“Outsiders’ and why they are so important” (Best VoC post EVER!)

The ‘Outsiders’ came… 

 normand_canniff_shermand_foster.jpg

…and stayed.

aix-noulette_cemetary_france.jpg

January 22, 2007 

Dear Mark,

When watching the NEWS they call you people from other towns ‘outsiders!’ This bugs me; enclosed is a picture I sent you taken before my family went to a different country across a BIG ocean to fight for our freedom in France!


My grand father is Norman the man on the left; if he died I would not have been born! Sherman the man on the right is my Grandfather’s twin brother. WWl was hell and I lost my great uncle Canniff the man in the middle before I got to meet him! He is still in France; God bless his brave soul! One day I want to go to France and visit him; shed a few tears and say THANKS you died a HERO and definitely NOT for nothing! This is him:

http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=258921

When fighting for justice it’s not about Caledonia, not even Canada; it’s about mankind and of course GOD! Any one who fights for justice is doing GOD’S work; something to think about.

The OPP brass or the suits were there when our road was dug up; now they want to arrest this man who did it; how ridiculous! Why bother and why NOW; not for the right reason you can be sure of that!

The OPP say we are making them look bad! The truth is that they do not need our help; they are doing a fine job them selves! The OPP know what Gary is all about; he has made it more then clear!

I would be proud if this picture was on your web page! Title it (Outsiders and why they are so important)! The other picture is where my great uncle Canniff Foster is buried! Fear in this town makes it almost impossible; just like France felt when the Germans ruled; we need outsiders like your self! Imagine if no one helped France or the other countries the Germans held hostage; would we be free now? God is on our side  – the victim’s . GOD is about TRUTH, JUSTICE and LOVE!

I am not a nut or crazy; using GOD is all I have left; simply nothing else I say will work but I am hoping there are more people like myself who believe in GOD and want their soul intact for our final home a place called HEAVEN! This is ALL I care about except for others who share the same dream.

Visit Marks web site at www.voiceofcanada.ca and Gary’s too at www.caledoniawakeupcall.com . They both speak for my town and me! Some people say emails don’t work I say yes, but it takes Caring people to read them! Thank you for reading my emails! I really CARE so help me God!

I am NOT a writer but I am forced to be one due to our lack of LAW and GOOD LEADER SHIP!

Ever grateful, your friend,
Jim Smith,
Caledonia Ont.

VoC COMMENTS: I hope that non-religious readers can respect Jim’s references to his God and appreciate the essence of his message and the passion he feels while telling it. 

2inch_voc_logo-url.jpgJim insisted that I sign his name to this post and I was honoured to do so. I was also pleased to accept his recommendation for the title of the post.

I had a lot of tears in my eyes while preparing this post. Thank you for your letter and for your family’s sacrifices. Your Uncle Canniff would be very proud to know that you are doing everything you can do to help your neighbours reclaim their town despite the worst efforts of those who have been entrusted to do so.  I’m proud to know you, and I swear to you that I will not rest until Two Tier Justice in Ontario is nothing but a bad memory. I promised Jack. I promised Caledonia, and now – I promise you. Your Uncle Canniff’s sacrifice will not be wasted.

Thank you for helping me create the best post I could ever hope to have on VoiceofCanada with your awesome words and your passion! There is no doubt in my mind that this will always be my most favourite and proudest post, and I didn’t even write it! I also suspect that it will quickly become a reader favourite.

Given recent events I would have to say that you wrote your letter at exactly the right time in this struggle. I thought the debate about ‘outsiders’ coming to Caledonia was over when Toby Barrett threw his support behind us, but I was wrong. YOU just ended the debate.  On behalf of of Gary McHale and me, we thank you for it. Well done!

I also notice that you sent it to a lot of people including MPP Toby Barrett, Haldimand Mayor, Marie Trainer, John Tory, Diane Finley, Dalton McGuinty, Julian Fantino, and numerous media outlets. Thank you for that, too.

nazi.jpeFootnote: It was Jim’s home that was vandalized with a swastika one night.

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5 responses to ““Outsiders’ and why they are so important” (Best VoC post EVER!)

