Conservative MP Erin O'Toole says 'rule of law' should prevail over Indigenous blockades

News Feb 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Conservative leadership hopeful and Durham MP Erin O’Toole says negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and other Indigenous groups are worthless and the police should be sent in to remove the blockades that have shut down most of the country’s rail system.

“We have to have a situation where we say the rule of law is paramount,” said O’Toole, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran and lawyer, in an interview.

“The grievances down the road from me has nothing to do with the pipeline in British Columbia. What is there to negotiate? This is a movement that now has been fuelled by activists who are in many cases not Indigenous and reconciliation is about partnerships and it is about the rule of law.”

He said if the country follows the Liberals' agenda to negotiate with Indigenous and various other activists, then it would set a precedent “encouraging people to break the law.”

“The rule of law needs to be respected,” said O’Toole, who was first elected as an MP in 2012.

Protesters have been blocking rail lines at Tyendinaga, near Belleville, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline through their northern B.C. territory.

After the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction by the B.C. Supreme Court at the B.C. site, protesters across the country blocked access to railway lines in sympathy.

These blockades have stopped CN Rail from transporting across its eastern network, leading to over 1,000 layoffs and halting most Via Rail passenger service Canada-wide.

The federal government announced Feb. 20 that the RCMP will be offering to leave unceded lands in northern B.C. as it tries to meet the conditions of the protesters.

A former cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper government, O’Toole, 47, made his comments in front of an estimated 100 people at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club’s breakfast meeting at Marquis Gardens Banquet Centre.

To the applause of the crowd, O'Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of the term protesters and protests was misguided. 

"They are not," declared O'Toole. "They are illegal blockades. The rule of law applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Indigenous.” 

He said the blockades at Belleville and across the country have been taken over by “anti-development,” and “anti-progress” groups and have nothing to do with Indigenous issues.

In a five-point plan that he recently released on his website, O’Toole said he would:

• Pass freedom-of-movement legislation for bridges, highways, ports and rail lines.

• Make it a criminal offence to blockade those transportation networks.

• Allow police the discretion to take action without seeking a court injunction.

• Change the tax code to strip charitable organizations of their status if they receive foreign funds and get involved in “illegal action" or "illegal blockades.”

• Create an Aboriginal liaison officer program within the RCMP.

O’Toole rejected the idea his plan would lead to another Ipperwash or Oka crisis.

“A lot of municipal and provincial police forces have learned a lot from things going back to Ipperwash and the Dudley George incident,” said O’Toole, referring to the 1995 shooting death of the Ojibwa protester.

"Police forces are light years ahead in the way they are able to de-escalate situations.”

The 1995 Ipperwash dispute at Ipperwash Provincial Park near Lake Huron involved the Stoney Point Ojibway band, which had occupied the park to assert its land claims. In a confrontation with the OPP, George was killed.

In 1990 during the Oka crisis near the Town of Oka, it was a land dispute between the Mohawks and the town after a court allowed the expansion of a golf course. As the Mohawks occupied the park, blockades were set up on the Mercier Bridge. During the 78-day standoff, in which the army was sent in, there was a 15-minute gun battle resulting in a police officer being killed.

O’ Toole — who is competing with former Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay, 54, the perceived front-runner for the Conservative party leadership — said if Conservatives pick MacKay as leader, the party will lose again because it will eventually slide into the political middle.

He said later MacKay’s campaign has been “stumbling from misstep to misstep and they will have to explain how this is supposed to give confidence to our members.”

Instead, O’Toole touted his “successful” campaign and said he will soon he releasing his full platform while raising money and touring the country.

Other contenders who are attempting to meet the $300,000 financial requirements and 3,000 signatures by the March 25 deadline include:

• Richard Decarie, former radio talk show host and political aide under former Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

• Marilyn Gladu, Conservative MP for Sarnia-Lambton.

• Vincenzo Guzzo, movie theatre mogul from Quebec.

• Leslyn Lewis, a Toronto-based lawyer.

• Jim Karahalios, Ontario lawyer.

• Rudy Husny, a Quebec operative for the Conservative party.

• Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman who ran for the leadership in 2017.

• Bobby Singh, entrepreneur and Conservative candidate in a Toronto riding in 2019.

• Derek Sloan, Conservative MP for Hastings-Lennox-Addington in Ontario.

The Conservative leadership contest takes place June 27 in Toronto.

O’Toole said it’s time Ontario “stepped up” because — if the province had won at least half the votes in the 2019 election — the Conservatives would have formed government.

If elected leader, O’Toole said he would become the first Canadian Armed Forces veteran to lead the party in half a century, and the first Ontarian to head the party since Col. George Drew in 1948.

“It’s time for Captain Erin O’Toole,” he said.

