Ontario's Legislature: Davis, Peterson, Rae, Harris & McGuinty Eras


© 2007 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor




April 24, 1984


Mr. McGuigan:


Nine elders -- and I remind all members that in the Indian community elders are held in great respect -- including the former chief...



May 7, 1984


Mr. Breaugh:


On matters such as native rights, many of us feel very strongly that our native people have not been dealt with in a fair and honourable way for a long time. I believe the minister shares that feeling. There are very complicated issues on the bargaining table where attempts are being made to sort out aboriginal rights and the rights of nonstatus Indians and Metis. In watching the proceedings at the last conference, which I had the opportunity to do, I really began to get some appreciation of how difficult that task is. The government is not dealing with just one group of people with one set of positions on the table; it very often has to deal with several groups at the same time.


I noted with great frustration at the conclusion of that conference there was frustration on all sides. There were people who seemed to have a consensus that they wanted to do the right thing, but it seemed very difficult to determine exactly what the right thing was. It is fair to say at the end of that conference a lot of dissatisfaction was voiced about how this is being done. There was not quite a threat, but an innuendo that if we could not deal with it at that conference it was not going to be dealt with for another year or so.


There was immense frustration among the groups representing the native people; a feeling of, "This is a hell of a way to run a railroad. We are negotiating something very complicated and we are doing it in a very public forum. If it does not get resolved this afternoon, it will not be on the agenda again for another few months, another year, who knows." It seemed to me they were expressing frustration that had built up over a lengthy period. The people were talking about their rights and there was not even a good mechanism in place to resolve the problems surrounding those rights.



May 17, 1984


Mr. Foulds:


I want to turn for a moment to the human side of the economics of Ontario and quote at some length from a speech made in Thunder Bay on April 26, 1984, by Most Rev. John O'Mara, the Roman Catholic bishop of Thunder Bay. He said this:


"Our Society considers `capital' as the dominant principle of economic life. This orientation directly contradicts the ethical principle that labour, not capital, must be given priority in the development of an economy based on justice.


"We believe that God made the world and everything in it for all mankind. We believe that every man and woman is called to develop and use his or her talents by sharing in God's creative activity. We believe that an economy that can tolerate an unemployment level of 12 per cent and a youth unemployment level of more than 20 per cent is not reflecting this basic Christian principle."


The bishop goes on:


"Recently, my barber said to me, `Bishop, we are making Indians out of our young people.'


"I knew what he meant, even though I would not have said it that way. His point was that here in northwestern Ontario we see the results of government policy towards the native people having taken away their traditional means of livelihood. When hydro dams raised the water levels, and roads and timber harvesting drove away the animals, they were put on welfare.


"Now, 20 years later, many of them have lost their purpose in life and their sense of accomplishment and a sense of responsibility that goes with it. In alarming numbers they have become alcoholics, and violence and suicide and other forms of antisocial behaviour have become rampant in their communities and in our white communities too.


"Now our society is doing this to our youth. How long can a young man or young woman look for work and not find any? Can they accept a refusal 10 or 20 times, for a month, or a year, or for several years? Dare we say to them, either to the native people or to our youth, that we can organize a truly human society, much less a truly Christian society, without a need for their talents?


"It is my contention that it is not good enough to tell them to stay in school, to take another course or another degree, or to say that they should not worry because the welfare net will look after them.


"Which of you would be foolish enough to say to your son or daughter, `Don't worry about working or accepting responsibility; I will look after you,' and then, at the age of 25 or 30, expect them to be mature, responsible individuals?


"We grow and mature through the work that we do, through the challenges we meet, through the responsibilities we accept. Work puts order into our lives and gives us a sense of accomplishment. Work, in some form or other, is necessary for human survival.


"In conclusion, I return to the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus told the story to answer the question, `Who is my neighbour?' By it, he taught his followers that their care and concern must extend to everyone in need. We must bind up their wounds, feed them and find them a place to sleep.


"I believe that this same parable also calls us to protect them, to guide them from exploitation, from marginalization, from being seen as or becoming useless members of our society. We cannot wait until the robber has done his deed before we recognize the potential victim and come to his aid. Nor can we shrug off our responsibility by blaming society on government or economic conditions.


"The future of Canada is ours to design and fashion ...."


Bishop O'Mara said many things that I believe and that I believe my party believes. He said them much more profoundly and eloquently than I could.


The future of Ontario is ours to design and fashion. I admit that government cannot do it alone. I admit that industry and labour cannot do it alone. The communities of our province cannot do it alone. Even Ken Dryden cannot do it alone. I do believe, however, the provincial government can and does have a special responsibility. That responsibility is very simple; it is the responsibility to show leadership, to show courage, to show initiative. I believe that as a parliamentarian and as a democrat.


I believe this budget fails those tests. Not only has this budget failed to take direct initiatives, but it also fails even to give the tools to our young people, our communities, our workers, to do the jobs themselves. Most important, it fails to create jobs. This budget fails to put jobs ahead of profits, to put security ahead of selfishness, to put fairness in tax reform ahead of political advantage. It was a sparkling and a dazzling performance, but it will burn itself out quickly. It is in essence a timid, if not a cowardly, budget.


I remain an optimist and an unrepentant democratic socialist. I believe labour is more important than capital. Without labour there is no such thing as wealth. Without work there is no such thing as creativity. Work, whether it is the work of the mother, the artist, the labourer or the businessman, is the key ingredient in shaping our society and our very natures. The budget fails to recognize that.


I believe people are much more important than profits. I believe economic common sense is more important than public relations. I believe jobs are far more important that this budget recognizes. Job security and tax reform are simple matters of justice. This budget fails to recognize that. For all these reasons, neither I nor my party will support this budget. We will be moving an amendment at a future date that shows no confidence in this government and this budget.



October 8, 1984


Mr. R. F. Johnston:


The day before yesterday, in committee on the Young Offenders Act, we discussed with some Indians who came before us some changes in the young offenders legislation in Ontario. They would like to see a greater role for natives in that process in Ontario. During that discussion we again talked about the role of the Indian community in Ontario in the development of this legislation.


The deputy minister gave only part of the story about why the Indians had withdrawn from consultation with the ministry. He then assumed far more responsibility than he should have for some of the very positive changes that have come into this legislation and the way in which it has been drafted and did not give credit where it was due for the language being brought forward. I would like to come to that if I might.


As have all native people across the country, the Indians in Ontario have been involved in discussions with the federal government over their constitutional rights, their fundamental rights, their interaction with governments in Canada and the questions of native autonomy as viewed within the context of the Canadian Constitution or revision of their rights in it.


That debate about the fundamental rights of who should be dealing with whom and the status of the Indian people with the federal government was one of the reasons they decided it would be awkward for them to discuss the provision of a greater role for natives within our provincial jurisdiction during the process of consultation with the federal government. That was the point the deputy was making yesterday, but that was not the only thing.


There was also disappointment at the kind of consultation that had gone on up to that point. Many Indian leaders have spoken to me personally and to people within the ministry about that feeling. One reason they had not been participating was they felt there was a presumption of their position and not what they considered a proper consultative process. I feel it is important to say that, because that side of things often gets left aside when we discuss the lack of Indian involvement in the draft act, the conceptual act, that was brought before us. It had only one permissive regulation in it, which allowed the ministry to do all sorts of things but did not mention Indians anywhere in it.


After our committee initiated discussions with a number of native groups and got them to come before the committee to talk about the draft act and what they thought about it, we managed to get an agreement we were all very pleased with. It was agreed that during the period of the recess and before this legislation finally came back to us, the government and ministry officials would meet with native leaders, primarily the Chiefs of Ontario, to see if they could come up with language on some greater autonomy in the provision of child welfare services that would meet the requirements of the Indians in Ontario.


I am delighted to say that what came out of those discussions is the exceptional piece of work we have before us. It is the most personally pleasing side of this new children's act. I do want to make it very clear that the credit for the wording of that section on native rights should not go to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, as was being espoused the other day in the young offenders discussion, but should very much go to the Chiefs of Ontario.


I have seen what the Chiefs of Ontario presented to the ministry. I have seen the words they used to explain what they wanted. That is what I see in the ministry's document, the new bill. The language was not being determined by the provincial government for months and months, as was suggested the other day, but was the work of some very talented and astute Indians in Ontario who provided that information to the ministry.


As the minister knows, the difficulties we had in getting this thing before us a little earlier were the result of some governmental responses, specifically from the office of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), to some of the wording brought forward by the Indians, in terms of the concerns about just how far we were going with our rights and what we were jeopardizing, in terms of giving too many rights to the Indian population of the province.


I am delighted to say that what has come out of this is something which is more than I had hoped for. In fact, the extent of the rights given is wonderful and welcome. It is a glorious piece of work. But I do want to give credit where it really deserves to be given. I hoped the deputy the other day would have been slightly more expansive in recognizing the role of people like Richard Powless in the development of this work.




Hon. Mr. Drea:


By December 1983 I brought to this House a draft for a bill -- probably a better description would be a bill in conceptual form -- that had already been adjusted and altered after the consultation process. As I told the House then, I and my staff stood ready to work with the standing committee on social development throughout its deliberations.


It was my belief at that time that all of us here would place the interests of children over partisan considerations and that the concerned members of this House would work with good heart with my ministry and with the standing committee to resolve differences.


The standing committee invested six weeks in its considerations of the draft earlier this year. It heard further submissions from the community, from associations, from groups and from citizens. I was gratified when leaders of Ontario's native communities stood before the committee with their then willingness to accept the challenge of providing child care services within their own communities. I immediately instructed my policy and legal staff to meet with their representatives and the chiefs of Ontario to begin discussions so we could best reflect their needs in the new act.


The provisions that resulted from these discussions go well beyond the recommendations of the committee and in fact are unparalleled by any jurisdiction in Canada. I say with great pride that no other province has so clearly recognized the importance of maintaining the cultural environment of children coming into care.


It is a principle stated in the act. I quote:


"Indian and native people should be entitled to provide wherever possible their own child and family services and that all services to Indian and native children and families should be provided in a manner that recognizes their culture, heritage and traditions in the concept of the extended family."


If that concept is woven through the act, it means a band or native community will acquire the authority to establish child and family service agencies of its own. A band or native community will have the right to consult regularly with any agencies and groups providing services to native families and children. A band or native community can expect the courts to make every effort possible to find placements for children in conflict with the law within the community and within their own cultural environment.


The deliberations of the standing committee on social development lasted for six very well-filled weeks. In that time -- and I think the record should show this -- committee members heard 45 oral submissions and studied 74 written briefs. They heard the submissions of my staff, my deputy minister and myself.


I was always optimistic and I never had any doubts, but I think what has happened confirms that the decision to take our bill in conceptual form to a standing committee was a wise one. The contributions of committee members from all parties was valuable. I asked for and received their recommendations on extremely sensitive issues such as the counselling of children in care and for procedures surrounding the disclosures of adoption information. As well, in response to the concerns of the committee, sections of the draft were altered, expanded or deleted. Individual words were changed and fine-tuned such as the definition of "children who are in need of protection."


I point out again, as we did at the beginning of the deliberations of the standing committee, all the things I have spoken about were very sensitive in the community. They had become even more sensitive during the consultation process. There was no community consensus.


These were difficult areas for the committee to deal with. They were areas of such significance that very seldom is a committee doing deliberations on a bill charged with the responsibility. In retrospect, each one of the topics could have been the subject of a very exhaustive search by the standing committee. Their work does enhance the function of standing committees in our Legislature. I wish to point that out because quite often all that is ever remembered of a committee is its final report.


The committee made many recommendations that were incorporated into the bill. As a result, it now provides for the creation of teams of professionals to try to solve the terrible riddle and the dreadful dilemma of child abuse on a case-by-case basis. The bill provides for the provision of child care services in the French language where appropriate; for measures to stabilize long-term foster care relationships; for the disclosure of adoption information in special health-related circumstances; and for the protection of the rights and privileges of children in protective care.


The bill before us, so exhaustively prepared over so many years, is 163 pages long and covers virtually every aspect of children's services provided by my ministry in Ontario. I cannot summarize the entire thrust behind every clause it contains; however, let me read the very first words of this bill:


"The purposes of this act are: (a) as a paramount objective, to promote the best interests, protection and the well-being of children."


In my opinion, we have one of the finest pieces of social legislation in North America. We have created legislation that contains checks and balances. It gives my ministry the means to fulfil its obligations and it provides safeguards to ensure these means are never abused. Above all, the bill upholds the accountability of both this ministry and its agencies to Ontario's children.


What I am asking of this House is a mandate to continue the exhaustive and meticulous preparations that have been the hallmark of this bill from its inception. The governments of Ontario have compiled a long and unparalleled history of outstanding legislation for the protection of children. That is a tradition we must carry into the future. It is a tradition that can well be entrusted to Bill 77, the act I am submitting today. I am asking the support of the House on second reading so we can begin immediately to protect the tomorrows of our children.



October 9, 1984


Mr. Nixon:


I have a couple of more items that I will continue with. I want to say, and perhaps I should have started with these remarks, how much I enjoyed the visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. I feel I should mention this because I am sure the members are aware that her special responsibilities included a visit to the Indian reservation of the Six Nations. I was particularly delighted that those advising Her Majesty on planning this visit put that forward because the Indians of this community, which makes up the largest reservation by population in Canada, came there over 200 years ago.


The Iroquois, as they are sometimes called, more properly the Six Nations, were an extremely interesting society. They were strong warriors and so well organized that 300 years ago over a large area of North America they imposed peace of a type that in many respects we must still honour. They organized themselves through their Longhouse religion, assigning special responsibilities to each of the clans in the Six Nations: the firekeeper, the doorkeeper and so on.


They established a procedure whereby chiefs of the various nations would meet around their council fire, and while they would argue and debate the very intricate and important decisions taken in those days, since they were really emperors of all they surveyed, they did not resort to authoritarianism or dictatorship. They did not even resort to democracy, since they never took a vote. They would discuss and debate until they reached a unanimous decision.



October 16, 1984


Hon. Mr. Drea:


We will be working along with the bands and the band councils to develop residential resources on reserves, whether they be extended family homes or other forms of residential care.


The most important fact in these arrangements is that the Indian people, who form 20 per cent of the population on and off the reserves in the Kenora-Patricia catchment area, will eventually be providing services for their own children. We will be working as quickly and as closely as possible in consultation with the bands and band councils to achieve this.


Staff from among this native population will combine the language and culture of their time-honoured history with additional insight learned through training and modern child welfare practices. Children and their families will benefit.




Let me say that I believe my ministry has initiated and achieved a carefully thought out and workable blueprint for a new era in child welfare for Ontario's northern children and their families. That is the story, as I see it, of child welfare services in northern Ontario today and tomorrow.


A great deal of recognition for these initiatives must go to the hard work of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation, chiefs and councils. Together we have worked out what I can only call an exciting new plan for children and their families for the whole of the far north of Ontario.


We will continue to work with northern Ontario tribal councils in the Treaty 3 area so that the Indian and native services can be brought on in an orderly way throughout the north. We hope to have meetings with other Indian and native people during the winter to reinforce our commitment to change.


We have put in place no fewer than five different models, models designed to achieve the best type of service for each part of that enormous area. We have tried to suit as far as possible those inhabitants of a vast and formidable homeland.


My ministry and the Indian people will go forward together from now on and will deliver in a more effective way improved child welfare services to all children and families in the north who need these services.




Mr. Van Horne:


In so far as the native people are concerned, the health needs of the Indians of remote northern Ontario are often ignored in the minds of many people. Morbidity rates can reach as high as five times those of southern areas; deaths from respiratory diseases are often 150 per cent higher than the Canadian average.


It is difficult to receive funding to meet the needs of the Indians on reserves. For example, a reserve in Spanish, in the district of Algoma, does not receive home care because of the lack of funding to the local Victorian Order of Nurses providing service. The population on this reserve, as we understand it, is 500.



May 21, 1986


Mr. Pouliot:


I quote from page 5 of the statement by the Minister of Northern Development and Mines: "Furthermore, after federal funding, the province will contribute the amount necessary to restore the victims to their predisaster condition under the terms of the disaster relief assistance program."


It is an appalling and shocking statement to invite the residents of the former community of Winisk to go back to the Third World conditions [after these spring floods] -- and I choose my words carefully -- that prevailed in the northern part of the province. The silver lining in this disaster, if there is any, is, first, an invitation to the government not to wait for the feds to do their share, but if it means what it says to act now by showing the way. Second, the uniqueness of the situation demands that the government improve on the conditions, not perpetuate the kind of substandard conditions that our first Canadians have been asked to endure for decades and decades.



June 26, 1986


Mr. Bernier:


Along with the hardships that many Canadian Indian tribes have endured, such as the loss of faith and community ties, and the forced abandonment of traditions, territory and self-determination, the Grassy Narrows and Islington bands have had their river systems, their source of food and livelihood, contaminated with mercury.


The impact of the mercury contamination has been far-reaching. Commercial fishing was banned, tourist guiding opportunities dropped sharply, a primary staple food source was made unfit, the community's social fabric was ravaged and violence, alcoholism, welfare use and social breakdown increased sharply.


I realize the proposed settlement hardly compensates for the hardship and despair that has been suffered by the bands for the past 16 years, but it is my hope it will encourage the rebuilding of morale in their communities and the creation of a secure and stable future for the people who have lost so much of their past.


There will be no delay from me or from members of our party in passing this bill. We regret it has taken so long to reach this agreement, and we want this settlement to be ratified and put into effect very quickly. Our party's critic on native affairs, the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko), will be making a significant and specific contribution, which will again encourage an early passage of this bill.


I am glad to see the government has carried out a task that was initiated by my party when in government. The previous administration was actively involved for more than 10 years in assisting both bands to recover from the economic and social problems that have plagued their communities.


As long ago as 1978, the governments of Ontario and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding with both bands to develop social and resource-based programs, to assist in the restoration of the economic base of these communities, which had been affected adversely by a number of social and environmental problems, including the contamination of the English and Wabigoon river systems.


As part of the understanding, we were successful in getting Reed Paper, which then was the owner of the Dryden paper mill, and Ontario Hydro to agree that each would begin negotiations with the bands to work out appropriate settlements to compensate for the environmental damage caused to the reserves by their organizations.


The agreement by Reed Paper to negotiate a compensation agreement with the bands was assumed by Great Lakes Forest Products at the time of its purchase of Reed's assets in the Dryden mill in 1979.


Much of the credit for this agreement must go to my colleague the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller), at that time Treasurer of Ontario, who facilitated the sale of the Dryden mill to Great Lakes by offering --


Mr. McClellan: The member for Kenora should not press his luck.


Mr. Bernier: The member does not know a thing about it. He was not even involved. I can tell him that, whoever is speaking.


Mr. McClellan: I was speaking. I was here from 1975 when the former government stonewalled and stonewalled.


Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Bernier: The member does not know a thing that was going on. He was not even involved.


Mr. McClellan: I know the roles of this member and the member for Muskoka, and they are nothing to boast about.


Mr. Bernier: He facilitated the sale of the Dryden mill to Great Lakes.


Mr. Wildman: Broken-down freezers and rotten fish.


Mr. Bernier:


Yes, and who aggravated the situation if it was not the leader of the New Democratic Party, who went up there to stir up all the trouble? Does the member remember the freezers?


Mr. McClellan: I remember them well.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member for Kenora take his seat? There will be time after the debate for comments and questions.


Mr. Bernier:


I was pointing out that it was the member for Muskoka who facilitated the sale of the Dryden mill to Great Lakes by offering to cover liabilities of over $15 million resulting from the pollution of the English and Wabigoon river systems from the Dryden paper mill. This was believed to have been in the best interests of all concerned.


In 1983, the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), then Minister of Natural Resources, negotiated a settlement in principle with the Whitedog band and Ontario Hydro. This settlement resulted from the flooding of homes and burial grounds because of a dam built in the 195Os. The agreement was ratified by the band in December 1985. We attempted to conclude a similar agreement with the Grassy Narrows band. With respect to the band's negotiations with Great Lakes, we made a number of interventions to try to facilitate a successful conclusion.


On learning in 1982 that the parties had reached an impasse over the company's requirement that any settlement be conditional on full release by the bands of any future claims for both health and environmental damage, Russ Ramsay, the then minister responsible for native affairs, provided a letter to Great Lakes clarifying that under the Ontario indemnification commitment, the province would assume responsibility for any damages after $15 million had been paid by the company. Such claims would include personal injury, property damage and economic claims. It was our understanding that this assurance by Ontario would result in the resumption of negotiations between the bands and Great Lakes. Unfortunately, this was not the case.


At the request of the bands in 1984, we appointed a legal representative to work with the lawyers representing the bands and Great Lakes to facilitate the development of a compensation agreement acceptable to the bands. The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development at that time made a wise selection in appointing Peter Jacobsen for the task. I understand he was instrumental in assisting the parties to reach this equitable settlement, and I commend him for his fine efforts.


At that time, we encouraged the federal government to make a similar appointment. Hence, we welcomed its appointment early in 1985 of Chief Justice Emmett Hall, a great Canadian with a great reputation, to assist with the negotiation process. I know he was also a major contributor in arriving at this settlement, and I was pleased to spend some time with Chief Justice Hall personally discussing this very issue just about a year ago.


Supporting the proposed settlement is the least we can do for those people, who have suffered so much upheaval and disruption. I know the settlement was not designed with the idea that it could totally compensate for all the damage done to these communities, but I believe it provides them with opportunities to begin to reinvest in their future by encouraging new development, new industry and new employment opportunities. The spirit and enthusiasm of these people is astounding, considering what they have been through.


I was pleased to hear of their plans to enter the tourist business, establish a wild rice harvesting plant and a garment factory, and improve transportation between the reserves and Kenora. I am glad we can be of assistance, even in a small way, in seeing these plans through. This settlement is one way in which we can help the natives of the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog reserves to regain a sense of direction and self-worth.


