McGuinty passes on Caledonia dispute to federal government

Friday, November 3, 2006

Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty wants the federal government to deal with the Caledonia dispute. The Ontario government says that Ottawa alone is responsible for resolving the dispute, along with another 27 land claims.

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, who refused to meet with David Ramsay, Ontario's aboriginal affairs minister, said Ottawa and Ontario share responsibility for resolving a land claim on the Six Nations reserve in Southwestern Ontario.

The Ontario government has spent close to $40 million since February, $12 million to purchase the property back from the property developer, and $15 million going to the OPP.

"They are just playing games right now," Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer told the Canadian Press. "We're in the middle. We're the ones suffering. . . . I would like them to stop acting like children. I wish they would quit holding Caledonia residents as hostages. It's pretty frustrating."

"The province has neither the authority nor the power to settle a land claim, so it's up to the federal government," David Ramsay, Ontario's aboriginal affairs minister said. "And quite frankly, to move these negotiations along, the federal government really needs to bring more vigor to these talks."

McGuinty is still urging the federal government to "step up to the plate" and to resolve the dispute.

Until then, the Ontario government will have to wait for more discussions with provincial ministers.