March for Freedom – what really happened in Caledonia on Oct 15/06 (Updated)

Supporters of the Caledonia occupation and some of the media want you to believe that only a couple of hundred people showed up for the march on October 15/06. False! As you can see from the photos below, there were a lot more people than the media and gang supporters would have you believe! CityPulse 24 estimated the crowd at over 1,000, and I think that’s a little low. You judge for yourself.

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I was at the very back of the march because I was being interviewed by a Toronto media outlet. This is the tail end of the crowd walking PEACEFULLY toward the school where the province has paid $35,000 to erect fencing and surveillance cameras to protect the children from the criminals illegally in possession of the Douglas Creek Estates land.

Some of the occupation supporters tried to disrupt the gathering with some dangerous driving. I have to say that I didn’t see this personally as I arrived at about five minutes after 1pm, but I did speak to several people who witnessed vehicles displaying native flags squealing their tires and crashing through a barricade in an attempt to disrupt and intimidate the people gathered to hear the speeches.

In fairness, I also have to say that I was grateful to the occupation supporters that there weren’t any more displays of intimidation. By the time I arrived, the troublemakers were gone, and they didn’t come back. I didn’t hear even one heckler during the speeches.  I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone on the occupation side for that. 

The television media didn’t let you see the courage of two women speaking out against evil despite the potential danger to themselves. march_for_freedom_oct15-06-067.jpgWith the exception of CBC, the television media reports that I saw after the march did not show any excerpts from any of the speakers. You likely missed the electrifying speeches made by two women who have faced, and continue to live with intimidation at the hands of Caledonia and Ipperwash criminals – Mary-Lou LaPratte and AnneMarie VanSickle.

You didn’t get to hear them talk about how they are afraid in their homes, and how the OPP refuses to answer their 911 calls. You didn’t get to see two Canadian heroes willing to look masked gangsters in the eye and expose them for the scum they are.

You weren’t allowed to hear how the OPP has refused to enforce the law in portions of Ontario simply because the criminals happen to be aboriginals. 

You didn’t hear the roar of the crowd when AnneMarie told Ontario Premier McGuinty that we was “…a medical anomaly” because he’s the first person in history to be able to stand erect without a spine! You missed her demands for the replacement of the Ontario Provincial Police force in Caledonia.  One marcher told me they witnessed a non-OPP police officer crying during AnneMarie’s speech. That’s just how powerful it was.

You can read the text of AnnMarie’s speech here: http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.com/news/oct15%20annemarie.html

You can read the text of Mary-Lou LaPratte’s speech here:
http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.com/news/oct15%20marylou.html

The above picture of my ‘heroes’ was taken after the march. I was videotaping their speeches, so I wasn’t able to take snapshots.  Their words will be included in my next movie, MARCH FOR FREEDOM – Part II. 

We heard some serious warnings from an undercover officer who happens to be native. march_for_freedom_oct15-06-059.jpgChristine McHale, seen here with husband, Gary, after the march, read a letter from a private investigator who happens to be a native.  The letter explained why the Warriors are as dangerous as any other organized criminal or terrorist group.

I will be including video of Christine’s reading in MARCH FOR FREEDOM II.

MPP Toby Barrett spoke about the effects of the crisis on people, and the need for law and order. march_for_freedom_oct15-06-011.jpgI didn’t get Toby’s speech on tape as I was assisting with some organizational details, but I did hear him describe how some of Caledonia’s residents and business people break down in tears when he asks them how they feel.

I also recall that he spoke at length about his desire that the occupiers leave the DCE land, and his suggestion the land be placed in ‘trust’ until the land claim issue is settled in court.

During the entire event I did not witness a single incident where a McHale/March supporter made any racial slurs against native peoples as a group. I later mentioned this to a reporter after the march was over, and he agreed with me wholeheartedly. The reality is that a large group of average, ordinary, law-abiding citizens came out to peacefully protest against their police and their government. All the fear-mongering done by the OPP and the Ontario government was proven to be unwarranted.

