Posts Tagged ‘Caledonia victims’

Caledonians Take over McGuinty’s Castle

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The four speakser at the news conference (courtesy Mark Vandermaas)


Not exactly… but having Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas and their supporters talk to the press at Queen’s Park, from where most of the injustice to the people of Caledonia started, almost sounds like a takeover.

Unfortunately, we can’t credit Dalton McGuinty for that event. The news conference, entitled “Ending Race-Based Policing: The Caledonia Act”, was arranged by MPP Toby Barrett and he is the person, who deserves the praise. Regardless of how good Mr. Barrett is, I can’t miss the opportunity to say a word about his party boss.

I (and other conservatives) would never forget how Tim Hudak squandered the chance to defeat in the last election one of the worst Premiers Ontario ever had. If he had the courage to place in his platform, as one of his major issues, the restoration of justice and equal treatment under the law of everybody in Ontario, he could’ve easily defeated McGuinty, who was already disliked for his abysmal economic record. Instead, we are now faced with the perspective of another 4 years under Dalton’s rule and nobody knows how bad those years would be for the people of Caledonia (and for our electric bills).

Besides the Caledonia activists, some other organizations were present at the event. Stuart Laughton from the pro-Israel Hamilton-based Never Again Group, who made an excellent speech (I will get back to it), and Mary Lou Ambrogio, the VP of the International Free Press Society.

No Caledonia-related event has ever gone smoothly and this one wasn’t an exception. The third speaker, Kristin Kaye, a reporter for the Regional, was previously shoved by an OPP officer. Right before the news conference, she was contacted by the OPP who called to tell her that if she did speak at the conference she would be “breaching the peace.” Kristin was very concerned about this threat, but refused to be intimidated and gave a great speech. In my earlier post about Gary I quoted a statement of an OPP officer, who was also complaining of Gary disturbing the “peace”. It’s amusing to hear such complaints from an organization, which for years made sure that there was no peace in Caledonia.

Gary McHale and the others presented a well thought-out summary of the issues and the legal remedies that would resolve them. I don’t have enough space to list each and every one of them, so I will provide just the highlights. The major issue is the institutionalized race-based policing through which the province violated the rule of law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, police protection was refused to the victims of the radicals.

The senior police officers were engaged in issuing illegal, politically-motivated orders, which were disguised under some kind of a “peacekeeping” mission to justify the race-based policing. The police allowed security threats from radicals conducting economic terrorism on the Canadian state at the cost of $4.1 Billion (according to MPP Toby Barrett) in the Haldimand Tract.

The vexatious land claims used by radicals created instant payouts for them from federal/provincial governments while opening door to legalized lawlessness. Thus the land claims became a political process rather than a legal one.

On the basis of those issues, the activists presented legislative recommendations affecting several government acts. Some of the changes in the Police Services Act would require: ‘Duties of a police officer’ to include higher duty to come to the aid of victims while crimes are being committed; duty not to violate section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; duty to report, to the Ombudsman and civilian oversight agency, orders from a superior officer not to uphold the rule of law, or orders that violate section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (providing ‘Whistle-blower’ protection for officers who report); Police Services Boards, by resolution, may call public inquiry into police services in their jurisdiction; police officers not permitted to refuse to give a statement during police complaint investigations; end the policy of police investigating police – creation of transparent, independent civilian investigation service for police complaints, and others.

The Ombudsman Act should require: expanding Ombudsman’s mandate to include policing issues; the Ombudsman to have authority to call public inquiry into police services in an affected jurisdiction; whistle blower protection for any officer who report violations of the Charter.

The Crown Attorneys Act needs an overhaul as well: private prosecutors to be treated on par with the Crown; Crown to be required to seek permission from the Court in order to take over a prosecution in absence of consent from private prosecutor; Crown to be prevented from intervening to stop a private prosecution before a charge has been issued by a judge, i.e. before evidence is presented by the private prosecutor, etc.

Similar changes were proposed to the Ministry of the Attorney General Act and the Ministry of the Solicitor General Act.

A section on Policy Recommendations proposed concrete measures to address the grievances of the victims: call public inquiry into Caledonia to examine both the policies and actions of the OPP and Crown’s office as to whether they violated section 15 of the Charter of Rights regarding equality of all people and whether they followed orders that permitted and/or encouraged criminal activities; apology to Caledonia/Haldimand County by OPP; apology to Caledonia/Haldimand by Ontario Government; Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) to be given to Haldimand County subject to exercise of right of first refusal by Henco, under no circumstances is DCE to be given to Six Nations; provide funding for future monument on DCE, to be inscribed with above apologies; fund counselling for Caledonia victims; refuse any further negotiations with any group that is involved in violence or illegal occupations of private property; appoint a new OPP Commissioner with a mandate to end race-based policing within the OPP.

