Six Nations Solidarity
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Legislative Assembly of Ontario
May 31, 2006
Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): While this provincial government allowed the dispute in Caledonia/Six Nations to spiral out of control, young athletes have become collateral damage. The Six Nations Minor Baseball Association reports that athletes as young as five are missing out on their summer pastime as opposing teams are unwilling to show up.
As well, in a letter sent to coaches in the Haldimand Erie League, we read, "I know many people from both Six Nations and Caledonia are very upset about the way that this is affecting the relationship we have built up over the years. I would hope that all coaches would encourage their teams to participate and show some good sportsmanship." I certainly agree with that.
I've been receiving e-mails from people on all sides of this dispute, and I quote: "Six Nations has produced a lot of elite native athletes.... This is a time when elite athletes, native and non-native, could take a stand to promote good sportsmanship."
Nearly four years ago, I reported in the House that 180 athletes from Six Nations joined 6,500 other aboriginal athletes and coaches from across North America for the Indigenous Games. Things aren't quite so rosy right now, and the lack of leadership from the McGuinty government is a fact. I do call on community leaders, coaches and parents from all sides to rise above, to take a lead in promoting good sportsmanship and healthy competition among all athletes.
Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): To the Acting Premier: Ontario Superior Court Justice David Marshall has ordered Attorney General Michael Bryant to appear in court tomorrow with respect to the ongoing dispute in Caledonia. Will Attorney General Michael Bryant personally appear before Justice Marshall in Cayuga court tomorrow?
Hon. Leona Dombrowsky (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs): To the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.
Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs): Of course, the member knows that when a judge asks all parties, he refers to the government of Ontario through the Attorney General. There will be representatives from the Ontario government appearing before the judge tomorrow, as has been ordered, as we contemplate all the other parties that have been asked to attend.
Mr. Barrett: I didn't hear a clear answer. I'm assuming that that representative will not be the Attorney General -- an Attorney General who has been requested, at the express request of Justice Marshall, to ensure that peace in that community is maintained under the rule of law. I'm assuming from that answer that Mr. Bryant's name can be added to the list of no-shows, including you, Minister Ramsay, and including the Premier of Ontario, Minister Kwinter and Minister Takhar -- Caledonia no-shows.
I represent the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, which includes Six Nations and New Credit. I predict that someone, somewhere, in my riding tomorrow is going to say, "Where the heck is Michael Bryant?" If it's not important enough to show up, then what is? I do point out that the commissioner of the OPP will be present before Justice David Marshall --
The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): The question apparently has been asked. Minister.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Of course, what the government intends to do is send representatives who are knowledgeable about the situation in Caledonia and who will be able to inform the judge, as he wants to hear the efforts of the provincial government. That's going to be an opportunity for the provincial government to put forward its actions over the last 60 days, as other parties are going to do. That's what we're going to do; the judge has asked that. All parties will attend, and all the information will be given.
Mr. Ted Chudleigh (Halton): My question is to the newly appointed Minister for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Ontario, the only minister who in the history of Ontario has remained in cabinet after being found in breach of the Members' Integrity Act.
Mr. Chudleigh: Sorry, it's a fact.
Minister, under your watch, small businesses in Caledonia are dying a slow death. Some have already been forced to close their doors forever, and many others are struggling just to stay afloat. It has been three months, it's been 93 days, and small businesses have lost faith because of your government's delay in coming to terms with the economic reality on Main Street in Caledonia.
Your compensation announcement of earlier this week will not even pay the rent, and it certainly won't reopen those businesses that have been forced to close. Given the poor showing of leadership in Caledonia, I have to wonder then, Minister: Do small businesses mean anything to your government?
Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship): Let me say that small businesses do mean a great deal to our government. That's why we created this new ministry to support them.
Our government is working very closely with local municipal officials, and we have already provided them with a $500,000 grant to invest in emergency issues. My colleague the Minister of Economic Development and Trade was there and actually has assured them that we will work very closely with them. Whatever assistance they need, we will provide it. This money is actually intended to provide very basic necessities to businesses that are currently suffering because of these issues that have happened in Caledonia.
Mr. Chudleigh: I point out that the Minister of Economic Development and Trade was not in Caledonia. He might have been in Brantford, but he certainly wasn't in Caledonia.
Your package is too little, too late, Minister. Some businesses have already had to close their doors for good. I wonder if the minister can answer me this: Why did it take three whole months -- 93 days -- of watching Caledonia's small businesses struggle before your government acknowledged the need for compensation? Why is that?
Hon. Mr. Takhar: Let me tell you this. First of all, we provided $100,000 to the municipality: $50,000 for communications, $50,000 to develop the economic recovery plan. We will continue to work closely with them to address the issue of small and medium-sized business or any business that suffers in that community. The Minister of Economic Development and Trade and the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs have shown quite the leadership, and I'm very proud of what our government has done, on this file.