  1. This is my family; how can any one be any more proud! Yes I had tears writing this email; like I do NOW!

    Jim Smith
    Caledonia

    VoC REPLY: I called Jim to personally thank him for making this post possible. He asked me to use his name, and I’m glad he did. He should serve as an inspiration to the people of Caledonia. When we come out of the shadows and stand together in the light – yes – we expose ourselves to danger, but evil cannot live in the day – it needs the dark to flourish – where we were hiding. Jim Smith’s letter should serve as a call to Caledonians that NOW is the time to stand with us – in the light where you belong. Thank you again. Mark

  2. I didn’t want to waste you bandwidth and disk space here so I left a commentary on this very important post on my blog.

    http://thefirebrand.blogspot.com/2007/01/calls-for-equal-application-of-law.html

    Regards.
    WLM
    VoC REPLY: WL! Well done. Well said. Gary and I thank you for a most spirited and eloquent defence! I put a link to your post inside “VoC Letter to Chief of London Police Service” and “OPP & OPPA vs. Supreme Court of Canada and Charter.”

    I should tell you that I was in touch by phone today with a certain political advisor/researcher and asked if he would be so kind as to read a couple of posts on VoC so he could understand our motivations and the reality of what the OPP are doing. My hope, of course, is that once he understands, he can explain it to his boss, and – hopefully – bring a touch of reality to this situation. He seemed genuinely interested. I even got his private email address & direct phone number. We’ll have to wait and see.

    I have no timeline. I know that if we all keep doing the ‘right’ thing, the truth will reveal itself even to those who currently suffer from ‘wilful blindness.’ Sooner or later, everyone will know who the ‘good guys’ are – and it ain’t the criminals and the OPP. Regards, as always. Thanks again for the consistent support. Mark

  3. The police are the cowards in this case. It is their organization that refuses to obey the law but more than that we have a look at how the police handle not just the situation in caledonia but many of their other cases as well. I have talked to several people who have said they refuse to do the right thing. they feel they are above the average person. Everything to them is a civil case, that way they do not have to deal with it.

    VoC REPLY: Hi Dan. Thanks for the comment. It’s one thing to hear the stories – even first hand from the people who experienced Two Tier Justice first hand – and it’s another to experience it yourself, and watch it unfold in living colour as it does in the Chris Syrie video. We’ve just produced a short video with notes & explanations based on the extensive raw footage we have of the entire Chris Syrie incident that shows the OPP watching as this thug goes onto his land, rips the flag out, throws it on the ground, confronts Chris, and then stands around as the police make no effort to arrest or even identify him! Eventually, he and his buddies leave! Now, the OPP say they can’t identify him.

    Go to “Courage in Caledonia has a name: Chris Syrie” for a link to our new version, and the CHTV clip of the incident. (Give me a couple of minutes to put a link to the new version – it just went up a few minutes ago at http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.com. Here are the links: HIGH SPEED DIAL-UP.

    Thanks again for writing. Mark

  4. Karone:rorakwe

    Re: Jim Smith – “Outsiders and why they are so important.”

    Not to denigrate Mr. Smith nor his God. Not to marginalize the sacrifices made to democracy and freedom made by his ancestors in their acts of selflessness by wearing Canada’s uniform. But to be soooo dramatic is unbecoming. Wherein all of this is there any mention made of the indigenous people of this great country and the sacrifices made by them? Were one to take time and visit any, any cemetary on any reserve in this great country, one would be impressed by the many markers showing the the interred as having served in every branch of service in BOTH the Canadian Armed Forces AND the armed forces of the United States of America.

    So I don’t see the sacrifice of these “outsiders” as being of any more significance than that of my own people. The markers in foreign lands also bear witness to the “ultimate sacrifice” we have made. The untold, unmarked graves that lay on every inch of soil from Pennsylvania, New York, Quebec and Ontario that speak to the blood shed by the Onkwehone:we on behalf of the Crown to create, preserve and defend this country. Where is mention of all of this in anything I have read on this site or anywhere else? Ignored. Of little or no consequence.

    Where are those to speak for us? Certainly the Canadian government had/has no intention of educating Canadians to the TRUE history of sacrifices mage by my people. It’s as though we played but a minor role in all of this you non-natives are so damed proud of and just love to shove in our faces as if you were the great white saviours of all of Canada. In fact, without us, without our sacrifices, there would simply be no Canada you would recognize today. You decry us as “savages, terrorists” even without having any direct knowledge of our accomplishments and sacrifices. All you write, all you decry, points in the direction of ignorance of us and who we are. You know nothing about us yet, when these things come in to the public eye, you have soooo much to say about us. Enough! You are NOT the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the wheel. Humility, try it!!

