Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FEDS DUCK OUT ON CALEDONIA

Ramsay and his staff travelled all the way to Ottawa yesterday, Hallowe’en, for a scheduled meeting with Jim Prentice. No doubt some among Ramsay’s staff would have preferred to be spending Hallowe’en with their children. However, Prentice didn’t have the courtesy to tell them before their trip that the meeting was cancelled. He simply was a no show at the appointed time and place, after they had travelled for hours to meet with him.

I think his behaviour is beyond tacky. I also think it wasn’t his decision. In the current atmosphere in Ottawa, no cabinet minister would make such a newsworthy move independently. Seems like Harper had a hissy fit against Dalton, and I’ll bet he ordered Prentice not to show.

The cost of Caledonia is an issue to be sorted out between the provincial and federal governments. The TITLE for the disputed lands, however, demands that the feds be involved. The government has had its opportunity to produce documents showing legal ownership, but has produced nothing, apparently finding that neither of the surrenders satisfies the criteria for a valid surrender (land description, mapping, Order-in-Council, etc.). This week, Six Nations provides its evidence of title to the Plank Road lands.

Thereafter, the government will have to be prepared to acknowledge title.
Therin lies the problem: Stephen Harper believes only in forced assimilation for Indigenous people. Recognizing aboriginal rights and titles is anathema to him. Acknowledging collective title to additional lands is his worst nighmare as it is against every ideology he stands for! He will have a thousand hissy fits and chew his right arm off before he ever turns over land to Six Nations!

However, his government is holding on by a thread these days, so he is in no position to refuse … IF THE OTHER THREE PARTIES SUPPORT SIX NATIONS claim.

It is time for some serious lobbying of Liberal, NDP and Bloc politicians for support of Six Nations Plank Road land claim. If Harper acts, the uncertainty that has plagued Caledonia since the reclamation began will be over.

The costs to taxpayers will continue to mount
until the federal government stops stalling.
Perhaps it is time to go to Ottawa.

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