Such a tragedy can never be allowed to happen again. I hope it has taught us how important it is for a good relationship to exist between a community and its industries. It is only by a partnership based on understanding and awareness that this type of tragedy can be avoided in the future.


The patience and understanding of the numerous chiefs who led the people of their respective bands through these long and sensitive negotiations must be recognized, and they must be thanked publicly today. They are Chief Pony Henry of the Whitedog band and Chief Steve Fobister of the Grassy Narrows band. We must also recognize former Chief Roy McDonald and former Chief Isaac Mandamin of Whitedog, and Arnold Pelly, Tom Keesick and Simon Fobister, former chiefs of the Grassy Narrows band.


In conclusion, I want to point out that I have monitored the health testing carefully and to my knowledge no person demonstrated clinical or laboratory evidence of mercury poisoning. I hope and pray that no evidence is ever found in any band member in the future.


I am pleased to offer my party's support for the bill that is before us today. We may now finally close the book dealing with that chapter of the history of the Grassy Narrows and the Whitedog Indian reserves.


Mr. Wildman:


I refrained from commenting on the contribution of the previous speaker because I believe this is a time for serious reflection on how an advanced industrialized society, such as ours, can inflict harm on a more traditional way of life.


I wonder whether any of us in this House would agree that the establishing of a fund can in some way assist the victims of health defects resulting from this kind of pollution and degradation of the environment and whether it responds in any way adequately to what is a major tragedy for two communities.


I want to add my congratulations to the courageous people of Whitedog and Grassy Narrows for the way they have endured over the past number of years since the initial impacts of mercury pollution were detected and for the way they have fought for what they believe to be a just settlement in the face of serious and concerted opposition from both the private sector and the public sector.


We all recognize this environmental tragedy is far more than what we normally term to be environmental; in fact, it affected a whole way of life. The previous speaker indicated the effects of mercury in the English and Wabigoon river systems brought an end to commercial fishing and harmed the tourist industry to the extent that those Indian people who had been traditionally employed as guides in that industry were all put out of work; but it is far wider and far greater in its effects than that.


If one destroys the whole economic fibre of a community, it cannot but also affect the social fibre. We have to look at the effects this process has had on the family life and on the community life of these two bands to understand how courageous their leadership and the ordinary members of the band have been to be able finally to bring about this settlement.


I congratulate the governments of this province and of Canada, as well as the bands for their part in finally bringing about a resolution, for bringing Reed Paper and Great Lakes Forest Products to understand they owe a debt to the people of Whitedog and Grassy Narrows. I want to recognize too the role of the various negotiators who worked for the bands and for both levels of government in this process. We have heard tributes today to Chief Justice Hall, and I think we all owe him a great debt for his efforts.


The question this bill raises is, why did it take so long? I want to emphasize that I am not looking in hindsight when I ask that question. Mr. Speaker, you will know that question has been asked repeatedly in this House since 1975. We have had a succession of ministers who have responded in such inadequate ways as to be beyond description.


Today, approximately a year after a change of government, we have a settlement. I recognize that prior to the change of government, efforts were being made by both levels of government in conjunction with the bands to resolve this matter once and for all. However, we should understand this problem was first understood in the early 1970s by the people of the communities and by members of the general public, but it took many years for that understanding to be accepted by either the governments involved or, certainly, the private companies involved.



February 2, 1987


Mr. Wildman:


If you cannot hear me, he cannot either. I said, if the Premier is within earshot, I will make a few comments.


I am particularly concerned, under the main office of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, about two or three particular issues. The first I would like to deal with is the question of aboriginal rights.


As the House knows, the federal government and the provincial governments, along with the native organizations in this country, made a commitment that by this year a conference would be held that would deal with a constitutional amendment related to native rights. I understand that a conference was held just within the last couple of weeks in Halifax in preparation for that conference.


The impression from reading the press is that the conference was not very successful; that in fact there are major differences between the federal government and the Indian organizations. Certainly the comments of Mr. Erasmus during the conference and subsequent to the conference do not bode well for success in reaching a consensus that would be acceptable to the aboriginal organizations as well as to the federal government and the provincial governments, or certainly all of the provincial governments.


The Premier will recall that at the time in October when the Chiefs of Ontario held a rally in front of the Legislature, the aboriginal organizations of this province requested a commitment from the provincial government that this government would not enter into an accord with regard to the passage of a constitutional amendment unless such an amendment were acceptable to the aboriginal organizations.


Basically, what they were asking for was a veto, and I am not sure what the Premier's view is of that. It seems to me that what the Indian organizations are asking for is that they will not be faced with a fait accompli; that they will not be faced, as was Quebec earlier, with the kind of kitchen accord that brought about an amendment and a historic change to the Constitution that was not acceptable to that province.


What the aboriginal organizations of Ontario are requesting, what the Chiefs of Ontario are requesting, basically is that no agreement will be accepted by the government of Ontario unless that agreement on the wording of an amendment has in fact already been accepted as appropriate by the aboriginal organizations of this province.




Mr. Sterling:


In Ontario we have status Indians, nonstatus Indians, Metis, status Indians who live off reserves and status Indians who live on reserves. We have a number of different native communities to deal with. In dealing with self-government, we have to try to deal with all those different groups. I do not think many people in Ontario are aware that Ontario has more natives than any other province in Canada, although they do not make up as great a percentage as other groups do.




Mr. Wildman:


I for one have a great deal of confidence, though, that the Indian bands of this province and the other Indian and aboriginal organizations have a great deal of expertise and ability, not only to represent the concerns of their people well but also, if and when they are given the chance, actually to institute and implement programs and policies that will respond to and deal with those concerns in a much better way than white governments -- forgive me if I use that term, but I am going to use it -- have been able to do.




It is a condemnation of white government historically. Those people did not receive any education until 1968 because they were status Indians. If they had lived on the reserve, they would have got an education, but because they lived off the reserve, they were not seen as the responsibility of the provincial government because they were status Indians, and they were not seen as the responsibility of the federal government, because they were not living on a reserve. We have had many problems in that community because they were missed and were not served by either of the governments. Since 1968, of course, they have been eligible and are being educated through the local board of education or the separate school board, with funding from the provincial government.


I think it is also important for us to remember in talking about self-government that it was not until the 1960s that Indians were allowed to vote in this country. That was not very long ago.


The Premier said we all share the guilt. I suppose that is a facile comment, I do not think he meant it that way, but in fact we all do, we really do. With this constitutional conference and the possibility of an amendment, we have a chance to start putting things right and we have a chance to stop doing things for native people or even to allow native people to do things for themselves. We have a chance actually to operate as partners, equals, their leaders and the leaders of the white community, to make a community that is good for all of us and that allows all of us to reach our potential. It is not going to be easy, but I am optimistic and I am looking forward to it.


This government could look provincially at the problem of status people off a reserve and deal with a couple of issues. We have had some problems with the Ministry of Revenue and the whole question of the eligibility of status Indian people for paying taxes and the question of whether the Indian Act, archaic as that piece of legislation is, does protect the treaty right of treaty Indians not to pay tax if they do not live on the reserve. There is even some question about whether or not they should have to pay something like sales tax if they live on the reserve. That has sort of been worked out with an ad hoc approach, so that basically they are not having to pay the tax. There are some problems with cigarettes, but let us not get into that.




It is something that is of importance not only to the Indian community, and the Metis and nonstatus Indian community, but also to all of us as people who believe in fairness and equity in our society.



November 8, 1987


Mr. Brown:


The riding also contains a significant number of native people on its eight reserves. The Indians comprise approximately 15 per cent of the population of our riding, and they have special needs which deserve special attention. I am therefore pleased with the government's ongoing emphasis on multiculturalism.



November 25, 1987


Mr. Wildman:


We all realize that those cultures are perhaps even more distinctive than any other in this country in terms of what it means to be North American. They have distinct languages that are not protected, unlike the two official languages of this province. The Amerindians have occupied these lands for thousands of years, since time immemorial. We all recognize the unfortunate situation that many of those societies are facing social breakdown, truncation and even assimilation into the white society, assimilation in a "half" way, where it seems that, unfortunately they absorb and become absorbed in what is the worst in our society and never achieve the best, or very seldom.


I think that we as a Legislative Assembly must recognize that the native peoples, the aboriginal peoples, must be given the resources to preserve and develop their society and their culture in ways they wish to do it. We as legislators must be prepared to allow for Indian self-government. We must be prepared to allow Indians to make mistakes, because they will be their mistakes. They have had to live with our mistakes for far too long.


I believe they will not only make mistakes but in fact will be able to develop an important element of our society, a great contribution to our society, by preserving their unique and distinct society and culture. They cannot do that unless they are also given economic and political rights to control their own affairs. As an assembly, as a nation, we must recognize the right of self-determination for our native peoples.




I do not understand why the federal government, which is responsible for the Indian rights and aboriginal rights in this country, did not fulfil its responsibility to stand up for the aboriginal peoples in the conference of the first ministers. I do not understand it, and I do not understand how this government or this assembly could accept an accord which ignores the fundamental rights of the first citizens of this country.



December 17, 1987


Mr. Eves:


As Health critic, it is my pleasure to rise on behalf of our party and address this proposed bill, which we will be supporting.




Services for native persons is another aspect of community mental health. The Brant District Health Council has given top priority to the lack of mental health services on the Six Nations Indian reserve for the last three years. The ministry has been ignoring the call for a mental health program for the reserve. The director of the community health centre there says: "The province does not consider the mental health of Indians to be its problem. It thinks it is a federal problem."



January 5, 1988


Mr. Farnan:


I would like to bring a final point to the House. It is this: I believe the government should take heed of the advice that the Assembly of First Nations gave the committee, based on its own historical experience of the dangers of bargaining with a much stronger power. It is always the strongest one who puts the terms in the treaties, and the one that is bound by it has to follow the words.


The United States is a lot stronger than Canada, just as the British government was a lot stronger than the sovereign Indian nations in Canada that had to deal with the English and follow the rules of the English government. Otherwise, the final lament of Chief Moses Okimaw's is brief. It is this: free trade will make Indians of us all. It may well be that this is the Mulroney government's legacy to our children.



May 25, 1988


Mr. Wildman:


I speak of the native people of this country. I hope that in moving to deal with a system that we reject on the other side of the globe, we will be reminded that we must take action in our own country, in our own province, not only with regard to the South African regime, but also with regard to actually recognizing the rights of Indian people in this country and their right to self-government.


I hope that will encourage all of us to support human rights, political rights and civil rights, not only in the South African situation but throughout the world and in our own country.



November 29, 1988


Mr. Wildman:


This is a sad day for Indian rights in this province and for the economic development of Temagami.


Mr. B. Rae:


I simply want to say that I think the announcements today will leave a legacy of bitterness for a long time in this province. I think it is a significant defeat for the cause of native rights. What the native people are doing in this instance is blockading the extension of roads into a part of this province that they believe historically is theirs.


When the government says, "You cannot do that; you are not allowed to block that extension, and that extension will take place," what in fact the government of Ontario is doing, by a unilateral action, is asserting its right as opposed to the right of the native people. That is not acceptable to us. It is a profound affront to the notion that we have to come to a historic accommodation with our first citizens in this province. It is a unilateral act by the government of Ontario that I think will, as I say, leave a legacy of real bitterness and difficulty in this province for a very long time to come.




The Premier is clearly stating unilaterally and quite categorically on behalf of his government, and he was one of the negotiating parties to this discussion with the band, that it is his intention to proceed with those roads and take away the status quo, take away the right of the band itself to assert its historic right. The Premier has broken faith with the native people, with our first citizens, and he has taken unilateral action which will leave a legacy of bitterness for a long time to come in this province.


Hon. Mr. Peterson:


My honourable friend recognizes the complexity of this matter, and he would not want to misrepresent the facts in this situation. The trial judge has ruled in favour of the people of Ontario, as the member knows. It is now going to the Court of Appeal. There is no unilateral imposition of anything. We respect the right of the court to rule in this matter,




We respect the rule of law in this province and we are proceeding and showing deference to that respect.



January 5, 1989


Mr. Wildman:


I come from an area of the province in northern Ontario where we have a very serious difficulty. I know my friend the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Kozyra) will recognize, as will other members from northern Ontario, that there is a difficult problem in ensuring that the visible minority -- which in our part of the province is largely the native community, whether they be treaty Indians or Metis or nonstatus Indian people -- is properly represented in the police and that its concerns are properly represented in terms of policing in Ontario.


I think it is a tragedy that when one does a survey on the jails in northern Ontario, one discovers a very high percentage of Indian inmates, completely out of proportion to the total of Indians in the population. I must emphasize that I have done no scientific survey on this; I am just saying what I am saying from my own experience.


I must say that the reasons we have so many native people in our jails and so many of them return to jail after being released are that our justice system does not properly deal with the native culture; that native people themselves are not aware of their rights, and, I submit, that perhaps they are not well enough represented within the police forces. Certainly they are not well enough represented on the bench or at the bar. I mean "the bar" in a certain sense. I always find it very strange that lawyers use that term.


There have been efforts by governments, both federal and provincial, over the years to try to get Indian policing into the hands of the bands themselves in terms of native people and treaty people. We have the band constable program. It is a very good program. It is an effective program, because one has a member of the community trained in policing and community relations who can deal with problems within the community without having, in many cases, to call in people from outside who may not have the same understanding of the culture and the community.


That is a step forward, but it is a very small step. There are many bands, many Indian communities in this province, that do not have their own constables. They do not have the funds for the constables. The federal government is not providing more funds to expand the program. The provincial government has expressed some interest in doing so, but has not been able to get agreement from the bands to proceed.



June 14, 1989


Mr. Pouliot:


It is not a matter of pleading; it is a matter of putting our best foot forward, putting it on top of our agenda, looking at the native Canadians. Give them the opportunity to defend themselves and cope with society; no assimilation, but a degree of integration in order to meet the economic mainstream of Ontario, to be like the others. It does a lot for pride.




A community like Fort Albany, for instance, has a population of some 1,200 people. I visited the school; the little ones only go from grade 1 to grade 8. I talked to the chief. He said, "Gilles, there are 1,200 people here." I asked, "How many people are in this school?" He said there are 610 people." I said: "It can't be. What about the little ones who are not between grade 1 and grade 8? What about the elders and down the line, people who are past grade 8?" He said, "The average age in Fort Albany. on this reserve, is 19." I said, "My God."


That says a lot for the progress of modern medicine in some ways. It says a lot for the future of cultural identity. But it is very scary. If you look at it from the point of the old premise whereby when we look at standards of living, we do not look in terms of a maximum but always in terms of a minimum, it means a lot. What I have said about Kashechewan or Fort Albany is not an isolated incident. It represents the overall situation of our native Canadians and also our first Ontarians. I think we have to listen better to the alternatives.


I know, with respect, that I am taking a little too much time, but it is a matter that needs to be addressed. The opportunity is not always present to do so. Perhaps when I leave -- life in this House is very short, indeed, be it by political accident or by choice, if I have that luxury, it is the one message that I will take with me, the one message that we can, indeed, when it comes to our first Canadians, do a lot more.




Ms Bryden:


I think he has given us a very real picture of life in the north. We must not ignore the people up there and we must not neglect to ensure them the quality of life that we enjoy down here.


I would also like to say that I completely agree with his views on what we should be doing for the native people in the north.



July 20, 1989


Mr. Hampton: Sometimes in the course of doing constituency case work, you come across some unbelievable situations. The fight in which many Indian people must engage in order to get an Ontario birth certificate is such an unbelievable situation.


Several Indian people who were born on remote reserves prior to 1950 have never been able to acquire an Ontario birth certificate. Because many of these individuals were born on the reserve and not in a hospital, there are no hospital records of their birth. Because reserves then were remote and required travel by bush plane or boat, census statistics from Statistics Canada did not record their birth, then nor since. No school records exist for many of these people, because they chose not to attend Indian residential schools that dominated native education until the last decade, schools which required a fair bit of religious indoctrination as well as education. If they did not register under the Indian Act as status Indians, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa has no record of them either.


When Indian people lack indicia of birth and existence, the government's vital statistics branch will not provide them with Ontario birth certificates. The government's requirements for the granting of birth certificates unfairly discriminates against Indian people, specifically against older Indian people who initially lived a very traditional lifestyle. The criteria the government has set are simply culture-bound.



November 2, 1989


Native Post-Secondary Education


Mr. Hampton moved resolution 21: That in the opinion of this House, the government of Canada should be condemned for its recent policies regarding native education, and its failure to restore the funding of native education to a level which will ensure that all native persons who want to enrol in a post-secondary program of education will have the financial resources to do so; and calls upon the government of Canada to open negotiations with first nations representatives to establish a process which will provide adequate funding for native post-secondary education in the future.


Mr. Hampton:


I have put this motion before the House because despite the fact that native education is generally regarded as coming under the sphere of the federal government, I think that it is perhaps one of the most important social and economic policies and, as well, one of the most difficult social and economic policies of the day.


I have brought this resolution forward not to castigate the federal government for its native post-secondary education policies. Rather, my task is to try to lay out the rational groundwork as to why this House should send a strong message to the federal government regarding its policies and to try to lay out the rational groundwork why the federal government's policies must change.


My argument is fundamentally this: If the condition of first nations people, not only in Ontario but across the country, is to improve, it will not improve as the result of government, whether it be the provincial government or provincial governments or federal government distributing a program here or a program there to native people.


The lot of first nations people will improve if they are given the opportunity and the opportunities to improve their own conditions. Put more specifically, if first nations people are given the opportunity to enhance their educational resources, to enhance their capability of controlling their own livelihood and of controlling their own futures, then we will do more in doing that than we can do through any other program.


For example, the province of Ontario has acknowledged that it has some responsibility now in terms of assisting native people with recreation programs, of assisting them in terms of community infrastructures. These are all useful programs, but I would argue that their effectiveness will be severely limited if the capacity of first nations people to develop the skills that are needed in the 20th and 21st centuries is denied. Fundamentally, that is what is happening with the new post-secondary education policy that has been announced by the federal government earlier in 1989.


It is only recently that first nations students have had the opportunity and the encouragement to attend post-secondary institutions. If you look at the history of native education in terms of the residential schools, I would argue residential schools contributed to cultural genocide, which basically in the most blunt terms turned first nations youth off of education altogether.


It has only been a short time since those kinds of elementary and secondary schools have been done away with, and after they were done away with, first nations youth became turned on to education. So it is only since the early 1960s that more and more first nations young people have attended post-secondary universities. It is only in the last 20 years that first nations people have had the encouragement, both socially and financially, to enter post-secondary institutions.


It is only in the last 15 years that we have seen a number of graduates, graduates in law, in business, in social services, in education. Indeed, it is only probably within the last 10 to 15 years that we have seen parole officers of native ancestry, police officers, nurses, lawyers, public administrators, financial managers, all of the things that are necessary to enable first nations people to assume the proper control over their own lives and over their own social and economic development. That kind of development, educational development, social development, economic development, was provided for and encouraged by the kinds of financial incentives that were there for first nations young people.


What the policies that were enunciated in the spring of 1989 do, however, is to severely limit the funding that is available and at the same time, they limit the circumstances in which it is available. The primary problem with what the federal government is doing is this. The federal government now says in its 1989 policy that there will be so much money set aside each year for native post-secondary education. If more people apply for the funding than there are funds available, then those people who come last in line are deferred. Imagine that. You are simply told, "Defer your life for a year. We will look at your plan in a year from now. Defer your life. Defer it for a year. Defer it for two years."


The obstacles which first nations people must overcome in terms of getting to a university or a community college are unbelievable: the social barriers, the cultural barriers, the financial barriers. I do not think I need to repeat in this House that if you do an economic profile of Ontario society and Canadian society, you will find that native people are among the poorest, if not the poorest. First nations families, by and large, depend on seasonal incomes, seasonal work, that this government's own record in terms of promoting employment for first nations people is not an enviable record, and if members want to see how bad that record has been, check and see how many first nations people work for the Ministry of Natural Resources in northern Ontario, or how many work for Ontario Hydro, or how many work for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Very few -- too few.


So the barriers that young native persons must overcome in order to get into a university or a community college in terms of social, cultural, educational and financial are overwhelming. But then for the federal government to say to them after they have overcome many of these barriers and they have applied for funding: "Sorry, you have to defer your plans for a year. You defer your life for a year. Come and talk to us a year from now." That is an unforgivable statement to make to young first nations persons who want to enhance their own educational skills and enhance the educational, social and economic opportunities of their people as a people. It is an unforgivable statement to make.


But not only is that an unforgivable statement to make, the new policy does not contain financial capacity for things like career counselling. One of the things which a young first nations person would most likely need in terms of moving into a community college or moving into a university is career counselling. "Help me. This is all new to me. This is all strange to me. I have never encountered this before. Help me get some bearings. Help me find my way." There is absolutely no funding available for such things. It is as if you throw somebody out on the ocean with a raft and say, "I hope you can swim. I hope you can stay on the raft. We are not going to give you any paddles, we are not going to give you an oar to help you find your way, no compass." That is absolutely unforgivable.


The other thing which this new policy does is that it sets strict limits on how long you can have funding for a given diploma or degree course. Let me give members an example. If you have a three-year BA program, someone who comes out of a nice middle-class high school in a nice middle-class town in southern Ontario might have no problem in completing a three-year BA program in history or economics or whatever you have. They may already have their career counselling in front of them before they leave high school, their goals are determined and away you go. There are no social barriers to overcome, no economic barriers, no cultural barriers. It may take a native person four years to complete that program, or three and a half, yet the funding is limited. In terms of the government of Canada --


The Speaker: The member's time has now expired.


Mr. Hampton:


-- and in terms of Ontario, this is an important resolution which we must take a stand on and we must send a message to the government of Canada on.


