For immediate release:
June 5, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK — Just as a Minister’s representative began to address the questions of Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett with regard to government involvement in the recent Samsung/Ontario/ Six Nations land lease agreement, the clock coincidently ran out.
And while the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy stopped short of providing clarification, the response that he did get out only added to confusion over an alleged Minister of Infrastructure and Energy letter granting Six Nations land lease money from Crown land in Haldimand County. Elected Chief Montour referenced the letter in the Tekawennake newspaper, characterizing the agreement as “unprecedented,” adding that, “they have always maintained that we have no right to that land.”
“I asked the McGuinty government: Share this letter. Given that the Chief feels it’s precedent-setting, given the last six years of land dispute impacts, I would think something as important as this must be discussed with the people that it impacts,” Barrett noted during late show debate.
“Just as it was with the original, secret, backroom $7-billion Samsung deal with the Ontario government, so too with the most recent deal: The people in Ontario, and particularly those in my riding, are kept in the dark.”
Barrett had requested the late show debate after registering his “dissatisfaction” with the non-answers from the Premier, the Minister of Energy, and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs earlier in the day.
“Specifically I asked: ‘Is the government involved in the agreement or not? Is this about handing over lease money to Six Nations or handing over crown land, all the while sticking Haldimand county with wind towers and property devaluations?…. Why has this land-lease precedent been set?’” Barrett reiterated during the evening debate.
“With the stroke of a pen, we saw the handover of Ipperwash Provincial Park, the handover of the 360-acre Burtch correctional property, again with zero public consultation,” recalled Barrett. “Now we hear the Infrastructure Minister has written a letter indicating that land-lease monies from properties within Haldimand county will be laundered through Samsung to Six Nations. Speaker, this adds insult to injury for people in my area. And the questions remain. Where is the letter?”
In response the Parliamentary Assistant made no reference to the letter, adding that: “Infrastructure Ontario and Samsung have been in discussion on the potential lease of lands to enable the Grand Renewable Energy Park for the past year. At this time, no final decisions have been made. Any potential land lease to Samsung, if approved, will be on standard government terms at market rates.”
Then the clock ran out.
For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
Tuesday 5 June 2012
ABORIGINAL LAND DISPUTE
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): The member for Haldimand–Norfolk has given notice of dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given today by the Minister of Energy. The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter, and the parliamentary assistant may reply for up to five minutes.
For those of you who wish to leave the chamber before we start, I’d like to invite you to do that now so the member can speak without the added distraction.
The member for Haldimand–Norfolk.
Mr. Toby Barrett: Thank you, Speaker. As you’ve noted, I requested this late show debate because of my dissatisfaction with the answer to my question given by the Minister of Energy and subsequently an answer shared by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
I actually asked the question of the Premier concerning this government’s assigning of the land lease payments from crown land administered by the Ontario Realty Corp. at South Cayuga in Haldimand county—payments that are in the process apparently of being made to Six Nations.
Quite frankly, I note from the outset that my dissatisfaction results from the fact of the minister failing to even attempt to address my questions with regard to the government’s involvement in the recently announced Samsung-Six Nations deal that will see government money laundered through the Ontario Realty Corp. and through Samsung and assigned to Six Nations, allegedly as a buyoff against a future protest against wind turbines.
Specifically I asked: “Is the government involved in the agreement or not? Is this about handing over lease money to Six Nations or handing over crown land, all the while sticking Haldimand county with wind towers and property devaluations?…. Why has this land-lease precedent been set?” Again, no attempt was made to answer any of the questions.
I think it should be recognized that as the elected representative for Haldimand–Norfolk, these aren’t just my questions; these are questions being asked across Haldimand county. When ministers ignore me, they are ignoring the people I represent. I find that unacceptable.
You see, Speaker, apparently the minister is willing to address the subject with others, as he was quoted in the media stating that “the agreement had nothing to do with the government.” However, that statement seems to fly in the face of published quotes from elected Six Nations Chief Bill Montour, who noted in the Teka newspaper, the Tekawennake, that, “A letter from the Minister of Infrastructure states that the lease from the land surface will be turned over to Six Nations.” Chief Montour goes on to characterize this as “unprecedented,” adding that, “They have always maintained that we have no right to that land.”
I asked the McGuinty government: Share this letter. Given that the chief feels it’s precedent-setting, given the last six years of land dispute impacts, I would think something as important as this must be discussed with the people that it impacts. Just as it was with the original, secret, backroom $7-billion Samsung deal with the Ontario government, so too with the most recent deal: The people in Ontario, and particularly those in my riding, are kept in the dark.
