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  • Opposition Day

    *******
    OPPOSITION DAY
    NATIVE LAND DISPUTE
    Mr. John Tory (Leader of the Opposition): I move that the Legislative
    Assembly call upon the government,
    To recognize that the McGuinty government was made aware of the Six Nations'
    land claim issues at Caledonia in August 2005, yet allowed the situation to
    escalate to a full-blown standoff starting on February 28, 2006;
    To recognize that the McGuinty government refused even to acknowledge the
    Caledonia land occupation as a provincial issue until day 42 of the standoff;
    To recognize that the McGuinty government's Places to Grow Act was a
    catalyst in igniting the standoff, since it provides a legal framework for the
    McGuinty Liberals to designate any area of land as a growth plan area;
    To recognize that the McGuinty government further provoked the situation
    with a regulation identifying the greater Golden Horseshoe area as the first
    area for which a growth plan will be prepared;
    To recognize that the Premier's procrastination and failure to show
    leadership when it was most needed allowed this situation to escalate into a public
    safety crisis;
    To recognize that the McGuinty Liberals have refused to compensate the OPP
    for the unforeseen costs incurred while policing Caledonia and to reimburse
    municipalities policed by the OPP that sent officers to Caledonia;
    To recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that a commission be
    appointed to inquire into and report on how absence of communication and lack of
    leadership by Premier McGuinty and his Liberal government allowed the
    Caledonia situation to escalate to a full-blown standoff and subsequently a public
    security crisis;
    To accept recommendations from the commission directed to preventing similar
    chaotic confrontations when dealing with future land claim issues in the
    province, including recommendations with respect to ways in which we can improve
    dispute resolution in this area and enhance respect for the rule of law; and
    To grant the commission powers under the Public Inquiries Act.
    The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Tory has moved opposition day
    number 4. Mr. Tory.
    Mr. Tory: I'm pleased to have the opportunity to move this motion, to
    initiate this debate today and to speak to the motion. I want to make four points.
    The first three are important, but I think the fourth is especially
    important. The four points are: the need to find ways to improve the land claims
    process; secondly, the need for a timely response on the part of governments when
    incidents of this kind arise and the shocking failure of the McGuinty
    government to respond in a timely fashion in this particular instance; thirdly, the
    need for leadership and communication on the part of the government of
    Ontario when incidents like this arise so that we don't have a crisis boil up
    before anything is done -- again, a shocking failure on the part of Premier
    McGuinty and his government in this instance; and finally, some comments on what I
    think is the most important issue of all that needs to be looked at by a
    commission and should be discussed here in the Legislature today, namely the
    importance of the maintenance of the rule of law.
    Dealing with the first issue, the land claims process, I think it is
    apparent to all of us that we have to do better. We heard the minister this
    afternoon getting into the same old game of saying that really this is all the
    federal government's responsibility and the rest of us should wash our hands of it
    and have nothing to do with it and so on. I think this is the kind of thing
    that has made our First Nations fellow citizens and, frankly, the citizens of
    Canada tired of this game that goes on back and forth, as opposed to saying,
    "Let's put a bit of energy, effort and creativity into finding better ways in
    which we can deal with these land claim issues." How we could do better; how
    they could do better, meaning the people in Ottawa and meaning the First
    Nations people? We're all in this together at the end of the day, sitting down,
    discussing these things. I think there is not the need to point the finger of
    blame at any one person or another, but there's a need for us to accept our
    collective responsibility to make sure this process is done better.
    Where is the harm in inviting, before an independent body or an independent
    investigator, experts and representatives on all sides -- First Nations,
    local governments, provincial governments, federal governments, business people,
    citizens who might have a view or two to offer on this kind of thing -- and
    to talk with them and listen to them on the matter of how we can take these
    land claims that have been around in many cases for hundreds of years,
    including the one that has led to the standoff at Caledonia, and find a way to do
    better? I would answer my own question by saying that there's absolutely no harm
    at all. There's never harm in calling people together under the watchful eye
    of an independent investigator and putting some of these questions on the
    table and listening to what all these people have to say as to ways in which we
    could do better.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    cont...

    1550
    I think we have to be proactive. The government of Ontario should be
    proactive in saying to the First Nations people, and frankly saying to each other,
    that 200 years, and in some cases longer, is too long to let these issues
    fester and it's time to see how we can find ways to do it better and make our
    suggestions, regardless at the end of the day who has the direct responsibility,
    to put our suggestions on the record as to how we, in Ontario, think we
    could do better and prevent these kinds of situations from arising which we saw
    at Oka, which we saw at Ipperwash and which we see today in Caledonia.
    The second point: a timely response. One of the merits of putting an inquiry
    in place like this is that it will allow all of us to see and understand why
    so much time was allowed to pass before the McGuinty government did anything
    at all -- anything at all. They knew about this months and months before any
    kind of occupation or any kind of protest of any kind took place. There were
    information pickets on this very site, on the side of this very same road
    where the land is located, months before any occupation of the land began, and
    yet we see no action taken at that time or, if there's been any action
    undertaken at that time, we have no idea what it is because it's never been shared
    with the public.
    Then the occupation of the land began months later. Still no action of any
    substance taken by Mr. McGuinty or his government until 60 days into the
    occupation -- 60 days of inconvenience, 60 days of mounting tension, 60 days of
    defiance of a court order. Maybe not 60 days of defiance of a court order,
    because I think it was obtained a little bit later, but the bottom line is, 60
    days after the occupation began, finally we had Mr. Peterson sent in as a
    representative of the Ontario government: the first overt and obvious sign of any
    action being taken by this Premier, Mr. McGuinty, and his government of any
    kind whatsoever -- not at the time when the issue first came to light, which I
    think may have been as far back as some time in 2004, and of course it's been
    around frankly for 200 years; not when the information pickets were there;
    not when the occupation began. Sixty days later: That's when this government
    finally decided, when the heat was on, when it was approaching a full-blown
    crisis, that they would do something about it.
    I'm not critical of what Mr. Peterson has tried to do. He was kind enough to
    brief Mr. Barrett and myself on what he was up to. There's no question as to
    the complexity of the assignment he took on, but questions still linger.
    What if he had been appointed last fall, in the fall of 2005, to sit down and
    begin the discussions he didn't begin until this spring? What if he'd been
    given that opportunity, David Peterson himself, to begin those complex
    discussions a lot earlier? Might we have never seen the blockade that did so much to
    raise tensions and did so much to disrupt the lives of people in that community
    and the relationship they've developed with each other over decades? What if
    he was appointed on day one or day two of the occupation instead of weeks
    and weeks into the occupation? Might we have headed off some of the ugliness
    that we saw in Caledonia where people were pitted against one another, where we
    saw power transformers burned down, businesses disrupted, schools shut down
    and so forth and so on?
    What if this government had decided that this was a serious enough matter
    that related to the rule of law, to a dispute that was festering between
    different parts of the community, and had taken some action at an earlier time? How
    much less damage would have been done -- yes, to business; yes, to schools;
    yes, to the transportation system; and yes, to hydro, just to cite some
    examples -- but much more importantly than that, how much less damage would have
    been done to the social fabric of Caledonia and surrounding area and indeed
    the social fabric of Ontario if Mr. McGuinty and his ministers had decided to
    take some action earlier on, instead of just hoping, as they have done in so
    many instances, whether it be electricity or all kinds of things? We could
    talk about the crime wave last summer. What if they had decided, for once, to
    actually proactively take some steps to deal with a situation that was clearly
    spiralling out of control and had acted earlier? What would that have done to
    maintain that precious social fabric that exists and has existed for decades
    between the First Nations people who live in the area of Caledonia and the
    Six Nations and the others who have lived there together, side by side, for
    decades and decades?
    On my visits there, I was struck by the fact that that was the issue that
    was of paramount concern to the people you talk to in both of those groups: How
    can we make sure we can go back when this is over, as it surely will be one
    day, to the kind of reasonably peaceful -- not perfect; what set of
    neighbours anywhere live in a state of perfection? -- but the reasonably peaceful
    coexistence we've had for decades? This government will never give us the
    opportunity to properly answer that question, because they dithered and they delayed
    and they failed to take action.
    Three visits. You could see each time I went -- I went the first two times
    without any contact with the media at all -- that that fabric was being
    stretched further and further and that the damage was done, I would argue, simply
    by the passage of time.
    That leads me to point three, communication and leadership. The one thing
    that you heard from people over and over again when you were there was that
    they felt completely abandoned on all fronts. There was no one there, and there
    hasn't been to this day. Aside from Mr. Peterson, who was sent down, there
    was no one in a responsible position, a minister of this government, who had
    the courage -- to my knowledge, unless they went down and have never told us --
    to go down there and actually take the opportunity to see for themselves
    what was going on and listen to the people and maybe show that slightest bit of
    concern about the impact this was having among all of the residents of all
    backgrounds down in that particular area.
