Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Thanks for the money. I'm leaving Caledonia now.

After fifteen months of failed negotiations in the Caledonia dispute, veteran aboriginal affairs negotiator Jane Stewart is being replaced.

The former Liberal Indian affairs minister is being replaced by Murray Coolican, a former deputy minister of Ontario's aboriginal affairs department, after a year at the negotiating table and with no deal to end the occupation of a former housing development site in Caledonia, Ont.

David Ramsay, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said Stewart did not request to leave, but some say privately she was ready to move on and return to her consulting business.

Her departure suits the change in negotiations since Coolican is more experienced at dealing with the technical details involved in aboriginal land claims, he said.

"He's got all the skills and knowledge to be a very successful negotiator," Ramsay said in an interview.

"(His appointment) reflects the true position of the province's role at the table - that of a secondary role and technical adviser ... We (don't) need as high a profile person as Jane Stewart now as we did in the beginning."

Although Stewart was being paid $1,300 a day to negotiate an end to the occupation, Coolican's salary is still being negotiated, Ramsay added.
According to Dalton McGuinty, the Federal Government is in a "conflict of interest" should they fail to hire an independent body to settle outstanding land claims like Caledonia.
"Right now the federal government finds itself in an untenable position - it has to decide whether or not it's going to give up some of its own land. I think that puts them in a very difficult position."
Dalton The Gimp fails to mention that the land disputed in the Douglas Creek Estates has not been crown land for over a hundred years until his government purchased it with other people's money prior to consulting with the federal government. He has yet to answer allegations that according to his own logic, or lack thereof, the appointment of a new provincial negotiator puts his government in a conflict of interest because that chunk of land happens to be within Ontario's borders.

The government giveth and the government taketh away.

cp: Dust My Broom

1 Comment:

Jake said...

I find it amusing that Dalton put Jane Stewart in charge of negotiations. This is the same person who lost a billion dollars in the HRDC affair and had a history of few accomplishments in her political career.

So what exactly made her so lucrative that she was hired on as a negotiator? Oh right, both her daddy and grandpa were former party leaders of the Ontario Liberals.

Just another case of political nepotism whereby who you are related to dictates where you get to line the government trough.