them out of the Park as soon as possible." In response to the final report, Mr. Harris stated "I hope that Justice Linden's findings completely absolving me and my government of these malicious and petty political allegations will allow the George family to move on and allow all levels of government, including Aboriginal governments, to work cooperatively and positively towards a better future for Aboriginal people in Canada." Peter Downard, Jennifer McAleer and Bill Hourigan of Fasken Martineau acted as counsel to Mike Harris.


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