Thursday, May 29, 2008

Haldimand "Kudo's to Councillor Grice"


Friday May 30th, 2008.

Something was just not sitting right with me when I wrote this blog. The first problem that I ran into was actually believing what I had read as the "whole truth". Now anyone who has written a letter to the editor and had it edited for print finds out very quickly the "truth" can change by taking out a word here and there.

I called Councillor Grice to ask him a few questions but we have played telephone tag. So I called Mayor Trainer to ask her a few questions about that meeting on May 16th.

This was the conversation I had with Mayor Trainer;

I informed Mayor Trainer that I had written a blog about the meeting in her home with government officials and the fact that I agreed with the stand that Councillor Grice took. Boy I can tell you that when you need to know the truth you need to go directly to the "source".

As it turns out the Deputy Minister had no problems meeting at the Mayor's home. This was in no way an "official" type of County business. It was an informal meeting that started with a meeting of residents that live on "Sixth Line" in Haldimand County prior to going to the Mayor's home. After a "one hour" meeting at the Mayor's home at 2:00pm, the group went to meet with others at the Hagersville Tim Hortons. So there you have it these government officials were at three meetings in Haldimand County the same day.

Mayor Trainer found out this information about the other meetings at the Liaison Side Table Meeting that took place the following week, and "prior" to the Council Meeting this past Monday where Grice criticised the Mayor for having the meeting at her home. I asked Mayor Trainer if Grice new this information and she said Yes. So what was the rant all about?

Another thing to add is that Councillor Boyko was in fact at that same meeting on May 16th at Mayor Trainers home, yet the reporter left this information out of the article! So Counciller Boyko spoke with first hand experience that the Deputy Minister didn't have a problem with this.

Now I still haven't had a conversation with Councillor Grice on this "clarification" of the events that took place. When I do I will post what his comment was.

In the meantime my "apologies" to Mayor Trainer and Councillor Boyko for not getting the facts straight. But in my opinion this was a good exercise. I wonder what else we read that is really "NOT" the " WHOLE TRUTH".


The Regional Newspaper reporter Bill Jackson wrote an article this week that has me scratching my head and wondering just how professional is our council? Actually in a way I found the story a little bit amusing at the same time.

Mayor Trainer, Councillor Grice and CAO Don Boyle met with Lori Sterling, Ontario's Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Provincial Representatives Doug Carr and Chris Mahar on Friday May 16th.

This meeting took place at Mayor Trainer's home. Councillor Grice criticized Mayor Trainer for her choice of location. Grice made the following statement at a council meeting on Monday;

"How are we being seen by the province?" Grice asked his colleagues at the council table, noting that "respect deserves respect" when it comes to the number one issue facing Haldimand these days. He told The Regional News that Ontario's representatives were introduced to Trainer's dogs and that a cow was grazing at the side of the driveway while the meeting was in progress.

Well I can say one thing the picture in my head right now of these people being introduced to Mayor Trainer's dogs certainly put a bit of a different view on how our local politicians conduct County business. I wonder was the cow a milking cow?

Now Mayor Trainer at this point in the meeting took a stand and basically said to Councillor Grice;

You can choose the meeting location when you become mayor, but that "this is my style...I go with my style."

Grice said it was inappropriate to hold the meeting at a council member's home and said it should have been held inside council chambers in Cayuga, or at another county location. Boyko said the deputy minister was pleased to meet at the dining room table, a different setting compared to the norm, and found Grice's comments "disturbing. "That wasn't the sentiment, Grice asserted."What do you expect them to say?"

I totally agree with Councillor Grice on this one. Exactly what kind of meeting was this? Where was the rest of Council? Bill Jackson doesn't say in the article what this meeting was about, or what was talked about at this meeting. In my opinion County business needs to be done in a business setting, especially when you consider this was not a meeting of a "private company" this was a meeting concerning "County business".

Councillor Sloat stated publicly that he could care less if the meeting was in a tent and called Grice's comments trivial and almost Insulting. However Grice stood his ground and said both Sloat and Boyko initially asked the mayor to have the meeting in an office setting. Now you have to remember that this was being discussed at a council meeting and obviously Sloat and Boyko were not expecting Grice to clarify in public what their initial comments were, and I am sure their initial stand was not stated publicly.

Grice continued on and makes the following statement;

"She has to have it at her house because it's grandma day. That is unprofessional and does not put us in a good light with counterparts at the provincial level. If you want respect you've got to give respect, whether or not you like the Party or not..."

Now apparently Councillor Delimonte never made any comments until after the Council meeting was over. Delimonte agreed with Grice but never made a comment publicly, instead he made this comment to Bill Jackson after the meeting was over;

Councillor Tony Dalimonte said he agreed with Grice. The business of the municipality should be held at the municipality, it's as simple as that," he said."There's no issue more serious right now than credibility at the provincial level."

So I wonder why Councillor Dalimonte didn't stand up for Grice in public?

I for one will say "Kudo's" to Councillor Grice for standing up and saying what some of us are thinking right now! In my opinion Grice is totally bang on!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Haldimand "Some Politicians are just Politically Drunk"

When I was in Dunnville the other day having a chat with a friend about politics, he said something to me that has not left my mind since. It actually makes a lot of sense when you look at what is happening all around us in the world of politics.

I am always asking questions in regards to why do "Politicians" do what they do. Or another phrase I like to use is that they "talk the talk, but don't walk the walk". Sometimes I will ask why has that person changed their position now that they are elected? Regardless we all have our own opinions on politics, whether it is "local", "provincial" or "federal".

So back to what my point is here.

When we were talking about local politics this person said to me that his father once said to him when he was elected as a town council member, not to get "Politically Drunk".

So I spent a bit of time last night googling "Politically Drunk" and a couple of websites and blogs had articles posted about the "abuse" of certain politicians. Most of these were in regards to money issues.

So I thought of what some of our "local" politicians have done and said in the past and I have come to the conclusion that some are in deed "Politically Drunk".

Here in Haldimand County our council members don't make a huge amount of money, but what they do have is the "power" over the "people". In my opinion this is what is seems like. They are elected on a few promises and then they seem to forget what they have promised to the people.

Now most of you haven't spent time sitting at a council meeting and actually why would you? I have spent many a time in the council chambers. At most there is one resident who goes to all council meetings, a few press, staff and unless there is a delegation that is it that attends.

All council members know who I am but for a few because I ran in the last election, am vocal on local issues and write a blog, I am not worth the ground that they walk on. This makes me feel very uncomfortable, but I go anyway. As a "resident" of this county I deserve to be treated "respectfully" but some cannot get past their "personal" vendetta towards me. So do I believe that some on our council are "Politically Drunk"? Yes I do, as over time I have stopped going to council meetings. Is this right? No.

I will give you one example of what happened the last time I attended Council. Minister Michael Bryant was here speaking to council about the native issues. Our council was given about an hour to directly ask questions to Bryant. Once council warmed up the questions were very good and Councillor Sloat made an excellent statement. As I have said many times I call it as I see it. When the press were talking to some residents, Sloat was standing there and I thought here is my opportunity to say to Sloat that his statement said it all...well...Sloat in front of a few people looked and me and said "I can't talk to you" and turned his back and walked away. Too bad he did that as I had more than a few questions from the people that heard what he said to me. They couldn't believe that an elected official could be that "disrespectful" to a resident.

Our council recently admitted that they are still doing business behind closed doors. Our council has been their own judge and jury. Our council has passed bylaws that supersede other bylaws. Our council recently denied a resident of Cayuga her right to speak. Our council has basically decided without our say that a Nuclear Plant should come to Nanticoke. Has Haldimand County Council become "Politically Drunk"?

When McGuinty was re-elected he promised all Ontarions that his government would be more "transparent and accountable" to the people. Legislation was passed in January of this year to make our "local council" more "transparent and accountable" to the people.

I believe that McGuinty at the time was in deed "Politically Drunk".

Maybe it is time that McGuinty look into legislation that would make a "politician" responsible to the people if they become "Politically Drunk".

Well that is my opinion, what about you, do you know someone that is "Politically Drunk"?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Haldimand "Keep Both Hands on the Wheel"

When is enough......enough?

What has happened to the "Driver" being "Responsible"?

We already have laws in place, that one can find in the "Highway Traffic Act" and the "Criminal Code" of Canada that deals with people who are driving "carelessly".