    Mr. Peterson wasn't appointed for 60 days, but I will give him this: He at
    least had the decency to show up. He went down there and did listen to people
    and sat with them and talked with them, which is more than can be said for
    any member of this government, including in particular the Premier of this
    province, who should have been there, if for no other purpose than to say he
    cared about what was going on enough to see it for himself, he cared enough to go
    and listen to the concerns that were being raised by people who live there
    and who have lived there beside each other. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that
    the Premier should have been there; the minister should have been there.
    They're very fond, over on the government side of the House, of saying how
    much they fight for this group or that group, but the people on all sides down
    there -- I can tell you because I was there three times -- felt there was no
    one fighting for them. Least of all did they find that people in their
    provincial government were fighting for them when it came to addressing this
    issue.
    I want to just say a few words about the fourth matter, which is the one I
    said was the most important. I don't think there is anything more fundamental
    to the society we have here, to the system we have here, to the values that
    we hold dear in this province and in this country, than the rule of law. In
    fact, I noted with interest in doing a little research on this yesterday that
    when Mr. McGuinty, the Premier of this province, was in China last year, he
    took the opportunity to give what would properly be characterized perhaps in two
    respects, as a bit of a lecture to people he was visiting with in China
    about just how important we find the rule of law in the province of Ontario. He
    said, "Canadian leaders have consistently accentuated the dual themes of
    engagement and respect for the rule of law." He was talking there about business
    and saying that business can only be done in a climate in which the law is
    understood and consistently implemented. Those are the words of the Premier of
    this province giving a bit of a friendly lecture to the Chinese about the rule
    of law and talking about how important it is to those of us here in the
    province of Ontario.
    I would go so far as to suggest that a good deal of the conflict we see in
    the world today, some of the stuff that we all have been talking about in this
    House this afternoon, is, yes, related to democracy, and yes, it's related
    in part to a belief that we have in the free enterprise system and to human
    rights and so forth. But it is perhaps more so than anything else about whether
    people are prepared to embrace and buy into, as we have done in this
    society, the rule of law.
    If you have a democracy where governments are elected and have legislatures
    to pass laws, and it's all very democratic, but then following out of that
    you don't have respect for the rule of law, what do you really have?
    I read earlier from the Ministry of the Attorney General's website, where it
    was indicated that the rule of law and maintenance of the rule of law and
    the upholding of the rule of law is one of the most fundamental things that the
    Attorney General of Ontario is charged with. I would say the entire
    government, starting with the Premier and going all the way through, and indeed every
    member of this Legislature is here to pass laws and to reconsider laws and
    to hold people accountable, but at the end of the day, as well, to show
    leadership in upholding the rule of law.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      cont...

      I say with respect -- and it's not intended to pass judgment on anybody
      involved in any of this -- that we have allowed that principle to slide when it
      comes to how this matter has been dealt with, and others before it. We cannot
      have a situation where we somehow just leave everybody to fend for themselves
      when we have land that is being occupied after a court order is issued and
      we have public highways that are being blocked. If any of the rest of us did
      that, if we just decided to go out and protest high taxes or bad weather and
      sit down on Yonge Street, somebody would come along and say, "You can't do
      that," because it says in the law somewhere you can't do that.
      This is a sensitive matter, but at the end of the day, you can't just say,
      "We're just going to go along and hope one day it all goes away." In the end,
      if people get that message, whether it's people here, in Caledonia, in
      Ontario or anywhere across the country, that no matter what's on the books or no
      matter what a court says, it's okay to do whatever you want, then where are we?
      What are people going to start to do in terms of conducting their own lives?
      If they don't like a law, are they allowed to just ignore it?
      1600
      I understand and I've tried to be fair and balanced in my remarks in saying
      we've got to start at the root of this, which is finding better ways to deal
      with land claims. But we cannot allow a situation to prevail in this
      province, whether it has to do with a land claim or anything else, where the law is
      ignored, where the orders of courts are ignored, where people are left saying,
      "Let's hope for the best and let us know how things work out." We must
      maintain the rule of law. It is fundamental to what our society is built on. It is
      fundamental to why we are here. It is fundamental to why we have courts.
      I'd just say, in that regard, that I think there's a lot to be desired in
      terms of how this government has managed that aspect of this and in terms of
      how this entire matter has been managed. That's one of the other reasons why I
      think it is crucial that we have an independent investigator who can look at
      this most important of principles and say, "How can we do better at upholding
      and maintaining the rule of law?" There is nothing more fundamental and
      nothing more important to the role we play here to pass laws than that people and
      our society then have to agree on a consensual basis to follow and uphold
      them.
      The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?
      Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): This motion really is
      tailor-made to the McGuinty government's growing list of failures with respect to
      Caledonia and Six Nations. I hear concerns on two fronts: lack of leadership,
      leaving people on the ground to take the reins; and secondly, a bad job at
      communicating -- communicating with all sides, essentially. The result is that
      people feel they are being treated like mushrooms.
      I went behind the barricades on the third day. I have previously raised this
      issue at Queen's Park with the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.
      I contacted the federal Ministry of Indian Affairs. I went to Ottawa. I took
      material to the Governor General. From all branches and all levels of
      government, I continue to be stonewalled. The federal minister said this is a
      provincial issue. The provincial minister said this is a federal issue.
      On April 12, the provincial minister reversed course and took ownership of
      Caledonia as a provincial issue. He said in this House, "We'll be playing a
      lead role." But by June 3, that same minister, the minister for aboriginal
      affairs, reversed himself and said, "The province has done all it can do to solve
      the problem in Caledonia and Six Nations. Now it's time for Ottawa to step
      up." That was last weekend. But on May 24, Ottawa had previously said the
      occupation is provincial.
      So here we are in the middle. People in Brant county, Haldimand county,
      Caledonia and throughout Six Nations are caught. They have walked through and
      suffered 97 days now of confusion and time lost, and both levels of government
      continue to point the finger at each other. Rather than tackling the important
      issues, this government waits for them to explode. You blame the federal
      government, you hide behind a political friend, then you admit failure and leave
      a total vacuum of leadership and communication.
      However, the problem remains. At 1:30 this morning I watched a very large
      barn burn down on highway 6. That's one mile south of the barricade. Questions
      are out there: Who torched it? Who do we call to find out? Again, we remain
      in the dark. Lack of communication and lack of leadership has exacerbated
      these problems.
      We all are striving to determine what is driving this. The Places to Grow
      legislation was mentioned by Mr. Tory. I feel that is one catalyst. The
      greenbelt is leapfrogging growth out of the Golden Horseshoe. People at the occupied
      site, people behind the barricades tell me of their concern with four
      million people coming down to the Niagara-Hamilton-Toronto area within the next
      generation. I know elected Chief Dave General has reports of five million
      people. That's a lot of new subdivisions; that's a lot of garbage; that's a huge
      impact on water quality. A mass of subdivisions is envisioned being built on
      the full eastern boundary of Six Nations and on the northern boundary.
      People see reports of Brantford booming. They know of reports of another
      200,000 people coming to the Waterloo region. Again, all of this population
      growth is along the Grand River within that six-mile tract on either side. This
      is obviously a threat to hunting and fishing -- for example, carp, urban
      squirrels or perhaps the Norway rat. It's seen as a threat to people's culture, to
      their way of life, and a threat to generations hence.
      There are other drivers: land claims, of course; a perceived lack of
      respect; lack of recognition; lack of having a voice; racism -- I've witnessed
      racism -- and I could go on. There will be future incidents. As occupied site
      spokesperson Janie Jamieson has said, "Caledonia will be precedent-setting up and
      down the Grand River."
      What this motion suggests are tremendous voids in leadership and
      communication. There is evidence. I've already mentioned how the McGuinty government
      initially responded with finger pointing before taking ownership only after day
      42 and then dropping ownership on day 95. On May 9, I put out a warning about
      the prospect of the lights going out. On May 22, the lights went out. On May
      9, the minister said, "I am not aware of an expansion of the area of
      occupation," but it is the minister's job to be aware. The perimeter had moved at
      that time to north of the river.
      Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          cont...

          Once the Argyle Street barricades came down, the Premier attempted to
          communicate from a media studio in a city somewhere. Again, we heard the
          suggestions that the Premier, at that time, was a day late and a dollar short. It was
          seen as an attempt to take credit for someone else's success. It was seen to
          fan the flames: "Why won't the Premier thank the people of Caledonia and
          within Six Nations for doing what he couldn't do at that time: getting together on
          the ground, on the street, and getting those barricades down?"
