VoC interviewed for journalism school project


UPDATED 1700 EST Dec 05/07

In my last article, I talked about our invitation to speak at the University of Waterloo. At about the same time we received the U of W invitation to speak, I was contacted by a journalism student at another university who was working on a senior year project. She wanted to interview me about my views on how the media has covered Caledonia, a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.

We first met on the hill at the Caledonia Lions Park just prior to the start of speeches for our October 08th ‘Remember Us’ March. She was interning with a local journalist covering the event. When I discovered she was a senior journalism student, I mentioned a few of the stories the mainstream media have refused and/or failed to tell about Caledonia, including Dancer’s.  I also told her of my plan to write an article one day called, ‘The Dark Days of Canadian Journalism‘ and send it to every journalism school in the country as a reminder of how badly Caledonia and Ipperwash have been failed by the very people who should have been the most vocal about the violations of civil rights by the OPP and the danger these violations pose to Canadian democracy.


After the March was over I followed up by sending her a list of links to the stories I thought the media had missed. Here’s an excerpt from my email:

1. Here is a link to Kevin Steel’s article, “Protection Racket: An Ontario judge glosses over illegal aboriginal acts at Ipperwash.” According to Ipperwash activist Mary-Lou LaPratte, who is quoted extensively, and who helped us produce the Ipperwash Papers project, it was the first time that mainstream media actually got the story right.

2. Here are other stories not covered by mainstream media, most of which we have distributed to hundreds of media contacts:

Our interview took place on Nov 01/07, same day as the University of Waterloo presentation, and lasted several hours. We talked of many things, including my motivation for getting involved, but the most important question she had – from my perspective – was, which story did I think was the most important to be ignored by the media?

She wondered if it was Dancer’s story given my passion about Fantino’s refusal to protect the children on Sixth Line, but I told her instead that the single most important story missed by the Ontario media were the failures in Ipperwash before, during and after Dudley George’s death, and the final cover-up by the Ipperwash Inquiry that we exposed via The Ipperwash Papers at Queen’s Park March 14/07.

Dancer’s story is heartbreakingly important, but her suffering is a direct result of OPP and DND refusal to enforce the law, and the Inquiry’s refusal to tell the truth. When the truths of Ipperwash are finally grasped by those with influence and power, there will be no more Dancers, and that is why I felt it was the most important story of all.

We also talked about my life-long belief that journalists were the ‘watchdogs’ of democracy, and how our experiences in Caledonia shattered that belief.  I did, however, comment on how local media  such as The Regional, The Sachem and The Chronicle have done a much better job of covering the stories and serving the people of Haldimand than the big outlets with all the resources at their disposal. I think she ‘got it’ so I’m hopeful that her project will make my ‘Dark Days of Canadian Journalism’ article un-necessary. We’ll know sometime in Spring 2008 when her work is published. 

Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we? 

Mark Vandermaas, Editor

Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality


5 responses to “VoC interviewed for journalism school project

  1. WL Mackenzie Redux

    Could there actually be light at the end of this two tiered oppression that isn’t a train? 😉

    Good stuff Mark…truth is the greatest weapon against corruption and the wider the truth is sewn the less the grip of the corruptors.

    VoC REPLY: Hi WL, as you suggested, Fantino’s recent mindnumbingly stupid statements notwithstanding, I believe that being able to reach into the universities for the first time is a huge milestone for the people of Ipperwash and Caledonia. History will not be kind to people like Fantino and McGuinty when the story of Two Tier Justice is finally told. Perhaps, for the first time, it is they who are seeing the train’s headlight. Regards, Mark P.S. I love your quote re truth and corruption! Is it yours?

  2. WL Mackenzie Redux

    You may quote me Mark 😉

    Here’s another original pearl of wisdom from your favorite willie which may be applicable to your quest for spreading truth:

    “Just remember everybody that Christ never sat down and ate with the journalists for a reason…..Tax collectors and prostitutes yes, but never journalists.”

