QUEEN’S PARK – 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.