Mayor Hewitt refuses to answer tough questions - Why?

by Gary McHale - The Regional

November 9, 2011

A week ago both Mayor Hewitt and Councillor Grice were emailed twice regarding the fact that 9 parcels of property along McClung Rd. have suddenly been sold for $17.3 million. In the past six months approx. 500 acres have been purchased by housing developer McClung Properties Ltd. whose head office is located in Vaughan, Ontario - just north of Toronto.

McClung Properties Ltd. was called Empire Communities Ltd. just a few months ago and according to the incorporation papers the company is owned by the Guizzetti family. Back in 2008 Empire Communities had their 1000 home construction site shut down by natives in Brantford but they had the protesters arrested and the construction continued.

This 500 acre purchase along McClung Rd. is approx. 4 times larger than Douglas Creek Estates. This company didn't spend $17.3 million unless they are planning to develop a sub-division. The company is paying approx. $35,000 per acre for land that was valued at $1000 per acre at the beginning of the year.

Allow me to be very clear, I support any development of homes in Haldimand as it will help restore jobs and restore an attitude that Haldimand doesn't have to act like the victim. Unlike Haldimand Council, this company appears to have the attitude that they will not give into Native criminal acts of intimidation and threats. They have the right to develop homes and that is what they will do.

In addition, there is nothing wrong with residents in Caledonia who have owned land for many years making a profit from selling land. The purchase of the land was legal; it was registered at a buying price of $17.3 million with the correct land transfer tax being paid.

My concern is what has suddenly changed in Haldimand that would encourage any corporation to spend $17.3 million just to buy land? What behind-the-scenes deals were made with Six Nations and/or with the radical native protesters that would give this company the confidence to spend this kind of money?

Has Mayor Hewitt or his friend McGuinty agreed to a deal to turn over DCE to Six Nations in return for peace during the McClung development? If so, then crime truly does pay in Haldimand since what happened in Caledonia was an illegal occupation followed by hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal acts committed against residents and police.

We should remember that Mayor Hewitt publicly denounced the wind mills, agreeing to issue a county resolution against them, but secretly did a deal with Samsung in direct support of the McGuinty government. Hewitt even stated the deal was to be used against the Conservative Party if they won the election.

This is the same Mayor who received a $2000 Golf gift in order to rub shoulders with people who have money. Later he wrote a letter to clarify this gift whereby he admitted receiving it but somehow it was okay because it came from the PC Party and he needed to talk to Tim Hudak.

Toby Barrett's office was contacted and they denied that Hewitt received anything from the PC Party and further stated it didn't make sense to give free tickets out during a fund raiser - you can't raise money with free tickets. It also doesn't make sense that Mayor Hewitt claimed Hudak refused to return his phone calls so he went to the fund raiser to speak to Hudak - very interesting that Hudak would give a free $2000 ticket to someone he didn't want to talk to.

Furthermore, it was Hewitt who went to Six Nations and was reported as saying that according to his reading of Christie Blatchford's book 'Helpless', "I haven't seen anything in the book that suggests the natives were wrong in what they've done."  Blatchford issued the following statement in reply to Hewitt's comments:

"While Mr. Hewitt is right that the book's central theme is the failure of government and police to uphold the rule of law, to say he's seen 'nothing in the book to suggest that the natives were wrong in what they did' is preposterous. The very first section of the book is about June 9, 2006, the day of the most brazen and outrageous violence in the occupation...I couldn't have condemned those actions more strongly. And weren't those who destroyed the Hydro transformer, burned down the bridge, chased then swarmed the elderly couple from Simcoe, assaulted the CH camera crew and generally bullied the hell out of a lot of people for a very long time in the wrong? Wasn't it wrong to impose a curfew and issue 'passports'? Etc etc?"

What these facts tell us is that Hewitt doesn't see any problems in accepting expensive gifts, doesn't have a problem with voting one way on county resolutions while working secretly on a deal against what he voted for and that he doesn't have a problem with saying one thing to the voting public and doing something else. This is why Hewitt and Grice were contacted a week ago to get their written response on the following five questions:

1) Are you aware of these corporations buying up land on McClung Rd.?

2) What assurance has the county as a whole or any council member given to these companies that their development will not be occupied?

3) What assurance has the county received from the OPP or from the Ontario Government that the law will be upheld in Haldimand if another occupation starts?

4) What deal/arrangement/understanding (or whatever politically correct term you may use) has the county agreed to or entered into regarding DCE?

5) Are there any talks about DCE being turned over to Six Nations either by transferring the land or just allowing them continued use of it?

Apparently Hewitt and Grice don't think the people of Haldimand deserve to have any answers to tough questions - maybe Hewitt can write another letter to the media clarifying the details.

The problem isn't the development on McClung road. It is the fact we are dealing with a Mayor who is willing to accept gifts and make backroom deals directly contradicting what his public statements are.

Who knows what deals have been made because Hewitt is refusing to answer questions?