Monday, September 22, 2014
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Premier must walk the walk

Opinion / Readers' Letters

Re: Grits short-circuit native empowerment, July 17

Grits short-circuit native empowerment, July 17

Reading Martin Regg Cohn’s column on the struggle of the Lac Lacroix First Nations to build a hydro electric plant on their reserve left me sad and disappointed that government seems to be resorting to the “same old, same old.”

Given the litany of promises made by successive provincial governments to this impoverished band and the promises broken, surely Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli can find some better response than “no.” Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer’s comment of “having done everything we can” will not provide reassurance to First Nations that the new minister will be there for them. Imagine if a swath of his North York riding was so poorly served.

Premier Kathleen Wynne pledged that her Ontario Liberals would have a new and more dignified engagement with First Nations people. Here in the first test of that promise her very own cabinet ministers seems to have continued down the well-worn road of broken promises.

Jordan Cohen, Toronto

As a “twenty-something” Ontarian I took real hope from the words of our new premier commending the need to work more openly and honestly with the First Nations.

Imagine then my disbelief and surprise to read Martin Regg Cohn’s column about the government’s inflexibility toward a struggling northern Ontario reserve. This was followed the next day by Richard Brennan’s report (“Ontario Liberals take a hard line against First Nations community’s hydro project”) of the uncompromising stand being taken to ensure this aboriginal reserve is not given the resources it needs to build an electric plant on their traditional territory.

I understand that there are rules and regulations. However in this case it seems that long-standing promises made to this Lac Lacroix band to connect them properly to the Ontario grid system have not been met.

We all talk the talk when it comes to aboriginals but I expect my government — especially one that has staked part of its reputation on working with aboriginal communities — to also walk the walk. That it has failed to do so is bitterly disappointing.

Adam Rosner, Toronto

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