Just six months ago, when asked if Ontario should ban cellphone use while driving, McGuinty said:

"There are provisions right now, to be found in the Highway Traffic Act ...or the Criminal Code that allow for prosecutions for people who are driving carelessly. So, unless and until I get different advice from the people who work our roads, and look to their safety, we will maintain our position," he said.

So Premier McGuinty "Who" and "What" has changed your stand?

McGuinty said he has asked Transportation Minister Jim Bradley to look at some form of "next-generation legislation" that would cover existing electronic devices like cellphones and future gadgets.

Now McGuinty hasn’t just stopped there, he is looking into what he calls "Next Generation Legislation", what the hell is this? Well I would call this a "Blanket Legislation", just fill in the "Blanks" when necessary, after the "Legislation" is in place.

I would advise Premier McGuinty while he is at it why not legislate this;

Legislate and remove the following;

Coffee cup holders from vehicles……….
All Road Signs…………….

Well this list could go on and on, I think you get my point.

In my opinion there are far more pressing issues that this current Premier should be concerned about in Ontario. Although Ministers do need something to do, the government should not be waisting time "Legislating" something that is already "Law"!

The bottom line for me is that we have "Leaders" that say one thing and six months later they have "flopped", oh wait a minute has "McGuinty" himself not "accused" others of doing what he is considering? "Flopping".

Haldimand "The S..t Rolls Downhill"

As gas prices increase and we all feel the pinch in our pocketbooks, you have to wonder what are our “Politicians” thinking.

I listened to Harper on the news the other day when he spoke of the high gas prices, making a comment that there is “nothing” they can do about it. The same day I received an e-mail from Iain regarding the federal governments planned “corporate” tax cuts. Thanks Iain G.

Now I don’t profess to be an expert on federal “politics”, but after reading this information on CCPA’s website, I do wonder who is helping out who here.

Once again it seems that Ontario will loose.

The way I see it is that we are being bamboozled by all levels of government, at least here in Ontario, or I should say for the residents in Haldimand. As the shit does roll downhill, and to most of us all we care about is how things personally effect us! Bottom Line!

This is an interesting site, I have added this site to my interesting Links;

About the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice. Founded in 1980, the CCPA is one of Canada’s leading progressive voices in public policy debates.

By combining solid research with extensive outreach, we work to enrich democratic dialogue and ensure Canadians know there are workable solutions to the issues we face. The CCPA offers analysis and policy ideas to the media, general public, social justice and labour organizations, academia and government.

We produce research studies, policy briefs, books, editorials and commentary, and other publications, including The Monitor, a monthly magazine. Most of these resources are available at no cost on this site (see the Research and Publications section).

With a national office in Ottawa and provincial offices in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, we address local and national issues, as well as globalization and international trade.

The CCPA is a registered non-profit charity. We depend on the support of our more than 10,000 members across Canada. For more information on how you can support the CCPA, visit the membership and donations area.

This is their report;

Corporate tax cuts will increase gap between oil-producing provinces and rest of country—study

May 8, 2008 National Office Topic(s): Corporations & corporate power, Economy & economic indicators, Taxes & tax cuts Publication Type: Press Release

OTTAWA—The federal government's planned corporate tax cuts will only exacerbate the existing inequalities in Canada's economy—both between regions and across industries, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by economist Jim Stanford, analyzes the distribution of corporate profits across Canada’s provinces and across 16 major industries. It finds that the big winners from Conservative corporate tax cuts will be Canada’s oil-producing provinces, and the oil and finance sectors.

In contrast, industries and regions which are struggling will receive very little benefit.

"Despite what Finance Minister Flaherty says, corporate tax cuts are an especially uneven policy tool,” Stanford says. “These corporate tax cuts constitute a significant net fiscal shift in favour of Alberta, and away from Ontario and every other non-oil-producing province.”

According to the study, Canada’s three oil-producing provinces, which account for 15% of the population, generate 36% of corporate profits—and can be expected to reap a similarly large share of the benefits of corporate tax reductions. On a per capita basis, companies operating in the oil-producing provinces can be expected to receive three times as much benefit from the tax cuts as companies in the rest of the country.

Finance Minister Flaherty is 'picking winners’ as surely as any other Finance Minister—including Ontario’s,” says Stanford. “Surprisingly, the ‘winners’ he’s picking are the provinces and industries that are already doing very well indeed.”

The study also questions the economic impact of corporate tax cuts. Despite the dramatic decline in corporate tax rates this decade, business spending on capital equipment and R&D has been remarkably sluggisheven as Canadian companies are enjoying all-time record profits.

“Corporate tax cuts, as expensive as they have been and will continue to be, have had no visible impact on the broad pattern of business investment at all,” Stanford says.

“In addition to asking whether the regional and sectoral impacts of the Harper government’s $15 billion annual corporate tax cuts are fair and acceptable to the majority of Canadians, we should also ask whether they will have any beneficial impact on Canada’s economy at all,” concludes Stanford.

“Picking Winners”: The Distorting Effects of Federal Corporate Tax Cuts is available on the CCPA web site at

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, 613-563-1341 x306.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Haldimand "Another Government Official plays the Silence Game".

Scanning through the news on the web I found a very interesting editorial posted in the Brantford Expositor about our MP Diane Finley.

This article is a must for all to read. It seems that since Diane Finley was elected here in Haldimand County, her position has changed or her job description has changed.

Regardless I went to several debates in support of Diane Finley and I heard first hand all the "wonderful" things that she was going to do for Haldimand if elected.

I only have one question for Diane Finley....What has happened to you?

Ducking questions

Posted 1 day ago

Haldimand-Norfolk MP Diane Finley is an unusual politician. She refuses to talk to the media about two great issues in her riding - the decline of the tobacco industry and native affairs.

Recently, she refused to be interviewed by the Toronto Star. Her reason - as expressed through a spokesman in her office - is that issues involving agriculture and native affairs are not her responsibility.

"The minister is only the local MP and not the lead on either file," wrote spokesman Timothy Veil.

Only the local MP? Agriculture and native affairs not her responsibility?

Scores of former growers in Norfolk are in desperate financial shape because of the decline of the tobacco industry. Are these people no longer a concern to Finley? Has she nothing to say?
Tobacco growers seemed important to Finley in the last two elections.

She defeated veteran Liberal MP Bob Speller in the 2004 election, partly on her promise that the Conservative party would do more to help tobacco growers leave the industry.

Finley's riding is home to Caledonia and the two-year-old native land claims dispute. As MP, does she have nothing to say?

Why should constituents bother to express their views or bring their problems to Finley if she ducks issues on which she is not the lead?

Finley's boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is no friend of the media. He has gone further than any previous prime minister to tighten control over communication between Conservatives and reporters.

But Finley has hit a new low in thumbing her nose at the media. If she doesn't take questions about agriculture and native affairs, which issues will she talk about?

Finley is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Must newspapers and the radio stations in her riding limit their questions to citizenship and immigration?

Does the no-talk rule apply to all Conservative MPs?

Must the media direct all questions to the prime minister and appropriate cabinet ministers?

If Finley no longer wants to do her job as MP, including speaking to the media, the voters of Haldimand-Norfolk at the next election will choose someone who does.

Haldimand "Brantford Council Fights for Residents"

Mayer Marie Trainer was on the Bill Kelly show last week in regards to Brantford's passing of bylaws preventing further occupations of construction sites. When Mayor Trainer was asked by Bill Kelly if Haldimand County Council will follow suite, she said "we will wait and see" if it works in Brantford! Well there you have it! Very good answer!

No trespassing signs were posted and the occupations continued in Brantford. Today Brantford will be in court asking for an injunction and putting the "Attorney General" on notice in case the Army is needed.

As a resident of Haldimand County, I would like to know why this county has not taken this action anytime in the last two and a half years? This council ignored Toby Barrett's presentation a couple of months ago regarding the "Proclamation" he wrote. This council has stated to the "residents" that there is nothing they can do, it is up to "other" levels of government!

What our Council did was apply for 56 million dollars in the "recovery package" that was sent to upper levels of government earlier this year. Haldimand has not received a penny!

Our council's position up until the time of the "recovery package" was one of mostly silence! Yet once they realized that we were not going to receive any funds the "bashing" started by this council from the Mayor down. That seems to be their answer, at least for our "council".

So what does Brantford Council know that our Haldimand County Council doesn't know?

