UPDATED 1923 EST Dec 19/07: corrected date typos re McHale’s initial bail hearing – should have been Dec 14/07, not November, and date of inaugural March for Freedom which took place on Oct 15/06, not Oct 08th. Thanks, Murray, for letting me know.
Fortunately, Detective Murry, testifying during Gary McHale’s bail hearing which took place on the same day, let the cat out of the bag as to who’s running the OPP, and why they’re so determined to ‘get’ Gary McHale.
But first, Toby’s column:
Who sets direction for OPP?
On June 6th 2006, I rose in the Ontario Legislature to question Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety, regarding the hundreds of smoke shops in our area. I reminded him that I had raised this with him a year before. In his answer, the Minister told me, “it is not my role to tell the police how to deal with that particular situation.”
Fast forward to December 4th 2007. Again, during Question Period, I had the opportunity to ask who is in charge of the OPP to the new Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. This was because, as I said in the Legislature, “confrontations in Caledonia have resulted in people being knocked unconscious and sent to the hospital.” Again, my question was not answered.
More specifically I asked, in part, “Minister, can you assure the people in my riding that you are accountable, that you are the one who sets the policy and you are the one who sets the direction for our OPP?”
The new Minister, Rick Bartolucci, failed to directly answer the question, instead choosing to state that he is “very, very pleased with the way the OPP has acted.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I maintain when a Member of Her Majesty’s Opposition formally questions a Minister of the Crown an answer is expected – not only for the 110,000 or so people that I represent but also for the citizens of Ontario for which the Minister has been elected, and has received Cabinet appointment, to serve.
Further, our provincial police have been created and paid for by us, the people of Ontario, to which the police are accountable. In my view, our OPP – the fine men and women in uniform – ultimately report to all of us through our elected representatives and our Ontario government.
The reason I ask these questions is because, for close to 22 months, I have been asked time and time again – Why are the OPP acting the way they are and who is telling them to act this way? Whay are there OPP ‘no go zones’ on Haldimand County roads? Why are there illegal smoke shops and gunfire on provincial highways? Why are people treated differently depending on which side of the barricades they are on? Why does there appear to be two-tier justice, and a policy of catch and release?
During my question to Minister Bartolucci, I cited sub-section 17, of the Ontario Police Services Act that states that the OPP is subject to the Soliticitor General’s direction – the Solicitor General is the Minister of Community Safety and Corrections. The Minister again attempted to dodge the question, this time suggesting that I was “dead wrong” if I was inferring that government interfere. To be clear, I was not inferring anything, but rather asking questions that constituents are asking of me.
Area residents have the same right to be informed about issues of ministerial responsibility as they have in any other area of important public policy. Clarity, transparency and accountability vis-a-vis the police/government relationship are essential to our fundamental democratic principles and values.
It is a delicate balance – but one that must be maintained.
I will continue to fight for transparency, accountability and answers to the questions and issues that are allowed to fester in the absence of a rule of law.
MPP Toby Barrett
Haldimand and Norfolk
OPP Detective Murray answer’s Toby Barrett’s question
I contacted Toby Barrett’s office today to let them know that on Friday, December 14, 2007 the OPP detective in charge of the ‘investigation’ into the violence of Dec 01/07 was kind enough to answer Toby’s question for him during Gary McHale’s bail hearing.
As reported in ‘McHale cross-examines OPP as “Two Tier Justice” enters Canadian courtroom for first time!‘ Detective Murray told the court, as part of his justification for keeping McHale out of Caledonia, that “the stakeholders” in the land claim negotiations had complained to the OPP.
Stakeholders. Stakeholders. Hmmmm. Who could those possibly be? Feds. McGuinty? Natives?
You might be forgiven for thinking that the good detective could have been talking about just the native “stakeholders.” Nope, they got mentioned separately. After first explaining that “the stakeholders” had complained, Detective Murray went on to say that natives had threatened “to escalate” should McHale be allowed to continue his activities.
So, there you have it – out of the mouth of the lead OPP ‘investigator’ for the tainted ‘investigation’ into the native attacks of Dec 01/07: The OPP are taking direction from land claim “stakeholders” and native criminals who threaten to “escalate” their illegal activities.
