BULLETIN 2010 EST Feb 13/07: VoiceofCanada today received a copy of a letter that has been delivered by our solicitor to the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) and its President ‘in his personal capacity’ with respect to a number of inaccurate and highly inflammatory statements made about Gary McHale and me in a news release dated January 18/07.
I also received documents confirming that my Small Claims Court action against the OPP for unlawful arrest on Dec 16/06 has been withdrawn in favour of an action against the Ministry of the Attorney General. We will publish documents when we are permitted to do so by our solicitor.
In the coming weeks Gary McHale and I expect to bring additional actions – both judicial and quasi-judicial – against other individuals, organizations and media outlets who have participated in libelling us and/or violating our Constitutional rights. We intend to send a strong message that we will not tolerate unsubstantiated attacks on our character or on our civil rights as Canadian citizens.
Toby Barrett leads Caledonia council to water…but they won’t drink!
Since the last March for Freedom event on Jan 20/07, Gary McHale and I have been planning to hold a special ‘legal workshop’ for Caledonia residents so we could pass on some of the legal tools we are currently using and/or plan to use in the coming weeks to fight back against Two Tier Justice.
One of our supporters happened to talk to Craig Grice about what we were doing, and so I thought I’d contact him, introduce myself and let him know that we would like to work with him in creating a strong voice for Caledonia’s residents. I spoke to Grice for about 30 minutes during the evening on February 6/07. I explained in detail about the evidence we had gathered and were gathering for the next phase of our struggle against Two Tier Justice, about the various legal remedies we were pursuing, and about our plans for a legal workshop. Grice accepted my invitation to a lunch meeting to discuss some ideas, and promised to let me know what date he’d be available.
I then called Gary McHale to let him know how pleased I was that Grice seemed genuinely interested in answering Toby Barrett’s challenge to Caledonia’s leaders to ‘step forward’ and help us.
“You [Gary McHale] are the easy way out for many people and it is incumbent on other leaders in the community to step forward. It is time for a few others to shoulder this.”
MPP Toby Barrett, Jan 16/07
Since Grice was holding his first public meeting on Feb 09/07, just a few days after our conversation, I was very hopeful. Unfortunately, it appears that my hope was badly misplaced.
CRAIG GRICE TOWN HALL MEETING
– Speakers –
Councillor Craig Grice (Ward 3)
Councillor Buck Sloat (Ward 2)
Mayor Marie Trainer
MPP Toby Barrett
Ward 3 former candidate Rick Vanderwyk
(Other Haldimand councillors may have been present in the audience.)
The statements and questions below are what I consider to be the most important excerpts from an audio recording of the meeting. Not all statements and questions are included. The numbering used is for VoiceofCanada reference only, and does not represent the actual number of questions asked.
AUDIO SEGMENT #1: Craig Grice Speech
Introduction by Grice: There are no OPP here. There is no province. There is no federal government. I do apologize – Toby Barrett is here. I didn’t invite them. [the OPP or federal/provincial government]
Every single last councillor is trying to do their best to try to make sure the provincial and federal government know exactly what our position is. Their leadership continues to be an embarrassment.
We as a community need to have our voices heard. And the only way to get this done is to try to make the land claim issue ‘duty to consult’ a major influence on the next provincial elections and the upcoming federal election.
We need answers so we’re not always living in fear.
If anyone wants to think the occupation is illegal, I would say at one time it was. Now it’s not as the province is allowing the occupation to continue.
I’m hoping for at least three things today: First, that we as a community come a little closer together to provide a common voice to draw attention from the Ontario government. Second, I hope that some frustration is relieved tonight. My big concern is about trying to find out how we can move forward. If we can come up with a few good ideas I can work on, that Marie can work on, that Toby can work on, then we’re going to accomplish something.
The OPP are still not policing beyond the DCE: Sixth Line, Oneida and the back of Sterling. They are going to respond to 911 phone calls. I’ve suggested to the OPP numerous times, as I know Marie has, as I know Buck has, and Council has that you [the OPP] might not get the phone calls because they are deathly afraid of any repercussions.
I know my heart goes out to every single person behind DCE. The big thing to remember is that we are all in this together. The better common voice that can come out of tonight, the better off we’re going to be tomorrow.
In my opinion, there seems to be no urgency to resolve [the land claim].
I’m going to open the microphones up to people who want to have a serious discussion. Give me some serious ideas to work with.
AUDIO SEGMENT #2: Q & A Period
Question 1A: Isn’t it true that things have been quiet [in Ipperwash] for a number of years and the occupation hasn’t ended? Why would it end here?