    (WL Mackenzie Redux)

    VoC REPLY: Well, WL, I laughed so hard that I cried, then I called Gary McHale to share it with him. Given his very religious background, he really saw the humour, and we both had another good laugh. Thanks for making our day! Mark

  3. WL Mackenzie Redux

    OK as long as we’re on a roll here’s my favorite saying of late:

    “things are never as bad as they appear in the news, they’re actually worse.”

    You may quote me next time you have to confront a Spec “journalist” 😉

    VoC REPLY: Sorry, WL, this is good, but you can’t top your quote about Jesus eating with prostitutes and tax collectors, but not journalists. 🙂

    The Spec seems to have a real aversion to telling the truth about the issues and about us. As of today, Nov 23/07, I still haven’t heard back from the Spec re giving me/us an opportunity to respond to Fantino’s disgusting comments about us in Susan Clairmont’s articles. After reading the Spec’s published transcript of the entire article, we discovered that Fantino said we were “like throwing a bomb in the community and having everyone live in the ashes.”

    On Sept 19/07, I sent an email to a senior editor at the Spectator in response to an article they carried about Greg Sorbara’s citation of the Ipperwash Inquiry as justification for the government’s handling of Caledonia. I told him about The Ipperwash Papers project that proves the Inquiry covered-up evidence of crimes against innocent residents, and offered to meet with him and his staff to answer any questions they might have. Shortly afterwards, I got a nice note advising me that my message had been passed on to an editor for “review.” Need I say that I have not heard from them, and that no articles (to the best of my knowledge) have been published about the issue? Thanks, Mark

  4. WL Mackenzie Redux

    The quip I made about the corporate media being a whore so hopeless even Jesus wouldn’t attempt to redeem them, has merit in this case.

    I have noticed a distinct turn around in the Spec’s tone and attitudes towards the Caledonia situation since McGuinty regained power.

    In my opinion they are scared to death of McGuinty’s media hit squad that took a run at other media /journalists who questioned the double standard in law enforcement his degenerate autocrat regime has imposed.

    Like whores, fearing a beating from the pimp they tow the partisan line now and reprint the talking points dictated to their editors from government media controllers….obviously the Spec has been told to suck up to Fantino’s bungling efforts and lay the blame on Gary and you….doing so gains favors from big brother….and probably saves the Spec a provincial licencing hassel when they go to renew.

    All they have to do is allow pro-2 tiered opinion pieces to run with no counter balance articles….the formula is as old as the Hurst papers which first pimped their public influence out to partisan interests the same way….it will be a war of “innuendo” done to destroy the credibility of anyone who stands against this government’s malfeasance.

    I’ve seen provincial regimes do this before…they want total media capitulation and control…they intimidate the media into compliance because the media is so reliant on government regulatory bodies to stay in business…and without exception these regimes carried hidden agendas which were not in the public’s best interest….so we have another one in Queen’s park now…is this going to silence the facts and the truth?

    VoC NOTE: Sorry, WL, I had to edit your reptilian references a bit. 😉Mark

  5. David Hartless

    I am happy to hear that you had some positive experiences with UofW and the young journalism student, my hope has long since faded… We here in Caledonia are like those in Ipperwash… we are ultimately unimportant and considered acceptable losses…. The majority of Canadians do not care about Caledonia or Ipperwash or Sharbot Lake or Deseronto etc etc etc…. That is not because they are bad people it is because it is not in their back yard… I admire your tenacity (sometimes I am not in agreement with your message or methods, but I do agree with your passion). I don’t see an end to this, I don’t see a return to normalcy and I don’t see a hope for the future that truth and honour and commitment to equal justice will be returned to the small hamlets that are placed into the no-mans land / de-militerized zone that we have so unfairly become… Integrity is supposed to have no price and oath is supposed to be upheld in every circumstance and honour is something that once was the guiding principle of all but has now only become another word in a dictionary that no-one uses… I moved my family into this town hoping to give them a better life in a safer community instead I have trapped them into a void of fanaticism, backroom politics and law of convenience… What in the hell have I done?