Will Premier Dalton McGuinty Keep his Promises?

340

QUEEN’S PARK – It was a simple question. Gilles Bisson asked Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty what could have been simple to answer question. It could have been a “yes” or a “no”. Instead the Premier’s answer was anything but simple.

Here is the exchange from Question Period in Queen’s Park:

Mr. Gilles Bisson: My question is to the Premier. We have in the galleries members from various communities in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and amongst them is their Grand Chief, Stan Beardy. He’s asking me to ask you the following question:

“As the leader of Ontario, you promised a new relationship with Ontario’s First Nations people.

“As the leader of Ontario, you promised last fall to the Nishnawbe Aski people that you would not pass the Far North planning act, Bill 191, unless it met with our consent.

“As leader of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, I am telling you that Bill 191 does not meet with our consent.

“As the leader of the Nishnawbe Aski people, I am asking you, the leader of Ontario: Will you keep your promises?”

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I’m pleased to receive the question. I know that there’s a tremendous interest in Bill 191 and how to get everyone to find a way to develop the north and do it in a way that’s in keeping with our desire to not only ensure that all northerners participate in that growth, including our aboriginal communities, but also in a way that respects our desire to preserve a natural environment for our children.

We’ve gone through a lengthy consultation process, we have worked very closely with our aboriginal communities, and we now find ourselves at a point where it’s necessary for us to move forward. One of the assurances I do want to provide Grand Chief Stan Beardy and all our aboriginal communities is that we will, if requested, put in place an advisory committee comprised one half of representatives of our aboriginal communities so that they can, on an ongoing basis, have continuing influence as we shape this policy to ensure that we get it right.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?

Mr. Gilles Bisson: Premier, nobody buys it. First Nations don’t buy it, community leaders in northern Ontario don’t buy it and chambers of commerce in northern Ontario don’t buy it. But I bring you back to the question that Chief Beardy is asking you, and I’ll read his question again:

“As the leader of Ontario, you promised a new relationship with Ontario’s First Nations people.

“As the leader of Ontario, you promised last fall to the Nishnawbe Aski people that you would not pass the Far North planning act, Bill 191, unless it met with our consent.

“As leader of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, I am telling you that Bill 191 does not meet with our consent.

“As the leader of the Nishnawbe Aski people, I am asking you, the leader of Ontario: Will you keep your promises?”

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I very much appreciate the question. One of the references in the question itself had something to do with the state of the relationship between our government and our First Nation communities. I’m very proud of the work that we have done together to develop a collaborative relationship, a respectful relationship and a relationship that has resulted in measurable improvements. We have everything from a new ministry exclusively devoted to those concerns of our aboriginal community. We have a new gaming agreement. We have, coming out of the Ipperwash tragedy, a number of recommendations that were put forward, which we have adopted virtually in their entirety. And we have devoted all kinds of new resources in education and health care to enhance quality of life insofar as our aboriginal communities are concerned. We will continue to find a way through the Far North Act and Bill 191—

Previous articleWill People “Supersize their Vote”? in Thunder Bay
Next articlePrime Minister’s Visit Expected to Fire Up Conservatives
NetNewsledger.com or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: newsroom@netnewsledger.com Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862