UPDATED 2034 EST Oct 23/08
The Dunnville Chronicle reporter who spent election night with us at the McHale campaign election night party captured both our feelings and our commitment to continue to speak out for those who voted to end the injustices in Caledonia by casting a ballot for Gary.
This is one of the best articles about Gary McHale and company that has ever been written in that it captures the essence of what happened, how people were feeling, and reports exactly what was said in proper context.
Many thanks to the Chronicle for some great reporting. The article is fairly long, here are some quotes:
There was disappointment, but also a sense of vindication as Haldimand- Norfolk Independent candidate Gary McHale earned more than 4,800 votes in Tuesday’s federal election.
The 46-year-old civil rights advocate finished in fourth place with 4,821 votes, earning 10 per cent of the total votes cast in the riding. Conservative Diane Finley was re-elected with 19,657 votes while Liberal candidate Eric Hoskins earned 15,577 votes and NDP candidate Ian Nichols received 5,549 votes.
McHale said voter support for his campaign provided a sense of vindication. “The government wanted to paint me as an evil person who created all the violence (in Caledonia) when the truth of the matter is that that’s not true,” he said. “The average person saw me as someone who had a strong voice for them.”
Mark Vandermaas, vice president and director of research for CANACE, has worked with McHale for the past two years and was alongside him throughout this election campaign. Even though the election results didn’t provide the “fairytale ending” that McHale and his supporters wanted Vandermaas viewed the final count of 4,821 votes as a great accomplishment.
“It’s just been such an amazing ride,” he said shortly after Finley was declared re-elected Haldimand-Norfolk MP. “If you look at where Gary’s been– he’s been arrested, had his life threatened, been attacked, sent to a hospital and lost his home for Caledonia. He’s had his reputation smeared especially by the OPP and supporters of the Douglas Creek occupation so to get to here I think that’s an amazing accomplishment. He’s made believers of about 4,600 people at this point.”
“I think it will be very hard for people to look at Gary and try to blame him for all the problems in Caledonia,” Vandermaas added. “Looking at the election results there are at least 4,600 people who disagree. From here on in I think the politicians ignore the injustices in Caledonia at their peril.”
Vandermaas said he expected McHale would take a short breather and then continue civil rights activities in Haldimand.
“We will continue to seek justice for people, native and non-native, in Caledonia,” he said. “We have a duty to continue to speak out for victims of injustice. Gary is just someone who never gives up–he won’t quit. He said to me that he didn’t care if anybody in Caledonia wanted him there. He would still go because it’s the right thing to do.”
Dunnville Chronicle, Doreen Hoover, Oct 17/08: Independent McHale makes strong showing in first campaign
“The rest of the town was McHale’s.”
- GaryMcHale.ca election site, Oct 15/08: Gary captures 10% of H-N votes
- Dunnville Chronicle, Oct 17/08: Voters speak at the polls Great article with great quotes on McHale’s strength in Haldimand:
Both [PC Diane Finley and Liberal Eric Hoskins] were out distanced by independent candidate Gary McHale in almost every poll in Caledonia.
In Caledonia, preliminary results showed McHale’s popularity. Finley won just two polls and Hoskins won three polls along with tying McHale at two others. The rest of the town was McHale’s. In one poll, he eclipsed the front runners with 106 votes compared to their 50 and 60 scores. In some polls, he was 20 to 30 votes ahead.
- Simcoe Reformer, Oct 16/08: Conservatives hang on, even in the face of crisis (Lots of great info about McHale’s impact/results in election, i.e. he took half the polls in Caledonia, one in Hagersville, and scored 2nd in others ahead of Hoskins)
- Simcoe Reformer, Oct 15/08: Candidates expect to be back next time (no mention of Hoskins!)
McHale quote: “I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “The Charter of Rights isn’t going away. I will continue to fight for the people of Caledonia.”
- CWUC blog, Jeff Parkinson: ‘Apathy prevails in Federal election.’