UPDATED 2134 EST Oct 26/08
UPDATE 1109 EST June 25/07: In the original draft of this story I singled out veteran broadcast journalist Doug Aldridge (killed in car crash April 15/08) of The Right Side as being a notable exception to the media’s deafening silence regarding The Ipperwash Papers. Unfortunately, the paragraph was deleted when this article was posted. My profuse apologies to Doug, especially considering he was the first journalist to interview me regarding about The Ipperwash Papers, and has done 3 interviews about the story!
On March 14, 2007 I went to Queen’s Park with Gary McHale and Mary-Lou LaPratte to release The Ipperwash Papers; 400+ pages of documents ‘overlooked’ by the official Ipperwash Inquiry that show how residents themselves and the evidence of their suffering at the hands of native crime during an invalid land claim were deliberately excluded from the Inquiry.
Among other things, we stated (2 1/2 months before release of the Inquiry’s report on May 31/07) that the Inquiry could never make any credible recommendations for preventing violence against innocent third parties because they never even considered the issue. Indeed, out of the 100 recommendations made by the Commissioner, not a single one of them relates to preventing native lawlessness against residents caught up in land claim occupations.
The Inquiry also held the natives completely blameless for their violent takeover of the former Army camp (despite their deliberate use of children in the assault), and it endorsed the outrageous, race-based policing policies of the OPP in Caledonia as “best practices.”
Several weeks ago I was contacted by a staff writer for the Calgary-based Western Standard magazine who wanted to interview me about The Ipperwash Papers project. I connected him to Mary-Lou LaPratte, the remarkable woman who has spent 15 years trying to tell the story of what happened in Ipperwash from the residents’ point-of-view.
For the first time, Mary-Lou got to tell the story of Ipperwash thanks to a great writer by the name of Kevin Steel who was willing to write the truth in a damning expose of the official Ipperwash Inquiry entitled, “Protection Racket: An Ontario judge glosses over illegal aboriginal acts at Ipperwash.”
If you care about preserving the rule of law in Canada…if you believe in fundamental justice…if you believe that the relationship with native peoples can only be healed on a basis of truth and mutual respect, then you need to read Protection Racket. It completely vindicates what we have been saying about the Ipperwash Inquiry and the dangers of allowing native criminals to break the law with impunity.
“By the spring of 1993, we knew we were in trouble. We knew the police were not going to help us.”
former Ipperwash resident and community leader
“What we have here is nothing less than the normalization of lawlessness, the legitimization of violence as a means of political protest.”
National Post columnist
“If I had any major concern about what they presented, it [the Inquiry] was, despite all the length, a real lack of appreciation of the [divisions within the] native community itself.”
Professor of History
University of Waterloo
“To suggest that Mary-Lou LaPratte wasn’t called as a witness because she didn’t live close enough to the shooting is disingenuous, considering she lived 400 feet away. It seems to me that [Inquiry Lead Counsel] Derry Millar is trying to put forth the argument that the Ipperwash Inquiry was all about the five or six hours surrounding Dudley George’s death. I thought the Inquiry was about trying to find out how he died and why he died.”
Lead Investigator – The Ipperwash Papers
“LaPratte believes the story of what happened to the residents of Ipperwash didn’t fit with the desired narrative [of the Inquiry], so they were cast aside.”
Author, Protection Racket
Many thanks to Mary-Lou LaPratte, and especially to Kevin Steel for being the first to tell her story the way she always hoped it would be told. Well done.
The article Kevin wrote was excellent and for once it was entirely the truth.”
former Ipperwash resident & community leader
On a personal note: In addition to the measure of satisfaction derived from our contribution to an important work on the Ipperwash saga, Protection Racket, for me, poses a burning question to all the reporters and media outlets in Ontario who have had access to, and knowledge of, The Ipperwash Papers and their secrets for some time, yet have chosen not to share them for the benefit of our province and our country:
Why are you silent?
The Right Side: one lone media voice speaks out: There is one notable exception to the deafening silence of Ontario’s main stream media regarding The Ipperwash Papers: veteran broadcaster, journalist and now, webradio host, Doug Aldridge, of The Right Side. Doug has closely followed both the Caledonia story and release of The Ipperwash Papers and done numerous interviews that address key issues missed by other media.
As mentioned above, he was the first journalist to interview me regarding Ipperwash and has so far done a total of three interviews on the subject. He has also gone above and beyond the call of duty by making a concerted and generous effort to share this story with some of the influential names on his impressive contact list. I have been very grateful for his support and his genuine concern for the struggle against Two Tier Justice in Ontario.
NOTE: An electronic copy of the July 02/07 edition of the Western Standard can be purchased at the link in the story (or below). Hard copies may be available for purchase at Chapters; I know at least one London area store carries Western Standard.
- Western Standard magazine, July 02/07 edition: Soldiers of Fortune (just $4.28)
- Western Standard magazine website: www.westernstandard.ca
- The Ipperwash Papers website: www.ipperwashpapers.ca
- VoiceofCanada feature: The Ipperwash Papers
- VoiceofCanada, June 04/07: ‘The Strength of a Woman’ – Mary-Lou LaPratte, Ipperwash hero
- The Right Side with Doug Aldridge website: www.therightside.ca
- The Right Side, June 04/07: ’Ipperwash Inquiry Rebuttal’ interview with Mark Vandermaas – part 1, part 2, part 3
- The Right Side, Ipperwash Papers: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- The Right Side, Ipperwash Papers/Fantino email: Part 1, Part 2
- VoiceofCanada presentation, June 10/07: Canada at the Crossroads: The Ipperwash Legacy
- Ipperwash Inquiry, Volume 1, Investigation: Section 7.2 (describes how native children were used to assault Army barracks)
- Ipperwash Inquiry, Volume 2, Policy Analysis: Recommendations for avoiding future violence
- VoiceofCanada/CaledoniaWakeUpCall News Release, June 01/07: Ipperwash Papers investigator calls Inquiry “shameful cover-up”
- VoiceofCanada/CaledoniaWakeUpCall, May 30/07: Ipperwash Papers vs. Ipperwash Inquiry: 12 Questions for journalists
- VoiceofCanada feature: The Ipperwash Papers (links re Ipperwash story)
- Western Standard, Kevin Steel, Sept 11/06: The road to anarchy