UPDATED 0957 EST April 10/07
After hearing from some Caledonians and Gary McHale, I realized that one of my recent statements made in connection with the shutdown of CWUC and VoC was insulting to Bo Chausse even though I did not mention him by name. I want to explain why I made the statement in question, and why I now realize that it was not even close to being fair to Bo.
First, I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect for Bo Chausse as the first person to be arrested for trying to erect a Canadian flag, for his efforts on behalf of Caledonia in general and for his attempts to both unite the town and inspire Haldimand Council at the recent townhall meeting.
I am also aware of the price Bo himself has paid to help his fellow citizens, and it was, of course, Bo who inspired me to go to Caledonia on Dec 16/06 after his arrest Dec 2nd. Since that day I have done my best to credit him wherever possible for notably being the first to expose just how far the corrupted OPP would go in denying non-native citizens their rights.
How, then, did I come to make a statement that would be so disrespectful to him?
I have to confess that, given my own arrest during an attempt to defend Bo’s right to hang a Canadian flag (and the right of all Canadians), I was very hurt when I heard that Bo had asked for Gary McHales’ list of media contacts, but had asked us not to attend his meeting. It seems silly now, but in my mind, I believed that Bo had given us the ‘cold shoulder.’ Ordinarily, it might have not bothered me so much, but I was – like Gary – both exhausted from the recent workload, and frustrated with what seemed to me to be a lack of unity and support. When I heard that we were excluded from another meeting and especially by someone I thought so highly of, it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back for me.
What I should have realized was that Bo must have had a good reason for not wanting us there that night and for not wanting us to publicize the event on our sites, and I should have trusted his judgement. I was not aware of just how strong a message Bo delivered in the name of unity until speaking with Gary McHale just today. It was only then that I realized how thoughtless I had been in making the statement I did.
I apologize to all those in Caledonia and especially to Bo himself for giving the impression that I was belittling his contribution to Caledonia. He deserves nothing less than my/our complete respect for stepping up to unite his town, and it shames me that I have dishonoured him in any way. I can only hope that he and the people of Caledonia will forgive me for not trusting a man who has more than proved his commitment to place the well being of his fellow citizens above his own.
I will try not to make the same mistake in the future.
UPDATE April 09/07: I was both pleased and relieved when Bo contacted me today to let me know that he accepted my apology. In his email he said,
“Apology accepted. For us, the issue has never been about our feelings or agreement of process. Resistance to the occupation is good, any resistance. If we can co-ordinate we will, if we can’t we won’t. The influence of the whole outweighs the parts.”
A valuable reminder from a classy guy, and better than I deserved. Thanks, Bo.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor