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Price of Caledonia land deal not secret, lawyer says

Karen Howlett
Globe & Mail
Posted on 22/06/06

[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.]

The owners of a housing development adjoining a Six Nations Reserve in Caledonia have not asked that the purchase price of their property be kept confidential, says their lawyer -- a stand that contradicts assertions made by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Michael Bruder, a lawyer for Douglas Creek Estates, said yesterday that brothers Don and John Henning have an agreement in principle to sell the development to the government at fair market value. He said the selling price has not yet been determined because the parties are still drafting a final agreement.

"The purchase price has not been agreed upon," he said in an interview.

Mr. Bruder also said he does not know at this stage whether the Henning brothers will ask that the price be kept confidential.

"I don't know what we're going to be asking for at the end of the day because we haven't exchanged the final agreement," he said.

David Ramsay, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said last night that the government does plan to reveal the selling price after the deal is finalized. The proposed agreement consists of two parts: fair market value for the land itself and an amount for damages.

"It's not going to stay confidential for long," he said.

Mr. McGuinty has come under pressure all week from the opposition to disclose how much taxpayers' money is involved in buying the land, which protesters have occupied since the end of February.

Mr. McGuinty said in Question Period that the owners of the property are not prepared to disclose the selling price. "We have, in fact, reached an agreement with the local developer to purchase the disputed lands," he said yesterday.

Mr. Bruder said the sale of the 600 lots in the subdivision would generate revenue of $45-million. But he said that figure does not equate to the development's fair market value. Mr. McGuinty met face-to-face for the first time yesterday with three residents of Caledonia after dozens travelled to Toronto to protest outside a conference centre where he was speaking.

Mr. McGuinty told reporters he did not make any promises to the residents. But he said he gained a better understanding of their concerns, including the impact of the standoff on the local economy and residents' personal safety concerns.

Also yesterday, 47-year-old Ken Hill of Ohsweken, Ont., was arrested and charged with two counts of assault in connection with a confrontation between aboriginals and other Caledonia residents on June 4.

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