For immediate release:
Mar 19, 2008

Bryant ignores homebuilders handcuffed by HDI demands

 Minister blows his top when asked to increase police funding

Queen’s Park— Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister once again turned his back on homebuilders facing extortion fee demands before blowing his top when pressed to increase funding to keep the peace at ongoing construction disruptions.

Minister Bryant’s unparliamentary explosion came after a pair of questions from Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, in which Barrett asked the Minister to expand on answers  he gave yesterday regarding the government stance on homebuilders being charged “development fees” by the  Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI).

“Work on the Hampton Hotel in Brantford has been shut down on eight separate days by Haudenosaunee Development Institute protesters demanding payment - Minister, this is just one of several construction sites in Brantford shut down by protesters demanding extortion fees,”  explained Barrett. “Yesterday, Minister, you said you are “going to work” with Six Nations and municipalities and developers. We’ve had two years of construction shut-downs; when will you start working with area homebuilders?”

While Bryant responded by saying he “continues” to work with homebuilders, he was unclear when he will meet to discuss their difficulties with a government that tells builders not to pay HDI fees and then leaves them to fend for themselves when HDI protestors come to collect.

Barrett came back with a supplementary question to expand on Bryant’s direct quote a day previous indicating, “government has a role to play not in terms of informing police but, as we disclosed, providing the funding necessary.”

Mr. Mike Quattrociocchi asks if he were to bring his back-hoe to Queens Park would police stand by in the same fashion as in Caledonia and Brantford?” Barrett relayed. “On policing Minister, the Brantford police services need help. When are you going to stop blaming Ottawa and step up to fund and resource the extra policing required at these confrontations in Brantford?

With that the Minister lost decorum, refusing again to directly answer the question and fell back on giving his version of differences between the government and opposition approach, and then shouting “Shame on you” to Mr. Barrett.

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

      Development fees

Mr. Toby Barrett: A question for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Work on the Hampton Hotel in Brantford has now been shut down on eight separate days by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute demanding payment. This is just one of several construction sites in Brantford shut down by protesters demanding extortion fees. Aside from the Hampton Hotel, there are the Mission Estates on Garden Avenue, First Urban at Gretzky and Henry and the Grand River Avenue site of the home builder Mike Quattrociocchi.

Yesterday, Minister, you said you are “going to work” with First Nations municipalities and developers . We’ve had two years of construction shutdowns. Minister, when will you start working with area home builders?

Hon. Michael Bryant: Yes, we’ll continue to work with area home builders, and we’ll continue to work with municipal leaders and yes, we will continue to work with Six Nations leadership. I’ve never heard the official opposition talk about any of those members working with Six Nations leadership. We’re not going to pick and choose who in that community we’re going to work with to try and make progress. I’ve expressed to band council at Six Nations, I have expressed to the confederacy in the Haudenosaunee Six Nations that obviously we all need to treat each other with the mutual respect on all sides as we work through these issues, and I will continue to do so.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Well, Minister, the home builders do have questions. They obviously have questions on the land dispute negotiations and progress or lack thereof, the demands of HDI and the status of property rights in the province of Ontario. They want to meet with you face to face; your YouTube publicity stunts just don’t cut it with the business community. What options do they have?

Mr. Quattrociocchi has a question. If he was to bring his backhoe to Queen’s Park, would the police stand by in the same fashion as in Caledonia and as in Brantford? On policing, Minister, Brantford police services need help. When are you going to stop blaming Ottawa, step up, fund and resource the extra policing required as a result of these confrontations in the city of Brantford?

Hon. Michael Bryant: Well, there you go, Mr. Speaker. You heard it pretty clearly right there. There’s a difference between Premier McGuinty’s approach on this side of the House and the John Tory approach on that side of the House.

On this side of the House, we understand that the police are independent of the government. It’s not the Premier’s police or the executive’s police. It’s an independent police force. It’s a civil society.

Over there, the former Premier and leader of their party—we know what his approach to this was: “Get those Indians out of the park,” he said. That is not our approach, and that will never be our approach. We will continue to follow recommendations of the Ipperwash commission and not take any so-called leadership from the official opposition. Shame on you.