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Ontario Hansard - 12-April2006

NATIVE LAND DISPUTE


Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): To the Premier: As you well know, since February 28 a group of people have been occupying a subdivision under development just south of Caledonia and east of Six Nations. I've walked in to this occupation a number of times, and I can assure you that all concerned wish for a peaceful resolution. However, this standoff has been running for well over six weeks now. Premier, where is your leadership on this? What have you done to resolve this dispute?

Interjection.


Mr. Barrett: I ask for some respect for the people down there.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): I'll refer this to the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.

Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): I very much appreciate the question from the member. This is a very serious situation, as the member knows, and I want to assure him that the Ontario government has been on top of the situation. As we speak now, a meeting is going on with all the parties involved in this. We've had people on the ground over the last few days talking to the various parties in preparation for this meeting. There is a proposal that is being considered today at this meeting among all parties. I have to be very hopeful that we're going to see a peaceful end to this situation.

Mr. Barrett: Premier, you have bounced this over to your minister responsible for aboriginal affairs. I'm assuming that when the minister makes reference to "all parties," he is also referring to the federal government and, I would hope, referring to the people who are right within that site. What I will say, however, is that all people locally see is the OPP. They see the provincial police; they don't see the RCMP or Canadian forces. They clearly have a perception that this is a provincial issue. I'm told by the federal government that this is a provincial issue.

Premier, this is right your own backyard: It's merely 90 minutes from Queen's Park. I can walk you in. I can walk you, Minister, in to the site. My point is, it has now been six weeks of strife and turmoil for all concerned. We've seen six weeks of you turning your back. The question is, when will you step up to the plate, take some responsibility and show --


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): The question has been asked. Minister?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: First of all, I'd like to assure the member that the province has been taking a lead role in this. In fact, I've been in daily contact with Minister Jim Prentice of the federal government in regard to this. I have been speaking to the municipal official on the ground, Mayor Trainer, after her meeting with Jim Prentice in Ottawa on Friday.

I've also been talking to the developer, the two Henning brothers, the owners of Henco, and understand, and quite frankly I expressed the government's sympathy and concern for the financial situation that they're in, and said to them that we're also there to help them through this as we work to resolve this in a peaceful manner.

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