There was also a request to call on the federal government to cease all funding to groups, organizations or publications such as Redwire Magazine that advocate racism, hate, violence or other criminal behaviour – with the exception of peaceful civil disobedience.

The last part providing recommendations on how to make the land claim process more transparent and straightforward and to specifically exclude from the claim negotiations violent groups involved in illegal occupation.

An eloquent speech was delivered by Stuart Laughton from the Hamilton-based Never Again Group, whose purpose is to defend the state of Israel from baseless accusations and fight anti-Semitism in its various guises. Although this may seem a very different issue from what happened in Caledonia, there are staggering similarities due to the bad policies of the Ontario government:

“The Never Again Group does not believe that the Ontario government’s directives to police in Caledonia began with ill intentions—and we don’t know anyone who believes that Premier McGuinty is specifically targeting Jews there—but these directives were nevertheless profoundly wrong and dangerous in ways Canadians are only now beginning to appreciate. I want to stress that my group has made no opposition to Natives who make land claims: we only protest the violent manner in which the claims to the Caledonia property are made and the racially skewed responses of the Ontario government.

It is a temptation we all fall into at one time or another to do what feels generous in the short term and to extend consideration to others, especially those perceived to be different from us. A much more challenging stance is to consider what the unintended long-term consequences of such generous instincts might be, and whether these results might still be judged to be good. We see today that one of the unintended consequences of privileging natives on the Caledonia property has been to bar Jews from that property.

Gary McHale’s provocative “No Jews Allowed” sign is correct. Does Premier McGuinty now wish he’d chosen the path of one law for all right from the beginning?

Now that we have this unfortunate precedent in Caledonia let’s consider who Ontario’s next Premier might be, and which groups he might favour. Will he turn everything completely around and allow me to assault a native person, arresting the innocent victim of my violence? Will Tamils once again be allowed to walk their families down an expressway, stopping traffic and endangering lives? What if a large Christian activist group “occupies” downtown areas of our cities for weeks on end at great expense and inconvenience to the public, breaking numerous laws with impunity? Why wouldn’t that be permissible under some future premier? Will our next premier instruct police not to enter predominantly Muslim areas of our major cities, and allow microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law to flourish there? The nightmare scenario of parallel, segregated societies where police have lost control is playing out in Europe today. Parts of England—even parts of London—have become No-Go zones that are extremely hostile to non-Muslims.

We also have to consider the effect that racially biased policing has on those Native Canadians, Tamils, Muslims and others who ask for no special favours and want nothing to do with the demands of the more militant members of their community. Who speaks for them? We have to consider the corrosive effects of the government’s directives on the rank and file police officers who can no longer obey their primary instinct—and sworn duty—to arrest the bad guys. Who speaks for them and what has been lost in this process?

The Never Again Group calls on the Ontario Provincial Police and the government of Dalton McGuinty to set the example that Ontario’s citizens expect from them. Equality before the law is an unassailable position that must be part of the election platform of every responsible political party.

There are many ethnic groups in Canada, which is a wonderful thing but wholly irrelevant where the law is concerned—because where the law is concerned we must forget who is a Jew, a Native, a Tamil, a Muslim or an atheist. Our citizenry consists of millions and millions and millions of individuals, and these INDIVIDUALS are the ultimate minorities. Each of us has the right to be treated impartially before the law. That’s what matters.

Maybe it’s all that matters.

Thank you.”

This speech should be required reading for all politicians in Canada. It illustrates very well the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions – the preferential treatment of any group usually end up in disaster. You see, I don’t think that politicians could be our moral compass – most of them really think within a very short time frame and only from a position that would answer their most essential question: “What can I do to get more votes?”

As a result, the big picture is totally lost to them and all they care about is finding some ethnic, religious or other group, which they can enchant en masse to win their votes. Do you remember those inspirational posters with a picture and a slogan, which you could see in every corporate office? One of the Laughton’s closing sentences should be on the wall of every politician’s office:

“Our citizenry consists of millions and millions and millions of individuals, and these INDIVIDUALS are the ultimate minorities.”