Maybe Haldimand County should consider the services of Brantford's Lawyer.

I believe in Haldimand it is "too late" to effectively do anything, at least on behalf of "our Elected Officials". The "inaction's" of this Council are apparent, and it is also now been brought to "our" attention that Haldimand has not "supported it's residents and the builders". What is the problem with "our" lawyer "our" council? Regardless it is the way it is!

The following is the article that has all the information regarding Brantford's Injunction request and the reason why they are proceeding in this manner. Right or Wrong, you have to ask yourself at this point what is "our" council waiting for?

City wants Armed Forces on notice; Physical confrontation and disturbance of the peace or riot is inevitable and imminent,' says motion seeking injunction

Posted By Susan Gamble

Posted 1 hour ago

The city is calling for the Canadian Armed Forces to be ready in case of a potential riot by native protesters.

That request is a part of a 135-page court document that goes before the Superior Court today.

The document - which includes a request by the city for $110-million in damages - seeks an injunction to prevent natives from protesting at building sites around the city.

In the court papers, the city is asking the judge to notify the "attorney general" that the services of the "Canadian Forces are required."

"Tensions in the city are mounting due to the increased frequency of, and sites affected by, the defendants' unlawful activities. A physical confrontation and disturbance of the peace or riot is inevitable and imminent," according to the document.

With 150 officers, city police are not able to "effectively protect public safety when the full-scale disturbance or riot occurs."

The document, released by the municipality Thursday afternoon, includes a statement by city manager John Brown that city police have been asking land owners and workers to stop work and vacate their properties if targeted by protesters.

Brown says in an affidavit that police fear growing protests or full-scale occupations that could lead to possible property damage or violence.

On Thursday, Progressive Conservative leader John Tory commended Brantford for taking a positive step to uphold the rule of law in the province by filing for an injunction.

"The mayor and his council have taken an entirely appropriate action to protect the best interests of the families and businesses in their community. By bringing their case before the courts they have also strengthened respect for the law and for the rule of law," Tory told The Canadian Press.

A Hamilton lawyer retained by several developers affected by native protests in Brantford said his clients - who he would not name - see the injunction application as a good move.

"All my clients view this as being very positive and hope the city is successful," Michael Bruder said in a telephone interview Thursday.

"If the city is successful, other communities will be looking at what Brantford's doing and your city could become the hero."

Bruder said his clients are increasingly frustrated over the loss of a "huge amount of money" and repeated delays of their work.

Bruder noted that the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, established to oversee building projects in the disputed areas, is asking developers to pay a fee and to sign an agreement that states the land belongs to the natives.

"They want that registered on the land title so it creates a huge issue for the purchasers. It's not like you pay $5,000 and they're gone. Besides, what are they going to ask for next week?" he said.

"I've had developers say, 'Couldn't I just pay the money? It would be cheaper,' and it would, but I have to explain it's not just about the money."

Coun. James Calnan, who is acting mayor while Mike Hancock is out of the country, reinforced the city's reluctance to pursue legal action against protesters.

"This is a bold step and it was not considered lightly. It's out of necessity because we believe irreparable damage has been done."

Calnan said that asking for the Armed Forces' help is a only a precaution.

"It's not that we're confident there is going to be a disturbance of the peace but, if there is one, we want to be able to deal with it. We always hope for the best but it would be irresponsible of us as a municipality not to prepare otherwise."

Calnan said Brantford and Six Nations have a long history of friendship and both natives and non-natives have lived side by side in the city for centuries.

"The larger interest of everyone is served by peace but we're going to do what's necessary to protect the interests of the people of this community."

The city injunction application will be heard this morning by a superior court judge. If successful, a court order will be issued, said Bruder.

That order will be posted by a sheriff at area development properties.

Should protesters violate the order, the city will go back to court and notify the judge that someone is in contempt of the order.

Finding the protester in contempt, the judge will issue an arrest warrant, which goes to police.

Bruder said the Brantford situation is different than that of Caledonia two years ago where OPP officers refused to serve arrest warrants in favour of keeping the peace a disputed residential subdivision.

"In Caledonia, they (community) subcontracted their municipal force to the OPP which was autonomous but, I would think in Brantford, presumably the city police report to the city."
Calnan said council doesn't have the authority to direct the police as it operates under a board of local and provincial representatives.

"But we do have the full and complete support of the police as we're going through this process."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Haldimand "Our Council Needs to Be Educated"

This article by Karen Best really gets me going. It is not how Karen writes or what she writes about, actually the complete opposite. Karen writes it the way it is!

I have a real problem with Haldimand County Council. They just don't seem to understand the Municipal Act when it comes to what is allowed behind closed doors. This is not the first article that Karen has written that has "quotes" from Council Members "admitting" that a lot of what is discussed behind closed doors should be in the public forum.

In January of 2008 the Municipal Act changed as to allow investigations into "alleged" closed door meetings that should in fact be in the public forum.

When I ran for Council in 2006 one of the ways that I educated myself was by reading the Municipal Act. This is something that "ALL" Council Members will be very familiar with, so they have no excuse for going behind closed doors when they know it is "illegal" and wrong. But one has to prove that this is taking place.

Well maybe someone should just take the following news article and attach it to a "formal" complaint to the County. Council is "admitting" in some cases that 85 percent of what they are discussing should in fact be in the "open". One has to wonder why they are announcing to the "public" that they are not following the rules!

Councillor Grice has it right. In fact recently I had the opportunity while I was in the Mayor's office to ask Councillor Grice about his voting "no" to going into "closed sessions". I asked him if he was just voting "no" to go behind closed doors because that was one of his "election promises". His response was "no". So to me his answer is telling me that Council should in fact be discussing the issues that Councillor Grice is voting against in the "open".

Here is Karen's article and I will highlight the lines that really tick me off!

Dunnville Chronicle (ON)
Haldimand, Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Council moving to more open discussions

KAREN BEST CAYUGA - Haldimand County council chambers may remain open more often due to the persistence of members who believe some discussions belong in the public forum. At the April 14 council in committee meeting, Coun. Craig Grice said residents should hear presentations given by the Ontario Provincial Police. Even if they are saying nothing is new, the residents know that first hand, he added.

For two years, OPP have updated council members at every meeting. Occasionally, Inspector Dave McLean made a few comments before the meetings went in camera. Since he was elected, Grice voted against all closed sessions with police, provincial and federal politicians and negotiators.

"We should still go forward in open and public regardless what the questions are," he said about police presentations. Coun. Lorne Boyko said police officials can start in open and then go into closed if necessary. He too has argued that many more discussions should be held before the public.

While all members acknowledge a desire to have open sessions with police, it will be up to the inspector to decide if some information must be offered in private, said Coun. Buck Sloat.

As a result of these discussions, council reached a consensus to hear OPP reports in the open portion of meetings. As council was about to go into a closed session on April 14, Coun. Tony Dalimonte questioned matters scheduled for behind door review. An economic development and planning question was asked in public but was to be answered in private, which concerned Grice.

At least 85 per cent of what is there for planning should be out in the open, said Boyko."Six Nations should know in general what Haldimand County's position is,"he continued. "The issue was discussed several times. This is a strategy that's being planned and council should discuss all but 20 per cent in the open. I don't see this as something that's legal.

"But planning and economic development general manager Craig Manly did. He said recommendations in the report were based on legal advice and related legal implications can affect the county's future.

Sloat agreed saying discussions should be held in private to determine what can come out. On an item related to security of municipal property, Grice argued that budget implications are a public matter.

Dalimonte wanted to know why another issue related to security was a closed meeting item. County clerk Janis Lankester said that due to the nature of the company, the request will be discussed in closed and the decision will be made in open. All the company's meetings are confidential, she added.

All issues raised by council members at that meeting were discussed behind closed doors except the police update. OPP did not attend.

Thanks Karen for a great article. I do however just love the last comment that "all issues raised by council members at that meeting were discussed behind closed doors".

Well there you have it!

So what have we all learned here?