Answer (Grice): When will it end? I don’t know. I don’t pretend to put myself in their [native’s] position on how they believe things need to get done. I can only hope that if this here succeeds for them – I’m not saying I want the occupation – but if it succeeds here, it doesn’t happen somewhere else.
Question 1B: Does that not encourage the same thing again and again?
Answer (Grice): I won’t argue that. If things work out then it won’t happen anywhere else.
Question 2: There is a committee that has been formed to deal with the compensation for residents of Caledonia. Why, for a councillor that campaigned on a promise of open, honest and transparent communication, [did you] choose to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the provincial government rather than provide information to his constituents?
Answer (Grice): You said that I campaigned on a platform of open communications. How many people are here tonight? I’ve been in council for two months and I’m holding a meeting. I’m trying to do exactly that. Did I sign a non-disclosure? Yes, I did. It’s the province’s money. It’s the province’s program. If I want to be involved in those discussions as I know I have to be, as I know I want to be, as I know the residents of Caledonia demand me to be, I have to sign it or I have no chance at providing any input into anything. So if I don’t sign it I basically can put down the mike and not do my job. I have no choice. Do I wish that the provincial government would have done this openly? Without a doubt. I think they’re way off base with the way they’re doing it. That being said, I didn’t make the rules. Do I have to live with them? Yes. I apologize to anyone who thinks I’m trying to hide. If I was trying to hide I would not have this meeting.
Question 3A: Does the town of Caledonia and Haldimand have a representative at the primary negotiating table?
Answer (Trainer): No, we do not.
Question 3B: Can the council ask the federal government for funding for legal challenges?
Answer (Grice): I have no problem asking the question.
Answer (Trainer): Yes
AUDIO SEGMENT #3: Questions re Council attitude toward McHale & Vandermaas
Question 4A: Council never, ever supported Gary McHale. They don’t support Vandermaas. Is there any reason why council doesn’t support those two individuals that, indeed, have kept Caledonia on the map?
Answer (Grice): I have no problem with freedom of speech. My problem is people like Gary McHale, like anyone else, probably shouldn’t ever exist if the issue was dealt with already. Do I support Gary McHale? Is that the question? I ask you… (CROWD NOISE) Does he serve a purpose for some of those in Caledonia? Yes. At the same time there are those in Caledonia that say we want nothing to do with Gary McHale. I’m not denying that Gary McHale’s presence – at times – is not necessarily a bad thing for Caledonia. At the same time there are those that would say I don’t want anything to do with Gary McHale because of the bad light he brings to Caledonia. (CROWD NOISE)
Question 4B: Caledonia is part of Canada. Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas are Canadians.
Answer (Sloat): My fellow councillor is getting beat up all of a sudden on this Gary McHale situation. I’m going to tell you, I personally will never support any individual, native, non-native, Irish, Polish, German – I don’t care where you’re from – that openly admits that he’s coming to Haldimand County in order to get arrested. Therefore, he’s going to break some laws to get arrested. If Gary McHale has a message, then the residents of Caledonia should be able to bring forth that message.
Question 4C: You don’t support Gary McHale because he comes to town to be arrested? He comes to town because it’s Two Tier Justice, and the sooner you realize it the better off we’ll be. (CROWD NOISE)
Answer (Sloat): We have said that from day one we have a one-tier justice system, but we have a two-tier application of that justice system. That’s the problem. I don’t care about Gary McHale. I don’t need Gary McHale to tell me that.
Question 4D: We need Gary McHale and more people like him, and we need Haldimand County Council to get up and tell the people in Caledonia and indeed all of Haldimand to rally around those people.
Answer (Grice): We have batted the Gary McHale question to death and it won’t solve a darn tootin’ thing for Caledonia. This isn’t about Gary McHale. Get over Gary McHale. Get over everything and let’s work for Caledonia. This will only be solved with us. Your point is exactly correct – we should rally around…something. We shouldn’t have to worry about when he is going to show up so I can make my voice heard. (CROWD NOISE) (Grice – angry) I’m not answering the Gary McHale question! I’m not here for Gary McHale. I’m here for Caledonia. If you have a question about Caledonia – something we can do to make it better for Caledonia – ask me that question! I’m not talking about Gary McHale. (CROWD NOISE)
AUDIO SEGMENT #2: Q & A Period – continued
Question 5: I am a 35 year resident of Caledonia. Gary McHale is the only person that gives us information word-for-word that’s honest in what he says. No one in Caledonia, none of the Alliance groups or other websites give us honest reports of what’s going on in our own Haldimand County. As for the Two Tier Justice system, it’s got to stop.
Question 6: What can we do to make the issue [of Ottawa Police investigations into OPP non-action during assaults] public?
