McGuinty Government To Return Ipperwash Park



    Province And First Nations To Co-Manage Transfer Process

    QUEEN'S PARK, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Ontario is moving forward on its commitment
to resolve the future use of Ipperwash Provincial Park lands, Aboriginal
Affairs Minister Michael Bryant and Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield
announced today.
    "We are returning Ipperwash Provincial Park lands to the Chippewas of
Kettle and Stony Point First Nation," said Bryant. "In doing so, we are
sending a clear signal that the McGuinty government is acting on the Premier's
ambitious agenda on Aboriginal affairs."
    The McGuinty government and the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First
Nation will co-manage the land, working with the local communities and others
to develop an interim plan. These discussions will determine the use and
management of the park until the transfer of the land to the First Nation is
completed over a period of time to be determined by negotiations. Negotiators
will begin work early in the new year.
    "As the first step in the process to transfer Ipperwash Provincial Park
from the province to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation,
both parties will work together with the local communities to develop an
interim co-management plan," said Cansfield. "Through these discussions we
will determine how the park lands will be used and managed until the transfer
is completed."
    In May 2007, Justice Sidney Linden made recommendations that will assist
the province in resolving issues and improving relationships with First
Nations. As part of the McGuinty government's commitment to act on these
recommendations and forge stronger relationships with First Nations in
Ontario, the province will establish the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and
Action Committee to work with Aboriginal peoples to assess the report's
recommendations together and to devise an action plan.
    "Returning Ipperwash Park and acting on Justice Linden's recommendations
is the clearest and most powerful expression of the intention of the McGuinty
government to move forward in a concrete, practical and deliberate way to
forge a stronger, more positive relationship with all Aboriginal peoples in
Ontario," said Bryant.

    
    Disponible en français

                       www.aboriginalaffairs.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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             A NEW APPROACH TO RESOLVING ISSUES AT IPPERWASH PARK
    

    As highlighted in the recent Throne Speech in late November, the McGuinty
government is committed to acting on the recommendations of the Report of the
Ipperwash Inquiry which was released on May 31, 2007. The inquiry was convened
in 2003 following the death of Dudley George during a protest by First Nation
people at Ipperwash Park in 1995. Justice Sidney Linden, who presided over the
inquiry, made recommendations that will assist in resolving issues and
improving relationships with First Nations.
    One of Justice Linden's findings called for a resolution of the Ipperwash
Provincial Park lands.

    The Future of Ipperwash Park

    The first step in the process to transfer Ipperwash Provincial Park from
the province to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation will be
the joint development of an interim co-management plan by both parties - with
input from other local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal representatives.
    The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, local communities
and the provincial government will jointly determine the interim use of the
park lands, the duration of the interim period and how the park lands will be
managed until the eventual transfer of the land to the First Nation.
    Ipperwash Provincial Park will continue to remain designated as a
provincial park until the required consultation is undertaken and the legal
requirements for removing this designation are met. Whether the land continues
to remain a park will need to be determined by all parties.

    Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action Committee

    Ontario will establish the Ipperwash Inquiry Priorities and Action
Committee. This committee will include First Nations and Métis leadership and
will provide a way for the province to work together with Ontario's Aboriginal
peoples, both on and off-reserve, to act on Justice Linden's recommendations.
    The committee, to be established early in 2008, will assess Justice
Linden's recommendations and offer advice to the Minister of Aboriginal
Affairs on priorities, an action plan and the federal government's role.

    The Ipperwash Inquiry Report

    The receipt of Justice Linden's Report on May 31, 2007, marked an
historic day in Ontario. The Report's recommendations provide a basis for the
government and Aboriginal peoples to move forward together towards a stronger
relationship.
    Ontario is committed to a thorough review of Justice Linden's findings
with our Aboriginal partners, the policing community, the federal government
and other affected parties. Ontario is working on the recommendations of
Justice Linden's Report in a spirit of respect and partnership with its
Aboriginal partners.
    On June 21, 2007, Premier McGuinty delivered on one of the report's
recommendations by establishing a stand-alone Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.
The ministry is building a stronger relationship with Aboriginal peoples to
help resolve outstanding issues.




For further information:

For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs,
Minister's Office, (416) 606-8562; Ann Lehman, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs,
Communications Branch, (416) 326-4759

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