The people of Caledonia definitely support Gary McHale and the March for Freedom. During the speeches, McHale made a point of asking the crowd how many of them were from Caledonia, and how many of them appreciated people from Richmond Hill coming to help them. The crowd went nuts with cheers and applause. It sent chills down my spine.

We saw the security fence and cameras at the school adjoining the stolen land designed to protect the children from the criminals.

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Gary McHale did NOT lead the marchers to the occupied land as implied by the London Free Press via a headline the next day that said, “OPP stare down marchers.” This headline was accompanied by a photo of McHale walking in front of the people, the implication being that McHale led the people to the barricades in an attempt to provoke an incident. The rest of the article does nothing to dispel this fiction.

In fact, McHale never got within 1km of the OPP barricades where some twits were later arrested for trying to breach the line. I know where McHale was because I was beside him the whole time once we had left the school property. He turned to go back to the Lion’s Club Park along the same route we had taken to get there. The majority of the marchers, however, decided to continue up to Argyle street (the main street through town) because it was shorter to get home. This was made easier because the OPP hadn’t set out barriers blocking the way despite having agreed on the march route with McHale beforehand. Why not? You’ll have to ask the OPP.

When asked by some in the remaining crowd if he was going to follow them, McHale replied that he was going to do what he promised the OPP he would do, which was to return to the Lion’s park using the same route.  At that point, the ‘march’ was over.

march_for_freedom_oct15-06-054.jpgA small group of us walked with McHale and his wife all the way back to the park where he did several interviews.  During the trek back, one TV crew asked him, “What would you do about the OPP?” McHale replied, “If it was up to me, I’d fire the top 100 officers.” They then asked, “What do think WILL happen?” to which a very quick-witted McHale said, “I think there’s going to be a lot of early retirements in the next six months.” Everyone, including the camera crew, had a good laugh at what will probably turn out to be a most insightful prediction by the March for Freedom leader. 

march_for_freedom_oct15-06-056.jpgAfter the TV interview, McHale posed with me for a picture on the way back to Lion’s park.

In fairness to the London Free Press, despite their misleading headline/photo/reporting, they did include excerpts from the speeches made by Toby Barrett, Anne-Marie VanSickle and Mary-Lou LePratte. Thank you for that.

The March for Freedom accomplished everything Gary McHale had hoped for. If anyone is under the illusion that McHale was disappointed with any aspect of the March for Freedom, please allow me to disabuse you of that notion right now.

McHale’s only goals for the march were to get the media and the politicians to pay attention to Caledonia and Ipperwash; to begin to shine a light on the OPP and their culpability in creating and perpetuating a Two Tier justice system; and to – hopefully – begin a grass-roots movement that will never again allow our politicians to abandon law abiding citizens to gangsters. On all three counts, McHale was spectacularly successful despite the constant attempts to silence and belittle him and the march by the OPP, the criminals and politicians at every level of government.

The fact is that if you were involved in trying to stop McHale and the March for Freedom (sorry for the language) – you got your ass kicked on Sunday and you deserved every bit of it.

The March for Freedom is a beginning, not an end.  In my movie, MARCH FOR FREEDOM, I warned that October 15, 2006 was not the ‘end’ of anything; The fight against Two Tier justice is just getting started, and plans are already being made for the next skirmish. 

IN SUMMARY, if you were relying on mainstream media outlets for news about the march after it was over you were probably missing a lot. They all seemed content to file their predictable stories about how 20,000 people didn’t show up as Gary had “expected,” and how a couple of yahoos got arrested – AFTER the march was over. They seemed to miss the real story – the courage of two women speaking up for all law-abiding citizens who have suffered at the hands of Caledonia & Ipperwash criminals, demanding that our police and our politicians act to protect justice and democracy against evil. 

It certainly appeared to me, based on the news coverage that I saw, that the media didn’t quite grasp the historical significance of the day, that history has been altered by one man and his wife, armed only with a computer, a sense of justice and a lot of courage.

Now, there’s a story! 