In my opinion Haldimand County Council needs to be "investigated", as they themselves admit that they "should" be discussing more in the "open", and then what do they do? They go behind "closed doors"!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Haldimand "Here is Another Unheard Voice"

In April I wrote a blog about the Nuclear issue . The main players at this time seem to be Norfolk, although our Council in Haldimand seems to be silently backing them, as they both shared in the $5,000.00 cost for a report that was done last fall. I won’t go into all the details that I posted at that time but it is full of information that is a must read if you are concerned in where this issue is going. Here is the link if you haven’t had time to read it;

On May 5th, 2008 Janet Fraser, a resident of Cayuga submitted a written request to the County Clerk, to make a deputation to Haldimand Council regarding the Nuclear Issue and the need for more public education and input. Janet had also e-mailed Councillor Sloat and Mayor Trainer but never received an answer or even an acknowledgement. Here was Janet’s answer from the County Clerk’s Office;

Ms. Fraser, I have received your letter and intended to respond in writing. Please note that Council is not receiving delegations with respect to nuclear power options at this time.

No doubt Grand Erie Energy Quest are aware that the CNSC has a comprehensive regulatory process in place for the construction of new nuclear reactors. Public input is a required part of every step in the regulatory process. Under Federal legislation EA’s are required for nuclear projects in Canada. For new build the process including public consultation takes up to 3 years to complete. EA’s are used as a planning tool before a decision to proceed with the regulatory process has been made. Under this regulatory process the public will be given ample opportunity to speak to the issue.

I advised Janet to put in a second request to appear before Council as I believe that she has every right as a tax paying resident of Haldimand to have her “Voice Heard”.

Janet put in a second request and this was the response from the County Clerk’s Office on May 12th, 2008;

Good Afternoon: Please note that although not all members of Council have responded as yet, there is a majority position that such a delegation is premature. I trust this answers your request of reconsideration.

I am a strong believer in the right to be heard, and our right to “Voice” our concerns to our “Elected Officials” in an Official manner. When this issue came to my attention, there were a few residents from Cayuga that were quite upset that Janet was denied her right to “Speak to Council” about her concerns. A few comments were made that they had never heard of anyone being denied their right to speak. Well I just wonder how many other “Residents” have been turned down because Council feels that they are being “Premature”, or simply do not want the concern to be on “Record”.

We must remember the Haldimand County Hydro issue, this was behind closed doors for six months before the public was made aware of the potential sale. When Council decided to make the sale public it was almost too late to fight it. But we fought hard and we won! I am really not sure where this issue is going, but I do know one thing for sure Janet has the right to “Voice” her concerns “Publicly” and be on “Record”.

I called Mayor Trainer this week to ask her why Janet was turned down. Mayor Trainer’s first response was that Janet’s request was “Premature” and there will be lots of time for “Public Input”. When I asked Mayor Trainer if Council supports a Nuclear Plant for Nanticoke her reply was that they have only agreed to an Environmental Assessment, nothing more. At this point in our conversation I said to Mayor Trainer that is not the way the public sees it and that Janet should be allowed to speak to Council regarding her concerns.

Our conversation then turned to Norfolk Council, I mentioned that Norfolk had already had three “Public Meetings” and a delegation appeared before Norfolk Council last month. Haldimand County has had no “Public Meetings”, will not allow anyone to speak on this issue and in fact at the Norfolk Council meeting they advised that delegation to speak to Haldimand Council as they were informed that the ultimate decision would be made by Haldimand County.

Mayor Trainer also stated that her Council was upset at how aggressive Norfolk Council has been on this issue.

If in fact this is true then let Janet speak to Council. My advice to Janet would be to show up prepared at a Council in Committee meeting, ask Mayor Trainer to request Council to allow her to speak and take a “Recorded Vote” so if Council turns her down it will be on the record!

I know that if Janet takes this course of action Mayor Trainer will ask her Council to allow her to speak. Why do I know this? Well I have posted below a news article from 2003 that will explain why.

April 2, 2003

Trainer officially enters mayoral race

Karen Best
Special To The Chronicle

CAYUGA - Marie Trainer, attempting to reverse the close electoral decision of three years ago, has officially entered the race for mayor.

Trainer became the first candidate for Haldimand County's top elected position when she filed her papers on Monday at the county municipal offices in Cayuga.

Trainer told The Chronicle that numerous requests from Haldimand residents combined with her love of the mayoral job were key factors which persuaded her to run. In keeping with her attempts in the 2000 election be perceived as "The People's Mayor," Trainer spoke about people issues in an interview prior to filing her papers. "There isn't one day that goes by that I haven't been asked to run again," she said.

In 2000, she lost her bid to be Haldimand County's first mayor to Lorraine Bergstrand. The result was a close one, with Bergstrand winning by a margin of just under 600 votes of the 16,000 ballots cast.

Based on her observations and feedback, Trainer feels the attitudes of some councillors towards the public needs revision. People feel they are not being given the opportunity to speak with some reporting they are abruptly cut off, she said. Trainer believes council is not listening to the taxpayers.

Trainer felt this was one of the reasons behind public anger over Haldimand's decision regarding the Grandview Lodge redevelopment. "It seems like the people haven't been heard," she said.

When asked how she would address this as head of council, Trainer said she always talks to people as equals. "It just seems it's a dictatorship," she said of the current council.

In her opinion, too much council business is kept from the people. "There is an awful lot of P and C (private and confidential business)," Trainer said. "I would have a more open council and not so much P and C and I would let the public speak when they wanted to."

Trainer referred to last year's bitter six-week municipal CUPE strike. She recalled contract settlements that were completed amicably in the former Town of Haldimand.

"To me it wasn't necessary," Trainer said. In her opinion, county union employees were treated badly in negotiations and some settlement details. She referred to an oversight (she described it as "backhanded") that almost omitted employee benefits from the final settlement.

Unlike former Haldimand policies where retiring staff were given benefits until they received a pension, the CUPE contract does not grant benefits unless an employee leaves after a long period of service, Trainer said. In contrast to benefits for a five year contracted administrator, this is not okay, she said. She could not understand how old Town of Haldimand councillors could have supported this.

Trainer also relayed concerns about union and non-union raises. Union wages were increased 2.5 per cent but non-union wages went up a little more, she said, referring to information provided to her by union members. This was on top of increased salaries set for new county positions in the transition period, she said.

However the biggest blow was a summertime decision to increase council remuneration, said Trainer, who believes this issue should be re-examined by the new council. Remuneration is posed to increase to $30,000 for councillors, up $5,000, and to $60,000, up $10,000, for mayor. She condemned the timing of the council pay review during contract negotiations.

Trainer also had some comments about roads. She is questioning the need to rename streets and roads like Regional Road 20. The regional designation tells truckers the road can withstand more weight than a municipal road, she said. People will have to change stationary when the county moves ahead with name or numbering changes, she said.

There are duplicate addresses on Regional Road 20 and a county addressing project will eliminate those and others. The project will set up unique address for every county property which is crucial for the quickest emergency response.

This spring Trainer has received numerous comments about muddy road conditions, poor quality stone for gravel roads and the loss of stone into ditches. When told council heard the same complaints and blamed the former Town of Haldimand's penny pinching budgets, she defended those caps. Yes there were zero increases but not less dollars, she said. The additional tax base from new residents and businesses was used to finance additional budget items, she said. Trainer also emphasized that the former town reviewed its roads and set a priority for maintenance.

Trainer is aware of concerns over intensive livestock operations and thinks an agricultural advisory committee would have been helpful in sorting out this issue and offering the other side of the story. The majority of farmers are very careful about the environment, she said. "I would have been a little more comfortable myself having that (an agricultural advisory committee)," she said.

The new council will have no choice but to figure out how to pay for what was done in the county council's first term, said Trainer. "There is a lot of money being spent," she added.

Councillors will be looking at where the county actually stands and what it needs to move forward, Trainer predicted. She also wondered what happened with former Town of Haldimand reserves, which totaled $6 million.

Now that Trainer has filed nomination papers she can solicit and accept campaign donations. She anticipated no problem in securing the backing she will need to conduct a campaign. Her next move will be amassing volunteers and placing them where they can do things for the campaign. Nominations close on September 26 and election day is November 11.

Trainer is counting on the experience she gained in a15 year career in municipal politics. In 1985, she won the Hagersville ward seat and three years later voters sent her to regional council. In 1991, she began a nine year stint as the former Town of Haldimand mayor. "I'm not ready to retire fully yet," she said.

In her three year leave, which she described as a sabbatical, Trainer has assisted in the family beef operation as well as serving a various boards. She holds a Cayuga Chamber of Commerce membership and sits on management boards at Cottonwood Mansion and Ruthven Park. She is also a member of the Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant Trillium Foundation review board. The body accepts grant applications and forwards recommendation to Toronto.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Haldimand "Who is Telling the Truth?"

