Statement from Mayor Hewitt and Council regarding COVID-19, Caledonia protest

COVID-19 Update

Yesterday I was on a conference call with the Premier and several Ministers discussing the rollout of the COVID vaccine for all of Ontario. There will be 3 phases to this rollout and the first phase will focus on the most vulnerable and emergency services personnel. The first phase will take place in the first quarter of 2021.

The second phase, which will include the more general population, is expected to begin in early April and will be distributed to those that choose to get vaccinated. The third phase will ultimately follow the same protocols as the current flu vaccinations and will likely be available sometime in the fall of 2021.

This rollout is unprecedented and I assure you that there will be growing pains. There are still many questions and processes to answer and to determine, but it is exciting that the conversation of a vaccine is now taking place.

While I appreciate that today it is still frustrating for many of you, your patience and endurance is why we are, as a percentage of population versus positive tests, one of the best in the country and in the world. That is no exception here in Haldimand-Norfolk. That all rests with all of you who have taken the steps to protect yourself and to protect those around you.

With Christmas around the corner, many are faced with the challenges of managing family gatherings and as in the past, we simply ask that you make the decisions that best protect your self, your family, and your community.

There appears to be light at the end of this and it has become visible; here’s hoping to getting there.

Caledonia Protest Update

While it may not seem like much is happening as we continue to deal with these blockades, I can tell you that there have been many meetings, conversations and exchanges with all parties involved.

Let me first say that I fully support anyone’s right to protest or to assemble, but destruction of property and the closure of roads crosses that line. When someone exercises their rights at the expense of another’s, it is my opinion they have gone too far.

For that reason the County has sought an injunction and will continue to stand behind that injunction until there is a definitive agreement between those that will demonstrate these occurrences will no longer happen. Caledonia and Haldimand cannot continue to be the sacrificial lamb for anyone who wants to come down here and demonstrate for a cause.

Over the past couple of weeks Councillor Lawrence and I have met with Skyler Williams to discuss plans moving forward. I have met with Chief Mark Hill and I have discussed at length concerns and plans with Minister Greg Rickford.

I continue to have ongoing dialogue with the OPP and while this injunction does hang over them and the expectation to re-open these roads are a must, it is with the most delicate and peaceful approach that everyone wants to see said roads open.

Nobody is advocating for a confrontation and no one wants to see any violence occur as a result from one. It is that very reason that is motivating everyone to move as quick as possible, (which I know is not quick enough for many of you).

I firmly believe that there are some real solutions here and some real opportunities for the Province, Haldimand and Six Nations. The Feds/Province share my optimism and they are prepared to take the next steps with Six Nations and are only waiting for them to assemble in a way that they can be represented with the expected transparency from the territory.

Patience, while I know is thin for so many reasons, is what is being asked of us from those involved. Since at the County level, we have the most at stake and the least to affect change with, we are at the whims of those very people and we must listen to all the voices who have been directly or indirectly affected in this ongoing protest on both sides.​

Stay Safe,

Mayor Ken Hewitt


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