1. 1253 EST, Feb 08/07 – A-Channel TV News interviews VoC on Jan 19/07. Includes footage of OPP ripping flag from Mark’s hands, and subsequent arrest on Dec 16/06.
2. 1501 EST, Jan 29/07 – Video taken Jan 20/07: “Mark & OPP sergeant at Unity Road.”
3. 1353 EST, Jan 29/07 – Canada Free Press editorial, Jan 25/07, “Fantinoland.”
4. 1121 EST, Jan 29/07 – Video taken Jan 20/07: “Caledonia – January 20th 2007.”
5. 1340 EST, Jan 25/07 – Video taken Jan 10/07: “Two Tier Justice – By the Numbers.”
This post is being written from Caledonia because I know you will be anxious for news about the most recent March for Freedom event held yesterday, Jan 20/07, and I will not be returning to London for several hours as we have more work yet to do.
More details will be made available as to what happened yesterday when we once again tried to raise the Canadian flag as is our right – a right affirmed by a 1993 Supreme Court decision in the case of ‘Ramsden v. Peterborough (City)
For now, however, I want you to know at least the basic truth about what has been said about us and about the ridiculous and unwarranted hysteria whipped up by the OPP and the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) about this event.
In an effort to calm things down and bring some semblance of reality to the situation, I gave the following speech at the very beginning of Sunday’s event with my wife standing beside me. A former Royal Canadian Navy veteran named Merlin Kinrade volunteered to stand with me to hold my Canadian flag while I spoke. (I later read Merlin’s letter to the crowd).
[Don’t miss this video posted by ‘kidvid1983’ on YouTube.com that sums up the essence of the day and of our struggle in just 1.14 minutes – “Caledonia – January 20th 2007.” It includes clips of Merlin, Gary McHale, the OPP and me.]
Mark Vandermaas speech, March for Freedom, Caledonia, Ontario January 20, 2007
NOTE: I made several typographical mistakes when drafting this speech which I corrected during the actual speech. It is reprinted below in full exactly as it was originally written, and I have noted the corrections as follows [xxxxxxx] along with explanations where necessary. I am being careful to point this out because I did give a copy to the sergeant in charge of the Fantino security detail at the Unity Road Detachment and asked him to give it to the Commissioner on my behalf. I do not wish to be accused of altering the text.
“Many of you have asked me today why [I] am wearing a blue beret.
“I have seen the burned out tanks in the desert and driven carefully through the minefields. I have driven through the streets of the Gaza strip where today there is civil war because there is NO rule of law. I have stood on the hill in northern Israel that is named Har Megidon. You may know it by its English name – Armageddon.
“I joined Gary McHale in his fight against Two Tier Justice because I saw the ugly pictures of the evil that has been perpetrated against the beautiful town of Caledonia that – our critics would have you believe – [was done] in the name of justice for past wrongs committed against an honourable people.
“It seems a most peculiar argument to me that one can try to rectify injustice by bringing it upon others. Yet, that is what those who would apologize [I intended to use the phrase, ‘excuse the terrors’] for the terrors in Ipperwash and Caledonia would have you believe. During the past months as I supported Gary McHale’s efforts through VoiceofCanada.ca I have repeatedly asked those who would excuse the actions of the criminals and the inaction of the Ontario Provincial Police several questions, one of which is this:
“Recently, several readers who have supported what was being done by native criminals in Caledonia have tried to answer those questions for me and have been responsible for some remarkable, enlightening and moving discussions on VoiceofCanada. One of those discussions began thanks to a proud and honourable Iroquois man named Terry Jamieson Jr. who was highly critical of “ignorant white men” like me.
“Needless to say, our relationship did not get off to a good start, but I responded, not by escalating the discussion with insults and further alienating him, but by encouraging him to read another discussion I had with another critic called, “Does past injustices justify present violence” [Note: the correct name of this Voice of Canada post is, “Does past oppression justify present violence?“]
“Terry took my suggestion and responded in a more positive manner. His last words to me were, “Live long and prosper.” I cried after reading his words – both out of hope and out of understanding. I realized that native peoples want us to listen to them, to appreciate them and to help them reclaim their identity.
“I, like most Canadians, have entrusted my government with this task. Thanks to Terry Jamieson Jr. I realize now that it is up to us as individuals to also do this. My exchange with Terry can be found in a VoiceofCanada post called, “Negotiation & mediation with natives? Yes. With sociopaths? No.” and I encourage you to read it.
“I have consistently tried to make VoiceofCanada a place of reason and of truth, and even a casual review of my writings by any sane person could not possibly lead to the conclusion that I was provoking violence or hatred against anyone.
