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Legislative Assembly of Ontario
May 4, 2006
Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Yesterday, you announced that you had appointed the Honourable Jane Stewart, a former federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and a prominent and respected long-time resident of the Brantford area, as a special representative to the Caledonia discussions. I also understand that the federal government appointed Barbara McDougall as its special representative. I appreciate your leadership and that of our Premier in the desire to bring a peaceful conclusion to this very serious and sensitive situation. Minister, can you tell me specifically what Ms. Stewart's role will be in Caledonia?
Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): I very much appreciate the question, so that we can certainly make clear that two weeks ago, when negotiating an end to this dispute, it was agreed upon by all parties that this would be done in two phases. The second phase was agreed upon, that, by Friday of this week, both the federal and provincial governments would nominate and make public long-term negotiators who have higher profiles so that we could expedite the process that was actually already begun two years ago. We're very pleased with the federal appointment of ex-minister Barbara McDougall, an excellent choice by Minister Jim Prentice, and I'm very pleased with our choice, Jane Stewart. Not only does Jane have tremendous experience in this file, but she knows that area and has great relations with many of the Six Nations people in that part of the world.
Mr. Levac: Unlike those across the way, we take this extremely seriously, as I do.
I'm very pleased that someone of Ms. Stewart's expertise and knowledge, in particular of the Six Nations and of the issues in general -- and the aboriginal friends she does have -- will be representing the province. We have to resolve the situation, a very sensitive one, and ensure that all communities are returned to normal conditions as soon as possible.
Minister, not long ago, you announced that former Premier David Peterson was also a special representative working on resolving the issues in Caledonia. Does the appointment of Ms. Stewart or Ms. McDougall mean that Mr. Peterson's work has been completed in Caledonia, and if not, could you explain to us in more detail how the two-phased negotiations are taking place?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I appreciate the question, so that we can make it clear that David Peterson, former Premier of Ontario, is still on the job working on the immediate issues, which are basically two: the removal of the barricades on the roads and basically settling the occupation issue on the Douglas Creek Estates development. The former Premier is working on that; he continues to have meetings with all sides in this dispute. There is a lot of goodwill. I was in touch with all the different parties last night, and they're very happy with the progress, and that work is continuing. On behalf of the government of Ontario, I'd like to thank David Peterson for his work.