Brantford Expositor: “at no time do we condone violence”

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UPDATE 1348 EST Dec 07/07: The Managing Editor of the Brantford Expositor David Judd has accepted my offer to reprint the entire disputed editorial on VoiceofCanada in place of the short excerpt quoted in the original article. I have also reprinted here – see below.
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The Brantford Expositor wasn’t happy with my recent article, Brantford Expositor endorses violence against civil rights activist.

Here is their response followed by my reply: 

Brantford Expositor

—–Original Message—–
From: David Judd
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 2:50 PM
To: info@voiceofcanada.ca
Subject: expositor editorial

Dear Mr. Vandermaas:

Your offer to meet with Editorial representatives of The Expositor has been forwarded to me. We are not prepared to hold a meeting, but we invite you to submit a letter to the editor of The Expositor setting out clearly how you perceive the Caledonia situation. The letter should not exceed 500 words. The letter would be subject to The Expositor’s rules for handling letters to the editor. This means, amongst other things, that publication is not guaranteed and we reserve the right to edit the letter for libel and other legal considerations. You may submit your letter by e-mail to opinion@theexpositor.com, by fax at 519-756-9470 or by mail to The Expositor, 53 Dalhousie St., Brantford, Ont., N3T 5S8.

The Expositor rejects the suggestion that at any time we have advocated violence against anyone involved in the Caledonia dispute. We have consistently criticized the use of violence by either side to achieve their means. The Dec. 4, 2007 editorial, titled “Take a hint, McHale,” written by city editor Phil Tank, is consistent with this approach. At no time, do we
condone violence and only a narrow and selective interpretation would derive from this editorial that The Expositor approves of violence of any kind.

The excerpt used on the website voiceofcanada.ca is incomplete, misleading and taken out of context. We ask that it be removed as it is clearly misrepresenting The Expositor and this editorial in particular. The point of the editorial is direct and straightforward – that Gary McHale should take a hint from the growing lack of interest in his “protests,” rather
than move to Caledonia.

The editorial contrasts the Christmas season with the tension and threat of confrontation and violence that surrounds Gary McHale. That is the point being made through the use of the Christmas lyrics. Had The Expositor felt that McHale got what he deserved — as you suggest — the editorial would have said so plainly and directly. However, The Expositor is not condoning the alleged violence against McHale.

Incidentally, the editorial also points out that McHale has been discouraged by those affected by native protesters, specifically a Brantford developer. We could have pointed out that his presence has been discouraged by elected officials for the sake of safety and security. We also note that McHale has been charged in an incident in Caledonia and is facing a defamation suit by the Ontario Provincial Police.

David Judd
Managing editor

VoiceofCanada replies: 

Mr. David Judd, Managing Editor
Brantford Expositor

Dear Mr. Judd:

1. I didn’t say that you “advocated violence.” I said you “endorsed violence against Gary McHale” which you most certainly have.

2. If there is such a growing lack of interests in his protests, why is Fantino obsessed with stopping them?

3. Contrary to the editorial, the Brantford developer did NOT tell us not to come, and Gary McHale has audio tape to prove it. In fact, he made a point of telling Gary that there was a vacant field beside his property.

4. Elected officials may not want people to exercise their rights, but it does not mean that those rights should not be exercised. Are you suggesting that people should refrain from exercising their rights because violent criminals may attack them? Isn’t that like blaming a woman for being raped because she walked down the wrong street? It is a specious argument, and a most undemocratic one, at that, and I am surprised (actually, not) that you would make it.

5. Your assertion that the editorial ‘is not condoning the alleged violence against McHale’ is not supported by a simple reading of the document by a reasonable reader. In fact, it conveys quite the opposite impression that the author was taking a great measure of pleasure in the fact that McHale was injured.

6. The protest was organized by a resident and attended by at least 50 residents. Even if there wasn’t a single resident who supported McHale, does it mean that he is not entitled to exercise his right to protest. Does it mean that thugs are entitled to use violence against him? I note that you use the word ‘alleged’ when describing the attack on McHale. Are you kidding me? Tell me that you at least looked at the videos before making that statement.

7. McHale was charged after Commissioner Fantino and the Caledonia OPP detachment tainted the investigation by making a public statement blaming the the non-native demonstrators for inciting the violence. The RCMP needs to be brought in because it is impossible for the OPP to conduct an unbiased investigation. I hope you will join me in demanding that the OPP step aside.

8. McHale is being sued by the OPPA, not the OPP. He is also suing the OPP, Fantino, Haldimand County, and 3 people in the Premier’s office for a conspiracy to defame him. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Are you aware that McHale and I are also both suing the OPPA for defamation after they issued a news release on Jan 18th falsely blaming us for trying to incite hate and provoke violence? Are you aware that we both have outstanding human rights complaints against Fantino for violating our civil rights? Are you aware that the Solicitor General dismissed all Police Act complaints against Fantino – including mine for defamation – without even waiting for his own consultant to finish his report?

