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Ontario Hansard

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Ontario Hansard
June 1, 2006

Oral Questions - Native Land Dispute

Mr. Robert W. Runciman (Leeds-Grenville): To the Acting Premier: Yesterday, native protesters set up an information picket at the Brantford casino claiming the site as theirs, that they own the property the casino sits on. As you may know, the first step towards the Caledonia land occupation, now in its 94th day, was a similar information picket. Minister, can you advise us if you're taking action to deal with the Brantford challenge, or are you once again going to sit on the sidelines until the situation deteriorates and becomes Caledonia II?

Hon. Gerry Phillips (Minister of Government Services): As in Caledonia, we will look at the situation. I gather it's happened within the last 24 hours. We will, as we did before, make sure we've got an appropriate response. We'll make certain that we take steps to deal with this as peacefully and as cautiously and as calmly as we possibly can. I use the experience in Caledonia, where I think we have had the appropriate people in there. We now have the experience of dealing with that.

I just want to assure the people of Ontario that we take the matter seriously. We'll make certain that we deal as quickly as we can with the situation and work as hard as we can to make sure that we can end up with a peaceful solution that's fair to all who are involved in it. I give the people of Ontario that assurance. We are looking very carefully at the matter right now.

Mr. Runciman: I suspect a lot of the residents of Caledonia would disagree with that assessment.

There's a story in today's Hamilton Spectator quoting a Six Nations representative, indicating that former Liberal Premier David Peterson is reneging on a Caledonia settlement deal that apparently includes the Burtch correctional properties as a bargaining chip. Mr. Peterson has denied the claim. I would ask you to clarify the situation. Is Mr. Peterson reneging on the deal, and just what is the appraised value of the Burtch property you have offered to the occupiers?

Hon. Mr. Phillips: I would say that the quick answer, of course, is no. But when you're involved in a complex situation like this, where we have our First Nations, we have the community, we have Mr. Peterson, we have a variety of complex issues, surely you're not asking here in the Legislature to comment on a particular news item. This is a matter that will be resolved with Mr. Peterson, with our First Nations people.

I would say in response to the first issue you raised, I gather that that issue was part of the Haldimand trust land arrangement. I will just say I believe that Barbara McDougall is involved in that particular case, as well as Jane Stewart. I think the provincial government has appointed Jane Stewart; the federal government, Barbara McDougall. They are working on that particular issue. So on the one you raised first, Barbara McDougall and Jane Stewart, I gather, are working on that. On the second one, Mr. Peterson is working on the --

The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. New question.

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