Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North):
today is for the Acting Premier. The situation
at Caledonia has been ongoing now for almost three
months. Our leader, John Tory, has visited the
community at least twice. Toby Barrett, the MPP
for Haldimand-Norfolk, is visible at Caledonia
on almost a daily basis. I will be visiting Caledonia
on Wednesday of this week. The residents of Caledonia
have not seen the Premier, they have not seen
the Minister of Natural Resources and aboriginal
affairs and they certainly have not seen the Minister
of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Acting Premier, officers at Caledonia feel abandoned.
The community feels abandoned. In fact, I talked
to OPP officers the other day and they said, "We
feel like the meat in a sandwich." They feel
abandoned by the McGuinty Liberals. Acting Premier,
why haven't you, the Premier and these key cabinet
ministers shown your faces in Caledonia?
Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Finance,
Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet):
Speaker, the minister responsible for aboriginal
Hon. David Ramsay (Minister of Natural
Resources, minister responsible for aboriginal
affairs): I would ask the members of
the Legislature, in a situation like this, to
work with us to try to settle this very complex
and difficult dispute.
We are putting all our efforts to work with
the Caledonia community and the Six Nations
community. We have appointed top-flight people
to deal with this, as you know, with former
Premier David Peterson; Jane Stewart, former
MP and cabinet minister in the federal government;
and Barbara MacDougall. The two levels of government
are working together on this situation. We would
ask that all the members of the Legislature
support this effort.
Mr. Dunlop: Acting Premier,
as the Caledonia situation is prolonged, we
now know that on the Victoria Day weekend, as
it approaches, approximately 200 OPP officers
from across Ontario will be on guard at Caledonia.
These officers are needed in their detachments
this weekend for such things as impaired and
aggressive drivers, crowd discipline at our
provincial parks and traffic control on our
highways. Certainly Victoria Day weekend historically
has been one of the most busy weekends where
they require a strong police presence.
As detachments bring in additional officers
on overtime, the budgets of the OPP and municipal
contracts are soaring out of control. Caledonia
is costing the OPP millions of dollars. This
is after you have cut $31.3 million from the
field and traffic division of the OPP. Minister
and Acting Premier, how do you intend to properly
fund the OPP following the Caledonia situation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I know the
member is aware that the Solicitor General has
addressed this question. He has spoken about
the global budget that the OPP receive on an
annual basis. He has also explained to members
of the House the nature of a provincial police
force as vast as the OPP, that basically it
is designed to respond to emergencies. That's
what a police force is. It does its day-to-day
policing but it also has the reserve to respond
to emergencies. That's the nature of a province-wide
police force that is as great as the OPP. It
is well within its capacity to deal with a situation
such as this, as complex as it is. They have
adequate resources to deal with this.
I would ask the member to have the patience,
as we've asked, and as the Premier has asked
the people and the community to allow us the
time to respond and to solve this dispute.