Mr. J. M. Johnson:


I do not intend to speak on this motion. Our member for London North (Mrs. Cunningham) is speaking for our party and she is in committee now, so could we waive her turn and the London North member could speak at a later --


The Speaker:


I will remind the member, the standing order says that each party has up to 15 minutes to participate on a rotational basis, so I think that would be within order.


Mr. Miclash:


I would just first of all like to thank the member for Rainy River for bringing this most important matter before the House. It is a great honour to speak on behalf of the Liberal Party in favour of his motion. There are two things I want to take a look at during my speech today. Both of them involve the federal government.


First of all, I do believe, as the member has stated, that the federal government in some way is maybe sloughing off a little bit of its responsibility, and that is to allow for an adequate education for native people, an adequate education that will allow them to compete on an equal footing with their non-native counterparts throughout the country.


I also think that the federal government has maybe acted in a little bit of a paternalistic way where it has had very little input from our native people. Most of the native people were not consulted themselves to find out how important, as the member has stated, this post-secondary education is to their people.


As well, I would like to say that I honestly believe it is a treaty and constitutional responsibility of the federal government to take care of the educational needs of our native people.


As members know, I am from a riding which contains 23 reserves and a population of about 10,000 native people. I have lived in the riding all of my life. I returned to the riding as an educator and as a counsellor with the Kenora Board of Education and, therefore, have worked very closely with native people, in a high school setting, ready to go on to a post-secondary setting. I cannot tell members how important it is to those native people that they get the proper funding to continue on with what they want to do in life.


I must say as a member I have visited all of my reserves and have seen that people on the reserves are not happy with, as I mentioned earlier, the paternalistic view of the federal government in making work projects for them and contributing to their welfare payments.


As we know, unemployment, as the member stated earlier, is a very high statistic on our local native reserves and in some of my reserves, we are looking at unemployment rates of 80 to 90 per cent. It is something that we want to combat and I feel through post-secondary education we can take a look at combating some of these figures.


As the member has stated, before the March 1989 changes were introduced all native people from high school who were accepted into post-secondary institutions were allowed to go ahead with their plans, and now we put it on a priority system, a priority system that is not allowing all of these people a right to gain that post-secondary education.


I mentioned treaties earlier. When we take a look at the treaties, we find that the federal government is responsible for the education of the native people. When we take a look at a treaty, we must interpret it in today's times, the standards of today. We know that today it is very difficult for a native person or any person in society to get ahead with their ambitions and their goals with some sort of post-secondary education.


The former member has mentioned that these people are determined to go forth with their self-government, are determined to go forth with an education system within their own society. I think, in order for them to keep pace with some of these feelings and some of these goals, they have to be a partner in society and in order to be that partner have to attain these higher sights than just secondary education.


We know that our neighbours, our native people, are striving for these two goals and, as I mentioned, their own government. In order for them to get into their own government, a government that would work in conjunction with both the federal and provincial governments, they are going to have to receive some of this higher training, higher education and, as well, their own educational systems.


We know that native people are quite proud of their heritage and quite proud of what they have done in the Canadian mosaic in the past. They would like to retain this culture and it is through education that I feel they will do this.


Let me go on and talk about the obligation of the federal government to fund this right to education. In order for these people to fulfil their dreams and for this to become a reality, these costs must be looked at. If we take a look at the costs, we can take a look at it in two ways.


We can take a look at it in actual cost where we put a student through a post-secondary institution for roughly five years on average; that is the average for a degree; we are looking at approximately $7,200 a year. However, if we take a look at keeping that same person, without dependants, as a single on a welfare system or a handout dole system, we are looking at approximately $300,000 to put that person through life.


As I mentioned, I have had a lot of personal experience in watching native people go through secondary school and then post-secondary institutions and then return to their people and help out, whether it be an educator on a reserve, an administrator, a social worker, a police officer, whatever. The difference in the person is exciting. It is truly exciting to see somebody who is able to go back and use a post-secondary education to help their people.


The other cycle that I have seen on the reserve is the welfare cycle, which is a cycle that goes from generation to generation and is a very difficult one to break. I feel, as a former educator, that often the cycle is broken through education. It gives a person a goal, something to reach for and, again, I feel this is very important to our native people.


I just might quote Chief George Watts who stated that, "the real changes are happening because our people are going to university and taking their skills and using them, with the knowledge of our old people, to start to make meaningful changes in our community." I must emphasize that real changes are happening because his people are being educated. How can the federal government not see this, not realize this among our native people?


The former member also touched a little bit on the provincial government's assistance in native education. As you know, today our OSAP is open to all students across Ontario and all students have an equal opportunity to go for that assistance. But I must agree with the former member that we are looking at people who have to readjust to a society that maybe they are not used to. A person from a middle-class society who has gone through a regular secondary education does not need that extra counselling, maybe that extra push, that our native people are in need of.


I always look at education as either a "pay now" or "pay later" scheme. I suggest that either we educate or we continue on that cycle that I mentioned earlier. As well, we see that there is no lack of desire among our native people. If we take a look at 1960, we had 64 native students in our post-secondary institutions across Canada. Today that number has risen to 15,000 native students, something that I say speaks very well for their culture, their people, and something that I know that they want.


As the member stated, however, the new system is going to limit that funding. What we have found out is that there is a good possibility that come September 1990, we will be looking at 1,000 native people who will be turned away from our post-secondary institutions because of that limiting of resources for them.


I talked about the paternalistic attitude of the federal government. When you talk to native people, you find out that they were presented with this concept, this idea, as a fait accompli. They were just told; they were not consulted. They were told, "This is the way it is going to be." I do not think that is fair to our native people and I think that is a strong point where there has been a true lack of consultation with them. As I say, they want and they deserve what others in this country have, and I really feel that they will look for a secure future and a fulfilment of their dreams and aspirations. To do that they will have to continue to push for more funding from the federal government.


Just in closing, I would again like to thank the member for Rainy River for bringing this issue forth. It has given me an opportunity to speak on behalf of some of the people in my riding and to present their views, along with my view on this very important matter.


Mr. Pouliot:


I too join in supporting the private member's ballot item placed in Orders and Notices by the member for Rainy River.


If ever there was a human rights problem in Canada, it is with the native peoples. This is what the Canadian human rights commissioner had to say following the most recent decision of Pierre Cadieux, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, to limit the federal subsidies for native post-secondary education. He calls it an example of the litany of misunderstanding. That is what he refers to the decision as.


The Canadian government has chosen to deny, to cap, to put a ceiling on, to limit spending on native education, more specifically on post-secondary native education, while being fully cognizant, very much aware, that the traditional economies can no longer fulfil the daily needs of the first nations. In order never to assimilate but to integrate and to cope with technological changes of a modern era, you need an education. The current dollars that the minister would forward towards that goal are an investment in the future, not only for natives but for the Canadian society as a whole.


One need not do a lot of research to acquiesce that if you are a native person in Canada today and if you do not have an education, you are much more likely to end up in jail than any other person in Canada. The certainty that you will not get a permanent job is real, for jobs are at a premium in remote and desolate communities; or if you do happen to get a job, you will get a very low paying one. You will be poorer than the poor and you will marry what you are, by and large, The cycle will continue.


Society will have to pick up the tab, both emotionally and in dollars, of an even higher rate of substance abuse, mainly alcohol, and a higher rate of suicide. Despair, no belief that tomorrow will be better than today: that is the alternative, that is the cost.


Everyone needs an education. It is one of the sacred gifts, one of the ultimate gifts in society: the right of access. The people cannot do it. They do not have any money. They need their future recognized with an investment today, not a major investment but an investment to say, "Give us the tools to defend, to survive and to cope in society."


I was paid a compliment last June. I was invited as the guest speaker at a graduation exercise in the township of Nakina. The township has a small elementary school that welcomes people from Aroland, which is a native community nearby. Consequently, the majority of graduating students at the Nakina school were people from Aroland. They were natives. I remember so vividly, as if it were yesterday, as if it were now. The people just filed in during the graduation procession, standing proud, and those were grade 8 students, standing tall indeed.


I recall the valediction oration, and it spoke exactly about the right to an education. For a moment the people who sat rigid, erect, proud, representing what is the best in people, which is the achievement of an attainable goal, saw the future with unlimited confidence.


They did not have much. The little paper hats were exactly that; they were little paper hats and there were no silk linings. Some of them had running shoes. There is nothing wrong with running shoes -- you get good wear -- but for a graduation exercise -- it mattered little because they had so much to look forward to.


They did not take anything for granted and they were clutching, hanging, their little diplomas. They could go back home; they were community leaders. The whole community felt it was impacted by young men and women graduating from grade 8. The ramifications were enormous. This was an achievement. Somebody had arrived. Somebody had made it. Somebody was to be like the others: a community leader.


With high respect for my distinguished colleague, I would like to conclude by saying that in terms of human dimension and in terms of doing our job, when we read every word on the resolution, we do not have to search long and hard, because this is what it is all about. That is why we are here. We are here to endorse the resolution. We are here to put clout on the government and say: "Respect the treaty rights. Respect the deal that you made with the forefathers. Put your best foot forward. Say yes to education."


Mr. Jackson:


I rise today to support the resolution on native education and to support my friend and colleague the honourable member for Rainy River. As all members of the House can appreciate, education has become a central key in the unlocking of a future for members of an ever-increasing technological and industrially modern society. As the pace of that development quickens in this province, so does demand for greater and more specialization in how we deliver that education.


Today it is a commodity much sought after by all of our citizens, not only because it promises employment and it offers empowerment for groups that have not had it, but also because it has opportunities for our citizens to take greater control over their lives. As we deepen our awareness of our surrounding environment and the society we live in and as we get a better sense of the history of this province, we learn to develop our own capacities for original thought and insight as we come to understand ourselves in relationship to our history and to our people.


The resolution, therefore, that we are debating today has to do more with our understanding of our founding peoples, of our native peoples, and their desire to obtain the special key to their future. which is education and which is just as central to them as it is to all other Canadians.


Our native peoples have never been given the educational opportunities promised them in the original treaties signed in the last century. The treaties promised schools on the reserves themselves, together with paid teachers. However, native children were shipped off to residential schools where they were exposed to great pressures to assimilate culturally with mainstream society, where they were forbidden to speak their native languages, where they were forbidden, quite frankly, to have the intimacy with their own families as they sought our interpretation of their educational needs.


By the 1960s, in this province only 3.4 per cent of natives had ever even finished high school education, while a very tiny minority -- the statistic is frightening -- ever went on to university. But with the development of the federal post-secondary student assistance program, there were, in 1977 and 1978, more than 3,500 native students enrolled in universities, with 15,000 enrolled by this year. At approximately $9,000 per student, which is spent under the terms of the program, this number has driven its budget up to $130 million.


Unlike other programs which were created to help our native peoples it is very clear that this program works and this program is successful. It has meant employment to nine of 10 graduates among our native graduate pool of 1,000 for last year and for this year alone. It has meant tremendous relief for native women who often suffer lower employment with poorer opportunities for career advancement than any other single group in our society because, of those 24 to 44 years of age among native women who are on the experienced labour force and did not work in the 1980s, their proportion was 5.3 times that of non-native men and 2.9 times that of native men.


This program has proved that, with a little support from the government, support that this government is bound by treaty to provide anyway, our native peoples are more than capable of breaking free of poverty and lack of economic independence which have traditionally limited their own self-actualization. Not only are excellent native leaders being produced with the help of this program, but as Robert Rosehart, the president of Lakehead University, said, good role models for the native community are being produced as well. In his words, probably you could find a few examples of abuse; like any other government program, it's not perfect, but it is accomplishing things.


Yes, it is accomplishing things and yes, we could find a few examples of abuse if we choose to look at that. But the overall positive impact of this program on our native community, which is truly for the original people who founded this nation, is such that it deserves continuing support from every single member of this House.


When I say from all of us, I also include the Liberal government of Ontario. I say to the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway), where are his educational priorities with respect to our native community in this province? Are he and his Premier (Mr. Peterson) content to sit back and let others totally do the work which they should be taking an initiative in as well?


At a time, for example, when this government is busy promoting heritage language education in our public school system, there are three native languages that domestically are part of our culture, and our culture alone, here in Ontario, that are at risk of being lost not only to Ontario and Canada, but to the whole world. We could lose those languages because there is no concerted effort to save and preserve them. There seems to be a serious contradiction in the value that we put on that culture which our native people so rightly cling to and they so rightly respect, but we are losing it.


What I believe this government should be doing, quite frankly, is funding specialized teacher training for those teaching in Metis and aboriginal languages for their students, while boards should find specialized in-service training to assist in the development in that regard. I also believe firmly that a department of aboriginal studies should he established, possibly at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, known as OISE, with both federal and provincial funding, to study and promote that native culture and language which somehow we seem frightened to help preserve.


In addition, we should be looking at ways in which to put local control of native education back into the hands of the native community itself. What our native people are concerned about is that the recent announcement of the cap on this program, the $130 million budget, could lead to the turning away of as many as 2,000 native students from universities and colleges, students who have the desire to continue their education into post-secondary levels.


This is also something which all other Canadians should be concerned about. Let us make no mistake. In the words of Grand Chief Georges Erasmus: "Canadians want fairness to native people and they just want to know in return that natives are not abusing the system." Conversely, all Canadians should know that our native people do not want something for nothing. Their culture is in possession of values of individual effort and providing one's worth, values which we hold in admiration as well.


The native peoples did not ask to be placed in the cycle of poverty and misery that we somehow have put them in. What they ask is some help to move out of it. and to date they have more than proved that they, as native graduates, can join the Canadian economic mainstream in ever-increasing numbers, to be followed by other native students who are inspired by their example to study, to graduate and to seek economic, social and cultural independence.


One argument that is advanced against expanding this program's budget is that the treaty signed more than 100 years ago did not cover post-secondary education. But it must be remembered that when the treaties were signed, something like a post-secondary education was not nearly as important for living in society as it is today.


I think it can be readily accepted that post-secondary education, whose future importance to our citizens was either unforeseen or irrelevant to the social conditions of that time, should indeed and must be considered an integral part of what is implied by the term "education," as ratified under the terms and conditions of those old treaties. To do otherwise would be to play a cruel game of semantics, all to the detriment of the social well-being and of the relationship with our native peoples. This we simply cannot afford to do. We cannot do it as Canadians with a sense of our own history and our own social responsibility.


The expansion of this program's budget will prove much more costly than the already burgeoning welfare budget of about $350 million that goes to our native people, but their message to us is that they do not want to be on welfare. They want to go to school and then they want to work.


What kind of example will we be showing them if we renege on legitimate responsibilities sworn to in treaties and established by custom to help our native people, in effect to help them help themselves, and if indirectly we help contribute to the continuation of that vicious circle of poverty and misery? It must be broken.


I therefore support my honourable colleague's resolution and commend him for coming forth with it on behalf of native peoples and, I know, for a group of constituents he holds very dear to his heart.


Let us invest in our native peoples' future. It is an investment that is fiscally responsible. It is an investment that brings solid returns and rich dividends to the native students, graduates and indeed the entire native community. It is therefore a great investment in our province and in our nation.


Mrs. Cunningham:


It gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand in the House and have an opportunity to speak on the importance of native post-secondary education in our province and in our country. The only comment I would make on the resolution is that I would rather censure the government than condemn it. It is just a word that I feel is more appropriate under the circumstances. I know that to get change we are going to have to work with our federal partners as far as possible and this is our opportunity to send a message to them today.


The Conservative Party, of course, is addressing the resolution put forth by the member for Rainy River with regard to the government of Canada's recent policies regarding native education. I have a very strong personal conviction about the importance of education for all people across our province and our country. I believe education is essential for one to compete and progress in a modern and technological world, but I also believe in fairness, in a level playing field for all our students.


I think there is a much deeper issue here at hand today and that is the matter of how native education is perceived and how we deliver it. We are all mistaken if we think it is comparable to the experience of the children of middle class families across this country. My children grew up in a culture that stressed education and were encouraged throughout their education by family support that we would hope would be possible across our country, but we recognize that many native students do not have this support. They need this support and we would be foolish to look the other way. They need support in every way. When they have the courage to come forth and ask for it, we should give it to them, and it does take courage for any member of our society to say: "I am different. I have not had the same kind of opportunity and I need it," especially our native students.


Twenty-seven per cent of all Canadians go to university, but only four per cent of natives do. The numbers speak for themselves. Just saying that they can get student loans and go to university will not do. They need more. Grants are an encouragement, but loans are a debt burden few students enjoy assuming, a burden that may turn and does turn native students away. As a matter of fact, it turns all students away. The debt load of university graduates in our province is something we should all be ashamed of. There has to be a better way of supporting our young people who need our help, the kind of help that we, as members of this Legislative Assembly, ought to be fighting hard for.


Funding native students could be justified purely as sound economics. The Nielsen task force reported that 90 per cent of natives who attend university find employment whether or not they graduate, and that is wonderful in itself. Yet the national average for native unemployment is 55 per cent and as high as 90 per cent. Which 90 per cent do we want? Do we want to pay welfare for 90 per cent of the native population or do we want them to attend university and live in dignity? Do we want them to be able to pay their own way some day and have some hope in their own education and an education for their children?


Our vision is very shortsighted in this province and in this country. Education is not just for today; it is for ever. When only 20 per cent of natives finish high school and only four per cent finish university, why should we even have to consider a change such as has been proposed by the federal government? We need a level playing field for all our students, but especially for our native students.


The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cureatz): The Speaker humbly apologizes to the honourable member for Port Arthur (Mr. Kozyra) on missing the rotation.


Mr. Kozyra:


It is my pleasure this morning to stand and support the resolution as well. My 40 years in education, 17 in the classroom as a student and the rest as a teacher, have impressed upon me tremendously the importance of education in all its levels, so it is with pleasure that I support this resolution which strikes at the very heart of some of the problems.


I am proud of the fact and the role that the two higher levels of education in Thunder Bay, Confederation College and Lakehead University, play in furthering the cause of native post-secondary education. In the Thunder Bay situation, though, on the negative side, the one that must be addressed, is the fact that we have over 10,000 natives in Thunder Bay, many from northern reserves and many facing tremendous difficulties of adjustment. In a fast-paced society that is economically and educationally driven, these people, as indicated by the member for Rainy River, suffer from tremendous social adjustment difficulties that we can only begin to comprehend. These cutbacks by the federal government to the post-secondary program only make that matter worse.


There is a critical need for more education. Less education or a slowdown contributes tremendously to problems like illiteracy, unemployment, welfare, hopelessness and destruction.


I would like to read from a letter. This letter is an open letter sent to the Prime Minister of Canada. These social conditions were described for the native population of Canada:


The proportion of Indian children in institutional care is five times the national average. Education: 20 per cent of aboriginal students complete grade 12 compared to 75 per cent for other Canadians. The income of native Canadians is 50 per cent of the national average or less. Unemployment runs between 35 to 90 per cent, depending on the size and location of the community. Violent deaths are three times the national average and infant mortality runs at 60 per cent higher than the national rate.


The irony of the cutbacks to this program is that what the federal government saw as the need for cutbacks was based on the success of the program. It is a strange reaction to a successful program.


I would like to read from a letter in which the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Pierre Cadieux, the federal minister, explains the rationale for these cutbacks. I would like to point out the irony and the tragic paradox here. He says:


"Dear Chiefs and Councils:...


"The post-secondary student assistance program is widely recognized as one of the most successful programs my department has ever undertaken." So far so good.


"The number of post-secondary students has increased from about 3,500 in 1977-78 to some 15,000 in 1988-89." So far so good.


"This extraordinary growth in student numbers has caused the post-secondary budget to expand from $9 million to $130 million." Now, there is the rub.


The federal government chose to focus on purely financial aspects to cut back on a very successful program. Rather than taking a look at the whole picture, rather than recognizing what an important step this was, what tremendous progress socially and educationally was being made by the native Canadians and emphasizing that, it chose to focus strictly on the budgetary implications and decided to have the cutbacks.


I think they misread the situation. I think that rather than seeing this as a problem, they should have seen it as a tremendous opportunity, a challenge and an opportunity. I think they missed their chance, but it is not too late if we can convince them to go back.


What kind of impact does this federal decision have? It continues to impose 1987 ranking criteria. It continues to impose a 12-month Canadian residency clause. It restricts the level of tuition support to students attending private or foreign schools and it restricts the level of travel assistance. It caps the level of assistance for living expenses. This capping of the overall program funding results in (a) reducing the number of students able to attend post-secondary schools and (b) forcing Indian administrations to reject student applications during an academic year.


It imposes new and harsher time limits to complete degrees. It eliminates doctoral level assistance when assisted for a master of arts degree. It imposes federal interpretation of self-government and economic self-reliance on students. It forces Indian administrations to give student statistics to the federal government for a national database instead of an Indian-controlled database. It forces Indian administrations to reduce the level of funding for students. There are all these negative implications of these cutbacks.


In the limited time that is afforded me, I hope I was able to show that rather than cutbacks, what is needed is an augmentation of the funding for post-secondary education.


Mr. Wildman:


I want first to congratulate my colleague the member for Rainy River for bringing this matter before the House. It is a most important one and of crucial importance to the future of the native community, the aboriginal people and the first nations of this province, as well as the whole country.


I want to say at the outset, though, hopefully without sounding as if I am preaching, that I am a little disturbed about the tone of the debate. While I welcome the comments of many members, I think language is important whenever you are dealing with any topic, but particularly when you are dealing with matters that relate to race and ethnic groups. It important to understand the nuances of language. I think it is unfortunate when members of this House or members of the white community refer to the native people as our native people in the same breath as condemning paternalism.


I think it is important to recognize that the first nations signed treaties with the white government, the crown, and that under those treaties a number of things were guaranteed. One thing that was guaranteed was education sufficient to allow the members of the first nations to prosper and to compete.