I am sure Dalton McGuinty and Barbara Hall would definitely win, if they follow it (but I don’t bet on it).

As I mentioned before, I fully support the recommendations outlined in the Caledonia Act. And I am just as sure that the next Ontario government would start working on restoring justice in the province. However, none of those measures would ensure full justice unless an important obstacle is removed.

Actually, that’s not an obstacle; it’s a giant boulder that blocks the solution of the native issues in Canada. It’s called the Indian Act. That outdated piece of legislature, a relic from the colonial past, ensures that all aboriginal issues are treated from a racist point of view. Since the federal laws supersede the provincial ones, the shadow of the Indian Act will always be a threat.

Right now I am working on a piece about Section 13 of the Human Rights Act (the censorship section). While going through the decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal, I came across a recent (September 2011) decision concerning a native rights complaint: Jeremy Eugene Matson, Mardy Eugene Matson And Melody Katrina Schneider (Nee Matson), Complainant – and – Canadian Human Rights Commission – and – Indian And Northern Affairs Canada, Respondent; Ruling by Member: Edward P. Lustig, Tribunal Member, 2011 CHRT 14, 2011/09/27.

It deals with three people, whose rights as Indians were not recognized by a band and by the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada:

    1. The Complainants were all born before 1985. They have one Indian grandparent: a woman who lost status when she married a non-Indian before 1985, and who regained her status under s. 6 (1) (c) of the Indian Act with the passage of  the Bill C-31 amendments in 1985. By virtue of those same amendments, the children of her marriage with a non-Indian man (one of whom was the Complainants’ father, Eugene) were deemed eligible for status under s.6 (2) of the Indian Act. Since the 1985 amendments only gave their father status under s. 6 (2), and since their mother was a non-Indian, the Complainants were not at the time of the filing by them of their Complaints entitled to any status under the Indian Act since s. 6 (2) does not allow a person to pass his or her status to children with non Indians. As a result, the children they have had with non-Indians since 1985 were also not entitled to status.
    2. The Complainants prepared and delivered a chart that sets out their family and status history as compared to a hypothetical family history that is identical in all respects, save for the sex of their Indian grandparent. In other words, in the hypothetical family history, their Indian grandparent is male instead of female. All dates of births, marriages and deaths are consistent in both scenarios. As shown in the chart, the Complainants in the hypothetical patrilineal scenario would at the time of the filing by them of their Complaints have had status under s. 6 (1) of the Indian Act, and would be able to pass s. 6 (2) status to their children while in their real matrilineal scenario they had no status either under s. 6 (1) or under s. 6 (2).
    3. The Complainants alleged that this differential treatment, flowing from discrimination in the Indian Act, had two principal adverse effects: first, they were themselves denied status, and the benefits that flow therefrom; and second, they were being denied the opportunity to pass status to their children.

I don’t know about you, but I feel dirty after reading that. It’s hard to believe that such blatantly racist considerations about the “purity” of origin are discussed seriously in Canada in 2011. The explanation above is like a court case in Nazi Germany or the old South Africa or an elaborate evaluation in Dr. Mengele’s Auschwitz office, where the purity of genealogy would decide who is allowed to live longer. Only the Nazi phrenology examination is missing. It also reminds me of the famous conductor Herbert von Karajan’s case where his wife who had Jewish ancestry was proclaimed an “honorary Arian” due to his membership in the Nazi party.

What would you think if any other ethnic group is privileged in the same way? With any other ethnic or racial group such discussions are taboo in Canada. I don’t see any reason why the Indians should be treated differently than anybody else.

Section 13 was suspended, because a human rights “judge” finally realized that it violates the freedom of expression. Why can’t another human rights “judge” strike down the Indian Act as discriminatory and racist?

Here is why – when things are in chaos and disarray because of a bad law, there are always clever people, who benefit from the situation. While the ordinary natives are fighting to prove their ancestry, the band elites do everything to maintain their control over them.

Let me introduce to you Dr. Pamela D. Palmater, one of the people who speak for those elites. She has an impressive resume – a Mi’kmaw lawyer and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. She teaches Indigenous law, politics and governance at Ryerson University and heads their Centre for Indigenous Governance.

Last month we witnessed a meeting between the Canadian government and the Indian chiefs. Dr. Palmater was unhappy about it and wrote the following in an article for

“The assimilation plan of the 1969 White Paper which is also reflected in Flanagan’s two books, is now being promoted under the guise of “individual opportunity.” What is worse, is that Atleo signed on to this plan fulfilling Flanagan’s and Conservative visions of “voluntary” assimilation.

