Brant's top issue
Posted 13 hours ago
Everywhere they go during the federal election campaign, candidates for Brant riding will be asked the following question: "What will you and your party do to resolve native land claims?"
Native issues are the Number 1 issue in Brant riding. The delay in settling Six Nations land claims is holding back major developments, is creating uncertainty in the economy and is dividing neighbours.
Although the issues are complex, the basic fault lies with the federal government which dragged its feet for decades rather than deal promptly and justly with Six Nations. This election is Brant's and Haldimand-Norfolk's chance to send a message to Ottawa that we want a solution that's fair to Six Nations and that provides security for land ownership so development can move forward.
The person who represents this area in the House of Commons must make native issues a top priority. Things are not getting better; they're getting worse.
Work at three major projects in Brantford has been interrupted by protesters, although some work has resumed. Meanwhile, an injunction that seeks to jail protesters is dragging through the courts.
Police costs are mounting. The OPP has logged more than 400,000 extra hours, Commissioner Julian Fantino said last week. That doesn't count costs to city police. Negotiations between senior governments and Six Nations have seen little progress. Brantford and Six Nations need a commitment that the federal government will make land claims a priority.
When settlement is reached, Six Nations and its neighbours will be able to move forward co-operatively.
So, Liberal Lloyd St. Amand, Conservative Phil McColeman, Green candidate Nora Fueten and New Democrat candidate as yet not named, what are your plan to deal with land claims? The future of this riding -- and the candidates' future in politics -- depend upon their answers. Join the discussion at www.theexpositor.com.