That has been open to interpretation. The federal government historically has always taken the position that this treaty right initially only applied to primary education, and then to secondary education as well. The federal government has never accepted post-secondary education as a treaty right, but rather as some sort of gift that white governments can extend or curtail.


In 1964, there were only 60 aboriginals enrolled in post-secondary institutions. It was not until 1975 that an exclusively post-secondary education assistance program was established by the federal government. Now we have the current policy that was instituted this year, the program my colleague is referring to in his resolution. He pointed out that under this program, a certain budgetary level will be set and if there are more students than anticipated, those students at the bottom of the list will have to defer their education for a year or two. Also, limits have been placed on the length of time that a student can take to complete his or her studies.


As my colleague the member for Port Arthur pointed out, essentially what has happened here is that we have a successful program, a program where large numbers of students started to take advantage of the possibility of post-secondary education to the point where that 60 had grown to 15,000 or more by last year.


In essence, what has happened is that when the cost grew to over $120 million, the federal Conservative government said: "This program is too successful. It's costing too much. We have to cut back." It was not until the enrolment of aboriginals in post-secondary educational institutions increased dramatically that the government suddenly said, "It's costing us too much."


Even if you think just in terms of dollars and cents, this is false economy. Many speakers in this debate have argued about the cycle of poverty that too many native people in this country experience. Surely any politician or bureaucrat concerned about fiscal responsibility should recognize that by investing in education, by helping students to gain the tools that will make it possible for them to compete individually and collectively in our society and in our economy, we will be saving money in the long run.


It costs enormous amounts of money in social and economic breakdown because of the fact that too many aboriginals in our society do not have the skills they require to compete in a modern society. Give them those skills and the native people of this country will compete with anybody in our society. But it is not enough for us to stand here and say, "Somehow we have to do things for our native people." They are not our native people. They are the first nations of this country and they deserve the treaty rights that were guaranteed them when they gave up the land so that we could settle it.


We have to recognize what the white man's purpose of education of Indian people has been right from the beginning and I think we have to say it clearly. The purpose of education of Indian people in our society has been assimilation. The purpose has been to eradicate the Indian culture from our society, and that is why Indians, aboriginals, have not done well in our education system. Is it any surprise that the people of the first nations would reject our education system when it was designed to deny everything that was important and dear to them?


Give self-government. Recognize self-government. Guarantee self-government. Give our first nations, the people of this country who deserve it more than anyone, the right to control their own affairs, particularly their education. Extend to them the resources they require and they will compete and do well and we will learn from them.


Mr. Hampton:


I want to thank all my colleagues who spoke on behalf of the resolution -- my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Pouliot), my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), the member for Kenora (Mr. Miclash), the member for Port Arthur, the member for Burlington South (Mr. Jackson) and the member for London North. I thank them all for their eloquence and for taking the time they obviously have taken to look at this issue very seriously.


I want to conclude by restating the theme of my argument. It is simply this: The federal government's native post-secondary education policy, as enunciated in the spring of 1989, is the epitome of shortsighted social and economic policy. The 1977 policy on post-secondary education assistance for first nations people permitted 15,084 first nations people to attend post-secondary education institutions in 1988-89. From those 15,000 students will come many of the leaders of tomorrow's first nations communities and organizations.


The first nations people do not want something for nothing from the federal government or from the provincial government. They want only the opportunity to control their own cultural, social and economic destiny. One of the keys, and I would argue the greatest key, to gaining control of this destiny is education. The $120 million spent by the federal government on native post-secondary education assistance in 1988-89 is very likely the most productive spending the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development engaged in in that year.


I want to repeat what many of my colleagues have said here today. The federal government has a choice. It can fund native post-secondary education assistance so that more and more first nations people may get the kind of training, the kind of education, the kind of skills that everyone will need in the 20th and 21st centuries. In doing that, I am convinced they will return to their own communities and they will improve their own communities. They will provide the guidance, the skills, the leadership that their own communities want, need and have asked for.


First nations communities do not want us to attempt to guide them. They do not want us to tell them where they should go and what they should try to achieve. We have been doing that for 100 years and it is a policy that has met with abject failure, and failure that every non-native person in this country should be ashamed of. To continue to provide the support that native people want in terms of post-secondary education assistance would be the most enlightened policy that the government of Canada could ever put in place.


I want to send a strong message to the federal government today. The message is this: Think again. Do not cut off your nose to spite your face. Do the right thing. Do the good thing in terms of social and economic policy and fund native post-secondary education and we will all be better off because of it.



December 7, 1989


Mr. Pouliot moved resolution 33: That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing that health care is totally inadequate for Ontario's first nations people, and recognizing that aboriginal people's requests for improvements are often not met because of jurisdictional disputes between the federal and provincial governments and further recognizing that Ontario's indigenous peoples want some control over the provision and delivery of their health care, the government of Ontario should immediately take whatever measures necessary to ensure that:


the level of health care services to Ontario's first nations is at the same level as other Ontarians;


the jurisdictional disputes between the federal and provincial levels of government are reduced and eventually eliminated; and


a process of giving control over the provision and delivery of health care services to the first nations is developed and implemented.


Mr. Pouliot:


Mr. Speaker, as you are most aware and members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario are aware, we have some 120,000 aboriginal people in Ontario, although the Indian Act confers status to only 80,000. Many of those 80,000 people live in the northern part of our province, experiencing living conditions that are unthinkable in other parts of Ontario.


There is a desperate lack of services in those communities, and I am talking about things that we take for granted -- basic, essential services such as running water and electricity in some cases, or if they have electricity, more than 20-amp service so that they can have more than one little hot plate for essential services. We are aware of the despair that the people who were here first, our first Canadians, have to experience in this day in 1989.


Let me share with members some statistics about children, and I see some young people in the galleries who are paying us the compliment of a visit. Infant mortality is twice as high among natives as compared to other Canadians. Life expectancy is 10 years less, so men or women can chop 10 years off their lives. That is what it means; these are real statistics. We live in the same country, sometimes we live a few miles apart, but if one lives on a reserve in Ontario he will live, on the average, 10 years less -- 10 years of missed opportunities, if you wish.


The suicide rate is twice the national average, but for a young male between 15 and 24 years of age it escalates to six times. He is six times more likely to commit suicide if he is a male, lives on a reserve and is between the ages of 15 and 24.


Substance abuse -- we have been through that before collectively. Living conditions -- the list is almost endless. The list goes on.


Let me illustrate vividly some of the things that happen. We talk about a good lifestyle so we say, yes, it does require a good diet, but the people do not have too much money. They go to the Hudson's Bay store in Kashechewan and a head of what is really rotting lettuce costs $2.24 and a litre of milk is $2.51. So what do they do? They buy sweetened condensed milk at $1.45 and feed their kids with it and then they get diabetes. It goes hand in hand. These are the living conditions they experience.


When they go to the nursing station, there is a nice poster, and I want to share this with members: it says one should brush one's teeth after every meal, when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed at night. That is quite all right, but they do not have any running water. They have to go and get the water out of the creek. Members know how difficult it is to instil discipline in young people, but when they do not have the basics it becomes almost impossible to monitor compliance to do so.


There is another poster describing how to get rid of scabies. Most of us have never heard of scabies; it is of yesteryear. One must take three baths in two days and then have the special ointment that is applied, and the scabies will go away. There, again, we miss one very basic component in our nothing short of prophetic advice to people: we must give them running water. They cannot heat a little pot with two cups of water with a 20-amp service and expect to take a bath in it to get rid of the scabies. In the real world it does not quite work that way.


We are talking about a very different world. I had the opportunity to spend a week on the shores of James Bay, where James Bay and Hudson Bay meet. I then took another week -- we do this quite often -- and went to the shores of Hudson Bay, including Fort Severn, which is the northernmost community in Ontario. Our task force was there to listen to the grievances of people and to find positive measures to address their needs. Our task force took on what became a mission. Our task force eventually, at its conclusion, became a crusade.


Mr. Speaker, you had to be there. It is one of those situations where you try to describe conditions in the Third World but you really have not been there. You know it is bad. You know it is wrong. Your heart tells you that. You know that something should be done. But in the end, it is too far, it is too remote, too distant, so it does not become something of immediate concern, but a concern indeed, yes, it is.


In times of -- and it is the Christmas season -- conspicuous consumption, where wealth is so apparent and so visible at this time of year, self-interest almost becomes a measure of life. I ask for understanding through this resolution because I think it does transcend political affiliation. One does not have to be a member of the Liberal Party, the Progressive Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party. We are talking about people. We are talking about how we treat and how we view each other; how we treat our neighbour; really, how we treat ourselves; how we complete ourselves as human beings; how we complete our lives.


This is what the resolution says. It does not score any political points. It talks about Ontarians. It talks about ideals. It talks about a credo for us and the opportunity to send a message to others who need our help.




Mr. Eves:


In Fort Albany it is all but impossible to recruit and retain professional people. There should be 14 nurses on duty at all times in Fort Albany. Unfortunately, there rarely is. Those who sign on leave, on average, within a year. Many receive only visits by nursing staff, not permanent nursing staff. They for sure only receive visits by dentists. Other health care professionals are virtually nonexistent.


In Fort Severn a doctor visits once every three months, a dentist once every six months. There are no nurses and only a small health clinic with community health representatives. The equipment is often inadequate. Lack of a good X-ray machine is a common complaint. Ambulances are unheard of.


Presently in the north many communities have native community health representatives, and these workers provide the much-needed language skills and cultural identity with their patients, but they lack professional medical training. They are often called upon to provide care far beyond their qualifications. Even giving birth in northern Ontario to our native people becomes an ordeal, and women are routinely flown out of their communities, away from their families, two weeks prior to their due dates. I do not think that is a very acceptable standard of health care in our province.


To emphasize my point, instead of going through all these newspaper articles and what problems they document, I will take a few minutes of your time to read the headlines only:


"New Democrat Task Force on Health -- Here is a Litany of Concerns for North"; "Health Care in North Shocking"; "Author Says 80 per cent of Natives Experience Violent Death"; "Disabilities More Likely on Reserves"; "Disabilities Hit Indians on Reserves at Almost Twice the Rate in Non-Natives"; "Council Supports Treatment Program for Native Addicts"; "Northern Indians Should Control Health Care"; "Annie is Getting Too Old to Care for Herself"; "In Native Towns, Good Medicine means Plain Talk"; "Consultation with Bands on Health Care Urged"; "More Medical Training Needed"; "Health Aid for Natives Criticized before Panel"; "Cross-cultural Crime Up, Medical Doctor Warns"; "Health Care Hampered by Overworked MDs, Inquiry on North Told"; "Province Urged to Play Greater Role in Native Health Care"; "Inferior Health Care Frustration for Doctors"; "Quality of Medical Care could Crumble, Health Inquiry Told"; "Native Travel to Get Treatment Bumped by Airlines"; "Sioux Lookout MDs Arrogant, Probe Told"; "Indian Woman Delivered Child in Outdoor Toilet."


Is that the standard of care we want for our native people in the province of Ontario? I would hardly think so.


I think that what is needed perhaps is best summed up in a document by the Ojibway Tribal Family Services, which operates out of Dryden, Ontario. In a brief, they provided what they think are the necessary steps for the provincial government to take, and the federal government too, required to give them the health care that they deserve.


Indian people need to be trained as professionals to provide health care in institutions. They should be found in the front lines of hospitals as nursing assistants or ambulance workers, but especially as interpreters. Non-native professionals need to be sensitized to the culture, language and traditions of the first nations like Ojibway or Cree.


Fundamental to all these needs is that the first nations be given the power to carry them out themselves. In the words of the Ojibway Tribal Family Services, they feel that they require the following. They appeal for assistance in their struggle to become a people of pride and confidence to do things for themselves.


"The moneys are there, but they are not getting to our people, but rather other groups are administering them on our behalf. The bands in our area can no longer tolerate this method of delivery of program to our bands. We are asking you to go and share these concerns with the provincial government so that our people can work to create a healthy place. Our people want to do things for themselves. They want to prevent the fear that our people have in coming to the present health care givers and administration. Our people only want to prevent deaths due to fear and lack of understanding. Our people want develop their own workers to provide strong health care for their people. Our people want to provide tools for their people to provide their own and strong healthy institutions and organizations. Our people now want for you to join hands with us and make our circle strong again. One step along the way to power of self-government would be to ensure significant native participation in district health councils."


I do not think that those are unreasonable requests. If we pride ourselves, as we often do, on having one of the best health care systems anywhere in the world, surely we can do something for the founding people of our country.


In another submission from a different group of native peoples representing communities along James Bay, they recommend the following and say that there are these eight gaps in services for people in those communities: no residential program for children and adolescents characterized by serious behavioural or emotional disorders, substance abuse or suicidal or self-injurious behaviour; no residential life skills program for young men and women who, without this training, would end up in jail or psychiatric hospitals and progress in a downward spiral of separation from their roots and daily unhappiness of an intense degree; need for detoxification centre for alcoholics; need for a program directed at family violence which would include community-based outreach counsellors; a program for men who are violent and support groups and temporary safe homes for women and children; no community-based follow-up for patients returning from psychiatric hospitals; need for culturally relevant community residential arrangements for the elderly that rely on traditions and not on a centralized nursing home; need for resident physicians in each community or, at the very least, longer visits, and the need for frequent audiological and optometric services in the community so that people, especially children, do not have to travel.


I do not think that any of these requests are unrealistic. I do not think that any of these requests should be denied.


I will finish my remarks with a few quotes that were given to the New Democratic Party task force at the conclusion of one of its hearings.


"The challenge is to ensure equitable access to the conditions leading to good health. Equitable access to good health can no longer be considered an afterthought or a marginal issue, no longer one of impulse or charity, but one of justice. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the provincial government address a new policy framework that is more comprehensive and proactive and designed to the needs and aspirations of aboriginal peoples in the province.


"The solution lies in the provincial government reorganizing its priorities to address the specific health care needs of native people. Existing funds should be utilized to support innovative and culturally appropriate health promotion and preventive health to support initiative by native people. Provincial funds should be directed towards programs that will promote a holistic approach to wellness, self-responsibility for good health and alternative health care systems of healing. The provincial government should promote the development of native delivery systems that will address the critical service areas in urban and small communities.


"Until the provincial government seriously addresses the health care needs of aboriginal people, the spirits and hearts of aboriginal people will remain broken. The aboriginal nation will continue to be at the bottom of the social and health scale."


What are they requesting? They are requesting our assistance to assist aboriginal people in utilizing their own power through the empowerment of communities and individuals so that they can achieve good health by the year 2000, which is the year they choose as a realistic goal. I think that is a realistic goal. With the goodwill and co-operation of all members of the Legislature, regardless of their political stripe, I think we can achieve those measures. I think it is the very least we can do to lead to a dignified, fair and well-serving health care system for our first people.


Mr. Miclash:


First of all, I would like to congratulate my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon on bringing this most important issue to the attention of the House in his resolution today. As the Speaker will know, we share two of the largest ridings in the province, his being the largest, of course, and mine being the second-largest, so we do have a good number of common concerns.


Today it is my privilege to bring to the House some of the recent developments that I, as a member, have seen in the delivery of health care to Ontario's native people.


Let me begin by saying that we realize this is a very extreme, difficult area in terms of jurisdiction. We know we are dealing with both the federal and the provincial governments in the delivery of these health care services, and it does add a little bit of strife to the problem. We know that, historically, the native people have looked to the federal government to provide their health care and many of their other social services. Increasingly, however, the provincial government is now becoming much more involved in bringing these health services to the native people. It is the two levels of government, along with the native leaders, that still have a way to go in resolving a good number of issues that have been brought forth to the House today.


I am very happy to bring to the House some very definite progress that I have seen in the recent years that I have been a member in the north, some progress that has come to us in the north, as well as throughout the province, knowing that we are culturally sensitive to the needs of our native people.


For more than a year now, the Ministry of Health has had a native health co-ordinator. The job of this person is to devote his energies entirely to formulating new programs and enhancing existing ones in the area of native health care.


Underlying all the recent changes in native health care has been the genuine desire of this government to put the people themselves, whether on or off the reserves, more and more in charge of the direction in which they want the delivery systems to go. I think that is a very important step in involving the people who are going to be involved in this health care in the decision-making at the community level. I have always said that the best decisions can be made at the community level and then brought to the provincial government.


Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring an example to you from Kenora, the largest centre in my riding, where we have a native healer program which is in the works at the present time. I was able to get firsthand knowledge of this program, being a former member of the Lake of the Woods District Hospital board, and I must say that I do not think I have ever seen a program that has been so proactive to the native health needs. What it involved was the referral of native people to local healers. We would take our native patients and be able to refer them to these native healers, a program that was very successful.


As well, I was able to examine a treatment centre at Thunder Bay. It is a treatment centre on the Fort William reserve, which members may know is adjacent to my riding. We find the province of Ontario contributing a good deal financially -- $300,000 on an annual basis -- towards the operating of this centre. I must say that this is one example that we have seen of the way both the provincial government and the federal government have come together to work together on culturally appropriate centres to help the native people with their problems.


As well, we have often heard that it is a goal of this government to ensure the level of health services is available to native people as it is available to other people in Ontario; that is, all other Ontarians. Of course, one of the great difficulties in accomplishing this goal is the division that we have within our native groups. We have both status and nonstatus aboriginal people.


As we also know, more than a year ago the Attorney General and minister responsible for native affairs (Mr. Scott) spoke at length in Ottawa regarding the possibility of eliminating this distinction between the two groups of native people. His far-reaching proposal, which would guarantee all native people in the province full citizenship in the province in which they live, our province of Ontario, is still being considered by both levels of government, the federal and the provincial, along with the native leaders themselves. A new tone, one of seeing boundaries between peoples disappear, has been injected into the ongoing jurisdictional debates. I am happy to see that. I see results of that every day.


In another centre in my riding, the town of Sioux Lookout, we see a good number of attitudes changing. This is taking place at this very moment in Sioux Lookout, where we are looking at the amalgamation of both the federal and provincial hospitals under a local health authority. This is at the conceptual stage right now. I am happy to say that the mayor of Sioux Lookout is in the gallery today, one of the strong proponents of ensuring that this is going to continue on. As I say, it is in the conceptual stages today, but we are looking forward to growth in that area.


I guess the ultimate goal of everything I have been speaking about in my presentation here today is the greater empowerment of native people themselves. Such changes will, as we know, require many constitutional changes, and we all recognize that takes considerable time and discussion. I think we are moving in this province to provide many vehicles, as many vehicles as possible, for our native communities, as I said earlier, to develop their own programs.


Again, I would just like to thank the member for Lake Nipigon for bringing this to the attention of the House. I congratulate him in his resolution and would like to let him know that I am in full support of what he has said here today in the House.


Mr. B. Rae:


I am delighted to be able to participate in this debate. First of all, I want to congratulate the mover of the motion, my very dear friend the member for Lake Nipigon. Like all in this House who served with his predecessor, Jack Stokes, I certainly regard Jack Stokes as one of the real heroes of Ontario politics in the life at this Legislature. I would say that, together with Mr. Stokes, the member for Lake Nipigon shares a special sense of his responsibilities and his relationship as a representative with the native people in his constituency, or as Jack Stokes would always say, the first citizens of Ontario.




Very few people in the rest of the province understand that. We do not see it. There are no television cameras that tell us that this is what life is like. The communities are completely isolated, except by communication by plane. Of course, we now have the miracle of television. Many of them have offices with computers, but we still do not have basic sewage treatment. We still do not have running water. We still do not have the basic elements, in terms of decent housing and housing which will last, which we would recognize as fundamental to our sense of what it takes to live a decent life.


People die earlier; suicide rates are much, much higher. The rates of alcoholism are high, drug abuse is a real problem, glue sniffing and gasoline sniffing among young kids is rampant. You have a whole population of young people who come back from school -- where they are sent off to residential schools -- they come back aged 14, 15 and 16 for an entire summer, and there is nothing for them to do.


In some communities sexually communicable disease is a problem, which is inevitable, given the fact that people are living so close together, frankly, and given the fact that there is so little in terms of other recreational activities for kids. What we see happening is the inevitable result of the social conditions which our society has allowed to not just exist, but to grow. Again, this is not unique to northern Ontario; this is the native condition in Canada today.


I want to say this about what we are suggesting: Health care is one example, one area where this province has a responsibility. I know full well that there is a very powerful argument that says quite simply, "No, it's an area that must be left exclusively to the federal government." I want to say to this government, if it takes that approach in terms of funding, then we are basically saying to the native people, "You're on your own, because in terms of the federal government the stuff just is not happening.


What we are suggesting, and what I am suggesting, is that what we need to establish in Ontario is a sense of what are the basic conditions of life that should apply to every community in this province.


I think every community in this province is entitled to electricity. I think every community in this province is entitled to running water. I think every community in this province is entitled to sewage treatment. I think every community in this province is entitled to the basic minimal conditions in terms of housing and social standards which we would feel are acceptable for where we live. There is not a member here who would accept living in a community that did not have running water, that did not have sewage treatment and that did not have basic health care.


I think we are beginning to realize that the health care problems are so visible and so strong, as we experience when we travel in the north. I have been up to James Bay and stayed overnight in the communities on James Bay last winter. We were again up north of Pickle Lake this summer. The member and I went up to visit it together, the most northern community in the province, the community of Fort Severn, where we had a meeting at night and we were talking to the elders about conditions.


The reality is that unless the provincial government provides funding which the native people can then allocate and control themselves, funding which will get into the hands of the communities and be used by the communities, we are simply going to continue to see thousands of people in our province living in conditions of poverty, living in conditions of little hope and living in conditions which, as I say, none of us would accept under any circumstances as a tolerable or acceptable way of life for our fellow Canadians.


