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Finley keeps tabs on Caledonia

Daniel Nolan
Hamilton Spectator
May 5, 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.]

Haldimand-Norfolk MP Diane Finley is refuting criticism from some Caledonia residents that she's been invisible in dealing with the native occupation of a housing project and blockades of two main roads.

The Human Resources Minister said she's been to Caledonia virtually every weekend to check on the situation and talk to key players and has also gone down to see the blockades and occupation of Douglas Creek Estates by Six Nations members and their supporters.

"I've been working very closely with (federal Indian Affairs Minister) Jim Prentice since this situation began," Finley said yesterday in a phone interview from Ottawa.

"I may not be visible, but I am there. I may not be seen, but I am there and I'm working very hard on it at this end," Finley said.

She also talks to Prentice every day about the occupation, which protesters call a land reclamation, and said her staff talks to his department several times every day.

The minister said her government's appointment this week of Barbara McDougall as its representative on a panel being set up to resolve longstanding Six Nations land claims "shows our commitment to resolving this is very strong."

McDougall, who is a former minister in the Brian Mulroney government, will sit on the panel with Ontario appointee Jane Stewart and representatives of the Six Nations Confederacy.

The occupation is being driven somewhat by the Confederacy clan mothers, who select and can dismiss chiefs. Some have speculated McDougall and Stewart might have been chosen for their roles because they are strong women, but Finley denied that. Stewart served as a cabinet minister in the Jean Chretien government.

"What we were really looking for is someone who had familiarity with the issues, experience with government, to know how that worked and is proven to have strong negotiating skills," Finley said. "They are two people who are very capable."

She acknowledged the pair face a "big challenge" in trying to resolve 28 land claims that involve huge tracts of land throughout Haldimand County, but said the first priority is to get Caledonia "back to normal as quickly as possible."

Finley wouldn't say if the resolution of the claims could involve returning land to Six Nations or just a financial settlement.

"I think it would be unfair to negotiators of all parties if I were to comment on terms of reference at this point. We want to give these discussions a fair chance."

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