Here are some updates from this week's Question Period. I must say that I would like to know who is telling the truth. I have read Chief Montour's letter, but I will not post it as I do not have Chief Montour's permission to do so.

I contacted Chief Montour's office today and hopefully he will have time to meet with me in person regarding this issue. If and when that happens I will update you.

Re: Barrett and Runciman call for RCMP investigation

Toby here, Question Period was more than interesting this morning as the Official Opposition continued to ask the Liberal government about their interference into OPP operational matters. Pasted below is a news release detailing the events of Question Period.

Take care.

For Immediate Release May 13, 2008

RUNCIMAN, BARRETT CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO LIBERAL INTERFERENCE IN OPP OPERATIONS IN CALEDONIA Runciman, Barrett say letter raises serious questions about government role in recent Caledonia blockade (Queen’s Park) –

Opposition Leader Bob Runciman and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett today condemned the McGuinty Liberals for allegations that senior Ministers of the government interfered with recent Ontario Provincial Police operations in Caledonia.

"This letter is proof positive that as far as Chief Montour is concerned, both the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and the Minister of Community Safety intervened with the OPP in the recent Caledonia blockade," said Runciman. "It raises some very serious and troubling questions about the McGuinty government’s interference into the enforcement of the law in this province."

Runciman was referring to a letter dated April 29, 2008 from Six Nations of the Grand River Chief Bill Montour to Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Michael Bryant. In the letter, Montour thanked Bryant for his ‘intervention in the police action on Saturday April 26, 2008’ and said that this intervention ‘has been instrumental in the reopening of the Caledonia by-pass’. The letter was also sent to Attorney General Chris Bentley and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Rick Bartolucci.

"Someone here is not telling the truth," said Runciman. "By failing to address the letter, the Minister has left the issue open to speculation and doesn’t clearly admit or refute the Chief’s claims."

"The Minister has known about this issue since the end of April. He has a duty to the Crown and to the people of Ontario to uphold the law," said Barrett. "It’s time that the Minister committed to calling in the RCMP to investigate this issue and provide the people of Caledonia and all Ontarians with the answers they deserve."

For more information: Michelle Pennell (416) 325-9109

Re: Caledonia Cover-Up

Toby here, Further to the news release I sent you yesterday based on the questions asked by my colleague Bob Runciman and I, I am forwarding to you the final Hansard transcript which speaks to the letter Chief Montour sent to Minister Bryant, as well as a last minute Liberal question about Commissioner Fantino’s response via a letter to The Dunnville Chronicle.

This morning, 'Caledonia Cover-Up' and HDI demands in Cayuga were again front and centre during Question Period.

Take care.

NATIVE LAND DISPUTE Mr. Robert W. Runciman: My question is to the Attorney General.

Minister, you were copied with a letter dated April 29, 2008, from Chief Bill Montour of the Six Nations Council addressed to Minister Bryant. The letter reads: "First of all, I want to thank you on behalf of the Six Nations of the Grand River community for your intervention in the police action on Saturday April 26, 2008. Your intervention has been instrumental in the reopening of the Caledonia bypass."

Minister, this letter raises very serious and troubling questions about the interference of ministers in the enforcement of the law in this province. Have you commenced an investigation into this matter, and if not, why not?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: I remember that the question was asked, I believe, for the first time last week. The minister spoke directly to it and said he did no such thing. The question was repeated to my colleague, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and he said he did no such thing. Because a letter is written, it does not make it so.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: I don't think the Attorney General, in his role and with the responsibility he has, should slough it off in terms of the concerns expressed in this letter.
Chief Montour's letter doesn't just stop there, and I'm quoting again: "During the early evening of Saturday, an OPP camera vehicle was driving past the protest site taking pictures of individuals. The people believe this action by the OPP was initiated to be able to identify certain individuals for future charges to be laid. To this end, I'm asking you to again intervene with your colleague ministers to ask the OPP to not lay charges.

Attorney General, have you investigated Chief Montour's request? Has anyone in this government intervened and asked the OPP to not lay charges? And if you haven't looked into this, why haven't you?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: I'm going to give it to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
Hon. Michael Bryant: I'm very- Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I'd ask the honourable member to withdraw the comment he just made, please.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: I withdraw. Hon. Michael Bryant: This is a question coming from a party that every single day in the Legislature asks the government to interfere with police operations on a regular basis and then today stands up, suddenly converted by the Ipperwash inquiry, which was on that government, and has decided that interfering with police operations is wrong.

In fact, interfering with police operations is not only unconstitutional and contrary to the Ipperwash inquiry; it's certainly contrary to the actions of every member of this government. I will say it again: The approach of this government is to leave operational matters in the hands of-< /p>

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Final supplementary.

The member for Haldimand-Norfolk. Mr. Toby Barrett: This letter is evidence that as far as Chief Montour is concerned, both the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and the Minister of Community Safety intervened with the OPP regarding the Caledonia blockade.

Chief Montour is pleased with their intervention in the past, and he's asking them to do it again.

Minister, you have known about this since April 29. You have a duty to the crown and to Ontarians to uphold the law. Why have you taken no steps to investigate this? Will you commit today to calling in the RCMP to investigate these very serious allegations?

Hon. Michael Bryant: The member may want to ask the Attorney General if he directs the police. I can tell you, this Attorney General does not direct the police. In fact, members of the executive council do not direct the police: not this minister, not that minister, not that minister. But that party would know about how to direct police, because they literally wrote the book on it. We had to hold a public inquiry into that party's activities. That's the party that wanted to "get the Indians out of the park."

This is the party and the government that called the Ipperwash inquiry and is implementing the Ipperwash inquiry and is following the recommendations of the Ipperwash inquiry.

Interjections. Hon. Michael Bryant: No-shame on you.

NATIVE LAND DISPUTE Mr. Robert W. Runciman: My question is for the Premier and it has to do, again, with the letter from Chief Bill Montour of Six Nations council, which was addressed to Minister Bryant. What we've heard today is Minister Bryant effectively calling Chief Montour a liar. If you read the letter, the chief is essentially thanking the minister, on behalf of Six Nations, for his intervention in a police action. Your Attorney General has abdicated responsibility here today in terms of following up with an investigation of a very serious allegation that deals with obstruction of justice, Premier. I'm asking you if you will direct your Attorney General-clearly, he needs direction-to initiate a thorough investigation of this allegation.

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Hon. Michael Bryant: Look at that. Not only is this an instance where suddenly the official opposition is interested in interference; the official opposition is now asking the Premier to interfere with the chief legal officer's discretion.

Again and again and again, we say, on this side of the House, that interference is not something that ought to take place. It has certainly been reinforced by the Ipperwash inquiry conclusions, and it's something that we abide by on this side of the House, unlike that side of the House.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: I guess we're getting a little tired of the rhetoric from this minister in not dealing with the issue at hand. Chief Montour has made a very serious accusation dealing with potential obstruction of justice. Your Attorney General is abdicating his responsibilities in the House today. Your Premier won't deal with the issue.

I'm asking you a straight-out question here, and try to answer it directly for a change: Are you calling Chief Montour a liar?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I can tell you one thing: Chief Montour, if he were here right now, would say that you hold no brief for him and you have zero standing to stand up for his reputation and views. I can tell you, I have a relationship where I have discussions with Chief Montour. Tell me a single member of that caucus who has bothered to pick up the phone and try to establish a relationship with the chief of Six Nations. How many? Zero.

That is a caucus that, time after time, has tried to fan the flames. This is a government that will continue to seek not only the recommendations of the Ipperwash commission but will continue to ensure that there is zero interference with police operations. We will continue an aggressive, determined effort to try and resolve these issues in a peaceful fashion.

NATIVE LAND DISPUTE Mrs. Carol Mitchell: My question is for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. The opposition has made a very serious allegation about directing the OPP. Can you please state clearly for this House whether this government ever directed the OPP? What has Commissioner Fantino said about this allegation?

Hon. Michael Bryant: In a published letter to the editor, OPP Commissioner Fantino wrote: "At no time during this event"-referring to the blocking of Highway 6-"or in relation to any police operation did anyone in government or elsewhere tell the OPP to stand down or direct the actions of the OPP.

