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Residents meet with McGuinty

Three members of alliance take concerns to premier

Karen Best - Haldimand Review staff
Haldimand Review
Local News - Thursday, June 29, 2006 @ 09:00

[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.]

TORONTO -- Three members of the Caledonia Citizen’s Alliance met with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on June 21 to relay citizen concerns.

The premier took the ultimate solution under advisement, said Ken Hewitt. “The only solution for front line neighbours is that land be cleared and the protest taken to the board room,” he told media two hours after the meeting.

The land in question is Douglas Creek Estates, which has been occupied by Six Nations citizens since Feb. 28. Two weeks ago, Henco Industries announced an agreement in principle to sell the 42 hectare property to the province. On June 22, the company confirmed that interim compensation of $12.3 million was accepted. This past week negotiations continued to settle a fair price for the land.

According to Hewitt, McGuinty asked to see him, Ralph Luimes and Jason Clark, all members of the Caledonia Citizens Alliance.

The night before the meeting, the premier’s secretary joined the three men and the ministers of Aboriginal affairs and economic development.

The premier’s staff offered a five minute meeting and McGuinty offered 15 which expanded to 25 minutes. Luimes said McGuinty listened intently. The premier pledged to move forward and suggested future meetings, he reported.

On June 22, McGuinty told media that the Caledonia situation has caught the attention of the Ontario government and “we’re prepared to stay there and get this done”. Continuing occupation is not helpful and constitutes remaining potential for danger, he said.

The premier also said it would helpful to negotiations if the occupation ended, people cleared off the land and barricades be removed on the subdivision.

Six Nations spokesperson Janie Jamieson later said her people will not leave land that is theirs.

The land ownership remains at the crux of the issue. In their meeting with McGuinty, Hewitt said that Caledonia will not accept anything less than placing the land in a trust to prevent transfer to Six Nations and Haldimand County.

“If the land is transferred (to Six Nations), the whole community is for sale,” he said. Six Nations residents state that the subdivision is part of the Plank Road claim and that land was to be leased and not sold. The claim includes Highway 6 through the Haldimand Tract and Argyle Street and half a mile on either side.

Transfer of the title to Six Nations will have a big economic impact for Caledonia because it puts the validity of title in question, Hewitt continued. In 2005, Henco received a guarantee of property ownership from the Ontario government.

Because Minister David Ramsay, who is responsible for Ontario aboriginal affairs, has said that a claim might be legitimate, Jason Clark is concerned about a transfer to Six Nations.

His cousin, Kevin Clark, told The Review that he believes the transfer will happen.

To support the ongoing value of adjacent property, Hewitt supported construction of something beneficial to the communities, like a park, community centre or medical clinic. On April 26, John and Laurie Wilson of Caledonia suggested construction of a medical centre, an emergency complex for fire, ambulance and police, and a new water filtration system and sewage filtration plant on the property.

Six Nations resident Christina Hill does not understand why Caledonia Alliance thinks it should have a say about what is done on DCE. “This is our land,” she said.

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