Canadian Civil Liberties Association replies to our cries for help

t-shirt_free-caledonia-now_sep22-07.jpgAfter publishing the story about my numerous attempts to beg the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for help in defending civil rights in Caledonia (Canadian Civil Liberties Association turns blind eye to Caledonia’s agony), I, along with several readers who also took time to contact them, finally received a response.

I apologize for not getting this up sooner, but I’ve been a little swamped.

December 12, 2007

Dear Mr Vandermass

Thank you for contacting the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Due to our active workload, the small number of our staff, and the large volume of correspondence that we receive on an ongoing basis, we are unable to respond to each message personally.

As you may know, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is primarily a law reform organization working to entrench fundamental civil liberties in Canada’s legal system. While the Association engages in a wide range of public interest advocacy work in defence of fundamental freedoms, we do not generally perform investigations or provide legal advice or services to members of the public; indeed, we are not in a position to do so. On the whole, when critical issues are at stake, people are advised to approach a lawyer or legal aid clinic in their community. Generally, such services may be reached by contacting directory assistance, the provincial or territorial law society, or through an Internet search.

If you have complaints against the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), they can be filed with the OPP itself or with the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services (OCCOPS) in Toronto. Appeals against OPP disposition of complaints can be made to the Civilian Commission. The Ontario legislature has enacted a bill to establish a new complaints mechanism which is expected soon.

In closing, while the CCLA is not in a position to address all of the concerns conveyed to our offices, we appreciate when people bring current and important civil liberties issues to our attention.

Yours truly,
Graeme Norton
Director, Public Safety Project


Should I tell the CCLA…? 

I am ashamed of my country today.Since writing my article about the CCLA’s non-response to our pleas for help, some new developments have occurred.

Do you think I should tell the CCLA that an OPP officer testified in court on Dec 14/07 that one of the reasons they want to restrict Gary McHale’s Charter Rights is because the landclaim negotiation “stakeholders” complained to the OPP, and because natives have threatened to “escalate” if McHale’s protests continue?

Should I tell them about Toby Barrett’s column, ‘Who sets direction for OPP?‘ in which he says people are being treated differently “depending on which side of the barricades they are on,” and in which he asks, “Why does there appear to be two-tier justice?”

Naw, I guess not. If children afraid in their home because the OPP won’t patrol their street under orders from native occupiers, and deals with Liberal cabinet ministers not to enforce the law don’t interest them, why would the Canadian Civil Liberties Association care about the OPP taking direction from political “stakeholders” and native criminals to violate the civil rights of a man who was the victim of a vicious, un-provoked attack by native thugs? Now that Mr. Norton’s explained it to me, I understand how mistaken I was to possibly imagine that such things would ever be of interest to his organization.

Thanks for nothing, CCLA. When the story of this period in Canadian history is written, your refusal to help, your refusal to even try to understand the crimes against ‘fundamental civil liberties’ that are being committed in Caledonia will be very much to your shame.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor


5 responses to “Canadian Civil Liberties Association replies to our cries for help

  1. Mary-Lou LaPratte

    Dear Mark,

    I went on the website for the CCLA and found some interesting info that you may like to read. In Sept. 2005 they submitted a paper on the anti-terrorist act. Interesting bit on road blockades, etc. Also they did a paper on overhauling the police complaints system in 2004. After reading their position on both of the above scenarios, the fact that thousands of people from all walks of life belong to the CCLA and some of the situations they addressed, I fail to see why you received such an unfeeling, crass and biased reply.

    Obviously there is no one out there who wishes to address the lawlessness in Caledonia or those who are permitting this situation to occur indefinitely.

    I once asked John Tory why Ministers in the Legislature were not obligated to answer a direct question with an honest answer. He said there is no law in place that they have to. I suggested that he should be the person to insist that this law be made as otherwise talk in the legislature is a waste of the taxpayers money and time. As you can see by Toby’s letter, there has been no progress in this regard. We at Ipperwash asked the same question every year for fifteen years and we are still waiting for someone to take the bull by the horns and admit “I make OPP and government Policy and I take full responsibility for it.”

    It is unconscionable in light of all that has occurred in Caledonia that any one with half a brain would reply to Toby that he is totally satisfied with the way that the OPP have handled this disaster to date. The government thinks we are all deaf, blind and dumb. We no longer live in a Country based on government for the people, by the people.

    We are descending into a dictatorship. This Province, the OPP, and the Federal Government are becoming more morally bankrupt than we have seen in a very long time and yet auditors and ombudsman do not have the authority to straighten them out. In the USA the people have impeachment. We have nothing and no where to go. How have we allowed this to happen????