          Communication: I continue to get so many e-mails. I've sent out close to
          2,000 e-mails just from my office -- phone calls and letters and faxes and
          conversations constantly in garages and shops up and down Highway 6 and at
          Ohsweken. People are asking, "Are the negotiations still on?" Maybe they are; nobody
          really knows. There's a deafening silence which leads to speculation.
          What is the McGuinty government offering in these negotiations? We get the
          odd snowball answer along with some heckling from the Liberals, but no real
          response. Is Burtch still on the table? Was it offered? Was it taken away? Why
          was it taken away? If land is being offered, are area MPPs being informed of
          what's going on? Again, we're kept in the dark. How do these land claims
          impact Brantford? How does it impact the Waterloo region, let alone Caledonia?
          Rampant confusion: In addition to disrupting of communities, traffic issues
          remain an ever-present disruption to business. When ministers are sometimes
          allowed to answer, we don't get much of an answer and we hear nothing from
          those who are muzzled. Because they would be forced to answer -- and this is one
          theory -- as Minister Ramsay has. They would have to acknowledge that they
          as well are in the dark and really don't seem to know what to do.
          We know this is a law and order issue. This past week, Ontario Superior
          Court Justice T. David Marshall ordered all parties to come before his bench to
          provide answers for why court orders have not been enforced. There might be a
          good reason; we don't know. There's no communication. There's no leadership.
          We have no idea. Again, people in the communities affected can only
          speculate.
          I've seen the total breakdown of law and order on both sides of the
          barricade -- on all sides, I will add. I've seen symptoms of frustration about being
          left in the dark, seeing no leadership from government, broken deals, and 97
          days of disruption.
          I will be supporting this motion. I've seen the failures; I've heard the
          silence. We haven't seen any elected members of this government in Caledonia or
          the Six Nations area as yet. John Tory, as we know, has visited on three
          occasions. It's time to figure out just where the wheels fell off this whole
          response from the McGuinty government to the Caledonia-Six Nations issue. To vote
          against this resolution would continue to ignore the reality of the
          situation, and it's a reality that very clearly cannot be ignored for long.
          1610
          Mr. John Milloy (Kitchener Centre): It's a pleasure to participate in
          today's debate. I'm the first member of the government who will be speaking to it,
          but I know there are a number of members, including Minister Ramsay, who are
          anxious to speak about this motion.
          I had a chance to review the motion over the weekend and was quite frankly
          shocked by its contents. I guess I was shocked because when it comes to issues
          surrounding Canada's aboriginal communities, Canada's First Nations
          communities, I'd always thought there was a consensus that existed here in this
          Legislature, here in the province of Ontario: first of all, a genuine concern for
          the plight of Canada's aboriginal peoples. I think all of us who have had a
          chance to be involved in public policy have been disturbed and at times
          shocked by many of the challenges that our aboriginal communities face in terms of
          poverty, in terms of access to education, in terms of access to
          opportunities. Canada is, unfortunately, a country which is not vacant of the problems of
          racism and other maladies which affect the way in which aboriginal peoples
          are treated. There is a whole range of issues with which I think we as public
          policy-makers have to be extremely concerned.
          Tied up into all of that is the whole issue of land claims, the fact that
          many aboriginal groups across this country have very legitimate claims upon
          pieces of land. They have the right to question treaties that have been signed
          in the past and to ask for them to be clarified, to ask for negotiations to be
          undertaken to make sure that those claims are resolved. These claims, as we
          all know in this Legislature, go back many, many hundreds of years, and
          addressing them is not an easy task. Courts are involved, commissions are
          involved, negotiators are involved, and it takes a great amount of time, a great
          amount of patience, a great amount of fairness in order to reach justice. But I
          think that we all agree in this Legislature that when it comes to these
          claims, they need to be settled, and they need to be settled in a way that is fair
          to all sides.
          The second background assumption I had was that everyone thought that what
          was going on in Caledonia was a very unfortunate situation. I think all of us
          have been disturbed by what we've seen in the media, by the tempers that have
          flared, by the roadblocks, by the rising tensions in that community. I don't
          think anyone across this province is not anxious to see the standoff come to
          an end. I always thought that everyone wanted to work for a peaceful
          resolution of the Caledonia situation. I think all of us in this government have
          been working with all parties to facilitate this peaceful resolution. I want to
          congratulate Minister Ramsay, the Premier and other members of cabinet for
          what they've been doing to try to facilitate this resolution in Caledonia.
          I come to the point of why I'm shocked, then, with the motion that has been
          put forward. I'm shocked because I thought it would have been the view of
          every member of this Legislature that we need to put aside some of the
          partisanship here, that we need to put aside some of the back and forth which
          underlies a lot of the day-to-day things going on in this Legislature, that we
          recognize how serious a situation it is in Caledonia, that we need to rise above
          this partisanship, and that we need to work together to find a peaceful
          resolution. Once in a while, I think it's time for issues to come to the surface
          where all parties appeal for some calm and appeal for everyone to sit down and
          find a way to work forward.
          This motion is attempting to divide this Legislature. It's attempting to
          divide Ontarians. Perhaps more shocking about this motion is that not only is it
          placed in some sort of a vacuum and not only does it deny the very long
          history that surrounds the Caledonia situation, but it also ignores the role of
          the other major partner in these discussions, the federal government.
          The current dispute in Caledonia, like so many disputes across this country,
          goes back over 200 years. In fact, the current round or current phase of
          negotiations about a series of land disputes goes back to the early 1970s, with
          the current set of talks going back over two years, when the province, the
          federal government and representatives of the Six Nations sat down to begin to
          discuss some of these particular issues; in my understanding, two of the 29
          outstanding land claims of the Six Nations reserves. These are claims that are
          primarily between the federal government and the Six Nations reserve, but
          Ontario has consistently taken a leadership role in these discussions and has
          certainly called on the federal government to join us in being front and
          centre. We've appointed David Peterson, a highly respected former Premier, to help
          us out in terms of some of the discussions and negotiations that are going
          on right now in Caledonia. At the same time, we've asked Jane Stewart to be the
          provincial representative in sitting down in some of the talks that are
          underlying some of the issues that are going on within Caledonia. We've offered
          $500,000 in interim assistance to businesses in the Haldimand area in order to
          help them deal with some of the challenges that have come about due to this
          dispute. But most importantly, we've continued to talk, we've continued to
          negotiate and we've continued to work for a peaceful resolution, because that's
          the only way forward. I think all of us have seen far too many instances in
          the past when tempers have reached the boiling point and where a misstep on
          one side has led to tragedy. What we need to do is continue the negotiations
          and continue these discussions. I think we're starting to see progress there.
          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            cont...
            Other things which I find more than a little passing strange about the
            Leader of the Opposition's motion that he presented today involve the whole issue
            of the Ontario Provincial Police. Let me say at the outset that I have been
            very proud of our government's relationship with the OPP. We have continued to
            recognize the need for an arm's-length relationship with the police force
            and have allowed them to make the types of operational decisions that they feel
            are necessary, depending on the situation. In the Leader of the Opposition's
            motion, he makes some rather bizarre claims about the need for compensation
            for the OPP. Now, the OPP has assured the government that they have
            sufficient resources to provide policing in Caledonia while also maintaining their
            other provincial responsibilities. Neither the OPP nor municipal police services
            who have provided backup to the provincial police have requested additional
            funding of the government, and the government of course would support such a
            request if and when it's actually made. As I said at the outset, the
            government continues to leave the deployment of OPP officers in the hands of the OPP
            commissioner and our senior staff.
            The other aspect of the Leader of the Opposition's motion that I find
            passing strange, again, is his ridiculous suggestion that somehow this is tied to
            the Places to Grow Act. As I said, this is a dispute going back over 200 years
            -- the current phase of discussions going back over 30 years. The history of
            the Places to Grow Act doesn't go back as far. In fact, it's rooted firmly
            in the work of the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel, which was established
            in February 2002 by the previous government under then-Minister Chris Hodgson
            and chaired by Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. The recommendations of the
            panel included developing and passing legislation to support smart growth
            planning. Indeed, when the Places to Grow Act was first tabled in the House on
            October 28, 2004, my colleague the member from Erie-Lincoln noted, and I
            quote, "In many senses, many parts of this are simply a red ribbon tied around
            good Conservative ideas."
            The Places to Grow Act is a separate piece of legislation which was brought
            forward to deal with many of the planning issues in southwestern Ontario. To
            throw it in as some sort of red herring, as the Leader of the Opposition
            does, I think downplays the importance of the ongoing negotiations between the
            province, the federal government and Six Nations, which span many years.
            Furthermore, the Ontario growth secretariat has engaged Six Nations and consulted
            with them on the proposed growth plan since April 2005. While the proposed
            growth plan will not apply specifically to First Nations reserve lands which are
            not subject to Ontario's land use planning system, the underlying objectives
            of the plan align with and support the objectives of Six Nations to ensure
            better land use planning.
