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McGuinty brushes off Tory motion on Caledonia

Karen Howlett
Globe & Mail Update
Posted on 06/06/06

[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.]

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has dismissed a motion seeking a public inquiry into his government's handling of the long-simmering Caledonia land dispute as ”mischief making.”

A Progressive Conservative motion calling for an inquiry into the Caledonia crisis has left the governing Liberals with egg on their faces after they failed to vote down the motion on Monday even though they have a majority in the legislature.

”When we talk about Caledonia, it is too important an issue to engage in mischief making,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters Tuesday morning. ”What you do if you try to act responsibly is you don't try to make mischief in the middle of a very sensitive issue. If there are positive, constructive proposals to be made as to how we might defuse this incendiary situation, then we're very open and very receptive to those,” he said.

The motion introduced by Progressive Conservative leader John Tory was endorsed in the legislature on Monday afternoon in a voice vote. Liberal Whip Dave Levac told reporters Tuesday morning that not enough Liberals stood up quickly enough to force a recorded vote. The customary five-minute bell for a recorded vote would have given more Liberals time to rush to the legislature to defeat the motion.

As things stood, however, there were only six or seven Liberals in the legislature at the time and twice as many Tories, according to a head count done by the Tories. Mr. Levac said many of the 70 Liberal MPPs were involved in committee hearings.

Tory MPP John Yakabuski said Mr. McGuinty is simply trying to deflect any criticism over his lack of leadership on the Caledonia situation.

”We're talking about two different issues and this Premier is choosing to basically put his head in the sand,” he told reporters this morning.

Complaining of poor communication and weak leadership, Mr. Tory said he wants a commission to report on how by the McGuinty government allowed the three-month-old Caledonia situation to escalate into a full-blown standoff between native and non-native protesters.

Mr. Tory called on Mr. McGuinty on Tuesday to respect the will of the legislature by calling for an inquiry. He said Mr. McGuinty's characterization of his motion is ”completely disrespectful.” The motion was debated in the legislature and then voted on following standard rules and procedures, he said.

The issue became a priority for the McGuinty government in April after the Ontario Provincial Police raided a construction site in Caledonia, south of Hamilton, that native protesters had occupied since Feb. 28.

The Six Nations community has made it clear that they want to deal primarily with the federal government.

An Ontario Superior Court adjourned an unusual hearing last week to give Ottawa two weeks to decide whether it will appear in court on June 16. The judge has issued injunctions ordering an end to the protest.

Mr. McGuinty said he spoke to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about Caledonia last Saturday, during a telephone conversation with him about the arrest of 12 men for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks on a number of targets in Ontario.

”It's important for us to work together,” Mr. McGuinty said. He added that his government will continue to demonstrate ”patience and perseverance” in the Caledonia dispute. ”The Prime Minister and I talked specifically about this kind of approach,” he said. ”We are of one mind in that regard.”

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