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Make sure you see my movie: ‘MARCH FOR FREEDOM: The struggle to restore equal justice in Ontario, Canada’
https://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/2006/10/11/march-for-freedom-the-movie/ 

All photos in this post were taken by Voice of Canada: you may use them without permission provided you credit us as by name and with our URL:  (http://www.voiceofcanada.ca). A hyperlink is NOT necessary. Permission is not granted for use in hate-related materials, and we reserve the right to withdraw permission at any time at our sole discretion.  

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15 responses to “March for Freedom – what really happened in Caledonia on Oct 15/06 (Updated)

  1. Thanks for the accurate writeup Mark.
    As I suspected the press would subdue the actual numbers and give very little in print about the actual grievances that were presented to them. The climb to recognition in conflicts is all uphill. Hopefully we gained a few feet towards the summit.

  2. With all this tough talk surrounding Caledonia, I am still waiting for some responsible suggestions on how the police are to deal with it. Anyone??

  3. Dear ‘confused’:

    I suspect that, as Gary told the TV crew on the way back to the Lion’s park (see above), there will be a lot of ‘early retirements’ at the OPP in the next 6 months.

    I also updated this post since you wrote. One of the things I included was my warning that the fight against Two Tier justice is just getting started. If the politicians and OPP think this is over, they are so verrrrrry wrong!

    Thanks for taking the time to write. Mark

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  5. I am not sure how this rally can be considered anything but a disapointment.

    Expectations of 20,000 turn out to be no more then 500 (come on now, I even took the time to count all the people in the above pictures).

    Better organization and implemenation of a comprehensive plan is needed. Simple.

  6. I was at the rally with some friends. It was disheartening to see that the government can pay 10’s of millions to the developer, then supply hydro, etc. to the “invaders” and not help those immediately affected by those same invaders – people who have probably invested everything into their homes. Ann-Marie had me in tears as I cannot imagine being subjected to such abuse while government “officials” and OPP standby and ignore. Then, to hear the Ipperwash story, it was too overwhelming. 15 years with absolutely no resolution and no support for residents is incredulous. While I was not a supporter of Trudeau, I cannot believe that he would have allowed this to continue. We really need someone with some backbone to get some resolution in something less than 15 years!

    Sorry for the rant, but this is a horrible situation. The government and the OPP must do something to support its citizens.

  7. For Nathan, above who thought the march was a disappointment. If you read this post, you know the truth. What mattered was not the number of people who were there, it was that two brave women stood up for the benefit of their communities, for people who were too afraid to stand up for themselves.

    You said you counted the people in the photo and that 500 is a generous estimation. I took the photo, and even I can’t count the people because there are people standing behind one another that prevents one from getting an exact count. Without an aerial view, all you can get is an impression of numbers. Did you count the people in the column of marchers (photo #5)? If so, how would you estimate the number of people at the head of the march who were out of sight of the camera?  

    As to the issue of organization – the day of the march, everything went absolutely perfectly, right up to the point where people decided to take the shortcut up to Argyle Street. Ask the OPP why they allowed that to happen (see post).

    Could McHale have been better organized in the time leading up to the march? I can tell you that even I was frustrated with him in the beginning, but once I started to get involved in this cause, I began to realize just how much work all of this is for him. Still, in the end, one man and his wife took on the Ontario government, the OPP, Haldimand and Brantford City Hall all the while they were dealing with slander and threats from the gangsters who tried to stop this march from happening.

    No, my friend, the question isn’t why more people didn’t come; the question you should be asking is why there were so many.

    Thanks again for the observations. Mark

    P.S. Are you volunteering to help organize the next event?

  8. For Dianne, above.

    Thank you so much for your comments. You obviously saw the same courage I saw in those women. I told my wife afterwards that AnnMarie VanSickle and Mary-Lou LaPratte were the most inspiring people I have ever met in my life.

    I got the opportunity to speak with them during our post-March celebrations, and I was humbled just by being in the same room with them.

