Development rules better than blockades

Sept 15, 2007
Brantford Expositor

I applaud the Six Nations Haudenosaunee council for setting out some rules for developers if for no other reason than it is a far more reasonable approach than blockading the CN line or the 403 to Toronto. As Chief David General has noted, however, the Six Nations elected council is the governing body, not the Haudenosaunee. In turn, I note that the elected council has not publicly offered any alternatives.

Not that it really matters because as has been duly noticed by city hall officials, the rules for development and construction permits are made by the province and must be followed by all Ontario municipalities. Consequently, Haudenosaunee or elected council protocols are irrelevant if they don't concur with provincial rules. Aside from making sure land development rules are followed, the other thing the provincial government can do in land claims disputes is to let the provincial police do their job, which is to maintain another set of provincial rules generally referred to as the rule of law. It has failed to do this in spectacular fashion within the 401 and CN corridor between Toronto and Montreal and, locally, in Caledonia. One cannot fail to see the irony in a developer or city council facing legal sanctions from the province should they fail to follow rules as they pertain to land development permits, while native protesters face no sanctions whatsoever.

While the federal government does not have a monopoly on buffoonery, it certainly does in its responsibility for handling aboriginal affairs. It is the chief, sole and final arbiter of whatever happens to native land claims. Locally, its interventionist strategy has been a boon to lawyers and $1,300-a-day "experts," while, federally, the government has replaced a knowledgeable cabinet minister, Mr. Prentice, with the former Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Strahl. Mr. Strahl's only known professional association with aboriginals is that he knows some of them live on agricultural land. None of this bodes well for an early resolution to our local disputes.

In essence, if this was a card game, the cards were misdealt and everyone was asked to throw their cards back in, there wouldn't be a full deck. I think that says it all.

Tony Broscomb