            I think everyone recognizes that the events at Caledonia have been serious.
            I think all of us are disturbed at what we've seen on our nightly newscasts
            or read in the newspapers. All of us are looking for a peaceful resolution.
            Unfortunately, in so many instances, peaceful resolutions are never easy. We're
            talking about issues that go back for many years, many decades. We're
            talking about very complex issues involving different orders of government. I think
            we have to thank everyone who's involved for their patience. We have to
            continue to encourage them for goodwill.
            1620
            In terms of the resolution that's before us today, I think we have to call
            on all members of the Legislature to put aside the partisanship and the back
            and forth which sometimes muddies the water here. I think all of us need to
            stand and support the efforts of Mr. Peterson and the other negotiators at
            Caledonia, first of all to disarm the situation there and then to deal with some
            of the underlying problems that go forth.
            I think the motion that has been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition
            does nothing more than sow mischief. It contains a number of red herrings.
            It doesn't recognize the historical realities of the situation and it
            certainly doesn't recognize the role that has been played by this government in
            taking leadership.
            I will not be supporting the motion, and I call on my colleagues to vote
            against it as well.
            Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): You can tell by the member from
            Kitchener Centre's comments that he wasn't here when the Liberal Party was in
            opposition when he talks about partisanship on these kinds of issues. He
            should review the history and the opposition day motion put forward on Ipperwash
            by the Liberal Party of Ontario.
            I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate on the motion of
            the Leader of the Opposition, John Tory, dealing with Caledonia, the
            longest-running native occupation in memory. As someone who was on the receiving end
            of questions and accusations surrounding the occupation of Ipperwash
            Provincial Park from the then Liberal opposition, it truly saddens me that once again
            we find ourselves in a situation that in many respects is significantly more
            serious than Ipperwash.
            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              cont...

              The positive distinction with Ipperwash is that we
              have not had a fatality at Caledonia, and thank God for that.
              However, what we have witnessed at Caledonia should be disturbing to all
              caring Ontarians. We've seen violent clashes between Caledonians and native
              occupiers, a bridge being burned, roads torn up and a transformer station knocked
              out, plunging thousands into a power blackout and costing $1.25 million in
              repairs. We have also seen public roads and a railway spur blockaded.
              Yesterday, as unbelievable as it might seem, a security guard's car was torched and
              police officers who drove, mistakenly, into the occupied area were escorted
              out of what a Six Nations spokesperson described as a no-go zone: a no-go zone
              for Ontario police in the province of Ontario.
              The McGuinty government's reaction to the occupation, the violence, the
              blockades, economic losses and the deteriorating relationship between native and
              non-native populations has been to offer the occupiers property worth
              millions of dollars, to blindside the developers of the occupied property with a
              development moratorium that they had to read about in the newspaper and, of
              course, to blame others.
              The regrettable reality is that the good citizens of Caledonia are reaping
              what Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal colleagues sowed in opposition with their
              attacks on the Harris government, and by implication the OPP, in the
              aftermath of the Ipperwash shooting. For years, McGuinty and his acolytes in the
              media implied that Harris and his cabinet colleagues, with the complicity of the
              OPP, somehow encouraged officers to attack the occupiers, resulting in the
              tragic death of Dudley George.
              As someone who was there, I knew the accusation was completely false, but
              McGuinty, sensing political blood and not recognizing implications down the
              road, carried on the attack right into the current government's now
              multi-million dollar inquiry into Ipperwash. As a result, Mr. McGuinty has hobbled
              himself and his government in terms of approaches to the Caledonia situation, and
              he has also handicapped the OPP.
              Their failed April attempt to enforce the injunction was a politically
              correct exercise sending in ill-equipped and for the most part untrained officers
              to deal with a powder keg situation. The result was a huge humiliation for a
              wonderful police force, the OPP, when they were forced to retreat with their
              tails between their legs. Who can fault the OPP? They knew, based on past
              words, that they couldn't count on the McGuinty government to support them. That
              was reinforced in question period the day after the botched raid, when the
              Premier put on his three-blind-mice routine: didn't know anything about it,
              didn't want to know anything about it and wouldn't commit to anything to
              address it. In Premier McGuinty's office it appears that ignorance is bliss, or at
              least safe political territory.
              At the end of the day, the Caledonia occupation is all about failed
              leadership. Mike Harris, despite his faults -- and we all have faults -- was a leader
              who felt strongly that laws had to apply equally to all Canadians, and that
              to do otherwise would seriously undermine the rule-of-law principles that
              this country and this province were built on.
              Mr. McGuinty in opposition, however, took a different approach, and with the
              prospect of short-term political gain went down a path that opened the door
              to future confrontations, with Caledonia, I fear, being just the start.
              Constitutionally, aboriginals in Canada have special rights, but those
              rights don't extend to breaking the laws of our country and our province. Mr.
              McGuinty has clearly demonstrated his inability to deal with the Caledonia
              situation, unless it involves negotiating concessions that could provoke further
              Caledonias. First Nations leadership, we should mention, has also been missing
              in action in Caledonia -- an absence that undermines respect for their
              efforts in other areas.
              This is an extremely difficult and volatile situation, and we hope and pray
              that today's motion will encourage all parties to work towards a speedy
              resolution that is fair to all and doesn't preclude the laying of appropriate
              criminal charges at the end of the day.
              Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for
              aboriginal affairs): It's a pleasure to rise in my place in the Ontario
              Legislature today to talk about an issue that has certainly taken up a lot of my
              time and a lot of the time of the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat of the
              province of Ontario.
              The Premier of the province, Dalton McGuinty, many other of my cabinet
              colleagues and hundreds of government of Ontario officials have been working --
              many of them literally night and day -- putting their heads together to come up
              with solutions to this particular challenge.
              This is a very complicated issue, and from all the events that have
              transpired over the last two and a half months now, it is quite evident, I think to
              everyone, how complicated this is, just going back as little as last night
              when a police car made a wrong turn, and how that got quite a few of the
              residents of the Six Nations quite excited as they saw a police car come in where
              normally that car wouldn't venture. It caused a bit of excitement then. I think
              the public appreciates the tension that's there on both sides in this area
              and how difficult this is. As I've mentioned, literally hundreds of people in
              the Ontario public service have been working as a team on this.
              I think I'd start with a bit of the history here. There's ancient history to
              this and there's recent history. I think everybody understands the context
              -- the ancient history, if you will, that in 1784, it was the British crown
              that granted the Haldimand Tract, which was described at that time as six miles
              either side of the Grand River, from the mouth of the river that opens into
              Lake Erie all the way up to the headwaters, which start around Orangeville.
              The idea of that reward for the contribution of the Six Nations in fighting
              the American rebels during the Revolutionary War was that they would occupy
              some of that land and that they would receive value for the disposition of that
              land as the settlers came into that part of Ontario. A trust account was to
              be established, and they would be credited with the disposition of that land.
              Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                The dispute really is an accounting claim, by and large. While there are
                some particular parcels that are involved in a land claim, the overall dispute
                is an accounting claim. The claim made by the Six Nations is: Were they
                properly credited with all the value of the land that was transferred from that
                tract? It was a gift from the crown at the time.
                1630
                There are some particular land claim issues there, and about 28 of them have
                been a focus over the last few years. We acted upon a letter we received in
                the summer of 2005, where we accelerated the process of exploration of these
                claims. A couple of the parcels, the Six Nations asked to go to litigation,
                and that gave us the opportunity to give those some special attention. So
                we've been working on this issue, trying to resolve this issue, over the last few
                years.
                Chief David General of the Six Nations had been telling us and many in his
                community of the progress that was being made, but there were many in the
                community who didn't appreciate that progress and were getting impatient. I think
                what exactly happened was that this spring, when the showpiece model home in
                the subdivision of Douglas Creek Estates sprang up -- and it's basically
                right at the end of one of the roads leading to and from the Six Nations reserve
                -- it was just something that was in your face and it got many of the people
                on the reserve quite excited with a sense that their land was being lost to
                this.
                I think people have to understand that this development was only given
                approval when all the procedures were followed and everything was passed, one of
                those being that the chief and council of Six Nations had signed off on the
                development of Douglas Creek Estates going forward. To have gotten to that
                point, an archaeological study had also been executed and completed and passed
                satisfactorily. So there were procedures in place that have been established
                down there in the Haldimand Tract in regard to development, and those
                procedures were followed. But what we had here was a segment of the community that
                didn't accept the process that was ongoing and didn't want to see development
                going on in the Douglas Creek property.
