Provincial party leaders offer few solutions to Caledonia tensions

Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator
(Sep 15, 2007)

Howard Hampton would bring in James Bartleman.

John Tory would crack down on lawlessness, but won't say how.

Premier Dalton McGuinty blames the federal government.

Thursday's violence at the Stirling South subdivision in Caledonia dominated the election trail yesterday, as party leaders were forced to tell voters what they would do to ease the volatile situation.

Hampton called for a new negotiator in talks between province and native protesters, and suggested Bartleman, the first native lieutenant-governor of Ontario.

"He is in a unique position to address this issue," said Hampton.

Earlier this week, Tory said his party supports suing those responsible for costly civil disobedience.

Pressed yesterday, the PC leader called for a crackdown on lawlessness, but declined to give details of how he would deal with Thursday's violence.

A spokesperson said Tory didn't feel it would be responsible to get into details given the volatile situation.

McGuinty, meanwhile, continued to direct responsibility to the federal government as he has done throughout the Caledonia dispute.

In a statement, he condemned the violence and said there must be consequences legally and at the negotiating table.

"Every time a violent activity takes place, it sets back the progress being made at the negotiating table."

McGuinty said the province will not participate in the next scheduled negotiating meeting and called upon the federal government to do the same.

Both Tory and Hampton were critical of the Liberals' handling of the land claims dispute, suggesting there has been a lack of leadership.