Land Back Lane injunction back in court

An injunction against land defenders in Caledonia that was struck down by Ontario’s highest court last December is back in provincial court.

Foxgate Developments, which had been building a housing subdivision on McKenzie Road when it was stopped by Six Nations people and allies in the summer of 2020, is back in court seeking an injunction to oust the people from the land.

Dozens of Six Nations people and allies have held the land for over two years, dubbed Land Back Lane.

Skyler Williams, who is named in the injunction and has faced numerous charges in relation to Land Back Lane, said he’s confused why the issue is back in court when a higher court had already quashed the previous injunction.

“It is the question of the day,” he said. “I wish there was a way I could understand it, too.”

Williams said the original injunction was granted in the summer of 2020 without giving Williams or other land defenders a chance to air their side.

A provincial appeals court agreed it was unfair that the land defenders didn’t have a chance to originally argue against the first injunction granted by a local judge in July 2020 and threw it out.

“Nobody knew anything what was going on,” said Williams of the original injunction, which sought to barr anyone from stepping foot onto the property or face trespassing charges.

“That judgement was given without any evidence,” said Williams. “This time we do have lawyers that are arguing on our behalf.”

Foxgate lawyer Paul D’Mello had argued in a Haldimand court on Monday that Williams had no right to claim the land under a Section 35 (of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) assertion, which Williams said the lawyer kept “mind-numbingly” repeating.

Williams said he had never claimed the land for himself, but rather, the community as a whole is claiming the land, as it is part of a long-standing disputed parcel of land Six Nations says was wrongfully taken from them.

“I’m not advancing a Section 35 claim on the land as an individual,” Williams said. “But we as a community do. The hundreds of people that have made land back able to be there two and a half years later is what I would consider to be a community, making a section 35 assertion without having to be in a courtroom to do it. Our wins don’t come in a courtroom; they come in the land. That’s what our people are doing. They’re assuring out right over our land.”

Two days of hearings wrapped up Tuesday with no decision from Justice John Harper.

Williams says he expects the judge will deliberate “for quite a bit” and deliver a decision most likely via email.

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