CANACE letter to Hamilton Spectator Editor-in-Chief

Sent: Mon 5/5/2008 8:51 PM

From: Mark Vandermaas
To: David Estok [Editor-in-Chief], Joan Walters
Cc: Mary-Lou LaPratte
Subject: Re: ‘A Changed Perspective’ by Joan Walters [May 05/08]

The Ipperwash inquiry, called by McGuinty just months after his election, included the first thorough examination of the origins and dynamics of Canadian native protest and its consequences.”

Dear Ms Walters:

Including this email, I have now contacted 3 different Spectator reporters and your Editor-in-Chief on several occasions to advise that we have evidence proving that the Ipperwash Inquiry deliberately suppressed all evidence of native crime against innocent residents in Ipperwash (which is why not a single one of its 100 recommendation has anything to do with preventing violence against residents.)

This is the 3rd time I have written to Mr. Estok offering to brief Spectator staff on our Ipperwash Papers project, to bring the documents in and to answer any questions you might have – about Ipperwash or about us.

I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for any Spectator reporter to give the public the false impression that the Ipperwash Inquiry was a thorough investigation of the facts. It wasn’t and we can prove it.

I’ve cc’d this email to long time Ipperwash resident and community leader Mary-Lou LaPratte who was instrumental in providing us with documents and information. This remarkable woman went with us to the Queen’s Park Media Studio  on March 14/07 to release the Ipperwash Papers. I would be pleased to provide her phone number to you on request.

May I suggest that you review the 2 attached documents. One is a two-page summary of our evidence, the other is a victim impact statement written in 1996 by the town’s CAO. This shocking document alone reveals that the Ipperwash Inquiry never discovered the true cause of Dudley George’s death as the town believed it to be.

I do not know why the Spectator has, so far, ignored evidence on a subject of vital importance to the province, but I wish very much that it would show some interest – preferably BEFORE someone is killed – in knowing why McGuinty’s ‘scrupulous’ adherence to the Inquiry’s recommendations brought Ontario to the brink of another Dudley George-type death in Deseronto.

No meaningful healing or reconciliation can take place without truth. I would hope that the Spectator would be interested in being a source of accurate information.

Please feel free to contact me any time, day or night.

Mark 519.457.0709  cell:

Note: the three authors of the Ipperwash Papers have written a 1600 [word] op-ed article outlining the legacy of the Ipperwash cover-up. I would be pleased to forward it on request for your consideration for publication.

Mark Vandermaas
Director of Research
Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality 
Editor, VoiceofCanada
‘The Ipperwash Papers’  
‘The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations
The Strength of a Woman – 14 year old ‘Dancer
A cry for OPP protection from a resident on the Sixth Line in Caledonia

My hope is that one day people will come to Caledonia, not to study the destruction caused by those who would do evil to other human beings for their own selfish purposes, but to learn about your culture, about the damage that was done to it, and how Caledonians – native and non-native – came together as one in the dark days to peacefully proclaim Six Nations and the rest of Haldimand County as a sanctuary from that evil.”     

VoiceofCanada to native reader, Jan 12/07



VoC Comment

The Hamilton Spectator isn’t the only newspaper to suppress or ignore important information about Caledonia and/or Ipperwash, but given their proximity to the area and the enormous impact of the Ipperwash legacy on it, one would expect that they’d recognize their responsibility of reporting the whole story, no matter how ugly, inconvenient or politically-incorrect it might be. 

There will be no meaningful, long term solution to creating positive relationships between native and non-native communities except in an environment of truth and justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham Jail in response to criticism for raising tensions as an ‘outsider’: 

180px-martin_luther_king_-_march_on_washington.jpgActually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16/63

Annotated summary of Dr. King’s letter – VoC feature: Provoking Violence

I would urge any media outlet that is tempted to stifle the truth, whether out of fear of backlash from extremists, or out of political ideology, to heed Dr. King’s words and help move us closer to the day when the boils of native extremism, racially-based policing and legitimate native grievances can be eradicated from Ontario in the light of human conscience and national opinion.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
Director of Research
Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality

One response to “CANACE letter to Hamilton Spectator Editor-in-Chief

  1. WL Mackenzie Redux

    The reluctance of the press to run with a scandalsstory like this is telling of how intimidated our press must be of the current regime. Political scandal is the media’s first love…why is Ipperwash a media taboo?

    When the press fears government reprisals for publishing truths that may damage that government, we are living in a defacto tyranny…no I’m not afraid to state the obvious which all too many are reluctant to believe, but none the less know to be true.

    With the McLean’s and Western Standard and Halifax Herald facing government assaults on press freedom and the National Post’s HRC related SLAPP suits and the reluctance of GTA papers to publish the Ipperwash scandal…it is obvious the media fears political reprisals for publishing damaging political truths…that is a textbook example of a tyranny folks.

    VoC REPLY: Hi WL. I can’t imagine what possible good the media think will come of suppressing one of the most outrageous cover-ups in Ontario history. How does it help society as a whole to have the McGuinty government try to justify race-based policing on a foundation of lies?

    I don’t know the real reason for the wilful blindness. I don’t know if it’s political ideology, or dollars and cents. We do know, of course, that McGuinty’s cronies have threatened CHTV on more than one occasion:

    I understand that they might be skeptical. But, hell, hasn’t any one at the Spec ever watched ‘All the President’s Men?’ The same media that refuses to listen to evidence of the Ipperwash cover-up reprints Fantino’s slanderous rants without giving us the chance to rebut his irrational accusations, never, apparently, considering asking Fantino a simple question, “DO YOU HAVE ANY EVIDENCE?”

    Democracy is threatened every time a media outlet sits on a story or regurgitates political bullshit without questioning it.

    Why is it that a small group of ordinary citizens with (less than!) zero resources are forced to conduct research and investigations AND then fight media to tell the truth?
    Isn’t it enough that we have to fight the OPP, politicians and native extremists?

    Regards, Mark