All you need to be able to read between the lines is to understand their use of code words like “individual opportunity” (destroy communities), “solution to Canada’s labour woes” (we are their labour pool), “unlocking the potential of First Nation lands” (transfer to non-Indians) and “maximizing benefits for all Canadians” (Canada gets rich off our remaining lands and resource).”

So no matter what the government does to empower the native individuals, it is always based on some evil plan. If they provide jobs, they are using the Indians; if they develop the lands, they are stealing them, etc., etc. Boy, it isn’t easy to be such a grumpy woman. But it gets even worse when she describes the ceremonies around the meeting:

“None of this organizational nightmare would compare to the very overt symbolism embedded in the actual ceremonies. The gathering was held in a government building, with a limited number of chiefs, separated from their real strength — their people, under the guard of many RCMP, undercover security and what looked like snipers on top of the building. It is very notable that one of our most respected elders in the procession was immediately followed by an RCMP officer. Similarly, after our elder gave a prayer, this was immediately followed up by an RCMP singing Oh Canada. This is symbolic of the very real control of our populations by Canada’s police, RCMP and military. Our relationship has been and continues to based on control over our communities by Canada in often harsh and deadly ways.”

Chiefs who can’t bring the whole tribe… Secret agents in dark trench coats… Cold-blooded snipers on the rooftops… Scary RCMP officers… Horror of horrors – somebody sings the National Anthem of Canada… And you can probably hear in the background the demonic laughter of Stephen Harper…

If I tell that woman that she is not different in her way of thinking from the violent occupiers in Caledonia, she would certainly get offended. But they both have the same goal – to alienate the natives from the rest of Canada and turn them into a herd without individual voices. A herd is easy to control when you are the elite, who distributes the federal money.

It’s no wonder that so many people are leaving the reserves. At least that is clear to the people of Caledonia – you can’t resolve any major issues in our society, if you don’t treat everybody as a sovereign individual, regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, religion or any other characteristic that tends to herd us into faceless groups.


© 2012

Gary McHale and the Caledonia 8: An Interview


Gary, Bonnie and Merlyn about an hour before their arrest on December 3


Over two months ago I attended a protest rally in Caledonia against the ongoing native occupation of a large piece of land. During the protest OPP arrested eight of the participants – Gary McHale, Doug Fleming, Merlyn Kinrade, Randy Fleming, Bonnie Stephens, Jack Van Halteren, Mark Vandermaas and Jeff Parkinson. They justified the arrests with the excuse that only “land claimants” were allowed on the disputed land (even though now it is owned by the provincial government). None of the officers seemed to notice that the protesters never reached the land; they were apprehended on the road, which is a country property.

Fast forward to the last week – after Caledonia Eight’s second appearance in court, the charges were dropped. The Crown decided that no conviction could be secured. The problem is that if on December 3 somebody from the government bothered to look at the situation with sober mind, nothing of that would’ve happened. Despite dropping the charges, OPP is still on the hook for unlawful arrests and kidnapping of eight people, who shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.

It’s just another chapter in the bizarre saga of the Caledonia occupation, where most of the actions of the authorities are devoid of any logic.

The article about the acquittal in the Hamilton Spectator, provides a short interview with Constable Mark Foster of the Haldimand OPP, which provides a glimpse into the way of thinking of the police force:

“He said each circumstance is judged on its own merits and police only act when a situation “reaches a point where it may breach the peace.” When McHale and his supporters go to Douglas Creek Estates, it usually draws a group of natives who mill about on DCE, keeping a close eye on them. Sometimes the OPP get in between the two sides. Foster said police will be monitoring the Feb. 18 rally, but warned “as soon as (the Caledonia Eight group) comes on to the property, it causes unrest and that’s the beginning of disturbing the peace.”

That’s an interesting take – one of the reasons for the December 3 rally was an armed robbery of the Caledonia KFC. When the robber was traced with a dog, it turned out he escaped to the occupied land, so the police didn’t pursue him. Apparently, a robbery doesn’t disturb the peace enough, while the very presence of the peaceful Gary McHale hurts the feelings of the thugs who illegally occupy the land.

