Stories of face-to-face confrontations, threats, and rumours of expanding First Nations land claims are spreading anxiety throughout the local construction industry.
"There's a sense of fear," said Martha George, president of the Grand Valley Construction Association.
"It's kind of a bit of hearsay. We're all getting worried that what's going to happen here is what's happened in Caledonia."
New native development fees, claimed for land along the length of the Grand River, add to the worries for construction companies, fearful projects will be stalled by protests if they don't abide by demands for First Nations' approval of projects.
Construction firms want the land claims issues settled by negotiation as soon as possible.Construction firms need to get legal advice because it is apparent that they don't know the laws they operate under: First Nations approval IS REQUIRED. Developers MUST CONSULT. It isn't just about resolving 'land claims' (Aboriginal Title). It is about the 'Aboriginal Rights' that developers and governments must respect. And that includes their right to say "no" to development.
"We don't want to see anyone injured," George said. "We don't want another Ipperwash."
Provincial Conservative Leader John Tory, who met with the association's board, blamed the Liberal government for emboldening what he calls native law breakers.
"I think when you let the rule of law break down, lots of things happen," Tory said. Along with encouraging civil disobedience in native communities, Liberal inaction also opens the door for organized crime to move into lawless areas, Tory charged.
Blah, blah, blah! John Tory, see above. You don't have a friggen clue what the law is!
Premier Dalton McGuinty needs to take control, use the "prestige of his office" and show Ontario won't negotiate with bullies.
The premier should call native leaders into his office and tell them negotiations to solve land claims won't happen while people break the law by occupying land.
That Tory is such a comedian, eh? Dalton has no moral authority to call them on the carpet! Dalton is the one BREAKING THE LAW!!!
He applauded Brantford for taking a tough stand against native occupations by getting court injunctions against protesters. What's needed is for the courts to strongly enforce existing laws against threats and violence, Tory says.
Negotiated settlements to native land claims need to be sorted out as quickly as possible but not when on one side are flagrantly breaking the law, Tory said.
Tory has no sympathy for aboriginal people who say they're following their laws. If they are counting on Canada's charter of rights to protect them, they must follow Canadian laws, too, he said. "If you've got a beef . . . you go to court."
Liberal inaction on the native issue is only going to worsen the downturn in the provincial economy, Tory said.
"Nobody is going to invest in a province where there's a complete breakdown in the rule of law."It's true. Why would anybody want to do business in a province where the provincial and municipal governments break the law. They 'approve' development without proper agreements in place, and then leave the developers hanging out to dry when confrontations occur. Ontario is shooting itself in the foot.
There's 590 companies in the Grand Valley construction association, across central Ontario from Owen Sound through Kitchener and Cambridge to Brantford. The employ at least 20,000, George said.Then the bosses better get consulting with Six Nations. Silly of them to just go ahead without proper legal agreements in place, risking all those people's livelihoods. After all, THE LAW IS THE LAW!