This is one of the central challenges of Canadian life and of Ontario life today. Either we deal with this problem, negotiate with the chiefs, negotiate with the native people and create an independent health care service for northern Ontario as it affects our native people, or we continue to ignore it. This is a challenge. We must not ignore it because the future of children, the future of our communities and the future of our sense of what we owe each other is at stake.




Mr. Pouliot:


Oh, they were trying to put their best foot forward, trying to bridge the kind of jurisdictional battle between two entities, if members wish, two bodies -- what is provincial, what is federal -- playing ping-pong while our first Canadians are left holding the bag as a third party. It may not be systematic, but what is systematic is the poverty. It is not systematic by design, but it follows through and the Attorney General among others has done a lot to do it.


If we go back 15 years, when we talk about the lack of sewer and water, the lack of basic facilities, we have come a long way. But we sense that we have to go quicker. We have to stop fighting among ourselves. We have to stop cultivating the differences, by convention and tradition, in the relationship between our first natives and the crown. We have to say, "Look, we as a rich province have a role to play," and not pat ourselves on the back and with a sigh of relief say, "Thank God, it's not our jurisdiction for we would have to pay for basic necessities."


First Canadians are first Ontarians. Something is wrong, drastically wrong. A lot has been done; that is good. A lot more needs to be done and we should have a plan of attack. We should have a timetable accompanied by resources. We should listen better. We should give authority and encourage authority where they can take over their own jurisdiction, for they know better what their people need. Those are normal reactions. I think we will get there -- that is why we are on our feet -- but I think we need to do it faster.



December 14, 1989


Mr. B. Rae:


The relationship between the government of this province and the first nations, the first people of this province and the first people of Canada, is the most basic question of human rights facing Ontario today. We need to resolve it, we need to face up to it. I just do not think the government has demonstrated so far the commitment to do so.




Our report today talks about the fact that some basic conditions of life which are assumed to be there for the vast majority of citizens of the province are not available, are not present in many native communities, whether they are on reserve or on crown land. Lansdowne House is not a reserve. Lansdowne House is on crown land. Attawapiskat is on reserve. Some of the communities are partly on reserve and partly on crown land.


Water and sewage, fire protection, garbage collection and housing are four items which the Attorney General states very clearly that he is prepared to negotiate with respect to crown land communities. Those four items are specifically omitted, they are left out, when it comes to what he is prepared to discuss with native people who are living on reserves.


I am asking a simple question of the Attorney General: Why those omissions? Does he not think running water and sewage treatment are as basic to life on a reserve as they are to life on crown land?


Hon Mr. Scott:


As the honourable member is very careful not to acknowledge so he can get maximum bang for every rhetorical buck, the reality is that on reserve there are special parameters that have to be considered.


The honourable member's own report, released today, is much more candid than he himself is. For example, speaking of federal hospitals on reserve, the report highlights a point that I was making the other day and that the honourable member just rejected as silly. It says, speaking of the people in Moose Factory and Sioux Lookout, for example, where there are federally run hospitals, that those people worry that by giving jurisdiction to the provinces, the federal government will wash its hands of responsibility to first nations people.


When I made that very same point in so many words the other day, the honourable member, as usual, said I did not know what I was talking about and it was nonsense. I do not know, though I have got a good idea, who prepared this excellent report that the New Democratic Party has. It is too bad the Leader of the Opposition did not have time to read it.


Mr. B. Rae:


The Attorney General is someone for whom on occasion I have respect. I regret that I cannot say that in any way, shape or form today, in terms of what he has said to me and what he has said to members of the House.


He says he is prepared to negotiate education, health and social services when it comes to on-reserve. I am asking him a simple, factual, decent question. He has laid out here what he is prepared to negotiate on reserve and he has laid out on the next page what he is prepared to negotiate on crown land communities. I am asking him why these areas, water and sewage, fire protection, garbage collection and housing, are not there.


It cannot be jurisdiction, because he has already said he is prepared to negotiate education, health, social services and other areas. He cannot tell me that water and sewage is any more or less a matter of provincial or federal jurisdiction than education. Come clean.



June 14, 1990


Ms Bryden:


I strongly support Bill 172, the member for York South's private member's bill on employment equity. This is ground-breaking legislation. It is far in advance of any other legislation in Canada to ensure fairness in the employment market for those who have been dealt out of the marketplace: women, the disabled, native people, visible minorities. It applies to both the public and the private sectors.


Society has turned a blind eye to the inequities of the job market for these groups of people. They all face barriers to employment and to fair treatment. These barriers must be knocked down. This bill addresses how those barriers can be removed. Only when that is done can employment equity become a reality in Ontario.


Today in Ontario women earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by men. Among persons in Ontario reporting a disability, 41.5% of those of working age are employed compared to 67.4% for the rest of the population, and many of those employed earn substandard wages. Only 51% of registered Indians in Ontario were in the labour force compared to a 67% participation rate for the whole population in a study done recently.



November 15, 1990


Mr. Allen:


It is important for us always to emphasize that with all the diversity and the multiculturalism that has come to characterize our country and in spite of the fact, which we recognize, that this continent was inhabited first by aboriginal peoples to whom we have not yet done justice...



June 19, 1991


Mr. Scott:


When we came to office in 1986, the pressure to negotiate a fishing agreement was of course even greater than it had been in the early 1980s, and we looked at the experience of the previous government. The previous government was well-intentioned, I believe, and the minister of the day was committed to making a breakthrough in an extraordinarily difficult area, no less difficult than the area the minister contemplates negotiating now. More complex in some ways, but less complex than in other ways, but it would have been a breakthrough.


We analysed what the previous Conservative government had done and we drew the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that the difficulty the previous Conservative government had got into in the course of those negotiations was that they had tried to negotiate the agreement behind closed doors and produce an agreement acceptable to the indian governmental organizations and to the government of Ontario, and then to present it to cabinet, the Legislature and the people for approval.


That failed. While there was no alarm in the public mind during the negotiation process because none of it was public, the stakes were not clearly identified, nor the concerns publicly identified. As soon as the terms of the agreement became public, ministers of that Conservative government began to abandon ship. One of the first to leave the ship was a member for an adjacent constituency, whose initials were LB and for whom detail is not here necessary.


That effort failed, and it was our view when we came to government in 1985 that it failed because the negotiations had taken place behind closed doors. I draw that to this government's attention because we, in 1985 and I hope throughout to 1990, believed in open government, open negotiations, widespread consultation with a variety of people.




We decided we would conduct an open process in which the proposals on both sides of the table would be publicly advanced, so that citizens could look at what native people sought and at what the government of all the people was prepared to make by way of response, so we could go out and native governmental organizations could go out to the communities and say, "Here is what they are asking, here is what we are proposing, here is where the deal is coming down to." So at the end of the day, as I said to my bureaucratic staff, when the agreement is achieved there will be no surprises. Everybody in all the communities who are interested -- and were they interested -- will be able to follow it day by day in the weekly press.


We started that process, we committed ourselves to it. We sent Ministry of Natural Resources people hither and yon all through the northwest to explain its simplicity, its beauty, its charismatic characteristics that would permit everybody to be heard, to understand and to approve as we moved step by step to the fishing negotiations. And we would thus achieve an agreement. It might indeed have looked rather like the previous Conservative agreement, but it would contain no surprises and achieve the very kind of public approval which is so important and to which the member for Renfrew North referred.


That process, I regret to say, though extremely well-intentioned, did not work. What happened? The first document that came out was the proposal the aboriginal organizations made. It was a startup proposal. I had been through bargaining when Howard Goldblatt was in short pants -- or whatever they wore in the early 1960s and I knew the first proposal on the table was not very often the form the agreement ultimately took.


As an experienced minister, and my bureaucrats were the same, we were not intimidated by the initial proposal the aboriginal people made essentially for the first time in a public way. I do not have to tell the minister, because he was living around there then, but I should tell my other colleagues that when that proposal landed on the streets of these towns in the northwest, you would have thought Magna Carta and a whole lot else was seriously at stake.


The problem with that exercise is that the public did not always understand the nature of the negotiation process. They did not understand perfectly that the government would not respond positively to every one of the submissions. I remember it was shortly before, dare I say, the election of 1987 when public meetings were held in the northwest. More people attended the public meeting at Red Lake than live in the town. So great was the excitement and the real deep-felt anxiety the people had about these aboriginal negotiations.




The interesting thing was that in 1985, 1986 and 1987, the government of Ontario was recognized as the most progressive government in Canada, with the possible exception of the NDP government in Manitoba, with respect to aboriginal affairs. I do not say that boastfully, I say that simply to describe what happened.



April 8, 1992


Mrs. Elizabeth Witmer (Waterloo North):


It's with a great deal of pleasure that I join in congratulating the minister for announcing today that there will be a strategy put in place to deal with aboriginal family violence.

In taking a look at the background to this problem, I see here it was recognized in a 1990 report that, "Family violence is a serious self-perpetuating problem plaguing native life in northern Ontario, a recent study of 24 Indian communities has found." It was estimated at that time that as many as half the households experience some family violence and it was defined as including physical, emotional or sexual abuse. That study also recognized that native people were not being provided with the appropriate financial resources and they had to compete with others.



April 15, 1992


Mr. Dennis Drainville (Victoria-Haliburton):


I would like to read into the record an extract from the Algonquin petition of June 6, 1835, to His Excellency, Major General Sir John Colborne:

"The humble memorial of the chiefs and warriors of the Algonquin and Nipissingue Indians, in the name of themselves and their respective nations, tribes and kindred,


"Most respectfully represent,


"That we, the Indian chiefs and warriors who now most respectfully approach Your Excellency, do for ourselves and our respective nations, tribes, and kindred, humbly and obediently implore Your Excellency, as our temporal father and protector, to vouchsafe your gracious intention to a consideration of this humble memorial of the grievances and deprivations which we your...children have long endured patiently and submissively without complaint, under the conviction, however, that those grievances, now becoming more and more burdensome, when made known to Your Excellency our father would obtain retribution, justice and equality....


"We most humbly beg to expose to Your Excellency our father that we and our ancestors have immemorially, or from the remotest antiquity, held, used, occupied, possessed, and enjoyed as hunting grounds" -- then they go on and talk about the land they have had.


For 220 years, the Algonquins of Golden Lake have sought justice and recognition of their history, culture and land claims. The interim agreement signed by the Minister of Natural Resources, representing the government of Ontario, and Chief Meness, representing the Algonquins of Golden Lake, on October 15, 1991, was a significant step forward in the negotiations between the aboriginal peoples and this government.



June 1, 1992


Hon Mr. Rae:


Aboriginal issues: I want just to say in preface to this section, if I may, that we have made progress on aboriginal issues that far exceeds my expectations of only three months ago. I am personally delighted and very proud of the progress we have made as a country with respect to aboriginal issues. I was enormously pleased that Chief Mercredi took the opportunity on Saturday to express his satisfaction with the progress we are making. We're not there yet, but we really are making great strides.



June 21, 1994


Hon Tony Silipo (Minister of Community and Social Services):


Fifthly, we have begun addressing special employment needs of first nations on reserve. Implementation has begun of 100 community pilot projects which identify employment and training needs at the local level. There has been a $3.3-million investment in the future independence of first nation communities in Ontario.


But we must now also address the special needs of off-reserve aboriginal people who, without question, also want lives of social, economic and cultural independence, away from entrenched poverty and historical dependency. Therefore, a new $1-million pilot project fund will be managed jointly by aboriginal organizations and the Ministry of Community and Social Services and will identify culturally appropriate systems, means and supports needed to begin this essential transition. These efforts will be well coordinated with the aboriginal family healing and wellness strategy announced by my colleague the minister responsible for native affairs yesterday.



November 1, 1994


Ms Jenny Carter (Peterborough):


I want to respond to statements made recently by the leader of the third party as reported in the Peterborough Examiner. My experience of the first nations community in my own riding is the opposite of the member for Nipissing's.


The community at Curve Lake makes an enormously valuable contribution to the local community and economy, especially in tourism and culture. The Curve Lake gallery boasts one of the finest collections of first nations art in the country. Curve Lake recently opened a beautiful mall, sure to attract both locals and tourists. First nations people across the province, both on and off reserve, enrich all our lives through their hard work, dedication and openness to sharing their cultural heritage with us all.


I want members of the House to know that the member for Nipissing has deeply insulted the first nations community in my riding and elsewhere and has offended many others with his repugnant remarks. I spoke with Chief Knott of Curve Lake yesterday. He said to me, "It is outright disgraceful that a leader of a political party would make statements like this."


The leader of the third party has referred to the members of a specific community, using provocative and offensive language. He has generalized and suggested that first nations people "stay at home and do nothing." The member for Nipissing has abused his position as a public figure by making irresponsible and intolerant remarks. He has belittled and violated the integrity of first nations communities in this province. The leader of the third party owes Ontario's first nations peoples an apology.



December 8, 1994


Hon Henry N.R. Jackman (Lieutenant Governor):


The aboriginal healing and wellness strategy will allow my government to work in partnership with first nations to address the pressing health issues facing aboriginal communities.


My government's continuing concern about the quality of education in this province led to the appointment of the Royal Commission on Learning in May 1993. The commission will make recommendations on re-engineering Ontario's education system to ensure our children are prepared for the 21st century.



October 10, 1995


Mr. Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South):


Mr. Speaker, through you I'd like to deliver, through this statement, both orally and a letter to the Minister of Health, Mr. Jim Wilson. I'd like to bring him up to date in regard to something that's been going on now for the past number of years regarding the establishment of a native health centre in the community of Timmins.


I think you, Mr. Speaker, as well as everybody else in this assembly knows that the native people, the first nations people of this province, when it comes to measuring up the health care services that they have and their general health in regard to the comparison of people who are non-natives, there has been a very big difference over the years. In other words, if you happen to be native living in Ontario, the chances of your health being as good as or equal to those people who are non-native is somewhat lesser.


The reasons for that are many, but I think one of them we understand quite well as being one of culture. When it comes to accessing health care services for the first nations people in this province, often there is a difficulty in doing so because of cultural differences between our white community and non-white community. For that reason, health centres were being established, first of all, under the Liberal government of Mr. Peterson, and under the Rae government, with the NDP government, to recognize that we needed to find ways to be able to deliver health care services directly to those people who are most in need through a means appropriate to them.


We are now into a situation in the community of Timmins where the Misiway Eniniwuk Community Health Centre is now on hold because the government is not willing to free up the funds that they need in order to carry on the next part of their project, which is finding them their permanent location.



October 11, 1995


Mr. Frank Miclash (Kenora):


The northern area of the province is unique and distinctive, constituting virtually a subculture of Ontario. Planners and policymakers need to understand and realize this before trying to bring about change."


The report goes on to say, "Studies have shown that the first nations have their own distinct health care needs and requirements." I must remind the minister of that.


The following quote, if I may, best sums up the difficulties and challenges of health care in the north. It too is from the OHA's northern task force:


"Dealing with the `northern factor' must go beyond development of suitable guidelines for services and care in the north. What is needed is a vision for the north.


"Today,...guidelines are still developed in the south and applied to the north, without sensitivity to the circumstances of the north. The 850 patient days per 1,000 population guideline set out in the government's 1992 Health Services Planning Framework is an example of this.


"It was developed without consideration of these difficulties in providing health care in the north due to distance, population diversity, distribution, resource limitations or the characteristics of small, northern hospitals."


I think that sums up exactly what we in northern Ontario face on a regular basis. All we're doing as northerners is looking for equal treatment in the province. I want to say that we are fed up with made-in-Toronto solutions.


The Minister of Northern Development and Mines, who is here with us today, has indicated that this government will search out solutions to problems in small-town northern Ontario. I suggest he tell the Minister of Health exactly what he has stated in a good number of releases, what his throne speech has indicated, and that they do get out and actually look for solutions from people who know best: the people who are in need of the services throughout northern Ontario.


I ask that this minister only take examples that I have given him here today and take a look at the very uniqueness that we have in northern Ontario and that before he makes any more of his cuts, or his solutions, as he may call them, he consult with us in the north.



October 24, 1995


Mr. Hampton:


I'm glad to hear that after five and a half months and after the first nation having to blockade the bridge, the minister has decided that discussions regarding settlement will begin again.


I want to ask the minister, by way of supplementary, another question. Most of northern Ontario's economy depends upon cooperation between native and non-native communities. Most of the paper mills, the pulp mills, the sawmills, the mines have to rely to some extent upon cooperative relationships with first nations to get resources to the mills, to get resources to the mines so people can work.


Your government is starting to create a pattern of confrontation rather than a pattern of cooperation and communication with first nations. In doing so, the risks to the northern Ontario economy are quite significant. What are you going to do to create better communication and better cooperation with first nations communities? Do they all have to stage blockades before they get your attention?


Hon Mr. Harnick:


I hope the member is not suggesting that we settle negotiations for land claims by blockading and by forcing negotiations to take place over blockades. That is not the way this government wishes to deal with land claims. We wish to deal with land claims on the basis of their merits, and that's the way we will continue to deal with them.


The member also indicates that there was a blockade and heightens this situation beyond the level to which it should be heightened. The native population did not blockade the bridge. They had a passive action there where they were informing motorists who were passing over the bridge what the state of negotiations was.


Quite frankly, negotiations have not been discontinued; they have been continuing. We are trying to deal --


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Could you wrap up your answer, please.


Hon Mr. Harnick:


-- with the ownership of the land and of the river bed, but it is not right to suggest or to ask natives to create blockades and cut towns off. We have to strike a balance here.


The Speaker: The question has been answered.


Hon Mr. Harnick:


We have to strike a balance here, and we have to make sure that the town of Morson remains viable and that all other towns and mills remain viable and that we continue to deal with native land claims on the basis of their merits. And let me tell you that many, many of these claims --



October 30, 1995


Mrs. McLeod:


I think what people in the designated groups want is a recognition that there are barriers to having an equal chance to be considered and to compete, and they want government to be active in addressing those barriers.


The barriers are different for different groups. The barriers faced by women, for example, are very different from those that are faced by visible minorities. The disabled face quite different challenges unique to each disability. The barriers that face a particular group differ in different workplaces and different geographical areas. The concerns of aboriginal people who live on first nations reserves in southern Ontario I know are not the same as those from reserves in my part of the province, in northwestern Ontario. There is no blanket approach that will address the concern about barriers.


More than that, the barriers themselves are often subtle, rather than blatant. Some barriers that somehow we have to deal with are the result of persistent stereotypes. It has been suggested that some of those stereotypes have even now gone into code so the stereotype isn't so obvious. I just use one example. Women being not tough enough, for example, is code for the old stereotypes of all women as soft and emotional and indecisive. "We need an assurance of your long-term commitment," I suggest is code for, "We know you're going to take time off work to have a baby." I think we've made some progress. I think it's no longer acceptable to say, "Back to the kitchen, baby," so the code becomes more sophisticated and rather more difficult to challenge.


I know that the barriers of stereotypes can only be defeated by exposure and by time and by the success of those who shatter the stereotypes. That is a long, slow process. But there are more tangible, more readily identifiable barriers that can be and must be addressed, with government's help: the barriers of training, the barriers of language, the barriers of access to trades and professions. I know this is a sensitive issue to raise, because we have a report on access to trades and professions which is now I believe at least five years old, and its recommendations have gone absolutely nowhere. The New Democratic Party government, with all of its stated commitments to employment equity, did nothing to deal with the barriers related to access to trades and professions.



December 13, 1995


Mr. Bisson:


I would just remind people of the trouble that we've gotten ourselves into over the past number of years with our first nations people by not listening to their warnings about how we deal with areas that they consider to be sacred burial places of people who went before them. When our society has said we're not going to respect that and we're just going to go in and dig them up and put in a golf course, such as what was happening in Oka, or what's happened in other communities across Ontario over the past number of years, I think that really we're asking for trouble. If there was a section in the heritage act that required the minister to go to the Ontario Heritage Foundation, it was recognizing that there had been problems with this in the past, and before we allow a problem to happen we should be consulting with the experts in order to make sure that we've covered off all the bases and know what kind of trouble we're getting ourselves into from the beginning.




Mr. Len Wood:


What the people of this province have been questioning is, why are you not consulting? When negotiations are taking place secretly behind closed doors, why are you not consulting with the independent organizations like the small loggers, small forest companies, the tourist associations, community forest products, first nations and environmental organizations? They should be advised and be able to take part in or at least observe the negotiations that are going on; there should not be secret negotiations being conducted behind closed doors which we have been told are happening.



April 1, 1996


Mr. Wildman:


The minister demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the events. The evidence wasn't provided to the provincial government until 1995, by the minister responsible at the federal level, after this confrontation, not before -- not before the change of government. It was when you were in government that the evidence, the letter dated August 19, 1937, from the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forests came to light. The demands were there. A claim on the side of the aboriginals was there, but there was not conforming evidence from the provincial government.


The Premier said in a press release dated September 12, 1995: "Our government is committed to restoring hope, economic opportunity and jobs for the first nations people of Ontario. The minister responsible for native affairs and his officials will continue to work with first nations to address these issues."


That was issued by the Premier at the time of the confrontation at Ipperwash. What have you done in the last six months to resolve this matter so that it is not going to become another confrontation this spring when the camping season starts?


Hon Mr. Harnick:


We certainly do not want this to become the focal point of another confrontation, but the member knows full well that the information he has does not indicate a location of the burial ground. He also knows full well that it involves an onsite investigation, which he knows full well has not been able to take place as a result of (a) the occupation and (b) the winter.



April 4, 1996


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):


I have a question to the minister responsible for native affairs. The minister will know that the regional chief, Gord Peters, wrote a letter dated March 27 to the Premier which was circulated to all members regarding the presentation made by the minister the previous day to the chiefs of Ontario regarding the aboriginal policy framework of the government.


