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Report on negotiations

Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa
Updated: May 3, 2006

On Tuesday May 2nd, negotiators for the Confederacy met with provincial government representatives, accompanied by ex-Ontario Premier David Peterson, who was appointed last week by the provincial government to facilitate negotiations. The two sides met for seven hours. The federal government, the police and the builders were not represented.

David Peterson began by explaining that he had a mandate to try to help restore calm to the area. Peterson said he intended to research:

  1. the deeply entrenched views held by both sides;
  2. the economic impact on Caledonia;
  3. opening Highway #6, the by-pass and the railway line; and
  4. Six Nations land issues

In response, the Confederacy negotiators put together a list of seven objectives to be discussed in negotiations. Three were classified as "Immediate Objectives":

  1. That the Minister of Indian federal government appoint, in writing, "a representative to resolve outstanding issues through a new lands process for Six Nations. The letter must contain assurances that the federal government will not deploy the Canadian Armed Forces to the Douglas Creek lands."
  2. "Steps to be taken to drop all criminal charges stemming from the OPP intervention of April 20, 2006."
  3. "the imposition of an immediate moratorium halting any development on the Douglas Creek lands" for a period of time to be agreed upon by the negotiating parties.

Four issues were listed as "Short-Term Objectives":

  1. (a) to review the archaeological report prepared for the developers; (b) to review provincial laws, regulations and processes related to the archaeological report; (c) "to pursue additional archaeological work to confirm the status of any burial sites."
  2. "to address any rumours and misinformation by providing detailed updates by all parties."
  3. "to address issues of transparency with regard to compensation provided to Ontario to Henco."
  4. "the parties commit to an exploration of how aboriginal people are represented in the educational curriculum and to formulate options and processes to address concerns pertaining to curriculum and other appropriate matters."

The same parties (Confederacy representatives and Ontario representatives, including David Peterson) met on Wednesday, May 3rd for six hours.

At Wednesday's meeting, a letter from federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice was hand-delivered appointing Barbara McDougall as the federal negotiator. (Barbara McDougall was a Toronto-based cabinet minister in the Mulroney Government in the 1990s.)

It was also announced that the provincial government will appoint former Brantford MP and former Minister of Indian Affairs Jane Stewart as the provincial negotiator.

A letter from Ontario Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter was also tabled, saying "I have sent a letter to my federal counterpart where I have specifically stated that I am not asking for military support from the federal government in relation to outstanding matters concerning the Douglas Creek lands in Caledonia."

Further to Objective (#3), which calls for an immediate moratorium halting any development on the Douglas Creek lands, Confederacy representatives tabled four discussion points:

  1. It is understood by all the parties that Douglas Creek land rights are urgent and the immediate priority for the negotiators;
  2. There will be a 90 day moratorium on development on all Douglas Creek lands;
  3. The negotiations will commence on the week of May 8, 2006, on the land rights on Douglas Creek;
  4. If the negotiators do not have a resolution to the Douglas Creek land rights matter in 90 days, the negotiators will agree on an arbitration or other peaceful resolution process to address the land rights at Douglas Creek.

The next meeting of Confederacy and Ontario representatives will take place on Monday, May 8th. The first meeting involving the Confederacy reps, the federal negotiator (Barbara McDougall) and the provincial negotiator (Jane Stewart) is scheduled for Tuesday May 9th.

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