CALEDONIA, ON, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory
today returned to Caledonia, the site of the ongoing land-occupation, where he
called for new leadership to resolve the current standoff and prevent other
illegal occupations in the future.
"For over a year and a half Dalton McGuinty has permitted an illegal
occupation to paralyze this entire community," Mr. Tory said. "He has failed
the people of Ontario."
The Caledonia occupation began on February 28th, 2006 when a group of
protesters claiming to represent the Six Nations Confederacy staged an illegal
occupation of a Caledonia area building site. In the ensuing 19 months,
vandalism and violence have held the community hostage.
To date, Dalton McGuinty has refused to insist on the rule of law when it
comes to illegal occupations. The Caledonia occupation alone has cost Ontario
taxpayers $55 million so far. Similar disputes have since threatened
communities ranging from Desoronto, Brantford, Hagarsville, the Village of
York, and Dunnville.
Tory announced today that he would move to protect Ontario communities
from illegal occupations by strengthening existing laws.
"I am announcing today that a PC government will amend provincial
statutes, including the Trespass to Property Act to address the breakdown in
law that results from an illegal occupation," said Tory. This new act would
respect the valid interests of each side, protect innocent bystanders, and set
a policy framework for police."
Tory reiterated his commitments to showing new leadership on addressing
the many longstanding issues of Ontario's First Nations' communities:
- Make it a priority to resolve Aboriginal land claims, working in a
spirit of partnership with Aboriginal peoples and the federal
- Work with Ontario's Aboriginal peoples to address the deplorable
conditions in many Aboriginal communities, by working to meet
essential needs in education, health, social services, and
- Improve mental health service capacity in Aboriginal communities in
partnership with Aboriginal peoples and the federal government; and,
- Work with Aboriginal peoples, the federal government, employers and
our colleges and universities to promote and enhance access to our
college and university programs by Aboriginal students.
He also outlined the new ground rules that a Progressive Conservative
government would enforce when confronted with an illegal occupation:
- No negotiation with anyone engaging in an illegal occupation;
- Oppose any group using an illegal occupation to extort concessions or
- Insist that the authority of the courts, including court injunctions,
are respected and enforced; and,
- Use the justice system to pursue civil action against those who
participate in, direct, or financially support illegal occupations.
"I will stand up and stand beside the people of this province to ensure
they are protected," Tory concluded. "For a safe and strong Ontario,
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