    I can only hope and pray that as these court cases proceed that some Judge out there still has the moral and professional ethics to see that what is occurring in Caledonia to innocent people is not justice the way it is supposed to be administrated.


    VoC REPLY: Gary has said many times to me that the Canadian & British democratic systems are based on politicians and police acting honourably. Our system has no real checks and balances when they do not.

    The Ombudsman wants to help, but is prohibited from doing so by virtue of their restrictive mandate.

    The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services can help, but chooses not to by virtue of their non-transparent review process. My experience thus far is that OCCPS is nothing but a rubber stamp agency for the OPP.

    The past Solicitor General could help, but he threw out all complaints against Fantino before his own consultant finished his report as to how the complaints should be dealt with.

    The current Soliticitor General could help, but he says that Fantino is doing a great job.

    Three Liberal cabinet ministers have been accused of making deals not to enforce the law against native criminals, but NO ONE other than us seems to care. The media could have told the story, but refused to do so.

    The Canadian federal government, unlike the United States, cannot intervene to protect citizens from violations of their Charter rights unless the same politicians who are directing the police committing those violations ask for help in defending the people whose rights they are violating!

    Our MPP’s could help, but they’re afraid of being accused of ‘directing police’ even though the government is covered with stink from their own interference with the OPP. At least Toby Barrett is trying to do something to hold them accountable.

    Something is seriously rotten with our system. One of the key lessons we learned from producing The Ipperwash Papers project with you is just how little control citizens and our elected officials have when a police force like the OPP goes bad. We desperately need a multi-party committee to oversee law enforcement in Ontario. We also need to give the Ombudsman the authority to intervene when reasonable evidence exists that a police force is out of control as the OPP so clearly is.

    This brings to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the one place to which desperate people who have run out of options should be able to turn. The CCLA could help, but won’t. It seems that the defending the civil rights of non-natives being abused by violent native criminals, and their police and political enablers doesn’t fit their objective of entrenching ‘fundamental civil liberties’ into the Canadian legal system. I completely share your opinion that their reply was crass, unfeeling and biased.

    So, where does all this leave us? Relying on a courageous, selfless, Canadian hero named Gary McHale to stand almost alone against the combined weight of the OPP; the Ontario government; the apathy of most MPP’s and Haldimand politicians; violent native criminals and their sleazy supporters; and the lazy, politically-correct media all the while coping with death threats, financial ruin, disgusting attacks on his character and the prospect of losing his freedom. The delicious part is, though, I think the odds are on his side! I am so proud to stand with him, and I thank everyone who has done so.

    This Christmas, make a point to rent the movie, ‘Amazing Grace.’ It is about how a small group of committed people ended slavery in the British Empire. Gary called me one day and told me he had some ‘homework’ for me; he wanted me to go out and watch the movie, and see if I could learn a key lesson from it. Well, I saw Amazing Grace twice, and its lesson for Gary, for me, is that it doesn’t take a lot of people to make a difference in the world. I’m so proud to know the people who have stood with Gary McHale as I have. Merry Christmas to you all! Mark

  2. I don’t think anything you tell them will make the slightest bit of difference Mark.

    A) Because you are not a professional victim lobby group

    b) CCLA is a partisan body which deflects controversy away from their partisan patronnes. One way is to reject charter violations caused by patron bureaucracies.

    c) They are really confused as to their purpose. We see statements like this:

    “a law reform organization working to entrench fundamental civil liberties in Canada’s legal system”

    First Canadian civil liberties are now “entrenched” in the Charter and bill of rights…not “the law”…they have our system confused with Britain’s. Our courts ajudicate with the charter as a guide.

    If the CCLA were interested in fundamental civil liberties they would have been crusading to entrench property rights directly in the charter….but no action there….just free legal aid for select “victims groups” seeking fiscal compensations.

    VoC REPLY: Yes, Bill, I, too, was confused by their apparent view that the outrageous civil rights abuses in Caledonia and our desperate pleas for help in stopping them are somehow inconsistent with their stated goal of entrenching “fundamental civil liberties” in Canada’s legal system.

    The OPP have suspended civil rights and are violating the decisions of the Supreme Court in Caledonia because native criminals and political “stakeholders” are directing the OPP!!! If that isn’t a direct threat to the CCLA’s stated objectives, then I don’t know what is. Of course, if the CCLA secretly believes that all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others…then I could understand their disinterest.

    Regards, Mark

  3. “The OPP have suspended civil rights and are violating the decisions of the Supreme Court in Caledonia ”

    That makes Caledonia (in pith and substance) an “occupied” territory under defacto martial law…..of course lacking the legal safeguard requirements of declaring it as such and getting a Court to recognize the need for the suspension of civil liberties.

    All I can say is the current administration is the most craven and duplicitous Ontario has ever suffered under.

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