“Similar complaints have been lodged against Gary McHale’s site, CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com, yet he, too, has consistently and publicly disavowed the use of violence in his fight against Two Tier Justice.
“The people behind these protests are not from the area. They are, however, acting on a sustained basis to push an aggressive political agenda that includes promoting hatred, flaunting the justice system and inciting violence.”
“I personally have contacted the Vice President of the OPPA, Mr. Ron Middel on two separate occasions during the past week[s] to try to set up a meeting whereby we could explore ways to shift the focus of our fight against Two Tier Justice away from the frontline officers onto the OPP leadership where it belongs.
[I contacted the OPPA head office at 1.800.461.4282 and was given Mr. Middel’s cell phone # (xxx.x37.999x). I left a detailed message for him at 1035 EST, Jan 03/07 and again at 1130 EST, Jan 10/07.]
“Mr. Middel never called me back.
“The OPP Police Commissioner has also made scurrilous comments against us in a similar vein and has even recently repeated them on the radio, despite his refusal to reply to a detailed letter on VoiceofCanada dated January 10th that addresses his accusations point-by-point. You have a copy of this letter in our press kit. It is called, “Dear Commissioner Fantino: Sir, you owe Canadians an apology.”
“Mr. Fantino has never responded to this letter.
“As you know, the Member of Provincial Parliament for this area, the honourable Toby Barrett, has come out publicly this week to give the full weight of his support to us and to our cause.
“Are the OPP Commissioner and the President of the OPPA seriously suggesting that Toby Barrett is also promoting hatred and inciting violence?
“If our government and the OPP are to be believed, you would think it was Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas that have been terrorizing the residents of Caledonia for the past year, and not the violent criminals who have intimidated the residents into remaining silent.
[Photos are taken from video footage of incident in which a thug threw Chris Syrie’s flag on ground and then confronted him in a toe-to-toe staring match. VoiceofCanada has obtained a copy of the raw video that shows the incident from start to finish, including the refusal of the OPP to arrest or even identify the man prior to allowing him to escape. Mr. Syrie and his father told VoC that the OPP later told them that they couldn’t arrest the man because they were “unable to identify him.”
This footage illustrates exactly why most of Caledonia’s residents are afraid to speak out; because they know that the OPP will not arrest a native lawbreaker without authorization from a senior officer. In this 8:48 minute annotated version the officer clearly says he’s going to call the ‘ART’ (Aboriginal Response Team) team. That means all the officers stand around and wait and do nothing until the ART and/or MELT (Major Events Liason Team) arrives and the suspect leaves. Incredible!
HIGH SPEED DIAL-UP]
“There has – indeed – been an assassination in Caledonia. Of our character. Of our motives. Of our patriotism. But there has also been an almost lethal attack on the truth.
“The truth is that not one police officer has been injured by or due to our actions.
“The truth is that we have never promoted violence and hatred against anyone.
“Your government and your police force are the ones who have used lies against us and our efforts on behalf of your cause to whip up hysteria and fear to such an utterly insane level that the Ontario Realty Corporation felt it necessary yesterday to use your tax dollars to courier a letter from downtown Toronto to my home in London warning me not to try to enter the Douglas Creek Estates. [Note: my version of the letter has not been posted online, yet; it was identical to McHale’s other than it contained no reference to copies having been sent to Dalton McGuinty, David Caplan & Michael Bryant as was McHales.”]
“I have never called for anyone to enter the DCE.
“Even Conservative Leader, John Tory, has been caught up by this smear campaign as evidenced by his letter to Gary McHale in which he asks that our event today be called off.
“For the first time in 29 years, I have donned the blue beret and the medal I wore as a United Nations peacekeeper to try to bring some calm to this situation, and obtain answers from the OPP to the following questions:
- Why does the OPP not deploy its forces to the West side of the road and allow a small delegation of us to erect Canadian flags as is our right according to the Supreme Court of Canada ?
- If the OPP and the government have a legitimate fear that violence will be provoked, who do they feel will be committing this violence?
- Are the people occupying DCE so dangerous, so violent and so volatile that OPP officers and citizens face a very real danger to their persons should they try to erect a Canadian flag?
- If the OPP does indeed believe that these people are so dangerous that hundreds of their officers could not control them, have they requested military assistance from the government?
“We do not wish to provoke violence from people that the government cannot control, but before I will allow the OPP and my government to restrict my rights as a Canadian citizen, I believe that I, along with every other citizen in this country, have a right to know the reason why.”
END OF SPEECH
I told the crowd that we would try to get a senior officer to answer these questions in front of the media. I was then promised by an (unknown) officer present that a senior officer would come to me, but he never appeared.
