UPDATED 1748 EST Jan 13/07: Thanks to readers, Mike, Betsy and Dennis for identifying the two CHTV reporters for me. I tried to do it using the CH website, but the photos were too small for my sleep-deprived eyes. Glad for your help, cause I like to give credit where and when it’s due, and these two reporters sure deserved it.

VoC readers may recall my open letter to OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino in which I asked him for an apology for the inaccurate and downright slanderous statements he’s been making about Gary McHale and the un-named others (like me) who have gone to help Caledonia. I’m still waiting for him to get back to me. Meanwhile, Gary McHale and I just received some astounding CHTV footage of an interview they did with Commissioner Fantino on the 5:30 news, January 9/07.

tiger.jpgFor almost 9 full minutes, CH reporters, Donna Skelly and Mark Hebscher bounded chtv-mark_hebscher.jpgafter Fantino as he dipsy-doodled around the real issues, going after him like hungry cats after a T-bone steak. They asked him if his chtvdonna_skelly.jpgofficers would stand around and watch if someone were being assaulted. Instead of taking that opening to show ‘there’s a new sheriff in town’ Fantino evaded the question by talking about the ‘discretion’ his officers have. Still, the CH tigers wouldn’t let it go – Fantino again weaseled his way out of giving a yes/no answer. It was pathetic. I wonder how he’d feel if it was his son or daughter or parent being attacked while his officers ‘used their discretion.’

At one point, one of the interviewers actually defended Gary McHale when Fantino started to attack him. First time that’s happened, folks! I was stunned and immensely pleased. (Did I mention that I lived in Hamilton for many years? Huh, how ’bout them Cats, eh!]

When attacking Gary McHale didn’t work, Fantino tried a different approach – attacking the reporters! (I did that myself on Dec 16/06, [video only 3.48min] but it’s not generally a good idea. As someone once said, “you don’t pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” I got away with it because I was a private citizen fighting for a cause I believed in; a ‘professional’ like Fantino doesn’t have a prayer doing it.)

I’m seeing a theme here in Fantino’s media messages:

The OPP isn’t the problem; my officers aren’t the problem; there’s no such thing as Two Tier Justice; everybody misunderstands us; life in Caledonia would be just wonderful if only those outsiders like Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas would stay away. If I don’t mention the violent natives and their crimes maybe you’ll forget about them and focus on those evil outsiders trying to provoke violence with their damn flags. Oh yes, and it’s the media’s fault, too.

Fantino’s whining reminds me of when I had a conversation with Inspector McLean after our arrests, Dec 16/06 during which I told him about the Toronto Star and St. Catharines Standard editorials. His reply? “I guess they don’t get it either.” Yeah, no one in Ontario gets ‘it’ but the poor, misunderstood OPP brass.

22061473_thb.jpgHere’s what one reader had to say about the Commissioner’s PR campaign swing through Caledonia:

 “Someone give Fantino a teddy bear and send him to his room. He sounds like a five year old throwing a tantrum.”

Mary-Lou LaPratte 

CHTV – well done for holding our OPP Commissioner accountable, and for not letting him off the hook. Five VoC Media Watchdog Gold Stars for you! Plus, you get a place of honour on the VoC blogroll. Sorry…no cash value.




  1. Jeff Parkinson

    This (Fantino acknowledging the Supreme Court decision) is the biggest Caledonia related news since the first March for Freedom for sure but save some room for victory drinks when this ends. The day is coming very soon sir but we have a couple of obstacles to go.

    In the CH interview Fantino also tried to explain the 2 tiered justice as “officer discretion to not escalate a situation” and made it clear that he still considers the Flag raising rally coming next week to be an attempt to “stir things up” to which he says the OPP will “prevent this breach of peace at any cost”.

    His response to the simple question of why are native flags legal and Canadian flags not legal was a gem ” The circumstances are vastly different, uh it’s not about raising flags it’s about provocation.” Good save there big boy.

    He further states ” we’ll continue doing what we have to do to keep the peace. ” Asked again about the flags he says ” I don’t think you’re in a position to be judging jury and executioner with the actions of taken what the police are doing here ” (I think I see beads of sweat forming and vocabulary dropping) ” This whole busness of peace and tranquility in a community is a shared responsibility and it’s not just up to the OPP only and soely to preserve the peace.” ” I think you’re missing the boat here, my concern is those who are coming here (us) to cause trouble unnecessarily so”

    He goes on to state about 10 times in a short time that the OPP will keep the peace at “any cost” which no doubt means they will be all set to arrest more of us come the 20th.

    This is the worst attempt at an interview by any politician (let’s face it that’s what he is) that I have ever witnessed and in the end he still makes it clear that we will face opposition if we try to stand up for our civil rights.

    All in all it’s an absoloutely phenomenal development in this fight and very strong proof that we can and WILL win!

    I for one would love to see a big bash when this is all over for everyone on our side to celebrate the most unlilkely and monumental victory for Civil rights in my lifetime if not ever in Canada.

    Massive thanks to the people at CH who did not let him ignore this very important topic any longer in a public forum!

    This week definitely marks a huge shift in the balance of power in this fight and unless we retreat now which is not going to happen there can be no mistake who is going to prevail.

    I shall leave you with perhaps my favorite quote from that interview. ” Aside from and out and out war in Caledonia, what is it that the people would expect the OPP to do?

