Monday, November 26, 2007

Haldimand "We need Local Homegrown Solutions"

The message was clear from the New Aboriginal Minister Michael Bryant today, he “wants to hear from the local People”.

About 60 residents showed up at the Caledonia Arena today hoping for some information from Aboriginal Minister Michael Bryant. The Minister was in Caledonia today for a “closed meeting” with Mayor Trainer, Councillors Grice, Boyko, Haldimand County CAO Don Boyle and others. After the meeting Mayor Trainer, CAO Don Boyle and Councillor Grice answered questions from the residents. My feeling was that the new CAO Don Boyle was very sincere and understands the frustrations of the residents of Haldimand, and is willing to do what it takes to make sure that we are heard!

Minister Bryant arrived with Mayor Trainer and we had the opportunity to ask a few questions before they went into the “closed meeting”. We also had the opportunity to have our name on a list if we wished to be contacted by the Minister directly. I put my name on that list and will update you if I get a call. We were hoping to speak to Minister Bryant further after the meeting, but he slipped out the back door to go to another meeting with local Faith Leaders in Caledonia.

Judy Laszlo a resident of Caledonia held a sign that stated, “Stop the Secrecy and Let the People Know”. Judy is asking that all levels of government be “Transparent” to the residents, in my opinion this is not asking too much, in fact McGuinty states that the government needs to be more “Transparent and Accountable” to the people!

Toby Barrett MPP for Haldimand Norfolk was not invited into the closed meeting today, but that did not keep him away. We had the opportunity to voice our concerns and ask Toby many questions while we all stood together outside the arena waiting for Minister Bryant to appear. In my opinion the conversation between the residents and Toby Barrett was positive, this is the kind of dialogue that is needed from all levels of government. Be Honest….Be Transparent….Be Accountable….

One of the things that came up was distributing a petition to ensure that Minister Bryant sticks to his words. The following is an email that I received this afternoon from Toby’s office.

Hello Donna, below please find Toby's news release referencing the Minister's visit, public hearings and petition.

I had hoped to have the petition ready for you this afternoon., but unfortunately I won't have all approvals til tomorrow....I will send you a copy for distribution before noon tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's the release.


For immediate release
November 26, 2007

Barrett calls for recorded public hearings on area land dispute

HN MPP holds Aboriginal Affairs Minister to stated interest in "homegrown solutions

Caledonia - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is calling for public hearings on the area land dispute - building on the Aboriginal Affairs Minister's reported, "interest in listening to people".

Barrett called for hearings while outside the Caledonia Twin Pad Arena as Minister Bryant held a closed door meeting inside.

"People are disturbed by the secrecy and lack of transparency that has become a hallmark of this 22 month land dispute," Barrett bristled. "This week's opening of a new legislative session provides us with a renewed opportunity to ensure communication with the people government decisions impact most."

To that end, Barrett has drawn up a petition calling for government to hold a round of recorded hearings whereby deputations - both spoken and written - could be made to a standing or select committee of the Ontario Parliament.

"I take him at his word when Minister Bryant indicates that he, 'wants to hear from local people', and that, 'we need local homegrown solutions'," stated Barrett. "Now it's time for real input and communication through recorded, public meetings open to the media - our taxpayer dollars fund Ontario Legislature activities for just such a purpose."

Several people in attendance outside of Bryant's meeting indicated they would circulate Barrett's petition.

"We have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in this area - knowledge that government has yet to tap," Barrett pointed out. "That's why I'm calling on all those affected to sign my petition and ensure Minister Bryant follows his reported intention to, 'see things locally'."

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

A Reminder of the “Public Meeting” this Wednesday November 28th, 2007. Cayuga Council Chambers at 7:00pm. Come show your support for Haldimand County.

I also had the opportunity to meet and ask our new CAO Don Boyle if the residents would be allowed to ask questions at this Wednesday’s public meeting in Cayuga with David Crombie and other representatives from the government. He couldn't promise that this would happen, but it is a possibility.

I will have the petition there from Toby Barrett for you to sign as well.


  1. I was also there yesterday and found that the people seem to be broken into groups.

    I will be there Wednesday and look forward to signing the petition. We need to stand together and fight one thing at a time.

    Toby is our voice for the province, and he is a good voice.

  2. I found Marie Trainer to be very rude yesterday to the same people that supported her. She seemed like a totally different woman.

  3. Good petition by Mr. Barrett, I signed it tonight at the meeting in Cauga.

  4. An update; as of today, I have not received a call from Minister Bryant.


  5. Donna I also put my name on that list in Caledonia for Mr. Bryant to contact me. I have not heard from anyone either.

    I guess they were just trying to make us think that they were going to make a difference. We should know better by now, so many promises, broken ones that is!