Land claims and occupations not same thing

Letter - The Regional

March 4, 2009

Open letter to Premier McGuinty

You are aware there are continuing occupations at development sites in Brantford and Hagersville by Six Nations activists on other legally deeded lands at the time of the writing of this letter.

You have repeatedly said that your hands are tied as these issues are one of Land Claims and a Federal responsibility.

Might I remind you of public comments by the following:

·         Federal Minister Jim Prentice stated in a letter dated October 13, 2006 that "The Six Nations' lawsuit involved allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty in the administration of Six Nations' lands and assets. The claims focus on how land and money were managed as opposed to  ownership and a return of lands."

·         Doug Carr, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat stated on January 31, 2007 "The Government of Ontario stands behind its land titles system. It is the policy of the Government of Ontario not to expropriate privately owned land in order to settle a land claim. However there is no guarantee that the courts will not overturn a deed in the future."

·         Minister Chuck Strahl stated in a letter dated December 13, 2007 "It is important to clarify that the provincial government is responsible for land use matters across Ontario, and it has an effective system in place to exercise its jurisdiction. The Province of Ontario's land title system and authority allows the Province to make land planning decisions, and for municipalities to issue building permits for development."

·         Ron Doering stated in a letter dated November 10, 2008 "As I have stated in the past, it is Canada's vies that in December 1844 six Nations surrendered the Hamilton and Port Dover Plank Road lands. It is equally our view that other lands were also subject to this surrender, including much of Oneida Township, as well as the Eagle's Nest, Johnson Settlement, Oxbow Bend, and Martin's Tract in and around Brantford. Subsequent to December 1844 negotiations continued between the Crown and Six Nations concerning the western boundary of the Six Nations reserve. Notwithstanding our views on the surrender, there may remain issues for negotiation between Canada and Six Nations, including matters related to compensation for these lands. In any event, a resolution in respect of compensation matters would be addressed by Canada through financial compensation, and would not, under any circumstances, involve the expropriation of third party interests."

·         Minister chuck Strahl in a letter dated January 9, 2009 stated "I can assure Ms. Parent, as Mr. Doering has also done that no third party lands will be expropriated for the purposes of any settlement with Six Nations. It is the Government of Canada's policy that third party interests be respected during negotiations, and that if land changes hands as a result of a claim settlement, it will only happen on a willing seller/willing buyer basis."

In light of the Federal Government position it continues to amaze me that you still answer reporters' questions about Six Nations activist occupations and interference in development projects on legally deeded land under the Ontario land titles system, by stating that it is about Land Claims and is the responsibility of the Federal Government. Mr. Premier that old rhetoric no longer holds water.

The province is responsible for Land Management in Ontario. The Province is responsible for the land title system and the registration of ownership in Ontario. The Province is responsible for policing in Ontario. None of these are Federal Government responsibility.

Developers who are trying to build in Haldimand and Brant Counties are doing so on legitimately titled land yet you and your police force stand idly by while Six Nations activists continue to interfere with and occupy legitimate development sites in these counties.

Land Management and the land titles system of Ontario are your responsibility including Haldimand and Brant Counties. The people of Haldimand and Brant Counties want to know:

1.    Will you acknowledge that since the Federal Government has stated "a resolution in respect of compensation matters would be addressed by Canada through financial compensation, and would not, under any circumstances, involve the expropriation of third party interests" there is no legal reason why Six Nations activists are interfering in land development projects on 'third party lands' in Haldimand and Brant Counties?

2.    Will you stop trying to blame the Federal Government for occupations and interference in privately deeded land activities, as third party land is recognized by both the Federal Government and your own ADM as not being part of negotiations by the Federal Government regarding Six Nations Land Claims and admit that land management, land titles and policing are provincial issues that need to be dealt with by your government?

3.    What will you do to begin to exercise your responsibility for land management and land titles in Haldimand and Brant Counties and put an end to these occupations and interference in land development projects on legally deeded land under the Ontario land titles system and prosecute those involved in such activities?

4.    How will you assure landowners in Haldimand and Brant Counties that all thrid party land titles in Haldimand and Brant Counties are guaranteed safe by the Province and laws will be enforced by the OPP and/or local police to ensure protection of the right of ownership?

5.    Finally, if you continue to be convinced that Haldimand and Brant Counties are the locations of Federal Land Claims preventing you and your OPP from dealing with the illegal occupations, when Mr. Premier will you remove the OPP from this situation and request the Federal Government to take over policing of Haldimand and Brant Counties for the benefit of landowners in these counties?

Thank you for your kind attention to this very serious matter.

Lisa Parent

Caledonia