For immediate release:
Apr 2, 2008

HDI development fees:

“Who’s in charge?” and “Will Ontario back homebuilders?”

Queen’s Park— More talk – little action, but at least a government admission from Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant that land development issues need to be resolved.

That following Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett ninth and tenth question to the Minister with regard to government’s stance on Haudenosaunee Development Institute development fees.

“Speaker to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs….

“On March 26, you said with respect to HDI demands on builders, ‘That they absolutely, obviously, not pay it.’ However, we received an e-mail yesterday from a company stating, ‘The belated policy of the Ontario government doesn’t help us, as we paid the $7,000 fee in August 2007.’” Barrett detailed. “Why did they pay? I quote again, ‘Because the MOE, who has still not approved our EA due to the Six Nations issue, required we consult with Six Nations for our Grand Valley wind project.’”

“You’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth—Environment and Aboriginal Affairs. Minister, do you know who’s in charge?”

In his response, Minister Bryant, repeated that, it is “wrong” to suggest that consultations come with a price tag.

Barrett responded that, “I’m trying to suggest that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. MOE says, “Do this,” you say, “Don’t do that,” and builders are left out on their own.…..”

“We have government for a reason: to set policy, to set direction. Thanks to your mixed reaction, we are now wondering when the next confrontation is going to be.” asserted Barrett. “Given your advice to not pay it, I ask, what guarantee would you offer today to protect builders from repercussions, whether it be blockades or in the very sad case of Sam Guillaterri, coming within an inch of losing his life at the end of a piece of oak stair rail?

“For builders who do not pay, will your government now back them up?”

Apparently, Barrett struck a chord as for the first time in the house the Minister reported that he is talking to Six Nations officials about the possibility of setting up a “side-provincial table” to discuss land issues:

“I made the request that it mean that HDI or any other people protesting a development in that area or any other area leave those streets and leave those sidewalks and leave those protests to join in the negotiations,” Bryant concluded.

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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: To the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: On March 26, you said with respect to HDI demands on builders, “That they absolutely, obviously, not pay it.” However, we received an e-mail yesterday from a company stating, “The belated policy of the Ontario government doesn’t help us, as we paid the $7,000 fee in August 2007.” Why did they pay? I quote again, “Because the MOE, who has still not approved our EA due to the Six Nations issue, required we consult with Six Nations for our Grand Valley wind project.”

 Minister, company consultation is required by government—this company understands that consultation comes with a price—but on the other hand you say, “Don’t pay.” You’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth—environment and aboriginal affairs. Minister, do you know who’s in charge?

Hon. Michael Bryant: Most companies in Ontario that are doing business either with First Nations or on territory that is neighbouring to First Nations already attempt to enter into partnerships, to enter into a relationship with that local First Nation, just as they would want to work with the local municipality and the local community. Even Wal-Mart when they come into a community attempts to integrate into that community.

The member is trying to suggest that consultation includes taxation and the member is absolutely wrong. Let me say it again: The member is trying to suggest that consultation equals taxation and the member is absolutely wrong.

Mr. Toby Barrett: I’m trying to suggest that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. MOE says, “Do this,” you say, “Don’t do that,” and builders are left out on their own.

We have government for a reason: to set policy, to set direction. Thanks to your mixed reaction, we are now wondering when the next confrontation is going to be. Given your advice to not pay it, I ask, what guarantee would you offer today to protect builders from repercussions, whether it be blockades or in the very sad case of Sam Guillateri, coming within an inch of losing his life at the end of a piece of oak stair rail? For builders who do not pay, will your government now back them up?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I know that the member certainly would not want to in any way advocate for an escalation of tension, and I know that the member wouldn’t want to be suggesting that a confrontation is inevitable, because in fact, the way through, we know from the Ipperwash commission recommendations, is to resolve these issues at the table.

That’s why I spoke with band council chief, Bill Montour, and tribal council chief, Allan McNaughton, to ask about the possibility of creating a side provincial table for provincial and municipal issues to be discussed apart from the treaty claims. Specifically, I made the request that it mean that HDI or any other people protesting a development in that area or any other area leave those streets and leave those sidewalks and leave those protests to join in the negotiations.