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Ontario’s top police officer defends response to Idle No More

First Nations Idle No More protesters march and block the International Bridge between the Canada and U.S. border near Cornwall Ontario, Saturday January 5 2013.

Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press

Ontario's top police officer says provincial police are handling Idle No More protests and blockades with discretion, refusing to take what he calls "unnecessary, aggressive action."

Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Chris Lewis posted a video message on YouTube today responding to criticism of what some perceive as a failure to act to end rail blockades and other protest disruptions.

An Ontario judge who has issued two injunctions to end blockades of critical rail arteries, including one in OPP jurisdiction, slammed police last week for not enforcing the injunctions right away to end the aboriginal protests.

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Commissioner Lewis does not mention the judge or the court decision in his message, instead lamenting criticism "in the media" from "various pundits and commentators with their own agendas."

Commissioner Lewis says the OPP is using its framework for police preparedness for aboriginal incidents and that he understands those strategies are "difficult and complex to explain to the general public."

The Idle No More movement began last month in protest of a federal government omnibus bill that First Nations groups say threatens their treaty rights set out in the Constitution.

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