Later in the day, we heard that OPP Commissioner Fantino was at the Unity Road detachment, so a number of us – along with members of the media – drove over to see if he would be willing to speak with us and answer our questions.
The people I was transporting decided to make a rest stop at Tim Hortons along the way, but McHale and others went straight to Unity Road where they had a frustrating, but remarkable conversation with an OPP officer who would not allow them to enter the building, nor would he ask his senior officers to come out.
In this unbelievable audio recording Gary McHale and Bo Chausse (the first person to be arrested for trying to erect a Canadian flag on Dec 02/06) try to get the officer to explain what the determining factor is in deciding who can put up a Canadian flag. Listen as the officer does everything possible to evade the question as he takes the heat for the cowardly leaders hiding inside. It exposes clearly the double-talk and the double-standard that law abiding residents of Caledonia have been subjected to for almost a year at the hands of this so-called ‘police force.’
When I arrived there were still officers blocking the driveway. I asked the sergeant in charge if a senior officer would meet with us to answer some questions with the media present. I suggested that we would be willing to go inside if that would be better.
[Mark Vandermaas video, Jan 20/07, 1.38 mins – Mark & OPP Sergeant at Unity Road]
This sergeant wasn’t interested in even trying to help us. Shortly after the conversation shown on the video ended, he told us there were no senior officers present, but several people then exclaimed that they had just seen Commissioner Fantino in a window. I asked if he would check with the Commissioner to see if he would be willing to meet with us, but he refused to even ask. The fact that he’d just been caught with his pants down in a bald-faced lie didn’t seem to bother him in the least.
It would seem, according to a Canadian Press story, it was OK for Mr. Fantino to meet with supporters of the criminals who used violence to seize land and terrorize the residents for nearly a year, but he couldn’t meet with two law-abiding, peaceful citizens to explain why he and his officers were violating their constitutional rights and flaunting the Supreme Court of Canada.
OPP takes “no nonsense” stance at Ont. land occupation
GREGORY BONNELL, Canadian Press, January 21, 2007 (canada.com)
“Fantino, who met with Six Nations residents at the occupation site Saturday and assured them police would handle the demonstration, reserved his harshest words for the out-of-town activists who descended on Caledonia.
“We’re prepared to deal with these people in a way that we will preserve public safety . . . and officer safety,” Fantino said from an old schoolhouse on the outskirts of town that serves as a police command centre.”
VoC note: the Commissioner might want to review the most recent VoC post, “Outsiders’ and why they are so important” (Best VoC post EVER!)” to read how one Caledonia resident feels about ‘Outsiders.’
Gary McHale asked the sergeant – with the media listening and writing intently – if he could explain what law he would be breaking if he put up a Canadian flag across from the occupied land. Silence. The media scribbled furiously.
McHale left shortly after and duct-taped a Canadian flag to a culvert railing across from the occupied Douglas Creek Estates where someone else had already erected one alongside a Mohawk Warrior and Six Nations flag. [see photos below, right of 1 Canadian flag on left, 2 Canadian flags to left of the OPP officers.]
McHale later got word that the OPP had taken it upon themselves to remove his flag. Watch and listen to this OPP officer squirm during his exchange with McHale when they returned his flag:
McHale: “And the other Canadian flag isn’t a breach?”
OPP officer: “I told you I wasn’t there when it went up.”
Pardon? Does this make any sense at all to you? Me neither. Actually, it would make a great Monty Python skit if it wasn’t such a civil rights travesty. Natives are allowed to erect flags, but non-natives are not. If natives actually do ‘breach the peace’ the OPP will allow them to escape, but if non-natives try to peacefully put up a flag in accordance with the Supreme Court decision and the Charter, they will be arrested. McHale and I know this only too well having been arrested December 16/06 while trying to do just that. [photo just prior to my arrest. I am in lower left of photo with large flag over my shoulder. It is upside down as a sign of distress at the attack on its values. OPP ‘pole protectors’ refused us permission to erect a Canadian flag beside the Mohawk Warriors’ flag clearly visible.]
The OPP and OPPA have been using disgusting allegations about our motives to frighten the people of Ontario into not getting involved in our struggle against Two Tier Justice, but they cowardly hide behind the frontline officers so they cannot be called to account for their unsubstantiated statements and their willingness to deny Canadian citizens their constitutional rights.