9. Implicit in the editorial and in your reply is the assumption that somehow, Gary McHale has deliberately attempted to bring violence to Caledonia despite the wishes of officials. We go to Caledonia to bring attention, for example, to the young girl on 6th Line who is afraid in her home because she has no policing. (Tell me you actually clicked on the link to read her story!). You aren’t speaking for her. The politicians aren’t speaking for her. We are. We also go to Caledonia to speak for the native women who have been raped on the lawless DCE. Of course, you’d have to actually listen to my ‘Natives are victims of Two Tier Justice‘ speech to the 200 or so people at our October 8/07 ‘Remember Us’ March – that you forgot to list in your editorial – in order to know that. Or, you could click on the big link at the top that says, VICTIMIZING NATIVE PEOPLE.

10. My offer to meet with Osprey personnel was to try – in the best of faith – to mitigate the risks to life and limb posed by your commentary on a topic that has already had more than its share of irresponsible reporting. We could have provided you with a hard-won perspective on the human costs of illegal occupations and we would have gladly answered any questions about us, our allegations against the OPP, and we would have been able to bring written proof to back up our statements. Your refusal to even try to understand the issues by rebuffing my efforts to provide that information is disappointing, especially since so many of your ‘facts’ are dead wrong on a subject of vital importance to Ontario and to Canada.

The Brantford Expositor is no different than the politicians and police officials who condemn us, but have never (with one exception) taken the time to actually listen to us and understand. Thanks to the Ipperwash Inquiry, if we and the people who support us were of aboriginal heritage, politicians would be more than willing to listen to what we had to say and make a sincere effort to understand our position, and respect our rights. So far, we have been rebuffed at every turn. I sincerely hope that it will not take the death of a non-native protester and another Inquiry to cause them – and you – to extend the same courtesy to us.

I once read that you should never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel, however, I must stand by my opinion that the Brantford Expositor endorsed the violence against Gary McHale, and that it was an irresponsible act of ‘journalism.’ 

Since you believe that the excerpt was taken out of context, however, I would be more than pleased to reprint the entire editorial within my article. Please advise me if I have your permission to do so.

Let me leave you with a question: If a group of non-natives had ganged together to viciously attack natives during an otherwise peaceful protest as Gary McHale was attacked, do you think you would be trying to defend an editorial ridiculing the injured person and using Christmas carols to convey your pleasure at their injuries? I think not.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
VoiceofCanada

Brantford Expositor

Sent: Sat 12/8/2007 9:45 AM 

Mr. Vandermaas:

You have our permission to reprint in its entirety The Expositor’s Dec. 4 editorial, “Take a hint, McHale,” on your website.

David Judd
Managing editor

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Take a hint, McHale [PDF]

Posted 4 days ago

Caledonia residents must be feeling like they’ve been naughty this year because they appear to be getting one of the worst Christmas gifts imaginable: activist Gary McHale is planning to move to the besieged community – just in time for the festive season.

What Christmas would be complete without a merry melee, like the one that happened Saturday in Caledonia with McHale once again at the centre?

This time, McHale appears to have got more than just a lump of coal as he was injured during the clash, which grew out of a confrontation between natives and a group including McHale that was protesting the presence of a smoke shack in the community.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …”

McHale, currently a resident of Richmond Hill, has the right to move where he wants within Canada. With few exceptions, that mobility is one of the rights we all enjoy in this country.

He also has the right to stage and participate in protests like the one that turned violent on Saturday.

But this self-styled defender of justice could also take a hint once in while.

Is there anyone in Caledonia, where residents have lived with the fear and uncertainty of a Six Nations occupation for close to two years now, who would want McHale living next door?

Instead of isolated incidents of violence, the ingredients for trouble could be there all the time. The gift that keeps on giving. We’re reminded that in September McHale brought his increasingly irrelevant protests to a Brantford housing project stalled by native protests.

A mere seven people joined McHale despite developer Mike Quattrociocchi, himself a critic of police and politicians’ handling of native protests, having warned the activist to “stay away.”

So if those who stand to lose the most as the result of native protests don’t support McHale or his actions, on behalf of whom is he fighting?

And why can’t he listen to the people of Caledonia, who want less conflict in their community, not more?

Surely, he can’t be planning to move to Caledonia just for the reasonable real estate prices.

It appears the people who might get hurt or who have to live in fear as a result of McHale’s “one law for all” agenda are completely irrelevant to him.

McHale’s lawyer pointed out to The Expositor that his client was not one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest.

No, the violence last weekend doesn’t come down to one person. But McHale, once again, appears to have made himself the focal point of the land claim dispute.

Reportedly, there were about 60 to 80 protesters, who clashed with about 40 natives.

