Six Nations Solidarity
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Legislative Assembly of Ontario
May 15, 2006
[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]
Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): My question today is for the Acting Premier. The situation at Caledonia has been ongoing now for almost three months. Our leader, John Tory, has visited the community at least twice. Toby Barrett, the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk, is visible at Caledonia on almost a daily basis. I will be visiting Caledonia on Wednesday of this week. The residents of Caledonia have not seen the Premier, they have not seen the Minister of Natural Resources and aboriginal affairs and they certainly have not seen the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Acting Premier, officers at Caledonia feel abandoned. The community feels abandoned. In fact, I talked to OPP officers the other day and they said, "We feel like the meat in a sandwich." They feel abandoned by the McGuinty Liberals. Acting Premier, why haven't you, the Premier and these key cabinet ministers shown your faces in Caledonia?
Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Finance, Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): Speaker, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.
Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): I would ask the members of the Legislature, in a situation like this, to work with us to try to settle this very complex and difficult dispute.
We are putting all our efforts to work with the Caledonia community and the Six Nations community. We have appointed top-flight people to deal with this, as you know, with former Premier David Peterson; Jane Stewart, former MP and cabinet minister in the federal government; and Barbara MacDougall. The two levels of government are working together on this situation. We would ask that all the members of the Legislature support this effort.
Mr. Dunlop: Acting Premier, as the Caledonia situation is prolonged, we now know that on the Victoria Day weekend, as it approaches, approximately 200 OPP officers from across Ontario will be on guard at Caledonia. These officers are needed in their detachments this weekend for such things as impaired and aggressive drivers, crowd discipline at our provincial parks and traffic control on our highways. Certainly Victoria Day weekend historically has been one of the most busy weekends where they require a strong police presence.
As detachments bring in additional officers on overtime, the budgets of the OPP and municipal contracts are soaring out of control. Caledonia is costing the OPP millions of dollars. This is after you have cut $31.3 million from the field and traffic division of the OPP. Minister and Acting Premier, how do you intend to properly fund the OPP following the Caledonia situation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I know the member is aware that the Solicitor General has addressed this question. He has spoken about the global budget that the OPP receive on an annual basis. He has also explained to members of the House the nature of a provincial police force as vast as the OPP, that basically it is designed to respond to emergencies. That's what a police force is. It does its day-to-day policing but it also has the reserve to respond to emergencies. That's the nature of a province-wide police force that is as great as the OPP. It is well within its capacity to deal with a situation such as this, as complex as it is. They have adequate resources to deal with this.
I would ask the member to have the patience, as we've asked, and as the Premier has asked the people and the community to allow us the time to respond and to solve this dispute.