It would seem, however, that more than a few of the front line OPP officers are growing tired of carrying out the orders of leaders who hide while they are ordered to deny us our rights. At Unity Road, I spoke to the officers present and told them about our futile attempts to meet with the OPPA union leadership on their behalf. As I drove away, I offered a friendly wave to the officers. One looked me straight in the eye and nodded. Later, as we stood on the road with our flags beside Chris Syrie’s property adjoining the Douglas Creek Estates, OPP officers waved at us as they drove by. Cracks are beginning to appear. [London riot police head for home. Be sure to see “VoC letter to Chief of London Police Service“]
The question that must be raised is WHY? Why is the OPP leadership so desperate not to be accountable for their actions in Caledonia? I suspect that they do not have an answer that will explain why – as Caledonia was being terrorized – the OPP did little or nothing to prevent serious crimes from being committed.
It is absolutely clear to me that the OPP have become a law unto themselves. They spit in the face of the Supreme Court of Canada and on the Charter of Rights & Freedoms, and feel no obligation whatsoever to account for their actions.
In my opinion, the OPP and the OPPA leadership pose a great threat to democracy. I expect criminals to have no regard for the law; I do not expect it from a police force. The police should be protecting our rights, not violating them.
During a recent visit to Caledonia, I made a promise to a 91-year old World War II pilot named ‘Jack’ who had rocks thrown at his house while the OPP stood and watched that I would not rest until the Rule of Law, and Equality before that law is no longer a subject of debate. I will keep that promise.
If you would like to support the fight against Two Tier Justice, copy and paste the link to this post into an email, and send it to every media outlet and politician in your area along with a quick note to let them know why you are sending it.
Stay tuned to VoiceofCanada.ca and CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com. More information will follow. The struggle against Two Tier Justice will continue as we open some new fronts in the coming weeks.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
A-Channel News, Jan 19/07: Mark Vandermaas is interviewed by Reporter Sean Irvine regarding the Jan 20/07 March for Freedom DIAL-UP (2.10 mins). Also includes footage of OPP ripping Canadian flag from Mark’s hands, and his subsequent arrest on Dec 16/06.
Video by ‘vidkid1983,’ Jan 20/07: Caledonia – January 20th 2007 (1.14 mins) An awesome piece that tells the whole story of January 20th in just 1.14 minutes. Listen to the OPP tell Gary McHale that we cannot get past their line to erect Canadian flags. Exerpts from my ‘Blue Beret’ speech, and a clip of Merlin Kinrade, RCN Retired telling Canadians that our “flag means something and should mean everything” to us.
Audio Recording, Jan 20/07: OPP Unity Rd: ‘Open & Honest Dialogue’ about who will get arrested for putting up Canadian flags? (I almost feel sorry for this officer – almost.)
Mark Vandermaas video, Jan 20/07: “Mark & OPP sergeant at Unity Road” (1.38 mins) Mark tries to convince OPP sergeant at Unity Road detachment (just North of Caledonia) to find a senior officer to explain why they are violating our Constitutional rights.
Gary McHale editorial, Jan 22/07: Fantino enforces Two Tier Justice
Gary McHale editorial, Jan 22/07: Outsiders & Interlopers stay away
Gary McHale editorial, Jan 22/07: Fantino: The Coward
Gary McHale feature profile, Hamilton Spectator, p. A12, Jan 20/07: It’s about accountability: McHale
Craig Grice, Caledonia Councillor, Jan 20/06 speaks on the need for action in Caledonia.
London Free Press, Jan 14/07: A Londoner likely to be jailed for a protest in Caledonia next Saturday wants others to join him.
Supreme Court Decision, Ramsden v. Peterborough (City), 1993
Merlin Kinrade, RCN Retired, Jan 17/07: Caledonia under siege – one year later (“As for Gary McHale & Mark Vandermaas they are true Canadians in every sense of the word…”)
Chris Syrie video, Jan 10/07: Two Tier Justice – By the Numbers DIAL-UP (8.15 mins) Annotated edition produced from raw footage of complete incident – also available on disk. Watch as OPP refuse to arrest or even identify native who threw Chris’s flag on ground; OPP calls A.R.T. team and waits; native leaves. Chris is later told by the OPP that they can’t identify him. [dial-up click here]
Gary McHale video, Jan 20/07: McHale questions OPP Officer #6276 as to why he took his Canadian flag down.
VoiceofCanada post, Jan 22/07: VoC letter to Chief of London Police Service
Blog: The Reformer’s Firebrand, Jan 24/07: Calls for equal application of the Law called “outsider public mischief’ by Cop Brass
Canada Free Press (www.canadafreepress.com), Gary Reid, Jan 25, 2007: Fantinoland “The message is clear. Canadians beware. In Fantinoland you can wind up in jail without charge and have your heads cracked for standing up for this country.”