McHale’s first rally in Caledonia, which was billed by him as possibly attracting 20,000 people, drew only 400 to 500 in October of 2006.

His second effort in December of 2006 dropped to about 200. In January, his third attempt attracted about a dozen.

Apparently, McHale mistook this growing disinterest as an invitation to move to the community.

Some people just can’t take a hint.

Copyright © 2007 Brantford Expositor

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3 responses to “Brantford Expositor: “at no time do we condone violence”

  1. Mark the Brantford Supositor is just one of many examples of the irresponsible front line media reporting that has become the norm for both Caledonia and Ipperwash.

    The media outlets and their reporters seem devoid of both decency and common sense in reporting on Native Occupations pertaining to the human costs for the communities being occupied and held hostage while the huge ransoms are negotiated by the Terrorist occupiers and the Governments all the while excluding the occupied peoples who are most affected.

    I am saddened by the whole prospect of a conspiracy of police, governments and the media to carry on a coverup of the most dispicable terrorist acts and police fabricated false charges against the non native hostages ever witnessed on this continent in order to facilitate native terrorists and political correctness while settling ransom demands made by the criminal perpetrators.

    It was evident last Saturday right after the attacks by the Natives on our group that Fatino would once again try to silence us by false charges and false arrests against non natives who have never advocated any violence of any kind.

    It is too bad that the OPP, the Governments involved and the Brantford Supositor wouldn’t take the same stance against the Group of organized lawless terrorists holding our comunities hostage.

    Unfortunately the spineless Dalton McGuinty can’t and won’t take the strong measures necessary to re-establish law and order in Ontario. He just doesn’t have the right stuff and I’m afraid his legacy will be his demonstrated lack of moral fiber and intestinal fortitude as a premier were what really caused the prolonged occupation of our communities and multi million dollar costs to the tax payers.

    Had he shown the true leadership on day one of the occupation non of this would have ever happened.

    signed: anonymous in Caledonia

  2. WL Mackenzie Redux

    “We have consistently criticized the use of violence by either side to achieve their means.”

    Pffffttt..good gawd Mark, how do you fight against this level of civil illiteracy in the media?

    If commercial media editors cannot see that the rule of law is premised on the judicious and justifiable use of force to uphold the law…where do you start with these people?

    Where is this utopian fool coming from? He denies police the use of justified violence/force to remove criminal threats to the peace…my gawd their failure to clear the DCE by force is the whole reason this has escalated to this war of principle!

    Judd must have slept through citizenship class because it’s apparent this editor has no idea what civil order and rule of law principles are at play in this issue…it escapes him….the basic tenets of civil society under rule of law is a concept too complex for his simplistic world view.

    I note they offer you 500 words to respond under total editorial censure to make your case against their attack on your/Gary’s principles.

    This is another open display why the printed media is becoming irrelevant as a viable form of public information and discourse…it’s a one way opinion medium which pimps its influence to the highest bidder….the internet’s citizen editors and open two way discourse with editors will soon displace the disingenuous editors of the commercial print media.

    As far as this BE is concerned, if this editor voices the depth of civil ethic/vales they hold, then printing this paper amounts to nothing more than murdering trees to no purpose except to disinform.

    VoC REPLY: Thanks for the observations. I will take up the Expositor’s offer to publish a comment when I get a bit of free time. Mark

  3. It is very curious that The Expositor claims to not endorse the violence perpetrated against Mr. McHale, but instead of referring to it as a crime, they call it a “Hint”.

    Is that like a helpful hint? When Powless attacked McHale, was it really just a form of advice pertaining to where McHale would be happiest living? Should McHale be grateful to Powless for the favour?

    If the Expositor sees the violence as an answer to the problem of McHale moving to Caledonia, then they have endorsed violence.

    Period.

    I wish the people of Caledonia all the best, but given the way circumstances are arranging themselves, I fear the worst.

    It seems that the true motive – TOBACCO -behind the smokescreen of the land claims protests is becoming apparent though.

    The cigarettes are an issue that will translate nicely into economics. Once the rest of Ontario realizes that illegal native smokes will deny our government the tax money needed to fund the hospitals needed to treat the lung cancer that they create, then there might be some movement on this issue. However, probably not before then.

    Bob Kismet

    VoC REPLY: Thanks for writing, Bob. How come Fantino’s not talking about the native woman who fabricated the phony assault charge against McHale which the thugs used as an excuse to attack him – twice. [See ‘Video: Assault#1, Part 1’ in Brantford Expositor endorses violence against civil rights activist.‘] I trust the Brantford Expositor will write a great editorial about that if and when the OPP ever decide to charge her for inciting the violence that was falsely blamed on the residents. Call your MPP and ask them to call in the RCMP to investigate this fiasco. The people of Caledonia (and Ontario) deserve to know the truth before an innocent person is killed simply for protesting against injustice and violence. Regards, Mark