"The decisions that resulted in the peaceful resolution of the road closure in Caledonia were based on ongoing dialogue between the OPP and Six Nations leaderships...."< /p>
Obviously, we're very supportive of the OPP actions. It is, I think, very helpful for the chief commissioner to have clarified that in a letter to the editor, which is obviously consistent with the information that I and others have provided to this House. I hope this resolves the matter.

Mrs. Carol Mitchell: There will be no supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I feel that the minister has answered my question quite clearly.

Re: ‘Caledonia Cover-Up’ continued and Cayuga

Toby here,

Yesterday Bob Runciman continued to hammer the Liberals on the ‘Caledonia Cover-Up’. I also asked questions about builder Mike Corrado’s site in Cayuga. I have attached the final Hansard transcript.

The feedback to these updates over the past week or so has been invaluable and I thank you for your responses.



Mr. Robert W. Runciman: My question is to the Attorney General. It's regarding the letter sent by Six Nations Council Chief William Montour clearly suggesting that the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs intervened in an ongoing police investigation and prevented the laying of charges. That's potentially a serious criminal offence. Minister, given the clear and serious implications of what Chief Montour is saying in his letter-and you were copied on that letter as well-what did you do about it?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: That's right, I was copied on the letter.

The issue in the letter that the Leader of the Opposition makes reference to is answered directly by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino in his letter to the Dunnville Chronicle, which the member should have had a copy of before raising the question. He says, "At no time during this event, or in relation to any police operation, did anyone in government or elsewhere tell the OPP to stand down or direct the operations of the OPP."
That thoroughly and completely addresses the issues raised by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: I would suggest that's an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Attorney General. Certainly we appreciate Commissioner Fantino's perspective, but what about Chief Montour's perspective? You're going to completely ignore it.

Given the seriousness of Chief Montour's comments and his request for further interventions with the police, can the Attorney General explain why he didn't bother to correct them? These are written criminal allegations made by a credible individual. Now you're getting up and the minister's getting up later and saying, "Well, now we're going to do it," after the letter became public. Why didn't you act? It was your responsibility to react.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: I'm not sure what part of Commissioner Fantino's letter you disagree with, so let me continue.

In the third paragraph: "The decisions that resulted in the peaceful resolution of the road closure in Caledonia were based on ongoing dialogue between the OPP and Six Nations leadership and on the OPP commitment to resolve such situations in the safest manner possible."

I'll continue on with the next paragraph: "The suggestion that political interference played a part is regrettable and untrue. OPP operational decisions are the purview of the police officers in charge. Decision-making is influenced by factors related to the event and the overall need to maintain order and preserve the peace. This is fully in keeping with the police role and authority."

This government does not direct the police. We do not direct the OPP. The commissioner is on the record. What part of that letter do you disagree with? Stand up and be counted.

Mr. Robert W. Runciman: I don't know who you're performing for, but it's certainly not the people of the province in terms of upholding the rule of law.

Chief Montour is a respected, credible individual. He's not someone who would fabricate a story about a minister of the crown interfering with police. He has nothing to gain, but this Minister of Aboriginal Affairs has a lot to lose even if he left the impression with Chief Montour that he was influencing police decisions.

Again, these are serious allegations coming from a credible source. They merit a full investigation, and I ask the Attorney General to take off his political hat, do the right thing, stop protecting a colleague and call in the RCMP.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: We have the commissioner of the OPP, who has not only called in but written in to the Chronicle on the very-

Mr. Peter Kormos: You're in the back pocket of the police.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I'd just ask the member for Welland to withdraw the comment that he directed to the Attorney General, please.

Mr. Peter Kormos: Withdrawn.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: He has written on the very issue that is raised by the Leader of the Opposition, making clear the suggestion political interference played a part is regrettable and untrue. It is direct, it is clear, it is unequivocal.

We have lots of letters that are received in lots of places over lots of issues. You've heard from the ministers involved. Now you've heard from the OPP commissioner. I say to you again, what part of the OPP commissioner's direct response to the direct suggestion do you disagree with?

Interjection: Rumours.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: That's right. You want me to act on rumours.


Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Mike Corrado is the owner of a multi-residential site in Cayuga and he met with HDI several weeks ago, along with municipal and provincial officials. HDI requested this meeting after protesters blocked access to Mr. Corrado's land. In addition to a demand for a $3,000 application fee, they also demanded Mr. Corrado transfer title to his property to HDI and lease it back from them for the next 50 years.
You're a lawyer; you're the government. Is this not illegal? Is this not extortion? More specifically, Minister, are home builders now required to transfer title of their lands to Six Nations?

Hon. Michael Bryant: No.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Mr. Corrado would really appreciate a more fulsome answer. We've spoken with Mr. Corrado this morning. The blockades at his construction site are still up in spite of your "no." He's been told by Ruby Montour that the protesters will not leave and they'll never leave until he complies with HDI's demands, meaning transferring title of his land.

Again, Minister, is this not blackmail? Are deeds worth nothing? How many thousands of jobs are going to be lost; how many millions of dollars have to be spent on policing? The OPP have told Mr. Corrado they will merely act as peacekeepers; they will not intervene. My question is, do you agree with Mr. Corrado asking the OPP to lay criminal charges, asking the OPP to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I spoke to the mayor of Brantford to discuss the municipal council's great frustration, the community's great frustration and the developer's great frustration with respect to what is taking place. A lot of efforts have been made to try and bring people together, to get them off of the streets and on to the negotiating table.

As the mayor said to me yesterday, at the heart of this are, in fact, unresolved claims, primarily along the Haldimand tract. Both the mayor and I agreed that it really is time for the federal government to set a deadline and say, "We're going to put all of our resources into resolving these claims. It is through that, that we are going to achieve justice." So I certainly want to add my voice to the mayor's and the local members when we say to the federal government, with respect to this 200-year-old dispute, that it is time for them to set a deadline and set it now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Haldimand "Barrett calls for Solicitor General of Ontario and Minister Bryant to Resign"

For Immediate Release May 5, 2008

Barrett asks Bryant to resign Queen’s Park

Following articles in two local papers, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett reports people are uncertain as to who is directing the OPP in both Caledonia and Tyendinaga/Deseronto.

Last week, an article in the Tekawennake newspaper reported: “He (referring to Chief Bill Montour) then thanked Bryant for taking his advice and asking the OPP about standing down in Tyendinaga and Caledonia.”Last week, Barrett relayed a similar report found in the Dunnville Chronicle. “Two newspapers and two different reporters saying the same thing,” Barrett said. “I ask you again, did you ask the Solicitor General to interfere or were you, were you yourself, asking the OPP about standing down in Tyendinaga and Caledonia?”

And although Hansard did not record the remainder of Barrett’s question (Hansard recorded only half of Barrett’s last sentence), the local MPP then asked Minister Bryant, given his previous statements, if he was prepared to resign.

Bryant answered ‘no’ and then began reading from the Ipperwash Report. Previously, on April 29th, Bryant stated: “I think the member knows that nobody in this House – no MPP, no member of government is walking around with a holster and cuffs. I think the member knows that it is up to police officers to execute that duty.”

Native land dispute

Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs:

Last week you said in this House and I quote: “I think the member knows that nobody in this House—no MPP, no member of government is walking around with a holster and cuffs. I think the member knows that it’s up to police officers to investigate that duty.” Minister, I would like to quote an article from last week’s Dunnville Chronicle: “Over the weekend, Six Nations Band Chief, Bill Montour, told Aboriginal Affairs minister Michael Bryant, that the blockade was not criminal activity and said this could become something all party does not want it to be. He gave credit to Bryant for talking to the Solicitor General who reportedly told the OPP to stand down.”Minister, did you talk to the Solicitor General about having the OPP stand down?

Hon. Michael Bryant: No.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Thank you, minister. We know that the Dunnville Chronicle stated last week that Six Nations’ Chief, Bill Montour “gave credit to Michael Bryant for talking to the Solicitor General who reportedly told the OPP to stand down.”There’s another article I would like to report. It was written last week by Jim Windle—I know Jim, he’s read more articles on Six Nations than any other journalist. This article states and he referred to Chief Montour, “then thanked Bryant for taking his advice and asking the OPP about standing down in Tyendinaga and Caledonia.” Two newspapers and two different reporters saying the same the same thing.I ask you again: Did you ask the Solicitor General to interfere or were you, were you yourself, asking the OPP about standing down and in Tyendinaga and Caledonia? Given your previous statements, these two reports are—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you.

