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McGuinty defends Caledonia land deal

Canadian Press
Toronto Star
Jun. 22, 2006. 06:26 PM

[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 taxpayers will pay $12.3 million to buy a controversial housing project in southern Ontario that has been occupied by aboriginal protesters since late February, Premier Dalton McGuinty disclosed Thursday.

McGuinty told the legislature the province agreed to pay the money to Henco Industries, the developer behind the Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia, Ont., southwest of Hamilton, after saying for two days that Henco wanted the price kept secret.

In addition to the $12.3 million, an additional amount to be paid for the loss of future profits “remains the subject of ongoing negotiations,” McGuinty said.

Outside the legislature, David Ramsay, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said the province has also agreed to compensate Henco for potential lost profits at the Caledonia housing development.

“It’s been agreed to discuss potential damages because we obviously know that if you build 600 homes there, there would have been some accrued profit,” said Ramsay.

Opposition Leader John Tory said the government shouldn’t be throwing money at the Caledonia situation until the aboriginal protesters have been removed from the site.

“It’s a dangerous precedent,” Tory said.

“You can’t have people who are in defiance of a court order, occupying a piece of land, and then the province turns around as a solution to that and decides to buy the land.”

But McGuinty said the province wanted “to take the land out of the equation” and purchased it so it could be placed in trust while the larger land-claim issue is resolved.

McGuinty also said Thursday that it’s time for the aboriginal occupation of the housing development to come to an end because it poses a potential danger to the public.

It’s the first time McGuinty has asked Six Nations protesters to abandon the occupation, which has been marked by a number of violent clashes with both police and local residents since police tried to evict the occupiers in April.

“The continuing occupation is just not helpful, and it really constitutes the remaining potential for danger,” McGuinty said. "The community has our attention — boy, did they get our attention — and we’re prepared to stay there and get this done.”

It would be “very helpful” for the land-claim negotiations if the occupation ended and all aboriginal protest lines and blockades in the Caledonia area were abandoned, he added.

Tory said it was high time McGuinty called for the occupation to end, and he accused the premier of weak leadership in handling the dispute.

“The occupation started more than 100 days ago...and now he’s saying it’s time for the occupation to come to an end,” Tory said.

“Where has he been? This is the weak leadership I’m talking about.”

Meanwhile, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered key players in the land dispute — including the Ontario and federal governments — to return to court June 29.

Justice David Marshall wants to know why police still haven’t enforced his three-month-old order to evict the aboriginals from the occupied housing development.

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