Canada

Tory vows to crack down on aboriginal occupations if elected

As premier, John Tory says he would enforce a "one law for all" legal system and apply it to aboriginals who occupy lands as a form of protest against proposed developments.

As premier, John Tory says he would enforce a "one law for all" legal system and apply it to aboriginals who occupy lands as a form of protest against proposed developments.

During a conferencecall with Osprey Media Group, the Progressive Conservative leader suggested Thursday he would establish a zero-tolerance policy on aboriginal land occupations if he is elected premier of Ontario on Oct. 10.

"We can't have even legitimate complaints settled by people taking the law into their own hands," Tory said.

Algonquins have set up a campsite on private property in eastern Ontario near Sharbot Lake, where Oakville-based Frontenac Ventures has staked several uranium mining claims.

The Algonquins said they are protecting their land, which is a disputed territory subject to land claim negotiations, from environmental harm.

Tory said he would have "firm but friendly" conversations with aboriginal leaders to tell them his governmentwould not stand for such tactics.

He didn't elaborate on what that meant.

Late last month, Superior Court Justice Gordon Thomson issued an injunction against the Algonquins, ordering the blockade to end.

As of Thursday, it was still being ignored.

The Sharbot Lake blockade is one of several aboriginal occupations in the province.

Tory said he wouldn't "just sit back" and allow occupations to "go on in place after place after place."

He also admonished Premier Dalton McGuinty for not using the courts or the "moral authority" of the premier's office to end land disputes.

now