Last month I met Gary in Caledonia to get his take on the events. Actually, the meeting was my wife’s idea, because events similar to those in Caledonia are brewing in Japan. The Ainu (native population living in the North) have similar status – they get billions and billions of yen without doing much, but they demand more and are becoming more aggressive. They even try to use the UN against Japan – the same corrupt UN controlled by Third World crooks and Muslim fanatics, which has no problem taking Japan’s money (the country is one of the biggest UN donors).

Gary agreed to a short meeting, but when everything was said and done, it turned out we spent nearly four hours talking (he even brought Merlyn Kinrade with him). He is an interviewer’s dream – so passionate about his cause that when you ask him a question, not only does he give you an answer, but also provides you with information from other perspectives that I wouldn’t have a clue to ask about.

He jokingly calls himself a “gabber”, but it is so fascinating to listen to him – the events he has been through are so extraordinary that your only option is to sit and listen trying to figure out how all of them could happen in Canada. To me, the closest similar experience was the talks with the victims of communism after its fall, when the survivors from camps and jails could finally tell their stories without fear. I am aware that Canada is not a totalitarian country, but the way the Caledonia events were suppressed by the media shakes that belief.

We meet at Tim Hortons, which is his idea. That’s not a randomly chosen location. This coffee shop is located strategically close to the place where most of the violence took place in 2006. From its windows you can see Douglas Creek Estates (the occupied land), several houses and the Canadian Tire store. I’ll get back to what Gary and the others saw from those windows years ago.

Although we don’t ask about his background, from his remarks we can piece together his life. It hasn’t been easy – his brothers and him have had their brushes with the law. He credits his Christian faith for turning his life around. Surprisingly, he is not from Caledonia – he used to live in Richmond Hill (that’s almost Toronto). Gary decided to join the people in the town after he saw on TV what was happening.

Since he is one of the best known faces of the Caledonian conflict, we ask him about his opinion of the media. He praises the bloggers, who are interested in his cause, because they are very supportive. However, not surprisingly, his opinion about the mainstream media is not that high. Many reporters approach him with a pre-conceived agenda and try to present him in a way that fits it.

He recalls an interview with a reporter at his home. His wife asked if the reporter wanted coffee and left the room. When the interview was published, it mentioned that Gary was wearing the same shirt the reporter saw him in at a protest several weeks before that and she also said that as soon as the interview began, he sent his wife to the kitchen. He still wonders if the journalist wanted to present him as a poor family despot.

Nevertheless, he tries to ignore the media hostility to make his point heard. He won’t refuse an interview; he would appear on any radio or TV station that would invite him. He has even been on many native radio stations (surprisingly not all of them have been hostile).

But things can turn ugly with the media considering that Gary is up against a hostile provincial government. Case in point – the local Haldimand newspaper Regional News This Week. It has been published for over 35 years and its honest editor Chris Pickup made the “mistake” of supporting the Caledonia victims.

It regularly published materials by Gary and other activists. Gary gave me the January 11 issue, which contained a large editorial by Chris on the lawlessness in Caledonia. There was also an opinion piece by Gary on Mayor Hewitt’s disgraceful behaviour of refusing to appear in court in an OPP case, and letters from Albert Marshall, son of  the late Superior Court Judge David Marshall, and Merlyn Kinrade about the same case.

You don’t need to be psychic to figure out how that rebellious paper was dealt with – the government withdrew all its advertising, amounting to over $2,000,000, which needless to say was a devastating blow to a free newspaper. And that was the end – this week the paper went out of business.

Next we move to the major issue – the native occupation. The situation with the Indian Act and the reserve system is very complicated. The government is responsible for maintaining the reserves, but it doesn’t do it directly – it provides the funds to the chiefs and the band council, which are supposed to do the work. However, since practically there is no accountability, the money is often misused (like in the recent case of Atawapiskat). But that doesn’t relieve the government from responsibility and they have to fix the problems with new payments. The whole scheme breeds a never-ending cycle of corruption from which the ordinary natives always suffer.

The system is so broken that many people of the reserves leave them to live independently (although that is not widely publicized). Things get even worse when you consider that the Indian tribes have a very loose idea about laws and treaties. For example, even if a claim treaty is signed by most clans, years later descendants of those who didn’t sign can decide to start it all over again.

Even the common individual rights don’t apply on the reserves. Often people can be expelled on racist grounds (that they are not pure enough). In other cases bands have decided to banish criminals or people they don’t like from their territory (imagine if the Mayor of Toronto decided to do something like that). Until very recently it wasn’t even possible to file human rights complaints on the reserves.