RCMP should remove rail blockades, says Tory leadership hopeful

Erin O'Toole speaks at Hamilton event

News Feb 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Conservative leadership hopeful and Durham MP Erin O’Toole says negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and other Indigenous groups are worthless and the police should be sent in to remove the blockades that have shut down most of the country’s rail system.

“We have to have a situation where we say the rule of law is paramount,” said O’Toole, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran and lawyer, in an interview.

“The grievances down the road from me has nothing to do with the pipeline in British Columbia. What is there to negotiate? This is a movement that now has been fuelled by activists who are in many cases not Indigenous and reconciliation is about partnerships and it is about the rule of law.”

He said if the country follows the Liberals' agenda to negotiate with Indigenous and various other activists, then it would set a precedent “encouraging people to break the law.”

"They are not. They are illegal blockades. The rule of law applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Indigenous.” — Erin O'Toole

“The rule of law needs to be respected,” said O’Toole, who was first elected as an MP in 2012.

Protesters have been blocking rail lines at Tyendinaga, near Belleville, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline through their northern B.C. territory.

After the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction by the B.C. Supreme Court at the B.C. site, protesters across the country blocked access to railway lines in sympathy.

These blockades have stopped CN Rail from transporting across its eastern network, leading to over 1,000 layoffs and halting most Via Rail passenger service Canada-wide.

The federal government announced Feb. 20 that the RCMP will be offering to leave unceded lands in northern B.C. as it tries to meet the conditions of the protesters.

A former cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper government, O’Toole, 47, made his comments in front of an estimated 100 people at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club’s breakfast meeting at Marquis Gardens Banquet Centre.

To the applause of the crowd, O'Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of the term protesters and protests was misguided. 

"They are not," declared O'Toole. "They are illegal blockades. The rule of law applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Indigenous.” 

He said the blockades at Belleville and across the country have been taken over by “anti-development,” and “anti-progress” groups and have nothing to do with Indigenous issues.

In a five-point plan that he recently released on his website, O’Toole said he would:

• Pass freedom-of-movement legislation for bridges, highways, ports and rail lines.

• Make it a criminal offence to blockade those transportation networks.

• Allow police the discretion to take action without seeking a court injunction.

• Change the tax code to strip charitable organizations of their status if they receive foreign funds and get involved in “illegal action" or "illegal blockades.”

• Create an Aboriginal liaison officer program within the RCMP.

O’Toole rejected the idea his plan would lead to another Ipperwash or Oka crisis.

“A lot of municipal and provincial police forces have learned a lot from things going back to Ipperwash and the Dudley George incident,” said O’Toole, referring to the 1995 shooting death of the Ojibwa protester.

"Police forces are light years ahead in the way they are able to de-escalate situations.”

The 1995 Ipperwash dispute at Ipperwash Provincial Park near Lake Huron involved the Stoney Point Ojibway band, which had occupied the park to assert its land claims. In a confrontation with the OPP, George was killed.

In 1990 during the Oka crisis near the Town of Oka, it was a land dispute between the Mohawks and the town after a court allowed the expansion of a golf course. As the Mohawks occupied the park, blockades were set up on the Mercier Bridge. During the 78-day standoff, in which the army was sent in, there was a 15-minute gun battle resulting in a police officer being killed.

O’ Toole — who is competing with former Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay, 54, the perceived front-runner for the Conservative party leadership — said if Conservatives pick MacKay as leader, the party will lose again because it will eventually slide into the political middle.

He said later MacKay’s campaign has been “stumbling from misstep to misstep and they will have to explain how this is supposed to give confidence to our members.”

Instead, O’Toole touted his “successful” campaign and said he will soon he releasing his full platform while raising money and touring the country.

Other contenders who are attempting to meet the $300,000 financial requirements and 3,000 signatures by the March 25 deadline include:

• Richard Decarie, former radio talk show host and political aide under former Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

• Marilyn Gladu, Conservative MP for Sarnia-Lambton.

• Vincenzo Guzzo, movie theatre mogul from Quebec.

• Leslyn Lewis, a Toronto-based lawyer.

• Jim Karahalios, Ontario lawyer.

• Rudy Husny, a Quebec operative for the Conservative party.

• Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman who ran for the leadership in 2017.

• Bobby Singh, entrepreneur and Conservative candidate in a Toronto riding in 2019.

• Derek Sloan, Conservative MP for Hastings-Lennox-Addington in Ontario.

The Conservative leadership contest takes place June 27 in Toronto.

O’Toole said it’s time Ontario “stepped up” because — if the province had won at least half the votes in the 2019 election — the Conservatives would have formed government.

If elected leader, O’Toole said he would become the first Canadian Armed Forces veteran to lead the party in half a century, and the first Ontarian to head the party since Col. George Drew in 1948.

“It’s time for Captain Erin O’Toole,” he said.