My question is, did the minister make clear to the chiefs at that meeting that he is cutting, according to the business plan of the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat, all moneys for development of a government-to-government relationship, the statement of political relationship; and despite the rhetoric about economic self-reliance for aboriginal communities, the government intends to reduce capital spending on infrastructure in aboriginal communities from $20 million to $12 million over the next two years; that the government intends to reduce by 28% over two years operating grants to first nations? Did the minister make that clear, and what does that indicate about this government's commitment to economic diversification and self-reliance for aboriginal communities?


Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs):


 indicated very clearly at the meeting we had dealing with the aboriginal policy framework that we would continue to discuss issues on the basis of being equals, nation to nation, and that respect and that policy would continue. I also indicated very clearly that as a result of the financial situation of this province, every program was being reviewed and every program would be evaluated. I also indicated very clearly that it was the policy of this government to look for ways to do better with less and in many areas we have to do that, because we have $100 billion of debt, mostly as a result of the last five years of government by the NDP.


Quite simply, the aboriginal policy framework we set out was received well, and I was invited by a number of the first nations represented there and aboriginal leaders to join them in community events, to come and meet them in their communities. They were receptive. We had good discussions at that meeting. Yes, a couple of people may not have liked our aboriginal policy framework, but I can tell you that the individual first nation leaders were receptive to it. They've invited me to their communities to talk about economic development, to talk about self-reliance. I intend to take them up on those invitations, and I intend to proceed with a policy that has been sorely lacking in this province in the past.



April 9, 1996


Mrs. Marion Boyd (London Centre):


My question is for the Attorney General and minister responsible for native affairs. Last Thursday our leader, Bud Wildman, asked you whether or not you had let the Chiefs of Ontario know what is in your ministry's business plan. You answered only that an aboriginal policy framework was presented to the chiefs and that every program was being reviewed and evaluated. Clearly you did not answer the leader of the third party's question.


In that policy framework you state, under the title "Openness," "The government is committed to public scrutiny of its undertakings and the fair and inclusive involvement of aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in matters affecting them both."


I ask you again: Did you make it clear to the chiefs at that meeting that you are, according to the business plan of the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat, terminating funding for the implementation of the statement of political relationship?


Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs):


As I've indicated, I spoke very clearly with native leadership and made it very clear that we will continue to speak with one another as equals. I think that goes to the very heart of the question that I've been asked.


Mrs. Boyd:


Minister, did you tell the chief that the government intends to reduce capital spending on infrastructure in aboriginal communities from $20 million to $12 million over the next two years? Did you advise Chief Peters that the government intends, as outlined in the business plan, to cut funding to the Indian Commission of Ontario and that you intend to implement a 28% reduction over two years to operating grants to first nations? Did you tell Chief Peters about your government's plan to significantly reduce first nations programs that were designed to identify and develop economic opportunities for first nations people? Where is this promise of openness? Did you tell the chiefs that?


Hon Mr. Harnick:


I spoke very candidly with chiefs of a number of the first nations and aboriginal leaders. We spoke about the aboriginal policy framework; we spoke primarily about the focus of that framework, the focus being to develop economic opportunities for first nations and aboriginal peoples. We talked about finding sources of capital and expertise to deal with economic development, and the first nations and aboriginal leaders that I spoke with received the message positively. I received invitations from almost everyone there to visit their communities to continue these discussions. I intend to do that, and I'm disappointed that Chief Peters wasn't in agreement with the majority of the people who were there.



April 11, 1996


Mr. Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie):


This is not a recipe to create jobs and restore hope. What we have here is a job-killing disaster, and we still don't have all the details. No one is thanking this government for anything it's doing, nor will they. They're taking us down the road of some of the American states where poverty and crime are now the order of the day.


The Chair of Management Board today has effectively delivered his first budget. What we saw today would normally be a substantial part of the government's budget speech, but of course the government is saving this year's budget for a special event: the tax cut for its wealthy friends.


Also sacrificed to the tax cuts are Ontario's first nations. The government is wiping out funding for the Statement of Political Relationship and slashing capital spending and operating grants for aboriginal communities.


I doubt the Chair of Management Board has any idea what the ultimate effects of today's cuts will be, not just for farmers and aboriginal peoples, but on large and small communities everywhere in Ontario. His government has refused to look at the obvious, refused to do any impact studies that would show what a disastrous path we're heading down. The government is even refusing today to release the business plans we all need. It only made public today sanitized summaries. What are you hiding?


The government tries to picture its slash-and-burn agenda as a valiant deficit-cutting attempt, but Ontarians will not be fooled. When the time comes to announce the multibillion-dollar tax giveaway, they will see what is really behind today's cuts in jobs and services. Will the government's wealthy friends be content with the tax cut?



April 25, 1996


Mr. Howard Hampton (Rainy River):


I'm pleased to be able to join in this debate because I want to try to bring it back to the focus that the member for Dovercourt originally put on it. I generally believe that more democracy is a good thing, and it goes with that that less democracy is a bad thing. What we have in Ontario now is a trend towards less democracy.




Over 70% of Ontario's land mass is inhabited by a majority population that is not represented here at all: first nations. I would say there is something wrong with our working of democracy if over 70% of the land mass of Ontario has as its majority inhabitants first nations and none of them is represented in this Legislature. There's obviously something askew here.


What the member for Dovercourt is actually asking for here I believe is that we have the courage to look at another form of representation which will provide for more democracy, which will provide for a greater representation of the uniqueness that we find in this province, of the diversity that we find in this province, both defined in terms of regional expression and in terms of the diversity of the population.


I would hope that some of the members opposite would put aside whatever their particular partisan interests might be. Since we are now engaged in this discussion about some kind of reform of this place, we ought to look at how we can further the interests of democracy, how we can create more democracy in this place and how we can achieve greater representation. For that reason, I'll be supporting this and I hope others will be supporting it as well.



May 6, 1996


Ms. Shelley Martel (Sudbury East):


The panel also made some very specific recommendations around aboriginal people and I want to spend just a moment on those. They had a number of aboriginal groups and first nations that came before them over the course of the time the hearings sat to talk about how they have been for a number of years very specifically shut out of realizing any of the benefits that come from being able to participate either in cutting or in working in a mill. They have been effectively shut out from benefiting from the use of natural resources in our province.


The EA board said the following: "The evidence we received on employment, poverty and access to off-reserve timber convinced us of the historical and present-day exclusion of native communities from sharing in the social and economic benefits enjoyed by non-native communities from timber operations on crown land."




We will continue to see, as we do in many places in northern Ontario, large pulp and paper and forestry companies cutting directly adjacent to first nation communities and no first nation peoples involved in either the cutting or the sawmill or the forestry operations; none, no benefits being accrued to those first nation communities at all. You'll continue to see 85% unemployment in those communities, large social problems in terms of drug and alcohol abuse, many violence problems in those communities, and no opportunity whatsoever for people who want to participate to have the vehicle or the mechanism to do so.


The government will wear that, because they have an opportunity through this order, through the recommendations that were made, to change that, and they will be unable to do that because of the cut in staff that they are carrying out at this important ministry. That's a shame, and I think this government will have a lot to answer for when we look four years down the road and see that the order has not been implemented and that native people have not benefited one iota from gaining access to important timber resources that they have a right to share in as well in this province.



May 28, 1996


Mrs. Boyd:


The minister is clearly identifying for everybody in the province that he's not aware of the real facts of the matter for the nations that we're talking about.


There's no denying that the cost of living has always been higher in the northern communities, but surely the minister knows that unemployment in those communities can be as high as 90%. Where does he suggest they go for a job? They can't fly in and out every day to a job. Because of your government's 21.6% cut to benefits, many families in first nations communities in Ontario's north spent this winter making the choice between fuel and food, to quote NAN Grand Chief Charles Fox. In other words, there isn't enough to go around even with the special northern allowance.


Minister, what are you saying to these families? That they just have to grin and bear it? What are you going to do about the fact that hundreds of people in these far northern nations are not able to feed their families properly? They have none of the facile alternatives that you suggest. Just exactly what are you going to do to make sure those families and those children do not get faced with this horrible choice between warmth and food?


Hon Mr. Tsubouchi:


What the honourable member points out is the importance of our workfare program, which we'll introduce shortly. Clearly the members opposite would like to support a program of more of the same, basically do nothing to try to resolve the problem that has ballooned over the last 10 years.


I'd like to add, in closing, that I have met recently with the Chiefs of Ontario. We have been discussing some of the issues they're aware of, including workfare. We'll continue to have discussions with them to try to find some solutions for their communities, and they're willing to sit down with us and find those solutions.




Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services):


I'm glad to see the honourable member across the way wants a serious answer from me, considering they had a staged demonstration at the earlier part of her little speech with a map of the province. I appreciate the lesson about northern Ontario, since my family is from Fort William and I have a lot of relatives up there. I would hazard a guess I've spent a lot more time in northern Ontario than the member has.


The member opposite raised a question in the House earlier today with respect to the news release by the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. I'd like to reiterate this government's commitment to reform the welfare system to break the cycle of dependency which has been created, quite frankly, by the policy of the previous 10 years. The previous government had a policy of more of the same and doing nothing, and in fact made the problem worse. We recognize this challenge for people who live on a restricted budget, but we have maintained the welfare rates at 10% above the average of the other provinces in this country and we do have a special allowance that takes into consideration the unique circumstances associated with living in northern remote communities. This allowance was not reduced, and this was in addition to the current social assistance rates and is based on family size.


In calendar year 1995, we provided approximately $8 million in northern allowances for people on social assistance. We also provide over $100 million annually for services for native peoples. We will be working with the first nations communities to look at how we can implement welfare reform, taking into consideration how Ontario Works and community projects can benefit first nations communities.


Since my April meeting with the Chiefs of Ontario, several other meetings have taken place and staff are continuing this important dialogue. This will be done in consultation with other key ministries to ensure a coordinated economic development approach. To that end, the province will, under the leadership of the minister responsible for native affairs, encourage and assist aboriginal economic and community development to reduce dependence on transfer payments and to facilitate greater self-reliance and responsibility for community wellbeing.


The goal of the aboriginal policy framework is a better future in which aboriginal communities have stronger economies and greater capacities to become more self-reliant and exercise greater responsibility for their wellbeing. While aboriginal, federal and provincial governments have a number of ongoing initiatives in place to support economic development, a more coordinated collaboration among all three parties with the private sector may realize even better results.


As part of my government's spring budget, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines has been asked to investigate opportunities for partnerships between government and the private sector to build infrastructure and to stimulate resource development in remote areas north of the 51st parallel. The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp's new board of directors met to begin mapping out plans to invest some $210 million over the next four years to bring new jobs and growth to northern Ontario.


So yes, we are concerned with native communities and northern Ontario.



June 26, 1996


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East):


I want to give the parliamentary assistant just one example of one of the terms and conditions that has already been breached by this government. Condition 77 says very clearly that the ministry has to work with first nations in this province "to ensure that first nations reap some benefit from the allocation and the utilization of timber resources in this province."


That condition makes it very clear that the ministry has to work in partnership with first nations to ensure first nations people have training opportunities, have job opportunities, reap some economic benefit from the sale of wood products in the province. And it says very clearly that the ministry has to work to ensure that first nations are allocated timber resources and do benefit.


What has happened? Let me give you one example. Whitefish Lake First Nation had a meeting early in February with Mr. Paul Wyatt, district manager in Sudbury, and a number of other MNR staff. It was agreed that the ministry and the first nation would work together to set up a working group to establish a process for the first nation to gain access to crown land for timber harvest in the next number of years and to allow them to have a better process to involve the first nation in the timber planning process.


At that same meeting, after the ministry had made a number of commitments about working together, the first nation discovered that the timber they were talking about, the timber they wanted to get access to, was the same timber that this minister is giving away to the big pulp and paper companies and the big forestry companies as part and parcel of his secret negotiations to do away with all of the crown management units and give them over to the big pulp and paper companies and the forestry companies. The very timber which this first nation wants to have access to, and should have access to as part of condition 77, is the same timber that the ministry is now negotiating to give away, in this case, to E.B. Eddy out of Nairn Centre.


The chief of the first nation made it very clear in a letter he wrote at the end of April this year. I want to quote from it in the House today:


"However, at the April 26, 1996, meeting between your staff and mine, it became clear the ministry has no intentions of complying with the decision of the Environmental Assessment Board in respect to condition 77. My staff were informed that the ministry has been negotiating behind closed doors with the local licensees and with E.B. Eddy on a sustainable forestry licence (SFL). Once these SFLs are signed, it removes the ministry's responsibilities for the resources to the hands of the SFL holders. This is a direct defiance of the Environmental Assessment Board decision, which you have a legal responsibility to adhere to."


I suspect this same situation is repeating itself, not only near Nairn Centre but with a whole bunch of other first nations, who, under the terms and conditions of the EA order, thought they were going to have some access to some timber in this province and to benefit like other non-native communities do. The fact of the matter is, because of the secret negotiations that this minister continues to be involved in and because it is his preference to give away 8.2 million hectares of timber on crown management units to his friends in the pulp and paper industry, first nations like the Whitefish Lake First Nation, other non-native communities and other independent loggers will not get access to the timber that they have some entitlement to get. That is what I find so abhorrent about what's going on right now against the introduction of this bill.


We have a minister who comes and stands in his place in this House and with great pride presents this bill, and at the same time right across this province we have people who should get access to timber that belongs to all of us but who will not, because that timber is going to be transferred directly to the hands of people and organizations that already hold and have access to the majority of timber in this province.


The government had better step back and think again about what it's doing, because it does not create any new jobs for us to continue in this process, it does not create any sense of justice to continue with this process and it certainly doesn't help the ministry live up to its obligations under law to comply with the order that was set out.



October 7, 1996


Mr. Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin):


In commenting on the speech by the member for London Centre, as I've looked through this bill and listened intently to the comments, I can't help but think about a situation in my own constituency that I don't think this bill really addresses.


As the Attorney General, who is also responsible for native issues in this province, would know, we have had the "Operation Rainbow" case going for some time. This court case has been dragging on for well over six years and has cost the government and the first nations literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. I fully recognize that the Attorney General has no ability to move this along, but I can tell him that as the minister responsible for native affairs, he should be talking to his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources, because this case is really about resource allocation. The government should be making a meaningful attempt with those first nations to resolve this issue, and then we wouldn't have it clogging up our courts, costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars.


I have met with those people in the first nations who are very concerned with this issue as well as, and the minister would know this, the Manitoulin Municipal Association, whose leadership and membership have all called on the Minister of Natural Resources to open up meaningful negotiations surrounding the resource allocation issue. I would suggest to the minister that if his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources would get out there and begin these negotiations, we wouldn't have this case in front of the courts this very day. It's been six or seven years that this has dragged on; since, I believe, about 1989. It's time for a resolution. This is an example of where courts do a very bad job of resolving the important issues of the day.



October 15, 1996


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine):


It's one week and counting to October 22, which is the beginning of the Metro Days of Action. Community organizations and coalitions are being brought together right across this region of Metro in their joint effort and joint commitment to fight back against the Harris government victimization of so many in our province.


The Metro Days of Action are bringing people together who have never worked together before. They're being united around a goal and a vision of having a different kind of province from what we see today and what the Harris government is leaving.


As I look at the leaflet from the Metro Days of Action, I can see the reasons set out there, what they're trying to educate people about in terms of this government's action: Hospitals are being closed; health care waiting lists grow; loss of control of the school system; local control is threatened; affordable public housing and rent control are abandoned; the most vulnerable people -- the poor, the disadvantaged, first nations -- are scapegoated...



October 29, 1996


Hon Mr. Harnick:


This agreement is the first of its kind in Canada. It's an important first step in establishing relationships based on goodwill and cooperation. The agreement is about being good neighbours and communicating with one another and showing mutual respect for each other's concerns regarding development of the lower Grand River watershed. Having opportunities to share concerns early in the development process will lead to better relations between first nations and municipalities in the Brantford area.


Again, this is the first agreement of its kind in Canada. We're very proud of it and the benefits that will accrue from it.



October 31, 1996


Mr. Phillips:


The Attorney General is shaking his head and saying that is not why they went in. That is one of the reasons they went in, Attorney General. If you want to deal with it this way, I understand perhaps better why the situation developed.


On September 4, they occupied this. They were there on September 5, and on September 6 there was a most unfortunate incident where one of our first nations people was killed. I gather from reading press reports that the government denied publicly at the time of this incident that there was a native burial ground within the boundaries of the provincial park. Had they known or acknowledged it at the time, I have to believe things would have been done very differently. So the government denied there was a burial ground while this occupation took place and this incident took place.


We now find that on October 21, the government, in court, when there were 23 people charged with forcible detainment, and I think most of them native people, decided to drop all those charges. Why did they decide to drop those charges? Because the government finally acknowledged -- this is what it says:


"The crown has confirmed the existence of correspondence made in 1937 between the federal Indian Affairs branch and the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests which refers to `the old Indian cemetery located within the territory now being developed as a park....'" -- in other words, Ipperwash Park -- "This documentation gives objective support for the reasonableness and the honesty of the accused's belief."


"Further, it has been clearly indicated by provincial division judges at pre-trials that this defence will succeed in all instances...."


In other words, the government had in its possession clear evidence that there was within the boundary of the park a sacred native burial ground. There are only two explanations for this. The government, when this incident took place, was negligent in not properly searching its files to determine if this existed, and therefore the entire direction the government was providing for this operation was based on a false premise that there was no native burial ground there, or the Attorney General, who is responsible for native affairs, knew at the time that there was a native burial ground and decided, for whatever reason, to deny that.


There's only one of two explanations. You did not do your job, Attorney General responsible for native affairs, to find this correspondence that existed within the Ontario government clearly indicating that there was a sacred native burial ground. You did not do your job, and had you done your job, things would have been very different over those three days, or you knew about the sacred native burial ground and you chose to deny its existence.


The reason for this background is this is the question that needs to be answered for the people of Ontario, to the Attorney General, and this is why we're meeting tonight. Attorney General, did you know about the existence of this correspondence at the time of the native occupation and, if you did, did you inform the police who were carrying this operation out? Or did you not find this documentation and therefore did not know it existed?



November 20, 1996


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):


All members of the House will know the valuable contribution that TVO [TV Ontario] makes to education and culture in this province, particularly to children's programming, so most of us are quite alarmed at the prospect that this government may be contemplating privatizing that television network.


I am also, though, concerned and want to join with others who have raised the issue of what this might mean for the communication services of the Wawatay Native Communications Society that serves 20,000 first nations people living in the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation area.


Wawatay, as you may know, is a non-profit, multimedia organization that serves the Ojicree of that region. They use the signal of TVO for their distribution system. The distance education serves students in 23 first nations, helping them to complete their high school education without having to leave their home communities. Without the important service provided by TVO on a non-profitable basis, this very important service could be jeopardized.


I hope that all members will join in ensuring that TVO remains and continues to serve the aboriginal people.



November 20, 1996


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


I have a new question concerning the Ipperwash incident. You will recall, Premier, that in September 1995, three months after you became Premier, for the first time ever in Canada, a first nations person was killed in a land dispute. There are many questions about your government's role in this affair.



December 3, 1996


Mr. Hampton:


The facts speak for themselves. Prior to June 8, 1995, the public position of the OPP was to avoid confrontation with first nations, to negotiate, to discuss, and at all costs to avoid confrontation and conflict. Right away after this government assumes office there is an armed buildup by the police at Ipperwash, and as a result of that someone died. So the facts speak for themselves.



December 4, 1996


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):


I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. The minister will be familiar with native child and family services agencies such as Weecguttewin in the Fort Frances area and Tikinaugen in the far north that serve first nations communities in those areas and that are experiencing significant deficits. She will also be aware of a number of other native child and family services agencies that have been developing but have not yet been designated.


Could the minister indicate when she intends, on behalf of the provincial government, recognizing that a good portion of these moneys are recoverable from the federal government, to deal with the deficits of the established agencies and to designate and provide ongoing funding to the developing agencies?


Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services):


Thank you very much for the question. We've been working very closely with the native group because we want to make sure that if we are to make any change in responsibility and if they are to assume more responsibility for child welfare in their community, we have the supports and the arrangements in place to ensure that quality services and child protection services will be delivered in the best way possible.


Hon Mr. Wildman:


I appreciate that, but I don't think, with respect, the minister has really answered the question. Perhaps I could be more specific. The minister will be familiar with Gzaa-Gaah-Naa-Nig, which is an agency that is developing in the Parry Sound-North Bay area, serving a number of first nations in that area. She will know that her ministry announced in July to the agency that their funding was being cut, gave them four days' notice and told them they had $80,000 with which to operate for the rest of the year, $80,000 to cover staff, rent, overhead and all of the operations. There have been discussions with that agency.


Could the minister explain when this matter will be resolved? Will she meet with the agency, and will she in fact provide them with the moneys they require in order to carry out their services, which are so important for the protection of children and assistance to families in the native community?


Hon Mrs. Ecker:


As the honourable member knows, we have about $120 million that we are expending on aboriginal services and to support the services in their community, and there's no question that last year, to respond to the serious financial pressures we were under, many agencies had an across-the-board cut. No one was happy about that, no one wishes to repeat that, which is one reason why the restructuring exercises that this government has under way are so important in making sure that we can try to protect priority services.


I wish I had the faith in being able to rely on moneys from Ottawa. We have tried to do that in the past, and sometimes it is not as dependable for our groups out there as we would like it to be. We want to make sure before we make any change that there is funding in place and that, secondly, child protections and safety protections are there.


My staff have met with them before. If we need to have another meeting to resolve this issue, either I or my staff would be more than pleased to do so to try to resolve this matter.



March 3, 1997


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


My question is to the Attorney General and it has to do with the shooting of the aboriginal at Ipperwash Provincial Park, a tragic situation, the first time in 100 years that a first nations person was killed in a land dispute.


