The ensuing controversy was a major event in Canadian politics. In 2003 a provincial inquiry was started after a change in government. Former Ontario Chief Justice Sidney B. Linden led the investigation of events, which was completed in the fall of 2006.
In 1936, the Province of Ontario created Ipperwash Provincial Park. In 1942 during World War II, the Government of Canada wanted reserve land from the Stoney Point Band to use as a base for military training and offered to buy it for $15 per acre. They also promised to return the land after the war ended. The Natives rejected the offer. Under the War Measures Act, the federal government expropriated the lands from the Stoney Point Reserve and established Military Camp Ipperwash. The First Nations claim that the grounds contain a burial site. As of 2010, archaeological surveys have established that such a site does indeed exist. As early as 1993, while Camp Ipperwash was still being used as a summer training centre for the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, a few natives had occupied portions of the camp and the adjacent piece of land. After the summer of 1993, the government moved the cadet camp to CFB Borden. There was growing tension about the base at Camp Ipperwash.
On Labour Day Monday, September 4, 1995, a group of natives started a protest in Ipperwash Provincial Park to draw attention to the decades-old land claims. After the park closed at 6:00 p.m., protestors cut back a fence and by 7:30 had moved vehicles into the park. About thirty-five protestors occupied the park. The protestors had been threatening occupation since the spring. The original OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) strategy was to co-occupy the Park peacefully with the First Nations. But, when a protester from the group smashed the window of a police cruiser, the OPP pulled back from the Park.
In anticipation of the move on the park by the Stoney Point First Nations, the OPP had prepared a contingency plan named Project Maple. The plan stressed "a peaceful resolution" and called for a team of two negotiators to be on call around the clock.