TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - The long time lawyer for Sam George, and the family and estate of Dudley George, today expressed surprise and sorrow at today's provincial Cabinet shuffle, saying that the elimination of a separate Minister for Aboriginal Affairs broke trust with the legacy of Sam George.
"I am sure Sam would be hurt by today's developments, because they roll back provincial progress in Aboriginal relations for which he fought so hard," said Murray Klippenstein, lawyer for Sam and the family for twelve years.
One Recommendation of the Ipperwash Inquiry Report was that "The provincial government should create a Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. This Ministry should have a dedicated minister and its own deputy minister." The provincial government implemented this recommendation within days of the release of the Ipperwash Inquiry Report in May of 2007. By combining Ministers for the Attorney General and Aboriginal Affairs ministries, the latest Cabinet shuffle reverses that step.
"I visted Sam's grave at Ipperwash two days ago and I believe his spirit was at peace," said Mr. Klippenstein, "but I think Sam would be sadly and quietly shaking his head today. Sam believed that trust and respect between the provincial government and First Nations was a two-way street, and I think he would be wondering today what happened to the respect he believed he saw developing. Sam knew from first hand pain at Ipperwash where lack of respect can lead, and he would be hurt and worried about the direction this seems to point."
Sam George was awarded the Order of Ontario by the province a few months before his death from cancer in 2009.
For further information: For further information: contact Murray Klippenstein at (416) 598-0288 (office) or (416) 937-8634 (mobile)