Notification after the fact is the new public consultation

Doug Whitlow

Sometime ago, the Canadian government declared that all Aboriginal communities/First Nations had to be properly consulted prior to any development occurring on or near the First Nation. This new directive sent every Aboriginal community in the country into a frenzy as each First Nation began to develop its own Consultation and Accommodation Program.

The Elected Council from the Six Nations of the Grand River very quickly jumped on the band wagon and set up a team from the Lands and Resources Department to begin designing their very own consultation package which this team managed to accomplish rather quickly. Word of this new development spread quickly and very soon every developer from near and far was beating a path to the Grand River community seeking permission to do build one thing or another from the new Consultation and Accommodation Program or (CAP) team as this group of semi-qualified people is now known.

With the new CAP Team firmly in place in the Grand River community, it wasn’t long before a new five person group (HDI) claiming to represent the (defacto government) of the old (Iroquois Confederacy Chiefs Council) also came on the development scene claiming to represent the people of the Six Nations Reserve. The very quick and unexpected rise of the HDI onto the development scene threw the development community into a dither as no one knew who to contact at the Grand River Reserve as new projects began sprouting up and down the Haldimand Tract.

Here in 2016, a mere eight years from the birth of these two teams, it appears that each of the two local groups continue to go about their respective duties of supposedly working for the betterment of all Iroquois people here in the Grand River Valley; it has also become quite clear that the Six Nations Elected Council has itself adopted a new policy of “Notification after the Fact” from their local development based opponent. One has only to look at the recent Samsung Wind Power Project to see that the Samsung Deal had been completely worked out by the parties concerned and approved before the people of Six Nations was asked whether or not they approved of the project.

The CAP Team and the SAO used this same tactic of “Notification after the Fact” just recently as these two bodies worked with Avalon Construction to develop the large McClung Road Housing Development in North Caledonia. There again, the project was designed by Avalon and approved by CAP and the SAO well before the community was asked for their individual opinions.

The latest wrinkle in this new “Notification after the Fact” approach to local development projects is the new Tim Horton’s Sugar Factory which will open soon here in our diabetic laden community.

In just a few weeks anyone suffering from Diabetes and other diseases will be able to walk to the new Sugar Factory to satisfy their desire for any one of the many sugar laden delicacies being sold in the new store. Anyone with some knowledge of how construction projects are designed and built should be able to see that the Tim Horton’s project must have been in the works for quite some time as the project has been very neatly incorporated into the Street Widening and Storm Sewer Project which has been interrupting our daily lives here in Ohsweken all summer.

Now; there is no doubt that the new street-widening project was necessary along with the new sewers, which is all well and good. However; many of us who live and work in the village never heard about the Tim Horton’s until construction began even though, we can be sure that someone must have placed an ad in some unknown newspaper somewhere in the province to make some people aware of the new sugar factory being planned for the village.

Now; all of us who have had to put up with the endless traffic problems all summer now realize that these traffic problems will seem like child’s play once Tim Horton`s is open for business and we have cars and trucks destroying our peace and quiet on a continual basis all year long. Of course; there will be those who will say the new store will create new local employment positions for our youth, which, it will no doubt do. However; on the other hand, no one is saying anything about the one or more community or non-community members who own the store and will get incredibly richer from the project while remaining safely well away from all the traffic problems we local people will have to deal with.

And so; that is that, as we the people must learn to adjust to the new norm of “Notification after the Fact” which has become the new norm in local politics. But; there is something we can do about this new tradition as this just happens to be an election year here on the Rez and I would urge everyone to get out and run for office or at least get out and vote an entirely new Chief and Council into office so we can put an end to “Notification after fact”.

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