                Some of the background to this -- and this is why this particular dispute
                has some very particular matters attached to it that are unique to this First
                Nation. Traditionally, Mohawks have a hereditary style of government, a style
                of government based on hereditary chiefs. But in 1924 the federal government
                imposed upon First Nations in Canada a first-past-the-post electoral system,
                very similar to what we have here in municipal, provincial and federal
                elections. By and large, most First Nations accepted that electoral system to elect
                a chief and a council who would then hire a band administrator who would
                administer, just like our municipalities do, funds that the bands have. In this
                case, this was imposed upon First Nations because primarily the resources
                that are managed by First Nations are monies that are transferred from the
                federal government to First Nation communities. This electoral system was imposed
                upon this First Nation at gunpoint by the RCMP, so there is a bitterness
                there about that imposition of this so-called democratic system of government.
                While we consider it one of the most and best democratic ways of selecting a
                government, this strikes against the tradition of Six Nations and of Mohawks
                in general. So there never has been a full acceptance of this electoral
                system, that we commonly participate in as non-native residents of Ontario. With
                that, you have maybe 12% of the population partaking in these elections, and
                you have various people competing for the jobs of council and chief. So there
                is not a broad engagement by the population in the electoral process, and
                this makes it very difficult to govern there.
                In fact, what has happened since the Douglas Creek Estates dispute is that
                the elected chief, David General, and the council have delegated authority to
                the Haudenosaunee chief the responsibility of at least dealing with the
                disposition of the Douglas Creek property, and how that's going to be dealt with.
                Right now there's some shared responsibility between the elected chief, David
                General, and the Haudenosaunee chief, Allen MacNaughton. So there is right
                now some shared jurisdiction. Part of what we and the federal government
                wanted to do over the last few years too was to assist the community in working
                out a governance model that would be acceptable to both levels of government
                and the people of Six Nations.
                That's one of the underlying complications in this issue. There are various
                players involved representing Six Nations itself, so it's not a simple
                negotiation, as one might find within the business world, for instance, when a
                multinational corporation sits across a table from its union, where the
                procedures and structures of that organization are very clear to both sides and there
                are direct lines of responsibility. This is a very different negotiation.
                In fact, I know part of the frustration that people find is the timeliness
                of these talks. That is because of the extreme democratic nature of Mohawk
                politics and of First Nations politics right across this country.
                Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  cont...

                  When we, in
                  our first-past-the-post electoral system, get elected and an executive is sworn
                  in, we basically have responsibility in each of our ministerial roles to
                  govern the province. In First Nation communities, leadership will consult, some
                  would say to a fault, back to the people who sent them there so that there is
                  always consensus being built. It's a very different system in that while
                  governing, even as a majority government, we'd like to find consensus and work
                  with stakeholders, at times we will make a decision based on our authority
                  that might not have the acceptance of everyone involved. That is very contrary
                  to aboriginal governance; they work very differently. That takes time, so we
                  will see great pauses in the negotiations, for days, while consultations are
                  led by the leadership of the other side with their community.
                  That's another complication. I think that lack of understanding of that
                  political system builds frustrations in the non-native community. But it's
                  something that I think we have to appreciate and, as I have instructed our team,
                  something we have to accommodate for. We're doing that because the goal here
                  that we have as the Ontario government led by Dalton McGuinty is to find a
                  peaceful resolution to this.
                  The other side of this -- so far I've just addressed the aboriginal side of
                  this. I want to talk about the residents of Caledonia, who have been severely
                  impacted by this dispute. I know everyone in this chamber has been aware of
                  the efforts that we have made as a province in working towards returning the
                  community to normalcy. We've had some success, but not total success, in
                  doing that.
                  As everyone knows, about three and half weeks ago now, we appointed former
                  Premier David Peterson to be the lead in the short-term negotiations. He has
                  done a tremendous job in doing that. Since he has taken over that
                  responsibility, we have seen the removal of the Argyle Street barricade, which was the
                  most disruptive of the three barricades that had been in place. That's the one
                  that basically blocked the main traffic of the main street, so that the
                  stores along Argyle Street were not easily accessed. Of course, we saw how many of
                  the businesses had lost their traffic by up to 50% and had suffered losses
                  accordingly.
                  Because of that, we have stepped in. It was over a week ago that my
                  colleague the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Joe Cordiano, went down to
                  Caledonia. He established a fund with the county for $500,000 to help the
                  businesses that have been hurt in that area. They've had severe losses. I know
                  many of them were on the brink of bankruptcy because of these sustained
                  losses. So there's been that. We have established two $50,000 funds to the county
                  to do some work at their end, one of them to market Haldimand county and to
                  work on economic development plans for that region. We have been working with
                  both sides, because both sides have been impacted by this.
                  1640
                  I would also say that I know the members of the assembly here are aware of
                  the long-term working group that the federal and provincial governments have
                  put together. We're very pleased with the co-operation of Minister Jim
                  Prentice, my counterpart in Ottawa, for his appointment of former cabinet minister
                  Barbara MacDougall to represent the federal government at this long-term
                  table. We have also appointed a former federal cabinet minister, Jane Stewart, who
                  is the former Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs in Ottawa. Both of
                  these negotiators bring tremendous experience to the job.
                  We're at a point now where we think that Ontario has probably exhausted all
                  the tools that we have available to us to solve the short-term dispute. We
                  see, as the long-term working group commences its discussions, that the
                  short-term dispute is naturally evolving to that table, and probably rightfully so.
                  That table is preparing to take on and address that. Obviously, the crux of
                  all of this is the final disposition of Douglas Creek.
                  That brings me, obviously, to the other injured party here, the Henning
                  brothers, owners of the Henco development company. They are the developers of
                  this particular property, who are hoping to build 600 homes on this property as
                  Caledonia is expanding to the south, a rapidly growing community southwest of
                  Hamilton.
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Henning brothers realize now that the value in the property is not what
                    it was once and have entered into negotiations with the province, and we
                    continue to talk to them about the property. In the interim, we have given them
                    some capital as bridge financing to make sure that they do not go bankrupt.
                    We've also worked with the builders that had been associated with the
                    developer, who were planning on being partners with the developing company to build
                    those homes there, to help them out because they obviously have been in severe
                    financial jeopardy too.
                    We've been trying to address all the concerns of the community and the
                    various players there. We've also set up a working group called the alliance. This
                    is a working group of business people in Caledonia, municipal
                    representatives and other community representatives. There are daily meetings going on
                    between government officials and this alliance group in order to communicate to
                    the community exactly what's going on on a day-to-day basis. One of the
                    concerns that was brought to our attention very early in this dispute was that
                    because of the negotiations going on, a lot of people didn't understand what
                    progress we were making, what was going on and what was being asked of us. So
                    we've established this alliance working group where we communicate on a daily
                    basis with this group, and have also set up an 800 number with this group so
                    that the public has access to information as news breaks here.
                    We're doing everything we can and I think that's the message I would want to
                    get out today to the people of Ontario, that we are marshalling all the
                    resources we have in the provincial government. We are partnering with the
                    federal government and certainly asking them to continue to be a partner with us at
                    the table. As we get further down the road on the long-term working group,
                    it will in the end be the tools the federal government has that will see the
                    resolution to this dispute. It is only the federal government that has the
                    tools to resolve an outstanding land claim that needs to be brought to the
                    table. They are there, and we are certainly encouraging them to continue the work
                    with us, as they have been. I think in the end we are going to get through
                    this.
                    I would ask the members, and I suppose especially the official opposition,
                    who today have brought forward this resolution, to have patience. I find it
                    passing strange, as their ex-leader had once phrased in this House, while we
                    are in a dispute and not at resolution yet, to be talking about a post-mortem
                    about the situation. But they've decided to do that today. I suppose our time
                    might have been better spent here in working together, all three parties, in
                    trying to find a resolution to this.
                    This not a partisan issue. This is not a political issue. This is a
                    challenge faced by both the provincial government and the federal government as to
                    how best can we settle the outstanding claims by aboriginal people that this
                    country faces? As I said earlier in question period, there are over 1,000
                    outstanding land claims in this country and many of those have been outstanding
                    for hundreds of years. It is time that all levels of government get together. I
                    think what is going to come out of the long-term working group here in
                    Caledonia, for Ontario, is that in the end we are going to design and develop
                    mechanisms to better expedite these outstanding land claims. If one could, in the
                    future, look back at where we will finally resolve this issue, I think what
                    we're going to be able to say, if there is some good that has come out of this
                    dispute, is that in the end -- and I'm hopeful this will be the case -- we
                    will have developed an expeditious approach to solving outstanding land
                    claims, at least in Ontario, and hopefully, through that, maybe develop a prototype
                    that could be used right across this country.
