Caledonia resident Donna Reid sent me a copy of a letter she sent to the National Post’s Jonathan Kay today in which she takes on Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant for his shocking comments published in the Toronto Star April 07/08 that disparaged me, Gary McHale and my complaint to the Ontario Human Rights Commission against OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.
For more background on my complaint and our response to Bryant’s comments see, Bryant’s attack on VoC’s Human Rights complaint.
To: Jonathan Kay, National Post
Re: Michael Bryant’s comments regarding Vandermaas human rights complaint
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant said the human rights complaint doesn’t help resolve a complex situation dating back hundreds of years. Most people don’t have much sympathy for Vandermaas or McHale after their tense rallies in the divided town, he said.
“Their activity, generally-speaking, is extremely harmful and, as far as I can tell, unwelcome by everybody,” Bryant said. “I know a lot of people in Caledonia feel that they’re individuals who are just trying to get attention for themselves and are, in fact, stirring it up.”
In My Opinion:
The human rights complaint isn’t meant to “help resolve a complex situation dating back hundreds of years” That is the responsibility of the Federal Government not the ordinary citizens of Caledonia or Ontario. As I understand it; the complaint is to bring attention to the fact that citizens of Caledonia and Ontario are being denied their human rights by the government and the OPP in order to facilitate, condone and appease illegal actions of native groups upset over land claim issues. Fundamental human rights are awarded everyone born in our country, that also covers the right to ask questions and to complain if we feel our rights are being trod upon.
My question is this, what is the Ontario Government afraid of, why do they fear an inquiry of any kind? Would not a government want to find out if their practices need revisions? Would a government not welcome investigation and clarity to validate their practices? Why do a few protesters in Caledonia throw the Ontario Government and the OPP into such a fray? Protests take place all over Ontario for numbers of reasons yet the government shivers and shakes at the peaceful protest organized by non-natives in Caledonia.
Mr. Bryant in his statement said “unwelcome by everybody“; I gave my name and phone number to his aide when he said he would contact and talk to the people in Caledonia. I have not heard from him. He has not talked to me. I do welcome the attention that the actions of Mr. McHale and Mr. Vandermaas has brought to our plight. I thank every individual who has stood up and tried to help this town. “Their activity, generally-speaking, is extremely harmful;” I’m not sure who or what has been harmed by their activities, it seems unfair to make a blanket statement without evidence to prove your point. The statement, “after their tense rallies,” is not factual, McHale’s rallies hardly qualify as “tense”; there has been tension and violence at rallies where McHale was not the organizer. The statement “individuals who are just trying to get attention for themselves and are, in fact, stirring it up“; attention, maybe, “stir things up”, NOT, hold the Government and the Police accountable, most definitely.
Your letter to Jonathan Kay is better than anything I could have written. It is eloquent, pointed, and downright just plain honest from the perspective of someone who knows the truth and has experienced it first hand. I thank you so very much for coming to my/our defence. Thanks also for allowing me to publish it with your name.
Tell Michael Bryant that non-native people have human rights, too!
Why not copy and paste Donna’s letter into an email and send it to Michael Bryant with a few of your own comments! Be sure to ‘cc me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Bryant, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Premier Dalton McGuinty
Mark Vandermaas, Editor
- VoiceofCanada, April 10/08: Bryant’s attack on VoC’s Human Rights complaint