Hon. Michael Bryant: Well, no again to that one as well. Interference? The only government that’s been found to interfere with police operations has been the Conservative government. It’s the approach of the Conservatives according to testimony by Charles Harnick, that the approach was: “I want the *!?*% Indians out of the park.” That is an interfering approach. That is not a negotiating approach. That is an approach that was, in fact, condemned by Commissioner Linden and it’s not the approach of this government.I know that the official opposition doesn’t like to hear this. I know that the official opposition may not have liked some of the findings in this report but we will continue to support the recommends by Sidney Linden of the Ipperwash commission.

Here is an update from Toby Barrett. This was from Thursday May 1, 2008.

I do believe that it is time for a full investigation, just to find out who is actually telling the truth. These are serious statements being made about Minister Bryant and the Solicitor General of Ontario. I would certainly want my name cleared, wouldn’t you?

Re: Barrett calls for Solicitor General’s resignation

Toby here,

Following is my news release and Hansard from questions I asked Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Rick Bartolucci this afternoon. It is all self-explanatory; however folks have been speculating as to why the barricades came down so quickly this time around.
Have a good evening.


For Immediate Release

May 1, 2008

Barrett calls for Solicitor General’s resignation

Queen’s Park – Since the start of the Caledonia land disputes two years ago, the McGuinty Liberals have been clear that they do not direct the OPP on operational matters. A Dunnville Chronicle newspaper article printed yesterday suggests the Minister of Community, Safety and Correctional Services (Solicitor General) Rick Bartolucci has done otherwise.

Prior to Question Period today, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett spotted the article which read: Over the weekend, Six Nations band chief Bill Montour told Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant that the blockade was not a criminal activity and said this could become something all parties did not want it to be. He gave credit to Bryant for talking to the Solicitor General who reportedly told the OPP to stand down.

Back in December, the Minister of Community, Safety and Correctional Services said in response to one of Barrett’s questions: "If the member is suggesting that the Solicitor General or any other minister or member should interfere with the operation of the OPP, he’s wrong. He’s dead wrong."

Given the report that Bartolucci allegedly asked the OPP to "stand down" Barrett then formally asked in the Ontario Legislature, "Given your previous statements, are you prepared to resign?"

"That allegation is ridiculous, and, no, I will not resign because I won’t interfere with policing operations," Bartolucci said. "We’ve learned from past history that you don’t interfere as government with policing operations."

Barrett also asked the Minister why arrests were made in Deseronto/Tyendinaga for lawless behaviour over the weekend, but not in Caledonia. The Minister refused to answer the question but congratulated the OPP on their handling of the situation.

Native land disputes

Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Minister, on April 25, OPP Commissioner Fantino was clear in a news release concerning problems at Tyendinaga and Deseronto: "This violent criminal activity occurred outside of any legitimate protest and will not be tolerated." It was not tolerated because people were arrested.

Back in Caledonia, criminal activity was allowed to occur all weekend. Not over a land claim, but in support of Tyendinaga. To my knowledge, no arrests were made on the weekend in Caledonia. Why does the OPP crack down at Deseronto, but will not crack down at Caledonia? ... no arrests were made on the weekend in Caledonia. Minister, why does the OPP crack down at Deseronto, but will not crack down at Caledonia?

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Minister of community safety.

Hon. Rick Bartolucci: This gives me a great opportunity to congratulate Commissioner Fantino, the incident commanders, senior officers and front-line officers for the remarkable job they’re doing.

Listen, we appreciate that the OPP is handling these situations in a very, very professional manner, understanding that, at the end of the day, public safety is paramount. Congratulations to Commissioner Fantino. Congratulations to the OPP.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary.

Mr. Toby Barrett: They did a good job at Deseronto. Minister, on December 4th last year, I questioned you in the House and you said: "If the member is suggesting that the Solicitor General or any other minister or member should interfere with the operation of the OPP, he's wrong."

Now, in this week’s Dunnville Chronicle, there’s an article written by Karen Best—she’s a reporter known for her accuracy and thoroughness—and I quote the article, in part:

"Over the weekend, Six Nations band Chief Bill Montour told Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant that the blockade was not a criminal activity," and, further, "He gave credit to Bryant for talking to the Solicitor General, who, reportedly told the OPP to stand down."

Speaker, we have a report before this House referring to the Solicitor General, who reportedly told the OPP to stand down. Minister, given your previous statements, are you prepared to resign?

Hon. Rick Bartolucci: That allegation is ridiculous, and, no, I will not resign because I won’t interfere with policing operations. We’ve learned from past history that you don’t interfere as government with policing operations.

But, what we can do, what we should do, what I’m asking him to do, and that side to do, is to ensure that we ask the federal government to come to the table with our First Nations communities to settle these land claims. The OPP is doing a remarkable job at ensuring that public safety is the top priority, but there are two other partners here that have to come to the table. The federal government has a responsibility to come to the table, to settle these land claims, so that everyone can get along the way we want to get along in Ontario—

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Haldimand "McGuinty is Proving He is Accountable"

I was searching for a news article on the web and came across a very interesting article by the National Post. This article says it all about where Mr. McGuinty's priorities are. The good thing about this article is that the information is based on Statistics Canada data, so it is not someone's personal opinion.

So this does prove one thing ro me;

McGuinty is following through on his promise that his government will be "Accountable" to the hard working people of this province. My problem is that this is not the "Accountability" that I believe most Ontarions were looking for!

April 30, 2008

The National Post

‘Jobs, jobs, jobs" was a catchy refrain during the federal election of 1984. Nearly 25 years later, the slogan may be making a comeback in Ontario. Yet, this time, thanks to Premier Dalton Mc-Guinty, it is the public sector rather than the private sector leading job growth. This approach cannot succeed because it does not add up.

During Mr. McGuinty’s tenure, Statistics Canada reports that private-sector job creation has grown by 2.1%; whereas the public sector has grown by 15.5%. There are now 101,882 more people employed by the provincial government than when Mr. McGuinty took power. That is triple the provincial population growth rate, which only grew by 5.3%. Over a similar time frame, the private sector only generated 108,000 net new jobs.

Notwithstanding the different economic challenges each faced, it is interesting to compare Mr. McGuinty’s performance on the job front to some of his predecessors. Mr. McGuinty has grown the public sector more than Bob Rae, Mike Harris and Ernie Eves — combined!

Over five years, Bob Rae shrank the public sector by 21,673 jobs and his high-taxing and high-spending policies drove net private-sector job growth of a meager 12,500. His successor, Mike Harris (and Ernie Eves), grew the public sector by 47,235. Of note is that the Harris growth came outside the main departmental bureaucracy, which declined by almost 10,000 during his tenure.

Mr. McGuinty may defend his record of public-sector growth by saying he promised more nurses, more teachers, and more doctors. While this is true, the data reveal that departmental staff has also ballooned — up by 8.8% to 102,180. Health care, social services, universities, colleges, training, teachers, hospitals, and all other provincial government employment (excluding government businesses) grew by 16.6%. Increasing the size of government like this, of course, increases the cost of government and the burden on taxpayers. Importantly, this increased burden on taxpayers comes at a time when the economy is facing trouble.

Private-sector economists are predicting a rough ride for Ontario’s economy. One doesn’t have to be a Nobel laureate to identify some of the challenges. The price of oil is at a record high, the Canadian dollar is at par with the American dollar for the first time in decades, a U.S. slowdown is reducing demand for higher-priced Ontario products, and international markets are increasingly competitive for manufacturers.

There is little politicians can do to influence these macroeconomic forces. Unfortunately for taxpayers, however, politicians at all levels of government like to be seen to be doing things to reassure voters that they are in charge. Too frequently, this reassurance comes in the form of increasing the size and intervention of government.

Government, along with its ability to raise revenue and provide services, is a function of the economy it oversees. A healthy private sector that creates wealth and a tax base is what provides for jobs in the public sector, not the other way around. A simple rule of economics: You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. At some point Mr. McGuinty will have to realize that the price of constantly expanding government does not add up.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Haldimand "Here is my Say"

I would like to start off by saying that I have chosen in the past to not write any blogs on anything that has to do with "Native Claims", as I feel that I am not educated enough to make a good judgement on the issues. I have however touched on how I feel about violence and the right that "each and every" individual has to voice their opinions and demonstrate "Peacefully".