(In my opinion the whole system is a feudal relic from the past, in which people depend completely on the mercy of the chief. It was no wonder that the Indians voted overwhelmingly against the Meech Lake Accord, which was supposed to provide them with self-government.)

Things get even more complicated when we turn to the Six Nations issue. They arrived in the 18th century  after the Crown purchased the Haldimand Tract as a refuge for them from the  Mississauga Indians in accordance with the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 in  gratitude for being loyal allies during the Revolutionary War (it’s a long story and you can find more information about it here). Their territory is clearly defined and there is no ground for any claims. As relative newcomers, they don’t even have federal status, which explains why the federal government never got involved in the conflict, allowing McGuinty to mess up everything royally.

It’s a myth that the occupation was started by ordinary natives. The criminals had been a major part of it from the very beginning. Gary tells me about a horrible incident that he and other people watched from the very same Tim Hortons.

It was at the height of the tensions, with many officers and natives roaming around. Across the coffee shop that day there was a police van with several officers and an American, who was an ATF agent (from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency), sitting in it. A group of Indians approached the van, opened the doors and pulled everybody out. One of the criminals grabbed the American, pulled out a knife and put it to his throat. The most amazing thing was that none of the dozens of OPP officers did anything to help their colleagues.

Then the Indian released the agent and went to a policeman with hands stretched forward, asking to be arrested. The policeman did absolutely nothing. Then the thug turned around yelling at people: “You see? They can’t do anything! Next I will get you.” Imagine how the people, who were supposed to be protected by the police felt at the time.

Meanwhile the other Indians stole the van with all the equipment in it. In a few hours they brought it back, empty and trashed. It gets even worse – after the US government learned about the incident, they asked for information to prosecute the criminals and McGuinty’s government refused any cooperation.

When Gary and the other people who witnessed the crime learned about that, they contacted the US District Attorney in charge of the case and testified in Buffalo. The case ended in conviction.

(Do we really have a government in this province?)

That’s how the violence was neutralized – many of the main criminals were arrested one by one when crossing the border, mostly on drugs and weapons smuggling charges.

There are many other horrible stories that Gary remembers. The husband, who was kidnapped by the Indians for violating their “curfew” in front of OPP and his wife; then there was that school nearby, which had to have police protection; the local woman whose brother OPP tried to deport, and so on, and so on.

As of Gary, he has also suffered his fair share of abuse – he has been arrested several times (each and every one of them illegally); he has been beaten and had to spend time in hospital.

Even under those circumstances he hasn’t lost his sense of humour. He jokes that he had to become his own lawyer. He had no other choice – from the very beginning he has been harassed through bogus charges that he had to fight in courts.

Thanks to the internet, he has been able to study the laws and the litigation procedures to the point where he can represent himself successfully without losing a case. Not unlike Mahatma Gandhi, who fought the British Empire in courts, Gary can successfully oppose McGuinty’s judicial machine with its expensive lawyers and beat it every time with truth and honesty.

I really envy him for his determination and stamina, which keeps him going. On February 18 he plans another rally at the occupied territory. Nobody knows what is going to happen – he might be arrested or everything may go smoothly, it’s a toss-up. But one thing is sure – he will keep going.

The trouble is that the other side has no intention of slowing down either. Until the Indian Act is abolished and the natives are treated like individuals, there will always be opportunists willing to exploit the current system to get easy money. Just before the meeting of Harper with the chiefs last month, Stewart Phillip, a B.C. Indian chief warned that if the natives don’t get what they want, they may start an Arab-Spring-like “uprising”. I wonder if they’ll still demand their welfare cheques during the uprising.

That’s typical, instead of thinking how to improve the opportunities for their “subjects”, people like Phillip are ready and willing to sacrifice them.

Only a few years ago the ordinary Canadians would’ve listened quietly to him afraid of being accused of racism, but now the outrage was almost unanimous (if we exclude the professional grievance mongers).

I am sure that in our country, which is dangerously short of heroes and courageous people, Gary McHale and the few others like him would gradually help us re-establish a society that is just for all individuals.


© 2011

Baby Steps toward Peace in Caledonia


The Caledonia reconciliation rally on Sunday

Yesterday two organizations, which work for achieving justice and peace in Caledonia (Caledonia Victims Project and CANACE), organized an important event. There were two parts to the event. The first one was Father’s Day BBQ with a lot of food and music. Two hours later came the serious part – a rally for peace and reconciliation, with a plan to place a small monument at the place, where the dispute started long time ago.