                    This is something that really has to be resolved. It's a nagging problem
                    that nags this country. It holds our aboriginal people back. It prevents them
                    from truly sharing in the economic wealth of this country and it has got to be
                    resolved. This particular dispute in Ontario has brought this to a head. We
                    have to deal with it now. I think, in the end, we will get this resolved and
                    we'll all be the better for it.
                    Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I'm pleased to be able to make a few
                    comments today supporting our leader's opposition day motion.
                    First of all, I want to say to you that I understand what a difficult
                    situation Caledonia has been. I want to thank our leader, John Tory, who has
                    visited Caledonia at least twice and has made this a very high priority as he has
                    tried to work, I think in a non-partisan manner, to try to bring resolution to
                    this.
                    I'd like to make a few comments today in support of the Ontario Provincial
                    Police, who appear to be, as one police officer mentioned to me two weeks ago,
                    the meat in the sandwich. I say that because we've had a number of officers
                    present at Caledonia since February 28 of this year. At times, in the
                    vicinity of 200 officers have been present at Caledonia. It's been a tremendous,
                    tremendous burden on the Ontario Provincial Police's budget. I wanted to make
                    sure people are aware that this is a budget where the field and traffic
                    division had already been cut by $31 million this year. So trying to find that $31
                    million, as well as finding the costs that are associated with Caledonia,
                    would be important for the government not only to address but, if the government
                    wants to work in a non-partisan manner on this issue, I'd like to see some
                    answers come back to this House on what these costs are.
                    There is no question these costs are affecting the OPP budget. They're
                    affecting municipal police forces and of course they're affecting the general
                    officers in the Ontario Provincial Police because, as one officer told me last
                    Friday, they're tired. This has gone on a long time, over 100 days now. It's
                    having an impact.
                    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One thing the minister could come forward with would be to provide that
                      information to this House. For example, what has it cost? I have seen nothing to
                      date. He says it's all part of the overall budget and it's not having any
                      impact on anything else. I don't buy that, not when I talk to officers from
                      across the province. They seem to have a different opinion than the minister does
                      on it. I can tell you that -- my guess right now -- it's costing close to
                      $3.5 million out of the Ontario Provincial Police budget every month that this
                      goes on. I'd ask that the minister, if anyone has any more accurate
                      information than that, come forward with that and provide us with the detailed
                      information, because it is having an impact. I just want to know that in a busy
                      holiday season like we're about to embark upon -- we've just finished the May 24
                      weekend and we've got the long weekend coming up in July, which is one of the
                      busiest days of the year -- we have the officers on our highways and we have
                      the officers near our provincial parks. There are often literally thousands
                      and thousands of people at some of these provincial parks. We need to have
                      that police presence, and I want to make sure that those officers are available
                      in the summer months. Right now, I think they're going to be more tired than
                      ever and that we won't see the numbers we would normally see.
                      1650
                      I was very concerned when I asked a question, even today, on the terrorism
                      attacks, because I think it shows a sense of leadership. The minister refused
                      to answer the question or the supplementary. He went on about something with
                      Norman Inkster, that he didn't fire them. The question was, what additional
                      resources were they providing? Then, when I asked him the CISO question about
                      the $1.76 million, he said he hadn't made any cuts. I acknowledged that but I
                      asked him, was he going to make the cuts next May, May 2007, and he refused
                      to answer the question. This is no longer question period, because we
                      certainly don't get any answers anymore, answers to anything. That's what's kind of
                      sad about the place. You look for honest answers and you look for accurate
                      answers and you get nothing out of it. That's very disappointing.
                      This issue at Caledonia, the blockades etc., what I'm hearing from people
                      from across my riding, which is almost 200 km from Caledonia, is, where's the
                      leadership? Where is the leadership on this issue? We have not seen the
                      Premier at Caledonia. We have not seen any cabinet minister at Caledonia. We've
                      never seen the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. We've
                      never seen the Attorney General. That's a sense of leadership. We've got a
                      crisis here, we've got a situation that I think needs true leadership, and Dalton
                      McGuinty is nowhere to be seen. At the same time, they're asking us to pass
                      Bill 56, the emergency management act, which gives more power to the Premier
                      than ever. We're supposed to listen to that, when the guy is lost in action?
                      He has hidden under his desk or something, somewhere. He will not visit
                      Caledonia. That is disgraceful. There should be a cabinet minister's presence
                      weekly at Caledonia until this thing gets resolved. At least it would show some
                      faith that the government actually cares about this particular issue and cares
                      about the Ontario Provincial Police, who have become the meat in the
                      sandwich, as I said earlier, on this very difficult issue.
                      I will be supporting this resolution and I support my leader for his
                      leadership on this file. There's not a lot he can do at times, but at least he can
                      bring to the attention of the public that we're seeing absolutely no
                      leadership whatsoever at Caledonia from Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet.
                      Mr. Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay): It's unfortunate that we have to be
                      in this Legislature, debating this particular motion. Let me explain why. We
                      never should have been put in this situation in the first place. This is a
                      long-standing problem with First Nations, not only here in Ontario but across
                      this country. Whenever it comes to resolving the grievances or issues that
                      First Nations have had for many, many years, before federal and provincial
                      governments, it has always been pretty well much the same: a federal government
                      missing in action, that's indifferent, that quite frankly has followed a policy
                      of assimilation and a policy of neglect to where First Nations, no matter
                      where they might reside -- in southern Ontario, northern Ontario, BC or wherever
                      it might be -- find themselves always in a position of being basically
                      without. I represent, as do other members in this House, many First Nations. I
                      represent mostly Mushkegowuk Cree and the Ojibways of the central Ontario area
                      around Timmins. I can tell you, for those of you who have been into those
                      communities, that you will see a lot of poverty. You will see poverty in those
                      communities like you see probably in many other places of the world where
                      poverty exists. I always remember being at a conference one time with
                      parliamentarians -- I forget where it was, somewhere in Europe -- and a Canadian senator
                      stood in the middle of this assembly of legislators from across the world and
                      was admonishing the European countries for their treatment of people in
                      Third World countries and was talking about Canada being the upstanding example.
                      I just reminded the person afterwards that if that was truly the case, then
                      we should be able to point to First Nations communities as being the example
                      of how Canada is a leader when it comes to dealing with people fairly. The
                      senator recognized the error of his ways and found that Canada has nothing to
                      say in regard to admonishing anybody else; all we have to do is look at our
                      First Nations.
                      Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why are we here with Caledonia? It's much the same story as is the case of
                        most other First Nations. The federal government, first of all -- and there's
                        blame to be sent to both sides, but I'll start with the federal government
                        because at the end of the day you would think the federal government would have
                        some interest in resolving this -- has not listened to the grievances that
                        have come from the Six Nations community for many years now. Then, as is
                        normally the case, First Nations for a long time would never look to the province
                        for a solution to some of their problems. I believe they should be looking to
                        the province for many of their solutions. I'm going to get into that a
                        little bit later. Why? Number one, because they are Canadian citizens, and Ontario
                        citizens in this case; two, we do have jurisdiction. We're the ones who do
                        planning, who do development -- all those things are municipal in nature.
                        Three: In many cases, we've signed the treaties.
                        It always amazes me when I listen to governments of all stripes in this
                        place, specifically in the Legislature here, turn around and say, "Oh, well.
                        That's a federal responsibility," and I know full well that we, as a province,
                        signed on to the treaty. You say to yourself, "Well, if the provincial
                        government was there on signing and the crown was representative of the federal
                        government on signing and the First Nations signed in good faith, why would the
                        province not accept its role?" There's where we go further into the Caledonia
                        situation.
                        Caledonia is nothing new. What has happened in this particular grievance is
                        one that has been long-standing. Anybody who lives anywhere near Six Nations
                        or anybody who knows anything about what goes on will recognize that this
                        issue has been around for a long time. They have been looking at trying to
                        resolve this for many of the reasons that the Minister of Natural Resources laid
                        out in his debate. Hence the problem: Nobody has listened. It's the same old
                        game, right? The feds bounce the ball to the province. I heard Prentice and I
                        heard Harper say, "It's a provincial responsibility." Then I hear, coming
                        from the Legislature, from the Minister of Natural Resources and the Premier,
                        "It's a federal responsibility." And we pass the ball back and forth. In the
                        meantime, it's like playing hot potato: Nobody wants to catch it.
                        Meantime, the communities in and around the area of Caledonia are in the
                        situation they're in with the blockade, and it's not fun for them. I can attest
                        to that. More importantly -- or as important, I should say, to correct myself
                        -- the First Nations have not had their particular grievances resolved.