RCMP should remove rail blockades, says Tory leadership hopeful

Erin O'Toole speaks at Hamilton event

News Feb 21, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Conservative leadership hopeful and Durham MP Erin O’Toole says negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and other Indigenous groups are worthless and the police should be sent in to remove the blockades that have shut down most of the country’s rail system.

“We have to have a situation where we say the rule of law is paramount,” said O’Toole, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran and lawyer, in an interview.

“The grievances down the road from me has nothing to do with the pipeline in British Columbia. What is there to negotiate? This is a movement that now has been fuelled by activists who are in many cases not Indigenous and reconciliation is about partnerships and it is about the rule of law.”

He said if the country follows the Liberals' agenda to negotiate with Indigenous and various other activists, then it would set a precedent “encouraging people to break the law.”

"They are not. They are illegal blockades. The rule of law applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Indigenous.” — Erin O'Toole

“The rule of law needs to be respected,” said O’Toole, who was first elected as an MP in 2012.

Protesters have been blocking rail lines at Tyendinaga, near Belleville, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the proposed construction of a natural gas pipeline through their northern B.C. territory.

After the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction by the B.C. Supreme Court at the B.C. site, protesters across the country blocked access to railway lines in sympathy.

These blockades have stopped CN Rail from transporting across its eastern network, leading to over 1,000 layoffs and halting most Via Rail passenger service Canada-wide.

The federal government announced Feb. 20 that the RCMP will be offering to leave unceded lands in northern B.C. as it tries to meet the conditions of the protesters.

A former cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper government, O’Toole, 47, made his comments in front of an estimated 100 people at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club’s breakfast meeting at Marquis Gardens Banquet Centre.

To the applause of the crowd, O'Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's use of the term protesters and protests was misguided. 

"They are not," declared O'Toole. "They are illegal blockades. The rule of law applies to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Indigenous.” 

He said the blockades at Belleville and across the country have been taken over by “anti-development,” and “anti-progress” groups and have nothing to do with Indigenous issues.

In a five-point plan that he recently released on his website, O’Toole said he would:

• Pass freedom-of-movement legislation for bridges, highways, ports and rail lines.

• Make it a criminal offence to blockade those transportation networks.

• Allow police the discretion to take action without seeking a court injunction.

• Change the tax code to strip charitable organizations of their status if they receive foreign funds and get involved in “illegal action" or "illegal blockades.”

• Create an Aboriginal liaison officer program within the RCMP.

O’Toole rejected the idea his plan would lead to another Ipperwash or Oka crisis.

“A lot of municipal and provincial police forces have learned a lot from things going back to Ipperwash and the Dudley George incident,” said O’Toole, referring to the 1995 shooting death of the Ojibwa protester.

"Police forces are light years ahead in the way they are able to de-escalate situations.”

The 1995 Ipperwash dispute at Ipperwash Provincial Park near Lake Huron involved the Stoney Point Ojibway band, which had occupied the park to assert its land claims. In a confrontation with the OPP, George was killed.

In 1990 during the Oka crisis near the Town of Oka, it was a land dispute between the Mohawks and the town after a court allowed the expansion of a golf course. As the Mohawks occupied the park, blockades were set up on the Mercier Bridge. During the 78-day standoff, in which the army was sent in, there was a 15-minute gun battle resulting in a police officer being killed.

O’ Toole — who is competing with former Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay, 54, the perceived front-runner for the Conservative party leadership — said if Conservatives pick MacKay as leader, the party will lose again because it will eventually slide into the political middle.

He said later MacKay’s campaign has been “stumbling from misstep to misstep and they will have to explain how this is supposed to give confidence to our members.”

Instead, O’Toole touted his “successful” campaign and said he will soon he releasing his full platform while raising money and touring the country.

Other contenders who are attempting to meet the $300,000 financial requirements and 3,000 signatures by the March 25 deadline include:

• Richard Decarie, former radio talk show host and political aide under former Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

• Marilyn Gladu, Conservative MP for Sarnia-Lambton.

• Vincenzo Guzzo, movie theatre mogul from Quebec.

• Leslyn Lewis, a Toronto-based lawyer.

• Jim Karahalios, Ontario lawyer.

• Rudy Husny, a Quebec operative for the Conservative party.

• Rick Peterson, an Alberta businessman who ran for the leadership in 2017.

• Bobby Singh, entrepreneur and Conservative candidate in a Toronto riding in 2019.

• Derek Sloan, Conservative MP for Hastings-Lennox-Addington in Ontario.

The Conservative leadership contest takes place June 27 in Toronto.

O’Toole said it’s time Ontario “stepped up” because — if the province had won at least half the votes in the 2019 election — the Conservatives would have formed government.

If elected leader, O’Toole said he would become the first Canadian Armed Forces veteran to lead the party in half a century, and the first Ontarian to head the party since Col. George Drew in 1948.

“It’s time for Captain Erin O’Toole,” he said.