Mark makes a point near the reconciliation monument


Signs at the entrance of the farm

If you haven’t been to Caledonia, it is hard to understand what was going on in the town. It took the mainstream media quite a while to wake up to the events, while the lefty slanderers are still trying to distort everything related to the conflict.
I thought how to explain everything in a very concise way and couldn’t find anything that symbolizes the events better than the Caledonia smoke shack. It is located near the farm where the BBQ took place, on the left side of the road to Port Dover.
It is a real shack operated by natives, where you can buy tax-free cigarettes at VERY low prices. All the major brands are available, they are all factory-made and there’s no cigarette factory to be seen around the shack. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that the owners would buy smokes at regular prices and sell them to everybody out of the goodness of their hearts. Some discounts of that kind would be available only on reserves to holders of a Status Indian cards.
But that’s not the reserve – the shack has been built without permission on land owned by an electric power company. The “enterprise” is illegal from every conceivable point of view, yet it has been allowed to operate undisturbed for many years.
Now, imagine that an artist puts a table on a Toronto street to sell jewellery she made – how long would it take before she is ticketed, fined, and chased away? That’s the double standard, which caused the tragic events in Caledonia. The smoke shack is just a symbol, the reality was much worse.
The BBQ was the fun part, with Gary McHale operating the device efficiently and making sure everybody had enough hotdogs and corndogs. Stuart Laughton played some great music with his guitar.

Gary McHale, the BBQ chef, and his guests


Let the music play...

People from Caledonia and other nearby places attended. There was even a group of Jewish supporters of the cause from Hamilton.
Even the media were represented – a lady who manages a local network of radio stations, who drove a long distance to attend. There was a CBC radio reporter, who conducted several interviews and she actually listened to what the guests had to say.

The CBC reporter at work

This was in a stark contrast to the CBC reporter at the High Park event, who spent most of her time arguing with the interviewees.
Despite the fun, that wasn’t a happy-go-lucky event. Many of the guests had gone through events that they’d rather forget.
Everybody had a story to tell and I learned many facts, many of them strange and shocking. Lawlessness dominated Caledonia for years with the silent approval of OPP when a gang of native militants occupied a part of the town.
They showed me the power station into which the extremists drove a truck, set it on fire and caused damage that deprived the area from electricity for weeks. Then there was the place on the highway where the same people dug holes in order to stop the traffic.
They also erected barriers and checkpoints and acted as a police force, frisking everybody and even introducing curfews. I heard about the two police officers, who got lost and were detained and tied by the militants and their vehicle destroyed. They were released after negotiations and none of the native perpetrators was ever prosecuted. The media covered up the case completely.
I met Jeff Parkinson, a cameraman, who at a previous rally had been attacked, beaten and left with brain damage. His camera is always on at the events to make sure that everything is recorded to prevent blackmail and false accusations (and there had been plenty of those in the past).
I also met Doug, an outspoken and energetic fellow who knew everything about the conflict (he reminded me of Dale from King of the Hill). He expressed his position vividly through the cartoon art on his truck, which shows what Dalton McGuinty, Julian Fantino and OPP did to Caledonia (better see the picture, since I can’t mention that activity here).

Doug has a clear message to McGuinty, Fantino and OPP

He told me how everybody lived in fear for years. The free reign that the militants were given by the Ontario Government, affected not only the local people but also the natives. There was a case where a native university student in Toronto condemned officially the lawlessness and her parents’ house on the Six Nations reserve was torched by somebody.
Then there was the lady who shall remain unnamed for the sake of her privacy. She still needs medications to cope with the consequences of the horror that her family had to endure. They lived near the disputed area and were harassed repeatedly – the occupiers often spent all night playing loud music near the
house (they didn’t need to go to work the next morning). The family was searched regularly by the thugs. They were even told to remove the Canadian flag or else something bad may happen to their house (they removed the flag to stay out of trouble).
In the beginning, she used to call the police for help, but they never showed up, afraid of confronting the thugs. Once she called to complain that they wanted to frisk (or rather grope) her 21-year old daughter, who lived in the house. The best that the police officer on the other end was able to come up with, was to ask her why her daughter still lives in her parents’ house.
Ironically, her son works for the OPP, but she didn’t tell me how he felt about that. Her daughter was planning to join the OPP, but after all that she went through, she couldn’t do it.
The whole situation looked so surreal to me – it was impossible to comprehend how something like that can go on for years in the 21st century in one of the leading democracies in the world.
The things are changing, but slowly, and the fear is still there. After many years, the mainstream media finally realized that there was a problem. Then came the activism of Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas. Then Christie Blatchford’s book Helpless came out – it put that injustice in the national spotlight.
The local movement for justice is entirely based on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. All they want is to get the attention of the government and rectify the consequences of many years of lawlessness. Yet they are those who get beaten and assaulted by the other side. I already mentioned Joseph. Many others have spent time in hospitals or under arrest at police stations. A few months ago Gary McHale was assaulted by a trespassing union activist on private property, yet McHale was the one to be arrested and charged. The case was so ridiculous that even the Crown realized they’ve gone too far and dropped the charges.
At 2 p.m. we were supposed to go to the disputed area to erect a small monument calling for reconciliation. Almost every such event in the past has ended with assaults and arrests of the peaceful protestors.

