On Nov 28/07 I sent the email below to the President of CanWest MediaWorks regarding CHTV’s airing of a viewer comment calling Gary McHale a ‘piece of garbage.’
I have removed the names of other employees who received carbon copies.
I was advised shortly afterwards that my complaint has been forwarded to the CHTV station manager. As of today, I have not received a reply.
TO: CanWest MediaWorks
Kathy Dore, President, Television and Radio 416.xxx.xxxx
c/o Dervla Kelly, Corporate Communications 416.xxx.xxxx
Dear Ms. Dore:
I am writing to advise you of my very serious concern over a situation within CH TV Hamilton operations whereby employee(s) have defamed a good man who has risked his reputation, his financial wellbeing, his freedom and even his life to try to bring about a meaningful end to the violence in Caledonia and OPP violations of the constitutional rights of non-native Canadians, Mr. Gary McHale.
After a hostile interview on Monday with McHale and his wife regarding their planned move to Caledonia during which questions were worded in a negative and falsely-premised manner – i.e. “Why move into a community that clearly does not want you there?” – CHTV aired the following viewer comment on last night’s 5:30 and 11:30 editions:
“I just watched the episode where Gary McHale stated he and his wife were moving to Caledonia. When are the REAL citizens of Caledonia going to wake up and realize this guy is just a loser looking for his 15 minutes of fame. Hasn’t he caused enough trouble from his present home already? I say to the citizens of Caledonia, kick this piece of garbage to the curb, but use just one bag. Wayne“
Contrary to those who have victimized Caledonia during the seizure of the DCE – Gary McHale has never committed a single crime in Caledonia. He/we have consistently spoken out against the use of violence. A simple review of the material on our websites – VoiceofCanada.ca and CaledoniaWakeUpCall.com – shows this is true. We have protested aggressively, but peacefully. Not a single person – police or civilian – has ever been hurt at one of our protests.
If CHTV has evidence to support the view that Gary McHale deserves the terms ‘loser’ and ‘piece of garbage’ I would like to know what it is. I have spent many months working side-by-side with him, and I can assure you that he has more integrity and compassion for his fellow human beings – native and non-native – than anyone I have ever met.
On November 1st, McHale and I spoke – by invitation – to a class at the University of Waterloo about our knowledge and evidence related to the suffering of residents. We told them some of the stories media – CHTV included – refuses to tell:
1. Two Native women have been raped on the lawless DCE.
2. The original occupiers are afraid to enter the DCE.
3. Children on the 6th Line in Caledonia have to take medication and go to counselling because they are afraid in their homes due to OPP refusal to police their street.
4. We have 1,000 hours of audio recordings that prove occupiers have threatened to kill residents and police.
5. The Ipperwash Inquiry deliberated excluded all residents from testifying at the Inquiry and all evidence of their suffering at the hands of native criminals.
During the ‘Remember Us’ March in Caledonia on October 8th, I gave a speech about how native people were being badly victimized by OPP Two Tier Justice. McHale gave a speech about Residential Schools and the media’s role in allowing them to continue as long as they did. A 15 year old girl living in fear on the Sixth Line in Caledonia read her ‘Road of Hope’ project. Did CHTV report any of this? No. I ask you to please listen to the speeches and read the coverage from local print media who were there that day, and decide for yourself if McHale and those of us who work with him deserve the disgusting epithets aired by CHTV last night: http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.com/topics/RememberUs.html
I found the following quote on the CanWest website:
CanWest is designated “A Caring Company” by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. As a member of Imagine, CanWest appropriates a minimum if 1% of pre-tax profits for cash donations to non-profit organizations and projects that strengthen and enhance local communities.
After reviewing the material found at the link provided above, I would like to know if you believe that CHTV in Hamilton is ‘strengthening and enhancing its community’ by defaming, degrading and ignoring a good man who has risked everything he has to lead a movement determined to preserve Canada as a nation where its citizens respect the rule of law; equality under the law; the Charter of Rights and the decisions of the Supreme Court. If Gary McHale is a ‘piece of garbage’ for peacefully confronting injustice and violence, and for telling the stories of Caledonia that others, including CHTV, refuse to tell, then I am a piece of garbage too, and so are all the residents who help us, and so are all people in Canada who stand and fight against injustice.
I am a former UN peacekeeper who has driven through the Gaza Strip past minefields and burnt out tanks. I know the awful price that will be paid if the rule of law is not vigorously defended. Is it so very hard to understand and believe that there are people who are willing to put their obligations to their country and their fellow citizens ahead of their own interests? Are you really that cynical? Or is it something worse – are you cowards who are afraid of being called racists for standing up for the truth? Or, are you nothing more than corporate business conglomerates who care only about profit and not a fig about your responsibility as ‘watchdogs of democracy?’ Even if you don’t want to be ‘watchdogs’ common decency and professionalism demands that you at least tell the truth.
In closing, I would respectfully suggest that you please apologize to Mr. McHale. I would also like you to know that we would be pleased to visit CanWest and CHTV to conduct the same ‘Canada at the Crossroads’ presentation we gave to U of Waterloo. I have also included some links below to stories that might be of interest, including one about my interview by a grad student regarding how media has covered Caledonia. We are also in the final editing stages of a book about Caledonia tentatively titled, ‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations.’ One chapter covers the story of how the media have betrayed the people of Caledonia with their superficial coverage, and this most recent outrage is perhaps one of the best (worst?) examples yet. Innocent people – both native and non-native – are being badly victimized, and CHTV just made it harder for us to tell their stories, and put a stop to it. I do hope that you will do what is necessary to correct the damage CHTV has done. Thank you for listening. I look forward to your reply.
Mark 519.457.0709 cell: 519.xxx.xxxx
The Strength of a Woman – 14 year old ‘Dancer’
A cry for OPP protection from a resident on Sixth Line in Caledonia
“My hope is that one day people will come to Caledonia, not to study the destruction caused by those who would do evil to other human beings for their own selfish purposes, but to learn about your culture, about the damage that was done to it, and how Caledonians – native and non-native – came together as one in the dark days to peacefully proclaim Six Nations and the rest of Haldimand County as a sanctuary from that evil.” VoiceofCanada to native reader, Jan 12/07