When I stood on the Dunnville bridge for "3" days last June, I did this "Peacefully", I did not stop traffic, and therefore I was "not arrested". But I can tell you for a fact that if I had indeed stopped the flow of traffic over the Dunnville Bridge I would have been "Arrested"! Why?………because it is against the law!

I do believe that many "people" (whether you are black blue or polkadot) have a true fear to voice their opinions or concerns on the issues of "natives and non-natives". Now even for me that statement doesn’t feel good as I usually say whether you are "black blue or polkadot"! But it seems to be that this is what it has come to just that…natives against non-natives. This is what is being fed to all of us! I will ask you this, who is at fault here? Natives? Non-Natives? OPP? McGuinty?

Well I am going to bite the bullet and tell you what I personally think. I have nothing against anyone that "protests" or voices their opinions whether I agree with what you are "protesting" or what you say, what I disagree with is simple….Breaking the Law…. We have zero tolerance in our schools for violence and bullies. Yet the OPP condone individuals for "breaking the law". I would love to hear an OPP officer or Commissioner Fantino explaining this to a grade "5" class on how some are allowed to break the law and others are not!

I would also like to say that as far as "Land claims" go there are certainly legitimate land claims here in Haldimand and that is up to the Federal government and the courts to decide. In my opinion these claims need to be taken more seriously from "both" sides. Two years ago this started with the claiming of DCE by a hand full of people, and in fact to my knowledge the Federal Government has stated that there is no legitimate claim on this land. The Province bought DCE, which in my opinion was a deliberate contradiction to what the Federal government has already stated. That, I believe is where the problems started. I would like to know what our Provincial government was thinking at the time. My opinion is that the Province clearly sent a mixed message to everyone involved.

This week was full of misinformation and misconceptions as Fantino has stated, but where has this come from? I was in Caledonia on Friday night and I too have watched the news. The OPP told us that they closed Hwy 6 bypass for the safety of the residents and yet I witnessed on CH TV the removal of a hydro tower and what looked like a telephone pole from the roadway. I have a simple question….Was this 5 day closure of HWY #6 not "Breaking the Law"? Who is really telling us the truth?

It has become apparent that our council in "Haldimand County" has no pull with anyone in the upper levels of government or the OPP, and this I must stress is not their fault. I have written many blogs about the shortcomings of our elected council, but I will not blame this council for what is going on in regards to; negotiations, road closures, loss of development, loss of jobs, loss of tax base, our loss of faith in our OPP, our loss of faith in our upper levels of governments ability to get a handle on what is happening here in Haldimand County. Council is certainly being more open about what they are saying in regards to the issues here. Some may say it is too late, but the fact is that council is fed up! Now in saying this, how do the residents of Caledonia and Six Nations feel?

It was most evident last Sunday where our current "Provincial Governments" priorities are, and that is in Toronto! When the TTC went on strike our government sat on a Sunday and ordered them back to work. I am not saying that I disagree with what the government did, as this situation would have crippled Toronto. The problem I have is where are we on the Provincial Governments Priority List? We have all witnessed this week that our Provincial Government can work very quickly on serious issues, I would say that we are in a serious state of affairs in Haldimand County wouldn’t you?

Here are some comments from the last week or so;

"This violent criminal activity occurred outside any legitimate protest and will not be tolerated". Commissioner Fantino.

"It would cripple Caledonia and further destroy the business community" This is in regards to the repairs slated for the Caledonia bridge, Council is asking the MTO to delay this work. Councillor Grice.

"Councillors took a firm stance against the blocking of Hwy 6 bypass, Council passed a resolution asking the Province and Federal governments to stop negotiations until all blockades and/or occupiers are removed from Haldimand County".

"We are sick and tired of it, said Councillor Buck Sloat. Sloat said the road blockade in Caledonia has nothing to do with land claims and pointed out that OPP Commission Fantino said there would be no law breaking on his watch" Councillor Sloat.

"Our priority is to reopen the public roadway that was taken over by a group of people who do not have the support of the Tyendinaga Band Council in relation to this roadblock" Commissioner Fantino.

"Haldimand County Councillors pointed out that the Six Nations protestors blocking Hwy 6 do not have support of the chiefs who govern Six Nations Band Council and the Traditional Confederacy".

"Grice commended residents for using restraint over the weekend".

"Grice said his wife is ready to move back to her hometown in Port Elgin".

"A return for normalcy is all every last citizen of Caledonia wants and better yet deserves". Councillor Grice.

"It’s time to clean it up and get it out of here". Councillor Sloat.

"Haldimand Council couldn’t even get a call back from upper levels of government last weekend, it’s devastating the way we are being treated" Councillor Don Ricker.

"Councillor Boyko was flabbergasted at the lack of communications".

"I and many others in this community were hopeful that Mr. Fantino was going to announce the reinstatement of law enforcement regardless of race". Merlyn Kinrade.

"According to Minister Bryant, the blockade went up due to misinformation. I would say that misconceptions are caused by misinformation; blockades are erected by people, criminals". Bill Jackson, reporter with the Regional News this Week.

"Minister Bryant commended residents of Haldimand/Caledonia for being so patient". This was a statement from Minister Bryant last week during his visit to Council.

"Barrett then pointed out that "… back in Caledonia, ATVs storm into town, barricades go up on the railway and Provincial Highway 6, and all of this, not because of the land claim, as you know, Minister Bryant, but to show solidarity with aboriginal protesters in eastern Ontario. We know people have got the barricades moved for now, but my concern is the double standard. Those responsible for criminal activity are arrested in Deseronto and no reports of arrests in Caledonia." Barrett then asked: "Why the double standard?" Bryant became agitated and responded with: "Well, the allegation that the member seems to be making—and I know he wouldn’t want to make this allegation—would be as against the standard set by the very institution and the people who, in fact, engage in decisions of police operations. That is, as the member knows, the OPP. "The member congratulates the OPP for their work in Deseronto, but I may say that I would’ve thought that the community was supportive as well of the work that the OPP did in keeping the peace. They make decisions—operational decisions—in Deseronto. They make decisions—operational decisions—in Caledonia," Bryant continued".

"Councillor Grice said leadership from upper levels of government is non-existent".

"Over the past two years, the McGuinty Liberals have made concession after concession to lawbreakers in Caledonia, Deseronto and beyond," said Runciman. "This government has failed and continues to fail to uphold the rule of law in Ontario." "While the blockade in Deseronto has come down, the one in Caledonia is still up," said Runciman. "The McGuinty government is negotiating with people illegally occupying land and treating what could be defined as extortion as ho-hum even as it handicaps economic development in communities such as Brantford and ignores an illegal smoke shop operating on government land within metres of a school."
"Added Runciman, "The Premier is encouraging lawlessness with his laissez-faire approach to upholding the rule of law."

"For those of you that are looking at this from far away, you should not underestimate the temperature of this community, and certainly do not mistake its resolve". Ken Hewitt CCA.

"Natives are being treated differently than non-natives, he said. Probably because of Ipperwash". Councillor Boyko.

"Blockades won’t stop the province from negotiating with native protesters to resolve outstanding land claims and end a two-year occupation on the outskirts of Caledonia, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday. McGuinty said he won’t call off negotiations with Six Nations protesters unless he’s told to do so by the provincial police and Prime Minister Stephen Harper". Toronto Star.

"I am totally committed to do what is in my power to reach peaceful solutions, however, I am equally unwavering in my resolve to hold accountable anyone who would break the law and jeopardize public safety." Commisioner Fantino.

"The Opposition says the Liberals have been encouraging lawlessness by tolerating the recent escalation of aboriginal protests. The Conservatives say the Liberals should call off negotiations with the Six Nations protesters until the protests stop. But Premier Dalton McGuinty says he won’t call off negotiations with the protesters unless he’s told to by the provincial police and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

When I was a young girl I was brought up to respect and trust our Police Officers. Does everyone remember being taught that if you get lost find a Police Officer? We we brought up believing that the Police were there to protect us and we were to trust them, now it seems that our OPP here in Haldimand are only peace keepers. I would like to believe that the OPP will start doing the right thing and uphold the law. If not for me, for the younger generation, as I feel that the standards that are being set here in Haldimand are detremental. How can you preach to the young to not break the law, when they are witnessing the breaking of laws everyday in this community.

Well there you have it, my say!