    Thanks again for writing. Mark

  9. Here’s a couple of recent notes on this Toronto Blog site in reference to the unnecessary Caledonia fiasco….

    http://www.hogtownfront.blogspot.com

    Scroll down to:
    Oct. 15 ( Two arrests in Caledonia, but march otherwise peaceful)

    Oct. 11 (More tensions in Caledonia. Province won’t stop rally)

  10. For G. Turner:

    Thanks so much for the reference. I read both the blog and the Star articles.

    1. At least the Star mentioned that the “organizers’ (Gary & Christine McHale) didn’t have anything to do with the people at the OPP line.

    Gary would have much preferred that everyone return to the park as per his agreement with the OPP. Unfortunately, the OPP didn’t see fit to provide proper crowd control; it’s almost as if they wanted people to confront them.

    2. The article also raises a very interesting point that I failed to mention in my post. Although the marchers were not allowed on the DCE land, the OPP had no problem allowing hundreds (?) of additional occupation sympathizers on the property for the “pot-luck” meal.

    Thanks again for the comments and the reference. Mark

  11. I can’t thank Gary and Christine enough for what they have done for our community. Gary was a dynamo with the media. They kept putting him down for his actions and he had excellent come backs every time. As far as the numbers attending the March, the government, OPPs and some members of the media told everyone how dangerous it is in Caledonia, after all we need OPP surveilance 24/7 for the last 8 months. I live close to the occupation and my sister (from Ancaster) was too frightened to join me at the march. Thanks also go to Ann Marie and Mary Lou for speaking up against 2 tier justice. I wish their stories were more prominent.

    VoC REPLIES: Thanks for writing, and thank you for having the courage to march. My friend from London was also too frightened to go to the March thanks to intimidation by the media, politicians and the threats against Gary that I had mentioned to her. The reality is that none of us knew what to expect that day, especially after experiencing first hand the intimidation of McHale in Brantford on Oct 5th (see MARCH FOR FREEDOM: the movie). I’m a big guy – 6’3″ 310lbs but, before I left I told my wife that if anything happened to me I wanted her to know that I was doing something I believed in so much that I was willing to risk my life for it.

    I salute you and everyone else in Caledonia who came out that day despite, as you say, the worst efforts of our so-called leaders to muzzle us! Well done.

    Thanks for writing. Mark

  12. keep up the good work.
    The truth is stranger than fiction.
    It is very difficult for the little guy to buck the system, but a little at a time, can become one big wallup. No one should be above the law and no one in this Country should be made afraid to tell the truth.
    How did we get so Politically Correct that the truth is no longer acceptable????

    VoC REPLY: Thank you so much for the kind words; they really mean a lot! Now…let’s fight those conniving politicians who are trying to deport AnneMarie’s brother. I think they’re lower than the Caledonia criminals! Why – because they know the truth and continue to lie to us and the people.  Thanks again, ML. Be safe. Mark

  13. The OPP would not allow cars to stop along the road in front of the DCE land but people were walking from the town to the site. Perhaps the person with the sign saying “Get a Job You filthy Indians” got them worried about the behaviour of the rest of the protestors. Just a thought.

    VoC REPLY: Hi Laurie. Thanks for the thought. You raise a couple of good points:

    1. The OPP didn’t seem to have a problem allowing occupation sympathizers onto the property even though they believed that violence was a distinct possibility. Why was that?

    2. I can tell you, unequivocally, that that sign (I didn’t see it, myself) was NOT brought by a March participant. I was with the march when it ended at the school. Had I seen that person at any time during the march, I would have done everything I could reasonable have done to take and/or destroy the sign; we all knew that the media would focus on the lone ‘looney tune’ instead of the overall success of the march.

    3. I would agree that the OPP were justified in worrying about the marchers if they had seen the sign, but that, too, raises a question: if the OPP were so concerned about people coming up to the police line for a confrontation, why didn’t they block access to Argyle Street from the school, especially since they worked out the march route with McHale? It would have been so easy and it would have aided McHale in keeping his promise to return via the same route taken. It was almost as if the OPP were inviting a confrontation in order to justify their existence, take some heat off them and discredit McHale. Does that sound farfetched? If you asked me 6 months ago, I would have said ‘Yes.’ Today? No.

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