For immediate release:
Apr 16, 2008

Aboriginal rights (tentative) - DCE Potluck

Mr. Toby Barrett: Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, last week I faxed your office a letter addressed to you and I informed you about the potluck planned for the Ontario government-owned Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia. It’s being held this coming Sunday, April 20, and some of my constituents are concerned that this type of event is provocative and would renew tensions between various groups. Haldimand councillor Craig Grice and resident Dave Brown just finished chronicling the past two years of mayhem at DCE this morning in the media studio.

I also made you aware that April 20 is the second anniversary of the OPP raid at DCE. Aside from the potluck, the agenda features the Oka raid of 1990, the Ipperwash raid of 1995 and a previous RCMP raid at Six Nations.

Minister, have you given the organizers permission to host this kind of event on Ontario government property?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I say to the member, it’s a potluck dinner that he wrote me about. He has an objection to a potluck dinner taking place by members of Haudenosaunee Six Nations. I can tell you that the last time a potluck dinner took place on these lands, lands that the member knows very well are, right now, utterly vacant, there was a potluck dinner and members of the broader community, the townsfolk of Caledonia, joined the members of Haudenosaunee Six Nations. The member tries to suggest that there’s something integrally dangerous about a potluck dinner; I say to the member that I would respectfully disagree. It’s a potluck dinner, for goodness’ sakes.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Mr. Toby Barrett: You’ve missed the subtleties of the question. The last time there was a potluck, that was October 15, 2006, and all hell broke loose. Large gatherings were held at both Douglas Creek Estates and the Lions parking lot in Caledonia. Two days prior, your predecessor, the then-Minister of Natural Resources Ramsay, had discussions with and wrote to the chief representative of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations. He informed them that the province had not provided permission for additional persons to be on the DCE site. Minister, he also urged the chief representative to find an alternative location for what they called then a picnic. Keep in mind, this is Ontario government-owned property. It’s taxpayers’ land.

I’m asking you, minister, have you written to and urged the organizers—and the precedent has been set—to find an alternate location for this provocation, this potluck?

Hon. Michael Bryant: The alleged provocation is a potluck dinner. This is a gathering of people who bring food. The member seems to suggest that, in fact, there’s a level of protest activity taking place on those lands right now. That, in fact, is not the case. The member would suggest that if you looked out at those lands, referred to in the community as the DCE lands, that, as the member said, all hell is breaking loose. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing offends the community of Caledonia more than this suggestion made over and over again, that, in fact, this is some inherently dangerous place where dangerous activities take place. I say to the member, he doesn’t seem to support negotiations between Haudenosaunee Six Nations and the government. He doesn’t seem to support a potluck dinner. Is there any doubt that people continue to think that this is the party consistent with the reports in Ipperwash—