FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 3, 2015
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett rose in the House Thursday during Question Period and demanded urgent action on completion of the Cayuga bridge.
Directing his question to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Barrett explained that representatives from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute and Six Nations Men’s Fire shut down construction of the 1927 bridge last fall. Now, over six months later, there has been no more work on the site.
“Minister, patience is wearing thin,” Barrett said in the Legislature. “When will your government restore peace, order and construction workers on the Cayuga bridge?”
When the Minister of Community Safety deflected responsibility to the OPP, Barrett reiterated saying the provincial government needs to step in.
“This militant action continues on a provincial bridge, on a provincial highway, under a provincial contract. When will your provincial government step in and allow the safe opening of the Cayuga bridge?
“This Cayuga bridge shutdown requires urgent action,” Barrett said to the minister. “After years of delay, constant repair, load limits and lengthy detours, the bridge is not safe for heavy trucks or oversized farm machinery.”
In response to Barrett’s second question, the minister again deferred responsibility to the OPP.
For more information,
contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]
ABORIGINAL LAND DISPUTE
Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Since November of last year, native militants have shut down construction of the Provincial Highway 3 bridge at Cayuga, a $20-million project just down the Grand River from Caledonia. The Haudenosaunee Development Institute and the Six Nations Men’s Fire activists have forced construction workers off the bridge. Now, we’ve been waiting over six months to replace a deteriorating, 1924 steel truss bridge.
Minister, patience is wearing thin. When will your government restore peace, order and construction workers on the Cayuga bridge?
Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Once again I would remind the member that, when it comes to matters of policing operations, that is within the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police, a very highly regarded professional organization that does excellent work across the province. I think it would be highly inappropriate for any member of this House, especially a member of government, to be speaking about police operations and decisions that they make.
We support the work that our Ontario Provincial Police do, especially the work they do in conjunction with our First Nations to ensure that we are working in a respectful and healthy relationship. I urge the members to do the same.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Toby Barrett: This Cayuga bridge shutdown requires urgent action. After years of delay, constant repair, load limits and lengthy detours, the bridge is not safe for heavy trucks or oversized farm machinery.
Haldimand county has no authority to force militants off the bridge when they’ve threatened construction workers. The Ministry of Transportation’s had no success, in spite of seven years of negotiation and in spite of conducting lengthy environmental and archaeological reviews demanded by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy—the same group that you have permitted to occupy Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia for more than nine years now.
This militant action continues on a provincial bridge, on a provincial highway, under a provincial contract. When will your provincial government step in and allow the safe opening of the Cayuga bridge?
Hon. Yasir Naqvi: Again, when it comes to issues around maintaining peace and order, we rely on our provincial police—the Ontario Provincial Police, as everyone knows—and they make those determinations. I think what we should be promoting is a more peaceful resolution of any dispute, as opposed to sewing seeds of discontent.
We very much appreciate and recognize the work that the OPP does with local communities in finding those resolutions. I wholeheartedly support them and will continue to work with the OPP and let them do their work as they do so well in our communities across the province.