INDIAN AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS CANADA ********************* Joint statement by Minister Jim Prentice and Minister David Ramsay OTTAWA AND TORONTO - The following statement was released by the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, and the Honourable David Ramsay [shown], Ontario Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs: "Events over the past months in Caledonia Ontario have caused great strain within that community and neighbouring Six Nations. While the vast majority have demonstrated a great deal of restraint, perseverance, determination and goodwill, there are some who have not. "We remain deeply concerned about the tensions and join the condemnation of the recent acts of violence in Caledonia. These acts of aggression and intimidation on the part of a small few, are aimed at disrupting the significant progress that has been made by the governments of Canada, Six Nations and Ontario. "Six Nations leadership has joined us and local council in speaking out clearly against this behaviour and have called for peace and reconciliation by pledging to work with various authorities to ensure those responsible are brought to justice. "We find the recent acts of violence particularly discouraging because many of the issues at the root of these tensions have been resolved. For example, since the federal-provincial joint offer was presented to Six Nations leaders on April 17, 2006:
- Barbara McDougall and Jane Stewart have been appointed to work with Six Nations negotiators on land grievances and this table has been active, with progress being made
- there is now a moratorium on development at the Douglas Creek Estates with its ownership and use to be determined at the negotiating table
- provincially owned lands in the Haldimand tract have been identified for consideration as part of the land grievance process
- real progress has been made and there has been a commitment throughout that these talks will accelerate further as peace returns to the community The remaining blockades have had a severe impact on the surrounding community and continue to disrupt community activities, social life, the local economy and pose a continued threat to public safety.
We are asking that these blockades be removed as a matter of urgency in order that the source of tensions in the communities be eliminated.
This will mean that all involved can focus their resources and efforts to the task of resolving the outstanding issues at the table. Just as importantly, removal of the blockades will give everyone in the Caledonia community and Six Nations the opportunity to re-establish and further develop healthy community relationships which they have developed together over many years of living side-by-side as friends and neighbours.
This is what all responsible community members want and what they deserve to have. Common to all of us who live in this wonderful country and province are the underlying and important values of peace and justice.
We cannot and will not be intimidated by the activities of the violent few who will sometimes seek to disrupt these cherished human values."