The minister will know that the first nations were there because they believed there was a sacred burial ground. The government has denied that's the reason they were there. The minister will know that the Premier has said he has no records in his office around key meetings in spite of the fact that his own executive assistant day after day after day was at those meetings. The minister will know that the local member was at the police command post faxing faxes to the Premier with his intentions.


There are serious unanswered questions that the government can only answer through a public inquiry. There is overwhelming evidence of the need for that. You said in an earlier response that the Premier hasn't ruled out a public inquiry. That's not good enough. We want to know today from you, Minister, will you commit to a full public inquiry on this tragic Ipperwash situation?


Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs):


Certainly, as I indicated earlier, that is not something that has been ruled out.



April 2, 1997


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


We asked for information. The government denied that information existed. We now find, through a freedom of information request, that the information that the Premier said did not exist does exist. It is an important memo dated September 5. It indicates how the government planned to deal with the first nations at Ipperwash and indicates how the OPP were going to deal with the first nations at Ipperwash.


My point is this, Mr. Speaker: If you can't guarantee to the members of the House that the government will be forthcoming with information, if you can't guarantee that the government will not try and say information does not exist when it does exist, who can we rely on?




Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


My question, in the absence of the Premier, is to the Solicitor General. It has to do with Ipperwash and the circumstances surrounding the tragic death there of the first nations person.


In the past, the minister will know the Premier has said, "We had no involvement in this." We now find, through information that has been made public very recently, that in fact the government did make the key decision. The key decision there was, and I'm quoting from the document -- here's what the province decided: "The province will take steps to remove the occupiers as soon as possible." It then went on to say the OPP does not have the discretion to determine how they're going to handle this. The OPP has to carry out that order. The OPP will simply have the discretion as to "how to proceed with removing the Stony Pointers from the park."


My question to you, Minister, is this: Who made the decision to remove the first nations as soon as possible from the park?


Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I'll refer that question to the Attorney General.


Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs):


Let's be very clear. There are two separate issues here. The government had a choice to take action to end the illegal occupation through a civil injunction. The September 5 minutes make it obvious that this was the recommendation. We wanted to see the occupation end peacefully and we were prepared to take appropriate steps through the civil injunction to deal with it on that basis.


The OPP had the discretion as to how to proceed with removing the occupiers. This is completely separate from anything the government did. Quite simply, no instructions were given to the OPP, there was no political interference, and this has been confirmed by the OPP commissioner.


Mr. Phillips:


The government made this decision: "We are going to get the first nations out of that park as soon as possible." Sitting in that meeting was a senior OPP officer. The Premier called him the liaison officer for this affair. He reports back to the field officers in the OPP. It is clear the government made this decision: "Get them out of the park as soon as possible." Then the OPP had only once choice.


I might add that the OPP had, in advance of this, prepared a plan called Project Maple. The objective: to contain and negotiate a peaceful solution. That's what the OPP wanted to do. They didn't want to force this thing. They didn't want to get them out as soon as possible. They wanted to contain and negotiate a peaceful solution.


The question is this: Why did the government reject the OPP's plan to negotiate and contain --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.


Hon Mr. Harnick: As I said, the government had no input whatsoever into the actions of the Ontario Provincial Police.


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma): That is poppycock. Can't you even read your own document?


The Speaker: Member for Algoma, I would ask you to come to order.


Hon Mr. Harnick:


The fact is that the Ontario Provincial Police dealt with this on their own. They had no input from the government. The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that this was in fact the situation. He indicated that the decisions that were made were decisions made by the OPP. Quite simply, the government's position was to deal with this on the basis of obtaining a civil injunction.


Mr. Phillips:


The Premier told us in the House that there were no files. We now find we have the files. There were files. It was clear the government made a fundamental decision: "Get them out of the park as soon as possible."


You did not give the OPP any options. The OPP had one option, according to your document: The OPP had the discretion only as to "how to proceed with removing the Stony Pointers from the park." It's clear you told the police, "Get them out." The only option they've got is how they do it, not whether they negotiate peacefully.


I would say to you, how could the OPP take any interpretation other than the one that is in your document; that is, that the government wants them out of the park as soon as possible and the government has instructed the OPP, "Remove them as soon as possible"? How can we take any other interpretation than that from your own finally public documents?


Hon Mr. Harnick:


The government gave no instructions to the OPP. The government took the steps immediately to obtain a civil injunction.




Hon Mr. Harnick:


Again, I confirm what OPP Commissioner O'Grady has already said. He made it very clear that there were no instructions given to the Ontario Provincial Police by the government. The only step the government took was to immediately begin the preparation of the materials and attend in court to obtain a civil injunction.



May 1, 1997


Mr. Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition):


My first question is for the Premier. I want to return to the matter of Ipperwash, a matter of the utmost gravity to all members in this House, but especially of course to you and your government.


A number of key decisions were made by you and your government which we believe involve you and members of your government directly with the Ipperwash affair. We have obtained a copy of minutes of a meeting which had been attended by your executive assistant on September 5. At that time the minutes indicate that you considered a variety of options. A number of the options on those minutes have been blacked out. We understand that the option you chose was to ensure that the protesters were removed from the park as soon as possible.


That is just one of a series of questions which deserve to be answered, Premier. For that reason, once again, I'm asking you today to commit to holding a public inquiry at the earliest possible opportunity.


Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think I answered all those questions yesterday.


Mr. McGuinty:


I can understand the Premier's reluctance to get himself any deeper in this, but I think that answer is unacceptable to the people of this province. Again, I want to be perfectly clear. I'm not asking for an inquiry to begin immediately. I'm asking that you commit today to a full public inquiry that would begin at the earliest possible time, a time that would not in any way jeopardize any legal proceedings that have commenced today or might commence at some time in the near future.


Here's another question that remains unanswered. The first nations claim that there was an ancient burial ground at Ipperwash. At the outset the position taken by your government was that there was no such valid claim to be made. Subsequently there was a change of heart in that regard. We want to know why that decision wasn't reached in the first place. If you're not prepared to tell us that today, Premier, again, commit to a full public inquiry at the earliest possible opportunity.


Hon Mr. Harris: We accept the same question from yesterday, and the same answer applies.


Mr. McGuinty:


One of the things the Premier said yesterday was that we would have some kind of answers made available to the Ontario public at the appropriate time. My concern is that the appropriate time may be after the next election. I am questioning the Premier's commitment to get to the bottom of this very important issue that goes to the heart of his integrity and the integrity of his government.


Here's another question that deserves a response, Premier. The member for Lambton, a member of your government, was closely involved at the command post at Ipperwash. We know there were conversations between him and the police officials at the command post and your government. We need to know what was said, what directives, if any, were issued by you to him and from him to whoever else may have been there. Those are just some of the questions that deserve an answer.


Once more, given the nature of the questions that are before the public today, given the number of people who have a growing concern about this issue, will you not merely commit -- that's all I'm asking you for -- to a public inquiry.


Hon Mr. Harris: The same answer as yesterday.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question.


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


I want to continue with the Premier on the same issue, because so far you have said the OPP acted entirely on their own. We believe the government made fundamental decisions that fundamentally impacted on the outcome of this event. I will go on with the line of questioning of my leader.


You made another key decision, and that was that you would treat this not as a native affairs issue but as a Ministry of Natural Resources issue. That influenced the direction of the OPP. Why did you make the decision to not treat this as a native affairs issue? If you're not prepared to answer that today, will you ensure that you commit today to a public inquiry so we can get that answer out of you?


Hon Mr. Harris: All the information will be public at the appropriate time.


Mr. Phillips:


I want to continue, because I think the public have a right to answers to these questions. The OPP are out to dry on this. I want to ask another question of you, Premier. You said in this House, in response to a freedom of information request -- we said we would like the files from your office on September 4, 5, 6 and 7. Here's your exact response: "There were no files" -- in my office -- "there were no records, because we had no involvement."


Frankly, there isn't anyone in the province who can accept that answer, that the day after a native person was shot and killed the Premier had no records in his office. His executive assistant was at meetings and was instructed to get back to the Premier with information on those meetings.


Premier, why did your office have no files on Ipperwash? And if you're not prepared to answer that question today, do you not agree that should be something that is answered in your public inquiry?


Hon Mr. Harris: My office did not convene any meetings. Other offices did, and one person from my staff attended, and all minutes were kept by them.


Mr. Phillips:


So there were no files in your office. I will continue to ask the questions that the public will demand answers on. Once again, you have said, and here is the direct quote: "The OPP operated with no government input, direction or advice," yet the morning of the shooting incident, September 6, the senior officer at the command post said, "The Premier and Solicitor General want to deal with this." Later on that same day, the commanding officer is asking your Conservative member, "Is there anything from the Solicitor General?" The implication is clear that this wasn't something the OPP were simply doing completely on their own with no government input, direction or advice.


Again, are you prepared to answer that question, why would the commanding officer say those things, and would you not therefore agree that you have to --


The Speaker: Premier.


Hon Mr. Harris:


Following on court matters, I suppose somebody can determine who said what and why and when, and I know you don't want to jeopardize those cases.


I am prepared to repeat for you not only what I have said, that we gave no direction to the OPP as to how they would carry out their job, but furthermore, the commissioner of the OPP, appointed as I recall when the NDP were in power, one of the most respected law officers in all of North America, has confirmed to you on two separate occasions that there was no direction from this government to the OPP as to how they would carry out their duties.


Mr. Phillips: The OPP commissioner has not confirmed what the Premier just said.


The Speaker: New question.


Mr. Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Speaker, because this is such a serious issue and because someone died --


The Speaker: Your question is to?


Mr. Hampton:


My question is to the Premier as well -- we're going to continue to ask these questions.


Premier, you personally have said that the province wanted the occupiers out of the park. A government briefing note states, "The province will take steps to remove the occupiers ASAP." There is no mention of the government trying to negotiate with the occupiers to come to a peaceful resolution. Your government made an application to the courts to obtain a simple injunction, but in doing so, your government chose the hard line over peaceful negotiations. Your government brought the full power of the courts as your first option rather than trying to negotiate peacefully, and once your government decided to apply for an injunction, a message was sent to the police that you wanted the occupiers removed from the park, with force if need be.


Who made the decision to move forward with an injunction rather than to try to negotiate peacefully with the occupiers at Ipperwash?


Hon Mr. Harris:


I honestly have to say I think you're making up some of this stuff, and when the court cases are finished, we'll be happy to supply all the information so we don't jeopardize another family and another life.



May 27, 1997


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


My question is to the Premier. Yesterday, the Premier will know, the last of 23 first nations persons who were charged at Ipperwash was acquitted. Every single first nations person charged has either been acquitted or the charges have been dropped before going to court. Today the OPP officer who was convicted is before the courts for sentencing.


The trials are over. We now are demanding a commitment by you, Premier, to hold a public inquiry. We are prepared to present evidence that shows that the government and the Premier's office played a key role in the Ipperwash affair. The government made the major decisions and is responsible for the handling of this situation. The question is this: Will you now commit, Premier, to holding a public inquiry so we and others can lay the evidence before an independent inquiry that can fairly determine the role you and your government played in this affair?


Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier):


I think we've been quite clear on this. Certainly from the legal advice, we are obligated, we feel, to wait until the legal issues and cases are resolved. I've indicated that to the Legislature. If you have information you think should be made public, go ahead.


Mr. Phillips:


We already have made it and we're anxious for a forum in which to present it and have some adjudication of it.


I'll be very blunt, Premier. You are going to do whatever you can to avoid a public inquiry. We've examined the terms of reference of other inquiries. For example, in the Westray mine inquiry the criminal trial proceedings occurred alongside the public inquiry. The terms of reference said, for example, "No evidence can be heard by the Westray public inquiry until all evidence at the related criminal trial is heard." It provided the forum and the vehicle for that.


Premier, will you today table the legal opinion that you've referred to so we can examine that legal opinion, and will you examine the terms of reference of the Westray mine inquiry to determine if we can use the same model here? Frankly, we are not going to quit on this. We are going to continue to demand a public inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this very, very sorry affair.


Hon Mr. Harris:


I think we've been clear, the Attorney General has been very clear, and we've been quite consistent and quite open with all the information that we can. If you have tabled and made public all the information you have, I'm happy to defend any allegations you have on the basis of that information. There's not a single shred of evidence there that there was anything untoward or inappropriate in the actions of this government. If you have anything else, go ahead and table it. In the meantime, there are court cases and we have a legal obligation to ensure that those cases go forward.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question, third party.


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):


I have a question to the Premier on the same matter. Everything we learn about what happened at Ipperwash on September 6 adds to the need for an immediate commitment by the government to a public inquiry. It's time the government stopped stonewalling on this.


According to the testimony that lead to the acquittal of the young Chippewa youth, the police grabbed Bernard George, a band councillor, called him a savage, kicked and beat him and dragged him by the hair until he lost consciousness. This happened during the same period that led to the fatal shooting of Dudley George.


The issue goes beyond the guilt or innocence of one individual or group of individuals. We have to know what decisions were made by whom that led to this sorry, sorry affair and these events. When will the Premier commit to a public inquiry so that all of the facts can be known and we don't leave one police officer out to dry?


The Speaker: Thank you, member for Algoma. Premier.


Hon Mr. Harris: When the court cases are over.


Mr. Wildman:


The cases have been dealt with. There is one case that is going to be heard in the fall. There is absolutely nothing to prevent the Premier and the government from committing now to a public inquiry that will not involve evidence that will deal with that particular case. It's time the Premier stood up and said he is prepared to have all the facts come out so that we know what led to the killing of Dudley George and to the force that was used by the police in this case, instead of the approach the police had used in the past.


The government wants this issue to fade away. It's not going to fade away; it's not going to disappear. There are demands that all the evidence be brought forward so we can know the truth of what led to this unfortunate set of circumstances. The only way to do that and to silence the demands for the truth is to have a public inquiry. Will you now commit to a public inquiry and make it clear that your government wants all the facts to come out?


Hon Mr. Harris: Both myself and the Attorney General made it clear that we want to ensure that all the facts come out. At the appropriate time we'll do that.



June 4, 1997


Mr. Hampton:


How is it possible that armed Ontario Provincial Police officers would believe it was reasonable to beat a native protestor to the point of inflicting more than 25 blunt-trauma wounds and expect they would be able to get away with it? That is another sad event that took place here: 25 blunt-trauma wounds as established by medical evidence.


How could this happen? The question needs to be asked. How did it happen? Who gave the direction? Who allowed this to happen? Who is responsible over there? The government refuses to ask the questions. The government refuses to hold an inquiry. The government refuses to get the answers.


Exactly what is the policy of this government concerning its relations with first nations in Ontario? If we believe the remarks that were made by this government and are associated with this government, the government said, "Get the Indians out of the park." In fact, we are told by people in the civil service that the statement was: "Get the" expletive "Indians out of the park. We don't care how you do it. Get them out."


Is that this government's approach? Is that this government's policy? We don't know because the government refuses to call the inquiry that will get to the bottom of this. The government refuses to call the inquiry that will start asking these questions.



June 18, 1997


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):


My question is to the Premier, and it's on the shooting death of a first nations person at Ipperwash and the government's role in that. We know there are many unanswered questions about the government's role in this tragedy. These can only be answered by a public inquiry.


The Liberal caucus feels the key to unlocking what happened at Ipperwash rests with the Premier's records. Your trusted long-time adviser and executive assistant, Deb Hutton, attended high-level meetings on your behalf the day before the shooting, the day of the shooting and each day for several weeks after. However, you have told us that never once from September 1 to October 1, 1995, did she ever prepare any briefing note, any file or any summary for you. Premier, is this normal operating procedure for your office, that the Premier's executive assistant would attend critical meetings daily and never prepare for the Premier a note, a file or a briefing summary?


Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier):


None of the meetings were our meetings or her meeting or my office meeting or the cabinet office meeting or the Premier's office meeting. So while there were minutes kept, they would be as a result of the lead ministries in this. Native affairs I think had the lead on it. The Attorney General, the minister responsible, can report on that. Those minutes would have been kept and I think have been made available as appropriate through any of the freedom of information requests for those it was deemed appropriate to have them.


Mr. Phillips:


Imagine the suspicion the people of Ontario have. This was a shooting taking place shortly after you became Premier, the first time a first nations person had been killed in a confrontation with the government, a major crisis. Your executive assistant, your long-time, trusted adviser, Deb Hutton, was there on your behalf every single day, often for three hours, at these meetings. Then your trusted assistant would come back and brief you.


Are you saying that never once in that whole month did she ever write a note, a file, a summary, a briefing note? Are you saying today that you never once asked her to write down for you what took place at those meetings and what advice she had for you? You're saying Deb Hutton never once wrote a memo or a file or a briefing note to you?


Hon Mr. Harris:


We are going back over a year and a half ago. I know there were minutes kept by others who hosted the meetings and were responsible for that. I don't recall ever seeing a briefing note or a file from Ms Hutton. She would brief verbally and use what minutes were kept by others who were responsible for doing that.


Mr. Phillips:


I think the public can understand our suspicion. The Premier is saying that for an entire month his senior staff, on perhaps the gravest crisis facing the government, never wrote the Premier a file, a briefing note, a memo. There is clearly a need for a public inquiry.


Amnesty International said today, not yesterday, today: "We've got grave concerns that major human rights violations took place at Ipperwash in 1995. The way, we feel, to address that is to hold a full and public inquiry so people can see, you know, what happened that night." That's what they said today.


We now have a legal opinion by three lawyers indicating that there are, in their language, "no legal impediments to the government of Ontario ordering the immediate commencement of a public judicial inquiry into the incident at Ipperwash." Premier, if we are able to prove that, are you prepared today to order a full public judicial inquiry into the tragedy at Ipperwash?



Hon Mr. Harris: We've been very clear on this. We've made public, certainly, all of our role in this. The only decision I recall being made was to seek a civil injunction from the whole matter. Other than that, there's been no real involvement other than being informed and relaying whatever information was appropriate to the public. That's all a matter of public record. We've indicated that when all of the criminal matters and judicial matters going before the court are there and nothing could be prejudiced by that, if at that time further information is required, we'd be happy to do that in the appropriate way.


Mr. Phillips:


I want to close by saying how concerned we in the opposition are about the approach the government takes. I call it a bully approach. I've seen it in Ipperwash. I continue to feel very strongly that the government made the key decisions involved in handling what I call the Ipperwash affair, the Ipperwash incident, where a first nations person for the first time in over 100 years was killed in a land claim confrontation with the government of Ontario.


We have been told the government had nothing to do with it. We find minutes indicating the government made the decision to get those natives out ASAP. We know the Premier's executive assistant was at daily crisis meetings, often for three hours, instructed to go back to the Premier, to advise him on what was happening, and we're told there was never a minute or a note or a motion kept, forever, which is just unacceptable. We're told they can't have a public inquiry. We find there's precedent for holding public inquiries under similar circumstances.


That's why we're so angry about the rule changes. The day we forget we are here to represent the public -- the public simply gave us the authority to come down and represent them, not to come down here and do whatever we want. Furthermore, the public has elected what's called an opposition to challenge and ask questions and examine. Nobody has the right to dictate their agenda.


There is no question that the rules that have been laid before us -- I hope the public will appreciate that what Mike Harris really wants to do is have the authority to do whatever he wants, at whatever speed, with as little debate and input as possible. That is not what the public wants. The public expect an opportunity for their government to explain what they're doing, to outline what they're doing. If they are proceeding to do things that the public feel aren't appropriate, the public wants a chance for input on that before it becomes law.


If you tried these rules on a municipality, the province of Ontario would step in and say: "That municipality is a dictatorship. The public are being shut out." But we now find these rules that are attempting to gag and to stop legitimate debate by opposition. I know from experience the public watches and has difficulty in getting agitated about rules, but fundamentally, I guarantee you that if you give any government authority to do whatever they want and that power, any government becomes abusive. Every government needs to be held accountable. This government is asking for the authority to become abusive.



June 24, 1997


Mr. Tony Silipo (Dovercourt):


Today, June 24, is an important day in our history. It is of course Jean Baptiste Day and we join in noting that important day, but it also marks the 500th anniversary today of the arrival of one Giovanni Caboto to Canada.


On the shores of Newfoundland 500 years ago today, Giovanni Caboto arrived aboard an English sailing ship, and it's noteworthy that today Queen Elizabeth II is there to greet the occasion of the ship that was put together to recreate that sequence. I also want to note that the Italian Canadian community is justifiably proud of Giovanni Caboto's Italian roots and to note the presence in Canada for the next few days of the President of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, also here to partake of the celebrations. As a Canadian of Italian background I also personally take great pride in this event.


I also want to note that while these celebrations are going on, there are, as I know there are, concerns expressed by our first nations. I do not believe for one moment that either the celebrations of Giovanni Caboto's arrival in Canada or the legitimate injustices that our native peoples have need to be forgotten. Both need to be put forward and both need to be addressed and dealt with.



October 17, 2000


Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt):


I have a question to the Premier regarding why so many Ontario kids are living in poverty. In the past two weeks, two very important reports have been released which clearly show the very negative impact that your government is having on kids.



November 30, 2000


Mr. Michael Gravelle (Thunder Bay-Superior North):


It's truly disheartening that the Mike Harris government continues to ignore the tragedy of increased poverty in Ontario, particularly among children.


Two recently released reports have once again shown the stark reality of how this government's brutal policies have sent more people deeper and deeper into despair. Yesterday the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres released a report on urban aboriginal poverty which showed that over 52% of aboriginal children in cities, including my hometown of Thunder Bay, are living in poverty.



May 21, 2002


Ms Marilyn Churley (Toronto-Danforth):


My question is for the Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services. Today the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres released two excellent reports on aboriginal child poverty and on urban aboriginal youth sexual health and pregnancy. Some representatives from the organization -- quite a few of them in fact -- are here with us today. They are calling for your quick and urgent response as they try to break a damaging cycle that is hurting their young people. Minister, will you work with the OFIFC to develop, fund and implement policies that address the very serious concerns that are outlined in these reports today?


Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Community, Family and Children's Services):


I thank my colleague across the way in the third party for the question. We believe that all children's best interests are a priority of this government. We do understand that social problems can be more complex in some of the aboriginal communities, especially in the remote areas. We know that we have a role in trying to help children in these communities grow up strong and healthy and we take that very seriously.




But again, we have made a tremendous commitment toward the aboriginal healing and wellness strategy...



October 3, 2005


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River):


My question is for the Acting Premier. Last week the Premier said, "It's the McGuinty government's job to help Ontario communities facing emergencies." Today, as we speak, drinking water is unfit to drink in 51 Ontario First Nations communities. Many of these communities are Kashechewans in waiting. Can you tell us what action, prior to Monday of last week, the McGuinty government took to ensure safe, clean drinking water for Ontario First Nations communities with boil-water advisories?


Hon. Leona Dombrowsky (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs):


Our government is committed to implementing the recommendations from Justice O'Connor. O'Connor has made it very clear that the province of Ontario has a responsibility to offer our resources with respect to water testing and training of water facility operators. Our province is certainly ready to support the federal government in any plan that they would have or at any time when they would express a need to do that. You would know as well that the Premier has communicated with the Prime Minister of Canada, and this government certainly stands ready with our resources available when asked.


Mr. Hampton:


It seems that once again you want to refer to jurisdictional differences. I can tell you that what First Nations and First Nations people have experienced is jurisdictional indifference from your government and the federal government.


I want to ask you about the Six Nations of the Grand River near Brantford. People there have been under a boil-water advisory since the late 1990s. Study after study has shown the water in up to 80% of the 2,700 wells that supply most of the 12,000 residents is contaminated with everything from rats to E. coli. What has the McGuinty government done to make sure the Six Nations citizens -- citizens of Ontario -- can drink their water?


Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


Again, I say to the honourable member that this government stands ready to assist in the support of the federal government, which has the responsibility for managing water issues on First Nations reserves. It did come to the attention of this government, I believe it was in April 2004, that there were serious water issues on the Six Nations reserve. At that time the Minister of the Environment wrote to the federal minister to make it very clear that Ontario was prepared to provide the resources that we had that may assist that level of government; the level of government that has responsibility for managing clean water issues on First Nations properties. We are very prepared to be there to help them.


Mr. Hampton:


So once again the response from the McGuinty government has been to write a letter.


I want to ask you about Kee-Way-Win First Nation, which has been under a do-not-drink-the-water advisory since 2004 because the water is contaminated with uranium. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have had a boil-water advisory since 2003. The Neskantaga First Nation has been under a boil-water advisory for almost 10 years.


Unsafe drinking water for Ontario First Nations is a public health disgrace. Fifty-one First Nations in Ontario under the McGuinty government have boil-water advisories, and your indifference and inaction is obvious to everyone.


Tell me this: What is your government prepared to do now to assist these First Nations so they can begin to overcome this obvious, disgraceful situation of tainted drinking water?


Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


Our government is absolutely committed to putting all of the resources that we have responsibility to manage to assist the federal government in their responsibility to ensure that there is safe, clean drinking water on First Nations reserves.


The statistics that the honourable member brings forward, indeed, are disturbing and that is why our Premier and this government stand prepared -- as Justice O'Conner made very clear that we have a responsibility to do -- to work with the federal government to provide them with the resources that we have that will assist them in ensuring that people on First Nations reserves have access to clean, safe drinking water.


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): New question.


Mr. Hampton:


To the Acting Premier: You mentioned the Walkerton report. Again, it says, "Members of First Nations are also residents of Ontario. There can be no justification for acquiescing in the application of a lesser public health standard on certain residents of Ontario ... the province, if asked," by First Nations, "has much to contribute."


Last year, Ontario earmarked $90 million over two years for water quality projects through the Canada-Ontario rural infrastructure fund and the northern Ontario heritage fund. We know that First Nations asked for your help. Can you tell us how much of that $90 million the McGuinty government moved toward First Nations to improve their water quality infrastructure?


Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


Our government is very proud that we've had the opportunity to work with our federal government and our municipal partners to invest in rural infrastructure in the province of Ontario. Again, I'd like to remind the honourable member -- and he has quoted O'Conner -- that I believe O'Conner has been very clear that the responsibility for providing clean, safe drinking water on First Nations properties is the responsibility of the federal government. The Prime Minister of Canada, in more than one statement, I believe, has made it very clear that this is a federal responsibility.


What I will say to the honourable member is that our government stands ready, when asked by the federal government, to provide the human resources for training, testing and so on, so that peoples on First Nations can access clean and safe drinking water.


Mr. Hampton:


I asked how much of the $90 million that you announced was going to First Nations to help them with issues of water quality. I know why you didn't answer: because under the McGuinty government, nothing went to First Nations.


Previous Ontario governments have understood that there is a serious problem with the quality of drinking water on First Nations. The NDP government invested $48 million over four years in water and sewer upgrades on First Nations because, despite the jurisdiction, we saw that there was a problem. Even the Harris Conservative government invested $70 million over eight years to upgrade sewer and water quality on First Nations. What has the McGuinty government invested? Well, a year and a half ago you invested $200,000 in one community. Since that, nothing.


Can you tell me, Minister, why the McGuinty government continues to speak with all these platitudes, yet you have invested nothing in sewer and water quality on First Nations?


Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


I remind the honourable member that our government is committed to the recommendations contained in the Walkerton inquiry. Very clearly in that document it identifies where the responsibility for providing clean, safe drinking water is for First Nations people.


Just as we are taking that responsibility in the province of Ontario very seriously for those areas where we have jurisdiction, we assume that the federal government would have done the same. The Prime Minister of Canada has made it very clear that this is a federal responsibility. Our government has made it very clear that we are prepared to provide the resources, as O'Connor has recommended, to support the federal government to provide clean, safe drinking water for First Nations peoples in the province of Ontario.


The Speaker: Final supplementary.


Mr. Hampton:


Minister, over the last 15 years, previous Ontario governments saw there was a serious problem. They didn't run around blaming constitutional this or constitutional that; they didn't point the finger at the Prime Minister. They took action. I agree with you: Paul Martin has been missing in action, but Dalton McGuinty has been missing in action on this file as well.


There is an epidemic of bad water on First Nations. The McGuinty government is contributing zero dollars to try to fix that problem. Tell us, Minister, will you stop the platitudes, stop telling First Nations you feel their pain, and start making some financial investments to improve the quality of water in their communities?


Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


I would like to remind the honourable members that this government acted to protect the First Nations when there was an emergency. That is what this government did. The Prime Minister of Canada has announced that he has a plan so that First Nations peoples will be guaranteed clean, safe drinking water. Our government is absolutely committed to working with the federal government to enact that plan, because there's no question that First Nations peoples, whether they are in Ontario or any other province of Canada, deserve that kind of consideration. Their people deserve clean, fresh drinking water.


The Speaker: New question. The member for Parry Sound-Muskoka


Mr. Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka):


My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources, and it also has to do with the emergency in Kashechewan. Minister, when did you become aware of the 1992 emergency preparedness agreement between Ottawa and Ontario?


Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs):


I became aware at 12:30 on Tuesday, when federal minister Andy Scott called me from his office in Ottawa.


Mr. Miller:


Well, that makes it very interesting. In Kashechewan there's been a boil-water advisory for two years. There's been your Ontario clean drinking water report from 2003 that identified a problem.




Hon. Mrs.. Dombrowsky:


Our government certainly does believe that water quality is a priority for all of the people of Ontario. For those people for whom we have responsibility as a province, for municipal water systems, we are making significant investments, and we are ensuring that the recommendations of Justice O'Connor will be implemented. When I speak of Justice O'Connor and his recommendations, he also identified that there are water quality issues that must be considered on First Nations reserves. He has made it very clear that it is the responsibility of the federal government. The Prime Minister of Canada has accepted and acknowledged that it is a federal responsibility. Our provincial government has, on more than one occasion, made it very clear that our government is prepared to provide whatever resources we can to the federal government so they can ensure that water on First Nations property is safe for the people who live there.



November 1, 2005


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River):


I'm sure that someone who is having a hard time paying the rent and putting food on the table is going to get a lot of satisfaction out of that response from the McGuinty government.


Premier, your aboriginal affairs minister claimed yesterday that your government wants to address First Nations poverty and challenges with revenue sharing. If your government is suddenly committed to First Nations revenue sharing, can you explain why your government deserted Bill 97, the First Nations Resource Revenue Sharing Act, this summer?


Hon. Dalton McGuinty (Premier, Minister of Research and Innovation): To the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.


Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs):


Bill 97, the one you referred to that was put forward by the member from Timmins-James Bay, was very narrow in its scope, in that it outlined that basically business, government and First Nations should discuss how this should happen. What I've done with our First Nations is said that we should have government-to-government negotiations and discussions with our First Nations about how we can all share more greatly from the benefit of our natural resources. We outlined that in the throne speech, and we will be commencing those discussions at the northern table starting next month.


Mr. Hampton:


I attended a lot of the Bill 97 hearings, and First Nations were unanimous in saying this is what they wanted. In fact, they brought forward all kinds of constructive suggestions. Passing Mr. Bisson's First Nations revenue-sharing act would have ensured that First Nations receive tax revenues and other revenues from mining and forestry operations conducted on their lands, like municipalities do.


Instead, what you've done, and what we found yesterday, is you actually cut money out of infrastructure funds for sewer and water. At the very time when First Nations are having great difficulty with tainted water, not only are you not helping, you're cutting.


So explain: How does it help First Nations when on the one hand you cut money that otherwise would have gone to them to help them deal with tainted water, and then you come along and you desert the First Nations revenue-sharing act? How does any of that help First Nations?


Hon. Mr. Ramsay:


The member this afternoon, I guess, is consistent in his ability to ignore the facts. He knows that the program he has referred to involved indoor plumbing and not safe water or water treatment systems. He knows that and he should state that. That program had long expired.


I would say to the member that he knows that the bill he's referring to is very narrow in scope because it just involved revenue-sharing. As the member would know as a northerner, there are tremendous benefits to be shared with the development of our natural resources, far more than revenue: entrepreneurial activities and opportunities and jobs. So we want to have a complete discussion. I would never come into the Legislature and say, "I know what the answer is for First Nations," and plunk it down on the Clerk's table without a thorough discussion with our First Nation neighbours.


Mr. Hampton:


The McGuinty government says that $48 million under the NDP and $70 million under the Conservatives to hook residences up to the sewer and water system was wasted. What nonsense. People wouldn't have been connected to the sewer and water system without those investments, and now you've cut them.


I want to quote Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, who says that if the First Nations revenue-sharing act isn't passed, "it's sending a very negative message from Ontario to my people and our youth." He says, "It really shows the [government] is not prepared to work with First Nations. That's what is most disappointing."


That's the grand chief of NAN. He attended the hearings. He commented on the bill. He said the bill had to move forward.


My question to the Premier is this: Is this how you take First Nations seriously, Premier? You ignore the grand chief and you cut the very money that would have helped some communities deal with tainted water?


Hon. Mr. Ramsay:


I guess I would say to the member that the bill wasn't good enough, that we think we can do a more comprehensive job and look at all the benefits that we can all share from the development of our natural resources. It's more than just straight money; it's jobs and entrepreneurial activities throughout northern Ontario, and looking at new businesses, like we're going to extract or harvest the biomass from our forest floor. Instead of wasting it and putting it out into the environment, we can harness that for the great energy potential that it has to save our forestry jobs up there. We're starting to have those discussions. That's part of the new approach that this government has developed with aboriginal peoples, and I'm very proud of that approach.



April 18, 2006


Hon. Mike Colle (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):


[W]e must also invest in the celebration and the honouring of our founding peoples. First to be honoured should be our First Nations people.



April 24, 2006


Mr. Marchese:


This legislation is clearly a start. There are some areas that I think need improvement, and some of those areas have to do with First Nations. I believe that Bill 11 -- not "I believe"; Bill 11 is silent on aboriginal and treaty rights of aboriginal peoples and their potential role in the creation, planning and management of parks and conservation reserves. For example, there is nothing here regarding the co-management of protected areas with First Nations. These shortcomings, in my view and in the view of many New Democrats, are out of step with the new protected area legislation in other jurisdictions, which has come to reflect an increasing understanding and appreciation of aboriginal rights and interests with regard to protected areas.


First, to ensure that the rights of First Nations are properly respected in this act, this act needs to include a clause clearly stating that nothing in the act shall be construed as to abrogate, which in non-legal parlance means "to annul," or derogate, which for us normal human beings means "to take away," from the protection provided for existing aboriginal or treaty rights of aboriginal peoples of Canada, as recognized in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.


Aboriginal people speak strongly about this, and we believe that we should include language that protects what aboriginal people have given us, have given Canadians, by way of their interest in protecting nature that I think we have to respect and address in a way that properly reflects their concerns.


The bill must clearly state that prior to establishing a new protected area or expanding an existing protected area, the minister is required to identify and consult with all affected First Nation communities whose lands or traditional territories may be affected by the establishment or expansion of the protected area. We believe you should. We don't know why you haven't included language that speaks to that, but I think you need to reflect on it. It is my hope that aboriginal communities will come to the committee hearings to state their concerns, as I believe they will.


At present, there are no provisions in the bill to ensure that in the formulation of management plans for parks opportunities for co-operative or joint management with local First Nation communities have been explored, and they need to be. First Nations should also be able to nominate areas of cultural significance for protection, such as important fish and wildlife areas, areas important to maintaining traditional ways of life, and sites or villages, or rock paintings. Such sites would be considered for full management by the relevant First Nation.



June 21, 2006


Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs):


Today is National Aboriginal Day, and it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House and extend my best wishes to all First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples living in Ontario on this important day.


Today is a special day for me, as it is the first time I am able to rise in the House on National Aboriginal Day as the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, and acknowledge the significant contribution that aboriginal peoples have made, and continue to make, to Ontario and to Canada.


It is important that all Ontarians recognize these contributions, particularly when we are hearing stories on a daily basis about the situation at Caledonia. Aboriginal peoples across our province have been dealing with difficult situations for centuries. The situation at Caledonia is only the most recent example.


Given these current events, it is important that we take time to reflect on the positive role that First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples play in this province.


National Aboriginal Day is a day for Ontarians to learn more about the rich culture and history of aboriginal peoples in Ontario. Aboriginal peoples have always been a diverse and vital presence in the culture and social fabric of our province. This important day provides an opportunity for us to acknowledge with gratitude the unique contributions of First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples to Ontario and to Canada.


Cultural workshops and other activities in aboriginal communities help Ontarians gain a better understanding of aboriginal peoples and cultures in Ontario.


I encourage Ontarians to take part in many cultural events hosted by First Nation and Metis organizations across Ontario to celebrate National Aboriginal Day. In my own riding of Timiskaming-Cochrane, for example, an Aboriginal Day barbecue is being held in New Liskeard.


I am very pleased to tell the House that I had the pleasure of celebrating National Aboriginal Day yesterday with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable James K. Bartleman. It was an event to highlight the Lieutenant Governor's aboriginal summer literacy camps. In addition to the support for the literacy programs of our government, he recognizes the unique needs of aboriginal children and youth.


Last year, the McGuinty government launched its New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs. At the heart of our new approach is the recognition that we must create a better future for aboriginal children and youth. We are committed to ensuring improved opportunities and a better way of life for First Nation and Metis communities across Ontario.


Last November, I had the pleasure of joining the Premier and aboriginal leaders from Ontario to represent Ontario at the first ministers' meeting in Kelowna. This was an historic event, where Premiers from all the provinces and territories, the Prime Minister of Canada and First Nations, Metis and Inuit leaders worked together to find solutions for closing the socio-economic gap that exists between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.


The McGuinty government continues to support the principles behind the Kelowna accord and will continue to push the federal government to meet its funding commitment.


In March this year, the McGuinty government, with 49 chiefs of treaties 5 and 9, launched a process to establish a Northern Table to help bring greater economic opportunity to aboriginal communities in the north. Establishing the Northern Table will fulfill one of Ontario's key commitments under the New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs.


The goal of the Northern Table is to ensure the active participation of First Nations in establishing a viable economic base in Ontario's far north. Once established, the Northern Table would enhance First Nations' participation in the benefits of resource development and boost the long-term sustainability of the northern economy. It will build on our government's current initiatives, programs and services. It will be a true partnership that, over time, will include other First Nations across the north.


Later this month, I will be travelling to Big Trout Lake First Nation for the annual Chiefs of Ontario summer meeting. The meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss progress in a number of key initiatives of the new approach since its launch last year. It will also provide an opportunity for the McGuinty government to renew our commitment to strengthening relations with First Nations leaders.


The McGuinty government has shown that it is listening to the concerns of First Nations and Metis people, and we will work together on our shared priorities and goals. We will be working towards building trust and understanding. What binds us together is our common humanity. The McGuinty government is committed to working with First Nations and Metis leaders and the federal government to make a real difference and to achieve real results in improving the lives of aboriginal peoples.


Please join me in showing our appreciation for First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples on National Aboriginal Day. Thank you. Meegwetch.



November 2, 2006


Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River):


My question is for the Deputy Premier. It's becoming very clear that Premier McGuinty's squabbling and bickering with Ottawa has paralyzed the work of the Ontario government, to the detriment of ordinary Ontarians. Marie Trainer, the mayor of Caledonia, said this about your squabbling and bickering: "They are just playing games right now. We're in the middle. We're the ones suffering. I'd like them to stop acting like children. I wish they would quit holding Caledonia residents as hostages."


Deputy Premier, why are the needs and priorities of working families across Ontario taking a back seat to Premier McGuinty's squabbling, bickering and electioneering?


Hon. George Smitherman (Deputy Premier, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care):


As usual with the honourable member, it's what he doesn't say that would be helpful for the context of his question, because what he doesn't say when he speaks about the municipal leader that he quotes in his question, Mayor Trainer, is that she also said that the need was there for the federal government to come to the table and to take a lead.


It's odd that the honourable member who so often depends upon the words of Chief Angus Toulouse didn't use those today either, but here's what was said in a release: "`This Conservative government claims it is a government that takes action, but when it comes to First Nations they are completely missing in action'....


"`The reality is that issues related to First Nations lands are a direct and clear federal responsibility.'"


The honourable member knows this well because he asks these questions very regularly in the House. It's interesting, I suppose, that he thinks we should go it alone on an issue where, to the point, the federal government is clearly in the lead. It is Ontario's obligation to ensure that the federal government fulfills their constitutional responsibilities, and we will continue on that path until that is done.


Mr. Hampton:


Allen MacNaughton is chief of the Six Nations. He says, "[I]t is with great concern that the Hodiyenehsoh find the crown in right of Ontario and Canada engaged in playing politics in the media."


Deputy Premier, ordinary Ontarians want their governments to work for them. Instead, Dalton McGuinty and Stephen Harper are working on their election campaigns. I ask this question: When is the McGuinty government going to stop squabbling, going to stop bickering and start getting some results for the ordinary people of Ontario?


Hon. Mr. Smitherman:


We note the defensiveness on the part of the NDP, seeing that the federal government in Ottawa is really their government. But it's interesting that the honourable member is unwilling to stand in his place and make the case with respect to Ontario. He raises, on a regular basis, the issue of responsibility -- primacy of responsibility -- to the federal government, but for today's purposes, that's not evident. In his question he quotes someone -- in this case, Chief MacNaughton -- but what he doesn't read from Chief MacNaughton's very own release is the following: "but we agree [that] the emphasis on resolution must come from the federal crown. It is with the federal crown that Six Nations agreements have been made."


So we agree that this is a complex issue. On behalf of Ontarians, and with a view toward a resolution that involves people working together and talking together to come to appropriate conclusions, we have done our part and we have been there. But our frustration speaks to the fact that, on one hand, all the parties agree. The necessity is there for federal government leadership. We press for it, we call for it, and the honourable member, the leader of the New Democratic Party --


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Thank you. Final supplementary.


Mr. Hampton:


Yesterday, after the Premier said no to a request from children of Cat Lake First Nation school, who have limited access to safe, clean drinking water, Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit sent us a letter saying, "If a First Nation goes to the province for assistance ... the province should treat this request as they would any resident of Ontario." But rather than responding to this urgent request, the McGuinty government wants to use First Nations in a game of political Ping-Pong with the federal government.


My question again is this: When is the McGuinty government going to put the needs of Ontario residents ahead of the Premier's political agenda of squabbling and bickering with the federal government?


Hon. Mr. Smitherman:


There we have it from the honourable member: He has managed in three short questions to get himself on all sides of the issue, as is standard. But where is the consistency from the honourable member? On a case-by-case basis, very regularly he brings to us the voices of the Chiefs of Ontario, the most significant voice of the leadership of First Nations. Their point and position on this couldn't be clearer. I'll read further from a release I quoted a moment ago: "This is yet another example of this government's" -- being the federal government -- "refusal to accept and fulfill their lawful obligations."


So the point is clear: In Caledonia, the record of a government willing to do its part is very, very evident. We provided provincial money to purchase the land, business assistance money, signage and markings on the land, assistance for residents that is forthcoming, a marketing campaign, a new school fence and security cameras --



December 14, 2006


Mr. Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka): I'm pleased to respond to the Minister of Natural Resources' statement on the proposed endangered species act.


The implications of this legislation are serious. What about First Nations who want to realize their potential through resource economic development? Have you fully thought out the impact on those communities?


For the past three years we've seen the results in the forestry industry of your policies of high energy costs, high delivered-wood costs, lots of red tape and thousands and thousands of lost jobs mainly across northern Ontario, but across all of Ontario.


The question is, are you prepared to push along legislation that has significant negative economic impact for our resource and development sectors, as well as hampering economic development for First Nations, or will you bring a balanced approach to this legislation?







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