London, Ontario January 4th, 2020 – The words and deeds of Mike Harris when he served as Premier of Ontario still echo today as loud as they did when he was quoted as saying “I want those f**king Indians out of the park”. The man that profited off of the suffering of seniors, pressured police action that led to the death of Anthony Dudley George, and who took responsibility for the Walkerton water scandal that killed seven people is to be the recipient of an award that is given to those that have left an ‘exceptional’ imprint and lasting legacy in the province.
Grand Chief Joel Abram states “Mike Harris being named to receive the Order of Ontario is an insult to everyone. His involvement in Long Term Care facilities that put profit over seniors lives during a pandemic, the contaminated water scandal in Walkerton that could have been prevented, and his starring role in the death of Dudley George is more appropriate for the Hall of Shame. He is directly and indirectly responsible for many deaths and that alone should disqualify him from being recognized as anything, but one of the worst Premiers Ontario has ever had.” Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft says “The Order of Ontario was made to honor individuals that have left a lasting legacy in the province. By appointing Mike Harris, the message seems to be that a lasting legacy doesn’t necessarily have to be a good one. Numerous people lost their lives, families have been hurt, and many others continue to pay for the atrocities he has committed.”
The leaderships of The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians are taken aback that Harris could be receiving this award in the face of so many wrongs that he has done or has been a part of. While he did not physically pull the trigger of the weapon that took Dudley George’s life he was instrumental in the actions leading to his death. His appointment to the Order needs to be taken back and cancelled or it will be obvious that racism and demagoguery is alive, well, and even celebrated. if anything he needs to publicly apologize to everyone in the province for his actions. Finally, it is a slap in the face to the Indigenous people in Ontario and a big neon sign saying that reconciliation is a farce.