Before we left Caledonia to go to Fantino’s home on March 02/08, builder Ray Robitaille and I said a few words. Here are the notes for my remarks. You can hear Ray’s comments on a NumbersWatchDog.com video. My apologies for being a little more longwinded than Ray was. :-))
Why I am going to Fantino’s house today
On the Sixth Line there is a family with a very special daughter we call Dancer because she loves to dance. When I first met 14 year old Pam after reading her Road of Hope project I knew I had met a very special human being.
Dancer takes medication and go to counselling because of the trauma she has witnessed during the native occupation and terrorization of Caledonia. She is afraid in her home because the OPP take orders from thugs not to provide policing service to them. We have obtained 1,000 hours of audio recordings that reveal how nearby native occupiers have interfered with police and ambulance routing down the Sixth Line. How OPP take instructions from them. How DCE occupiers authorized the shooting of civilians and police. Unbelievable but true.
When I heard Dancer’s story, I was angry that any politician, any police officer, could go to bed at night without having done everything humanly possible to make her – and all the families on the Sixth Line – feel secure.
I haven’t told many people this, but on the night I met Dancer for the first time, I gave her the metal hat badge from the UN beret I wore during my tour of duty in Egypt in 1978. It is my most precious possession and I told her she could keep it until she felt safe in her home again.
[Mark is 3rd from right in this photo taken during a parade at the U.N. base in Ismailia, Egypt, 1978. Click to enlarge.]
I work on this cause full time and every night I think of Dancer and I wonder if I did everything I could have done that day to end race-based policing and landclaim violence so she can give me back my hat badge.
Some people have said we should go to Queen’s Park or Ottawa. They say that going to Fantino’s home is just too personal. You’re darn right it’s personal. For me, it’s very personal. The man who has abandoned children on the Sixth Line lives in a nice home in a nice area of Woodbridge where a real police force protects him and his family. If going to Fantino’s home for a peaceful, lawful protest captures the imagination of just one media outlet and allows me to share Dancer’s story with just one reporter who tells it to just one reader or viewer who is affected enough to make one phone call to one politician to demand the end of race-based policing in Ontario, then I’m going to Fantino’s home.
And if I have to I will go to Bryant’s home and McGuinty’s too, if there is even the slightest chance that it will move us even a tiny bit closer to the day when OPP cars are rolling down the Sixth Line past Dancer’s home. Does her right to feel safe in her home on Sixth Line outweigh Fantino’s desire not to have protesters at his home? For me, it’s not even a close call.
Why does Fantino refuse to talk to us? Why does he arrest us on orders from native occupiers? Why does he deny policing to children? Why does he allow a ‘homefree’ zone in Caledonia as exists in Ipperwash? Why does he allow race-based policing?
On March 14, 2007 two and a half months before the release of the Ipperwash Inquiry’s official report we released our Ipperwash Papers project at a news conference at Queen’s Park. 400+ pages of documents that prove the Inquiry deliberately suppressed all evidence of native crimes against Ipperwash residents before and after the death of Dudley George.
Out of 139 witnesses not one was a resident.
Residents got a total of just 90 minutes with the commissioner – on June 21/06.
The only project on violence against residents was never published.
Not one seminar on preventing violence against innocent residents.
100 recommendations – not one re preventing violence against innocent residents.
Fantino and McGuinty are justifying their abandonment of Caledonia based on an inquiry that deliberately excluded residents and all evidence of native crime against them.
The people of Ipperwash trusted their politicians to do the right thing. They didn’t protest at the Commissioner’s home. They didn’t confront injustice and assert their rights via peaceful – what some might call controversial – protests. No, they wrote letters and trusted in the system. In the end, they were ignored and now the people of Caledonia are paying the price.
You can read the letters at ipperwashpapers.ca. There are letters from every level of government, federal and provincial, telling Ipperwash residents that policing is a provincial responsibility, and they should take their concerns to the nearest detachment of the OPP. The provincial politicians made it clear that they could not give direction to the police. After all, isn’t that what McGuinty called the inquiry for? To find out if Mike Harris had influenced the police?
Policing is a provincial responsibility. Should we protest at Queen’s Park then? Until Fantino admits that McGuinty is giving orders to the OPP, then we have to assume Fantino is in charge of the OPP. Since Fantino isn’t enforcing the law, and he won’t listen to the concerns of non-natives, then I am going to him and tell Dancer’s story – again. Maybe. Just maybe, someone will listen.
I can tell you that some good things have already come out of this protest. We have made several important media contacts one of whom has already taken time to review some of the evidence we have accumulated to document what has happened in Caledonia and Ipperwash. These contacts are astounded by what they have heard and seen.
A major media outlet has promised that they will be publishing an article written with the help of Mary-Lou LaPratte that will reveal how Ontario’s communities have been put on the path to anarchy due to the failures of the Ipperwash Inquiry. No promises, but we have been told that it should be appearing next week.
I appreciate very, very much those of you who have decided to help us make a little history in Woodbridge. We are also very grateful to those of you who have come out to see us off and show the media present your support. Special thanks to Judy Lazlo for organizing that.
Gary McHale will not be at Fantino’s home, although his wife Christine is. Gary wanted the media to hear your voices today, not his.
One of the voices that will be heard in Woodbridge is one of the key organizers of today’s protest, long time resident and former UN peacekeeper, Merlyn Kinrade. Merlyn has spoken out strongly and uncompromisingly for his town. He is determined that he will not pass on a country to his young daughter where some people are more equal than others, where violence and crime are accepted means of resolving grievances. He is, without a doubt, one of the most honorable, patriotic and determined people I have ever been honoured to know, and Caledonia is most fortunate to claim him as one of their own.
Today, we hope to send a unique and unmistakable message that we will not allow our leaders to abandon communities while they remain safe and distant in theirs. We will go to Fantino’s community and demand policing for Dancer and everyone else who lives on the Sixth Line.
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
- VoiceofCanada feature: Dancer’s Courage!
- NumbersWatchDog.com video: Remarks by Ray Robitaille & Mark Vandermaas
- VoiceofCanada feature: The Ipperwash Papers
- The Ipperwash Papers project: www.ipperwashpapers.ca
- VoiceofCanada category: Fantino Home Protest
- CaledoniaWakeUpCall feature: Protest at Fantino’s Home