QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP MPPs Sol Mamakwa, critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Kevin Yarde, critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services, released the following statement regarding reports that the Ontario Provincial Police have pressed charges against Karl Dockstader, a journalist covering a developing story in Caledonia who is also a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames:
“Reports of the OPP’s arrest of and laying charges against Karl Dockstader – a journalist with 610 CKTB and a co-recipient of the 2020 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship – are deeply disturbing. Dockstader is an award-winning Indigenous journalist, who was covering an ongoing land dispute between members of Six Nations, the band council, and a development company over the Haldimand Tract.
The arrest and charges speak to two broader, unacceptable patterns. The first is a longstanding colonial pattern of criminalizing Indigenous people. The second is a more recent pattern of police laying charges against journalists for covering land disputes between the Crown and Indigenous people. These charges, which ban Mr. Dockstader from the site in question, effectively undermine his established constitutional right as a member of the media to be present to cover matters of public interest. Unchecked, these charges could put a disturbing chill on journalism and freedom of expression.
We will be monitoring Mr. Dockstader’s case and the surrounding land dispute closely. We call on the Solicitor General – whose role also includes overseeing anti-racism strategies in the province – and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to monitor this situation closely as well. We urge the Ford government to take this seriously.”