Answer (Grice): I hope that it comes out. I don’t know if it will. [Caledonia OPP Inspector] McLean’s response is that it [investigation] is being worked on and is near to completion.
Introduction of Rick Vanderwyk by Grice: I owed it to Rick and those who voted for him to have him here tonight.
Question 6 (Vanderwyk): The number one problem is the public safety issue. There’s not a week that goes by that you don’t hear about some act that’s been committed that’s been gotten away with. The DCE’s been home sweet home to perpetrators. We’ve got people lying around that have burned down a bridge and the OPP have never addressed that. The OPP is spending $22M to try to prevent crime that can’t be prevented. Unless an OPP parks in front and behind my house every single night it’s not going to prevent someone from walking into my house. Has the OPP come up with any programs that we’re not aware of? Are they going to be able to negotiate and get on DCE to do inspections? Is there going to be a public safety side table? Is there going to be any ride-along program where the community can get in the police cars to ride for the night? What have we done to get the community involved in the safety area?
Answer (Grice): The ride-along has been discussed. Have the OPP gone forward with that? No. But, that doesn’t surprise me. No. But they are looking at it.
As for the OPP and the costs that are being incurred and the $20M, When this $20M came out Council had no clue what Fantino was doing. It blindsided us. We never got asked. We never got consulted. I think it was a darn disgrace the way that happened. Our Police Services Board was not even notified. That there is a serious problem. All I can say, as far as the [additional] officers coming in, that’s not on our tax dollar.
Question 7A: What is your definition of ‘policing’ for residents on Sixth Line? Six Nations Police say ‘we don’t want to come down that road.’ When was the last time the Six Nations Police patrolled that road?
Answer (Sloat): We have asked the same question day in and day out. We asked these same questions of the previous commissioner. We asked the present commissioner directly – face to face – those exact questions and we also have not received what we feel are the appropriate answers. I’m not sure what we can actually do beyond that. We continually…
Question 7B: Nobody comes up that road. There’s nothing to stop anybody. It’s not a policed area. I’ve seen them [police] three times since April. We used to see them every three hours.
Answer (Sloat): We told Fantino exactly that.
Answer (Grice): It boggles my mind – honestly- that the OPP figures this was the right thing to do. I wish I could help you and I wish I could do more.
Question 8: I’ve lived in three countries and I never lived in a country where the police are told where and where not they can go. I just never lived anywhere where there’s no policing because there’s a small group of people saying ‘you can’t come here’ and the police stay off, or they decide not to go. So who’s accountable?
Answer (Grice): The OPP will have to remain accountable. I can’t stop what they are doing as a councillor. I wish I could. Council supported the resolution that staff be directed to prepare a report to be presented no later than April 16th outlining a framework for reviewing options for policing in Haldimand County. So council is trying to hold them accountable by doing this.
Question 9A: Why have you not sued the OPP for breach of contract when the Sixth Line is a prominent example of policing that is not being upheld according to standards that are normal within any community?
Answer (Sloat): Boy, this is a tough one. Our Police Services Board and our legal team and others have told us that, contractually, we have no legal avenue or recourse with the OPP. We have absolutely no say in ‘Operations.’ None.
Question 9B: You guys aren’t even showing the effort of trying to define the contract. If you stand here and say, “I don’t know, I don’t know,” are you ever going to find out?
Answer (Sloat): Well, you know, we have a responsibility when it comes to the taxpayer’s dollars…(CROWD NOISE)
Question 9C: So give all the people on Sixth Line their money back.
Answer (Sloat): Well…you know what. I think Craig would agree and I’m sure the Mayor would agree – we can certainly take a resolution to Council and ask Council to support that kind of investigation or approach to the OPP contract. I don’t have any problem with that. I don’t agree with it either.
Question 10A: In Ipperwash, the OPP charged an additional $5M over the years. The Ipperwash Council had to pay the bill.
Answer (Sloat): Perhaps the only difference is that we have it in writing.
Answer (Grice): When Commissioner Fantino came he said you’re going to have take my word. We asked for a written letter stating that money will never be charged back.
Question 10B: Who’s it signed by?
Answer (Grice): Brad Blair, Superintendent Commander, First Nations and Contract Policing Bureau.
Grice’s Closing Remarks: When people can see there’s a chance to make a difference they want to help. But if they think it’s going to be a bunch of anger they don’t want to make that effort because it’s just not worth the hassle. Myself, I think it is. That’s why I’m here.
Toby Barrett’s remarks from the floor: You need to reach out to the media to keep Caledonia on the radar screen. There are dozens of federal and provincial MP’s and MPP’s within a 20 minute drive that you can approach. Why not come down to my office and protest on my front yard and get some media? There are lots of politicians in St. Catharines and Hamilton and Brantford and Kitchener. Take the battle to their front. Write letters to the editor. We do have to force the government’s hand.