    VoC REPLY: Thanks for writing, Karone:rorakwe. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, I actually enjoy hearing from people who don’t agree with me as long as they try to make their point with an argument (even if the argument is kind of on the angry side. :-)) I appreciate that you took the time to send me this, so let me try to respond to the issues you raise…

    1. WAS I ‘DISRESPECTING/IGNORING’ SACRIFICES BY NATIVE PEOPLE?

    Jim Smith sent me his very personal photos and a link to his uncle’s war register in a specific attempt to show that the argument against ‘outsiders’ like Gary McHale and me was a foolish one. It was an extremely personal message for a very specific purpose. His purpose was not to recognize natives or to insult them, but to share a very dramatic story to make HIS point on OUR behalf. Therefore, the drama was very real, at least for me – when I say I cried, I wasn’t kidding. I’m not in the habit of lying to my readers, and I’m not afraid to get ‘real’ with them. That’s why people like this site. Also, Jim is a very passionate and emotional guy, and that’s how he writes.

    I most certainly did not (nor would I ever) denigrate the service of native people in the service of Canada. Every sacrifice for this country is worthy. It’s just that this particular story was not about native sacrifices in Canada’s wars, and it was not the time or place to include it.

    If you’d like to send me photo(s) of your relative(s) who died in one of Canada’s wars with a short history attached to it/them, I would be very proud and honoured to publish it provided that your words are educational, personal and historical.

    2. MY EDUCATION RE CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANADA BY NATIVE PEOPLE

    You said that the Canadian government had/has no intention to educate Canadians regarding the sacrifices made by ‘your people.’ I would absolutely agree that I didn’t learn too much in school regarding native contributions to Canada. I’m not sure if it’s the same today since I don’t have any kids in school. I’ll have to ask a friend who does.

    3. MY CHARACTERIZATION OF NATIVE PEOPLE

    You said:

    “You decry us as “savages, terrorists” even without having any direct knowledge of our accomplishments and sacrifices. All you write, all you decry, points in the direction of ignorance of us and who we are. You know nothing about us yet, when these things come in to the public eye, you have soooo much to say about us. Enough! You are NOT the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the wheel. Humility, try it!!”

    Part of what you say is true. I really don’t know much about your culture. Since writing VoC and having some amazing discussions here with native people who took the trouble to reach out – like you – I realized that it’s up to all of us to try to understand native culture and sacrifices and grievances. The problem right now, however, is that a small group of criminals are getting in the way of that process, and so long as we have to argue about the merits of allowing thugs to terrorize innocent people caught in a land claim, the real learning and understanding cannot begin.

    The only native people I have denounced as ‘terrorists’ are the thugs who are using violence and criminality to get what they want. I don’t need to understand the history of native peoples in order to know that the evil that has been done by a small group in your midst is wrong, that trying to use past injustice as an excuse to justify what cannot be justifed is wrong.

    I would like to know more about you and your people, but the words of the extremists in your community frighten me with their viciousness and undisguised hatred of all whose opinion may differ from theirs. I have been slandered and libelled simply for talking about equality and non-violence. I wish you could have been there on January 20th when a group of 75-100 people on DCE stood near Chris Syrie’s property yelling filthy insults at us as we stood silent holding Canadian flags. Even they got tired of their own words after 30 minutes of hurling disgusting slurs against us, and drifted away after being unable to provoke trouble. We didn’t want to hurt anybody; all we wanted to do was exercise our Constitutional right to put up a flag of our own across from DCE.

    When I drive along the Grand River I no longer marvel at the beauty; I wonder who will attack me if I stop for gas at the gas station if they knew who I was. I wonder what would happen to me if I drove through the reserve to see what was there. The Lions Hall has refused to rent rooms to Gary McHale and I because they have been the victim of harassment/intimidation from supporters of the DCE thugs. Despite all of this, I would never characterize all native people as being ‘savages’ or ‘terrorists’ because I don’t believe it to be true.

    I have said many times on VoiceofCanada that I believe the actions of a few organized criminals is bringing disrepute on native peoples as a whole. If it is understanding and cooperation and truth and justice you seek, ridding yourself of the troublemakers on DCE, and then joining us in our fight against Two Tier Justice by the OPP would be a very good place to start.