                        All I say is, listen, let's all recognize something here in Ontario. The
                        federal government's missing in action. I'd given up on them a long time ago. If
                        I had to wait for the federal government to resolve any of the issues in our
                        First Nations on Timmins-James Bay and if every time I was approached by
                        communities in my riding, I was to say, "Oh, that's a federal responsibility,"
                        there wouldn't be a brand new school in Fort Albany. We wouldn't be doing many
                        of the things we're doing when it comes to health care, as far as building
                        an integrated health care system on James Bay. We're actually going to
                        transfer it over the province, where we know how to run health care, and the federal
                        government doesn't. You can't wait for the federal government because, quite
                        frankly, they're indifferent. They don't care.
                        I listened to Jean Chr├ętien and I listened Paul Martin make all kinds of
                        promises to First Nations and say, "Oh, Lord, we love you. Let us give you a
                        hug. Be part of our advisory committees. We love you; we're going to do all
                        kinds of things for you." They've done what every Liberal/Conservative government
                        has done in the history of Canada, which is basically ignore the issues of
                        First Nations. In the case of Caledonia, to a large extent, that's exactly
                        what the federal government did here and that's exactly what Dalton McGuinty has
                        done as well.
                        What should have been done -- well, it's like being a Monday morning
                        quarterback. I can sit here and analyze every play that's going to happen in the
                        first game of the NHL playoffs with Edmonton. When Edmonton wins, I'm sure I can
                        sit back and analyze every play and pretend that I know how they could have
                        got more scores and how they could have saved themselves in a couple of
                        situations, but that's easy to say. I think what we can say safely is, what it
                        takes is action. It takes an engagement on the part of the province. I can't
                        speak for the federal government because I'm not a federal legislator, I'm not
                        an MP. Quite frankly, they've been missing in action for too long. It takes
                        action on the part of this province to say, "There's a problem on Six Nations
                        when it comes to this issue. We know that this thing is going to come to a
                        boil. Let's sit down and let's try to find a resolution to this before it comes
                        to a boil."
                        1700
                        What those solutions are would have been a matter for -- we can sit here and
                        debate this for the next hour that we have and second-guess what could have
                        been put as far as recommendations for resolving this thing way back when.
                        I'm not going to get into the detail of it. All I'm going to say is, you go
                        there and you say, "There is a problem. Let's try to fix it."
                        We deal with that on a monthly basis, at least, in the James Bay. Both my
                        federal colleague, Charlie Angus, and I deal quite a bit with First Nations in
                        regard to a number of issues. For example, this last week you would have seen
                        in the media where Jim Prentice, for some reason, decided there was no
                        agreement that was signed between the government of Canada last fall and the
                        community of Kashechewan to relocate that community. Don't ask me why Jim Prentice
                        did that.
                        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I thought it was the stupidest thing. There is an agreement by the
                          federal government that's signed with the First Nations that they were
                          finally going to relocate that community to higher ground, and Jim Prentice all of
                          a sudden started doing the dance of the seven veils and started making all
                          kinds of comments and suggestions that would slow down the process.
                          I can tell you, the community of Kashechewan -- which has now spread out
                          from Thunder Bay to Hearst to Sudbury to Timmins to Kapuskasing to Cochrane and
                          Greenstone and a number of other communities -- was quite upset, and a number
                          of them wanted to get on the buses and they wanted to hold a blockade. The
                          potential was, we could have had blockades in each one of those communities as
                          of this weekend, but Charlie and I got on the phone and we met with the band
                          council and we started having some discussion. We said, "Hang on a second; t
                          here are some other things that we can do here. We think that Prentice has
                          messed up. He didn't realize where he was going, like most other ministers of
                          Indian Affairs, who never really understand what they're doing."
                          Charlie went back and had a chat with Prentice on Friday and started to put
                          the pieces back into the box. On Sunday morning, we met with the band
                          council. We were on the phone with a number of different people who were calling
                          both Charlie and me, Chief Leo and Deputy Chief Rebecca and others, and we dealt
                          with it. We said, "Hang on; let's cool our jets here. Let's realize what's
                          happened. The minister has made a very fairly large tactical error, and we
                          need to find a way to put this thing back together again."
                          I'm confident that we seem to be going in that direction as of this morning.
                          From conversations I've had with my federal colleague, Charlie Angus, we're
                          certainly going in the right direction to getting the federal government to
                          recognize that there was an agreement that was signed with the First Nation,
                          and we're going to move forward.
                          How does that relate to Caledonia? My point is this: We sat down and we
                          talked. We didn't wait until this thing became a powder keg. I would never do
                          that, because I think at the end of the day it would put me in an untenable
                          position as a provincial member of Parliament. But if I'd sat on this thing last
                          Thursday and had said, "Oh well, what happens, happens," and didn't take the
                          time, along with many others, to sit down and to build the good will that we
                          have over the years, the city of Timmins, the community of Cochrane and
                          Kapuskasing and Hearst and others who've been with First Nations on the James Bay,
                          building those relationships so there is trust, this thing could have blown
                          up into a powder keg.
                          My point is, and I know my good friend Mr. Levac feels the same way I do:
                          You sit down and you talk to people. And you know what? Sometimes that can be
                          very tough. I'll tell you, I've been at some community meetings, I don't care
                          if it's aboriginal or non-aboriginal, in Kapuskasing, for example, back in
                          the early 1990s when they were going to lose their only employer,
                          Kimberly-Clark, I remember going into that community with Len Wood and Shelley Martel and
                          talking to people. I remember that at one point they blockaded us in the
                          community. They blocked the highways going in and out of Kapuskasing until such
                          time that a solution was found.
                          I wasn't threatened by that. I took the view -- and so did Shelley and Len
                          -- that we had to understand that these people were mad, they were losing
                          their only employer, and the provincial government representatives were there and
                          they wanted to have some answers to their questions. Yes, it was tough; it
                          was hard. They yelled at us, they screamed at us, they were pretty tough on
                          us, but at the end of a fairly long meeting, people started saying, "Well, at
                          least they're listening." That's the first step.
                          We couldn't tell them then and there in that meeting that we could do X, Y
                          and Z, because we didn't have the authority to do that. Shelley was the
                          Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Len was the local member and I was her
                          parliamentary assistant, and we didn't have the authority. We said to them,
                          "We've heard your concerns and we're asking you not to blockade the road. We
                          will go back to Queen's Park and we will work with the provincial government
                          in order to try to find a solution." A few months later we found a solution and
                          Kapuskasing was saved.
                          Let's remember, it's not only First Nations that put up blockades. I've been
                          on a number of blockades over the years. In fact, I was on a blockade last
                          fall in regard to the closure of the mill in Opasatika, where the OPP was
                          called in to deal with what was a blockade by the unemployed workers who were
                          losing their jobs: community members, grandmothers, children, teachers, chamber
                          of commerce types, mayors and others who were on the -- are you pointing at
                          me? Okay, you're trying to get the attention of the page. I'm sorry. I was
                          wondering why you wanted me to go down and see you, Sergeant at Arms, as I was
                          talking about being on a blockade, being a former RCMP guy.
                          But anyway, my point is, I was on that blockade where the citizens of the
                          Kapuskasing-Opasatika area closed Highway 11. That's the major transportation
                          route for all goods and services going across Canada at that time of the year
                          because normally toward the fall and the winter, we stop using Highway 17 for
                          truck transportation and we move north. My point is that the road was
                          blockaded. And do you know what the OPP did? They didn't come in with their clubs
                          and start bashing everybody on the head. They did what they always do. They
                          tried to calm the situation down. After a period of time, people decided they'd
                          made their point and moved on.
                          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So I'd just say to people, I know this is frustrating, what's happening in
                            Caledonia. God, I know. I've been on both sides on these things. I've been
                            blockaded in on a couple of occasions and I've been on the blockades, both with
                            First Nations and non-aboriginal people, on various issues. The point is, the
                            OPP has to do a job of maintaining the peace, but not inflaming the
                            situation. If we're going to get mad at somebody, let's not get mad at the OPP. They
                            try to do their job as best they can.
                            I think we need to take a look at where the problem lies, and the problem
                            lies with both federal and provincial governments, and in this case, the
                            provincial government, which failed to recognize there was this problem brewing in
                            the Six Nations for as long as it was. Then finally, after the First Nations
                            felt nobody was listening and it wasn't going anywhere, they put a blockade
                            up. The blockade was up for how long? Sixty-some-odd days, 50-some-odd days
                            before the altercation came with the OPP. Where was the provincial government
                            in all that period? It's not as if we didn't know. I know the good Minister of
                            Natural Resources probably got daily briefings from his staff on day 1, day
                            2, day 3 of the blockade. Why did it take 50 days for the government to
                            respond or try to find a response or 60 days to appoint David Peterson?
                            It seems to me we had to enter into dialogue, and if we waited for the
                            federal government, we'd wait another 120 days. Imagine, if you will, being a
                            First Nations person living in Peawanuk or Kashechewan or wherever it might be.
