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Queen's Park won't buy subdivision: Hennings

But federal minister insists 'all avenues' must be explored

By Paul Morse
The Hamilton Spectator
Apr 26, 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.]

The land developers embroiled in the native standoff in Caledonia say Queen's Park has no intention of buying their contested subdivision.

According to Henco Industries' Don and John Henning, the provincial government has never proposed buying their Douglas Creek Estates project as a way to end the native occupation.

Furthermore, "the government has told us they do not want to do that," said Don Henning yesterday.

"They said they are not in a position to do that, that they stand behind their land title certificate...a provincial guarantee that we are the clear owners of that property."

But Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay, in advance of today's renewed negotiations between the government and native blockaders, suggested yesterday that option was still on the table.

"As far as I'm concerned, we need to explore all avenues in front of us...I don't believe there have been any absolutes expressed by anybody."

Queen's Park's first priority remains opening blockaded roads and returning the community to normalcy, he said.

To help ease tension in Caledonia, he said, the province will improve the flow of information to the community through a toll-free phone number and a website and by co-operating with local radio stations.

Throughout the eight weeks since natives took over the Douglas Creek Estates subdivision, Don and John Henning have kept a fairly low media profile, although they did meet with The Spectator editorial board April 11. But yesterday, the brothers began a media blitz criticizing government inaction and lack of compensation.

"We've had one meeting with the province and we have heard nothing back," said Don Henning. "They have not offered us anything."

The developers say they are on the brink of bankruptcy with their $6-million investment hanging in the balance. Ramsay said a ministry-hired consultant was to meet with the brothers yesterday to talk about how to provide some assistance to them.

Both brothers, born and bred in Caledonia, say they are heartsick to see their idyllic little town torn apart by divisive politics and emotions.

"I am crushed by what has been let happen in Caledonia," said Don Henning. "There are times I want to sit down and cry...Two months ago it was a beautiful, happy, peaceful community."

He said they acquired the disputed property in 1992 when they purchased a land speculation company that had bought the land from a local farmer.

They said the land had been included in Caledonia's urban boundary since the 1970s, and, in 2003, they submitted their subdivision draft plan.

"At that point, we got a letter from the Six Nations elected band office that they wanted to see a copy of our government-approved archeological assessment, which we provided," Don Henning said.

"They said the land was under protest that referred to a 1995 lawsuit they had filed with the provincial and federal governments pertaining to accounting issues."

The Hennings said they had the land title searched again to establish there was no formal land claim against the property.

They also had to do an archeological assessment of a bordering property, and during that assessment, there was some concern on the part of the natives and the band office called us about it, they said.

"We went into a meeting with two people from their office and they explained there were concerns...They basically said they had no way to stop us," said Don Henning.

"They said they realized they had no claim on that land," said his brother, John.

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