OPP admissions reveal lack of respect for Charter, Supreme Court
Those of us who witnessed Detective Murray’s statements were shocked that any police officer would have the unmitigated arrogance to actually make them in a court of law before a Canadian judge. I guess Murray missed the lesson about the Canadian Charter of Rights in police detective school. I’ve read it myself, and I don’t recall seeing the clause that says, Freedom of Expression, Security of the Person, Freedom to Associate and Mobility Rights were subject to the whims of politicians and native criminals.
Someone should also tell the OPP that the Supreme Court has said in Haida Nation v. British Columbia, 2004, that “third parties are under no duty to consult or accommodate Aboriginal concerns.” Section E (Do Third Parties Owe a Duty to Consult and Accommodate?”), para 52.
More evidence of political interference – Brown/Chatwell suit
One of the key allegations in the Brown/Chatwell $12M lawsuit is that senior OPP officers and three separate McGuinty cabinet ministers were guilty of ‘Misfeasance in Public Office’ due to deals made not to prosecute native criminals, not to call in the military to protect the people of Caledonia, and acquiescence by senior OPP officers to those deals.
Please see VoC post, “$12M lawsuit: “Misfeasance” by OPP and Liberal ministers re agreements not to enforce the law. It also has a link to the CaledoniaWakeUpCall feature page, $12M Lawsuit Against OPP & Ontario government.
Even MORE evidence of political interference
On April 17, 2007 we presented a news conference (thanks to Toby Barrett) at the Queen’s Park media studio during which we showed that Fantino’s threatening email to Haldimand Council was cc’d to three people in or close to the Premier’s office. Please see ‘FantinoGate’ links Fantino & Premier’s office.
How bad does the smell of political interference have to be?
How bad does the rot have to be before the RCMP are called in to take over the tainted so-called ‘investigation’ into the violence in Caledonia on Dec 01/07?
How bad does the smell have to be before a public inquiry or hearings are called into the actions of the OPP, and their clearly-inappropriate relationship with the Ontario government and native criminals?
How bad does the stink of Two Tier Justice have to be before politicians realize, as Toby Barrett has correctly pointed out, that the police work for us, and decide to get control of a force gone utterly insane?
There are limits to police independence, and the line stops at taking direction from political “stakeholders” and native criminals to subvert justice and democracy for political expediency. The line stops at trying to take away a man’s Charter freedoms because the police think that’s easier (they may not be so convinced after last Friday’s go-round with McHale!) than telling the truth and defending democracy.
Thank you to Toby Barrett
Thanks for writing a great column and asking a great question. Many thanks to Detective Murray for answering it.
Toby, although I can’t speak WITH Gary due to the onerous bail conditions on him, I know I can speak FOR him when I say that we stand ready to meet with the Conservative caucus at any time or place to present any and all evidence in our possession to document the case against the OPP and the Ontario government.
By the way, let me also offer my thanks for speaking at the inaugural October 15, 2006 March for Freedom, Toby (photo above). Detective Murray told the court, under McHale’s cross-examination, that he wasn’t aware of that fact.
There were a lot of things Detective Murray didn’t know.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
P.S. I’ve got some other stuff to do for a day or two, but I wanted to let readers know of some upcoming tidbits and articles planned for VoC:
1. Update on McHale’s bail hearing. Postponed until 0900 Dec 24th. Crown didn’t show up. I wonder if the fact that McHale made her star witness look so silly last Friday had anything to do with it.
2. Charges have been officially dropped against Doug Fleming as of yesterday. Yes, of course, that begs the question as to why McHale’s charge hasn’t been dropped – yet. See this post for the answer.
3. Still haven’t heard if the native woman who fabricated the assault allegation against McHale has been charged as promised by Det. Murray in court last Friday.
4. Some of us have received responses from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Essentially, they told us they have bigger fish to fry than a few thousand people who’s civil liberties are being trampled on in Caledonia. Thanks for nothing, CCLA. Your concern overwhelms me.
5. Look for articles re what we can learn from Martin Luther King Jr., and Det Murray’s knowledge under oath about him. Also, I’m planning to post a transcript of my Oct 8/07 speech, Native people are victims of Two Tier Justice. Watch for an article based on a reader named CraZee on the importance of listening – when the time is right.