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David Peterson appointed provincial lead on Caledonia standoff

Andrew Davidson
Canadian Press
Published: Saturday, April 29, 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.]

TORONTO (CP) - Former Liberal premier David Peterson has been appointed provincial lead to help resolve a two-month aboriginal standoff at a southern Ontario construction site, The Canadian Press has learned.

Peterson will report directly to Ontario's Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay and will work on urgent matters in Caledonia, Ont., to restore calm to the embattled community.

Peterson will have complete briefing Sunday with government officials before heading into the community to make personal contact with the players in the dispute, Ramsay said Saturday.

"He's free to go in there," Ramsay said. "He's got a very good grounding in all the knowledge required to get a grasp of the big picture here, as this is a very complex issue."

Peterson also has a high standing with aboriginal leaders from successfully mediating discussions between the province and Ontario's First Nations to resolve a dispute with aboriginal communities over their share of all provincial gambling revenues, Ramsay added.

"Being a former premier, he understands municipal issues," Ramsay said. "He's a business person and also understands the concerns that the developers would have."

Peterson's appointment comes as talks between Six Nations protesters, provincial and federal officials, and the developers of the occupied construction site are set to resume Monday.

A relative quiet set in Saturday at the site of aboriginal blockade of a major road - a day after a heavy police presence kept the fury of more than 500 residents in check as they gathered near the barricade to voice their frustration with the ongoing occupation.

The province offered a compensation deal Thursday to land developers Don and John Henning, along with six builders. The developers have apparently asked that the offer be kept confidential, and Ramsay said no final agreement has been reached.

"Those discussions are ongoing, but there has been an offer made there that should help the developers in the short term," Ramsay said.

The Douglas Estate subdivision is designed to hold 600 homes and add about 2,000 people to Caledonia's population. The brothers say they bought the property in 1992, invested $6 million in the site and now face financial ruin.

Protesters say Six Nations never surrendered the land, but Canada and Ontario say it was surrendered and sold in 1841 to make way for a highway.

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