    4. ARE YOU WILLING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I HAVE SAID & WHAT I REALLY BELIEVE?

    In fairness to me, have you actually read “all that I write?” If you had I suspect you might have a different opinion of what I believe and what I have actually said. Would you please take a few minutes to review two VoC articles for me? They both began with comments from critics, but they are among my proudest posts. The second one began with a comment from an Iroquois man named Terry Jamieson Jr. We didn’t start off too well, but you may like the ending. Tell me what you think:

    1. Does past oppression justify present violence? VoC gets ‘real’

    2. Mediation & negotiation with natives? Yes. With sociopaths? No.

    5. WHAT I HAVE SAID PUBLICLY ABOUT REACHING OUT TO NATIVE PEOPLE

    If you’d like to see how I applied what I learned from my interaction with ‘Rob’ and Terry Jamieson Jr., read my ‘Blue Beret’ speech to Caledonia that I gave during the March for Freedom on Jan 20/07. After reading it, please tell me if you still believe I hold any animosity towards honourable native people.

    OPP & OPPA vs. Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms

    I hope this helps. I’d be interested in your feelings about the 3 VoC articles listed above. If you decide to write back, let me know that you’ve read them by telling me what the last words of Terry Jamieson Jr. were to me, OK? Thanks for writing, Karone:rorakwe. Mark

  5. Karone:rorakwe

    She:kon Mark.

    Too much to comment on. So many truths, half-truths and utter innuendo. I’ll leave the history lessons to those better informed than myself. As to Terry’s last words, “Live Long and Prosper.” There were other “last words” as I’ve been reading now for about 2 hours. Which “last words” would one choose? To say you were becoming a well-informed person would be correct. It does seem apparent that you are intent on at least making the effort to inform yourself. Kudos.

    I do want to make a few points however. In response to WL “what happens when every court decision finds the occupation to be illegal and . . . . etcetera” The analogy that comes to mind here is “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” We are speaking of the colonial court system aren’t we? Of course we are. The very same colonial system that “raped” us, deciding on the guilt or innocence of our actions at Caledonia? That HAS to be the epitome of arrogance and typical of the ignorance we have come to expect from people such as WL. Sad, very, very sad.

    Also, I WAS at Syries that day, standing silently, watching, with my heart covered in tears at the actions of my people. But in contrast to your observations about “your people” standing quietly, I saw and heard otherwise. There is a difference though, in “knowing” of the history as to the “why” of our actions, and “living” the history of the “whys.” The continuing fall-out of the residential school systems affects us profoundly even today, these many years after the fact. The residential school system was directly responsible for the loss of my marriage and my wife. I can understand the pain, the hurt and frustration of my people and their unseemly conduct. I don’t condone it . . . I just understand it. I saw many of our children watching this nasty exchange and was saddened by this. I wondered what it was we were teaching our children by such conduct? To teach them this was appropriate behaviour only serves to ensure this hate and bitterness will go on and on and on. This is/was not our true way. This is not the teachings of our Great Law. This, was not the true “us.”

    Like you, like countless others, I too wore the uniform of this country. I did not serve for the foreign government in Ottawa, I served this country we call Canada. My land. The same land that we Onkwehone:we were always willing to “share” with our white brothers. Trouble is, our “white” brothers never had any intention of sharing it with us. They wanted it all then; they want it all now. To understand that, you have to learn of our “one bowl” philosophy. We always believed there was more than enough room to live side-by-side with enough for all. Big mistake.

    I am a moderate Mark. I do not believe in violence for any other reason than to protect my loved ones, my honour and my land. I will stand at Kanonhstaton when called upon. I will stand with dignity and with honour, with open face and open hands. I wear no mask to hide my face. Yet, as others say, it is easy to understand the passion of the young. We will do our best to keep them of a good mind.

    As you, I was also a charge of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. I too have been through the mix of orphanages and foster homes. I must be a very resilient person for I survived relatively unscathed. A whole person at my advanced age of 63. (some humour there).

    In closing, I have to say to you, you are a very committed man. I hope your “new” education serves you well. You have much to say but harken to an old Native expression if you will; “be silent before your tongue makes you deaf.” Listen, and listen well. There is much more to learn.

    Be well. Take best care.

    Karone:rorakwe

    VoC REPLY: Dear Karone:rorakwe – I like your words of wisdom very much: “Be silent before your tongue makes you deaf.” I will try to remember them and who it was that told them to me.

