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On this Day in Our History: Ipperwash inquiry called

Oct. 3, 2003

Two successive Progressive Conservative governments lasted 2,949 days without calling a public judicial inquiry into the killing of First Nation activist Dudley George. This despite allegations that prominent members of the party—specifically former premier Mike Harris—shared in some of the blame in the events that led to Dudley's death.

Newly-elected Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty waited less than 1,000 minutes to set an inquiry in motion. On Oct. 3, barely 12 hours after his party was swept into office after eight years of Tory rule, the Liberal leader made the announcement. It was just what the George family had bet on hearing.

There was a confusing development on Oct. 2, election day in Ontario, when it was announced the family had settled its $7 million wrongful death civil action against the Ontario Provincial Police and dropped its lawsuit against Mike Harris and others. It was just days away from heading to trial.

Inquiries by Windspeaker revealed that a high stakes gamble was being considered in the days leading up to the Ontario election. An offer by the defendants to settle the lawsuit for cash had been made several weeks before, but rejected.

As the family and their lawyer watched the polls, it became clear that the Tories would lose their hold on power for the first time since the fatal Sept. 6, 1995 shooting of Dudley George at Ipperwash Provincial Park. And that, ironically, would cause difficulties.

To read more on this story, go to our archives at AMMSA.com http://ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/ipperwash-inquiry-called

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