The issue was raised regarding an Inquiry into Caledonia. The Ontario Legislature passed a motion for an inquiry into Caledonia.
You’ve got to reach out to other people.
The most important thing is to think up some action steps.
– VoiceofCanada Comments –
First of all, let me commend everyone who attended the Grice meeting, and especially those of you who asked some truly revealing questions on behalf of your fellow citizens. You showed remarkable tenacity in your attempt to obtain clear answers, and provide some possible solutions to the important issues. What a shame that your politicians were not up to the task that night. With the notable exception of Toby Barrett’s encouraging words, this is the message I heard from the other politicians:
1. We can’t do a thing for taxpaying citizens living in Caledonia, Ontario, Canada who are being denied policing services. The OPP don’t care what we say, so the Sixth Line residents will just have to suck it up and do without policing until the OPP decides to get around to it. We’re going to ask staff to prepare a report on policing by April 16th, so that’s how we’re holding the OPP accountable. Perhaps we can make a motion to see if we can sue the OPP if you really want us to, but it’s a waste of the taxpayers’ money. But, hey – we’re all in this together.
2. If the natives get what they want here in Caledonia they won’t try terrorizing another town to get what they want there. (Hate to tell you this, Craig, but the criminals in Ipperwash got what they wanted long ago, so Caledonia IS the ‘other’ town.)
3. The province forced me to join a secret committee regarding compensation for taxpayers that I can’t discuss with the taxpayers, but I’m meeting my promise to hold open and transparent communications because I’m having this meeting – and it only took me two months to get around to it.
4. I don’t need Gary McHale or Mark Vandermaas to tell me there’s Two Tier Justice in Caledonia. What…the OPP are arresting people who have committed no crimes? Why didn’t someone tell me? You mean that non-natives can get arrested just for trying to put up a Canadian flag? The OPP are violating the Supreme Court and the Charter of Rights? First I heard of it. Damn, nobody tells me anything in this town.
5. We really want some great ideas and participation as long as they don’t come from the two ‘outsiders’ who have risked their freedom, and put their lives on hold to help us on a full time basis for free.
Hey, and while we’re at it, let’s spit in their faces by insulting them in front of the residents and politicians who showed up tonight. That’ll show ’em.
We don’t have a clue what to do ourselves, but we sure don’t need help from outsiders to keep Caledonia on the radar screen or help us organize protests even though they – despite our best attempts to insult and impede them at every opportunity – have helped turn the media around 180 degrees in our favour in just a few short months.
And, even though most Caledonians are too intimidated to stand up for themselves, and people on Sixth Line are afraid to even make 911 calls for fear of repercussions, who needs these non-Caledonian Canadians trying to help? Who do they think they are?
Oh yes, and how dare you ask a question about these outsiders and their contribution to Caledonia in my meeting! I’m not sharing the spotlight with anyone who can’t vote for me.
Craig Grice’s meeting revealed to me just how small and helpless Caledonia’s elected officials see themselves in the face of a police force that is out of control and a provincial government determined to divide the citizens of Caledonia in order to prevent a united, organized resistance against the evil perpetrated against their town.
MPP Toby Barrett: a leader’s perspective…
Contrast Haldimand’s councillors’ attitudes, however, with Toby Barrett’s encouragement to go out there and take the fight to the ‘enemy,’ to capture the media’s imagination, to reach out to other people. Other Canadians. In other towns. Outsiders who are ready, willing and able to help you.
[Click on photo, left, to see Mark Vandermaas on A-Channel News. Click on photo, right, for Hamilton Spectator profile of Gary McHale.]
Gary McHale and I talked – months ago – about how we would like to organize a province-wide road trip to bring attention to Caledonia once we had the resources to do so, so it was good to hear Toby suggest it himself!
Toby Barrett suggested that the most important thing to do is to think up some ‘action steps.’ Perhaps the first step Caledonians might take is to contact the individuals below and suggest that they put petty politics aside by accepting help from other Canadians prepared to offer their time, expertise and passion to fellow citizens. Imagine what could be accomplished with the backing of a town united by its leaders!
Craig Grice (Ward 3): 905.961.1264
Buck Sloat (Ward 2): 905.779.0257
(Gary and I have both sent emails to Mr. Sloat requesting an
apology for his remarks at the Grice meeting, Feb 09/07.)
Mayor Marie Trainer: 905.318.5932 ext 202
Gary McHale and I will, of course, continue our current ‘behind the scenes’ work on behalf of Caledonia and we will pass on the details of our Legal Workshop as they become available. Stay tuned!