Shortly before leaving...

They anticipated the same to happen today. Just before leaving, Gary McHale gave short instructions – don’t respond to verbal insults or physical assault, just notify the police who’ll be present there.

Gary McHale explains how the protestors can avoid being beaten...

We drove to the place. There was already a not very friendly crowd assembled there. The majority were natives. The lefty loons from the city, who usually made the bulk of the protesters, were underrepresented today. The police cars (mostly unmarked) were everywhere, they even had some concealed at Canadian Tire’s parking. The police officers vastly outnumbered the participants on both sides.

The crowd is waiting...


The "Mohawk Warrior" flag - a "proud" symbol of hostility

After short talk with the police chief, we were escorted to the opposite side of the road. Then Mark Vandermaas, Gary McHale and a representative of the Jewish community gave short speeches about the need of justice and reconciliation.

We've just arrived...


Gary is giving explanations while the police are taping the "troublemakers"


Last preparations...


Ready to go...


OPP escorts us to the other side of the road...


Mark speaks


Gary talks...


Words from the Jewish community...

The opposite crowd got more hostile, but that showed only in smirks, sneers and whispers. At the same time, two guys who were deep inside the occupied territory started yelling insults (you can see one of them in the picture below). Since they were at a way too safe distance, it was hard to comprehend all of the insults, so their efforts didn’t bring much of an effect.

A lonely voice cries obscenities from the wilderness...


They could've been firendlier than that, but at least they didn't try to beat us up...


Big Lefty Sister is watching...


Time to go...

Later we learned that it took the police many hours of convincing the occupiers to behave in order to create that resemblance of peace.
The whole experience was very excruciating and unpleasant. The hostility left a real bad taste. However, when we went back to the farm, Mark and Gary were ecstatic. They considered the event a miracle and a historical achievement – for the first time during one of their demonstrations nobody was beaten,
assaulted or arrested.
It’s hard to share their excitement, but I could imagine how bad it had been before, if today’s event looked better. Obviously, here you can advance only with baby steps and must be really persistent to achieve any progress.
I want to end with something that Doug told me during our long talk. He said that there were many different people on the reserve – some look native, others are whiter than him. He knows many of them, they attended the same schools and chased the same girls. Whenever one of them tries to bring up the colonial past as an explanation for all problems, he answers that it’s not worth it to get all wound up over issues that have happened long before both of them were born. All that matters is what we can do here and now to resolve our conflicts.
And I agree with him – we need to resolve our conflicts by treating everybody equally. As citizens of Canada we have exactly the same rights and responsibilities. Isn’t it time to take them seriously for the benefit of ourselves and our country?
Maybe that would be the way to make the illegal smoke shack disappear…
© 2011

Father’s Day BBQ, and Truth & Reconciliation Rally in Caledonia

On Sunday, June 19, 2011, from 12 (noon) to 2 p.m. CANACE and Caledonia Victims Project organize a Father’s Day BBQ, with hotdogs, drinks, and chat. You’ll be able to listen to the music of Stuart Laughton, one of the  original members of Canadian Brass, founder of the roots-rock band Porkbelly Futures, and Founder/Artistic Director of The Forest Festival.

After the BBQ, from 2 p.m. a Truth and Reconciliation Rally is going to take place. The participants will try, once again, to erect a symbolic plywood Healing/Apology monument on the road allowance in front of the Douglas Creek Estates. Similar peaceful event took place a few months ago. Sadly, shortly after that the first monument  was stolen, destroyed and burnt along with the Canadian flag while OPP officers watched. Let’s hope that this time common sense would prevail…

For more information and directions, please check the organizers’ media release.