    Jeff Parkinson

    VoC REPLY: Hey Jeff! Thanks for writing and for the partial transcript. First off, I took the liberty of copying your comment into this post from “Canadian flag victorious over OPP Two Tier Justice!” Hope you don’t mind since it was very relevant to this post (which was not written at the time you posted your original comment) as well as the orginal one you wrote it for.

    It’s so funny listening to the commissioner blame everyone except the criminals who have been terrorizing Caledonia! I’m past getting mad – I’m actually quite amused because I know he’s not going to get away with it much longer. Even the CH reporter shut him up when he tried to blame McHale.

    If the OPP try to stop us from putting up flags on the 20th (assuming there’s room for them on the poles!) they’re asking for serious legal trouble and even more bad will from Caledonians. Imagine them arresting 50 people illegally and then facing 50 lawsuits because that’s what’s going to happen. We have already had ‘supporters/organizers’ contact the civilian police review agency to find out how to work with them on a very related project.

    What do we expect the OPP to do? Is he kidding? Are we sure he was actually a cop? Come on…really?

    I definitely KNOW I’m seeing you on the 20th and on Sunday – see you there. FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark

  2. The two CHTV reporters are Mark Hebscher and Donna Skelly. I have noticed since the first march organized by Gary that the media then began talking about two-tiered justice. Great results by being consistent in his message.

    VoC REPLY: Hi Dennis! Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it. You’ll have to thank Gary McHale for his brilliant strategy of staying on message. He’s been adamant all along about sticking to a simple, easy to understand message. He explained it to me when I called for a new political party on Dec 16/06 during my ‘speech on the hill’ and I was forced by his logic to agree. I know he’ll appreciate you noticing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he mentions this very topic in Caledonia tomorrow at the Lion’s Hall public pre-march meeting. Thanks for writing. FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark

  3. The show was on January 9, 2007 and the two hosts of the show are Mark Hebscher and Donna Skelly.

    Good posting.

    VoC REPLY: Hi ‘Betsy,’ thanks for the info and the compliment. (I thought the title was both catchy and appropriate, if I say so myself!:-)) I really wasn’t sure on the date either, so I really appreciate the help. FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark

  4. The reporter you wanted to know the names of are Mark Hebscher and Donna Skelly. They have a regular 5:30 pm show every weekday from Monday to Friday. The teddy bear quote from one of your readers is not only very witty, but priceless. It sure made me laugh. Keep up the struggle.

    VoC REPLY: Hey Mike, thanks for the tip. I’ll fix up the post as soon as I finish answering comments. The pictures on the CH website are kind of small, so I wasn’t sure who was whom. Re the ‘Teddy Bear’ quote: Mary-Lou spoke at the first March for Freedom back in October, and if you had the chance to hear her, you’ll know she’s one very smart, very honest, very brave lady. She’s also very open-hearted, generous and forgiving so I would be very ashamed of myself if she ever said such a thing about me. Thanks again for writing. FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark

  5. Well, to a certain degree Fantino is right about how most people don’t get “it” but the “it” likely isn’t what you expect it to be. Fact: the OPP, RCMP, and CSIS all have huge files on the large amount of military grade weaponry on not only the Six Nations reserve but many if not most reserves across the country. We’re not just talking assault rifles but everything up to RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and upwards to anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. These are brought into Canada and onto reserves by the truckloads from the USA as Customs don’t search the vehicles of anyone flashing a native status card.

    As such, I can understand why the OPP want to keep things hands off because they know any serious provocation will lead to an armed conflict that will include a massive loss of life among a civilian populace ill equipped for such a guerilla war in their suburban neighbourhoods. And we are not just talking Caledonia or Deseronto at this point but random acts of violence and terrorism across the whole country on a scale our law enforcement agencies are not equipped to deal with (we may even not have a chance if the totality of our military wasn’t already abroad).

    Yet at the same time, this doesn’t absolve the OPP and others from their jobs and allowing the rights of citizens to be trampled while not even allowing the public the courtesy of choosing their own fate from a fully informed point of view. I think they underestimate how much Canadians value freedom and what they would pay in blood to protect it.

    VoC REPLY: I’ve heard reports that the natives in Ipperwash got a bunch of weapons when they took over the base. If you have any real evidence of weapons in the hands of native radicals I’d sure like to see it, and I’m sure Gary would, too. If you do, send it to me at:, or I can send you my mailing address. I, too, don’t care how well armed they are – they have to be stopped whatever the cost. Personally, I’m hoping that it can be done without anyone having to pay with ‘blood.’ But, for that to work, our government and police would have to admit there’s a problem. Thanks for writing, ‘byproxy.’ FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark

  6. I just saw the short clip with the great white father that has come to free the slaves of Caladonia ! What a farce, does this guy think people are all stupid?

    VoC REPLY: Hi Larry, not sure what ‘clip’ you mean. I’m guessing you’re not agreeing with what Gary and I are doing? Do you have a specific argument to make? For example, do you believe in using violence? Do you want to live in a country with no rule of law- no matter who owns the land? Do you think that’s a good thing for your kids or your neighbour’s kids? I don’t mind you disagreeing with me/us, but get specific, OK? Mark

  7. Maybe they should rename Caledonia, Mayberry.
    I think if you check the vest pockets of the opp
    you’ll probably find (one) bullet in there!

    VoC REPLY: Hey, Gord. Thanks for some humour and thanks for writing. We all appreciate your support. You may think it doesn’t matter, but it really does. It shows that we ‘outsiders’ are not alone in wanting the best for people suffering in Caledonia. Also, let’s not forget Ipperwash. FREE IPPERDONIA! Mark