Six years after the land dispute began at Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia, the scars of mayhem remain: a burned-out tractor-trailer; the blocking of home building, commercial and industrial development; and a continuing seeding of division within the community. A once-promising subdivision, Douglas Creek Estates, now features warrior flags, a hydro tower barricade and occupiers. Of course, it was just as recent as this morning that Mr. McGuinty called the situation that I just described as an “alleged occupation.” I do ask the Premier to talk to someone like Sam Gualtieri, who was almost beaten to within an inch of his life. A statement like that is an insult to the Gualtieri family.
Nearby, yet-to-be-wired hydro towers stand untouched—they’ve been there for six years, stalling transmission from Niagara—that cost the Ontario government $100 million. After six years, people are understandably nervous, skeptical and untrusting of the McGuinty government’s mishandling of any situation to do with either land disputes or the transmission of electricity.
The concern grows again. With the stroke of a pen, we saw the handover of Ipperwash Provincial Park, the handover of the 360-acre Burtch correctional property, again with zero public consultation. Now we hear the infrastructure minister has written a letter indicating that land-lease monies from properties within Haldimand county will be laundered through Samsung to Six Nations. Speaker, this adds insult to injury for people in my area. And the questions remain. Where is the letter? We wish to see that letter that said that these land-lease payments have been signed over to Six Nations.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): The parliamentary assistant has up to five minutes to respond.
Mr. Reza Moridi: Earlier today, the member from Haldimand–Norfolk asked a question to the Premier with regard to assigning land-lease payments from crown lands at South Cayuga to Six Nations. I want to start off with a few quotes, Madam Speaker, from the Six Nations, which may put things in a better perspective for my honourable colleagues in this House.
A statement by Chief Bill Montour of Six Nations: “This agreement is a historic accomplishment for Six Nations as it demonstrates the success that can be achieved with Six Nations as a partner. The Grand [River] Renewable Energy Park is a template for how Six Nations can finally begin to realize benefits from the ongoing development within the Haldimand tract; the fact that the development itself is clean and sustainable simply adds to the overall attractiveness of the project.”
With regard to Samsung projects with Six Nations, our government has an agreement with Samsung, which is a landmark agreement, that is creating jobs and bringing investments to our province of Ontario. We are pleased with the progress that Samsung and the Six Nations elected council have made with respect to the Grand Renewable Energy Project. Samsung is comfortable investing in the Grand Renewable Energy agreement, creating Canadian jobs in the process of this investment.
Samsung has been consulting with various aboriginal communities, including Six Nations, for a number of years about this renewable energy project and the proposed land lease. Recently, Madam Speaker, it was the subject of 10 public hearings on the matter.
We are not worried about service interruptions in the area. There are sufficient transmission lines to support the project’s needs. The Grand Renewable Energy Project is predicted to generate $55 million for the Six Nations groups over the next 20 years.
Samsung and partners worked together in a comprehensive community consultation process with Six Nations people to ensure their feedback was taken into consideration. K.J. Kim, vice-president of Samsung, made a statement saying: “Samsung, together with our development partner Pattern, welcomes the decision by the elected council of Six Nations to join with us in building a world-class wind and solar farm in Haldimand county. After almost two years of negotiations with Six Nations, we are proud to have reached an agreement for the first renewable energy partnership in Six Nations’ history.”
Mr. Michael Garland, the CEO of Pattern, made this comment: “Having engaged in a comprehensive community consultation process with the Six Nations people, Pattern and Samsung would like to recognize the efforts of Chief Montour, his colleagues on council, and staff who have taken a historic step forward.”
Samsung, through its $7-billion investment in our province of Ontario, plan to bring in 16,000 jobs—manufacturing jobs and additional construction, installation, maintenance, engineering, operation, steel-making, financial services, facilities management and other jobs—to this province.
They’re building four new manufacturing facilities in Ontario. In Tillsonburg, they are manufacturing blades for wind turbines, where they are creating 900 jobs. In Windsor, they are building towers for wind power, with 700 jobs created. In Don Mills, for the solar inverters project and the factory, they are creating 200 jobs. In London, for a solar panel manufacturing plant, they are creating 200 jobs. These are the jobs which are created just by Samsung projects.
The land-lease issue which has been raised: Infrastructure Ontario and Samsung have been in discussion—
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): I’d ask you to wrap up because you have exceeded the five minutes.
Mr. Reza Moridi: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Infrastructure Ontario and Samsung have been in discussion on the potential lease of lands to enable the Grand Renewable Energy Park for the past year. At this time, no final decisions have been made. Any potential land lease to Samsung, if approved, will be on standard government terms at market rates.
Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Julia Munro): Thank you.
This House stands adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.
The House adjourned at 1812.