At 1007 EST today, VoiceofCanada verified by phone with the Media Relations Department of the London Police Service that they had received the letter below addressed to the Chief of the London Police Service. Contact info has been removed.
NOTE: Upon rereading my original letter, I realized that I had incorrectly numbered the list of topics, omitting #5. I provided a corrected version to the LPS by email at 1105 EST and left a voice message for Constable Pfeffer making her aware of the mistake and requesting that she contact me with any questions:
TO: Constable Pfeffer, Media Relations, London Police Service
Dear Constable Pfeffer:
As discussed, here is the email that I sent to the Chief’s address last night. I wanted to give you both a chance to read it before I post in at VoiceofCanada.ca at 1300 today. Please feel free to contact me at 519.XXX.XXXX should you have any questions.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
London Police Service
601 Dundas Street
London, Ontario N6B 1X1
Attention: Chief Murray Faulkner, Chief of Police
Re: Caledonia ‘March for Freedom’ Protests
Dear Chief Faulkner,
1. My name is Mark Vandermaas. I am the editor of VoiceofCanada.ca, and – as you undoubtedly know – I have been very active in the struggle against Two Tier Justice in Caledonia where the OPP have arrested non-natives (including myself) for attempting to erect a Canadian flag on a public utility pole despite a Supreme Court of Canada decision that guarantees our right to do so – Ramsden v. Peterborough, 1993.
During the past weekend in Caledonia, I had occasion to meet (in a pleasant way!) and introduce myself to the London Police riot squad who were positioned nearby, and I thought it might be helpful to do the same with you as a way to alleviate any concerns you have about my activities, and any potential for injury to your officers or the public.
2. No doubt you will find this hard to believe, but Gary McHale and I have been viciously libelled and/or slandered by both the OPP Commissioner and Ontario Provincial Police Association President, Karl Walsh despite our consistent emphasis on the use of non-violent methods of protest. This hysteria reached an utterly surreal level when – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – the OPPA issued a news release saying that we were “acting on a sustained basis to push an aggressive political agenda that includes promoting hatred, flaunting the justice system and inciting violence.”
None of these accusations have any basis in fact, something that the OPPA and its president knew or ought to have known at the time he made them. The OPPA news release implies that we have been responsible for injuries to OPP officers when, in fact, not a single officer has been injured by us or during our protests.
We are consulting with our lawyers as to the proper action to take to restore our good names and hold those responsible accountable. We have already filed Small Claims Court actions for false arrest, but there will definitely be additional remedies pursued.
It is true that I and Mr. McHale did publicly invite others to be arrested with us, but – as the OPP and OPPA know – we do not endorse or promote the use of violence. Their reckless disregard for the truth is frightening.
The OPP are arresting or threatening to arrest us for actions that are legal as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and the Supreme Court. It is their actions that are illegal, not ours. This cannot be allowed to continue, especially since the OPP leadership have consistently refused to explain their reasons for violating our Constitutional rights despite having been given numerous opportunities to do so.
3. The ‘flag issue’ is merely a symptom of the double-standard in law enforcement that law-abiding residents of Caledonia have faced since the lawlessness in Caledonia began almost one year ago. We have, for example, video footage of a recent incident in which a native thug ripped a Canadian flag out of the ground at a property belonging to a Mr. Syrie and threw it on the ground before confronting him toe-to-toe. Despite Mr. Syrie’s demand that the man be arrested, the OPP did not even try to identify him before allowing him to leave. Later, the OPP said they couldn’t arrest him because he couldn’t be identified.
In another case, a 91 year-old WWII vet told me he had rocks thrown at his house while the OPP watched and did nothing. His words to me were, “I went through 4 years of Hell for this country, but I don’t even know if my police will protect me.” Non-natives, on the other hand, are arrested for ‘breach of the peace’ if we try to place a Canadian flag on a utility pole across the street from the occupied Douglas Creek Estates. This is the reality of Caledonia today.
4. Chief, may I ask that you please take a few moments to read a current post at http://www.VoiceofCanada.ca called, “OPP & OPPA vs. Supreme Court & Charter of Rights and Freedoms“? It contains the text of a speech I gave on Sunday in addition to recording other important events of the day, and I believe it would shed a great deal of light on my/our motives for getting involved. If you have any questions whatsoever, I would pleased to speak or meet with you at any time.
5. I want you and your officers to understand that we are engaged in our struggle against Two Tier Justice because we believe in the supremacy of the Rule of Law and Equality before the law. We have no opinions about land claims – we simply believe that no one – native or non-native – has the right to use violence in lieu of the court system, and we believe that all citizens should be equal before the law.
We support law and order, and we are doing everything we can – within the law – to work with local Caledonians to restore it. Our positions on this matter were echoed by the Toronto Star in a strongly-worded editorial written on Dec 21/06, just days after our arrests on December 16th: “Time for a reality check on Caledonia” in which they said, “There cannot be different classes of law for different classes of people. The rule of law is paramount in Canada’s society and must be upheld.”
6. Just this past week we received an endorsement from the area’s MPP, Toby Barrett. I would be pleased to provide his telephone numbers to you upon request so that you can verify that we are – indeed – providing a badly needed voice and service for the residents of Caledonia.
Please call at any time should you have any questions. Thank you for listening.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
VoC COMMENT: As a co-organizer of the March for Freedom event that took place on January 20th., I want to make clear that I in no way fault London’s Chief of Police for answering the OPP’s call to provide officers equipped for riot control. I would have done the same in his place with the ‘information’ provided by the OPP.
Still, I must say that we, the law abiding citizens who were protesting – and have always protested – peacefully in an attempt to hold the OPP accountable for denying us our Constitutional rights were more than a little amused at seeing the London riot squad there that day as Commissioner Fantino was meeting with supporters of the Douglas Creek criminals as described in a Canadian Press story:
“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.”
Let me express my great desire that one day the Attorney General of Ontario will finally order a police force to come to Caledonia to protect the law-abiding residents of Caledonia and ‘outsiders’ like us from the Ontario Provincial Police. I trust that Chief Faulkner will answer that call.
Until that day arrives I urge all citizens of Ontario to read VoiceofCanada post, “OPP & OPPA vs. Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Rights & Freedoms” and to call and/or write your MPP and local media sources to encourage them to do so as well.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
For another perspective on the OPP/OPPA attacks on our character, check out this piece by W.L. MACKENZIE REDUX on The Reformer’s Firebrand called, “Calls for equal application of the Law called “outsider public mischief’ by Cop Brass.”