    Just to clarify re the angry words at Chris Syrie’s property. Again, you are partially correct and I am glad you reminded me. When I wrote my response to you, I did not think to mention the second instance during the day where there was some shouting from ‘our side.’ Allow me to explain: After the speeches on the side of the road were over at approximately 1200, many of us drove over to Chris Syrie’s property. When I arrived there were some people standing at the edge of the hill overlooking DCE holding Canadian flags as the insults were flying toward us. From the time I arrived until the people on DCE got tired of insulting us, there was not a single response to the provocation that I heard. It is possible that there were words exchanged before I got there, but I didn’t hear them. I did see later on CHTV some footage where someone on ‘our side’ asked the DCE crowd to join with us in putting up flags and was rewarded with ‘middle finger’ salutes. I don’t know when this took place (Of course, I don’t trust the media any more than you likely do, given how often they ‘get it wrong’ about us). As I said, it’s possible that someone from the Syrie camp said things they shouldn’t have before I got there.

    I thank you for your words regarding the hurt you felt about the insults coming from the DCE side.

    I remember saying to the man I was standing beside (Jeff) that our struggle against Two Tier Justice will only be won through peaceful means, by showing our strength through silence in the face of degradation. It was hard for him, but he understood. After the DCE hecklers left (around 1230 +/-) we gathered around the fire at Chris Syrie’s property.

    After a while we got word that Fantino was at Unity Road, so some us piled into cars to go over there to see if he would answer our questions. I don’t know if there were any confrontations while I was gone.

    When we came back (Fantino met with you, but he wouldn’t meet with us.) someone thought that DCE people were trying to harass the people whose house had been vandalized Dec 17th so we ran down to the edge of the hill to see if they needed some help. There were some DCE people there, again insulting us. One man in a yellow rain suit (I think?) on the DCE side, however, said that wanted to talk to us. ‘Jeff’ asked me if we could invite him up, to which I was very sympathetic, but I told Jeff that it wasn’t our property and therefore we had no authority to invite anyone in without the homeowner’s permission. Jeff was very disappointed, but he understood. He later wrote me an email telling me that he wished he could have met the man from DCE to hear what he had to say. Another DCE man, also in a yellow suit (I think) got very angry with the first guy and told him not to talk to us. The crowd then began yelling insults at us again.

    This time, however, a couple of people had had enough and began to react. One man on ‘our side’ became very angry. Although he did not yell any slurs towards DCE he did offer to fight the people who were insulting him. I went over to him, put my hands on his shoulders, looked him in the eyes and told him forcefully to stop, that just one incident – no matter how it started – would be held against us and against our struggle. Eventually, he calmed down enough for me to convince him to move away from the hill. After we returned to the fire he became very angry with me, telling me how much he resented me telling him what to do. Eventually, he apologized. I suppose this is a longwinded explanation to say that it’s possible you witnessed his reaction, or someone else’s while I wasn’t there.

    I am honoured that you read my words for two hours. When one is 63, you never really know what the next two hours will bring, do you? 🙂 Two hours is quite an investment of faith! (Said by someone who just reached the traumatic age of 50)

    I am truly sorry that you lost your wife and your marriage because of what my government did to you. I wish I knew what to say, but let me offer this: When I was in jail on Dec 16th I had that moment of clarity that you read about in my post, and I realized that everything in my life – both good and bad – had prepared me for this struggle, and I also knew – for the first time – that I would not go back and change a thing even if I could.

    One day I hope that Caledonia will be remembered not for the awful pictures on my site, but as a place where wise men (and women!) backed away from the abyss of anarchy and civil war, resolved to live as true equals under an admittedly imperfect Rule of Law, and dedicated themselves to teaching others what was learned there.

    Let me close with one thought that you may or may not find strange; I suspect that you and Gary McHale would enjoy each others’ company very much, and that much knowledge and understanding would be gained and shared in the process. He is an good man, a man of great vision, wisdom and learning. More importantly, he is a man of great integrity – someone who cannot be bought or intimidated. He, too has suffered from a very bad childhood and, like us, has “emerged relatively unscathed.” I would very much like to be in the same room with you both. Perhaps one day…

    Thank you for the gift of your time, Karone:rorakwe. I wish I could discuss the “One Bowl” philosophy with you, but I have much to do now. Perhaps we will meet again. I have written your words and your name in my notebook. I will also put them on the right margin of this site so I will remember. Live long and prosper. Be well and take best care yourself. Mark