Wednesday, September 12, 2007

'We need every single penny' while we pass the buck

Why isn't Dalton McGuinty's pathetic bungling of the Caledonia occupation/reclamation more front and center in the election campaign?

Why aren't Haldimand residents, developers and the media grilling him and his candidates on this?

Today the Hamilton Spectator tells us that "Ontario won't help developers stop natives". It seems that Caledonia was such a politically-charged issue that the province has now told developers to "find their own solutions if Six Nations residents occupy or stop projects along the Grand River in a land claim dispute."

Remember how McGuinty forked over $16 million to purchase the land in question from the Henning brothers in Caledonia? Well, they plan to see this one out, but are going to leave any future developers high and dry:

Lars Eddy, of the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, says the province stands behind its land title system that allows development in the Haldimand Tract along the Grand River, which Six Nations claims. He says Ontario is committed to resolving those disputes at the negotiation table set up with Ottawa and Six Nations representatives to resolve the Caledonia dispute.

Eddy said developers facing heat from natives for building on disputed land "should proceed" with their projects. Asked what happens when there's a confrontation, he said, "That's between the developers, it's their property ..."

Between the developers and who?

"The Six Nations."

...Patricia Valladao, a spokesperson for the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, says negotiating land claims is the responsibility of Ottawa, but says the situation faced by developers is a provincial issue.

Dan Valentini, a Stoney Creek developer who had his Hagersville townhouse project stopped by natives in May, calls the province's position "ridiculous," and said it creates two separate laws in the province. He said he has spoken to Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Greg Sorbara about his problem, but his project remains in limbo.

So McGuinty is effectively abdicating responsibility in any future disputes.

Now that's leadership.

Meanwhile, the Six Nations traditional government has created what could be described as its own municipal planning department and a Green Plan to deal with development on the land it claims along the Grand River. It was given the land in 1784 by the British Crown after the American War of Independence, but Ottawa says more than 90 per cent was surrendered or sold before 1850.

The Green Plan outlines development potential and environmentally sensitive areas of lands in Brantford, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and communities all along the Grand River.

Wonderful. So this is a great issue to throw at any candidates appearing at your door.

Caledonia Wakeup Call has many links to new and ongoing disputes and between developers, cities and various native groups.

So what is John Tory's plan? I'm glad you asked. It's a very novel concept called 'One law for all':

Speaking to reporters from Osprey Media newspapers by telephone, the provincial Progressive Conservative leader suggested he would establish a zero-tolerance policy on aboriginal land occupations if he is elected premier of Ontario on Oct. 10.

"We can't have even legitimate complaints settled by people taking the law into their own hands," Tory said in response to a Whig-Standard question about the six-week-old uranium mine blockade by local Algonquins in North Frontenac...

...Tory says he would have "firm but friendly" conversations with aboriginal leaders to tell them his government would not stand for such tactics. He didn't elaborate on what that meant.
[Cue to Liberal readers - Here is your 'Mike Harris' opening for comments]

So why did I mention "We need every single penny" in the title of this post? Again, I'm glad you asked. We find the answer in today's Globe:

...The Conservative Leader also needs to remind voters that what the Liberals call "a health premium" is really a surtax that goes into general revenues, with only a notional allocation to health care.

Pollster Greg Lyle of Innovative Research Group said voters would be more concerned about the broken tax promise if they believed it went to wasteful spending, rather than to health care.

The Conservatives "should tie it to the millions of dollars that went out the door to special interest groups, or the $40,000 raise the Premier received," Mr. Lyle said...

- Or the $16 million buyout in Caledonia?

* * * *

Update: MPP Elizabeth Witmer just confirmed on Newstalk 570's Jeff Allan show, that the Health Tax goes into general revenues; not a special health care fund! (9:40 A.M.)

Liberal MPP John Milloy had said moments before that all the Health Tax money goes into health care. Mmmm....

Would that include health care commercials, John?


Anonymous said...

Re: Caledonia - when is Harper going to do something about the "federal" issue - the treaties are "federal". So, cut the crap here.

Anonymous said...

Ospry Media - uh, huh. Osprey is owned by Quebcor (Mulroney on the Board of Directors) who own Sun Media - totally "conservative" bias - why would anyone take their word for anything?

Anonymous said...

Tory said he would have firm but friendly conversations? Well, whoop-de-doo.


jason bo green said...

McGuinty's an idiot, Tory's shaping up to be not much better. What a sad election this is gonna be...

Matt said...

Anon #1 - Harper and Prentice were tackling land claims left, right, and centre this past summer. Just recently, a Quebec band has been given unprecedented powers to democratically govern their band in a way that is very autonomous to the province of Quebec.

So speaking of "cut the crap", how would you like your words served - covered in ketchup with a side salad?

Anon #2 - I suppose you would like us to use more balanced media like the CBC, who last election one study of it's employees found that upwards of 85% were voting for either Martin or Layton. I can find you a link to that poll if you want, but I fully expect you to write it off as being done by some Mulroney or George Bush cronies.

Anon #3 - I sure prefer firm and friendly conversations to being called racist by Dalton for daring to question why $32 million in grant money was handed to Liberal friendly organizations without any documentation or paperwork.

Jason - the only thing sad about it is the amount of conservatives who have done as much as concede defeat before the writ even dropped on Monday.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

he only thing sad about it is the amount of conservatives who have done as much as concede defeat before the writ even dropped on Monday.

Matt, I'm ashamed to say that I was one of those turncoats, but I've since repented.

Anonymous said...

I use to vote Conservative but I won't now - John Tory has the potential to ruin the Conservative party and name for many, many years and I don't think the Party can afford that.

Matt - Prentice is no longer Minister of Indian Affairs and Caledonia should have been one of the "first" issues he handled and settled because of the ongoing problems in Caledonia.

The tirade about the CBC has nothing to do with these arguments here - ?? Study of it's employees? I thought your vote was "private" so who did the snooping?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

- John Tory has the potential to ruin the Conservative party and name for many, many years and I don't think the Party can afford that.

Why do you think he will ruin the party?

liberal supporter said...

Why do you think he will ruin the party?

Why do you think that "concern trolls" only show up at RT's place?

"Yes, fellow Liberals, what are we going to do about our non-leader? We should really get off whatever topic is on this thread and worry about how we can somebody else leading our party."

Looks like you've "arrived"!

SouthernOntarioan said...

Anon: What would you propose Prentice do?

Really, if they give the native groups the land, the natives have already made it clear they'll use that as a precedent to claim land all the way up to and including Kitchener. (the entire Haldimand Tract)

If they don't, the natives continue the occupation. Send in the police! you may say, but the police are the OPP and they answer not to the federal government, but to Dalton McGuinty and the provincial government. Send in the army! you may say, but then Harper'd have a PR nightmare.

The solution? I'm waiting to hear one. They should have sent the police in force on day 1 but now they can't.