TORONTO — Haudenosaunee Development Institute’s Director Aaron Detlor has resorted to physical violence in his demands that HDI be compensated for removing trees from Osgoode Hall — going so far as to verbally threaten Metrolinx employees that he would ‘show up at their homes’ and repeatedly ramming his car into a fence at one of the company’s construction sites.
Court documents, obtained by TRT, show that Detlor’s behaviour escalated throughout December 2022 when he attended Osgoode Hall, threatened Metrolinx employees that HDI was going to come to the property and that workers could not complete work while the HDI were present.
Sources told TRT that Detlor threatened Metrolinx employees that he would ‘show up at their house’ for their part in working with Metrolinx.
On a second occasion in December, Detlor came to Osgoode Hall and personally dismantled a construction fence and then emailed the Law Society of Ontario to inform them he did so.
“About an hour ago I began dismantling a fence that was infringing and impairing my ability to exercise treaty rights,” wrote Detlor in an email to the CEO of the LSO.
Police were called and Detlor was told he would be arrested if he did not cease dismantling the fence.
On January 16, Metrolinx employees captured video of Detlor — repeatedly ramming his car into a Metrolinx construction fence at Moss Park. The video shows Detlor driving into the fence, backing up, and ramming the fence with his vehicle over and over again. The video was submitted to the courts as evidence in Metrolinx defence.
Detlor is the lawyer and director for the HDI, an entity that conducts business on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council at Six Nations. Detlor is their chosen representative. Ontario requires that developers, municipalities and organizations engage directly with HDI for any development across most of Southern Ontario.
Metrolinx purchased a property outside of Osgoode Hall in Toronto and must remove 11 trees from the property in order to conduct the archeological work that is required before they can build a subway station in front of Osgoode Hall.
Metrolinx says that HDI was notified on numerous occasions that the trees would be removed. The transit provider says that the removal of trees has never been opposed — but says that HDI has “repeatedly confirmed that they can be compensated for all their claims by money” and that all meetings with HDI and Metrolinx regarding the removal of the trees has been about building the compensation model that Metrolinx was going to use to pay HDI.
The financial demands were outlined in an email Detlor sent to Metrolinx including three options: that Metrolinx expropriate and transfer ownership of a mall located in downtown Toronto to the HDI, purchase 45 acres of land in downtown Toronto which Detlor estimated at an approximate $225 million dollar value and hand that over to HDI, or provide HDI with $2.5 million to purchase it’s own property – adjacent to the Six Nations reserve.
Detlor says that HDI has a 200 acre plot of land in mind that Metrolinx can purchase for them — and that he would send along plans for the property to be developed including woodlots, gardens and medicine plots.
Detlor is also demanding Metrolinx replant 1701 trees to account for the lost trees at a value of $200 per tree — which can either be paid directly by Metrolinx purchasing appropriate trees, as determined by HDI — or by giving the money for 1701 trees to the HDI.
Metrolinx has refused to agree to any of those demands for financial compensation.
Now, HDI is claiming that the trees are sacred and that their removal is an infringement on the Haudenosaunee ability to hunt and harvest freely in the area.
Metrolinx claims that HDI is now using an application for an injunction and an application to the Court of Appeal in combination with taking their issues to the press and other publicity efforts as leverage to get Metrolinx forced into mediation so HDI can get financial compensation.
The matter is being heard before a judge Friday afternoon to determine if HDI will be granted an emergency injunction prohibiting Metrolinx from removing the trees.