                            You sign a treaty with a government 100 years ago -- they've been waiting for
                            100 years for the government to honour their treaties. Talk about patience,
                            and they've been pretty good about it. They have not done anything that is out
                            of the ordinary or outside of the law. They've been pretty decent about it,
                            but every now and then people do get frustrated, and out of that frustration
                            at times comes what we see in the form of blockades.
                            I wanted, while I had the opportunity in this debate, to talk a little bit
                            about what I think the policy should be that should lead us away from the
                            Caledonia situation that we have now. I think one of the first things we have to
                            do, all of us -- and I commend the local member, Toby Barrett. From what I
                            can see, he's been fairly active in trying to talk to both sides and bring
                            people together and is actually listening to what's going on. The first thing I
                            suggest to any member -- and I'm sure we all do, but just the obvious, maybe
                            for the reason of the debate -- is that, really, we need to play our roles
                            locally and get to know not only who the leadership is in our communities but
                            also who the movers and shakers are, because far too often it's not the
                            leadership that move these things along; sometimes it's others who have far more
                            influence.
                            I remember going into a community -- I forget which one it was. It might
                            have been Constance Lake or Moose Factory; I forget where it was. I was at a
                            community meeting and it was one of the first times that I'd been elected,
                            representing this particular riding. I was expecting the chief to get up and do
                            like we do on municipal councils: "I'm the mayor and I'm speaking out and this
                            is where we're going." It took about two seconds to figure out that it's not
                            the chief who runs this half of the time, it's a whole bunch of other people
                            in the community, based on their tradition. Sometimes it's the women who have
                            a large role in making these decisions, by not even saying a lot, just by
                            sort of every now and then prodding the crowd in a certain direction. Sometimes
                            it's the elders, sometimes it is the band council or a few leaders within the
                            band council. Sometimes it's radicals. I've been at some meetings where I've
                            been considered a radical when I was in the labour movement. Sometimes it's
                            the radicals who push things along.
                            But that's okay, there's nothing wrong with that. My point is, the first
                            thing we've got to do, as local members and as municipal politicians and federal
                            members, is to know our communities well, because at the end of the day,
                            we're the people on the ground and we can then provide advice to either
                            provincial or federal governments, whatever House we belong to, as far as finding the
                            response.
                            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              1710
                              What's the next thing that we have to do to prevent such things as
                              Caledonia? First of all, we need to respect our treaties. In the case of Caledonia, it
                              depends on what side of the story you find yourself on. I thought the
                              minister made a fairly good demonstration of what happened as far as the evolution
                              of what happened in the Six Nations. Depending what side you're on, people
                              interpret it different ways. But the first thing we need to recognize is that
                              we've not done a very good job federally or provincially recognizing the
                              responsibilities we have in dealing with First Nations. I know most members in the
                              House who have had a chance to travel into many of the First Nations
                              communities see just how deplorably poor they are as a people and just how run down
                              their infrastructure is. You have to ask yourself a question: How can we in
                              Ontario today have communities as poor as that, considering how rich we are as
                              a province? It just doesn't make any sense.
                              The best example is Attawapiskat. Attawapiskat is going to have the only
                              diamond mine in operation in Ontario, the first diamond mine south of the
                              northwestern territories. It's a huge deposit; it's extremely rich. Just to put
                              this in perspective, De Beers is spending over $1 billion -- I say it again,
                              over $1 billion -- to develop this project, and good for them. But take a look
                              at the community of Attawapiskat. Twenty people per house. How do you survive
                              in there? In some cases, there are people who live in tents 12 months a year.
                              One particular individual -- I don't want to use the last name, because I
                              think I got it wrong. Moses and Margaret and their family for two years lived
                              in a tent in their backyard with their two young daughters. Why? Because there
                              was no housing available for his family. He has a very large family. I think
                              there are about nine or 10 kids, and the oldest kids are married now and
                              have kids and they're all piled into one house. So there was something like
                              20-some people in this house. Moses and Margaret decided to take the two young
                              girls out, who were at the time about 8 and 9 years old, and live in a tent in
                              his backyard as a way of providing some calm to his children so the two
                              youngest girls could study and learn and do well in school and grow up having an
                              opportunity to compete with other kids.
                              How do we in Ontario, in Canada, allow somebody to have to put their
                              children in a tent to provide for housing in this day and age? How do we do that?
                              Take a look at Attawapiskat again as a good example. The road infrastructure in
                              that community -- go into that community. Go into 100% of communities -- I
                              won't even say 99% -- in the NAN territory, in Treaty 3 and probably
                              Robinson-Superior. There is no pavement on any of the roads. As people drive up and
                              down the roads with their ATVs or four-by-fours or whatever it might be,
                              there's dust being blown up in those communities all the time. Dust is just
                              permeating across the communities on any sunny day. That is not a healthy thing for
                              people to live in.
                              Sewer systems -- did you know that there were no sewer systems on the James
                              Bay coast until we came to government in the 1990s? Imagine that: People
                              didn't have a sewer to flush their toilet or empty their sink until 1992 or 1993
                              in the communities of James Bay, Fort Albany and north. Can you imagine that,
                              in our time? Water -- they didn't have potable water. Most of them don't
                              have potable water. But Attawapiskat just recently, as of about two or three
                              years ago, got potable water in their community. How do we allow those kinds of
                              things to happen in First Nations communities, given that this province and
                              this country are so rich? There's something immoral about it.
                              I just say to all of us here in the Legislature that we've got to stop
                              passing the buck over to the federal government and playing the blame game. At the
                              end of the day, you know what? Those communities will remain poor and have
                              poor infrastructure as long as we play that game. I say we as a province have
                              to recognize that these are Ontario citizens. If the federal government is
                              not prepared to do what needs to be done, then we need to step up to the plate,
                              either to pressure the federal government to do what is their responsibility
                              or to negotiate agreements from the federal government with the consent of
                              First Nations. And I say that only with their consent should we transfer some
                              of those services back to the province, where they're better served.
                              I'll give you a couple of examples. Health services on the James Bay: We're
                              in the process now of basically transferring the federal hospital, the
                              nursing stations, over to the province. It's been a 10-year effort to get this
                              done, and finally we're in the final throes of the final agreements to allow that
                              to happen. Now, why I'm such a large advocate of this particular initiative
                              is that I've seen first-hand, as you and others have, the conditions of
                              health care in many of our communities in the James Bay and other First Nations
                              communities. But I recognize one thing: When I go to James Bay General Hospital
                              in Fort Albany and I go to the James Bay General Hospital in Attawapiskat
                              that are run by the provincially run James Bay General Hospital, there are
                              wings of a hospital with an emergency ward, acute care beds, some long-term-care
                              beds, nursing staff, doctors who rotate in, and we provide a semblance, at
                              least, to First Nations of health services.
                              That's not to say anything bad towards Weeneebayko. They try as hard as they
                              can. They run the hospital in Moose Factory. But all the other communities
                              are run by nursing stations. Now, those nursing stations are staffed by
                              hard-working nurses who really try hard to do their job, so this is no reflection
                              on them, but they're not resourced to the degree they need to be. They don't
                              have beds, for example. If a person has to be held in a community before
                              transport, they've basically got to be put in a holding room that's akin to what
                              you would see in a medical clinic; that's basically what they are. They don't
                              have what we consider a hospital in those communities. So this initiative of
                              finally the province sitting down with the federal government and saying,
                              "We're prepared to allow the transfer of that hospital to the province," is
                              going to be a good thing for James Bay over the long run. Why? Because we do it
                              better. We are the deliverers of health services in Ontario, not the federal
                              government. The federal government doesn't have the ability to do so; it's not
                              their bailiwick.
                              What we need to make sure of in that agreement is that in the end, the
                              federal government holds on to its fiduciary responsibility and transfers on an
                              annual basis the dollars they would have to pay otherwise to provide health
                              services in those communities. They have a signed treaty. They do have a
                              fiduciary responsibility. What we should be doing is saying to the federal
                              government, "Listen, if you're indifferent and you don't want to do this, tell us. We
                              as a province are prepared to sit down with you and First Nations to figure
                              out how we can do it in the context of a provincially run service." We, quite
                              frankly, should give most of that transference to First Nations governance.
                              That's a whole other issue.
                              I'll give you another example: education. In many of our communities there
                              are some good examples. In Moose Factory, Fort Albany, the grade schools are
                              very well run. As a matter of fact, this morning we had young people from the
                              Peetabeck Academy here as part of their grade 8 class. They're doing a great
                              job. It's a brand new facility. Kids like going to school there, more so than
                              in other communities, because they have some pride in the school. It's a
                              brand new school that's been there for about three or four years. There's an
                              infrastructure for them to learn in. In Fort Albany, I would argue, there's also
                              a little bit more housing. It's a little bit easier for children to study at
                              home.
                              Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                              Comment

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